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If Windows 10 Update stops Working

Windows Update ProblemsA lot of people have reported issues with Windows Update in Windows 10 Home and Widows 10 Professional. Check first that you have upgraded to the ‘Windows 10 Fall update’. If you are still getting problems, download and run the ‘Windows Update Trouble Shooter’, then reboot and try Windows Update again.

If the update problems still persist, first check that System Restore is configured and create and name a restore point. With this done, use the Windows Search box and type ‘command prompt’ (without the quotes)’. When it appears at the top of the list right click it and select ‘Run as Administrator’.

When the Administrators Command Prompt opens type cd/ and then type ‘net stop wuauserv’ (without the quotes) and hit Enter, followed by ‘net stop bits’ and Enter. You should see confirmations that each service was either stopped or wasn’t running.

Next, open Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution, and delete its contents including any sub-folders you find there.

Now reboot your PC, open Windows Update and click Check for updates. Hopefully, these steps should resolve any problems you have been experiencing with Windows Update.

If Windows 10 Lock Screen Gets in the Way

If you return to a locked Windows 10 device you will normally see a pretty picture. That’s all very nice, but it’s a needless obstacle in the way of logging into Windows 10.

If you want to disable this use the Start Menu to search for ‘regedit’ and run the Registry editor.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. If you don’t already see a key named ‘Personalization’, select the Windows key, right-click it, choose New>Key and rename this new key to Personalization. Right-click the Personalization key, choose New again then select DWORD (32-bit) Value. Select ‘New Value #1’ in the right-hand pane and right click it and select Rename. Now rename it as NoLockScreen. Now double-click NoLockScreen and change its Value data to 1 and click OK. After a reboot, the lock screen will be gone!

What Can You Disable in Windows 10’s Task Manager Startup List?

Task Manager Startup Tab and impactOne reason your Windows 10 PC may feel a bit sluggish is that you’ve got too many programs running in the background – programs that you may never use, or only rarely use. If you stop some of these programmes from running, your PC will run a bit more smoothly.

To start this process, right click your Taskbar and select Task Manager from the list of options. Now click on the Start-up tab. (If you don’t see any tabs, click the More details link at the bottom to expand Task Manager to show all the tabs)

Once you click the Start-up tab you will see a list of the programs and services that launch when you start up your Windows PC. Included in the list is each program’s name as well as its publisher and whether it’s enabled to run on start-up or not. It also shows the program’s “Start-up impact,” which is how much it slows down Windows 10 when your PC starts up.

To stop a program or service from launching at start-up, right-click it and select “Disable.” This doesn’t disable the program entirely; it only prevents it from launching at start-up – you can always run the application after launch if you need to use it. Also, if you later decide you want the program to launch at start-up, you can just return to this area of the Task Manager, right-click the application and select “Enable.”

If you want to completely remove a program because you no longer use it you will need to take advantage of the program’s uninstaller app, if this was provided by the program’s developer. If there is no uninstaller app try a utility like the excellent Autoruns, part of the Microsoft Sysinternals collection.

How to view the power usage for apps with Task Manager

Alongside the vast aray of improvements and new features, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) also ships with a much improved version of Task Manager, which adds two additional columns to the “Processes” tab that you can use to analyze the power usage for all the apps and services running on your PC.

The new feature uses the processor, graphics, and disk power information to calculate the energy impact, and it will help you to understand which apps and services use the most power versus those that use the least power. So, if you use a laptop or tablet on the go, you know which apps to avoid to optimize the battery life. Or if you’re noticing that your battery is draining faster than usual, this information can give you an idea of which app is causing the problem.

Even with a Desktop PC this new and improved Task Manager can quickly tell you which process are causing the biggest impact on the computers performance.

To open Task Manager right click the Taskbar and select the Task Manager option. When it opens click on the Processes Tab (this may already be open).

While in the Processes tab, you’ll notice two new columns, including “Power usage” and “Power usage trend.”

Using the “Power usage” column, you can see the power an app or service is drawing in real-time.

Then using the “Power usage trend” column, you can also see the power usage of apps and services, but as a trend over two minutes. (When you first start the app, it’ll take two minutes to populate the information.)

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.