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Under the shade tree

Classicshell for Windows 8 is one of those tools that makes Windows 8 look and act like Windows 7 or earlier that Microsoft did not want to include. For all of you who are not enjoying learning “Russian” when you are switching to Windows 8, you should try downloading this tool that will let you both start up back at the desktop and regain that useful Start button. Go to classicshell.net and click on the green link to sourceforge where you will actually get the installer. Run the installer, and go with the basic or default settings at first. The “hardest” change to get used to is that the classic flag icon for the start button is no longer there. Classicshell has to use its own icon. Apart from that, you should find yourself in familiar territory again.

Windows 8 has a great, but hidden File History ability which functions much like “Time Machine” backup does on Apple computers. It automatically backs up files and keeps a history of file versions so that you can even revert to a way earlier version of something. You must use an external or networked drive. Access the File History control panel by tapping the Windows key, then type File History in the search box on the Start screen, select the Settings category, and click the File History shortcut that appears.

Adobe, of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign fame, is going to a subscription model with its next version of Creative Suite. You pay a monthly fee, with a year-long commitment if you go for the Creative Cloud of all their products, with costs between $20 and $50 per month, depending on what product(s) you currently own. Or, you can rent any single application for a monthly charge of $20 and you can dump it when you no longer need it. The advantages for Adobe are more predictable income, capturing people to always pay for the current software and much tighter control over piracy. What you “get” as a client is access to the latest versions of desktop software along with some shareable “cloud” space for files. The only winners will be those people who use many of Adobe’s titles; those using just three or so may want to explore alternatives like GIMP, Scribus, Inkscape, Lightworks or VideoLAN Movie Creator, Blender or Wax, especially if you consider yourself a willing to learn amateur.

And, finally, since I can’t avoid at least one security note, if you visit any website and are prompted to update Flash player by clicking on an offered button or link, stop. Then, go directly to adobe.com, the makers of Adobe Flash Player, and download it from them. Otherwise, you may be downloading a hacked version of the Flash Player if you just take what is being offered to you.