Tag Archives: tips

5 Basic Tech Tips you should know



Here are some things to keep in mind as you use your computer. See the bottom of the article for credits

  1. DO NOT start clicking randomly when things go wrong.
    Randomly clicking things on the machine can at the least cause things to go even slower …and at the worst can really mangle things up.

    When things go wrong, TAKE YOUR HAND OFF THE MOUSE OR SCREEN. Take a deep breath. Contact MDS Tech – or slowly DECIDE on your next move.
  2. CHECK THOSE LINKS before you click on them.
    Internet scams are still going strong, so do NOT assume that email promising you a Dyson Vacuum or a DeWalt Drill from Ace Hardware is legit. Look for speeling errors, wonky grammar, really bad writing. Hover over those links to see where they ACTUALLY go – if that email from “Ace” doesn’t actually link back to Ace Hardware, it just might be a scam.

    You can also check the Reply-To and the source email addresses – that is usually a clue on whether is it legit or not. That email from “Paypal “saying you’ve been charged $1100 for that iPhone XXi that you never ordered likely ACTUALLY comes from kdjvbdfiejfnl02937@whatever.com
    Pause. Breathe. Think about other routes you can take. Doublecheck what you just did [did you ACTUALLY print to the ARC-student printer….or is your printout in Sheridan hall?] Can you try a different browser? Do you have a live connection to the network?

    Have you asked for help from MDS Tech?

    This includes things like web browser extensions – ALL of whom slow your machine down [at least a bit]. Make certain the software is from a reliable, trusted source…. and when in doubt, ask MDS Tech.

    Do note that the iPad App Portal apps have been checked out and are OK to install.

    Keep your sock drawer [i.e. your documents] organized. We have multiple sock drawers now – your machine, your devices, cloud storage like Drive and iCloud… Keeping them organized is the key to avoiding panic attacks when looking for something.

    Create folders! Name them something that makes sense! Actually stash things in them that make sense!
    This really is critical. Yes, system updates happen all the time, and MOST of the time you can wait until a more convenient time. Sometimes, though, it really is critical. For example, as of this writing [August 2022] Apple just put out IOS 15.6.1 update, which closes a security hole that HAD been exploited “in the wild” – allowing attackers to take over a device. Google put out an update to Drive AND Schoology updated their LMS app – both fixing bugs that was keeping a select number of “lucky” students from submitting class assignments.


  7. REBOOT!
    Quit out of ALL your running apps and shut your machine/device down [also know as the iPad Reboot Dance]. MDS Tech says AT LEAST once a week will reduce your headaches and stress from wonky computer chicanery.
Seriously, it isn’t a joke. Yes, it is still funny.



The inspiration for this article came from a post by Jack Wallen over at Tech Republic. His information was modified to fit our situation here at MDS.

Web Search, part 2 – Take the Time to Get Good at it!

In Part 1, we looked at how to THINK before you start searching. Remember that the goal is to find what you seek in ONE search.

Here are some other ways you can “make Google Dance” as you search the web. MOST of these tips will also work for DuckDuckGo.com, and possibly the other search engines as well.

Note that much of this material is drawn from an article from macsales.com

Site-Specific searching.

If you’d like to search a specific website [macon, com, for example], then add “site:domain_mane” to the end of your search.

For example:

Mount de Sales site:macon.com

should find every mention of the school at the macon.com website.

Getting rid of some results

Let’s say you are researching “fording a river”, but you keep getting results for Ford vehicles. You can use the minus sign to remove articles about the cars, which would make it easier to find what you seek;

ford river -car -truck

Make CERTAIN a search term is in the results

Sometime the search engine gives you results that DON’T contain your search terms, or the results contain SOME of them. You can force the results to contain the terms by using the plus sign.

+ham +sandwich +tees +hamster

Specify an EXACT search term

Use force your results to contain the phrase as is – this is very useful when searching for someone’s name.

“Mickey Mouse”

Leave out results from certain domains.

Let’s say you were looking for info on Apple products, but wanted results that are NOT from apple.com. That is easy by using the minus sign [again].

iPhone -apple.com

The minus sign works with “top level domains” – as in .edu, .com, etc. So you could block out any .com sites in that Apple search.

iPhone -.com

Search just the Title of the page

You can use “intitle:” to search JUST the title of a page.


You can use multiple intitles to make sure multiple words are int he title:

intitle:Macon intitle:GA intitle:Music

Search just the text in a result

Have the engine search JUST the text on a site with the intext: option

intext:cavaliers intext:”Mount de Sales” intext:school

Search a sub-area of a site

Suppose you wanted to search JUST the support area of Microsoft site for some info. Use the “inurl:” option to do just that:

surface reinstall site:microsoft.com inurl:support


Use the asterisk to represent ANYTHING. That is useful if you aren’t quite sure of what you are looking for, or if you’d like to know what info is available about something general.

how to * on an iPad

Search a specific date range

If you are looking for info relating to a particular computer, or car, for a specific year, the “after:” and “before:” options will save you some time.

So if you are loking for info about teh Ford Mustand, but only the models from teh late 1960’s, you would search this:

Ford mustang after:1964-01-01 before:1969-12-12

NOTE: you do NOT have to use the entire yerar-month-day format. You could search

Ford mustang after:1964 before:1970

Use the Tools Menu

Tools button Google Search

That is another way to search by date and time.

Boolean Operators

No, these aren’t words that will get you into trouble. They refer to ways to require ALL of your search terms or ANY of them in your search results, by using the words “AND” and “OR”. They can be used with ANY of the above options.

So if I want to search for a Ryobi one+ air compressor, but limited to Homedepot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware:

ryobi one+ air compressor site:homedepot.com OR site:lowes.com OR site:acehardware.com

Notice that the results only give homedepot.com – because neither Lowe’s nor Ace Hardware carry Ryobi.

Use AND if you want to make sure ALL of your terms are included in the results. Again, this can be used with any of the tips above.

Mount de Sales AND Catholic -Macon should give us the Mount de Sales Catholic schools that are not in Macon.


This is one that few people know about. You can have the engine look for words that are close to each other, but not necessarily next to each other.

lefty AROUND scissors

Google Advanced Search
Advanced Search – Google

If you are having trouble finding, and have learned to THINK about your search, then dive into advanced search. At the top-right corner, click Settings, then Advanced Search. There are a lot of options here, but most are easy to figure out.


  1. DO NOT GIVE UP. There are a gazillion ways to find what you seek on the Web.
  2. THINK about what you are looking for. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Contact Tech, or visit the ARC, to get more advice [but ONLY after you have tried these tips and are just absolutely out of ideas.]

11 best Windows 10 tricks

The original article is at https://www.cnet.com/how-to/11-best-hidden-windows-10-tricks-to-know-now-that-youve-upgraded-from-windows-7/

See the source image

Minimize all the Windows except the active one

Click the titlebar of the window you want to stay open. Then hold the mouse button down and move the mouse left and right quickly. After a couple of quick shakes the OTHER windows will all minimize.

Open the “secret” start menu

Press Windows key + X…. or you can RIGHT-click the WIndows icon [aka the Start menu].

Take a screenshot

There are at least EIGHT different ways to take a screenshot in windows 10.

One of the easiest methods is to hit Windows key + Print SCreen [it might be labelled PrntScrn}. This will take a shot of the whole screen and save it in your Pictures –> SCreenshots folder.

But what if you only want a PART of the screen? Hit the Windows key + shift + S. This opens up the Snip & Sketch tool, which allows you to click and drag a rectangle to select part of the screen. Once you release the mouse buttn, your screenshot is stored in the clipboard.

Open items on your taskbar with Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’ve pinned programs at the bottom of the screen, in the Taskbar, you can open them up by hitting the windows key plus a number key. Windows + 2 will open the second item on the taskbar, for instance.

Figure out how much space apps are taking up

Your storage is limited, no matter how big is is. TO see how much of that space an app takes up, navigate to Settings –> System –> Storage. Click on the drive you’d like the search, [most likely is “This PC”], then click Apps & Games to see if any apps are being space hogs.

Get rid of Ads on your Start Menu

This is not a problem at school, but elsewhere you may see what Microsoft calls “Suggestions” pop up to the right of the Start menu. These are ads for WIndows Store apps you can buy. To get rid of them, go to Settings –> Personalization –> Start. Turn “Show Suggestions occasionally in Start” OFF!

Shut down background apps

These are apps running the background, doing things like staying updated, sending notifications, etc. They can be handy, but they can also drain your laptop battery and slow your machine down a bit. To keep them from, running in the background,call up Settings –> Privacy –> Background Apps.

You can turn them ALL off, or just a select few.

Use Background Scrolling

Now you can scroll windows that AREN”T the one you are working on. This is handy if you have a word processor document open AND a web browser window open. You can type away, and then move your mouse over and scroll the page without losing teh window focus of the word process – so it’s a faster way to keep typing.

It should be on by default, but if it isn’t, go to Settings –> Devices –> Mouse. Turn Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them to ON.

Show File Extensions in File Explorer.

This is turned off by default, but it is really handy to be able to see what file extension a file has, especially when troubleshooting. TO see them, in FIle Eplorer

  • In the Search Bar at the bottom of the screen, type in File Explorer Options, and hit return.
  • In the window that pops up, select View Tab
  • UNCHECK the box for Hide extensions for known file types. Click the Apply button, and then OK.

Use Focus Assist to keep from getting distracted

Turning FOcus Assist on means fewer notifications and distractions, which can really help you focus and get your work done. Set it up by going to Settings –> System –> Focus Assist. Choose from OFF ( no notifications, none nada, zero,. zilch], Priority [you pick from a list of apps and what you want to see from them}, Alarms Only [hides all notifications except for alarms].