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How to Find Out Which Build and Version of Windows 10 You Have

October 9, 2017 by softkeyhome  

You may not have really thought about Windows build numbers in the past unless it was part of your job to do so. But they've become more important with Windows 10. Here's how to find out what build-and edition and version-of Windows 10 you're running.

Windows has always used build numbers. They represent significant updates to Windows. Traditionally, most people have referred to Windows based on the major, named version they're using-Windows Vista, 7, 8, and so on. Within those versions, we also had service packs to refer to: Windows 7 Service Pack 1, for example.

With Windows 10, things have changed a bit. For one thing, Microsoft claims there will be no more new versions of Windows-Windows 10 is here to stay. Microsoft has also done away with service packs, instead moving to releasing two big builds each year and giving them fun names-the next big one being the Creator's Update in Spring, 2017. If you really need to refer to a specific version of Windows, though, it's easiest to refer to it by its build number. Microsoft has hidden the build number somewhat in an attempt to make Windows 10 look always-up-to-date, but it's not hard to find.

Note: In addition to builds, there also are still different editions of Windows 10-Home, Professional, Enterprise, and so on-with different features. Microsoft is also still offering both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 10, as well.

Find Your Edition, Build Number, and More with the Settings App

The new Settings app also offers build, edition, and version information in a user-friendly form. Hit Windows+I to open Settings. In the Settings window, navigate to System > About. Scroll down a bit and you'll see the information you're after.

Navigate to System > About and scroll down. You'll see the "Version" and "Build" numbers here.

How to Upgrade From Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional

If you're not sure which device driver or update Windows just installed that might be causing you problems, you can view the list of installed updates. You'll see a list of updates and the dates they were installed here. If you want to work with a file in Windows, you'll have to save the file from your Windows file system with the save option. If need some help you can check softkeyhome.co.ukto find windows product key online with the lowest price.

Edition. This line tells you which edition of Windows 10 you're using-Home, Professional, Enterprise, or Education. If you're using Home and you'd like to upgrade to Professional, you can upgrade to the Professional edition from within Windows 10. Switching to Windows 10 Enterprise or Education editions will require a complete reinstall and a special key that isn't made available to normal home Windows users.

Version. The version number gives you the best information on what version of Windows 10 you're running. The number is based on the date of the most recent large build release and uses a YYMM format. For example, in the screenshot above, the "1607" version tells us that the version we're running is from the 7th month (July) of 2016. That's the big Anniversary Update of Windows 10. When the Creator's Update comes along in (probably) April of 2017, you could expect that version to be 1704.

OS Build. This line shows the specific operating system build you're running. It gives you sort of a timeline of minor build releases in between the major version number releases. In the screenshot above, the "14393.693" build was actually the 13th build released after version 1607 shipped in July, 2016. This information is somewhat less important to most people than the major version numbers, but it can still help you identify exactly what you're running. If you're curious, you can check out the whole history of versions and builds for Windows 10 on Microsoft's TechNet site.

System Type. This line tells you whether you're using the 32-bit version of Windows 10 or the 64-bit version. It also tells you whether your PC is compatible with the 64-bit version or not. For example, "64-bit operating system, x64-based processor" indicates you're using a 64-bit version of Windows 10 on a 64-bit processor. "32-bit operating system, x64-based processor" indicates you're using a 32-bit version of Windows 10, but you could install the 64-bit version on your hardware if you preferred.

Find Your Edition and Build Number with the Winver Dialog

You can also use the old standby Windows Version (winver) tool to find some of this information. Hit Start, type "winver," and then press Enter. You could also press Windows Key + R, type "winver" into the Run dialog, and press Enter.

The second line in the "About Windows" box tells you which version and build of Windows 10 you have. Remember, the version number is in the form YYMM-so 1607 means the 7th month of 2016. A couple of lines down, you'll see the edition of Windows 10 you're using-Windows 10 Pro in our example.

The "About Windows" box does not show whether you're using a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows 10, but it does give you a quicker way to check your version and build than navigating through the Settings app.

How to Switch Windows Sound Outputs With a Hotkey

September 29, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Windows is great at a lot of things. Handling its sound devices is not one of them. Despite the fact that most desktop PCs come with multiple sound output options (standard stereo, surround, front and rear, and so on), it's still a pain to actually switch between them. Let's see if we can change that.

The Old-Fashioned Way

Before you try to switch sound output the easy way, you need to know how to do it the hard way, if only to familiarize yourself with how Windows structures its sound options. From the Windows 7, 8, or 10 desktop, right-click the volume button in the taskbar, then click "playback devices." If you're in Tablet Mode, go to the main "Settings" menu, then search for "Sound" and click the result with the speaker icon.

This brings you to the Sound menu with the Playback tab highlighted. Here you'll see a list of all your available sound outputs-desktop PCs probably have a few, laptop PCs generally have only one, plus any extra sound devices added via USB.

In the image below, you can see my main desktop speakers on the built-in Realtek sound card, and my USB-based Logitech headset. The green checkmark indicates that the Realtek speakers are my current output device, while the Logitech gets a green phone icon because it's the default communication device.

The Realtek speakers are currently outputting system sounds since they're set to default. To change over to the Logitech headset, right-click on it, then click "set as default device." This will make the headset the default for both sound output and communication.

Obviously, opening up this menu and manually changing from the speakers to the headset every time you want to switch is less than efficient, especially if you're frequently changing for games or conferences. Below are some better alternatives. But before we continue, you might want to rename some of your devices if Windows has given them identical names.

Right-click on a device and click "Properties," where you can rename it to whatever you like. I'll change my Logitech headset from "Speakers" (which is less than helpful) to "Headset."

The Fast Way: Create a Hotkey with SoundSwitch

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SoundSwitch is a free program that sits in your Windows taskbar and waits for a command to switch your sound output. It's perfect for gamers like me, since I frequently switch between the stereo speakers on my desktop and my Logitech headset for multiplayer games. You can download the program from its developer here.

Step One: Install the Program

Simply double-click the installer to begin the process. Follow the on-screen instructions, as usual. At the completion dialog, select "Launch SoundSwitch."

Step Two: Adjust Sources

SoundSwitch is now running, but it's not a full windowed program, it's down in your taskbar notification area. If you don't see it, expand the notifications, then right-click the new speaker icon and click "Settings."

On this page, you'll see the default Playback devices. Select all the ones that you want to switch between by checking them on the list-you can have just two or any amount more. Then put in the hotkey you'd like to use to cycle through them in the field at the bottom. I've chosen Ctrl+Alt+F1, but you can have just about any common combination. Click "Close" when you're done.

Now whenever you press your hotkey, you'll toggle through your sound outputs (or cycle them if you have more than two). You can set up a separate hotkey in the Recording tab if you have multiple sound inputs as well.

Alternate Method: Set Up Multiple Hotkeys With NirCmd

NirCmd is a freeware tool that allows users to create shortcuts to a lot of common Windows functions, like turning off the monitors or adjusting the volume. Everything is controlled with syntax and expressions, which can be a bit unwieldy, but NirCmd opens up a lot more customization options than SoundSwitch. You can download it here.

Step One: Extract NirCmd

NirCmd is a portable app, so you don't have to install it, you just have to store the folder somewhere safe. Extract the NirCmd folder somewhere easy to access-put it on the desktop if you're just testing this method.

Step Two: Create the First Shortcut

In the new NirCmd folder, right-click the nircmd.exe application and then click Send To > Desktop (create shortcut). Go back to the Desktop folder to see it.

Step Three: Modify the Shortcut Command

Right-click the new shortcut and click "Properties." Now we're going to append the shortcut with a command for the NirCmd application that tells it to assign one of your sound devices to the default. Open up the Sound menu on the Playback tab (see above) to get the name of the device you'll need.

How to Set Up and Get Started with Your Synology NAS

September 26, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Synology offers a very user friendly Network Attached Storage (NAS) device experience, but that doesn't mean unboxing it and starting it up is exactly a one-click affair. Let's get things up and running so we can move onto all the fun projects a compact NAS with server-like functionality can facilitate.

What Is a Synology NAS?

Synology is a company, founded in 2000, specializing in Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. A NAS, simply put, is a computer optimized for data storage, often with additional functionality layered on top. Synology has two primary product lines, DiskStation and RackStation, with the former intended for home users and small offices and the latter intended for larger commercial environments.

The DiskStation models range in size from simple one-bay models (starting at around $150) that offer a non-redundant place to park your data, all the way up to larger models that support 12 drives (starting at around $1000+) with support for advanced multi-disk redundancy and even expansion via auxillary disk bays. Between the two ends of the size spectrum, they can effectively cover the home use needs of everyone from the "I need to backup my family photos" crowd to the "I need to back up the entire internet" crowd.

DiskStation models come with a propriety Linux-derived operating system, known as DiskStation Manager. DiskStation Manager comes with a very intuitive web-based interface that feels like you're using a desktop computer, complete with easy to identify icons, well laid out menus, and abundant help files. In addition to core NAS features like file management, you can add a large array of custom plugins that handle things like organizing your family photos, torrenting files, and everything in between. The end result is a multi-function device that can perform the tasks of a full size computer, but without the energy consumption. (Even the beefiest DiskStation models consume less than half what a desktop computer or full size home server would.)

Let's look at the setup process for the Synology DS916+, a four-bay model with plenty storage room and plenty of memory and processing power (including on-the-fly video transcoding for home streaming applications). It's a great model to showcase the setup process, as it sports the additional ports and such found on the larger models but still shares the same operating system found on all DiskStation models.

The Physical Setup: Fill, Plug In, Boot, and Enjoy the Silence

Your Synology NAS comes with a power cable, an Ethernet cable, drive mounting screws, and, if you have a higher end model, it may also come with hot-swap drive bay trays, and a second Ethernet cable (the high end DiskStations support dual network cards for increased network throughput). Before we take a look at the actual unit and how to fill it up, let's talk about disk selection.

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Hard Drive Selection

For an optimum NAS experience, we recommend starting with new drives, in the largest size your budget will allow. For our purposes we'll be using 8TB Western Digital Red drives, which are specifically designed for NAS use where operation is projected to be around the clock in a tight space. Regardless of the brand of hard drives you go with, you want to, at minimum, avoid budget or desktop drives and stick with server/NAS drives.

If you're contemplating what size drives to use (or the effects of mixing different size drives), we highly recommend Synology's easy to use drag-and-drop RAID calculator to help visualize how different drive combinations yield different amounts of usable space.

Synology uses a custom RAID setup called Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR)-seen as the selected option in the screenshot above-designed to keep your drives redundant. That means you'll need more drives, but if one fails, you won't lose any data, because it'll be mirrored on another drive. You can read more about RAID here, if you aren't familiar with it.

Even if you're familiar with basic RAID terminology, though, you're likely not familiar with Synolgy's Hybrid RAID setup if you haven't used Synology products before. It is a superior option for almost every consumer scenario, hands down. It offers more flexibility than traditional RAID, it's much easier to expand your storage in the future if you use it, and it makes radically more efficient use of disk space when the disk array doesn't have perfectly matched drives. Don't take our word for it though-if you want to dive into the technical breakdown between SHR and RAID, you can read up on it here.

Adding the Drives

Let's take a look at the case with the removable cover off, and then pop (and populate) the drive bays. To remove the face plate, simply wiggle it away from the chassis of the NAS. The plate is held in place by thick rubber fingers (designed to help silence vibration) and should come off easily with a first touch.

Note the tabs at the top of each drive bay. Simply push the tab gentle upwards and slide the tray out. Although tray screws are included with all the models (some of the more economical models in the Synology line don't have drive trays and require direct mounting of drives via screws), you don't need to use them on the hot-swap trays. While you can do so if you're really set in your ways, it's much better to use the hard drives in their trays without the screws by gently pulling off the side guards (seen below), pushing the hard drive into the tray, and then snapping the side guards back into place. (The only exception for the use of screws on the hot-swap trays is with the use of 2.5″ drives-you have to screw mount them to keep them from sliding around.)

The hard drives are held very firmly in place thanks to rubber grommets in the side of the trays, and the lack of hard contact between the drive and the tray (thanks to the rubber buffer) does an amazing job minimizing vibration. Once you've trayed all your drives, slide them back into the NAS.

Where to Park Your NAS

With the drives in your NAS, it's time to take a peek at the back of the NAS to see where everything will be plugged in, and talk briefly about where you'll place it in your home. First, here's the backside.

On this particular model you'll find a power jack, two LAN ports, an eSATA port, two USB ports (which can be used both for storage expansion and backup as well as using your Synology as a print server), and, of course, the cooling fans. Why two LAN ports on the larger premium models? If you're using those models in a high-demand environment (e.g. your Synology is the file server for a large household or organization that is accessing the NAS simultaneously) you can use both LAN connections for a significant throughput boost. This kind of arrangement shines when multiple people are all streaming HD video at once but is less important if you're the only one streaming video to a single destination.

With that in mind let's talk about NAS placement. Wherever you place the NAS it should be, ideally, a cooler area of your home (ground floor and basements are great, stuffy attic guestrooms are not) with hardline access to your router or network switch. If you're a mostly-wireless household, this means you may be limited to placing your NAS next to wherever the router is installed.

How to Prevent Programs From Stealing Focus in Windows

September 18, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Ever been annoyed by a program that pops up in front of what you're doing, without you clicking or tapping on anything? In other words... without your permission?

It's called stealing focus, and it's a lot like being photobombed, right on your computer screen!

Sometimes focus stealing is due to malicious programming by the software [developer] that's doing it. Most of the time, however, it's just buggy software or operating system behavior that you'll need to pin down and try to fix or avoid.

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Tip: In early versions of Windows, most notably in Windows XP, there was actually a setting that either allowed or prevented programs from stealing focus. See More on Stealing Focus in Windows XP below the troubleshooting steps.

Note: Focus stealing was certainly more of a problem in older versions of Windows like Windows XP but it can and does happen in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista as well.

If you're not comfortable making manual changes to the Windows Registry yourself, a program from Microsoft called Tweak UI can do it for you. You can download it for free here. Once installed, head to Focus under the General area and check the box to Prevent applications from stealing focus.

Honestly, though, if you're careful, the registry-based process explained above is perfectly safe and effective. You can always use the backup you made to restore the registry if things don't work out.

How to See Your Windows Desktop on a TV with Chromecast

September 13, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Why Cast?

Hooking a PC up to a television used to be a pain. It required using cables, and an understanding of how to adjust your computer's output for the right resolution to match your TV. You can still go down that route with an HDMI cable if you need to, and these days most of the resolution work will be done for you. But there's a far easier way to see a lot of content from your PC on a TV using a Chromecast.

Google's $35 HDMI dongle is an affordable alternative to set-top boxes like Apple TV and Roku. Primarily, the Chromecast allows you to view all kinds of content a TV including YouTube, Netflix, games, and Facebook videos all controlled from a mobile device.

But the Chromecast also helps you put two basic items from any PC running Chrome onto your TV: a browser tab or the full desktop. This feature works with the Chrome browser on any PC platform that supports it including Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux, and Google's Chrome OS.

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What is Casting?

Casting is a method of sending content wirelessly to your television, but it works in two different ways. You can Cast content from a service that supports it like YouTube, which is actually telling Chromecast to go to the online source (YouTube) and fetch a particular video to play it on the TV. The device that told Chromecast to do that (your phone, for example) then becomes a remote control to play, pause, fast forward, or choose another video.

When you cast from your PC, however, you are mostly streaming content from your desktop to your TV over a local network with no help from an online service. That is very different since streaming from a desktop relies on the computing power of your home PC, while streaming YouTube or Netflix relies on the cloud.

The difference between the two approaches and why they're important will become obvious when we discuss streaming video later on.

First Steps

Before you do anything, it's important to make sure both the Chromecast and your computer are on the same Wi-Fi network. Each PC has its various quirks for discovering which Wi-Fi network you're on. In general, however, look for the Wi-Fi icon on your desktop (in Windows it's on the lower right, and in Mac the upper right). Click that icon and look for the name of the Wi-Fi network.

To check the Chromecast, open the Google Home app on your phone, which is required to manage the device. Tap on the "hamburger" menu icon in the upper left corner, and from the pop out menu select Devices.

On the next page, look for the nickname of the Chromecast (mine is Living Room, for example), and tap the three horizontal dots and select Settings. Next, you'll see the "Device settings" screen, make sure the name under "Wi-Fi" matches the network your PC is connected to.

Casting a Tab

Now let's cast a tab. Open Chrome on your computer, and navigate to the website you want to display on your TV. Next, select the menu icon (three horizontal dots) in the upper right corner. From the drop down menu that appears select Cast...

A small window will appear in the center of the tab you've got open with the names of any Cast-friendly devices you have on your network such as a Chromecast or Google Home smart speaker.

Before you pick your device, however, click on the downward facing arrow at the top. Now the small window says Select source. Choose Cast tab, and then select the nickname of the Chromecast. When it's connected, the window will say "Chrome Mirroring" along with a volume slider and the name of the tab you've got open.

Look up at your TV and you'll see the tab taking up the entire screen--though usually in letterbox mode to keep the viewing ratio correct.

Once a tab is casting you can navigate to a different website and it will keep displaying whatever is on that tab. To stop casting, just close the tab or click on the Chromecast icon in your browser to the right of the address bar--it's blue. That will bring back the "Chrome Mirroring" window we saw earlier. Now click Stop in the lower right corner.

What Tab Casting Works Well For

Casting a Chrome tab is ideal for anything that's mostly static such as vacation photos stashed in Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. It's also good for viewing a website at a larger scale, or even for displaying a presentation PowerPoint online or Google Drive's Presentation web app.

What it doesn't work as well for is video. Well, kind of. If you are using something that already supports casting like YouTube it will work just fine. But that's because the Chromecast can grab YouTube directly from the Internet, and your tab becomes a remote control for YouTube on the TV. In other words, it is no longer broadcasting its tab to the Chromecast.

Non-Chromecast supporting content like Vimeo and Amazon Prime Video is a little more problematic. In this case, you are streaming content directly from your browser tab to your television. To be honest, this doesn't work well. It's barely watchable, because you have to expect short stutters and skips as part of the bargain.

It's easy for Vimeo fans to fix this. Instead of casting from a PC tab, use the service's mobile apps for Android and iOS, which do support Chromecast. Amazon Prime Video does not currently support Chromecast; however, you can get Prime Video on your TV via a similar device to the Chromecast, Amazon's $40 Fire TV Stick.

Casting Your Desktop

Displaying your entire computer desktop on your TV via Chromecast is very similar to what we did with the tab. Once again, click on the three vertical dots menu icon in the upper right corner and select Cast. The window will pop-up in the middle of your display again. Click the downward facing arrow and then select Cast desktop and then choose your Chromecast's nickname from the device list.

After a few seconds, your desktop will be casting. If you have a multi-monitor display set-up, Chromecast will ask you to choose the screen you want to display on the Chromecast. Choose the correct screen, click Share and then after a few seconds the correct display will appear on your TV.

One issue particular to desktop casting is that when you cast your entire desktop, your computer's audio comes along with it. If you don't want that to happen, either turn off whatever audio is playing on your desktop—iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc.—or turn down the volume using the slider in the Chrome Mirroring window.

To stop casting the desktop, click the blue Chromecast icon in your browser, and when the "Chrome Mirroring" window appears click Stop.

What It's Good For

Casting your desktop is very similar to casting a tab. It works well for static items like a slideshow of photos saved to your hard drive or a PowerPoint presentation. Just as with the tab, however, casting video isn't great. If you want to play a video on your television using something saved on your TV, I'd suggest either hooking up your PC directly via HDMI or using a service built for streaming video over your home Wi-Fi network such as Plex.

Casting Services Like Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook Video

Not a ton of services support native casting from the PC version of the web to the Chromecast. This is because a lot of services have already built it into their mobile apps on Android and iOS and haven't bothered with laptops and desktops.

Regardless, some services do support casting from the PC notably Google's own YouTube, videos on Facebook, and Netflix. To cast from these services, start playing a video and with the player controls you'll see the casting icon--the outline of a display with a Wi-Fi symbol in the corner. Click that, and the small window appears once again in your browser tab, select the nickname for your Chromecast device, and the casting begins.

That's all there is to casting from your PC. It's a quick-and-easy way to get content from your PC to your television.

How to use Bluetooth peripherals with Windows 8

September 11, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Many Windows 8 users have reported problems with keyboards and mouses that connect via Bluetooth. Our Helproom Expert advises one reader.

QUESTION My Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 worked fine with a Belkin Bluetooth dongle until I decided to dual-boot the Microsoft Windows 8 Developer Preview. The Bluetooth drivers don't load in the new OS until after Windows has itself loaded, so I'm unable to press Enter to boot into Windows 8 directly, F2 to enter the Bios or F8 for Safe mode. Wireless keyboards that come with a dedicated Bluetooth dongle don't have this problem - how can I get around it on mine? Alok Modi

HELPROOM ANSWER Many other users have reported the same issue with this keyboard. The short answer is that you probably won't be able to make it work in the way you would like.

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Your PC's Bios doesn't have built-in support for Bluetooth devices. Until the operating system has started up and the Windows drivers have loaded, there can be no communication between your Bluetooth keyboard and the PC.

When a Bluetooth keyboard is bundled with a USB adaptor, the two items are designed to work together to get around this problem. This often involves the Bluetooth adaptor itself managing a wireless connection with the keyboard, and then tricking the PC into thinking it's a standard USB keyboard. Once the OS has loaded the adaptor can switch to full Bluetooth mode, often enabling additional functions.

It may be possible to get your keyboard to work in Bios mode by purchasing a new dongle that's able to spoof the USB protocols to the PC and set up its own Bluetooth pairing with the keyboard. However, we don't know of a device that's capable of functioning in this way with the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000.

The cheapest solution would appear to be to buy a budget USB keyboard (possibly a compact mini model for convenience), which you can use for those rare occasions when you need to access the Bios or Safe mode.

Small cumulative update heads out to Windows 10 Anniversary Update PCs

September 7, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Microsoft has another batch of fixes on the way for Windows 10 users still on the Anniversary Update.

Another cumulative update is on its way out to Windows 10 PCs, but only for those who haven't made the jump from the Anniversary Update just yet. In fact, this is the second cumulative update to be released outside of the typical Patch Tuesday schedule for Anniversary Update PCs in August. Unlike last time, however, the changes in this latest update are much fewer in number (via Neowin).

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Here's a look at the full release notes for cumulative update KB4039396 (build 14393.1670):

Addressed issue where Update History and hidden updates are lost and a full scan for updates happens after installing OS Updates 14393.1532 through 14393.1613, including KB4034658. Installing this update will not restore past update history or hidden updates for users who have already installed the listed updates. However, this current update will address this issue for users who have not yet installed them.

Addressed issue with WSUS update metadata processing that can cause some clients to time out with a 0x8024401c error.

There are no known issues to be aware of with this update. If you happen to have a PC that hasn't made the jump to the Creators Update just yet, you should be able to grab these changes via Windows Update now. The update can also be grabbed manually via Microsoft's Update Catalog.

How to remove Windows password login in Windows 10

September 5, 2017 by softkeyhome  

Part of the reason tablets became so popular is the fact they are always-on - no waiting for Windows to load, and no needing to enter your password every single time you wanted to use them.

Well, tablets are great, but depending on the situation at hand sometimes you just need a PC or laptop. And you still want it to load quickly. That shouldn't be too much to ask.

You can increase the speed at which Windows loads firstly by removing unnecessary startup programs. A second step - and one to take only if you're pretty sure your computer won't fall into the wrong hands - is to remove the additional step of needing to enter a password for Windows.

Removing the Windows password login is a simple case of unchecking a box in the User Account settings. Here's how to access that option in Windows 10, though the process is similar in other versions.

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Removing the Windows password login in User Accounts

• Type netplwiz in the Start menu search bar, then click the top result to run the command

• Untick the box next to 'Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer' and hit 'Apply'

• Enter your username and password, then re-enter your password. Click 'OK'

• Click 'OK' again to save the changes

To reactivate Windows password login just return to this settings menu and tick the box next to 'Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer'.


Your feedback is helping shape Windows privacy

August 14, 2017 by softkeyhome  

In April, we outlined significant enhancements made to the Windows 10 Creators Update that put you in more control to make informed decisions about your privacy.

Those enhancements included improving in-product information, updates to the Microsoft privacy statement, and publishing more information about the diagnostic data we collect.

Since then, feedback we've received about the Creators Update has been positive. This is great news to us because what we hear from you directly impacts the improvements we make.

For example, 71 percent of customers are selecting Full diagnostics data to help us fix things and improve Microsoft products. While your direct feedback like, "The privacy settings added to clean installs are a boon for the privacy minded," and "Very well done," is great to hear, we know there is still work to do to meet and anticipate the expectations across our diverse customer base and provide you with the best privacy experience possible.

We've also seen a positive reception to the web-based privacy dashboard which allows you to see and control your activity data across multiple Microsoft services. Announced back in January, the privacy dashboard has been visited by more than 23 million people on accounts.microsoft.com.

With more than 500 million devices running Windows 10, the opportunity to refine our approach to privacy and implement your feedback is exciting. We are also ensuring Windows 10 is compliant with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect in 2018. Fundamentally, the GDPR is about protecting and respecting an individual's privacy rights and Microsoft's enduring commitment to trust is well aligned through the privacy principles that shape the way we build our products and services.

For those of you who participate in the Windows Insiders Program, you can expect to see some of the privacy changes showing up in Insider builds in the coming weeks, and we welcome your feedback in helping us make create the best Windows ever.

I look forward to a continued dialogue and thank you for your feedback - please keep it coming!

Computer Speakers Not Working – Windows 7 key

August 11, 2017 by softkeyhome  

If your computer speakers, sound card (or headphones) are not working in Windows, it can only be one of three things:

Corrupt, missing or outdated audio or USB device drivers.

Bad mini-jacks, USB motherboard port or third-party connector.

Broken hardware – speakers, headphones or sound card.

When troubleshooting PC audio problems, it's best to use a "process or elimination" starting with the simple stuff first. Let's go through the list in order so we can find out what the source of your sound problem is.


Fixing Windows Speaker Problems:

Ok, first things first. Let's check to see if it's your actual speakers or headphones that are the problem:

This might sound stupid, but make sure your volume is actually turned up on your device and that you don't have your Windows audio settings muted. You can check the bottom right corner of your computer screen next to your date/time settings and click on the speaker icon. Make sure the volume is turned up :)


Don't worry if you don't see a speaker icon. This is an optional setting to display, and not every Windows computer will have it in the system tray. You can still check it under your Windows control panel.


Unplug your speakers or headphones.

Check and make sure the connectors are in good shape (not frayed or loose).

Plug them into another PC and check if you can hear sound.

If your speakers or headphones work on another computer, then we know that it is not a problem with your actual hardware (speakers/headphones). Let's move on to the next step.