Articles about Know Your PC

How to kill a Windows process


If you’ve finished with some Windows application then you’ll probably get rid of it by pressing Alt+F+X, clicking the top-right Close button, or following some other documented route.

This is generally the safest approach, too, as it gives the program an opportunity to close down properly, save important data, delete temporary files and generally clean up. But if the application won’t close, or you’re looking to do something more advanced -- close several processes in one operation, maybe -- then there are other options you might want to try.

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How to fix Windows 10's blurry font problem

Windows 10 blurred

If you change the DPI scaling to make text, apps and other items easier to read on your Windows device, you may have encountered the problem of blurry fonts in Windows 10.

The issue is caused by Microsoft using a different scaling method to the one it used in previous versions of Windows (stretching back to Vista), and mostly affects the Windows font and dialog boxes.

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How to stop Windows 10 messing up your drivers


The update process in Windows 10 has proved controversial. There was upset at the fact that updates are not optional, and this in turn led to driver updates breaking people's computers.

We have already looked at the steps you can take to stop Windows 10 installing automatic updates, but what about if you want to keep Windows 10 up to date while retaining manual control of when drivers are updated? Read on to find out how to stop Windows 10 messing up your drivers.

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Seven sneaky adware installer tricks

Shock horror

Install the latest freeware and there’s a good chance you’ll find some bundled adware, too, but most people know how to avoid it. Chose the "Advanced Installation" option, click "Decline", clear a few checkboxes and you’ll probably be safe.

Unfortunately some of the adware companies are realizing that the old techniques just don’t cut it any more, and they’re now using even more tricks to try and force that payload onto your PC. Just take a look at what happened when we tried to install a single freeware package on our test PC.

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How to stop Windows 10 downloading automatically


Once again, Microsoft has managed to rile people with Windows 10. People have discovered that the Windows 10 installation files are being downloaded to their computers without their permission. If this has happened to you already, we've already shown you how to remove Windows 10, claiming back space and regaining control.

But if you have been lucky enough to avoid the unwanted arrival of Windows 10 installation files so far, you'll be more interested in prevention than a cure. Here's what you need to do to make sure Microsoft doesn’t force feed you Windows 10.

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Remove unwanted Windows 10 upgrade files from Windows 7 and Windows 8.x

Delete Keyboard Key Button

Microsoft has reportedly been downloading Windows 10 installation files on to computers running Windows 7 and 8.x, regardless of whether the users plan to upgrade to the new OS or not.

If you’re thinking of making the switch, and have requested an upgrade, that is fair enough. But if you’re more than happy to stick with your older OS for now, you might not be too happy about Microsoft cluttering up your hard drive with junk install files you don’t want. Fortunately, removing these files is easy enough.

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How to find the wallpapers and lock screen images in Windows 10

Windows 10 lock screen

I quite like the look of Windows 10, and the images that come with it, but like all previous versions of Microsoft’s operating system it’s easily customizable.

Changing the look of the wallpaper and lock screen is done through Start, Settings, Personalization, and you can spice things up with your own photos. But what if you want to view the default images? Windows 10 stores them in a less-than-obvious place.

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How to install Windows Media Center on Windows 10

Windows Media Center

Microsoft dropped Windows Media Center from its new OS, citing "decreased usage" as the reason it would no longer be available. In its place the software giant has released a DVD Player, but this is only free to some Windows 10 users. For others it costs $14.99, which is crazy considering it’s incredibly basic and there are much better free tools available.

If you miss Windows Media Center, and the available alternatives -- such as Kodi -- aren’t filling the gap for you, the good news is you can, with a little trickery, install Windows Media Center on Windows 10.

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An SSD should be the first upgrade for your PC


If you are not happy with how your desktop PC or laptop performs, chances are it has a plain-old HDD inside. It is likely large enough to store all your files, but the old technology it is based on makes it extremely slow by modern standards -- apps and programs take a long time to load and transfer speeds are low. Basically, it is the reason why your device does not feel as fast as a new, high-end PC. Fortunately, you can give it a new lease on life.

The first upgrade that you should consider is an SSD. It is a huge improvement over virtually any HDD, as it will greatly improve load times and transfer speeds, making your device feel much more responsive, and reduce noise and power consumption. To show just big a difference it can make, I have tested an Emtec SSD Power Plus drive, in 120 GB trim, with an old HP Compaq 610 laptop.

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How to print to PDF directly in Windows 10 -- no software required


PDF is a great file format because it shows a document exactly how it’s intended to look. There’s no shortage of tools you can use to create your own PDFs, and if you have Microsoft Office installed you can even save documents and spreadsheets in that format via the Save As menu.

Windows 10 cleverly offers native PDF printing, so you can turn almost any document or image into a PDF without needing to install anything.

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How to disable Windows 10's Action Center

magic Start button

The Action Center in Windows 10 is a pretty handy addition. It displays past notifications from apps and your system -- if you miss a message from Windows when it pops up you can find out what it said in the Action Center. You can also access various quick actions there.

But if you have no need for the Action Center -- and to be honest I’ve hardly ever used it -- it can be disabled with a simple registry tweak.

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How to use a video as your account picture in Windows 10


Associating a picture with your Windows 10 account is just one way to personalize your computer, but it also serves as a way to easily differentiate between accounts. If you want to be a little different, you don’t need to stick with a dull static image on the login screen -- it is possible to use a video instead.

You can use your webcam and Windows 10's built in camera app to record a short clip and use it in place of your regular account image on the login screen. It might not serve any real purpose, but it's pretty cool. Here’s what you need to do.

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Screen flicker and Explorer crashes in Windows 10? Blame Norton Antivirus, iCloud, or IDT Audio


We've looked at many of the problems that you might experience after upgrading to Windows 10 -- from issues with audio to bothersome browsers. Some users are having problems with the explorer.exe process crashing and an annoying screen flicker. Three particular applications -- Norton Antivirus, iCloud, or IDT Audio -- have been cited as culprits, and Microsoft and Symantec have solutions.

There's no need to go as far as uninstalling Windows 10, but Microsoft does suggest that you restart your computer in Safe Mode and uninstall any of the aforementioned programs. Of course, Symantec would much rather than you continued to use Norton Antivirus, so the company has its own fix for the problem.

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How to completely remove OneDrive from Windows 10

No OneDrive Windows 10

OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, is heavily integrated into Windows 10. We've already explained how you can remove the OneDrive entry from File Explorer, but what if you don’t want the service in your new OS at all?

You can disable or uninstall it completely by following these simple steps. This will remove it from File Explorer, and everywhere else.

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How to view and delete your browsing history in Microsoft Edge


If you’re used to using Firefox or Chrome (or Internet Explorer for that matter), switching to Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 can be a little confusing at first, as it’s not always obvious how to do relatively straightforward tasks in the new browser.

We've already shown you how to change Microsoft Edge's default download folder, and also how to change the default search engine (one of our most frequently asked questions). But how do you access your browsing history in Edge?

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