Backing up Email

It’s fairly simple to back up your email so that you won’t lose any key messages that you later find are critically important, or that you just need to have for convenience.

Some of the backup approaches can also be used to consolidate multiple email accounts so that you can read all your messages in one place.

The notes for the talk that I gave yesterday will let you follow up on the ideas I presented, or if you weren’t there will serve to outline the possibilities for your own Email backup solution.

Windows 10 runs amok…


Sometimes Windows 10 just doesn’t work right (Duh). The programs/apps you have open may even seem to still work, but you can’t open new ones. You can’t even get the Start menu to open. The “WinKey+X” menu (also reached by right-clicking the Start button) won’t open. And there are other dead-spots.

Logging off and back on again (if you can) doesn’t fix things. Restarting Windows Explorer from Task Manager doesn’t fix things. What else can you try?

Another clue/symptom, which you may not recognise is there often is a “Restart” pending for an “available” Windows Update (actually already downloaded) awaiting a restart.

This paticular lockup happens to all kinds of good people using all kinds of computers. Some of them seem to be particularly susceptible, but most of mine exhibit that obscure problem to some extent.


The only thing that will fix this problem is to “Restart” Windows 10. And don’t try “Shut down”. The problem is too deep-seated for that.

But how do you restart the computer if you can’t open the Start menu? If all else fails, you can hold down the power button until you kill Windows. But that’s a little severe. There’s an ancient remedy that goes all the way back to before Windows. That’s in the DOS era if you remember….

Ctrl+Alt+Del to the rescue…

Simply hold down the the “Ctrl” and the “Alt” keys and tap the “Delete” key. A menu of scary options will be presented. Ignore those. Look down at the extreme lower-right corner of the screen and you’ll see a power-button icon (looks like a stylized radio volume control, which turns off radios if you turn it counter-clockwise).

Click that power-button icon and you’ll be presented with a menu that includes the magic word “Restart”. That’s the one you want.

As I explained before, “Shut down” won’t do the trick.

After Windows 10 restarts, I recommend that you check Windows Update to see if an update is still pending. If so I’d restart again right then.

Microsoft may fix this behavior some day. Until then Happy Computing.

Windows 10 – Native backup & recovery utilities

“Backup is good, backup is impressive, but it is restore that does all the work.” (To paraphrase Mark Twain.)

Recover <::> | Restore | Repair | Refresh | Reset | Recover | How’s a poor user to keep them straight?

You really don’t need to use third party tools to be prepared to restore Windows 10 itself, or your files and documents. Third party tools may  be more versatile, more (or less) intuitive to use, and easier to access and navigate. But the native Windows 10 tools are good enough for most users. They also have some unique advantages

Backup/Restore your files and documents.

The worst thing that can happen to most users is losing their important data or documents. (You can always replace computers.) If your backup measures preserve the important stuff you can always get going again. “File History” and “OneDrive may be all you need to be able to restore your files and documents.

Restoring Windows 10

Stuff happens: User error, botched program installation, bad updates, malware, etc. There’s no end of ways that things can go horribly wrong. Windows 10 is much better at protecting itself than previous versions of Windows, but it’s best to be prepared anyway.

The native Windows 10 restoration utilities are powerful and comprehensive. One of the “Reset” options can fix many problems without losing your personal files and documents.  The other “Reset” option is virtually the same as reinstalling Windows so you do lose the primary copies of your files, so you need to have them backed up separately. “System Images” allow you to go back in time to any point point in time where you made one.

Related resources for my talk

USB Type-C, AKA USB-C vs USB-3.1

Confused yet? New USB connector and cable standards are entering the market. The USB Type-C is a mechanical standard that defines the physical attributes of the new connectors. USB 3.1 is a related standard that defines functional attributes, including power delivery, for these new cables and connectors.

In a perfect world it appears there are no conflicts if everyone implements both standards fully and correctly. The rub is that the situation is complex, and many makers have already got it wrong.

USB 3.1 allows delivery up to 100 watts of power, compared to 7.5 watts for older USB connectors. The ones we’re all familiar with. If you know how hot a 100 watt light bulb gets, you can imagine what delivering that much power to a tablet or ultralight laptop might do, let alone what it could do to a poor little smartphone. The end result could even be burning your house down.

Your only protection at this point in time is to be informed, and to be ready to handle the situation correctly. I’ve put together a little notebook that provides more information and some recommendations. Good luck.

Discovering Windows 10

You can’t take full advantage of Windows 10 if you don’t know what’s there, let alone how to get back to it. Windows 10 is also too extensive to keep it all in mind.

You’ll do best if you start out with a good idea of the “lay of the land,” and with the tips and tools you’ll need to discover what you’re looking for.

In my talk, Discovering Windows 10, I’ll map out Windows 10, and then explore the paths, in part by using what I call “discovery tools”. I’ve also prepared some resources to help you navigate on your own.


  • The 10,000 foot view (a mindmap) of the Desktop-centric metaphor for Windows 10. If you’re using a tablet you’ll need to adapt that a bit.
  • My Discover Windows 10 notebook.
  • My More on Windows 10 pearltree.
  • The “Get Started” Windows 10 app from Microsoft is very good, and it’s free.
  • I use an eBook, Windows 10 Field Guide, by Paul Thurrott, Rafael Rivera and Martin McClean. It’s concise, fully illustrated, well written and nicely organized (as are previous eBooks by Paul Thurrott). I think it’s well suited for “discovering” Windows 10. And it’s inexpensive ($10 ̶ $15). [Sample (PDF)]
  • Windows 10 for Dummies by Woody Leonard is a nice example of Windows 10 paper-based books (there are many others). This one is more verbose than the one above, so there’s not as much left to the imagination. ($20)