Archive for Microsoft

Word for Chromebook

Need help installing Word on your Chromebook? Call Skylark NetWorks at (516) 308-2759 or read on.

One of the most frequent calls I’ve received lately as a computer repair technician revolves around the new Chromebooks using the ChromeOS Operating System. The typical call sounds like this:

Caller: How do I install Microsoft Word on my Chromebook? I can’t get Word to work on my Chromebook.

Skylark NetWorks: Do you have a Windows or a Mac version of the Microsoft Word software that you are trying to install on your Chromebook?

Caller: Yes! I have the _________ version. (Fill in the blank)

Skylark NetWorks: You can’t install that on your Chromebook because your Chromebook isn’t a Mac or a Windows computer, but —

Caller: So what do I do? I need a word processor, and I prefer to use Word.

Skylark NetWorks: I would recommend you go to the Microsoft Office Apps website at Then you can use and share your Word documents anywhere.

Get Started with Microsoft Office Web Apps

Since Chromebook users cannot install Microsoft Word on Chromebook because Chromebook uses ChromeOS, a Linux-based operating system which doesn’t support Microsoft Windows-based or Mac-based software.

This doesn’t mean that you’re locked out forever from working on Word documents. There are a number of ways Chromebook users work on Word documents, and their Excel and PowerPoint files, too. You already know these are important file types, and having access to them is a must.

Download Microsoft Office Web App

This Chrome app was generated by Microsoft to allow Chromebook users the chance to go online and use Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The web app also gives you access to Microsoft’s Cloud Storage Service called SkyDrive.

Alternate: Google Docs

Have you heard of Google Docs? It’s a free service from Google. Google Docs can open and edit most of the popular file types of Microsoft Office including Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Since your Chromebook was also developed by Google it is the perfect tool for working with Google Docs.

FYI: Anyone Can Use Microsoft Office Web Apps

Microsoft’s Office Web Apps aren’t just for Chromebook users. Your can use it on just about any desktop, laptop, netbook, or tablet computer.

Office 2010 – Better Than Ever

If you run a small business you should have (or upgrade to) Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business Edition. This package provides you with the leading word processing package, Microsoft Word, and the top spreadsheet application, Excel. Beyond that you get PowerPoint for quick and easy presentations (slideshows), and Outlook for managing your email.

Outlook 2010 has proven so useful for managing my email because I have so many email accounts. People always ask “Which email address should I use for you, Robert?”, and I say, “Any of them; they all go to the same place.” That place is my Outlook Inbox. The other great thing about Outlook is the mail rules. I can have it flag or sort important messages as they arrive. Flags add them to my To Do list so I know which mails need to be looked at right away.

Download Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 today and try it free for 3 days. And feel free to leave comments or questions here.

End of Windows XP Support

No More Microsoft Windows XP

No More Microsoft Windows XPIn less than 1,000 days, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop issuing security patches, updates, and hotfixes for all versions of Windows XP.

You may, or may not, be aware that Microsoft issues FREE updates to Windows and other Microsoft software products every Tuesday evening. Most computers will automatically retrieve them when the computer is connected to the Internet. (Although, some people, who don’t know about the service, choose not to install them. Is that you?)

On April 8, 2014, PCs running Windows XP will no longer find updates and fixes to download, so those computers will remain at risk to any new security threats that arise. Furthermore, many other companies (known as “third party” providers) will no offer service or support for their hardware or software applications on systems using Windows XP.

What about businesses using Windows XP? Business owners and managers may find this may generate more complexity, security risks, and ultimately, added management costs for IT departments.

Industry analysts say that it can take from 12 to 18 months for an organization to migrate, and a recent Gartner report stated that “more than 50% of organizations that do not start deploying Windows 7 by early 2012 will not complete their deployments before Windows XP support ends.” (Read “Creating a Timeline for Deploying Windows 7 and Eliminating Windows XP“)

Several other versions of Windows have had their service runs ended within the last year.

Previous End of Support Schedules for Other Windows Operating Systems

  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) support ended on July 12, 2011. SP2 is still being supported.
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2*) support ended on July 13, 2010. SP3 is the most recent and last service pack issued for XP systems.
  • Windows 2000 support ended on July 13, 2010.
  • Windows Vista Release to Manufacturing (RTM) support ended April 13, 2010.

Ready to Deploy Windows 7? Whether your a home user or a business user, I encourage you to consider making the move to Windows 7. If you feel your computer is still going strong on XP you may find it runs even better on Windows 7. Otherwise, if your budget allows, you may find it’s more cost effective to buy a new system.

Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer

What about the files on my old system? Moving fromWindows 7 from Windows XP is easier than ever. Windows 7 comes with powerful tools to assist and guide you every step of the way. If you decide to get a new system, you can use Window Easy Transfer to move your files from one system to another using a network or USB flash drive.

Some of the world’s most prominent companies have made the move to Windows 7 like Boeing, InfoSys, Dell, Samsung, and BMW and getting benefit from the cost-savings, security, and productivity gains Windows 7 delivers.

On the homefront. I have helped several people upgrade their Windows XP computers to Windows 7, and they say their computer is faster than it was with Windows XP. I have been very impressed with Windows 7’s performance. It’s easy to install, and works great with every device I’ve connected to my computer — specially with devices that weren’t supported by Windows Vista (hiss).

Need help? If you have any questions you can send them to me at skylarkingblog @ or with the contact page on this site. Or consult with your local computer service professional.

Windows 7 from The Microsoft Store. You can purchase Windows 7 on DVD from The Microsoft Store. If you have more than one computer in your home, or your family, then I recommend the orange package below. It will allow you to upgrade 3 computers for one low price. It’s my favorite package. Click the image below for more information.

Also, if you get the Home Premium version or the Professional version, you can always upgrade to a higher level for a reasonable price using the Windows Anytime Upgrade feature on your Windows 7 installation. I have used it to upgrade one Home Premium computer to a Professional system.

Taking a Screenshot in Word 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 has lots of new and improved features. One feature which will prove very useful is the new screenshot button in Word 2010. With it you can take a snapshot (screenshot) of any image or window on screen. Furthermore, you can crop and edit those shots, too.

This can be a very useful feature for writing articles while including images from websites or other sources on your computer. This tool is found on the “Insert” ribbon in Word 2010. Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft replaced the familiar toolbars with a “ribbon”, thereby reveling features that had long been buried and hard to find.

To take a screen shot, you click the “Insert” tab above the ribbon. (See picture below). You’ll see the Screenshot tool has a arrow below it. Whenever you see a downward pointing arrow on the ribbon that indicates that other options will be made available to you when you click such a tool.

Screenshot Tool in Word 2010

In the case of the Screenshot button, it will reveal “screenshots” of all the available windows from actively running programs on your screen. For example, I might be working on a spreadsheet or browsing a website when I come across information or images I’d like to include in a Word document. In Word 2010 I could click the “Screenshot” button and a snapshot of these open windows would be displayed in Word. Then I juct click on the image of the window I want to include in my document, and voila!, that’s it. The image is embedded into my document.

If you want to just show a portion of a window, then select the “Screen Clipping” link at the bottom. (Show at right). Then the last screen you displayed is redisplayed (but faded) with some crosshairs for you to drag a selection around the portion of the image you want to display, then Word embeds that portion into your Word document.

Need to enhance the image further? Use the the “Picture” tools tab to manipulate your new image.

Buy or Try Out Microsoft Office 2010 Online from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 Download can be yours today for only $149. Or you can order the package and have Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 delivered anywhere you choose. The Home and Student edition comes with the popular Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications.

Business users might be interested in either Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote) or Microsoft Office Professional 2010 (Includes all the previous applications, plus the Access database application and Publisher). These packages cost $280 and $499 respectively and are available for download or delivery.

For Windows (Windows 7, Vista, or XP SP3)

Microsoft Office
Home and Student 2010


Microsoft Office
Home and Business 2010


Microsoft Office
Professional 2010


For Mac (Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later)

Microsoft Office for Mac
Home and Student 2011


Microsoft Office for Mac
Home and Business 2011 Download


Track Expenses and Save Money. Get MS Money for Free.

Microsoft Money 2007

It’s always a good idea to track your cashflow — where’s does your money come from and where does it go. It’s something I “try to do” on a daily basis. I keep a notepad in my pocket so I can write down where and on what I spend my money. Then at the end of the day “I try” to enter it into my computer, and categorize my expenditures (ie gas, office supplies, groceries, newspapers, cellphone bill, etc.).

Microsoft Money 2007For the last 13 years (Ooo, I hate that number) I’ve been using Microsoft Money to track my cash. I could track my cash, credit cards, savings and checking accounts, and PayPal all with that one program. There were better know programs, like Quicken and Quickbooks, but I found MS Money did everything I needed to do, and it was easy to use — just as familiar as Microsoft Word. Go figure (no pun intended).

Money in Decline. Just about 2 years ago, August 2008, with Money Plus and Money Plus Deluxe, Microsoft announced there would be no new version of Money in 2009, and that you would only be able to get MS Money via online downloads. There would be no more copies on the store shelves.

Then back in June 2009, Microsoft announced they would be stopping sales on Microsoft Money altogether since there were so many other ways to track one’s money online.

* Sidenote: That’s a reference to those hoaxes that circulated in the past that Microsoft and Bill Gates would give you cash for circulating emails on their behalf. That was a hoax, but getting Microsoft Money Plus Sunset for free is no hoax.

Money Resurfaces — and its Free! Hurray for Free Money! Now, well, just this past June 2010, Microsoft released Money Plus Sunset, as a free download. Yep, Microsoft is giving ‘Money’ away *. Click here to download your free copy of Microsoft Money Plus Sunset edition direct from Microsoft. And there’s no strings attached. they don’t ask for any personal information whatsoever, not even your email address. Just click and download.

Alternatives. As I started writing and researching this post I fully had it in mind to switch to Intuit’s Quicken Starter Edition before moving onto Quicken for Home and Business. Along the way I discovered Money Plus Sunset edition was free, so I’ll be sticking with Microsoft Money a little longer.

If you’re looking to track your expenses and you’d like to try some of these other programs, here are some good prices I found online. Please use my links so they’ll know Skylarking: The Tech Tip Blog sent you.

You can still buy Intuit Quicken 2008 Starter Edition Financial Management – PC for less than $21 including shipping. Or you can get the latest version, Intuit Quicken 2010 Starter Edition for $29.99 plus shipping etc. That’s a picture of the box at left.

Business User? If you run a business, then you might consider Intuit Quicken Home and Business 2010 for $100. This is a great program for checking things such as your credit cards, 401(k), and other investments. You can also distinguish between business and personal accounts as well as business expenses paid for on a personal account. when tax time comes ’round you’ll also be able to print out Schedule C reports and export your data to TurboTax. You can even try Quicken Picks, for online coupons and discounts, using this version.

Going All Out? Quicken is the kid brother to Quickbooks. This is the program used by many accounting firms and businesses. You can get started with Quickbooks Pro 2010 for Windows for $120 or Quickbooks Pro 2010 for Mac for $180. If you’re already a Quickbooks user, or you want to know more about the program, then you might need a copy of Quickbooks 2010 All-in-One for Dummies. It’s no secret that I have a shelf full of Dummies books.

Price Break. Need External Storage? Checkout this massive 1,000 gigabyte external drive from Office Depot! Great for photos, videos, and music storage. Seagate(R) FreeAgent(TM) Desk External USB 2.0 Hard Drive, 1TB (1,000GB)

Microsoft Expressions Web for Website Design

There are quite a few web design software packages to choose from today. Undoubtedly the big dog on the block is Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS5. Personally, I prefer Microsoft Expressions Web 4. If you use Microsoft Word regularly, you’ll probably like Expressions Web, too, as the interface will already be familiar. Granted there is more to web site design than typing, but this will give you a good jumpstart.

Even if you use Dreamweaver already, you will find that Expressions Web 4 is capable of working with many of your Dreamweaver files and templates. As a matter of fact, I am part of a design team for another website, and most the programmers work with Dreamweaver and they aren’t even able to tell that I’m not using Dreamweaver.

Microsoft StoreAlso, if you’ve used Microsoft FrontPage then you should consider getting the Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional Upgrade Download for only $80 from the Microsoft Store. Expressions Web has replaced Frontpage as Microsoft’s flagship web design package. I once used FrontPage, and I love working with Expressions Web.

IF you must know, Expressions Web can also allow you to explore new artistic possibilities and create compelling graphic designs and illustrations for the web. I incorporates the latest tools such as Silverlight, Flash (animation), Deep Zoom, and Windows Media files (video) with drag-and-drop ease. It allows the use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for generating elegant, modern layouts with a state-of-the-art design surface. It’s also compatible with Photoshop in that it allows you to import those files directly, with complete control over the layers. I also handles popular image formats like PNG, GIF, and JPEG. If already a fluent programmer you’ll enjoy support for PHP, HTML/XHTML, XML/XSLT, CSS, JavaScript, ASP.NET or ASP.NET AJAX.

If you don’t have a web design program yet, you can also get the full Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional Download for $149.95 from the Microsoft Store. They’ll even allow you to try it out for 60 days without a purchase.

Trouble with Windows 7 and the T-Mobile G1

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

I don’t have any complaints with Windows 7 whatsoever. Really I don’t, but I have read about some people experiencing a problem accessing the G1’s SD card with Windows 7.

Okay, I experienced this problem too, but, luckily, I knew how to fix it.

What happened? I was connecting my T-Mobile G1 Smartphone to my computer to backup the memory chip in the phone. For your information, the G1 was the first phone to use Google’s Android Operating System for smartphones. Today’s leading Android based phones are Verizon’s Droid, Google’s Nexus One, and T-Mobile’s new Samsung Vibrant.

But, as they say, I digress.

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

Shortly after upgrading to Windows 7, I attached my G1 to my PC via the docking station, and then I “mounted” the SD card in the G1 by selecting “Mount” option from the G1’s notification panel.

Now, for those who don’t have a G1, you “mount the SD card” — sounds ‘dirty’, I know — so you can transfer files to and from the SD or memory card in the phone to your computer.

But, now, with Windows 7, one time I attached my G1 via its USB cable (or docking station) I saw a notification on my computer’s desktop that Windows was “installing a driver” for the “HTC Dream”. (For your information, HTC is the company that makes the G1 for Google and T-Mobile. Dream is HTC’s model name for the G1).

I had never seen this happen before, but I thought it was cool because I was thrilled that Windows 7 was capable of recognizing so many devices when they were attached to the computer.

My thrill was short lived.

Once I mounted the card, and I double clicked the “Computer” icon on the desktop, I expected to see an icon, as I had in the past, that represented the SD card in my phone.

The icon wasn’t there.

I unmounted the card, remounted it, and, again, no icon for the card visible after double-clicking the Computer icon.

Uh oh!

This meant I wouldn’t be able to get my files the old fashioned way. Instead, I would have to remove the card from the phone and insert it into the memory card reader on my desktop computer. That would work, but I would prefer being able to just access he chip by attaching the phone to the computer as I always had.

The Fix. Here’s the solution for anyone who has experienced this problem, too.

  1. Right-click the Computer icon.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Device Manager.
  4. Locate “HTC Dream” on the list. You may need to double click a few items on the list to reveal the HTC Dream listing. I think I found it under “Other Devices”.
  5. Double-click HTC Dream.
  6. Click the Driver tab.
  7. Click Update Driver.
  8. Select “Mass Storage Driver”.
  9. Click OK to close out the dialog boxes.

Now when I connect my T-Mobile G1 via its USB cable or dock, and then mount the SD card, I am able to access the G1’s memory chip and transfer my files without a hitch.

Failed Windows Update Installations (Office 2007)

Update (Thurs. 3/11. 12:18am) : As of late Wednesday evening the page for “Update for the 2007 Microsoft Office System (KB977724)” appears to have been “taken down” by Microsoft. No word — that I can find — as to why. Possibly related to an error mentioned in the reader comments for this article.

Yesterday was Tuesday, and Tuesday is the day Microsoft typically issues the free Windows Updates to patch any security problems that have been discovered, fix flaws, remove malicious software (Windows Malicious Software Tool) and add new features.

Four of the six updates my computer downloaded for installation failed to install properly. These were all Microsoft Office 2007 updates:

  • Update for the 2007 Microsoft Office System (KB977724)
  • Security Update for Microsoft Office Excel 2007 (KB978382)
  • Security Update for the 2007 Microsoft Office System (KB978380)
  • Update for Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 Junk Email Filter (KB979895)

If you’ve had the same problem with these updates then you will have to manually download and install them. It’s not that difficult to do, and I’ll make it easier by providing you with links to Microsoft’s download pages for these updates. You’ll see two links on each line, but they both take you to the same page.

Just click the links above to go to the appropriate download page, then click the “Download” button on each page. Choose the “Save” option, and save them to either your desktop, your documents folder, or your downloads folder. Anywhere you can easily find them later on. If you have to install them on more than one computer you might consider saving them to a flash drive.

Once you’ve downloaded them, you will need to run them as an administrator. You can’t do this with your typical double-click.

  1. Right-click on the file (point at the file, and click the right mouse button, not the left mouse button) and choose “Run as administrator” from the shortcut menu that appears.
  2. If the User Account Control dialog box appears — for you Windows Vista and Windows 7 users — asking “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to your computer?”, click “Yes”.
  3. Click the checkbox to accept the Microsoft License Terms, then click “Continue”.

Repeat the process above for each of the downloaded files, and that’s it. Your updates should be properly installed at this time.

I wrote about a similar “Failed Windows Update Installations (Office 2007)” problem back in November 2009.

Yahoo Email and Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7

I read this question online recently:

I am upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7. How do I back up my Yahoo! emails and do I need to do it?

If you have a free Yahoo! email account then there is no need to back up your emails because the emails are stored on Yahoo!’s servers and not your computer.

If you have a paid Yahoo! email account, called Yahoo! Mail Plus, which costs $19.99 per year, then it is possible that you could be downloading email messages to your computer with a program such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Eudora, or some other program or email client.

Generally, when you are upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 there is no need to erase your hard drive. When the hard drive is erased it is usually referred to as a “clean install”. While it’s always good idea to do a backup before an upgrade, it isn’t necessary. When upgrading from XP to Windows 7 the hard drive must be erased, so this is a case where it would be a good idea to have a backup of some sort.

Still, if you want to take the precaution of doing a backup, go to a computer store and get yourself an external USB drive such as a MyPassport from Western Digital and use the Windows Easy Transfer wizard to copy important files to the external drive. For more info on Windows Easy Transfer go here:

For more info on upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 go here:

$450 Computer with a Future

PowerSpec TX366 mATX CaseThanks to everyone who contacted me yesterday by email and on the Skylarking Facebook page to wish me well amid all my respiratory problems and woes. It only takes 4 or 5 kind words to really lift the spirits. Thanks everyone!

One of the things I had been doing when I was able to breathe and function was building a new computer for a friend with a tight budget. They were actually a business client, but I like to call them friends, too. That’s just what I do.

So they had a tight budget of around $400, and I wanted to see to it that they got quality parts that weren’t going to give them any problems. I also wanted to get them setup with Windows 7 as an operating system. They had a Sony DVD burner in their old Windows XP computer, so I was able to transfer that to the new system. So I am not counting the cost of that DVD burner in the price of this system. I also reused their old monitor, but they could get a new flat panel for about $90 — 100.

As for the rest of the parts, I managed to spend about $60 on each component:

  • ASUS P5KPL-AM Motherboard: This is the base of the system. Everything attaches to the motherboard (mainboard). Asus makes a lot of fine computer components, and they also make the Asus Eee PC netbook I often talk about.
  • Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 Processor: This processor operates on the motherboard’s low end, but I let my friend know they could always get a better processor in a year or two when they had another $120 or so to spend. After their old Windows XP machine, the current processor is plenty fast for them.
  • Crucial Ballistix, 2 GB RAM: Again, they could spend more money here later to double or even quadruple their total memory. Using the 64 bit version of Windows 7 allows them to add up to 8GB of RAM.
  • Hitachi Deskstar 500 GB SATA Hard Drive
  • PowerSpec TX366 mATX Case with power supply: $35
  • Windows 7 Professional, 64 Bit Edition (OEM): $90. OEM means “Original Equipment Manufacturer”, which means it is meant to be installed by a computer builder. It also means if they have trouble with Windows, I am supposed to help them, and not Microsoft. Another $30 or $40 might have got them a standard retail copy, but I stand behind the parts I’ve added to this machine. I don’t anticipate them having any problems.

I am a little short on time this morning, so I’ll be back later or tomorrow to talk a little bit more about this system, the parts, etc. Have a great day!