Geeks in Phoenix

Geek Blog


How to use Windows with only a keyboard

Have you ever had to use your Windows-based computer with only a keyboard? Do you think it is even possible? Here is how to navigate Windows using only a keyboard.

How to use Windows with only a keyboard

The idea for this article came to me the other day when I remembered one of my first computers. It was running Windows 3 and only had a keyboard for input. It was not easy, to say the least. But once I got used to all the different keys, I could get around Windows 3 pretty well.

So I was wondering, could I do the same with Windows 10 or Windows 11? And since I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts already, this should be pretty easy. I will admit that it was hard not to reach for the mouse at the beginning, as I had to relearn what keys to use and where to use them. But it all started returning to me once I remembered how the keyboard keys were arranged in groups.

There are five (5) groups of keys, and you will find four (4) on both desktop and laptop keyboards. They are Control, Function, Navigation, and Typing, and the fifth group is the Numeric keypad, which some laptops do not have.

Windows keyboard key groups

As you can see from the image above, there are Control keys on the left and right sides of the keyboard. Typically, both sides have an Alt, Windows logo, and Ctrl keys, the left side has the Esc, and the right side sometimes has an Application key.

The Function keys are on top of the Typing keys with the Navigation keys to the right. The Numeric keypad (if your keyboard has one) is located on the right side.

So the best way I could think of showing you how to use just a keyboard for Windows is to create a video. The computer in this video has a keystroke visualizer which displays on-screen the keys on the keyboard being pressed.

Here are some commonly used keyboard key combinations that help when using only a keyboard with Windows. At the bottom of this article, you will find links to more Windows keyboard shortcuts.

Press To
Windows logo key Open Start menu
Ctrl + A Select all
Ctrl + C Copy
Ctrl + X Cut
Ctrl + V Paste
Ctrl + Z Undo
Alt Moves the focus of the keyboard to the menu bar of the active program
Alt + F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program
Alt + Enter Displays the properties of the selected object
Alt + Spacebar Opens the shortcut menu for the active window
Alt + Tab Switch between open items
Alt + Esc Cycle through items in the order they were opened
Esc Cancel the current task
Tab Move forward through options
Tab + Shift Move backward through options
Enter Carry out the command for the active option or button

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

General keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

How to edit autofill passwords in Windows and your browser

Are you having problems with a username and password not working in your favorite browser? Or maybe the credentials for a network resource. Here is how to edit or remove autofill passwords in Windows and your favorite browser.

How to edit autofill passwords in Windows and your browser

Nothing is more frustrating than having your browser or Windows autofill a form with the wrong password. And since passwords are hidden, you are lucky if there is a preview button to check it before trying to use it. And if it is a password used by Windows, you may not even get prompted for a password.

And you know what is worst? A company website that uses multiple servers, and each has credentials that are saved. For example, say GIP runs a bank and we have five (5) servers that handle the website traffic.

Now the servers are networked, so when a user goes to the website, the server they get to is entirely random. One day it might be server1, the next day, server5. But the credentials (username/password) are the same for all servers since they are networked.

But your browser and Windows see things differently. They know each server as a separate website and will save usernames and passwords for each server. So as you check the autofill passwords, you may find multiple servers for a domain (server1.example.com, server2.example.com, etc.).

So in this article, I will show you how to edit or remove saved autofill passwords in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Windows. Each browser and Windows saves different types of information with their autofill functions.

Note: Edit autofill properties at your own risk. Remember that once any autofill data has been changed, there is no way of getting it back.

Before proceeding, you may need two (2) pieces of information, your current username and password / PIN, for logging on to your computer. Some browsers will require you to input your computer credentials before allowing you to edit the autofill passwords. Let's start with the browsers.

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome and left-click on the three (3) vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
    The Google Chrome options menu with Settings highlighted
  2. From the menu that appears, left-click on Settings.
    The Autofill section of Google Chrome
  3. On the Settings page, left-click on the Autofill category in the left-hand column.

The Autofill page is divided into Passwords, Payment methods, and Addresses. You can add, edit or remove any or all autofill data stored inside Chrome. If you left-click on Passwords, you will find all of the autofill passwords that have been saved.

It is here that you can configure Chrome to offer to save passwords and automatically sign in to a website or app. If autofill has saved any passwords, they will be listed below, and left-clicking on the Show password button (which looks like an eye) will reveal that password. Depending on your computer's security, you may be prompted for your username and password/PIN.

You will find the More actions button to the right of the Show password button (three vertical dots). If you left-click on it, a context menu appears with the following options; Copy password, Edit password, and Remove.

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Microsoft Edge and left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner.
    The Microsoft Edge options menu with Settings highlighted
  2. From the menu that appears, left-click on Settings.
    The Profile section of Microsoft Edge
  3. On the Settings page, left-click on the Profiles category in the left-hand column.

In the right-hand column, there are several sections, but the only ones that contain autofill data are Personal info (name, address, custom fields, etc.), Passwords, and Payment info. Left-click on the Passwords section, and you will find all autofill passwords that have been saved.

It is here that you can configure Edge to offer to save passwords and automatically sign in to a website or app. If autofill has saved any passwords, they will be listed below, and left-clicking on the Show password button (which looks like an eye) will reveal that password. Depending on your computer's security, you may be prompted for your username and password/PIN.

You will find the More actions button to the right of the Show password button (three horizontal dots). If you left-click on it, a context menu appears with the following options; Change, Copy password, Edit, Delete and Ignore health.

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Firefox and left-click on the three horizontal bars in the upper-right hand corner.
    The Mozilla Firefox options menu with Settings highlighted
  2. From the menu that appears, left-click on Settings.
    The Privacy and Security section of Mozilla Firefox
  3. From the Settings page, left-click on the Privacy & Security category.

Scroll down the right-hand column, and you will find two (2) sections; Logins and Passwords and Forms and Autofill. Logins and Passwords contain, you guessed it, user credentials. And Forms and Autofill include addresses and credit cards.

Under Logins and Passwords, you will find a button labeled Saved Logins. Left-click on it, and you will find a list in the left-hand column of all the autofill logins that Firefox has saved. Highlight a login in the left-hand column, and the details appear in the right-hand column.

Along the top of the login details are two (2) options; Edit and Remove. Below you will find the username and password. To the right of the password is a view button (which looks like an eye).

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Credential Manager inside of Windows 11

To edit saved autofill credentials in Windows 10 or Windows 11, you will need to use Credential Manager. It is pretty well hidden, and that is for a reason, as it contains all of your Windows and web credentials. So what are your Windows credentials? Let me explain.

Let's say you have two (2) computers on the same network and set up shared folders. When you set up the network share, Windows prompts you for the username and password for a user of that computer.

If you choose to have Windows save the network credentials, guess where it will get stored, the Credential Manager. This is also where login credentials are stored for accessing FTP sites with File Explorer.

Credential Manager is located in the Control Panel under User Accounts but can be quickly accessed by performing a search.

  1. Left-click on the magnifying glass to the right of the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Search dialog box.
  2. In the Search dialog box, type Credential Manager.
  3. Left-click on Credential Manager (Control Panel) in the search results.

Or you can access Credential Manager from the Control Panel.

How to get to the Control Panel in Windows 10

How to get to the Control Panel in Windows 11

Once the Credential Manager is open, you will find two (2) types of data that are stored: Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. Before proceeding, it is recommended that you create a backup of your Windows credentials using the Back up Credentials link on that page. Remember that there will be some entries you do not recognize, so only edit credentials you are having problems with.

How to check the health of the drive in your Windows computer

Would it be nice if you knew when the drive in your computer was starting to fail? That way, you would have time to back it up and replace it. Well, there is, and here is how to check the health of your Windows-based computer drive.

How to check the health of the drive in your Windows computer

Did you know that there is a system inside every computer drive that monitors health and performance? Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) is a monitoring system built into Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD) to detect and report the health of a drive. SMART uses various indicators to determine the reliability of a drive.

When the SMART system anticipates imminent hardware failure, it will alert the operating system. But you can monitor the SMART attributes to determine the health status of a drive. That way, you can take the appropriate actions when you start to see signs of a predictable failure.

Note: As I was writing this article, I checked all the shop workstations and found a drive on one system with a couple of critical SMART attributes to be concerned over. I cloned the failing drive to a new one, and the workstation runs as if nothing happened.

Almost every drive manufacturer makes software for drive performance and health monitoring, and I have included links to several of the more popular vendors at the bottom of this article. Keep in mind that if you have two (2) more drives from different manufacturers, the software used for one brand may not recognize a different brand of drive.

Also, the programs from the drive manufacturers usually lack any detail; it is either healthily or failing. And each manufacturer has different standards to measure drive health and performance. The accurate way to measure drive health is to monitor the separate SMART attributes.

There is a program that does this and will work with SATA, PCIe, NVMe, and USB drives, regardless of the manufacturer. It is called CrystalDiskInfo, and it is free to download, and it can be downloaded as a ZIP file or with an installer.

CrystalDiskInfo is simple to use; just download and install. When you start CrystalDiskInfo, it will display health status, drive specifications, and various SMART attributes from the drive selected. Remember the attributes displayed are specific to the manufacturer and the type of drive (HDD or SSD).

Using CrystalDiskInfo, you can monitor the SMART attributes to determine the status of the health of a drive. That way, you can take the appropriate actions when you start to see signs of a predictable failure.

CrystalDiskInfo view of a healthy drive
The properties of a healthy drive inside of CrystalDiskInfo

CrystalDiskInfo view of a failing drive
The properties of a failing drive inside of CrystalDiskInfo

The following is a list of general SMART attributes considered critical and can be used to predict imminent drive failure. Remember that SMART attributes are defined by the manufacturer and can vary from drive to drive.

  • Reallocated Sectors Count: The number of bad sectors that have been found and remapped
  • Spin Retry Count: The number of spin start attempts to reach full operation. (HDD only)
  • End-to-End error / IOEDC: The number of parity errors via the drive cache.
  • Reported Uncorrectable Errors: The number of errors that could not be recovered using hardware correction.
  • Command Timeout: The number of operations aborted due to timing out. (HDD only)
  • Reallocation Event Count: The number of remapping operations.
  • Current Pending Sector Count: The number of sectors waiting to be remapped.
  • Uncorrectable Sector Count: The number of uncorrectable sector errors.
  • Soft Read Error Rate: The amount of uncorrectable software read errors.

The following is a list of software from some of the more prominent manufacturers. Remember that if you have multiple drives from different manufacturers, you may need to download and install the software from each manufacturer.

Sources:

Wikipedia "S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology)" July 8th, 2022
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

Five things you can do to maintain your Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer

We all want to keep our computers running smoothly, but to do that, we need to perform maintenance periodically. So here are five (5) things you can do to keep your Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer running smoothly.

Five things you can do to maintain your Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer

If you are anything like me, you expect your computer always to be running at 100%, ready to work at a moment's notice. And it is possible to get that level of performance, but it does require regular maintenance.

I use all of the procedures outlined in this article on average of once a month, and I will usually perform these tasks at the end of the workday or on the weekend. That way, I minimize the loss of production time.

Check for corrupt system files

This is the first thing I do when I notice a system not running normally. If fact, this is one of the first things we do when a Windows-based computer comes into the shop. With the number of system files Windows uses, file corruption is quite common.

Check Windows 10 system files with System File Checker

How to check and repair system files in Windows 11

Check for drive errors

The next thing I do is check for errors in the file system. Just like scanning for corrupt system files, checking the rest of the files and folders on the drive is essential. A quick check every month is excellent preventative maintenance.

How to check your drive for errors in Windows 10

How to check your drive for errors in Windows 11

Clean up unnecessary Windows folders and files

Now that we have checked for system/file errors on the drive, let's start cleaning up the unnecessary files that accumulate. A couple of different programs built into Windows can do a great job of cleaning up Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Clean up your Windows 10 computer using the Storage feature

Clean up Windows 11 with Storage Sense and Disk Cleanup

Clear out your browser cache

Once we clean up all of the miscellaneous Windows files, we need to clean up our browser(s). Internet browsers, like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, use a cache of websites they have visited to speed up browsing.

But the problem is the browsers do not empty the cache automatically, so left unattended, a browser cache can become extremely large. Periodic clearing of your browser cache is highly recommended.

There is a benefit to cleaning out your browser cache; you will be removing any old website data. This can help if you have difficulty logging into a website, as any saved website data will be purged.

How to clean up and reset Google Chrome

How to clean up and reset Mozilla Firefox

How to clean up and reset Microsoft Edge

Defragment and optimize your drive

And finally, after checking for errors and cleaning up files, we need to ensure that the files and folders are in their correct location. If you use the advanced way of running Defrag, you can optimize the boot performance.

How to defragment and optimize your drive in Windows 10

How to defragment and optimize your drive in Windows 11

What is the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination and how to use it in Windows 10 and Windows 11

In the decades I have been using computers, one combination of keys on the keyboard has been the 'holy grail', the genuinely fool-proof way of regaining control of an unresponsive program or computer, Ctrl+Alt+Del.

What is the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination and how to use it in Windows 10 and Windows 11

As most of you know, I am a big fan of keyboard shortcuts, especially Windows Logo key shortcuts. But when it comes to personal computers, the single, most powerful combination of keys has to be Ctrl+Alt+Del (Control-Alt-Delete).

The history of Ctrl+Alt+Del, or the "three-finger salute" as it is more commonly known, was created by an engineer at IBM working on the original IBM PC project in the '80s as a way to execute a soft reboot. The keys were selected for their location on the keyboard so that it required both hands to press all three keys at the same time. That way, you could not accidentally reboot your computer.

The Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination is built into every IBM PC clone computer's BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). Even today, the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination will still reboot an IBM PC when it is started into the BIOS. And in Windows, Ctrl+Alt+Del has a couple of different uses.

The first use of Ctrl+Alt+Del inside Windows 10 and Windows 11 is to bring up the login screen. Typically, only users whose computers are connected to a domain will be required to use the "three-finger salute" to log on. Every day Windows users are only required to press any key to bring up the login screen.

The second use of Ctrl+Alt+Del inside Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the best and probably the most unknown use. When you are logged into Windows and press Ctrl+Alt+Del, it brings up Windows Security in full screen.

The Windows Security screen inside of Windows 10
The Windows Security screen inside of Windows 10

The Windows Security screen inside of Windows 11
The Windows Security screen inside of Windows 11

The Windows Security screen gives you five (5) options, including Lock, Switch user, Sign out, Change a password, and Task Manager. There are three (3) more options in the lower right-hand corner: Internet, Ease of access, and Power. Here is a list of all the functions.

Lock: This button will lock the computer and require the user who is currently signed in to log on again to unlock the computer.

Switch user: This button will allow another user to log on to the computer.

Sign out: This button will sign out the currently logged-in user. Note: If you have an unresponsive program or a program that you cannot close (like junkware), signing out will close all open programs and then log the current user off.

Change a password: As the name implies, it will change the user's password that is currently logged in.

Task Manager: This button will open the Task Manager. Task Manager has several functions, including managing the running tasks and monitoring system resources. Note: You can also forcibly terminate processes or programs that have become unresponsive.

Internet: With this button, you can select the network connection to use for the Internet.

Ease of access (Windows 10) / Accessibility (Windows 11) - This button allows you to turn on and off Narrator, Magnifier, On-Screen Keyboard, High Contrast, Sticky Keys, and Filter Keys.

Power: This button has two (2) options, Shut down or Restart.

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

Check out our reviews

Geeks In Phoenix LLC, BBB Business Review

Customer service is #1

Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

Like Geeks in Phoenix on Facebook

Follow Geeks in Phoenix on Twitter

Watch Geeks in Phoenix on YouTube