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While most of us probably give little thought to all that is happening each time we shut our computers down, what is actually going on ‘under the hood’ during the shutdown process? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answers to a curious reader’s question.
If you are someone who loves using the Windows Command Prompt, you may have found yourself curious as to why the screen output buffer has such a ‘large’ default size. Can you change it to a smaller (or even larger) size? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answers.
Windows 10 automatically installs updates in the background. The only way to prevent them from being installed is to set your connection as metered so they don’t download automatically. But updates — especially major new builds of Windows 10 like the November update — could potentially cause problems.
Modern laptop and desktop keyboards have a multi-purpose set of keys in the “function” row. These keys can perform special actions related to the audio volume, playback, and hardware features. They can also function as the classic F1-F12 keys — but not at the same time.
Some manufacturers ship PCs with their internal drives divided into multiple partitions — one for the Windows operating system, and an empty “data” partition for your personal files. You can combine these partitions into a single one, if you prefer.
Whether you’re letting go of a computer or disposing of a USB drive, it’s a good idea to wipe that drive if there was ever sensitive, unencrypted data on it. This will prevent someone from using deleted-file-recovery tools to recover sensitive data from that drive.
Windows 10’s big November update added the ability to install apps from the Store onto an SD card, a USB drive, or another type of external or internal drive. This will be extremely useful on tablets and other devices with a small amount of storage. Just plug in an SD card and you can install apps to it.
Rainmeter is a lightweight application for customizing your Windows desktop. Rainmeter works by installing community made ‘skins’, many of which can change how the desktop works with widgets like app launchers, RSS and email readers, calendars, weather reports, and many others. It has been around since Windows XP, where it was used as a tool for displaying basic info on the desktop, but has since gained a large community following which has produced high quality skins which can change the whole desktop experience.
Windows 10 sometimes uses encryption by default, and sometimes it doesn’t — it’s complicated. Here’s how to check if your Windows 10 PC’s storage is encrypted and how to encrypt it if it isn’t. Encryption isn’t just about stopping the NSA — it’s about protecting your sensitive data in case you ever lose your PC.
Whether you have a laptop with an integrated camera or a webcam that plug in via USB, you can use the applications included modern operating systems to easily take photos and record videos. With Windows 10, this is now built into Windows and no longer requires third-party applications.
Some utilities have a “secure delete” option that promises to securely erase a file from your hard drive, removing all traces of it. Older versions of Mac OS X have a “Secure Empty Trash” option that tries to do something similar. Apple removed this feature recently because it just doesn’t work reliably on modern drives.
Outputting your computer to your HDTV via HDMI works well. Unfortunately, your computer’s placement depends upon the length of the cable. With Google Chromecast, however, you can literally mirror any browser tab or even your desktop, from anywhere, in just a few clicks.
Steam Machines with Valve’s Steam OS automatically boot to Steam’s Big Picture Mode, allowing you to use a controller to launch games and do everything else. If you have a Windows gaming PC plugged into your TV, you can also make it boot directly to Big Picture Mode.
The first big update to Windows 10, which should be arriving today via Windows Update, fixes a lot of problems with Windows 10. Microsoft is streamlining activation, restoring colored window title bars, integrating Skype, and improving the Edge browser. But they’ve also added advertisements to the Start menu.