tLandings Tips and Tricks for Windows 8.1

Some laptops being used to run tLandings on tenders now have Windows 8. This document provides recommendations and procedures for using Windows 8.1, the current version.

Windows 8 is intended to make the laptop work like a SmartPhone. Microsoft seems to think that this is the save of the future. As a result, Windows 8 does some odd things when considered from the standpoint of a laptop computer, particularly one at-sea on a tender.

Recover from Sleeping

Like smart phones, Windows 8 wants to blank out the screen if it hasn't been used for a minute or two, in order to save battery power. To bring it back to life move the mouse or press one of the arrow keys. That will sometimes work, and if it does will often put you back at the desktop. If the screen is still black try hitting the power button. That should wake up the computer, but will usually put you at the login screen.

Login

Type the password used to login to the computer. This is usually NOT the same password as you use to login to tLandings.

Start Screen

Press the Esc key to get to the desktop, or click on the icon that says "Desktop" in the lower left.

Inserting the tLandings Thumbdrive

When you insert the tLandings Thumbdrive into a USB port on the computer, Windows 8 will frequently give a message: "There is a problem with this drive. Scan the drive now and fix it." We don't know why Windows 8 does this, we've tried scanning and it tells us that no errors were found, so the recommended thing to do is click "Continue without Scanning."

Running tLandings 

On the tool button bar at the bottom of the desktop, find the folder icon. It looks like manila folders with colored tabs, and if you hover the mouse pointer over it, it says "File Explorer". Click that. In the File Explorer, find your thumbdrive. If you don't see it you may need to pull it out of the USB port and re-insert it. Double click on the thumbdrive icon on the File Explorer. The File Explorer will show the contents of the thumbdrive. You can now double click on the run_tlandings file to run the tLandings software, the same as you did in the past.

Setting Windows 8 So It Does Not Go To Sleep

Windows 8 thinks it's a SmartPhone, and should do to sleep if you have not used it for a minute or two. Since the tLanding computer is really a work computer on a tender, we don't want that to happen. To configure Windows 8 to stop it from going to sleep, do the following:

  • Click on the Window button in the bottom lefthand corner of the desktop, where the Start button used to be. That will show the Start screen.
  • Find the PC Settings icon. It should be in the lower left, and looks like a gear cog. If you hover the mouse pointer over it, it says "PC Settings'. Click that icon.
  • Click on the PC and devices menu item. This will display the PC and devices screen.
  • Click on the Power and sleep menu item. This will display the Power and sleep options.
    • The Sleep options control when Windows 8 will shut down the computer, requiring you to press the power button to restart it. There are two options, one for when the computer is on battery power, and one when it is plugged in.
      • When the tLandings laptop is onboard the tender it should be plugged into the tender's AC power. Since we want tLandings to be available without delay, the "When plugged in, turn PC goes to sleep after" option for Sleep should be set to Never.
      • If the tLandings laptop is running on its own battery power, then we probably want to have it go to sleep. It really shouldn't be running on battery power, but that could happen if it accidentally gets unplugged. In that case we want it to go to sleep because if it doesn't it will keep running and using battery power until the battery dies. So for the "On battery power, PC goes to sleep after" option for sleep we recommend the setting be 10 minutes.
    • The Screen options control when Windows 8 makes the screen go dark, even though the computer is still running. This is more a a personal preference. Making the screen go dark does save power, and wear and tear on the screen. However, it isn't a big deal to leave the screen always on, so it really is up to the user.
      • "When plugged in, turn off after" option for Screen can be set to 10 or 15 minutes, or Never as the user prefers.
      • "On battery power, turn off after" option for Screen can be 10 minutes.
  • Click on the AutoPlay menu item
    • Set the "Use AutoPlay for all media and devices" option to Off
  • Click the left pointing arrow icon in the upper left corner by "PC and devices" to go back to the PC Settings screen.
    • There are two ways to close out of the PC Settings screen. You can move the mouse pointer all the way to the top of the screen. A title bar will drop down. On the title bar is an X icon on the righthand side that will close the PC Settings screen. The title bar may disappear when you are moving the mouse, but you can get it back by moving the mouse pointer to the top of the screen.
    • Alternate method for closing the PC Settings screen.
      • Click on the Control Panel menu item at the bottom of the left hand side of the screen to go back to the desktop.
      • Close the Control Panel window with the X icon in its upper right hand corner, the way we have always closed windows.
      • Right click on the Gear Cog icon on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen and click the Close Window menu item. This will close the PC setting screen, which is hanging around even though we can't see it anymore.