Facebook tips

Are you new to Facebook? Are you an experienced Facebook user?

Love it or hate it, Facebook has its quirks.

Here are a few tips that will make Facebook better. Or at least less annoying.

How to download Facebook photos

Lots of people ask me this. It’s easy once you know how.

  • Open Facebook and find a photo you’d like to have on your own computer.
  • Click on the photo
  • On the bottom edge of the photo, click on Options
  • Click on Download
  • Click on Save… and allow the photo to finish downloading
  • Go back to your computer and open the Downloads folder. Find the picture there. It will be named with just a random-looking string of numbers
  • Move the photo to a folder in your Pictures folder

From there, you’ll be able to view and edit the picture in the photo program of your choice.

I made a screen cast that shows the steps in more detail. It’s an old screen cast on an old version of Windows, but you can easily apply those steps to your more modern version of Windows.

You’ll find the video here

How to find videos you’ve already watched on Facebook

Have you ever enjoyed a video on Facebook and then been unable to locate it later? Me too. Sometimes months later. Sometimes later that same day. It turns out there’s an easy way to find these things.

  • Open Facebook to your page and click the downward pointing arrow in the top right corner
  • Click on Activity Log
  • Find the section with Photos, Likes, and Comments
  • Click on More
  • Click on Videos Watched

From here, you can go backward in time to find the video you want. You can also search for it by clicking the spyglass icon and typing in something informative.

When you find it, simply click on it to watch the video again.

You can remove any video from your search history by clicking on the pen icon next to it, or you can clear your entire video viewing history from the link at the top.

How to watch Facebook videos while your looking at other things on Facebook

Facebook lets you pin a video to the upper left corner of your News Feed page while you continue to scroll through your News Feed. 

  • Open Facebook and find some video in your feed, or locate one from your past!
  • Hover your mouse cursor over the lower part of the video window, and click on the square icon that says Continue watching while you use Facebook

You’ll get a small window with the video playing in it at the top left of your Facebook. Put your cursor near the top of that window to close it or to drag it somewhere else if you don’t like it on the top left. 

How to turn off auto play for Facebook videos

Again, an older screen cast, but the procedure is the same.

Do you use Facebook? Do you need help securing it? Would you like to have more control over Facebook’s notifications? I can help.

Email [email protected] with your questions or phone for an appointment.

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

Too much OneDrive

If you’ve received an email from Microsoft informing you you’re over your OneDrive Storage Limit, your first question was probably, “How did that happen?”

I can probably answer that, and I can certainly show you how to fix it.

First things first

Maybe your first question was, “What is OneDrive?”

OneDrive is Microsoft’s secure cloud storage service. If you have Windows 10, Office 365, or Office 2016/2013, you have OneDrive. As Microsoft says:

OneDrive is pre-installed on Windows 10, enabling your documents and photos to be saved to OneDrive automatically.

That’s the good news and the bad news all rolled into OneDrive.

You receive storage space in the OneDrive cloud for free. It’s not unlimited storage space, however. So, if you’ve received an email about running out of storage, you can either buy more OneDrive Storage to solve the problem, or you can rearrange things so that most of your files are stored on your PC.

If you just want to buy more storage, click on the link in that email. Microsoft makes it pretty easy to buy more Microsoft stuff!

If you want to solve the problem another way, read on.

Where are you saving your documents and pictures?

You might not have realized Windows 10 and modern versions of Microsoft Office are set up to save documents and pictures to OneDrive by default.

That’s useful if you’re using a tablet or laptop with limited storage. That’s also useful if you intend to save a document somewhere available to you when you’re not sitting in front of your computer.

Some people want to store things only on their computer. Others want to do that most of the time but not all the time. Microsoft gives us a choice. I’ll show you how to tell Windows and Office where YOU want things saved.

Start by telling Windows where you want to save your stuff all or most of the time. This is the Default Save Location.

  • Click on Start | Settings | System | Storage
  • Look for Save Locations and change to This PC

If you’re running Windows 10 Creators Update, the path is slightly different:

  • Click on Start | Settings | System | Storage | Change where new content is saved
  • Make changes in whatever categories you want to This PC

Anything new will be saved to the locations you specified. If you have files on your OneDrive that you want on your PC instead, you’ll need to move them from OneDrive to your new location. (If you have stuff saved to OneDrive that you don’t need to keep at all, delete them from OneDrive and empty the OneDrive Recycle Bin.)

Make sure Office knows what you want

Office 365/Office 2016/Office 2013 try to use OneDrive as the default save location. We want Office and Windows both to be clear where YOU want things. Check the settings in Word to see if they match up with your intentions, and adjust as necessary.

  • Open a Word document or create a new one. 
  • Click on File | Options | Save
  • Make sure there is a check mark in the box for Save to computer by default

It’s worth repeating the process for Excel and PowerPoint to make sure those settings agree.

One more place to check

Finally, make sure OneDrive is on board with this process. 

  • Right-click on the OneDrive icon in the Taskbar (You might need to click on the ^ to display the OneDrive icon. It looks like a cloud)
  • Click on Settings | Autosave
  • Check or change the settings to This PC Only
  • Click OK

But what if I want to save to OneDrive? Do I have to go through that every time?

Absolutely not. You can save wherever you want!

What we’ve done is tell everybody we want to save to the computer MOST OF THE TIME. You can save your stuff to OneDrive any time you like (if you have space there) by choosing Save As when you’re ready to save a file, and then navigating to the appropriate folder on your OneDrive.

Not every computer or person using a computer is the same. When I’m in my office, 99 per cent of the time I want to save what I’m doing to the computer.

So, my default save location for everything is my PC. But when I use the laptop that I take with me to customers, I rarely want to save anything to that computer. The default location there is OneDrive. 

How about you? Are you using OneDrive? Did you realize you were using OneDrive?

Turn off Microsoft ads

Years ago, I worked for a long-distance phone company. Every month, it sent each of us a copy of the company newsletter, complete with ads for our own company’s long distance service. I found this confusing.

Microsoft must have taken a page from the same book as it sprints toward market domination. I’m using Microsoft Windows 10. Why am I getting ads for Microsoft Windows 10 “features”?

At least we can turn off (most of) the ads.

Wait. Now, there are ads in File Explorer?

One day, I clicked on the little folder icon in my Taskbar to open File Explorer. My intention was to look in my Columns folder for a screen shot I’d saved there. Pretty routine task, but I noticed …. What the heck is this? … an ad for OneDrive right at the top of my File Explorer.

C’mon, Microsoft. Is that really necessary?

Here’s how to suppress those ads.

  • Open File Explorer (Click on the shortcut on the Taskbar – or – Press WinKey + E – or – Search Cortana)
  • Click on the View tab
  • Click on the View tab (yes, again, but this is in another window)
  • Scroll down to Show sync provider notifications
  • Clear the check box
  • OK your way out

That removes the File Explorer ads until Microsoft figures out another way to throw them at us.

What about those ads on my Lock Screen?

We can kill those too.

  • Open Settings (Right-click on Start | Settings – or – Press WinKey + I)
  • Click on Personalization | Lock screen
  • In the Background box, if you have Picture or Slideshow selected, you can turn off the ads by moving the slider under Get fun facts, tips, tricks and more on your lock screen to Off. If you have Windows spotlight selected, you don’t have that choice, and you’re going to get ads.

Are those ads in the Start Menu?

Technically not ads, but still annoying: Those flashing tiles for games from the Microsoft Store. Are you kidding me?

Turn off your Start Menu “purchase opportunities” as follows:

  • Click on Start | Settings | Personalization| Start
  • Slide the switch for Occasionally show suggestions in Start to Off.

What we need from Microsoft is a setting for Turn that off and LEAVE it off. I’ve noticed those Start Menu apps sometimes return after a major upgrade.

Oh, for crying out loud. Ads for Microsoft Edge in my Firefox or Chrome browsers?

It’s annoying enough that Microsoft serves us ads in Microsoft spaces like File Explorer and the Lock Screen on Windows 10. Now, they’re putting ads for the Edge browser in competing browsers.

Sometimes the ads are at the top of a window, sometimes at the bottom. Clicking on No thanks or on the X makes them go away temporarily, but I’ve noticed that they come right back.

If anyone knows how to stop it permanently (without switching to Edge!) please share.

What would you like to turn off in Windows 10? Have you found a way to do it?

Send email to [email protected] and I’ll share in a future column.


Inbox Almost Zero

While I’m not a believer in Inbox Zero, I am also not a believer in Inbox 8,248. 

Somewhere in between there will be a comfortable, productive zone for you, and I’d like to help you get there.

Inbox Zero isn’t what you probably think it is

When Merlin Mann introduced the concept of Inbox Zero, he didn’t mean the goal is zero messages in your Inbox.

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your attention, and your life," he said. "That zero? It’s not how many messages are in your inbox — it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” 

What I take away from this is that it’s fine to have messages in your Inbox that you need right now. But your Inbox isn’t a To Do list, and it doesn’t need to be a stroll down Memory Lane. Scrolling through hundreds or thousands of messages is frustrating, right?

You can get this under control easily in Gmail

When I ask a customer why they have so many emails in their Inbox, the answer almost always is:

“I might need one of them some day.”

And the plan then is to scroll up and down the Inbox looking for some message from months or years ago.

There’s an easier way.

I’m going to focus on Gmail here, but the general principles are the same for other web-based email services and for email programs.

Two things to know about Gmail. First, the “G” stands for “Google” so Gmail has a powerful search feature. You don’t have to scroll! You can type some words into the box at the top of the Gmail window and click on the search icon.

That’s going to search ALL your email.

Second, you can save any email you want to by be clicking on the Archive icon (It looks like a folder with a downward pointing arrow.) That saves the email, but takes it out of your Inbox. How do you find it again?


Do you really need it back in your Inbox? Search for it, open it, click on “Move to Inbox.”

Take it to the next level

Gmail has a feature called Labels. (Other services and programs allow you to create folders. Labels are like folders, but more powerful. You can have more than one label for a message.)

If you label a message with someone’s name, archive the message and need it later, you can narrow your search by searching just that label.

If you need to see every message with that label, click on the label and scroll through the messages. You can assign colours to labels, which makes it easier to see the labels if that’s how your brain works.

More about Gmail labels here.

Using Filters (which other services and programs sometimes call Rules) allows you to label messages and skip the Inbox completely. Every message from my brother is filtered before it hits the Inbox so that it shows up with a red label that is his name.

Here’s how to create your filters.

Why is this good?

Remember Mann’s idea? Reducing clutter and imposing a little bit of structure frees you up to concentrate on the emails that you need right now and to be able to retrieve emails from an archive painlessly.

And it means you can do it quickly.

To keep your Inbox under control, unsubscribe to things you don’t read. (Not my newsletter! Of course, you read that. But now you can label and archive it.)

And be relentless about new mail that comes in:

  • Read it.
  • Act on it.
  • Delete it.
  • Archive it.
  • Don’t let it hang around in the Inbox.

What tips do you have for keeping your Inbox under control?

Send email (It’s OK. I promise.) to [email protected] and I’ll share them in a future column.

More Getting Along With Your Computer articles

About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

Computer Care Kelowna

Column Archives

Get Cate's column by email

RSS Feed

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories