Computers try to be helpful. Well, the people who program them try to make them helpful.
And sometimes, they succeed. But sometimes they add features that might be helpful to some people but are just, well, a pain in the neck to others.
One example of that is all the programs that starts up on most PCs when you first turn them on. This seems to have got a bit worse with Windows 10, though it could be bad enough before.
In particular I’ve noticed a lot of computers trying to log in to One Drive every time you start them up. Handy if you use One Drive (it’s a way to share files or store them online) but irritating if you just have to close the window down every time.
On some PCs there’s a similar issue with DropBox – you get a window about it every time you turn the computer on. Chances are at some point you’ve installed it. And if you still use it a lot, that’s fine. But if you hardly ever use it, you don’t need it starting every time you turn it on.
And there are various other programs that might start up when you turn the PC on… and may or may not be thing you actually want.
There are a few ways to stop your PC doing this sort of thing. In Windows 10, the easiest is to hold down ctrl and shift at the same time, then tap the Esc key. That brings up Task manager. (If you find the key combination too tricky you can right click on the task bar at the bottom of the screen and choose “Task manager” from there.
If when it opens, there are no tabs across the top of the window and it says “More options” at the bottom, click on “more details”. If it has tabs and doesn’t say “more details”, you can skip this step.
Now click on the start up tab at the top. This lists the programs that start up when you first turn on your PC. Some will have obvious names that tell you what program they’re starting. Some will have obscure names like HP274389B. Don’t worry about those – just look for the one you don’t want starting up. In my case it was One Drive, which I never use.
Click on that program and click on “disable” near the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
You should see it now says disabled next to that one. That’s it – that program now shouldn’t start up when you turn on your PC.
If you ever want to change it back, just do the same thing but this time when you click on the program in that list, the button will say enable – click that and you’ll be back to the way you were.
I wouldn’t recommend disabling anything you don’t recognise but you don’t need to worry too much about accidentally disabling something important because you can easily come back in an enable it again.
Oh, and don’t worry that this means you can’t use that program again. It just means it won’t automatically start up when you turn the PC on – you can still use it but you’ll have to start the program from the start menu (or wherever your shortcut is).
I find it much less frustrating now my PC doesn’t ask me to log in to One Drive every time I turn it on!
A flash drive for iPads
A lot of people use a flash drive (also called a pen drive, USB stick, USB drive…) to back up their files from a laptop. It’s a handy way to do it, but the problem is if you have an iPad you can’t easily plug a USB drive into it – there’s no socket for it.
One company has come up with a solution. Now, I haven’t tried one out, so I don’t know how well it works, but if you wanted a flash drive you can plug into an iPad, have a look here, it might be what you’re after.
If you have an Android tablet, you might have a slot to plug in a small micro SD card – they’re usually labelled micro-SD. You can use that in much the same way you’d use a USB drive on a PC. But if you don’t have one of these slots, the same company also make adaptors that let you use a USB stick with most Android devices.
As I say, I haven’t tried them out, but if you really want to be able to use a USB stick with your tablet, it might be worth a look (and if you have used one, why not make a comment on the blog version of this newsletter about how it went, so everyone else can hear about it).