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How to setup Family Safety for Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts

I don't know about you, but keeping my family safe on their Windows 10 computers is priority number one. Sure, you can install anti-virus software and browser extensions, but what about the kids under 18? Here's how to set up Family Safety using Microsoft accounts.

How to setup Family Safety for Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts

Years ago, the only way I found to really lock down my kid's computers was to add it to a domain and restrict the user permissions. And it did work. But not everyone has a server / domain controller. So, what is a parent to do?

Well, back in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft had a product called Family Safety. It was part of Windows Essentials, which was a separate download. It worked quite well but Microsoft dropped support Windows Essentials and it is no longer available for download.

So, if you think that Family Safety just faded away, you would be wrong. Microsoft has taken all of the features from the original program and added them to its Microsoft account interface.

All of the same great features are there. You can still filter what websites your kids can visit and restrict access to certain apps and games. You can also set what time(s) your kids can use their Windows 10 computer. You can even set the appropriate age for the apps and games that can be accessed.

Now there are some requirements for using Family Safety in Windows 10 that may be a bit disturbing. Everyone, you and your child, needs to have a Microsoft account. This in itself is no biggie. But your child will need an e-mail address to create a Microsoft Account.

I don't know many five year old's that have an e-mail address, but if you create and monitor it yourself, you should be alright. You don't have to let them have access to it. They will only need the Microsoft account e-mail address and password to log into Windows 10.

So, if you are looking at ways to protect your family when they are online, using Microsoft accounts is one way to go.

How to set up Family Safety in Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts

  1. Log into your personal Microsoft account. If you don't have one, then you will need to create one.
  2. Once you are logged in, look along the top menu bar and click on the tab named Family.
  3. Under Your Family click on Add a child.
  4. Enter your child's e-mail address and click on Send invite. If they don't have one, you can create one by clicking Create a new email address for your child. If you do that, then you'll be creating a Microsoft account at the same time. When you have your child's account all set up, you will still need to send them an invite. Now to protect your child's privacy, Microsoft does charge a small one-time fee ($.50) to verify your identity.
  5. Once they (or you) accept the email invite, then you can start configuring their online settings.

What your child sees and can do when they log into their Microsoft account

What your child sees and can do when they log into their Microsoft account

  • Mange sign in preferences just like a standard Microsoft account.
  • Edit personal information like gender, State, ZIP Code and time zone.
  • Edit payment information. This only applies to their personal account, not yours. You can add funds to their Microsoft account through your account. They can also redeem codes and gift cards too.
  • Edit their Xbox profile, if they have Xbox account. If not, they can create one.
  • Edit their Skype profile, if they have Skype account. If not, they can create one.

What you see and can do when you log into your Microsoft account

What you see and can do when you log into your Microsoft account

  • Recent activity. This is where you can view your child's activities in week by week format. You can also turn on or off weekly activity e-mail reports.
  • Web browsing. You can turn on or off the blocking of inappropriate websites. You can create a (white) list of allowed websites and a (black) list of blocked websites. You can also only allow websites on the allowed list, but your kid's computer will need the Windows 10 November update (11/16) or newer version installed for this option to work. And Safe Search is turned on and InPrivate browsing is turned off. Now all of these web filters require that your kid only uses Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. You can disable the use of Firefox and Chrome under Apps, games and media.
  • Apps, games and media. Here you can block inappropriate apps and games. This applies not only to Windows 10, but also to Windows Phones and Xbox One. There is a pull-down menu that allows you to select the appropriate age for your child. This will dictate some pre-configured settings which will enable or disable certain features. You can also view the list of the block apps and games. If you want, you can also remove any program you feel should not be on the list.
  • Screen time. This is where you set up the times your kid is allowed on the PC. There is a grid broken down by the days of the week along the side and hours of day going across the top. When you activate the time limits, the default time spans are put into place (7:00 AM to 10:00 PM). You can manually add, remove or modify any of the time spans and you can have multiple time spans per day.
  • Purchase and spending. This is where you can add funds to their Microsoft account for use at the Microsoft and Xbox stores. There is also a pull-down menu that you can choose what types of apps and games you child get; all games and apps, only free games and apps or none. You can also turn on or off the ability to receive e-mail when you child gets an app or game.
  • Find your child. With this feature, you can locate your child using the GPS inside of their Windows 10 Phone. If they don't have a Windows 10 device, you cannot use this feature.
  • Xbox privacy settings. This section I found only to apply to the adult account that is logged in currently, not your kids account. It is probably best to do the editing of your child's Xbox profile under their login.

Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

Even though we primarily work on Windows based computers, there are times when we need to access Mac formatted disks. And being able to do that from inside of Windows is essential. That's where MacDrive comes into play.

Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

Now in repairing computers, we are often asked to recover files from old drives and transfer them to external drives. Sometimes they are two (2) different formats; NTFS (Windows) & HFS+ (Mac). And since Mac and Windows computers don't natively read and write to each other's disk format, having MacDrive is kind of a necessity.

With MacDrive you can actually read and write to Mac formatted drives inside of Windows. And since MacDrive works so seamlessly with Windows, you might not even notice you are using a Mac formatted drive. The little Apple drive icon kind of gives it away (but it can be turned off).

The Mac drive icon inside of Windows File Explorer
The Mac drive icon inside of Windows File Explorer

It can also perform various disk management tasks, including formatting and repairing Mac disks. It can also burn Mac formatted CD's and DVD's.

View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 10 Disk Management without MacDrive installed
View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 10 Disk Management without MacDrive installed

View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 7 Disk Management with MacDrive installed
View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 7 Disk Management with MacDrive installed

MacDrive supports USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, eSata, SATA, IDE, SCSI and Fibre channel drives. It also supports legacy drives like Jaz, MO and ZIP.

You can also mount Mac OS partitions on Boot Camp systems. It even works with Mac files without an extension. And you also go through Time Machine backups too.

Now you can access all of the MacDrive tools from either the built-in Disk Management Window or from inside Windows Explorer. And you can directly access working files straight from your favorite programs.

MacDrive comes in two (2) versions; Standard and Pro. The Standard version is more geared to the everyday user. The Pro version has more advanced features like mounting RAID sets creating Mac ISO files.

MacDrive is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (32-bit & 64-bit). For more information on MacDrive, just follow the link below.

MacDrive from Mediafour

Inside the Windows 10 Control Panel

When it comes to finding features and settings in Windows, the Control Panel has always been where I go to find them. The same holds true for Windows 10. Let's take a look inside the Windows 10 Control Panel.

Inside the Windows 10 Control Panel

The Control Panel in Windows 10 contains all sorts of different features and settings. Some of them are easy to find, other can be quite hidden. But with a little patience, you find everything you are looking for and more.

Now finding the Control Panel in Windows 10 can be a little hard. There are two (2) different shortcuts to it: One on the Start menu and one on the Power User menu. I personally like to use the Power User menu shortcuts as they are really quick and easy to use.

How to access the Control Panel in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button to bring up the Start Menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on the Windows System folder to expand it.
  3. Left-click on Control Panel.

or

  1. Right-click on the Start menu to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Left-click on Control Panel.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Press the letter P to select Control Panel.

I am still amazed at just how many features and settings that can be accessed from the Control Panel. You can access everything from creating hard drive partitions to managing work folders.

I really like the Settings app in Windows 10, but, like allot of other people, I am more familiar with the Control Panel. Did you know that it first appeared in Windows 2.0?

But with Windows 10, Microsoft has now deprecated it in favor of the Settings app. But there are still items that you can only find in the Control Panel. Third-party applets are one that comes to mind.

Going through all of the features and settings inside of the Control Panel in Windows 10 could take some time. Even changing the view from Category to Large icons or Small icons still doesn't give you all that the Control Panel contains.

Windows 10 Control Panel in God Mode
Windows 10 Control Panel in God Mode

This where the God Mode comes in really handy. If you're not familiar with God Mode, it lists all of the Control Panel features and settings in detail. Using God Mode, you can find some really cool features and settings.

How to list everything inside of the Windows 10 Control Panel in one folder

For example, living in Arizona has one unique feature, never having to change our clocks for daylight savings time. Now the down side is that all the rest of the U.S. does change its clocks twice a year.

Additional clocks on Taskbar in Windows 10
Additional clocks on Taskbar in Windows 10

With having vendors across the U.S. I really need to know what the time is in their time zone. I found under Clock, Language, and Region > Date and Time that I can add multiple clocks for the different times zones.

So, when you have some time, take a minute or two and explore through the Control Panel and see what cool features and settings you can find.

How to quickly free up space on your hard drive

Are you getting a low disk space warning in Windows? Or maybe you have been prompted to delete a previous version of Windows to gain some disk space? If so, here's how to quickly free up space on your drive.

How to quickly free up space on your hard drive

We have all been there. You are working along and all of a sudden, a little dialog box pops out and tells you that you are low on disk space. It used to happen a whole lot more years ago, when drives were smaller. But it is scary when it does pop up.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup user options in Windows 10

Now one way to free up some disk space quickly is to use the built-in Disk Cleanup utility. In fact, if you click on the Low Disk Space warning, it brings up Disk Cleanup with default settings.

The default settings for Disk Cleanup are pretty good and will do the job. But there are more advanced settings that can clean up even more files, you just have to know how to get to them. You can even run Disk Cleanup as a Scheduled Task. Check out the links below.

Clean up Windows 7 with Disk Cleanup
Clean up Windows 8.1 with Disk Cleanup
Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Manually delete temporary files

The Run dialog box inside of Windows 10

But if you are looking to quickly delete the temporary files / folders on your computer, here's a down-and-dirty quick way to do it. All you have to do is bring up a Run dialog box.

How to open a Run dialog box

All versions of Windows:
On the keyboard, press the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R

Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10:
Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu or press the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + X and then select Run

In the Run dialog box that appears, cut and paste or type either

  • %temp%
    (user temporary folder)
  • %systemroot%\temp
    (system temporary folder)
and then select OK. If you get a prompt telling you that you do not currently have permission to access the folder, just click on the Continue button. File Explorer will open and display the contents of that folder.

Now just highlight one of the files and then press the CTRL + A keys at the same time to select all of the files / folders. Right-click on the files and select Delete. If you get a prompt about permanently deleting the files, just left-click on Yes. If you get a prompt telling that a file is still in use, make sure the Do this for all current items check box is selected and then left-click on Skip.

Turn off hibernation

Turn of hibernation

Now if you still need to free up some space, you can disable hibernation and delete the hilberfil.sys file. That should give you a few more gigabytes of free space. You will need an administrative command prompt to run these.

How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 7
How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 8
How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10

Once you have an administrative command prompt open, just cut and paste or type the following into it:

  • powercfg.exe /hibernate off
    (turn off hibernation)
  • powercfg.exe /hibernate on
    (turn on hibernation)

Graphic Visualization Tools

Now when it comes to finding large files or folders, nothing can beat a good visual treemap. Instead of the usual file / folder data like you see in File Explorer, a graphic visualization tool shows folder / file information using blocks. The larger the block, the bigger the file / folder.

SpaceMonger version 1.4.0

I started using a graphic visualization tool years ago, when I had a client that all of the desktops started running out of disk space. Using a visualization tool, I found the network deployed anti-virus clients were downloading new virus definitions, but they were not deleting previous versions.

Now there are a couple of different graphic visualization tools out there. I first started using SpaceMonger but have since moved over to SpaceSniffer. It does not require any installation (just unzip and go) and is completely free (but donations are recommended).

SpaceSniffer Version 1.2.0.2

Now right out-of-the-box SpaceSniffer can be a bit overwhelming with all of the information it provides. But with a couple of changes to the configuration, SpaceSniffer can open up just the way you like.

Now be careful not to go crazy and start deleting folders / files in the Windows folder. I know that it is one of the largest folders on the C: drive, but resist the urge to delete anything inside of the Windows folder. I would focus on the size of the user(s) folders / files. For more information on SpaceSniffer and how to use it, just follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

How to reset Windows 10

So, you say your Windows 10 computer is starting to run slow and having errors. Or maybe you just got a new computer and want to recycle your old Windows 10 system. Then it may be time to reset Windows 10 on your computer.

How to reset Windows 10

Now over the years Microsoft has made resetting Windows challenging, to say the least. In most versions, you had to reinstall Windows to get a clean copy. But with Windows 10 you can actually reset the operating system without losing your files.

There are two (2) reset options built-in to Windows 10. You can either keep your user files or remove everything. Take note, either option removes all applications not included with Windows 10. This means that any programs you installed will have to be reinstalled.

Below you will find the instructions for performing a reset of Windows 10 using the built-in feature. But if you want to remove everything, you do have two (2) more options. The first is using Refresh Windows Tool, which does the exact same thing as the built-in remove everything option.

Refresh Windows Tool

The second is a little more complicated and is more suited for the advanced user. You can create the Windows 10 installation media and perform a re-installation from it. If you start the installation from inside of Windows 10, you will get the option to save your files. If you start the installation from booting up on the installation media, you will only get the remove everything option.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Always remember to back-up your computer before performing any type of reset. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Backup Windows 10

How to reset Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button (Windows logo) to bring up the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Reset 1
  2. Left-click on Settings (gear icon).
    Windows 10 Reset 2
  3. Left-click on Update & security.
    Windows 10 Reset 3
  4. In the left-hand column, left-click on Recovery.
    Windows 10 Reset 4
  5. In the right-hand column under Reset this PC, left-click on the Get started button.
    Windows 10 Reset 5
  6. On the Choose an option page, left-click on either Keep my files or Remove everything.
    • If you select Keep my files, you be prompted with a list of the apps you will need to reinstall. Left-click on the Next button to proceed. Once you left-click on your choice you'll come to the Ready to reset this PC screen. Left-click on Reset to proceed with the reset.
    • If you select Remove everything, you will be prompted to either Just remove my files or Remove files and clean the drive. Once you left-click on your choice you'll come to the Ready to reset this PC screen. Left-click on Reset to proceed with the reset.

If you selected Remove files and clean the drive, when the reset is complete, you will need to go through the initial Windows 10 set up. Remember that you do not have to have a Microsoft account to complete the setup. When you get to the Who owns this PC? page,
Windows 10 Reset 6
left-click on I own it and then left-click on the Next button.

On the Make it yours page, left-click on the Skip this step link down in the lower left-hand corner.
Windows 10 Reset 7
This will take you to the Create an account for this PC page where you can create a local user account. And remember that you are not required to have a password if you do not want to. Just add a user name in the Who is going to use this PC? field and then left-click on the Next button.

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in all aspects of Computer Repair / PC Repair / Laptop Repair. Since 2008, our expert computer repair technicians have been providing outstanding Computer Repair, Virus Removal, Data Recovery, Photo Manipulation and Website Support.

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