Geeks in Phoenix

Geek Blog


How to remotely access your personal computers with TeamViewer

Do you have two personal computers and would like to remotely access one from the other? Looking for an effortless way to do it? You can do just that for free with the personal version of TeamViewer.

How to remotely access your personal computers with TeamViewer

Remotely accessing a computer is pretty commonplace nowadays. It used to be pretty technically involved to set up remote connections between two computers. But with software like TeamViewer, setting up remote access between computers is pretty straightforward.

So what would be the main reason for using remote access software? First, it would be to access the software installed on another computer. Second, it would be to use that software to access files on that computer or the network it is on. It comes down to being able to work on your computer without having to be sitting in front of it.

We here at Geeks in Phoenix have been using commercial, pay-per-seat remote access software for years now. In researching this article, I wanted to find remote access software that could be used for personal use for free.

I have worked with TeamViewer over the years, as some of our customers use it regularly. For personal use, the free version works quite well. Sure, it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of the paid version, like remote printing or tech support, but for remote access and file sharing, it works well.

Setting up TeamViewer on two computers for personal use is pretty simple. The installation process involves installing the software on both systems and creating a TeamViewer account that links the computers together.

The first thing you do is download and install the TeamViewer software on one of the two computers you want to link together. During the installation, you will come to a screen that asks you how you would like to set up TeamViewer.

TeamViewer setup options screen with Personal Non-commercial use highlighted

When prompted for the type of installation, I recommend using the default setup. When you get prompted for how you want to use TeamViewer, select Personal / Non-commercial use since you are just using it to connect two of your personal computers.

Once the installation is done on the first computer, the TeamViewer program will appear. In the left-hand column, you will see a menu with several categories: Remote Control, Remote Management, Meeting, Computer & Contacts, Chat, and Augmented Reality.

The Remote Control category should be highlighted, and in the center column, you will find a section labeled Unattended Access.
TeamViewer Remote Control category with the Unattended Access options highlighted
Select Start TeamViewer with Windows and Grant easy access.

When you select Grant easy access, the Assign to account form will pop-up asking you for an e-mail address and password.
TeamViewer Assign to account screen with Create account highlighted
This is where you are going to create a TeamViewer account.

Click on Create Account, and then the Create TeamViewer account form will appear.
Create TeamViewer account screen
Just fill in the required information and go through the steps to verify your e-mail address.

You now have a TeamViewer account. Go back to the TeamViewer screen and make sure that Grant easy access is selected under Remote Control. If it is not, then select it and put in your TeamViewer account details.

Now download and install TeamViewer on your second computer. Use the same options you used for the installation on your first computer. When the installation is complete, the TeamViewer's main screen will appear.

Just like with the first computer you installed TeamViewer on, the Remote Control category should be highlighted. Under Unattended access, select Start TeamViewer with Windows and Grant easy access. When the Assign to account form appears, just type in your e-mail address and password associated with your TeamViewer account.

Once you have both of your computers linked to your TeamViewer account, you should see both of them listed under the Computers & Contacts category on both computers.
TeamViewer Computer and Contacts category with the computers associated with your account listed
You can double-click on the name of the computer you want to access remotely, and a separate screen for that computer will appear. For more options, you can also right-click on the computer name
Connection options context menu for TeamViewer computers
and a context menu will appear with all of the options available. For more information on TeamViewer, just click on the link to their website below.

TeamViewer

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and Windows 11

Updated November 3, 2022

Microsoft developers have always liked to create handy system utilities that add more functionally to the Windows operating system. They call them PowerToys and are released as a stand-alone program with File Explorer add-ons. And as always, these programs are entirely free.

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11

It is kind of like Déjà vu for me with the PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11. I hate to admit it, and I'm going to show my age here, but I have used the two (2) previous versions of PowerToys. The first version was PowerToys for Windows 95. The second version was PowerToys for Windows XP. TweakUI (Windows 95 / Windows XP) and Command Prompt Here (Windows 95) / Open Command Windows Here (Windows XP) were two (2) of my favorites.

PowerToys have always been a cool collection of handy utilities that you wonder why they were not part of Windows to begin with. In fact, some of the functionality of the PowerToys do get built into later releases of Windows.

The latest version, PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11, currently has twelve (12) utilities (as of 1/6/22) included, and there are plans to add even more. As more features are added, I will update this article.

Note: Starting with version 0.37, PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11 will require Windows 10 version 1903 or greater.

And since the Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys are all inside one program, updates and new features will be easy to install. There is even an update button that takes you to the website so you can check for new releases.

Screen capture of the PowerToys General Settings for Windows 10 / Windows 11

The PowerToys General Settings includes all of the options for all of the actual PowerToys. This means that there is only one place to enable/disable and configure the settings for the various programs.

Now you have to keep in mind that the PowerToys is an open-source project, and the code is freely available. That is why the installer is over on the developer website GitHub, which, by the way, Microsoft owns.

The following is a list of the PowerToys for Windows 10 versions, the date released, and the utilities included. They are:

v0.12 - Released on 10/29/19

FancyZones - This is a utility that allows you to create zones (predefined areas for program windows) on your desktop for the various programs you run.
Screen capture of the FancyZones PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
For example, you can create a layout that has a separate zone for your e-mail program, word processor, and spreadsheet, all neatly arranged on your desktop. This program is beneficial if you have multiple monitors and want to keep all of your running programs organized.

PowerRename - This utility does just what its name implies; it renames files. But it has so many options that it can be used in so many different ways.
Screen capture of the PowerRename PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
You change just the file names or only the file extensions. You can exclude files, folders, and sub-folders. It is the swiss army knife of file renaming.

Shortcut Guide - This cool little utility shows you what Windows logo key Windows logo key shortcuts you can use at any given time.
Screen capture of the Shortcut Guide PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
You just hold down the Windows logo key Windows logo key for a preset amount of time, and the screen appears with the available shortcuts you can use. If you find these shortcuts handy, we have a complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10.

v0.16 - Released 3/31/20

File Explorer add-ons - This is a collection of valuable add-ons for File Explorer that extends the functionally of the Preview Pane and Icon Preview. There are currently five (5) Preview Pane and four (4) Icon Preview File Explorer add-ons.
Screen capture of the File Explorer Preview Pane PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
The current file types that can be rendered in the Preview Pane are: Markdown (.md), SVG (.svg), Developer files (.cpp, .py. etc.), PDF (.pdf) and G-code (.gcode).

File Explorer Preview Pane add-ons

The current file types that can have Icon thumb previews are: SVG (.svg), PDF (.pdf), G-code (.gcode) and STL (.stl).

File Explorer Icon thumb preview add-ons

Image Resizer - This utility is similar to the one for Windows XP, but this version has way more features. Right-click on one or more images, and you will get a context menu. Left-click on Resize pictures, and you get the Image Resizer screen.
Screen capture of the Image Resizer PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
There are several picture sizes to choose from, or you can create a custom size. Left-click on the Settings link, and you get even more options for resizing your images. A must-have for anybody that does photo editing.

v0.18 - Released 5/19/20

Keyboard Manager - This utility allows you to remap a single key on your keyboard to another. You can also map current keyboard shortcuts to different key combinations.
Screen capture of the Keyboard Manager PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
Keep in mind that when remapping keyboard shortcuts, you are limited to a combination of two keys.

PowerToys Run - This utility can perform all sorts of different functions. Type a couple of letters, and PowerToys Run will display a list of programs, folders, and files with the letter(s) in their name(s).
Screen capture of the PowerToys Run for Windows 10 / Windows 11
It can also search for running processes, run shell commands, and do simple math calculations.

v0.20 - Released 7/31/20

Color Picker - This utility will display the color of anything you place your mouse cursor over in both HEX and RGB values. You can copy the color value to the clipboard by left-clicking on the object.
Screen capture of the Color Picker PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
You can change the hotkey shortcut used to bring up Color Picker, and the values (HEX or RGB) copied to the clipboard. And if you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can use it to bring up a magnifier window to get an even more detailed color pick.

v0.41.2 - Released 6/28/21

Awake - This utility will keep your Windows 10 computer from going asleep. This is really handy when you are doing updates and upgrades. No more do you have to create a special power plan to keep your computer awake.

Screen capture of the Awake PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Remember that if your computer goes to sleep, anything it was doing, like performing a Windows 10 Feature update, will be paused. So when you need to prevent your computer from going asleep, Awake can be the perfect solution.

v0.49.0 - Released 10/28/21

Video Conference Mute - This utility lets you turn off your camera and mute your microphone with a single keystroke. This utility has finally made it to the stable release of PowerToys, as it was previously categorized as experimental in previous releases.

Screen capture of the Video Conference Mute PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

There are three (3) keyboard shortcuts that the Video Conference Mute utility uses. The first one will mute the camera and microphone, the second will mute just the microphone, and the third will mute just the camera. And these shortcuts can be customized to a user's preference.

Mouse utilities - This is a collection of useful apps that extends and enhance the functionality of the mouse and cursor in Windows 10 / Windows 11. Currently, there are two (2) utilities in the collection: Find My Mouse and Mouse Highlighter.

Screen capture of the Find My Mouse PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Find My Mouse is a simple utility that displays a spotlight on the mouse cursor when the left control key is pressed twice. Quite handy when you are using multiple screens.

Screen capture of the Mouse Highlighter PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Mouse Highlighter is another simple utility that highlights the mouse cursor when clicking either mouse button. You can choose which color is displayed for each mouse button (left or right), the opacity, radius, fade delay, and fade duration.

Screen capture of the Mouse Pointer Crosshairs PowerToy

Mouse Pointer Crosshairs is another simple utility that, when activated, shows crosshairs across the entire screen to indicate the mouse pointer's location.

v0.53.1 - Released 1/6/22

Always on Top - This utility will keep a program that is running on top of all of the rest of the open program windows. This PowerToy can be helpful if you have a program that you want to always be in front of all other app windows.

Screen capture of the Always on Top PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Along with putting a particular app window in front of the others, you can also have a border around that window. You can select the color and thickness of the border. You can also have Always on Top play a sound when you activate it.

v0.62.0 - Released 9/6/22

Quick Accent - This utility makes inserting accented characters simple. Once you activate this PowerToy, you must press the character key to which you want to add an accent and the Activation Key (either the space key, left/right arrow, or both).

Screen capture of the Quick Accent PowerToy

If you hold down the keys for more than 200 milliseconds, an overlay appears that allows you to scroll through all of the available accents. You can select which keys you want to use for Activation Keys and the default input delay that triggers the accent overlay.

Screen Ruler - This utility allows you to measure any place on your screen in pixels. Just activate Screen Ruler with the shortcut keys, and you can measure anything you can display on your screen.

Screen capture of the Screen Ruler PowerToy

Some advanced features include changing the color of the measured lines, changing the edge detection tolerance, and customizing the activation shortcut. If you do any graphic design, this is a must-have app!

Text Extractor- This utility can extract text from any legible text on your screen. Similar to the Snipping Tool, this program captures a selected area on your screen, uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to convert any text it recognizes, and then puts the output to the Clipboard.

Screen capture of the Text Extractor PowerToy

From there, you paste the output from the Clipboard into a word processor, spreadsheet, email, etc. This utility is so handy that you will wonder how you were ever able to work without it.

v0.64.0 - Released 11/2/22

File Locksmith - This utility is a shell extension that allows you quickly find out what process is using a particular file. This can be useful when you want to close a file, and get a warning about it being used by another program.

Screen capture of the File Locksmith PowerToy

Once you enable File Locksmith, all you have to do is right-click on the file in question in File Explorer and left-click on What's using this file? from the context menu that appears. File Locksmith then appears with a list of programs that are currently accessing the file. It gives you the option of ending that particular task.

Hosts File Editor - This utility allows for easy editing of Hosts file inside of Windows. The Hosts file is the first place Windows goes to resolve domain names, like geeksinphoenix.com, to IP (Internet Protocol) addresses.

Screen capture of the Hosts File Editor PowerToy

The Hosts File Editor can come in handy when you want to test out a new website. All you have to know is the Host (domain) name and the IP address, and you can redirect your network traffic to specific locations.

If you would like to give the PowerToys a try, I include two (2) links at the bottom of this article. The PowerToys are only available for the 64-bit versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11. As I told you before, the PowerToys download is on GitHub, and for an average Windows user may be kind of hard to find.

The first link is to the PowerToys project description page. It has an overview of all of the programs included in the PowerToys.
Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys download link on GitHub
The second link is to the PowerToys releases page. The link to download PowerToys is in the Assets section at the bottom of each release.

Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys on GitHub - Description page
Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys on GitHub - Download page

How to set up a Virtual Private Network on Windows 10 or Windows 11 using LogMeIn Hamachi

Working remotely, like teleworking or telecommuting, is becoming more popular nowadays. Being able to access files on another computer that is miles away from you can be a real lifesaver. So here is how to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on Windows 10 or Windows 11 using LogMeIn Hamachi.

How to set up a Virtual Private Network on Windows 10 and Windows 11 using LogMeIn Hamachi

Hamachi is a hosted VPN service that allows you to access files on another computer remotely. It works well for home users or small businesses that just need to open and save data on a computer outside of their network.

And pricing for Hamachi is pretty reasonable. If you have five (5) or fewer computers than need VPN service, it's free. I have set up Hamachi several times for customers that just wanted to access files while they were on vacation.

Setting up Hamachi is pretty simple. The first thing you will need to do is create an account over at VPN.net. Once you have created an account, you will log into your account, set up your network, and deploy the Hamachi software to your computers.

Note: When you log in to VPN.net, you will be taken to the LogMeIn website. Hamachi is one of LogMeIn's products. Everything you will need for configuring and deploying Hamachi will be under the Networks menu in the left-side column. Completely ignore the rest of the sub-menus in the left-side column, as they are for other LogMeIn products.

The content menu on the LogMeIn website

Under the Networks tab, you will find three sub-menus: My Networks, Deployment, and Network Settings. The majority of configuration for your Hamachi VPN can be done under My Networks. Here you can Add Client or Add Network. You can add clients or networks in whatever order you want, but for this article, we are going to start with setting up a network first.

Now there are three (3) types of networks you can create in Hamachi: Mesh, Hub-and-spoke, and Gateway. For the free version (under five clients), a mesh network is recommended. Keep in mind that once you create a network, you cannot change the type of network it is. If you want to change the network type, you will need to create a new network.

And since you can have multiple types of networks, all you have to do is give them different names. And you can quickly reassign a client to a different network if you want. For this article, we will create three (3) various networks based on their type.
The Networks section for the Hamachi VPN on the LogMeIn website
The following is a list of the different types of networks.

  • Mesh - With this type of network, every device is directly connected to each other. This is a simple, no-frills, peer-to-peer type network and a good choice when each device needs access to all of the other devices on the network.
  • Hub and spoke - This type of network is more restrictive and is more like a standard corporate network. With this type of network, you have servers (hubs) that have access to all of the devices (spokes), but the devices only have access to the resources on the servers, not each other.
  • Gateway - This type of network is a standard point-to-point VPN. The gateway device controls IP addressing and allows remote devices to access the entire network. There can be only one gateway in this network, and it cannot be a workstation that is a member of a domain.

Once you have decided on the type of network you want, you need to configure some of the details of it. How you will the devices join the network, is a network password required to join, and the subscription associated with the network. Just go to My Networks in the left-hand column and left-click on the Add Network button.

Remember that you can easily change any of the settings for your network(s) from the website interface. You can add or remove devices with a click of the mouse. It comes in handy if you find a device that is having trouble connecting to a specific network.

Once you have a network setup, it's time to get deploying the Hamachi installer to the clients. Now you might have noticed that I have been referring to the Hamachi members as devices. That's because you can have computers and mobile devices connecting to your Hamachi VPN.

Computers have software that you install to connect to your network, and mobile devices do not. Mobile devices use web browsers to access resources on your network. And since there is no app to install on mobile devices, you cannot share any resources on them. For this reason, I am going to focus on setting up Windows 10 computers on the VPN. I have included links at the bottom for how to connect Android and iOS devices.

There are a couple of ways to deploy the Hamachi software to your computers. You can either directly download it from the LogMeIn website when you are logged into your account (preferred) or send an installation link via e-mail. I like to directly install it from the site, as I can check the status of the installation as soon as it is done.

When you directly download the software from the website, you do not have to option of predefining a network to attach it to. When you send a link via e-mail, you can decide what network to add it to. But changing the network that a Hamachi client is attached to is easy on the website. Like I said before, you can do all sorts of modifications to your network(s) on the site.

The Hamachi software will work on various operating systems, including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 11. It also works on Mac OS 10.6 or higher, Ubuntu 16.04 or higher and CentOS 7.2 or higher. The only drawback is that you cannot use a Mac OS computer as a gateway, but it can be a client on a gateway network.

Once you download and install the Hamachi software on your computer, you should be able to see it listed in the LogMeIn website console. It will show up under the network name you attached to or as a non-member client.
The Networks section showing VPN clients that are not members of a network yet
If the computer is shown as a non-member client, just click on the Edit link on the right-hand side, then click on the Networks tab and select the network(s) you want it to be a member of.
Assigning a network to a Hamachi VPN client on the LogMeIn website
Then just click on Save.

Now click on the My Networks tab in the left-hand column, and that computer should now show up under the network(s) that you just attached it to.
The Networks section showing VPN clients that are members of a network
It will have a status indicator (dot/circle) to the left of its name. Green means it is online; red means it is offline.

Technically, we should now have our VPN all set and ready to go. The next thing we have to do is to set up the resources we want to share. There are two (2) things we can share across a network, folders/files, and printers. Now since we are connecting to a remote network that is not close to us, you may not want to set up a remote printer.

Setting up folder sharing on a Windows computer can be a little frustrating, so here's a link to an article that shows you how to share a folder on Windows 10.

How to share a folder on a private network in Windows 10

Sharing a printer is pretty simple. On a Windows computer that has the printer attached you want to share, bring up a Run dialog box and type in control printers. Then click OK.
The Run dialog box with the control printers command highlighted
The Device and Printers dialog box will appear. Just right-click on the printer you want to share and left-click on Printer properties.
The context menu for a printer in the Control Panel inside of Windows 10
Left-click on the Sharing tab and left-click on the box next to Share this printer. You can keep the name that appears or change it to something that might make more sense to a remote user. Maybe add in the location of the printer (city or office name). Then left-click on the Apply button in the lower right-hand corner.

Now that you have got the resources you want to share ready to go, let's go ahead and get things set up. The first thing we need to do is bring up the LogMeIn Hamachi program. By default, it starts up when you start Windows, and the icon is located in the notification area on the Taskbar (down by the clock). Just right-click on the icon and left-click Restore. You can also double-click on the shortcut on the desktop.

Now that you have the Hamachi program on the screen, right-click on the name of the computer you want to access the folder(s) or printer(s) on.
The context menu for a remote computer connection with the browse option highlighted in Hamachi
Left-click on Browse in the context menu that appears. This will bring up the File Explorer with a list of resources that are shared on that computer.

To access a shared folder, we could just double-click on the folder name and be done with it. But we would have to open the Hamachi program every time we wanted to get to that folder. But we can just map that folder to a drive letter and access it through File Explorer.

To map a shared folder, just right-click on the name of the folder and left-click on Map network drive.
The context menu for a shared folder with Map network drive highlighted in Windows 10
The Map Network Drive form will appear. Just select the drive letter you want to use for the folder from the pull-down menu.
The Map Network Drive dialog box inside of Windows 10
Make sure that Reconnect at sign-in is selected and click on Finish.

To use a remote printer, we will need to install the remote printer on your computer.
The context menu for a shared printer with Connect highlighted in Windows 10
To do this, we need to right-click to the name of the printer and left-click on Connect. Windows 10 will then download the driver for the printer and install it into your computer.

At this point, you should be ready to go with your VPN. Just remember that you need to be connected via the LogMeIn Hamachi program to be able to access any shared folders or printers.

LogMeIn Hamachi

Setting up an Android device as a Hamachi mobile client

Setting up an iOS device as a Hamachi mobile client

What you can do with an ISO file

Updated October 25, 2022

Have you ever downloaded an ISO file and did not know what to do with it? More and more software companies are now distributing their software using ISO files. Here is what you can do with an ISO file.

What you can do with an ISO file

Nowadays, it seems like everyone is starting to use ISO files for distributing software. ISO files are just an image of a CD or DVD. You commonly see them used to deliver bootable software.

Now really quick, ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. They have a set standard (ISO 9660) for the file system used for optical disks (CD, DVD, BD, etc.).

Even Microsoft is now using ISO files for distributing Windows. If you download Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11 from Microsoft, you will get the option of downloading an ISO file.

But once you download the ISO file, what can you do with it? If you are running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11, you have three (3) options; mount it as a virtual optical drive, burn it to a disk or create a bootable USB drive.

You can also create ISO image files. For more information, check out How to create ISO files from your software disks.

How to mount and access files in an ISO file

By default, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11 can mount an ISO file as a virtual optical drive. Windows 7 requires a third-party program to mount an ISO file.

Once you mount an ISO file as a virtual optical drive, you can access the files and folders inside it. Most of the time, you will use this feature to run a software installation.

For Windows 7, we are going to use the open-source optical drive emulator WinCDEmu. Just download and install it using the default settings. Once WinCDEmu is installed, mounting an ISO image is similar to Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11.

Windows 7

  1. Open Windows Explorer by using one of the following:
    • Left-click on the manila folder icon to the Taskbar.
    • or
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E at the same time.
  2. Navigate to the ISO image you want to open.
  3. Right-click on it and select Select drive letter and mount on the context menu that appears.
    The Mount option highlighted on the ISO file context menu inside of Windows 7
  4. On the WinCDEmu screen that appears, select the drive letter you want to use for the virtual optical drive and left-click on OK.
    The main screen for WinCDEmu
  5. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the virtual drive you just mounted. You can now use it as you would with any other physically attached optical drive.
  6. When you finish with the virtual drive, you can remove the drive by right-clicking on it and selecting Eject on the context menu that appears.
    The Eject option highlighted on the ISO file context menu inside of Windows 7

Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Open File Explorer (name changed in Windows 8.1) by using one of the following:
    • Left-click on the manila folder icon to the Taskbar.
    • or
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E at the same time.
  2. Navigate to the ISO image you want to open.
  3. Right-click on it and select Mount on the context menu that appears. Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11 automatically assign the next available drive letter.
    The Mount option highlighted on the ISO file context menu inside of Windows 10
  4. Using File Explorer, navigate to the virtual drive you just mounted. You can now use it as you would with any other physically attached optical drive.
  5. When you finish with the virtual drive, you can remove the drive by right-clicking on it and selecting Eject on the context menu that appears.
    The Eject option highlighted on the ISO file context menu inside of Windows 10

How to burn an ISO image file to a disk

The process for burning an ISO image to disk is the same for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11. Just make sure you have the correct blank media for the disk you want to burn.

For example, if your ISO file is under 700 MB's (Megabyte), it will fit on a CD. If it is between 700 MB's (Megabyte) and 4.7 GB's (Gigabyte), then it will fit on a DVD. If it is between 4.7 and 8.5 GB's (Gigabyte), it will fit on a Double Layer DVD. Anything over 8.5 GB's (Gigabyte), and it is going to go on a BD.

For more information on Megabytes and Gigabytes, check out What is a Bit? What is a Byte?.

Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11

  1. Open Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11) by using one of the following:
    • Left-click on the manila folder icon to the Taskbar.
    • or
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E at the same time.
  2. Navigate to the ISO image you want to burn to disk.
  3. Right-click on the ISO files and select Burn disk image on the context menu that appears.
    The Burn disk image option highlighted on the ISO file context menu inside of Windows 10
  4. Select the optical drive you want to use to burn the disk from the pull-down menu on the Windows Disc Image Burner screen. You also have the option to verify the disk after it is created. When you are ready, left-click on the Burn button.
    The main Windows Disc Image Burner screen inside of Windows 10
  5. When the optical drive is finished burning the disk, left-click on the Close button.
    The Windows Disc Image Burner screen verifying the disc has been burned inside of Windows 10

How to create a bootable USB drive from an ISO file

When you want to create a bootable USB drive, you will need a USB flash drive that is empty or that you do not mind if it gets erased. If you are going to use a USB flash drive that has been used before, double-check it to make sure there is nothing on it you may want to keep.

Remember to use a USB drive larger than the ISO file you want to put on it. A good rule of thumb is to use one that the capacity is more than 4GB. I prefer using 8GB or larger.

To create a bootable USB drive will require downloading and installing a separate program. There are several out on the Internet, but here are three (3) of the most popular programs.

AnyBurn

This free software allows you to create, edit, and burn CD, DVD, and BD discs. It also can create bootable USB drives from different types of image files, including ISO files. It is available for 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 11. There is even a portable version that requires no installation.

Windows USB/DVD Download Tool from Microsoft

This free tool is mainly meant for creating bootable Windows 7 USB drives from downloaded installation media. It is recommended to only install it on Windows 7, as the system requirements do not list support for Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11.

Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way

The thing about Rufus is it requires no installation, just download it, and it is ready to go. And there are a lot more options, including partition scheme, file system, and cluster size. You also have more boot options, including MS-DOS and FreeDOS.

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

Updated October 19, 2021

There may be a time when you need to run a program in Windows that does not have a shortcut to it. Usually, it is a program that is not often used. So here is how to start an application using the Run dialog box.

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

The Run dialog box is for running programs that you don't necessarily use that often and does not have a shortcut. It may be a system application or a downloaded installation program.

There are two (2) ways to use the Run dialog box. If you know the name of the application you want to start, you can usually type it into the Run dialog box and click OK.

For example, if you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, you can type Winword (the actual name of Microsoft Word) in the Run dialog box and click OK. Microsoft Word will then start. That is because the program directory is in the Path (it is an environmental variable). The Windows system directory is in the Path by default.

If your program is not in the Path, you will have to click on Browse and manually find the program you want to start. Once you have the name of the program you want to start in the Run dialog box, click on OK.

Now bringing up the Run dialog box is relatively simple. The way you go about getting to it is different in each version of Windows, but there is one keyboard shortcut that works for all versions.

Windows logo key Windows logo key + R

Here are all of the ways to access the Run dialog box in the different versions of Windows.

How to bring up the Run dialog box in Windows 7

The Run dialog box in Windows 7
The Run dialog box in Windows 7

  1. Left-click on the Start menu.
  2. Navigate to All Programs > Accessories.
  3. Left-click on Run.

Or

  1. Left-click on the Start menu.
  2. Type Run in the search box right above the Taskbar.
  3. Left-click on Run in the search results.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R.

How to bring up the Run dialog box in Windows 8.1

The Run dialog box in Windows 8.1
The Run dialog box in Windows 8.1

  1. Left-click on the Start button.
  2. When the Start screen appears, type Run. It will automatically bring up the Search dialog box with Run in the search field, and the results will appear below it.
  3. Left-click on Run.

Or

  1. Right-click on the Start button to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. Left-click on Run.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu
  2. Press the R key.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R.

How to bring up the Run dialog box in Windows 10

The Run dialog box in Windows 10
The Run dialog box in Windows 10

  1. Type Run in the Search box (Cortana) on the right side of the Start button.
  2. Left-click on Run in the search results.

Or

  1. Left-click on the Start menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs until you come to the Windows System folder.
  3. Left-click on the Windows System folder to expand it.
  4. Left-click on Run.

Or

  1. Right-click on the Start menu to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. Left-click on Run.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu
  2. Press the R key.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R.

How to bring up the Run dialog box in Windows 11

The Run dialog box in Windows 11
The Run dialog box in Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the magnifying glass to the right of the Start button to bring up the Search dialog box.
  2. Type Run into the Search box and left-click on the app Run.

Or

  1. Left-click on the Start 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 Run.

Or

  1. Right-click on the Start menu to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. Left-click on Run.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu
  2. Press the R key.

Or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R.

Free computer diagnostics

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.

Check out our reviews

Geeks In Phoenix LLC, BBB Business Review

Customer service is #1

Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

Like Geeks in Phoenix on Facebook

Follow Geeks in Phoenix on Twitter

Watch Geeks in Phoenix on YouTube