Geeks in Phoenix

Geek Blog


How to setup a mobile hotspot inside of Windows 10

Wi-Fi hotspots have become quite common with smartphone users. Having the ability to share your Internet connection can be a lifesaver at times. But did you know that you can do the same thing with a Windows 10 computer? Here's how to create a mobile hotspot in Windows 10.

How to setup a mobile hotspot inside of Windows 10

It used to be that if you wanted to share your Internet connection on your laptop or desktop computer, you had to use third-party software like Virtual Hotspot. The cool thing is Microsoft has built that feature right into Windows 10.

I know what you're thinking; "When would I ever use a Wi-Fi hotspot?". Now using the Windows 10 mobile hotspot can be extremely helpful if you have to pay for Internet access, like at a hotel or airport.

For example, when I travel I like to set up my laptop to use a wired (Ethernet) Internet connection, because normally they are faster than wireless. Once I've established a wired connection to the Internet, then I share that connection with all of my wireless devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.).

Now there are a couple of requirements that your system has to have before the mobile hotspot feature becomes available. You have to have at least two (2) network adapters and one of them has to be a wireless adapter. The connection to the Internet can be either wired, wireless or cellular.

The mobile hotspot uses WPA2-PSK security and only 8 (eight) devices can connect to it at one time. And the only thing you can share is your Internet connection. No folders, files or printers can be seen by devices connected to the mobile hotspot.

How to setup a mobile hotspot in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button (Windows logo) to bring up the Start menu.
    Windows 10 mobile hotspot setup 1
  2. Left-click on Settings (gear icon).
    Windows 10 mobile hotspot setup 2
  3. Left-click on Network & Internet.
    Windows 10 mobile hotspot setup 3
  4. In the left-hand column, look for the Mobile hotspot tab. You don't see it, your computer doesn't meet the requirements.
    Windows 10 mobile hotspot setup 4
  5. Under Network status in the right-hand column, make note of which type of connection you are using for the Internet.
  6. In the left-hand column, left-click on Mobile hotspot.
    Windows 10 mobile hotspot setup 5
  7. In the right-hand column under Mobile hotspot, make sure the connection shown under Share my Internet connection from is the same connection from Step 5. If not, use the pull-down menu to change it.
  8. Directly below the Share my Internet connection from pull-down menu is the Network name and Network password. If you want to change either of these, left-click on the Edit button below them.
    Windows 10 mobile hotspot setup 6
  9. Now go back to the top of the right-hand column and left-click on the Share my Internet connection with other devices slider switch to turn on your mobile hotspot.

How to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10

Everyone knows that when you make any major change to your computer you need to backup the registry first. But not many casual computer users know what the registry is and how to back it up. So here's how to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10.

How to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10

So what is the registry? The registry is a database that contains information on the hardware, software and user(s) installed on your computer. Even though it may sound like it is a single entity, it actually consists of several different files. The collection of these files is called the registry hive.

FYI: The information in the registry hive is stored in two (2) basic elements; Keys and Values. Keys are like folders; they can contain values and keys. Values are like files; they contain data in various formats.

Automatically backup and restore the registry in Windows 10

The System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box inside of Windows 10
The System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box inside of Windows 10

Now the simplest way to backup the registry is to create a restore point. Restore points contain backup copies of the registry, most drivers and files with particular extensions.

Restore points can be a life saver if your system fails to start up after a change or modification. Just make sure to create a system repair disk (instructions below) and have it on hand just in case your system won't start up correctly. You can use it to boot your computer and access a restore point.

How to create a restore point in Windows 10

  1. Bring up the System page by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Pause.
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu and press Y to select System.
    • Right-clicking on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start menu to bring up the Power User menu and select System.
  2. Left-click on the Advanced system settings link.
  3. Left-click on the System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box.
  4. At the bottom of the System Protection tab left-click on button under the Protection Settings section labeled Create ....
  5. Type in a descriptive title for your restore point (the date and time are automatically added).
  6. Left-click on Create.

How to use a restore point in Windows 10

  1. Bring up the System page by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Pause.
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu and press Y to select System.
    • Right-clicking on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start menu to bring up the Power User menu and select System.
  2. Left-click on the Advanced system settings link.
  3. Left-click on the System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box.
  4. At the top of the System Protection tab left-click on button under the System Restore section labeled System Restore ....
  5. When the starting screen appears, left-click on Next >.
  6. Highlight the restore point you want to use, then left-click on Next >.
  7. When the confirmation screen appears, left-click on Finish.
  8. A warning should appear telling you not to interrupt the system restore process. Left-click on Yes to proceed.
  9. Your computer will now start restoring the system (including the registry) to the way it was at the time the restore point was created and then reboot.

How to create a system repair disk in Windows 10

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    • Pressing the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R
    • 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
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type recdisc and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. Just follow the prompts and you should be good to go.

Manually backup and restore the registry in Windows 10

The Registry Editor interface inside of Windows 10
The Registry Editor interface inside of Windows 10

Another way to backup the registry is to use the built-in Registry Editor. Nice thing about using the Registry Editor is that you don't have to backup the whole registry if you don't want to. You can just backup any key or value you want.

Now there is a down-side to using the Registry Editor to manually backup the registry. To restore anything with the Registry Editor you have to be able to boot your computer in either normal or safe mode. A system repair disc doesn't have the Registry Editor included.

How to manually backup the registry using the Registry Editor in Windows 10

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    • Pressing the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R
    • 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
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type regedit and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. When the Registry Editor appears either:
    • Highlight Computer in the left-hand column to backup the complete registry.
    • Highlight the key or value you want to backup.
  4. Left-click on the File pull-down menu and left-click on Export.
  5. Select the location and a descriptive file name for the backup file and then left-click on Save.

How to manually restore the registry using the Registry Editor in Windows 10

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    • Pressing the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R
    • 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
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type regedit and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. When the Registry Editor appears either:
  4. Left-click on the File pull-down menu and left-click on Import.
  5. Navigate to the location of the REG file you want to import and left-click on it.
  6. Left-click on the Open button. You should get a confirmation screen telling you successfully imported the file.

How to disable or enable auto-start programs and drivers in Windows 10

In doing computer repair I often get asked "Why does my computer take so long to start up?". Quite often it turns out that there are items that are set to auto-start that don't need to or just don't exist anymore. Here's how to disable programs, drivers and services that auto-start in Windows 10.

How to disable or enable auto-start programs and drivers in Windows 10

Now this one doesn't cost any money and can dramatically improve the time it takes for your computer and programs to start up. Also by minimizing the amount programs that launch at start up, you can also free up memory that would be otherwise used by them.

Now there are three (3) programs I use to enable or disable programs, drivers or services that start up in Windows 10. The built-in programs (Task Manager and System Configuration) are pretty safe to use, but still can degrade performance if not used properly. The third program (Autoruns / Autoruns32) can be dangerous because not only can it enable or disable entries, it can also delete them.

Note: It is always recommended that you make changes one at a time and restart between them. That way you can find out if you really need that program or service you just disabled. Yes, it's time consuming, but sometimes you just have to do it.

Task Manager (Auto-start programs)

The Startup tab inside of Windows 10 Task Manager
The Startup tab inside of Windows 10 Task Manager

This is the easiest and safest way to enable or disable programs that auto-start with Windows 10. None of the programs listed here are going to prevent your computer from starting if disabled. In fact, you will not find any program listed here that Windows requires to operate.

Now for those of you that are not familiar with Task Manager, it's a built-in program that does allot of different things. It monitors running programs, system performance and active processes. And it also manages programs that auto-start with Windows 10.

How to start Task Manager in Windows 10

  1. Right-click on an empty area of the Taskbar.
  2. On the context menu that appears, left-click on Task Manager.

or

  1. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL all at the same time.
  2. From the security screen that appears, left-click on Task Manager.

The first time you run Task Manager, it only displays running apps. You have to left-click on the More details arrow to display all of the tabs. Once you have the tabs displayed, left-click on Startup.

From here all you have to do is highlight the program name and select the Enable / Disable button located in the bottom right-hand corner.

System Configuration (Auto-start services)

The Services tab inside of Windows 10 System Configuration
The Services tab inside of Windows 10 System Configuration

This program is used mainly for diagnostics, so there are no splashy graphics here. With System Configuration you can change the services that auto-start with Windows 10. Be careful making changes here, as they can have a major impact on system performance.

How to start System Configuration in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Menu and scroll down the list of applications to Windows Administrative Tools.
  2. Left-click on Windows Administrative Tools to expand the contents.
  3. Scroll down and left-click on System Configuration.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R to bring up the Run dialog box.
  2. Type in MSCONFIG and left-click on OK.

From the default dialog box select the Service tab. There you will find all of the services that auto-start with Windows 10. Remember that some of the Microsoft services listed cannot be disabled, so it's always best practice to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box at the bottom of the services section.

Once you have made your changes left-click on the Apply button then left-click on the OK button. You will be prompted to either Restart or Exit without restart. Left-click on Restart and you're ready to go. Remember to make changes one at a time and restart in between changes.

Autoruns / Autoruns64 (Auto-start programs, drivers and services)

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

Autoruns.exe (32-bit) and Autoruns64.exe (64-bit) are part of Microsoft's Sysinternals Suite of troubleshooting utilities and are not included inside of Windows 10. But they are free, require no installation and can be downloaded separately or with the complete suite (see links below).

This is the most complex program of them all. And the most dangerous! Why you ask? Besides being able to disable programs / drivers / services that auto-start, you can also delete their load points altogether. So be careful!

Once you have downloaded and unzip the files to a permanent location, open Windows Explorer and navigate to that folder. Now right-click on either Autoruns.exe or Autoruns64.exe (depending on your version of Windows 10) and select Run as administrator from the context menu that appears.

When you start Autoruns it automatically scans your computer for auto-start programs, drivers and services. Autoruns has multiple tabs for the different Windows auto-start locations (logon, services, drivers, etc.) including one called Everything. And if you select the User pull-down menu on the toolbar on top of the program, you can also select the different user profiles.

If you want to disable / enable a program or driver, just left-click on the check box on the left-hand side of the entry. You can also delete an entry, but I recommend that you back it up first, just in case. If you find you don't need the backup, you can just delete the file later.

To back up an entry in Autoruns you right-click on it and a context menu will appear. Left-click on Jump to entry ... and the Registry Editor opens to the location in the registry of that entry. Right-click on the selected entry in the Registry Editor and a context menu appears. Left-click on Export and select a location and file name for your backup file.

Autoruns
Sysinternals Suite

Navigating Windows 10

Seems nowadays everyone is looking for ways to get things done quicker. The same holds true for your computer. The faster you can open a program or document, the better. So here's my favorite tips for navigating Windows 10.

Navigating Windows 10

Since I do computer repair for a living, I've had to find ways to navigate around the different versions of Windows. With Windows 10, Microsoft keep some of the cooler features while adding some new ones. And they even brought back one feature from previous versions. Let's take a look at my favorite ways to get around inside of Windows 10.

Power User menu

This little pop-up menu is the fast way to find some of the core features inside of Windows 10. It first appeared in Windows 8 to supplement the loss of the Start Menu. It never got the publicity it deserved and only real geeks knew it existed. My customers are still amazed the first time I use it in front of them.

Lucky for us Microsoft decided to keep the Power Users menu in Windows 10. It is still the fastest way to get to features like the Control Panel, Programs and Features and Computer Management. Here's how to display the Power User menu in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Power User menu

There are two (2) ways of displaying the Power User menu in Windows 10: Mouse or Keyboard.

Using your mouse to display the Power User menu in Windows 10

Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu

Using your keyboard to display the Power User menu in Windows 10

Press the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + X

If you use the keyboard to bring up the Power User menu, you'll find that the programs / features listed have a single letter in their name underlined. These are also keyboard shortcuts to that particular program / feature. Here's a link to the complete list of the Power User menu keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10.

Power User menu keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Here's is another really useful feature that nobody really knows about, the Windows logo key. I have customers ask me all the time "What does that key with the Windows logo do?". Well, its primary use is to bring up the Start Menu, but it does more. Allot more.

The Windows logo key was introduced over twenty (20) years alongside of Windows 95 and the new Start Menu. There were only a handful of Windows logo key shortcuts at that time and you had to purchase a Windows 95 compatible keyboard to use them. Now you can't find a Windows compatible keyboard without it.

There are now close to forty (40) Windows logo key shortcuts in Windows 10. Once you try them out you'll wonder how you lived without for so long. Here's a link to the complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Shortcut keys in Windows 10

This is one of those 'old school' features that I love to use. Did you know that you can open almost any shortcut with just your keyboard? By simply editing a shortcut, you open it with a combination of three (3) keys.

Now if you have used Windows for a while, you know what a shortcut is. And if not, no biggie. Here's how to create a shortcut in Windows 10.

Allot of people don't know that they can edit a shortcut and change the way it works, including adding a keyboard shortcut to it. The keyboard shortcut for your shortcut needs to be a combination of three (3) keys and the first two (2) keys have to be CTRL and ALT. The third key is your choice, but I try to use either the first letter of the program / file or a letter close to CTRL and ALT keys.

The shortcut key field inside of the properties a shortcut
The shortcut key field inside of the properties of a shortcut

How to add a keyboard shortcut to an existing shortcut

  1. Right-click on the shortcut you want to modify and from the context menu that appears select Properties.
  2. When the properties dialog box appears, make sure the Shortcut tab is selected.
  3. Go down to the Shortcut key field and left-click inside of the field (the cursor will blink).
  4. Press the CTRL key and the key you want assigned to the shortcut at the same time (Windows will automatically add the ALT).
  5. Left-click on Apply and you are done.

Start Menu

And last but not least is the Start Menu. After a brief disappearance in Windows 8, Microsoft decided to bring it back. It's now got a slightly different look and feel, but it still does what it is supposed to do: Navigate.

How to create ISO files from your software disks

So over the years you've been purchasing software on CD's / DVD's and now have quite the collection. So what do you do with all of the media you are no longer using? How about creating ISO files from them? Here's how to create ISO files from your software CD's / DVD's.

After working with computers for over twenty years, I've managed to amass quite the collection of software disks. One of my biggest problems is that I don't like to just throw away software disks. You never know when you might need them again.

Now in my book there are two kinds of disks; Keepers and Tossers. Software that you paid for is definitely a Keeper, software that comes in the mail / paper is usual a Tosser.

I'm old enough to remember the AOL disks that used to come in the newspaper (1 gazillion free hours!). The AOL disks were always quite colorful and made a great wall collage or mobile.

Now I realize that properly stored CD's / DVD's can last quite a long time. I personally have some CD's that are around 20 years old and I can still read them with my Windows 10 computer. So why would you want to change?

Well, first off disks can get damaged. If you scratch the bottom of a disk, you can use a special tool to buff it out. But if scratch the top of a disk you actually damage the layer that stores data. Geek Tip: To destroy the data on a CD / DVD before throwing it away, just scratch off all of the top layer of the disk with a sharp object, like a nail.

Second, not all devices have nowadays have CD / DVD drives (tablets, netbooks and ultra-thin laptops). This can make installing older software on a newer computer a bit of a problem. So what is the solution? ISO (International Organization for Standardization) files.

ISO (.iso) files are basically an archive file format for optical disks, like CD's and DVD's. They contain an exact sector-by-sector, non-compressed copy of a disk. All you need is a computer with a CD / DVD drive, your original disk(s), a program that creates ISO files and plenty of free space on your hard drive.

Here's a list of a few free programs that create ISO files.

Once you have created your ISO files, you can do some cool things with them. Archiving your ISO files is the first thing you probably want to think about. External drives (flash, portable or desktop) are a great for storing ISO files. I've actually taken several small ISO files and burned them on to DVD's for off-site storage.

Now what can you do with an ISO file? Sure, you can make a new CD / DVD using an ISO file. That feature is built into Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Or if you want to burn an ISO file to a USB drive you can use a program like Rufus. And if you're using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, you can even mount (open as a virtual drive) an ISO file and install directly from it. Great for when you don't have a CD/ DVD drive.

How to burn an ISO file to disk inside of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer
    • Windows 7 - From the desktop, left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E.
    • Windows 8.1 - From the desktop, left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E or right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
    • Windows 10 - From the desktop, left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E, left-clicking the Start button and left-clicking on File Explorer or right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
  2. Locate the ISO file you want to create a disk from.

    The ISO file context menu inside of Windows 7
  3. Right-click on the ISO file and then left-click on Burn disc image.
  4. Insert a blank disk into the CD / DVD drive.
  5. Left-click on Burn.

How to mount an ISO file as a virtual drive inside of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer
    • Windows 7 - From the desktop, left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E.
    • Windows 8.1 - From the desktop, left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E or right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
    • Windows 10 - From the desktop, left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E, left-clicking the Start button and left-clicking on File Explorer or right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
  2. Locate the ISO file you want to mount as a virtual drive.

    The ISO file context menu inside of Windows 10
  3. Right-click on the ISO file and then left-click on Mount.
  4. Locate the new drive inside of File Explorer and use it like it was an actual CD / DVD drive.

Customer service is #1

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

Bring your computer to us and save

Our in-shop computer repair service  is based on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

Contact us

Geeks in Phoenix
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

Like Geeks in Phoenix on Facebook

Follow Geeks in Phoenix on Twitter

Watch Geeks in Phoenix on YouTube

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.

Geeks in Phoenix have the best computer repair technicians providing computer repair and service in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe Arizona. We offer In-Shop, On-Site and Remote (with stable Internet connection) computer repair service.

Copyright © 2016 Geeks in Phoenix LLC