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The 50 Best How-To Geek Windows Articles of 2010

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Even though we cover plenty of other topics, Windows has always been a primary focus around here, and we’ve got one of the largest collections of Windows-related how-to articles anywhere. Here’s the fifty best Windows articles that we wrote in 2010.

Want even more? You should make sure to check out our top 20 How-To Geek Explains topics of 2010, or the 50 Windows Registry hacks that make Windows better.

How to Customize Your Windows 7 Taskbar Icons for Any App

Would you like to change out the icons on your taskbar with a beautiful set of icons that all go together?  Here’s how you can change out the random candy-colored icons for a stylish icon set of your choice.

How to Customize Your Windows 7 Taskbar Icons for Any App


Change the Windows 7 Taskbar Color

Sure, you can hack Windows and install a custom theme if you really wanted to, or pay for a software package to do it for you. What you might not know is that you can use a silly trick to change the color of the taskbar with no added software—without changing your window color.

Change the Windows 7 Taskbar Color With No Extra Software (Stupid Geek Tricks)

Change Your Windows 7 Taskbar Color the Easy Way (and Rotate Between Colors)


How To Enable Macbook-Style Two Finger Scrolling on Windows Laptops

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After using my new Macbook Air for the last week, it’s almost painful to switch back to my PC laptop—using two finger scrolling has become second nature. Here’s how to get the same feature on (most) Windows laptops.

How To Enable Macbook-Style Two Finger Scrolling on Windows Laptops


How to Crack Your Forgotten Windows Password

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Here at How-To Geek, we’ve covered many different ways to reset your password for Windows—but what if you can’t reset your password? Or what if you’re using drive encryption that would wipe out your files if you changed the password? It’s time to crack the password instead.

How to Crack Your Forgotten Windows Password


Make Your PC Shut Down at Night (But Only When You’re Not Using It)

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If you normally like to power off your PC when you’re not using it, do you ever forget and leave it on? Here’s how to configure Windows to automatically power down at night, but only if you’re not using the PC at the time.

Make Your PC Shut Down at Night (But Only When You’re Not Using It)


How To Harmonize Your Dual-Boot Setup for Windows and Ubuntu

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Looking for some harmony between Windows 7 and Ubuntu in your dual-boot setup?  Here are a few ways you can make the tense OS situation a little more unified and copacetic.

How To Harmonize Your Dual-Boot Setup for Windows and Ubuntu


Scan Your Thumb Drive for Viruses from the AutoPlay Dialog

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It’s always a good idea to scan someone’s flash drive for viruses when you use it on your PC. Today we look at how to use Microsoft Security Essentials to scan thumb drives via the AutoPlay dialog.

Scan Your Thumb Drive for Viruses from the AutoPlay Dialog


How to Manually Repair Windows 7 Boot Loader Problems

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If you’re having boot problems on your Windows PC, it’s often helpful to repair the MBR (Master Boot Record) to restore the Windows 7 boot loader—and you can do it easily from the Windows installation disc.

How to Manually Repair Windows 7 Boot Loader Problems


How To Uninstall, Disable, and Remove Windows Defender. Also, How Turn it Off

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If you’re already running a full anti-malware suite, you might not even realize that Windows Defender is already installed with Windows, and is probably wasting precious resources. Here’s how to get rid of it.

How To Uninstall, Disable, and Remove Windows Defender. Also, How Turn it Off


Add “My Dropbox” to Your Windows 7 Start Menu

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Over here at How-To Geek, we’re huge fans of Dropbox, the amazingly fast online file sync utility, but we’d be even happier if we could natively add it to the Windows 7 Start Menu, where it belongs. And today, that’s what we’ll do.

Add “My Dropbox” to Your Windows 7 Start Menu


Customize Your Icons in Windows 7 and Vista

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Want to change out the icons on your desktop and more?  Personalizing your icons is a great way to make your PC uniquely yours, and today we show you how to customize your Windows icons.

Customize Your Icons in Windows 7 and Vista


How to Change the Priority of Wired/Wireless Network Cards in Windows

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Do you ever plug in your wired network card while your wireless card is still enabled? Ever wonder how Windows chooses which one to use? Here’s how to see the default priority—and how to change it if you want.

How to Change the Priority of Wired/Wireless Network Cards in Windows


Make Windows 7 Start Menu Search Find Your Applications Faster

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When you first get your shiny new Windows 7 PC, typing anything into the Start Menu search box returns exactly what you want instantly—but what about once you’ve built up loads of files? It tends to get really slow, but here’s how to fix it.

Make Windows 7 Start Menu Search Find Your Applications Faster


How To Setup a USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 7

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If you have a netbook and would like to upgrade it to Windows 7, you may be wondering how to do it without a clunky external DVD Drive. Today we show you how to install Windows 7 from a USB flash drive.

How To Setup a USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 7


Wipe, Delete, and Securely Destroy Your Hard Drive’s Data the Easy Way

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Giving a computer to somebody else? Maybe you’re putting it out on Craigslist to sell to a stranger—either way, you’ll want to make sure that your drive is completely wiped, scrubbed, and clean of any personal data. Here’s the easy way to do it.

Wipe, Delete, and Securely Destroy Your Hard Drive’s Data the Easy Way


Remove Ubuntu or XP from the Windows 7 Boot Menu

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If you’ve ever used a dual-boot system and then removed one of the operating systems, it can still show up in Windows 7’s boot menu. We’ll show you how to get rid of old entries and speed up the boot process.

Remove Ubuntu or XP from the Windows 7 Boot Menu


What is hiberfil.sys and How Do I Delete It?

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You’re no doubt reading this article because there’s a gigantic hiberfil.sys file sitting in the root of your drive, and you want to get rid of it to free up some space… but you can’t!

What is hiberfil.sys and How Do I Delete It?


Complete Guide to Networking Windows 7 with XP and Vista

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Since there are three versions of Windows out in the field these days, chances are you need to share data between them. Today we show how to get each version to be share files and printers with one another.

Complete Guide to Networking Windows 7 with XP and Vista


How To Disable or Enable the Homegroup Feature in Windows 7

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Have you ever used the Homegroup feature in Windows 7? It’s a great way to share files and printers with all your Windows 7 computers, but if you don’t want it anymore, you can disable or enable the feature easily.

How To Disable or Enable the Homegroup Feature in Windows 7


How To Remove Security Tool and other Rogue/Fake Antivirus Malware

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If you have a PC infected with Security Tool, you’re probably reading this article so you can understand how to get rid of it. Thankfully we’ve got the instructions to help you get rid of this virus.

How To Remove Security Tool and other Rogue/Fake Antivirus Malware


Use Drive Mirroring for Instant Backup in Windows 7

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Even with the best backup solution, a hard drive crash means you’ll lose a few hours of work. By enabling drive mirroring in Windows 7, you’ll always have an up-to-date copy of your data.

Use Drive Mirroring for Instant Backup in Windows 7


Why Doesn’t Disk Cleanup Delete Everything from the Temp Folder?

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After you’ve used Disk Cleanup, you probably expect every temporary file to be completely deleted, but that’s not actually the case. Files are only deleted if they are older than 7 days old, but you can tweak that number to something else.

Why Doesn’t Disk Cleanup Delete Everything from the Temp Folder?


How to Use the BitDefender Rescue CD to Clean Your Infected PC

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When you’ve got a PC completely infected with viruses, sometimes it’s best to reboot into a rescue disc and run a full virus scan from there. Here’s how to use the BitDefender Rescue CD to clean an infected PC.

How to Use the BitDefender Rescue CD to Clean Your Infected PC


How to Create a Software RAID Array in Windows 7

Instead of having a bunch of separate drives to deal with, why not put them together into one big drive? You can use software RAID to accomplish this, and here’s how to do it.

How to Create a Software RAID Array in Windows 7


Antivirus Slowing Your PC Down? Maybe You Should Use Exclusions

Retro Virus

Protecting your computer with an antivirus solution is par for the course when you’re dealing with a Windows PC, but unfortunately it slows you down at the same time. Here’s how to improve your performance, at least a little bit.

Antivirus Slowing Your PC Down? Maybe You Should Use Exclusions


How to Create Your Own Custom Windows System Administration Panel

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Has it ever annoyed you to have to open lots of separate windows for Device Manager, Services, Event Viewer, and other system administration tools? Here’s how to pull them all together into your own custom admin panel.

How to Create Your Own Custom Windows System Administration Panel


Stupid Geek Tricks: Make Your Own Fake Virus with Notepad

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Every geek wants to pretend that they are a dangerous hacker with the ability to take down any PC, and after you read this article, you can do show off your skills with nothing more than Notepad.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Make Your Own Fake Virus with Notepad


Do You Know About These Windows Calculator Easter Eggs?

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Everybody loves a good Easter egg, and here’s a couple of oddities we found in the Windows calculator that we thought we’d share. How many of them did you already know about?

Do You Know About These Windows Calculator Easter Eggs?


Improve Battery Life in Windows 7 with the Built-In Power Troubleshooter

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Anybody who has a Windows 7 laptop is going to be concerned with how to make the battery last longer, but did you realize there’s a built-in troubleshooting wizard in Windows 7 that helps you maximize your battery life?

Improve Battery Life in Windows 7 with the Built-In Power Troubleshooter


The 10 Cleverest Ways to Use Linux to Fix Your Windows PC

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You might not be ready to accept Linux as your desktop yet, but you can still use it to save your Windows PC—whether you need to reset passwords, recover deleted files, or scan for viruses, here’s how to do it.

The 10 Cleverest Ways to Use Linux to Fix Your Windows PC


How to Resize All Window Columns with a Single Keystroke

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When you’re dealing with an application that displays data in a set of columns, it’s often frustrating to have to resize each column separately—but today we’ve got a great trick for you that resizes all the columns with a single keystroke.

How to Resize All Window Columns with a Single Keystroke


What is SearchIndexer.exe and Why Is It Running?

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You’re no doubt reading this article because you’re wondering what that SearchIndexer.exe process is all about, and why it’s chewing up a lot of RAM or CPU. Here’s the explanation you’re looking for, and how to deal with it.

What is SearchIndexer.exe and Why Is It Running?


How to Organize Your Programs in the Windows 7 Taskbar

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Would you like to keep your programs neat and orderly in your Windows 7 taskbar?  Let’s look at an easy way to make your taskbar simpler and more aesthetic all at the same time.

How to Organize Your Programs in the Windows 7 Taskbar


The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 7 Media Center

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If you’ve moved from XP to Windows 7, this might be the first time you’ve had access to Media Center. Here we’ve created a guide for our best tips, tricks, and tutorials for using Windows 7 Media Center.

The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 7 Media Center


Change Wireless Network Priority to Make Windows 7 Choose the Right Network First

If you’ve got multiple wireless networks or you’ve got one of those dual-band Wireless-N routers that have two separate networks, you might wonder how to tell Windows what network to try to connect to first. Here’s the explanation.

Change Wireless Network Priority to Make Windows 7 Choose the Right Network First


How To Play Your Favorite Retro Video Games on Your Windows PC

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Do you miss the days of playing your favorite games on “old school” consoles like SNES or Sega Genesis? Today we take a look at several different emulators for your PC that will bring back the retro gaming nostalgia.

How To Play Your Favorite Retro Video Games on Your Windows PC


How to Install, Manage, and Delete Fonts on Your PC

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If you have recently found some terrific fonts that you want to use on your Windows system, then getting them installed may not be something that you are familiar with. Today we show you how to manage those fonts with ease.

How to Install, Manage, and Delete Fonts on Your PC


How to Enable or Disable the Libraries Feature in Windows 7

If you just can’t get used to the new Libraries feature in Windows 7, you can easily disable it with a registry hack—though we’d recommend learning about the benefits instead of disabling it.

How to Enable or Disable the Libraries Feature in Windows 7


Make the Taskbar Buttons Switch to the Last Active Window in Windows 7

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The new Windows 7 taskbar’s Aero Peek feature, with the live thumbnails of every window, is awesome… but sometimes you just want to be able to click the taskbar button and have the last open window show up instead. Here’s a quick hack to make it work better.

Make the Taskbar Buttons Switch to the Last Active Window in Windows 7


Change Your Wi-Fi Router Channel to Optimize Your Wireless Signal

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If you live in an apartment complex you’ve probably noticed more than just the passive-aggressive network IDs that your neighbors use—very likely you’ve had problems with your wireless connections dropping out, or just not being as fast as you’d like. Here’s a quick fix.

Change Your Wi-Fi Router Channel to Optimize Your Wireless Signal


Increase the Speed of the Aero Taskbar Thumbnails in Windows 7

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By default you may notice that there is a slight delay when hovering your mouse over a Taskbar Thumbnail. Here is a neat registry hack that will allow you to speed it up.

Increase the Speed of the Aero Taskbar Thumbnails in Windows 7


How to Assign a Static IP Address in XP, Vista, or Windows 7

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When organizing your home network it’s easier to assign each computer its own IP address than using DHCP. Here we will take a look at doing it in XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

How to Assign a Static IP Address in XP, Vista, or Windows 7


Recover that Photo, Picture or File You Deleted Accidentally

Have you ever accidentally deleted a photo on your camera, computer, USB drive, or anywhere else? What you might not know is that you can usually restore those pictures—even from your camera’s memory stick.

Recover that Photo, Picture or File You Deleted Accidentally


Play Your Favorite DOS Games in XP, Vista, and Windows 7

Want to take a trip down memory lane with old school DOS games?  D-Fend Reloaded makes it easy for you to play your favorite DOS games directly on XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Play Your Favorite DOS Games in XP, Vista, and Windows 7


Use Autoruns to Manually Clean an Infected PC

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There are many anti-malware programs out there that will clean your system of nasties, but what happens if you’re not able to use such a program?  Autoruns, from SysInternals (recently acquired by Microsoft), is indispensable when removing malware manually.

Use Autoruns to Manually Clean an Infected PC


Increase the size of Taskbar Preview Thumbnails in Windows 7

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Taskbar thumbnail previews are incredibly useful in Windows 7, but for some users they may be too small.  Here’s a tool to help you make your taskbar thumbnail previews just like you want them.

Increase the size of Taskbar Preview Thumbnails in Windows 7


Stupid Geek Tricks: Tile or Cascade Multiple Windows in Windows 7

Windows 7 Mouse Drag Arrange

If you’ve got loads of windows open, and would like to tile or cascade just a couple of those windows, it’s a pain to minimize them, then unminimize the windows you want to tile, and then choose Tile from the taskbar context menu… but there’s a better way!

Stupid Geek Tricks: Tile or Cascade Multiple Windows in Windows 7


Stupid Geek Tricks: Enable the Secret “How-To Geek” Mode in Windows 7

We haven’t told anybody before, but Windows has a hidden “How-To Geek Mode” that you can enable which gives you access to every Control Panel tool on a single page—and we’ve documented the secret method for you here. (NOTE: Do NOT use this on Vista)

Stupid Geek Tricks: Enable the Secret “How-To Geek” Mode in Windows 7


How to Create a Shortcut That Nukes Every Running Windows App

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Have you ever had dozens of application windows open and wanted to just close them all? There’s a bunch of freeware apps that will close them all for you, but you don’t need extra software—and here’s how to do it.

How to Create a Shortcut That Nukes Every Running Windows App

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/29/10

Comments (21)

  1. Hatryst

    Simply awesome… ;)
    This must’ve been a really difficult task to sort out the best 50 articles of 2010…

  2. Ali

    I wish all of my geek friends a very happy new year in advance :D

  3. Andy

    Great List. This one is getting saved to the favorite list!

  4. GB

    How to Geek.com is a website that I visit almost daily. I have really learned a lot in the last 12 months.
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Donald

    Please, please,please will someone write a program for windows 7 which is idental to XP’s “Send to Any Folder.”

  6. Shaun

    I just recently added howtogeek to my google reader so I missed the first 10 months worth so this was a great catchup! Found some awesome tool in this 50!

  7. mandy velasco

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE

  8. coffee-turtle

    Totally appreciate all of the How To’s. This compiled list is awesome! Thanks!

  9. paleolith

    Ne plus ultra.

  10. Anonymous

    Are emulators legal?!

  11. Joao Vicente de Oliveira

    Simply awesome…

    This must’ve been a really difficult task to sort out the best 50 articles of 2010…

    Happy New Year to all.

  12. whs

    Very nice list. Thank you. Happy New Year.

  13. bhjt

    Please share the next 50, 100, 150, 200 …

  14. Puspen

    FOR : December 29, 2010 7:43 pm Anonymous

    Hi,
    Emulators and Roms are definately legal. These are the platforms that let us play 8-bit classic Nintendo games on our PC. It was never illegal, is neve and will be never. Enjoy NINTENDO till you die. :)

  15. Naresh

    Its a very nice Article.
    I love it…….

  16. Bim-23k

    You guys are Legends!. Happy New Years.

  17. Mr. X

    Bravo Howtogeek, I Like Every Single Your Article… Happy New Year..

  18. Anonymous

    @PusPen: SWEEET!!! :D Super Mario Bros FTW!!! :D

  19. vineet

    how could i get The 50 Best How-To Geek Windows Articles of 2010.Is there any rar file?

  20. Ahmad

    GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! GREAT!

  21. m@ik

    Thx a lot for that!

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