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The right-hand pane is a mini version of the current Windows 8 Start menu, with resizeable tiles for the Windows Store apps. As with the current Start screen, the tiles can display live data and can be rearranged in whichever order the user chooses. As the user adds or removes tiles from the Start menu, the window size increases/decreases accordingly.The video shows a taskbar properties menu that provides the option to use the Start menu instead of the Windows 8-style Start screen, which remains in place for those who prefer it. It's likely Microsoft will make the new-look Start menu the default for PCs and laptops, in the same way that Windows 8.1 Update now boots to the desktop by default on such devices.

The video also confirms an expected change to the way the Windows Store apps behave. Instead of snapping to the edges of the screen, the apps can be freely resized in their own windows, in exactly the same manner as traditional desktop apps.This may mean that apps developed for Windows 8/8.1, which were designed to accommodate only full-screen use or a thin strip down the side of the screen, will have to be redesigned.Intel this week revealed its RealSense camera, which uses multiple sensors to add depth to images, allowing a host of applications, from adjusting the focal point of an image to gesture recognition and augmented reality.The system will first be available in the Dell Venue 8 7000 series tablet, arriving in more devices early next year, said Dr Achin Bhowmik, the CTO of Intel's perceptual computing division.

While it’s nice to be needed – and to have the skills to help – unofficial tech support can be a thankless, never-ending task. As our Real World Computing columnist Mark Newton says: “The best bit of advice I can give is never let on to friends or family that you know anything about computers.”We salute your long hours of frustrating, unpaid work and your underappreciated and poorly understood skills. To help make the job a little easier, we’ve gathered up the best tips and tricks from our own team of experts, industry specialists and your fellow readers – thank you to all who submitted advice. As well as taking an in-depth look at remote desktop tools, we also reveal some tech support horror stories that will make you laugh – or cry.As unofficial tech support for your family and friends, you may be asked to help set up their new PC or laptop. “Take the time to do the job correctly and spend extra time checking things so you don’t have to go back later,” says Leigh Wood, director of Node IT Solutions.

Start with good buying advice. If a frequent support “customer” is shopping for a new device, encourage them to buy equipment with which you’re familiar. If your mum uses the same laptop as you, it will be easier to fix the common problems, since you’re likely to face them yourself. You’ll also have the hardware in front of you for times when you’re troubleshooting over the phone.Reader Roger Greenwood suggests buying simpler devices or opting for Chrome OS, which automatically updates every time you reboot it. “For non-technical relatives with anything old such as XP or Vista, buy them a Chromebook and download a few apps and extensions,” he says. “It will the best £200 you spend this year.”Once you’ve set up their hardware, take photos so you can reference the images when questions crop up down the line, such as which port to use. John Cordiner, from Dell’s social outreach services, advises noting the make and model of hardware, such as the PC, the router and the printer, and making a list of installed software – or downloading a tool such as Piriform’s Speccy to get this information – since it will help you find the right drivers.

As you would on your own PC, create a proper backup system, set up software updates to run automatically, and install antivirus. This way, when the latest security scare hits the headlines, you can assuage their panic by putting on your most reassuring voice and telling them “it’s okay, you have up-to-date antivirus and it scans all the time,” says Tim Danton, PC Pro’s editor-in-chief. Choose antivirus you’re familiar with to make it easier to troubleshoot.“Some malware packages – Bitdefender leaps to mind – have a silent mode that automatically blocks things without asking the user what to do,” adds PC Pro deputy editor Darien Graham-Smith. “This can spare you the odd phone call.”

A little education regarding what is and isn’t safe to click on can help avoid problems in the future, adds Dell’s John Cordiner. “Get your nearest and dearest out of the habit of clicking on every link they see and you’ll save yourself a lot of work.” Reader Dan Hedly suggests showing those you support what their antivirus pop-up messages looks like “to reduce the risk of them being fooled by those dreadful ‘There’s a problem with your PC’ pop-ups.” He also advises dedicating time to preventative measures. “For family, routine maintenance whenever you visit needn’t take long and will save a lot of pain down the line.”If you’re carrying out a lot of unofficial support, being prepared can save hours of time when problems arise. Columnist Mark Newton advises filling a USB drive with useful utilities and installs for browsers, antivirus and anything else you might need; don’t assume you can download it when you get there.

“I have friends whose internet connection is at best 0.5Mbits/sec; you’ll find yourself there all evening,” he says.PC Pro reader David claims he never leaves the house without his USB key. “On it, I have a program called PStart to provide a simple task tray menu,” he says. “I also install lots of portable utility programs and use PStart to launch them, as required. From my USB key, I can clean a PC, remove viruses and such like wherever I may be – it has been a godsend.” Dell’s John Cordiner carries a USB flash drive with an antivirus programme such as Avast or AVG (both of which have highly rated free versions), as well as file-recovery software Recuva and anti-malware tool Spybot.

BT finally got round to installing fibre in my area around a month ago, since when I’ve been enjoying life in the fast lane. However, there's a distinct problem with the way that BT sets up the router, which wasn't mentioned in our review of the Home Hub 5 and may prevent you from getting the most out of your fibre connection. Luckily, there’s an easy fix, which I’m going to explain here.The BT Home Hub 5 is a dual-band router, but the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands share the same SSID by default. In other words, when you go to connect your devices, you'll see one access point labelled “BT Hub-XXXX” and your device may connect to either of the two bands. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no way of telling a dual-band device to connect to a particular band – although if you know better, please let me know in the comments, below.

This is a problem, since the 5GHz band is much slower than 2.4GHz in my experience, and that of several of my Twitter correspondents. From upstairs, my dual-band laptop can get the full 80Mbits/sec afforded by my Infinity 2 connection over 2.4GHz, but that throughput slumps to around 20Mbits/sec when connected to 5GHz – which is roughly what Jonathan Bray found in his review of the Home Hub 5.This single SSID for two different bands can also cause problems with devices such as the Google Chromecast, which only works on the 2.4GHz band, and thus refuses to recognise other devices on the home network that are using 5GHz.The way to get around this is by giving each band its own SSID. To do this, type “” into a browser window to enter the router’s settings, click Advanced Settings and enter your router admin password – there should be a little plastic card in the back of your router with this password on it, if you’ve not already changed it to something more memorable.

Now click on 5GHz Wireless and tick “no” on the option that says "Sync with 2.4GHz". Rename the 5GHz SSID in the field below. I’ve renamed both my SSIDs to “XXXXXX 2.4GHz” and “XXXXXX 5GHz” to avoid any confusion.Once you’ve applied the changes, all your wireless devices will be kicked off the network because of the change in SSID, so you’ll have to reconnect them all.I connect all of my devices to the 2.4GHz band, simply because it offers the greater speed. That cancels out all the benefits of a dual-band router, of course, but then I wasn’t getting any benefit in the first place.One of the great advantages of migrating from Windows XP – or even Windows 7 – is the variety of PC form factors that become available to your business. While there were touchscreen tablets available in the Windows XP and 7 eras, those operating systems weren’t designed specifically for touch, and the range of devices was limited. Now, the PC comes in almost any configuration you can think of. Here we explain how various form factors can be exploited by your company.




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