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

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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.

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..

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DriverMax Software for Updating the PC Drivers

Are your device drivers up-to-date on your PC? How would you know? You don’t unless you visit each manufacture for their latest driver for each device in your PC. My favorite program for device updates is DriverMax. When you run this program for the first time, don’t be surprised at the number of drivers that are out of date.

I have used this utility software for several years. The software does one task; update your PC drivers. There is a trial version for you to check out. I recommend purchasing the Pro version.

This is for Windows based operating systems

Downloading DriverMax

The Pro version is available on subscription basis for a little over $10 per year or under $15 for a 2 year subscription. You can download the trial version or purchase and download here.

You can find driver updates for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

DriverMax analyzes your existing drivers and provides the latest versions for over 2.3 million devices.

DriverMax automatically tests each new driver before installing it on your PC. In addition, it backs up the current drivers and creates a system Restore Point, allowing a quick rollback of the installation.

Starting DriverMax

The following is a screenshot of DriverMax at startup:

DriverMax Install
DriverMax install

Running DriverMax

Just click on the Scan… button to begin. The following screenshot is my results from my PC. I have two drivers that are out of date. Just click on the Download and Install button and take a short break while the drivers are being updated.

DriverMax Results
DriverMax results

DriverMax has a Backup and Restore feature. As mentioned above, the program automatically creates a Restore Point when you are updating any drivers. You can click on the Backup tab to manually create a Restore Point. The Restore tab lets you roll back your latest driver updates if something goes wrong.

DriverMax Notifications

You will receive notifications in your Tray Bar (as shown below) when new drivers are detected.

DriverMax Notification

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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.

How to Transfer iPhone Contacts to Windows 10

Have you ever wanted to share your iPhone contacts with your Windows 10 PC? I have wanted to do this for a year. It used to work but my PC went “south” last year. I finally did some research and came up with this post for you to implement. You can share your smart device contacts through Apple’s iCloud service. To use this service, your contacts must be synced with iCloud. So, lets get started.

This is for iPhone or iPad and Windows 10 operating system

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone. Its usually located on your home screen. Your screen should look similar to the following image:
Win 10 Contacts Settings
My iPhone home screen
  • Tap your name at the top of the screen. See following screenshot:
Win 10 Contacts Profile
My iPhone Settings screen

Syncing Contacts

  • Tap iCloud
  • Verify that your Contacts is being synced. Either the toggle switch will be green or you will see iCloud storage being used like the below image. If not, tap the toggle button to enable the process and sync your contacts.
Win 10 Contacts Storage
My iPhone iCloud Storage screen
  • On your Windows 10 PC, log in to iCloud website with your Apple ID and Password
  • Click on the Contacts applet. See following screenshot:
Win 10 iCloud Contacts
iCloud applets on Windows 10 PC screen

Selecting/Exporting Contacts

  • Select a Contact from your list. See the following image for my selection of Chris Dow:
Win 10 iCloud Selection
iCloud Contacts screen
  • Click the small gear icon at the bottom left corner
  • Select Export vCard. Refer to following screenshot:
Win 10 iCloud Export
Selecting and Exporting an iCloud Contact screen

You can select more than one contact by selecting a single name and using the “Shift” key to select the last contact. There is an option to Create Group at the bottom right for your multiple contact selection.

Note! It is best to export just one contact. Although you can select multiple contacts, only one contact data (the first one selected) is exported, especially for Outlook.

By default, the exported VCF file is placed in your PC Downloads folder.

  • Open your File Explore and find the VCF file. Refer to following image:
Win 10 iCloud Downloads
File Explorer Downloads folder screen with Chris Dow VCF file

Using Your VCF File

  • Right click on the VCF file and select Open
  • Select where you want to install your contact(s). You have several choices, like Outlook, the People app and Windows Contacts
  • Select your choice and click OK

Your choice will open for your review.

  • For Outlook, click the Save & Close option to complete the export. See following screen::
Win 10 iCloud Outlook
Exported VCF file from iCloud to Microsoft Outlook in Windows 10 screen

That’s it. You are done.

Enable iCloud Contacts Sharing

BUT WAIT, I want to share all my Contacts via iCloud to my Windows 10 PC, not just a few. You can use iCloud for Windows to synchronize your contacts and other data between your iOS device and Outlook. Lets get started.

This works with the following variations of Outlook:

Outlook for Office 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010

  • Download and install iCloud for Windows.
  • After installation, launch the iCloud app and sign in with your Apple ID and Password. Your screen should look like the below image:
Win 10 Outlook iCloud Screen
iCloud for Windows screenshot
  • Select the option to sync Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks. You can select other options to sync from this screen.
  • Click Apply
  • Click Close

Once the setup has finished, launch Outlook. Your iCloud email, contacts and calendars should now be synchronizing with Outlook.

  • To verify, in Outlook, open a new email. In the Address Book drop down box, select iCloud like the image below:
Win 10 Outlook iCloud Names
Windows 10 iCloud contacts screen
  • You should see ALL your iCloud contacts
  • Close Outlook

If you are experiencing problems please click here for Apple help.

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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.

How to Login to Windows With a Legal Message

This post is for a PC Windows 10 Operating System having multiple users or several PCs in a small business environment. We are going to change the Windows Registry to provide a Legal Message at login. I am using a lot of screenshots to ensure you are successful.

First and foremost, lets backup your PC Registry. This is extremely important in case you update the wrong key or your registry has problems. I want you to have a safe experience. Changing the Registry is tricky and not for the “faint of heart”.

Starting in Windows 10 Version 1803, the Windows Registry is no longer automatically backed up. You can change this behavior by following these instructions. This requires editing the Registry. Instead, I recommend using a software program to backup the Registry.

This is for Windows based operating systems

The RegBak Software Utility

The program I recommend is called RegBak, a freeware program. You can download the program here. Click the Download button for RegBak then click the regbak.exe file at the bottom of the screen and follow the install instructions. Once installed, you should see a screen like the one below:

RegBak Install
After installing RegBak

To backup your Windows registry:

  • Click the New Backup button
  • Enter a Description (this is optional)
  • Click Start

Below is a screenshot:

RegBak Install
Starting to run RegBak
  • Click Close

Your screen will look like the below image:

RegBak Results
Results of running RegBak
  • Click Close to exit

Your screen should look like the below image:

RegBak Results
Registry backup complete

To Restore from a backup: Note! only do this if your Registry is corrupt.

  • Highlight a backup entry
  • Click the Restore button
  • Click Close

You can also delete a backup by highlighting an entry and clicking on Delete. Feel free to check out the Options button. I would just leave the default options as is.

Setting up the Legal Message

Now lets edit the Registry for our Legal Message at Windows login:

  • Type “regedit” (without quotes) into the Cortana search box to open the Registry Editor
  • Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and keep expanding until you reach HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Your screen should look like the below image:

Registry
Registry screenshot for editing legal caption and legal text

In the right hand pane, find these two listings: legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext.

The value of legalnoticecaption acts as the heading of your legal message.

  • Double click on legalnoticecaption and change its value to something like “Important Notice!” (without quotes).

Your screen should look like the below image:

Legal Caption
Adding a legal message caption
  • Click OK

Now we will do the same for the Legal Message text.

  • Double click on legalnoticetext and enter something like “Remember to keep all passwords private!” (without quotes).

Your screen should look like the image below:

Legal Message
Adding a legal message text
  • Click OK


What if you wanted more than one line of text for your Legal Message? This requires hexadecimal editing and is not recommended. However, if you need this:

  • Complete the text field first
  • Right click the legalnoticetext key
  • Select Modify binary data

Your screen should look like the below image:

Binary Data
Before modifying the binary data for the legal message
  • Find the appropriate spot for a paragraph break. Click the space just after the last character in the message where you want to put the carriage return.
  • Enter this four digit code for a carriage return, 0D00. Finding the right spot to insert a carriage return can be tricky.

In my example I am entering a carriage return just after the word “passwords”.

Below is a screen shot:

Binary Data
After modifying the binary data for legal message

When the changes are complete click File>Exit to save your work and close the Registry. The next time a user logs into the Windows 10 PC they will have to acknowledge the Legal Message by clicking the OK button before they can move on to the normal login screen.

If you applied a carriage return in the binary data and it doesn’t work, try entering the 0D00 in a different spot for the Legal Message text. To do this, remove your text message and reenter, then insert the carriage return key.

Important Note

Its important to understand, that the Legal Message will appear each and every time the Windows 10 PC is booted. At some point, you may wish to cancel the Legal Message. In that case, repeat the above steps for editing the Registry and remove the text in legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext keys to cancel the message. This will resume the typical login sequence.

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.