Articles in Category: Windows User Interface

Tiled Start Menu in Windows 10

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.

Windows 10 in High Contrast

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.

Windows 10 Scale and Layout

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.

Moving the Windows Taskbar Back to the Bottom

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.

Adjust ClearType

How Do I Fix Jagged Fonts in Windows 10?

A simple setting I’d assume to be on by default, wasn’t. As a result, the text on my screen looked … ugly.


Can I Tell If Something’s Been Pasted Instead of Typed?

In theory, pasting text is the same as typing it. Except when it’s not.

Copy to Clipboard

Why Do Things Disappear from the Clipboard When I Close a Program?

Sometimes the clipboard behaves mysteriously. Let’s look at why.

Desktop Icons

Why Did Deleting a Desktop Icon Delete the Program?

The Windows desktop was intended to hold shortcuts to files located elsewhere, but it’s not limited to that.

How do you want to open this file?

Answering “How do you want to open this file?”

Deciding how you want to open a file depends on knowing what the file contains and knowing what program will understand that.

UAC Prompt

Why Does My Computer Say I Need to Be Administrator, When I Am?

We’ll look at why Windows asks you for administrator privileges even though you are the administrator, and what to do when it does.

Startup Folder

How Do I Get a Program to Auto-start When I Sign in to Windows?

I’ll show you how to locate the Startup folder and put a shortcut to your program there.

Taskbar Resize

How Do I Make the Taskbar Smaller or Larger?

It’s easy to make the Windows taskbar smaller or larger – perhaps too easy, since it can happen by accident. I’ll show you how to change it and how to lock it.

Screen Saver Settings

Why is My Screensaver Asking for a Password, and How Do I Fix That?

On returning from a screen saver, Windows can ask for a password. That’s a security measure that can be turned off – but be sure first.

Get Rid of Cortana Completely

How to kill Cortana for good (and bring her back if you change your mind).

Hide Cortana

How Do I Disable Cortana?

There are ways to disable Cortana “under the hood”, but in most cases, simply turning a number of options off will do the trick.

Taskbar buttons without text

How to Manage Taskbar Space

The Windows taskbar is a very flexible piece of screen real estate. There are many things about it you can change to adjust taskbar space.

Folder Access Denied

How Do I Fix the Recycle Bin?

It’s easy to fix the recycle bin: just delete it, and Windows handles the rest. I’ll show you how to find it and how to delete it.

New shortcut

How Do I Set a Custom Icon for a Desktop URL Shortcut?

Creating shortcuts to programs and web pages on your desktop is relatively easy, as is setting a custom icon for those shortcuts. I’ll show you how.

Bluescreen error on a Laptop

I Got a Blue Screen Error, What Should I Do?

Blue screen errors are less common than they used to be, but they can still happen for a variety of reasons. I’ll review what to do, and when.

View Tab

How Do I View Hidden Files and Folders?

By default, Windows hides certain files and folders. We’ll look at how to change the setting to display hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer.

What program is displaying this window?

Use Process Explorer to identify windows or message boxes that appear without any obvious indicator of what program they’re from.

Why aren't deleted files always moved to the Recycle Bin?

Why Aren’t Deleted Files Always Moved into the Recycle Bin?

The Recycle Bin is a handy safety net when you accidentally delete something. However, the Recycle Bin isn’t always there.

Windows Explorer Create New Task

What do I do when Windows Explorer crashes?

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

Edit String dialog

How do I change the Windows 8 lock screen background? (with Video)

Changing the background image of the Windows 8 lock screen is relatively easy, though it does require a short trip into the registry.

Windows 7 with custom login background

How do I change the Windows 7 login screen background? (with Video)

Changing the background image on the Windows 7 login screen is actually very simple. It’s also very obscure. I’ll show you how.

User Accounts with auto-login selected

How do I log into Windows automatically?

This is a very common question. The answer’s a bit buried, but it’s actually quite simple. And for the most part, it applies not only to Windows 8, but Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows Vista as well.

Laptop needing diagnosis

How can I prevent someone from installing random stuff?

Protecting a computer from its user can be difficult, verging on near-to-impossible. But there are a few ways to minimize the damage.

Windows 8: Don't Panic!

Why are applications and operating systems hiding so much these days?

A lot of thought really does go into decisions around feature design. You may think it’s silly, but you have to look at the big picture.


How do I change the Start sequence?

I believe the people who designed anti-malware software understand when it needs to load during the Startup sequence. If they didn’t put it first, there is probably a reason why.

Is There a Way to Get a Notification Sound when Startup is Finished?

Starting up Windows is incredibly complex. While you may not be able run a completion sound, you might be able to add one near the end.

Edit Menu

What’s the Difference Between Typing and Copy/paste?

In most cases, it’s Windows, not the application, that handles whether or not something is pasted in from the clipboard or is typed in. The program receiving the data usually doesn’t know or care.

Title Bar

I Can’t See the Top of a Window, so I Can’t Minimize, Maximize, or Close. What Can I Do?

Sometimes windows can inadvertently be positioned off screen where your mouse can’t reach. The keyboard interface, on the other hand, most certainly can.

How Do I Gain Access to Files Windows Says I Don’t Have Permission to Access?

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

Why Does the Space Used by Files on My Hard Drive Show Different Numbers Depending on How I Look?

Depending on how you look at your disk, the amount of space used can appear quite different. We’ll look at some of the possible reasons.

Safely Remove Hardware: Where Did the Icon Go? How Do I Safely Remove Hardware Without It?

The “Safely Remove Hardware” icon can occasionally disappear. It turns out there’s a simple workaround to safely remove hardware anyway.

How Can I Get Windows Explorer to Default to Open on a Directory of My Choosing?

You can create a shortcut to open Windows Explorer on the directory of your choice.