You probably use Windows 10’s File Explorer a hundred times a day. You already know how to use it to move around your hard drive. Why bother to learn it better? Because you’ll work more efficiently. This truly excellent file manager has little-known tricks that makes it even more powerful and convenient. You can control what folder the program opens to. You can hide and unhide the ribbon. You can make your favorite File Explorer tools more readily available. And you can use keyboard shortcuts to make everything easier. I’m not going to tell you how to use File Explorer. I assume you already know the basics. But I’ll take you to the next level, and make File Explorer easier and faster for you. The Many Ways to Open File Explorer Of course you know how to open File Explorer. But do you know the fastest and simplest way to do it? Or how to control what folder it opens to? The fastest and easiest way to open File Explorer doesn’t involve your mouse or touchscreen. Simply press Win-E and up comes a File Explorer window. If you’re already running the program, it opens another File Explorer window. This article … Read More
There’s no shortage of technology bloggers who are quick with “best” product badges. I make the distinction myself, calling out certain laptops, routers and other computer hardware. But it’s important to know what’s behind the “best” label. Here’s how I make the determination, based on decades of journalistic and user experience, as well as deep exploration of digital devices. I’m outlining how I devise my criteria and why, so that you can apply this sort of assessment to your own technology options. Step 1: Find Possible Review Candidates Each day, I swim through a sea of public relations pitches and new-product news releases. I go to trade shows and sit through vendor demos. And then there is my daily monitoring of the Web for new products, and my incessant visits to product retailers such as Best Buy and Costco. From all these sources, I compile and evaluate the items I think are worth checking out, and then request review samples. Most are sent as loaners, with the expectation that I will conduct hands-on testing within a certain period of time. Some products are sent to me with no expectation that they be returned. At this stage, I eliminate many products. … Read More
It can happen in any Windows version: Instead of shutting down promptly, your PC stays on and unresponsive for several long minutes. Here are some easy fixes for shutdown delays. Plus: Information about HerdProtect, an anti-malware meta-scanner that employs 68 different anti-malware engines. Win10 shutdowns taking far too long Under ideal conditions, a clean Windows setup can shut down in seconds. But out here in the real world, shutdowns can take longer — sometimes, far, far longer! Some shutdown delays creep in bit by bit, accumulating over time. You can prevent this type of slowdown with good routine maintenance. (See the January 10, 2017, Best Practices, Top Story, “Start 2017 right with a clean Windows PC.”) This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
As Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 beta, we get a patching break. Windows 8.1 in fact only has a Flash update to install. Meanwhile, Redmond has been busy with changes to the upcoming Creator’s release. Upcoming Windows 10 changes Dona Sarkar announced a beta release that makes quite a few changes to Windows update. As she noted on the blog site, the following changes are expected in the next large feature release expected around April of 2017: A feature in the GUI to pause updates for 35 days. We’ve added an option that will enable you to pause updates on your computer for up to 35 days. While this feature already exists for Windows pro and above now, it’s only available via group policy or the registry. This capability will unfortunately only be available on Professional, Education, and Enterprise editions of Windows. A feature to allow you to decide whether or not to include driver updates when you update Windows. Once again, this capability will be available on Professional, Education, and Enterprise editions of Windows. A new icon to the Windows Update Settings page to make easier to see your update status at a glance. Improvements to the logic … Read More
Optimizing your Windows set-up is one of the most useful and productive things you can do. These quick how-tos can help you tweak your daily computing experience so it’s more convenient. Tip #1: Push your Android phone notifications to Windows 10 with Cortana An update to the Cortana app on Android now allows you to only push those notifications to your Windows 10 desktop and tablet based devices, and fully customize them just like Windows 10 Mobile users can. To get started just install the Cortana app for Android on your device from the Google Play store. Once it is installed, you can open the app and it will ask you to sign in with your Microsoft Account. Make sure you use the same one as your other Windows 10 devices if you want to sync notifications from one system to the others. Once you are logged into Cortana she will of course have access to your Notebook on your Android device and be able to set reminders, provide tips and look up other information for you. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
A little time spent now on preventive maintenance can save hours of system troubleshooting later. It’ll also provide better computing all year long. This article is something of a Windows Secrets tradition: We update, refresh, and then publish a new version of this story in the first issue of each new year. In this iteration, you’ll find more references to top-notch, detailed PC-maintenance how-tos and related information than ever before! Undo a year’s worth of wear and tear This past year was tumultuous for Windows — and most likely for your PCs, too. To start, Windows Update released hundreds of new patches (see list), some in a new cumulative/ roll-up format. And along the way, you’ve probably installed some new third-party software, uninstalled other programs, and upgraded or patched apps and utilities. You may have also altered, tuned, and tweaked various aspects of your system’s user interface, and software and hardware settings. And you’ve undoubtedly created and deleted myriad emails, documents, photos, MP3s, videos, spreadsheets, and so forth. You might even have upgraded your Windows 8, 7, or Vista system to Windows 10. And if you were already using Win10 at the start of last year, you hopefully survived … Read More
By any measure, 2016 was strange and jarring — and that includes Windows patching, which was problematic for both Windows 7 and Windows 10. But a new year brings renewed hope. Among my new-year wishes is one that 2017 is much better for Win10.
For years, a basic tenet of computing security has been to set up two accounts on all Windows systems; one an administrator-level account that provides full rights to a system and system management, and the other a standard user account that has fewer privileges. In Windows 10, you can still set up a second “standard” account for better security (limiting what malware might do on your system), but the operating system’s use of MS and local accounts makes the process more complicated. Here’s how it works.
As one would expect with an evolving operating system, Windows 10 includes tools that we once relied on third-party publishers to provide. But there are still many add-on apps that make Win10 work even better — though we now have some reservations about two of our favorites.
Although Win10 is capable of excellent performance, it can run slowly on some systems — even on new “Made for Windows 10” PCs! If you want more speed from your current Win10 setup, or you’re thinking of getting a new Win10 PC this holiday season, here are the major performance-sapping pitfalls you can avoid.