For questions not specific to a single version of Microsoft Windows. Otherwise, use a more specific tag such as [windows-7] or [windows-10].

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889
votes
19answers
478k views

What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?

In Windows you have a C-drive. Everything labeled beyond that is with the following letter. So your second drive is D, your DVD is E and if you put in a USB stick it becomes F and the following ...
367
votes
14answers
513k views

How to disable the “Get Windows 10” icon shown in the notification area (tray)?

This icon showed up in my taskbar notification area today and I cannot seem to get rid of it: Clicking on it displays the following screen: So how do I disable or remove the "Get Windows 10" ...
330
votes
18answers
259k views

How can I remove malicious spyware, malware, adware, viruses, trojans or rootkits from my PC?

What should I do if my Windows computer seems to be infected with a virus or malware? What are the symptoms of an infection? What should I do after noticing an infection? What can I do to get rid of ...
317
votes
11answers
291k views

Is there any 'sudo' command for Windows?

I always work on a non-administrator account on my Windows computer. Sometimes I need to install programs which requires administrator access. As I mostly use the Windows command prompt, is there a ...
284
votes
27answers
88k views

How to mess up a PC running Windows 7? [closed]

Ok, so for my PC class I have to find 3 hacks that would mess up the lab's PC. Me and my partner are going to mess up the PC and then another team will try to fix it. The system on it is Windows 7. ...
257
votes
10answers
187k views

Menu select item stuck on screen after context or command menu has closed

Periodically when I select a menu command, the label or selected option gets "stuck" on screen and won't go away. I can close all open applications, including whichever one I was using when it got ...
240
votes
10answers
112k views

Create/rename a file/folder that begins with a dot in Windows?

Many programs needs folder names that starts with a dot, like .emacs.d, .gimp-2.2, .jedit etc. How do I create such a folder? When using the Windows Explorer in Windows 2000 (and other versions), I ...
235
votes
10answers
23k views

Why is Google so much faster than a hard-drive search?

When I search a file on my HD in Windows 7 or Windows XP it takes some minutes to finish the process. If I fill in a search term in Google, the answer is on my screen in milliseconds How is it ...
232
votes
13answers
708k views

How to search inside files on Windows 7?

In Windows XP we can search for files that contain a defined keyword (inside all files types). Windows 7 can look inside files for a keyword, but only for text files. (*.doc, *.txt, *.inf, ...), not ...
221
votes
19answers
110k views

How can I visualize the file system usage on Windows?

How can I visualize which folders and files are taking up all of the space on my hard drive? I'm getting some conflicting reports on the size of hard drive contents. Namely what is and isn't there ...
214
votes
7answers
244k views

Can I delete the the folder C:\ProgramData\Package Cache\?

There is a new folder full of installers located at C:\ProgramData\Package Cache\. I believe this is from visual studio 2012 RC. Does anyone know if I can delete these GB of data without ...
210
votes
5answers
509k views

How can I display the contents of an environment variable from the command prompt in Windows 7?

In Windows 7, when I start the Command prompt, is there any command to display the contents of an environment variable (such as the JAVA_HOME or PATH variables)? I have tried with echo $PATH, echo ...
210
votes
2answers
104k views

“directory junction” vs “directory symbolic link”?

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target /D Creates a directory symbolic link. Default is a file symbolic link. /H Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link. /J ...
208
votes
9answers
298k views

Find out which process is locking a file or folder in Windows

How can I find out which process is locking a file or folder in Windows? For instance, when trying to delete a folder, Windows reports this: The action can't be completed because the folder is ...
208
votes
14answers
170k views

How do you list all processes on the command line in Windows?

Is there a command equivalent to 'ps' on Unix that can list all processes on a Windows machine?
203
votes
18answers
387k views

How can I download an entire website?

How can I download all pages from a website? Any platform is fine.
183
votes
10answers
37k views

How to copy text from Console2?

I just started using Console2 as an alternative to cmd.exe I can't figure out how to copy text from the console to the clipboard -- dragging over it with the mouse won't mark anything, and there is ...
177
votes
17answers
155k views

How to delete directories with path/names too long for normal delete

Windows seems to have a length limit on file names when trying to delete, though it won't prevent those files from being created. Our build process creates a number of temporary files (many build off ...
174
votes
15answers
369k views

How to download files from command line in Windows, like Wget is doing?

How can I download something from the web directly without Internet Explorer or Firefox opening Acrobat Reader/Quicktime/MS Word/whatever? I'm using Windows, so a Windows version of Wget would ...
171
votes
3answers
122k views

How do I make Windows 10's File Explorer open “This PC” by default?

I know how to do that on Windows Vista and Windows 7, and I know how to do that on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, but neither of the ways work with Windows 10; it always defaults ...
158
votes
11answers
90k views

Why does 64-bit Windows need a separate “Program Files (x86)” folder?

I know that on a 64-bit version of Windows the "Program Files" folder is for 64-bit programs and the "Program Files (x86)" folder is for 32-bit programs, but why is this even necessary? By ...
156
votes
4answers
16k views

How does Windows know if a program is not responding?

How does Windows know if a program is not responding? Does it constantly keep polling all running applications?
155
votes
5answers
98k views

Notepad++ is unable to load langs.xml, why?

Whenever I open NotePad++ the following error message appears: --------------------------- Configurator --------------------------- Load langs.xml failed! --------------------------- ...
154
votes
7answers
146k views

Native alternative to wget in Windows PowerShell?

I know I can download and install the aformentioned library (wget for Windows), but my question is this: In Windows PowerShell, is there a native alternative to wget? I need wget simply to retrieve ...
153
votes
16answers
268k views

How to compare the differences between two PDF files on Windows?

Do you know a good Windows software to compare PDF files side-by-side and show the modifications between the two? It would be great if you can post both free and not-free products.
151
votes
15answers
165k views

“This file came from another computer…” - how can I unblock all the files in a folder without having to unblock them individually?

Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista have this deal where zone information is preserved in downloaded files to NTFS partitions, such that it blocks certain files in certain applications until you ...
150
votes
1answer
18k views

Why are there no odd Windows process IDs?

There are many ways to examine process IDs in Windows. For example, using the PowerShell command: ps | select Id, ProcessName | Sort Id | ft -AutoSize We see the following output: Id ...
148
votes
9answers
88k views

Why does the /winsxs folder grow so large, and can it be made smaller?

A Vista virtual machine I use only has a 10 GB virtual hard disk -- and I'm worried about it running out of space over time. I used TreeSize to check for the culprits.. And the primary culprit is ...
146
votes
8answers
219k views

How to delete a file in Windows with a too long filename? [duplicate]

My wife has several files and folders that somehow ended up having filenames that have caused them to be undeleteable (can't be deleted) by normal means or via the command line. I believe the ...
142
votes
18answers
307k views

What utility can move my Windows boot partition over to another hard drive? [closed]

Can anyone recommend a cheap/free utility that can do this without very much effort? My preference is that it would be really easy. Boot into Windows Pick drive to move Pick target drive It copies ...
142
votes
8answers
235k views

How to read ext4 partitions on Windows?

Is there a way to read ext4 partitions from Windows? If so, what can I do?
140
votes
13answers
15k views

How to prove the authenticity of a screenshot?

I have take some screenshots of chat from Whatsapp web using Windows 8 Snipping Tool. I saved those images in PNG format. Now I want to prove that those images are the original, not tampered or ...
140
votes
7answers
277k views

How to recursively delete directory from command line in windows?

What is the windows equivalent of rm -r [directory-name]?
140
votes
8answers
229k views

How can I free up drive space from the Windows installer folder without killing Windows 8.1?

On my SSD machine, the C:\Windows\Installer folder is massive and takes up about 15% of my total disk space. Is there a way to clean up that folder without killing Windows 8.1? Tucking away the ...
135
votes
2answers
14k views

What is a “Magic Packet” for waking a computer?

My wireless adapter (Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260) has two settings in Device Manager which I cannot explain. Wake on Magic Packet Wake on Pattern Match After a bit of research, I found this ...
135
votes
6answers
844k views

Windows 7 SP1 Windows Update stuck checking for updates

I installed Windows 7 fresh and installed SP1. Now, when I try to check manually for Windows Updates it just hangs on the Checking for updates screen. I tried running this tool but this did not fix ...
132
votes
16answers
284k views

How to move windows that open up offscreen?

I have a dual monitor setup, and I recently played around with the positioning settings, and some of my single window applications do the favour of preserving where they were last closed, and opening ...
129
votes
2answers
145k views

How do I exit telnet?

I start telnet by telnet host port. How do I stop it in Windows? Shockingly, Ctrl+C doesn't work.
129
votes
8answers
1.3m views

How can I check the temperature of my CPU in Windows?

Does Windows provide a means to check my CPU temperature natively? If not, are there any software tools which can reveal this information?
126
votes
15answers
83k views

How to check if a binary is 32 or 64 bit on Windows?

So, I need to do just that before I move the program to 32bit machine and experience a spectacular failure. Is there an easy way to do this?
123
votes
2answers
105k views

How to stop Microsoft from gathering telemetry data from Windows 7, 8, and 8.1

Some of the update patches pushed to Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 during this year seem to be solely for the purpose of gather data from a user's system. Is there a way to disable the telemetry through ...
120
votes
8answers
37k views

Is there a convenient way to edit PATH in Windows 7?

I do not understand why Windows 7 is still adopting this stuffy dialog box? I feel uncomfortable when editing and looking-up a path in this narrow text box. Is there a convenient way to edit PATH ...
118
votes
13answers
256k views

What can I do if I forgot my Windows password?

I got a brand new Windows 7 machine, installed the operating system, created one account and forgot its password. What can I do? There is no external CD, the operating system is loaded from somewhere ...
113
votes
3answers
64k views

What Tiling Window Manager for Windows do you recommend? [closed]

What is the best tiling window manager for Windows? I'm looking for something like awesome. It would be nice if it removes the title bar and has "comfortable" shortcut keys (for me that's vi keys, ...
110
votes
7answers
278k views

Using cd Command in Windows Command Line, Can't Navigate to D:\

This may be a stupid question, and I think I have looked elsewhere to find the answer... Might be a path issue, but when I open the command line and type from the C:\>: cd D:\ I cannot get to ...
108
votes
7answers
96k views

How to make SUBST mapping persistent across reboots?

Does Windows (XP or later) have a built-in way to create persitent drive mappings, like the ones SUBST creates? I found a 3rd party tool psubst. Is there a way to do it without 3rd party tools?
108
votes
4answers
64k views

Is there a tool that can determine the file type from containing data? [closed]

I sometimes get files from my clients that have the wrong file extension. For example, the name is image.jpg but the file is actually a TIFF image. In many cases I can clarify it by opening the file ...
107
votes
4answers
9k views

Why do damaged hard drives freeze the entire system?

Why does a hard drive which is known to have bad blocks (verified in HDTune and HDDScan), freezes down my entire system? It is not the OS drive; it is attached to another SATA port, and I'm trying to ...
105
votes
12answers
81k views

Mass deleting files in Windows

I have a directory, that contains ~ 3 million files in certain subdirectories on a Windows 2008 server. Manually deleting the files via SHIFT+DEL on the root dir takes ages. Is there any other way to ...
105
votes
10answers
242k views

How to stop jucheck from running? Java won't remember “Check for Updates Automatically” setting

I've installed Java on Windows Vista, and every day I get a Vista security warning asking me if I want to run "jucheck". Apparently this is the Java automatic updater. Well, I don't want it to run ...