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How to setup Family Safety for Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts

I don't know about you, but keeping my family safe on their Windows 10 computers is priority number one. Sure, you can install anti-virus software and browser extensions, but what about the kids under 18? Here's how to set up Family Safety using Microsoft accounts.

How to setup Family Safety for Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts

Years ago, the only way I found to lock down my kid's computers was to add it to a domain and restrict the user permissions. And it did work. But not everyone has a server/domain controller. So, what is a parent to do?

Well, back in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft had a product called Family Safety. It was part of Windows Essentials, which was a separate download. It worked quite well, but Microsoft dropped support Windows Essentials, and it is no longer available for download.

So, if you think that Family Safety just faded away, you would be wrong. Microsoft has taken all of the original program features and added them to its Microsoft account interface.

All of the same great features are there. You can still filter what websites your kids can visit and restrict access to certain apps and games. You can also set what time(s) your kids can use their Windows 10 computer. You can even set the appropriate age for the apps and games that can be accessed.

Now there are some requirements for using Family Safety in Windows 10 that may be a bit disturbing. Everyone, you, and your child need to have a Microsoft account. That, in itself, is no biggie. But your child will need an email address to create a Microsoft Account.

I don't know many five-year-old kids that have an email address, but if you create and monitor it yourself, you should be alright. You don't have to let them have access to it. They will only need the Microsoft account email address and password to log into Windows 10.

If you are looking at ways to protect your family when they are online, using Microsoft accounts is one way to go.

How to set up Family Safety in Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts

  1. Log into your personal Microsoft account. If you don't have one, then you will need to create one.
  2. Once you log in, look along the top menu bar and click on the tab named Family.
  3. Under Your Family, click on Add a child.
  4. Enter your child's email address and click on Send invite. If they don't have one, create one by clicking Create a new email address for your child. If you do that, then you'll be creating a Microsoft account at the same time. When you have your child's account all set up, you will still need to send them an invite. To protect your child's privacy, Microsoft does charge a small one-time fee ($.50) to verify your identity.
  5. Once they (or you) accept the email invite, then you can start configuring their online settings.

What your child sees and can do when they log into their Microsoft account

What your child sees and can do when they log into their Microsoft account

  • Manage sign-in preferences, just like a standard Microsoft account.
  • Edit personal information like gender, State, ZIP Code, and time zone.
  • Edit payment information. It only applies to their account, not yours. You can add funds to their Microsoft account through your account. They can also redeem codes and gift cards.
  • Edit their Xbox profile if they have an Xbox account. If not, they can create one.
  • Edit their Skype profile if they have a Skype account. If not, they can create one.

What you see and can do when you log into your Microsoft account

What you see and can do when you log into your Microsoft account

  • Recent activity. This section is where you can view your child's activity in a week by week format. You can also turn on or off weekly activity email reports.
  • Web browsing. You can turn on or off the blocking of inappropriate websites. You can create a (white) list of allowed sites and a (black) list of blocked websites. You can also only enable websites on the approved list, but your kid's computer will need the Windows 10 November update (11/16) or newer version installed for this option. And Safe Search is turned on, and InPrivate browsing is turned off by default. Now all of these web filters require that your kid only uses Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. You can disable the use of Firefox and Chrome under Apps, games, and media.
  • Apps, games, and media. Here you can block inappropriate apps and games. This section applies not only to Windows 10 but also to Windows Phones and Xbox One. There is a pull-down menu that allows you to select the appropriate age for your child. This section will dictate some pre-configured settings which will enable or disable certain features. You can also view the list of blocked apps and games. If you want, you can also remove any program you feel should not be on the list.
  • Screen time. This section is where you set up the times your kid is allowed on the PC. There is a grid broken down by the week's days along the side and hours of the day going across the top. When you activate the time limits, the default time periods are triggered (7:00 AM to 10:00 PM). You can manually add, remove, or modify any of the periods, and you can have multiple periods per day.
  • Purchase and spending. This section is where you can add funds to their Microsoft account for use at the Microsoft and Xbox stores. There is also a pull-down menu that you can choose what types of apps and games your child gets; all games and apps, only free games and apps or none. You can also enable or disable receiving an email when your child gets a new app or game.
  • Find your child. With this feature, you can locate your child using the GPS inside of their Windows 10 Phone. If they don't have a Windows 10 device, you cannot use this feature.
  • Xbox privacy settings. This section I found only to apply to the logged-in adult account, not your kid's account. It is probably best to do the editing of your child's Xbox profile under their login.

Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

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

Manage Mac disks inside of Windows with MacDrive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MacDrive from Mediafour

Inside the Windows 10 Control Panel

Updated July 8, 2020

When it comes to finding features and settings in Windows, the Control Panel has always been where I go. The same holds 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, and others are not. 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: One on the Start menu and one on the Power User menu. I like to use the Power User menu shortcuts as they are speedy and easy to use.

How to access the Control Panel in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo 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 Windows logo menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User command menu.
  2. Left-click on Run.
  3. In the Run dialog box that appears, type control and left-click on Ok.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R to bring up the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type control and left-click on Ok.

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

I like the Settings app in Windows 10, but I am more familiar with the Control Panel like many other people. 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 Control Panel features and settings 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

And then there is God Mode. 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 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 changing our clocks for daylight savings time. Now the downside 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 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 time zones.

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 huge file and cannot remember where it is? If so, Space Sniffer may be what you need.

See what your drive contains with Space Sniffer

Windows built-in File Explorer works excellent when it comes to accessing files or folders. But when it comes to finding large files and folders, it can be cumbersome. It is times like this that 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 square, 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 precisely what is taking up space on your drive.

I 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 anti-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 get 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. The scan can take a minute or two on massive drives.

When the treemap appears, you can hover your cursor over a file or folder to get more information. 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 many users. But if you go into the configuration menu (Edit > Configure), you can 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 see 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 finish 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 export the current view in Space Sniffer to a text file. This feature is also customizable, with several built-in 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, 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. If you click on the Low Disk Space warning, it brings up Disk Cleanup with default settings.

The default settings for Disk Cleanup are pretty good and will do the job. But there are more advanced settings that can clean up even more files; you have to know how to get to them. You can also run Disk Cleanup as a Scheduled Task. Check out the links below.

Clean up Windows 7 with Disk Cleanup
Clean up Windows 8.1 with Disk Cleanup
Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Manually delete temporary files

The Run dialog box inside of Windows 10

If you are looking to delete the temporary files/folders quickly on your computer, here's a down-and-dirty quick way to do it. All you have to do is bring up a Run dialog box.

How to open a Run dialog box

All versions of Windows:
On the keyboard, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R

Windows 8, Windows 8.1, 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 temp folder)
  • %systemroot%\temp
    (system temp folder)
and then select OK. If you get a prompt telling you that you do not currently have permission to access the folder, click on the Continue button. File Explorer will open and display the contents of that folder.

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

Turn off hibernation

Turn of hibernation

If you still need to free up some space, you can disable hibernation and delete the hilberfil.sys file. That should give you a few more gigabytes of free space. You will need an administrative command prompt to run these.

How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 7
How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 8
How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10

Once you have an administrative command prompt open, just cut and paste or type the following into it:

  • powercfg.exe /hibernate off
    (turn off hibernation)
  • powercfg.exe /hibernate on
    (turn on hibernation)

Graphic Visualization Tools

Now when it comes to finding large files or folders, nothing can beat an excellent visual treemap. Instead of the usual file/folder data like you see in File Explorer, a graphic visualization tool shows file/folder information using blocks. The larger the square, the bigger the file/folder.

SpaceMonger version 1.4.0

Years ago, I started using a graphic visualization tool when I had a client that all of the desktops began running out of disk space. Using a visualization tool, I found the network deployed anti-virus clients were downloading new virus definitions, but they were not deleting previous versions.

Now there are a couple of different graphic visualization tools out there. I first started using SpaceMonger but have since moved over to SpaceSniffer. It does not require any installation (unzip and go) and is entirely free (but donations are recommended).

SpaceSniffer Version 1.2.0.2

Now right out-of-the-box SpaceSniffer can be a bit overwhelming with all of the information it provides. But with a couple of changes to the configuration, SpaceSniffer can open up just the way you like.

Now be careful not to go crazy and start deleting folders/files in the Windows folder. I know that it is one of the largest folders on the C: drive, but resist the urge to delete anything inside of the Windows folder. I would focus on the size of the user(s) folders/files. For more information on SpaceSniffer and how to use it, follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

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

Diagnosing PC problems can be time-consuming. From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes can take some time. We base our in-shop service on the actual time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

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Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

At Geeks in Phoenix, we have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

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