Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Business

Solutions: Windows 8 upgrade is optional

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I have Windows 8 on my new computer. I do not want to upgrade to 8.1, as I heard it is a mega download and because I do not have a touchscreen. Is there any advantage to Windows 8.1 over 8 if you do not have a touchscreen? I use my computer for emails and Web surfing.

Actually, the Windows 8.1 update contained several mouse and keyboard improvements. There is a power button right on the Start screen that lets you more easily power down or enter sleep mode — no more searching for the "magic Charm" spot to click Settings just to power down. There are also some new right-click options on Tiles. The most useful change for me was the Title Bar for full-screen apps that now allows you to minimize or close the window without having to ''grab'' the top of the window and drag it to the bottom. Much more civilized. If you're happy and working on 8, there are no other compelling reasons to upgrade. Eventually, you will need to, but for now, you sound like you're in a good place computerwise. And like I always say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

In the past week, I have shut my computer down and it comes back on by itself. Is someone turning my computer on remotely? If not, what is the problem?

That does sound strange and a little scary. First, make sure you are truly shutting down and not entering Sleep mode. Aside from that, here's what I think is happening: Some PCs have a feature set in the Basic Input/Output System that allows you to specify a "turn on time." I guess this would be useful if you had it turned on every workday a few minutes before you came in — this way, you're ready to work immediately and can maximize your productivity. I had a PC with this feature years ago. Did it make me more productive? No. Check the technical support website for your PC model and hunt around for BIOS options. You enter the BIOS when the computer is first starting by hitting an F2 (or some other key — check your documentation or watch what is displayed on the screen for the right sequence for your PC). The BIOS will have its own menu and you might need to hunt around to find the setting if it exists. Go slowly and do your research ahead of time. Changes made by mistake in the BIOS can affect your PC in unexpected ways.

When I bought my HP laptop with Windows 7 two years ago, I bought it with a 120-gigabyte solid state drive. I have Dropbox installed on my desktop, laptop and iPhone. I was under the impression that Dropbox stores media files in its cloud, yet every time I turn on my laptop, it seems I have less and less hard drive space left, and now it is at a critical level with only 1 GB of hard drive space remaining. I hardly ever use the laptop, and I am getting an error message from Dropbox stating that there is not enough hard drive space left to synch more files. What would you suggest I do to get these Dropbox files off my HP drive?

One GB of free space is definitely critical. It sounds as if you have your local folders set to synchronize with Dropbox. Inside the Dropbox preferences, there should be a setting for Selective Sync. Uncheck the folders you no longer wish to keep locally on your PC. Once that is done, make sure they are still accessible on Dropbox, then delete the files locally. First make sure you have another backup of those files before doing any of this, just in case.

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