Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Microsoft Windows and topics that are common to all versions of Windows
26 drives appears to be the limit within Windows, with drive letters assigned A: to Z:. There are alternatives to 26 drives that are, effectively, limitless.
With Window Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, the operating system is available in two different "flavors:" 32-bit and 64-bit. I'll look at why you'll want one over the other and how to tell which one you already have.
Limited User Accounts in Windows restrict the ability of malware to cause problems on your system. Unfortunately, it may also limit your ability as well.
There are several ways to auto start a program under Windows. Unfortunately, only one of the auto start methods is easy.
If your Windows XP machine is running without problems, you can probably keep it for some time - just beware of notifications telling you to upgrade.
Adding shortcuts to your desktop for programs, documents or even specific web pages is very easy.
While moving Windows from one hard drive to another is theoretically possible, it's likely to have issues and is not recommended.
Because of the files an installed application usually leaves behind, it's prohibitively difficult move it to another drive.
Keeping data on your computer secure is important. Being able to password protect a folder seems an obvious approach. Unfortunately it's not that simple.
Drive letters, like C:, D: and so on are assigned by Windows to reference your hard disks. They are not cast in stone: drive letters can be changed.
Reverting to Windows 98 from Windows XP and NTFS can be done, but it's a lot of work and not recommended.
You'll need some tools to get yourself started, but it is possible to use a webcam as a motion detector and security monitor.
Folders called $NtUninstall******$ can appear in your Windows directory. We'll look at what they are, and whether or not they can be safely deleted.
Installing programs through their native installation steps often makes changes to your PC that allow them to run. There is, however, one type of file that may work.
'Fix All Your Windows Problems' is a claim made by many products and utilities, and it's best viewed with skepticism. We'll look at how to evaluate some of those claims.
The rules for Daylight Savings Time in the United States change in 2007. Most people need do nothing, but it's important to know if you're most people.
URL Rewriting is a powerful way for webmasters to control what a URL really represents. IIS requires an extension in order to support url rewriting.
Renaming a file is easy, but is it the right thing to do? The answer is yes, but there are guidelines to keep the file easily usable.
It's not uncommon to see programs quickly come and go. There are a few ways to try and capture what they are; some technical, and some innovative.
The most effective way to speed up a system is to clean it up, have it run fewer programs, and give it more resources like RAM.
Not only is it possible to rejoin two files into one, you already have the tool on your machine to do so.
It's important to close a program before backing up so that its data files can be backed up. You can close a program automatically or on a schedule.
Changing the sounds that Windows plays on certain events is easy - once you know where to look.
Windows will prevent you from deleting a file that's in use by a running program. If you can't find or shut down the program a different approach is needed.
Windows Messenger service is almost never needed, and is exploited by spammers when it's running. Follow these steps to disable Windows Messenger service.
We'll look at where to find your Windows CD Key.
"COM surrogate stopped working" may mean that two pieces of Windows have stopped talking with each other. There are several repair options to try.
If you have the password for the administrator account, you can easily elevate any other login account to have administrator privileges.
File Save and File Open dialogs in many applications are similar to Windows Explorer. Changing the default look of File dialogs is more difficult.
There is no safe way to move program files to another drive without reinstalling; but it may be possible to free up some drive space in another way.
As support for Windows XP comes to an end, there are several alternatives, including: just keep using it!
There is an easy way to prevent the "Connection Status" window from popping up.
Automatic login most commonly happens when there's no password - but Remote Desktop requires that you have a password. TweakUI provides the solution.
Printing a portion of document can be tricky. For email and web pages, printing a portion boils down to one of two approaches, depending on how close to the original you want things to look.
Recovering lost photos from a hard disk error, or a user error, can be tricky. Immediately stop using the disk and we'll look at the next steps.
If you find what appears to be a bug in Windows, or any product for that matter, reporting it can be surprisingly difficult. I'll look at why.
Here's what to do when you see appcompat.txt.
Determining whether or not your process or operating system is 32 or 64 bit is very easy with the aid of a tiny tool, and knowing where to look.
Transferring data files is easy - just copy over the files that you know you need. But programs are an entirely different ball of wax.
If the Windows firewall is not enabled, Windows will warn you. You can tell Windows that you know what you're doing and don't need the Windows firewall.
Windows has what's called a 'lifecycle' - a series of stages beginning with release. I'll review what happens as a version of Windows nears end-of-life.
There are different ways to reinstall Windows. Which is appropriate depends on the problem you're attempting to solve.
It is sometimes possible to recover an file deleted by accident. Stop using the disk, check your recycle bin, and perhaps pull out an undelete utility.
If you have Windows 98 the benefits of Windows 98 Second Edition can be found by visiting Windows Update.
There are a variety of reasons why vwin32 errors might occur, but there are fixes to those said errors.
A Windows login password can be a minor inconvenience that can be disabled. Unfortunately, not having a Windows password does increase risk, even if you think there's nothing of importance on your machine.
Software often accumulates on your machine, and much of it remains unused. You can leave it alone, but there are things to check for.
There are several stickers containing important information on product boxes. Some are generic and safe to display. Others are most definitely not.
Some methods for rebooting a computer remotely will cause a message to be displayed on that machine's console. That message can sometimes be disabled.
If Macromedia Flash is crashing or faulting, the best and possibly the safest thing to do is to simply reinstall it.
There are a few things to take a look at with your system if your computer locks up and won't boot.
Registry scanners often report hundreds, if not thousands of issues. Should you fix them, and if so, which? I recommend fixing none of them. Or all.
The size of your drive may affect how long scandisk takes to run, but an unusual amount of time may signal an additional problem.
Windows File Compression automatically compresses files so that they take up less space. In the best circumstance Windows File Compression can free up a lot of space - but frequently it's not as much as you might expect, and there is cost.
Shovelware - lots of extra software you didn't ask for - appears on almost every new machine these days. I look at why shovelware exists, and what you might want to do about it.
This file does not have a program associated with it is a common error message when Windows doesn't know what program is used to open a file. I'll look at what that means, and step you can take.
LSASS is a Windows component shown in error messages, often due to a virus infection such as Sasser. Learn about LSASS, LSASS.EXE and how to stay safe.
MSConfig shows many of the items that are run automatically when you start your machine. What you need and what you don't depends on many factors.
File associations tell Windows what program should operate on what file based on it's filename extension. Sometimes these get lost or confused.
Many people prefer alternatives to Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. Others prefer it. Here's how to reset it to be the default image viewer.
Windows performs a series of checks when it runs a program to ensure that it is indeed a program. If the checks fail it's not a valid application.
As official support for Windows XP is phased out, what you can expect from Microsoft will change. Fortunately, it will phase out over a fairly long time.
DAT files are used by many different applications. To know what to do with a DAT file, you need to know what application created it.
There are a couple things to check when a 16 bit MS DOS Subsystem error pops up on your machine.
Batch files are often used to group commands, or make shortcuts to more complex commands. We'll touch on the basics of just what batch files are.
COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE are versions of the command interpreter for MS-DOS and Windows. They're both available, but you only really need one.
Windows XP is a complex and highly configurable operating system. The minimum set of processes it needs will vary depending on many things.
When given just a file name, it's often difficult to know exactly where it came from or what it does. I'll look at a few approaches to identifying .exe and .dll files.
Windows "Security Center" is an attempt to raise awareness about security issues while making it a bit easier to deal with.
Start-Run, or the Run item on Windows Start menu is a way to run any program on your machine. Some will work as expected, but Start-Run of others just produces a quick flash. We'll look at why, and what to do instead.
Unix and Linux include a number of very useful programs. Windows has some that are similar, but you can also find actual Unix tools for Windows.
If you have Windows XP Home, the Windows backup utility can be found in the install CD.
Error messages frequently include filenames of the form 'DOCUME~1' which seem nowhere to be found. They're actually there, just by another name.
Task Manager can be found or started in a couple different places in Windows.
Windows Explorer is everywhere - yet finding Windows Explorer on the Start Menu is actually fairly difficult. We look at where Windows Explorer is, and some of the many other ways you can get to it.
Svchost.exe is frequently spoofed by viruses attempting to hide. The official copy should be in your Windows\system32 folder, but there may be others.
There are lots of reasons you might not be able to open a file. In this article we look at programs that refuse to open files marked "read-only", and what to do.
Deleting a file doesn't necessarily remove the data from disk. It then becomes a race to recover it before it's overwritten by something else.
Not all bugs will be fixed - or fixed quickly. Not all bugs are even actually bugs. I'll look at why some bugs might never get fixed.
Windows doesn't fix all bugs on each release. We'll look at some of the reasons Windows might not fix something you consider to be an important bug.
The most common reason that some programs will work when you are logged in as one user, but not another is a choice made when the program was setup.
System and registry cleaners often report wildly differing results. The reason? Sales tactics and no clear consensus of what it means to be clean.
Windows Explorer can often take an unexpectedly long time to display its initial screen. There are several common causes of Windows Explorer's delay.
If you have speech recognition always enabled it can cause your computer to "go nuts" because of the different sounds it interprets as actual words.
If automatic time update is turned on, then it may simply be svchost periodically attempting to access the internet.
Because of an interaction with Quicken 2000, your machine may not be able to enter standby.
Windows 9x can be Low on Resources if programs use too much of a certain type of memory Windows allocates for its internal management.
When printing some programs will automatically scale what you see to fit your printer's width. If not, you might only get a portion of what you expect.
Transferring files from one PC to another is an important part of moving to a new PC. Unfortunately, it's not the only part.
When you defrag files the pieces of the file are physically arranged for quicker access. But you can't defrag some files. At least, not easily.
Windows XP will soon no longer be available for purchase. We look at what that implies for Windows XP Support and Activation.
Windows XP, at the time of this writing, has a large install base, but no one has stepped up to support this market as it is getting smaller. Should you keep using it?
Windows Installer can get into a state where it attempts to run on every reboot. There's a free tool that can help clean up Windows Installer.