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Inside the Windows 10 Control Panel

Updated July 8, 2020

When it comes to finding features and settings in Windows, the Control Panel has always been where I go. The same holds 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, and others are not. 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: One on the Start menu and one on the Power User menu. I like to use the Power User menu shortcuts as they are speedy and easy to use.

How to access the Control Panel in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo 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 Windows logo menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Left-click on Run.
  3. In the Run dialog box that appears, type control and left-click on Ok.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R to bring up the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type control and left-click on Ok.

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

I like the Settings app in Windows 10, but I am more familiar with the Control Panel like many other people. 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 Control Panel features and settings 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

And then there is God Mode. 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 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 changing our clocks for daylight savings time. Now the downside 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 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 time zones.

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. 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 have to know how to get to them. You can also 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

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

Now 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 them and select Delete. If you get a prompt about permanently deleting the files, 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 checkbox is selected and then left-click on Skip.

Turn off hibernation

Turn of hibernation

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 an excellent visual treemap. Instead of the usual file/folder data like you see in File Explorer, a graphic visualization tool shows file/folder information using blocks. The larger the square, the bigger the file/folder.

SpaceMonger version 1.4.0

Years ago, I started using a graphic visualization tool when I had a client that all of the desktops began 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 (unzip and go) and is entirely 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, follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

How to reset Windows 10

Updated July 10, 2020

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 difficult, at best. In most versions, you had to reinstall Windows to get a clean copy. But with Windows 10, you can 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. That means you will have to reinstall all of the programs you installed or came pre-loaded on your computer.

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 the Refresh Windows Tool, which does the same thing as the built-in remove everything option.

Refresh Windows Tool

The second option is a little more complicated but does have some advantages. With this option, you download the Windows 10 installation media and perform an in-place upgrade. With this option, you can choose to save your files and all of your installed programs. Or you can get rid of everything and start with a fresh copy of Windows 10. Now the in-place upgrade does reset all of Windows 10 settings back to default but retains all of the installed programs.

How to repair Windows 10 by doing an in-place upgrade

Always remember to backup your computer before performing any reset. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Backup Windows 10

How to reset Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo button to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Left-click on Settings (gear icon).
    Windows 10 Reset 1
  3. Left-click on Update & Security.
    Windows 10 Reset 2
  4. In the left-hand column, left-click on Recovery.
    Windows 10 Reset 3
  5. In the right-hand column under Reset this PC, left-click on the Get started button.
    Windows 10 Reset 4
  6. On the Choose an option page, left-click on either Keep my files or Remove everything.
    Windows 10 Reset 5
    • If you select Keep my files, you get a prompt 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.
  7. In newer versions of Windows 10 (2004 and up), the next screen you get will ask you How would you like to reinstall Windows?
    Windows 10 Reset 8
    Select either Cloud download or Local reinstall.
    • Cloud download requires Internet access and can use more than 4GB of data
    • Local reinstall uses the hidden recovery partition on your computer to reinstall Windows 10
  8. Once you left-click on your choice, you'll come to the Reset this PC screen. Once you confirm your selection of settings, Left-click on Reset to proceed with the reset.

If you selected Remove files and clean the drive, you will need to go through the initial Windows 10 set up. For security reasons, Microsoft would like you to use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10. But if you have used previous versions of Windows, you probably had a local account. And you might not have had a password at all. You can still create a local account in Windows 10, and here is how you do it.

When you get to the How would you like to set up? page,
Windows 10 Reset 6
left-click on Set up for personal use and then left-click on the Next button. On the Sign in with Microsoft page, left-click on the Offline account link down in the lower left-hand corner.
Windows 10 Reset 7
This will take you to a page titled Sign in to enjoy the full range of Microsoft apps and services.
Windows 10 Reset 9
Left-click on the Limited experience link down in the lower left-hand corner. The next page is Who's going to use this PC? This is where you create a local account.
Windows 10 Reset 10
Just type in a username and left-click on Next. The following screen will ask you for a password, but it's not required for a local account. If you do not want a password, leave the password field blank and left-click on Next. Without a password, when Windows 10 starts up, it will boot directly to the desktop.

How to setup a mobile hotspot inside of Windows 10

Wi-Fi hotspots have become quite familiar 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?". 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 they usually 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. Devices connected to the mobile hotspot cannot access folders, files, or printers on the host computer.

How to set up 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 a note of which type of connection you are using.
  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 significant change to your computer, you need to backup the registry first. But not many casual computer users understand 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 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) essential 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 lifesaver 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 only 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 the 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 the 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 start restoring the system (including the registry) to the way it was when 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. The beautiful 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 boot your computer in either standard 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.

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

Diagnosing PC problems can be time-consuming. From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes can take some time. We base our in-shop service on the actual time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

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Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

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