How to Disable Google from Tracking You

Whereever you go, Goggle is tracking you, especially Google Maps, and archives that activity in your Google Timeline. It is both a blessing and a curse. It can take you down memory lane, but as a curse, it leaves the door wide open to your privacy.

With Timeline, Google Maps can show where you are going and where you have been. Even photos taken and uploaded to Google Photos can reveal your location. You can also share your location in realtime on your smartphone.

If you prefer to keep your location private, you can remove your location history and stop Google from following you.

This feature is for your iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android device, Windows 10 or whatever smart device supports Google

Stop Activity and Location Tracking

  • Open your Google browser
  • Log into your account at myaccount.google.com
  • Select Data & personalization
  • You can disable what Google can tract and collect from you by managing your Activity controls. To stop tracking, click on the Title and toggle the switch to off. See below image:
Google Tracking 1
Google Activity controls

Warning! Turning off these Activity controls will effect the use of their features.

Delete your Activities

Your activities are kept until you manually delete them (the default). You have the option of deleting all data for the past 18 months or past 3 months.

  • Navigate to your Google account at myaccount.google.com
  • Select Data & personalization>Web & App Activity>Manage Activity>Choose to delete automatically. See below image:
Google Tracking 2
Google Deletion process
  • Select the 18 or 3 month option
  • Tap Next. See below image:
Google Tracking 3
Google selection of how long to keep your activity
  • Google will show you what is about to be deleted
  • Tap Confirm at the bottom of your screen. See below image:
Google Tracking 9
Google confirmation of your activity deletion
  • Also, you can delete a particular day’s browsing activity by taping the Trash icon next to the day. Refer to second image above.

To select a custom range, an hour or a date:

  • Tap the Menu icon located next to My Activity
  • Select Delete activity by. See below image:
Google Tracking 4
Google custom deletion
  • Choose one of the following options. See below image:
Goo5le Tracking 6
Google selecting your custom deletion
  • There are other privacy settings you can explore such as Location Services under Settings>Privacy and Security>Location>Location. A set of apps that use Location Services can be toggled on or off. See the following screen:
Google Tracking 8
Google Location Services to turn on or off

Warning! Turning off these Apps Location Services will effect the use of their features.

Go Incognito

The best and easist way to “hide” your browsing is to set the Incognito Mode. This feature allows you to browse without Google compiling history, cookies, site data or form information. Google has extended the feature to Maps and YouTube. Maps will stop tracking your location history; YouTube will no longer track your search and view history.

  • Launch Google
  • Tap the More icon in bottom right hand corner (the 3 dots)
  • Tap Turn on incognito. See below image:
Google Tracking 10
Google setting for Incognito Mode

You will see the following screen:

Google Tracking 7
Google Incognito Mode turned on

To turn off Incognito Mode:

  • Launch Google
  • Tap the More icon in the bottom right hand corner (the 3 dots)
  • Tap In incognito mode
  • Tap Turn off incognito. Refer to following image:
Google Tracking 7
Google Incognito Mode turned off

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Did you Know you can Show Multiple Time Zones in Windows 10?

This feature is for a Desktop or Laptop running Windows 10 Operating System. Your family, coworkers or friends may be in different time zones. Lets say you have friends residing in Arizona which does not observe Daylight Savings Time. How many hours are they ahead or behind your current time zone? We are going to find an easy way to do this beside searching for “time in <city>”.

This is for Windows 10 operating system

Setup Additional Time Zones

To find these settings:

  • Right click on the clock in the Windows 10 Taskbar (lower right)
  • Select Adjust date/time
  • Select Add clocks for different time zones under Related Settings section

See below screenshot:

Date and Time Settings
Date and Time settings screenshot

Adding Two Time Zones

To add other clock(s):

  • Check Show this clock box
  • Chose a time zone
  • Enter a display name
  • Repeat above for a second time zone, its up to you

Your can add two times zones besides your current one

  • Click OK

See below screenshot for adding two time zones:

Time Zone Settings
Adding time zone for Dhaka, Bangladesh and DaNang, Vietnam

Now when you hover your mouse over the date and time in the Taskbar you will see your time zone settings.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Four Tips and Gotchas for a WordPress Blog

I have been blogging using WordPress as my hosting site for a couple of months. I have discovered a few tips and gotchas using WordPress that may be of interest to you.

First, if you noticed some strange highlighted text on your site, don’t panic. They will go away by exiting and relaunching your site. I had some highlighted text (in yellow) in my Categories section that I did not enter. After exiting and relaunching, the highlighted yellow text disappeared.

Second, if you have links in your posts, the linkage may add the words “opens in a new tab” at the end of your URL. This happens if you have the slider control Open in new tab turned off. This control is found in the drop down arrow next to the Return or the Edit (the pencil) icon). Your links will not work. You must remove the words (opens in a new tab) in the link URL. To open the link in a new tab, you must turn the slider control Open in new tab to the On position.

Third, when I am writing a post, I want to return to a previous block to add or change some text. I position the cursor in the text, but nothing happens. I am unable to add or change any text. I have to save whatever changes I have made, exit the post, then relaunch the post. Then I am able to make text changes. This is most frustrating aspect of WordPress.

Fourth, in my version of WordPress, the Dashboard does not automatically load. To get to the Dashboard, enter <your website name>/wp-admin in your browser search field. For my blog, I would enter the following in my browser: techsavvy.life/wp-admin.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

How to Schedule an Auto Shutdown of Your PC

Do you want to save electricity? Shutting down your Windows 10 Desktop or Laptop at a specific date and time is one answer. Normally, we walk away from our computer at the end of the day. At some point, your PC will slip into hibernation or sleep mode, which saves power consumption but we are going to save even more electricity plus reduce heat buildup.

The Windows operating system has a Task Scheduler which allows us to setup a shutdown at a specific date and time. This Scheduler has been around since Windows XP. By setting up a scheduled task, we are going to shut down your PC at a specific time. I am going to walk you through the setup process screen by screen.

The steps are for Windows 10 operating system. The Task Scheduler is for Windows XP through Windows 10

  • In the Cortana search box, type in “task scheduler“ (without the quotes)
  • Open the Task Scheduler. See following image:
Task Scheduler 0
Opening the Task Scheduler

Create the Auto Shutdown Task

  • Select Create Basic Task. See following image:
Task Scheduler 0A
Creating a Basic Task
  • Give the Task a name and a description. I am using Auto Shutdown at 10 pm as the name. See following image:
Task Scheduler 2
Assigning a Name and Description to our scheduled task

Set the Task Triggers

  • Click Next at the bottom of the screen to open the Task Trigger screen
  • Select Daily (the default). See the following image:
Task Scheduler 3
Selecting the Task Trigger
  • Select Next
  • Select a Start: date and time
  • Set Recur every: 1 day (the default). See below image:
Task Scheduler 4
Setting the start date, time and the recurrence of the scheduled task

Set the Task Action

  • Select Next. You will see the Action screen
  • Select Start a program (the default). See below image:
Task Scheduler 5
Selecting the Action we want to perform

Set the Task Arguments

  • Click Next
  • In the Program/script box, enter “shutdown” (without the quotes)
  • Enter -s -f -t 60 in the Add arguments box. See following screen:
Task Scheduler 6
Entering the program name and arguments for the scheduled task

These arguments are part of the shutdown.exe program. The -s tells Windows to shutdown, you could enter -r for a shutdown and Restart. The -f forces all running programs to close and is implied if the -t argument is greater than 0. The -t 60 adds a 60 seconds countdown, if you want an immediate shutdown, change to -t 0. See following image:

Task Scheduler 6
Setting the program name and arguments

View Your Task Summary

  • Click Next and you will see your Summary screen. See below image:
Task Scheduler 7
A Summary of the scheduled task
  • Click Finish
  • Close the Task Scheduler. For our example, we are initiating a daily shutdown starting on 2/5/2020 at 10pm by closing all running applications with a 60 seconds countdown.

View, Edit or Delete Your Scheduled Task

  • Open Task Scheduler
  • Click on Task Scheduler Library
  • Find your task under the Name column and highlight it. You can view your Triggers and Actions under the appropriate tab. See following image:
Task Scheduler 8
Viewing your scheduled task
  • To Edit your task, highlight the task and select Properties. I recommend you go through each tab and make any necessary change(s). Click OK to apply your change(s).
  • To Delete the task, highlight the task and select Delete. Click Yes to complete the deletion.
  • Close the Task Scheduler

You are finished. At the designated date and time, watch your computer automatically shutdown. In our example, the auto shutdown occurs every day at 10 pm..

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

How to Use the Dim Feature in Microsoft PowerPoint

I ran across this neat feature of Microsoft PowerPoint that I want to share with you. As a presenter, you are in control of what is being displayed. Instead of presenting all your bullet points at once lets dim there appearance one at a time. The “dim text” feature allows the audience to focus on one topic. For my example I am using a single slide with five bullet points.

This is for PowerPoint for Office 365 Windows and Mac versions. Other versions of PowerPoint will be similar.

Launch PowerPoint

  • Open PowerPoint on your Desktop/Laptop or Mac
  • Find a slide that contains bullet points or text you want to dim. See my example below:
PowerPoint Slide 1
PowerPoint Slide Bullet Points screen
  • Highlight a bullet point or text
  • Select the Animations tab and choose the Appear animation

Set Animations

The animation will be successfully applied if you see a number next to the bullet point or slide.

Repeat the above steps until you have applied an animation to each bullet point or text. Refer to the following image:

PowerPoint Slide 2
PowerPoint Slide with Animation applied screen
  • Select all the Animations by using the “Ctrl” key and clicking on each animation.
  • Select the arrow next to the right side of the animation
PowerPoint Slide 3
PowerPoint Animations screen

Set Effects

Select Effect Options. See following image:

PowerPoint Slide 4
PowerPoint Effects screen

Change Behavior for Dimming

We are going to change the behavior of the default Don’t Dim option by clicking the arrow next to the item (a drop down box selection) and select a color slightly different than your bullet points or text. You want your color selected to be visible to the audience. For my example, I selected a light red color:

PowerPoint Slide 6
PowerPoint Color Selection for Animation screen
  • Click OK

Test Your Slide

Now its time to test out your slide. You should see something like the following screen as you manually or automatically select each bullet point.

PowerPoint Slide 7
PowerPoint using the Dim Feature

This is a nifty feature for your next text presentation. Save your slide or presentation, you are finished.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.



How to Protect an Excel Workbook, a Sheet and its Structure

Do you want to protect your Microsoft Excel workbook or a sheet in your workbook? If so, this blog post is for you. We are going to password protect a workbook, protect a sheet in a workbook and the Excel file itself.

This is for Excel for Office 365 Windows and Mac versions. Other versions of Excel will be similar.

Protect a Workbook

I recommend you start with a blank Excel workbook, just in case you forget a password. To assign a password to an Excel workbook, do the following:

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose. See my workbook below :
Excel Security 1
  • Select File>Save As
Excel Security 2
  • Select More options (underneath Excel Workbook drop down box)
Excel Security 3
  • Select the Tools drop down box
  • Chose General Options
Excel Security 4

Set the Password(s)

You will see notice two password boxes, one to open the workbook and one to modify the workbook

  • Enter one or both passwords. Make sure you write down these passwords and store them in a safe place.

You have two other options to set if you chose, Always create backup and Enable Read-only recommended. The first is self explanatory. The second option is an extra layer of protection by enabling the workbook to read-only status upon opening.

  • Confirm your password(s) by reentering the password(s)
  • Click OK
  • Click Save
  • Close or Exit Excel

Note! A user who doesn’t know the second password can open and view the data by clicking the Read Only option. This user can still modify the data, but they are unable to save their changes to the protected workbook. However, the user can save the workbook under a new name, which circumvents the protection process. Of course, password-cracking software will get you into the workbook.

Protect a Sheet

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose.
  • Select the Review tab
  • Click the Protect icon
  • Click Protect Sheet icon. Refer to following image:
Excel Security 5
  • Enter your password in the Password to unprotect sheet box
  • Click OK
  • In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again
  • Click OK
  • Save your changes
  • Close or Exit Excel

Tip! To remove a password, click Protect>Unprotect Sheet and enter your password. You can also select Protect Workbook icon to protect a workbook which follows.

Protect Excel Structure

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose.
  • Select the Review tab
  • Click the Protect icon
  • Click Protect Workbook icon. Refer to the following image:
Excel Security 6

Select the Windows option if you want to prevent users from moving, resizing, or closing the workbook window or hide/unhide windows

  • Enter your password
  • Click OK
  • In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again
  • Click OK
  • Save your changes
  • Close or Exit Excel

Protect the Excel File

To prevent users from accessing the data in your Excel file, we are going to protect the file with a password

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose.
  • Select File>Info. Refer to my image below:
Excel Security 7
  • Click Protect Workbook icon
  • Chose Encrypt with Password option
Excel Security 8
  • Enter a password in the Encrypt Document dialog box
  • Click OK
  • In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again
  • Save your changes
  • Close or Exit Excel

Be cautious when sharing files or passwords with other users. You still run the risk of passwords falling into the hands of unintended users. Remember to write down your passwords and store them in a safe place.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

PC Fine Tuning Summary

You can “pull on that drawer” like the above image to get your PC in shape or follow this blog post.

I have discussed various programs on fine tuning your PC in previous posts. This is a summary post of those programs, all in one place. I have done this fine tuning on many kinds of machines and operating systems in 15 countries as well as the USA. All these programs are free or available on a trial basis.

Some friends of mine had rather take their PC to a geek shop for a reformat of their hard drive and a fresh copy of Microsoft Windows every six months. They spend hundreds of dollars in doing this, which is unnecessary.

You have a choice of following the steps below or paying a consultant (like myself) or paying a geek shop to fine tune your PC. But its not hard to do it on your own. It takes one to three hours about every three to six months. If you haven’t already done so, you will need to download and install the following programs. You only have to do this once, then just run the programs. The links provided below walk you through downloading, installing and running these applications.

This is for a Windows based operating systems

Download and Install Applications

  • DriverMax (paid or trial version) or a similar free program like Driver Booster
  • Belarc Advisor
  • Autoruns
  • CCleaner
  • Wise Disk Cleaner
  • Wise Registry Cleaner
  • Defraggler

Lets get started.

I recommend doing the following steps in order:

Running the Applications

  1. Create a Restore Point and a backup of the Registry using Wise Registry Cleaner
  2. Uninstall applications not being used through the Apps and Features. In the Cortana search box. type “Uninstall Programs” (without the quotes) to load the feature to uninstall your unneeded programs
  3. Check your device driver updates using DriverMax (paid or trial program) or a similar free program like Driver Booster
  4. Run Belarc Advisor for a status of your PC, especially for anti virus software definitions and missing Windows Updates and apply updates as necessary
  5. Check your startup applications and missing entries using Autoruns
  6. Delete junk files using CCleaner and/or Wise Disk Cleaner. Its best to run both
  7. Clean your registry using Wise Registry Cleaner
  8. Defragment your hard drive(s) using Defraggler
  9. Reboot or restart your PC

That’s it. Your PC will now run faster and be more stable!

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Related

Update your drivers using a program like DriverMax

Determine the status of your machine using Belarc Advisor

Turn off missing files using Autoruns

Delete junk file using CCleaner

A more robust file cleanup using Wise Disk Cleaner

Clean the Registry of invalid entries using Wise Registry Cleaner

Defragment your hard drive(s) and partitions using Defraggler