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6 Fixes for the Faulty Hardware Corrupted Page Stop Code in Windows 10

A Blue Screen of Death, technically known as a stop error, is never a happy experience for Windows users. Your computer crashes without warning, losing your work, or other data in the process. The faulty hardware corrupted page error is one such critical error that can strike without warning.

Here’s how you fix the faulty hardware corrupted page stop code for good.

What Is the Faulty Hardware Corrupted Page Stop Code Error?

The faulty hardware corrupted page error (Windows stop code 0x0000012B) covers several different hardware issues, but refers to a single-bit error. A single-bit error occurs when a single bit (a minute piece of data) is incorrectly changed during the transmission of data. While it sounds like a tiny issue, the result can cause your system hardware to malfunction, resulting in the faulty hardware corrupted page stop code.

There is good news and bad news.

The good news is that there are several fixes available for the faulty hardware corrupted page stop code. The bad news is that Windows stop code 0x0000012B can indicate your system hardware is failing. Specifically, the stop code is often associated with faulty RAM.

You can check your RAM and other hardware issues with these fixes for the faulty hardware corrupted page stop code.

1. Restart Your Computer

If you haven’t already, restart your computer. Although infuriating to hear, “Have you tried switching it off and on again” really does fix a lot of problems. Before delving into the more advanced fixes, restart your computer and see if that resolves the issue.

2. Reseat Your Hardware

As the faulty hardware corrupted page error relates to your system hardware, a common fix is reseating your system hardware. If you knock or bump your system accidentally, you might jolt your RAM or graphics card out of position.

You’ll need to get inside the case of your PC or laptop to reseat the hardware. Please be aware that this will void your manufacturer’s warranty in certain cases, so proceed with caution.

3. Run SFC

The faulty hardware corrupted page stop code can indicate issues with your system files. The Windows System File Check (SFC) is an integrated Windows system tool you use to check your Windows installation files for errors.

Before running the SFC command, you need to check that it is completely functional. You don’t want SFC to miss an error because it wasn’t working properly, to begin with. To do this, we use DISM, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool.

Like SFC, DISM is an integrated Windows utility with a wide range of functions. In this case, the DISM Restorehealth command ensures that our next fix will work properly.

Running sfc to fix video scheduler internal error

Work through the following steps.

  1. Type Command Prompt (Admin)in the Start menu search bar, then right-click and select Run as administrator to open an elevated Command Prompt.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter: DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
  3. Wait for the command to complete. The process can take up to 20 minutes, depending on your system’s health. The process seems stuck at certain times, but wait for it to complete.
  4. When the process completes, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

4. Run CHKDSK

Like SFC, CHKDSK is a Windows tool you can use to verify your Windows 10 file system. Wondering what the difference between CHKDSK and SFC is? CHKDSK scans your entire drive for errors, while SFC scans Windows system files specifically.

Run it from the Command Prompt, and use the CHKDSK scan to find the problem and fix your machine.

  1. Type command prompt in your Start menu search bar, then right-click the best match and select Run as administrator. (Alternatively, press Windows key + X, then select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.)
  2. Next, type chkdsk /r and press Enter. The command will scan your system for errors and fix any issues along the way.

5. Check Your Drivers

At times, a new Windows drive will upset your hardware and cause a fault. Windows 10 now handles most driver updates, so faulty drivers are becoming less of an issue. But that doesn’t mean a dodgy driver cannot come and cause havoc.

You can see a list of recent Windows driver updates in the Update & Security settings page.

Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings panel, then select Update & Security > View update history. You can find any driver updates here.

Now, type device manager in the Start menu search bar and select the best match. Head down the list and check for an error symbol. If there is nothing, your driver status is likely not the source of the issue.

Several tools let you update all of your system drivers at the same time. The usefulness of these tools is debatable, especially as many try to force you to pay for freely available drivers. If you would like to know more, check out the best free tools you can use to fix any Windows 10 issue.

6. Check Your RAM Using MemTest86

The Windows Memory Diagnostic tool is a Windows system tool you can use to analyze your RAM for errors. However, it isn’t the best option for the job. That title goes to MemTest86, a free, standalone memory testing tool for x86 machines.

memtest

You boot MemTest86 from a USB flash drive (or bootable disc) and leave it to check your system RAM. A MemTest86 takes a while to complete. For a full evaluation of your RAM, you should run at least two passes (that’s two complete cycles). As a single pass can take hours, the analysis process can take a while. However, MemTest86 will uncover any serious RAM issues during the process, so it is worth the wait.

Head to the MemTest86 download page and download the Image for creating bootable CD (ISO format). Next, you need to write the MemTest86 ISO to a USB flash drive. Check out this list of free tools to make a bootable USB flash drive.

Download a tool from the list, burn MemTest86 to your USB flash drive, then shut down your system. Now, reboot your system while pressing the button for your Boot Selection menu (usually F10, F11, DEL, or ESC), then select the bootable MemTest86 USB flash drive. The memory test will start automatically.

Fixing the Faulty Hardware Corrupted Page

Like many things Windows 10, a Bluescreen of Death is never nice—but there is often a simple resolution. The best thing to do is attempt to reseat your RAM and graphics card before attempting any of the additional fixes. Sometimes the simplest fixes have the greatest effect!

If you want to learn more about your bluescreen errors and how to fix them, check out Nirsoft’s BlueScreenView. It is a free tool you can use to understand Windows stop codes so you can fix any issue without help!

Read the full article: 6 Fixes for the Faulty Hardware Corrupted Page Stop Code in Windows 10

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Fix the “Your PC Ran Into a Problem and Needs to Restart” Error

Has your Windows computer suddenly crashed, stopped working, or is refusing to boot? If so, you might encounter the “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart” error.

This is a common and generic PC error, often referred to as the “blue screen of death”. We’re going to talk you through every step of this error: what it means, how to know what your specific PC problem is, and how to fix that issue.

What Is the “Your PC Ran Into a Problem and Needs to Restart” Error?

Above is a picture of the “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart” error screen. It’s often called the “blue screen of death” (or BSOD) error—you can figure out why!

This example says, “We’ll restart for you”. The screen might also say “We’re just collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you”.

This error screen usually happens when your computer has shut down or restarted unexpectedly, or if something is stopping it booting.

At the top of the screen is a sad face, followed by the problem message. Next, a line reads:

For more information about this issue and possible fixes, visit https://www.windows.com/stopcode

Type this URL into your internet browser and it’ll take you to Microsoft’s support page. Since these errors can occur for a variety of issues, the support on this page is generic rather than specific to your problem. You can also scan the QR code (that’s the section on the bottom left) on your phone to be taken to the same page.

The most pertinent part of this screen is at the bottom where it lists a “Stop code”. In our example, the stop code is “BAD_SYSTEM_CONFIG_INFO”. Yours might be something different. That’s because a stop code is an identifier that helps understand why you received this error in the first place.

You should write down this stop code so that you can refer to it later. If you’re in an organization, take this stop code to your local administrator so they can help diagnose the problem.

If you’re a home user, contact Microsoft support, follow their automated help, then when you get through to an agent you can give them the stop code.

There are hundreds of possible stop code errors. Some other examples are:

  • CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED
  • SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
  • IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
  • VIDEO_TDR_TIMEOUT_DETECTED
  • PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
  • SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION
  • DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION

How to Fix Specific Stop Code Errors

We have written articles on how to fix specific stop code errors. If you see your error listed below, click it to visit that article. If yours isn’t listed, keep reading for some general troubleshooting advice.

How to Fix a “Your PC Ran Into a Problem and Needs to Restart” Error

As discussed, there are so many reasons why you might see a “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart” error, which means it’s not possible to provide the guaranteed solution. However, there are things that are more likely to cause these errors. As such, follow these troubleshooting steps and it might fix the problem.

1. Unplug External Hardware

Have you recently plugged in a new external drive, mouse, keyboard, or similar to your computer? If so, this could be causing the problem.

Unplug everything that you don’t need and see if the problem goes away. If it does, plug one device in, restart, and see if everything remains stable. Repeat this process until you identify the faulty hardware, then contact the manufacturer.

2. Uninstall Recently Added Software

uninstall a program on windows 10

Software that you download and install can cause unexpected problems. If you receive the blue screen error after you have recently installed something, you should remove it. This can often happen with antivirus software.

To uninstall a program, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Click Apps. This brings up a list of all your installed programs. On the Sort by dropdown, click this and change it to Installation date.

Now the most recently installed programs will appear at the top. To remove one, select it from the list and click Uninstall.

3. Rollback Drivers

open the device manager properties

A driver is a piece of software that helps Windows 10 control hardware. For example, your graphics card, printer, and network adapter all use drivers.

Drivers update periodically to ensure compatibility with the latest version of Windows 10. However, sometimes a driver update can break your system. As such, you may need to roll back a driver update—that is, go back to a previous version.

To do this, press Windows key + X and click Device Manager. This tool shows categories like Display adaptors and Monitors, which you can double click to expand and see the devices within.

Right click a device and click Properties > Driver. Look at the Driver Date, as this will tell you when the driver was last updated. If the date coincides with when you started having trouble, click Roll Back Driver (if available) or Uninstall Device (the device will reinstall when you restart).

4. Update Windows 10

Windows 10 May 2019 Windows Update

Windows 10 should keep itself updated automatically, but there might be an update in the download queue that hasn’t processed.

Keeping Windows 10 updated is important because it means you will benefit from the latest features and bug fixes. Your blue screen error might be happening because of software or hardware incompatibility that has been solved in a recent update.

To check, press Windows key + I to open Settings and click Update & Security > Check for updates. If there are any updates, follow any prompts to download and install them immediately.

More Help and Troubleshooting Tips

If the advice above hasn’t helped you get rid of the “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart” error, don’t worry. We have a whole other guide packed with more support on how to solve the blue screen of death.

Analyze Your Blue Screen Error With Advanced Tools

Hopefully, this has helped you understand the meaning of the “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart” error and guided you towards relevant support.

If you still need help and are an advanced user, you can solve blue screen errors using third-party programs.

Read the full article: Fix the “Your PC Ran Into a Problem and Needs to Restart” Error

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9 Key Tips for Managing and Organizing Your Computer Files

Organizing the files on your computer can be tricky. If you’re not careful, your files and folders could become a sprawling mess that is difficult to navigate and find what you need.

That’s why we’ve put together these Windows file management techniques. There’s no perfect way when it comes to computer file management, but these tips will help you create order from chaos.

1. Clear Away the Trash

Chances are, you have lots of data on your computer that you don’t need. Your first step should be to find and delete these since there’s no point in organizing unwanted files. It’s also good to clean up your drive to make way for new data.

Our guide to cleaning Windows 10 should come in handy for this task. If you delete something by accident, you can always recover it from the Recycle Bin.

2. Group Files in Folders

Folders are the backbone of a good organizational structure. They let you group files into logical collections.

By default, Windows comes with libraries like Documents and Pictures that you can use as a jumping off point. In File Explorer, right click and choose New > Folder to begin creating.

It might help to plan out your folder structure on some paper before you get cracking. For example, do you want to split your Pictures folder by event, people, place, or something else? Do you want your Documents separated by life and work?

You can also create folders within folders. That said, try not to make the hierarchy too deep, else you’ll end up constantly clicking through folders when trying to find something.

3. Create a Consistent Naming Convention

It’s best to have a consistent naming convention for both folders and files. It should be clear what’s inside without needing to open it, but it should also be relatively concise.

Don’t forget that File Explorer can show you lots of great metadata. In the Ribbon, go to View > Add columns. Here you can add columns like Date modified, Type, and Authors. This means that you don’t necessarily need to include this information within file names.

Some general tips:

  • When using sequential numbers at the start of names, precede with zeros (e.g. 001, 002) to aid in sorting.
  • Ensure your spelling and grammar are accurate so that they correctly appear in any searches.
  • Don’t use abbreviations. They might make sense at the time, but you’ll probably forget what they mean.

If you need to rename lots of files in one go, use a tool like Bulk Rename Utility.

4. Access Folders and Files Quickly

It’s great to organize your files into structured folders, but you don’t need to navigate through this structure every time you want to find something. Windows has a powerful search. Simply open the Start menu, start typing, and it will scan everything on your computer. Here are some Windows 10 search shortcuts and tips to know.

You can pin often-accessed folders to your Start menu. Right click and select Pin to Start to do so. Also, drag a folder onto your taskbar to pin it there. Then, right click the File Explorer icon and it’ll appear within the Pinned section.

file explorer view

Finally, you can adjust File Explorer to get a better overview of your data. Switch to the View tab in the Ribbon. Here you can choose different Sort by methods, enable the Details pane, change the Layout, and much more. Fiddle around with these options until you land on something that works for you. You can change them per folder too. For example, a Large icons layout is good for a folder of photos, while a List works better for documents.

5. Use Cloud Storage Providers

If you often collaborate on files with others or move between devices like a laptop and desktop, it can be a real pain to keep sending files back and forth. You’ll also likely end up with multiple files in different places, like your documents and emails.

A great way to overcome this is to use a free cloud storage provider. These services give you multiple gigabytes of space to store your data and sync it across all your devices.

Decent services, like OneDrive or Google Drive, will integrate directly into File Explorer so you can manage all your files from the same place.

6. Remove Duplicates and Use Shortcuts

Having multiple copies of the same file is a dangerous game. Not only is it a waste of storage space, but any changes won’t sync between them. This could lead to having different versions of the same document, for example.

Duplicates can happen by accident and can be a pain to manually hunt down. That’s why it’s best to use a program like dupeGuru, which will scan your computer for duplicate files—in file name and contents, including a “fuzzy” search for similar files—and let you remove them.

Copies of files often arise when they are saved in different places. Don’t do this. Instead, use shortcuts. Within the folder, right click and choose New > Shortcut and follow the wizard.

7. Use Note-Taking Apps

If you’re the type of person who often needs to jot down notes or thoughts, don’t leave stray text files across your computer. Think about physical sticky notes; they are designed as temporary mementos, not a permanent storage solution. The same goes for your digital life.

Consider using a note-taking app like OneNote, Evernote, or a lightweight note-taking alternative.

Most of these apps let you store locally and online. They are primarily designed for scraps and have their own organization tools. It’s far better to use these and keep everything in one place.

8. Archive Old Files if Necessary

Some people like to create an “Archive” folder on their computer and dump old files into it, but that’s just like sweeping everything under the rug. A proper archive is designed to store files that you no longer need regular access to but still need to keep. It’s generally kept separate from your main drive, and you can also use slower and cheaper storage solutions.

windows 10 file properties

To find out the history of a file, right click it and select Properties. Here you can see when the file was Created, Modified, and Accessed.

It’s simple to quickly group together files based on their modified date. In File Explorer, click into the search box at the top right and then use the Date modified dropdown on the Ribbon. You can tie this parameter together with other search strings. For example, you can search for DOC files last modified in 2019.

Generally, you only need to archive if you’re low on storage space on your main drive. Otherwise, there’s no harm in keeping the old data providing it’s organized properly.

9. Stick to Your Organization Plan

Don’t waste all your organizational work. Stick to your plan. It can be very tempting to save a file quickly by naming it randomly and chucking it on your desktop. There are lots of better ways to store your files than the desktop.

If you don’t keep it up, you’ll end up back in the mess of files that you began in. When creating or saving a new file, take a moment to give it a good name, and place it in the right folder. Your future self will thank you.

Automatically Organize Your Files

These tips are sure to help you lay a great foundation for organizing your files. The days when you can’t find something you need are long gone. You’ll know exactly how to locate the file you want.

However, our advice doesn’t end here. You can lighten the load by using these apps to automatically organize your Windows files.

Read the full article: 9 Key Tips for Managing and Organizing Your Computer Files

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The 8 Best Computer Temperature Monitor Apps

Heat wreaks havoc on computers, especially laptops. Tight cases and dust build-up can lead to poor air circulation. Without circulation, the heat generated inside has nowhere to go.

Ignoring heat problems is the surest way to destroy a laptop. You thought it slowed down because it’s old? That’s partly true, but not the whole story.

Heat can severely impair the performance of computer components, with hard drives being the most susceptible. If your hard drive seems like it’s dying, first check the internal temperature. Fortunately, checking temperatures is as easy as using one of these free heat monitor apps.

1. CrystalDiskInfo

crystal disk info temperature monitor

If your chief concern is the temperature of a hard drive, look no further than CrystalDiskInfo. This is a dedicated utility for managing the health of HDDs and SSDs and is so useful that we consider it a must-have diagnostic tool for Windows users.

With its clear and easy-to-use interface, you’ll have no trouble navigating all the information it has for you. And with all its advanced features, it’s practical enough for power users, not just newbies.

Notable features include:

  • Monitors temperatures for all system HDDs and SSDs.
  • Health Status estimates the overall health of each drive.
  • In-depth diagnostics for all read/write drive values.
  • In-depth graphs for HDD and SSD values over time.
  • Available in 32-bit and 64-bit, installed or portable.

Download: CrystalDiskInfo for Windows (Free)

2. Core Temp

core temp temperature monitor tool

Core Temp is a fast, accurate, and flexible laptop temperature monitor. However, a word of warning: the installer comes with bundleware! You can avoid it by unchecking it, but you must pay attention during installation. Otherwise, there are no ads.

Notable features include:

  • System tray icon with real-time information.
  • Pick which sensor to display in the system tray icon.
  • Overheat protection notifies when the temperature is too hot.
  • Tracks system hardware details for reference.
  • Checks for BIOS and Driver updates.

Download: Core Temp for Windows (Free)

3. HWiNFO

hwinfo 64 temperature monitor

HWiNFO is a lightweight diagnostic tool for gleaming in-depth hardware information and monitoring systems in real-time. It’s a lot easier to use than it sounds. Plus, it’s actively updated—a new version about once every 1-2 months, which is great for cutting-edge systems.

Notable features include:

  • System tray icon with real-time information.
  • Reports for CPU, RAM, HDDs, SSDs, battery, and more.
  • Allows remote monitoring of sensor data.
  • Available in 32-bit and 64-bit, installed or portable.

Download: HWiNFO for Windows (Free)

4. HWMonitor

hwmonitor temperature monitor

HWMonitor is one of the most trusted system monitoring apps currently available. The free version is more than enough for keeping tabs on temperature, but there is a Pro version with advanced features (e.g., graph generation) for €20.

Notable features include:

  • Read any sensor with voltages, temperatures, or fans.
  • Save monitoring data to a log for troubleshooting.
  • Checks for BIOS and Driver updates.
  • Available in 32-bit and 64-bit, installed or portable.

Download: HWMonitor for Windows (Free)

5. Macs Fan Control

windows-10-monitor-macs-fan-control

If you’re running Windows on a Mac, things get slightly tricky because the hardware in a Mac has a few proprietary quirks.

The good news is, there’s a free app designed specifically for you, and it’s called Macs Fan Control. It’s easy to use and highly recommended.

Notable features include:

  • System tray icon with real-time temperature.
  • Pick which sensor to display in the system tray icon.
  • Set custom min/max fan RPMs based on sensor values.
  • Supports sensors for third-party HDDs and SSDs.
  • Supports every model: iMac, MacBook, Mac Mini, Mac Pro.

Download: Macs Fan Control for Windows (Free)

6. SpeedFan

speedfan temperature monitor

In addition to potential hardware damage, high system temperatures are problematic because they cause your laptop’s fans to work overtime. A hard-working fan wears out faster, but more importantly, fast-spinning fans are loud. Much louder than you’d anticipate. Of the many ways to silence noisy laptop fans, the easiest is to use SpeedFan to control fan revolutions per minute (RPM) manually.

What’s nice is that SpeedFan also has features for monitoring temperature, so it’s like a 2-in-1 app— just not as advanced as the others above.

Notable features include:

  • System tray icon with real-time information.
  • Read any sensor with voltages, temperatures, or fans.
  • Set custom min/max fan RPMs based on sensor values.
  • Adjust and fix incorrect temperature readings on sensors.
  • Chart values over time for troubleshooting.

Download: SpeedFan for Windows (Free)

7. Open Hardware Monitor

open hardware monitor temp monitor laptops

Open Hardware Monitor is similar to HWiNFO and HWMonitor, except that it’s open-source. In fact, Open Hardware Monitor was considered a dead project, as it had not received an update since 2016 (which stopped Open Hardware Monitor working with some of the latest hardware).

However, in early 2020, Open Hardware Monitor updates began rolling out, updating the laptop temperature monitoring tool for the latest CPUs, GPUs, and other hardware.

Notable features include:

  • Read most sensors with voltages, temperatures, or fans.
  • Save sensor data to a log for troubleshooting.
  • Display data on a remote web server.
  • Portable, so no installation needed.

Download: Open Hardware Monitor for Windows (Free)

8. NZXT CAM

NZXT CAM temperature monitor tool

NZXT CAM is a temperature and hardware monitoring tool with a slick user interface and numerous options.

You might note the name of the developer, NZXT. NZXT manufactures a range of PC hardware, and as such, NZXT CAM works very well with their hardware. For instance, you can use NZXT CAM to control case lights, fan speeds, power supply voltages, and more, where supported.

Notable features include:

  • Read a wide range of temperature, fan, and speed sensors.
  • Control NZXT compatible hardware.
  • Customizable user interface.
  • Displays detailed system specifications.
  • Optional gaming overlay.

Download: NZXT CAM for Windows (Free)

Tips for Reducing Laptop Temperatures

Make sure you check temperatures when your laptop is idle (with no apps running) and under load (with performance-heavy apps running). A high idle temperature can be just as degrading as a high spike under load. Learn more about how hot is too hot for a PC.

If it is running too hot, don’t worry. You have options.

We have plenty of tips on fixing an overheating laptop and several more tips on keeping your PC cool. The most effective steps are to clean out internal dust, always use on a hard flat surface, and supplement with a laptop cooling pad.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Computer Temperature Monitor Apps

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The 8 Most Common Reasons Why Windows Gets Unresponsive

It’s no fun when your computer becomes unresponsive. Even if you don’t lose work because of it, hanging programs or a total system freeze can slow your productivity to a crawl.

PC problems that don’t manifest through a blue screen or other random shutdowns usually result in an unresponsive Windows 10 system. Let’s examine the common culprits for Windows freezing up and how you can fix it.

1. Insufficient Resources

Windows Task Manager Network Usage

One of the most common reasons that Windows becomes unresponsive is that it doesn’t have enough resources to run smoothly. The two components that most often bottleneck performance are your RAM (memory) and CPU.

Your computer stores all running programs in RAM. If those processes take up all your physical memory, your computer has to use the page file—a section of your storage disk that essentially acts as backup RAM. See how to manage your computer’s virtual memory for more information about this.

Even if you have an SSD, using the page file is much slower than actual RAM meant for this purpose. As a result, you’ll feel the slowdown when your computer is relying on the page file.

Open the Task Manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc, switch to the Processes tab, and sort by the Memory header to see what’s using the most. Close programs at the top of the list if you don’t need them, and your system should recover.

It’s a similar story with high CPU usage. Taxing operations, such as encoding HD video, take a lot of CPU power. Your system may thus become unresponsive while your CPU is hard at work. Find out how to fix high CPU usage in Windows if this is a consistent issue.

2. Hardware Incompatibility

Blue Screen of Death

If a piece of hardware isn’t fully compatible with your version of Windows, it could cause stability issues. Typically, hardware problems result in Windows crashing because the OS has no other option. However, these issues can also cause system freezes.

When this happens, think about whether you’ve recently connected some new hardware to your PC. Any printer, mouse, keyboard, USB drive, or another external device could be the source of the problem. If you use an outdated piece of hardware, replace it with a modern device and see if that helps.

With the aid of compatibility modes and some tweaks, it’s possible to get retired hardware working with newer versions of Windows. However, in many cases, this is a dead end. It’s usually easier to run old software on a modern PC than it is to use ancient hardware.

3. Driver Issues

Even if a specific piece of hardware doesn’t cause an unresponsive computer, its driver could. In case you didn’t know, a driver is a small piece of software that lets Windows interface with hardware correctly.

For basic devices like a mouse or keyboard, a generic Microsoft driver works just fine. Using all the features of a device requires its own driver, though. Problems can arise if your installed drivers are outdated, incompatible with your version of Windows, or are for the wrong device.

The general rule with drivers is that you shouldn’t touch them if everything is working properly. Third-party driver update utilities are usually shady and could screw up more than they fix. If you suspect a driver problem, we’ve covered how to replace outdated drivers safely.

4. Windows Registry Problems

The Registry is a database where Windows holds all sorts of detailed information about your system and its configuration. When you install or remove software, edit a setting, or make changes to the Registry yourself, Windows records it there.

Most of the time, the Registry works just fine without your intervention. We strongly recommend that you avoid using Registry cleaners, as they are useless at best and dangerous at worst. Even if there are old entries in the Registry, “cleaning” thousands of errors won’t provide any tangible performance benefits.

If your Registry is so messed up that it causes your system to become unresponsive, you’ll probably need to reinstall Windows. It shouldn’t ever get to that point unless you make a mistake while editing it, use a Registry cleaner, or get infected by malware.

5. A Malware of Any Kind

Malware, the catch-all term for viruses, spyware, worms, and other forms of infection, can wreak havoc on your system. Whether it’s adware injecting ads into your browser that cause it to freeze or rootkits that steal system resources, malware can take over your computer and degrade performance.

Run a scan with the free version of Malwarebytes to see if you have any malicious programs on your system. And in the future, make sure you know how to avoid getting a virus so it doesn’t happen again.

6. Running Multiple Antivirus Tools

Check dangerous links with VirusTotal

Thankfully, Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender, which is a good enough antivirus solution for most people. However, if you choose to use something else, you should make sure that it doesn’t end up causing a performance problem.

Running multiple antivirus programs will often cause them to conflict with each other and cause slowdowns. If you want a second opinion, use an on-demand scanner like the aforementioned Malwarebytes every once in a while.

Alternatively, try using a free online virus scanner like VirusTotal. These let you scan a file with dozens of different antivirus apps at once, making sure that yours doesn’t miss anything.

Aside from this, make sure you use one of the best Windows antivirus suites. Avoid no-name apps, as they may not be well-optimized and thus cause slowdowns.

7. Application Bugs

Unfortunately, poorly written software is out of your control. Whether it’s an old app that hasn’t seen updates in years or a bad Chrome extension, you might notice that your unresponsive problem only occurs when using a certain program.

If you can pin down which app is an issue, make sure you have the latest updates installed for it. Sometimes new versions can solve these kinds of problems. If that’s not an option, check AlternativeTo for a replacement.

Should the problem occur in your browser, try disabling extensions one by one to see if that solves the problem.

8. User Tweaks

Once you eliminate all the above scenarios, it’s possible that your stability problem comes from some sort of tweak you’ve made to Windows.

Changes in the Control Panel or Settings app shouldn’t interfere with your system, but using third-party tools to customize Windows might break something unintentionally.

Think about the tools you’ve used for Windows 10 privacy, tweaking the Taskbar, or similar deep changes. Consider reversing those if you can’t find any other source of instability.

When Windows Is Unresponsive, You Know Why

Chances are that when your PC becomes unresponsive, the root lies in one of these causes. Most of them are in your control, so all it takes is a bit of troubleshooting to find out where the problem lies. Once you fix it, you can get back to using your computer without interruption.

If you don’t want to spend time on these fixes, it’s easy to reset Windows 10 to put the operating system back to its default state.

Read the full article: The 8 Most Common Reasons Why Windows Gets Unresponsive

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How to Upgrade Your Laptop DVD Drive for a HDD or SSD

Older laptops feature a DVD drive. Increasingly this isn’t required; DVD drives have quickly disappeared from notebook computers in the past few years.

More and more people are opting to abandon the internal optical drive and install a second hard disk drive (HDD). If you’ve noticed that you’ve barely used the DVD drive, you might be considering a replacement storage device. Here’s how to replace your laptop’s DVD drive with a 2.5-inch SSD (solid-state drive) or HDD.

This tutorial is available in video form, or you can read on for the full written tutorial below.

Want to Replace the DVD Drive With an SSD or HDD? Here’s What to Do

Swapping a barely used laptop DVD drive with extra storage is surprisingly easy. All you need is:

  • A drive caddy
  • A screwdriver
  • Plastic lever tool
  • Hot glue gun (optional)

The process is straightforward too:

  1. Order the drive caddy
  2. Select a new drive: HDD or SSD?
  3. Remove the DVD drive
  4. Insert the drive in the caddy
  5. Fit the caddy in the PC

Furthermore, you can even reuse the old DVD drive as an external disc drive by fitting it into a suitable enclosure. Ready to swap your notebook’s optical drive with a new HDD or SSD for additional storage? Let’s start.

Step 1: Order the Caddy

The drive caddy replaces the DVD drive. In this, you place the chosen extended storage, a HDD or SSD.

At this stage, you might be thinking: “Hang on, there’s no standardized design for laptops. How can this work?” And you would be right… to a point.

While there remains a lack of standardization for laptop computers, the same isn’t true of the upgradeable parts. Additional RAM, hard disk drives, and DVD drives almost always have the same connectors from device to device. This means that they can be swapped.

DVD drives are mostly a certain shape and size. This means that a caddy can be easily slipped into the space that the DVD drive occupied.

Where can you find a HDD caddy? The best place is on Amazon or eBay. A caddy will set you back less than $15.

Aluminium caddy for laptop Aluminium caddy for laptop Buy Now On Amazon $14.99

Note that two variations of drive caddy are available, to fit 9.5mm and 12.7mm high drives. The difference is noticeable—you might be able make up the difference with some padding, but this isn’t recommended.

Caddies are equipped with a SATA connector for the new drive, and one to connect the caddy to the laptop. Once slotted in and secured, the replacement drive can then be used for additional storage or dual booting.

Step 2: Choose an SSD or HDD to Replace the Optical Drive

As the idea is to expand the amount of storage available to you, you’ll need a new drive to sit in the caddy. This might be a HDD or a faster SSD.

Check our guide to buying a new disk drive for help here.

Obviously, the capacity of the drive will depend upon your requirements. However, we would recommend installing as large a drive as possible. A high capacity drive has superior backup possibilities. It’s also a good choice for saving personal data to, thereby avoiding data loss should the main HDD fail.

Step 3: Remove the DVD Drive From Your Laptop

With your new secondary disk drive ready to install, it’s time to remove the DVD drive.

Removing a DVD drive is usually straightforward, although this will depend on the manufacturer.

The standard method is:

  1. Place a towel on your table
  2. Sit the laptop on it with the lid face down
  3. Find the DVD locking screw (usually near the middle of the laptop, typically indicated by a small DVD icon)
  4. Remove the screw
  5. Pull out the optical drive

Unscrew DVD Drive

Some laptops have a push-button removal system; alternatively, there might be a catch to depress while the drive is removed. This is similar to how you might remove a laptop battery.

In other cases, you might need to use a plectrum, credit card, or plastic knife to dislodge the drive. There should be no resistance, however.

Remove DVD Drive

Once fully removed, use a screwdriver or plastic knife to gently remove the DVD drive fascia. Unless your laptop shipped with a spare, blank fascia for the DVD drive bay, you’ll need this later.

Remove DVD Drive Fascia

You may also need to remove the locking screw hole from the DVD drive. This is attached with two small screws and can be easily attached to the caddy for locking in place.

Step 4: Insert the HDD or SSD Into the Caddy

This should be the easy bit! With your HDD or SSD unpackaged, it should be simple to slip the drive into the caddy.

Insert HDD Into Caddy

Depending on the retailer, you may have received a screwdriver with the caddy. Either way, check to see if any screws are included. These will need to be tightened to secure the HDD or SSD in the caddy. Make sure these screws are flush with the caddy when tightened, otherwise it won’t slide into your laptop.

Step 5: Insert the Caddy Into Your Laptop

Next, find the fascia you removed earlier. Another standardized aspect of laptops is the fascia attachment on DVD drives.

Because the eject button has to be in a certain position for universal accessibility, so the fascia attachments have the clips in the same place. Simply attach the fascia, pushing the catches into the slots. Hot glue may be required here, especially if a catch breaks.

Fit Fascia to HDD

With the laptop again upturned on the towel, slide the drive in and use the securing screw to fix the caddy in place. Your laptop has a new storage device, ready to use with any operating system that you have installed. Don’t forget to format it first!

Insert HDD

Reuse Your Old DVD Drive

So, you’ve replaced your laptop’s DVD drive with an SSD or HDD. But what about the discarded DVD drive? Well, you can still use it.

It’s possible to install a laptop drive into an external housing that you can easily connect and disconnect from your laptop. All you need is a laptop DVD enclosure and a pair of USB connectors for data and power.

External Enclosure for DVD drives External Enclosure for DVD drives Buy Now On Amazon $9.79

Our guide to making an external DVD drive from an old laptop drive should help here. A DIY portable DVD drive can be used with a tablet, ultrabook, or any other device without an optical drive.

Replace Your Laptop DVD Drive With an SSD or HDD: It’s That Easy!

If your laptop has a largely redundant DVD or CD drive, using that space for extra storage is a good idea. With the vast file sizes that HD photography and videos require—not to mention games—having that extra capacity could prove extremely valuable.

Planning more upgrades for your laptop? Check our information on upgrading laptop components.

Read the full article: How to Upgrade Your Laptop DVD Drive for a HDD or SSD

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How to Choose Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows Operating Systems

When you create a bootable Windows installer or install the OS from a disc, you’ll have to decide whether you want a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system. If you’re not sure what these mean, this question might confuse you. And worse, choosing the wrong option could hamper your system performance down the road.

Let’s discuss the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and which one you should choose next time you install Windows.

32-Bit and 64-Bit: What’s the Difference?

We’ve discussed the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows before, which we’ll summarize briefly here. Whether you can install a copy of 32-bit or 64-bit Windows depends on the processor inside your computer.

Like Windows, modern processors are either 32-bit or 64-bit. 64-bit machines can process much more information at once, making them more powerful.

If you have a 32-bit processor, your only option is to also install 32-bit Windows. Conversely, while it’s possible to install 32-bit Windows on a 64-bit processor, you must run 64-bit Windows to take full advantage of a 64-bit CPU’s benefits.

To see if you have 64-bit Windows installed on Windows 10, head to Settings > System > About. Under the Device specifications header, next to System type, you’ll see if Windows and your processor are 32-bit or 64-bit.

Windows 10 Check 64-Bit

On earlier versions of Windows, right-click Computer in the Start menu and choose Properties to view the same information. If you weren’t aware, x86 refers to 32-bit architecture, while x64 means 64-bit.

Should I Download 32-Bit or 64-Bit Windows?

Today, 64-bit installations of Windows are much more common than 32-bit versions. However, whether you should install 32-bit or 64-bit Windows depends on your current setup.

If you buy a new PC off the shelf, it most likely includes a 64-bit copy of Windows. Since 64-bit is largely the standard, only low-end machines will ship with a 32-bit processor these days. With a new PC that has a 64-bit version of Windows installed on a 64-bit processor, you’re all set.

When you’re upgrading a current Windows installation, it’s a different story. If you’re upgrading to Windows 10 from an earlier version, first check to see if your processor is 64-bit using the above method.

If it is, you should install the 64-bit version of Windows when you upgrade. This future-proofs your machine and ensures you won’t have to go through another upgrade later. Those with a 32-bit processor can only upgrade to a 32-bit version of Windows, unfortunately.

Installing the Right Version of Windows

While you can still buy a physical copy of Windows 10 at stores like Walmart and Best Buy, the best way to install Windows 10 for most people is through Microsoft’s Windows 10 download page.

Click Download tool now on that page to grab the Media Creation Tool. This will walk you through upgrading your current PC to Windows 10 or creating a bootable USB drive to install Windows on another machine.

When you walk through the steps, the tool will ask you to choose the Architecture for the install, which is where you can pick 64-bit or 32-bit. Windows will recommend an option based on what it detects from your PC. Uncheck the Use the recommended options box if you need to change it based on what you found earlier.

Set the correct language for Windows 10

You should know that if you’re running a genuine copy of Windows, you can likely upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Your current product key will activate Windows 10 just fine. If you have to buy a fresh license, don’t worry about 64-bit or 32-bit when getting the product key.

Buying a license just entitles you to activate and use Windows; it’s not tied to either architecture type.

What Are the Advantages of 64-Bit Windows?

Now that you know if you need 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, what does using a 64-bit edition of Windows 10 actually do for you?

The biggest change is that x64 Windows can handle much more RAM than a 32-bit edition. 32-bit operating systems limit you to using 4GB of RAM or less. Thus, any RAM that you have installed over 4GB isn’t usable on 32-bit Windows. 64-bit systems can use more RAM than you’ll ever need (about 17 million TB, theoretically).

On a 64-bit Windows system, you’ll also notice two different Program Files folders in your system drive. Because 32-bit programs are inherently different from 64-bit software, Windows keeps them separate.

Thus, whenever you install software that’s built for x64 systems, it goes to the Program Files folder. 32-bit software goes into Program Files (x86) instead. On a 32-bit system, you’ll only see one Program Files folder, as it can’t use 64-bit software.

Under the hood, 64-bit Windows is also inherently more secure. Most of the enhancements come from low-level tweaks beyond the scope of this overview; one example is that 64-bit Windows forces drivers to be signed. While these changes don’t make the OS immune to attack, it’s a more modern architecture that isn’t held back by old exploits.

Choosing Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Software

Some apps, such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Office, are available in a 64-bit flavor. These versions don’t provide massive improvements over the 32-bit versions, but they are a bit more efficient and stable than their 32-bit counterparts.

7-Zip Bit Editions

Heavy programs, like video editors and high-end games, run better in their 64-bit versions. Multi-tasking becomes more efficient, too.

On a 64-bit system, if you have a choice between 32-bit and 64-bit apps, prefer to go with 64-bit for best performance. But there’s nothing wrong with running 32-bit apps on a 64-bit system, as most apps can’t take advantage of the differences anyway.

You can see which apps on your system are 32-bit by opening the Task Manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc and checking the Processes tab. Anything with (32 bit) next to its name isn’t 64-bit yet.

32-Bit Apps Task Manager

32-Bit vs. 64-Bit: Other Considerations

As long as your computer/processor is fairly recent, you shouldn’t have any issues upgrading to a 64-bit version of Windows.

If your computer’s processor was one of the earliest to feature 64-bit architecture, it might lack support for a few minor features. This can cause issues with 64-bit Windows, but you can run a tool like 64bit Checker to make sure your hardware is ready to go for 64-bit Windows.

If you’re currently on a 32-bit version of Windows and plan to upgrade, you must do a clean install. There’s no easy upgrade path, like when you update Windows 7 to Windows 10. Check out our guide on upgrading Windows 10 from 32 to 64-bit when you’re ready.

Additionally, when running 64-bit Windows, you must make sure that your hardware is compatible. Windows Update should automatically find drivers for your internal components, but outdated printers or other old peripherals might not have a 64-bit driver.

Archaic 16-bit applications, like DOS games, won’t work on 64-bit versions of Windows either. You’ll need to use workarounds to run old software on 64-bit Windows 10.

Do I Need 64-Bit Windows?

For most people, 64-bit Windows is today’s standard and you should use it to take advantage of security features, better performance, and increased RAM capability. The only reasons you’d want to stick with 32-bit Windows are:

  • Your computer has a 32-bit processor. Since you’d have to buy a new machine to install 64-bit Windows, stick with what you have for now. Be sure to buy an x64 machine for your next computer.
  • You use ancient software or devices. Since 32-bit Windows was widely used for years, older devices only offered 32-bit drivers. If your printer is 20 years old, it probably won’t work on 64-bit Windows.
    • Hopefully, you don’t do daily work with software from decades ago, but if you do, you should probably hold off on upgrading to 64-bit Windows. In either case, consider updating those tools so you can modernize your system.

If you run into issues installing apps after upgrading to 64-bit Windows, find out what to do when Windows software won’t install.

Read the full article: How to Choose Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows Operating Systems

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How to Fix Windows Registry Errors (And When Not to Bother)

Did you hear that fixing your registry would speed up your computer? Or did you read somewhere that ‘fixing’ your registry will remedy any Windows malaise on your machine, that a quick registry clean-up will solve your computing problems for good?

Many of these articles are not only wrong, but some can be downright harmful to your machine in the long run.

Here’s how to identify, isolate, and fix registry problems—and when to just not bother at all.

What Is the Windows Registry?

windows registry editor 2020

The Windows Registry is essentially a massive internal database containing important, machine-specific information regarding almost everything in your machine:

  • System Hardware
  • Installed Software and Drivers
  • System Settings
  • Profile Information

Opening a program, installing new software, and altering your hardware all require Windows to refer to the information contained in the registry. It’s no wonder that when things start to go wrong, ‘experts’ decide to meddle with the registry without understanding the implications.

In reality, fragments of deleted software registries or orphaned registries are minuscule in size and shouldn’t cause your machine any problems at all.

However, when the time comes to fix a real problem with your registry, it is important to know what you are doing, and the best way is often the easiest.

What Causes a Registry Error?

There are several common causes of registry errors, some worth worrying about, others not:

  1. Orphaned Entries: Not an issue. Orphaned entries occur when you uninstall programs, and small fragments of registry entries are left behind. Many registry fix software will proclaim these are an immediate issue, but in reality, they amount to nothing more than a few kilobytes of data in your machine.
  2. Duplicate Keys: Not an issue. Duplicate keys are made when you reinstall, upgrade, or update software on your machine, including the operating system. Registry fix software will advise that your software will be ‘confused’ by the duplicate entries, slowing your machine, but in reality, this is unlikely.
  3. Fragmented Registry: Not an issue. Similar to duplicate keys, the registry fragments when software is uninstalled, upgraded, or updated.
  4. System Shutdown Errors: Unlikely to cause issues. Each time your computer shuts down, a copy of the registry is saved to the system memory. If your computer is suddenly turned off, or crashes, or dies for another reason, it could cause an issue in the future—but this is unlikely.
  5. Malware and Viruses: Massive issue. Malware and viruses of all types regularly attack and modify the registry and will require immediate attention.

Registry cleaner software will commonly identify issues 1-4 as seriously important, device destroying issues. Realistically, only issue 5 should cause you to take immediate action. If you suspect you have a malware issue, check out our complete malware removal guide.

How to Create a Windows Registry Backup

You should only fix and repair the Windows Registry when necessary. If you have ever encountered a particularly irksome piece of malware or virus, you will know the extreme lengths some of these infections go to disguising their activity on your machine.

windows registry editor export backup 2020

First of all, before attempting to alter, fix, or delete registry fields, you should always back up the Windows Registry to a secure location.

  1. Input regedit in the Start Menu search box, and select the Best Match
  2. Head to File > Export
  3. In the dialogue box, enter a useful name such as regbackup, select a useful location—Documents is the default—and click Save

You should also note that the time to back up the Windows Registry is when you have a clean computer. If you try to create a backup when you suspect there is malware on your system, you’ll back up the malicious entries, too.

How to Restore a Windows Registry Backup

Once you have a Windows Registry backup, you need to know how to restore it. There are several ways you can restore a Windows Registry backup, depending on the status of the machine.

1. Basic Windows Registry Restore

The basic method works when your computer is healthy or in a low-level state of repair.

  1. Input regedit in the Start Menu search box, and select the Best Match
  2. Head to File > Import
  3. Browse to the location of your Windows Registry backup and select Open

Barring any outrageous, unaccountable errors to your system, you should now be able to back up and restore the Windows Registry.

Another, slightly quicker method for registry restoration is to simply browse to the backup location, right-click the registry file and select merge. The .REG file will be automatically imported to your registry.

2. Restore the Registry from Safe Mode

If the Windows Registry does not restore from your standard Windows account, you can boot into Windows Safe Mode and try again.

windows 10 advanced startup settings

  1. Type advanced start-up in your Start Menu search bar and select the Best Match. Now, under Advanced start-up, select Restart Now. Clicking Restart Now will restart your system in recovery mode where you will encounter three options: Continue, Troubleshoot, or Turn Off Your PC.
  2. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options. You now have a new range of options to choose from.
  3. Select Start-up Settings > Restart. Your system will restart. The Start-up Settings screen will load after you reboot. From here, choose the requisite option for Safe Mode.

From here, you can follow the steps in the first section to restore your Windows Registry.

Use System Restore to Fix the Windows Registry

Before using more advanced Windows Registry restore options, such as via the Command Prompt, you can attempt to use a system restore point. Microsoft advocates using a system restore point rather than a manual Windows Registry restoration, simply because using a system restore point is much easier.

Windows will set automatic system restore points, so long as the feature is switched on—or something else hasn’t switched it off.

Press Windows + S and search for restore.  Select the create a restore point result. This will open System Properties > System Protection where you can check whether protection is on, configure settings, and create a restore point right now.

windows 10 system protection properties options

If you want to use a system restore point, select System Restore, and then the restore point you want to use. Then follow the instructions.

One nice Windows System Restore feature is the ability to Scan for affected programs. If you select your system restore point, then scan to see a list of the programs the system restore point will affect or delete.

windows 10 system restore points

Malware and viruses can disable System Restore and delete restore points. Moreover, your own anti-virus may resist any attempts to copy or modify core Windows settings, negating the effects of System Restore. However, as shown above, at each critical Windows Update, your system should automatically set a system restore point.

Nonetheless, check that you have this feature turned on and create a fresh restore point for your peace of mind.

Manually Restore the Windows Registry

You can manually restore the Windows Registry using the Command Prompt. On some occasions, Windows will not boot into Safe Mode, or other issues stop the restoration of the Windows Registry. In those cases, you can use the manual restore option.

This process is a little more complex than the previous sections. Unfortunately, it also requires a little prior planning, too.

Since Windows 10 version 1803, there is no automatic Windows Registry backup. Prior to 1803, Windows would take a Registry backup every 10-days via the RegIdleBackup service.

Microsoft stopped the automatic backup to reduce the size of Windows 10 footprint with devices lacking removable storage options in mind. Also, Microsoft recommends using a system restore point to repair a corrupt registry.

Learning how to use system restore is invaluable. Here’s how to use a factory reset or a system restore point to fix your Windows 10 machine.

Switch Automatic Registry Backups On

Reinstating automatic Windows Registry backups is a simple process involving a registry tweak.

First, Input regedit in the Start Menu search box, and select the Best Match.

Then, press CTRL + F, then copy and paste the following:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerConfiguration Manager

Right-click in the right panel and select New > DWORD (32-Bit) Value. Change the name to EnablePeriodicBackup. Then double-click the DWORD and change the value to 1. Press OK. You’ll have to restart your system for the change to take place.

windows 10 switch automatic registry backups on

1. Enter Advanced Startup Options

If you do have an automatic backup, you can attempt to restore the registry manually. First, you need to boot into the advanced start-up options.

  1. Head to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery
  2. Select Restart Now

Alternatively, open your Start Menu, then hold the Shift key and press Restart.

Once the menu options, press Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt

2. Change the Directory

When the Command Prompt opens, it will default to X:WindowsSystem32. This isn’t the actual location of your Windows installation, so we need to move to the correct drive letter before proceeding.

By and large, your Windows installation is found on the C: drive, unless you move it somewhere else. However, recovery mode tends to boot your Windows installation under a different drive letter, usually D:. To find the correct drive, input the following:

dir D:Win*

The Command Prompt will list the directory contents, so you’ll know it is the correct drive.

Now, enter the following commands, in order:

cd d:windowssystem32config

xcopy *.* C:RegBack

cd RegBack

dir

Check the dates of the files in the RegBack directory. If they are from before your issue began, you can enter the following commands:

copy /y software ..

copy /y system ..

copy /y sam ..

And yes, the two periods are part of the command.

Following this, reboot your computer normally.

Use a Windows PE Recovery Disc

If you cannot enter the Windows recovery mode, Safe Mode, or otherwise, there is a final option. You can use a Windows PE recovery drive to attempt to fix or restore your Windows Registry.

A Windows PE recovery CD or USB is a Windows environment that you boot from the disc or USB, before your operating system loads. Booting from a USB allows you to fix issues with the host machine, especially handy if the host has malware or other issues.

hirens boot cd windows pe

There are several bootable Windows PE-based recovery discs available. Once you boot into the Windows PE environment, you can attempt to restore the Windows Registry using one of the previous methods.

When Not to Bother Fixing Windows Registry Errors

So, when should you not bother fixing the Windows Registry? The answer is that most of the time, you should steer clear of the registry unless you know what you’re doing, or a technician advises you to make specific edits.

Some malware removal guides will advise you to remove specific registry entries. In some cases, they are right. But in many cases purported quick registry fixes to speed your computer are almost always snake oil solutions.

Not every person who advises registry fixes is a charlatan, and those that know what they are doing can eek a little more performance out of your device. Plus, several nice little tweaks can alter Windows appearance: removing the irritating shortcut symbol for is one example.

But as we said, as soon as you dive into the registry, make a backup!

What Happens If I Delete the Entire Registry?

Thankfully, Windows is full of fail-safes. Unless you really try and also understand how to execute advanced commands, you cannot just CTRL+A, DELETE your entire registry. That would cause your system to implode, bringing the very fabric of the universe down with it.

Seriously though, Windows doesn’t want you to delete the entire registry, because your computer will not work.

Only Repair the Windows 10 Registry When You Have To

Errors, corruption, issues, viruses, ransomware, scamware, and malware do happen. Protect yourself and the Windows Registry by:

  • Making a system restore point
  • Taking a system image
  • Making a registry backup

And save them all to external drives for extra protection!

As you have read, you should only fix the Windows Registry if you have a specific issue with it. If you do delve into the registry, make sure to take a backup before editing or deleting any values.

Are you using a shared computer? You might want to learn how to disable access to the Registry Editor in Windows 10.

Image Credits: Blue Vista Design/Shutterstock

Read the full article: How to Fix Windows Registry Errors (And When Not to Bother)

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5 PC Parts That Tend to Die: How to Extend Their Lifespans

In an ideal world, your PC would last as long as you need it, and the only reason to get a new one would be for the performance boost. Unfortunately, life isn’t fair. PC parts die. Replacements can be expensive—so it makes sense to get the most out of every part you can.

The most important thing you can do is maintain your PC components properly. A long-lasting PC starts and ends with good maintenance habits, especially when you build the PC yourself. To get started, check out these tips on how to extend the lifespan of your PC parts.

1. Motherboards

asus rog motherboard

There are several reasons why you should upgrade your motherboard. However, let’s hope you do so voluntarily instead of being forced into it by a broken motherboard. Motherboard reliability increases with each generation, as you might expect.

Why Do Motherboard’s Die So Quickly?

Even though there are no moving parts, motherboards are very complex and delicate in their designs. As the focal point for everything else on your system, small malfunctions can have catastrophic effects.

Motherboard lifespan is difficult to gauge, too, as accounting for individual user habits and local environments is almost impossible. Still, a 2018 Puget Systems study found that “while motherboards seem to be getting more and more complex,” the overall failure rate was just “2.1% or about 1 out of every 49 motherboards.” Importantly, this figure is “about half what we saw in 2017.”

A 2016 HardWare.fr report returned similar results, with ASRock motherboards coming in at 1.45% and MSI coming in at 2.36%.

The biggest reason for motherboard failure is that the capacitors deteriorate over time and become exhausted. Sometimes the capacitors will even leak, potentially damaging other hardware components. You can replace a capacitor, but it is a non-trivial DIY operation that you may be uncomfortable completing yourself.

Other causes of motherboard failure include heat, static, and moisture.

Tips for Prolonging Motherboard Lifespan

Keep your computer away from environmental hazards like excess moisture or extra-dry air, which can promote static buildup. Excess heat can sometimes cause a motherboard to warp, leading to shorts and broken components.

But the best thing you can do to prevent motherboard failures is never to touch the motherboard. That’s hyperbole—you obviously have to touch it to install or replace parts. But try to limit the motherboard’s exposure outside of the PC case.

When you must touch the motherboard, be sure to ground yourself first, so you don’t accidentally shock and fry the motherboard itself.

2. Data Drives

SSD solid state drive

Data drives come in two main forms: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). A computer cannot function without one, because that’s where the operating system resides. It’s crucial to your system. If it dies, you’ll need to get a replacement ASAP.

Why Do HDDs and SSDs Die So Quickly?

HDDs and SSDs are both prone to failure, but for different reasons.

HDDs are mechanical—they have moving parts—and will physically break down over time. The platter might get scratched, the head might stop reading, or the parts might become “paralyzed” by a power surge.

SSDs are based on flash memory chips, so they have no moving parts. However, they have unreliable long-term data retention, they are more susceptible to extreme temperatures, and power outages can lead to data corruption.

Tips for Prolonging Data Drive Lifespan

No matter which kind of data drive you have, it’s always a good idea to invest in a good surge protector. Electrical surges can cause a lot of harm to all kinds of devices, not just PC parts.

Avoid extreme temperatures when possible. Refer to your data drive’s manual for safe operating temperatures. This means cleaning dust out of your computer to ensure good air circulation and prevent overheating!

Other than that, it’s mostly about buying a good model from a reputable brand. The next time you’re shopping for a data drive, check out our articles on some things to consider when buying a hard drive or a solid-state drive.

3. RAM

upgrade ram

RAM is vital for a pleasant computer experience, and it’s one of the first parts you should upgrade if you want to speed up your PC performance. How much do you need? Well, it depends, but 8GB is the current norm.

Of all of the computer hardware components, RAM has the lowest relative rate of failure. However, depending on the model and brand of RAM you buy, the lifespan of the RAM module can vary. Dead RAM modules do happen!

Why Does RAM Die So Quickly?

Given perfect conditions, RAM actually has a remarkably long lifespan. The same 2016 HardWare.fr study found incredibly low incidences of RAM returns, as low as 0.20% for Kingston and up to 1.08% for Corsair. Given the staggering amount of RAM in use around the world, these figures are extremely low.

But two things can kill a working RAM module in the blink of an eye: temperature and power surges.

Most RAM modules have an operating temperature between 0 and 85 degrees Celsius. If you head outside of those temperature limitations, you could corrupt your RAM. It won’t happen instantly, and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. But prolonged exposure to “extreme” temperatures reduces the lifespan of your RAM.

Power surges from faulty motherboards, bad power supplies, and electrical spikes can also cause failure.

Tips for Prolonging RAM Lifespan

The most important piece of advice is to buy a high-quality module from a reputable manufacturer. Reputable manufacturers include Kingston, Crucial, G.Skill, and Corsair, although other manufacturers are available. Make sure to read the product reviews before buying.

Otherwise, ensure you have adequate surge protection. Check out the best surge protectors you can buy right now.

4. Power Supply Units

A PC power supply unit (PSU)

A power supply unit (PSU) delivers power to all of the components in your computer. There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when buying the right PSU for your needs, but lifespan is one of the more important ones.

Why Do PSUs Die So Quickly?

Despite the perception, PSUs are only slightly worse than RAM modules in terms of hardware lifespan under perfect conditions. The HardWare.fr indicates failure rates between 0.49% for the best performing PSU (Fortron) and 2.41% at the other end of the scale (Cougar).

Again, the Puget Systems report corroborates the PSU rate of failure, with a “total failure rate of 1.15%.”

Under normal intended use, a PSU should last a long time—at least five years, possibly up to 10 years if you’re lucky. But if you start putting the power supply under high loads over long periods, it can be overstressed.

Tips for Prolonging PSU Lifespan

As always, start with a high-quality model from a reputable brand. Many generic models are overrated and don’t have much tolerance for stress. Poor build quality can also lead to faster aging and early death.

Another thing to consider is that some brands don’t manufacture the PSUs in-house. Instead, some PSUs are sourced from OEMs. This process means that the quality of PSU models can vary, even within the same brand.

The only effective way to prolong your PSU lifespan is to cut back on high-stress activities. For example, cryptocurrency mining is a very strenuous process. Overclocking your CPU or GPU can also place additional stress on your power supply unit, although you can mitigate this using appropriately rated hardware.

If you want a new PSU and don’t know where to start, check out the best PSUs for PC builders.

5. Cooling Fans

pc case fans

You probably haven’t given your PC fans much thought. They spin up when you need them, and they spin down when you don’t. Sometimes, we don’t even notice when one stops working (at least, not straight away!). Fortunately, most case cooling fans are relatively cheap to replace.

The situation changes when you consider CPU cooling fans, which can be more expensive than their case cooling counterparts, and similarly, GPUs.

Why Do Cooling Fans Die So Quickly?

This one’s really simple. Just as with hard disk drives, cooling fans are mechanical—they have moving parts that are susceptible to general wear and tear. Over time, as the fans spin and spin and spin, they’re more likely to break down.

But this process is accelerated by the dust and particles that build up on the fan blades and within the rotating mechanism. When exposed to heat and moisture, the dust can even get caked on and turn into gunk, which could cause more friction and stress.

Tips for Prolonging Cooling Fan Lifespan

The first tip for keeping any type of cooling fan working effectively is cleaning. That means cleaning the excess dust and buildup from fan blades, plus the dust from the PC case that contributes to the issue.

You could also consider the location of your PC in your home. Leaving your PC on a thick carpet, for instance, can cause extra heat and additional dust ingress, in turn causing your fans to work harder to keep your system cool.

So, how often should you clean your cooling fans? If you’ve never cleaned them before, give everything in your case a good clean. Then, head back one month later and see how much dust and buildup are gathering on your cooling fan blades. You can gauge your PC cleaning schedule from there.

If your CPU dies, read our guide to choosing the right Intel Core processor. Alternatively, check out the best gaming CPUs for all budgets.

Stop Your PC Parts Wearing Out

There is no doubt that certain PC parts wear out quicker than others. You can manage the general wear and tear on yours computer using the tips set out in this article. Keeping your system cool, clean, and dust-free will maintain your PC hardware for much longer. Furthermore, looking after your hardware keeps costs down, as you won’t have to replace bits that break.

Of course, if you want to upgrade, do! Just make sure to ask yourself these important questions first.

Image Credit: Michael Wick/Shutterstock

Read the full article: 5 PC Parts That Tend to Die: How to Extend Their Lifespans

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How to Use the KonMari Method to Declutter Your Digital Life

The KonMari method took the internet by storm, giving us a new way to look at our belongings and analyze if they “spark joy.” While this is a useful way to clean up your home, why not use this same method to give your computer the Marie Kondo treatment?

Let’s explore how the KonMari method can be applied to your digital life.

What Is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari method is a copyrighted term by Marie Kondo, who named it using the first few letters of her names. She brought the KonMari method though the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. You likely know her better through her Netflix show, where she visits American homes and applies her special method to help people clear their hoarded items.

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There’s a lot to master with the KonMari technique, including going through your worldly belongings in categories and properly ‘sending off’ the items you don’t want. However, the core of the technique revolves around one mantra; if it doesn’t spark joy, throw it away.

With this in mind, let’s explore some areas of your digital life where you can apply the KonMari method.

Sorting Out Digital Files and Programs

First of all, let’s apply the KonMari method to your documents. Take some time to go through all your personal files and folders. Note if they spark joy within you, or if they’re “past their prime.” If they still make you happy, great; keep them around. If they feel more like digital dust-gatherers than important files, delete them.

Remember that files can hide away in easily-forgotten places, such as your Downloads folder. These will often have old installers and files that you no longer need, and as such can be safely deleted to recover space.

Don’t forget to go through your programs, too. Open your operating system’s program list and check through all the apps and games you have installed. Haven’t touched it in months and no longer care about it? Uninstall it. Does it play a vital part in your life? Keep it around.

Once finished, you’ll have a collection of files you want to keep around. Now is a good idea to consider backing up your data so that your precious files are safe and sound.

Tidying Up Old Outdated Electronics

A box of old electronics
Image Credit: Adrian Black/Flickr

Every tech lover has it; the box (or drawer, or pile) of old electronics you once loved. Whether it’s the tablet that you’ve long since replaced or the console you played on as a kid, it’s easy to hoard electronics “just in case” you need them again.

When cleaning out your digital life, it’s essential to go through these old devices and double-check if you’re still happy to have them. If that old Gameboy Color or Tamagotchi makes you smile when you hold it, by all means, keep it around. However, if you’re looking at that old smartphone you kept “for emergencies” but now would make a better museum exhibit than a calling device, it’s time to let it go.

Remember that old electronics do not have to (and should not) be thrown into the garbage. Instead, give these old devices a second life by recycling them.

Getting Rid of Old Cables

A box of various cables
Image Credit: Nick Johnson/Flickr

Next is the second-worst hoarding habit that gadget lovers have. Every time you buy a new device to replace an older model, the new product will come with all the cables to get it up and running. This includes USB chargers for phones and tablets, as well as HDMI and power cables for new computers.

As such, every time you get a new device, one of two things tend to happen; you keep the old cable and store the new one, or replace the old cable with the new one. Either way, you relegate a cable to the dreaded cable drawer, never to see the light of day again.

When cleaning up your digital life, it’s a good idea to do some Marie Kondo cable management and work through the spaghetti-like pile of cords. Keep any cables which you feel will be of great use in the near future, and discard any that feel redundant or outdated.

Deleting Old Online Accounts

How many accounts do you think you have over the internet? As we use the web, we make accounts, use them for a time, then “discard” them. Of course, these accounts are still on the internet, full of personal information.

As such, if someone cracks the password on an old account, hackers can sneak inside and use this personal information for nefarious purposes. In a worst-case scenario, the website still remembers your payment details, which is a goldmine for someone with less-than-good intent!

As a result, it’s a good idea to scrub the internet of accounts that no longer bring you happiness. Of course, there’s no easy way to see every single account you have on the internet, so you’ll have to do some digging to find them all.

While you can go through all your registration confirmation emails one-by-one, a much quicker method is to use your browser’s password manager. If you’ve built up a habit of letting your browser save your login details, you can look through all your accounts and find the ones that you don’t use anymore.

You should also take care of hacked accounts. These are listed on websites such as HaveIBeenPwned, which we covered in our article about how to check if your online accounts have been hacked. Get into these accounts and scrub them away, if you can.

Emptying Out Old Emails

Finally, how good are you at keeping your email inboxes neat and tidy? These days, free email services give you a lot of free space, so it’s easy to allow a mountain of old mail to accumulate in your digital pigeonhole.

We covered how to do this in our piece on how to chop down a 20,000 email inbox to zero in 30 minutes. This will give you a good idea on how to prune your inbox down to a reasonable size.

However, if you fear that you will delete something you’ll need in the future, you can focus on email size instead. Normally, emails are very light on storage, and you can store tens of thousands of them without breaking a sweat; however, when someone attaches a large file to an email, it can take up quite a bit of space.

If you want to see which emails are eating up your space, see if you can sort them by size. If you can’t, try doing a search to identify the heavy-hitters.

For example, Gmail users will need to perform a search that only shows emails with attachments. You can do this by searching for “has:attachment” to find all emails with attachments, or “has:attachment larger:5mb ” for all emails with an attachment larger than 5 MB.

Outlook users have it easier. If you click Filter > Sort > Size in your inbox, all your emails will automatically queue up in size order.

Sorting emails in Outlook by size order

Go through your emails and check which ones still make you happy. The old correspondence from a friend probably won’t need throwing away; instead, you can set a label on it so store it for later. That one email from two years ago about your YouTube subscription activity, however, probably won’t spark joy any time soon.

Keeping Your Digital Life Clean, the KonMari Way

The KonMari method took the western world by storm after Marie Kondo’s Netflix series. It gave us a way of judging past belongings to see if they’re worth keeping around. You can use this method on your digital life, whether it’s sorting through cables or deleting old files.

If you want to perform a deep scrub on a Windows 10 machine, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide to the best way to clean Windows 10.

Read the full article: How to Use the KonMari Method to Declutter Your Digital Life