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Startin' on the Dock of the bay

Tech Talk

 

To use your computer, you need to use either the Dock (macOS) or Start (Windows.) The Dock and Start are how you interact with your operating system and your applications. By default, they both work pretty well, but there's always room for improvement, right?

Windows

We've had a Start menu in every version of Windows since Windows 95, and it's changed a lot in the last 23 years.

The current version of Start strikes a nice balance between the functionality of the Win7 Start menu and the new interface and live tiles introduced in Windows 8.

On the modern Start menu, you can right-click on the Start icon and get a handy list of shortcuts to common Windows settings and tools. Control Panel used to be on there, but it wandered off the menu a few Windows 10 versions ago.

Once you click on Start, your installed applications are shown on the left. To move quickly to the one you want, click on any of the letter headings to bring up a full alphabet. Then click on any letter (or number) to jump to that section of the list.

You can left-click and drag icons around on the pinned side of the Start menu to move them around, or right-click and choose Unpin from Start to put them back on the main list. Handy tip: to create a group of shortcuts, Games, for instance, drag one icon on top of another.

Also on the right-click menu for a pinned app, you can change the size of the icon; choose small, medium, wide, or large. You can also drag icons up to the top of the menu or into any gap in the grid and create groups of app icons. Click in the space above each group to name (or change) any group name.

Folders you use all the time can be pinned right to the Start menu. In File Explorer, right-click on the folder thumbnail, then choose Pin to Start.

You can pin shortcuts to particular Windows settings to the Start menu. Use the gear icon on the Start menu to open Settings, then right-click on any heading or menu item and choose Pin to Start. These settings shortcuts can be resized and moved just like any other pinned item.

macOS

For macOS users, the Dock is the way to launch applications, find files, and get to the internet. You can use Spotlight to launch applications or find files, use the Cmd+Space keyboard shortcut to bring up Spotlight.

Did you know you can change the position of the Dock? Open System Preferences and then click on Dock to make your changes. You can set the position of the Dock, adjust its size and the level of the magnification effect (as the cursor moves over an icon) via the sliders at the top.

To keep the Dock out of your way while you're using an app, put a check in the Automatically hide and show the Dock option. The Dock will come back if you move the cursor back where the Dock is hiding.

To add an app to the Dock, you can simply drag the icon to the Dock, or Ctrl+click the app's icon and choose Options > Keep in Dock; to remove an app from your Dock, repeat the process but disable the setting. To see all the open windows from a particular app (like the Finder or your web browser), Ctrl+click on the app's icon, then pick Show All Windows.

Did you know you can keep file and folder shortcuts down in the Dock? Drag any file or folder down to the right-hand side of the Dock from Finder to anchor it-handy if you've got a folder or file you use all the time. Drag a file or folder out of the Dock to remove it.

The Dock has keyboard shortcuts, too; Ctrl+Cmd+D shows or hides the Dock, no matter what your System Preferences are. Cmd+Tab jumps between the apps on your Dock without using the Dock.

Delete your Netflix history

Remember when you had that terrible flu and all you could do was lie on the couch moaning and watching TV because everything hurt? Chances are you made some odd, but necessary, choices during those dark days.

If you don't want the rest of your family to know you binge-watched Supernatural and Charmed during those dark days, you can delete them from your history.

Sign in to Netflix's website, go to Account, then go to Viewing Activity under the My Profile section. Click the X beside any shows or movies you don't want to show up. Clicking the X will remove the item you've selected from your viewing activity on all devices "within 24 hours." When you select an episode in a series, Netflix will also offer you the option to batch delete the entire series from its memory with just one more click.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at greg@tech-hachapi.com.

 
 

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