Tablet Life & Arts

Mr. Modem: ’Tis the season to get the best deal on a new computer

I’m going to need a new computer soon and I wondered if there was any better time of year to purchase one.

The simple answer is “holiday time,” but a more comprehensive answer is, “It depends.” Companies know consumers, and many businesses make large purchases in anticipation of year’s end for gift-giving or for tax purposes. If you keep an eye on circulars and online advertisements you will be most likely to find a good sale during November, December and post-holidays in January.

I’m not sure this is a computer question, but I saw this word being used online, so I thought I would ask you, Mr. M. What is defenestration?

In 2004, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary enthusiasts named “defenestration” as one of their favorite words of the year. (Who are these people?) Its literal meaning is to throw someone out of a window. How charming. An example of present-day usage: “Whoever wrote that project proposal should be defenestrated.” That sounds a little harsh to me, but what do I know?

Can you explain how I can back up my files using Windows 7 or do I need another program to do that?

Good news! Windows 7 includes its own backup utility. To use it, click Start and type “backup and restore” into the Search box. You can also go to the Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore, then click the Set Up Backup link in the top right.

Next, choose a location for your backed up data. Windows will back up all essential files, or if you want to designate files, select the “Let Me Choose” button and click Next.

Click Save Settings and Run Backup to begin. The first backup may take awhile, but future backups will only include changes to files previously backed up.

Windows 8 has a similar feature, but of course it operates in a completely different manner. The File History feature automatically backs up files that are in your Libraries, Contacts, Favorites, OneDrive and on your Desktop. To begin automatically backing up, you will first need to set up a File History drive and enable File History.

For additional information, read this Microsoft article:

The battery in my wireless mouse died while I was giving a PowerPoint presentation. What a nightmare! That experience made me wonder if there is any way to navigate using the keyboard in case of an emergency?

The next time you find yourself mouseless in Seattle, depending on your version of Windows, press the ALT + SHIFT + NUMLOCK keys simultaneously to launch the magical MouseKey box, then press the ENTER key. You will then be able to use the arrow keys on the numeric keypad to maneuver your mouse. When you want to return to regular mousing activities (RMA), press ALT + SHIFT + NUMLOCK again and select Cancel.