As you might have read in my “About” section, I work part-time as an IT Support Assistant at PC Clinic. As I’ve been here for over 2 years now I’ve picked up quite a few tricks and lifehacks (Thank you Khaled!).
1.Power User Menu
It can be accessed by pressing the windows key + X from Windows 8.1 and above.
It is quite handy as from there on you can create a multitude of other shortcuts. If you look at the image below you’ll notice every menu item has a letter underlined; that is in order to quickly access said item. For example, to get to the control panel you can press Win+X and then P. To shut down you can press Win+X + U + U – it has a submenu.
Just look out for the underlined letter!
2. Refresh function
As Windows 8 got introduced it came with a brand new recovery function which allows you to retain all your files while it performs an OS reinstall. However, the programs that are not a part of Windows OS require reinstalling. Typically, you should get a list of the deleted programs on your desktop once it is finished.
In Windows 10 this feature can be accessed by going to Start Menu – Settings – Recovery – Reset this PC. From there you will be given 2 options, one is to keep your files, the second to completely delete all your files.
In Windows 8
You can also access the refresh option from Advanced Startup Options. You can force your PC into loading them by having it fail to load Windows twice (keep the power button pressed once the Windows logo shows up until it shuts down). The third time you will see the Advanced Startup Options.
From there you select Troubleshoot and first option on the left should be Refreshing your PC or Resetting your PC.
Don’t forget to reinstall updates once it’s done! 🙂
P.S in Windows 10 Update Centre can no longer be found in Control Panel. It is now available in Start Menu – Settings – Update and Security.
3. Repairing System files
Over time Windows system files may become corrupted. In order to repair them you can do an sfc scan. Do you remember the shortcuts I was telling you about? To open a command prompt window as an administrator press Win+X and A. Then you’d normally write :
If sfc has found corruption is not always a reason to get Windows reinstalled. From Windows 8 onward you can try to do a dism scan.
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
If this one fails too you can try
dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
And then try the first one once again, (dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth). You can also use as a source file the install.wim file, in Sources folder of a mounted ISO of a Windows 8.1 ISO, but I’m trying to keep it simple.
If you still see no change and Windows is behaving weirdly try to check if you’ve got the latest updates. If you don’t want to jump straight to a Refresh, you can also try to run a checkdisk and press Y when prompted. These are all in the command prompt still btw, each one on a new line!
chkdsk c: /r
Don’t worry if it appears to get stuck at 20% or 40%. Microsoft is not very good at showing scan progress.
4. Personalize your lock screen
In Windows 8 you can press Win + i to bring up the settings charm, where you would select “Change PC Settings” and “Personalize”. There you have a small selection of pictures to choose from, or you can upload your own!
In Windows 10 you go Start Menu – Settings – Personalisation (knock yourself out) and Lock Screen.
More recent updates allow you to select Windows Spotlight. You get various pictures delivered to you, which will be similar to a slideshow, except you get to choose which ones you like and which ones you don’t from the lock screen.
You can also select a picture or a slideshow.
To disable the Windows Logo on the login screen you can scroll down and turn off “Show Windows Background picture on the sign-in screen”.