Archive for Tech Tip

Tech Tip – Managing Background Apps

If you’re connecting via a mobile device, information, notifications and updates going to and from apps that run in the background can sap your battery power and your data.  Here’s how to control which apps are running in the background:

– Go to Settings > Privacy > Background app.

– To stop all apps from running in the background, toggle ‘Let apps run in the background’ to ‘Off’. Be aware that some background app updates serve a useful purpose.

– To stop individual apps from running in the background, scroll down the list and switch to ‘Off’ as required.

Tech Tip – The 2nd Start Menu

In addition to the main Start menu that you can access by clicking on the Windows symbol (bottom left), Windows 10 has a 2nd start menu that gives you fast access to features like PowerShell, Device Manager, Task Manager and File Explorer.  Here’s how to launch it:

– Click on the Windows key + X or right-click on the Windows icon (bottom left).

– This will launch the 2nd Start menu.

Tech Tip – Ransomware Protection in Windows 10

Ransomware is still a common threat to businesses, but you may not know that Windows 10 already has a ransomware protection features built-in to Windows Defender which is usually disabled by default.  Here’s how to enable ransomware protection:

N.B. If you already have third-party antivirus software installed and Windows Defender’s real-time protection is disabled, the Ransomware Protection features screen and Controlled Folder Access feature won’t be accessible to you. You’ll find this out when you follow these instructions:

– Click on the Start menu.

– Type Windows Security and select the search result, or go to the Settings app, then to Update & Security > Windows Security.

– Open Windows Security and click on the Virus & Threat Protection option

– Scroll down to Ransomware Protection and click on the Manage ransomware protection option.

– Next page, you will see a description of Controlled folder access – toggle to enable it.

– To enable Ransomware Protection, turn on Controlled Folder Access and log in to OneDrive.

– This will allow you to configure Controlled Folder Access and choose which folder you want to monitor and block from malicious programs.

Tech Tip – Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature in Windows 10 allows you to look back over the timeline of activity (in the Windows apps that are supported in the feature) so that you can stay organised, save time in finding things, and pick up where you left off.

To see your Windows Timeline:

– Press the Windows Key + Tab or click on the ‘Task View’ button in the taskbar.

– Click on any of the documents to open them.

– Click on ‘Esc’ to get out of the Timeline screen.

Tech Tip – Weather App In Windows 10

For this week’s topical tech tip, with weather conditions causing so much disruption and damage in the UK, Windows 10 provides personalised weather content to you via a desktop app:

– Type ‘weather’ in the search box (bottom left) and select ‘MSN Weather’.

– Select whether you want the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit and allow the app to find your exact location.

– Click ‘Start’ to see a 10-day forecast for your area or use the search box for a forecast in other areas.

Business Leaders Lack Vital Digital Skills Says OU Survey

The Open University’s new ‘Leading in a Digital Age’ report highlights a link between improved business performance and leaders who are equipped, through technology training, to manage digital change.

Investing In Digital Skills Training

The latest version of the annual report, which bases its findings on a survey of 950 CTOs and senior leaders within UK organisations concludes that leaders who invested in digital skills training are experiencing improved productivity (56 per cent), greater employee engagement (55 per cent), enhanced agility, and vitally, increased profit.

The flipside, highlighted in the same survey, is that almost half (47 per cent) of those business leaders surveyed thought they lacked the tech skills to manage in the digital age, and more than three-quarters of them acknowledge that they could benefit from more digital training.

Key Point

The key point revealed by the OU survey and report is that the development of digital skills in businesses are led from the top and that those businesses that invest in learning and development of digital skills are likely to be more able to take advantage of opportunities in what could now be described as a ‘digital age’.

Skills Shortages

The report acknowledges the digital skills shortages that UK businesses and organisations face (63 per cent of senior business leaders report a skills shortage for their organisation) and the report identifies a regional divide in those companies reporting skills shortages – more employers in the South and particularly the South West are finding that skills are in short supply and reporting that recruitment for digital roles takes longer.

One likely contributing factor to some geographical/regional divides in skills shortages and difficulty in recruiting for tech roles in those areas may be the spending, per area, on addressing those skills shortages.  For example, London is reported to have spent (in 2019) £1.4 billion (the equivalent of £30,470 per organisation), while the North East spent the least (£172.2 million), and South East spent only £10,260 per organisation.

Factors Affecting The Skills Shortage

The OU report identifies several key factors that appear to be affecting the skills shortage and the investment that may be needed to address those skills shortages. These include the uncertainty over Brexit, increased competition, an ageing population, the speed and scope of the current ‘digital revolution’, and a lack of diversity.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Bearing in mind that the OU, whose survey and report this was, is a supplier of skills training, the report, nonetheless, makes some relevant and important points.  For many businesses, for example, managers and owners are most likely to the be the ones with the most integrated picture of the business and its aims, and if they had better digital skills and awareness they may be more likely to identify opportunities, and more likely to promote and invest in digital skills training within their organisation that could be integral to their organisation being able to take advantage of those opportunities.

The tech skills shortage in the UK is, unfortunately, not new and is not down to just businesses alone to solve the skills gap challenge. The government, the education system and businesses need to find ways to work together to develop a base of digital skills in the UK population and to make sure that the whole tech ecosystem finds effective ways to address the skills gap and keep the UK’s tech industries and business attractive and competitive.  As highlighted in the OU report, apprenticeships may be one more integrated way to help bridge skills shortages.

Tech Tip – Using WhatsApp On Your PC

If you’re working at your PC and you need to access WhatsApp without having to keep looking at your phone, there’s an easy way to use WhatsApp on your PC – here’s how:

– Open web.whatsapp.com in a browser.

– Open WhatsApp on your phone.

– Open the Chats screen, select ‘Menu’, and select ‘WhatsApp Web’.

– Scan the QR code with your phone.

– You will now be able to see your WhatsApp chats on your PC every time you open web.whatsapp.com in a browser.

Tech Tip – Automatic Back-Up

Keeping a back up of your important folders is vital and you can easily set OneDrive in Windows 10 to make automatic back-ups.  Here’s how:

– On the right-hand side of the taskbar, select OneDrive > More > Settings.

– On the AutoSave tab, select ‘Update Folders’ and select the folders that you’d like to automatically back up (sync).

– Remember, if you’re working on an important file in Word, for example, you can use the toggle switch (top left) to set AutoSave to ‘On’ so it will be automatically saved to OneDrive.

Tech Tip – Clipboard History

If you’d like to see the history of all the things you’ve attached to your clipboard in Windows 10 there’s a fast and easy way to do it. To see and to manage your clipboard items:

– Hold down the Windows key + V.  This brings up the scrollable clipboard panel listing all the items you’ve copied.

– Click on an item to paste it into your current document.

– Click on the cross symbol to permanently delete an item from the clipboard.

– Click on the pin symbol to keep an item even when you clear your clipboard history (there is a link to clear the history) or when you restart your PC.

– This feature also allows syncing across other devices so you can paste items from your clipboard to your other devices when you sign in with a Microsoft or work account.

Tech Tip – Tidy & Focused

If you’d like to quickly clean up a messy desktop in Windows 10, and if you’d like to stay focused by clearing away all open apps except for the one you’re working on, here’s how:

To hide desktop icons quickly:

– Press and hold (or right-click) the desktop.

– Select ‘View’ and ‘Show desktop icons’ – this will clear the desktop.

To get the desktop icons back, select ‘Show desktop icons’.

– To clear your workspace of all open apps except the one you’re working on:

– Select and hold the window you want to stay open.

– Give your mouse (or finger) a back-and-forth shake.

– All the other open apps will automatically minimise.