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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75
votes
9answers
196k views

How to run a batch file without launching a “command window”?

On Windows XP, can I run a batch (.bat or .cmd) file, via a shortcut, without a "black window"?
75
votes
10answers
367k views

How to install Windows 7 from the network?

Is it possible to install Windows 7 (Current RTM Version) on a computer without using removable media like DVD or USB? The first thing that comes to my mind is through the network, but I don't have ...
74
votes
8answers
262k views

How do I know what proxy server I'm using?

I need to know what the address for my proxy server is so I can configure another program to also use it. If I go into IE, Internet Properties, LAN Settings, then all I see is an automatic ...
74
votes
23answers
7k views

Why does Microsoft Windows' performance appear to degrade over time?

Windows XP/2003 and earlier (can't attest to Windows Vista, but I suspect it's the same) all appear to become more sluggish over time as applications are installed and uninstalled. This is not a ...
73
votes
3answers
17k views

Is typing %^ into cmd.exe a Windows easter egg?

When I typed %^ in cmd and pressed Enter, and it said: More? When I pressed Enter again, it gave the same response. Is this an Easter Egg? What is this?
73
votes
2answers
82k views

How do I run multiple commands on one line in Powershell?

In cmd prompt, you can run two commands on one line like so: ipconfig /release & ipconfig /renew When I run this command in PowerShell, I get: Ampersand not allowed. The & operator is ...
73
votes
2answers
38k views

Why does Windows use backslashes for paths and Unix forward slashes?

It annoys me having used Unix in college and now working on the Windows side. What's the history behind this decision? Anyone know why it worked out this way?
72
votes
12answers
39k views

Should I disable swap file if I have lots of RAM or should I move it to a virtual RAM drive?

Imagine I have tons of RAM. Let's say 64GB. That's a lot for even gaming PCs. Now the default location of a pagefile in Windows is on the main OS drive, be it HDD or SSD, which are faster in general, ...
72
votes
4answers
12k views

Why isn't it possible to name a folder “._.” in Windows 7?

I just noticed that it is not possible to name a folder ._. - it gets named ._ instead. Sometimes, it disappears just after naming it but reappears after refreshing the view. Windows seems to have a ...
72
votes
5answers
9k views

What are the functions of the BIOS while the operating system is running?

I always wondered whether the BIOS (apart from conducting POST, starting the bootloader and passing control to the OS after one presses the power button) has any purpose or function while the ...
72
votes
3answers
103k views

What is the Windows equivalent of the Unix command cat?

I want to do exactly what unix "cat" does, but on my PC. Is there a simple equivalent command for the Windows command line? Specifically I want to create a file from all the files of a given type in ...
71
votes
3answers
66k views

Windows 7 ALT-TAB - How to turn off previewing the window [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Disable or delay alt-tab Aero Peek effect in Windows 7 In win7, when we hit alt-tab a nice preview comes up. This makes me happy. But if I linger just a moment too long ...
71
votes
8answers
59k views

Insert Unicode characters via the keyboard?

I am familiar with inserting an ASCII character into a text document by using 'Alt+ASCII code' on the NumPad keys (e.g. Alt+130 inserts an é character). Is there a similar way to insert a Unicode ...
70
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the significance of Windows file names that have hex numbers in them like {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}?

When doing a backup of my Windows hard drive, I noticed some file names that had a bunch of seemingly random numbers in them. For example: .{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} Does that mean ...
70
votes
3answers
34k views

Any way to “ungroup” taskbar items in Windows?

I mostly like the improvements in Windows 7, but am pretty annoyed with the new Taskbar... particularly its habit of always keeping items grouped. Is there any way to ungroup the taskbar items in ...
69
votes
1answer
79k views

How do I paste the Windows clipboard into my PuTTY session, using only the keyboard?

I would like to paste text the Windows clipboard into my PuTTY session using only the keyboard. I am running PuTTY 0.60 on Windows XP. Usage example: I just selected a bunch of nice text inside of my ...
68
votes
7answers
29k views

Using Cygwin in Windows 8, chmod 600 does not work as expected?

I'm trying to change the permissions to my key file key.pem in Cygwin 1.7.11. It has the permissions flags: -rw-rw---- chmod -c 600 key.pem Reports: mode of 'key.pem' changed from 0660 (rw-rw--...
68
votes
12answers
128k views

How to avoid keyboard layout automatically changing on windows

I have two input languages in my language bar (windows xp). The problem is that windows likes changing between them without any intervention. That's really annoying! I know about the shortcuts and ...
66
votes
11answers
53k views

Equivalent of Linux `touch` to create an empty file with PowerShell?

In PowerShell is there an equivalent of touch? For instance in Linux I can create a new empty file by invoking: touch filename On Windows this is pretty awkward -- usually I just open a new ...
66
votes
5answers
28k views

Why are there multiple Chrome instances running even though I only have one window (only one tab) open? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Multiple chrome.exe in Task Manager In Windows Task Manager it seems that I have multiple Chrome processes running, even though I only have one Chrome window open. How is ...
66
votes
7answers
100k views

Apostrophes and double quotes don't show up until I type the next letter

in Windows XP, when I type an apostrophe ', or dumb/typewriter quote ", no character is displayed. If I type another character, the apostrophe or dumb quote and the next character appear at the same ...
66
votes
8answers
58k views

Multi-tab command prompt in Windows?

What are the best (i.e. bug free) Multi-tab command prompts in Windows? They have them for Linux but Windows never seems to come out with one.
66
votes
8answers
53k views

How to set the default program for opening files without an extension in Windows?

How to set the default program for opening files without an extension in Windows?
66
votes
8answers
132k views

How to disable Ctrl+Shift keyboard layout switch (for the same input language) in Windows?

In Windows (XP at least), when there are two or more keyboard layouts for the same input language, pressing Ctrl+Shift switches the keyboard layout. Where can this be disabled or changed to another ...
66
votes
3answers
150k views

Where are the shortcuts for the Windows 7 Taskbar stored on disk?

Where, in the Windows 7 file system, are the taskbar shortcuts stored (per user)?
65
votes
5answers
211k views

A command-line or batch cmd to concatenate multiple files

I have 50 text files in one directory. Is there a Windows command-line method to concatenate those files into a single file? I am using Windows Vista. I don't want to type the name of all files.
65
votes
9answers
165k views

How do I set system environment variables in Windows 10? [duplicate]

How do I set a system environment variable in Windows 10 (without using the registry editor)? (Note: Other answers don't specifically address Windows 10 - at least not yet - and they leave off ...
65
votes
3answers
88k views

Is there a list of Windows special directories/shortcuts (like %TEMP%)?

I'm looking for a reference list of shortcuts like %TEMP%. When I'm using Windows+R or Windows Explorer and type %temp%, the Windows Explorer takes me to the Temp directory. Are there more of these ...
65
votes
2answers
7k views

Why do later versions of Windows continue to use shortcut files instead of symbolic links?

Windows XP and later support symbolic links. Yet, Windows continues to use shortcut files (which essentially store the location of the linked file as text). Why?
64
votes
9answers
10k views

Did Windows ever support any hardware architectures other than x86?

Microsoft Windows Internals, 4th Edition says: The architecture of the Intel x86 processor defines four privilege levels, or rings, to protect system code and data from being overwritten ...
64
votes
8answers
111k views

How to always run as administrator applications on Windows 8

The problem is, when I open applications I need to always right click, select run as admin. When I don't do it getting unexpected application errors. BTW, I turned off UAC. It's annoying. Is ...
64
votes
16answers
117k views

How can I improve font appearance in google chrome?

. On the left is firefox 4, on the right is chrome 12. Is there a way to make chrome render prettier fonts? The above image was taken on windows xp. Below is another example from windows 7.
63
votes
19answers
8k views

Why is hibernation still used?

I've never quite understood the original purpose of the Hibernation power state in Windows. I understand how it works, what processes take place, and what happens when you boot back up from Hibernate, ...
63
votes
31answers
111k views

How to force Windows to rename a file with a special character?

I have a song that Windows can't play because there is a question mark in the name of the file. "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?.ogg" // as an example So I try to rename it and Windows complains ...
63
votes
7answers
160k views

Run cURL commands from Windows console

Is there a way to install cURL in windows in order to run cURL commands from the command prompt?
63
votes
4answers
48k views

Good on-screen ruler application for Windows? [closed]

What's a good (preferably free) on-screen ruler for Windows? I just need to measure a few things in pixels on the screen. I need it to be flexible (easily resizable and able to measure both vertically ...
63
votes
2answers
5k views

What happens when a PC is turning off?

When I click the shut down button it gives me another screen saying shutting down: What is actually going on during this stage? I think in Windows XP it would say something like saving setting ...
63
votes
1answer
4k views

How to take a shadowless screenshot on Windows 10?

Using Alt+Print on the keyboard, a screenshot of the currently active window is copied to the clipboard. Unfortunately, on Windows 10 this also takes the area of the window's shadow into the ...
62
votes
9answers
163k views

How can I execute a Windows command line in background?

How can I execute a windows command line in the background, without it interacting with the active user?
62
votes
3answers
90k views

Windows 10, 'System' process taking massive amounts of RAM

Since I upgraded to Windows 10, my system has been consuming RAM excessively I've been reading a bit and determined it's likely a driver leaking memory. So I got myself the Windows Driver Kit and ...
62
votes
7answers
27k views

How do I reset the Windows XP Administrator password?

I have forgotten the Administrator password of my Windows XP installation and locked out. Is there a way to reset it? I do have physical access to the PC.
61
votes
9answers
79k views

Hex editors for Windows? [closed]

Are there some hex editors for Windows? Preferably open source or free since I don't need a hex editor all that often... Things I do need is the ability to search in different types (text, raw hex, ...
61
votes
5answers
11k views

How can Windows dump the complete RAM in the hibernation file so fast?

I was going through an article that explained the hibernation procedure in Microsoft Windows. The main points that I get out of it are Windows dumps the whole RAM (after processing it maybe) in the ...
60
votes
16answers
163k views

How do I troubleshoot a Windows freeze or slowness?

A machine is described as being "really slow" or "freezing". How can I troubleshoot/resolve this issue? What should be the first steps to take?
60
votes
10answers
2k views

Missing computer?

I'm trying to find a computer at work that we can't find the physical location of. There's no documentation in the inventory of it but it responds to nslookup, ping, and i can log onto it and edit its ...
60
votes
9answers
28k views

Is it possible to run Windows without GUI?

I'm just wondering if it is possible to run Windows without its GUI like Linux—with just the virtual terminal (tty) The reason behind this is that my Windows 7 box often freezes whenever some ...
60
votes
4answers
6k views

Is “HKLM” an alias for “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE”?

HKLM is often used as an abbreviation for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Somewhat unexpectedly this also appears to be true when I ask reg for a value. C:\>reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\...
60
votes
6answers
249k views

Can I manually add a thumbnail web page to the Chrome homepage?

Is there a way to manually add a web page to the 8 thumbnails that appear when you open Chrome? I want to add Google Maps for easy access. The Google front page already shows up so I presume the ...
58
votes
5answers
93k views

How do I set Notepad++ as the default editor?

I want set Notepad++ as the default editor. I tried to set it by right-clicking on a file, then Open With. But I did not see Notepad++ in the resulting list (even after clicking on Choose Other ...
58
votes
16answers
107k views

Why is 'ping' unable to resolve a name when 'nslookup' works fine?

On my Windows XP workstation, I can find the machine I want to connect to in DNS with nslookup: nslookup wolfman Server: dns.company.com Address: 192.168.1.38 Name: wolfman.company.com Address: 192....