Windows 10 BitLocker

On most of the devices that are designed for Windows 10, device encryption is automatically enabled. Windows Setup automatically creates the necessary partitions and initializes encryption on the operating system drive with a clear key. To complete the encryption process, you must perform the following step.

Sign in using a Microsoft account that has administrator rights on the device. That action removes the clear key, uploads a recovery key to the user’s OneDrive account, and encrypts the data on the system drive. Note that this process happens automatically and works on any Windows 10 edition.

The most important hardware feature required to support BitLocker Device Encryption is a Trusted Platform Module chip, or TPM. The device also needs to support the Modern Standby feature. Virtually all devices that were originally manufactured for Windows 10 meet these requirements.

For the most part, BitLocker is a set-it-and-forget-it feature. After you enable encryption for a drive, it doesn’t require any maintenance. You can, however, use tools built into the operating system to perform a variety of management tasks.

The simplest tools are available in the Windows graphical interface, but only if you are running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. Open File Explorer, right-click any drive icon, and click Manage BitLocker. That takes you to a page where you can turn BitLocker on or off; if BitLocker is already enabled for the system drive, you can suspend encryption temporarily or back up your recovery key from here. You can also manage encryption on removable drives and on secondary internal drives. The length of time it takes BitLocker to fully encrypt your files depends on the size of your drive, or how much data you’re encrypting.

Why would you want to use BitLocker? Well, if you have a laptop and use it in locations such as in coffee shops, the risk of theft or even damage to your device could occur. Even if your laptop was stolen your drives will have been locked by BitLocker and will therefore be of no use to anyone else. However, if you have a desktop computer chances are you will not need BitLocker protection, unless you live in an area where burglars are active and could steel your Windows PC.

Windows 11 Focus Sessions and Virtual Desktops

Windows 11

With messages and video chats popping up throughout the work day, it’s easy to get distracted as the work piles up.

Focus Sessions in Windows 11 encourages you to set aside time for work that requires uninterrupted, deep focus. It’s currently available in the new Alarms & Clock app, and offers a quick way to get at least 30 minutes of distraction-free work time. If you go beyond 45 minutes, the app automatically schedules a five-minute break about midway through your session.

Microsoft also replaces the old Task View button with a redesigned icon on the taskbar, which makes it easier to create and manage multiple desktops. Just hover over the icon to see any open virtual desktops or create a new desktop. These desktops can then be rearranged as needed, and apps that are in one desktop can be dragged into another.

Quick Settings in Windows 11

Windows 11

Quick Settings in Windows 11 resembles what you might get on an Android or iOS device. There are now sliders for both the brightness and the volume of your PC. The volume slider even has a pop-out menu to let you pick your output source.

To access these settings just type ‘settings’ in the search box.

Also if you’re listening to music, you’ll see a little player up on top of the Quick Settings, so you don’t have to go into the app itself.

It’s a massive difference from Windows 10, where you had to use tiny icons in the taskbar for common tasks. Even the WI-Fi setting option has a pop-out menu, letting you pick networks directly from quick settings.

The Windows 7 BOOTMGR is missing problem

The “BOOTMGR is missing” error shows its ugly head shortly after your computer is turned on, just after the Power On Self Test (POST) is complete. At this point in the boot process, Windows has only just started to load.

So what are the causes of the BOOTMGR Error?

The most common reasons for BOOTMGR errors include corrupt and misconfigured files, hard drive and operating system upgrade issues, corrupt hard drive sectors, an outdated BIOS and damaged or loose IDE/SATA cables.

Another reason you might see BOOTMGR errors is if your computer is trying to boot from a hard drive or external flash drive that is not properly configured as a bootable drive – it’s trying to boot from a non-bootable source.

This problem can also occur when you have two hard drives connected to your computer and you try to install Windows on the secondary drive. This causes Windows Set Up to place the BOOTMGR file on the primary drive causing a BOOTMGR error every time you try to boot up.

To find out how to fix the BOOTMGR Error see our article The ‘BOOTMGR is missing’ error – https://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/bootmgrismissing.html

Moving the Windows 11 taskbar location

Windows 11

Although Microsoft moved the Start button in Windows 11 to the middle of the task bar you can move it back to the left with just a few simple clicks.

To move it, you’ll need to open the Settings app on your Windows 11 computer. You can find this by clicking the Start button and looking in the pinned apps section. If it’s not there, click on All Apps and scroll down until you find it. Alternatively, you can press the Windows button on your keyboard and type Settings to quickly launch it.

In the Settings app, select Personalization from the list of options on the left side of the screen. Next, click Taskbar and then scroll to the bottom of the list where you’ll find and select Taskbar Behaviors. The very first option is Taskbar Alignment — click the dropdown menu and change it from Center to Left. Now that’s a very easy change to make isn’t it!

Windows 11 offers DirectX 12 Ultimate

Windows 11

Windows 11 unlocks the full potential of your system’s hardware, putting some of the latest gaming technology to work for you.

DirectX 12 Ultimate – this new version of DirectX is the newest version of the API and the new gold standard for the next-generation of games. DirectX 12 Ultimate takes games to a whole new level of realism with support for ray tracing, mesh shaders, variable rate shading, and sampler feedback.

So DirectX 12 Ultimate enables fully immersive graphics at high frame rates and offers DirectStorage for faster load times and more detailed game worlds as well as Auto HDR for a wider and more vivid range of colours.

Despite all these great improvements for those who play the latest games, Windows 11 will still support all your favourite PC gaming accessories and peripherals.

However, you will need a really top notch graphic card to benefit from DirectX 12 Ultimate.

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 10 Lock Screen

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.