It’s time to upgrade the hard drive in my laptop

It’s time. I’ve been putting it off for a while, but I can’t escape the fact that it’s time to replace the hard drive in my laptop, and to be honest a Black Friday sale helped. Now there are many ways to do this, and there isn’t a best way. In my opinion, it’s a matter of opinion.

I have chosen to keep it simple and to keep it clean.

1 All my personal stuff is already automatically backed up to OneDrive. My emails live on IMAP servers –, and work. Calendars and the like are safe in Apple’s and Google’s ecosystems.
2 I will copy all my personal stuff: docs, photos, music and the like to an external drive immediately before the upgrade.
3 I have created a brand new Windows boot disk on a smaller memory stick.

That’s it.

Tomorrow evening, I will swap in the new 2TB (terabytes, 2,000GB) drive, install Windows and Microsoft 365 on it, run the updates, copy my docs etc from the external drive and then kick off OneDrive, set up my email and complete the same setup that I have done for many of you. Add in a few other apps (Zoom, Express VPN, Chrome, Google Drive and Chat) and change the settings to make Windows safe and the job will be done.

As with all jobs like this, please wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted…

It’s all good

Am delighted (and relieved) to report that I’m posting this update on my upgraded laptop! There were hiccups: two ‘blue screens of death’ when Windows crashed during its install and then when the laptop booted it had two Windows installations on the new drive, so I deleted the one not being used.

The best, and relatively new feature is that both Microsoft and Google stored all my settings in their clouds, including which apps I had previously installed, so my laptop setup recreated itself remarkably easily.

And that was that. I set off updates and downloads and this morning the laptop is all set and blisteringly fast. Faster than my speed of thought anyway…

So I now have a clean Windows 22H2 installation with nothing on it that I don’t want and a laptop that will last me for years to come. It took about three hours of my time.

Happy days 🙂

We’re going travelling – book now for a home visit

The Sussex Smarts team are going travelling from Thurs 14th October so please let us know if you would like a home visit before we go.

This Autumn we’re offering a full system check up including the installation of any available updates for a fixed price of £25 and there’s no call-out or travel charge if you’re close to Chichester.

Email us here to book a slot.

Share your digital content with your loved ones

Bereavement is a difficult time and although having a will is vital, the World’s legal systems haven’t kept up with the Internet age. Now, Sussex Smarts is proud to launch My Digital Legacy, making it easy to share photos, documents and other memories with family and friends after our death.

My Digital Legacy’s unique approach to the management of this legacy is for you to share a password-protected Internet link to your photos and documents with us. When the time is right, we will share that link with your executors after the granting of probate or administration of a Power of Attorney. And if you change your mind at any time, no problem, we delete your link.

It’s all secured by a password that we never know, so we can never read your files and you retain your privacy.

Read our FAQsSign Up Now and protect your digital legacy for just £25.

Why is Windows called Windows?

Is this a stupid question? Well, I’d love your feedback.

Before Windows 3 and Apple Macs, computer screens looked like this.

You had to know what you wanted to do and how to do it.
Even more significantly, you could only do one thing at a time. This was even true of iPhones till iOS 4.

Then, in 1990, Microsoft introduced Windows 3. You can see that you do more than one thing at a time, that you can see more than one thing at a time, and even better, you can copy and paste information from one window to another. Each app has its own window – hence “Windows”. Plural.

Today, we at Sussex Smarts along with our customers use more than one screen connected to our computer. It’s really convenient to be able to read one document while working on another. I even used two monitors to write this blog post.

Please let us know how or why you use multiple monitors, and get in touch if you would like to learn more.

Copying files directly to OneDrive

If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription that includes 1Tb of storage per user, or even if you just use the free 5Gb plan, OneDrive is an excellent backup and collaboration platform.

Recently, I was asked if it would be possible to copy files directly to OneDrive from a USB storage device without storing the files on a laptop during the process. Why? Well, a number of old family photos were on the USB stick and when I say ‘a number’, I mean thousands. My customer’s laptop didn’t have the space to save them all but my customer’s 1Tb OneDrive storage did.

The question was, “Could we copy the photos to OneDrive without storing them on the laptop?” The answer was “yes“, using the Windows 10 laptop. By the way, this only works using a Windows 10 laptop. It doesn’t work with a Mac.

We did this using what’s called a Network Share. If you’ve ever used a computer at work, at some time you’ll have encountered an F:Drive or a Z:Drive or similar. These are network shares – usually storage on a different computer.

To set up OneDrive as a network share is really simple.

1 Log into and copy the Customer ID (CID) part of the web address (URL). In the example below , the CID is 3C221829B10E2234.

Then launch File Explorer, select This PC on the left hand side and then Map Network Drive in the ribbon.

Then map the drive. You can choose the drive letter, then enter the web address shown below, changing the CID to your own reference. Press Finish and then connect using your usual M365 login and password. Please ignore the example “\\server\share” on the screen below – that’s for other folders on a local network, not the Internet.

And that’s it. We create a new folder on the Y;Drive, set the new folder’s properties to be ‘Free Up Space’ using File Explorer, meaning that the photos would only be downloaded to the laptop on demand, plugged the USB device into the computer and copied the photos to the new folder on our Y:drive.

It took about four hours to copy the photos but the mission was accomplished: another challenge solved by Sussex Smarts.

Photos sorting very slowly in Windows File Explorer

Working with a customer’s laptop which was set up exactly as my own, their iCloud Photos folder was talking ten minutes to sort by date. Mine took about one second!

I found a fix, which is to use a different date to sort on.

Originally, the sort column was just ‘Date‘, like this:

I added another column by right-clicking on the Heading Bar, added ‘Date Created‘, unticked ‘Date‘ and dragged Date Created to where Date had been.

I won’t tell you how long it took me to work it out – let’s just say that it’s a relief to have finally resolved the issue.

Pulling your hair out?

HomeExchange integration

If you’re still trying to get that new gadget to work, now is the time to ask for help.

We have answered every question and resolved every isssue since we relaunched in June and we intend to maintain this record, so if you would like some help or advice delivered in plain English, you know what to do.

Call us on 07766 760215 or contact us. We’re standing by, ready to help either in person or remotely.

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