The 7 Best Free Alternatives to Fences for Windows Desktop Management

The 7 Best Free Alternatives to Fences for Windows Desktop Management

In the same way that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their physical desktop, you can also deduce a similar amount of information from a person’s Windows desktop.

If you’re living in a world of virtual clutter, it might be sensible to turn to a third-party desktop management app for help. The most well-known is Fences, but there are plenty of other options out there too.

Here are the best free alternatives to Fences for managing and organizing your Windows desktop.

1. Fences

fences version 1

Wait, how can Stardock’s Fences be an alternative to Fences? Hear me out.

These days, Fences is a paid app. You can enjoy a 30-day free trial, but thereafter you’ll need to pay $ 10 for the app. If you want the full app, including Object Desktop, it will cost you $ 50.

However, Fences hasn’t always been a paid app. Back when it was first making a name for itself, the app was free.

And the good news? You can still download that old, free version of Fences. Sure, it doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as the newest releases, but it still works well.

Download: Fences v1.01 (Free)

2. Nimi Places

nimi setup

Nimi Places is a desktop organizer software that lets users organize their desktop into customizable containers. Each container can hold files and folders from multiple locations, and each file or folder can be displayed as an icon or a thumbnail.

From an organizational standpoint, you can add colored labels and create rules for containers so specific actions will be performed at pre-defined times. Each container can use an individual theme, and you can use different size icons within each container to aid onscreen visuals. The containers also have a built-in media previewer.

The thumbnails are also worth looking at in more detail. Nimi Places doesn’t only have the ability to create thumbnails of images and videos—it can also work with Photoshop files, web page shortcuts, folder directories, and an assortment of productivity files.

Download: Nimi Places (Free)

3. XLaunchpad

If you’re an Apple user, you will be familiar with Launchpad on macOS. Yes, you can customize the Start Menu in Windows 10 to partially replicate it, but having all your installed apps neatly displayed with a single click is super convenient and a true time saver.

If you’re the type of person who has hundreds of app shortcuts on your desktop, give XLaunchpad a try. It brings the Mac Launchpad experience to Windows. Once installed, you’ll see a Rocket icon on your desktop. Click the icon, and you’ll see all your apps. You can finally delete all those app shortcuts from your desktop.

Download: XLaunchpad (Free)

4. SideSlide

sideshare app

People who’ve used Fences for Windows will like SideSlide. It is the Windows equivalent of shoving all the clutter on your physical desktop into your office drawers. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

The program centers around a Workspace. Within the Workspace, you can add containers, shortcuts, commands, URLs, RSS news feeds, pictures, reminders, notes, and a whole lot more.

All the content in your Workspace is readily available with just a single click. Just dock the app to the side of the screen, and it stays out of sight when not in use; hover your mouse over the dock and it will instantly expand.

Customization is SideShare’s priority. With a bit of tweaking, you can get the app working exactly the way you want. Check out the video above for a glimpse into what it’s capable of.

Download: SideSlide (Free)

5. ViPad

vipad app

Another computer desktop organizer for Windows 10, ViPad, also takes a container-based approach to organizing your desktop. However, it just uses one single container, with tabs along the top of the container’s window allowing you to jump between the different groups of content.

Tabs can hold apps and documents, web links, social media contacts, and even music. The tabs are fully searchable (just start typing to start looking), and can be rearranged to suit your needs using drag-and-drop.

Best of all, you can customize your tabs by downloading free Windows 10 icons from the ViPad website.

Download: ViPad (Free)

6. TAGO Fences

tago fences

TAGO Fences is the most lightweight app on this list. If you just want a few core features without all the added extras you’ll probably never use, check it out.

It’s also arguably the most Fences-like experience, with the aforementioned Nimi Places coming in a close second.

The app lets you store multiple shortcuts and apps within each fence, and has a scroll bar in case the list of icons becomes too big for the container.

For each container, you can change the background and tile colors, show or hide individual icons, and drag and drop your content into your preferred order.

Download: TAGO Fences (Free)

7. Virtual Desktops

windows virtual desktops create new

We know some of you try to avoid third-party apps wherever possible, so we’ll conclude with the native Windows 10 Virtual Desktops feature.

Windows 10 marks the first time multiple virtual desktops have become a mainstream feature. Used correctly, they can massively reduce the amount of clutter on your desktop. For example, if your desktop is a jumble of Steam shortcuts, college assignments, and fresh memes you found on Reddit, why not give each category its own desktop space?

To create a new desktop, click on the Task View icon on the taskbar, or press Windows + Tab. On the new window, click + New Desktop in the upper left-hand corner. To cycle between desktops, press Windows + Ctrl + Left Arrow (or Right Arrow), and to close a desktop, press Windows + Ctrl + F4.

The Best Fences Alternative for Windows 10

As we briefly alluded to earlier in the article, Windows 10 is potentially on the way to making all these apps redundant. You can now use the Start Menu to group shortcuts and apps into expandable folders (just drag one icon over the top of another to get started). If you pair the Start Menu with virtual desktops, you can argue apps like Fences are reaching the end of their life cycle.

If you’re looking for the most Fences-like experience, we recommend TAGO or Nimi.

If you would like to learn more about staying organized while using Windows, check out our articles on whether you should use Windows Mail or Outlook and how to quickly share a file from Microsoft Explorer.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Free Alternatives to Fences for Windows Desktop Management

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The 10 Best Windows File Explorer Extensions for File Management

windows-file-explorer-extensions

File Explorer is the default file management utility for Windows. It’s the first app you open to manage files and folders or any devices connected to your PC. However, you might not be using it to its full potential. File Explorer extensions can add extra features and help you do so much more.

These utilities could save you time and effort every day. Let’s look at some third-party apps for File Explorer that you can download and install right now.

1. Mountain Duck: Mount Remote Storage

browse and manage remote files with mountain duck

If you need to manage multiple cloud storage services at once, switching between different interfaces can hinder your workflow. Mountain Duck is a nifty app that lets you mount server and cloud storage as a local volume in the File Explorer.

Select New Bookmark > Connect to mount the server as a volume in File Explorer. The server will appear in This PC and the sidebar to let you browse contents and quickly move files. You can perform any operations on the remote files and folders just like you do with local files.

If you wish to reconnect a remote server after reboot, select Enable Login and Save Workspace in Preferences. Mountain Duck includes the built-in utility Cryptomator which can encrypt your data on any server.

The app supports SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, and more. The upcoming version 3 has a smart sync feature that works just like other cloud storage services.

Download: Mountain Duck (Free trial, $ 39)

2. TeraCopy: Copy Files Faster and Securely

teracopy makes file copying process fast

Copying large files from one folder to another on the same drive or to another drive has never been fast and flexible. Even before the copy starts, Windows spends ages discovering and calculating how much data it needs to move. If you encounter any errors, it’ll skip the entire process and put your data at risk.

TeraCopy is a utility app for moving and copying files. The app implements dynamic buffer adjustments to the copy process. It creates pending queues with multiple file operations and executes them at the same time. If any error arises, it just skips the corrupted file instead of terminating the entire transfer process.

The app comes with minimal panel and settings. You can extend the panel to reveal additional file properties: source file’s path size, status, source, and target CRC. Since TeraCopy natively integrates with the context menu, it can replace the default copy handler.

Download: TeraCopy (Free, Pro Version for $ 25)

3. Icaros: Enable Thumbnails for Any Video Type

enable video thumbnails with icaros

Icaros is a pack of shell extensions that enables and displays a thumbnail of any video type in File Explorer. When you install the app, Icaros will register the common file types that FFmpeg supports along with FLAC, APE, and MPC formats.

The app offers a comprehensive interface from where you can choose to activate or deactivate the thumbnails.

Once you enable Icaros, all the video media files reveal their thumbnails allowing you to have a quick peek of the content without opening them. Icaros supports popular video formats such as MKV, FLV, AVI, MP4, and more. If you’ve lots of video files, then this extension can prove handy.

Download: Icaros (Free)

4. Listary: Powerful Search Utility for Windows

listary integration with open and save dialog box

We end up wasting a lot of time browsing through folders to find the important files since the built-in search isn’t too smart. Listary is a search utility app that lets you quickly find files on your PC and perform actions with a press of a hotkey. On the first launch, a search bar will pop up with three icons built into them.

The Favorites icon shows a list of folders, Recent icon lists all the directories you browsed recently, and Intelligent Commands lists some helpful commands. You can add/remove folders, commands, and customize them so that they’re easily accessible. Listary also integrates with “Open and Save Dialog Box” to quickly open and save files.

It saves your time on repetitive clicks. With Listary fuzzy search, you can find files just by typing a few characters. Press the right arrows key on the keyboard to expand the Explorer context menu and Listary’s action menu.

You’ll find helpful commands to make day-to-day file operations simpler. Listary’s Free version is already feature rich. You can upgrade to the Pro version for more features.

Download: Listary (Free, Pro Version for $ 20)

5. File Converter: Convert Files Using Context Menu

convert files through context menu with file converter

File Converter is a simple app that lets you convert one or several files using the context menu. It supports a lot of different file formats. For example, you can convert Word documents, Excel sheets to PDF, PSD file to JPEG, and much more. You can customize the app to add/remove conversion presets in the context menus or even edit the present ones.

To create a simple preset, open the file converter settings and select a preset that you want to create. Click the Plus button to create a new preset in the left panel with their options in the right panel. For images, the right sidebar will include settings to scale, rotate, and rename image files.

Download: File Converter (Free)

6. FileMenu Tools: Customize Explorer Context Menu

customize context menu with filemenu tools

The right-click menu can make you productive. It can also derail it with a clutter of commands. FileMenu Tools is a feature-rich, intuitive app that helps you customize the context menu.

For instance, modify the “Send-To” menu, and clear up the clutter added by other apps. FileMenu comes preloaded with a whole bunch of useful tools. Add customized commands according to the file types, use the advanced renamer to batch rename files, synchronize two folders from within the Explorer, and do more.

You can organize it with icons, separator, and a name through the properties dialog. The Pro version lets you add custom commands and an unlimited number of files and folders.

Download: FileMenu Tools (Free, Pro Version for $ 11)

7. Link Shell Extension: Hardlinks and Symbolic Links

create symbolic links with link shell extension

Sometimes it might be useful to have a single file present in multiple folders on your computer, as opposed to simply having separate copies of that same file in different locations. Windows has this feature, but it needs some skill with the Windows command prompt.

Link Shell Extension is a sort of graphical tool to simplify the process of creating hard links, junctions, or volume mount points, and symbolic links (symlinks) with nothing more than a few clicks. Locate the file or folder, right-click and select Pick Link Source from the menu.

Then browse to a different folder, right-click and choose Drop As. Choose Hardlink to create a hard link to a file, or Symbolic Link to create a soft link to a file or directory. If you often work with hard links and symlinks, this app can save you a lot of time.

Download: Link Shell Extension (Free)

8. Groupy: Organize Explorer Into Grouped Tabs

group tabs of file explorer with groupy

Groupy is a utility app for a better window management system. It creates tabs for Windows apps, both modern UWP, and classic Win32. Simply drag a window you want to group over the title bar of another window. You can use this app to organize multiple Explorer windows into groups.

On installation, Groupy will ask you to set the position of tabs. To make tabs revealing, enable Show the window icon on tabs. You can also combine certain types of apps automatically.

If you work with a similar set of windows every day, save the group and re-launch the app to load tabs. The app can be useful for those working on multiple tasks at the same time.

Download: Groupy (30-day free trial, $ 5)

9. File Meta: View and Edit Metadata for Any File Type

file meta associations manager

Each file stored on your computer has metadata associated with it. Metadata is the information about a file’s source, size, rating, last modified date, and more. This metadata makes searching and organizing files on Windows a lot faster.

Microsoft restricted metadata to certain file types like images, music, and Microsoft Office files. File Meta allows you to add and edit metadata for any file.

To add metadata, select the file extension and choose a profile of editable properties given by Windows. Then, click Add File Meta Handler. Restart the Explorer to take effect.

File Meta Association Manager controls the properties shown in “Preview Panel”, “Info tip”, and in the “Details” tab of the Properties dialog for a file. The metadata properties will also be visible in the main pane of the File Explorer.

Download: File Meta (Free)

10. DropIt: Organize Files and Folders Automatically

organize files and folders automatically with dropit

Want to eliminate the drudgery of manually opening folders, renaming files, or moving them to different locations? Use DropIt to automate all your file management.

Using DropIt is simple. Create some associations between rules and actions. Then drag-and-drop files or folders on the floating icon to start processing them. You can define how to filter your file by name, size, date, property, and associate one of the 21 available actions to perform. It supports actions like Upload, Rename, Encrypt, Compress, Change Properties, and much more.

DropIt also lets you monitor a folder at a definite interval and takes action on them automatically. The action happens in the background. You don’t have to fiddle with anything.

Download: DropIt (Free)

Little Known Features of Windows File Explorer

If you spend a lot of time in File Explorer, try out some of these apps and see if they make you more productive.

Although File Explorer looks simple, don’t get fooled by its plain looks. It’s open to many hidden actions and tweaks that you may not be aware of it.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Windows File Explorer Extensions for File Management

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Finally Master Time Management in 2019 With Our Free Course!

stress-relief-adult-toys

Let me guess. Feeling chronically overwhelmed and stressed is not a habit you want to carry over to 2019. Instead, you want to stop feeling rushed. You want to feel free to do your best work, rather than battling to stay on top of your to-do list.

Join our free 10-day time management email course and save 10+ hours each week!

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You’re far from alone. But it’s too easy to delude yourself into thinking that, if only you worked a little harder now, then next week, next month, everything will finally be under control. It rarely works like that.

Instead, you need to figure out and implement the systems that will keep you on track, save you time, and reduce your chronic overwhelm once and for all.

By doing this, you’ll finally find the free time to pursue the projects and hobbies you’ve been putting off for so long. Sounds tempting, right?

Sign Up to Our Free Time Management Course

This is exactly what our free time management course was designed for. Each day for 10 days, a new lesson will land in your inbox, taking you through:

  • Proven strategies to take back control of your time.
  • How to prioritize and schedule your to-do list so everything gets done on time.
  • How to eliminate distractions so you can focus on getting results.
  • How to beat procrastination once and for all.
  • How to stop wasting your life in your inbox.
  • And much more.

Now’s your chance to start off 2019 the right way. Simply enter your email address into the form at the top of this page, or click here to learn more about our free “Time Management Strategies” email course.

There’s nothing to lose, and hours of free time to gain!

Read the full article: Finally Master Time Management in 2019 With Our Free Course!

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10 Useful Excel Project Management Templates for Tracking

power-of-templates

Project management templates are an essential ingredient in replicating successful projects. With Microsoft Excel’s free templates, you can turn your simple spreadsheets into powerful project management tools.

In this article, you’ll find some of the most useful and free Microsoft Excel project management and project tracking templates you’ll want to use for your next project.

In this article:

Microsoft Excel Project Management Templates

Let’s have a look at the best Microsoft Excel project management templates.

Note: We cover both native and third-party templates here. To find the pre-installed Excel spreadsheet templates, open Excel and search for the respective keyword from the New document screen. If you’re already in Excel, go to File > New to bring up the template search. Check the Managing Microsoft Excel Templates section below for more details.

Excel Project Timeline Templates

Excel comes with several timelines and Gantt chart templates provided by Microsoft, but it also integrates templates from Vertex42, one of the most popular third-party resources for spreadsheets.

1. Work Plan Timeline

The Work Plan Timeline template is suitable for a basic project with multiple phases. When you enter your data into the worksheet, the roadmap will update automatically.

Excel Work Plan Timeline Template

This template comes pre-installed with Microsoft Excel 2016.

2. Date Tracking Gantt Chart

Gantt charts are a staple in every project manager’s toolset. They help you visualize the flow of your tasks and track progress.

With this template, you can create a comprehensive Gantt chart with minimal effort. Just enter each task, complete with a description, who it’s assigned to, a percentage to indicate progress, a start date, and allocated days until completion.

Gantt chart template to track project progress in Excel.

This template is a Microsoft Excel default.

3. Milestone and Task Project Timeline

If you want to integrate milestones into a basic timeline, this template provided by Vertex42 is ideal. It combines the best elements of a Gantt chart, i.e. the visualization of the task flow, with milestones hovering above the timeline. Just fill in the respective tables to populate the visual.

An Excel timeline template with integrated milestones.

You can find this template by searching in Excel.

Excel Project Plan Template

A project plan is a document that may require Excel charts but is otherwise composed in Microsoft Word. For basic projects, however, you may get away with only a Microsoft Excel document.

4. Simple Gantt Chart

When you search Excel’s template repository for project plan templates, you’ll mainly find different Gantt chart variations, including this Simple Gantt Chart from Vertex42. What sets it apart from the Gantt chart above is the inclusion of project phases.

A simple Gantt chart Microsoft Excel template with project phases.

This template is included in Microsoft Excel.

5. Event Planner Template

A project plan really isn’t something you typically put together in Excel. But if your project is simple enough, like planning a party, a solid one-page template that lists essential tasks and lets you define a schedule and budget is all you need. This template from Office Templates Online is a great start.

Excel event planner template for Microsoft Excel.

Excel Project Tracker Template

A search for tracker will bring up a wild mix of personal and business-related Excel spreadsheet templates for tracking. You can narrow down your search by selecting the categories that relate to the project management task you’re dealing with.

6. Activity-Based Cost Tracker

This tracking template can help you get an overview of direct, indirect, and general and administrative product costs.

An Excel template to track indirect and direct product costs.

7. Project Tracking Template

This Vertex42 template is essential if you are handling multiple different clients, projects, and/or deliverables. It combines project details, expenses, task statuses, and due dates.

An Excel template to track multiple clients, projects, or deliverables.

Business Plan Templates

Microsoft Office has its own category for business plans. Use the suggested business search and select the Business Plans category on the right.

excel-business-plan-template

You’ll find the following Microsoft Excel templates:

  • Startup expenses
  • Business plan checklist
  • Business plan checklist with SWOT analysis

For more business plan templates, have a look at our dedicated article.

Search for Online Templates

Couldn’t find the exact project management template you need inside Excel? Turn to a third-party online resource for a wider selection of Excel spreadsheet templates. We recommend the following sites.

Vertex42

This website has a few great project management templates for Microsoft Office 2003 and up. The site notes that its templates are mostly related to project scheduling. Anything more complicated might require Microsoft Project or other project management software.

vertex42-project-management-templates

On the page dedicated to project management, you’ll find a list of useful material, including, but not limited to, the following:

Each page contains a quick rundown of what the template does, one or more templates, and further tips and tricks for the respective project management tool. It’s a great resource for budding project managers.

TidyForm

TidyForm has a respectable selection of Microsoft Excel project management templates. The most popular categories are listed on the homepage. If you can’t immediately spot what you need, switch to the Business section or try the search feature.

When you scroll to the bottom of a section, you’ll see a list of popular categories and related categories. This can be helpful when trying to find just the right template.

We recommend the following pages:

Still looking for the perfect template? You might have to create custom Excel templates to get exactly what you want.

Managing Microsoft Excel Templates

First, let’s see what templates you already have installed in Microsoft Excel. For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ve used Excel 2016, but the procedure is similar in Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 2019.

Defaults

When you start up Microsoft Excel, the first window you see will contain a search field for online templates. When you’re starting from an existing workbook, go to File > New to arrive at the same view.

excel-template-selection

Microsoft Excel comes with a selection of pre-installed templates. They are listed underneath the search field. You can pin favorite ones by clicking the respective symbol in the bottom right of the listing.

excel-pin-template

Search Online for More Project Templates

The fastest way to finding the kind of template you need is searching for it. Once you start a search, for example for the term project, you will also see template categories listed next to the templates that match your search.

excel-template-search

Narrow Down Your Search

A neat feature is that you can narrow down your search by selecting multiple categories. This helps you exclude templates that may match your keyword, but not your desired category. On the downside, you may find that the perfect template is not available in Microsoft Excel.

excel-template-search-trick

Preview & Create Your Template

When you click a template, you’ll see a preview with a brief description of what the template provides. You can also pin the template from its preview; the symbol sits in the top right.

excel-template-preview

To download and use a template, click the Create button, which will open a new Microsoft Excel workbook with the template pre-filled.

Template Ready, Set, Go

While you’re at it, review our list of useful office templates and stock up on business letter templates.

We have covered a lot of project management tips and tricks the past. Once you’re good with templates, you might want to consider additional tools and solutions. For example, did you know that Outlook is great for project management? Likewise, you could use OneNote for project management. And you could integrate OneNote with Outlook for project management? The possibilities are endless.

Whatever you do, before you start a project, prepare a Work Breakdown Structure.

Read the full article: 10 Useful Excel Project Management Templates for Tracking

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Jamf Now: The Golden Standard of Apple Device Management

Device management can be extremely time-consuming for any team. Buying a new device, manually entering all the settings, and downloading all required apps can become tedious. Devices that are unmanaged can also pose a security threat to entire organizations.

Let’s take a closer look at how Jamf Now can streamline your organization’s Apple device management.

What Is Jamf Now?

Jamf Now is a management solution created exclusively for Apple devices. Jamf Now is ideal for small businesses and allows you to set up, protect and manage devices all from a single dashboard. Devices can be configured quickly and consistently, and apps can be centrally deployed.

Once a device is paired with your Jamf Now account you’re able to view details like its serial number, available storage, and model. You can send the latest OS updates to a single unit or manage a group of devices using Blueprints. Jamf Now also allows you to place restrictions on devices to prevent users from changing certain settings. This is a very powerful feature to ensure devices in your organization meet security and compliance needs.

Jamf Now can also be used to help employees retain their individual Apple IDs and request assistance. For example, if an employee loses their iOS device you’re able to lock the device and place a custom message on the screen. The lost device can also be remotely and securely erased all from within your Jamf Now account.

How Does Jamf Now Work?

Jamf Now works by first creating a trust between your Jamf Now account and Apple which we’ll cover in the upcoming steps. If you’re planning on using Jamf Now to manage your company devices, ensure you use a dedicated company Apple ID. If you change the Apple ID that is paired with Jamf Now, you will need to enroll all of your devices again.

jamf now apple management how jamf now works

After a trust is established you need to add devices into your Jamf Now account in order for them to be managed. Jamf Now supports two levels of management: Supervised and Enrolled. Supervised devices can be controlled on a much deeper level than devices that are only enrolled. Company devices typically fall under the Supervision level of management.

Some of the most powerful Jamf Now features require Supervision such as:

  • Restrictions (iOS)
  • Lost Mode
  • Activation Lock Bypass
  • Wallpaper

Enrolled devices are typically used for organizations that have a Bring Your Own Device policy.

You may also be interested in some of the more business-oriented features such as Apple Business Manager, which allows you to buy hardware and apps in bulk and distribute them to your workforce. These are optional, but you will also require an Apple ID that is associated with Apple Business Manager. It’s free to sign up but you will need a registered company and an organization email account. Yahoo or Gmail accounts won’t work! If you require the Supervised level of management you must have connected DEP to your Jamf Now account.

This guide will cover setting up your Jamf Now account to easily manage your devices. To successfully deploy devices you will need:

  1. An email address for creating a Jamf Now account.
  2. The same email address for connecting to APNs.

Step 1: Setting Up Jamf Now

Setting up a Jamf Now account is really straightforward.

  1. Go to the Jamf Now website and create a free account.
  2. Check your inbox for and activation email and click on the Activate your account link to begin the setup procedure.

Step 2: Connecting to APNs Using Jamf Now

Apple Push Notification service (APNs) is the way Jamf Now securely stays in touch with all your Apple devices. Once you activate and log in to your Jamf Now account the first screen prompts you to connect to APNs.

jamf now add apple devices

There are four steps which are required to pair your Jamf account to your Apple ID.

  1. Create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from Jamf Now
  2. Create an Apple Push Certificate in the Apple Push Certificate Portal
  3. Upload your Apple Push Certificate to Jamf Now
  4. Save your Apple ID along with your Apple Push Certificate

jamf now apple download csr

Jamf Now provides you with links, prompts, and videos at each step to make this process as simple as possible.

jamf now create apple push certificate

Once you download the CSR click Next and follow the link which reads Open the Apple Push Certificates Portal.

jamf now apple push certificates portal

After you sign in to the Apple Push Certificates Portal, click on Create a Certificate.

jamf now create new push certificate

At the Create screen, click on Choose File under Vendor-Signed CSR followed by the Upload button.

jamf now apple confirmation

The Apple Portal will confirm that your new certificate is created and is available for download. Download the certificate and head back over to your Jamf Now account for the final steps. Browse for the certificate you downloaded from the Apple Portal which should have a .PEM extension. Jamf Now will now confirm that the upload was successful and the connection between Jamf Now and Apple is complete!

jamf now apple upload push certificate

The final step of saving your Apple ID is optional but recommended. Apple Push Certificates are valid for one year. Saving your Apple ID allows Jamf Now to remind you which Apple ID you used when you need to renew your certificate. That’s it! You can now begin enrolling devices in your Jamf Now account!

Step 3: Selecting Apps to Deploy

One great feature of Jamf Now is the ability to provision devices with certain apps. This saves users and the IT team from having to manually download these applications for each user upon enrollment.

jamf now select apps deploy

For example, say you wanted to add MakeUseOf’s Invoice Mini app from the App Store to all your devices. To do this click on the Apps tab followed by Add an App and search for either an app name or a developer name. Once you’ve found the app you’re looking for click on Add to My Apps. You will now be able to assign the app to any Blueprints which we’re going to create in the upcoming steps.

jamf now apple volume purchase program

Jamf Now also supports Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) (part of Apple Business Manager). This means that apps that require a license can be purchased and assigned to your organization. If an employee leaves, you will be able to reclaim the license that was assigned to them and associate it with another user. Brilliant!

Step 4: Configuring Devices With Blueprints

Blueprints are one of the most powerful features of Jamf Now. They are the proverbial cookie cutter used to effortlessly set up and configure devices as soon as they are enrolled. You can either create a blueprint from scratch or begin using one of the templates provided by Jamf Now.

jamf now apple management

From the predefined apps we configured in the previous section right down to preventing users from changing their wallpaper, Blueprints allow for the fine-grained control and security at the device level.

Deploying Wi-Fi Networks

Let’s say you’ve added a new office and Wi-Fi network specifically for all the users in your sales division. Instead of going to each device and manually adding in a new Wi-Fi network, all you need to do is edit the Blueprint that those devices are assigned to.

jamf now apple blueprints

  1. Select the Blueprints Tab
  2. Select the Sales Blueprint
  3. Click on the Wi-Fi tab
  4. Click on Add a Wi-Fi Network

jamf now deploy wifi networks

This will bring up the Add Wi-Fi Network menu. After entering the Name (SSID), security and password for the new Wi-Fi network click on Save Changes.

jamf now deploy wifi networks management

All devices that were under that Blueprint will now have this new Wi-Fi network pushed to them. The devices will also auto-join the new Wi-Fi network. No need to hand the password to any user or manually configure each device!

Restrictions

Restrictions are arguably what makes Jamf Now so special. Jamf Now supports a number of restrictions for iOS devices that helps you keep data secure and prevent users from changing certain settings. Some settings do require Supervision which is covered in the next section. 

To add or remove a restriction:

  1. Login to your Jamf Now accont and select the Blueprints tab.
  2. Click on Restrictions.
  3. Choose the area you’d like to restrict like Security and Privacy.
  4. Enable or disable any settings you want to push to the devices.
  5. Click on Save Changes.

jamf now manage restrictions

All devices that were under that Blueprint will now have these new restrictions pushed to them. For example, say you Disabled Touch ID for unlock for the management Blueprint; Touch ID will be disabled for all devices that belong to said Blueprint.

amf now manage restrictions

Blueprints can also be used to enable Single App Mode. For example, if you were deploying some iOS devices and you wanted to lock them into a certain app, Single App Mode is a great way to achieve this. Blueprints will ensure all the devices in your organization adhere to any restrictions and turn what was once a very manual process into a much more fluid one.

Step 5: Device Enrollment and Supervision

In order for devices to be managed by Jamf Now they need to be enrolled into your account. There are two methods of enrolling devices: Open Enrollment and Supervision. As mentioned, Open Enrollment is a lower form of management compared to Supervision.

For both instances a device would have already been through the Apple setup process, have created an Apple ID and be connected to a network. The main difference being that Supervised devices get enrolled automatically as part of Apple’s Setup Assistant.

Open Enrollment

The first method of enrollment is referred to as Open Enrollment. This works by providing users with a URL and access code to complete the enrollment process. This is perfect for organizations with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

To set up Open Enrollment:

  1. Log in to Jamf Now
  2. Under the Account Section, click on Open Enrollment
  3. Click on the Enable Open Enrollment checkbox
  4. Choose an Access Code
  5. Take note of your Open Enrollment Link
  6. Click on Save Settings

jamf now apple devices open enrollment

To enroll any device using open enrollment:

  1. Open Safari on your macOS or iOS device.
  2. Navigate to the Open Enrollment Link from above.
  3. Enter the Access Code from above.
  4. Select a Blueprint.
  5. Type in a Name for this Device.
  6. Click on Start Enrollment.

jamf now apple devices open enrollment

Once again, Safari knows exactly how to handle the downloaded configuration file.

jamf now apple devices open enrollment

Your device will now ask you for confirmation if you’d like to install a new profile. Simply click Install in the box that pops up.

jamf now apple devices open enrollment

This device is now enrolled and will appear in your Jamf Now console ready for management!

Supervision

The second method of management is Apple’s Device Enrollment. Device Enrollment allows an organization to purchase Apple devices and automatically enroll them into Jamf Now the first time the device turns on. As mentioned, you will need an Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager account to take advantage of Device Enrollment.

jamf now apple management supervision

Once you have Device Enrollment (formerly DEP) set up, any devices you purchase through Apple or its authorized resellers will appear in your Jamf Now account. This is done via the device’s unique serial number. All you need to do is assign a Blueprint to the device and that’s it.

Device Enrollment allows you to ship a device directly to a new employee and have it automatically enroll into Jamf Now based on the device’s unique serial number. The user simply unboxes the device and follows Apple’s built-in Setup Assistant. Awesome!

Device Enrollment allows a much deeper level of management referred to as Supervision. Supervision is the recommended level of management for devices that your organization purchases.

Step 6: Managing Devices

From your dashboard, your entire organization’s Apple devices are at your fingertips. At a glance, you can see devices that require your attention and you can to fix and attend to issues quickly and efficiently. Some details include the OS version, available storage and device assignment.

jamf now apple management

From this screen, you can also lock a device, assign an asset tag for inventory tracking and even remotely wipe the device. Keep in mind that Jamf Now does not handle backups of devices. This must still be done either through iTunes or iCloud.

jamf now apple device management

If someone has misplaced their device:

  1. Select the device from the Devices tab.
  2. Click on Lock.
  3. Enter an optional message and phone number.
  4. Click on Lock.

jamf now apple device management

Jamf Now immediately locks the iPhone over the air and displays your message and phone number. The process is the same if you’d like to remotely erase or wipe the device.

Remote App Installation

One particularly useful feature is the ability to remotely install an application directly from the dashboard!

jamf now apple remote app management

After you’ve added an app to your Jamf Now account using the steps mentioned in the section above:

  1. Select the device from the Devices tab.
  2. Select iOS Apps.
  3. Open the context menu next to the app you’d like to deploy.
  4. Click Install on device.

A confirmation message will be sent to the user. After they have accepted, the app will be downloaded and installed. Managing groups of devices is done under the Blueprints section which we’ve covered above. Compared to manually making changes on every individual device, this is unbelievably beneficial.

jamf now apple remote app management

On the subject of IT teams, the Teammates tab allows many members to manage an organization. The only thing to bear in mind is that all teammates have the same permissions within an organization.

Jamf Now Is the Standard of Apple Management

The time saving, security, and ease of deployment make device management from Jamf Now essential if you’re deploying Apple devices to your organization. The user interface is beautifully designed and very easy to use even if you’re not an IT professional.

Jamf Now offers a full-featured demo for you get your hands dirty and decide if Jamf Now is for you. Otherwise, create your free Jamf Now account!

Image Credit: tomeversley/Depositphotos

Read the full article: Jamf Now: The Golden Standard of Apple Device Management

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5 New and Different Tab Management Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

chrome-tab-management

Sigh, web browsers and tab management, it’s a never-ending saga and none of the browser-makers seems to be able to fix it. While they try to come up with solutions, your best bet in the meanwhile is to download a useful extension to manage tabs.

We’ve already talked about some of the best tab management extensions for Chrome, or other tricks to handle tabs on Firefox. But the reason browser-makers struggle with this problem is that what works for one person may not be the solution for someone else. And so you have third-party developers making new extensions, with their own spin on how to deal with tab overload.

Over the past few months, there have been a few innovative add-ons addressing these issues. Check out these hand-picked five, one of them might change how you browse forever.

Workona (Chrome): Create Workspaces That Remember Tabs

Workona takes a new approach to tab management by assuming that your open tabs belong to a task you’re doing. Each task is a “workspace”, and the tabs in any workspace will stay only there.

For example, let’s say you have two workspaces, “travel” (with tabs about your upcoming trip) and office (with tabs about your work). Workona basically treats them both as different windows with multiple tabs, but you can switch between them in the same window itself. It’s seamless and fast and has a refreshing sense of de-cluttering your visual field.

In the dashboard, Workona can also save any tabs so that you don’t have to worry about bookmarking and organizing them. And all those saved tabs can be opened in a click.

There’s a lot more to Workona but start with the spaces and the tab-saving. Once you fall in love, you’ll discover its other nifty features.

Download: Workona for Chrome (Free)

Infinite Tabs Manager (Chrome, Firefox): Group All Tabs From One Website

Handle tab overload with Infinite Tabs Manager for Chrome and Firefox

Do you often have many tabs from one site clogging up the whole browser? You know you need them later, but you also don’t need them right now. With Infinite Tabs Manager, you can group and dismiss all tabs from one site in a single click.

It works as advertised. Click the extension’s icon in your toolbar, choose the website whose tabs you want to group, and you’re done. Head to the Infinite Tabs Manager dashboard at any point to see all the grouped links. The dashboard also makes it easy to re-open all those links or remove them all without ever checking again.

Infinite Tabs Manager has one trick up its sleeve that makes it more valuable than OneTab, one of the best productivity extensions for Chrome. It doesn’t close sites playing songs or videos, like YouTube or Spotify. It’s a persistent problem for OneTab users, and it’s nice to see someone else address it.

Of course, like OneTab, you can group all open tabs and close them. It’s an instant way to clean up the tabs bar, while still retaining all those tabs.

Download: Infinite Tabs Manager for Chrome | Firefox (Free)

Tabp.in (Chrome, Firefox): Must-Have for Pinned Tab Users

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Pinning tabs is one of those power tips to improve browsing that everyone should be using, but very few people do. Pinned tabs stay open till you close the browser, making them semi-permanent. But when you close the browser, they disappear and you need to do it all over again the next time. Tabp.in fixes that.

The extension is basically a session manager that automatically pins the tabs after opening them. You’ll need to create an account for Tabp.in, which remembers the group of sites you want to open and pin. It works on both Firefox and Chrome, which is nice if you like to use multiple browsers.

Unfortunately, the extension limits you to one group in the free version. That’s not particularly useful. It would be better if you could make separate “Home” and “Work” groups, or other such groups. Tabp.in lets you do that for a price, starting at £1 per month. I’m not sure it’s worth paying for, but try it out, you might like it enough to buy it.

Download: Tabp.in for Chrome | Firefox (Free)

Snooze Tabby (Chrome, Firefox): Snooze Tabs for Later

Snooze Tabs for Later and avoid bookmark mess with Snooze Tabby for Chrome and Firefox

Inbox by Gmail lets you snooze emails to have them resurface later. Why not do that with tabs which you know you don’t need right now, but might want to look at later?

Snooze Tabby is really simple to operate. When you’re on any tab, click the extension’s icon in the toolbar and select how long you want to snooze it for from the default options. Defaults start from “later today”, increase in time, and eventually let you pick a custom date. A handy “custom timings” setting lets you add new default options as well. You can check your snoozed list at any time, as well as the history of snoozed-and-opened tabs.

Why do you need Snooze Tabby? As the developers put it, it’s a way to keep your tabs clear without adding useless links to your bookmarks folder. Once they get unwieldy, bookmarks need organizing eventually, as do Pocket articles. By snoozing a tab, you can remove it from your tabs right now, but go back to it a little later, without it cluttering up your bookmarks.

This isn’t the first “snooze tabs for later” extension we’ve seen, but the other popular ones don’t seem to be working anymore, or have some bugs. Since this works well, Snooze Tabby is an easy recommendation.

Download: Snooze Tabby for Chrome | Firefox (Free)

xTab (Chrome): Limit Maximum Number of Tabs

xTab limits the maximum number of tabs Chrome can open

Well this is a novel way to solve the problem of tab overload. The extension xTab simply disallows Chrome from open more tabs than a number you set.

For example, if you limited xTab to 20 tabs, it will always keep only 20 tabs open, no more. If you try to open the 21st tab, xTab will close an existing tab. You can choose what that tab is: the oldest one, the least recently used, or the least accessed.

It’s not an over-zealous extension though, and there are some smart failsafes. For example, xTab will never close a tab that you opened in the background but never visited. It also won’t close pinned tabs, since those are assumed to be important.

If you want to be strict though, you can also tell xTab to prevent Chrome from opening more tabs when you reach the limit. The onus of closing tabs is now upon you, not on the app.

Download: xTab for Chrome (Free)

Don’t Forget About Built-In Features

Extensions are awesome at adding functionality that you didn’t know you needed, but they also consume extra resources. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to see if your browser can already do what an extension is offering. Browsers have so many features, it’s easy to miss them.

For example, did you know you can bookmark all open tabs in one go? Tricks like that will make it much easier. So here, learn how to master tab management in Chrome with built-in features.

Read the full article: 5 New and Different Tab Management Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

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