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Back up your files in Windows 8 with File History

File History in Windows 8 automatically backs up files that are in your libraries, contacts, favorites, Microsoft SkyDrive and on your desktop. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore all of them. You can also find different versions of your files from a specific point in time. Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files. File History is the replacement for Backup and Restore from previous versions of Windows.

How to use File History in Windows 8

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'Control Panel' tile and left click on it.
  5. Under 'System and Security', left click on 'Save backup copies of your files with File History'.

Or

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'Control Panel' tile and left click on it.
  5. On the upper right side of the Control Panel there is a 'View by:' pull-down menu (the default is Category). Left click on the arrow to the right and select either 'Large icons' or 'Small icons'.
  6. Left click on 'File History'.

Before you start using File History to back up your files, you'll need to set up a drive to save files to. It is recommend that you use an external drive or network location to help protect your files against a crash or other PC problem. File History only saves copies of files that are in your libraries, contacts, favorites, Microsoft SkyDrive, and your desktop. If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of your existing libraries or create a new library. You also change the frequancy of the File History back up by clicking on Advanced settings on the left hand side of the window.

How to restore a file using File History in Windows 8

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'Control Panel' tile and left click on it.
  5. On the upper right side of the Control Panel there is a 'View by:' pull-down menu (the default is Category). Left click on the arrow to the right and select either 'Large icons' or 'Small icons'.
  6. Left click on 'File History'.
  7. On left hand side of the File History window, left click on 'Restore personal files'. Scroll side to side and select the date / time and the files you wish to restore.
  8. Click on the circular arrow at the bottom of the screen to restore the selected folder(s) and/or file(s) to their original location(s).

Defragment and Optimize your hard drive in Windows 8

Have you ever opened a filing cabinet and couldn't find the file or folder you were looking for? The same thing can happen to your computer when your hard drive becomes fragmented. To keep all of your files in the right place, optimizing your hard drive on a regular basis is highly recommended. You can do this with Windows 8 built-in hard drive optimizing utility, Defragment and Optimize Drives.

Standard hard drive optimization in Windows 8

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'File Explorer' tile and left click on it.
  5. Left click on 'Computer'.
  6. Right-click the hard drive that you want to optimize, and then click 'Properties'.
  7. Click the 'Tools' tab, and then, under 'Optimize and defragment drive', click 'Optimize'.
  8. Select the drive you want to defrag and click on 'Optimize'.

Or

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'Control Panel' tile and left click on it.
  5. On the upper right side of the Control Panel there is a 'View by:' pull-down menu (the default is Category). Left click on the arrow to the right and select either 'Large icons' or 'Small icons'.
  6. Left click on 'Administrative Tools'.
  7. Double left-click 'Defragment and Optimize Drives'.
  8. Select the drive you want to optimize and click on 'Optimize'.

Advanced hard drive optimaztion in Windows 8

  1. Open a Command Prompt with Administrative privileges (click here for instructions)
  2. Use the following command line syntax(s) and parameter(s) to run DEFRAG:

DEFRAG <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes> [<task(s)>] [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]

Where <task(s)> is omitted (traditional defrag), or as follows: /A | [/D] [/K] [/L] | /O | /X

Or, to track an operation already in progress on a volume:
DEFRAG <volume> /T

Value Description
/A Perform analysis on the specified volumes.
/C Perform the operation on all volumes.
/D Perform traditional defrag (this is the default).
/E Perform the operation on all volumes except those specified.
/H Run the operation at normal priority (default is low).
/K Perform slab consolidation on the specified volumes.
/L Perform retrim on the specified volumes.
/M Run the operation on each volume in parallel in the background.
/O Perform the proper optimization for each media type.
/T Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.
/U Print the progress of the operation on the screen.
/V Print verbose output containing the fragmentation statistics.
/X Perform free space consolidation on the specified volumes.

Check your hard drive for errors in Windows 8

Keeping your hard drive free from errors is essential to the performance of your Windows 8 computer. When it comes to computer repair, this is one of the first things I do. So, if your experiencing problems opening an application or file, it may be time to check your hard drive for errors with Windows 8 built-in disk checking utility, CHKDSK (checkdisk).

There are two ways to run CHKDSK, standard and advanced. Here are the procedures for both.

Standard hard drive error checking in Windows 8

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'File Explorer' tile and left click on it.
  5. Left click on 'Computer'.
  6. Right-click the hard drive that you want to check, and then click 'Properties'.
  7. Click the 'Tools' tab, and then, under 'Error-checking', click 'Check Now'. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  8. Select 'Scan drive'.

Advanced hard drive error checking in Windows 8

  1. Open a Command Prompt with Administrative privileges (click here for instructions)
  2. Use the following command line syntax(s) and parameter(s) to run CHKDSK:

CHKDSK [volume[[path]filename]]] [/F] [/V] [/R] [/X] [/I] [/C] [/L[:size]] [/B] [/scan] [/spotfix]

volume Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon), mount point, or volume name.
filename FAT/FAT32 only: Specifies the files to check for fragmentation.
/F Fixes errors on the disk.
/V On FAT/FAT32: Displays the full path and name of every file on the disk. On NTFS: Displays cleanup messages if any.
/R Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information (implies /F, when /scan not specified).
/L:size NTFS only: Changes the log file size to the specified number of kilobytes. If size is not specified, displays current size.
/X Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary. All opened handles to the volume would then be invalid (implies /F).
/I NTFS only: Performs a less vigorous check of index entries.
/C NTFS only: Skips checking of cycles within the folder structure.
/B NTFS only: Re-evaluates bad clusters on the volume (implies /R)
/scan NTFS only: Runs a online scan on the volume
/forceofflinefix NTFS only: (Must be used with "/scan") Bypass all online repair; all defects found are queued for offline repair (i.e. "chkdsk /spotfix").
/perf NTFS only: (Must be used with "/scan") Uses more system resources to complete a scan as fast as possible. This may have a negative performance impact on other tasks running on the system.
/spotfix NTFS only: Runs spot fixing on the volume
/sdcleanup NTFS only: Garbage collect unneeded security descriptor data (implies /F).
/offlinescanandfix Runs an offline scan and fix on the volume.

The /I or /C switch reduces the amount of time required to run CHKDSK by skipping certain checks of the volume.

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

At some point in time, you may need to run a program or command from a Command Prompt with Administrative privileges. Some of the best features inside of Windows Vista and Windows 7 are only accessible through an administrative Command Prompt. Here's how to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 8.

A Command Prompt in Windows 7 with Administrator privileges
A Command Prompt in Windows 7 with Administrator privileges

  1. Left-click on the Start button.
  2. Left-click on All Programs.
  3. Left-click on Accessories.
  4. Right-click on Command Prompt.
  5. On the context menu that appears, left-click on Run as administrator. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    or
  1. Left-click on the Start button.
  2. In the search box above the Start button, type Command Prompt.
  3. In the list of results, right-click Command Prompt.
  4. On the context menu that appears, left-click Run as administrator. 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. Left-click on Command Prompt (Admin). If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Resetting your network adapter in Windows 8

Is your network connection running slow? Or maybe your Internet browser isn't allowing you to go to specific websites? Installing / uninstalling applications or viruses / malware / spyware can add unwanted entries into the network protocol. If so, it may be time to reset your network adapter inside of Windows 8.

Command Prompt with administrator privileges in Windows 8
Command Prompt with administrator privileges in Windows 8

Windows 8 has a built-in administrator tool, Network Shell (Netsh), that allows you to configure and monitor network adapters on your Windows 8 computer. Netsh can completely reset your network adapter back to it's default state. It can also reset the Windows Firewall in Windows 8 too. All you need is a Command Prompt with administrator privileges.

How to open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges in Windows 8

To use Netsh, you will need to open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges. There are a few of ways to do this:

    Using a mouse
  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Right click 'Command Prompt' tile to bring up the app commands.
  5. Select 'Run as administrator'. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Using a keyboard
  1. Go to the Start menu
  2. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Z to open the app commands.
  3. Press Enter to select 'All apps'.
  4. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the 'Command Prompt' tile.
  5. Press the Application key Application key to bring up the app commands.
  6. Use the arrow keys to navigate to 'Run as administrator' and press Enter. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Using touch
  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the Start menu to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'Command Prompt' tile and press and hold it to bring up the app commands.
  5. Select 'Run as administrator'. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Netsh commands for resetting your network adapter in Windows 8

The following is a list of the Netsh commands you can use at a Command Prompt with administrator privileges to reset your network adapter in Windows 8.

netsh advfirewall reset Restores the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security policy to the default policy. The current active policy can be optionally exported to a specified file. In a Group Policy object, this command returns all settings to not configured and deletes all connection security and firewall rules.

netsh branchcache reset Resets the BranchCache service. Flushes the local cache. Every configuration parameter of BranchCache will be reset to its default value.

netsh int ip reset Resets TCP/IP and related components to a clean state.

netsh int ipv6 reset Resets IPv6 configuration state.

netsh winsock resetResets Winsock Catalog to a clean state. All Winsock Layered Service Providers which were previously installed must be reinstalled. This command does not affect Winsock Name Space Provider entries.

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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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