A tech tip that might help catch burglars

By | March 28, 2016
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I mentioned last time about how I managed to get lost (I mean, take an unusual and more interesting route) on the way home the other day. And it sparked an email from a reader with what I think it a brilliant idea if you use a Sat Nav.

He explained it perfectly, so here’s what he said:

I have a “Home” destination permanently set on my SatNav so, no matter where I am I just press “Home”, as easy as that. Except that that is not exactly true.

My “Home” destination is a supermarket car park some five miles from my actual house. Of course I know my way from there. But the real reason for choosing a location away from my actual “Home” is security. If my car is broken into, all the thief needs to do is activate the SN, select “Home” and follow instructions, knowing that I am stranded and he should have an empty house to rifle through, except in this case he will just end up in a car park with a good chance of the local law waiting for him if I spot the loss in good time.

Others that I know have programmed the local police station as their “Home”.

I think it’s a great idea – and I’m now doing the same thing!

Windows 10 – can you escape?
There’s no doubt about it, if you have Windows 7 or 8, Microsoft want you to upgrade to Windows 10. They’ve made it free (for now – if you leave it until July it won’t be free any more) to do the upgrade to encourage people. And they’ve been running all sorts of promotions to get people to make the switch.

I’m in two minds about it – I quite like Windows 10 and think it’s better designed than earlier versions. I think it’s fundamentally easier to use. But on the other hand actually performing the upgrade sometimes runs smoothly… or sometimes very much doesn’t.

And even though I think once you’ve got it done, Windows 10 is an improvement, other people don’t get on with it. And I certainly understand the idea that if you’ve got the hang of an earlier version, you might not want to start learning again.

I’ve even known people who found after they did the upgrade, some features didn’t work properly until they were fixed – in fact my sister even went to the extreme of doing the upgrade, deciding she couldn’t get on with it and putting Windows 7 back. (No, I didn’t offer to help – she lives in Australia so it’s a bit of a long way to help sort a PC!)

So my advice is generally that I think Windows 10 is better and most people will get on better with it – but as always, it’s up to you – I’m not the kind of techie who says “you must do it this way” even if the way you’ve been doing things all along works fine for you. If you like an older system, you might want to stick with it and that’s fine.

But Microsoft may not agree.

They’ve gradually increased how much a PC running Windows 7 or 8 will nag you about upgrading to Windows 10. And now they’ve made a change that isn’t obvious, but is really significant.

You can choose to update to Windows 10 by using the built in “Windows Updates”. That’s a good thing as it’s much easier than downloading a file and installing it “by hand”.

But now they’re making the Windows 10 upgrade into a “Recommended” update. It doesn’t sound like any big deal, but it means that if your PC is set to automatically install recommended updates, which some are, it’ll automatically start upgrading to Windows 10.

It’ll still give you the option to say no, but it might keep on starting again every so often, so you’ll either have to keep on saying no, agree to upgrade or turn off automatically installing recommended updates.

You can check what your PC is set to by going into the start menu, finding Windows Updates (you can get to it directly or through control panel or type Windows update (with no s on the end) into the search box) and clicking on “Change Settings” – if it is set to automatically install recommended updates and you don’t want Windows 10 (or don’t want it yet) you might want to untick the box.

If fact, you might also find that when you turn your PC on you get a box prompting you to upgrade.  It might have been doing this for a while but now you might only get two options: Upgrade now or upgrade tonight, which makes it sound like you can’t escape.  But if you click the cross in the top right hand corner of that box, it’ll close it down and won’t upgrade for now, so you can avoid it.

Of course, if you want to upgrade to Windows 10 (or you already have) then you don’t have to worry about this!

Well, next time will be just after April Fools day and I’ve got something that isn’t exactly an April Fools in mind for it…

44 thoughts on “A tech tip that might help catch burglars

  1. Alan Munday

    Very interesting article re upgrading to Windows 10. I have a 4 years old PC running Windows 7 perfectly. However I am being constantly bugged to upgrade to Windows 10.If I try to do so I am told that my PC needs a hardware upgrade,so we are constantly going round in circles. Is it sensible to pursue the hardware upgrade? I don’t know. Does anyone know?
    Alan Munday.

    1. Tim Post author

      Hi Alan, I think it depends on exactly what type of hardware upgrade it is asking for, it could well cost more to change hardware (and have it fitted) than just to buy a new computer, it would maybe be worth taking a note of what hardware Windows 10 is asking you to upgrade and speaking to a local computer shop. If you are happy with windows 7 then it is still fully supported by Microsoft (for security updates) until 14 Jan 2020 http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/lifecycle but if you really want windows 10 then it would be worth sorting the upgrade while it is still free.

    2. Bill turnill

      Great idea, but how do you change your home address on an ancient Tom Tom?

      1. Tim Post author

        It’ll depend on the exact model (for example here are some instructions for many of the Tom-Tom models) but if it’s an older one, it might not have a built in “home” location – and even if it does, if you haven’t set it up to your home address, then it’ll still be blank.
        On most older ones you can put in locations yourself and then give them a name so it remembers it for next time. If you’re done that for home, that’s when it’s worth redoing it. But again, if you’ve never set one up and simply type the postcode or address in each time, then it won’t have a home location stored so won’t give it away if anyone steals the car!

  2. Brian Tyte

    I accepted Windows 10 sometime ago for free, and find it great, the update took an age to do, but did not test my limited skills to much. I like the false home idea, I’ll make the local pub.

  3. Monica Murray

    Thanks for the tip re.Windows 10. I accidently upgraded to Windows 10 last week as you have described. Although the upgrade went smoothly I was unable to locate my printer stating it was offline . However, closing down my laptop for 24hrs. the printer became identifiable and is now functioning again. I am finding your books on W.10 very helpful as I am no ‘techie’ and so far provide a good learning curve!

  4. P&A Cooksey

    We got windows 10.Went on holiday for 3 weeks ,took a load (30) films to watch on computer with us and found we could not play them. We have always been able to in past so is this something to do with windows 10? and how do we sort it?

    1. Tim Post author

      Hello, it sounds like you have been hit by the changes to video playback in Windows 10. It would be worth installing a ‘play all’ type of program such as VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html), this type of program comes with lots of support for video playback, and is free to download and use (optional donation). If your movie doesn’t open directly in VLC you can right click the file and select ‘open with –> VLC’.

  5. Wendy Westall

    My computer upgraded itself (I may have clicked on something I shouldn’t have!), I was running 8.1 which I was quite happy with but I find 10 isn’t much different. When I changed over the printer wouldn’t work but with the help of the Inner Circle I got that working and now everything’s back to normal.

  6. Alan

    I like Windows 10 concept but it is the most troublesome operating system from Microsoft that I have ever owned. At one point updates stopped working and I tried various things and it eventually got going again but I have no idea why. An update last November caused endless problems with software not working. Missing dll files were easy to solve but it has left registry permission issues which prevent some software installing. My trackpad doesn’t work and software will not install. Asus have failed to solve the problem. Even Skype will not update because of registry permissions.

    Every operating system before this has been manageable with a bit of effort and information from other uses on internet forums but Windows 10 problems are so complex that this is no longer possible. A look at the Microsoft forum will reveal the extent of the issues and the failure to find working solutions. Often a reinstall is said to be the only solution but this involved hours of work and some people report that it makes no difference.

  7. Graham Thorley

    The info re “home address” is very sensible-but I thought that everyone did this change already, obviously not, so it is sensible to do! Mine is a fictitious address in the Main Street of our village, but I do like the idea of using the local Police station!

  8. john buchanan

    I had terrible problems trying to upgrade to Windows 10. When I contacted Microsoft for assistance on several occasions I found them most unhelpful so I am sticking with Windows 8.1.

  9. Julia Arnold

    I am on Windows 7 and have been trying to upgrade to Windows 10 but every time I run the installation program it gets stuck at 32% . This has happened several times now. Then I thought perhaps I need to upgrade to 8 before I can upgrade to 10, but Windows 8 does not seem to be available to either buy or download. Can anyone help???

    1. Tim Post author

      Hi Julia, you should be able to upgrade straight from Windows 7 to Windows 10. You don’t need to upgrade to Windows 8 beforehand. If you’re consistently having the same problem I’d recommend getting somebody in to take a look at it for you. Maybe ask around to see if there’s anybody local to you who offers a pc help service. Good luck!

  10. John Nettleton

    Your Tech Tip about Windows 10 sends a chill down my spine. I want to avoid Windows 10 at all costs but I find your advice confusing.
    If I change my update settings by unticking “Give me recommended updates etc etc…” will I not then lose out on some valuable updates?
    But you also say that I will always be given the option to say No. This seems a better idea but seems to contradict your suggestion that Recommended Updates (including Windows 10) will remorselessly arrive unless I change the settings. Then I will be sunk. Help!!

    1. Tim Post author

      Hi John

      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Let me start by saying we would always recommend (where possible) that you keep your systems up to date with any recommended updates, as these generally fix security and compatibility problems. However Windows 10 is a little different…

      If you decide against updating to Windows 10 now there are some dates to be aware of:

      Later this year (currently July) the ‘free upgrade offer’ is set to come to an end, but it could be extended.
      Windows 7 has an end of ‘mainstream’ support as of 2015-01-13, and windows 8 at 2018-01-09, although security patches run until at least 2020 for both of these.

      Options for stopping windows 10 installing:

      Turn off ‘Recommended’ windows updates, a “how to” can be found http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/previous-support#1TC=windows-8 – select which version of Windows you have.
      We then strongly suggest you review any windows updates every week or so and manually select recommended ones to install. Microsoft may mark Windows 10 as a higher than recommended updated in which case we are back to the same problem.

      A program I just read about called ‘Never10’* promises to prevent Windows 7 & 8.1 ever updating to windows 10. There is an explanation of this program here. http://lifehacker.com/never10-prevents-windows-7-and-8-1-from-automatically-u-1767969681
      Again, best only run this if you are sure you don’t want Windows 10.

      Unfortunately Microsoft has made all this quite confusing but I hope these options help.

      Sorry to hear we sent a chill your way, hopefully the sunny weather and a way to opt out of Windows 10 will warm you up…

      Many thanks

      *We have not tested ‘Never10’ and it would be worth doing your own research on the software before installing it.
      We take no responsibility for the content on other websites.

      1. John Nettleton

        Tim –
        Thanks for all your efforts to help. I feel the best course is to accept no “recommended” updates until the end of the free Windows 10 update period. After that they will never update anything automatically that costs money without inviting me to pay. This way I will be stay safely on Windows 7 until 2020. I am 90 this year so do not worry too much!
        Regards John Nettleton

  11. John Edge

    I am 83 years old and found your books on Windows 8.1 very helpful until I accidentally downloaded Windows 10. Do you produce the same thing for Windows 10.

    1. Tim Post author

      Hi John,
      We do produce the same books for Windows 10. You can read more about them on our website if you like.
      Computers One Step at a Time Click here
      Internet One Step at a Time Click here
      If you would like to order copies on our 14 day free trial, please call 01229 777606 and Simone, Emma, Louize or Jess will take your order.

  12. Steve Elliott

    If anyone definitely does not want Windows 10 they can go to this link and you can remove the ’10’ files from your computer and stop it encouraging you to upgrade. A very simple process. I hope this helps anyone who doesn’t want Windows 10.


  13. Dorothy Dawson

    Thanks for info on Sat Navs, a brilliant idea
    Also thanks for info on NOT wanting windows 10

  14. Janet Hood

    I enjoy reading the Mail on Line as we live in NZ and like to keep up with Brit news . But my iPad keeps freezing or falling off the net . Even the read only option does it . Sick of seeing the message that “” there is a problem with this page ! “” Any suggestions welcome

  15. Margo

    I have just joined your site on recommendation from a friend. Thank you so much for the tip re the Sat Nav. This will be changed in the morning!!! I did like ‘set it to the local Police Station!’

    1. Tim Post author

      You’re welcome! I must admit, I like the idea of burglars turning up to rob the place only to realise (or even better, not realise until they were in) that is was the police station…

  16. Noel Harris

    Tim Wakeling is . rare man indeed!, not only for his wisdom but to impart it free of charge


    This may well confirm to you that I am a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to computers . However, some 15 years ago I bought several old computers, stripped them down and then laid the parts out. I then bought the newest version of each part and built my own computer and ended up with a then ‘modern’ computer running with Windows XP> It has served me well
    However, I have had messages galore informing me that all backup from Windoows has ceased and it is starting to affect my computer.
    Is it possible to upgrade from Windows XP ? If it is, what would you recommend?
    Thanks for any advice you can give me

    1. Emma - The Helpful Book Company

      Good afternoon John,
      I’m afraid I don’t think it’ll be possible to upgrade from XP to the newest version of Windows. It may be possible to upgrade to Windows 7 but Microsoft are stopping all support for that in 2020, so I probably wouldn’t advise it.
      Kind regards

  18. Ebenezer Thomson Denholm

    When I saw the advert for the Helpful Book Company, I ordered the iPhones “One Step at a Time” and “Get more from your Smartphone” hoping that I was not the victim of some scam. Hallelujah! It turns out to be the best news since the cut loaf for a 90 year old, especially Tim Wakeling’s weekly Tips. It makes such a change, indeed a joy, to have information provided concisely in plain English. Meet a new member of your fan club and avid reader of your prose. Keep up the good work!
    Yours aye,

    1. Tim Wakeling Post author

      thanks for the lovely message – that’s really made my day!
      Glad to hear they helped and I hope the weekly tips carry on helping you!
      Tim Wakeling

  19. Ron Atkins

    My printer works with my new iPad but no longer works with my laptop placed in the same position. Any suggestions?

    In your book re Apps under Podcasts you say that it is automatically included with an iPad and show the ikon to look for. Does not seem to be on my new iPad!!!?

    1. Emma - The Helpful Book Company

      Good afternoon Ron,
      I’d recommend uninstalling the printer on your Laptop and installing it again.
      iPads do come with a podcast app built, but the app icon shown in the “Get More From Your Tablet” book is the icon for the app recommended for the Android tablet so your app icon will look different.
      I hope this helps but if you’re still having problems please give me a call on 01229 777606 (there will be someone in the office from 9am-5pm Monday – Friday) and I’ll be happy to help.

  20. Olga Bickell

    Fabulous tip about the ‘home’ will change mine tonight i.e. straight away. Thank you

  21. Bert Paice

    As a newcomer to your excellent newsletter I’ve just read your suggestion re satnav ‘home’ addresses. There’s a prison not far from my home and I feel it would be most appropriate for a thief cum would-be burglar to drive him/herself straight to the nick.

  22. Rosalie Daykin

    Thank you for the message. I have downloaded the Booklet on Security and think it is very worthwhile.
    I had the impression you would be left out in the cold if you didn’t upgrade to Windows 10 . I called someone out to do it. I thought it best!! I am not completely use to Windows 10 and was comfortable with Windows 7. Even so I am glad I did.
    Rosalie Daykin

  23. Jean-Marie Moës

    Hello Helpful Books team,

    Thank you so much for the advice on changing the “Home” coordinates on our mobile devices. Powerful indeed, change made.


  24. Wendy Johnson

    This is all a bit technical for me as I only know basics about using a laptop and iPad. Where can I get really basic info please. I know how to email and look up info but no idea how to save anything or access old emails etc. What do you recommend to improve my knowledge as feel lost in this hi tech age. I had a professional job but missed the boat as far as technology is concerned.


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