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Windows 10 Mixed Reality Viewer

The Windows Fall Creators Update installed the Mixed Reality Viewer app on your Windows 10 machine, even if you didn’t know it was there.

Do a quick Cortana search and open the Mixed Reality Viewer app to play around with 3D models – either one you have created in Paint 3D or downloaded from Microsoft’s library of thousands of 3D models.

If you own one of Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality partner headsets or want to start playing around with 3D and mixed reality development, this app is your way to start a possible new career!

Of course, if your PC has not been updated with the Windows Fall Creators Update you can still ask Cortana to open Mixed Reality Viewer but she will offer you the 3D Viewer, which is an app from the Microsoft Store. This can still create great 3D models and there are plenty of templates you can base your models on.

Vista User Profile Service Fails to Logon

Recently we had a Dell Laptop in for repair, running Windows Vista, that had a damaged user account that could not be accessed. 

This is a typical ‘Vista User Profile Service’ problem and there are certainly still plenty of posts across the Internet about this difficulty. It seems to occur when there are two or more user Profiles set up. But there are a small number of single users who also report the same problem. It does not seem to matter whether the users are ‘administrators’ or ‘standard’ users.

It seems that the affected users Profile has somehow been damaged and is frozen. As a result, Vista has changed the Profile’s extension to .bak – a backup file. This makes the user Profile unavailable and so produces the message: ‘The User Profile Service failed the logon‘. 

This laptop exhibited the same User Profile Service problem. Thankfully it had two user accounts set up, one administrator and one standard user. It was the standard users account that had frozen.

Of course if you are the only user of your PC you’ve probably got only one user profile set up and you are no doubt the administrator. So if this account is frozen your only option is to try and repair Windows Vista.

Turn on your computer, and press and hold F8. You will see on the screen that appears the option to ” Repair Your Computer”. Select this and hit Enter. (use your own administrator user name and password).

On the next screen you will see the first Category “Startup Repair”and the second “System Restore”. Click on Startup Repair. When this finishes restart your computer.

If the Startup Repair doesn’t work try the second option – System Restore. Again when its done, restart your computer.

Hopefully, your user account is now working again.

A Suggested Fix For The Two Accounts Set Up

If you have two or more user accounts set up then the following solution works. We fixed the Dell Laptop by taking these steps.

First, you need to log on with an administrators account.

Now go to Start and in the Search Box type regedit. Get past the nagging security box and wait till regedit opens.

Now go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\

Go through the listed Profiles to find the damaged Profile. The key to the damaged profile should have a .bak appended to it.

There should also be another identical key except for the .bak extension. Rename this other key to something else (e.g. one number above the highest number).

Also rename your damaged Profile by removing the .bak extension. Now change the State property of this Profile (listed in the right hand window) from 1 to 0.

Restart your PC and try logging on with your Profile. It should now work.

How to take a screenshot in Windows 10

There are several good reasons why you might want to take a screenshot in Windows 10, but the built in screenshot controls aren’t exactly obvious unless you already know what keys to click.

Here are three built-in Windows screenshot keyboard shortcuts, most of which will also work in earlier versions of Windows.

1. Print Screen

The old screenshot standard still exists in Windows 10. Just press the PrtScn button on your keyboard and your entire screen is copied to the Windows clipboard. From there you can paste it into any program that allows you to paste in an image, such as Paint, GIMP and Photoshop.

2. PrtScn + Windows key

An upgraded version of PrtScn available since Windows 8 is Windows key + PrtScn. Tap those two keys simultaneously and your screen (or screens) will “blink” fora second, just like a camera shutter opening and closing. Open your Pictures folder and then open the new Screenshots folder that has appeared, and your screenshot will be sitting there waiting for you.

3. Print just the current window

If all you need is a screenshot of the current program you’re using – such as Chrome, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint just tap Alt + PrtScn. That will copy an image of the window currently in focus to the system clipboard. Just like using the PrtScn shortcut, you can then paste the image into a photo-editing app or some other image-friendly program.

How to enter your PC’s BIOS

On Windows 7 and previous builds you start your PC and pay really close attention to the first screen that appears. Look for a notification that tells you which key or combination of keys to press to enter the BIOS settings. If you miss this notification the first time, just simply restart your computer again.

Usually, the key to press is likely to be: Delete, F1, F2, F3 or Esc. If you are not sure, consult the manufacturer of your computer for the answer. When you are sure which key to press to enter your PC’s BIOS, restart your PC again. Press the key to enter the BIOS settings and you will see yourself in the BIOS within a few seconds.

Windows 10 and the Fast Start-up Problem

On Windows 10, the fast startup feature is adopted, so, you cannot press the function key to enter the BIOS configuration when booting your PC, as you get no chance to press the appropriate key.

Another problem with older PC’s is they may have both PS/2 and USB keyboard connections. And the USB connection is usually set as the default. So, if you are using a USB keyboard it will not even be recognised until after the PC passes its start up commands (Power On Self Test (POST)) so you will not be able to use it to enter the appropriate key to enter the BIOS (however you could get an old PS/2 keyboard and use this to enter the key commands).

Thankfully there are a couple of ways to enter the PC’s BIOS if you are using Windows 10.

Option One

This method worked well for me with my USB based Microsoft keyboard (see above).

1) Press and hold the Shift key, then turn off your PC.

2) Now press and hold the function key on your Windows PC that allows you to go into BIOS settings (usually Delete, F1, F2, F3 or Esc) then turn your PC on again.

DO NOT release the function key until you see the BIOS screen display.

Option Two

1. Go to Settings. You can get there by clicking the gear icon on the Windows Start menu.
2. Select Update & security.
3. Select Recovery from the left-hand menu.
4. Under Advanced Options click Restart Now. During rebooting it will bring you to an Advance Startup Screen, once there click the Troubleshoot option.
5. Now click Advanced options. The resulting screen shows six choices. Select UEFI Firmware Settings.
6. Now click Restart. Your PC will now restart and take you straight to the BIOS.

NOTE: The UEFI Firmware Settings interface which was present in earlier Windows 10 versions has been removed from the latest builds so you now get a Launch Recovery Environment instead. This makes this Option unworkable unless you have an older version of Windows 10.

By the way, DO NOT make changes to your BIOS settings unless you are well aware of the possible consequences.

Try The Windows 10’s Timeline

Windows 10 ProfessionalThe Windows 10’s Timeline feature is part of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. You probably know where this new feature resides as it sits next to the Cortana search box. It’s as small icon called Task View. A slightly different icon identifies Timeline if you already have the latest Fall Creators Update installed.

The Timeline feature can track what documents and Web pages you have been working on over the past weeks and months, organizing them into a collection of documents you can quickly open to pick up where you left off.

Part of the reason Timeline was added within the Task View was because few users were using the Task View option. But Task View has not disappeared. If you open Timeline, you will see the gigantic icons representing the windows that you currently have open on your screen. But beneath these, you’ll likely see a new subheading: Earlier Today, which marks the beginning of your Timeline.

How to enable and disable Timeline

The Timeline is automatically turned on. So if you wish to disable this option go to the Settings menu at Settings > Privacy > Activity History. There, you will see two options to check or uncheck: Let Windows collect my activities from this PC, and Let Windows sync my activities from this PC to the cloud.

If the first checkbox isn’t checked, Windows will essentially disable Timeline. Checking the first check-box lets Timeline collect your activities from only the current PC you are using. If you check both the first and the second check-boxes Timeline will sync across multiple devices. Therefore if you use another PC and sign in with the same user account you will be able to pick up exactly where you left off.

How to use Timeline

If you have ever checked your browser history, you willl have a good idea of how Timeline works. But instead of just tracking which websites you visit, Timeline tracks most of the applications you use, and the documents that you opened and edited. Timeline will also collect those documents you used at a given time into what Microsoft calls Activities. The assumption is that an Activity represents all of the documents you were working on at any one time, such as: a report authored in Word, a cash flow spreadsheet and perhaps a few supplementary web pages.

The problem with Timeline is that Activities cover the standard Office apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, SharePoint and more) as well as the Edge browser. So if you open a PDF and hope to see it as part of your Activities you will see nothing, unless you first open it and display it using the Edge browser.

If you work on multiple projects at once, Timeline could be a valuable tool, allowing you to go back and forth between them. Microsoft sees Timeline as a fundamental way to boost your productivity, as well as keep you within its app ecosystem. It’s the best new feature of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update and it’s worth a tryout to discover whether it works well for you.

How to Use the Free Version of Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is a first-rate anti malware tool that finds most of the nasty malware infections that may be lurking inside your Windows PC.

This programme is well worth downloading so you can use it daily or weekly to check for any Malware intrusions.

Downloading Malwarebytes

Visit the Malwarebytes download page and select the Free Version. Now run the setup file and follow the wizard to install the program onto your Windows PC. This gives you a free trial of Malwarebytes Premium which includes real-time scanning and costs £29.99 per year. You will not get charged after the free trial ends, as the program automatically reverts to the standard free version in just 14 days.

Run a Malware Scan

To run a scan, switch from the Dashboard tab to the Scan Tab. Keep the default scan option (“Threat Scan”) selected and click the Start Scan button. It should check for updates before it runs the scan, but make sure that happens before you proceed.

Though it offers a custom-scan option, Malwarebytes recommends that you perform the Threat Scan first, as that scan usually finds all of the infections anyway. Depending on your computer, the threat scan can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, whereas a custom scan might take 30 to 60 minutes or more.

While Malwarebytes is scanning, you can see how many files or objects the software has already scanned, and how many of those files it has identified either as being Malware or as being infected by Malware.

Malwarebytes will now show you the results of the scan

If the software gives your system a clean bill of health but you still think that your system has acquired some Malware, consider running a Custom Scan. If Malwarebytes does find infections, it will show you what they are when the scan is complete. Click the Remove Selected button in the lower left to get rid of the specified infections. Malwarebytes may also prompt you to restart your PC in order to complete the removal process, which you should do.

If your problems persist after you have run the threat scan and it has found and removed unwanted files, consider running a full scan with Malwarebytes. If the Malware appears to be gone, run a full scan with your real-time antivirus program to confirm that result.

Set your power button to turn off your PC’s displays

Have you ever wanted the power button on your PC to do more than just turn off your computer? Fortunately, the Control Panel’s Power Options lets you change what the power button does, and there’s one power-button option which lets you shut off all the displays in a multi-monitor setup without your PC going to sleep or logging out.

This process should work on all machines running the Windows 10 Creators Update.

First you need to open the Control Panel and select System and then Power & Sleep. Now select Additional power settings.

In the Control Panel, click Change plan settings next to whichever radio button you use for your usual power plan.

On the next screen, click Change advanced power settings and a small pop-up window appears. Click the plus icon to the left of Power buttons and lid. This displays three more options. Select the plus icon next to Power button action.

In the pop up widow, each Setting is shown in blue and may already be set to Shut down.
Now click the Setting you want to change and the blue text changes to a drop-down menu. You can choose Do nothing to deactivate it, choose Sleep, or Shut down, or Turn off the display.
For our Option to work you should Select Turn off the display, click Apply, and then OK.

Now test it out by pressing your power button and your monitor(s) should just turn off. Hit your space bar or shake the mouse and your monitors come right back with no account login necessary.

Windows 10 Shutdown Problems

If you are having issues with your computer and it is not shutting down properly, there are a number of different reasons why this situation could have occured.

Here are some of the things that could be causing this, such as a program constantly running in the background that hangs (a typical resource hog), insufficient RAM that takes a long time to dump, 3rd party anti-virus program (this can be a big problem if you have two Antivirus programs installed), scheduled maintenance programs that run at shut down (i.e. back-up) and of course system problems in general, often caused by adware, spyware and viruses.

Here Are a Few Things You Can Try

Run Windows Update. To do this just click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar screen and select the settings cog. Select Update & Security and run Windows Update, which may fix the problem.

If the slow-shut down issue is not resolved, try the following steps

Right Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar. Select Settings and then Troubleshoot. Under ‘Get up and running‘ select ‘Windows Update‘ and then Run the Troubleshooter. If there were any shutdown issues they should now be fixed. Close the window, restart your PC and check if the shutdown problem is gone.

If the issue is still not resolved, try resetting your PC.

Caution: Read what will happen during reset very carefully. In fact, you may want to have pen and paper handy to write down those Applications and/or Programs that may not be retained after a Reset. These will either have to be downloaded or re-installed from a DVD.

To carry on with the resetting of your PC just click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar screen and select the settings cog. Select Update & Security and click on Recovery and under Reset this PC click the Get started button.

If the slow-shut down issue is still not resolved, try the following steps.

Try Running MSCONFIG.

If you do not feel confident that you can perform the tasks shown below then I suggest you seek some professional assistance. However, if you do go ahead, this step may take quite some time so try to be patient.

The good thing about using MSCONFIG to sort out your shutdown problems is that no Apps or Programs will be removed during the process.

Right Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar and select Run. In the resulting box type msconfig and then OK. When you see the System Configuration panel click on the Services tab.

Click on the box Hide all Microsoft services. Now uncheck all the 3rd party programs that you personally installed such as an AV program. Do not uncheck Intel, NVIDIA or AMD services. Now click OK and finally Restart.

Now shut down your PC to see how long it takes.

If your PC now shuts down faster, then you must follow the same procedure as above and turn all the services that were turned off back on. With Hide all Microsoft services checked continue to repeat the process of “on/off” for each 3rd party service (one by one) until you duplicate the slow shut down problem thereby identifying the offending program, which can then be deleted and perhaps reinstalled .

The slow-shut down issue should now finally be resolved.

How to Delete and Disable Location History in Windows 10

Your devices collect all kinds of information about you to provide helpful services and deliver so called targeted advertising. To help reduce the impact of these less than helpful services you may want to restrict your personal location information that’s stored in Windows 10.

So, here’s how to turn off location services in the Windows 10 Creators Update and delete your personal location history.

Disable Location Services

Some Windows Store apps in Windows 10 require your current location to work correctly, while others would like it in order to tailor your experience. Before you turn off location services keep in mind that any location-specific services or apps will no longer be available to you.

If that’s okay with you, open the Settings app by clicking the Windows Start button and then selecting the cog icon in the lower left-hand corner. In the Settings app go to Privacy > Location and turn off the slider labelled Location service.

Disable per-app Instead

If restricting your location data systemwide is too extreme, Windows 10 lets you do it on a per-app basis. However, this feature will only work for apps built with the Windows Store platform.

In the Settings app go to Privacy > Location, and toward the bottom of the screen is the heading Choose apps that can use your precise location. This is followed by a list of apps that want to use your location, each with a corresponding on/off slider. The only one you can’t change is Cortana, because the personal digital assistant requires your location to work. Other than that, you can restrict access to your location on a per-app basis.

Next, it’s time to delete location history. You can do this regardless of whether you’ve turned off location services for your device.

In Settings > Privacy > Location, scroll down to the sub-heading Location history. Click the Clear button in that section to erase your location history on your PC or tablet. Once the history has been cleared, a checkmark appears next to the Clear button.

That was easy enough, but we’re not finished yet. Your location history is also stored on Microsoft’s servers. Below the Clear button, click the link labelled Manage my location info that’s stored in the cloud.

That will take you to the location section of your Microsoft Account’s privacy settings. On the right-hand side of this page look for the section called Clear location activity.

Under that heading is a button with the same title. Click Clear location activity and a pop-up appears asking you to confirm your choice, because you cannot undo this action. Click Clear and you’re done. If you want to be extra-sure, refresh the web page and you’ll see that the map it displays no longer shows any location data.

That’s all there is to clearing your location activity in the Windows 10 Creators Update. If you don’t want your location used at all, you should restrict your browser from asking for your location as well.

Use the Windows 10 Calendar App to Look up Days and Dates

In the Creators Update of Windows 10, Microsoft has finally included a fully featured Calendar App. They have also redesigned the taskbar so that clicking the clock at the right side (which shows the date and time) pops up a usable calendar.

By default, this pop-up calendar shows the current month, with today’s date highlighted. You can use the up and down arrows just above the calendar headings to scroll back and forward one month at a time to find a specific date, but there’s a much faster way to navigate around this app.

Click the date heading, which shows the current month and year, to replace the current month’s calendar with a list of months in the current year, with the current month clearly highlighted. You can then use the up and down arrows to move through the calendar one year at a time, or click the Year heading to switch to a display of decades where you can choose the exact year you want.

See all your Calendars at a glance in Agenda view

If you decide to connect your personal or work email account to the Windows 10 Calendar app, you can see appointments, meetings, and events for the selected day in an agenda view just below the pop-up calendar.

The only setup you need to do to make this view possible is to open the built-in Calendar app and add each of your online calendars to it. Click the Settings icon, then click Manage Accounts. Any accounts you’ve added from the built-in Mail app will appear here. If you want an account to show only mail and not calendar appointments, open the account settings, scroll down to the Sync Options section, and slide the Calendar switch to the Off position.

After you set this up, you can ignore the Calendar app completely. If you use Google Calendar on the web, for example, you can continue to manage appointments and events in your browser, and they’ll show up automatically in the Windows 10 agenda view. The same is true if you use Office 365 or Outlook.com with Microsoft Outlook.

Each calendar you attach gets its own colour coding. Appointments in the agenda have a matching stripe at the left so you can tell at a glance whether an upcoming appointment is from your personal or work calendar.