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Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

Even though we primarily work on Windows based 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 kind of a necessity.

With MacDrive you can actually 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 it can be turned 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 CD's and DVD's.

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

Now you can access all of the MacDrive tools from either the built-in Disk Management Window or from 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 and Windows 10 (32-bit & 64-bit). For more information on MacDrive, just follow the link below.

MacDrive from Mediafour

Inside the Windows 10 Control Panel

When it comes to finding features and settings in Windows, the Control Panel has always been where I go to find them. The same holds true for Windows 10. Let's take a look inside the Windows 10 Control Panel.

Inside the Windows 10 Control Panel

The Control Panel in Windows 10 contains all sorts of different features and settings. Some of them are easy to find, other can be quite hidden. But with a little patience, you find everything you are looking for and more.

Now finding the Control Panel in Windows 10 can be a little hard. There are two (2) different shortcuts to it: One on the Start menu and one on the Power User menu. I personally like to use the Power User menu shortcuts as they are really quick and easy to use.

How to access the Control Panel in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button to bring up the Start Menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on the Windows System folder to expand it.
  3. Left-click on Control Panel.

or

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

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Press the letter P to select Control Panel.

I am still amazed at just how many features and settings that can be accessed from the Control Panel. You can access everything from creating hard drive partitions to managing work folders.

I really like the Settings app in Windows 10, but, like allot of other people, I am more familiar with the Control Panel. Did you know that it first appeared in Windows 2.0?

But with Windows 10, Microsoft has now deprecated it in favor of the Settings app. But there are still items that you can only find in the Control Panel. Third-party applets are one that comes to mind.

Going through all of the features and settings inside of the Control Panel in Windows 10 could take some time. Even changing the view from Category to Large icons or Small icons still doesn't give you all that the Control Panel contains.

Windows 10 Control Panel in God Mode
Windows 10 Control Panel in God Mode

This where the God Mode comes in really handy. If you're not familiar with God Mode, it lists all of the Control Panel features and settings in detail. Using God Mode, you can find some really cool features and settings.

How to list everything inside of the Windows 10 Control Panel in one folder

For example, living in Arizona has one unique feature, never having to change our clocks for daylight savings time. Now the down side is that all the rest of the U.S. does change its clocks twice a year.

Additional clocks on Taskbar in Windows 10
Additional clocks on Taskbar in Windows 10

With having vendors across the U.S. I really need to know what the time is in their time zone. I found under Clock, Language, and Region > Date and Time that I can add multiple clocks for the different times zones.

So, when you have some time, take a minute or two and explore through the Control Panel and see what cool features and settings you can find.

See what your drive contains with Space Sniffer

Got a video or music library and want to see how large it is? Maybe you downloaded a really big file and cannot remember where it is? If so, Space Sniffer may just be what you need.

See what your drive contains with Space Sniffer

Windows built-in File Explorer works great when it comes to accessing files or folders. But when it comes to finding large files and/or folders, it can be cumbersome, to say the least. This is where Space Sniffer comes in handy.

Space Sniffer is a graphic visualization tool that uses blocks in a treemap to display the contains of a drive. The larger the block, the more space it is taking up.

Now if you are running low on disk space, Space Sniffer is just what you are looking for. Space Sniffer, with its block treemap, can show you exactly what is taking up space on your drive.

I personally have used graphic visualization tools for years now. They are the fastest way to find a space hog on an internal / external hard drive or USB flash drive.

One of my favorite stories is when I used a graphic visualization tool to find a space hog on a network. It turned out to be a network ant-virus client that wasn't deleting old virus definitions and affected about 75% of the network computers.

Getting started with Space Sniffer could not be any easier. Just download the ZIP file and extract it to a folder of your choice. That is it, no installation required. It works great on a USB drive!

When you start Space Sniffer you are prompted to choose a drive or path you want to view. Once you have selected one, click Start and Space Sniffer performs a full scan. This could take a minute or two on really large drives.

When the treemap appears, you can just hover your cursor over a file or folder to get more information about. And to zoom into a folder all you have to do is double-click on it.

The main screen inside of Space Sniffer
The main screen inside of Space Sniffer

The first time you run Space Sniffer it opens with default settings, which can be overwhelming to allot of users. But if you go into the configuration menu (Edit > Configure), you can really customize the display to your liking.

For example, you can change the colors used for files and folders, the look of the boxes (drop shadow, halo, etc.) and the zoom animation. You can also change the font and element size.

The configuration screen inside of Space Sniffer
The configuration screen inside of Space Sniffer

There are a couple of configuration settings I highly recommend you activate. To ensure you are seeing everything in a drive or path, make sure the Show free space on new views and Show unknown space on new views are selected.

And when you are done configuring Space Sniffer, it writes your preferences to a configuration file. That way it will appear the same way from now on. Or until you erase the config file.

Another cool feature is that you can also export the current view in Space Sniffer to a text file. This is also customizable, with several built-it configurations.

Space Sniffer is freeware but donations to the project are always welcome. Just use the link on the toolbar or the Help pull-down menu. For more information on Space Sniffer, just follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

How to quickly free up space on your hard drive

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 free up some disk space quickly is to use the built-in Disk Cleanup utility. In fact, 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 just have to know how to get to them. You can even 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

Manually delete temporary files

The Run dialog box inside of Windows 10

But if you are looking to quickly delete the temporary files / folders 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 and Windows 10:
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 temporary folder)
  • %systemroot%\temp
    (system temporary folder)
and then select OK. If you get a prompt telling you that you do not currently have permission to access the folder, just click on the Continue button. File Explorer will open and display the contents of that folder.

Now just highlight one of the files and then press the CTRL + A keys at the same time to select all of the files / folders. Right-click on the files and select Delete. If you get a prompt about permanently deleting the files, just left-click on Yes. If you get a prompt telling that a file is still in use, make sure the Do this for all current items check box is selected and then left-click on Skip.

Turn off hibernation

Turn of hibernation

Now 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

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 a good visual treemap. Instead of the usual file / folder data like you see in File Explorer, a graphic visualization tool shows folder / file information using blocks. The larger the block, the bigger the file / folder.

SpaceMonger version 1.4.0

I started using a graphic visualization tool years ago, when I had a client that all of the desktops started running out of disk space. Using a visualization tool, I found 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 (just unzip and go) and is completely 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, just follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

How to reset Windows 10

So, you say your Windows 10 computer is starting to run slow and having errors. Or maybe you just got a new computer and want to recycle your old Windows 10 system. Then it may be time to reset Windows 10 on your computer.

How to reset Windows 10

Now over the years Microsoft has made resetting Windows challenging, to say the least. In most versions, you had to reinstall Windows to get a clean copy. But with Windows 10 you can actually reset the operating system without losing your files.

There are two (2) reset options built-in to Windows 10. You can either keep your user files or remove everything. Take note, either option removes all applications not included with Windows 10. This means that any programs you installed will have to be reinstalled.

Below you will find the instructions for performing a reset of Windows 10 using the built-in feature. But if you want to remove everything, you do have two (2) more options. The first is using Refresh Windows Tool, which does the exact same thing as the built-in remove everything option.

Refresh Windows Tool

The second is a little more complicated and is more suited for the advanced user. You can create the Windows 10 installation media and perform a re-installation from it. If you start the installation from inside of Windows 10, you will get the option to save your files. If you start the installation from booting up on the installation media, you will only get the remove everything option.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Always remember to back-up your computer before performing any type of reset. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Backup Windows 10

How to reset Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button (Windows logo) to bring up the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Reset 1
  2. Left-click on Settings (gear icon).
    Windows 10 Reset 2
  3. Left-click on Update & security.
    Windows 10 Reset 3
  4. In the left-hand column, left-click on Recovery.
    Windows 10 Reset 4
  5. In the right-hand column under Reset this PC, left-click on the Get started button.
    Windows 10 Reset 5
  6. On the Choose an option page, left-click on either Keep my files or Remove everything.
    • If you select Keep my files, you be prompted with a list of the apps you will need to reinstall. Left-click on the Next button to proceed. Once you left-click on your choice you'll come to the Ready to reset this PC screen. Left-click on Reset to proceed with the reset.
    • If you select Remove everything, you will be prompted to either Just remove my files or Remove files and clean the drive. Once you left-click on your choice you'll come to the Ready to reset this PC screen. Left-click on Reset to proceed with the reset.

If you selected Remove files and clean the drive, when the reset is complete, you will need to go through the initial Windows 10 set up. Remember that you do not have to have a Microsoft account to complete the setup. When you get to the Who owns this PC? page,
Windows 10 Reset 6
left-click on I own it and then left-click on the Next button.

On the Make it yours page, left-click on the Skip this step link down in the lower left-hand corner.
Windows 10 Reset 7
This will take you to the Create an account for this PC page where you can create a local user account. And remember that you are not required to have a password if you do not want to. Just add a user name in the Who is going to use this PC? field and then left-click on the Next button.

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Geeks in Phoenix
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in all aspects of Computer Repair / PC Repair / Laptop Repair. Since 2008, our expert computer repair technicians have been providing outstanding Computer Repair, Virus Removal, Data Recovery, Photo Manipulation and Website Support.

Geeks in Phoenix have the best computer repair technicians providing computer repair and service in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe Arizona. We offer In-Shop, On-Site and Remote (with stable Internet connection) computer repair service.

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