How do I change the default program in Windows

Good question. Windows 10 will automatically assign a default app (application or program) to open a particular type of file. It is possible to change this. In this example we shall change the default setting for an Open Document spreadsheet to be opened in Open Office instead of Microsoft Excel.

First, open File Explorer to find the file you wish to open.

Right Click on the file name and then select “Open with” from the drop-down menu

Another dialog box is displayed showing the apps that can open this kind of file.

If this is a one-off change and the app is listed, then select the app from the list. Your file will now be opened in your selected app.

However, if this is a permanent change (or your app is not displayed), then select Choose another app

The “Choose another app” dialog box will open.

If the app you always wish to use with this file is shown then

  1. Tick the Always Use this app box.
  2. Select the app from the list
  3. Then click OK.

Your new preferred app will be saved and will now open your file.

What if your preferred app is not displayed?

Click on More Apps

And more apps will be displayed



A quick guide to Remote Assistance on Windows 10

Margot’s IT Support can offer remote support using the Zoho plugin. This is a small piece of software that is installed on your PC or laptop. Theses instructions are for users with Windows 10.

What is remote support?

Remote support software enables a software engineer to access your computer remotely over the internet, thus cutting out household visits. Margot’s IT Support uses the Zoho support assistant plugin which needs to be installed on your PC. At any point in the support session, you can terminate the connection. It can seem a little weird at first, when it seems that an invisible hand is typing on your keyboard or controlling your mouse.

What is involved

Before you install the plugin, watch the YouTube videos listed below.

  1. Download and install the Zoho plugin –
  2. Contact Margot’s IT Support when installed to arrange a suitable time for a support session.
  3. You will receive an email with a 9 digit session ID.
  4. We will talk to you ever the phone or via a Zoom call during the support session.
  5. Start the Zoho Assist plugin that you have installed and enter the session ID.
  6. At the end of the session, you can stop the connection.
  7. At no point will we ask for any bank details or credit card details.
  8. Any payment can be made via PayPal after the support session following the link on the invoice.

Useful videos

Installing the plugin

Requesting a support session

Introduction to Windows 10


Useful Windows 10 Guides

This one is How to Use Windows 10. It is rather long, with lots of subheadings

Some useful videos on YouTube

This one is a very useful guide. It is 27 minutes long.

Windows 10 Books

There are times when only a book will do. These are some simple guides – don’t worry if they are aimed at “Seniors”, these guides are useful for people of all ages.

Black Dog Media (BDM)

The BDM guide books are often sold in supermarkets or in W H Smiths.

Alternatively, you can buy the guide books directly from BDM Publications

If you want a “soft” copy, so you can read it on your computer, tablet or phone, look at PC Mags.

PC Magazines Online Subscriptions | Pocketmags

Buying a new laptop

Sadly, laptops do not last forever and do need to be replaced. But before your laptop dies, back up all your data to make the transfer to a new laptop as seamless as possible.

Screen Size: What will you be using your laptop for, and where will you be using it? If the laptop will sit on a desk all the time, portability is not a problem, so look for a 15.6 in screen or even a 17in screen. But beware, the 17in laptop is a large beast, and not very portable. If you are on the move, then the smaller and lighter, the better. Look out for good battery life.

Other features:

  1. Touch screen
  2. DVD drive

In 2021, 4GB of RAM is the minimum requirement, 8GB of RAM is much better.

What can I buy for under £500?

The golden age of tech buying, when every year, computers got cheaper and more powerful is now over, and prices do seem to be on the rise. However, there are some bargains to be found. It is worth doing your homework to work out what you really need. The following links may help with your research:


This is a good budget choice if all you require is web browsing and emails. Will also be useful for Zoom calls or if you require a laptop to supplement your main (desktop) computer.

If you have Office 365, then you can use the Office 365 apps (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc) on the Chrome book.

Pro: Much cheaper than a Windows laptop. Reliable and very secure. Great for accessing online services.

Against: No storage for files and photos. Most of your data will be held in cloud storage. No DVD (optical drive). Will not run Windows apps and programs.

Windows 10 laptop

More expensive than a Chromebook. A few models still have a DVD drive, but most do not. Can be used to store photos and other documents.

Pro: Storage, useful for your photo archive. Supports Microsoft Office. Android smartphone can be linked to laptop. Wide range of software can be supported.

Against: Lower spec laptops can be slow. Windows Update can sometimes cause problems.

Minimum requirements for a Windows laptop.

Buying a new windows laptop can sometimes seem a very daunting prospect and laptops vary considerably in price.

Memory: 4GB of RAM if all you want to do is a little browsing and read some emails. But if you want to do a bit more than this, perhaps edit some photos, open a few spreadsheets, got for 8GB of RAM

Processor: AMD Ryzen processors are fast, powerful and cheaper than a similar Intel processor, otherwise look for an Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor. The Intel Celeron or Pentium processors will be much slower.

Disk: These days, most laptops have a fast solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a disk that rotates. The SSD will make your laptop much faster. But capacity may well be a problem. Look for at least 256GB, or better still, 500GB. If you want masses of storage, look for a conventional HDD with 1TB (or more).


If you have an Apple phone and an iPad, you may prefer to have a Macbook, which will allow seamless integration between all your Apple devices.

Pro: Beautiful and functional.

Against: Much more expensive than a Windows laptop.

Laptop suppliers

Bricks and mortar shops

There is nothing quite like seeing what you are buying. You may find that you do not need such a large screen or conversely, you would prefer a larger screen.

  • John Lewis in Kingston
  • Currys PC World

On line suppliers

  • Direct from the manufacturer, many manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Lenovo sell direct.
  • Ebuyer
  • AO
  • Argos
  • Amazon

The rules of Computing (how to keep your data)

Schofield’s Laws of computing


Schofield’s laws of computing are about your data. Your data is often a record of your life and your family’s life and is worth far more to you than any computer.

Schofield’s First Law of Computing states that you should never put data into a program unless you can see exactly how to get it out.

Make sure you know how to get at your old photos and other data stored on old devices. When you get a new computer or phone, make sure your move your data. Beware of obsolescence. If your family archives are stored on floppy disks, or even DVDs, you may struggle to access them. Be prepared to migrated your archives when you buy a new computer.


Schofield’s Second Law of Computing states that data doesn’t really exist unless you have at least two copies of it.

Always back up your data. It is so easy to lose a precious archive, either by deleting it accidentally, or by equipment failure. Data backup can also include a cloud solution.

If you upload everything to a cloud provider (GDrive, One Drive, iDrive etc.) make sure that you do keep a copy of your data in the real world, and that you back up your data regularly.

Schofield’s Third Law of Computing states that the easier it is for you to access your data, the easier it is for someone else to access your data.

Obviously, military grade security may be over the top for a computer that only you use but bear in mind that a list of passwords can be extracted from some computers, especially older machines.

Remembering passwords is a pain. If necessary, make a note of the key passwords in a book (not on a yellow post-it note stuck to the computer screen) and store safely (perhaps in a safe). Online thieves are not going to find your notebook hidden behind the cookery books. This is especially important if you are using encrypted storage, for your password is the encryption key. Loose this and you will not be able to access your data.

Jack Schofield was the editor of the Guardian computer column, Ask Jack and wrote extensively about computer issues for several years. Sadly, Jack died in March 2020, but his voice lives on in his work which can still be accessed: Ask Jack | Technology | The Guardian

Cloud storage

What is cloud storage?



What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is basically data storage on someone’s server which you have access to. This storage can be free or paid for. The advantages of cloud storage are that you can access your data from anywhere (providing you know your username and password). This can also be useful if you use a desktop computer at home and a laptop, or you want to upload your photos from your phone.

Do I need cloud storage?

If you can answer YES to one or more of these questions, then you will need cloud storage

  • Do you have a Chromebook?
  • Do you have Windows laptop with a small hard drive?
  • Do you want to access your documents on several devices (desktop, laptop, phone, tablet)?
  • Do you want to automatically upload photos from your phone, rather than plugging your phone into your computer?
  • Do you want offsite backup for your data?

Who provides cloud storage?

There are several providers of cloud storage, some provide a free offering, but if your want to store a serious amount of data, you will need to pay a subscription to use the service. This is often when you want to store/backup photos and videos.


Free data





2TB for £7.99 per month

Sign up for a basic account:

Integrates well will Apple devices, Android, Windows PCs, Chromebook

Onedrive (Microsoft)


1TB for £5.99 per month

100GB for £1.99 per month

The paid for version also includes Office 365 which can be installed on several devices.

Pricing: Compare OneDrive Cloud Storage Plans | OneDrive Pricing (




2TB for £7.99 per month

100GB for £1.59 per month

To access this, you will need a Gmail address

Pricing : Plans – Google One

Sign up for a Google account:




50 GB£0.79
200 GB: £2.49
2 TB: £6.99

Great solution if you have Apple devices. The %GB storage comes when you sign up for an Apple account, and you will be give an option to subscribe to extra storage when necessary.

Note: there are other cloud storage solutions available. Some broadband providers offer cloud storage, but bear in mind that when you change supplier, you will have a lot of data to move.


Remote help using Zoho Assist

Margot’s IT Support offers remote assistance using ZoHo Assist, so no visit is necessary. All you have to do is go to and enter the session number you have been sent.

When you do this, you will be asked to download the software for the remote session (this will be removed at the end of the session). You can terminate the session at any time.


A working internet connection

A PC or laptop running Windows (preferably Windows 10, but older versions of Windows are supported) or Mac OS (10.9 or later).

How does it work?

Have a Mac? (380) How to Join a Remote Session using Zoho Assist (macOS) – YouTube

When you arrange a Remote Support session with Margot’s IT Support, you will be given a 9 digit session number (normally this will be sent in an email or by a text message). The session is usually arranged over the phone.

When you have this number, open your browser and go to

Enter the session number and your name, and click JOIN SESSION

The next screen asks you to download the ZoHo Assist software so you can join the session.

Click on “Download”.

Click Keep (or Save, depending on your browser)

When the software is downloaded, double click on ZA_Connect.exe

When you do this, Windows Security will ask if you really want to install this software

Select YES

Next, if you are using Windows 10, this screen may be displayed. This is a security check from Microsoft so you are in control of the software installed on your computer.

Click on Install anyway

The ZoHo Assist app will now install.

Almost there, you session will be started

And the ZoHo Assist box will appear in the bottom right hand corner of your screen

Your remote support session is now running.

If you wish to close the session click on the x on the control box

iPad for newbies

So, you have a new iPad, perhaps it is a gift. And now, you are wondering just what you are supposed to do with it.

Here are some videos which may help you to get started.

First of all, not sure how to turn it on, or how to control the volume? Then this video is for you:

iPad Tutorial

Tutorial 1:

Tutorial 2:

Tutorial 3:

Tutorial 4:



Andoid Phone or iPhone for newbies

OK, so have an Android phone, or an iPhone but you are not sure how to use it. Or you need to set up WiFi, and no-one showed you how to do this in the shop. Maybe you have had a phone for years that only did text and phone calls, but now you have upgraded and it is all different. Don’t worry, you are not alone. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it will take time and practice to get to grips with the new technology.

So here are a carefully curated set of links for novices. These will open in YouTube, because it is better to see someone using the phone. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth at least 10,000.

Android Phone (anything but an iPhone)

ConsumerCellular have a collection of videos which can be viewed online. The videos support a wide range of Android phones, so are a useful resource. These videos begin at the beginning, how to turn the phone on, set up the phone, connect to Wi-Fi etc.

If you do not see your phone, don’t worry. What changes are the buttons and the camera, the basic screen stays the same. Look for a phone which seems similar to your phone. The topics that are covered are:

  • Overview and Tour – The outside of the phone, how to charge it and turn it on
  • Getting Started
  • Making and receiving calls
  • Sending texts
  • Using email and the internet
  • Using the camera
  • Inserting and removing the Sim card, battery and SD card
  • Voicemail

There are some other videos which apply to all phones, such as managing Wi-Fi settings or Managing Apps. So is three is something not listed for your particular phone, try looking at the videos for another phone. The Samsung Galaxy J3 has a large number of videos and can be found here:


If you are struggling with an iPhone or an iPad (or you have a relative who is struggling) these videos may be useful

The outside of the iPhone (ports, switches etc)

This is useful for someone who has an iPad or an iPhone:

And this is an introduction to the iPad:

My iPad will not support the latest iOS

Apple does not support older models of iPad indefinitely. When support stops, there will be no more security updates. Some apps will work indefinitely. But other apps may well stop working, and even disappear from your iPad.

iPads last a long time, especially if well cared for, so the answer to “Can I keep using my out of date iPad?” is “It depends”

  • Do you use your iPad in coffee shops, on the train or in other public places connecting to wi-fi?
  • Do you use your iPad for financial transactions? Or Internet banking?
  • Do you use your iPad to run your business, accessing sensitive customer data?
  • Have your favourite apps stopped working because they are no longer supported?
  • Do your favourite apps keep crashing?

If the answer to these questions is “Yes”, then it may be time to swap your old iPad for a new iPad.

Each release of iOS addresses various security concerns, so theoretically, the more recent the iOS, the more secure it is.

What iOS is running on your iPad?

To find out more about your iPad, see Find my iOS