Articles in Category: Windows

How Do I Know What Updates to Install?

Unless you have a specific reason not to, the best approach to taking updates is to take them all. I’ll review why, and how to protect yourself in case something goes wrong.

Using Windows Disk Cleanup

Windows Disk Cleanup is a handy tool for freeing up space on your hard drive. I’ll show you how it’s done.

How To Find a File on Your Computer

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

My Files Disappeared from Downloads. How Do I Get Them Back?

The Downloads folder isn’t meant for long-term storage. Here’s how to avoid losing files you downloaded and want to keep.

Is Windows 10 Still Free in 2020?

Officially Windows 10 is no longer free, but there remains at least one unofficial scenario that may allow you to upgrade for free.

What is “Print To File” Used For?

Print to file is an option on many older print dialogs that sends printer output to a file rather than the printer. It’s of extremely limited use these days, if it’s even available at all.

How Do I Fix the Master Boot Record (MBR)?

The MBR is one facet of a successful boot. Windows Startup Repair is a tool that addresses all of them.

Is There a Limit to What a Single Folder or Directory Can Hold?

Hard disks continue to increase in size, as does what we’re storing on them. There are size limits, but not limits most people need to worry about.

When Does Windows 10 Support End?

The end-of-support date for Windows 10 is now based on the release date of the feature update you last installed.

How to Determine What’s Installed on Your Machine

Programs can be installed in many ways and many places. There’s no single authoritative list of what’s installed, but we can get close.

How Do I Reformat and Reinstall Windows?

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

How To Reduce System Restore Disk Space Usage

System Restore is allocated a certain amount of space on your hard disk. If that’s excessive, you can use less space, but at the cost of fewer restore points.

What’s the Best Registry Cleaner?

The best registry cleaner is none at all. There may be cases where you want to use one, though, and I’ll review which I’d use and how to use them safely.

Why I Don’t Like System Restore

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

Why is Windows Complaining About Unsupported Hardware?

Unsupported hardware because the CPU is too new? It’s a scenario some users of older Windows versions can experience. There are a couple of solutions.

Why is the Same File a Different Size in Different Places?

Because of the way file systems organize and track your data on disk, size may be displayed differently in one place than in another.

What Windows Startup Programs Do I Need?

Windows startup is a complex process further complicated by the number of programs that add themselves to the list. Paring it down takes work.

Is There a Real Alternative to Windows?

Only Windows is Windows. There are alternatives, but whether they’re right for you depends on you.

How to Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive

A Windows 10 Recovery Drive can be used to restore Windows backups to your machine and more. I’ll show you how to create one.

How To Reinstall Windows Without an Installation Disc

The best way to prepare for needing an installation disc is to create one before you need it. I’ll review some approaches.

What’s the Difference Between a Sandbox and a Virtual Machine?

Sandboxes and virtual machines share some characteristics, but they are fundamentally different technologies. I’ll look at both from a high level.

Why is Windows 10 Using More and More RAM?

Software programs, like people, tend to get larger over time. I’ll look at how that happens and a few things you can do to compensate.

Where Can I Download Windows?

You can download Windows versions 7, 8.1, and 10 from legitimate sources. If you have a legal retail product key, this could be your replacement media.

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”.

How Do I Find Out What Program Is Using All My CPU?

Occasionally, one program uses all of your computer’s processing resources. Using Task Manager, it’s easy to figure out which program that is.

How to Repair a Computer that Only Blue Screens

Blue screens on startup can be difficult to diagnose and recover from. If your machine only blue screens on start up, there are a number of things to try.

Your Windows 7 PC is out of support

How To Keep Using Windows 7 Safely After Support Ends

Yes, it’ll be possible to keep using Windows 7 after it’s no longer supported. However, doing so safely will depend on you.

Why Is My Machine Slowing Down?

A PC running Windows can slow down for many reasons. Viruses, spyware, updated software, disk fragmentation, and more can lead to performance drops.

Open-Shell: Regain Your Start Menu in Windows and Much More

The single biggest complaint about Windows 8 and 10 is the tiled Start menu. Don’t like it? There’s an app for that.

What is the System Idle Process and Why Is It Using Most of the CPU?

Can a computer really do nothing? Yes and no. When it’s doing nothing it has to do something, and that something is the System Idle Process, waiting for something to do.

Disabling Remote Access Doesn’t Disable All Remote Access

You can disable Remote Access in Windows, but don’t be fooled: that doesn’t disable all types of remote access.

What’s the Difference Between Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance?

Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance are related yet different technologies included in Windows to allow remote access. I’ll review the differences.

Where’s My Disk Space Going?

It’s not uncommon to run out of disk space. A free utility can show where your disk space is going so you can determine what steps to take.

Do I Need OneDrive?

Using OneDrive is up to you — but here’s why I absolutely recommend it.

Should I Install the Latest Windows 10 Update?

My take on the latest Windows update and your options therein.

Should I Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Instead of Windows 10?

As Windows 8.1 is “between” Windows 7 and Windows 10, it’s tempting to think it’s a less jarring change. It’s not.

What Can I Disable in Task Manager’s Startup List?

Task Manager shows many of the items that run automatically when you start your machine. What you need and what you don’t depends on many factors.

How Do I Reset Windows 10?

“Reset your PC” is an option within Windows to return Windows itself to its initial state. I’ll walk through the steps.

Why Haven’t I Received the Latest Windows 10 Update?

The latest major update to Windows 10 has an issue that’s preventing wider rollout. I’ll review what it is, and what to do.

Will Windows 7 Keep Working After Support Ends?

The end of support for Windows 7 means Microsoft will no longer issue security updates. Here’s how to continue using it safely.

CHKDSK: What Is It and How Do I Run It?

CHKDSK, short for Check Disk, is a utility that checks the integrity of the files and file structure of your hard disk. I’ll walk you through it.

How Do I Change My Default Web Browser in Windows 10?

Changing the default browser used to be simple — and then along came malware. It’s still easy to change the default browser; it’s just different.

How Can I Boost My Laptop’s Performance?

There are a host of items that contribute to your computer’s (lack of) performance. I’ll review some of my top issues.

How Long Does Windows 7 Have Before It’s Phased Out?

The end is coming for Windows 7. But what does that really mean?

Coping with Gray Text

Gray text is a problem for many people. Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution, though there are some (very) ugly ones.

How Do I Clean Up After Windows Update Breaks Other Applications?

Software rot can result in odd behavior, including a Windows update causing other software to fail. Here’s one approach to try to get things working again.

Why Do System Cleanup Utilities Report So Many Errors on a Supposedly Clean System?

System and registry cleaners often report wildly differing results. The reason? Sales tactics, and no clear consensus of what it means to be clean.

How Can I Make the Text on My Screen Larger?

There are several ways to adjust the size of text and items on your screen. I’ll discuss a commonly-used wrong way as well as the right way.

How Do I Move the Taskbar Back to the Bottom?

Occasionally, the Windows taskbar can end up on either side (or even the top of) your screen. I’ll show you how to move the taskbar bar back to the bottom.

How Do I Decompress All the Files that Windows Compressed for Me?

Windows includes the tools needed to uncompress files that you (or prior versions of Windows) might have compressed using Windows File Compression.