Want to update your computer’s hardware drivers? Get your driver updates from Windows Update or your device manufacturer’s website. Here’s how.
It’s happened to most of us. You delete a file, and then realize you need it back. This guide explains when you can get that file back and how to go about it.
If you’ve been using Windows for a while, you likely remember how annoying the User Account Control (UAC) was when it first popped up in Windows Vista. We showed you back then how to disable it, and you can still disable it in Windows 8 and 10. Here’s how.
Microsoft has been trying to improve the touchpad experience on Windows 10 laptops. Laptops with “Precision Touchpads” are optimized by Microsoft, support standard gestures, and can be configured from the Settings app. Unfortunately, PC manufacturers can opt out of using Precision Touchpads. Now, there’s a way to install Precision Touchpad drivers even on laptops that don’t ship with them.
The old Windows properties window has been around for a long time. In Windows 8 and 10, it probably would have been a good idea to move some of those settings into the new Settings app, but of course that didn’t happen. To get anything useful done, you’ll need to dive into the good old-fashioned Control Panel.
Open the Task Manager on Windows 10 and you’ll see an “Application Frame Host” background process running. This process has the file name “ApplicationFrameHost.exe” and is part of the Windows 10 operating system.
Windows 10’s taskbar clock can display the precise time down to the second. This feature requires a registry hack to enable, and only works on Windows 10. Windows 7 users will instead need a third-party utility like T-Clock Redux to do this instead.
Windows 10 provides no way to restore Windows 7’s Aero, Windows Media Center, or other much-loved features. But, for some reason, there is a hidden registry setting that will re-enable Windows 7’s old volume control interface on Windows 10.
Windows 7, 8, and 10 create a special “System Reserved” partition when you install them on a clean disk. Windows doesn’t normally assign a drive letter to these partitions, so you’ll only see them when you use Disk Management or similar utility.
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 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.
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.
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 “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.
As a fairly versatile operating system, Windows has always had ways of browsing and viewing photos. But with Windows 10, Microsoft decided to try and mash browsing, organizing, and viewing all together in one application, with some basic editing to boot. The result, the innocuously-titles “Photos” app, can be less than intuitive.
Windows 10 finally added virtual desktops as a built-in feature. If you keep a lot of apps open at once—or use your PC for very different types of tasks—virtual desktops offer a convenient way to stay organized.
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.
By default, Windows 10 asks you to create a Microsoft account when you log in to Windows for the first time. But if you’d prefer to use an email that you actually use for, you know, email, that’s an option too. Windows 10 accepts new non-Microsoft email accounts on setup, and you can create a new Windows user with any email account.
Windows 10 uses memory compression to store more data in your system’s memory than it otherwise could. If you visit the Task Manager and look at your memory usage details, you’ll likely see that some of your memory is “compressed”. Here’s what that means.
Windows 10’s Start menu can search your files, but it seems like Microsoft is more interested in pushing Bing and other online search features these days. While Windows still has some powerful search features, they’re a bit harder to find—and you might want to consider a third-party tool instead.
Reinstalling Windows isn’t as simple as just clicking through an installer. You’ll want to have important data backed up first, and then you’ll need installation media and a product key before continuing—and those are just the basics. This checklist will walk you through reinstalling Windows and ensure you won’t forget anything.