Articles in Category: Windows Programs

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Windows File Explorer

Windows Explorer is Missing. What Do I Do?

Is it really gone, or just hidden? Either way, we’ll work through the solution to get Windows Explorer back.

Resource Monitor Overview Tab

Monitoring Your System with Resource Monitor

Here’s a helpful system resource tool that doesn’t get nearly the press it deserves.

Install Now

Installing Software Safely and with Minimal Impact

Installing software is something we do often. I’ll review some recommendations to minimize both impact and danger.

Windows File Explorer

Windows File Explorer Settings: the Setting You Should Change Right Now

Windows File Explorer tries to help by hiding some information. Unfortunately, that opens a hole hackers can use to fool you.

A screenshot in the Screenshots folder in OneDrive on Windows 11.

What’s a Screenshot, and How Do I Take One?

A screenshot — an image of your computer screen saved as a picture — can eliminate a lot of frustration when trying to describe what you’re seeing on your computer to someone .

Person standing by a computer.

The Software I Use

I get lots of questions about what the best software for various situations may be. I can’t answer them all, particularly as it often depends on your own situation, but I can tell you what I’m using.

Ready to Reset

How to “Reset this PC” to Reinstall Windows

It’s relatively easy to reinstall Windows and keep most of your data while doing so, though it can be a bit time consuming.

Reset This PC

Why Do an Image Backup If I Can Factory Reset?

Factory reset is a great option to have, but it doesn’t cover all the scenarios a full image backup does.

SFC - The System File Checker

SFC: the System File Checker – How to Run It and Why

The System File Checker is a little-known, simple-to-run command-line program. It validates that Window’s operating files are undamaged.

Uninstalling

A Program Crashes and I Can’t Uninstall It. What Do I Do?

Problems with a program that won’t install can be tricky. It’s important to capture the exact wording of any error messages you are receiving.

Windows 10 DVD

How to Reinstall Windows 10 Without Media

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

Deleting Data

Is it Safe to Delete This File?

When running out of disk space, considering what you can delete makes sense. I’ll look at the steps to determine whether a file, such as a .dat file, may be important.

Microsoft Word

Why Does Word Tell Me a Document Changed When It Hasn’t?

It’s sometimes hard to tell why Word thinks a document changed even though you haven’t done anything to it. I’ll look at a few clues.

Revo Uninstaller

How Do I Completely Uninstall a Program?

Uninstalling a program is pretty easy. Uninstalling it completely, on the other hand, can be a challenge.

Dripping Digits

Does Installing Many Programs Destabilize My Computer?

Install the software you need to fully use your computer. Just be sure to back up along the way.

Windows Setup Install Now

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).

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.

Free Trial!

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 Do I Remove My Personal Data from My Computer Running Windows 10?

It’s almost impossible to remove all personal information from a Windows installation, short of one extreme option.

Word to PDF

Why Does My Microsoft Word Document Display Differently on Different Computers?

Microsoft Word documents display differently on different systems because of differences between the systems. Getting Microsoft Word documents to display identically typically means processing them into something else.

Windows Task Manager sorted by memory usage

How Do I Tell Which Program Is Using So Much Memory?

When Windows tells you it’s out of memory, what does it mean, and what can you do about it?

Local Account Switch: Done!

How Do I Switch Back to a Local Account Sign-in for Windows 10?

It’s not uncommon to set up Windows 10 only to find you’re required to log in with a Microsoft account. I’ll show you how to restore a local account sign-in.

Manage Your Devices

How Do I Get a .mobi Ebook onto My Kindle?

“.mobi” format is the native format for books used on Amazon Kindle reading devices. I’ll show you how to get that “.mobi” book you just downloaded from your PC to your Kindle.

System and System.sav

How do I Repair My System if the Registry Can’t Be Loaded?

We can certainly find a way to repair your system registry. But my concern is, why did this happen in the first place?

Folder with what?

Where Did these Oddly-named Folders Come From, and How Do I Get Rid of Them?

Windows programs often make these oddly named files as part of their setup process. You’ll have to make sure they are not being used to delete them.

The last edition of Microsoft Works

How do I get Office if I’m on dial-up?

Software packages, more and more, are coming as large download files – I wouldn’t even attempt to do it on dial-up! There may be a few options for you that will work.

Office 2013

Why can’t I get software on CDs or DVDs?

Software vendors seem to think these days that everyone has high speed internet for downloading large files. What happens if you don’t?

Inserting a disc

I Don’t Have Installation Media for Windows. What If I Need It?

At some point, you’re going to need your Windows installation CD/DVD. If you don’t have it, you could be severely out of luck. I’ll review alternatives.

Win 98 on Win 8

I have an important MS DOS program that won’t run in Win 7 – what do I do?

Sometimes you need an old program that won’t run on your current operating system. No Problem! Virtual machines to the rescue.

Why Did I Get this Additional Driver Utility?

More frequently, unwanted software is included in the download package of things you actually want. Preventing these programs from being installed is easy; getting rid of them may not be.

Office 2010

Can I move Office 2010 to another computer?

Moving Microsoft Office to a new computer is usually an easy process as long as you follow a few steps.

USB Thumb Drive

Can I Put Everything but the Operating System on an External Drive?

Using an external drive is not going to work like you think in the long run. In the end, a backup image is the most convenient tool to use when reinstalling Windows.

Autoruns Thumbnail

How Do I Prevent this Folder from Opening on Startup?

The symptom described is usually a leftover startup entry. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to remove this.

A run of the Strings utility

Why Is My Partially Recovered Document Still Not Readable?

Writing over a file is a good way to lose data, but if you are willing to dive into some command line programs, you may be able to recover some of it.

CCleaner Cleaning Options

Scheduling CCleaner

CCleaner is a useful and powerful system-cleaning tool that can help recover disk space as well as clear general clutter. It can be run manually, but in this article, I’ll show you how to set it up to run once a week automatically.

Explosion

Why Did I Lose Applications After My Machine was Formatted?

By definition, reformatting a hard drive erases everything. The big question is, why didn’t the technician tell you that?!

Question Mark

What Is wssetup.exe?

This file could be anything. I’ll show you how to track this file down and do a cleanup – just to be sure that it’s not malware.

What’s the easiest way to restore my machine to original factory settings if I didn’t get discs?

If you don’t have installation or recovery media then you’ll need to take additional steps to prepare for the day you might need to reset to factory settings. Additional steps using software that I hope you already have.

Download

How Do I Reinstall Downloaded Programs?

When it’s important that you save several things for the day disaster strikes and you need to reinstall downloaded programs. I’ll look at what you need to save to prepare for the worst.

Do I need Windows Live Essentials?

Windows 7 often comes with several pre-installed components that were part of the Windows Live Essentials package. They’re not required to run Windows, and can be uninstalled or replaced with more recent components.