Clearing Timeline Activities in Windows 10

Timeline is a feature extending the original Task View in Windows 10. Timeline activities are linked via your Microsoft account with the cloud, enabling you to browse through your past activities and continue your work from where you left off, On any other Windows PC connected to your Microsoft account. Helping you get back in time to resume your work whatever device your using.

This means if you’re like me, hopping about from machine to machine with the Timeline tracking all the apps, files, and activities on your PC, that you can quickly build up a lot of detail that becomes clutter in your time line. You may want to clear an activity or a set of activities from your Timeline after completing them, to keep a neat and efficient timeline.

Windows lets you clear the Timeline in different ways, such as a specific activity or  activities of a specific hour, and activities of a specific day.

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Clearing a Specific Activity from Timeline

To clear a specific activity, first open the Timeline by clicking on the “TaskView” icon appearing in the taskbar, in the screenshot its right of the Cortana icon .

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After opening Timeline, find the activity you want to clear. You can make use of the search feature on the top-right corner to do so. Once you find the activity you want to delete, right-click on it and simply select the “Remove” option.

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You will receive a confirmation dialog box, click on the “Yes” button to clear the activity from the Timeline.

Clear Timeline for a Specific Hour

As you can clear a specific activity, you can also clear all activities logged on a specific hour. In the Timeline, find the day you want to clear the hourly Timeline activities on. Now, click on the “See All Activities” link appearing right next to the date.

Note: if you can’t see the link, that means Windows logged less than ten activities for that day. As such, you cannot delete activities for a specific hour. You can only delete activities of the entire day.

In the next screen, you will see all the Timeline activities of that specific day. Find the hour you want to delete activities from, right-click on any activity under that hour and select the option “Clear all from.” In my case I’m deleting all the activities that are logged at 15:00

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You will see a confirmation window. Click on the “Yes” button and the activities for that specific hour will be deleted.

Clear Timeline for a Specific Day

You can also clear all the activities logged on a specific day. This option is useful when you want to bulk-delete activities.

Open Timeline and find the day where you want to delete the activities. If you think the day you were looking for will be at the bottom of the Timeline, use the scroll bar appearing on the right side. It’s much faster and easier compared to using the scroll wheel.

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After finding the day you are looking for, right-click on any activity and select the option “Clear all from.” If you’re trying to delete the activities from Today or Yesterday, you will see the option as “Clear all from Earlier Today” and “Clear all from Yesterday.”

In the confirmation window click on the “Yes” button to delete Timeline activities of that day.

Clearing the entire Timeline

Unfortunately, currently theres no option within the Timeline to clear all the activities for last thirty days. However, you can still clear the Timeline activities by clearing the entire Activity History.

Open the settings app. Go to “Privacy -> Activity History.”

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For whatever reason, you will not see the Activity History Clear button as long as you are syncing your activities to Microsoft Cloud. To see the button you need to disable syncing and then refresh the Settings page.

Uncheck the checkboxs and I disable the Show activities from these accounts, then simply go to another option in the menu such as “General” and then go back to the “Activity History” tab. Without refreshing the Activity History page, you will now see that a “Clear” button appears

Under the “Clear activity history” section will see the “Clear” button. Click on it.

Click on the “OK” button in the confirmation window.

Don’t forget to reselect the checkboxes and show activity sliders or else you’ll lose access your activities from your other Windows PCs.

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Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Safe mode, is a limited environment start up method preventing any 3rd party apps, cosmetic features or other tools will be present when you gain access to the PC desktop.
The reduction in booting the extras can assist in determining which application may be causing a slowness problem that you’re experiencing, or if the OS itself is the issue
Safe mode has two “modes”. With or without networking. With networking you have a base system that you can access information from the domain or over your internet connection. Without networking is suited if you fear having a virus/malware fear and don’t want to spread any possible ‘infection”

 

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode from the Settings Menu

At the  Start Screen, press the Windows button and the power button on your keyboard to open the Settings Menu, should this not work, you can enter the menu by selecting the Start button at the bottom of your screen and then navigating to settings.
Once you’re in the settings menu, select Update & security and then Recovery. When the screen throws up the advanced setting of Restart
Your computer will now restart, presenting the Choose an option screen. From here, select Troubleshoot – Advanced Options – Startup Settings, then Restart.
Your PC will reboot again and this time, you’ll be able to choose to start up in either Safe Mode (normal) or Safe Mode With Networking



Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode from the Sign in screen

If the PC is already up and running you can also reboot using Safe Mode when you arrive at the sign-in screen.
By holding down the Shift button on your keyboard, then select Power and Restart. When your computer reboots, it should open up the same Choose an option screen, as is the case when you restart your computer in Safe Mode via the settings menu.
Once again, select Restart from the Startup Settings menu that you’ll find if you select Troubleshoot; then select Advanced Options and choose either option 4 or press F4 on your keyboard to boot up in Safe Mode, or option 5 (F5) if you need to access the internet in Safe Mode.
If your computer is presenting the black screen of death and you’re unable to do anything at all, hit CTRL, ALT, DELETE to bring up the logout screen, select Restart and ensure you press down the Shift button to take you to the Choose an option screen, from which you can select Safe Mode.


How to use msconfig to launch Safe Mode

A third alternative exists by launching from the command line if you want to avoid multiple steps above, you can instead launch Windows 10 in Safe Mode
Type in msconfig from the search bar, and from the window that opens select the Boot tab. You need to tick  Safe boot and from the radio buttons choose the Minimal or Network to select one of the two earlier described modes

How to exit Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Once you’re in Safe Mode and, hopefully, have corrected the problem with your computer, you’ll want to test it’s worked. To do this, you’ll need to exit from Safe Mode. You can do this once again using msconfig. Head to the Start Menu and type in msconfig to bring up the System Configuration menu.
Go to the Boot option at the bottom of the screen, untick Safe Boot, select apply and OK. you may be asked to reboot for the changes to take effect, or just restart manually to relaunch your computer in normal mode.

Disabling or Enabling touchscreen in Windows 10

Occasionally or due to driver issues, you may wish to disable the touchscreen feature of your device. This is a simple process, and can be easily toggled

In the Search box on the task bar, enter Device Manager, and select Device Manager from the top of the menu choice (it’s still part of Control Panel)

From the opened window, now expand by clicking the select arrow Human Interface Devices, and click to select the HID-compliant touch screen.

Then from the Action Menu option in the upper windows, simply select Disable or enable

device manager

Loss of Internet access when connected on pptp VPN

Due to the recent bad weather we had a number of staff VPN in from home to work. Unfortunately we also received several support issues regarding this, One of which was : “I lose internet connectivity when the VPN is enabled!”.

Now for some who look after security great the phrase ‘tightening it down’ has been heard from other IT providers. But this was an odd issue, mostly because I was using the exact same set up and the connection to work, didn’t interfere with my normal browsing or email.

So a quick look on the internet for some pointers highlighted “split tunnelling”, as an issue  and found out how to navigate Windows 10 around this problem, so thought I’d commit my notes to my blog…

Provided the pptp VPN supplier allows VPN access and uses no other means to stop you accessing the internet, then basically it’s all down to an option with in VPN adapter settings which you should be able to remedy

 

So via the

 

Settings> Network & Internet> Change Adapter options

Right click on the PPTP VPN you have the problem with and select Properties

Now Select the Networking tab

Click to highlight the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) connection and take the Properties button below

Take the Advanced button

If you have no internet when VPN connects then its most likely that

Use default gateway on remote network is unticked

Ensure it’s ticked, and click OK to get back to the desktop. Next time you connect VPN you should have access to the internet.

 

 

 

 

Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet: How Much Better Is a Wired Connection

The majority of users believe that WiFi and a cable (Ethernet) connection are one and the same, but that’s simply not the case. Ethernet provides better speed, is low on latency (more on that later),  and a more reliable connection.

WiFi is a lot more convenient than a wired connection without doubt (trust me, being the proud owner of a 25ft long cable, I occasionally use on sites). But there are advantages and disadvantages in using WiFi, which ought to be considered, by users depending on their requirements.

I’m not saying that WiFi is bad, and we should all cable up, can you imagine trying to navigate A coffee shop floor! Just that depending on your needs, cable may be more worthwhile then you’ve considered.  WiFI is without doubt an excellent solution for mobility.

Ethernet speed

Even with the newer standards of WiFi, the speed you get over a connection, is just about 800 Mb/second, and that will vary even with a good connection, compare that with the 10Gb/second that cable can provide, and cable is far more consistent.

All speed is reliant on your internet connection speed, a slow connection won’t be improved with a cable, the bottle neck is the transfer rate. But over a network file transferring of data you’ll notice the difference, as your working on the speed network hardware provides.

For example, when file copying, backing up etc. Ethernet speed shines through, simply because of the transfer rate.

Latency and interference

Or lag as I prefer to call it, is the time taken for traffic to get from its source to it’s destination, this is best demonstrated with the infamous ping command.

WiFi’s mobility advantage is greatly effected as you move about, and as WiFi signals can be disrupted, added to the time it takes being received by the router, latency issues can become a problem after all how many times have you heard user grumbles about the reliability of the WiFi.

Wireless connections are subject to a lot more interference than a wired connection. The layout of your office or home, objects blocking the signal, interference from electrical devices or other Wi-Fi networks—all these things contribute to Wi-Fi being generally less reliable.

This interference can cause a number of problems:

Dropped signals: Occasionally, Wi-Fi will lose the signal and have to reacquire it. This may not be a big deal for daily browsing or even streaming video (which gets buffered on the local device), because the re-acquisition happens quickly. But if you play online games, or processing data over a day, it can get pretty irritating.

Higher latency: Increased interference can mean higher latency, which can be a problem for all the reasons outlined in the previous section.

Lowered speeds: More interference also means lower signal quality, which results in lower connection speeds.

It’s tough to quantify interference, because it tends to ebb and flow–especially if you’re moving around with your device. However, there are things you can do to reduce wireless interference and get the best Wi-Fi signal possible.

When Does It Make Sense to Use Ethernet?

Not meaning to come down too hard on Wi-Fi. It’s pretty speedy, super convenient, and perfectly serviceable for most of what we do on our networks. For one thing, Wi-Fi is essential if you’ve got mobile devices. Also, there are times you just can’t use Ethernet. Maybe it’s too difficult to run a permanent, out-of-the-way cable to the location you want. Or maybe your landlord won’t allow you to run cables the way you want to.

And that’s the real reason to use Wi-Fi: convenience. If a device needs to move around or you just don’t want to run a cable to it, Wi-Fi is the right choice.

On the other hand, if you have a desktop PC or server that sits in a single place, Ethernet may be a good option. If you want better quality streaming (especially if you’re doing it from a media server on your network) or if you’re a gamer, Ethernet will be the way to go. Assuming it’s easy enough to plug the devices in with an Ethernet cable, you’ll get a more consistently solid connection.

Methods of Remote Networking

Remote Networking Introduction.

VPN, RDS and VDI are three of the most famous TLA’s (three letter abbreviations) handed around these days, and are very useful practices for remote working. But what are the advantages? When should you use which one? Following article helps try to explain each method to help you decide, which suits your needs best.

Virtual Private Network.

By far the most common, VPN enables you from your network, to connect to another, for example from home to work, or from one company to another, in a secure and encrypted fashion.

It can be used to access shared folders, drives (if you don’t use cloud) and even devices on another ‘network’ with additional software such as mstsc.exe or the remote desktop applications that are available.
VPN can be client based using the OS, or, third party application usually and app or web page to build and maintain the connection. Or, on a grander scale you can construct a permanent VPN tunnel linking firewalls of one company to another, allowing multiple clients access to resources and different domains.

VPN has a big brother too called remoteaccess, think of this as an always on VPN, very useful, and does away with the manual involvement of having to connect. Largest issue with this method its aimed more at more modern network design IPv6, so if you have any older legacy systems it may be a problem implementing

Advantages, cheap, quick and easy to setup. Able to configure the protocol security type.

Disadvantages, Dependent on set up but you can give an awful lot of network view up. (even if you do your security should restrict wanderers). Can get complex when networks share IP ranges, so you have to NAT Network Access Translate addresses on one side so the masquerade as a different network. For example the widely used common internet facing network IP 192.168.x.x can be referenced as internal network IP 10.10.x.x.

RDS

There’s some confusion with RDS and VDI, so much so people use the term for both, but there is a difference. RDS (Remote Desktop Service) is the replacement for the older terminal services.

So, you can think of it as generating a standard template of a windows desktop machine that will be presented to every user who accesses it. In RDS the template is not designed to be able to be modified by the user, simply just used for their exact requirement.
You give the user a standard interface and applications to work with, with the data paths being set to alternative shared/private drives folders.

In addition to an entire desktop, there are also remote apps which are virtualised applications (Vapps) that can be provided over the remote interface. Suppose for example that 5 users need an invoicing application. Instead of installing on 5 machines create a single Vapp, where each user can call up the application as an when needed.
By centralising the application, there’s only ever one installation to update so that all users are on the latest/same version.

Advantages
Accrssibility to only the software and applications what the user requires, clamps down the security risks. Reduces individual machine set up by supplying that one standard virtual environment.
Disadvantages
Maintaining the template, so that updates are applied to ensure user is on the latest version of the software. Can become painful with multiple / regular updates

VDI

Virtual Desktop Interface, RDS with boots on. VDI creates several templates that can be presented over remote desktop services. But, each template is its own virtual machine for a specific user. VDI takes a little more consideration to setup, as you have to provide and environment that brokers connections, runs the virtual for the user. Depending on your user requirement you may have to deliver a hefty template to a user with lots of RAM, several processors So planning the servers that do this work takes planning and proper consideration.
But done right VDI provides a easy to maintain virtual ecosystem that allows your users to be anyway, connect and have a perfect work desktop delivered to them. There’s no need to buy equipment for users from home, they can use their own home computer to generate a virtualised power machine to work on.

Advantages
Run a PC from a tablet, Windows android or ios device. User has the control you allow to add additional software or to update existing installation. A true work anywhere solution, incorporates BOYD
Disadvantages
Initial cost and time in the setup is the biggest disadvantage.

Connectivity
If your working remotely your connectivity is imperative. I’ve encountered issues with users where their home broadband provider doesn’t allow for specific types of VPN, so ended up having to work around their issue by creating or using an alternative VPN, great it cures their problem, but it more to maintain.
VPN short term is okay over a mobile type 4G but remember signal changes as you move around, it may be difficult getting a good stable connection in the middle or nowhere, or in the middle of busy large city and peak times.
A good steady connection for RDS and VDI is vital, failing to do so provides a frustrating slow and regularly dropping out connection for the end user. Plus, a lot of frustration for IT having to unlock / free up dropped virtual sessions on the server.

Turn off WiFi when connected via Ethernet cable

 

Okay we’ve all been there, your trusty laptop in hand in the office, only to find the Wi-Fi is down, or it’s a little shaky in that side of the building and you have to swap to a Ethernet cable to maintain a good connection.

Easy enough plug it an and away you go.. But, although Windows 10 will simply swap to the Ethernet cable to work, Wi-FI still runs chewing away at your precious laptop battery life

Luckily you can configure your laptop to turn off WiFi automatically when a Ethernet cable is connected (Note dependant on the network adapter in the laptop) and save a little more power to prolong your use

Best done before the event as always, but ensure you’re on the WIFI when you configure your laptop adapter to do this

From the System tray right click on the WiFI/Network icon and select Open Network and Sharing Centre. In the Active networks click on the wi fi connection to open the status window

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Click on the Properties button to get the current settings of the adapter, under the networking tab you’ll see the following, click the Configure button to get the fill properties of the adapter

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Now click on the Advanced tab, the property look for Disable Upon Wired Connect, and ensure its set/changed  to Enabled for the value

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IMPORTANT Should the Disable Upon Wired Connect option not appear, it’s most probable that your network adapter doesn’t support this feature.

Finally, click OK button, and presto all sorted. From now on, whenever you connect an Ethernet cable to your laptop, Windows 10 automatically turns off the Wi-Fi saving precious battery life.