A Guide to Regular Tech Care and maintenance Tasks

Many common computer and tech problems that arise could be avoided with some basic maintenance. Here’s a list of suggested tasks to perform regularly.

As a consultant, I usually instruct people on these things whenever I meet with them – providing a personalized strategy that meets their needs.


If you use your computer regularly, it’s a good idea to have automated daily backups. In many computers these run every hour to backup any recently created or changed files.

When writing longer articles or books that are time-intensive, consider saving frequently using the Save As feature and give the file a name that includes a revision number such as My Great Book Rev 7. Each new version you save provides a backup of the work done so far allowing you to go back in time to a previous version.

A common and sad problem is when people mistakenly select all, delete, and then save their blank document or presentation by mistake. When you save overtop of an existing file, it will be very difficult to recover it.


Computers are usually configured to update their software and operating system automatically. However, these updates sometimes don’t happen. For example, if you use your computer for short periods of time, and otherwise have it turned off completely, then the updates won’t happen. Consider leaving  your computer on overnight once a week.

In addition to operating system updates, there will be updates to Java, Adobe software, Microsoft software such as Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and others. It may be necessary to manually check for updates to these.

There are utility programs that scan your computer for software, check the versions, then check with the provider to see if a newer version is available, but this requires an additional program. Sometimes it’s easier just to simplify life and do a few things manually.


Virus Scan. Some people seem to get computer malware quite frequently. Other people can go for years without getting malware. You’ll want to determine how often you seem to be getting into trouble with malware and scan accordingly. Monthly scanning is a good place to start. A program like Malwarebytes protects in realtime and also can conduct scanning. Some malware will remove antivirus software so make sure your antivirus is still installed and actively protecting your computer. 

Backups. Monthly or perhaps weekly, you may want to check and make sure your backups are running. Be sure the external drive hasn’t become disconnected. Perhaps go through a trial run of restoring a file. Even if you have a cloud synchronized drive (like Dropbox, Box, OneDrive or iCloud) it’s a good idea to have a local backup as well. If a catastrophic failure requires restoring terabytes of data, it will go more quickly with a local drive. Also, if you have huge files to backup, that can take a while to upload those to the cloud given that upload speeds are usually 10% to 20% of  your download speed.

Speed Test. It’s a good idea to check your Internet speed on a realgar basis. A clean ad-free way to do this is to go to Bing.com and search for speed test. You can then use the Bing speed test service.

Hard Drive. Checking your hard drive monthly can help you ensure it isn’t filling up to capacity with data. For each person the frequency of this will be different. If you work with video production, this could be a weekly task. For most people it could be done monthly.

Subscriptions. It’s a good idea to have a spreadsheet where you can keep track of various subscriptions for software and services that may be expiring. This could include antivirus software annual renewals. It could include website hosting and domain registration renewals. Microsoft charges an annual $99 fee for their Office 365 subscription plan. These monthly check-ins are a good reminder of when to expect certain fees to be charged. This is also a good time to check your bank and credit card statements for unexpected charges, and when you see renewals coming up, consider cancelling any services you don’t use. Also, make a note of any discount or free trial periods that may expire. For example, Sirius XM satellite radio has a $5 per month offer. When that expires, you’ll start getting charged $16 per month.  


Cloud Data. Once a year, it’s a good idea to download all the data that services have on you. For example, you can download an archive of everything stored in the cloud of companies like Google or Facebook. That way, you’ll have a backup in case their systems go down, get corrupted, or get hacked.

Email Archive. Most email services maintain every email  you’ve ever sent or received. These can go back years. You may want to use an email client to periodically copy those emails to your computer. Perhaps once a year, copy all the emails that are older than one year. These could be saved on  your local hard drive and backed up. This would allow you to delete them from the cloud service. So, if your email account gets hacked, the hackers have limited access to all your personal communications. There have been billions of accounts hacked in recent years. Hackers use that information to contact all your friends with spam and phishing emails. They can also get insights into what services you use, where you bank, where you go on vacation, door codes you may have given to service people, and other details about your life.

Passwords. Managing passwords is something that could be done on a monthly basis, but most people are just too busy to commit to a long list of weekly or monthly tasks. At a minimum, it’s important to review your passwords annually. Make sure you have all your login information recorded either using a password management program, or a password protected spreadsheet, or perhaps a bound book. You’ll want to date every entry in your password list. This lets you know when a password was last changed or updated. Keep all the other account information recorded as well, such as security questions. Consider changing your passwords once a year. This could be as simple as adding a unique number to the end of every password. Be sure to use unique and complex passwords for every service you use.

Continuity Planning. If something happens to you, do you have a plan regarding how you want your data and online services to be managed? Once a year, it’s a good idea to review your various online accounts. Choose one or more people to update, maintain, or shut down those accounts if something happens to you. Have a plan for what becomes of your data. For photos, writings, audio, videos, and other content that you’d like to share with family or others, consider having that information  already stored on an external hard drive, or even better, create a personal blog where you share everything in real-time. Then all your insights, humor, wisdom, and so on can be available on the web needing no additional management to distribute. Whatever you decide to do, it’s a good idea to review those plans each year.

Creating a Windows PE Bootable USB Drive

Windows PE is a light version of Windows that you can startup on just about any computer with many benefits and uses such as:

  • Diagnostics. It’s very handy to have for basic diagnostics on computers that are having issues.
  • Linux Computers. If you have a Dell laptop with Linux OS installed, and the BIOS updates for the computer are only available as Windows .EXE program files, you can startup with Windows PE, install the BIOS updates, and then restart to Linux again.
  • Data Recovery. With a computer that won’t startup because of corrupt system files, you can startup with Windows PE and access the hard drive.

Creating a Windows PE Startup Disk

To create your own bootable Windows PE USB flash drive, follow these instructions.

Install the Windows ADK

Install Windows PE

  1. Start the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment as an administrator.
  2. Create a working copy of the Windows PE files. Specify either x86, amd64, or arm:
    copype amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64
  3. Install Windows PE to the USB flash drive, specifying the drive letter:
    MakeWinPEMedia /UFD C:\WinPE_amd64 F:
    This command reformats the drive.

Creating a Visual User Interface

The Windows PE boot disk described above starts up to a command prompt. You’ll probably want a familiar user interface. A popular one is FreeCommander.


Source: Technet.Microsoft.comTechnet.Microsoft.com (12 May 2017)

Avast AntiVirus for Mac Configuration for Apple Mail

If you’re using Avast AntiVirus for Mac and would like to use the Apple Mail program, you may notice a security certificate error when trying to access your email provider.

Avast has a 23 page document explaining how to correct this error.  The steps involve exporting a certificate from Avast and importing it into your mail client.

Alternative Option

If you don’t care about scanning inbound emails, you can enter your email server address as an exception and Avast won’t try to scan emails from that server. See the example below. To find this screen, open Avast, choose Preferences, then select settings for the Mail Shield. Press the + button to add your mail server.

STEP 1 – Open Avast





Replace the example below with your own email host. Use POP or IMAP as needed.


Apple Cinema Display Brightness Control Missing Not Working

If you’re using an Apple Cinema Display as a secondary monitor for your MacBook laptop computer or iMac, you may have noticed that sometimes the brightness control is missing from System Preferences > Displays.

There may be a variety of reasons for this, but one cause is easy to fix. If the USB cable from the display isn’t attached to your computer, the brightness slider will be missing. The display will continue displaying the brightness that it last had until you connect the USB and change the brightness level again.

This was tested and documented using a 2008 era 24″ Apple Cinema Display connected to an Apple iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013). The issue likely impacts other system configurations.


Computer problems? Time for an upgrade!

Usually when a computer crashes, the first thing people think about is getting it restored to normal operation.

The effort required to restore a computer to working order is significant. Typically replacement parts are needed. The process of reinstalling the operating system, programs, and data files, is hugely time consuming.

If what you end up with is a computer identical to what you had prior to the crash, then you’ve just lost a lot of time and money for no marginal gain in performance.

However, if you take the opportunity to upgrade your computer’s hard drive to an SSD hard drive, then you can have a large performance gain. It’s also a good time to consider upgrading memory since you’ll be inside the computer anyway.

Hard Drive. Here are the steps required to upgrade your computer to an SSD drive. These instructions are for advanced users only.

  1. Purchase an SSD Drive. You’ll want to purchase an internal SSD drive, click here to learn more about the best choice of SSD or something with similar features.
  2. Backup. Make sure you have a good backup of your files.
  3. Install SSD. Remove your old hard drive and install the SSD drive.
  4. Install OS. Install Windows from the original installation discs, or from the recovery USB flash drive created from your computer. If these aren’t available, purchase Windows 10 on a USB. [Available on Amazon]
  5. Follow the Windows Setup instructions to complete the process.

Memory. For memory upgrades, Crucial.com has a system scanner that helps find the most compatible memory for your computer. If possible, it’s good to upgrade to the maximum amount of memory possible for your computer.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us.


Using Apple iCloud Email and Alias Addresses

The following is from Apple’s support website as of 22 Feb 2016. It’s being reproduced here for archival purposes, easy reference, centralized searching, and also to be disseminated through our social media and network of followers.


Create or change email aliases

An email alias is an email address that conceals your actual email address from a recipient. You could create an alias to use when buying items from online stores, signing up for mailing lists, and registering online, and reserve your real email address for use with family and friends. In this way, aliases can help you better manage the email you receive and monitor the sources of unwanted messages.

You can also send email using an alias.

You can have up to three active email aliases, and you can delete or turn off an email alias at any time. You might want to turn off an alias if, for example, you use an alias to make a purchase. After you receive the item, you can turn off the alias to avoid follow-up advertisements, then turn it on again when you make another purchase.

Deleting an alias is permanent, so if you think you might want to use the alias again, you should simply turn it off. When an alias is turned off, all email sent to that alias is returned to the sender.

Note: If you had five MobileMe email address aliases when you moved your account to iCloud, you retain the five aliases. However, once you delete one of your five aliases, you can’t create a new one to replace it.

Aliases are not transferable. Only the iCloud account that created the alias can use it as an email address.

You can’t use an alias to sign in to iCloud.com, and you can’t use an alias to create a separate iCloud account.

Create an email alias

  1. In iCloud Mail, click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Click “Add an alias.”
  4. Provide the requested information:
    • Alias: The text you provide becomes the email address (alias@icloud.com). An alias must contain between 3 and 20 characters.
    • Full Name: The name you provide appears in the From field of the recipient’s email.
    • Label: iCloud Mail uses the label to categorize messages sent to your account.
    • Label Color: Messages appear in your Inbox with the colored label that you specify.
  5. Click OK, then click Done.

Change, turn off, turn on, or delete an alias

  1. In iCloud Mail, click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Select the alias in the Addresses list, then do any of the following:
    • To choose a new color for incoming messages, click a Label Color option. Alias labels appear only in the iCloud Mail app on iCloud.com.
    • To change the name or label, enter a new alias name and label in the fields provided. Alias names must contain between 3 and 20 characters.
    • To turn off an alias, select “Disable alias.”

      When an alias is turned off, all email messages addressed to that alias are returned to the sender.

    • To turn on an alias, deselect “Disable alias.”
    • To delete an alias, click Delete.
  4. Click Done.

Select addresses you can send from

  1. In iCloud Mail, click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click Composing.
  3. Click the “Set a default address” pop-up menu, then choose the address you usually use.
  4. In the list of addresses, select the ones you want to be able to send from while using iCloud Mail.

    The selected addresses appear in the From pop-up menu when you create a new email message. For instructions, see Send email using an alias.

Set a default address to send from

If you created aliases or you have an @me.com or @mac.com address in addition to your @icloud.com address, you can choose one to use as the default address when sending mail from your iCloud account.

  • In iCloud Mail, follow the instructions in “Select addresses you can send from,” above.
  • On your iOS 8 device, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > iCloud. In the Advanced section, tap Mail, tap Email, then tap the address you usually want to send from.
  • On your iOS 7 device, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > iCloud > Account. Tap Mail, tap Email, then tap the address you usually want to send from.
  • On your Mac, open Mail, then choose Mail > Preferences. In the Composing pane, click the “Send new messages from” pop-up menu, then choose the address you usually want to send from.
  • On your Windows computer, do one of the following:
    • In Outlook 2010, 2013, or 2016, choose File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings, click the Email tab, select the address you usually want to send from, then click “Set as default.”
    • In Outlook 2007, choose Tools > Account Settings, click the Email tab, select the address you usually want to send from, then click “Set as default.”

Apple ID Two-step Verification

Two-step verification is now available for Apple ID account holders. The information below is an overview from the Apple website. You need to sign-in to see these instruction on the Apple site, which you probably can’t do if you’re having trouble with logging in.

Two-step verification for Apple ID.

With two-step verification, your identity will be verified using one of your devices before you can make changes to your account, sign in to iCloud, or make iTunes or App Store purchases from a new device.

(1) You enter your Apple ID and password as usual.

step 1

(2) We send a verification code to one of your devices.

step 2

(3) You enter the code to verify your identity and complete sign in.

step 3

You will also get a Recovery Key for safekeeping which you can use to access your account if you ever forget your password or lose your device.

Simple and more secure.

Once enabled, the only way to make changes to your account will be to sign in with two-step verification.

  • There will be no security questions for you to remember or for other people to guess.
  • Only you will be able to reset your password.
  • If you forget your password, you can reset it with a trusted device and your Recovery Key.

For more information, read the FAQ.

Important things to remember.

Please make sure you understand the important security policies below before you turn on two-step verification.

  • With two-step verification enabled, you will always need two of the following to manage your Apple ID:
    • Your password
    • A trusted device
    • Your Recovery Key
  • If you forget your password, you will need your Recovery Key and a trusted device to reset it. Apple will not be able to reset your password on your behalf.
  • App-specific passwords will be required to use iCloud with any third party mail, contacts, or calendar apps.

MSI Z87I AC Motherboard Essential Guide


The MSI Z87I AC motherboard has several advantages: it’s small, has plenty of I/O ports, has two Ethernet ports, has integrated video, and comes with powerful wireless capabilities (the AC model includes 802.11ac wireless rather than 802.11n in the Z87I). The information and suggestions on this page are specific to the Z87I AC, but would generally apply to other motherboards.

BIOS Problems

As of October 2014, the motherboards are shipping with version 1.5 of the BIOS that was originally released on 7 January 2014. This is several revisions out of date and has various problems associated with it that are described on this page. The most recent version of the BIOS at this point is version 1.8 released on 18 July 2014. For the most current BIOS, visit the MSI BIOS download page for the MSI Z87I AC.

BIOS Update Instructions

For the reasons described further down on this page, it is essential to update your BIOS. To update your BIOS, follow these instructions.

  1. Visit the MSI BIOS download page for the MSI Z87I AC.
  2. Download the most recent BIOS.
  3. Double-click the file to expand/open it and find the BIOS file. It should have a name like E7851IMS.180 (for version 1.8).
  4. Put that file on a USB flash drive.
  5. Startup your computer and press DEL to enter the BIOS settings mode.
  6. Click on the M-FLASH menu option to view the BIOS flash update menu.
  7. Click on “Select one file to update BIOS and ME.”
  8. Choose your USB flash drive from the list.
  9. Select the file from the list.
  10. Follow the remaining on-screen instructions and watch the computer closely to ensure the process goes smoothly. The computer may automatically restart once the BIOS update is complete.

MSI Z87I AC Restart Problems

With BIOS version 1.5 the computer will shut down properly. However, if you choose the Restart option from within your operating system, or from within the BIOS, it won’t restart. It will just go to a blank screen and not do anything further. This problem is solved by upgrading the BIOS from 1.5 to 1.8.

Won’t Wake on Keyboard Input

Once the computer goes into sleep mode, it won’t wake with keyboard input or mouse activity. This is actually a default setting and can be changed in the BIOS settings. Follow these instructions:

  1. Startup your computer and press DEL to enter the BIOS settings mode.
  2. From the Settings menu, choose Advanced.
  3. Choose Wake Up Event Setup.
  4. Resume from S3 by USB Device is set to Disabled by default. Click this and choose Enabled.
  5. Click the ‘X’ in the upper right corner to Exit the BIOS settings and be given an option to save configuration and restart.

BIOS Clock System Time is Incorrect

You may notice that the BIOS System time appears to be incorrect, and no matter how many times you attempt to reset it, the time is incorrect again. For example, if you’re on Central Daylight Time, you the system time may be five hours ahead. This is actually not an error. Central Daylight Time is UTC -5 hours and the system time is set to display UTC (Universal Time Coordinated or Coordinated Universal Time). So, the time is always automatically setting itself to UTC.

Optimal BIOS Settings

Here are a few settings you may want to set or confirm:

  • Settings > Advanced > Intel Rapid Start Technology. This should be enabled for the fastest startup times.
  • Settings > Advanced > Power Management Setup > Restore after AC Power Loss. Click this and choose Last State or Power On if this is a computer that should be always on. If the power is interrupted, the computer will restart automatically when the power is restored.
  • Settings > Advanced > Windows 8/8.1 Features. This should be enabled if you are running Windows. Otherwise, leave it disabled (if you’re using Linux, for example).
  • Settings > Advanced > Wake Up Event Setup > Resume from S3 by USB Device. You will probably want the ability to wake the computer (or turn the display on from sleep mode) by using the keyboard or a mouse click. This feature is off by default. Click and choose Enabled.

You can learn more by visiting the MSI Z87I AC webpage.


  • Supports 4th Gen Intel® Core™/Pentium®/Celeron® processors for LGA 1150 socket
  • Supports DDR3-3000(OC) Memory
  • USB 3.0 + SATA 6Gb/s
  • Military Class 4: Top Quality & Stability
  • Military Class Essentials: Total Protection for Military Class Motherboards
  • OC Genie 4: Overclock in 1 Second
  • Click BIOS 4: Easily Fine-tune Your System
  • 4K UHD Support: Ultra-high Definition Visual Experience
  • 3 Digital Display Outputs: DisplayPort/HDMI/DVI Support
  • PCI Express Gen 3: World’s 1st PCI Express Gen 3 Motherboard Brand
  • USB Audio Power: A Break Through in USB Audio Quality
  • Command Center: Control & Customize Your PC Settings
  • Fast Boot: Quickly Boot Up & Enter OS in A Few Seconds
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Intel® Wireless Display


Below are photos of the MSI Z87I AC motherboard.

Free Download of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 Evaluation


Office Professional Plus 2013 is the future of productivity. Office Professional Plus 2013 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync.

Click here for instructions on how to obtain the download.

New Setup and/or Transferring Mobile Service from iPhone 5s on AT&T to Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon



These instructions describe the steps involved for setting up a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. This example describes switching from an iPhone 5S on AT&T to a Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon.

Warnings and Considerations

Before making a switch from the Apple iOS ecosystem to the Android ecosystem, it’s important to realize that some things that work fine on iOS are poorly implemented on Android or simply don’t work as expected.

  • 1Password. The 1Password app for password management on iOS allows you to enjoy the security of synchronizing your confidential data through a local secure home/work WiFi network. On Android, WiFi sync isn’t an option. So, you’ll need to put your data out in the cloud where it could become compromised.
  • Calendar. In the iOS world, it’s possible to view multiple color coded calendars in one screen/view. The included Android calendar doesn’t permit this. So, you’ll need a third party app to view multiple calendars side-by-side. However, these third party apps don’t support enterprise calendars such as Microsoft Exchange. So, you’ll need a different app for that. However, that other app doesn’t allow viewing multiple calendars at once. So, you’ll be going back and forth between several calendar programs to make this work. For anyone managing multiple calendars, including Exchange calendars, Android is probably not an option.
    • Note that some smartphone manufacturers like HTC will include calendar software that is better than that included with Samsung, but it’s proprietary and only available on devices from those manufacturers.
  • EMail. There are typically two built-in email clients on Android. One is for Gmail and a separate program is for all other email services. The built-in Gmail client doesn’t have a consolidated email inbox, so you’ll need to switch between your Google accounts to view different account inboxes. The other email client doesn’t support enterprise email, such as Microsoft Exchange. So, you’ll need a third email program and an $8 plug-in to make that work. Functionality is limited. For anyone who manages multiple email accounts, including a Microsoft Exchange email, Android is probably not an option.
    • Note that some smartphone manufacturers like HTC will include email software that is better than that included with Samsung, but it’s proprietary and only available on devices from those manufacturers.
  • Fingerprint Sensor. If you’ve been using the iPhone 5S fingerprint authentication to login, you probably noticed it’s very handy to program in multiple fingerprints and unlock the phone, one-handed, with your left or right hand. With the Samsung, this can’t be done. The fingerprint sensor requires that you hold the phone with one hand, and then fully swipe  your finger across the sensor with the other hand. If you have a case (which you should) it will likely make a smooth swipe of your finger more challenging since the sensor/button is near the edge of the phone where most cases have a raised edge. If you’re someone who wants the convenience of one-hand unlock capability and the security of fingerprint authentication, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is probably not for you.
  • Limited Office Suite. If you’re someone who has been relying on the advanced features of the apple productivity software (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), you will find the Android equivalent (Polaris Office) limiting.
  • Multiple App Stores. If you’re used to purchasing music, movies, books, software, and other digital products primarily from a single provider, you’ll find the Android world a bit different. The Google store for digital products is called Google Play. Other programs can be purchased from the Amazon store or the Samsung store. This means that app management isn’t centralized and could get confusing.
  • Removal of SD Card. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a removable SD card. It would be nice if this were more easily accessible for regularly moving files from the device to a desktop computer (for example). However, to access the SD card, one must snap off the thin (flimsy) back cover of the Galaxy S5. Repeated removal and replacement of the back cover will likely cause it to become less securely attached.
  • Sound. The Samsung phone has a single, small, rear-facing speaker hole. If a finger covers this, the sound is barely audible. Or, this can happen if the device is set flat on a surface or material that might cover the speaker.
  • Water Resistant. There’s a thin gasket that provides “water resistance.” If that gasket isn’t securely seated, the phone won’t be water resistant. As mentioned above, the back cover is quite flimsy and after removing it and replacing it several times it’s likely the gasket won’t serve its purpose as well.

Device Purchase & Service Transfer Process

For the following process you’ll need to have your AT&T account information, including the account passcode which is different than the password. For employee discounts that are offered to some state employees, you’ll need to present an employee ID at Verizon.

  1. Old Voicemail. Once your old phone service with AT&T is cancelled (after porting your phone number to Verizon) you won’t have access to the old voicemail, so be sure to listen to any messages prior to the transfer.
  2. Hardware Purchase Location. Depending on what offers are available, you may find that a Verizon third party agent will have better pricing on devices. In this example, there was a savings of $130 per device when purchasing from Costco ($30 sale on the phone and $100 credit per phone to the Verizon account). You may want to make the initial device purchase at one vendor and then visit the Verizon store if you qualify for a discount that employees of some companies can receive.
  3. Service Transfer. You can request to port (transfer) your old phone number to the new devices and this can be done at any authorized center. However, you’ll need your account security code. This is different than your username and password for accessing your old mobile account. You’ll likely need to provide this information to the Verizon authorized vendor when they transfer your service.
  4. Employer Discount. Employees of some organizations and companies qualify for discounts. You’ll need to visit a Verizon corporate store and present an employee ID card to qualify. Shopping mall kiosks aren’t qualified to assist with this.
  5. Old Phone Rebates. For a 64GB iPhone 5S in good condition, Verizon will pay $350 (as of 21 April 2014). This is a better price than what you might get from Gazelle.com.
  6. Protective Case. The Incipio offering of cases for the Samsung Galaxy S5 are quite good. The DualPro case is a good choice and costs about $30 at a Verizon store. Employees of some companies may qualify for a 25% discount on accessories.
  7. Memory Card. Unlike the Apple iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S5 allows for the use of a microSDXC memory card to store data. This makes it inexpensive and easy to upgrade the storage capacity on the device. The card is inserted under the back case above the batter, on top of the SIM card. This can be done in the store.
  8. Postpone Google Account Setup. When you initially setup the phone, the sales person will likely ask you to provide your Google Account login credentials (email and password) or create a new account. This will be the primary account for all phone information, communications, cloud storage and synchronization. You may want to skip this step initially until you have more time at home.
  9. Postpone Samsung Account Setup. There is an initial request to setup a Samsung account. You can skip this initially and return to it later. This will save time at the store.

Device Setup

Some steps may be more easily performed while at work and when using a WiFi connection.

  1. Connect to WiFi. The setup process will take less time with a faster Internet connection. Also, this will save on your data plan usage.
  2. Setup Device Login Security. To setup device login security, such as configuring a password, swipe your finger from the top of the screen. Touch the gear icon at the top of the screen (for Setup). Scroll about two pages of options to find Fingerprint (under Personal). Under Settings choose Fingerprint Manager. You can register up to three fingerprints. You will need to enter a password as an alternative for when the fingerprint reader doesn’t work. This needs to be at least four characters and include a letter. It can be all letters, but it’s probably best to create a more complicated login. When done, you will return to the Fingerprint Manager and choose Screen lock. Select Fingerprint as the screen lock authentication/login method.
  3. Setup Google Data Account. You can create a new Google account or use an existing one. This will be the primary account for all phone information, communications, cloud storage and synchronization.  From the main screen, swipe your finger from the top and click the gear (for Settings). Scroll down about two pages to find Accounts. Choose to Add an account.
  4. Setup Google Play Account. It’s helpful to have a single Google Play purchase account shared across multiple devices. You can share this account with family or others you trust to have a single app purchase be shared among devices. Use the other Google account (mentioned above) for everything else. This is similar to the Apple iPhone where you can have one user account for the Apple store and another for iCloud data synchronization. When setting up the shared purchase account, provide a purchasing credit card for the Google store. For this account, it’s not necessary to synchronize App Data, Calendar, Contacts, Drive, or Gmail (unless using a shared email account). However, you will want to sync Books, Movies & TV, Newsstand, and People details.
  5. Configure Amazon. An Amazon welcome screen will appear when you swipe your finger from right to left on the home screen. Enter your Amazon account credentials to setup Amazon functionality on the smartphone including a Kindle reader, Amazon Android Apps, Amazon shopping, and Music.
  6. Location Information. On the home screen you will see a message stating, “Tap here to add a city.” Tap on that message. A message will appear giving you an option to click on Settings. Go to Settings and tap on Google Location Reporting. Under your Google account name, Location Reporting will be off by default. Tap on that message and then slide the switch (upper right) from OFF to ON. This is an example where you’d use your primary Google account (for data) with the location reporting, but not use the secondary (purchase) account. Do the same for Location History. Go back to the main Settings > Location screen and choose My Places (under Location Sources) and set your Home and Work locations based on Map data (preferred). Under Mode you can select High accuracy for very accurate location determination. Once finished with these settings, return to the main screen and tap the “Tap here to add a city” message to have your city automatically identified and listed, then choose it.
  7. Device Name. You’ll likely have multiple phone lines on a single plan (such as a family plan). This is the most economical way to get service. With many “Buy one get one free” (BOGO) offers, it’s likely you’ll have identical phones. To make it easier to identify each phone (for installing apps remotely from the Google Play store), go to Settings (swipe down from top of screen and touch gear). Scroll down about four pages to the very bottom of the list and choose About phone. Touch Device name. Change the name of each device to the name of the primary user of that device (or use some other naming method).
  8. Configure Email Program. Android comes with email software for checking your email account(s). However, Gmail and other email accounts will use two different programs, and the included Gmail software can only display one inbox at a time. Those who want a single unified inbox should consider the free My Secure Email software from Mobile Experts with the My Secure Exchange ActiveSync. The cost of the Exchange compatibility module is $8 per Google Play account. If you have two or more devices sharing the same Google Play purchasing account, the cost is still just $8.
  9. Configure Calendar Software. The included Android calendar software is adequate, but most people will want more advanced capabilities. SolCalendar by SolStudio at Daum is a good choice.
  10. Disable System Sounds. The activity sounds are fun for the first hour or two, but eventually you’ll most likely want to turn them off. Go to Settings > Sound (under Device), Sound Mode, and choose Mute.
  11. Setup Samsung Account. You’ll want to setup a Samsung account for access to advanced features like Find my Phone.

Samsung/Android Features & Advantages

Samsung devices using the Android platform offer some features and advantages over the Apple iOS iPhone. Here are a few.

  • Big Screen. Samsung smartphones offer much bigger screens than what Apple currently offers on iPhone devices.
  • Clear Display. Samsung devices are known for their very colorful, bright, and clear displays.
  • Keyboard. The displayed keyboard shows a full five rows of keys including the numbers and letters (alpha-numeric) options you’d find on a normal keyboard.  On the iPhone it’s necessary to switch between keyboards to access numbers and letters.
  • Operating System. The Android operating system has a lot in common with a desktop computer operating system. In fact, some of the Samsung devices can use a small dock that turns a smartphone into a desktop computer alternative with keyboard, mouse, USB ports, and a large computer display.
  • Removable Battery. Having a removable battery is a nice feature for anyone planning to be away from power for an extended period of time (such as hiking).
  • Removable Memory. Like larger computers, the Samsung Galaxy S5 allows for memory to be removed and easily upgraded.
  • Water Resistant. The Galaxy S5 is designed to be water resistant.  However, care should be given to make sure the USB port remains covered, and the rear cover gasket of the phone needs to be well sealed.

Impact of Changing Service Providers

  • Text Notifications. When you switch service providers, a cancellation message will be sent to the companies that you’ve requested text notifications from. So, for example, text alerts from  your bank will no longer come through. You’ll need to reestablish those subscriptions.