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Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

Even though we primarily work on Windows computers, there are times when we need to access Mac formatted disks. And being able to do that from inside of Windows is essential. That's where MacDrive comes into play.

Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

Now in repairing computers, we are often asked to recover files from old drives and transfer them to external drives. Sometimes they are two (2) different formats; NTFS (Windows) & HFS+ (Mac). And since Mac and Windows computers don't natively read and write to each other's disk format, having MacDrive is a necessity.

With MacDrive, you can read and write to Mac formatted drives inside of Windows. And since MacDrive works so seamlessly with Windows, you might not even notice you are using a Mac formatted drive. The little Apple drive icon kind of gives it away (but you can turn it off).

The Mac drive icon inside of Windows File Explorer
The Mac drive icon inside of Windows File Explorer

It can also perform various disk management tasks, including formatting and repairing Mac disks. It can also burn Mac formatted CDs and DVDs.

View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 10 Disk Management without MacDrive installed
View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 10 Disk Management without MacDrive installed

View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 7 Disk Management with MacDrive installed
View of a Mac formatted disk inside of Windows 7 Disk Management with MacDrive installed

MacDrive supports USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, eSata, SATA, IDE, SCSI, and Fibre Channel drives. It also supports legacy drives like Jaz, MO, and ZIP.

You can mount Mac OS partitions on Boot Camp systems. And you can also go through Time Machine backups. It even works with Mac files without an extension.

You can access all of the MacDrive tools from either the built-in Disk Management Window or inside Windows Explorer. And you can directly access working files straight from your favorite programs.

MacDrive comes in two (2) versions; Standard and Pro. The Standard version is more geared to the everyday user. The Pro version has more advanced features like mounting RAID sets creating Mac ISO files.

MacDrive is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (32-bit & 64-bit) and Windows 11. For more information on MacDrive, follow the link below.

MacDrive

How to quickly free up space on your hard drive

Updated March 29, 2023

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 quickly free up some disk space 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

Clean up Windows 11 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, Windows 10 and Windows 11:
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 simultaneously 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 you 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

How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 11

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 that 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 backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Updated January 30, 2024

Everyone knows that when you make any significant change to your computer, you must 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 and Windows 11.

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 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 and Windows 11

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 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 after a change or modification. Just make sure to create a system repair disk or recovery drive (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 and Windows 11

  1. Bring up the System > About 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. In the right-hand column, left-click on the System protection link.
  3. In the Protection Settings field, check and ensure system protection is enabled. If it is not, then highlight the drive's name and left-click on the Configure ... button. Once you have verified that system protection is enabled, proceed to the next step.
  4. Highlight the C: (System) drive, and left-click on the button 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 and Windows 11

  1. Bring up the System > About 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. In the right-hand column, left-click on the System protection link.
  3. At the top of the System Protection tab, left-click on the button under the System Restore section labeled System Restore ....
  4. When the starting screen appears, left-click on Next >.
  5. Highlight the restore point you want to use, then left-click on Next >.
  6. When the confirmation screen appears, left-click on Finish.
  7. A warning should appear telling you not to interrupt the system restore process. Left-click on Yes to proceed.
  8. Your computer will start restoring the system (including the registry) to how it was when the restore point was created and reboot.

Creating a system repair disk or recovery drive in Windows 10 and Windows 11

System repair disks and recovery drives are essentially the same thing. They are bootable drives that contain the essential system tools to repair your Windows installation. The only difference is the media they use; system repair disks use CDs/DVDs, and recovery drives use USBs. Recovery drives can also reinstall Windows. Click here for more on Recovery Drives for Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to create a system repair disk for Windows 10 or Windows 11 (requires a blank CD/DVD)

  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.

How to create a recovery drive for Windows 10 (requires an empty USB drive 16GB or larger)

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Accessories.
  3. Double left-click on Recovery Drive. Just follow the prompts.

How to create a recovery drive for Windows 11 (requires an empty USB drive 16GB or larger)

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Double left-click on Recovery Drive. Just follow the prompts.

Manually backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11

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.

There is a downside to using the Registry Editor to manually backup the registry. To restore anything with the Registry Editor, you must 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 and Windows 11

  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 and Windows 11

  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 and Windows 11

Updated December 8, 2022

In doing computer repair, I often get asked, "Why does my computer take so long to start up?". Quite often, it turns out there are items set to auto-start that don't need to or don't exist anymore. Here's how to disable programs, drivers, and services that auto-start in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to disable or enable auto-start programs and drivers in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Now this one doesn't cost any money and can dramatically improve the time it takes for your computer and programs to start up. By minimizing the number of applications that launch at startup, you can also free up memory.

Now there are three (3) programs I use to enable or disable programs, drivers, or services that start up in Windows 10 and Windows 11. 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 / Autoruns64) can be dangerous because not only can it enable or disable entries, but it can also delete them.

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

Task Manager (Auto-start programs)

The Startup tab inside of Task Manager
The Startup tab inside of Windows 10 / Windows 11 Task Manager

Using Task Manager is the most comfortable and safest way to enable or disable programs that auto-start with Windows 10 and Windows 11. None of the programs listed here are going to prevent your computer from starting if disabled. You will not find any program listed here that Windows 10 or Windows 11 requires to operate.

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

How to start Task Manager in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Right-click on the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. 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.

How to start Task Manager in Windows 10 only

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

Sometimes the first time you run Task Manager, it will only display running apps. You have to left-click on the More details arrow to view all of the tabs. The location of the tabs varies from Windows 10 (across the top) to Windows 11 (down the left side).

Once the tabs are displayed, left-click on Startup (Windows 10) or Startup apps (Windows 11). From here, all you have to do is highlight the program name and select the Enable / Disable button.

System Configuration (Auto-start services)

The Services tab inside of System Configuration
The Services tab inside of 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. Be careful about making changes here, as they can have a significant impact on system performance.

How to start System Configuration in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo 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.

How to start System Configuration in Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Left-click on System Configuration.

How to start System Configuration in both Windows 10 and 11

  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 to select the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox 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 get a dialog box prompting you 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 Microsoft Autoruns

Autoruns.exe (32-bit) and Autoruns64.exe (64-bit) are part of Microsoft's Sysinternals Suite of troubleshooting utilities and do not come with Windows 10 or Windows 11. But they are free, require no installation, and can be downloaded separately or with the complete suite (see links below).

Now Autoruns.exe will only run on 32-bit versions of Windows 10, and Autoruns64.exe will only run on 64-bit versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Windows 11 does not come in a 32-bit version. Most versions of Windows 10 are 64-bit, so if you have any doubt about what version of Windows 10 you have, download Autoruns64.exe first.

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

Once you have downloaded the files and extracted them to a permanent location, open that folder with File Explorer. Locate either Autoruns.exe or Autoruns64.exe (depending on your version of Windows 10). Right-click on the release of Autoruns for your version of Windows 10 / Windows 11 and select Run as administrator from the context menu.

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, left-click on the checkbox 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 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

How to use Libraries in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Updated October 2, 2022

Remember the old saying, "A place for everything and everything in its place"? The same holds for your files inside of Windows 10 and Windows 11. And managing your data in Windows 10 and Windows 11 can be a breeze when you use Libraries.

One of my favorite Windows file/folder organization features has to be Libraries. Libraries are nothing more than a collection of shortcuts to the original file/folder locations. But the places can be on your local computer or a network drive. Once you add a location to a library, it's just one click away inside of File Explorer.

Now let's not confuse user file folders with Libraries. User file folders are actual folders; Libraries are collections of shortcuts to user file folders. Your user files are already included in the Libraries by default. User file folders must be located on your computer, but Libraries can be shortcuts to both local and network file folders.

It's somewhat ironic that one of the coolest features that I can think of inside of Windows 10 and Windows 11 is hidden by default. But you can un-hide Libraries in just seconds. Here's how:

How to enable the Library view in Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer by either
    • Left-clicking on the File Explorer icon (manilla folder) on the Taskbar.
    • Left-clicking the Start button, scrolling down and expanding the Windows System folder and left-clicking on File Explorer.
    • Right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E.
  2. Left-click on the View tab on the top of the Ribbon.
    How to enable the Library view in Windows 10
  3. Left-click on the Navigation pane button and left-click on Show libraries.

How to enable the Library view in Windows 11

  1. Open File Explorer by either
    • Left-clicking on the File Explorer icon (manilla folder) on the Taskbar.
    • Left-clicking the Start button, left-clicking on All apps, scrolling down and left-clicking on File Explorer.
    • Right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E.
  2. Left-click on the See more three horizontal dots (...) in the upper right-hand corner
  3. In the context menu that appears, left-click on Options.
    Where to find Folder Options in Windows 11 File Explorer
    The Folder Options dialog box will appear.
  4. On the Folder Options dialog box, left-click on the View tab.
    Folder Options inside of Windows 11
    Scroll to the bottom of the Advanced settings, select Show libraries, and then left-click the Apply button.

How to modify Library properties in Windows 10 and Windows 11

We are all familiar with files and folders, but when Windows 7 came out, we got another way to manage them, Libraries. Libraries are where you go to manage your documents, music, pictures, and other files. You can browse your data the same way you would in a folder, or view your files arranged by properties like date, type, and author.

In some ways, a Library is similar to a folder. For example, when you open a Library, you'll see one or more files. However, unlike a folder, a Library gathers data stored in several locations. This is a subtle but significant difference. Libraries don't hold your files, just shortcuts to them. Libraries monitor folders containing your data and let you access and arrange the files differently. For instance, if you have music files in folders on your hard disk and an external drive, you can access all of your music files at once using the Music Library.

Windows 10 and Windows 11 have four (4) default libraries (Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos) and include links to your user files by default. Remember that you can add up to fifty (50) folders to a Library. And if you like, you can also create your own Libraries. Here are some other ways you can modify an existing Library.

  • Include or remove a folder. Libraries gather content from included folders or Library locations.
  • Change the default save location. The default save location determines where an item is stored when it's copied, moved, or saved to the Library.
  • Change the type of file a library is optimized for. Each Library can be optimized for a specific file type (such as music or pictures). Optimizing a Library for a particular file type changes the available options for arranging your files.

How to add a folder to a Library in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Open File Explorer (see enabling Library view).
  2. Right-click on the Library you'd like to change and select Show more options (Windows 11), Properties.
  3. Below the Library Locations box, click on Add, navigate to and highlight the folder you want to add to the Library, and left-click on Include folder.
  4. Left-click OK.

How to change a Library's default save location in Windows 10 and Windows 11

A Library's default save location determines where an item will be stored when it's copied, moved, or saved to the Library. You will need two or more folders in a Library to change the default save location.

  1. Open File Explorer (see enabling Library view).
  2. Right-click on the Library you'd like to change and select Show more options (Windows 11), Properties.
  3. Select the Library location you want as default, left-click on Set save location, and then left-click Apply.
  4. Left-click OK.

How to change the type of files a Library is optimized for in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Each Library can be optimized for a specific file type (such as music or pictures). Optimizing a Library for a particular kind of file changes the available options for arranging the data in that Library.

  1. Open File Explorer (see enabling Library view).
  2. Right-click on the Library you'd like to change and select Show more options (Windows 11), Properties.
  3. In the Optimize this library for list, select a file type and then left-click Apply.
  4. Left-click OK.

How to create a new Library in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Open File Explorer (see enabling Library view).
  2. Right-click on Libraries and select Show more options (Windows 11), then New, then Library.
  3. Enter a name for the new Library, and then press Enter.

How to remove a folder from a Library in Windows 10 and Windows 11

If you don’t need a folder in a Library anymore, you can remove it. When you remove a folder from a Library location (shortcut), the folder and everything in it is still kept in its original location. Remember that when you delete a folder from a Library (folder), the folder and everything in it is deleted in its original location.

  1. Open File Explorer (see enabling Library view).
  2. Right-click on the Library you'd like to change and select Show more options (Windows 11), Properties.
  3. In the Library Locations dialog box, left-click on the folder you want to remove, left-click Remove, and then left-click OK.

How to add a network folder that is not indexed to a Library in Windows 10 and Windows 11

There will be times when you cannot get a shared network folder added to a Library due to indexing issues, and I found a way to get around this problem by creating a symbolic link.

  1. Open File Explorer (see enabling Library view).
  2. Left-click on This PC and create a folder on your drive for your network folders, for example, c:\share.
  3. Create another folder within that folder, for example, c:\share\music.
  4. Right-click the subfolder you just created and select Show more options (Windows 11), Include in library, and then select the library to which you want to add the folder or create a new Library.
  5. Delete the folder.
  6. Open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges
  7. Enter mklink /d, and then enter the path of the folder you just deleted and the path of the network folder. For example, mklink /d c:\share\music \\server\music. If either of the folder names has spaces, encase the path(s) inside of quotes. For example, mklink /d "c:\shared files\music" "\\server\shared music". This creates what is called a symbolic link.

Here's how to create a symbolic link in Windows 8. It's the same procedure for Windows 10 and Windows 11.

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