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How to use Windows 10 Advanced Boot Options

Since I do computer repair for a living, there are times when I need to boot a Windows 10 system up into Safe Mode. But with newer computers utilizing UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) and fast / safe boot features, this can be difficult to say the least. So here is how to use the Windows 10 Advanced Boot Options.

How to use Windows 10 Advanced Boot Options

In previous versions of Windows, getting to the advanced boot options was pretty easy. All you had to do was press the F8 key at start up. But with Windows 10, getting the advanced boot options is a little different. You can bring up the advanced boot options just one time or you can set it up permanently. Both require the system to be able to boot up into Windows 10 first.

Enable Window 10 Advanced Boot Options screen one-time

You can bring up the one-time Windows 10 boot options either logged on or off. Since I repair computers for a living, I prefer not logging under any users profile. That way I don't have to deal with any of the programs that may load when a user signs in. There are the two (2) ways (logged in and logged out) of getting to the Windows 10 one-time boot options.

When you are logged in to Windows 10:

  1. Left-click the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Left-click on Update & security.
  3. In the left column, left-click on Recovery.

    Windows 10 advanced startup option when logged in
  4. Under Advanced startup, left-click on Restart now. The computer will log you off and bring up the Choose an option screen.

When you are logged out of Windows 10:

  1. At the logon screen, left-click on the Power button in the lower right hand corner to bring up the different options.

    Windows 10 advanced startup option when logged out
  2. Hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and left-click on Restart. This will bring up the Choose an option screen.

When you get to the Choose an option screen:

    Windows 10 choose an option screen
  1. Left-click on Troubleshoot.

    Windows 10 troubleshoot screen
  2. Left-click on Advanced options.

    Windows 10 advanced options screen
  3. Left-click on Startup Settings.

    Windows 10 startup settings screen
  4. Left-click on the Restart button.

    Windows 10 standard advanced boot options screen
  5. When the Startup Settings page appears, select the number that coincides with the function you would like to perform.

Enable Window 10 Advanced Boot Options screen permanently

This option should be used very carefully. Not only do you have to edit the boot configuration of your Windows 10 computer, but once permanently enabled, you will have to select a boot option you want to use every time your computer starts and/or restarts. There is no timer for this screen as there was in previous versions of Windows. To edit the boot configuration you will need to use an administrative command prompt.

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

The first thing we have to do is turn on the Windows 10 Advanced Boot Options. Type or cut and paste the following code into an administrative command prompt:

bcdedit /set {globalsettings} advancedoptions true

To turn off the Windows 10 Advanced Boot Options, type or cut and paste the following code into an administrative command prompt:

bcdedit /set {globalsettings} advancedoptions false

You can also change the default boot manager used with the advanced boot options. The default is the Windows 10 standard version, but if you like the old DOS look, you can change it to the legacy version.
Windows 10 legacy advanced boot options screen
To change to the legacy boot manager used in previous versions of Windows, like Windows 7, you can type or cut and paste the following code into an administrative command prompt:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

To restore the boot menu to the default, type or cut / paste the following code into an administrative command prompt.

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

There are a lot of programs out there that can clean up your Windows 10 computer. But did you know that one of the best ones actually comes with Windows 10? Here's how to clean up your Windows 10 computer with Disk Cleanup.

<Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup has been included with Windows since Windows XP and is part of my regular scheduled maintenance. Disk Cleanup can be run two (2) different ways and can have three (3) different sets of options. The first way to run it is from any of the embedded shortcuts in Windows (Start menu or disk properties). When using an embedded shortcut, you will have two (2) different sets of options, user and system.

Disk Cleanup user options in Windows 10
Disk Cleanup user options in Windows 10
Disk Cleanup system options in Windows 10
Disk Cleanup system options in Windows 10

When you run Disk Cleanup with user options, you can clean up user specific files such as downloaded program files, temporary Internet files and the recycle bin. With system options, you can also clean up Windows system files like Windows temporary files, device driver packages and previous installations of Windows, just to name a few.

Disk Cleanup command line options in Windows 10
Disk Cleanup command line options in Windows 10

Disk Cleanup can also be run using command line switches. When you do this, you get the maximum options available. But you will have to run it at an administrative command prompt to configure these options. These options include all of the user and system options plus a few more, like old chkdsk files, Windows Update Cleanup and Windows ESD installation files.

How to run Disk Cleanup from the Start menu

  1. Left-click on the Start button.
  2. Left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down to Windows Administrative Tools and left-click to expand.
  4. Left-click on Disk Cleanup. If you have more than one (1) drive, you will be prompted on which drive you want to clean up.

Disk Cleanup will scan your system for files that it can remove and will open with the user options available. You can now choose which user files you would like to delete. To activate the system options, you will need to select Clean up system files in the lower left hand corner. When you do this, Disk Cleanup will close and rescan your computer.

This time Disk Cleanup will now include system files that can be removed. It will also have a second tab on top called More Options. Under More Options you will find other options, Programs and Features and System Restore and Shadow Copies.

Programs and Features will take you to the Control Panel where you have the ability to uninstall programs or add / remove Windows features. Selecting System Restore and Shadow Copies will delete all but the most recent restore point. Use this carefully, as you cannot get back any restore points are they are deleted.

How to run Disk Cleanup from an administrative command prompt

You can run Disk Cleanup with or without command line switches. When you run Disk Cleanup without any switches, it opens with the system options selections. When you run it with switch /sageset:n, you will get even more options than the system settings.

First thing you will need to do is open an administrative command prompt.

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

The type the following into the command prompt to run Disk Cleanup.

cleanmgr

Disk Cleanup can also be used with command line switches, further expanding on its features. And when used with the /sageset:n and /sagerun:n switches you can save multiple configurations that can be used in a shortcut or as a scheduled task.

cleanmgr /sageset:n cleanmgr /sagerun:n

Here's an explanation of the /sageset:n and /sagerun:n switches.

  • /sageset:n - This switch displays the Disk Cleanup settings dialog box and creates a registry key to store the settings you select. The n value is stored in the registry and allows you to specify different tasks for Disk Cleanup to run. The n value can be any integer value from 0 to 65535. To get all the available options when you are using the /sageset switch, you may need to specify the drive letter that contains the Windows installation.
  • /sagerun:n - This switch runs the specified tasks that are assigned to the n value by using the /sageset switch. All drives in the computer will be enumerated, and the selected profile will be run against each drive.

How to run Disk Cleanup as a Scheduled Task

First you will need to have created a preset configuration using the /sageset:n switch. Then open Task Scheduler and create a new task.

  1. Left-click on the Start button.
  2. Left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down to Windows Administrative Tools and left-click to expand.
  4. Left-click on Task Scheduler.
  5. In the right column labeled Actions, select Create Basic Task. The Create a Basic Task Wizard will appear.
  6. Give the task a name and description and then select Next.
  7. Select when you want it to run (trigger).
  8. When prompted for what task you want to perform, select Start a program then select Next.
  9. When prompted for a program / script to start, select Browse and navigate to C:\Windows\System32\ and select cleanmgr.exe.
  10. In the Add arguments section, type /sagerun:n and then select Next.
  11. The then select Finish and you're all set.

Backup your files with File History and Windows Backup in Windows 10

Backing up your computer has never been really exciting, but it's something that needs to be done on a regular basis. And with the increase of file encrypting malware, having a good backup has never been more important. Here's how to backup your files with File History and Windows Backup in Windows 10.

Backup your files with File History and Windows Backup in Windows 10

Windows 10 backup basics

Now there are two (2) different backup programs inside of Windows 10, Windows Backup and File History, and each one does a specific type of backup. Windows Backup is geared more towards scheduled backups (nightly, weekly, etc.) and is usually used for full system backups / complete 'bare metal' system images. File History is more for personal files that change frequently, like Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, as it saves multiple versions of the same file.

File History creates multiple versions of the same file with time stamps in the names
File History creates multiple versions of the same file with time stamps in the names

The one thing that Windows Backup and File History have in common is that both of these programs can back up to an external drive or network folder. Windows Backup can also use writeable disks like CD's or DVD's.

With the recent outbreak of file encrypting malware, if you're going to use a network folder it is recommend you do not map a network folder to a drive letter (N:\Files), but instead use Uniform Naming Convention (UNC) (\\Server\Volume\Files).

It goes without saying but never use the same drive that Windows is installed on for File History or Windows Backup. If your computer gets a virus or the operating system gets corrupted, you may have to reformat the drive and reinstall Windows.

Remember when not in use, store the media used for backups (external hard disks, DVD's, or CD's) in a secure place to prevent unauthorized people from having access to your files. It is also recommended to use a fire-proof location, like a data safe, to store the backup media.

Using File History to backup your files

File History will automatically create time stamped versions of your personal files (documents, music, photos ,etc.) on a set schedule. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them from an earlier point in time. You can schedule File History to run from every ten (10) minutes to daily. And you can also set the length time that File History keeps copies of your files, from 1 month to forever or whenever space is needed.

The main screen for File History
The main screen for File History

To use File History you will need to have either an external drive or network folder to save the files to. By default, File History will back up your personal folders (documents, photos, videos, etc.) but you can add additional folders to its configuration. Now configuring File History inside of Windows 10 can be a little confusing, as there are two (2) different places to change the settings, Settings and Control Panel.

How to open File History in Settings

  1. Left-click the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Left-click on Update & security.
  3. In the left column, left-click on Backup.

How to open File History in the Control Panel

  1. Left-click on the Start menu and select All apps.
  2. Scroll down to Windows System and left-click on it to expand it out.
  3. Left-click on Control Panel.
  4. If viewing by category, left-click on Save backup copies of your file with File History. If viewing by large / small icons, left-click on File History.

or

  1. Bring up the Power Users menu by right-clicking on the Start menu.
  2. In the context menu that appears, left-click on Control Panel.
  3. If viewing by category, left-click on Save backup copies of your file with File History. If viewing by large / small icons, left-click on File History.

Here is a breakdown of what options can be changed and where to find them.

File History option Settings Control Panel
Turn on or off X X
Manually run File History X  
Change frequency (how often it runs) and duration (how long they are kept) of history X X
Add or remove folders X  
Exclude folders (good for sub-folders) X X
Change where backups are stored X X
Clean up older versions   X
Restore files   X

Using Windows Backup to backup your files

The version of Windows Backup included in Windows 10 is actually from Windows 7, hence the name in the Control Panel, Backup and Restore (Windows 7). If you used the version in Windows 7, everything will be familiar to you. With Windows Backup, you can backup just certain files and folders or do a complete system backup / system image. And you can schedule it to run whenever you want.

The main screen for Windows Backup
The main screen for Windows Backup

But unlike File History, Windows Backup creates a single backup that gets updated when it is run. No multiple file versions here, just the latest version of files at the time Windows Backup was run.

Along with using an external drive or network folder for backup, Windows Backup can also use CD's or DVD's. But if you're going to do a complete system backup on CD's or DVD's, be prepared with plenty of blank disks.

If you're creating a complete system image, remember to make a system repair disk to go along with it. If you ever need to restore your computer from a Windows Backup image, you will need to boot your computer from it. The link to create it is in the left-hand column.

How to open Windows Backup in Settings

  1. Left-click the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Left-click on Update & security.
  3. In the left column, left-click on Backup.
  4. In the right column, left-click on Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

How to open Windows Backup in the Control Panel

  1. Left-click on the Start menu and select All apps.
  2. Scroll down to Windows System and left-click on it to expand it out.
  3. Left-click on Control Panel.
  4. Left-click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

or

  1. Bring up the Power Users menu by right-clicking on the Start menu.
  2. In the context menu that appears, left-click on Control Panel.
  3. Left-click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

How to customize the Start menu in Windows 10

With the release of Windows 10 marks the return of the Start menu, missing since Windows 7. With a combination of new and old elements, the Start menu can be quite useful. Here's how to customize the Start menu in Windows 10.

Now some of the Windows users will recognize the Windows 10 Start menu as a revised version of the Start screen from Windows 8/8.1. It is now kind of split with traditional Start menu features on the left side and universal apps / shortcut tiles on the right side. You can only change certain items on the Start menu, mainly what appears on the main screen. You can do minimal editing to the All apps menu, but be careful as you cannot add anything to, or back to, the All apps menu. Once removed, it's gone. Of course you can always add a shortcut to the tiles, desktop or taskbar.

The Start menu now can be run as pop-up menu (desktop) or completely full screen (tablet). You can also change the look and feel of the Start menu couple of different ways.

Changing the Start menu size

Just like any other application, you can change the width and height of the Start menu. Hover your cursor over one of the edges of the Start menu until the sizing arrows appear, then hold the left mouse button and drag it to the size you want. You can also modify the Tiles (add, remove, resize and move around).

Changing the Start menu appearance

The majority of Start menu settings that you can customize are located under Settings > Personalization > Start. Items that you can turn on or off include:

  • Show most used apps
  • Show recently added apps
  • Use Start full screen
  • Show recently opened item in Jump lists on Start or the taskbar

Items on the Windows 10 Start menu that you can edit
Items on the Windows 10 Start menu that you can edit
Items on the Windows 10 Start menu that have important context menus
Items on the Windows 10 Start menu that have important context menus

You can also turn on or off which folders appear on the Start menu. They included File Explorer, Settings, Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, HomeGroup, Network and your Personal folder (where you Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Videos, etc. are stored). If you want to change the color and effects for the Start menu, just go to Settings > Personalization > Colors. There you will find the following appearance settings:

  • Automatically pick an accent color from my background
  • Show color on Start, taskbar, and action center
  • Make Start, taskbar and action center transparent

How to create a shortcut in Windows 10

Shortcuts are links to various types of objects on your computer like a program, file, folder or another computer and it can be placed on your Desktop, Taskbar or Start menu. Here's how to create a shortcut in Windows 10.

To create a shortcut in Windows 10, you just need to know where the object is located on your computer. Open File Explorer (left-click the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar or left-click on the Start Menu and select File Explorer) and navigate the the object you want to create a shortcut to. If you want to create a Desktop shortcut, make sure File Explorer is not in full screen mode.

  • For a shortcut on the Start menu, right-click on the object and select Pin to Start
  • For a shortcut on the Taskbar, right-click on the object and select Pin to Taskbar
  • For a shortcut on the Desktop, press and hold the right mouse button on the object and drag it to the Desktop. From the context menu that appears select Create shortcuts here.

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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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