Pesky Windows Sound Problems

CreativeInspire T3300 SpeakerSystem

There could be a number of reasons for a lack of sound from your Windows PC.

First make sure you’ve plugged your speakers into your PC, have turned the speakers on and have turned up the volume. And make sure you actually have a soundcard installed – either a separate card in a PCI slot or an integrated feature of your PC’s motherboard.

If there is still no sound issuing from your computer try checking that the soundcard actually exists.

To find out a whole lot more about Windows Sound Problems and how to sort them out see the full article https://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/soundproblems.html

Should you clear caches and temp files from Windows 10?

Windows 10, stores large amounts of cache to make your system faster and more responsive compared to previous versions. This is very efficient if you have tons of free storage and free ram to work with, or a high performance CPU.

Unless you have a considerable amount of free memory, you will eventually run into problems that will slow down your PC, cause it to lag and maybe even hang if you load it with lot of tasks.

Its best to use Windows 10’s own tools to clear caches and temp files.

Type Cleanmgr into the Windows 10 search box and choose the Disk Clean-up App.

Manually Select the various hard drives you have installed e.g. C:, D: etc. one by one and click OK. Now click on Clean Up System Files at the bottom of the window.

Click on OK once Windows 10 has calculated the amount of storage to be cleaned up.

Delete files in the Temporary Folder

If you have recently done a lot of editing or something that generates large temporary files, here’s how to manually conduct a clean-up.

Click on the Start icon and type the following command  %temp%  in the Windows 10 search box, and then hit the Enter key.

This %temp% command will open the folder that Windows has set up as the Temporary folder. The files and folders in this Temporary folder were needed by Windows at some point but are no longer useful. So, everything in this Temporary folder is safe to delete.

However, if you try to delete all the folders and files at once (or even individually), you may receive a pop-up message saying that folder or file is in use. You can close the program mentioned in the pop-up and then delete it, or you can just cancel it and see how many you can delete.

So these simple steps can help you remove nearly all of the Temporary files from your computer. And this can help to keep your Windows PC running smoothly.

Problems with your PC’s DVD Drive not reading your disc

Problems with your PC's DVD Drive not reading your disc

If you insert a DVD disc into your computers DVD drive and the light showing the disc is being read stubbornly stays on, that is probably as far as you will get, and the disc itself will not be read or actioned.

The simplest explanation for a problem like this is that your DVD disc just needs cleaning. Also make sure that the disc is not scratched or damaged in any way.

If the problem continues try cleaning your DVD-ROM Drive. Its best to blow out any dust using a compressed air can. Alternatively, use a CD cleaning kit, which should work just as well.

If the problem still persists you may need to replace your DVD-ROM Drive.

Should you Defrag your PC’s Hard Drive?

As long as your running Windows 7 or later the built-in Disk Defragmenter utility runs automatically at scheduled times, usually once per week. This happens by default, so chances are pretty good your PC’s hard drive is already defragged. And by most accounts, the utility compares favourably with third-party alternatives, so don’t spend money on another defragmenter utility unless you have very specific reasons for doing so.

The automatic Disk Defragmenter utility runs whenever you PC is idle but you do not have to leave your computer on overnight. If it isn’t able to run at 1 a.m., it will try again later.

You should never defragment a solid-state drive (SSD). Doing so can shorten its potential lifespan.

By the way, if you have an external hard drive, one that’s not always connected to your PC, it may not get the chance to benefit from Windows’ scheduled defragging. Therefore, you should run Disk Defragmenter on it manually every month or so.

Should you update your Windows 10 PC Drivers?

A graphics card driver or sound card driver update might improve your PC’s overall performance, especially if there was some sort of problem with the driver you’re currently using.

You could of course go to the website for every component within your PC and download each driver manually. For example, to find the details for your graphics card, head to the manufacturer’s website and find the relevant download.

Keeping your drivers updated does have benefits. You might find your sound card can be updated to support the latest audio standards or the manufacturer has found a bug to improve performance.

You could easily buy or find a trial version of a driver updater, especially if you’ve recently bought your PC. For example, the AVG Driver Updater is a fairly decent product to use during its free trial. There is also a full review of updaters at the Techraider website – https://www.techradar.com/uk/best/best-driver-update-software

And also a full review of the 11 best and free Driver Updater tools from Lifewire – https://www.lifewire.com/free-driver-updater-tools-2619206

Five ways to make your Windows PC run faster

Windows 10 Lock Screen

1. Install a Solid State Drive (SSD)

The very best way to improve your computers performance is to upgrade your hard drives to SSD’s. And now that SSDs have fallen so much in price it’s definitely the best upgrade you can do to improve your PC’s responsiveness.

Even if you cannot afford to have all your storage upgraded to SSD, moving your Operating System and Applications to an SSD can result in huge performance boosts.

2. Fit more PC Memory (RAM)

RAM always used to be at the top of the list of PC add-ons, but now the cost of doing this has got too expensive. In any case most new Windows computers come with about 2GB or even 4GB of RAM, and upgrading from 4GB to 8GB or more is nowhere near as impressive as upgrading from 1GB to 2GB. In fact, the more RAM you have the less of a performance boost it generally gives.

However, for anything above 4GB of total system RAM, a 64-bit operating system is required.

If you’re thinking of upgrading beyond 4GB then bear in mind that what you get out of the upgrade will depend on the quality of the rest of the hardware on your PC. There’s no point maxing out the RAM on a cheap PC because you’ll just encounter a bottleneck somewhere else.

if you still want to add more memory and also check what memory upgrades you may be able to make, visit Crucial’s website and let Crucial scan your computer.

3. Reinstall Windows

This is a free way to boost performance by getting rid of all the junk that’s accumulated on a system. Just make sure that you have backups of your data and copies of all the applications you regularly use.

And there’s even better news for those of you running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 – Microsoft have made this easy for you by including settings that will refresh your system.

4. Remove Bloatware and Programs you do not need

It is surprising just how much bloatware and useless free trial programs can be on a new computer direct from a manufacturer. Rather than try to remove this manually try some of these removal tools.

PC Decrapifier is one of the best tools to remove unneeded programs from brand-new and used PCs – https://download.cnet.com/PC-Decrapifier/3000-2096_4-10636481.html

For systems that have adware on them these two tools are very useful.

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner – https://www.malwarebytes.com/adwcleaner/
Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool for PC – https://bitdefender-adware-removal-tool-for-pc.en.softonic.com/

5. Manage Power Settings

Have you ever noticed that your laptop is faster when it’s connected to a charger than it is when it’s running off the battery? That’s because Windows manages the performance to give you better battery life. However, if you would rather have the extra performance and are not worried about how long your battery will last, then you can tweak them.

You can manage your systems power plan settings by using Power Options in Control Panel. To find these settings in Windows 10 type Power Options in the search box which takes you to the Power & Sleep screen. Now click Additional Power Settings. There you will normally find three power options:

(a) Balanced (recommended)

(b) High performance

(c) Power saver

You can place your PC’s cursor over the different power settings to see a pop-up description of what the setting is for. Once you decide what power setting you need just select it.

So, that is just five ways you can make you Windows PC feel more responsive.

How to use System Restore in Safe Mode

Windows 10 RestoreAs explained in our last email System Restore can take Windows 10 back to a point before any problems start to cause your PC to misbehave and will still leave all your precious documents intact.

However, sometimes, things like a faulty driver or a buggy program can prevent System Restore from working properly. In cases like these, it’s best to try Windows Safe Mode, which runs just a barebones version of the Windows operating system to strip out anything that might cause a problem.

To enter Safe Mode Click Start, then type Change advanced startup options and click the top result. From the settings window that appears, click “Restart now” under the Advanced startup heading.

When your PC restarts, click Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, then System Restore. You should then be able to run System Restore as normal.

The Windows 10 Restore Point – Creation and Use

Windows 10 RestoreWhether it’s a failed Windows Update or a problem with the Windows Registry, or a bad software installation, System Restore can take Windows 10 back to a point before the problems started and will leave all your precious documents intact.

For many people, System Restore protection is already turned on by default, for just the main system drive (C:). For others, System Restore may not enabled by default for any of your drives.

If you want to be protected by System Restore, you should certainly turn it on for at least your system drive (C:). In most cases, that’s all you need, since all the things System Restore protects tend to be located on the system drive anyway. If you want to turn on System Restore protection for any other drives you can do that too.

To make sure System Restore is turned on and to enable it for specific drives hit Start, type ‘restore’, and then click ‘Create a restore point.’ This action doesn’t actually create a restore point; it just opens the dialog where you can get to all the System Restore options.

Click your system drive (usually C), then click Configure. In the window that appears, click “Turn on system protection.” Click Apply, then OK, then click OK on the System Properties window. This will enable System Restore and let it begin protecting your Windows PC.

Once System Restore is working you can create your own restore point at any time. A good idea is to create a restore point just before you install any new programs.

To create a restore point click Start then type ‘restore’ and click ‘Create a restore point’. Under the System Protection tab, click Create. You are then prompted to name the restore point. Make it something descriptive that will help you if you need to restore your PC back to this point in time. Once you’ve done that, click Create.

Restore your PC to an earlier point

There are a number of ways to use System Restore to get your PC back to an earlier state. The easiest is to open the System Properties window then click System Restore. Click Next, then choose a restore point from the on-screen list.

Before you click Next to move on, it’s a good idea to click ‘Scan for affected programs’ to see what (if any) programs will not be installed if you use this restore point. Once you have done that, click Close, then Next, then Finish to confirm you want to restore this particular point.

You can see how useful System Restore would be especially if something goes wrong with your Windows PC . You can now run System Restore and click on a recent restore point. This will reinstate system settings, files, and drivers, returning your underlying Windows system to that earlier point in time.

The Windows 10 Command Prompt

The Windws 10 Command Prompt

Command Prompt is one of the most basic of all the advanced features of Windows 10.

Hidden away due to the technical know-how needed to operate the program which intimidates a lot of users, the command prompt program allows users to perform some interesting actions on a PC, such as creating bespoke shortcuts that can be pinned to the taskbar. One such action could be shutting down the computer with just one click.

Windows 10 command prompt can even carry out more advanced actions that aren’t necessarily available using the graphical user interface (GUI) of Windows 10.

What is the Command Prompt?

The Command Prompt will never win any awards for its looks, the white text on a black background is not that enticing. But it will be instantly recognisable to many Windows users. The Command Prompt can be used to type out commands and execute them, which can be particularly useful for automating tasks via scripts and batch files, as well as carrying out advanced administrative functions and fixing many problems in Windows.

There are many different ways to open the program, the simplest of which involves simply typing ‘command prompt’ or ‘cmd’ into the Windows 10 search bar and it will be the top result. If you want to make serious changes to your system using command prompt, you will most likely have to ‘Run as administrator’. This can be done by right-clicking the command prompt icon in search.

The Command Prompt works at a more basic level than Windows, this is not to say it isn’t powerful, far from it. It means you gain more control over the PC and communicate with it in a more direct way. Aside from common commands (dir, cd, copy, del), it can be used to access parts of the operating system that are not available to the graphical user interface.

In addition to the commands mentioned above (which show file directory listings, changes file directories, copies files, and delete them.) There are a number of other useful commands such as ipconfig (which shows what IP address a computer has), Tracert (which shows information on each step between the computer and a target host elsewhere on the internet – such as a website), and the system file checker (sfc), which finds any corrupt or missing files, and automatically replaces them using cached copies kept by Windows.

To see even more commands check out https://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/dos_commands.html

How to create a list of all the programs that are currently installed on your Windows PC

create list of programsHave you ever taken a look at all the programs that are actually installed on your PC? If you have, you were probably a bit surprised that there are so many of them.

To generate a list of all the programs that are installed on your PC, and to print it out, follow these simple steps.

1. Press the Windows + R key combination to open a ‘Run’ box.

2. Type cmd into the Run box, then press the Enter key. If you end up in C:\Users, type cd\ to get to the C prompt.

3. Type wmic and press the Enter key.

4.  Now type product get name,version and press the Enter key. After a short while, Windows will generate a list of all the programs that are currently installed on your Windows PC.

You can now print your list of installed programs.

a. Use your mouse to select all the text in the black box.

b. Now press the Ctrl+C key combination to copy the contents of the window to the clipboard.

c. Next open Notepad and paste the data that you copied to the clipboard in the previous step into a new document (press the Ctrl+V key combination).

d. Click File>Print.

e. (Optional) Since you already have the list of programs loaded into Notepad you can also save a digital copy of it as well simply by simply clicking File>Save as.