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How to enable the complete right-click context menu in Windows 11 File Explorer

Do you like to right-click on a file or folder to show the context menu? Have you noticed that Windows 11 only displays a condensed context menu? Here is how to enable the complete context menu in Windows 11.

How to enable the complete right-click context menu in Windows 11 File Explorer

One of the most time-saving features in Windows 11 has to be the context menu that appears when you right-click on a file or folder. It usually displays all of the actions that can be performed, like open with or send to, and application-specific actions.

But Windows 11, by default, only shows a condensed context menu. The only way to get all the available actions to appear in the context menu is to select Show more options. But there is a way to enable the complete view of the context menu, but it does require editing the registry.

Note: Editing the registry incorrectly can cause your computer to run erratically or not even boot. It is highly recommended to backup your computer's registry before editing it. Creating a Restore Point will backup the current state of your computer, including the registry. If you do not feel comfortable editing the registry, please get in touch with a local computer technician for assistance.

How to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11

How to enable the full right-click context menu inside of File Explorer

  1. Backup the registry (see the above article).
  2. Open the Registry Editor.
    • Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
    • In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
    • Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
    • Left-click on Registry Editor. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Navigate to the following registry key.
    Windows 11 CLSID registry key
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID
  4. Right-click on CLSID and select New > Key.
    Windows 11 CLSID new key
  5. Type or paste the following code in the name field, then press Enter.
    {86CA1AA0-34AA-4E8B-A509-50C905BAE2A2}
  6. Right-click on {86CA1AA0-34AA-4E8B-A509-50C905BAE2A2} and select New > Key.
    Windows 11 InprocServer32 new key
  7. Type or paste the following name in the name field, then press Enter.
    InprocServer32
  8. In the right-hand column, you will find the default value listed under Data is (value not set).
    Changing the default Windows 11 InprocServer32 key
    Right-click on the default value and select Modify.
  9. The Edit String dialog box will appear. Leave the Value data field blank and left-click on OK.
    The revised default Windows 11 InprocServer32 key
    The default value for InprocServer32 should now be blank. Restart your Windows 11 computer for the registry changes to take effect.

How to backup your Windows 11 computer using Windows Backup and File History

Did you know that Windows 11 includes two (2) programs for backing up your computer? And when used together, they can provide excellent backup protection. Here is how to use Windows Backup and File History to back up your Windows 11 computer.

How to backup your Windows 11 computer using Windows Backup and File History

Backing up your computer has never been glamorous, and most people tend just to put it off. But without a good backup plan, you could be heading for a huge problem. Windows 11 includes two (2) programs to help you back up your system; Windows Backup and File History. Each of them performs a specific type of backup and use different methods of backing your computer. But when used together, they can be a pretty robust backup plan.

Now Windows Backup has been around since Windows 7. In fact, the name of the shortcut is Backup and Restore (Windows 7). File History has been around since Windows 8. They work differently but complement each other in backing up your computer and data.

By default, Windows Backup and File History like to back up to external or network drives. In fact, using a drive inside your computer is not recommended because if you have any problems with your computer, you may not be able to access any of the data. But you can use the same external or network drive for both programs if you like.

Now a typical backup scenario would use Windows Backup for complete system (bare metal) backup once a week and File History set to back up personal files every hour. Bare metal refers to restoring your computer to a new drive using a Recovery Drive and a Windows Backup image.

If you frequently make software changes (installing, uninstalling, updates, etc.) to your computer, you may want to have Windows Backup run more often. Remember that Windows Backup typically includes all your personal files (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos).

Windows 11 File History

Windows 11 File History main screen

File History creates time-stamped versions of your personal files; Libraries (Camera Roll, Documents, Music, Pictures, Saved Pictures, and Videos), Desktop, Contacts, and Favorites. It saves your files on a regular schedule, from 10 minutes to daily (every hour is the default), adding the date and time to the file name.

File History saves backup file versions from 1 month to forever or until space is needed (forever is the default). It does not use any compression or encryption when saving files, so you can easily navigate through them and preview or open any that you want to view. You also access the backup files from another computer, and no special software is required.

Now you can exclude folders from being backup by File History, but you cannot add folders. The only way to add folders to the list of items to be backed up is by creating a new library, But for most Windows 11 users, the default libraries are more than enough.

Windows 11 Windows Backup

Windows 11 Windows Backup main screen

Windows Backup creates an encrypted and compressed backup image of your computer that can only be accessed through Windows Backup or a Recovery Drive. Windows Backup can restore individual folders and files, and a Recovery Drive can restore a complete drive image.

You can set up Windows Backup to run on a set schedule, or you can run it on demand. Windows Backup, by default, is set to perform incremental backups, which means that every time you run it, it backs up only files that have changed since the last backup.

You can customize which files and folders it backs up, but I recommend using the Let Windows choose (system image) option. I have restored numerous failed drives using a Recovery Drive and a system image, and it works great and can be a lifesaver.

How to access and configure Windows Backup and File History

The Control Panel is the only way to get to Windows Backup or File History. There are several ways to get to the Control Panel inside of Windows 11, so here is an article on all the different ways to get there. The following is the most straightforward way of doing it.

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo key button 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 Control Panel.
  5. If viewing the Control Panel by Category, left-click on either Save backup copies of your files with File History or Backup and Restore (Windows 7) under System and Security. If viewing by Large/Small Icons, left-click on either Backup and Restore (Windows 7) or File History.

How to configure File History

Once File History is open, you will find four (4) options in the left-hand column; Restore personal files, Select drive, Exclude folders, and Advanced settings. You first need to select the drive you want to use for backing up files. Remember, you can only use external or network drives, so make sure you can access that drive before you start to set up File History.

Once you select your backup drive, you can omit any of your personal folders (Exclude folders) you do not want to backup (Camera Roll, Documents, Music, Pictures, Saved Pictures, and Videos). You can also change how often your files get backup and how long to keep saved versions (Advanced settings).

How to configure Windows Backup

Once you have Windows Backup (Backup and Restore (Windows 7)) open, select the Set up backup link in the right column.
Windows 11 Windows Backup starting screen
This will start Windows Backup, and you will be prompted as to where you want to save your backup.

After selecting where to save your backup, you will be prompted for what to backup.
Choose what to backup screen
You will get two (2) choices; Let Windows choose (recommended) or Let me choose. I highly recommend the Let Windows choose option, as it will create a system image that can be used for bare metal recovery.

Once you have selected what to backup, you will be prompted to review your backup settings.
Review your Windows Backup settings
Next, you will need to set up a backup schedule. Quite often, the default once a week on Sunday at 7:00 PM will work but can be changed to fit your schedule.

After you set the schedule, left-click on the Save settings and run backup button, and Windows Backup will perform the first backup. Remember that you need to be connected to the drive you have chosen for Windows Backup to use before the scheduled time.

How to use Windows with only a keyboard

Have you ever had to use your Windows-based computer with only a keyboard? Do you think it is even possible? Here is how to navigate Windows using only a keyboard.

How to use Windows with only a keyboard

The idea for this article came to me the other day when I remembered one of my first computers. It was running Windows 3 and only had a keyboard for input. It was not easy, to say the least. But once I got used to all the different keys, I could get around Windows 3 pretty well.

So I was wondering, could I do the same with Windows 10 or Windows 11? And since I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts already, this should be pretty easy. I will admit that it was hard not to reach for the mouse at the beginning, as I had to relearn what keys to use and where to use them. But it all started returning to me once I remembered how the keyboard keys were arranged in groups.

There are five (5) groups of keys, and you will find four (4) on both desktop and laptop keyboards. They are Control, Function, Navigation, and Typing, and the fifth group is the Numeric keypad, which some laptops do not have.

Windows keyboard key groups

As you can see from the image above, there are Control keys on the left and right sides of the keyboard. Typically, both sides have an Alt, Windows logo, and Ctrl keys, the left side has the Esc, and the right side sometimes has an Application key.

The Function keys are on top of the Typing keys with the Navigation keys to the right. The Numeric keypad (if your keyboard has one) is located on the right side.

So the best way I could think of showing you how to use just a keyboard for Windows is to create a video. The computer in this video has a keystroke visualizer which displays on-screen the keys on the keyboard being pressed.

Here are some commonly used keyboard key combinations that help when using only a keyboard with Windows. At the bottom of this article, you will find links to more Windows keyboard shortcuts.

Press To
Windows logo key Open Start menu
Ctrl + A Select all
Ctrl + C Copy
Ctrl + X Cut
Ctrl + V Paste
Ctrl + Z Undo
Alt Moves the focus of the keyboard to the menu bar of the active program
Alt + F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program
Alt + Enter Displays the properties of the selected object
Alt + Spacebar Opens the shortcut menu for the active window
Alt + Tab Switch between open items
Alt + Esc Cycle through items in the order they were opened
Esc Cancel the current task
Tab Move forward through options
Tab + Shift Move backward through options
Enter Carry out the command for the active option or button

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

General keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

How to edit autofill passwords in Windows and your browser

Are you having problems with a username and password not working in your favorite browser? Or maybe the credentials for a network resource. Here is how to edit or remove autofill passwords in Windows and your favorite browser.

How to edit autofill passwords in Windows and your browser

Nothing is more frustrating than having your browser or Windows autofill a form with the wrong password. And since passwords are hidden, you are lucky if there is a preview button to check it before trying to use it. And if it is a password used by Windows, you may not even get prompted for a password.

And you know what is worst? A company website that uses multiple servers, and each has credentials that are saved. For example, say GIP runs a bank and we have five (5) servers that handle the website traffic.

Now the servers are networked, so when a user goes to the website, the server they get to is entirely random. One day it might be server1, the next day, server5. But the credentials (username/password) are the same for all servers since they are networked.

But your browser and Windows see things differently. They know each server as a separate website and will save usernames and passwords for each server. So as you check the autofill passwords, you may find multiple servers for a domain (server1.example.com, server2.example.com, etc.).

So in this article, I will show you how to edit or remove saved autofill passwords in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Windows. Each browser and Windows saves different types of information with their autofill functions.

Note: Edit autofill properties at your own risk. Remember that once any autofill data has been changed, there is no way of getting it back.

Before proceeding, you may need two (2) pieces of information, your current username and password / PIN, for logging on to your computer. Some browsers will require you to input your computer credentials before allowing you to edit the autofill passwords. Let's start with the browsers.

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome and left-click on the three (3) vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
    The Google Chrome options menu with Settings highlighted
  2. From the menu that appears, left-click on Settings.
    The Autofill section of Google Chrome
  3. On the Settings page, left-click on the Autofill category in the left-hand column.

The Autofill page is divided into Passwords, Payment methods, and Addresses. You can add, edit or remove any or all autofill data stored inside Chrome. If you left-click on Passwords, you will find all of the autofill passwords that have been saved.

It is here that you can configure Chrome to offer to save passwords and automatically sign in to a website or app. If autofill has saved any passwords, they will be listed below, and left-clicking on the Show password button (which looks like an eye) will reveal that password. Depending on your computer's security, you may be prompted for your username and password/PIN.

You will find the More actions button to the right of the Show password button (three vertical dots). If you left-click on it, a context menu appears with the following options; Copy password, Edit password, and Remove.

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Microsoft Edge and left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner.
    The Microsoft Edge options menu with Settings highlighted
  2. From the menu that appears, left-click on Settings.
    The Profile section of Microsoft Edge
  3. On the Settings page, left-click on the Profiles category in the left-hand column.

In the right-hand column, there are several sections, but the only ones that contain autofill data are Personal info (name, address, custom fields, etc.), Passwords, and Payment info. Left-click on the Passwords section, and you will find all autofill passwords that have been saved.

It is here that you can configure Edge to offer to save passwords and automatically sign in to a website or app. If autofill has saved any passwords, they will be listed below, and left-clicking on the Show password button (which looks like an eye) will reveal that password. Depending on your computer's security, you may be prompted for your username and password/PIN.

You will find the More actions button to the right of the Show password button (three horizontal dots). If you left-click on it, a context menu appears with the following options; Change, Copy password, Edit, Delete and Ignore health.

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Firefox and left-click on the three horizontal bars in the upper-right hand corner.
    The Mozilla Firefox options menu with Settings highlighted
  2. From the menu that appears, left-click on Settings.
    The Privacy and Security section of Mozilla Firefox
  3. From the Settings page, left-click on the Privacy & Security category.

Scroll down the right-hand column, and you will find two (2) sections; Logins and Passwords and Forms and Autofill. Logins and Passwords contain, you guessed it, user credentials. And Forms and Autofill include addresses and credit cards.

Under Logins and Passwords, you will find a button labeled Saved Logins. Left-click on it, and you will find a list in the left-hand column of all the autofill logins that Firefox has saved. Highlight a login in the left-hand column, and the details appear in the right-hand column.

Along the top of the login details are two (2) options; Edit and Remove. Below you will find the username and password. To the right of the password is a view button (which looks like an eye).

Edit or remove autofill passwords in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Credential Manager inside of Windows 11

To edit saved autofill credentials in Windows 10 or Windows 11, you will need to use Credential Manager. It is pretty well hidden, and that is for a reason, as it contains all of your Windows and web credentials. So what are your Windows credentials? Let me explain.

Let's say you have two (2) computers on the same network and set up shared folders. When you set up the network share, Windows prompts you for the username and password for a user of that computer.

If you choose to have Windows save the network credentials, guess where it will get stored, the Credential Manager. This is also where login credentials are stored for accessing FTP sites with File Explorer.

Credential Manager is located in the Control Panel under User Accounts but can be quickly accessed by performing a search.

  1. Left-click on the magnifying glass to the right of the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Search dialog box.
  2. In the Search dialog box, type Credential Manager.
  3. Left-click on Credential Manager (Control Panel) in the search results.

Or you can access Credential Manager from the Control Panel.

How to get to the Control Panel in Windows 10

How to get to the Control Panel in Windows 11

Once the Credential Manager is open, you will find two (2) types of data that are stored: Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. Before proceeding, it is recommended that you create a backup of your Windows credentials using the Back up Credentials link on that page. Remember that there will be some entries you do not recognize, so only edit credentials you are having problems with.

How to check the health of the drive in your Windows computer

Would it be nice if you knew when the drive in your computer was starting to fail? That way, you would have time to back it up and replace it. Well, there is, and here is how to check the health of your Windows-based computer drive.

How to check the health of the drive in your Windows computer

Did you know that there is a system inside every computer drive that monitors health and performance? Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) is a monitoring system built into Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD) to detect and report the health of a drive. SMART uses various indicators to determine the reliability of a drive.

When the SMART system anticipates imminent hardware failure, it will alert the operating system. But you can monitor the SMART attributes to determine the health status of a drive. That way, you can take the appropriate actions when you start to see signs of a predictable failure.

Note: As I was writing this article, I checked all the shop workstations and found a drive on one system with a couple of critical SMART attributes to be concerned over. I cloned the failing drive to a new one, and the workstation runs as if nothing happened.

Almost every drive manufacturer makes software for drive performance and health monitoring, and I have included links to several of the more popular vendors at the bottom of this article. Keep in mind that if you have two (2) more drives from different manufacturers, the software used for one brand may not recognize a different brand of drive.

Also, the programs from the drive manufacturers usually lack any detail; it is either healthily or failing. And each manufacturer has different standards to measure drive health and performance. The accurate way to measure drive health is to monitor the separate SMART attributes.

There is a program that does this and will work with SATA, PCIe, NVMe, and USB drives, regardless of the manufacturer. It is called CrystalDiskInfo, and it is free to download, and it can be downloaded as a ZIP file or with an installer.

CrystalDiskInfo is simple to use; just download and install. When you start CrystalDiskInfo, it will display health status, drive specifications, and various SMART attributes from the drive selected. Remember the attributes displayed are specific to the manufacturer and the type of drive (HDD or SSD).

Using CrystalDiskInfo, you can monitor the SMART attributes to determine the status of the health of a drive. That way, you can take the appropriate actions when you start to see signs of a predictable failure.

CrystalDiskInfo view of a healthy drive
The properties of a healthy drive inside of CrystalDiskInfo

CrystalDiskInfo view of a failing drive
The properties of a failing drive inside of CrystalDiskInfo

The following is a list of general SMART attributes considered critical and can be used to predict imminent drive failure. Remember that SMART attributes are defined by the manufacturer and can vary from drive to drive.

  • Reallocated Sectors Count: The number of bad sectors that have been found and remapped
  • Spin Retry Count: The number of spin start attempts to reach full operation. (HDD only)
  • End-to-End error / IOEDC: The number of parity errors via the drive cache.
  • Reported Uncorrectable Errors: The number of errors that could not be recovered using hardware correction.
  • Command Timeout: The number of operations aborted due to timing out. (HDD only)
  • Reallocation Event Count: The number of remapping operations.
  • Current Pending Sector Count: The number of sectors waiting to be remapped.
  • Uncorrectable Sector Count: The number of uncorrectable sector errors.
  • Soft Read Error Rate: The amount of uncorrectable software read errors.

The following is a list of software from some of the more prominent manufacturers. Remember that if you have multiple drives from different manufacturers, you may need to download and install the software from each manufacturer.

Sources:

Wikipedia "S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology)" July 8th, 2022
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

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