Articles about Know Your PC

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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How to make Windows 10's UAC prompts less obtrusive

UAC Icon

User Account Control (UAC) has been part of Windows since Vista. When it was first introduced it was incredibly annoying, but over the years Microsoft has tamed it a little to the point where it only springs into action when it has to. Most of us don’t really pay too much attention when the prompts pop up now.

However, they can still be rather obtrusive at times. Try to launch regedit in Windows 10, for example, and you’ll be presented with a full screen UAC prompt that temporarily prevents you from doing anything else until you've clicked it away. This is the most annoying aspect of UAC, but the good news is you can stop the prompts from taking over your PC in this way.

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Fix Windows 10 audio problems with these new troubleshooting videos from Microsoft

sound audio windows 10

Windows 10 is, for the most part anyway, a decent operating system, but there are teething problems with it. We’ve explained how to fix many of the worst issues with the new OS, but for many people problems persist.

Audio woes are easily the most common complaint with the new operating system and so Microsoft has taken the unusual step of releasing a series of short troubleshooting videos that will help anyone experiencing sound problems to (hopefully) overcome them. And yes, it’s not just one video, it is a whole series -- with 7 videos posted so far.

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Remove the desktop watermark from Windows 10 Build 10525


Since the launch of Windows 10, you might have decided to rekindle your interest in the preview builds that are made available to Windows Insiders. Just a few days ago, Microsoft released Build 10525 and many people rushed to install it to see what was new.

But what’s that? An ugly watermark in the lower right of the desktop. If you're upset by the appearance of the "Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview. Evaluation Copy. Build 10525" text that appeared after the upgrade, here's what you need to do to get rid of it.

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How to force Cortana to use Google instead of Bing in Windows 10


Microsoft is pushing Bing heavily in Windows 10. Bing is the default search engine in Microsoft Edge, and while you can change this to Google (or any other choice), the process of doing so is far from intuitive -- you can’t simply pick "Google" from a list of options.

Cortana, Microsoft’s built-in personal assistant, is powered by Bing too, which means when you ask her a question she doesn’t immediately know the answer to, she’ll open up your default browser and display a list of results sourced from Microsoft’s search engine. There is a way to get her to use Google instead though, but you won’t find this in any Settings.

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How to fix Windows 10's worst problems

Win 10 laptop on fire

Microsoft is rolling out cumulative updates for Windows 10 on what appears to be a weekly basis at the moment. These updates fix some problems, but not all. In some cases, they even cause more trouble, and because updates are mandatory, they get installed whether you like it or not.

The sheer number of system configurations out there mean that there are a lot of potential problems for Microsoft to deal with, but the good news is there are plenty of workarounds available to try in the meantime. So if you’re having problems with the new OS, try these solutions.

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How to delay and/or block automatic software updates in Windows 10

Happy Man Excited Laptop

As you’ll know, Microsoft has made updates mandatory in Windows 10. When updates are pushed out, the new operating system installs them automatically. Whether you want it to or not. This should be a benefit, as it means no more unpatched PCs at risk from serious vulnerabilities, but if the software giant rolls out an update that causes problems for users -- as has already been the case in several instances -- there’s no easy way to avoid it.

Windows 10 Pro users can defer updates, but Home users don’t have that luxury. Thankfully if you need to delay or block software updates in Windows 10, there are several ways to do so, regardless of which version of the OS you're running.

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How to change Microsoft Edge's default download folder

downloads location

Windows 10's new modern browser certainly has potential, but Edge is far from a finished product. It lacks major features, including support for add-ons, and anyone using it is going to find it difficult to change certain browser settings. While you can change the default search engine, the process for doing so is far from intuitive. We explained the steps you need to take here.

But what if you want to change the default download location? Surely this is something that can be done easily in Settings, right? Nope. You can change the download folder, just not in Edge itself.

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How to remove the OneDrive entry from File Explorer in Windows 10


Microsoft's cloud storage service OneDrive is baked into Windows 10 and forms a key part of the new operating system. However, if you prefer to use a different service, like Google Drive, or Dropbox, you may not appreciate the OneDrive entry being forced on you in File Explorer.

The OneDrive icon sits just below Quick Access (we’ve already looked at how to remove Quick Access from File Explorer here) and removing it is easily done, you just need to make a quick registry tweak.

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Clean up after a Windows 10 upgrade and regain loads of disk space

Clean Win 10

Windows 10 itself has moderate hard drive requirements -- around 16 GB for the 32-bit OS, and 20 GB for 64-bit version -- but the upgrade process can leave behind loads of temporary files that can really impact on your free space.

Browse the root of your system drive, and you’ll probably find two sizable directories -- $Windows.~BT, and $Windows.~WS, as well as a Windows.old directory created during the upgrade. Wondering if you can, or should remove these? It’s a question of lot of people are currently wondering.

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How to activate Windows 10's secret God Modes

Hand of God

Windows 7 introduced a useful hidden God Mode that displays all of the admin tools and control options on a single screen. This feature was carried over to Windows 8.x, and the good news is, because Microsoft has yet to phase out Control Panel, it also works just fine in Windows 10.

It’s very easy to action God Mode -- you just need to create a folder and give it a special name -- and there’s actually quite a few alternative God Modes available. Here’s what you need to do.

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