Windows 10 Tips


Windows 10 builds on the Windows 8 major changes, a user interface and apps tailored for touch screen use (Metro apps). This is actually a cool feature, since the apps do not lose space to windows borders, effectively giving you more resolution. Many of these apps are quite nice, touch based.

Windows 10 has a lot of great features, and the troubleshooters and self-repairing abilities are much better. It also runs faster on the same hardware than 7 or 8.

Compactly put, Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been, just like Windows 7 is what Vista should have been, and XP is what Windows 2000 should have been. If you are still running 8 you are foolish not to upgrade. In fact, in light that you can upgrade for free from 7 or 8 to 10, you should upgrade that.

Yes, there will be those of you that have software that only works on XP, 7, etc. You should really fix that. Yeah yeah, you have an old version and cannot afford to buy new software. I've heard the argument, but in almost every case I have been exposed to, there has been an alternative software available. The only "hard cases" are things like old hardware that has unique drivers and was never updated, the ALPs printer driver is one common example.

All I can say I have been able to migrate all my old apps or find new ones, and I'll bet I have been using a PC longer than you (since the day the PC XT came out, 1981). It can be done if you want. You can tell I have little patience with people who say it's impossible. I get that you don't WANT to change software, or learn a new one. But that is your choice, not impossible.

On the down side, Internet Explorer has been supplanted  by a new browser, called Edge (original name is Spartan). It's crap. There are no plugins available, and it has TERRIBLE HTML 5 compatibility. Thankfully you can still get to IE 11, from the Edge menu, so pin IE to your start/task bar.

A big negative of Windows 10 is the huge amount of effort that Microsoft goes to track you and what you do. See Privacy below. Jeeze.

By the way, Windows "9" was short-lived, it appears that 10 sounded better, so like the 1983 Corvette, Windows 9 was never presented to the public.

Quick links:

Upgrading to Windows 10

Fixing windows update problems

Updating/upgrading to 10:

Should I upgrade from windows "X"?

In most cases, yes. If you have Windows 8/8.1 most definitely, you will get back more of the original start menu, and the windowing of Metro apps alone is worth it. Do it.

If you have windows 7, end of support was January 15 2020. Now any security bugs found will immediately have hackers searching for Windows 7 machines. Remember that your operating system version can be read by any web site you visit. Honestly, with all the viruses and attacks going on today, you are a fool to refuse to update. 

If you have Vista, well, there must be something wrong with you ha ha! That is the worst O/S version ever released by Microsoft.

If you have XP, you have to realize that clinging to it, is like trying to ride a 10 foot diameter iceberg to Hawaii, it won't be possible for very long. There's too many hacks to XP out there that put you in danger. If you have an XP machine because you have old software that only runs on XP, and you insist on not finding an alternative, then make sure you do an complete image backup of your hard drive so you can bring it back the way it was, and don't connect this computer to the Internet. Rebuilding an XP machine from scratch is very difficult.

If you have anything earlier, Fred Flintstone, then either you are using an old printer or CNC system, or you are a person that would not read my website anyway. God help you.

Remember also that you can revert back "out" of a windows 10 upgrade for about a month, the upgrade keeps all your old windows files and you can "go back" easily.

Before updating from older Windows:

Do ALL the Windows updates on your existing computer, optional or not. Get something like Driver Booster and get the drivers updated if you know what you are doing. Clean the computer registry (CCleaner).

I have a lot of "computer friends", those that heeded this advice had nary a problem, those who did not, had all kinds of issues.

Do a chkdsk c: /f .... if you don't know what that means, you need to read my first computer page.

Do a full backup, an "image" backup of the system. Don't rely Microsoft to be able to revert to your old O/S of something goes wrong. Trust no one!

First things to do after updating / installing windows 10:

  1. the first screen you get will ask you a bunch of privacy questions, answer no / turn off ALL of them.
  2. if upgrading, reboot the computer a few more times, at least 3. Some of the drivers depend on other drivers and things will settle down after the reboots.
  3. for all installations, go to the action menu (box in lower right corner) and settings... windows update, and check for updates, keep dong this until no updates, stay away from the optional updates.
  4. clean / configure the taskbar ( show all icons, turn off search, other taskbars, remove quick launch garbage)
  5. expand the action menu to show everything, remove icons that are useless or can cause issues to novices (focus assist, connect, etc)
  6. go into WINDOWS UPDATE .... ADVANCED OPTIONS ... turn on "receive updates for other Microsoft products", now select DELIVERY OPTIMIZATION and turn that off.
  7. Do a full image backup! (I use an image backup program, the free version of Macrium Reflect)
  8. Next I pull out the junk, notifications, etc. (see the section following)
  9. Then I do my clean up procedures (see my weekly maintenance page one level up)
  10. Next I do driver updates, I use Driver Booster, but you need to be careful, basically only update from/to drivers from the same manufacturer. If you are not comfortable, or a person that just clicks "NEXT" all the time, DON'T do this step. It is wise to do a restore point before this.
  11. Then I do any additional Windows updates. I use this order to make sure Windows does not substitute poor drivers because it has a newer one.

More on updating:

Windows will automatically update drivers, and this can be a problem since Microsoft does not always pick the best drivers. In addition, many older computers, especially laptops will have trouble with video drivers, and it's definitely no fun with a blank screen. I have an old Dell M6700 precision workstation, and the system was going blank screen after a while and it appears to be video drivers. Dell often does tweaks to the hardware implementation that makes moving to the latest video driver impossible.

So, you can tell windows not to download drivers, easiest way is gpedit:

  • Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update

  • On the right side, double-click the Do not include drivers with Windows Update policy.

  • enable this.

I also found something less clear, but several references indicate it will stop drivers from manufacturers via Windows update.

Get into the system properties, then advanced properties, then advanced system settings, and there is a hardware tab, here you find a box on "device installation settings", and the title says "Do you want to automatically download manufacturers' apps and custom icons available for your devices?", it does not specifically indicate drivers, but turn this off too.

"initial fine tuning"



There's a lot to turn off here, they are pretty self-explanatory.


Sigh: This is the worst thing about Windows 10, but I believe it was just a matter of time when Windows became invasive like Farcebook.

Go to SETTINGS...PRIVACY and turn most stuff off.... my opinion Note: there are TWENTY EIGHT categories!!!

Realize that Cortana wants to know your location, and a bunch of other stuff, so if you don't use it, uninstall it. Very lame excuse that Cortana MUST know your location to help you, I already know where I am! I'm sure over time this can be refined. When Cortana actually helps me do work, and is not just a verbal front end to Bing, I might use it. Still has not happened.

Turn off as many of the Microsoft ads you can, go here:

Turn off hybrid sleep and fast startup

These are a couple of nasty things that sometimes slip in. The "idea" is to have a faster or lower power sleep state, and a faster startup, sounds great, right? In reality, with modern machines, a full cold boot takes very little additional time. The big downside in this is that the fast startup does not do a full clean boot. I encountered a person who was having issues and from the problem description, it did not make sense, I know those issues were fixed, almost like he had not really updated his computer. He claimed he did the updates and rebooted. In reality, he was just putting his system into a deeper sleep state and never really rebooting. Turning off hybrid sleep and fast startup and rebooting applied all the updates. Funny, it took about 9 hours because he had a year's worth of updates pending!

You can turn fast startup off in the power options menu, under advanced options. Also enable hibernation if you have a laptop

Hybrid sleep is a bit tougher, will be in the advanced settings, and you may see "allow hybrid sleep"

Sometimes these settings cannot be found, use gpedit,

Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Power Management > Sleep settings

In newer systems, the hybrid sleep setting may not show through the control panel.

First check what is supported: from command prompt run powercfg -AvailableSleepStates

I had to disable hybrid sleep through gpedit  there...

Inactivity timer

There is an inactivity timer that if you don't touch the computer it will lock.

You can set this timeout via gpedit,  Local Computer Policy >> Computer Configuration >> Windows Settings >> Security Settings >> Local Policies >> Security Options

There will be a key Interactive login: Machine Inactivity limit... set it to the number of seconds you want.... I don't know the default setting, but it is too short!

Stop automatic updates from Microsoft store

Go into the store app, and settings and turn off the automatic updates for apps

Junk to remove

I use CCleaner to uninstall stuff, better than the windows app. Get it from filek see hints on setting it up


  • 3d viewer
  • alarms and clock
  • Bing anything
  • camera
  • Cortana
  • groove music
  • mail & calendar
  • maps
  • Microsoft edge  ** sometimes cannot uninstall
  • Microsoft onedrive
  • Microsoft pay
  • Microsoft solitaire
  • Microsoft sticky notes
  • mixed reality portal
  • movies & tv
  • News
  • Office (the "free" office 365 trial)
  • Onenote
  • People
  • Skype (unless you use it)
  • Sports
  • Spotify
  • Travel
  • Voice Recorder
  • Weather
  • Windows reading list
  • All Xbox junk
  • Your Phone

Disable or limit Windows search / indexing:

Sigh, another good idea that does not work. Not only does indexing you files eat up processor, but since Windows 7, many people have reported that searching for files with Windows Explorer does NOT always find files. So the search/indexing is even more worthless than it was in XP and Vista. Hint, use a better explorer like FreeCommander.

You can limit the folders it works on, like leaving it to your documents, that helps a lot. Otherwise it seems to be constantly grinding. Find "indexing options" in the (real) control panel or just run  "control.exe srchadmin.dll" and you get into it. You have to look carefully at the check boxes, and if there is a ">" next to an empty search box, you need to expand it, there is something checked down the tree. Once you have cleared this, do a re-index, it will go really fast and never bother you again.

Disable telemetry:

Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool is another helpful option for privacy-concerned users to disable the native tracking within Windows 10.

Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool uses the following methods:

Telemetry Set the "AllowTelemetry" string in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection" to 0


DiagTrack LogWindows 10 Tracking Disable Tool

Clears and disables writing to the log located in "C:ProgramDataMicrosoftDiagnosisETLLogsAutoLogger"


ServicesWindows 10 Tracking Disable Tool

Delete: Remove both services

Disable: Set the "Start" registry key for both services to 4 (Disabled) Located at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServices"



Append known tracking domains to the HOSTS file located in C:WindowsSystem32driversetc


IP Blocking

Blocks known tracking IPs with the Windows Firewall. The rules are named TrackingIPX, replacing X with the IP numbers.


Windows Defender

Disables the following:

-Automatic Sample Submission

-Delivery Optimization Download Mode



Disables the following:

-Credential Share




Runs C:WindowsSysWOW64OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall (64 bit) or C:WindowsSystem32OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall (32 bit)

Also disables registry entries that keep the OneDrive Icon pinned to your Windows Explorer list.



When using Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool you must be logged in as an administrator or none of the changes/tweaks made will be applied.


Read more at:

Microsoft Edge junk

I noticed that when running CCleaner, it would ask me if it could close Edge, even though I never opened it. Well, there is a default "prelaunch" that fires that piece of junk when your system boots. Kill it. There a way to do it with gpedit and with the registry.

gpedit is easier:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Edge

look for the line that says "allow microsoft edge to prelaunch..."

enable this setting, and then go to the options dropdown below and disable prelaunch (who thinks this stuff up???)

There's another one a bit further down about microsoft edge start and load tabs.... nuke that one in a similar manner.

Uninstall Cortana:

I think Cortana belongs on a phone or for disabled persons, it does not work well, and it's definitely biased towards searching the web or trying to manage your life. I can use Google very well by myself thank you, and I don't need a computer to tell me how to live my life.

Disable or Uninstall OneDrive:

Finally you should be able to uninstall OneDrive. If you have an older version (WHY??) in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can use Group Policy to make this change. Open Local Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc) and go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive. Double-click the policy Prevent The Usage Of OneDrive For File Storage and set it to Enabled.

On devices running Windows 10 Home, where Group Policy isn't available, you have to edit the registry manually. Using Registry Editor, navigate to HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\OneDrive. (If that key doesn't exist, you need to create it). Add a new DWORD value, DisableFileSyncNGSC, and set it to 1. Restart the PC to make the policy setting effective.


banners in the settings window


Use the vive tool for Windows 10 v20H2 and newer versions.

Unzip the file and place them in the Windows System32 folder

then open Windows Powershell (Admin) and enter commands.

vivetool (Lists existing command features).

vivetool queryconfig all (Lists existing feature).

vivetool addconfig 18299130 2 (Enable banner feature).

vivetool addconfig 18299130 1 (Disable banner feature).

vivetool addconfig 18299130 0 (Default banner feature).

vivetool delconfig 18299130 0 (Delete banner feature).

vivetool addconfig 19638787 2 (Enable rewards feature).

vivetool addconfig 19638787 1 (Disable rewards feature).

NOTE: For the features to work require you restart Windows.

Advanced items:

Fix right click send to mail:


Re-Register Windows Apps using PowerShell

You can use a PowerShell command to re-register all Windows apps. This may stop Windows app crashes and return the app icons to normal. command : Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”} I haven't had this happen for years now.

Controlling Windows automatic updates:


Windows update problems


Do you have enough space?

If you run low on space, windows may not update. In the larger system updates (like a feature update), you basically need enough room on the hard drive for TWO copies of the operating system, your current one, and the one to be installed.

To make it worse, after one of these updates, the old version of the operating system is still on your hard drive. This is a great idea, since if you have problems with the update, you can revert back to your previous operating system, usually up to about 30 days.

What really makes it a problem is that this old copy just sits there and eats GIGABYTES of your space. So after you are good with your last update, and you do a system backup (you DO DO backups right??), you need to free up this space. Go to your C: drive, and right click, and select PROPERTIES. You should wind up on the GENERAL tab for the "Local Dick (C:) Properties.

Now select "Disk Cleanup", and then "Cleanup System Files". WAIT!!! it takes a while, be patient!

Now check all the boxes, and you will see how much disk space will be returned.

taskkill /f /fi "SERVICES eq wuauserv"

net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver


  • If you're renaming catroot2 in order to fix a problem with Windows updates (the most common reason for doing this), you may need to delete certain temporary files to complete the repair. To do this, click the "Start" menu and select "(My) Computer", and then open the local disk folder (usually the C drive). Open the "Windows" folder and then open the "System32" folder. Open the "Catroot" folder and then open the "F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE" folder. Delete any files that begin with "tmp". Your computer may not recreate the catroot2 folder immediately; expect to see it replaced after either rebooting or attempting to install Windows updates. Keep the renamed "oldcatroot2" folder until the new one is created; afterwards you may delete it.
  • Do not rename, move, or delete the catroot folder; it contains files necessary to recreate the catroot2 folder and keep the computer operating properly.

Windows update does not update:

  1. Run command sfc /scannow on the affected server.
  2. Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
  3. Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
  4. Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /startComponentCleanup
  5. Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /restoreHealth
  6. Reboot the server to make the above steps taking effect.
  7. Use Fix it tool to reset the Windows Update Components.

Also refer to this post with similar issue:

another reset tool can be found at:

Problems installing Office when 365 already installed

error 0x80131049

I pulled my hair out for about 12 hours before I resorted to using procmon to see what the heck was causing the issue.  I tracked it down to a registry key:


Right before the install fails, it checks this key, which my other machine didn't have at all.  It seems to be something related to apps installed through the store (this had 365 which was uninstalled previously).  I simply renamed the key and the install worked fine.

Things that didn't work:

1. sfc /scannow

2. DISM repair

3. .net repair tool (didn't really do much and found no errors)

4. Office removal tool (said it wasn't installed)

5. Rebooting

6. cleaning temp folders

"some setting are managed by your organization"

First, sometimes this and other items cannot be changed, you see the message: "some setting are managed by your organization" and you are locked out.

There is a procedure that usually clears this obstruction, and lets you control things. Often this happens after an update, especially on the insider program.

Basically, you use gpedit, and navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Data Collection and Preview Builds > Allow Telemetry

You change it to "enabled" and then set the level to FULL, then save.... then you go back in and change to "not configured"

This often fixes the problem.

Login stuff

Enabling the administrator login

Often disabled, and always disabled on Windows 10 home.

from an elevated command prompt:

net user administrator /active:yes

now to set the password:

net user administrator *  (this will prompt for the password you want to set it to)

Enabling fingerprint reader / biometrics on a domain

Often this can be "fixed" by the procedure above.

You will find these options greyed out  in your domain attached computer.

The simple enabling does not work, you will see messages about this being controlled by your system administrator..

The solution is to NOT enable or disable the setting you would expect in gpedit, but leave them unconfigured and add a registry entry.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System] "AllowDomainPINLogon"=dword:00000001

What I did to get this to work is ensure that NONE of the following policies are enabled via local or domain GPO:

Computer>Administrative Templates>System>Logon>Turn on convenience PIN sign-in

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Biometrics

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Windows Hello for Business

(possibly the above one should have all things not configured)

THEN, add the reg key mentioned above manually:

This unlocked the option for me on my Surface Book. 

convenience pin sign on in local, nondomain account

Computer>Administrative Templates>System>Logon>Turn on convenience PIN sign-in

enabled in GPO (local or domain)

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Windows Hello for Business

Not defined in GPO (local and domain)

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System] "AllowDomainPINLogon"=dword:00000001

is the same as GPO in 1st point.

Clearing the fingerprint database

This is difficult for some reason, if there are fingerprints in a deleted account, I have not found the way to delete them, and of course Microsloth has produced no answer, just the following to delete the database files, so I am starting here.

  1. stop the biometric service: Windows Biometrics Service
  2. delete the *.dat files from C:\Windows\System32\WinBioDatabase

So far that seems to work for fingerprints in your account. The problem I had was I built a new domain, and so the old users are gone, but the fingerprint I want to register is already registered to another account when I want to register the fingerprint.

So next, I think I will check to see if fingerprints are stored in the bios...


Possible Solutions to Windows Hello “This option is currently unavailable”

Clear the NGC folder

Clearing all the contents of the NGC folder.

  1. Ensure you can see hidden files and operating system files.
  2. browse to: C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Local\Microsoft, and delete the contents of the NGC folder, you may have to change owner and permissions... or you can just rename the folder
  3. Once the system is rebooted, the sign-in options should now allow you create your facial profile and ‘Add’ a new PIN.

Reinstalling camera drivers 

Try reinstalling the drivers to your camera to attempt to resolve the issue.

  1. In Device manager, find the Microsoft IR Camera Front and uninstall by right clicking/pressing and holding (but don’t delete the driver when prompted). Then do the same for Surface Camera Windows Hello if you have a surface tablet
  2. Restart your computer twice. 

Reset WinBio Database

To reset, just the deletion of existing files and then re-register biometric (facial or fingerprint). Doing so will reset all the biometric entries like face scan, iris scan, and fingerprint. Just stop the Biometric service, delete all the existing files from the system drive, and the service followed by re-registering the entries. Follow the below instructions and deploy the workaround –

  1. from services.msc stop the Windows Biometric Service
  2. Next, create a backup of the biometric data files: navigate to C:\Windows\System32\WinBioDatabase
  3. Copy the items of WinBioDatabase and save them to a separate folder in a safe location. Name that new folder as WinBioBackup.
  4. After creating the backup, delete the files from the original folder.
  5. restart the Windows Biometric Service
  6. Once the above steps are done, fire up Settings => Accounts => Sign -in options => and go through the registration procedure again to re-register the biometric.
  7. If the device has multiple users, each of them has to re-register.

Verify Group policy settings

There is a possibility that the installation of Creators Update has altered certain Biometric settings in Group Policy. It is advised to check and edit the settings of Windows Hello and make sure everything is perfect.

Ensure the following GPO settings are deployed.

Computer>Administrative Templates>System>Logon>Turn on convenience PIN sign-in = Enabled

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Biometrics = Enabled

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Windows Hello for Business = Not configured

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Biometrics>Aloow the use of biometrics = Enabled

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Biometrics>Facial Features>Configure enhanced anti-spoofing option = Disabled

Turn Off Fast Startup

Fast Startup is one of the common reasons for various issues including the Windows Hello Fingerprint Option Currently Unavailable. The computer fails to perform a complete shutdown when this feature is turned on. You can turn this off through group policy –

Computer Configuration>Policies>Administrative Templates>System>Shutdown>Require use of fast startup = Disabled

Removing windows apps:

see this page:

Remote desktop problems

Having trouble with some workstations? The RDP program tries to use TCP and/or UDP, and in 2013, it has been reported problems with connections can be solved by disabling the UDP protocol just for the RDP. It fixed problems for me with one particular computer.


  • registry key:  Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services\Client
  • dword is "fClientDisableUDP"  and set to 1


Local Computer Policy --> Computer Configuration --> Administrative Templates --> Windows Components --> Remote Desktop Services--> Remote Desktop Connection Client -->
Turn Off UDP On Client --> set the value to Enabled


Fix dead metro apps

I was getting Remote Procedure Call fails on some metro apps, and no one could fix it.

 I could tell something was missing, and I found this:

This is the Media Feature Pack for the N and KN versions of Windows 10. These versions do not have Windows Media Player, but this MFP also has a bunch of the "glue" that many Metro apps need. I had the READER app fail, but many people reported other Metro apps failing, and all of them had the same error message about the RPC failure

Changing a network from public to private:

Often people select the wrong network type when first making a connection. This affects firewall settings, etc.



0 = Public

1 = Private

Strange upgrade issues:

I'm running the preview on a Dell 745 computer. I had it lying around and said what the heck, see if it installs.

Well, it installed very smoothly, and ran right from the start. Then I clicked on one of the desktop shortcuts, something about learning more about Windows 10, and I got an error message about needing 1 Gig of free ram to run the program.

Oh boy I say to myself, now the problems start... I checked the task manager and was dumbfounded, I thought the computer had 2 gigs of ram, but it only had 1 gig!

Now if you have ever installed Windows 7 or 8, they are PIGS at 1 gig ram, Windows 7 will use over 1 gig just idle.

Here is windows 10 running just fine and snappy in 1 gig ram. Wow. Very impressive. I took the machine to 4 gigs, but it's clear that Microsoft did some major work to allow it to run in less ram, and that clearly has translated to better performance. It runs faster in the same computer than 7 or 8.

I've had some problems with the windows preview updates, and I'm not alone. Sometimes you cannot do the update, but need a fresh install. Since this is a test machine it is fine. Recently I was getting an Error 0x80004005, and it is recommended to run the DISM tool. I don't know anything about it (will research). But try these 2 commands from a command prompt:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth 

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image

 Ahh, Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool, DISM ...

also try sfc / scannow  (System File Checker)

Converting from Windows 10 Home to Pro

One way is to buy an "upgrade key" for $100. You change the activation key and then it's done.

For those of you who have legitimate Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 or 10 "pro" keys, you can do this:

  1. enter the generic Windows 10 Pro key: VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T , this will change from Home to Pro, but it will not activate.
  2. Enter a legitimate Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 Pro key
  3. Now this normally looks OK, but so far every time I have done this there has been something "missing" in the upgrade, mostly issues with user snap-in in the console or joining domains.
  4. Next go to the microsoft update site and do an "update" to Windows 10. This will do an in-place upgrade, and since the computer believes it is Windows 10 Pro, it will do an upgrade, and basically re-install the operating system preserving your programs and files.

How the heck do I boot from a CD? F12 does not work anymore

Ahh, you must have an EFI bios, which has something called "secure boot", basically it disables you being able to access the CMOS setup screen, or boot from a different device (most times hitting F12)

You need to get where you would restart the computer, but hold down shift before you click on restart.

Then you need to click on advanced options. What a pain in the butt.

Windows search / Windows Explorer does not find files

Hoo boy, did this ever piss me off. I noticed that windows media player and the leftover cancer from having iTunes on my computer left a bunch of files I did not want... so I tried searching my directory by, *.jpg .... was deleting old album art.

Windows kept saying nothing there, but select a directory and there were the jpg files. WTF?

Went on Microsoft support site, yep, TONS of people with same problem, and typical Microsoft response, "you are an idiot", you don't know how to type, etc. Over and over the same responses. Rebuild your index, check the right folders are in your index path, go in and manually make sure the extension of the file is in the index list. etc. etc.

Now, as an aside: MICROSOFT INDEXING SUCKS... period, has been slow since Windows NT 3.51 ... and WHY DO I NEED INDEXING TO FIND A FILE IN A DIRECTORY.... Microsoft warns you that finding files will be slower if you don't use indexing.

Well, in this area, Microsoft, please go suck an egg! Your stupid, inefficient indexing runs all the time sapping the cpu cycles from my computer for what, a flawed system that works poorly?

Anyway, turn off the damn indexing, remove the folders it indexes, since it insists on existing and having an index.

In the control panel under folder options, you can sort of tell the system to not use the search, you cannot stop it any more like in windows 7 (I'm on 8.1 and 10).

But after all the machinations, I could still not fiind files. Then I found an post stating that all the folders needed to have access by SYSTEM... well they were ok, but going into advanced permissions, setting all folders AND FILES and subdirectories to access by SYSTEM (where you get the warning that individual file permissions will be replaced by inherited permissions), well, finally SUCCESS!.... It turns out one thing I was trying to do is find and get rid of the album art jpgs that that infernal Windows Media player downloads, and it looks to me that Windows sets permissions that screws up the search function... so my search finally works and I have castrated the indexing function. Whoopee!

Read on for the related item about WMP downloading album art files.

Can't switch to "Insider" updates

There's all kinds of threads on this, even on the Microsoft forums and most are closed with no real solution, as per usual Microsoft MO, they are more interested in closing trouble items than solving them.

Normally you go to settings >> update >> windows insider, and follow the prompts. If you can't there's a few things you can do.

In Diagnostics and feedback, the diagnostic data needs to be set to "full", if you cannot do it here, then use regedit:


AllowTelemetry DWORD

0 = Security (Enterprise and Education editions only)
1 = Basic
2 = Enhanced
3 = Full (Recommended)


Also a similar key:


AllowTelemetry DWORD

(delete) = Default. Allows you to use Option Two and Option Three above.
0 = Security (Enterprise and Education editions only)
1 = Basic
2 = Enhanced
3 = Full

If that does not work, use gpedit, and go to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Data Collection and Preview Builds


Windows Media Player eternally downloads album art files

I swear that Lucifer himself must have helped write WMP code! It's cute to show the album art on WMP while playing music, but I noticed I had a significant amount of storage devoted to album art files. Well, I deleted them to save space.

Hmm.. next time I was playing music, I noticed I had album art... WTF? The files were all back. OK, go to Microsoft support, and sure enough, like virtually every problem, you get the "you are an idiot" response.... After going through all the stupid Q&A and telling the moderator to re-read your original post where you already did everything he has told you to do during his "you are an idiot" responses... I did find the spot where you can tell WMP to not download album art... great!

Not so fast Sucker! It re-appeared... ok, there's another part in the WMP options that says "don't connect to the internet" and it specifically overrides everything else... HAH! Gotcha...

NOPE! Still gets downloaded... more theories about Windows sharing service.... delete the Media Library, etc. etc.

Finally, a registry hack, basically a couple of entries that look like they make the attempt to download the album art fail, by requiring a size that the system cannot achieve. This WORKS:


HAH! Up yours Microsoft! Fixed!

How do I defragment "C:\$Extend\$RmMetadata\$TxfLog\$Tops:$T:$DATA"?

This is a special NTFS system file used by the Windows Transactional Resource Manager. MyDefrag cannot move or defragment this file. It can be cleaned with the fsutil command, see below. Do not try to delete this file by hand.

  • Use the following commandline to see information about the TOPS files:
    fsutil resource info c:\
  • The following commandline will instruct Windows to clean (not delete) the TOPS file at the next reboot:
    fsutil resource setautoreset true c:\


Finding results in the windows logs

run event viewer:  eventvwr

Checkdsk results are in the application log, filter by ID 1001, Wininit


Adding the control panel back to right click on the start button


IF you

Problems after update, windows cannot log you in, temporary profile

you need to kill profiles, use: wmic useraccount get name,sid - that will give you the numbers to kill in regedit


hkey_local_machine\software\microsoft\windows nt\currentVersion\ProfileList

look for the profile, and then check the profileimagepath to make sure the value is correct for the c:\users\name

set the state key in the profile to 0


sfc /scannow sometimes works, may have to run several times... run until you get clean bill of health


dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth

dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

windows hello

sign in with pin instead of password

try safe mode

Can't Enable Sleep mode

new computer in 2018, no sleep mode... but it has hibernate, argh!

Ok, I've been trying to ask this question several times but no one seems to know or the ones that do, don't want to answer. Below worked for a lot of folks that were missing Hibernate. But there are thousands of us missing the sleep option that HAVE Hibernate. If this

worked below for the the opposite issue, can I substitute the word "SLEEP" in the command somehow to make the sleep option show up in the power settings menu like it did for Hibernate? Does anyone know? U don't think there is a REDUCED FULL sleep but the first two commands might help us out or not?  Here it is:

Try this on an elevated command prompt:

powercfg /HIBERNATE ON



Specifies the desired hiberfile type. A reduced hiberfile only supports hiberboot.

Can't re-enable windows defender

If malware might have disabled Windows Defender, then scan with several third-party malware-removal tools, starting with Malwarebytes Free:

Then type “cmd” in the search box; right-click on Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator; and then copy, paste, and enter this command:

REG DELETE "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender" /v DisableAntiSpyware

Cannot "see" all domain computers in explorer

There are 2 services that should be started in a domain computer, but for some reason, after certain updates, these 2 services are turned off some times, and both are need to have discovery work right.

Function Discovery Provider Host & Function Discovery Resource Publication, set both to Automatic-delayed start, works a charm.


Office 2003 or 2007 won't update


you may need the office file validation addin, in 2021 I first encountered the inability to do updates on fresh installs of our unlimited license for Office 2007

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