Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of DECEMBER 20, 2015

EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:00 - 10:00 AM
One on One Help 10:00-?
In the Library


If you would like to meet in a small group to discuss special computer related subjects or form a Special Interest Group lets discuss it.

Our bulletin is also available on line by visiting and clicking on bulletin.

Our weekly program or lesson is intended
to be of interest to all computer users.
Following the program an allotment of time will
be available for one on one help to those
who want a better understanding of something done
 during the presentation.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday DECEMBER 23, 2015 Meeting
 8:45 AM Set up your computer
 9:00 AM Lesson
10:00 AM One on One help

IraMicrosoft Upgrading Windows 10; May "Automatically" Upgrade Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10


By Ira Wilsker




            Several months ago, Microsoft offered millions of users of Windows 7 and 8.1 a free online update to the then newly released Windows 10.  While Microsoft has claimed that as many as 110 million Windows 7 and 8.1 users did accept the free offer to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft has also expressed some concern that as many as a billion other Windows 7 and 8.1 users have not yet upgraded to Windows 10.  According to several published reports, Microsoft has expressed concerns that the rate of Windows users upgrading from the older versions of Windows to Windows 10 has slowed, and this decline in the rate of people upgrading to Windows 10 may cost Microsoft substantial potential revenues.

            According to an article published on ZDnet in November (, the results of upgrades to Windows 10 during the month of October had slowed compared to previous months.  Despite heavy promotions and the springtime appearance of the "Get Windows 10" icon in the system tray of countless Windows computers running Windows 7 or 8.1, the rate of increase in Windows 10 usage has slowed.  In October (2015), the number of PCs running Windows 10 was a paltry 7.94%, up 1.31% from the 6.63% rate tallied the month before (September).  In September the rate of Windows 10 upgrades was 1.42%, slighter greater than the following month of October, documenting that the rate of increase of Windows 10 upgrades has been slowing.  Microsoft has not been as successful as they had hoped in getting people to upgrade their PCs from earlier versions of Windows to Windows 10, as the proportion of desktop PCs running Windows 7 in October was well over half at 55.71%.  In the first week of December, 2015, according to the website, considering the early holiday sales of PCs, the rate of desktop PCs running Windows 7 increased slightly to 56.11%, and the number of PCs running Windows 10 was up to 9%, but this 9% number includes both PCs upgraded from earlier versions of Windows as well as the sales of new PCs with Windows 10 factory installed.  Despite the lamentations expressed by many of the users of Windows 8.1 about the foibles of that operating system, Windows 8.1 users have apparently not flocked to Windows 10 to the degree that Microsoft has apparently wanted.  According to the article on ZDnet, referencing the October figures, "Windows 8 and 8.1 users just aren't migrating at all (cumulative the usage share for this OS is at 13.22 percent, down only 0.10 of a percentage point)."

            Despite the pronounced efforts of Microsoft to get users of Windows 7 and 8.1 to take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10, there is still significant resistance in the PC community to the upgrade.  While some users of earlier versions of Windows are inherently resistant to change, being relatively happy with the current functionality and performance of Windows 7 on their computers.  ZDnet and other online publications have expressed mixed results with PCs upgraded from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, an attitude common among individual users who have performed the upgrade.  It is also useful to note that an unknown but probably sizeable number of users who did indeed download the Windows 10 upgrade who went on to perform the upgrade decided to go back to Windows 7 or 8 taking advantage of a little known feature of the Windows 10 upgrade process that allows users to roll back their Windows 10 upgrade to their earlier operating system, and option only available to upgraders for a finite number of days, typically 31 days, after the upgrade.  The rollback can be accomplished by clicking on the Start button, then Settings, "Update and Security", and finally "Recovery and Uninstall Windows 10".  If all works as it should, the PC should be restored to its prior operating system.

            Earlier this fall, in September, ZDnet published an item, "My biggest problem with Windows 10: Instability", by Mary Jo Foley (  In this article, Ms. Foley summarized her Windows 10 experience as, "Windows 10's strength -- its comprehensiveness -- is also its biggest weakness. Too many moving parts are making for an unstable computing experience for me."  While many users were delighted with Windows 10 after their upgrade, this article reflects the results and frustrations that many individual users experienced following the upgrade to Windows 10.

            Microsoft has been well aware of the concerns expressed by many Windows 7 and 8 users over such factors as boot time, privacy, reliability, speed, complexity, and other issues which discouraged users from upgrading to Windows 10 (  To help overcome these objections by millions of users who have not taken advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10, as well as to address issues of performance and other concerns of Windows 10 users, Microsoft recently released a major upgrade to Windows 10.  In a recent article in TechRepublic, dated November 12, and written by NIck Heath, "Massive Windows 10 update could turbo charge Windows 7 machines says Microsoft.  The first major update to Windows 10 hits today - with Microsoft promising great things for those upgrading from Windows 7, as well as significant new features for business users." (

            This new update to Windows 10 is a huge download of slightly less than 4GB, and is claimed by Microsoft to speed up the PCs' boot time by up to 30%, making Windows 10 boot faster than the Windows 7 which had previously been running on the same machine. According to Jeremy Korst, general manager of the Windows and Devices team at Microsoft, "There's a bunch of things under the hood that we've improved with this update to make it an even better experience."  Microsoft has indicated a desire that the improved features, performance, compatibility, and stability of the upgraded Windows 10 will help convince Windows users who have not yet upgraded to Windows 10.  Microsoft has planned some strong encouragement for those users, because in  early 2016, Microsoft will start to "push" the upgrades of Windows 10 to PCs still running Windows 7 and 8.1.

            Starting in 2016 (the exact official date has not yet been published, but a variety of commencement dates have been suggested), Windows 7 and 8.1 will automatically begin installing the upgraded Windows 10 after a user confirmation during the conventional Windows update process.  According to Jeremy Korst, "(T)he customer will have the ability to delay it for some period", that "period" being unspecified.  As with the previous, more voluntary upgrades, the user may be able to restore his prior operating system within 31 days of installing the free upgrade to Windows 10.  Jeremy Korst continued, "We'll be taking customer feedback throughout this process and the intent really is to make the upgrade even easier for customers."  This corroborates an earlier article (October 30) by Nick Heath in TechRepublic (  This article, "Five ways Microsoft plans to get you to upgrade to Windows 10" explains that Microsoft, "(In order)        To achieve its goal of getting one billion people onto Windows 10, Microsoft is getting more forceful in how it pushes Windows 7 and 8.1 users towards its new OS."   Primarily this will occur when Windows 10 automatically begins installing itself as a "Recommended Update", which means that the majority of Windows users who have the default "Install Updates Automatically" setting will transparently have Windows 10 installed.  Microsoft has stated that users will need to confirm the installation before it begins, but it is well known that most users blindly "OK" Microsoft's recommendations.  Being aware that many internet users have metered or limited access, Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive VP of the Windows and Devices Group, says that "(Users) have the option of turning off automatic updates" but does not recommend that they do turn off automatic updates due to, " ... the constant risk of internet threats".  Microsoft will also make it easier for those who want to initiate the upgrade to Windows 10, rather than wait for the updates that will be pushed to them; the "Get Windows 10" icon in the system tray will soon get an "Upgrade Now" option, which will immediately start to download the huge upgrade file, and commence the upgrade process.  For those who may have multiple PCs which they would like upgraded to Windows 10, will shortly find that the process has been made much easier.  Microsoft has released its "Media Creation Tool" which can create an image file that can be installed to a USB flash drive or a DVD disc, and then used to upgrade multiple machines without having to download the huge file to each of the PCs.  This "new and improved" single image file will be able to upgrade PCs to an appropriate flavor of Windows 10, including 32 and 64 bit versions, as well as the Home or Professional versions of Windows 10, all from that single image file.  This image file can also be used for a "clean install" of Windows 10 provided the user has a valid Windows license.

            The new year 2016 will be an interesting one for Windows PC users still using Windows 7 or 8.1.  I expect some users to be happy with the new, somewhat "forced" upgrades to Windows 10, while many others to complain loudly.  Happy new year, Windows users.

Phone Service without Paying

Tom Kuklinski, Director, Computer Users of Erie

June 2015 issue, Horizon – The Official Journal of the Computer Users of Erie         cuerie01 (at)

Phone service without a plan or contract? I like that but I still don’t want to pay anything for it either. Okay, I am a cheapskate! There I said it.

So for years now, about 55 years, I have had a landline service. I did not even think that I could go on with life without it. Remember when you would pay $1.00 per minute for a ‘long distance’ call? If you are under 30 years old then look it up on your internet.

One day my wife announced that she wanted a cell phone. This was sometimes in the late 1990’s. I could not justify it but she did. I could live without one as long as I had my trusty landline. Well, the day came and she brought home a flip cell phone. They were so nice at the Verizon store that they gave her a ‘free’ phone and a monthly bill that was three times what I paid for the landline phone.

That flip phone could not do much more than being a nice phone with an address book in it. She was limited in talk minutes but when more were needed, Verizon was very friendly in selling her more.

As years went by, I dropped the land line and got one of those cell phones of the day. It also was a flip phone. Time progressed and so did technology. The iPhone 3G was introduced and upset everything.

Phones were no longer phones. These manufacturers put small computers in them and called them ‘smart.’ It was now at this point that I was hooked. However, it also became expensive to have one of these. Still, millions, no change that to billions of people around the world got one. I was one of them.

It only took a short while to realize these smart phones were expensive to own. Somehow when you looked at the smart phone in the phone store, it did not look that expensive. It only took a few months after owning one for me to ‘smart-up’ and realize the actual expense. I wanted more for less.

Let’s fast forward to today. The phones are very smart. In addition, they are faster and bigger. They hold more information. It is now that the state of the art smart phones are approaching laptop functionality. Today there are more apps for the smart phones then there are programs for computers.

So let me repeat what I said earlier, I am a cheapskate!

Each and every month when the bill was due, I kept thinking -- there must be something else cheaper and better. I repeated that each month till today. I found the solution. Yes I could do cheaper and close to better. All this is made possible by the competition among the cell phone providers, the wealth of the consumer, competition by manufactures, apps and stinginess.

Okay, if you look around, you will see almost everybody you know with a cell phone. You know people that wait every two years to get the latest offerings by manufacturers. You see ads by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Straight Talk, MetroPCS, and many more providers. You see ads and reviews on the news about the latest offerings by Apple and Samsung and other manufactures. Where do you fit in?

Are you one of those waiting for the latest offering no matter what it costs? Or are you one of those people that does not need the latest and gripe about how much you pay for a cell phone. Here is a solution for the second character that does not need the latest.

There are a lot of ‘old smart phones’ that are not being used because the owner upgraded to a later version. Basically the new one does what the old one does except the newer one may be larger and faster. Not much of a difference. They both make phone calls, text, email, surf the internet and have access to thousands of apps. What is the older phone doing now? It is probably collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. This is gold for a prospector like me.

The previous owner may not think the old phone is worth much. Many people are happy to sell the old phone for pennies on the dollar. If you are a good friend or related to that person then they may even give it away to you. If that happens to you I suggest that you take it.

Several providers will give away smart phones that are refurbished and may be one to two generations old. If you go to you may shop for smart phones. Usually Straight Talk features a ‘free’ or $9.99 smart phone, IF you buy a month’s plan. The plan costs $45.00 and features unlimited everything for 30 days. Not a bad deal. After that 30 days, you can do whatever you want to do with this smart phone. This is a NO CONTRACT phone. You are not bound to a contract. Make sure the smart phone is an Android phone.

If you shop around, you will see that other providers do similar deals. Currently Verizon offers a Motorola G for $25.00 for use on their No contract - month to month plan. This phone retails for $179.00 and is a very good choice. If you don’t like Verizon then check out for FreedomPop, Cricket and MetroPCS are other providers that have similar deals. Currently MertoPCS offers a very good phone for ZERO dollars after rebate and two months of service. It is the LG Leon LTE. It features a 4.5 inch screen and Quad core processor. 

Use the phone for one or two months and the phone is free to you to use anyway you wish. Do you get the idea?

You also need to shop around for your best current deal. Go on line to as a resource.

So now you did get one of these phones and are out of any contract and now want to know what to do with it.

You go to the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store using your phone through a local Wi-Fi if you are Android. Do a search for Apps that will give you VOIP service. By the way, VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It makes an app turn your off-line phone act like an active cell phone. It does not use the cell towers or cell service of a phone company so you do not need to pay anyone. However, it will do the same as a cell phone by using the Internet. The Internet service is a key component in making this work. If you do not have internet then this will NOT work. You can use hot spots that are around and free.

On the Android phone, I like an App called GrooVe IP Lite. This app is free but does have ads in it. You may purchase the ad free version for $4.99 if you wish. This App does not have Text function yet so you will need a Text App if you like to text. GrooVe IP will give you a phone number to use that is free. That is you new phone number. You may call free anywhere in the USA. If someone calls you and you do not have the phone running then the caller can leave a voice message to you. This voice message will then be sent to your email. So you never have to miss a call. This app has many options and is the best one that I found. Sorry but it is not available for iPhone.

When you look for VOIP programs you will have several to choose from. Try them out. They usually are free but not always so read the description carefully. Other apps include some of the brand products like Magic Jack or Freedom Pop. Usually Google Voice is available but I found it confusing to configure to my needs.

Here are some apps for the iPhone or Android: Skype - free between Skype users but on as a phone. If you pay you can get it just like a phone. Cost per year will run about $40.00. This is available for Android also.

TEXTNOW CLASSIC - You get a free dedicated phone number, Texting, Picture Messaging, Calling and VoiceMail. You earn credits by watching Ads or you can buy them. It is cheap. This also works on Android. What is interesting about this App is that this company partnered with Sprint. If your phone is Sprint compatible then you can get very low cost service. It starts at $18.99 per month and no contract. This is optional and not required.

Again, there are many more apps so I advise you to check it out and get the one you like. The idea is to get a phone number and use your out of service smart phone with VOIP service.

I hope that you get some understanding about what is happening here. The smart phone - cell phone industry is changing. It is competing as it should. There will be casualties. Fruit can be shaken from the tree. That is your gain to go after.

So now you have a fully (almost) functional smart phone. You DO NOT pay any fees to have it either. Now this is what I am talking about. I hope this article helps you

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