5 minute fixes for Windows


Share a File With Another Computer at Home
5 MINUTES Sharing between Windows 7 PC’s
Windows 7’s HomeGroups feature gives you the easiest and fastest way to network computers together.
First, on the computer from which you want to share the file, open the HomeGroup control panel. If a home­ group does not already exist (Windows may have created one automatically when you first set up Wi-Fi), click Create a HomeGroup. Choose the file types you’d like to share (‘Documents’ is not selected by default). and click Next. You’ll receive password for the homegroup. Write it down.
Wait a few minutes for Window’s to update everything. Then, on the other computer, open the HomeGroup control panel, and you should see the homegroup you just created. Click Join Now and follow the rest of the steps in the wizard. The computers will share files with each other from now on.
To find the shared files, in Windows Explorer look for your homegroup in the left pane. The other computers that you have added to the network will be listed there, and the shared files will appear in the right pane.
If you ever wish to change your homegroup password, open the HomeGroup control panel on a machine that is already in the group, and click Change the password.
Accessing files on a Mac from a Windows 7 PC
On the Mac, visit System Preferences and open the Network application. Click the WINS tab. Change the ‘Workgroup’ setting to the same Workgroup your PCs use. (If you’re not sure of the name, you can find this setting listed in your PC’s System control panel.) Click OK.
Still in System Preferences, open the Mac’s Sharing application. Place a checkmark next to File sharing, Over in the Shared Folders pane, select the folders you wish to share. In the Users pane, give rights to each folder as appro­priate, assigning either ReadOnly or Read & Write to the ‘Everyone’ group.
Next, click Options and then put a check in the box for Share files and folders using SMB. Click Done. Lastly, open the Accounts applical­tion, unlock your system, and click Guest Account in the left pane. Check the box next to Allow guests to connect to shared folders.
Stop AutoPlay From Bugging You
2 minutes These days, you’re probably plugging all kinds of devices into your PC-thumb drives, cameras, smart phones, and so on-each of which opens a Windows AutoPlay pop-up. This can get annoying, fast.
To disable AutoPlay for an individual device, first plug the device into your computer and allow any drivers to install completely. The AutoPlay window will pop up for the first time. Simply close it by clicking the red X.
Disconnect the device, and then plug it back in. The Auto­Play window will pop up again. Click View more AutoPlay options in Control Panel. At the bottom of the screen, you will see your newly connected device. Change ‘Choose a default’ to Take no action Click Save. This option will not be available the first time you connect a device, hence the requirement to plug in, disconnect, and reconnect it.
To turn AutoPlay off for all devices, in the ‘View more AutoPlay options’ screen, at the top, simply uncheck the box for Use AutoPlay for all media and devices.
Kill a Stuck Program
30 SECONDS If a program is not responding, you can terminate it by way of the Windows Task Manager. Press -; click Start Task Manager. Click the Processes tab.
To more easily find the offending pro­cess, click the Memory header to sort by which process is using the most RAM.
Chances are, your crashed application will be at or near the top of this list (and likely it will be outlook.exe. fire­fox.exe, or iexplore.exe). Click the pro­cess that has died and click End Process.
Troubleshoot Audio Problems
5 MINUTES If your computer abruptly refuses to play sound, try the following simple steps.
First reboot then, ensure that the computer isn’t muted via hardware, Press any external mute buttons. Con­firm that the speakers are turned on, and turn the volume all the way up. Test by playing a song or using the Sound control panel (click the Sounds tab, select Asterisk. and click Test).
If that doesn’t work, check Windows. Left-click the volume icon in the system tray and verify that the audio is not muted and is turned up. Right-click the volume icon and dick Open Volume Mixer. Ensure that all options are on and turned up. Internal speakers still not working? Plug headphones into the audio jack and test again. If the headphones work, re­move them to continue troubleshooting the internal speakers.
Next, right-click the volume icon again and choose Playback devices. Confirm that your audio device likely ‘Speakers’) has a green checkmark next to it. Click Properties and make sure that ‘Use this device (enable)’ is selected.
If your sound still doesn’t work by this point, you may have a missing or corrupt driver for your audio controller. Uninstall the driver by opening the Device Manager (type device manag­er at the start menu search box), going to sound, video and game controllers, selecting the audio controller and pressing the key reboot the system and allow windows to reinstall the driver which it should do automatically, if it does not, download the driver from your PC makers site or audio card manufactures site and reinstall it manually.
Uninstall an Application
5 MINUTES Cleaning every last trace of an old program can be a pain. Here’s how to do it quickly.
Start with the obvious option: Open the ‘Programs and Features’ Control Panel, Select the application you no longer want, and click Uninstall. You may need to reboot the system.
If the program has other parts (plug­ins, toolbars. ActiveX components, and so on), Uninstall them too, following the above instructions. If an application won’t uninstall, don’t edit the Registry in an attempt to manually scrub the program away in all likelihood, you’ll accidentally cause more harm than good.
If you installed the program recently. You can try rolling back your PC with System Restore to get rid of it. Find this function under Accessories-System Tools.
If that doesn’t work, try the Revo Uninstaller. A more-limited free version is also available.
Remap a Keyboard
3 minutes Download and in­stall KeyTweak, which works with all Windows versions.
Run the application. Click Full Teach Mode to remap one key to another, pressing the original key and the one you want to assign to it in sequence.
Remember that a laptop’s key normally cannot be re­mapped, so if you want to swap and common tweak- you’ll have to check for the option in the PC’s BIOS.
Roll Back a Bad Driver
4 Minutes Updating your machine’s drivers keeps the system current on bug fixes and support for new features. It can also break things that weren’t broken, however, so if you notice that your PC is crashing or behaving strangely after applying a new patch, you should revert to an older ver­sion and see if that fixes the problem. Fortunately, whether you install new drivers manually (via download from a manufacturer’s Website) or through Windows Update, you can revert to an older version fairly easily.
First, open the Device Manager con­trol panel. Browse to the device whose driver you want to roll back. Double­click the device in question. On the properties screen, click the Driver tab. Click Roll Back Driver and follow the wizard to revert to the previously load­ed driver. A restart will be required.
If the option is grayed out, an older driver is not available. If you know that the driver has been updated, you may be able to recover it by using Windows’ System Restore function, which will also undo driver installations.
Remove AutoCorrect Entries in Office
30 seconds If you don’t want “…” to become an ellipsis or “—” to turn into a page-wide horizontal line, or if you dislike any other automatic “corrections” that Microsoft Office performs by default, follow these steps. Type the word or character sequence you want to change-and stop typing immediately once the Auto Correction has taken place. You will see a small icon with a lightning bolt appear on the screen, next to the correction.
Click the box and select the second option in the menu. That option’s text changes depending on the specific cor­rection; for example, it will read ‘Stop Automatically Creating Bulleted List s’ when you type a > symbol. Selecting this menu item once will terminate the auto correction behavior permanently.
For more-detailed AutoCorrect set­tings, or to remove specific words from Office’s list of automatic typo fixes (if, for example, your last name is “Word”), click the Office button and go to Word options Proofing-AutoCorrect Options. You should also look under the ‘AutoFormat As You Type’ tab for additional settings.
Decipher a Bizarre Error Message
5 minutes Assuming that the error has not crashed your system, write down the exact text of the error mes­sage. If the error has rendered your machine unusable, move to another PC so that you can keep the error on screen.
1he key to tracking down a fix is to remember that you are unlikely to be the first person to have ever encoun­tered this problem, but it is probably rare enough that standard help files and
Microsoft support won’t be of use. So tUrn to the masses and search the Web for the exact text of the error me5sa~e, in quotes. For example, type in “Error loading cmicnfg.cpl. The specified mod­ule could not be found.”
From that point your research will be a little more esoteric, but dick through the results for advice. In our example. just a couple minutes of research will provide the likely culprit-a bad audio driver-as well as ;.I credible solution that involves deleting some files and making a few Registry edits.
Bypass Windows Login
If you ‘re the only one who uses your computer, and you’re not worried about it(or your data) falling into someone else’s hands, you may not need the protection that the login screen provides. Here’s how to turn it off.
Open the User Accounts control panel. Delete any unused accounts that are not your primary, personal account. (Click Manage another account, choose the other accounts, and select Delete the account.) You can ignore the Guest account, which probably is turned off.
At the main User Accounts page, ensure that your primary account is active. Click Change your password. Enter your old password where required and leave your new password blank, Reboot your machine, and it will load Windows directly without presenting the login screen. Just remember that you are compromising your sys­tem’s security by operating it without a password,
Restore Office 2003-Style Menus
3 Minutes If you’re a longtime Office user who hasn’t warmed up to the Ribbon menu layout in the newer versions of the suite, you can regain the classic look with a simple download. Several add-ons can give you the old menus back, but UBitMenu is free for personal use.
Compress a Folder
30 seconds You can dramatically shrink folders that contain uncompressed graphics, large documents, and other file types by compressing them.
All you have to do is right-click on the file or folder, click Send to, and select Compressed(zipped) folder. Files added to the compressed folder will be automatically compressed. Just don’t forget to delete the original uncompressed folder.
Boot From a Windows DVD or Another Optical Disc
10 Seconds To reinstall Windows or access repair tools loaded on your Windows DVD, you’ll need to boot the PC from the optical drive instead of the hard drive.
Insert the DVD with Windows running, and then reboot. Watch the on-screen text carefully during boot time, and press the correct key when you see ‘Select Boot Device’, ‘Change Boot Order’, or another similar instruction. The key will likely be , , or . If you miss it-you have only a second or two to act-reboot the machine and try again. Don’t worry about mashing on the key.
Once you’re in the menu, choose your optical drive by using the arrow keys, and press .
Keep waiting. You will soon see a message that reads ‘Press Enter to boot from CD’ (or something similar). If you don’t press the right button at this point, the system will proceed with booting normally from the hard drive.
Update the ‘Normal’ Style in Microsoft Word
2 Minutes Your first step is to create a block of text using the style that you wish to appear as “Normal”-the default font and paragraph style that Word will use whenever you create a new document.
Make sure to set not just the text’s font and size, but also the paragraph styling: Select something within the block of text that you just created, right­ click it, and then choose Paragraph, Set the line spacing, indentation, and alignment.
Next, select some of the finished text, right­ click it. and select Styles. Click Update Normal to Match Selection.
Finally, to make this style permanent for new documents, in the Word ribbon click Change Styles and Set as Default.
Diagnose a PC That Won’t Turn On
5 Minutes + There’s no easy way to determine exactly why a PC won’t boot (we’re assuming that you tried booting from an optical drive or a bootable USB disk, and it failed), but the following steps will take you through the most com­mon hardware reasons for a PC that won’t load Windows.
First, check all of the external cables, including the power cable. Confirm that your monitor is turned on.
Do you hear beeps while the PC tries to boot? Write down the number or the sequence of beeps (for instance, one long, three short) and search the Web to learn their meaning. If you know the manufacturer of your BIOS, that will simplify the search. For example, try a search for “Phoenix 1-2-2-3 beep code” (for a PhoenixBIOS PC with a pattern of one beep, two beeps, two beeps, three beeps); in this case, you’ll see th3t the PC has likely experienced a motherboard hard­ware failure. Even if you don’t know the BIOS maker, you should be able to determine the issue this way.
If your PC doesn’t produce beeps, open the case and verify that the internal cables-especially cables from the power sup­ply and cables linking the hard drive to the motherboard-are properly connected. Make sure the RAM is properly seated: remove and reinsert it, and try booting with one RAM stick at a time (if dual RAM sticks are not required, of course). If you have a spare RAM module or two, try subbing them in.
Your system’s power supply may have gone bad-many are cheap and prone to failure. Try connecting a spare power supply to your system (you needn’t install it inside the case), and see if the PC will boot. Don’t be tricked by whirring fans: A power supply may have enough juice to keep the fans going, but not enough to power everything else.
If your PC has a discrete graphics card, try removing it and attaching the monitor to the integrated graphics connector.
Finally, if “II of the above steps fail, you’re probably dealing with a bad motherboard or (Jess likely) a fried CPU.
Disable System Tray Balloon Pop-Ups (Windows 7)
30 SECONDS Tired of balloon notifications popping up in the corner of your screen? Type action center in the Start menu search box. Click Change Action Center settings. Uncheck the boxes for the categories to be suppressed. Unchecking everything will suppress all Windows-originated pop-ups.
Troubleshoot Network Outages
5 minutes As with a bad audio situation, numerous circumstances can cause your network to go dark. Follow these steps to fix it. (These tips presume trouble with wire­less networking but largely apply to wired networking, too.)
If you use a USB-connected networking device, unplug it and then plug it back in. USB Wi-Fi sticks are notoriously fin­icky. Next, reboot your router by unplugging it, waiting 30 seconds, and plugging it back in. You may want to reboot your system while you wait. This procedure will fix the vast majority of lost-network problems. Didn’t work? See if other PCs on the network can access the Net. If not, your ISP may be having an outage. Try rebooting the cable or DSL modern.
Also, check your machine’s IP address to make sure that the router is properly configured. Choose CMD from the Start menu (type CMD in the search box to find it quickly) and type ipconfig /all. From there, find the proper adapter (you may need to scroll up) and look at the ‘IPv4 Address’ item. If you have a typical home setup, the first three numbers (sepa­rated by periods) should be the same as those of the DHCP Servers. If not, you may need to reconfigure or reset your router, which could have become corrupted.
If you’re using Windows Firewall (or another software fire­wall), it might be interfering with network access. Try turning it off (you can find Windows Firewall in the Control Panel).
Finally, if you’re on a wireless network. try plugging in an ethernet cable and connecting your computer directly to the router. If this works, you likely have a problem with the wire­less adapter’s driver. Try updating the driver manually by downloading it from your computer manufacturer.
Turn Off Automatic Reboots
2 MINUTES Windows invariably decides to reboot itself only while you’ve left your computer idling with a big presentation open and unsaved. Reboots typically happen after Windows Update does its thing, often late on Tuesday nights. The easiest way to prevent automatic reboots is to change Windows Update from automatic to manual.
To do so, open the Windows Update control panel, and then click Change settings. From the drop-down menu, select Never check for updates (not recommended). The other options, including ‘Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them’, sound good in theory but are not as reliable in suppressing autoreboots – and Windows is prone to making changes to your selections without per­mission. To keep yourself from forgetting to run Windows Update periodically, set a recurring item in your calendar to check the service every week or two.
You can also address the automatic-reboot problem by way of Windows’ Local Group Policy Editor. Open the editor by typing group policy into the Start menu search box. Click Edit group policy. In the left pane of the window, expand the Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update tree.
In the right pane, right-click ‘No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations’ and select Edit. Change the setting to Enabled and click OK. Do the same for ‘Delay Restart for scheduled installations’ in the previous pane. You can’t turn off automated restart for scheduled installations completely, but you can increase the delay to a maximum of 30 minutes, giving you more time than the standard default of 5 minutes to save your work.
Open an Application in XP Mode
4 MINUTES A few very old applications won’t run under Windows 7-but you can tweak Windows 7 to act like an older operating system with a few simple clicks.
First, right-click the application in question and click Troubleshoot compatibility. Select Troubleshoot program at the next prompt, and then check I don’t see my problem listed (or choose the actual problem if one is a match).
The next screen will ask, ‘Which version of Windows did this program work on before?’ Try selecting XP (with Service Pack 3), or venture even farther back to Windows 98 or Win­dows 95 if you need to. Click I don’t see any problem listed or select the best match again. Windows 7 will then emulate the older OS that you selected to run the problematic applica­tion. Use the Start the program button to test if the program works, and then click Next. If everything worked, click Yes, save these settings for this program. Otherwise, click No, try again using different settings to give it another shot.
Delete an Autocomplete E-Mail Address in Outlook
3 SECONDS As you type in a message’s ‘To:’ field, is Outlook automatically suggesting something by filling in an e-mail address that is incorrect or otherwise no longer useful? You can get rid of it simply by scrolling down the suggested list and pressing the key.

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