The DirectX Diagnostic Tool

This Diagnostic Tool helps you troubleshoot DirectX related issues. Use the tool to generate a dxdiag text report file, which has detailed information about your computer’s graphics, sound, and other devices.

So how do you access this useful tool?

In Windows 10 or 11, select Start and enter dxdiag into the search box on the taskbar. Select dxdiag from the results. If prompted to check if your drivers are digitally signed, click Yes.

To save the DirectX report, choose Save All Information, at the bottom of the reports page. In the resulting Save As window, the DirectX information is saved as a text file. Choose the Desktop or another easily accessible location to save your file, and then click Save.

A support person might ask for this DirectX info, or you might post it in a forum when if you ask for help with perhaps a graphics problem.

Turn off Windows 10’s search indexing

Windows 10 indexes your hard disk in the background so it can search your PC more quickly. But slower PC’s that use indexing will often see a slow down in their performance and by turning indexing off can give a useful speed boost. Even if you have a fast SSD drive turning off indexing can improve your PC’s overall speed.

So, to get the maximum benefit of using Windows 10 you should consider turning off indexing completely.

To do this type services into the search box and press enter and select the Services app. Scroll down the list of services and select either Indexing Service or Windows Search. Double click the appropriate service and from the resulting screen click Stop. Now restart your computer to apply this new setting. As a result of stopping indexing your searches may be slightly slower, or though its unlikely you will notice any difference. But you should get an overall performance boost.

If you are slightly worried about this change you can turn of indexing for specific files. To do this type index in the search box and click on the indexing options that appears at the top of the list. The Indexing Options page of Control Panel appears. Click the modify button and you will see a list of the locations that are currently being indexed. In the locations list you will probably see Microsoft Outlook and your personal files. Uncheck the box next to any location and it will no longer be indexed.

Center the Windows 10 Taskbar

Windows 11

There is no doubt that Windows 11 is a feature-packed operating system but many PC users will not be able to upgrade to this super new operating system because their PC’s do not meet the minimum upgrade requirements.

The main stumbling blocks are the need for a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0 and UEFI firmware, and both of these will be on your PC’s motherboard.

If you cannot upgrade to Windows 11 you might still like some of its features such as its centered taskbar icons.

To achieve this for free just follow these instructions carefully.

First you need to create a dummy folder somewhere in your hard drive such as C:\taskbar. The name and the location of the folder is not important.

Next right-click the Taskbar and select Toolbars and then click on New Toolbar. Select the new folder that you have just created and you will see a new shortcut to the folder in the taskbar.

Now repeat the last step and you will end up with two shortcuts to your new folder in the taskbar. Now right-click on the taskbar, and it will show you the option to Lock the taskbar. Uncheck the option to unlock the taskbar.

Next, drag one of the folder shortcuts which you created in the last step to the extreme left, right next or very close to the start button. Now select the other folder and drag it to center to align the icons.

Now right-click on the folder shortcuts one at a time and uncheck the Show Title and Show Text option. Finally, right-click on the taskbar and choose Lock Taskbar to lock it.

Just in case you wish to go back to the default taskbar settings in Windows 10, all you have to do is right-click on the taskbar, choose Toolbars and then uncheck the shortcut folders in the taskbar.

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Shut Off Windows Tips and Tricks

When you start up your brand new Windows PC you will notice that Windows keeps an eye on what you are doing and offers suitable tips and tricks depending on what task you are doing. These tips can be an annoyance and may even affect the performance of your PC.

To turn these off type Notifications into the search box. Now select Notifications and Settings at the top of the resulting list. Once there un-tick the box ‘Get Tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows’. Turning off Windows Tips may give you a slight performance boost and let you gain back a bit of privacy.

Can you switch off Windows 10 Update?

Can Windows Update be completely turned off. Unfortunately the answer is no. Microsoft now has already changed the way updates are delivered in Windows 10 and the result is that they are now downloaded automatically, whether you want them or not. You can, at least, delay the Windows restart that might be needed to a time that suits you. Type Windows Update in the search box and select the first result Check for updates. Now you can choose whitch option to use:

1. Pause updates for 7 days
2. Change active hours (at what time an update can be done)

If you click on Advanced options you can actually pause updates for up to 35 days.

Unfortunately, this will not solve the problem of buggy Windows Updates (and there have been a few), but there is a way around this. Type System Protection in the search box and choose the first result Create a restore point. Just make sure that your C Drive is selected. Now Windows 10 will create a Restore Point before each update. That means you can undo any problematic ones, which might be the difference between a usable and unusable Windows PC.

Clean your PC with Windows own tools

Windows 10 Crowd

If you disk is bloated with files you don’t need you may find your PC is gradually slowing down. So cleaning out all this junk could give you a performance boost. Windows 10 has a built in tool called Storage Sense which can help your PC stay in good shape performance wise. To use this type Storage into the search box and choose Storage settings.

Now move the toggle button from Off to On. When you turn on Storage Sense Winows constantly monitors your PC and deletes old junk files you no longer need, tempory files, files in the Downloads folder that have not been changed in a month and old recyle bin files.

You can cutomise how Storage Sense works and also use it to free up additional space. Under the Storage heading click on Configure Storage Space or run it now. From the resulting screen you can change how often it deletes files. You can also tell Storage Sense to delete files in your Download folder depending on how long they have been there and set how long to wait before deleting files in the Recycle Bin.

You can even get Storage Sense to move files from your PC to to the cloud (the one drive storage cloud) if they are not opened for a certain amount of time (every day, every 14 days, 30 days or 60 days).

Secure data deletion and erasure

Today, organisations need to manage many different types of devices, including hard drives, SSDs, servers, tape backups, mobile devices, memory cards, and virtual environments. It’s now more important than ever to manage every bit of data securely and comply with regulations, especially at the end of the data life cycle.

When data erasure operations are not completed or properly carried out, sensitive and confidential files may be left behind on devices. Your business could be put at risk of a data breach or theft when intellectual property, private documents, emails, financial information, employee records and other critical information are not securely wiped from storage media.

Having the correct processes in place will not only protect your business from potential data breaches, but will also ensure compliance with international and local standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We can help you securely erase data from any media type and ensure your business processes are compliant. Contact us today for a free quotation

The Windows 10 Hidden Game Bar

Using the Windows key-G command, you can pull up the new and improved Game Bar. This lets you switch your Windows PC into gaming mode which pools system resources to the game and turns off notifications and lets you record and broadcast your gaming. It also has added panels for controlling your audio.

You can also search for the Game Bar in the Windows 10 Start Menu to configure custom keyboard shortcuts for turning your audio on and off and a whole lot more, while you are gaming.

What to do if you cannot access your PC’s Hard Drive?

If Windows fails to load and you cannot even access your hard drive, try booting from a DOS-bootable USB drive, that you should have already created, to establish whether or not the drive is actually working properly.

If this works, you should be able to view the contents of your hard drive and even reinstall your Windows Operating system if necessary.

If your PC will still not boot, then the problem can only be one of three things:

1. The Hard Drive itself is faulty and needs changing (try changing to a fast SSD https://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/ssdinstall.html).

2. The Hard Drive’s cable is damaged or wrongly connected.

3. The PC’s BIOS is incorrectly configured (by far the least likely problem).

You will need to check these three things yourself. Alternatively, engage the services of a PC repair technician to undertake the work for you.

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