An Eight-step Back-up Plan Using Windows 10’s Built-in Tools

I’m sure you’re aware by now that I’m a huge fan of backing up.

Microsoft Windows includes several tools that, used together, can provide a backup strategy to protect you from most of the things that can go wrong.

Let’s review what it means to use those tools together properly and get you backed up. We’ll also review the impact of Microsoft’s decision to phase out one of those tools.

Read moreAn Eight-step Back-up Plan Using Windows 10’s Built-in Tools

How Do I Figure Out My Windows Edition?

The Windows “edition” determines what features and functionality are included in a specific installation of Windows.

The “Home” edition is the most common in consumer installations; the “Pro” edition has a few more features (and hence I generally recommend it over Home, even when used in the home); and then there are Enterprise and Educational editions that are tailored for those environments.

But which one do you have?

It’s easy to find out.

Read moreHow Do I Figure Out My Windows Edition?

How Do I Change the Default Mail Program in Windows?

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When viewing some websites, I want to send them an email for whatever reason. I click “contact us”, a window opens and I type my question. When I press “send”, I realize that the email is being sent using Outlook, and as a result I  am asked to setup a POP address etc. I prefer to send and receive my messages using my Gmail account. Can you tell me how I can set it up so that when sending a message as explained above, Gmail will come up as my email carrier?

Chances are that page was set up using a “mailto:” link that instructs your web browser to send an email using your PC. The most common approach assumes you have a desktop email program like Microsoft Office’s Outlook, Thunderbird, or other installed, or that you’re using the Mail program that comes as part of Windows.

If you’re using web-based email like Gmail, Outlook.com, or Yahoo! Mail, things get more complex.

Read moreHow Do I Change the Default Mail Program in Windows?

How Do I Upgrade Windows from 32-bit to 64-bit?

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I’m using Windows 10, 32-bit on a computer with 64-bit hardware. How do I upgrade to 64-bit Windows? I have 10 GB of RAM on my computer.

This question continues to pop up, even after all this time.

The news is mixed.

The good news is that 10GB is plenty of RAM for 64-bit Windows. By running 32-bit, you’ve only been using, at most, four gigabytes of your memory.

Unfortunately, the path to get there from here isn’t as easy as we might want.

Read moreHow Do I Upgrade Windows from 32-bit to 64-bit?

How Do I Uninstall and Reinstall Internet Explorer in Windows 10?

Because it’s so tightly intertwined with Windows itself, repairing Internet Explorer (IE) by uninstalling and reinstalling has always been a somewhat obscure process. With the advent of Windows 10, that process changed. It’s no more or less obscure; it’s just different.

Uninstalling IE can be marginally helpful if you never use it, but by resetting some of the software and settings reinstalling can be a useful diagnostic step if you’re having problems.

Read moreHow Do I Uninstall and Reinstall Internet Explorer in Windows 10?

How Do I View the Contents of My Hidden D: Drive?

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In the past I’ve had what was called a recovery drive on my system, D:. Now, with Windows 10, I no longer have D:, but the recovery partition is still there. How do I view what’s in it?

As we’ve discussed in other articles, machines with Windows 10 installed frequently have multiple partitions. One or more of those partitions is typically labelled as a “recovery partition”.

While in the past you may have seen such partitions assigned a drive letter like D:, there’s no requirement that it always be that letter. In fact, there’s no requirement that it be assigned a drive letter at all.

Recovery partitions not having a drive letter is actually a good thing.

Read moreHow Do I View the Contents of My Hidden D: Drive?

How Should I Back Up My Computer Before an Operating System Upgrade or Reinstall?

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I’m about to upgrade my operating system to Windows 10. How do I protect myself if something goes wrong?
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I’m about to reinstall Windows. How do I start?

Simple: back up first.

And by that, I mean take a complete system image backup of your entire computer before you begin the update or reinstallation process.

I’ll explain what that is and how it protects you from disaster.

Read moreHow Should I Back Up My Computer Before an Operating System Upgrade or Reinstall?