Articles about Know Your PC

Fix Windows 10 Start menu problems with Microsoft's new troubleshooter tool

Windows 10 fixed

Windows 10 is a good operating system, but it can be a little buggy at times. Hopefully the forthcoming Anniversary Update will fix a lot of these issues, although it’s equally possible it may introduce more bugs along with the raft of new features.

If you’ve been having problems with the Start menu in Windows 10 the good news is Microsoft has released a new troubleshooting tool which can identify and fix many issues automatically.

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Microsoft's leaked Windows Refresh tool lets you start anew in Windows 10

Windows relief

Yesterday, something went horribly wrong with my PC leaving me with no option but to use the Windows 10 Reset option to wipe all my programs and start over. It was the first time I’d had to use it, and things went smoothly enough, even if it took forever to get everything setup again afterwards.

The ability to Reset Windows 10 -- re-installing the OS while keeping, or removing your personal files -- is a great idea (although admittedly not as good as being able to install Windows over the top of itself as you could with XP), and now Microsoft is spinning it off into a standalone tool.

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How to fully disable Windows 10 live tiles

Viewing live tiles

Windows 10’s Start menu offers live tiles that update every few seconds or so to display information like the latest news headlines and weather, and also a changing slideshow of photos.

Live tiles are viewed by many as a bit odd, because unless you switch to tablet mode, you only ever see them when you open the Start menu, and the menu has to stay open so you can watch the tiles update. Fortunately, if have no need for such things, this feature is easily disabled.

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How to hide your name and email address on the Windows 10 lock screen

Hiding

You may have noticed that the Windows 10 lock screen displays your real name and email address just above the password/PIN box.

This is obviously there to show you which Microsoft account you’re logging into, but it’s personal information you might not want visible to just anyone if you use your PC in a busy environment or public place (if you lock your device when in a coffee shop, for example). Fortunately, hiding these details is easy.

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How to build a low-cost classic video game emulation PC using the AMD AM1 platform

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What can you do with 25 watts? Well, let's take a moment to think about it. Today, you can get LED light bulbs that put out about the same amount of light as a 60W or 70W bulb. You can get a pair of speakers that put out twice as much sound as a 25W speaker could only years ago. 25 watts can do a lot of things these days. As technology advances, and power requirements continue to shrink, more and more can be done with less. With smaller and smaller manufacturing techniques, power efficiency will continue to increase. What took hundreds of watts to achieve years ago, can now be done with a fraction of the power.

Today I am writing this story to shed some light on a processor that is rated at 25W -- AMD's Athlon 5350 APU. It's a full quad core CPU and a GPU all in one. It amazes me to think that's even possible. Remember when AMD stuck the first GPU onto a CPU die when it introduced Llano? To think it was only a few years back and now we have the same thing, but using so much less power. It is quite remarkable.

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A hands-on guide to Windows 10's Anniversary Update Start menu

Start menu

Microsoft has implemented lots of changes to Windows 10 in readiness for the big Anniversary Update due for release in July. If you’re a Windows Insider then you’ll likely have already played around with new features such as Windows Ink, Bash on Ubuntu, Extensions on Edge, and so on.

The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview release, Build 14328, introduces some major -- and very welcome -- tweaks to the Windows 10 Start menu. Here’s a detailed guide to the changes.

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How to install and use extensions in Microsoft Edge on Windows 10

Extensions screen

Starting in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14291, Microsoft has introduced a selection of extensions for its Edge browser.

While the software giant promises that popular add-ons like AdBlock, Adblock Plus, Amazon, LastPass, and Evernote are on their way, it’s launched the feature with three rather less-exciting offerings -- Mouse Gestures, Microsoft Translator and an early version of Reddit Enhancement Suite.

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How to fix Microsoft Edge's worst problems

Edge frustration

Microsoft is definitely on the right track with Edge -- its new browser is a big improvement over Internet Explorer, but there’s still a long way to go until it’s good enough to challenge the likes of Firefox and Chrome. Extension support is still missing, although I hear from a Microsoft source that it will be coming to a Windows 10 Insider Preview very, very soon (and to the rest of us when the Redstone update for Windows 10 rolls out in June/July).

If you’re using the new browser and having problems, here are some solutions for the most common Edge issues.

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How to fix Windows 10's most annoying problems

win10 fire

Windows 10 has been out for seven months now, and while it’s still not the perfect, most polished operating system there is, Microsoft has at least fixed a lot of the problems users originally encountered with it.

However, our original two guides to fixing Windows 10’s worst problems remain hugely popular, suggesting that users are still having issues and looking for workarounds to try. For that reason, we’ve decide to revisit the topic, with some new problems and solutions.

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Transform Windows 10 into the operating system it should be

Improve Windows 10

Windows 10 is a decent operating system, but there are a lot of niggles with it that I find frustrating, and I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not too worried about the new operating system "spying" on me, but there are plenty of other areas where, frankly, Microsoft could -- and should -- be doing better.

In the main, I find Windows 10 to still be rather half-baked. It’s very much a work in progress rather than a finished, and polished operating system. Fortunately if you take matters into your own hands, you can improve the OS in myriad ways and fix all of the issues that Microsoft can't, or won't.

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How to get total control over Windows 10's automatic updates

windows update

One of the (many) things that divides opinion about Windows 10 is Microsoft’s decision to make updates mandatory. If you have Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education editions you can defer updates, but you can’t reject them outright.

Windows 10 Home users don’t have this luxury and updates are installed automatically once they become available.

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Problems booting up Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14267? Here's a quick fix

Fix repair computer solution keyboard

Microsoft has been rolling out new Windows 10 Insider Preview builds to the Fast ring at a rate of about one a week for the past month or so.

The latest build, 14267, introduced some welcome improvements, including three additions to Microsoft Edge, but it also added a fast startup bug which has stopped some users being able to boot Windows.

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How to boot a USB key in VirtualBox

VM.200.175

VirtualBox is an amazing virtualization tool, ideal for all kinds of software testing situations -- unless they involve booting from USB, where there’s no direct support at all.

There’s a workaround which will sort-of solve the problem, no additional software required, but it’s awkward and inflexible. Virtual Machine USB Boot is an interesting alternative, an open-source portable tool which makes it much easier to boot USB keys in both VirtualBox and QEMU.

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How to block the Windows 10 'recommended' update on Windows 7 and 8.1

no_thanks_windows_10

Microsoft has changed the Windows 10 update from "Optional" to "Recommended". And by "Recommended" it means "You’re getting it whether you want it or not".

If your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC is set to install recommended updates automatically (because -- more fool you -- you just wanted it to be up to date and safe) then Microsoft will cheerfully download the new OS and start the installation process for you. Don’t want that to happen? Here’s how to stop it.

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How 'fake' video downloads can install malware

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It’s been a common Windows malware trick for years: you download some dubious video, it claims it won’t play unless you install a "codec", but the file you’re offered is a Trojan or virus. Oops.

You might think you’d never be caught out by something so obvious, but it only takes a moment, you’re not paying attention, and -- too late.

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