How to stop automatic updates on Windows 10

With Windows 10, Microsoft took away our control of how and when Windows updates are installed: by default they are installed when they become available, whether we want them or not.

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Why would one not want to install updates right away? When one's computer is using a connection that's limited in bandwidth or expensive, obviously. This is usually not the case when connecting to a Wi-Fi at home or at work, but when you travel, you may find it necessary to use a cell data connection that's roaming, or metered, and in such case you certainly don't wan't to end up with a huge bill after Windows has downloaded a multi-megabyte update in the background without telling you.

So, how to temporarily stop Windows 10 from using the bandwidth for the maintenance tasks such as Window updates? Easy: you need to tell Windows that the connection you are using is metered, and that would stop the automatic updates over that connection. Specifically, the steps are as follows:

1. Open the Start menu of Windows 10 and choose Settings:

2. Select Network and Internet:

3. Select Wi-Fi:

4. Select Manage known networks:

5. Select the Wi-Fi network you are connected to, click Properties, and then select Advanced options:

If you don't see Advanced options on this screen, it probably means you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network. In such a case, connect to Wi-Fi, and then repeat the steps above.

6. Move the Set as metered connection switch to the On position:

That's it, that should stop Windows 10 from downloading updates over this specific connection. Keep in mind that if later on you connect to a different Wi-Fi network, you should set it as a metered connection, too, if you want the ban on Windows updates to continue.

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Consider also, that Windows stops doing some other tasks over the metered connections, such as installing or updating device drivers delivered via the Windows update channel. If you encounter a problem connecting a device to your laptop while using a metered Wi-Fi connection, try turning off the 'metered connection' switch and see if that improves the situation.

And of course, when you are back home from the trip, don't forget to check that the metered connection setting is off, to allow the updates to resume and go on as usual. Remember that Windows updates are (usually) a good thing!

Happy computing!

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StartFinity Pro v.2.3 released

StartFinity Start Menu for Windows 8 and 10. (Click to enlarge) StartFinity Pro Start Menu (Click to enlarge)

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of version 2.3 of StartFinity Pro.

This is a minor update that corrects the following problem: on computers with more than one monitor, attaching an additional monitor did not always result in StartFinity start button to appear on the attached monitor.

To update your existing StartFinity installation, right-click on the StartFinity start button, choose Check for updates from the shortcut menu, and it should guide you through the update.

Or, go to the Download StartFinity page to download and install StartFinity 2.3 manually.

Happy computing!

Windows cannot connect to the printer. Access is denied.

Recently we wanted to print something from an old computer running Windows 2000 (yes, we have all kinds of dinosaurs in our office zoo) to a printer connected to a laptop that was recently upgraded to Windows 10. In the past, all we needed to do was to share the printer on the laptop, and then add it as a network printer on the Windows 2000 computer, and it would work beautifully.

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This time, however, when attempting to add the network printer to the Windows 2000 computer, we received the following message: "Windows cannot connect to the printer. Access is denied." We tried to do the usual troubleshooting: checked the security settings of the shared printer, checked the sharing settings, made sure that the file and printer sharing was enabled on the Windows 10 laptop, all was in order, yet the Windows 2000 computer was still denied access to the shared printer.

After restarting both computers a few times and repeating the sharing/connecting steps, but the same error message appeared every time. So we tried something different, and it worked. We decided to share our solution here, hoping it could be of help to someone else:

1. On the computer to which the printer is connected (in our case it was the Windows 10 laptop), share the printer as usual, and when sharing it, set up the share name that is easy to type in. For example, in our case the long name of the printer was "Epson Stylus Photo R200", but we shared it with the name EpsonR200:

Shared printer settings

2. On the computer from which you want to connect to this printer (in our case it was the Windows 2000 computer) use the built-in Add Printer wizard and choose the 'Add Local Printer' option:

Add local printer

3. Press Next, and on the next page choose the 'Create a new port' option and make sure the 'Local port' option is selected:

Create local port

4. When you press Next, Windows will prompt you to enter the port name. Enter the UNC name of the shared printer, in the format: //computername/sharedname . In our case, the computer name of the Windows 10 laptop was laptop, and we had previously set up the shared name of the printer as EpsonR200 (see Step 1 above), so we entered the port name as:

Settin up the local port name

If you don't know the network name of your computer, you can find it out as follows: right-click on the This PC folder (or Computer) in Explorer or some other file manager, and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. On that page, look for the 'computer name' text. That's the name you need to enter instead of 'laptop' in our example. Be sure to use the name of the computer that has the printer attached to it, not the one from which you are trying to connect to the printer through the network!

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Next, Windows will probably ask you to select the printer make and model, install its drivers, etc. Keep providing the information that the wizard requires, according to your specific printer. When done, Windows should add the new printer to the computer, and you should be able to use it to print files. The procedure described above worked for us, hopefully it will work for you, too.

Happy printing!

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USBCrypt 15.8 certified for Windows 10

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Personal license $49.95
Business license $99.95

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August 10, 2015.

A new version 15.8 of USBCrypt software is available now for download and purchase!

This update includes several minor tweaks to make USBCrypt run smoothly on Widows 10 computers. This version of USBCrypt passed the Microsoft tests and now is is officially certified as compatible with Windows 10.

As usual, the trial version of USBCrypt comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your USBCrypt within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

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AB Commander v.9.6 certified for Windows 10

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Personal license $39.95
Business license $79.95

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August 8, 2015.

A new version 9.6 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

This version has been officially certified by Microsoft as software compatible with Windows 10. We've made a few improvements to make it work smoothly with Windows 10.

As usual, the trial version of AB Commander comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your AB Commander within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

StartFinity Pro v.2.2 certified for Windows 10

August 7, 2015

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of StartFinity Pro v.2.2, a new version that passed the Microsoft certification for compatibility with Windows 10.

This version offers a few minor changes that make it work smoothly on Windows 10 computers.

If you purchased a previous version of StartFinity from us within the last 12 month, you are eligible for a free upgrade! Otherwise, please visit our Upgrade Center to see the upgrade options available to you.

USBCrypt 15.4 released

Buy USBCrypt:
Personal license $49.95
Business license $99.95

Try USBCrypt free:
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April 12, 2015.

A new version 15.4 of USBCrypt software is available now for download and purchase!

This update includes several improvements and fixes, such as:

  • Full support for the exFAT file system, on those versions of Windows that offer exFAT support.
  • A new command, PANIC, has been added to the USBCrypt notification icon menu that you could use to quickly stop all encrypted drives, even if they have open files on them.
  • When creating a new Virtual Encrypted Disk, the name you have chosen for the disk is now used as the drive label of the Virtual Encrypted Disk.
  • A new Group Policy has been added to the Administrator's Kit that enables the administrator to hide the license key information on the About USBCrypt window.
  • The look of the main window of USBCrypt has been changed to give the 'flat' appearance.
  • Several other minor improvements have been made.

As usual, the trial version of USBCrypt comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your USBCrypt within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

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Audiobit Music Player for Windows Phone 8.1 released

We've recently released Audiobit Music Player for Windows Phone 8.1 and it's getting great ratings from the users! Audiobit is a folder player that you can use to browse your phone and/or the SD card inserted into the phone and play the music files they contain directly from the app.

Audiobit does not use the MP3 tags or other information that the music files may contain. Instead, it uses the folder names and the file names of the music tracks to display the music on your phone. This way, you have the full control of how your music is organized and shown. You can connect the phone to your PC and use Windows Explorer (or better yet, our AB Commander) to move or rename the folders and the music files on your phone and the SD card it has. For example, you may want to move several folders containing albums from the same artist into a single artist folder, to keep them separate from other artists. If you don't like the way the tracks are displayed, just rename their files! And so on. Audiobit will show the folders and the tracks exactly as you have arranged them.

How to get Audiobit? From your Windows 8.1 phone, open Windows Store and search for Audiobit, then press the Install button after it's been displayed.

Happy listening!

AB Commander v.9.5 released

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Personal license $39.95
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November 10, 2014.

A new version 9.5 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

In this update, we've added more support for the virtual folders: you can now view the text files in the virtual folders with the built-in Quick Editor of AB Commander.

If you are not sure what a virtual folder is, it's a folder that appears folder-like in Windows Explorer (and in AB Commander), while it does not actually exist in the file system. For example, if you open a Zip file, you can navigate inside of it just like a real folder, but all the files and subfolders you see there are actually stored within the Zip file, not as separate file system entities.

Another example: some devices, such as Windows Phone, when connected to the PC, expose their internal storage as the virtual folders.

The problem with the virtual folders is, they require a different approach to work with their files than the real folders. A bigger problem is, the software vendors that design the software that handles the virtual folders of their devices, often cut corners and do not implement the virtual folder support completely. Even Microsoft, for the virtual folders of the Windows Phone, decided not to implement the software interface that would allow other software companies like ours to write to the files to the phone storage directly. The only way to do it at this time is via the drag-and-drop operation with Windows Explorer or AB Commander.

Regardless, in this update to AB Commander we've added to Quick Editor the capability that should allow it to view the files located in the virtual folders in about the same way as the ones in the real folders. For example, if you navigate inside of a Zip file, and see a text file in it, you no longer need to extract that file first before viewing it. Now you can just select the file and press Ctrl+Q to open it with the Quick Editor, just like a regular file.

If you've modified the text and wanted to save it back, it's a bit tricky. Some virtual folders allow to save the modified file back to the original, but not if you choose a new name for the file. Other virtual folders (such as the Zip files) do not allow even that: you need to save the modified file as a temporary file on your hard drive, and then drag-and-drop it to the Zip file to save it there. It's sort of like going from LA to San Francisco via Kansas, but there is no better way at this time, sorry.

As usual, the trial version of AB Commander comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your AB Commander within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

StartFinity Pro v.2.1 released

StartFinity Start Menu for Windows 8. (Click to enlarge) StartFinity Pro Start Menu (Click to enlarge)

We've received a great feedback from the users who downloaded StartFinity Pro. The number one question we heard was: why have a separate Apps menu, when you already have the Start Screen command? Why not combine them into a single item, and make more room for other useful commands on the Start Menu?

Well, dear faithful StartFinity users, your wild dream has come through: we have just released a new version and in this version the Apps menu has been merged into the Start Screen menu, just as you asked!

To update your existing StartFinity installation, right-click on the StartFinity start button, choose Check for updates from the shortcut menu, and it will guide you through the update.

Or, go to the Download StartFinity page to download and install StartFinity 2.1 manually.

Happy computing!

Useful Windows utilities and security software