Articles in Category: Windows Components

Windows components include the various and sundry applications that make up Windows itself, as well as many of the design and implementation characteristics of Windows.

System Restore

Why I Don’t Like System Restore

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

CHKDSK report showing cluster size

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.

Create Recovery Drive - Warning

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.

Remote Desktop option in Windows 10

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.

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.

Task Manager's Startup Tab

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.

Advanced Attributes on a Folder

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.

OneDrive Setup - email address

Using OneDrive for Nearly Continuous Backup

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

Where’s the Recycle Bin on My USB Drive?

Relying on a Recycle Bin can be a costly mistake, particularly when USB and other removable drives may or may not even have one.

Visual C++ Redistributables in Windows 10

Do I Need These Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables?

Assorted redistributables and shared libraries are often installed on your PC by programs that need them. Removing them, while tempting, is fairly risky.

Virtual Memory Settings

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

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

When I Use Start-Run, Why Does a Window Just Flash and Disappear?

Start-Run, or the Run item on Windows Start menu, is a way to run any program on your machine. Sometimes it works as expected, but other times, it just produces a quick flash. We’ll look at why, and what to do instead.

Command Prompt - Admin

How Do I Create a Shortcut that Bypasses UAC to a Program Needing Administrative Access?

User Account Control, or UAC, requests confirmation when a program needs administrative access. If you know it’s safe, we can bypass UAC with a shortcut.

Windows 10 Settings - Apps & Features

Is There a Way to List All Programs Installed on My Computer?

Unfortunately, there’s no consensus on what it means to be an “installed program”, or how to find them.

Restore Point Created

Backup and Restore the Registry Using System Restore

In my opinion, System Restore is good for exactly one thing: backing up and restoring the registry.

OneDrive showing new location

How Do I Move My OneDrive Folder?

Windows assumes it knows where you want your OneDrive folder. If you want it somewhere else, it’s easy to move.

Errors in the Event Log

What is Event Viewer, and Why Does It Have So Many Errors?

Many Windows components log messages, which Event Viewer is used to display. Sadly, the messages are often cryptic and inconsistent, and the result is a mess.

Computer Crash

How Do I Recover from a Crash During an Uninstall?

A crash at any time can cause problems, but a crash during an uninstall can be disastrous. I’ll look at what steps to take and how to avoid problems in the future.

Choose Default Program

How Do I Change the Default Program to Open a File?

Change the default program to open files in the application of your choice.

File Explorer View Options

How do I get Windows File Explorer to display details by default?

Windows File Explorer defaults to a simple view of the files on your machine. You can change it to display details by default with a few steps.

Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime

Do I Need so Many Copies of the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime?

There are often many copies of the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime on a Windows computer. Part legacy, part optimization, and certainly confusing, I’ll look at how and why.

Schedule in Control Panel

How Do I Schedule a Nightly Reboot in Windows 8.1? (with video)

Scheduling a nightly reboot or shutdown is easily done using Windows Task Scheduler and the built-in shutdown command.

Floppy Disk

What does NTLDR is missing mean?

You’re missing your boot loader. This may mean serious hardware problems… or perhaps just something forgetful on your part!

Password Recovery Disc Boot

I’ve Lost the Password to My Windows Administrator Account. How Do I Get it Back?

It turns out that resetting your Windows account password is frighteningly easy as long as you have physical access to the machine.


Why Am I Getting the “USB Inserted” Sound When I Haven’t Inserted Anything?

This is a system sound that could even be indicating an internal event. We’ll try to track down its source.

Power Button

How Do I Keep a Program from Loading at Startup?

Be careful what you disable from starting up with your computer. You might end up with unexpected results.

System Restore Disk Space Usage

Why Does Microsoft Security Essentials seem to Interfere with System Restore?

System restore just doesn’t seem to work reliably. There is actually a much better way to protect your system from corruption and mistakes.

Why Doesn’t Microsoft Dump the Registry?

The registry is just a database, and needed for the complex issues it solves. It’s true that things can go wrong.

Healthy Computer

What do I do if SFC detects but cannot fix a problem?

Unfortunately, the full solution to this problem can be quite painful. We’ll start with some easier fixes.

Is It Safe to Delete Log Files?

In general, it’s safe to delete log files, but is it really a necessary risk? You know what I’ll say… be sure to back up first.

CHKDSK Options

Checking and Repairing a Disk with CHKDSK

The Windows system utility CHKDSK is a powerful and useful tool in diagnosing and repairing certain types of disk problems. I’ll review several ways to run it, and try and describe what it does.

Windows 7 Desktop

My Taskbar is Missing and I Have No Start button. What Do I Do?

The Taskbar and Start button disappeared.¬†We’ll look at solutions for several reasons why this might have happened.


Can I Remove Unneeded Language Folders and Files?

Windows does support multiple languages. Unfortunately, many applications developed independently over time and seem to use different techniques for providing internationalization or localization support.


What’s the “Appdata roaming” folder?

Appdata roaming doesn’t mean your computer has been roaming. It’s nothing more than a folder designation on your machine. Why data may be put there, however, is a bit more complex.

Why do new windows open underneath others?

Usually a new window will open on top of previous windows. There are several things that may cause a window to “pop under” the window you’re looking at.

No Paging File

How Much of the Swap File Actually Gets Used?

How much a swap file gets used depends on how much RAM your computer has, and what’s running on it at any given time. Knowing that will also help you decide where to place the file.

Folder Properties Advanced Highlighting Compression Option

Should I Use Windows File Compression?

Windows File Compression automatically compresses files so they take up less space. In the best of circumstances, it can free up a lot of space, but all too frequently it’s not as much as you might expect, and there is a cost.

Changing Windows Explorer Settings

Windows Explorer is a ubiquitous and under-appreciated component of Windows 7. I’ll look at some settings I recommend changing if you’re a frequent user, and include a bonus tip that can sometimes speed up Windows Explorer’s start-up.

Just What Are Windows 7’s “Libraries” and How Do They Work?

Libraries are a feature added to Windows 7 that allow multiple folders to viewed as if they are one. It’s not new, but it can be very confusing.

Why Can’t I Rely on System Restore for Backups?

There’s much confusion about what System Restore actually is and is not. In a nutshell, it’s safest not to rely on it to restore your system.

Healthy Computer

How Do I Keep CHKDSK from Running on every Start Up?

There are times when the disk checking utility needs to run before you boot into Windows. Sometimes it seems to get stuck and does so every time.

What Windows Services Can I Turn Off?

People are concerned about how much software is running on their machines, and when they look at the list of services, there’s a long list of things they don’t understand.

How do I resolve my problem with appcompat.txt?

Here’s what to do when you see appcompat.txt.

What are "LSASS", "LSASS.EXE" and "Sasser" and how do I know if I'm infected? What do I do if I am?

LSASS is a Windows component shown in error messages, often due to a virus infection such as Sasser. Learn about LSASS, LSASS.EXE and how to stay safe.

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

Windows often reports that a file is in use without telling you what program is using it. Process Explorer can tell you.