Wednesday, December 04, 2013

SOLVED: Classic Shell Start Menu stops loading at startup after you upgrade to Windows 8.1

If you are using the Free Classic Shell program to add a start menu back to Windows 8 and you upgrade to Windows 8.1 you may experience issues with it running at startup and taking you to desktop mode.  It is a simple fix as long as you know whether you are running the 32 or 64 bit version of Windows on your computer.

Start by right clicking on your desktop and choose new and create a new shortcut to cmd.com.  Then right click on the shortcut and choose run as administrator from the popup context menu. Click OK if you get any security warnings.

When the command C prompt appears type the following in the window:

For a 64 bit version of Windows 8.1 type:

regsvr32 startmenuhelper64.dll


then press the return key.

For 32 bit version of windows type:

regsvr32 startmenuhelper32.dll


then press the return key

That should resolve the problem and Classic Shell should work properly.  If you don't know what version you are running right click on your computer icon in the start menu and choose properties to get your windows version. 

Be sure you go into the advanced settings of Classic Shell and set it to skip the metro screen if you want to boot to the desktop.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Solved: Desktop icons disappear are gone or not showing in Windows 7 or Windows 8

Recently I was testing Stardock Softwares Fences program on my Samsung Tablet that runs Windows 8. 

When I uninstalled the program I chose to restore my desktop but instead all of my icons disappeared! My icons were gone and they would not show up! 

Needless to say I was more than perturbed! So I had to search the web for a solution and found it was more than simple thanks to a kind poster on Microsoft Technet. So if you find yourself in this situation here is the solution:

  • Windows 8 missing desktop icons SOLVED


    1.) Right click on the Desktop(if using a tablet tap and hold your finger on a blank area of the desktop until the popup context menu comes up.


    2.) Place mouse over or tap on the View option in the menu that appears


    3.) Select or tap on the "Show Desktop Icons" to place a check mark next to it


    4.) Problem Solved.


    See I told you it was simple!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SOLVED: AT&T (ATT) Yahoo Mail or other website does not work or is unable to load after installing Internet Explorer 10 (IE10)


After you install Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 you may experience problems accessing your AT&T Yahoo mail or other similar websites. You may see this same phenomena on Windows 8.

When you try to log into your AT&T Yahoo mail you may receive a message reading Oops. Your Yahoo AT&T can't load.

Never fear it is a simple solution to fix! All you need do is click on the "Compatibility Mode" box to the right of the address bar. You may also need to clear your Internet history but it should not be necessary.

Here is a link to a Microsoft page explaining about compatibility view issues. This information also applies to Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 7.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/use-compatibility-view#ie=ie-10

If your compatibility setting works you can make it permanent by going to the website you are having issues with and then opening the Tools Menu in Internet Explorer (press the alt key if the menus do not display in your browser) and selecting "Compatibility view settings" from the drop down.  A window will pop up like the image above and the URL of the page that you are on will be displayed in the line under the Add this website heading.  Simply click on the Add button and click on close and your problem website will ALWAYS open in Internet Explorer Compatibility view.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to get a start menu back on Windows 8 for FREE using Classic Shell Start Menu!

There have been many articles written on how to get back your Windows 8 Start menu but they are riddled with ads and make things so confusing for you, so cutting through the BS here is what I think is the simplest way to get a start menu back on Windows 8. Beginners scroll to the bottom of the page to the beginner directions for an alternate method of installation.

An open source project on Sourceforge project called Classic Shell is the solution I suggest. Classic Shell was originally written to get the old familiar Classic Start menu back onto Windows 7. It has been adapted to work on Windows 8 now.  What is really cool is the fact that if you do not like the Windows Live tiles the program can be set up to make it so you only see your old familiar Windows 7 desktop in Windows 8.

To download Classic Shell Start Menu for Windows 8 go to the desktop by pressing the Flying Windows Key on your keyboard (if you are on the tile screen)and then open Windows Internet Explorer.  Then click below link to browse to the following page

http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/index.html

 Click on the download now button at the top of the page. When you get the yellow alert at the bottom of the screen from Internet Explorer choose the run button.

You will see the Classic Shell Welcome Screen, click on Next button. On the next screen click to check the box to accept the license agreement and then click on the next button. The next screen will give you options of what components of the program to install. Anyone who has installed an Office product should be familiar with this screen. You only need the Classic Start Menu feature to be available and you can choose the drop downs to make the other items unavailable on each item. Click on next and then click on the Install button. Say yes to the yellow windows security alert. Then click on Finish and you are done!

Claassic Shell should come up running so you can configure how you want your start menu to work.  The main tab in the Classic Shell Start Menu setup you are concerned with in Windows 8 is the one that says Windows 8 Settings.



If you NEVER want to see the Windows Live tiles all you need to do is click the check box on this screen that reads Skip Metro Screen. Uncheck that box if you want both.  I highly suggest you try at least playing with the Live Tiles in Windows 8 first before entirely getting rid of them. Under disable active content I suggest that you set that setting to Start Screen.  Click OK and you will be done and a start menu will be installed! 


BEGINNERS:

For the novice user there is even an easier way to do this through a really neat PC setup page called Ninite.com.  This site will make a package file of all the plugins you need like Flash, Java, and more.  All you need to do is point Internet Explorer to http://ninite.com/ and once there check off the programs you would like to install on your computer. Classic Start is available under the Utilities section. Once you have checked all the programs you want, click on the big Green Get Installer button at the bottom of the page.  You can either save the file or run it when prompted with the yellow security bar at the bottom of your Internet Explorer window.  If you save the Ninite Installer file you can click on it at a later time after you have already installed the programs and Ninite will perform and install any needed updates for you.  One other benefit of Ninite is that it removes all of the extra toolbars and nagware that a lot of the programs try to add when you install them. 

Good Luck!!

 


How do you permanently set a default the zoom level in Internet Explorer 9?

 


To permanently set the zoom level on Internet Explorer 9 some registry know how is required. Do not attempt this action if you are unsure about any steps! Bad things can happen when you mess with the registry if you do not know what you are doing. You have been warned.

This article is adapted from and then embellished by me from the Microsoft Page at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2689447

Internet Explorer Zoom lets you make the screen display larger or smaller so that a webpage is easier to read. Unlike changing the font size, zoom enlarges or reduces everything on the page, including text and images. You can zoom from 10% to 1,000%. This article describes how to set the default zoom in Internet Explorer 9 to a custom level.
Some people want the zoom level in Internet Explorer 9 to stay at a level they set. Unfortunately there is no way to do this without opening the registry and setting a value yourself.
Once you set the value all Internet Explorer Windows will open in that zoom size until you go back into the registry and change it back.

So here is a tutorial from Microsoft on how to do it.

You can permanently set the default zoom in Internet Explorer 9 to a custom level if you want to. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, type regedit in the search box, and then click regedit in the Programs list.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERS\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Zoom
  3. In the details pane, double-click ZoomFactor.

  4. Click Decimal.


5.  If you want to set the default zoom level to 125%, type 125000, and then click OK.
     (For 150% type 150000, for 200% type 200000, etc.) To reset back to 100% follow
     the above directions again and change the value back to 100000

6. Close Registry Editor.

7. Log off of Windows and then log on again. (or shutdown and restart your computer)

8. Open Internet Explorer. The zoom level should now ALWAYS be set to 125%.

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

How do you Remove or Delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 8 (Windows8) after you upgrade from Windows 7?

When you upgrade to Windows 8 the OS will back up your old system files to a folder called Windows.old.  You may notice that this folder takes up a lot of disk space and can not simply be deleted using file manager. Taking control of the folder will not work either.

There is a correct way to remove this folder using Microsoft's built in Disk Cleanup tool.
To run the tool log on to your Windows 8 computer as an administrator.  Move your mouse down to the bottom right hand corner and right click. Then left click on the All Apps Charm. Scroll to the right and you should be able to see Disk Cleanup under the Administrative tools menu. Click on that to start disk cleanup app. If you can not find the Disk Cleanup shortcut icon you can create one by moving your mouse down to the left corner in the Windows Menu and clicking on Desktop to go to the desktop. Right click on the desktop and choose New and then Shortcut.  In the shortcut location dialog type in:

"%windir%\sytem32\cleanmgr.exe"   (without the quotes)

Name the shortcut Disk Cleanup and click OK.

Now you can click on the shortcut to open the Disk Cleanup tool.

CAUTION: Before you use Disk Cleanup, make sure that all of your files and settings are in  Windows 8 where you expect them to be. Deleting the Windows.old folder can not be undone!

After starting Disk Cleanup if you're prompted to choose a drive, click the drive you just installed Windows on, and then click OK.
     
In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, on the Disk Cleanup tab, click Clean up system files button in the bottom left of the window. As seen below.

Disk Cleanup will most likely restart and if you're again prompted to choose a drive, click the drive you just installed Windows on, and then click OK.
     
Now in the Files to delete section look for and Select to put a check mark in front of the "Previous Windows installation(s)" check box, and any other check boxes for the  files you want to delete, and then click OK. You might want to delete the previous installation log files also.
 You will now get a new message that appears, click Delete Files and disk cleanup will run and delete the Windows.Old installation for you.  I suggest that you restart your computer after the Windows.Old installation is done being removed. This method also works if you upgraded your computer from Windows XP to Windows 7 and want to delete the Windows.old in your Windows 7 installation.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Windows 8 Upgrade experience! Windows 8 IS Really better than ALL other versions of Windows!

 
So I took the plunge and went ahead and upgraded my Windows 7 computer to Windows 8 Pro today, the first day it was available to download.
 
Yeah, I am a trailblazer.  It isn't like I didn't play with Windows 8 previously though, because I downloaded and ran the preview edition months ago and installed it in a VM.
 
The upgrade process was pretty painless, albeit it took HOURS!  It started by me getting a link from Microsoft with a coupon code that I signed up for when I purchased my daughters laptop last month.
 
I clicked on the link and was asked to install the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.  The upgrade assistant told me that a few of my programs were not compatible with Windows 8. Would you believe Microsoft Security Essentials is one of them? This is because Windows 8 has Windows Defender that is the new er old name for their security product. Other programs along with Security Essentials I had to uninstall were a Roxio plug in and my Daemon Tools program. Otherwise I was good to go.
 
Well I continued on in the install process and was asked if I wanted to download and install Windows 8 or download the file and install at a later time. I chose to download and install Windows 8. It was a 2 GB download that took about 20 minutes to download on my 10gb cable connection. Your mileage will vary. Once downloaded the installation began. Thus ensued an over 3 hour most of the day process of installing Windows 8.  Seriously, put aside an entire day if you are going to do this.
 
At one point my computer rebooted and nothing came up on the screen but my computers hard disk light was lit and the drive was flashing furiously.  This went on for 10 minutes (maybe longer) I was very tempted to force turn off the computer and reboot it again so the screen would come up but my years of learning to be patient with computers paid off and after some time the computer rebooted again on its own and the screen came back up.  So this is critical folks, just cause you do not see anything on the screen for a long time DON'T PANIC, JUST WAIT! My monitor light even was in saver mode (yellow) during this process.
 
So when Windows 8 came back up it proceeded to install and then after it installed it proceeded to migrate my settings.  This took over an hour. Finally when Windows 8 booted I was presented with my login screen (I had multiple user accounts on my Windows 7 PC but it chose the one I had been using to upgrade by default) I entered my Windows password and was informed I could login with a Windows Live or Hotmail account so my desktop could be tailored to my preferences. I logged in with my Hotmail account and after a minute was presented with the familiar tile screen.
 
The first thing I did was select the Internet Explorer tile. All of my favorites and IE settings were intact and there! I went to my favorite download site for Windows Plugins called Ninite.com.
 
Ninite is a cool site that lets you select the Windows plug ins and programs you want by clicking a check box next to the ones you want and it will create an install file of all the programs you chose without all the google/yahoo/etc toolbar crap for you. All you need to do is click on the Install file Ninite creates for you and it will install it on your computer.  But I went to Ninite for a particular reason. There is an open source program called "Classic Shell" you can choose on Ninite and voila you will now have back the Windows Start Menu that everyone is complaining is missing in Windows 8 when you go to the desktop by pressing Start + D.
 
I do not have a touch screen on my desktop computer and would not use it if I did. The mouse works beautifully in Windows 8.  Along with a few keyboard shortcuts and the scroll wheel you can get around Windows 8 in a snap.  The thing that changes the most is that instead of using the Ctrl button you are using the Start button much more often to access shortcuts.
 
A few of the most common keyboard shortcuts besides Start + D for the desktop you will use the most is Start + C for the charms menu Start + I for settings charm and Start + Q for the search Charm.
 
The biggest frustration I have had is getting the Photos App to recognize my pictures I had already on my drive. They are in the proper folder I "think" but the app tells me that there are none there. I know they are there because I can bring up File Explorer from the desktop and see them when I click on the Pictures library. It is not a big deal because I never used Windows native picture viewer in the past opting for Google Picasa instead, which still works fine as does iTunes.
 
And finally when you run a "live" app off of one of Windows 8 tiles it opens in full screen . It isn't quickly apparent how to close the damn thing.  Well there are 3 ways I found to do it. First you can use the classic windows shortcut key Alt + F4 key to close the app. Really? Second you can press the Start button and you will go back to the Windows Menu, however the APP WILL NOT BE CLOSED! If you move your mouse over to the upper left corner of the screen the App Task menu will appear and you can right click with the mouse and choose close to close the app.
Finally you can use task manager(which I haven't found a shortcut to yet) to close the app.
 
The corners of the screen are your friends when you are in the Windows Metro screen or in an App. Each corner will take you places, or open something.  The Top left corner opens the apps switch menu, the upper right opens the charms menu, the bottom right gives you the Metro screen or desktop depending on which you are in and the bottom right will work like the old show desktop if you hover there.
 
So there you have it, that is what I figured out so far.   From start of installation to writing this blog entry approximately 7 hours of my time spent today on and off the computer getting this upgrade done. (took me about an hour to write this blog) Good luck folks and remember the word of the day if you are upgrading to Windows 8 is PATIENCE! 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Help I just loaded IOS 6 and now Facebook and Twitter are denying photos to post

Maddening, you upgrade your iPhone right, and then you go to post a great picture of your cat to facebook and you get faced with a little popup that asks if you want to allow facebook to access your photos. You always say no to those things, right?

Well if you do you will get a prompt from your Device telling you that "This App does not have access to your Photos or Videos"  You can enable access in Privacy settings.  What now?

Well you must now do the iPhone menu shuffle and dig into the new IOS 6 settings. And they added privacy settings every darn place you can imagine.

To Fix you will need to click on settings icon on your iphone--->> Choose Privacy about half way down the screen ---> Click on Photos (not facebook as you would think on that screen) and tadaa lo and behold You will see Facebook and twitter and other apps there with an off and on slider. Click to turn the slider on and you can now post photos again!

Same goes for shared calendars or contacts you use from facebook or email apps you will have to select each item under privacy to get things working again.

And that other Facebook Privacy choice off of settings -->> Privacy? Well that is for allowing or denying other applications on your device access to Facebook.

Granularity can really suck sometimes. Be careful what you say no to.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

How To: Save and Retrieve Passwords across multiple devices including Windows, Apple iPhone, iPad, Ipad 2, iPod Touch, and Android OS



Lately every single web site that I have been visiting has required a password. It is getting out of hand! Lots  of sites allow logon using a Facebook, Google or other common password service.  I do not like doing this at all! I try to use a different password for every site I visit and it is a good habit and practice that I reccomend for EVERY person on the Internet.

Back in the day, I used to reccomend to my staff members that if they really had a hard time remembering their many passwords, they could pick any base eight to ten character non dictionary word or phrase and than attach the name of the website to the front or the end of it. For example if your base password is dog8kitty, you would use yahoodog8kitty or dog8kittyyahoo for your yahoo password. That way they could have a different yet easy to remember password for each site. Just make sure no one gets ahold of your base password though! My users were notorious for still writing down the base password and posting it on a sticky note on their monitor. I never had a problem accessing their stuff...lol.

And still users are faced with the issue that not all sites let you set your own password type and require all sorts of stupid combinations for your password. How do you remember them all? The truth is, you can not!

My INEXPENSIVE solution to this problem(meaning free) is an open source program called Password Safe along with DropBox.  Now grant it, you STILL have to remember a single safe combination password for Password Safe in order to open up your safe and enter your DropBox credentials as necessary once to setup the programs with my solution, but it is far better than having to remember sometimes hundreds of passwords. Just make CERTAIN that you choose a strong safe combination to open your safe and strong dropbox password!

This quote is from the SourceForge website, "Password Safe allows you to manage your old passwords and to easily and quickly generate, store, organize, retrieve, and use complex new passwords, using password policies that you control. Once stored, your user names and passwords are just a few clicks away. "

"Using Password Safe you can organize your passwords using your own customizable references—for example, by user ID, category, web site, or location. You can choose to store all your passwords in a single encrypted master password list (an encrypted password database), or use multiple databases to further organize your passwords (work and home, for example). And with its intuitive interface you will be up and running in minutes."

Basically Password Safe will allow you to save all of your passwords into an encrypted "safe" file that is even very portable if you want it to be.  By portable I mean that you will be able to access your passwords from almost any computer or mobile device you own, including your iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, and computer! Further you can organize your passwords into file folders by type of password.  Is that not fabulous?

Read on and I will explain to you more about PasswordSafe, how to get it and a bit how to use it.
Windows
I'll start by explaining on how to find, download and install Password Safe for Windows. The freely available Open Source version of Password Safe can be downloaded from this web link.(you could also choose run and not download the file if you just want to automatically install the program.)  Once downloaded Password Safe, click  on the pwsafe-3.27.exe file to install the program.  If you receive a Windows security warning dialog click on the run button. Next choose a language from the next popup, English is the default, and click on the OK button. Click the I agree button to agree to the license agreement, and now a prompt with a dialogue box that asks what type of install you would like. A regular, (on your computer) or a disk on key, which will allow the ability to install and run the program and save your password database on a USB Key Drive to carry it with you and plug it in and use it on any other Windows Computer you want. To install it on your computer leave the regular choice ticked and click on the next button.

The next screen Choose Components, is to select additional languages, if you only want English click on the next button. The next screen, select the location to install the program to on your computer. You can use the default or change it if you want. Click on the install button to start the installation. Password Safe installs very quickly and will give you a completed screen that you can now close.

There will now be a Password Safe icon on your desktop you can click on to get started using Password Safe. If there is no icon look for the Password Safe folder in the start menu and run the program from there.

There are quick start instructions for the program on the website here.


When starting Password Safe for Windows, there will be a window like the picture above. Click on  theNew Database button and enter your chosen Safe Combination, twice.  The "safe combination" will be your KEY to open your safe and access all your passwords.  Do not write it down or give it out! Be sure you will not forget it either. It is the one password you need to remember always! Click OK.

By default Password Safe will create safes in your Documents/My Safes folder. The safe location can be changed after running the program from within the file menu by resaving the safe file elsewhere. All safe files end with a file extension of .psafe3.   

Entries can be added to the "Safe" by clicking on the + icon on the toolbar of the program to bring up the password entry window. The + icon is also in most of the apps and is used to add an entry in Password Safe.  The password entry window will allow the addition of a name of the site the password is for, username, password and more.  Password Safe will even generate a strong pasword for you. Advanced settings allow setting password policies for Password Safe to use. If  urls of the web sites login page are added then the user can click on the site entry within the program to go directly to the website. Password Safe can even auto enter in the passwords on some sites!

Portability - DropBoxI alluded to putting the Safe installation on a portable USB drive during installation above, but you can make your safe even more portable by placing it in the cloud (web or Internet for you old folk) in a (you got it) password protected PRIVATE folder with a website named DropBox. 

Dropbox is a very handy tool to use which gives the user the ability to access your files from just about any device. Many of the Apple App store apps use Dropbox so it is worth checking it out. In order to have the same database across all of your devices, go to the DropBox website at http://www.dropbox.com and click on the big blue Download Dropbox button.

Follow the instructions to install Dropbox. Note that Dropbox will create several folders on your computer in the Documents folder. Once you create a SECURE logon for the dropbox site, any files put in those folders will be uploaded to the DropBox site. MAKE CERTAIN that you only save your password and any personal files into the PRIVATE folder of Dropbox if you do not want anyone to be able to access them. Using the DropBox Private folder is how to access your passwords on all your devices anytime.  Remember your safe file is encrypted and has your personal KEY. The PUBLIC folder for DropBox means just that! Files in the PUBLIC folder will be seen by everyone on the Internet!! Don't ever put password files in this folder!

Apple iOS Apps for the iPhone iPad and iPod Touch
There are two programs that I personally have used that will open  Password Safe .pwsafe3 database files for Apple ios devices like the iPhone , iPad , iPad 2 or iPod Touch.

The programs are Password Touch by EMMA Multimedia and the one I strongly reccomend is called pwSafe Password Safe for iOS by App 777 Informatica.   

(DO NOT GET CONFUSED! There are several programs in the iTunes APP store called Password Safe. The below two are the only ones I have used and reccomend that work with the open source Password Safe program available on SourceForge described above.)
The pwSafe program by App 777 cost $1.99 but it is worth every penny in order to open Password Safe files on you iOS device.  This is MY choice as the best iOS app for the open source Password Safe! The added benefit of the App 777 version for PasswordSafe is that you can create and make local safes on your iPad , iPhone or iPod Touch. Further pwSafe can sync your safes in Apple's iCloud to use on all your iOS devices! However iCloud will not let you share the safe file seamlessly with your PC, so DropBox is a better choice to use.  PwSafe allows you to enter your DropBox.com credentials and connect to your safes in your PRIVATE folder and open them using your private KEY combination code specified for the safe. You can have multiple safes on your device local, on iCloud and those from DropBox.com.
The $4.99 Password Touch by EMMA is not only $3 more than the pwSafe app by APP 777, it is also not worth the addional amount because it lacks many of the features the APP 777 one does.  A DropBox account is required for the app and it must have internet available to link to the safe from your DropBox account.  I do not reccomend this product and it is overpriced in my opinion for what it does.

A third iOS program I have NOT used is the $1.99 DropSafe by Smith Surasmith available from here. However it appears to be very similar in functionality to the PW Touch program only using the database from DropBox so I would not bother with it.

Android
The port PasswordSafe for Android, reccomended by the developers, is available at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.jefftharris.passwdsafe
I played with this on a G2X and am very impressed. It doesn't look like  much until you press the bottom left menu key. Then you see the power of this port of PasswordSafe. It works flawless to make your own safe on your android device. DropBox can also used and available from http://www.dropbox.com

 Linux
 PasswordSafe for Linux is Beta software but versions can be downloaded from here. I'll have to admit again that I have not had a chance to even look at or test this version of Password Safe so I can not offer any reccomendations or insight on how well this works.



And for those brave souls who want to tinker there is even a version of PasswordSafe for Windows Mobile Phone Project going on at this link.

Different versions of PasswordSafe are constantly emerging. Check out the related project page at http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/relatedprojects.shtml to see if your OS is supported.

Password Safe and Dropbox have served me quite well over the last few years as a secure way to save my passwords and make them available across all my devices. I have found no other password wallet or utility that is so diverse. Give it a try today.

Disclaimer: There is really never any way of knowing if Dropbox, iCloud or any place else on the web or in the "cloud" where you store any of your files or email is ever 100% secure. *The fact is it probably isn't. There is also no guarantee your data is out there permantly. Always back up important data in at least 2 places.  This doesn't necessarily mean you can not store secure files out in the cloud, it just means you have to be very very careful HOW and WHERE you do it. Always use trustworthy web sites to store your files. Always encrypt personal information and password protect files if possible. Always use strong passwords with letters, numbers and special characters if possible.
 Follow Microsoft's Tips for Creating Passwords.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

So you just got an iPad (for Christmas) what killer apps should you get? Kenzig's top 5 picks.

Being a "PC" all of my life and a Microsoft fan boy, I never quite really got into the "Mac" thing throughout my 30 year or so long computer career.  Yeah, I "played" with the stuff, I had several iterations of the old style iPod, set up a Mac IIe for the library, messed around with a blueberry iMac, and even set up and played with a PowerMac. 

But Apple products were never for me, that is until I got my first iPod Touch.  It was a gen 1 I got off eBay and I just had to know what the hype was about. When I got the device in my hands, I was immediately hooked. I began using and carrying it around in my pocket every place using it for email, calendar appointments, notes, internet, apps and sometimes even music.  I had to brag and show it around work and show it to everyone I could. Four years later and I now have an iPod Touch Gen 4, an iPhone 3gs, an iPad I and iPad II.

I guess you can call me a pseudo Apple Fanboy now, I use my iPad now more than my home computer. (I am still a PC though)
I have over the years amassed 533 Apple iTunes Apps, you read that correctly, 533 apps that I have downloaded for free or purchased for the iPod/iPad/iPhone. I have spent far too much money over the last 4 years on "iDevices" and the Apps that go with them. Because of this I have been able to sort through the riff raff of apps and find some true "gems" that I personally can not live without on my iPad for day to day use.  So I picked my top five all time favorite apps for the iPad that I think will make your first iPad app experiences pleasant

Now the iPad comes with many great apps to get you started. And you can get all of the standard social networking apps like twitter and facebook easily enough for free from the app store, but what happens when you really want to get something done? You need the most useful apps and the most bang for your buck.
Before I get too far I want to stress to you, the new iPad owner, that the very first thing you should do before you plug your iPad into your computer is to be certain you have downloaded and installed the latest version of Apple iTunes on your PC/Mac. Click on help and then select check for updates in the iTunes top menu and check to make certain you have the latest version.

I am assuming you have set up the internet and other settings on your iPad for this article and are ready to get started with using it.  I also assume the user knows how to tap the App Store icon and navigate and download an app from the app store. One thing I would suggest to the novice iPad user is to be careful about what free apps you select from the App Store. Most free apps, except those from well known suppliers contain ads that show within the app and will encourage you to buy the paid version to have the ads removed. Know that if you install these free versions, the app will constantly request updates in the App store to update the ads in the app. It can get frustrating seeing the same app want to update itself week after week so it can download the updated ads to it.

I realize that everyone has different tastes, and use will use their devices differently than I do,  but I wanted to take a stab at creating a list of what I believe to be the must have iPad Apps for the common person who just got their iPad and has a shiny new iTunes card in hand. So lets get started already.
BOOKS
One of the main reasons most people want or purchase an iPad is so that they can read books on it. It thouroughly confuses me why Apple does not include one of the most useful apps available for the device which is iBooks.  iBooks is a free App by Apple that lets you read books from the App Store, PDF's and a few other types of files. It also is the only way to get the iPad user manual. I use iBooks at least twice a day to read a PDF file off of the web. There are thousands of free books you can get from the iTunes store to read in iBooks. iBooks can be had for FREE from here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks/id364709193?mt=8
After download open up the iBooks app, go to the store and search for the FREE iPad user guide for IOS 5.0. This is is must have and a must read. Get the free iPad 2 starter guide while you are at it (or the iPad Starter guide if you have a first gen iPad)

Of course you may want to get the free Amazon Kindle App and Barnes and Noble Nook app if you read a lot. Also don't forget the free Google books, Stanza and Wattpad Apps for many free and public domain writings. This group will surely keep you busy.
NEWS
Under the books and reading category if you like news, I would also highly reccomend the free USA Today app which is made for the iPad. You can get that from here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/usa-today-for-ipad/id364257176?mt=8  We won't count these apps toward my fave 5 though.

NOTES
The next task you are going to use your iPad for a lot is taking notes. While I understand there is a built in Notepad App for the iPad, you will find it not sufficient if you want to organize your notes and better keep track of them.  The app that is a must have is one called Awesome Note.  It is like sticky note on steroids for your iPad.  You can organize the notes in folders, set timers on the notes on the calendar, make todo and grocery lists, take quick notes while in a meeting or on the phone.  And you can sync your notes with Google docs or Evernote. At $3.99 US you will not be dissappointed.  Awesome note is my most favorite utility App for both my iPhone and my iPad. You can get it from the following link:   
Runner up Note Apps you also may want to look at are My Notebook!, Evernote, or Penultimate. Again not in my favorite five though.


CALCULATOR
Previous IOS versions on the Apple devices contained a Calculator app.  When Apple introduced the iPhone 4 and the IOS 4.5 that went along with it, the Calculator app was suddenly absent.  Big sigh. What the hell Apple? I don't get it. Now so many, many developers came out with Calculator apps it is hard to slush through to find a useful one. There are a boatload of free ones out there, though inundated with ads. Pony up 99 cents and buy Calculator 4. You will be glad that you did. You will use it all the time and it will serve you well. Get it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/calculator-4-ipad-edition/id387648188?mt=8


CALENDAR
I use my favorite calendar app a lot to remind me of bill pay dates and for my upcoming meetings and doctors appointments.  The iPad has a built in calendar app that may be sufficient for most people but not for me. Before iCloud in IOS 5.0 it was not very easy to sync your appointments between your iPhone and your iPad. Further backup of your appointments was difficult unless you used an app like Mobiun Copy.  While I realize that has all changed with IOS 5.0, the built in calendar is still not enough for me.  My calenday of choice is Pocket Informant HD.  At $14.99 this is probably one of the most expensive apps I have paid for. It has been worth every penny for me. Pocket Informant HD has allowed me to sync my Google Calendar and local appointments all on to one calendar. (It also will sync with Toodledoo calendars) Direct to Outlook for Windows Sync is available though it requires separate $5 WebIS Desktop Sync software from http://tinyurl.com/yggbk2a . Pocket Informant HD allows me to make tasks and set alarms or reminders.  I never miss a bill payment because I can set up repeating appointments.  Pocket Informant HD also gives you List, Day, Week and Month views and planner style screens. I just can't say enough good things about it.  You can get more information and download Pocket Informant HD from here:


Best Game
It was tough coming up with a choice for my final category. After all what is the iPad without the lacking weather app. My dad used to always tell me to look out the Window if I wanted to know what the weather was like. If you want my opinion the Weather+ App wins this category hands down so there is no discussion.  How about entertainment and TV? If you search the iTunes App store you can find free Apps for all of the TV networks. Music? Lots of free apps like Pandora, IHeartRadio, Radio.com and Aol Radio. But for the diehard radio fan everone knows Wunderradio beats them all and worth the $3.99 price. And I know there are still more thousands of utilities and useful business line apps out there I could of picked.  Still none of these apps are on my everyday use list. And they are all fodder for follow up articles in each of their respective categories.

When not using my device on the web and in the other 4 apps I have mentioned, the rest of my time is spent playing games. After all, the iPad is a fabulous game device and there are tens of thousands of games available for it. Sure I tried the most famous Angry Birds, mindlessly shooting birds of all sizes at pigs in various structures, and I was bedazzled by Bejeweled for hours. But I must be becoming an old fuddy duddy because my all time favorite past time and game to play on the iPad is Scrabble by Electronic Arts. If you are a fan of the board game spend the $4.99 and get this one. This is one game that will keep your mind sharp and you may learn a word or two playing against the computer.  You can also play multiplayer by passing it around the room to friends and family, or play with friends on Facebook who have the app. Get it here:

I would be remiss if I did not point out that a close second to Scrabble when it comes to games for me is Pinochle by Fishdog.Net (again out comes the fuddy duddy). Once again if you are fan of the game there is no better version.

FINALLY

More Advice
I realize in the scope of this article I can not give you advice for all app categories. However a great app to give you advice about other app categories and to get you started is called AppStart by Appadvice. This free app will give you some of the best tips of suggestions for those other killer Apps you should have on your iPad. I still use this to find new apps almost every other day. Get Appstart from here http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/appstart-for-ipad/id408984648?mt=8

So there you have it my top 5 picks(and then some) for the best killer iPad apps you should take a look at.