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Printer Offline? 10 Fixes to Get It Back Online in Windows 10

Printers are certainly not a new technology, so you’d think they’d be problem-free by now. Sadly, that’s not the case. One issue you might encounter is when your printer says it’s offline in Windows 10.

Any good modern printer has the ability to connect to your computer via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. However, what can you do when you get the dreaded “printer offline” status error? How do you turn your printer back online?

We’re going to provide troubleshooting steps to help solve the printer offline error.

1. Check the Computer and Printer Connection

First things first: check all the printer cables. Ensure they are securely plugged into both the printer and the computer.

Second, check that your network is working. If you are having trouble connecting to the internet, it’s not a problem localized to the printer. In which case, our guide on how to fix Windows 10 Wi-Fi problems will be handy.

Third, if possible, use a different method for connecting your computer to the printer. If you’re using Wi-Fi, switch to Ethernet, and vice versa.

2. Restart the Printer and Computer

Power cycling is the act of turning something off and on again. It’s the age-old tech advice, but you’d be surprised how often it works.

First, turn your computer and printer off. Then unplug the printer’s power cable, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in. Wait again for the printer to fully boot up—it won’t be returning from standby, so it might take longer than usual.

Once the printer is turned on, switch your computer back on and see if the printer is now online.

3. Run the Printer Troubleshooter

printer troubleshooter windows 10

Windows 10 includes a number of troubleshooters that aim to detect and automatically resolve any issues. There is a printer troubleshooter that you can run and hope it fixes the printer offline error.

Press Windows key + I to open Settings and click Devices > Printers & scanners. On the right-hand menu, beneath Related settings, click Run the troubleshooter.

The troubleshooter will then open and run through a series of checks. If it encounters any problems, it will tell you what they are and the steps taken to resolve them. Even if it doesn’t find any issue, you can click View detailed information to get a breakdown.

4. Disable “Use Printer Offline” Mode

use printer offline

You should check that the “Use Printer Offline” mode isn’t enabled. You may have done this accidentally or your printer or some software may have turned it on.

Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Devices > Printers & scanners. Select your printer and click Open queue. Click Printer on the toolbar and ensure Use Printer Offline doesn’t have a tick next to it. If it does, click it to disable this.

5. Clear the Print Queue

printer cancel all documents

A clogged print queue can be the cause of many issues, not least the printer offline error.

To clear the print queue, press Windows key + I to open Settings, go to Devices > Printers & scanners, select your printer, and click Open queue.

On the top toolbar, go to Printer > Cancel All Documents.

6. Set the Printer as Default

set printer as default

Windows can automatically set the last printer you used as your default printer. This can be helpful, but it might be the reason why the printer you want to use is offline.

To resolve this, press Windows key + I to open Settings, click Devices > Printers & scanners, select your printer, and click Open queue.

Click Printer on the top toolbar and click Set As Default Printer. You might see a message that reads: “Setting this printer as default means that Windows will stop managing your default printer.” If you do, click OK.

If you ever want to enable this feature again, return to the Printers & scanners page and tick Allow Windows to manage my default printer.

7. Restart the Print Spooler Service

print spooler service

The print spooler is a service that handles interaction with the printer. Restarting this service can get your printer back online.

Open the Start menu, search for Services, and open the relevant app. Scroll down until you see Print Spooler in the Name column. When you find it, right click it and click Restart.

8. Update the Printer Drivers

device manager update driver

If you don’t have a problem with your computer, it isn’t necessary to update your drivers. However, sometimes you do need to find and replace outdated drivers, and the printer offline is one such situation where updating the drivers could help.

To do this, press Windows key + X and select Device Manager. In the new window, double click the Printers category. Right click your printer and click Update driver.

If no updates are found, double check the printer manufacturer’s website (be it HP, Canon, Brother, or whoever).

9. Use the Printer Software

Some printer manufacturers have their own software to help you manage and troubleshoot your printer. If this is the case, you should install the software (your printer may have come with a CD that has the software, otherwise find it on their website).

You can check if you already have it installed. Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Click Devices > Printers & scanners, select your printer, and click Manage. You will see a button that says Open printer app if the software is installed.

Open the software and check for any section that lets you restart, troubleshoot, or fix the printer.

10. Remove and Reinstall the Printer

remove printer device

If all else fails, you can remove the printer from your computer and then add it back.

To do this, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Devices > Printers & scanners. Select your printer, click Remove device, then click Yes.

Next, click Add a printer or scanner. Follow the wizard through to connect the printer back to your computer.

Get a New Printer With Cheap Ink

Hopefully, you have solved the printer offline issue and your printer is now back up and running. If not, try contacting the manufacturer for further support.

If you decide you want a new printer entirely, check out our recommendations for great printers with cheap ink.

Read the full article: Printer Offline? 10 Fixes to Get It Back Online in Windows 10

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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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Windows 10 Devices Are at Risk From the BootHole Vulnerability

Researchers have discovered a flaw in Windows and Linux-based operating systems. The flaw, nicknamed “BootHole,” can grant a hacker near-complete control over a victim’s PC. And unfortunately, we’re now waiting on Microsoft to patch the vulnerability.

How the BootHole Exploit Works

The exploit first came to light when researchers at Eclypsium discovered it. BootHole is not a strain of malware. Instead, it’s the name for the hole in the defenses that a virus can exploit.

At the time of writing, this problem only affects Linux boot systems and those that use Secure Boot. Unfortunately, Windows uses Secure Boot, which means it’s weak to this exploit.

Once malware enters the system via the BootHole exploit, it can use arbitrary code to gain control over as much of the computer as it pleases.

The boot process is an important part of a computer because it defines how an operating system loads. If malware gets in between the cracks of the boot process, it can control how the operating system works and cause damage.

Can You Fix the BootHole Exploit?

Unfortunately, because this flaw is related to Windows’ boot sequence, it’s not something that you can fix yourself. Microsoft has to release a patch that fixes the BootHole flaw. However, this isn’t an easy task.

The boot sequence is an essential part of keeping the operating system stable. As such, if Microsoft rushes out a buggy patch for the flaw, it will cause system instability.

As a result of this, it may take Microsoft a while to release a patch that fixes BootHole. And we’re all reliant on Microsoft doing so.

How to Stay Safe From Exploits

While waiting for Microsoft to patch BootHole, you’ll need to be extra careful to avoid malware that would allow hackers to take advantage of the vulnerability.

If you’re worried about BootHole, be sure to read our article explaining how to stay safe online without the latest security patches.

Read the full article: Windows 10 Devices Are at Risk From the BootHole Vulnerability

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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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The 10 Best Windows Apps Worth Paying For

When you want to download a new desktop program, your first instinct is probably to look for a free option. And while that’s great in a lot of cases, there’s some software that’s worth paying for.

Let’s take a look at the best paid software for your Windows PC. We’ll focus on generally applicable apps that most users will get something out of for their money.

1. Backblaze

If there’s one kind of paid software that’s worth the cost, it’s a backup tool. Without a backup of your computer, years’ worth of photos, documents, and other data could disappear in an instant.

While Windows has a solid local backup option built-in, that doesn’t protect your backup drive from physical damage, such as a fire or theft. A cloud backup service like Backblaze is thus an essential part of your setup.

For a flat fee, you can back up as much data as you want from one computer. Backups run automatically and you can exclude certain folders if you like. It’s easy to restore one file or your entire backup when needed.

Backblaze offers a great “set and forget” backup solution for those who want protection but don’t want to worry about setting it all up manually.

Download: Backblaze ($6/month or $60/year, free trial available)

2. Groupy

Tabbed browsing is so convenient that you might wish other apps on your computer had the feature too. That’s where Groupy comes in—it’s a straightforward Windows utility that brings tab grouping to all apps.

Simply drag one app window on top of another to group them together. This lets you, for instance, keep tabs from multiple apps together when you’re using them to work on one task. You can save tab groups to easily re-open later, as well as setting Groupy to always group multiple instances of certain apps together.

If you love tabs, this is a few dollars well spent. It’s a great way to organize the dozens of app windows you have floating around.

Download: Groupy ($4.99, free trial available)

3. Microsoft 365

We’ve previously discussed how you might not need Microsoft Office, thanks to the wealth of free alternatives like LibreOffice and Office Online. And while that does hold true for many people, Microsoft 365 is worth paying for if you fall into the right use case.

Microsoft 365 Family costs $100 per year and includes full Office access for up to six people. As a bonus, it also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage per user, plus 60 minutes of Skype calling per month.

Considering that many cloud storage providers charge $10/month for 2TB of cloud storage, getting 1TB of cloud storage each for 6 people at $100/year is a great value. Plus, if everyone uses Office on at least one computer and their mobile device, you’re getting a lot for the money, compared to $70/year for one person.

We’ve compared the value of Microsoft 365 and Office 2019 standalone if you’re interested in more info.

Buy: Microsoft 365 ($99.99/year for Family or $69.99/year for Personal)

4. DisplayFusion

If you work with multiple monitors, you’ve probably noticed that Windows doesn’t do a whole lot to let you customize them. DisplayFusion adds a ton of functionality in this area, making it well worth the cost if you want to optimize your screen real estate.

Features include customization options like multiple wallpaper profiles, allowing you to create “mini monitors” on each display, dimming inactive monitors, and even scripting that lets you run actions based on triggers. While there’s a limited free version, the Pro licenses start at a one-time $29 purchase for a single computer.

Download: DisplayFusion ($29, free trial available)

5. A Paid VPN

We’ve spoken before about how a VPN is a great tool for enhancing your online privacy, accessing content from other regions, and browsing securely on open networks.

No matter which paid VPN you go for, having it installed on Windows is a worthwhile purchase. Check out our favorite VPN services and how to use a VPN with Windows 10 to find out more.

6. Spotify

Why pay for individual song and album downloads when you can have it all with one subscription? Spotify charges $10 per month (less per person with the Family, Duo, or Student plans) for unlimited access to millions of songs.

With Spotify Premium, you get high-quality music streams, the ability to save music offline on your device, and no ads. It’s a huge value if you listen to music all the time on your computer, so give it a look if you don’t already use another streaming service like Apple Music.

Download: Spotify (Free, subscription available)

7. Breevy

Chances are that you type the same snippets of text multiple times per day. How many times have you entered your home address, email address, or a canned email into a text field this week?

Text expansion is a huge productivity booster that’s worth the cost, and Breevy is a great choice for it. The application lets you set up shortcuts (such as @@) that let you expand to a larger block of text (like your email address). This saves you a ton of time—you won’t have to worry about repetitive blocks of text anymore.

Breevy offers more than just text expansion, including thousands of autocorrect entries, folder organization for expansions, dynamic input, and much more. Give the trial a spin and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Download: Breevy ($34.95, free trial available)

8. Malwarebytes Premium

For most people, Windows Defender does a good enough job of protecting your PC. If you’re looking for extra layers of protection, then Malwarebytes Premium is a great second line of defense.

In addition to the trusted on-demand scanning of the free version, Malwarebytes Premium includes always-on shields, ransomware protection, scheduled scans, and more. If you want to pay for a security tool, this is one to consider. You can also opt for the five-device plan to protect additional computers.

See our overview of Malwarebytes Premium for more reasons to consider upgrading.

Download: Malwarebytes (Free, $39.99/year for Premium)

9. A Password Manager

We’ve talked before about how everyone should use a password manager to generate secure passwords and keep them safe. While some password managers are available for free, such as LastPass, there are many paid password managers that are worth the few dollars per month.

For example, 1Password provides a smoother interface than LastPass. It also has handy features like the Watchtower, which alerts you to password breaches, and Travel mode, which lets you remove some passwords from your device when crossing borders.

LastPass also has a Premium plan, which unlocks one-to-many sharing, secure file storage, and a few other features. Have a look at our comparison of password managers to find the right one for you.

10. Grammarly

While it’s one of the most expensive apps on the list, Grammarly is worthwhile for anyone who writes on their computer a lot. Whether you want to improve your papers for school or have a second set of eyes while you blog or work on a novel, it’s a huge help.

Grammarly has a free plan, but Premium unlocks advanced readability features, vocabulary suggestions, and a plagiarism detector. It starts at $29.95/month, but the price drops to $11.66 a month if you pay yearly. If you’d benefit from stronger writing, give it a look.

Download: Grammarly (Free, from $29.95/month for Premium)

The Best Paid Software for Windows 10

This is just a sample of the best paid software for Windows that’s worth your time. There are many other apps worth checking out, such as screen recorders, screenshot tools, and creative apps. But what’s worth buying in those categories depends on your individual needs, while we tried to focus on broadly applicable apps here.

For more Windows software, check out the Windows 10 apps we recommend downloading on a new computer.

Image Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Read the full article: The 10 Best Windows Apps Worth Paying For

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Microsoft Software Summer Sale: Get Windows 10, Office 2019 Professional, Combo Bundles Starting From As Low As $11 [Limited Time Only]

Nobody would argue that buying software from Microsoft is a cheap endeavor. Windows and Office are costly pieces of software no matter who you are – unless you know where to buy OEM licenses that have even bigger discounts than usual.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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How to Search File Contents in Windows

It can be hard to keep track of all the data on your computer, which is why the built-in Windows search function can come in so handy. But have you ever found it doesn’t always turn up the result you want?

This might be because you’re trying to search text inside a file. By default, Windows won’t look at the internals of every single file when performing your search. However, there is a way to enable this.

Not only can the Windows search be improved, but there are third-party programs that might offer you better search experiences and we’ll cover these too.

Search File Contents Using Windows Search

Windows 10 is better at searching for files and folders than it’s older versions. It’s usually great at finding the file you need. However, there might be an occasion where the file you seek doesn’t come up.

This is because, by default, Windows search doesn’t look at the contents of every file type, nor does it scan files that haven’t been indexed. Here’s how to change both of those things.

About the Windows File Index

The Windows index catalogs information about your files, like the metadata and the words within them. This allows your computer to find things quicker—it doesn’t have to scan each file individually, but can instead look in the index.

Many apps on your system use the index. File Explorer is the obvious place, but Photos, Groove, Outlook, and Cortana all use the index too.

The index updates automatically as the files on your computer change. It will take up roughly less than 10 percent of the size of the indexed files (so 100 MB of files will have an index of less than 10 MB).

While these methods will make your file search more useful, it’s worth noting that they can slow down the speed at which you’ll get your results. The more file types that have their contents indexed and the more folders searched, the longer it’ll take. If you notice a significant slowdown then it might be worth cutting back on your indexing and only enabling the more obscure searches when necessary.

1. Change General Search Options

There are a couple of general options that you can change to enhance the file index and search.

Indexing Options

First, we’ll look at how to change some system-wide indexing options.

Open the Start menu, search for Indexing Options, and select the result. In the window that opens, click Advanced and remain on the Index Settings tab.

Beneath the File Settings heading, you can enable two options:

  1. Index encrypted files
  2. Treat similar words with diacritics as different words

The first will add encrypted files to the index. Encryption can help protect your files, so you may not want these indexed.

The second refers to diacritics, which are also known as accents. Those are the little symbols or glyphs that appear on some words like café. Once you enable this, “cafe” and “café” would be treated as different words. This option is useful if you have many files in different languages.

Once done, click OK to save your changes.

File Explorer Options

Next, we’ll change how search operates within File Explorer.

Open the Start menu, search for Change search options for files and folders, and select the result.

Here you can enable options for when searching non-indexed locations. These are:

  1. Include system directories (enabled by default)
  2. Include compressed files (ZIP, CAB, etc.)
  3. Always search file names and contents (this might take several minutes)

Choose what you want to enable, but the third is crucial if you want a thorough search of files and their contents.

Once done, click OK to save your changes.

2. Search For and Inside More Locations

Windows indexes locations like your Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos by default. If you like, you can add more locations to the index.

indexing options

To do this, open the Start menu, search for Indexing Options, and select the result. This will open a window that shows you all the current indexed locations.

To add something to this list, click Modify > Show all locations. Use the Change selected locations section at the top—click the arrow to expand a drive or folder, then place a tick in the box to index it. Once done, click OK.

3. Search Inside More File Types

By default, Windows only adds the file contents of certain file types to the index.

To change this, we again need to use the Indexing Options section. Click Advanced and switch to the File Types tab. Here you will find a list of most file types on your system, right down to the really obscure ones. If a file type isn’t listed, input it in the Add new extension to list text field and click Add.

indexing advanced options file type

If you click a common file extension from the list, like doc, look beneath the How should this file be indexed? section. You’ll notice that the file is indexed with the Index Properties and File Contents option. This means that Windows search will look inside DOC files, and other file types marked like this, when you make a search.

Select a more obscure file type and it’ll likely just be set to Index Properties Only, which refers to metadata like the file name rather than anything inside it.

If you know what the file type is that you’re after, find it on the list and switch it so that it’s set to Index Properties and File Contents. Once done, click OK.

Search File Contents Using Third-Party Programs

agent ransack

We’ve rounded up a list of Windows search alternatives in the past, but these don’t specifically search file contents. If the Windows search isn’t for you then you can use a third-party tool called Agent Ransack. This isn’t the only program available, but it’s potentially the best due to its system compatibility, list of features, and lack of a price tag.

Agent Ransack comes from Mythicsoft and is a free alternative to their FileLocator Pro program. You can search your entire system for content text and you can also specify parameters like file size and date modified. It has an incredibly simple and easy to use interface, which is quite possibly easier to navigate than the actual Windows search.

The tool will tell you exactly which line your search keyword appears within a file (along with how many times it’s contained within) and it’ll give you the file search results super quickly. Of course, if you’re searching your entire system then it might take a while, but you can narrow down to folder searches if you need to cut out some excess.

Shortcuts and Tips for Windows Search

These methods will help you search your system thoroughly, allowing you to dig deep through masses of data and scout out that specific file that you need. Whether you prefer the built-in Windows search or a third-party alternative, both will get the job done well.

If you want to get better at using Windows search and quickly find the file you need, check out our Windows 10 search cheat sheet full of tips and shortcuts.

Read the full article: How to Search File Contents in Windows

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How to Change the System Language in Windows 10

When you install and set up Windows 10, you’re asked to choose a system language. If you accidentally chose the wrong option or would like to switch to a new language, you can change your computer language without much trouble.

Let’s look at how to change the system language in Windows 10 for the current user, for all new users, on the Welcome screen, and how to make the added language the system default.

If the system currently displays a language you don’t know, refer to the screenshots to know what options to select. The icons and button locations are the same in all languages.

When to Change the Windows 10 System Language

Most people won’t ever need to change their language after the initial Windows setup. But there may be some situations where you want to do this.

Maybe a relative or friend from another country is visiting and wants to use your computer. We recommend creating a new standard user account for them and changing the account language based on their preference.

This also comes in handy if you’re learning a new language and want to practice by having your computer elements appear in the new language.

If you bought a secondhand computer that’s set up with a language you don’t understand, you can use these tips to change the system language. However, if the previous user didn’t remove their data, it’s probably better to factory reset Windows 10 to start fresh.

How to Change the System Language in Windows 10

Changing the system language in Windows 10 is straightforward. We’ll walk you through the steps with screenshots in case you can’t read the current language.

We’ll cover further tweaks later, such as adding a keyboard for a particular language or applying the new language to all user accounts.

Access Settings and Add a Language

Press Win + I on your keyboard to open Settings. From the list of categories, click Time & Language; the icon is a clock with a few other characters under it.

Windows Settings Time

Next, select Language on the left sidebar, which has the same two characters from the earlier icon. Under Preferred Languages on the right side, click Add a language, which will appear above any installed languages.

Windows Add New Language

A long list of available languages will pop up. These all appear both in their native language and in the current system language. This way, even if the system is in a language you don’t know, you can still find your preferred language on the list. Next to each, you’ll see icons to show the features that it supports, such as speech recognition.

Scroll through the list and click on the language you want, followed by Next. You can also search for a language using the box at the top of the window. If the language you choose is spoken in multiple regions, make sure you select the right one.

Windows Choose Install Language

Download the Language Pack and Use the New Language

On the next screen, Windows will ask you to select Optional language features. Make sure you have Install language pack checked, which allows you to set it as your display language. Check Set as my Windows display language if you want to immediately apply it.

Windows 10 Install New Language

Click Install and Windows will download the required files for your new language. After a few moments, the language is ready to use.

If you didn’t set the new language as the display language earlier, select it in the dropdown box under Windows display language to make it the default. You’ll have to log out and back in for the change to take effect. To set your preferred language for apps and websites, use the arrows next to each option under Preferred languages to rearrange them.

Doing both of these effectively sets the default language in Windows 10 to whatever you’ve chosen.

Windows Change Language Preferences

Finally, to customize the options for a language, select it from the Preferred languages list, choose Options, and you can change spell-checking options and install optional features you skipped earlier.

Windows Language Feature Options

How to Add a New Keyboard in Windows 10

When you add a new language to Windows 10 using the above steps, it adds a standard keyboard for that language too. If you want to add another keyboard, go back to Settings > Time & Language > Language.

Select the language you want to add a new keyboard for, followed by Options. On the resulting screen, click Add a keyboard under Keyboards. Choose a keyboard from the list to add it as an input method for that language.

This comes in handy if, for example, you’ve moved countries and want to use the language for your new location while sticking with a keyboard layout you’re familiar with.

Windows 10 Add Keyboard

When you have more than one input method for your computer, you’ll see the current keyboard displayed on the right side of the Taskbar next to the date and time. Click this or press Win + Space to change between your input methods easily.

Windows Switch Input Method

Change Regional Settings in Windows 10

If you’re changing your system language, you might also prefer to change regional options, such as the first day of the week and the date/time format. Head to Settings > Time & Language > Region to adjust those.

Windows Regional Settings

If you’ve moved, you can change the Country or region box to your new location. This may change local content that you see across Windows and apps. To change to the recommended formatting to a particular region’s standards, change the Regional format box.

To instead tweak individual types of data, click Change data formats at the bottom of the page.

How to Change the Windows 10 Language for the Entire System

Changing the language as described above only applies to the current user account. If you like, you can force the welcome screen, as well as new user accounts you make in the future, to also display in that language.

You’ll need to use the Control Panel to make this change. The easiest way to get to the appropriate menu is heading to Settings > Time & Language > Language and clicking Administrative language settings on the right sidebar. If you don’t see the links on the right bar, expand the window to make it wider.

This will launch the Region Control Panel option to the Administrative tab. Click the Copy settings button under Welcome screen and new user accounts.

Windows Copy Admin Settings

This will show the language settings for the Current user, Welcome screen, and New user accounts. You can’t change these options, but you can check the Welcome screen and system accounts and New user accounts at the bottom to copy your current settings to those profiles.

Windows New User Account Language Options

Check the boxes, then click OK and restart your computer. Once you reboot, the language you chose will become the default for the entire system.

How to Remove a Language From Windows 10

If you added another language for someone who was visiting, or no longer need a language you used before, you can remove it. Of course, you need to keep at least one language on your system.

You can quickly get back to Settings > Time & Language > Language by clicking the language option in the bottom-right of your Taskbar and clicking Language preferences.

Before removing a language, you must choose a different language as the default. Change the Windows display language dropdown to something else. After that, click the language you want to remove in the list under Preferred languages and choose Remove.

Windows Remove Language

When you only have one language on your machine, you won’t see the language indicator on the Taskbar.

How to Manually Uninstall Language Packs

If you want to, you can manually uninstall language packs. This isn’t necessary, as they only take up a small amount of space. But if you know you won’t use the language again, it’s easy enough to do.

Press Win + R to open the Run dialog, then enter the following command:

Lpksetup /u

This will launch the Install or uninstall display languages box displays. Check the box for the language you want to uninstall and click Next.

Windows Uninstall Language

The progress bar will show you how far along the process is. Reboot when it’s done and the language pack will be gone.

Windows 10 Speaks Your Language

Now you know how to change your computer’s language. Whether you need to change the Windows system language to English on an unfamiliar computer or add a second language, it’s easy to tweak the settings.

If all this talk of languages has you inspired, check out the best language learning apps you should try.

Image Credit: mediterranean/Depositphotos

Read the full article: How to Change the System Language in Windows 10

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Windows 10 Optional Features: A Quick Guide to the Best Extras You May Want

Windows 10 isn’t short on features. In fact, the operating system is continually updated to add new ones. But did you know that Windows 10 contains some optional features that you can enable?

These optional features are targeted more at power users and IT administrators, though there are some that the average person might want to make use of.

We’re going to explore the different places where you can enable optional Windows 10 features and explain what they do.

What Are Windows 10 Optional Features?

Optional features are precisely that: functionality that you can choose to enable if you wish.

However, there’s no point enabling functionality just for the sake of it. In fact, some features are designed specifically for use in business or education where an administrator needs greater control over the computer network. Enabling these features on an individual machine is pointless.

However, there are some Windows legacy tools that are now classed as optional. These include the likes of Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and WordPad. You can enable these through optional features.

Confusingly, there are two places in Windows 10 that you can manage optional features: in the newer Settings area and the older Control Panel. The features available in each do overlap, though some are unique to each.

The features available to you will depend on what edition of Windows 10 you have. We’ll be covering Windows 10 Pro. If you use Home, not all the optional features will be available to you. Here’s how to check what edition of Windows you have.

How to Enable Windows 10 Optional Features in Settings

To access Windows 10 optional features in Settings, press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Apps > Optional features.

windows 10 optional features

The list here shows all of your Installed features. Unless you’ve removed any in the past, there should already be some here by default like Notepad and Microsoft Paint.

You can use the Sort by dropdown to order the list by Name, Installation Size, and Installation Date.

If you don’t use a feature and want to clear up a bit of storage space, you can select it on the list and click Uninstall.

Above the list, you can click See optional feature history to see a record of when things were installed and uninstalled.

To add an optional feature, click Add a feature. This brings up a window where you can tick the box of any feature you want to install. You can click a feature to see a brief description of what it is. When you’re ready, click Install.

You’ll notice that lots of the features on this list are language packs. This is so that you can view menus, dialog boxes, and supported apps and websites in that language. Your primary language should have been installed alongside Windows 10, but here you can add alternatives if desired.

How to Enable Windows 10 Optional Features in Control Panel

To access Windows 10 optional features in Control Panel, do a system search for Turn Windows features on or off and select the relevant result.

Alternatively, press Windows key + R to open Run, input optionalfeatures, and click OK.

Windows features

To enable a feature, tick the box next to it. If the box has a black fill, that means only part of the feature is enabled. Click the plus icon to expand the feature, wherein you can enable and disable specific elements. If the box is blank, that means the feature is disabled.

Once you’ve made your changes, click OK to save them. Your computer might need to restart to apply the changes.

Explaining the Windows 10 Optional Features

Here are some of the optional features available on Windows 10 and what they do:

  • .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) and .NET Framework 4.8 Advanced Services: Support for applications using these versions of the .NET framework.
  • Containers: Provides services and tools to create and manage Windows Server Containers.
  • Device Lockdown: Protect against drive writes, have an unbranded boot screen, and filter keyboard strokes—designed for machines in public settings.
  • Guarded Host: Configure guarded hosts and run shield virtual machines on a server.
  • Hyper-V: Services and management tools for running virtual machines.
  • Internet Explorer 11: Microsoft’s web browser, since replaced by Edge.
  • Math Recognizer: The Math Input Panel is a tool that converts handwritten math into digital text.
  • Microsoft Paint: Basic image editing program.
  • Microsoft Print to PDF: Export a file to the PDF format.
  • Microsoft Quick Assist: A tool that allows Microsoft support to connect to your device and see your screen.
  • Microsoft WebDriver: Automated Microsoft Edge testing and hosts of the EdgeHTML platform.
  • Notepad: Basic plain text viewer and editor.
  • OpenSSH Client: Client for secure key management and access to remote machines.
  • Print Management Console: Management of printers, printer drivers, and printer servers.
  • Steps Recorder: Capture steps with screenshots to share for troubleshooting.
  • Telnet Client: A command-line tool to remote manage another system. It’s not secure, so don’t use it unless you know what you’re doing.
  • TFTP Client: A command-line tool to transfer files using the Trivial File Transfer Protocol. Unsecure and outdated, so don’t use unless you have to.
  • Windows Fax and Scan: Integrated fax and scan application.
  • Windows Hello Face: Windows Hello is Windows 10’s biometric login.
  • Windows Media Player: Microsoft’s old audio and video player.
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0: Similar to Command Prompt, but more advanced and allows for task automation.
  • Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment: A graphical editor for PowerShell scripts.
  • Windows TIFF IFilter: Index and search Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) files using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
  • Wireless Display: Allows other devices to wirelessly project to your computer.
  • WordPad: A text editor slightly more advanced than Notepad.
  • XPS Viewer: Read, copy, print, sign, and set permissions for XPS documents.

Windows 10 Is Always Adding New Features

That’s everything you need to know about Windows 10 and the different methods to enable its optional features.

Windows 10 is always changing and updating with new features. To find out what the latest is, here are the best features available in the newest Windows 10 update.

Read the full article: Windows 10 Optional Features: A Quick Guide to the Best Extras You May Want

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What Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends?

No piece of software can last forever. Sooner or later, every program has to go; this often thanks to an outdated core or changed priorities from the developers. The Windows operating system itself is no exception to this.

So, when does Windows 10 support end? What happens when Windows reaches the end of its support? We’ll answer these questions and more as we look at how the Windows lifecycle works.

What Is the Windows Lifecycle?

When Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, it already has a set end of support date. You can find these dates on Microsoft’s Windows lifecycle fact sheet page.

There is no final Windows 10 end of life, as there was with previous versions. Since Microsoft regularly updates Windows 10, it supports each major version (called a feature update) for 18 months after its release.

That page features a chart of versions with their release date and end of service dates so you know what to expect. We’ll cover more on specific Windows 10 versions in a bit.

Windows 10 Lifecycle Info

For Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and older, you’ll notice two end-of-life dates: mainstream support and extended support. These are pretty straightforward:

  • During mainstream support, a version of Windows receives security updates as well as possible feature updates. This lasts for at least five years after a version launches.
  • Afterward, Windows enters extended support. During this period, Microsoft continues to issue security patches, but you won’t see new features. This begins at the end of mainstream support and lasts until at least 10 years after the OS’s initial release—meaning that extended support usually lasts for five years after mainstream support ends.

What Will Happen When Windows 10 Support Ends?

Once extended support ends (or support ends for a particular version of Windows 10), that version of Windows is effectively dead. Microsoft won’t offer any updates—even for security issues—except in rare circumstances.

While your computer will continue to work fine, as it gets older, it becomes increasingly insecure. If attackers find a vulnerability in the OS, Microsoft won’t patch it. And over time, popular software will stop supporting legacy versions of Windows.

Which Windows Versions Are No Longer Supported?

Windows 7 Desktop

As of 2020, Microsoft only supports Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Windows 7 left extended support in January of 2020, with Vista and XP expiring years prior. If you’re still using any of those versions, you need to upgrade, which we cover below.

Windows 8.1 left mainstream support in January 2018; it’s in extended support until January 2023. Note that the original version of Windows 8 is no longer supported, so you should update to Windows 8.1 to stay safe.

When Will Windows 10 Support End?

As mentioned, Microsoft uses a different approach with Windows 10 support. Before Windows 10, the end of life for your Windows version meant that you had to upgrade your computer or pay for a new copy of Windows.

Since Microsoft offers Windows 10 as a service, the company regularly updates Windows 10 to make it even better. These updates are free for home users.

This means instead of releasing a brand-new Windows version every few years, Microsoft launches feature updates roughly twice a year. They’re targeted for March and November, but the actual launch date can vary.

If you’re on Windows 10, it’s a good idea to know the Windows 10 end of support date for your current version. That way, you can make sure you don’t use it past its expiration date.

Check Your Current Windows 10 Version

It’s easy to see what version of Windows 10 you have. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog, then enter winver and press Enter. You’ll see a simple dialog box with Version XXYY near the top.

Windows 10 winver Command

These numbers show the (intended) release year and date. For example, Windows 10 version 2004 corresponds to April 2020, even though the update didn’t launch exactly in that month. You can use this to get an idea of how close to the end of the 18-month support period your version is.

Aside from the number, each version also has a “friendly name” that Microsoft uses to identify them. These once used unique names like the Creators Update or Anniversary Update, but now follow a simple month/year scheme, such as May 2020 Update (which is version 2004).

On the Windows lifecycle page mentioned earlier, you’ll see a list of every Windows 10 version and its end of service date. If the end of support date is close for your version, it’s a good time to update.

Windows 10 Versions End of Support

How to Upgrade Windows 10 Before End of Support

Because Windows 10 updates automatically, you don’t usually need to worry about manually updating your copy of Windows before support ends. Unless you’ve delayed Windows 10 updates, Windows will install the latest version soon after it launches.

A few months before the end of support for your version, you’ll see a message on the Windows Update page with a message like “You’re currently running a version of Windows 10 that’s nearing the end of support.” As it gets closer, you might also see a popup warning you about this.

At that time, you should walk through the steps to get the latest update. If you see a “Your version of Windows has reached end of service” message, then it’s time to update right away.

Head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates to get the latest version. Depending on your version of Windows 10, you might see a separate section for the feature update.

Windows 10 May 2019 Windows Update

If you can’t download the update using this method, head to the Windows 10 download page and click Update now to use the update assistant instead.

Upgrading Windows 8.1 and Older at End of Service

If you’re not on Windows 10 yet, you should still plan for the end of service date of your OS.

Those running Windows 8.1 don’t have to worry yet but should make a plan to upgrade to Windows 10 before 2023. As of this writing, as long as you have a genuine copy of Windows 8.1, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free using the same installer mentioned above. This may not be around in 2022, though, so it’s smart to do it sooner.

While many PCs that can run Windows 8.1 will work with Windows 10, you may want to make sure your computer can run Windows 10 anyway. If you can’t, you’ll need to buy a new system or install Linux on your computer when support ends.

Windows 7 is now out of support; see our guide to your Windows 7 upgrade options for more info. And if you’re still using Windows Vista or XP, it’s time to buy a new computer with Windows 10.

Fixing Windows 10 Upgrade Problems

If you have problems installing the latest feature update for Windows 10, try using the Windows 10 download page instead of Windows Update. If that doesn’t work, you can try installing Windows 10 via USB.

Another common issue is not having enough space to run the update. Follow our guide to cleaning up your Windows PC to make some space, then try again.

Finally, make sure your computer meets the requirements for Windows 10, as discussed above. There’s a chance that your computer was compatible with an earlier version of Windows 10 but doesn’t make the cut for the latest offering.

What Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends? Now You Know

Keeping track of Windows lifecycles can be a little frustrating, but Windows 10 makes this a lot easier. Simply check your version every once in a while to make sure updates are installing automatically, and you shouldn’t have to do much else. If you’re on an older version, it’s wise to upgrade as soon as you can.

If you’re new to Windows 10, have a look at essential tasks to complete after installing Windows 10 for best results.

Image Credit: omihay/Shutterstock

Read the full article: What Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends?