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PL-400 tricks - Microsoft Power Platform Developer Updated: 2024

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Exam Code: PL-400 Microsoft Power Platform Developer tricks January 2024 by team

PL-400 Microsoft Power Platform Developer

Exam ID : PL-400

Exam Name : Microsoft Power Platform Developer

Candidates for this exam design, develop, secure, and troubleshoot Power Platform solutions. Candidates implement components of a solution, including application enhancements, custom user experience, system integrations, data conversions, custom process automation, and custom visualizations.

Candidates must have strong applied knowledge of Power Platform services, including in-depth understanding of capabilities, boundaries, and constraints. Candidates should have a basic understanding of DevOps practices for Power Platform.

Candidates should have development experience that includes Power Platform services, JavaScript, JSON, TypeScript, C#, HTML, .NET, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, RESTful web services, ASP.NET, and Microsoft Power BI.

Create a technical design (10-15%)

Configure Common Data Service (15-20%)

Create and configure Power Apps (15-20%)

Configure business process automation (5-10%)

Extend the user experience (10-15%)

Extend the platform (15-20%)

Develop integrations (5-10%)

Create a technical design (10-15%)

Validate requirements and design technical architecture

 design and validate the technical architecture for a solution

 design authentication and authorization strategy

 determine whether you can meet requirements with out-of-the-box functionality

 determine when to use Logic Apps versus Power Automate flows

 determine when to use serverless computing, plug-ins, or Power Automate

 determine when to build a virtual entity data source provider and when to use connectors

Design solution components

 design a data model

 design Power Apps reusable components

 design custom connectors

 design server-side components

Describe Power Platform extensibility points

 describe Power Virtual Agents extensibility points including Bot Framework skills and Power Automate flows

 describe Power BI extensibility points including Power BI APIs, custom visuals, and embedding Power BI apps in websites and other applications

 describe Power Apps portal extensibility points including CRUD APIs and custom styling

Configure Common Data Service (15-20%)

Configure security to support development

 troubleshoot operational security issues

 create or update security roles and field-level security profiles

 configure business units and teams

Implement entities and fields

 configure entity and entity options

 configure fields

 configure relationships and types of behaviors

Implement application lifecycle management (ALM)

 create solutions and manage solution components

 import and export solutions

 manage solution dependencies

 create a package for deployment

 automate deployments

 implement source control for projects including solutions and code assets

Create and configure Power Apps (15-20%)

Create model-driven apps

 configure a model-driven app

 configure forms

 configure views

 configure visualizations

Create canvas apps

 create and configure a canvas app

 implement complex formulas to manage control events and properties

 analyze app usage by using App Insights

 build reusable component libraries

Manage and troubleshoot apps

 troubleshoot app issues by using Monitor and other browser-based debugging tools

 interpret results from App Checker and Solution Checker

 identify and resolve connector and API errors

 optimize app performance including pre-loading data and query delegation

Configure business process automation (5-10%)

Configure Power Automate

 create and configure a flow

 configure steps to use Common Data Service connector actions and triggers

 implement complex expressions in flow steps

 implement error handling

 troubleshoot flows by analyzing JSON responses from connectors

Implement processes

 create and configure business process flows

 create and configure business rules

 create, manage, and interact with business process flows by using server-side and clientside code

 troubleshoot processes

Extend the user experience (10-15%)

Apply business logic using client scripting

 create JavaScript or Typescript code that targets the XRM API

 register an event handler

 create client-side scripts that target the Common Data Service Web API

Create a Power Apps Component Framework (PCF) component

 describe the PCF component lifecycle

 initialize a new PCF component

 configure a PCF component manifest

 implement the component interfaces

 package, deploy, and consume the component

 configure and use PCF Device, Utility, and WebAPI features

 test and debug PCF components by using the local test harness

Create a command button function

 create the command function

 design command button rules and actions

 edit the command bar by using the Ribbon Workbench

 manage dependencies between JavaScript libraries

Extend the platform (15-20%)

Create a plug-in

 describe the plug-in execution pipeline

 design and develop a plug-in

 debug and troubleshoot a plug-in

 implement business logic by using pre and post images

 perform operations on data by using the Organization service API

 optimize plug-in performance

 register custom assemblies by using the Plug-in Registration Tool

 develop a plug-in that targets a custom action message

Create custom connectors

 create a definition for the API

 configure API security

 use policy templates to modify connector behavior at runtime

 expose Azure Functions as custom connectors

 create custom connectors for public APIs by using Postman

Use platform APIs

 interact with data and processes by using the Common Data Service Web API or the

Organization Service

 implement API limit retry policies

 optimize for performance, concurrency, transactions, and batching

 query the Discovery service to discover the URL and other information for an organization

 perform entity metadata operations with the Web API

 perform authentication by using OAuth

Process workloads

 process long-running operations by using Azure Functions

 configure scheduled and event-driven function triggers in Azure Functions

 authenticate to the Power Platform by using managed identities

Develop Integrations (5-10%)

Publish and consume events

 publish an event by using the API

 publish an event by using the Plug-in Registration Tool

 register service endpoints including webhooks, Azure Service Bus, and Azure Event Hub

 implement a Common Data Service listener for an Azure solution

 create an Azure Function that interacts with Power Platform

Implement data synchronization

 configure entity change tracking

 read entity change records by using platform APIs

 create and use alternate keys
Microsoft Power Platform Developer
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Microsoft Power Platform Developer
Question: 73
You are developing an app for a sales team to record contact details in their Common Data Service (CDS) database.
The app must handle loss of network and save the data to CDS when reconnected.
The main screen of the app has a form to collect contact data and a button.
The OnSelect property for the button has the following expression:
For each of the following statements, select Yes if the statement is true. Otherwise, select No. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Box 1: Yes
LoadData and SaveData combine to form a simple mechanism to store small amounts of data on a local device. By
using these functions, you can add simple offline capabilities to your app.
Box 2: No
Box 3: No
Box 4: Yes
Question: 74
You need to identify the execution mode that is being used for the ISV solution reported by User5.
Which type of execution mode is in use?
A. asynchronous
B. atomicity
C. transfer
D. synchronous
Answer: D
User5 receives the error message: Endpoint unavailable during a test of the technician dispatch ISV solution.
When you choose to use a synchronous execution mode any failure will be reported back to the user of the application
with an Endpoint unavailable error dialog informing the user that the webhook service endpoint may be configured
incorrectly or is not available.
Question: 75
You need to ensure that users can create the required charts.
Which two actions should you perform? Each correct answer presents part of the solution. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
A. Create a quick view form to show the Accounts entity.
B. Configure filter fields in the Annual revenue field.
C. Add the Facility field to the account form.
D. Delete the Annual revenue field from the account form.
E. Create a view with annual revenue sorted lowest value to highest value.
Answer: B,C
Pharmacy orders must be displayed in four graphs as follows:
Annual revenue over $100,000
Annual revenues under $100,000
Research facilities
The graphs must be interactive, and users must be able to drill down on any dimension.
Question: 76
You need to assign security roles to groups of users.
Which security roles should you use? To answer, drag the appropriate security types to the correct roles. Each security
type may be used once, more than once, or not at all. You may need to drag the split bar between panes or scroll to
view content. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Graphical user interface, text, application
Description automatically generated
Scenario: The company identifies the following job roles:
You must grant users the minimum permissions required to perform their job tasks.
Intern: Environment Maker
Environment Maker: Can create new resources associated with an environment, including apps, connections, custom
APIs, gateways, and flows using Microsoft Power Automate. However, this role doesnt have any privileges to access
data within an environment.
Manager: System Administrator:
System Administrator: Has full permission to customize or administer the environment, including creating, modifying,
and assigning security roles. Can view all data in the environment.
Sales representative: Common Data Service User
Basic User/ Common Data Service User: Read (self), Create (self), Write (self), Delete (self)
Can run an app within the environment and perform common tasks for the records that they own.
Question: 77
You need to modify the Power Automate flow to resolve CustomerCs issue.
What should you do?
A. Add a configure run that is set to is successful.
B. Add a data operation that specifies the false conditions.
C. Add a condition containing approval hierarchy.
D. Add a timeout setting to the approval flow.
Answer: C
Scenario: CustomerC requested additional information from the parts department through the customer survey and has
not received a response one week later.
Question: 78
You are training a group of makers to use Power Automate.
You have the following expressions:
You need to identify what each expression is doing.
What does each expression do? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Description automatically generated
Box 1: Return the statuscode at runtime.
You could try the following method to get the status code.
Configure Compose action under the specified action to get the status code. outputs(ActionName)[statusCode]
Box 2: Return all the results from all actions from MyScope
The @result() expression accepts the name of a Scope as a parameter and returns a JSON array of objects that
represent the results of the execution of each action within the Scope.
Question: 79
Note: This question is part of a series of questions that present the same scenario. Each question in the series contains
a unique solution that might meet the stated goals. Some question sets might have more than once correct solution,
while others might not have a correct solution.
After you answer a question in this section, you will NOT be able to return to it. As a result, these questions will not
appear in the review screen.
You are designing a one-way integration from the Common Data Service to another system.
You must use an Azure Function to update the other system. The integration must send only newly created records to
the other system. The solution must support scenarios where a component of the integration is unavailable for more
than a few seconds to avoid data loss.
You need to design the integration solution.
Solution: Register a webhook in the Common Data Service that connects to the Azure Function. Register a step on the
webhook which runs synchronously on the records Create message and in the post-operation stage.
Does the solution meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: B
Instead use asynchronous communication.
Question: 80
You need to reduce response time for the information email on the website.
What should you create?
A. A flow that create a notification in Microsoft Teams
B. A power Apps app that displays the number of emails received in a dashboard
C. A flow that creates a SharePoint item for each email response
D. Logic app that moves all emails received to Azure Blob storage.
Answer: A
Customers report that the response time from the information email listed on the Adventure Works Cycles website is
greater than five days.
Microsoft Teams is used for all collaboration.
Question: 81
Note: This question is part of a series of questions that present the same scenario. Each question in the series contains
a unique solution that might meet the stated goals. Some question sets might have more than one correct solution,
while others might not have a correct solution.
After you answer a question in this section, you will NOT be able to return to it. As a result, these questions will not
appear in the review screen.
An organization has an Azure SQL Database instance that must be synchronized daily with data from Dynamics 365
Sales. A large amount of data might need to be synchronized on some days.
You need to reduce the time required to synchronize data.
Enable change tracking for entities that will be synchronized.
Use the Data Export Service to sync data between the database and Dynamics 365 Sales.
Does the solution meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: A
Large organizations that synchronize their data with external data sources can now enable entities for change tracking.
You can export or retrieve a selected set of data, and then keep the external data warehouse in sync.
The Data Export Service is an add-on service made available on Microsoft AppSource that adds the ability to replicate
data from Common Data Service database to an Azure SQL Database store in a customer-owned Azure subscription.
The Data Export Service intelligently synchronizes the entire data initially and thereafter synchronizes on a continuous
basis as changes occur (delta changes) in the system.
You can use the Data Export Service with model-driven apps in Dynamics 365, such as Dynamics 365 Sales and
Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
Question: 82
You are developing a Power Platform solution. You plan to add three buttons to a form.
The buttons have the following requirements:
You need to complete each buttons action.
Which commands should you use? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Box 1: Now() only.
The Now function returns the current date and time as a date/time value.
Box 2: Switch() or IF()
If and Switch functions in Power Apps determines whether any condition in a set is true (If) or the result of a formula
matches any value in a set (Switch) and then returns a result or executes an action.
Box 3: isMatch( TextInput1.Text,"emergency",Contains & IgnoreCase )
Example: IsMatch( TextInput1.Text, "hello", Contains & IgnoreCase )
Tests whether the users input contains the word "hello" (case insensitive).
Question: 83
An international organization has a series of client-server applications that manage red light cameras and traffic
violations across a wide geographic region. The daily volume of traffic violations is very high and growing.
You plan to use Microsoft Power Platform apps to manage the following types of data:
Existing vehicle licensing data must be imported into Common Data Service and easily queried.
Red light camera images must be stored in a repository for later analysis.
Information about traffic violations must be stored and related to vehicle details.
You need to select data storage mechanisms for the new apps.
Which data storage mechanisms should you use? To answer, drag the appropriate data storage mechanisms to the
correct data types. Each storage mechanism may be used once, more than once, or not at all. You may need to drag the
split bar between panes or scroll to view content. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Question: 84
You need to configure the trigger for the priority field in the Account entity.
Which expression should you use?
C. ADDWEEKS(1, CreatedOn)
D. DIFFINDAYS(Createdon, now())
E. ADDDAYS(10, CreatedOn)
Answer: C
A trigger must be created that changes the Priority field to 1 in the Account record 10 days after an Account record is
Date.AddWeeks returns the date, datetime, or datetimezone result from adding numberOfWeeks weeks to the datetime
value dateTime.
CreatedOn gets the value to store in the history table indicating when this entry was created.
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Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

Microsoft Copilot has been there in the latest version of Windows 11 for quite some time now, and if you have just started using it, you should know a few things to get the best out of this AI tool. Here are some of the best Microsoft Copilot tips and tricks that you should know to get the best possible result.

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

Some of the best Microsoft Copilot tips and tricks are:

  1. Choose a conversation style
  2. Add Copilot to context menu
  3. Use Copilot to open apps
  4. Use Copilot to turn on/off settings
  5. Voice search
  6. Image search
  7. Generate AI image
  8. Summarize long paragraphs
  9. Ask definite question
  10. Use Copilot in Office apps.

1] Choose a conversation style

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

When you open Microsoft Copilot for the very first time, it asks only one question to get started – conversation style. Conversation style is nothing but a way to get your answers. There are three styles – More CreativeMore Balanced, and More Precise. If you are looking for a high-end job, it is recommended to go with the More Balanced option since it creates human-like answers.

On the other hand, the More Precise style is for those who want to use some specific things such as mathematical calculations, lists of something that is too specific, writing something on a specific topic, etc.

Read: Windows 11 Copilot Download, Install, Features, Settings, Remove

2] Add Copilot to context menu

By default, Microsoft Copilot appears on the right-hand side of your screen when you press Win+C or click on the respective Taskbar icon. However, if you want to use it right from the context menu, that is possible too. For that, you need the help of Registry Editor. You can go through this guide to learn how you can add Copilot to the context menu.

3] Use Copilot to open apps

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

Not only just finding answers, but Copilot can also be used to open apps as well. For example, you want to open a browser or an Office app such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. In such situations, you can ask your AI companion to open it for you. All you need is a simple command such as open Microsoft Word or open Google Chrome. Start the command with “open” to open an app.

However, you cannot close an open app using Copilot. If you enter a command starting with “close,” it returns an incorrect answer.

Read: How to use Copilot in Windows 11

4] Use Copilot to turn on/off settings

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

Apart from opening apps, you can use Copilot to turn on or off system settings. As Windows Settings comes with tons of things here and there, it might be difficult for you to remember the location of a specific option. If so, you do not need to open the Windows Settings panel to enable or disable a specific option.

Instead, you can use Copilot to get the job done. For example, if you want to enable dark mode, you can simply supply a command like this – turn on dark mode. On the other hand, if you want to disable dark mode, you can use the term “turn off.”

Note: After testing several settings with this command, we can say that you would get the best result when you add turn on/off instead of enable/disable or activate/deactivate. Also, not all the options can be turned on or off. As of today, it works best with an option that comes with a toggle button.

5] Voice search

If you are tired of typing, you can always use the voice search option. For that, you must enable the microphone to be used by Copilot. Once done, you can click on the microphone icon and start giving your command. No matter what you want to get, you can ask it using your microphone.

6] Image search

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

It is one of the best things that Copilot has housed so far. At times, you might want to know what an image is all about. For example, you have got an image of a fruit on Facebook, but you do not know the name of it. In such situations, you upload the image or provide the direct link to it and ask Copilot to find the name. Alternatively, if you have an image of text, you can extract it as well.

To use this option, you need to click on the image search icon and upload the image or share the link. Then, you can ask your question manually.

7] Generate AI image

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

It is another way of using Copilot. Let’s say you want to get an image of something and are not happy with readily available online images. In those moments, you can generate an AI image. For that, you must provide precise information that you want to include in an image. That said, instead of saying, “create an image of tom and jerry,” say, “create an image of tom and jerry sitting on a bench looking at a bird.”

It may take a while, but the result will be amazing. Once you see the images, you can click on them to get the photo to your computer.

8] Summarize long paragraphs

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know

We often do not want to read long paragraphs – especially when it is not an interesting topic. No worries! Copilot can be used to summarize your boring paragraphs as well. All you need to do is to enter the text you want to shorten and supply a command like “summarize this paragraph in N words.”

The result is instant. Most importantly, you would learn what the paragraph is saying in your desired word count.

9] Ask a definite question

It is the most important thing you should remember while using Copilot. This AI tool shows answers based on the questions you ask. Therefore, you need to remember a few things:

  • Make a platform first. That said, instead of saying write a medical leave application, ask it to write something like this – write a medical leave application from 12th December to 20th December describing [your medical issue].
  • Edit your result. Once you get the result, but you are not happy with it, you can supply it more information about what you want, how you want, etc.

10] Use Copilot in Office apps

It is possible to use Copilot in other apps as well. For example, you can use Copilot in most of the Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, OneNote, Outlook, etc.

That’s all! I hope these tips will help you use Copilot.

Also read: How to use Copilot in Microsoft Edge

What is the best way to use Microsoft Copilot?

Microsoft Copilot can be used in many ways on your computer. However, if you want to get the best results, you must follow some parameters. For example, you should always ask definite questions instead of random ones to get what you are looking for exactly. Apart from that, you can also follow the aforementioned tips and tricks to use Microsoft Copilot in the best possible way.

Read: How to enable and use Copilot in Loop

How do I experience Microsoft Copilot?

To use or experience Microsoft Copilot on Windows 11, you need to update your computer to the latest version. As it comes as an in-built functionality, there is no option to get the app. Once you are with the latest version, you can press Win+C to open Copilot.

Best Microsoft Copilot Tips and Tricks you should know
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OVER a dozen teatime mistakes are costing households up to £205 extra on their energy bills each year, according to new research.

Nearly every UK household (93%) admits to having at least one bad energy habit, Uswitch reports.

Don't waste £205 a year on these bad energy habits


Don't waste £205 a year on these bad energy habits

This includes anything from overfilling the kettle to leaving lights on - but doing so could unnecessarily add hundreds of pounds more to our energy bills.

Two-thirds of households (66%) set their washing machine at more than 40 degrees celsius, potentially costing nearly £20 a year more than washing at 30 degrees celsius.

Almost half (48%) run it when it’s not full, adding another £8 to bills, according to the survey of 2,000 participants.

With washing machines costing households £32 a year on average in electricity, an extra weekly wash could add an extra £8 to annual bills.

Running the dishwasher when it's not full adds an average of almost £10 a year to energy bills – and not using the appliance's eco mode could also increase costs by £20 a year.

Another costly habit is leaving the hot tap running while doing the washing up.

A running hot tap can waste 100 litres in just ten minutes, wasting 26p in energy costs.

Households that do this one a week could run up an additional £12 a year.

Tea-making is an area where bad habits can quickly increase energy costs.

Three-fifths of households (61%) say they fill the kettle with more water than they need, potentially adding nearly £40 to the average £84-a-year cost of tea-making if they overfill by half every time.

Nearly 15 million households admit leaving the TV on when no one is watching, potentially adding £1.90 a year to bills, while half (52%) leave the lights on when no one is in the room, which could add £9 to annual bills.

Leaving devices on standby is the most common bad habit, with 72% of households saying they do this. 

Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at, said: "Most New Year Resolutions don’t last a long time, but getting into good energy habits could save you a significant amount of money over the year.

"We've all been guilty at times of leaving the lights on or overfilling the kettle, but it's important to remember that these habits can all add hundreds of pounds a year to our bills.

"Bills are higher this winter than they were last year, but there are a lot of ways households can cut their energy use.

"Saving money might be as simple as using the eco mode on your white goods and making sure you only run them when full."

If you don't have a smart meter and haven't sent your provider exact meter readings - it's worth submitting one now.

An updated meter reading will mean your provider has a more accurate idea of your usage to bill you accurately.

There are several cheap and easy ways to heat your home and reduce electricity costs.

Every degree you increase the temperature of your thermostat is estimated to hike your heating bill by about 10% - so get the balance right.

The Energy Saving Trust recommends that your thermostat should be set to the lowest comfortable temperature, which for most is between 18°C and 21°C.

You can also turn your boiler's flow temperature down as well as any thermostatic radiator valves in some rooms - you could save around £180 annually on your energy bills.

A couple managed to cut £400 off their EDF Energy bill by turning off their immersion heater.

Topping up loft insulation and switching to a smart meter can bring a household a further £230 worth of annual savings, according to Nesta.

It is also important to ensure that when your boiler's running, there's no draught.

Ventilation is good for health and air quality but is the first place heat will escape.

If there's a draught, grab a draught excluder and plug the gap.

You should also ensure your windows are closed before the sun sets.

Consider what rooms in your home need heating.

You won't be using each one 24/7, so make sure the heating is off in any rooms that aren't occupied.

The best part about all these changes is that they won't cost you a penny as they are free.

Wed, 03 Jan 2024 22:37:00 -0600 James Flanders en-gb text/html
Reddit thread offers amazing tips for renters trying to fix drafty doors and windows: ‘What else can we do?’

When temperatures fell below freezing one December, a Reddit user shared that they were struggling to stay warm. Thankfully, commenters came to their aid with suggestions for insulating their home.

As the world gets warmer in general, the weather is getting less predictable, which can result in unusual cold spells in many locations. Sometimes, this means residents are trying to stay warm in homes that simply weren’t built for this kind of freeze.

Many have turned to their online communities for tips and tricks, like the Redditor who was trying to survive winter in a poorly insulated home.

In this thread, the original poster says they live in a 100-year-old building full of drafts.

“We lined all the windows with towels/blankets, replaced draft stoppers, applied weatherizing tape to every nook and cranny, and I even taped one of our exterior doors shut (we don’t use it) and it’s still drafty,” they say.

Concerned about both the uncomfortable temperature inside the home and the skyrocketing heating bill, they ask, “What else can we do in the meantime to fix the draftiness?”

The top comment offers several helpful suggestions such as window insulation film, checking for drafts in fireplaces, and taking advantage of sunlight through south-facing windows to warm the home during the day.

“Rugs can also help depending on where you’re losing heat from, as well as thick curtains,” they add. “I like the velvet ones from Ikea for insulation and light blocking.”

Other commenters suggested sealing the front door mail slot while some listed their favorite weather stripping.

Improving insulation in a home is a smart step for combatting both winter and summer temperatures. It helps maintain a comfortable indoor climate, while also lowering heating and cooling bills, since the home’s HVAC system doesn’t have to work so hard. Finally, it’s good for the environment, because less HVAC use means less electricity and fuel used, reducing the amount of heat-trapping gas released into the air.

The OP of this Reddit thread was glad to receive so many suggestions.

“Thank you!” they say in response to a comment. “I’ll check out the velvet curtains and window plastic for sure.”

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Wed, 03 Jan 2024 20:30:00 -0600 en-US text/html
How to Find Your Product Keys for Windows and Microsoft Office

You just replaced your PC's hard drive, but now you have to reinstall and reactivate Windows or Office on your new system. Can you do it without the product keys for your software? There are some tricks, but you'll have to use them while your current hard drive is still alive and well.

With Windows 10 and 11, the OS should automatically activate as the license is usually digital and doesn't require a product key. But with older versions of Windows and with Microsoft Office, a product key is required. For the latter, you can use a third-party utility to display the keys on your PC before a crash occurs, save those key numbers, and squirrel them away just in case.

First, let's go through the scenarios in which you would or would not need a product key to reinstall and reactivate certain Microsoft software. Even though Windows 10 and 11 typically don’t require a product key, there are exceptions, as described in this Microsoft support document. If you purchased Windows 10 or 11 from a retail store or on a new device as opposed to upgrading from a previous version, then you have a product key and would need that to reactivate the OS.

Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 both require a product key for activation, as detailed in another Microsoft support document.

And what of Microsoft Office? If you have a subscription to Office 365, you don't need a product key. You just install Office 365 on your new hard drive as part of your subscription (though you might have to contact Microsoft to activate it). If you have a digital or physical copy of any version of Office, then you’re given a product key that would need to be entered.

In general, having the product keys for your Microsoft products is a good idea. The easiest way to grab those product keys is from the product box, or in the case of Windows, from a sticker on your PC itself. But if those avenues aren't accessible, here are three products that can reveal your product keys so you can keep them handy.

Belarc Advisor

(Credit: Lance Whitney)

The free and robust Belarc Advisor provides a wealth of information about your PC and software. You'll find details on the different hardware components that make up your computer, information on attached accessories such as printers and your monitor, and a list of networked devices. For our purposes, Belarc displays the software installed on your PC along with their products keys. You'll see the keys for Windows and Office as well as non-Microsoft software.

Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder

(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Another free utility, Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder serves up product keys for Windows and Office 2010 (it doesn't support more exact versions of Office) as well as non-Microsoft software. You can print the product key information or save it as a text file or a CSV file. A more advanced program called Recover Keys offers additional options for $29.99, but Jelly Bean Keyfinder should suffice if you just need the product keys for Windows and Office 2010.

Product Key Scanner

(Credit: Lance Whitney)

NirSoft’s free Product Key Scanner will scan your installed versions of Windows, Office, and other programs via the BIOS, the Registry, or a Registry file saved on an external drive. The software works with any version of Windows from XP to Windows 10, both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.

Mon, 01 Jan 2024 04:03:00 -0600 en-au text/html
Two minute tech tricks: Start the year with a clean inbox

Email stinks. OK, it’s not that bad, but I’d much rather get things done in person, in a video meeting or over chat. My rule of thumb: If we get into an email back and forth, I’m calling you instead.

That said, email has its place and you might as well make your inbox as useful as it can be. For me, that starts with my annual ritual: Clearing out all the old mail from the year before. supply it a try.


Try my free daily tech newsletter, The Current. Written by me, not AI — and an email you’ll actually want to read! Join 500K smart people who read it.

The trick is simple: Archive your inbox

You’ll be surprised at how effective this is at giving you back some digital headspace.

So, what is email archiving? Basically, this keeps a record of everything you’ve sent and received — so you’ll always have a copy of any of your messages and attachments — but they won’t be sitting in your inbox.

Sure, you can file all your emails away into carefully sorted folders, but what are the chances you’re actually going to keep up with that level of organization? Archiving is a great gift to supply yourself going into the new year. Plus, it’s an easy New Year’s Resolution to keep. Just click a few buttons, and your life is already easier!

Follow these steps to archive in Gmail

First, open your Gmail account on a computer and click the Inbox folder on the left.Above your emails, there’s an empty checkbox. Click the small arrow next to it, and choose All. This selects only the conversations visible on the screen.To select all your emails, click Select all (number) conversations in Inbox. Then, hit the Archive icon (folder with a downward pointing arrow).

Gmail will take some time to process your request. Be patient. You may have to do this step a few times to get everything.


Once you’ve archived a message, you can hit All Mail to the left, right under Inbox and your other email folders to find it. Your best bet is to search by a term you know was in the email or by the sender.

Using Apple Mail? Here’s what to do

Open the Mail app on your Mac. Look through your inbox or other folders and find those emails you want to stash away. Click on an email to select it, or if you’ve got a bunch, hold down the Command key and click on each one you want to archive.Got an ‘Archive’ button (looks like a little box) on the toolbar? Just click that, and you’re golden. No button? No problem. Click ‘Message’ at the top, then choose ‘Archive’ from the dropdown. If you’re all about shortcuts, just hit Control + Command + A and those emails will zip right into your archive.Where did they go? Head over to the ‘Archive’ folder. It’s in the sidebar under ‘Mailboxes.’ Got more than one email account? Each one has its own Archive folder.

When you need to find those emails again, just click on that ‘Archive’ folder anytime. All your archived emails are there, ready when you are.

How to archive emails in Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook doesn’t put archived messages into a separate folder. Instead, they’ll go straight to a data file you can access whenever you want.

Select File > Cleanup Tools > Archive, then hit Archive this folder and all subfolders. Choose the folder you want to archive. In this case, your inbox.Under Archive items older than, enter your date. For example, you may want to archive everything before 2012. Then, check the box that says Include items with “Do not AutoArchive.” Click OK, and you’re good to go.

You’ll see emails disappear from your inbox and subfolders. Now they’ll be under the Archives heading.


Your inbox should be clean as a whistle

Now that you know my secret, your inbox is sure to look a whole lot cleaner to start the new year. thinking you missed something? Here’s my tip: If it’s really important, that person will email you again.

As a side note, remember that even if you archive emails, they can be subpoenaed for legal cases. We don’t supply legal advice, so it’s best to consult a lawyer if you have any questions about this. 

Use Yahoo? I have steps for archiving here on the website.

Keep your tech-know going 

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a exact episode.

PODCAST PICK: Billionaire doomsday preppers, p*rn copyright trolls & nasty Amazon scam

Plus, my 2024 tech resolutions and ways to have AI help you craft yours. California bans this ultra-weird product from Amazon — and yes, it involves donkeys. Peloton tablet goes obsolete, and I’ve got five tech holiday road trip tips.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”


Sound like a tech pro, even if you’re not! Award-winning popular host Kim Komando is your secret weapon. Listen on 425+ radio stations or get the podcast. And join over 400,000 people who get her free 5-minute daily email newsletter.

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Mon, 01 Jan 2024 10:14:00 -0600 en-US text/html

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