The mysterious "Cloud"

Pittsburgh Tech Guy

Phone: 412-256-8674


Skype: pghtechguy on Skype


How to Backup your computer online for free

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Tech Guy!  Your local source for good, dependable technical support and information!  Keep up with the latest Tech news here!

Remember, all home computer analysis are free!

Entries by Thom McClain (1309)


Ultimate Online Privacy Guide and Other great links

I get many emails from other sites wanting me to give a "shout out" to their websites, particularly when the information is directly related to pages on here.  So after some vetting, here are some good resources:


Ultimate Online Privacy Guide


Best Wireless Routers - 2019


Six Internet Safety Games to make your Kids Cyber Smart


Apps to Monitor Your Child's Internet Mobile Use


Identifying CyberBullies and how to help


Social Media Tips for Parents for your Kids


So you want to fly a drone legally in  2019?


How to open multiple files at once on Windows 10

You can set any number of apps to run when you boot your system and with just a little work, you can also set a file to open at start up. If you need several apps and files to open, but want to manually trigger when they do instead of letting the start up event trigger it, you can use Open Multiple Files to get the job.

Open Multiple Files lets you create multiple lists of files, folders, as well as URLs to open in one go. The URLs are opened in your default browser.

Open multiple files at once

Download, install, and run Open Multiple Files. The UI is pretty simple to understand. Click the Add button and select what you want to add; files, folders, or URLs. You can, of course, select multiple files at once from a single folder, and likewise, add multiple URLs and multiple folders in one go.

There is no restriction to what type of files you can add so if you add a shortcut to an app, or the EXE of app to Open Multiple Files, it will open them all. While we haven’t tested it with a script, you can probably run those with this app as well.

Once the items have been added, you can add a delay in the ‘Wait’ field. The delay is in milliseconds and comes into effect when you click the Open Multiple Files button.

he point of the app is to help users open multiple files and folders for a specific project that you’re working on. That’s why it lets you export your list and load it whenever you need to. After you create the list, go to File>Save list into file.

Use the app to create as many lists as you need for your various projects. Any time you need to load a list, go to File>Load list from file.

This is a pretty good way to get started on your project every day but you should know that opening multiple files at once might slow your system down momentarily. If it’s a particularly old computer, it may just freeze up. That’s not to say this app will render your system useless. It all depends on how capable your system is.

If you know you’re opening files that require a resource intensive app, you can open the app first and then open the files after. Since Open Multiple Files lets you create multiple lists, you can try creating separate lists of apps and files and run them one after the other.


How to keep the Start Menu open when opening apps on Windows 10

The Start Menu has two different views that you can open apps from; the apps’ list, and the pinned tiles of apps that you frequently use. In both cases, when you click on an app, the app opens and the Start Menu closes automatically because it assumes you only wanted to open that one app. If you want to open multiple apps, you can keep the Start Menu open by pressing and holding the Windows key.

Keep Start Menu open

This is a simple enough trick that works in both the apps’ list view and the pinned tiles view. It’s not very well known because Microsoft has changed the keyboard shortcut that was used to keep Start Menu open. On older versions of Windows i.e. on Windows 7, holding down the Shift key did the trick. On Windows 10, it’s the Windows key on your keyboard.

When you open apps this way, they appear to open in the ‘background’ which basically means the windows are never forced into focus. The Start Menu is always in focus and you can continue to click tiles, and/or browse the apps’ list.

To be clear, you need to tap the Windows key once, and then release it. The Start Menu will not open until you release the Windows key. Once the Start Menu is open, you have to press and hold the Windows key and then click the tiles or apps in the list to open them and also keep the Start Menu open.

If you want the Start Menu to remain open without holding down the Windows key there is, unfortunately, no way to get it to do that. The Action Center can be kept open until you manually dismiss it by editing the Windows registry but there’s no such hack that works for the Start Menu.

You can look into apps that modify the Start Menu and perhaps one of them will do the trick. You do want to take into consideration if something this small is worth running an entire app over. The full screen version of the Start Menu acts the same way i.e., it will automatically close when you click on a tile or app. If you want to keep it open and have apps open in the background, you’re going to have to hold down the Windows key.

This isn’t a change in functionality. The Start Menu always automatically dismissed after a user clicked an item on it. The only change is how it’s kept open.


How to Download Your Google+ Data Before it Gets Deleted

After years of trying to edge its way into social networking (remember Google Buzz?), Google is throwing in the towel and will shut down the consumer version of Google+ in April.

Google admits that adoption was weak; "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds," a VP said last year. But the impetus for this year's shutdown was a security breach that exposed the private data of thousands of Google+ users. At first, Google planned to shut down Google+ in August 2019, but when another breach was uncovered, that date was moved up to April 2.

As a result, Google+ users now have less than two months to save their data before the platform goes dark for consumers. If you want to preserve your Google+ posts, comments, and media, here's how.

  • Go to Google Takeout

    Takeout is a repository of all the data Google has stored about your account, from Google Drive and Google Photos to YouTube and Hangouts. You'll also find your Google+ data here.

    Get started by navigating to; if you're not already logged in, sign in with the account associated with the Google+ profile in question.

    You will see a list of all the Google products associated with your account and by default, everything will be selected. To make things easier, click "Select None" up top, which will de-select everything.

  • Choose Your Data

    Now, scroll down to find Google+. You will notice there is no single option for Google+ user data. Instead, there are several different pieces of information available for download: Google+ +1s on websites (your +1 recommendations); Google+ Circles (your contacts); Google+ Communities (your community data); Google+ Stream (all your posts); and Profile (your profile data).

    This data is delivered in various formats. Your +1s will only be available in HTML, while your Profile data can only be attained in JSON. Meanwhile, you can choose between vCard, JSON, CSV, and HTML for Circles data. You can also choose specific Communities or Stream data to download, and select between JSON or HTML.

    Click everything you want to download, scroll to the bottom, and click Next.

  • Select an Archive Format

    Now you decide how to format all this information. First choose whether the files should come to you as a .zip or .tgz file.

    Then choose the size of the archive folders. Options include 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 10GB, and 50GB. If your files are larger than your selected file size, Google will split them into separate folders. And anything over 2GB will be compressed into zip64 files.

    Finally, decide how you want to receive a download link. Google can email it to you or add your files to cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box.

  • Download Your Data

    Once you hit Create Archive at the bottom of the page, the information you selected for download will be gathered up and sent according to your specifications. Depending on how much data you requested, your files could arrive within a few minutes or take a few days, according to Google. I barely used Google+ over the years, so my data hit my inbox in less than a minute.

Opera's free VPN is back! Here's how to get it on your Android phone

When Opera announced that it was shutting down its VPN app for iOS and Android last year, it appeared as though it was gone forever. In fact, Opera directed users toward SurfEasy Total VPN with deep discounts on subscription plans. Apparently, Opera thought better of that idea, because it’s bringing its VPN back.

There are a few caveats though. For one, it’s still in beta mode. For another, it’s only available within the full Opera browser (not Opera Mini) on Android phones. But otherwise, it’s just as free, unlimited, and easy to use as the standalone app that was shuttered in April. And it’s basically just like the desktop version expect on your phone.

To try it out, you’ll need to download the Opera browser beta, which is separate from the Opera browser. Once you install it on your phone, tap the “O” icon ion the bottom right corner of the screen, tap Settings, and flip the VPN toggle from Disabled to Enabled. Inside the VPN tab there are a couple of options for limiting VPN to private tabs, choosing a virtual location, and bypassing it for search engines, as well as a snapshot of how much data has been transferred, but mostly it offers automatic protection with virtually no fuss. You don’t even need to sign in to an Opera account to start using it.

The VPN functions as expected. When enabled, it replaces your IP address with a virtual one to make it more difficult for websites to track you. It also is a “no-log service,” Opera promises it won’t collect any information routed through its servers.

It’s unclear how long the VPN will stay in beta, but Opera says tests will continue “for some time.” Also unclear is whether Opera will offer a paid subscription tier like before, which promised faster speeds and more regions.

Why this matters: In the age of data leaks and ad tracking, a VPN can be an excellent line of defense against bad actors and unscrupulous sites. Opera’s VPN might not be as full-featured or versatile as some other VPN’s, but it’s hard to beat its simplicity and ease of use. Check out PCWorld's roundup of the best VPNs for a deeper look at the category.


Microsoft Really Wants Internet Explorer to Die

Still using Microsoft's Internet Explorer as your default browser? Change is good, and in this case, necessary.

In a Wednesday blog post, Microsoft Windows Principal Architect Chris Jackson urged companies to migrate to modern browsers instead of using IE as their default.

"You see, Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution," Jackson wrote. "We're not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren't testing for Internet Explorer these days. They're testing on modern browsers."

Jackson said he sometimes, even to this day, receives queries from enterprise customers about how to ensure all web traffic goes to IE. If most of your sites were originally designed for IE, it might seem easier to use it by default, he acknowledged. But in 2019, that's not a good decision.

"If we continued our previous approach, you would end up in a scenario where, by optimizing for the things you have, you end up not being able to use new apps as they come out," he wrote. "As new apps are coming out with greater frequency, what we want to help you do is avoid having to miss out on a progressively larger portion of the web!"

In the comment section, Jackson clarified that he's not telling people to never use IE—just "don't use it for everything." As for which browser you should use, Jackson said that's up to you.

"I'm not here to enforce any browser on anyone," he wrote (Microsoft lawyers likely thank him for that). "Windows gives you a choice in your browser, and you should choose the one that best meets your needs."

Microsoft Edge earned an "excellent" rating in PCMag's review for its fast browsing experience, simple interface, reading mode, and more. For more, check out our roundup of the best web browsers.