Issues not specific to a single version of Windows, otherwise tag appropriately

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798
votes
19answers
458k 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 ...
252
votes
27answers
58k 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. ...
244
votes
16answers
177k views

How can I remove malicious spyware, malware, viruses 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 ...
224
votes
10answers
167k 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 ...
214
votes
10answers
19k 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 ...
200
votes
9answers
131k 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 ...
180
votes
13answers
543k 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 ...
175
votes
19answers
54k 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 ...
154
votes
10answers
28k 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 ...
143
votes
5answers
89k views

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

Whenever I open NotePad++ the following error message appears: --------------------------- Configurator --------------------------- Load langs.xml failed! --------------------------- ...
131
votes
10answers
70k 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 ...
130
votes
10answers
68k 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 ...
126
votes
13answers
220k views

How can I download an entire website?

How can I download all pages from a website? Any platform is fine.
123
votes
11answers
60k 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 ...
118
votes
18answers
232k 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 ...
111
votes
15answers
105k 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 ...
109
votes
1answer
50k 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 ...
107
votes
14answers
180k 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 ...
99
votes
5answers
215k 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 ...
97
votes
16answers
153k 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.
96
votes
5answers
3k views

Why the heck does NTFS allow invisible executables?

You can hide any file inside of another file just by typing: type sol.exe > container.txt:sol.exe and to run the file hidden file just use: start c:\hide\container.txt:sol.exe But the crazy ...
95
votes
23answers
12k views

How can I make a Windows PC bullet-proof for home users? [closed]

I realize that virus-proof on a Windows PC is far fetched, but in the interest of keeping time spent as the "family-tech-support" to a minimum, I am looking for ideas to lock a computer down to the ...
95
votes
10answers
214k 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 ...
93
votes
7answers
68k 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 ...
90
votes
7answers
108k views

How to read ext4 partitions on Windows?

Is there a way to read ext4 partitions from Windows? If so, what can I do?
90
votes
6answers
35k views

Preventing applications from stealing focus

Are there any solutions to prevent applications stealing focus from the active window? This is especially annoying when I'm starting an application, switch to do something else and the new ...
84
votes
3answers
49k 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, ...
82
votes
9answers
243k views

What can I do if I forgot my Windows 7 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 ...
82
votes
6answers
61k 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?
81
votes
8answers
21k views

My colleague often shuts down my machine through the LAN - how do I prevent it?

This might sound weird. My colleague and I were working on a Windows machine. He frequently shuts it down through the LAN. He usually follows these steps: Access command prompt, enter shutdown -i. ...
80
votes
4answers
9k views

Why can't you uninstall multiple programs at once in Windows?

Why won't Windows allow you to uninstall or remove multiple programs at once? What is the reasoning behind this? Will it mess up an internal system? I am not looking for how to uninstall multiple ...
78
votes
13answers
164k 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 ...
77
votes
5answers
135k views

How to recursively delete directory from command line in windows?

Is there a windows equivalent of sudo rm -r [directory-name]?
76
votes
7answers
86k 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 ...
75
votes
12answers
47k 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 ...
73
votes
5answers
972k views

How do I locate the MAC address of my computer?

I am unable to locate the MAC address in a new computer with Windows 7. I've tried ipconfig /all in the console to which I got no items match your search. I also tried getmac. A screen flashed very ...
73
votes
4answers
28k 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 ...
71
votes
10answers
5k views

Securely erasing all data from a hard drive

I am about to sell my old desktop PC and I am cautious about some of my sensitive information being available to the purchaser, even after reformatting the hard-drive, using data recovery software. ...
70
votes
8answers
6k views

How can a computer/OS tell what kind of RAM is in the machine?

How can Mac OS X tell what kind of RAM is in the machine? For example I was working on one that had DDR3 RAM @ 1600MHz and I thought it wasn't possible to know the RAM without physically opening the ...
70
votes
13answers
102k views

How to reboot/shutdown Windows 8 without the mouse?

Nowadays on Windows 7, if I have no mouse on my computer I just press Win Button+->+Enter: This makes my computer shutdown without needing to use a mouse. However, on Windows 8, I need the mouse to ...
70
votes
23answers
5k 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 ...
70
votes
8answers
18k 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 ...
70
votes
7answers
29k views

Can I use my laptop as a second monitor?

Is it possible to make my laptop's screen act as a second monitor for my desktop computer?
69
votes
6answers
18k views

Opened a JPG picture with notepad, pasted all the “text” to a new notepad file, changed to .JPG and it no longer opens. Why?

This phenomenon has been leaving me questions to ask. Here is the detailed experiment, my OS is Windows 7 x64 SP1: I changed a picture (JPG) file to TXT by simply changing its extension (or one ...
69
votes
10answers
35k views

Looking for MD5 utility that integrates to Windows

Is there any small utility that integrates with the Windows shell and computes md5 of files on demand? I'm too lazy to launch the command line :D. Edit: Just found this with a Google search on "md5 ...
69
votes
7answers
22k views

Windows equivalent of whereis?

Is there an equivalent of the Unix whereis command in Windows? So that I could figure out where commands I can run actually is.
68
votes
11answers
47k views

Should I keep my swap file on an SSD drive?

I'm considering getting an SSD drive to run as the primary OS partition. As I understand, this should provide a substantial improvement in performance. My question is this: Should I leave the swap ...
67
votes
10answers
104k views

How can I identify what application is using a given file?

I'm trying to delete some folder but this error is preventing from doing it: Cannot delete [FileName]: It is being used by another person or program. Close any programs that might be using ...
67
votes
8answers
76k views

How can I add an item to the 'new' context menu?

When I right click anywhere I get an option to add a new file file a specified extension. I would like to add some custom files into this menu, so I can right click and create a new PHP file for ...
67
votes
10answers
85k views

Quick way to tell if an installed application is 64-bit or 32-bit

I've got a third-party application (in this case Cognos Data Manager) installed on 64-bit Windows Server 2003. Is there a quick way to determine if an application has been built/compiled as a 64-bit ...