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How to use location services inside Windows 11

Do you travel with your Windows 11 computer and like to have it know where you are located? Did you know that Windows 11 has a location service built into it? If so, here is how to use location services inside Windows 11.

How to use location services inside Windows 11

If you have used Windows 11 for any amount of time, you are familiar with the nagging pop-ups that appear asking if you want to allow an app to access your location. Yeah, it can be a pain, but it can also be a blessing, especially if you are looking for location-specific information, like news, weather, and shopping.

With the Windows 11 location service, you can have Windows 11 automatically find where your location by using several different pieces of information, including GPS (Global Positioning Service), WiFi access points, cell towers, and your IP address.

And if you are planning a trip, you can manually set your location, and Windows 11 will use that location for the location service. It comes in handy when looking for restaurants, movie theaters, and other attractions in another place.

How to access the location services inside of Windows 11

  1. Bring up the Settings app by:
    • Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
    • In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
    • or
    • Right-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Power User menu.
    • In the list of programs that appear, left-click on Settings.
    • or
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + I
  2. Scroll down the left-hand column and left-click on Privacy & security.
  3. Scroll down the right-hand column and left-click on Location under App permissions.

Windows 11 location services options

There are several options listed under Location, so let's start at the top and work our way down.

Location service option inside of Windows 11
Location services: This switch turns the location services on or off. If it is turned off, the Let apps access your location option will be grayed out. This option does not affect the Default location option.

Let app access your location option inside of Windows 11
Let app access your location: Once location services are turned on, you can turn on this option and expand the list of apps built into Windows 11 that you can allow or deny access to your location. At the bottom of the app list is the Let desktop apps access your location switch. Since web browsers fall under the desktop app category, you should enable this switch.

Default location option inside of Windows 11
Default location: This is where you can manually set your location to any place you can find on a map. This option does not require location services to be enabled. In fact, if you turn off location services and set your default location, all desktop programs will use it. A great way to research what to do and where to go in different areas.

Location history option inside of Windows 11
Location history: This is where you can clear out all of the locations that the service has stored.

Allow location override option inside of Windows 11
Allow location override: This option allows programs to override the location on your device. This can be helpful for remote access programs like Remote Desktop.

Recent activity option inside of Windows 11
Recent activity: This is where you can view which programs have requested your location in the last week.

How to manually upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11

Are you thinking about upgrading your computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11? Does your computer meet the Windows 11 hardware requirements? If you answered yes to both questions, consider performing a manual in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

How to manually upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11

Upgrading Windows has never been a really popular undertaking, but rather a chore that we put off as long as we can. In the corporate IT world, you usually do not deploy a new operating system until the second version is released.

The reasoning behind waiting for the second version is that all of the major bugs should be worked out by then. And it also gives software developers more time to perfect their software for Windows 11.

With the release of Windows 11 22H2, we now have the second version of Windows 11, which should be ready for the corporate environment. And if it is good enough for corporate, it should be good enough for you and me.

Microsoft recommends using Windows Update to perform the upgrade, but some people like myself want to decide when it will happen. I don't particularly appreciate getting an alert from Windows Update about an update waiting to be installed, only to find out that it is to Windows 11 (it has happened twice to me now).

When I started working with computers, upgrading your version of Windows was an all-day ordeal. Insert the floppy disk, read the floppy disk, eject the floppy disk, and repeat until complete. I still have the thirteen (13) floppy disks for upgrading to Windows 95.

Yes, in the past, upgrading the versions of Windows has been tedious. At least the process has gotten a little easier, but the steps to getting there are still the same. I still follow the same procedures upgrading Windows now as I did years ago; check for hardware compatibility, backup the drive that contains Windows, clean up Windows, check the Windows drive for errors, and then upgrade.

Since Windows 11 was built on the code of Windows 10, all of the programs you have currently installed in Windows 10 should work perfectly fine in Windows 11. But remember that there may be apps presently installed that you would not be able to reinstall on Windows 11, Quickbooks 2021, and earlier versions, for example.

Consider taking note of a few things that have changed in Windows 11 before upgrading. If you use pinned apps/websites or tablet mode, these features have been removed from Windows 11.

Check for hardware compatibility

The PC Health Check app running on Windows 10

The minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 and Windows 11 are similar but do have differences. The significant hardware requirement for Windows 11 is TPM (Trusted Platform Module) version 2.0. If your computer was manufactured between 2018 and now, it probably has TPM 2.0 and may need to be enabled. Motherboard manufacturers disabled this feature by default before the release of Windows 11.

Since then, manufacturers now enable TPM by default. If your computer fails the PC Health Check (link below), and is only a couple of years old, check with the manufacturer of your system/motherboard on how to enable the TPM, as each platform uses a different name for TPM (Intel has PTT, AMD has fTPM) .

Also, if your computer has less than 4 GB of memory or is running a 32-bit version of Windows 10, you will not be able to upgrade to Windows 11. A good rule of thumb is that any computer built before 2018 will not be compatible with Windows 11.

To be on the safe side, Microsoft has a tool called PC Health Check that you can use to check Windows 11 compatibility. Once you verify compatibility, you can proceed to the next step.

PC Health Check

Backup your Windows 10 drive

The Backup and Restore app running on Windows 10

As I said before, the upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 is pretty simple, but you never know what can happen. So as the old saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," so backing up the drive where Windows 10 is installed is suggested but not required.

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

Clean up Windows 10

The Disk Cleanup app running on Windows 10

A little general cleaning is highly recommended to help to ensure nothing goes wrong with the upgrade and to facilitate a faster upgrade process. Clearing out temp files, Internet caches, and Windows Update can also free up some disk space.

Clean up your Windows 10 computer using the Storage feature

Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Check your Windows 10 drive for errors

A quick check of the disk with Windows installed on it is recommended to ensure the upgrade goes without any problems. It is better to find any errors now instead of during the upgrade. Remember, taking a few minutes now to check the drive can save you from having to use the backup you created earlier.

How to check your drive for errors in Windows 10

Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11

Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 11

Microsoft currently has two (2) ways to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 manually; the Installation Assistant or installation media. The Installation Assistant is the easiest way to go, but the complete instructions on using both methods are on the Windows 11 download page.

Download Windows 11

How to reset Windows 11

Did you get a new computer and want to get rid of your old Windows 11 system? Or you may want to refresh your existing version of Windows 11 and do not want to lose all of your files. If so, it may be time to reset Windows 11, and here is how to do it.

How to reset Windows 11

In previous articles, we have shown you How to perform a repair upgrade of Windows 11 and How to perform a clean installation of Windows 11. Resetting Windows 11 falls somewhere between them; you want a fresh version of Windows but want to keep all your files.

Resetting Windows 11 is similar to a clean installation, where you get a fresh version of Windows 11 reinstalled. The only difference is that your user profile stays in place if you save your files. If you choose to delete everything, Windows 11 will be reset as if you had just pulled it out of the box. Remember that there are only two (2) options when it comes to Reset this PC:

  • You can keep your files and delete all the apps. This option reinstalls Windows 11 and retains your user profile.
  • You can delete all of your files and all of the apps. This option reinstalls Windows 11 and returns your computer to an out-of-the-box state.

One of the best features of resetting Windows 11 and removing all files and apps is that you can have Windows securely erase all of the data and apps before reinstalling Windows. It works great if you are getting rid of your Windows 11 computer.

Now the first thing I recommend before resetting Windows 11 is that you have a complete (bare metal) backup of your computer to be safe. Of course, if you are not going to keep your computer, you do not need a backup.

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

The second thing to do is find out if your drive(s) are encrypted with BitLocker drive encryption. To find out if your drive(s) are BitLocker encrypted:

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + S to bring up Search.
  2. Type in bitlocker and left-click on Manage BitLocker / Control Panel under Best match.

If your drive is encrypted with BitLocker, you have two (2) choices; You can turn off Bitlocker, which will decrypt your drive and take some time to perform, or locate and document (write or print it out) the BitLocker recovery key.

Where to look for your BitLocker recovery key

Now, if you are getting rid of your computer, you should turn off BitLocker before resetting Windows 11. The reason is that the BitLocker recovery key is typically tied to your Microsoft account.

When all is said and done, and your computer is gone, you will want to remove that device from your Microsoft account. When you remove that device, if the drive(s) in that computer are still encrypted with BitLocker, the BitLocker recovery key will also be removed.

Once you have BitLocker taken care of, it is time to start the reset. Now there are two (2) ways of going about resetting Windows 11, when logged into Windows 11 and using the System app, or when logged out and using the Advanced Boot Options.

How to get to Reset this PC when logged in to Windows 11

How to get to the Reset this PC when logged in to 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 Settings.
  4. Left-click on the System category in the left-hand column.
  5. Scroll down the right-hand column and left-click on Recovery.
  6. Under Reset this PC, left-click on Reset PC.

How to get to Reset this PC when logged out of Windows 11

How to get to the Advanced Boot Options when logged out of Windows 11

  1. At the login screen, left-click on the Power icon in the lower right-hand corner. This will bring up the power options.
  2. Hold down the shift key while you left-click on Restart.
  3. When the Advanced Boot Options appears, left-click on Troubleshoot.
  4. On the Troubleshoot screen, left-click on Reset this PC

How to use Reset this PC

Reset this PC inside of Windows 11

  1. Reset this PC opens to the Choose an option screen. The two (2) options are: Keep my files or Remove everything. Whichever you choose, you will have the ability to change the advanced settings for each.
  2. The How would you like to reinstall Windows? screen appears next. You can choose to download a new copy of Windows 11 (Cloud download) or use the local copy (Local reinstall).
  3. Next, the Additional settings screen appears.
    • If you choose Keep my files, you will see how Windows 11 will be reinstalled. When you click on Change settings, you can change whether to download Windows or reinstall from your device.
    • If you choose Remove everything, you will see how Windows 11 will be reinstalled. When you click Change settings, you can change whether to quick or secure erase data, delete files from all drives or only the Windows drive, and whether to download Windows or reinstall from your device.
  4. The Ready to reset this PC screen appears with a list of all the changes that will take place. This is your last chance to cancel the reset. When you are ready, click Reset, and the reset process begins. Depending on the options you choose, the reset can take a few minutes to a few hours, and your computer will automatically restart.

How to perform a clean installation of Windows 11

Are you getting random errors while using Windows 11? Do you think your computer has gotten compromised? A clean installation of Windows 11 may be just the ticket. Here is how to perform a clean installation of Windows 11.

How to perform a clean installation of Windows 11

When it comes to repairing Windows 11, trying to fix Windows may take more time than it is worth. At this point, you might want to look at performing a clean installation of Windows 11.

As a computer technician, I constantly have to weigh whether my time is better spent trying to fix Windows or using that time to perform a clean installation. It is usually six of one and a half-dozen of another.

Now I have had customers that had to get their current installation of Windows to work. It usually is because they have programs that they cannot reinstall because they do not have the original installation media anymore.

But if you have all of the installation media or links to download it and are okay with reinstalling all of your apps, then performing a clean installation of Windows 11 may be just right. Now there are a few things that have to be done before proceeding with a clean install.

1. Backup up all of your data. If you store your files on your local drive, use a good backup program, like the built-in Windows Backup. If you keep your data on the cloud, verify that you can access it from a browser.

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

On an external drive, you can also make a copy of your special folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos). The benefit is that you can access your files from any Windows-based computer. Once your data is backed up, you will need to get the installation media.

2. Download the Windows 11 installation media. To perform a clean Windows 11 installation, you will need the Windows 11 installation media. If you installed Windows 11 from a USB drive, it is a good bet that it may be a different version of Windows 11.

Or if your computer came preloaded with Windows 11, you will need to download the install media. Microsoft has a tool aptly named the Media Creation Tool that will create the installation media for Windows 11. All you need is a blank USB drive that is 8GB or larger. If you have an optical drive in your computer, you can also create an ISO image and burn it to a blank DVD.

Create Windows 11 Installation Media

What you can do with an ISO file

3. Make sure you have your Microsoft Account information. When the installation is complete, and Windows 11 starts up for the first time, you will need your Microsoft account username and password to complete the setup.

If you need help remembering your Microsoft account password (and it happens), this is the time to reset it. Follow the link below to go over to the Microsoft account webpage, enter your username, and when prompted for a password, select Forgot password?.

4. Inventory the software that is installed. To ensure that you can reinstall all the software currently installed on your computer, you should take a software inventory of your computer. Belarc Advisor is an excellent program for collecting the hardware and software inside of your computer, and it is free for personal use. Make sure you print out or save a copy of the report so you can use it after the reinstallation.

Belarc Advisor

5. Make a note of what edition of Windows 11 you have installed on your computer. When the time comes to reinstall Windows 11, you will be prompted for what edition (Home, Education, Pro, etc.) you want to install. If you select and install the wrong edition, Windows 11 not activate, and you will have to go through the installation process again.

To find out what edition of Windows you have, bring up a Run dialog box by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R. In the Run dialog box, type winver and select OK. Follow the link below for more ways to bring up the Run dialog box.

How to get to and use the Run dialog box in Windows

6. Prepare to wipe your drive. There are several ways to erase the contents of your computer's drive, and I will cover three (3) of them. Note: If you have more than one (1) drive in your computer, you must ensure you are erasing the correct drive. Turn your computer off and disconnect the power or remove any drive you do not want to get accidentally wiped clean.

I like performing a DoD (Department of Defense) wipe when clearing drives. The Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) has a few disk-wiping programs included. I like using Darik's Boot and Nuke inside of the UBCD.

Now the UBCD has some significant hurdles to overcome to use it, like changing the BIOS settings to allow your computer to boot from it. But if you want to ensure that your drive is completely clean before reinstalling Windows 11, this is the way to go.

Diagnose computer hardware issues with the Ultimate Boot CD

The second and third option for wiping your drive is using the built-in utility Diskpart or the actual Windows 11 installer. The following two (2) ways of drive wiping require you to boot your computer up on the installation media. You can do this using the Advanced Boot Options. Make sure you have the Windows 11 installation media connected to your computer before proceeding so that it will appear as a bootable device listed in the Advanced Boot Options.

How to get to and use the Advanced Boot Options inside of Windows 11

Once you get to the Advanced Boot Options, select Use a device and choose the media you created earlier. Your computer will restart and boot from the installation media. The first screen that appears in the Windows Setup dialog box. Ensure the language, time, and keyboard method are correct, and click on Next. The Install now screen will appear.

To use Diskpart: Select the Repair your computer link in the lower-left-hand corner and then Choose an option screen will appear. Select Troubleshoot, then Command Prompt and then type diskpart in the command prompt and then press Enter.

First, list the disk(s) currently attached to your computer by typing list disk and pressing Enter. From the list that appears, the disk with Windows should be disk 0. Type select disk 0 and press Enter.

To verify that this drive is the one with Windows installed on it, we need to list the partitions on the disk by typing list partition and then press Enter. From the list that appears, you should see at least three (3) partitions (system, primary, and recovery).

If disk 0 has these partitions listed, then this is the drive you need to wipe. If not, check any other drive listed using the list disk, select disk, and list partition commands.
An administrative command prompt with diskpart commands inside
Once you select the correct disk, type clean and press Enter. All partitions will be erased, and you will be ready to proceed with the reinstallation of Windows 11. Type exit and manually restart your computer to continue the installation.

To use the Windows Installer: During the installation process, you will be prompted to select the drive you want to install Windows 11 on. Usually, you would have only one (1) drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) that appears. But since you are performing a clean install, you will see all of the partitions that are on that drive (Drive 0).

Starting at the top, select each partition and then select Delete.
Deleting partitions in the Windows Setup dialog box
You will be warned about deleting all of the data on that partition. Click on OK and continue deleting all of the rest of the partitions until you end up with Drive 0 Unallocated Space. Select that drive and continue with the installation.

7. Install Windows 11. Boot your computer from the installation media, and at the Install now dialog box, select Install now. The Activate Windows dialog box will appear, prompting you for your Windows 11 product key. Since you previously activated Windows 11 on this computer, select I don't have a product key link at the bottom and select Next.

Since Windows 11 has been activated before on this computer, the first time you connect to the Internet after the installation completes, Windows will automatically activate. It is called Digital Entitlement.

On the next screen, you will be prompted to select the edition of Windows 11 you want to install. Highlight the edition and select Next. The next screen will be the EULA (End User License Agreement). Just check the acceptance box and select Next to continue.

The next screen will ask you what type of installation you want to perform. Select Custom: Install Windows only (advanced). The next screen will ask you where you want to install Windows 11. Select Drive 0 Unallocated Space and then click on Next.

At this point, Windows will start the installation. Once all of the files are copied over and the installation finishes, your computer will restart. From here, you will go through the steps to set up your clean installation of Windows 11. Remember to check the computer manufacturer's website for any system-specific drivers, and you should be good to go.

How to perform a repair upgrade of Windows 11

Are you having some problems with your computer and wish you could reinstall Windows 11 without losing your files and apps? Maybe you want to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 11, and Windows Update is not offering it. Here is how to perform a repair upgrade installation of Windows 11.

How to perform a repair upgrade of Windows 11

There is one thing every Windows user fears, and that is reinstalling Windows. The fear of losing your files and installed programs will deter most people until the problem becomes too bad to ignore.

But with Windows 11, you can do a repair upgrade reasonably easily. So what is a repair upgrade? It is reinstalling Windows 11 using the same version (repair) or a newer version (repair/upgrade). It is often called an in-place repair or upgrade.

Now I have repaired several Windows computers using this method, which works most of the time. I remember one laptop with issues with being unable to right-click using the touchpad or mouse, and an in-place repair installation fixed the problem.

We first need to download the latest version of Windows 11 from Microsoft (see the link below). We will be downloading an ISO file that we will use to reinstall Windows 11. An ISO file is the format for optical disks (CD, DVD, BD).

Download Windows 11

When you reach the Windows 11 download page, scroll down until you find Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO). You can also create an ISO file using the Create Windows 11 Installation Media, which involves a few more steps.

Once you have the ISO file downloaded, you will need to make it a virtual DVD drive. Locate the ISO file in File Explorer and right-click on it.
Mounting an ISO file as a virtual drive in Windows 11
From the context menu that appears, select Mount. If you receive a security warning, left-click on Open. It will now appear as a DVD drive inside File Explorer.

Click on the DVD drive to display the contents. In the list of files and folders, you will find a program named Setup.
Running Windows 11 Setup with administrator privileges
To ensure we are running the install with the correct privileges, right-click on Setup and select Run as administrator from the context menu that appears. This will start the repair upgrade installation.

The first window that appears is the Windows 11 Setup screen. Usually, you would click on the Next button and proceed with the installation.
The Windows 11 Setup main screen
But if you are performing a repair installation, you may want to change whether or not to download updates, drivers, and features at this time by clicking on the Change how Setup downloads updates link.
Select whether or not to download updates and drivers before installing Windows 11
I have found that delaying downloads until after the installation is complete works best for repairing Windows.

Next, you will get the EULA (End User License Agreement), click on Accept and continue. On the next screen, you can change if you keep your files and apps or remove them.
Select whether or not to save your personal files and apps
By default, both files and apps are saved. When you are ready to start the installation, click on Install.

Once the repair upgrade starts, it can take some time to finish.
The different stages of the repair upgrade of Windows 11
Grab something to drink and find something to do. Your computer will restart several times during the installation.

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Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

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