Gosh, that's annoying

Here's how you can stop two annoying Windows features:

  • Bypass the Word templates and go straight to a new document
  • Stop your computer from dropping your Internet connection.

Why can’t I just open a blank Word document?

There’s a lot to like about Office 2016, but that doggone start screen can be annoying.

By default, when you open Word, you’re shown a screen with your recently opened documents listed down the left side and an array of templates on the right. Clicking on the template labelled Blank Document opens … a blank document.

When I open a Word document, 99 per cent of the time I just want to get to work. I don’t need to see every conceivable template.

It’s easy to disable all that and go straight to your Word document or Excel spreadsheet, just like we did in previous versions of Office.

Start by opening a Word document, either an existing one or a new one; it doesn’t matter.

  • Click on File | Options
  • Click on the General tab if you’re not there already
  • Near the bottom of that tab, clear the check mark next to Show the Start screen when this application starts
  • Click on OK

That’s it! Now repeat the process for Excel and PowerPoint if you want to get right into those programs, too. Next time you open one of them, you’ll go right to your document, spreadsheet, or presentation.

If ever you need the templates again, click on File |New and you’ll be right back there at the start screen.

Why does my Internet connection drop every 10 minutes?

A long-time customer told me her Internet provider had two technicians out there, each for a good part of the day, trying to get her new connection working.

What was wrong with the connection? “It would drop after 10 minutes if I wasn’t using the computer.”

The connection was still dropping when I got there, but the fix was straightforward.

Your wireless network adapter and your Ethernet adapter (which is where the cable between your router/modem and your PC connects to your PC) require a small amount of electrical current to work.

Many computers are set to power down those adapters after 10 minutes of inactivity.

Sometimes they don’t wake back up promptly or at all. Your service provider thinks your connection is fine, but your computer doesn’t come back online.

To fix this, go to Device Manager and change a setting:

  • In any modern version of Windows, type device manager in the Search box
  • Click on Device Manager in the search results to open it
  • (Or go to Control Panel | View by Large Icons | Device Manager)
  • Click on the > next to Network adapters to expand that section
  • Right-click on your Ethernet or Wi-Fi adapter
  • Click on Properties | Power Management
  • Clear the check mark in the box called “Allow the computer to turn off this device…”
  • Click on OK

Sometimes you need to restart the computer for the change to take effect, but that should do it.

What annoying features have you fixed? What annoying features do you wish you could fix? Send email to [email protected] and we’ll discuss in future columns!


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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.

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