Questions tagged [windows]

For questions not specific to a single version of Microsoft Windows. Otherwise, use a more specific tag such as [windows-7], [windows-10] or [windows-11].

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464 votes
18 answers
318k 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 ...
304 votes
21 answers
163k 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 ...
175 votes
17 answers
287k 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 ...
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  • 3,960
30 votes
3 answers
31k views

How to get rights of admin after I disabled all admin accounts in my computer

I accidentally disabled my admin account. After I login to another account I found I can not get admin rights, because all admin accounts on my computer are disabled. I clicked on 'run as ...
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561 votes
13 answers
3.3m 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 ...
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92 votes
9 answers
36k views

Why does Windows only show about 3.5 GB of my 4 GB of RAM?

I recently upgraded my computer's RAM to 4 GB. My 32-bit Windows installation shows only 3574 MB of the memory. How can I make Windows use the full amount of RAM?
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  • 1,170
192 votes
7 answers
535k views

Troubleshoot High CPU usage by the "System" process

I have noticed that from some time my system is freezing and its probably caused by the high CPU usage which is caused by the system process. All applications I'm running is the Skype, TeamSpeak and ...
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  • 2,033
162 votes
16 answers
411k views

How can I read my hard drive’s SMART status in Windows 7?

How can I read the S.M.A.R.T. state of my HDDs while using Windows 7, either automatically or manually?
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42 votes
5 answers
31k views

Windows Starter Edition, Home and Home Premium do not include gpedit, how do I install it?

I want to make some changes to Windows that require using the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc). Unfortunately the Group Policy Editor is not included with the Starter Edition, Home and Home Premium ...
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  • 143k
178 votes
18 answers
430k 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 ...
178 votes
12 answers
119k 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 ...
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  • 23.5k
123 votes
9 answers
110k 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?
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74 votes
7 answers
68k 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.
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10 votes
3 answers
6k views

What is the most efficient, native way to image a Windows partition?

What is the most efficient, native way to image a Windows partition? Why is the native method generally the best method for most users? How does the native method differ from conventional cloning? ...
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  • 5,853
88 votes
9 answers
277k views

How can I remap a keyboard key?

One of my laptop's keys has fallen off. Is there any way I can remap another key to serve as that key? I'll 'sacrifice' the other key because I never use it.
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  • 1,843
420 votes
24 answers
492k 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 ...
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  • 8,804
111 votes
11 answers
13k 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. ...
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  • 21k
174 votes
19 answers
675k views

Run a batch file in a completely hidden way

I'm looking for some way to run a batch file (.bat) without anything visible to the user (no window, no taskbar name, .etc..). I don't want to use some program to do that, I'm looking for something ...
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134 votes
23 answers
362k views

How can I mass rename files?

I've got a bunch of files named with a the pattern 99 - DescriptiveName.txt and I'd like to remove the number from the front so I just have DescriptiveName.txt. How can I do this? Can I do it from ...
79 votes
17 answers
210k 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?
114 votes
4 answers
383k views

Windows 10 high memory usage (unknown reason)

A few days ago I updated my PC to Windows 10. However, after some use my PC started to slow down until it was impossible to use – it was due to high memory usage. After a restart, everything came back ...
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  • 1,243
87 votes
4 answers
150k 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 ...
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  • 1,048
135 votes
7 answers
65k views

How can I determine which process owns a hotkey in Windows?

Given a hotkey, how can I find which program owns it?
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  • 1,453
494 votes
17 answers
786k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 10.5k
135 votes
11 answers
149k 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 with 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 ...
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88 votes
37 answers
213k 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 ...
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the purpose of the DISM /RestoreHealth parameter and SFC?

What is the purpose of the DISM /RestoreHealth parameter and the SFC /ScanNow parameter? How do they correlate to one another? In what order should they be run? Why does the order sequence matter ...
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  • 5,853
16 votes
0 answers
7k views

How do I troubleshoot a Windows 7 freeze or slowness? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the first steps for diagnosing a slow machine? I have a new pc with windows 7 which freezes randomly. I hit every single key on the keyboard and it works again. Is ...
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183 votes
13 answers
356k views

How can I make the Windows VPN route selective traffic (by destination network)?

I want to use a Windows VPN but only for a particular network, so that it doesn't take over my entire network connection. e.g., Instead of the VPN becoming the default route, make it only the route ...
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  • 5,510
95 votes
6 answers
182k views

How does the Windows RENAME command interpret wildcards?

How does the Windows RENAME (REN) command interpret wildcards? The built in HELP facility is of no help - it doesn't address wildcards at all. The Microsoft technet XP online help isn't much better. ...
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  • 10.7k
82 votes
4 answers
139k views

Windows using too much RAM, how to diagnose resource hog

I have 16GB of system RAM. On startup with no applications open except the task-manager Windows is using about 3gb of RAM. I looked in the processes tab, but nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. ...
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  • 1,550
313 votes
10 answers
702k views

How to read ext4 partitions on Windows?

Is there a way to read ext4 partitions from Windows? If so, what can I do?
283 votes
10 answers
1.2m views

Using cd command in Windows command line, can't navigate to D:\

This may be a silly 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 the ...
user avatar
  • 6,465
173 votes
12 answers
624k views

How can I put the computer to sleep from Command Prompt/Run menu?

I know that almost everything on Windows, like opening any sort of application, can be done from the command prompt or from the Run menu. How can I put my computer to sleep or shut it down? What is ...
user avatar
  • 16.3k
61 votes
9 answers
46k views

Moving users folder on Windows Vista/7 to another partition

When I format the computer and reinstall Windows, my first step is move the My Documents folder to another partition. In Windows XP it wasn't enough because the desktop folder and another user folders ...
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  • 3,725
344 votes
7 answers
1.3m 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-...
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  • 4,013
420 votes
10 answers
1.6m 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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,800
7 votes
2 answers
12k views

How to force the deletion of a locked file that has no locking handle on Windows?

When I try to delete the file, using the GUI it says The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program And using the del /f /q command line it says Access is denied ...
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  • 73
43 votes
3 answers
93k views

How to diagnose slow booting or logon in Windows? [duplicate]

When I start my PC, it boots into Windows (Windows 7 32-bit) quite happily, I login and the main Windows screen appears. At that point, however, the system is extremely unresponsive for up to 5 ...
user avatar
28 votes
5 answers
53k views

Installing Windows XP from USB pen drive

I want to install Windows XP on my desktop computer (only XP), but my CD drive is not working. I've only found installation tutorials on how to install it on the pen drive rather than from the pen ...
user avatar
13 votes
6 answers
35k views

Are the Command Prompt and MS-DOS the same thing?

I argued with my friend that the Command Prompt is just a GUI version of MS-DOS which works in the Windows forms environment. He totally disagrees with me. Who is right?
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397 votes
14 answers
551k 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?
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207 votes
7 answers
119k 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 ...
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  • 3,173
27 votes
6 answers
69k views

Starting scheduled task by detecting connection of USB device

I know it has been discussed that it is not possible to start an application from an usb drive upon connection due to limitations of autorun (or autoplay??) in Win 7. But it is possible to create a ...
user avatar
  • 438
18 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why is the effective hard drive size lower than the actual size?

I just got a new Lenovo Laptop which has been installed with Windows 7 and is supposed to have 250 GB hard disk. Windows 7 reports that the hard disk drive has two parts: 221 GB C: and 9.76 GB ...
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  • 16.3k
48 votes
22 answers
9k views

Software to backup data and files on a Windows computer [closed]

I have data and files on my system, running Windows, and want to make sure that I don't lose all the data or information when it gets toasted, either by a power surge or corrupted medium. I've heard ...
54 votes
3 answers
351k views

Why don’t I have the Get Windows 10 icon?

I want to get Windows 10, but I do not see this icon in the notification area (tray): How do I get the icon to get Windows 10?
user avatar
  • 553
50 votes
9 answers
59k views

Why can't I name a folder or file 'CON' in Windows?

In all versions of Windows, we are unable to rename a file or a folder name as CON without third-party file renaming software. Trying to do this in Windows 7 results in an error: The specified ...
user avatar
  • 572
1081 votes
12 answers
1.4m 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 ...
user avatar
  • 19.4k
139 votes
9 answers
193k views

Is it safe to delete from C:\Windows\Installer?

I've been looking on an XP machine what is using all that diskspace, and it turns out C:\Windows\Installer is high up there on the list of directories that use the most diskspace. It seems to contain ...
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