An up-to-date Machine for Improved Performance and Security

You might want to think twice when dimising the ‘restart to update’ notifications your computer is sending. Ensuring the machine is current with operating system (OS) and manufacturer updates is essential to keep things running smoothly and securely.

Here are some tips to keep your PC in good working order:

1. Check for Windows updates now!

‘Patch Tuesday,’ the second Tuesday of each month is when Microsoft releases update packages for Windows 10, Windows 7, Microsoft office and its other apps. At minimum, you should update your computer as frequently as these updates are released – monthly. Check for updates now:

  1. Open the start menu and choose settings (Shortcut: Window key + I)
  2. Go to update & security
  3. Click check for updates
  4. You may see view optional updates – these are important, too! Click to install
  5. Your updates might require a restart – be sure to save anything you’re working on and allow the PC to resart when the updates are complete.

2. Put it on auto pilot

It’s easy to overlook updates if you don’t set them to be installed automatically.

  1. From the Windows Update screen, choose advanced options:
  1. Turn on the update options and update notifications as shown below:
  1. Your settings are saved automatically – close the window and let your PC do the rest – just don’t ignore it when it prompts for a restart.

3. Check for manufacturer updates

Microsoft generally covers your OS updates and sometimes will catch manufacturer updates. Manufacturer updates cover things like drivers, BIOS version updates and other critical components, so checking in on these regularly is key. Here’s how you can check for updates from some common manufacturers:

  1. Lenovo – Check your PC for the Lenovo Vantage app. You can check for system updates here, or visit the Lenovo support page if you don’t have the app.
  2. Dell Dell Support Page
  3. HPHP Support Page

4. Updates for your Mac

It’s just as important to keep your Mac up to date. Check the app store regularly for app updates (especially if you’re running Office apps).

You can set automatic app updates in just a few easy clicks:

  1. Launch the Mac App Store
  2. Select App Store in the menu bar
  3. Select Preferences from the dropdown menut
  4. Check the box for Automatic Updates

To keep your OS updated automatically, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Apple Menu in the menu bar
  2. Select System Preferences > Software Update
  3. Check the for Automatically keep my Mac up to date
Waffle launchers, Hamburger menus, and ellipses

Waffle launchers, Hamburger menus, and ellipses

There are a few terms that we often use during support or training sessions that aren’t always familiar to everyone. These terms are convenient shortcuts that refer to common menu elements in wide use today: you will see them frequently on many apps and websites.

So, what are they and what do they mean?


I’ll start with “ellipsis” (plural: “ellipses”). This is the proper word you can use to refer to the ubiquitous three dots (…) that indicate additional actions hidden from view to reduce clutter. What does it actually mean, though?




Ellipsis (noun); ellipses (plural noun)

the omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues.

“it is very rare for an ellipsis to occur without a linguistic antecedent”

Synonyms: leaving out, exclusion, exception, noninclusion, deletion, erasure, cut, excision, elimination, absence

Antonyms: addition, inclusion


mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek elleipsis, from elleipein ‘leave out’.

In written English the ellipsis denotes something that is left unsaid, an implication that has been left to the reader to interpret. It’s a little more definitive in technological terms; if you see an ellipsis in an app or on the web, clicking it will reveal additional options or actions you can take – something the developer thought would be used less frequently than the menu options in plain view.

Microsoft Edge, for example, hides all the menu options behind an ellipsis in the browser’s toolbar:

Ellipsis menu example

SharePoint provides additional contextual menu options for many elements in a view through a vertical ellipsis:

Vertical ellipsis example

Next time someone tells you to click on the ellipsis, you’ll know exactly what they mean!

Waffle Launcher

This one always elicits a chuckle. It’s easy to imagine waffles being launched, but as exciting as that sounds, in this case a waffle launcher is just a button that sorta looks like a waffle and gives you a list of apps you can launch when you click on it – hence, “waffle launcher.”

Both Microsoft and Google use the waffle launcher icon to indicate access to more apps. Here it is for Office 365:

Waffle launcher example

The Waffle Launcher is frequently called the “App Launcher”, but I prefer the other term – it’s more descriptive and way more amusing.

Hamburger Menu

The “hamburger menu” is a gastronomic nickname for another common menu element used hide navigation options – not as exciting as an actual burger menu. Frequently this is used in mobile versions of web sites, and, like the ellipsis, is just a way to indicate that there’s more options for you to explore. It consists of three horizontal lines stacked on top of one another, kinda like the bun and the burger in the middle.

The Bing home page hides some setting options behind a hamburger menu:

Hamburger menu example

One interesting bit of trivia: the icon has been around since around 1980 and was created by Norm Cox of Xerox for the Xerox Star (source:

Tips to Increase Productivity

Tips to Increase Productivity

business analytics intelligence BI concept, KPI, financial charts stock photo

If you’re constantly behind on work, missing deadlines, or wasting time, then try using the following tactics to make yourself more productive.

Light Bulbs Concept Photo of light bulbs with shining fibres in shape of BRAND concept related words isolated on black background ads stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Disable ads in the Windows 10 File Explorer

Ads can be distracting when you’re trying to get things done. Microsoft has implemented its own services such as Office 365 and One Drive directly in the Windows File Explorer along with ads elsewhere around its operating system.

Disabling ads can easily be done by:

  • Launching File Explorer and click View > Options > Change folder and search options.
  • Move to the View tab and scroll through the list of options in the Advanced settings section.
  • Towards the bottom of the list, uncheck the option labeled Show sync provider notifications.
  • Click OK.

Using Task View to find app windows

Task View primary function is to provide an experience to quickly switch between running applications. It shows thumbnail views of all the open applications of the current desktop or virtual desktop and allows you to manage multiple apps and access apps quickly.

You can access the Task View screen by doing any one of the given methods:

  1. Click Task View button on the Taskbar (the button beside the Search bar).
  2. Press the Win + Tab.
  3. Swipe three fingers on the trackpad.

In case you haven’t used it, the Task View button looks like this:

Task View shows Thumbnails of App Windows


Customize Your Start Menu

The start menu can be customized to work for you. Rather than just rearranging the list of start menu items, you can choose what you want to appear for your unique needs, rearrange, resize and remove programs and other items that you do not use. There are also live tiles which can be useful to display weather, news or emails.

To access the Start menu settings, open the Start menu and click the “ Settings ” (gear) icon on the left side of the menu. On the “ Windows Settings ” dialog box, click Personalization. Click Start in the Personalization menu on the left side of the Settings dialog box.


3 Windows Key Shortcuts to Make your Life Easier

3 Windows Key Shortcuts to Make your Life Easier

The Windows logo key is a useful and even essential key on your keyboard. There are multiple shortcuts this key can be used for to make you more efficient and speed up your work.

Here are three you may find useful in your daily activities:



Copy images and text from one PC to another with a cloud-based clipboard. Not only can you can paste from your clipboard history, but you can also pin the items you find yourself using all the time.

This little-known – and incredibly useful – shortcut allows you to get to your clipboard history: press Windows logo key  + V. You can also paste and pin frequently used items by choosing an individual item from your clipboard menu.

To share your clipboard items across your Windows 10 devices, select Start  > Settings  > System Clipboard. Choose Automatically sync text that I copy under Sync across devices. The sync feature is tied to your Microsoft account, or your work account, so remember to use the same login information on all your devices.

Lock your PC

You can use the Windows Logo Key to quickly lock your PC. To do this, simply press Windows logo key + L


Split Screen

Sometimes while working, you may be limited to one monitor, but need to see two at once. An easy way to do this is by using the Windows Logo key.

To snap a window to the left, use the Windows logo key + Left arrow

To snap a window to the right, use the Windows logo key + Right arrow