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Getting Along With Your Computer

Dear Microsoft: Huh?

I try to keep up on what’s happening in the world of computers, but every so often something surprises me. Have you encountered any of these situations? Do you have any suggestions for me?


Closing an app in Windows 8.1 is different than in Windows 8

In previous versions of Windows, you closed a program by clicking a red X in the program’s upper right-hand corner. In Windows 8, you still close programs that way, but besides programs, Windows 8 has “apps” that take up a full screen. One of the first things people ask me when they see Windows 8 is how to close those apps.

Move your cursor to the top of the screen (or if you have a touch screen, put your finger at the top of it) until you see the cursor morph from the familiar arrow shape to a little hand. Click and hold the left mouse button and drag down the screen. (Just drag with your finger on a touch screen.) As you do this you’ll notice the app turn into a smaller version of itself. Keep dragging this to the bottom of the screen and when you get there, release your mouse button (or lift your finger on a touch screen). That closes the app.

Well, that closes the app in Windows 8. But if you have Windows 8.1, that DOESN’T close the app. Instead, you need to do everything you did, but now you DON’T release it. If you release it, the app still runs in the background. In Windows 8.1, you have to kind of hold the app there until you notice it rotating. Eventually, the app displays its logo. NOW you can release it and the app will close.

Honestly, Microsoft. Why don’t you just hit your customers over the head with sticks? It would be less painful.

Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 has problems

Microsoft rolled out Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 to much fanfare. Then, they rolled it out for Windows 7 and the question I am most often asked is how to fix it.

Some of the problems my customers have encountered, and how I “fixed” them:

  • YouTube videos won’t play; they just freeze after a couple of seconds.

This doesn’t appear to be fixable. I installed Firefox, set the home page for YouTube and left Internet Explorer as the default browser for everything else. That’s not a fix. That’s a workaround. The customer is waiting for a “fix” from Microsoft.

  • Fonts are blurry.

Sometimes using Compatibility View fixes this. (Instructions for Compatibility View are here: But sometimes even that doesn’t work. Here is a Microsoft article that shows you the steps to solve the problem:

  • Some websites complain that Internet Explorer 11 isn’t good enough.

At least a dozen people have either written or phoned to say that they get a weird message about Internet Explorer 11 not being the latest version. I haven’t found a fix for that. My best advice is to use a different browser, for instance Firefox. ((

  • Adobe FlashPlayer doesn’t work

For a couple of weeks, Adobe Flash player wouldn’t update because IE 11 doesn’t require it, but it would complain that it needed to update. Adobe and Microsoft each claimed the other was at fault, but eventually one or both updated something and the problem seems to have disappeared.

If you must use Internet Explorer, my recommendation is that unless you actually need or want or Internet Explorer 11, hold off on installing it for now. If it already installed itself as part of Windows Update, you can roll it back to whatever the previous version of Internet Explorer was on your machine.

If you don’t already have it, you can stop Windows Update from installing IE 11 by using the Blocker Toolkit released by Microsoft. Get it here:

If you have Windows 7 and IE 11 was installed, you can roll back. If you have Windows 8 or 8.1, you can’t really uninstall it, but you can disable it…sort of. For all three versions of Windows follow the instructions here: Vista and earlier versions of Windows will not be offered Internet Explorer 11,

Consider using a different browser like the excellent Firefox ( or the oddly popular Chrome ( Or wait for Microsoft to roll out a fix for everything.

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna ( a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

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About the author...

Cate Eales has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible and fun for over 20 years. She lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Sandy. Cate is a partner in Computer Care Kelowna, helping individuals and small businesses with virus, spyware and malware eradication; personal computer training and management; digital image management; music transfer; and website design, hosting and management.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions website at


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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