Glitches in Oregon eService

eService in Oregon can be frustrating or impossible if the other side isn’t playing by the rules or doesn’t understand them.  Below is a primer on how eService is supposed to work and the problems practitioners are encountering.

eService Rules

  1. When you eFile into a case you are deemed to consent to eService.
    UTCR 21.100(1)(a).
  2. eService is available for any document unless you are filing a document that requires personal service or service under ORCP 7. UTCR 21.100(1)(a).
  3. At the first instance of eFiling into a case, a filer must enter in the electronic filing system the name and service email address of the filer, designated as a service contact on behalf of an identified party in the action. 
    UTCR 21.100(2)(a).
  4. When eServing another party, the filer is responsible for selecting the appropriate service contacts in the action for the purpose of accomplishing eService. UTCR 21.100(3)(a).
  5. If the preceding requirements are met, eService is automatic: “When the court accepts an electronic document for filing under UTCR 21.060(1)(a), the electronic filing system sends an email to the email address of each person whom the filer selected as a service contact or other service contact under section (3) of this rule. The email contains a hyperlink to access the document or documents that have been filed electronically.”  UTCR 21.100(4).
  6. Transmission of the email by the electronic filing system to the selected service contacts in the action constitutes service. UTCR 21.100(4).
  7. Electronic service is complete when the electronic filing system sends the email to the selected service contacts in the action.  UTCR 21.100(5).

When is eService not available?

You won’t be able to eServe the opponent if any of the following are true:

  • The opponent has not eFiled into the case.
  • You are filing a document that requires service under ORCP 7 or that requires personal service.  For example, a complaint or initiating petition.
  • The opponent has obtained permission from the court to file conventionally.  (If the opponent is not an eFiler, she cannot be eServed.)
  • Your opponent is a pro se who is not registered in the eFiling system.  (If the oppponent is not an eFiler, he cannot be eServed.)
  • Your opponent eFiled into the case, but failed to enter a designated service contact into the system as required by UTCR 21.100(2)(a).

What if Opposing Counsel Doesn’t Know or Won’t Follow the Rules?

When opposing counsel eFiles into a case, but fails to enter a designated service contact, there isn’t much you can do about it … directly.  For example, you might jump to the conclusion that you can do this step for the other side.  Unfortunately you can’t.  You can select someone to serve, but you cannot add someone as a service contact.  Filers have to add themselves, and we are stuck with this consequence.  This begs the question: when someone doesn’t comply with UTCR 21.100(2)(a), what should you do?  Here are my thoughts:

  • Verify the availability of service contacts early on. When the other side first appears or when you are served, login to the system and see if opposing counsel is available for you to select as a service contact.  This information may not be visible unless you are actually eFiling a document into the case, so don’t wait until you are up against a filing deadline to find out.  This leads to my next suggestion.
  • Give yourself extra time.  If you aren’t sure whether the other side has entered a service contact, assume you will have to serve conventionally and plan accordingly.
  • If you see that opposing counsel has failed to enter a service contact, pick up the phone. Refer opposing counsel to UTCR 21.100(2)(a) and ask him to take care of the oversight.
  • Create a calendar reminder to follow-up in three to five days (or sooner, if necessary).  Login in to the system and check again. If the other side still has not added a service contact, take a screenshot to document that no contact is present, and send a follow-up email to opposing counsel with the screenshot attached. Reference your earlier call.  [If you’re a Mac user, see these instructions for taking screenshots.]
  • If you’ve done all the above and the other side has not complied, it may be time for court intervention – such as moving the court for an order to compel the other side to follow the rule.  Attach a supporting affidavit documenting your efforts (calling, emailing opposing counsel). Your screenshot can be added as an exhibit.  Refer the court to UTCR 21.100(2)(a) and quote the rule.
  • If the other side is ordered by the court to add itself as a service contact and fails to do so, asking for sanctions may be the next step.
  • While all this is going on, don’t forget you still have to serve the other side. Proceed with conventional service until eService becomes available.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

Oregon eCourt News: Live Training, New Website, and Quick Links

Live Training for Oregon eCourt

Tyler Technologies, the vendor for Oregon’s Odyssey eFile & Serve system, is offering four live training sessions this fall.  The first session is scheduled for tomorrow, September 29.  Other training dates are:

  • October 21, 2015
  • November 18, 2015
  • December 16, 2015

All four sessions are scheduled from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.  Register here. Select the date of your choice using the pull-down menu at the top of the screen. Each of these sessions will cover how to eFile using the new eCourt website.

New eCourt Website!

On August 28, 2015 a new eFiling website was implemented for users of the OJD eFiling (Odyssey eFile & Serve) system.  There are several important things to know about this transition.  The complete press release is available here.

Why the Change

The new website (OJD eFiling HTML 5) will allow users to file their cases and documents without having to install Silverlight, a browser plugin required by the old system.  You may ask yourself, so what?  The change was made to accommodate Google Chrome users. Chrome stopped supporting Silverlight on September 1. Without the transition, Chrome users would be unable to eFile.  (Or be required to user another browser.)

Where is the New eCourt Website?

You can find the new “OJD eFiling HTML5” website here.  The new site is compatible with all browsers: Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari if they are up to date.  If you haven’t already done so, be sure to upgrade your browser to the latest version.

Can I Still eFile Using the Old System?

Yes – during a “several month” transition period the old website will still work.  You can find links to both the new and old sites on the OJD eFiling page.

Answers to FAQ from the Oregon Judicial Department

Do I Need a New Account for the New Website?

No. Both versions of OJD eFiling use the same login and contain all firm information (such as users, attorneys, and payment accounts), and will continue once the transition is complete.

Should I Start Using OJD eFiling HTML5 Right Away?

You can, but you don’t have to. Anyone can use the new system starting August 28, 2015, but it was specifically built to allow Google Chrome and Safari users to eFile without Silverlight. OJD eFiling HTML 5 also supports Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Will I Still Receive Notifications about my Filings?

Yes. The system will continue to notify you when filings are submitted, accepted or returned for correction.

What’s New?

While eFiling through the new system follows the same process, OJD eFiling HTML 5 uses an entirely new interface, featuring a new dashboard, new icons, and a single filing page (you won’t have to move between Case Information, Parties, and Filing Details any more.)  To see the three major differences between the two systems, refer to the OJD press release, page 3.

Quick Links

Don’t overlook the myriad of resources on the OJD eCourt home page.  This page is one stop shopping for:

  • Court Notices (including the new Policy and Standards for Acceptance of Electronic Filings in the Oregon)
  • Oregon eCourt Implementation News
  • Free Training for eFiling
  • Court Calendars: Check Court Dockets
  • Document Access FAQs
  • FAPA Forms
  • OJD Forms
  • OJD iForms​​
  • Appellate eFile​​
  • Oregon eCourt Newsletters
  • ePayment and eFiling Statistics
  • Oregon eCourt Glossary​
  • Oregon eCourt Successes Update
  • OJD Strategic Plan
  • OJD Four-Year Report 2011-2014​
  • Technical Support: ePay, OJCIN,OJD Courts eFiling​, Appellate eFile​
  • July 2015 Oregon eCourt Newsletter

Take advantage!

Beverly Michaelis [2015] All Rights Reserved.

Fresh Strategies and Ideas for Marketing Your Law Firm

Are you looking for fresh strategies and ideas for branding and marketing your practice?  One excellent resource is marketing advisor and social media consultant Nancy Myrland.

I’ve followed Nancy on social media for several years.  I learned quickly that she is a wealth of knowledge, even when limited to 140 characters.

Want to know how to brand your law firm?  Nancy has ideas.  Looking for new strategies in content marketing, here you are.  Is video is the way to go?  Nancy has advice on that topic too.  No surprise, but she also writes about specific social media platforms: Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and social media generally.

How can you get access to all this great stuff?  Easy!  Just subscribe to Nancy’s blog or podcast.

Another favorite of mine is Samatha Collier at Social Media for Law Firms. Samantha also has the gift of imparting great advice in 140 characters or less.

Follow Samantha on social media, visit her site, or subscribe to her blog if you want to get started in social media, improve social media engagement, or learn content marketing from one of the best.  Need motivation?  Here are a few topics to pique your interest:

While We’re on the Topic of Marketing

Don’t forget the PLF offers a number of marketing resources on its website. Select Practice Management > Forms > Marketing to access the following:

  • Marketing and Business Development Worksheets [assessing your competition, choosing a niche, crafting an elevator speech, marketing budget, target market contacts]
  • Checklist for Creating a Marketing Plan
  • Sample Marketing Plans
  • Business Development Goal-Setting Checklist
  • White Paper: Marketing and Business Development: Crucial Skills

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

What to do After a Data Breach

A data breach is a traumatizing event, regardless of how it occurs, and this has been a particularly active summer for thieves and scammers.

In the past 12 months, Oregon lawyers have reported home and office break-ins, stolen laptops and mobile devices, and malware security intrusions.  If you experience a data breach, here are the key steps you must take:

  1. Contact an IT expert NOW before you pass go.  The scope of the intrusion may reach beyond your stolen mobile device or the specifically infected computer. Until you know better, assume that all connected devices are part of the data breach. This might include your desktop computer, your assistant’s computer, your server, mobile devices used to access your network, and your home computer if you connect remotely to your office.  Fixing security issues will require sleuthing, finding a solution to the problem, protecting existing data and devices not affected by the breach, testing security solutions, and potentially preserving forensic evidence.  Don’t try to DIY!
  2. Change vulnerable user names and passwords.  At the first indication of a data breach, you won’t know exactly what went wrong – only that your information, or your clients’ information, has been been compromised.  With your IT expert’s help, get access to a secure computer to change vulnerable user names and passwords.  [If you modify your login credentials while a keylogger resides on your system, you’ve made the situation worse by supplying the hacker with your newly replaced user names and passwords.]
  3. File a police report.  Realistically, this isn’t likely to help.  However, it may be required under the Oregon Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act [ORS 646A.600- 646A.628] or the terms of your insurance/coverage policy.
  4. Report the breach to your property manager.  If the breach occurred in connection with an office break-in, inform the property manager as soon as possible.  Broken windows and locks should be fixed immediately to avoid further loss.  If you believe inadequate security may have played a role in the break-in, it may be appropriate to assert a claim against the management or building owner. Research the issue or speak to outside counsel. Document your property loss and consider getting a commitment in writing about security improvements.
  5. File claims with commercial carriers.  Submit claims to any applicable insurance carriers: cyber liability and data breach, commercial liability, or others.
  6. Contact the Professional Liability Fund.  If you are an Oregon lawyer, contact the PLF. Beginning in 2013, the PLF added a Data Breach and Cyber Liability Endorsement to all excess coverage plans. The endorsement provides coverage for information security and privacy liability, privacy breach response services, regulatory defense and penalties, website media content liability, and crisis management and public relations services. The endorsement covers many claims that would otherwise be excluded.
  7. Contact the Oregon State Bar.  The OSB General Counsel’s office can give you advice about the ethical implications of a data breach.
  8. Report identity theft to the FTC.  If you are the victim of identity theft, file a report with the FTC as soon as possible.  Review the FTC website for other steps not discussed here [reporting a misused social security number, removing bogus credit charges, replacing government-issued identification cards].
  9. Freeze or place fraud alerts on credit accounts.  A freeze literally locks down your credit. No credit transactions can be authorized until you lift the freeze, temporarily or permanently.  Fraud alerts inform you if someone is attempting to obtain new credit in your name.  Learn more about credit freezes and alerts here.
  10. Protect bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards.  If banking, credit card, or debit card information was exposed in conjunction with the data breach, you may want to freeze your bank accounts [personal, general, IOLTA]; arrange for fraud protection services; or close your accounts altogether.  Talk to your banks and credit/debit card providers.  If you have automated payments tied to former bank accounts, credit or debit cards, be sure to update your information.  This includes payment accounts associated with federal or state court eFiling systems.  Continue to monitor statements for unauthorized transactions.
  11. Notify clients.  This is never easy, but clients must be informed if confidential information has been compromised. A sample notification letter is available on the PLF website.  Select Practice Management > Forms > Client Relations > “Notice to Clients re Theft of Computer Equipment.”  If you have questions about your ethical duties toward clients, speak to OSB General Counsel [see step 7 above].  Additionally, client notification may be a statutory responsibility under the Oregon Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act [ORS 646A.600-646A.628].
  12. Begin reconstructing files if needed.  Lawyers who are straightforward about an office break-in or theft often find that clients are sympathetic, understanding, and more than willing to help.  With a bit of luck, you should be able to reconstruct most or all of your files from your backup or documents supplied by clients.
  13. Monitor your credit report.  Check your credit reports at for signs of fraud. is the only official source for free credit reports authorized by the Federal Trade Commission.
  14. Monitor Craigslist.  If you believe a thief has posted your property for sale, inform police.
  15. Start using encryption.  Read “Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers” as a starter, then check out these resources from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. For reviews of encryption products, check out LawSites.  [In the navigation pane on the right, scroll midway down the page to Search LawSites.]  If you want an encrypted password manager – a very good idea – see these top picks for 2015.  Shopping for a new laptop?  Don’t forget that hard drive encryption is automatically built into the MacBook.  Using Windows OS? Sorry, you’ll need to buy your own encryption software.  If all this seems overwhelming, talk to your IT expert.
  16. Backup, backup, backup!  Online backup services are a great way to automatically back up data.  Read more about backup protocols and available resources on the PLF website. Select Practice Management > Forms  > Technology > “How to Backup Your Computer” and “Online Data Storage.”
  17. No cyber liability or data breach coverage?  Buy it!  If your claims weren’t covered, purchase cyber liability and data breach insurance to protect against future loss – privately or through the PLF  as part of our excess program.  [See item 6 above.]
  18. Stay vigilant.  Fixing a data breach does not mean that scammers or hackers will stop.  Watch out for phishing attempts.  Don’t click on suspicious links in emails, texts, or social media messages.  I’ve written over 20 blog posts on the subject of scams. To find the posts, visit my blog’s landing page. In the search box in the upper right corner, enter “scam.”  You’ll also find seven In Brief articles on the PLF website.  Select Practice Management > Publications > In Brief and enter “scam” in the search by keyword or year box.  See also Jennifer Meisberger, “Sophisticated Scams: Protect Your Clients’ Money,” Oregon State Bar Bulletin (June 2015) and the PLF CLE, Protecting Your Firm and Your Client from Scams, Fraud, and Financial Loss.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

4 Ways Lawyers Can Be Happier People

What tools do lawyers have in their toolbox to reduce stress and promote happiness?

On NW Sidebar attorney Kristina Larry offers up her top four secrets to happiness in the legal profession:

  • Do some good
  • Rethink billing
  • Strike out on your own
  • Care for yourself

Helping Others

Adding more to your plate is not, at first blush, the most appealing solution to feeling stressed.  But Larry makes some good points in her article, key among them: “Pro bono cases offer a chance to get away from what you normally do and you’ll get the chance to truly help someone, which can be very rewarding.”

If volunteering is a viable option for you, learn more about pro bono opportunities here.  Another choice is to channel volunteering efforts toward the profession.  The Oregon State Bar and other groups have many such opportunities, but the most diverse might be those offered through the Multnomah Bar Association.

Ditching the Hourly Ball and Chain

As a stress management tool, I couldn’t agree more.

Because deviating from the strict hourly billing model begins with writing a hybrid fee agreement, check out The Five C’s of Hybrid Fee Agreements.  From there, Google “alternative billing practices for lawyers” or “alternative fee arrangements” to find the many blog posts and articles on this topic.

Time to Transition to Solo Practice?

If working in a firm isn’t a good fit for you, solo practice may be.  How can you explore the pros and cons of sole proprietorship?

OAAP and PMA services are free and confidential.

Caring for Yourself

Taking care of yourself is BIG piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing stress. The OAAP provides free, confidential one-on-one help to all Oregon lawyers and law students.

Self care is also addressed in the CLEs listed below.  These programs are completely FREE to Oregon lawyers.  Locate one or more of these CLEs by selecting CLE > Past CLE on the PLF website.

  • Riding the Waves of Life in the Law
  • Strategies for Balancing Work and the Rest of Your Life
  • Stress Hardiness for Lawyers and Judges
  • Taking Care of Ourselves (While We’re Busy Taking Care of Others)
  • Transitions: Challenge or Opportunity?
  • What Lawyers and Judges need to Know About COMPASSION FATIGUE and the Strategies to Prevent It
  • Work and Worth: Navigating Your Way in the Profession

Sometimes stress can be traced to other issues going on in a lawyer’s life – struggling with student loans or debt, technology overtaking our lives, feelings of being overwhelmed by work/lack of organization, or family pressures.  CLE resources are available on these topics as well:

CLEs Relating to Student Loans, Debt, or Money Issues

  • Money Matters
  • Navigating Student Loan Repayment Options

CLEs Relating to Technology Over-Consumption and Organization

  • Legal Productivity: Responsible Connectivity – How NOT to Be Consumed by Technology
  • Leveraging Technology to Effectively Manage Your Law Practice
  • Reducing the Pressure
  • Road to Office Organization Series

CLEs Relating to Family Pressures

  • Enjoying Parenting
  • Gambling: A Family Matter
  • Kids and Drugs: What Parents Need to Know
  • Meeting the Needs of Aging Parents
  • What Can You Do When Someone In Your Family Experiences Depression, Anxiety, or other Health Issues

Final Thoughts about Happiness and Stress Management

Don’t overlook humor as a stress-fighting tool:

Research shows that laughter makes people happier, healthier, and more successful. Humor is also a neglected workplace tool. It diffuses tension, builds
rapport, and motivates workers. Humor wields enormous positive influence over people, making them feel more relaxed and comfortable. Humor Your Way to Happiness,Health, and Success.

Take stress hardiness seriously.  It is possible to become more resilient through the three C’s: challenge, commitment, and control.  These concepts are at the core of the Stress Hardiness CLE referenced above, and you can learn more by ordering this free program from the PLF website.  For an overview, see Building Stress Hardiness and check out the many other articles written about stress, available on the OAAP website.  On the In Sight page, select the link to view an index of articles from previous issues, then search the PDF for articles related to “stress” or “happiness.”

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

Windows 7 and 8 Updates Include Data Mining Features

Should you install the latest Windows update?  Depends how you feel about data mining.

Similar to Windows 10, the most recent updates for Windows 7 and 8 will collect data on users.  Unfortunately, the features that gather data on users seem to be somewhat unavoidable once installed.
Read more about the privacy concerns of installing these updates on Techlicious.

Getting Your Head into the Cloud

Whether you’re setting up a practice for the first time or upgrading existing technology, odds are you’re taking a long, hard look at the cloud. Here is a checklist to help you through the process.

Getting Started

Moving your data to the cloud is all about vetting the cloud provider – will they or won’t they keep your client information secure?  Here are your marching orders:

Research the Provider

  1. What is their reputation?
  2. How many years have they been in business?
  3. Are bloggers and news outlets critical or supportive?
  4. Can the provider give you a list of other lawyers who use their product?  (If so, check the provider’s references.)
  5. Talk to friends and colleagues: are they familiar with the product or provider?  What are their thoughts?
  6. If you belong to a listserv, poll the members of the listserv.
  7. Use the power of Google to reveal problems.  A general search using the product or provider name is a good start.  To uncover security issues, Google the product or provider name followed by the words “security concerns” or “data breach.”  To reveal if outages are a problem, search the product or provider name followed by the words “downtime statistics.”

Evaluate Speed and Reliability

Uptime, bandwidth, and general reliability of the Internet matter.

  1. Check on provider uptime statistics as part of your general research – see the discussion above.
  2. Make sure your technology is up to the task.  To use the cloud effectively you must have a fast, reliable Internet connection. If you don’t, contact your ISP.  If there is a remedy (and you can afford it), great.  If not, taking your practice into the cloud is likely not a good choice.

Read the Fine Print

  1. Dig into the provider’s website and follow any links that reference Terms of Service, Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Security, or Service Agreements.
  2. Contact customer service for clarification of terms if needed.

Educate Yourself about Encryption

Every cloud provider encrypts your data.  The devil is in the details:

  1. Is your data encrypted at all times (in transit and at rest)?
  2. Does the provider hold a master encryption key?  (If so the provider can access your data at any time, thus defeating client confidentiality.)
  3. Is third-party encryption an option?  If the answer is yes, you can lock out the cloud provider.  A master key only permits the provider to unlock their encryption, not yours.  With third-party (AKA client-side) encryption, you – the user – apply your own encryption software before uploading any content to the cloud provider’s site.  Here’s the rub:  encrypting your own content isn’t always an option for compatibility reasons, so check with the provider.

Learn about Data Access Policies – “Authorized” and “Unauthorized”

Getting an answer to the master encryption key question will resolve whether the provider’s employees can freely access your information.  Now you need to ask:

  1. Will the provider notify you if authorities seek access to your account information?  (Some providers comply with subpoenas first and tell you about it later.)
  2. What is the provider’s procedure if a data breach occurs?

Know Before You Go: Security, Backups, Redundancy, and Local Copies of Your Data

  1. Find out what the provider has to say about the physical security of its facilities.  Features like fire suppression, redundant electrical systems, temperature controlled environments, video surveillance, and 24/7 monitoring by security personnel are standard.
  2. Learn everything you can about how your data is backed up. Where, when, and how.  A decent cloud provider has multiple servers that are geographically dispersed.
  3. Consider it a deal breaker if you can’t download a local copy of your own data. Keeping a local copy just makes sense.  First, it protects you if the provider goes out of business (some have).  Second, if the provider suffers a catastrophic breach you’ll still have a pristine copy of your information.  [Caveat: ability to download a local copy of your data does not mean you can work with it offline.  This is simply a way to protect yourself in a worst case scenario.]

Nail down the Details: Support, Training, Data Migration, and Data Integration

Cloud products are generally pretty easy to use, but at some point you’ll need help – maybe at the outset when you import your data – or later when you start using more advanced features of the program.  Either way, ask:

  1. Does the provider offer live telephone support?  Live chat?  Email?  What are the hours?  Is it free or is there a support contract?
  2. What resources does the provider have on its website?  Searchable knowledge base?  User forums?  Blog?  Training videos?  Webinars?
  3. Will the provider help you migrate your existing data?  Are you on your own?  If there is a fee for data migration, get an estimate.
  4. What about product compatibility and integration?  Some users need the cloud product to communicate with an existing piece of software, like QuickBooks or Outlook.  [Tip: don’t just take the cloud provider’s word for it.  Run another Google search: Is (cloud product name) compatible with (existing program)? If the blogosphere has spotted issues, you’ll uncover them quickly enough.

Product Cost and Licensing

Most cloud products are sold on a monthly subscription basis.  Do a bit of research:

  1. What is the current fee per user?  Any price breaks for multiple licenses?
  2. Research historic costs.  If monthly fees have jumped significantly in the recent past, factor this into your choice.
  3. Are product upgrades or new features included in existing subscriptions or is there an additional fee?
  4. What does a single license or a single user account include? Some providers are strict: one user/one license/one device.  Others are more flexible: one user/one license/multiple downloads: desktop, laptop, tablet.

Choose the Right Version

If your cloud provider offers multiple packages or products, proceed cautiously.

  1. Look for a Web page on the provider’s site that will compare the features of each version side by side.
  2. Call customer service when in doubt.
  3. Take advantage of free trials, which are almost universally available. A trial run is the best way to know whether you’re really going to like something.

Cyber Liability and Data Breach – What if the Worst Happens?

If you’ve decided to store your data in the cloud, it might be a good idea to have cyber liability and data breach coverage.

The Professional Liability Fund Excess Claims Made Plan automatically includes a cyber liability and data breach response endorsement with these features:

  • Forensic and legal assistance to determine compliance with applicable law
  • Notifications to individuals as required by law
  • 12 months credit monitoring to each notified client
  • Loss mitigation resources for law firms

If you aren’t eligible or don’t wish to purchase excess coverage through the PLF, contact a commercial carrier.

This is Too Much Work – Can’t You Just Tell Me What to Do or Give Me a List of Recommended Products?

No.  I can’t make this decision for you.  You and I have different likes, dislikes, needs, skill levels, and preferences.  (Think: Windows vs. Mac, Word vs. WordPerfect, or Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip.)

If you want to be happy with your choice, you have to make it.  We can talk, I can point you toward resources, or send you comparison charts.  But in the end you are the decider.

[All Rights Reserved 2015 Beverly Michaelis]


Windows 10 – Cool New Features

This is the last of three posts on Windows 10.  Previously I examined specifications, compatibility issues, and default settings for Microsoft’s new OS.  Today I review all the cool new features Windows 10 has to offer.

Print to PDF

At long last, Windows has native, built-in, Print to PDF.  Any Windows application that supports printing to paper will now support printing to PDF.

A New Browser

Tired of Internet Explorer?  Meet Edge:

Biometric Security

Windows 10 uses face, iris, and fingerprint recognition – not user names and passwords – to unlock your computer.  Check out this video posted on Techlicious.

Meet Your Virtual Assistant(s)

Cortana is Siri’s new competition.  Touted as Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana responds to voice commands to set reminders, track your schedule, or find documents.  To get the most out of Cortana, check out PC World’s comprehensive how-to guide.  To search popular cloud services and all devices connected to your PC, get the add-on REACHit.  Learn more here.

The Clutter Folder

If you have a love/hate relationship with your spam filter (blocks too much/doesn’t block enough), you may feel the same way about the Clutter folder in Windows Mail.  Email you probably don’t care about (ads? listserv messages? broadcast email?) can find its way to the Clutter folder.  Check this folder often, and if you find that legitimate, important messages are being diverted to “Clutter,” move them back to your inbox.  Windows Mail uses predictive filing to guess which emails are less important, and thus subject to filing in “Clutter.”  Over time, the Clutter tool will learn your preferences.  Find the Clutter folder under the “More” button in Mail.

Better Support for Multiple Monitors

Windows 10 now lets you scale each display separately, for example: set one display ratio for your tablet, use another setting for your desktop monitor(s).

Sync OneDrive Files

Gain full access to your OneDrive files by enabling the “fetch” feature.  PC World tells you how.

Laptop Battery Saver

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could optimize the battery life of your laptop?  Windows 10 makes it easy as pie.  Click on the Start menu, select: Settings > System > Battery Saver.

A Better File Explorer

If you use File Explorer to find files, you’ll appreciate the improvements made in Windows 10. The new “quick access” view now displays the most used/most recent files and folders.

Load Windows Apps from Anywhere

Before Windows 10, users could only load Windows Apps from the Windows store.  Now you can “sideload” an app from any source – just be aware that using an unofficial source may pose a security risk.  PC World describes how to enable sideloading.

Save Videos from any App or Program

This trick requires using Windows 10’s “Gaming DVR Tool.”  If you want to save actual video – not just a screenshot – read more about this feature here.

Many thanks to PC World and Techlicious for their excellent posts!

Final Thoughts

Let the buyer beware.  Remember our old Latin friend?  It applies here.  These features ARE cool, but many permit Microsoft or third parties to collect or access data about you.  If you didn’t read last week’s post on default settings, please do!

 All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis