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Questions tagged [windows]

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

961
votes
19answers
498k 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 ...
572
votes
9answers
756k 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 ...
546
votes
13answers
3.2m 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 the tools in How do I reset ...
435
votes
19answers
297k 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 ...
424
votes
14answers
534k 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 ...
423
votes
13answers
220k 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 ...
412
votes
5answers
1.1m 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 ...
396
votes
14answers
549k 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" icon?
385
votes
9answers
510k views

Can I delete 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. Can I delete these gigabytes of data without consequences? Are they ...
359
votes
22answers
363k 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 ...
355
votes
8answers
689k views

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

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 8.1/10? Tucking away the ...
350
votes
3answers
205k views

“directory junction” vs “directory symbolic link”?

In the context of NTFS: 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 ...
305
votes
10answers
276k 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 ...
301
votes
27answers
111k 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. ...
297
votes
18answers
820k views

How to download files from command line in Windows like wget or curl

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 ...
281
votes
21answers
148k 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 ...
269
votes
19answers
212k views

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

Is there an easy way to check if a binary is 32 or 64 bit on Windows? I need to check before I move the program to a 32bit machine and experience a spectacular failure.
268
votes
4answers
879k views

Why does virtualbox only have 32-bit option, no 64-bit option on Windows 7?

I have downloaded and installed the newest virtualbox 4.3.20 for my Windows 7 (64-bit OS), but when I want to install 64-bit Linux, the New->Create Virtual Machine only displays 32-bit option, no 64-...
265
votes
5answers
225k 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 ...
264
votes
14answers
545k 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?
257
votes
9answers
316k 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 ...
255
votes
20answers
505k 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 ...
251
votes
13answers
814k 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 (...
247
votes
10answers
27k 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 ...
243
votes
8answers
363k views

Keyboard language keeps changing in Windows 10

So I recently did a clean install of Windows 10 English. I configured it to have English UI language but Norwegian keyboard. I have several problems with that setup: The keyboard language keeps ...
242
votes
3answers
336k 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.
236
votes
7answers
461k views

How to read ext4 partitions on Windows?

Is there a way to read ext4 partitions from Windows? If so, what can I do?
220
votes
7answers
500k views

How to recursively delete directory from command line in windows?

What is the windows equivalent of rm -r [directory-name]?
208
votes
2answers
238k views

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

In a 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 ...
205
votes
9answers
665k views

How to rename the User folder in Windows 10?

After installing Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3 it took my user name 'Jeremy' and created a user folder named C:\Users\jerem. I want to rename the folder C:\Users\Jeremy. The procedure for Windows 8 ...
204
votes
10answers
44k 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 ...
204
votes
8answers
2.3m 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?
197
votes
8answers
361k 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 ...
196
votes
9answers
711k 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 ...
196
votes
3answers
34k views

On my Windows machine, I had a folder with a name of four dots that acted like some kind of rabbit hole - how did that happen?

The folder name was listed in File Explorer with just plain four dots ..... When I tried opening it, I came into some kind of endless rabbit hole loop where I opened the exact same folder again and ...
194
votes
4answers
129k views

How to automatically reload modified files in Notepad++

How can automatically reload modified files in Notepad++? The confirmation step is annoying, and is completely unnecessary in some situations.
191
votes
17answers
396k views

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

Do you know a good way to compare PDF files side-by-side and show the modifications between the two? I'm looking for Windows software to accomplish this. It would be great if you can post both free ...
190
votes
8answers
448k views

Setting and getting Windows environment variables from the command prompt?

I want to set an environment variable from the command prompt and then be able to access it globally (for instance, I should see it by going to System -> Environment Variables). When I use the set ...
185
votes
2answers
268k 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 ...
182
votes
15answers
226k 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 "unblock"...
180
votes
13answers
25k views

How can I provoke Windows to hang (freeze)?

I need to test equipment behaviour in the event that Windows hard hangs/freezes (e.g. frozen screen, no LEDs blinking, no reaction to inputs, including Ctrl+Alt+Del, etc.). In order to have enough ...
180
votes
6answers
105k 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 ...
175
votes
9answers
813k 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 ...
175
votes
11answers
98k 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 "necessary"...
172
votes
12answers
105k 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 ...
171
votes
5answers
24k 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?
168
votes
1answer
18k views

What is the purpose/function of “.ßßß” files?

While trying to copy the contents of a 16GB usb drive, I got a warning that there was not enough free space. Checking the properties of the folder tree on the usb drive, I found a large number of "....
166
votes
13answers
283k views

Windows 10 Search can't find ANY applications. Even calculator [duplicate]

I have problem with Windows 10 Enterprise N x64. When I press "Start" and start to type application name it never finds it. I can't even find applications like "Calculator", "Microsoft Word" or any ...
165
votes
15answers
273k 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 ...
163
votes
11answers
543k 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 ...