Windows 10’s integrated Windows Defender antivirus has some “cloud” features, like other modern antivirus applications. By default, Windows automatically uploads some suspicious-looking files and reports data about suspicious activity so new threats can be detected and blocked as quickly as possible.
Microsoft Office applications have a built-in Safe Mode feature. This helps when you can’t use Office normally. Perhaps Word crashes every time you open it, or maybe Excel crashes when you open a single file. You can start the application in Safe Mode and there’s a good chance it will work normally.
When burning a CD, you can either burn it as a data disc or an audio CD. A data CD can hold up to 700 MB, while an audio CD can hold 80 minutes of sound. If you have 200 MB of MP3 files that add up to three hours of music, you can still only burn 80 minutes to the disc. Why is that?
Microsoft announced that System Image Backups will be deprecated in Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update. The feature is still available, but it is no longer actively being developed and may be removed in a future release of Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft recommends you use a third-party tool to create full system images of your PC.
DirectX is part of the Windows operating system. So why does it seem like every PC game you install from Steam, Origin, or elsewhere installs its own copy of DirectX?
Your PC’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, or a software bug could erase your files, so backups are critical. But you don’t need to back up all the files on your PC. That would just waste space and make your backups take longer to complete.
Windows doesn’t offer a built-in way for users to make a window always on top. There are many third-party tools for this, but they’re often bloated and clunky. So, let’s take a look at what works well.
If you let someone use your computer, they could gain access to your saved passwords, read your email, access all your files, and more. Instead of looking over their shoulder, just use your operating system’s guest account feature.
The winlogon.exe process is a critical part of the Windows operating system. This process is always running in the background on Windows, and it’s responsible for some important system functions.
Microsoft distributes special “N” editions of Windows in Europe and “KN” editions of Windows in Korea. These are the same as the standard editions of Windows, except they don’t include Windows Media Player and other multimedia playback features.
If you have a Windows PC, open your Task Manager and you’ll definitely see one or more Client Server Runtime Process (csrss.exe) processes running on your PC. This process is an essential part of Windows.
Everyone loses data at some point in their lives. Your computer’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, ransomware could hold your files hostage, or a software bug could delete your important files. If you’re not regularly backing up your computer, you could lose those files forever.
The WannaCry and Petya ransomware epidemics both spread using flaws in the ancient SMBv1 protocol, which Windows still enables by default (for some ridiculous reason). Whether you’re using Windows 10, 8, or 7, you should ensure SMBv1 is disabled on your PC.
Most laptop touchpads make it possible to perform a middle-click, but not all do. In some situations, you may need to enable this option in your mouse driver’s control panel or install the appropriate drivers first.
Windows 10 includes SmartScreen, a feature that helps protect your PC from downloaded malware and malicious websites. The “SmartScreen” process—with the filename “smartscreen.exe”—that you see in Task Manager is responsible for this feature.
Microsoft created a new console color scheme for Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, but existing Windows systems won’t get it automatically. A new, official tool allows you to install this new color scheme and other ones for easy customization of your Command Prompt windows.
Microsoft has announced Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. This is a higher-end version of Windows 10 Professional for expensive PCs with powerful hardware. The included features are already available on Windows Server, but are being brought over to a desktop version of Windows.
Windows’ Safe Mode is an essential tool. On computers infected with malware or crashing because of buggy drivers, Safe Mode may be the only way to start the computer.
The “Enhance Pointer Precision” setting in Windows can actually make you less precise with your mouse in many situations. This poorly understood feature is enabled by default in Windows, and is a form of mouse acceleration.
EA Access for Xbox One gives you access to more than 50 games, discounts, and trials of new EA games before they’re released. But is the monthly (or yearly) subscription fee really worth it?
If you have a PlayStation 4, Sony’s PlayStation Plus service is required to play multiplayer games online. A subscription costs $10 per month or $60 per year. PlayStation Plus also includes additional benefits, like free games every month and members-only discounts on some digital games.
The “wsappx” process is part of Windows 8 and 10, and you may see it running in the background or even using a significant amount of CPU and disk resources. It’s related to the Windows Store and Microsoft’s new “Universal” app platform.
Browser extensions are much more dangerous than most people realize. These small tools often have access to everything you do online, so they can capture your passwords, track your web browsing, insert advertisements into web pages you visit, and more. Popular browser extensions are often sold to shady companies or hijacked, and automatic updates can turn them into malware.
Windows 10 automatically performs system maintenance tasks like security scanning and disk optimization on a schedule. By default, Windows runs these tasks every day at 2 AM and wakes up your PC to do it if it’s sleeping.
Microsoft’s stripped-down Windows 10 S is now shipping on PCs like the Surface Laptop. If you want to try it before you buy, you can install it yourself in a virtual machine or a PC you have lying around.