Configuring and optimizing a PC takes some thought, a lot of experience and, usually, a great deal of time. So it’s all the more annoying if your carefully tuned settings are altered by something else, without your permission.
Sometimes you’ll have an idea when this happens. You might install something, carry out a particular action, and the setting changes. If you can’t see when or why a change happens, that could be even worse, especially if it’s something security-related -- perhaps malware was involved. Whatever your situation, you need to investigate further, and a good first step is to monitor the Registry, find out more about what’s being changed, and when. The best way of doing this depends on your precise needs, but here are five possible options.
Running commands and launching built-in Windows tools is very straightforward in Microsoft’s new operating system. Just click on the Start button and type whatever you’re looking for, then select the item to launch it.
There is another way to do this though, and that’s through File Explorer. This can actually prove really useful. If, as an example, you’re browsing your hard drive and suddenly decide to defragment it, you can take action without having to switch your focus.
Microsoft’s search engine Bing comes baked into Windows 10 in several ways. It’s the default search choice in Edge and Cortana, and you can even use its image of the day as the wallpaper for your lock screen via the Windows Spotlight feature.
As well as displaying a new image on a regular basis, Windows Spotlight lets you "like" photos which appeal to you. The more pictures you like, the better idea Windows will have of the sort of imagery you want to see, and it will customize the content accordingly.
Let’s be honest here, Windows 10 was released a little prematurely. There are inconsistencies throughout, Microsoft Edge is an unfinished mess, and then there are the bugs…
Microsoft has been issuing updates on a fairly regular basis to try and fix various problems with the operating system, but we know from the enduring popularity of troubleshooting articles we’ve published previously, that there are plenty of Windows 10 users who are still having problems with the new OS. With that in mind, here are some more solutions to common problems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.