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

Updated July 20, 2020

There may be a time when you need to bypass the Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) and enter commands directly into an Administrative Command Prompt. Quite a few of our favorite Geeks Tips require the use of it. So here's how to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10.

The Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10
The Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10

Open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo button.
  2. Scroll down the program list and then left-click on the Windows System folder to expand.
  3. Right-click on Command Prompt.
  4. On the context menu that appears, hover your cursor over More and then left-click on Run as administrator. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

or

  1. In the search box next to the Start Windows logo button, type Command Prompt.
  2. In the list of results, the Command Prompt should be highlighted.
  3. In the right-hand column under Command Prompt, there is an options menu. Left-click on Run as administrator. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

With the Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703), the Command Prompt on the Power User menu was replaced with Windows PowerShell. But it can be changed back by changing the default setting for the Taskbar.

How to restore the Command Prompt option on the Power Users menu in Windows 10

  1. Right-click on an empty space on the Taskbar.
  2. On the context menu that appears, left-click on Taskbar settings.
  3. In the right-hand column, find the setting labeled Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key + X.
  4. Move or left-click on the slider to the off position.

Using the Power User menu to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10

  1. Right-click on the Start Windows logo button to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Left-click on Command Prompt (Admin). If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Press the letter A to select Command Prompt (Admin). If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

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

When it comes to finding something in the Control Panel in Windows 10, you have to know where to look. You could spend hours going through all of the categories. But what if you could see everything that was inside of the Control Panel in just one window. Here's how to list everything inside of the Windows 10 Control Panel.

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

This shortcut was initially nicknamed 'God Mode' when it was first discovered inside of Windows Vista. It is a registry key that, when rendered inside the File Explorer, displays the Control Panel's complete contains. No searching through categories and subcategories, everything is right there in one folder.

How to create an expanded Control Panel folder

Windows 10 expanded Control Panel code
1. Highlight the following code, right-click on it, and select Copy.

Control Panel Expanded.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Note:
For this article, I am going to use the name Control Panel Expanded. You can use whatever name you like, just keep the GUID (Global Unique Identifier) extension (.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}) at the end.

Create a new Desktop folder in Windows 10
2. Right-click on the Desktop background and select New > Folder.

Paste Windows 10 expanded Control Panel code into folder name
3. Right-click on the new folder name and select Paste.

New expanded Control Panel icon on Desktop
4. You now have a folder on your Desktop that has a Control Panel icon. Just double-click to open it.

How to speed up the boot time of your computer

Updated August 31, 2020

Does it seem like your computer takes forever to boot up? Waiting for your Windows-based computer to boot can be quite frustrating. But there are a few things you can do. Here is how to speed up the boot time of your computer.

How to speed up the boot time of your computer

Check the drive for errors

If your computer has a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), this is the first thing you want to do. HDD's are notorious for not writing data back to the exact place where the data was read. Little known fact, but Microsoft didn't invent the Disk Operating System (DOS). It bought Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS) in the early '80s and renamed it MS-DOS. If you have a Solid State Drive (SSD), you can bypass this step, as SSD's don't have moving parts.

Check for hardware issues first with the software provided by the manufacturer of your HDD. The Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) has all of the significant drive manufacturer's diagnostics software built-in, so this is always the right place to start.

Diagnose computer hardware issues with the Ultimate Boot CD

Then check for software issues with Windows built-in CHKDSK.

Check your hard disk for errors in Windows Vista / Windows 7

Check your hard drive for errors in Windows 8

Check your hard drive for errors in Windows 10

Uninstall any unwanted programs

This one is a no-brainer. Allot of adware/junkware will load itself up at boot, causing an increase in boot time. It also takes away resources that could be used by programs you want to run. The first thing to do is to go to the Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features. Then go through the list of programs to see which ones can be uninstalled. Remember that you can change the way the programs are listed just by clicking on the column name. I like to know when a program was installed because you can find many unwanted clutter installations that way.

Remove unwanted items from startup

MSCONFIG inside of Windows 8
MSCONFIG inside of Windows 8

You can temporarily disable programs and services that start up with Windows using MSCONFIG. MSCONFIG is a diagnostic tool built into Windows that allows you to troubleshoot boot issues. You can enable and disable various boot settings, including programs and services that startup with Windows. Just open an Administrator Command Prompt and type MSCONFIG.

How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows Vista and 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 your system fine-tuned with MSCONFIG, you could leave your system running in diagnostic mode by having MSCONFIG not displayed at startup. That's one of the first things I check for on systems I work on. It just too easy to let it go. But if you want to permanently remove the items you have disabled in MSCONFIG, here's how to do it.

The Everything tab inside of Autoruns
The Everything tab inside of Autoruns

  1. Download and extract the latest version of Autoruns from Microsoft.
  2. Open MSCONFIG and make a note of each item you have disabled.
  3. On the General tab of MSCONFIG, select Normal startup, then left-click Apply and OK. When prompted, close MSCONFIG and do not restart the computer. Yes, this will enable all of the items you have disabled, but we will delete them next.
  4. Open the folder where you saved Autoruns.exe, right-click on it and select Run as Administrator.
  5. Once it is done scanning, you need to find the items you had disabled with MSCONFIG. Check the Services and the Logon tabs first. Remember that you can check the logon items for each user with the User pull-down menu. Once you find your things, you can 1) disable it with the checkbox on the left or 2) you can right-click on it and select Delete.

Clean up the drive

It's time to clean up some of the clutter that seems to pile up. Using Windows built-in Disk Cleanup tool (cleanmgr.exe) will quickly clean out all sorts of crap, like user temp files and temporary Internet files. If you want to go a little further with cleaning your drive, download a copy of CCleaner.

Free up more disk space with Windows Vista / Windows 7 Disk Cleanup

Clean up your hard drive in Windows 8 with Disk Cleanup

Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Clean up and optimize your computer for free with CCleaner

Defragment your HDD

This is another step that only pertains to HDD's since SSD's don't get fragmented. If your HDD is fragmented, it takes it longer to find and load files. Optimizing the HDD structure will always give you a little more speed. You can use Windows built-in Optimize and Defragment drive tool or another disk utility like Defraggler from Piriform.

Using Disk Defragmenter in Windows Vista

Using Disk Defragmenter in Windows 7

Defragment and Optimize your hard drive in Windows 8

How to defragment and optimize your drive in Windows 10

Perform advanced disk defragmentation with Defraggler from Piriform

If you want to go the extra mile with optimizing your HDD, remove the swap file before you defrag and restore it after you're done. And when you restore it, go ahead and use the following calculations.

The minimum pagefile size is one and a half (1.5) x the amount of memory. The maximum pagefile size is three (3) x the minimum pagefile size. Let's say you have 2 Gb (2,048 Mb) of memory. The minimum pagefile size would be 1.5 x 2,048 = 3,072 Mb and the maximum pagefile size would be 3 x 3,072 = 9,216 Mb.

Creating panoramic images with Image Composite Editor 2

One of the things I like to do when I go on vacation is taking panoramic photos. Since my camera doesn't take panoramic photos, I have to use software to stitch images together. One of the best image stitchers I have found yet is Image Composite Editor 2 from Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group.

Image Composite Editor 2

Image Composite Editor (ICE) can take photos taken from a single location that overlap and create stunning panoramic images from them. Using techniques from the field of computer vision, ICE scans the images for similarities to each other and then estimates the vantage point for each photo. ICE can even create panoramic images from videos too.

Sample ICE 2 panoramic image without auto complete
Sample ICE 2 panoramic image without autocomplete
Sample ICE 2 panoramic image with auto complete
Sample ICE 2 panoramic image with autocomplete

Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group recently released a new version of ICE. The following is a quote from the ICE website of changes included in ICE 2:

  • Redesigned user interface
    ICE has a new look that makes all the features more understandable and easier to use.
  • Automatic image completion
    ICE can now fill in any missing pixels around the edges of your panorama, making a smooth boundary even in cases where you missed a shot.
  • Improved workflow
    ICE now guides you through the steps required to make a great panorama. And you can back up a step to change settings, then see the effects of those changes without having to start over from scratch.
  • Full-resolution preview
    Panorama previews are no longer limited by your screen resolution. ICE now allows you to zoom in to see every detail of your stitched panorama, no matter how big, before you export.
  • Built-in Photosynth uploader
    ICE no longer requires the installation of a separate application to upload a panorama to the Photosynth web site. You can now upload and share your panorama directly from within ICE.

ICE will work on 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. For more information on Image Composite Editor from Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group, follow the links below:

ICE Homepage
ICE Support Forums

How to safely remove external drives

External storage devices like flash drives or hard drives are so convenient for carrying data between computers. Just plug and play, as they say. But did you know it's not the same for when you unplug your drives? Here's how to safely remove external drives from your Windows computer.

How to safely remove external drives

Recently I was at a customer's location repairing her computer and needed some files from one of my USB flash drives. When I was done, I went through the process of ejecting the USB drive from her computer. She was surprised that I didn't just pull the flash drive out. You can, most of the time, unplug a USB device like a mouse or printer without having to do anything to your Windows-based computer. It's only when you have a storage device, like a flash drive or external hard drive, that you have to take an extra step to remove the device safely.

What is write caching?

By default, Windows enables write caching on storage devices for better performance, whether internal or external. Write caching allows programs to write to the device and continue without waiting for the data to be written. By properly ejecting a storage device, you ensure that the cache is getting written to the device before you disconnect it.

How to safely remove external drives

  1. Left-click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon on the Taskbar.
    Safely Remove Hardware icon on the Windows 8 Taskbar
  2. Left-click on the device you want to disconnect.
    List of removable drives ready to be ejected

or

  1. Open File Explorer (Windows logo key Windows logo key + E).
  2. Under This PC / Computer, right-click the drive you want to disconnect and select Eject.

Windows will display a notification when it's safe to disconnect the drive.

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