Articles in Category: Windows

UAC Setting

How Do I Turn Off UAC (User Account Control) in Windows?

User Access Control, or UAC, prompts you each time an application requires administrative access. Annoyance or feature?

A computer screen displaying a super-hero with the words 'Super Admin' across their chest. The superhero is wearing a modern, sleek superhero suit in a vibrant color, with a cape flowing behind. The superhero is depicted in a dynamic, heroic pose, symbolizing power and control.

How To Enable the Administrator Account in Windows

There’s a hidden account with complete administrative access. I’ll show you how to enable it and discuss why you shouldn’t use it very often, if at all.

A computer monitor displaying a vibrant Windows 11 wallpaper. In the center of the screen, there's a large, translucent mushroom cloud symbolizing a major system reset or 'nuclear option'.

It Was My Time to Reformat and Reinstall

The steps I took, the software I installed, and a few things I discovered as I reinstalled Windows 11 on my main machine.

Download Windows

Where Can I Download Windows 11? Or 10? Or 8?

You can download Windows 8.1, 10, and 11 from legitimate sources. If you have a legal retail product key, this can be your replacement media.

Tools in your toolbox.

Using the DISM Command Prompt Tool to Repair Windows

DISM is a tool included with Windows that can repair some types of Windows corruption.

Windows 11 with a large "UNDO" key over it.

How Do I Go Back to Windows 10 From Windows 11?

Yes, you can still go back to Windows 10 from Windows 11. It just may not be easy.

OOBE initial screen.

Set Up Windows Again With the Windows Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE)

Use the Windows 10 and 11 Out-of-Box Experience to reset a variety of items associated with initial computer setup.

Busy Windows

How Do I Reformat and Reinstall Windows 11?

To reformat and reinstall is considered the “nuclear option” when it comes to dealing with Windows problems (or just cleaning up).

It's a trap!

What Happens If You Delete System 32?

Apparently, there’s a prank or scam suggesting that people delete their System32 folder. Don’t do it. It’s a trap!

A realistic image of a traditional US speed limit sign, featuring the text "SPEED LIMIT 100%" prominently in the center. The sign has a white rectangular background with bold, black letters for the text, typical of US speed limit signs. This custom sign creatively adapts the standard design to convey the concept of reaching the maximum limit or capacity, in this case, represented by "100%". The design incorporates the familiar aspects of US road signage while introducing a unique and metaphorical twist.

100% Disk Usage in Windows: 12 Things to Try

100% disk usage can happen for many different reasons. I’ll review the most common and give you recommendations for each.

A bright and photorealistic thumbnail showing a desktop computer screen. The desktop computer is modern and sleek, prominently positioned in the center of the image. The screen of the computer vividly displays Welcome to Windows with clear, legible textThe environment around the computer is minimal and professional, focusing the viewer's attention on the screen. The lighting is well-balanced, highlighting the details of Windows, and the overall image composition is designed to be eye-catching and engaging for viewers interested in learning about installing or setting up Windows.

Set Up Windows 11 With Only a Local Account

Setting up a Windows 11 machine without a Microsoft account is possible, though it’s not obvious how.

A bright, simple, photorealistic image representing the process of reinstalling Windows without having the necessary discs or downloads. The image should include a computer screen displaying an error message about missing installation files, alongside a desk cluttered with scattered software discs, some of them labeled as 'Windows' and 'Office', and papers containing activation codes and download instructions. The setting should convey a sense of frustration and confusion, highlighting the challenge of reinstalling software without the original media or downloads.

How Do I Reinstall Software Without Installation Discs or Download Files?

If you bought it, save it — even if it is just a downloaded installation .exe file and activation code.

A clean desktop, as it should be.

Does What’s on My Desktop Affect My Computer’s Speed?

A cluttered desktop doesn’t slow down your computer in and of itself, but could be a symptom of deeper problems.

An animated style image showcasing a humorous and exaggerated scene: a desktop computer is securely placed on a more prominent and detailed automotive hoist, which is well-defined and realistic within the animated context. Below the hoist, a cartoonish technician, dressed in colorful mechanic's attire, is comically inspecting the computer from underneath. The garage setting is vibrant and lively, filled with oversized, cartoon-like tools and car parts. The technician, displaying a humorous expression, uses an oversized wrench or tool to interact with the computer, emphasizing the playful nature of the scene. The background includes other whimsical elements typical of an animated mechanic's workshop.

How to Keep Windows Running Smoothly With Routine Maintenance

Much like an automobile, it can be useful to periodically look under the hood, clean things up, and make sure that all is as it should be.

Working on updates

How Do I Fix Windows Update?

Windows Update can get confused or stuck. I’ll review ways to fix Windows Update, including what I refer to as the nuclear option.

A photorealistic image of a balance scale. On one side of the scale is the Microsoft logo, symbolizing a Microsoft account. On the other side is a local user icon, representing a local account. The scale is evenly balanced, depicting the equilibrium and choice between using both types of accounts in a Windows environment. The background is neutral to emphasize the scale and the symbols.

What Does Signing in to My Microsoft Account Really Mean in Windows?

Let’s sort out some of the differences between logging in using your Microsoft account and logging in using a local account.

Windows 10

How Long Will Windows 10 Be Supported?

Estimates for how long Windows 10 will be supported have changed. The original expectations were unrealistic at best.

Recovery Drive in Search Results

How to Create a Windows Recovery Drive

A Windows Recovery Drive can be used to restore Windows backups to your machine and much more. I’ll show you how to create one.

A conceptual image on a light background, in a wide 16:9 format, depicting the process of transferring data during a clean Windows installation. The left side shows a computer with a new, glowing Windows installation. On the right, various data transfer methods are displayed: an external hard drive, cloud service icons (OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive), and an image of a backup disk. These elements are linked with stylized arrows or lines, indicating the transfer of data and applications to the new Windows system. The style is modern and digital with a focus on clarity, simplicity, and the seamless transition of data, all set against a light, clean background.

How Do I Transfer Data After a Clean Install of Windows?

A clean install of a operating system assumes the hard disk is empty. Some preparation is required to preserve and transfer data.

A photorealistic image of a crisp, clear Windows logo on its screen with the international 'no' symbol, a red circle with a diagonal line, overlaid on top of it.

How Do I Uninstall Windows?

After trying the latest version of Windows, you might find that it’s not your cup of tea. What then? Well, it’s not really an “uninstall”… it’s more of a replacement.

Laptop with a speedometer on screen

10 Ways to Make Windows 10 and 11 Faster

Computers slow down for many reasons. I’ll review some of the steps you can take to speed yours up again.

Sonar pattern on a computer monitor.

Where Did This Message Come From?

Process Explorer includes a nifty feature to help you identify any program displaying a window or message box.

Office witrh

Using OneDrive for Nearly Continuous Backup

OneDrive can be used for many things, but one of the most valuable is ongoing online backup.

Over a million files scanned.

Why Are There So Many Files?

Your computer likely has many more files on it than you realize. That’s quite normal.

Busy light.

Why Do I Have Constant Disk Activity in Windows?

Unexplained disk activity is easy to identify with the right tools. We’ll use Process Monitor.

Disk manager highlighting unallocated space.

How Do I Use an “Unallocated Space” Partition?

Unallocated space in a hard disk partition won’t be used. I’ll look at the two common ways to make unallocated space usable.

hiberfile.sys, pagefile.sys, swapfile.sys in Windows File Explorer

What Are Hiberfil.sys, Swapfile.sys, and Pagefile.sys, and How Do I Remove Them?

Hiberfil.sys, pagefile.sys, and swapfile.sys are Windows system files that support two very important features: hibernation and virtual memory.

File In Use message.

How Can I Find Out Who Is Using a “File in Use”?

If Windows or another program reports that a file is in use without telling you what program is using it, Process Explorer can.

Window Parts

Basics: Window Parts

It’s useful to know the names and functions of the various parts of an application window.

Problem Steps Recorder

Using the Problem Steps Recorder

The Problem Steps Recorder is a useful way to capture and share the exact steps you take when a problem occurs.

Windows 11

Should I Update to Windows 11?

Windows 11 is out to much fanfare, hype, and confusion. Unless you have specific reasons, you don’t need to upgrade yet, but there’s also no reason to avoid it.

Access Denied

How Do I Copy Files When Windows Says I Don’t Have Permission to Access This Folder?

When transferring NTFS-formatted disks from one machine to another, permissions can restrict access. I’ll cover both Widows GUI and command line solutions.

Failing the Windows 11 compatibility check.

Install Windows 11 Without a TPM 2.0 or on Older CPUs

Blocked from upgrading to Windows 11 by the TPM 2 or CPU requirements? There may be a way.

Desktop computer with a Stop sign on the screen.

Requires Elevation — What Does That Mean and What Do I Do?

Windows may tell you that a program requires elevation in order to run. We’ll look at what that means and the steps you can take in response.

Install: Current User or All?

Why Don’t Installed Programs Show Up for All Users?

If an application is installed only for one user and you want to use it as another, options are limited.

Balancing Disk and RAM.

How Do I Adjust Virtual Memory Settings?

Available virtual memory is controlled by a setting you can adjust. If you’re constantly running low, you should look at what you’re running.

Time passing

What Does “Not Responding” Mean?

“Not Responding” is Windows’ way of telling you that a program might have a problem. Sometimes it’s benign and sometimes it’s a sign of a deeper issue.

Disk to Disk transfer

Can I Move an Installed Application to Another Drive?

Because of the files an installed application usually leaves behind, it’s prohibitively difficult move it to another drive.

Turn on fast startup checkbox

Should I Turn Windows Fast Startup On or Off?

Fast Startup optimizes boot-time speed, but is an occasional suspect in boot-time problems. Turn Fast Startup off to get clues.

Thumbs Down on System Restore

Don’t Rely on System Restore

System Restore doesn’t restore your system and has proven itself too unreliable to count on.

Computer screen with the word "Nope".

My Computer Locks Up and Won’t Boot. What Do I Do?

There are a few things to take a look at if your computer fails to boot.

Wheel of Misfortune (Segment proportions do not match reality.)

Coping with Windows

Windows Update seems less than reliable and out of our control. How can you prepare for what may or may not happen without tearing your hair out?

Running CHKDSK on C:

Running CHKDSK When CHKDSK Won’t Run

Normally, you can request CHKDSK be run on the system drive at the next reboot. If that doesn’t work, there is another way.

Can't Delete?

Why Can’t I Delete This File?

Sometimes a file cannot be deleted because it has invalid characters in its filename. Here’s what to try.

Windows 10 RIP

Is Windows 10 Going Away?

Windows 10 is and is not going away. It depends on your perspective.

Traffic Jam!

What Are All These Programs Running After I Boot Windows?

When you start Windows, many programs start automatically as well. Some of them don’t need to.

Windows File Explorer

What Do I Do About Windows File Explorer Crashing?

Windows Explorer is the workhorse behind the Windows user interface. I’ll cover what to look for when it crashes.

Windows Search - Searching for a file

How to Locate a File on Your Computer in Seconds

It’s easy to search for files on your machine. Learn about the settings that dictate which parts of your machine get searched.

Slow

How Can I Make My Computer Faster?

The most effective way to speed up a system is to clean it up, have it run fewer programs, and give it more resources.

CHKDSK needing to be run on reboot.

Where Do I Find CHKDSK Results After a Reboot?

CHKDSK must sometimes be run at boot time. I’ll show you where to find those CHKDSK results.