Windows 11? Wait a While

From all that I have read and heard, I'd recommend waiting for six months or more before installing Windows 11. A number of problems have been reported, especially with the installation process. Meanwhile, Windows 10 is robust and will be supported until October 2025, so there's no imperative to update for quite a while yet.

Stop MSN News Page Popping up in Chrome.

If you get the MSN News page popping up in Chrome, you may think your default Home page has been compromised. In all likelihood, it hasn't. Nor will you find a Chrome setting for it, because it's set outside Chrome.

The culprit is a registry setting. To fix it, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start menu, enter regedit
  2. Rightclick the regedit.exe and choose Run as administrator.
  3. When regedit opens, choose HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and expand it until you arrive at SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services.
  4. Expand Services and scroll down to NlaSvc. Expand it, select Parameters, then Internet, and expand it.
  5. In the right panel, if EnableActiveProbing has a value of 0x00000001, double click it and set the value to 0.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close regedit. Your mission has been accomplished.

Careful: the 1903 Update has a Bug [Updated]

There’s much to be said for keeping up to date with new releases, and Microsoft’s 1903 major update should be implemented as soon as possible. However, the update is not necessarily straightforward, as I discovered.

Towards the end of a lengthy process I received an error message to say that the installation had failed. Looking further into it, I discovered it was because I had a USB drive connected. I disconnected it and started the install again (which includes the download). It did pick up where I left off, however, and then it started the drawn-out process of implementing the changes.

Microsoft is aware of the problem. Nevertheless, it would have helped if it had warned me ahead of time.


15 July 2019: The latest release has now fixed this problem.

Enabling Multi-processors

If you have a dual or quad microprocessor installed, there's a good chance you're running only one of them, as that seems to be the default, in which case you're losing out on performance.

Multi-core processors range through 2, 4, and 8 cores. Each core handles two processing threads. Not all programs take advantage of multi-cores, but most games and other processing intensive programs do.

You can check whether your PC is set up correctly by typing msconfig into the Start menu's Run box. Select the Boot tab.

msconfig general tab

In the Boot tab, select the Advanced Options button.

msconfig boot tab

At the top left is the Number of processors checkbox. Select this and the dropdown.

In my case, I have a 4-core processor, so I set it to the maximum. If your PC has a dual core processor then it will show only 1 and 2 in the dropdown list.

msconfig boot advanced tab

Then continually click OK until you've exited msconfig.


God Mode in Windows

God Mode is a special folder that gives you access to an array of system tools, including Administrative Tools (Disk Management, Event Viewer, Services, Task Scheduler, etc) and a host of functions that you would otherwise need the Control Panel to access. The beauty of the God Mode folder is that they are all listed together rather than in separate tabs.

To create the God Mode folder:

  1. Make sure you’re logged is an admin user.
  2. Right-click on the desktop, select “New” and click “Folder”.
  3. Now the important step. Rename the folder as “God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}” (without the quotes).
    You can replace “God Mode” with another name, but everything that follows must remain (e.g. “Admin stuff.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”)
  4. If you now double-click the folder, you will see a list of tools covering more than 200 functions.
  5. Enjoy!





Format Thyself

I have a laptop with Windows 10 on the single drive. Because I was lending it to a friend, I needed to clear the drive so they could install their software. I backed up an image of the drive, and was ready to reformat it. Clearly, I couldn’t do that from within Windows.

The first step was to make sure I had a Windows repair disk. I did, on a USB complete with system files.

The next step was to change the boot sequence so that it tried the USB device before the hard disk.

Then it was just a matter of restarting the system.

Once the USB had loaded the repair/recovery screen, I chose Troubleshooting from the menu:

Windows 10 Repair/Recovery screen

From the Troubleshoot menu I selected Advanced Options, followed by Command Prompt.

I entered the format command: format C: /fs:NTFS

(NOTE: If the C: drive has a volume name, e.g. OS, it will prompt for this.)

The reformat didn’t take long, as it resets the indexes rather than wiping the drive. In other words, using the right tool, the data is recoverable, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Dealing with an Oversized Window

Ever found yourself facing an oversized window, where you cannot locate an edge to drag to shrink it?  It occasionally happens to me, especially when I’ve been changing screen resolutions.

There’s a simple solution, and it’s as old as Windows itself, but few are aware of it.

Press the Alt key and the spacebar together. You will see in the top left corner of the screen this tiny window:


To resize the window, press S. The cursor will transform into a four-arrowed star. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to shorten, lengthen, widen, or shrink the window until the edge you need is revealed, and press Enter.

You can also move the window around by pressing M and using the arrow keys to move it in the required direction. Press Enter when finished.

Windows 8.1 Taking Too Long to Shut Down

This is a problem I experience from time to time. I click Restart and then sit looking at a screen that says it restarting or shutting down for seemingly ever. Sometimes there’s an open program, say Outlook, that won’t shut down, and you get an opportunity to force a close. But even after those programs close, it seems the system has gone into an infinite loop. The problem is that I’ve no idea what’s happening.

To help, I’ve added a setting in the Registry to display some clues. Here it is:

Open RegEdit from  Start > Run…

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

In the right side of the window you may see an entry called VerboseStatus with a value of zero. If so, click Modify and change it to 1. If not, you can create it by right-clicking on a blank area and select New and DWORD(32-bit) Value. Create an entry called VerboseStatus and set its value to 1.

Close RegEdit. Next time you restart or shut down, you’ll see some information about what programs and services are closing. It’s not as detailed as I would like it, but it helps.


How to Delay Startup Programs

When booting up your system, all the startup programs load up one after another. Depending on how many programs there are, this could take some time. However, some of these programs aren’t needed straightaway. For example, I don’t need to have OneDrive active immediately, as I rarely use it, so I delay its start.

I use WinPatrol to do this. WinPatrol is a program I have used for years. It protects my registry and prevents unwanted system changes by alerting me to any attempt to do so, such as inserting an unwanted program into the startup sequence.

The program provides control over various aspects of the system. Cookies, services, scheduled tasks, IE helpers are a few of them.

Here’s how I delay OneDrive:

I open WinPatrol and select the first tab: Startup Programs. In the list of programs, I select OneDrive.

WinPatrol select
WinPatrol select

Right-clicking the line brings up a context menu with the delay option:

WinPatrol move to delayed start
WinPatrol move to delayed start

After I select that option, OneDrive disappears from the list. The next tab, Delayed Start, now has the OneDrive entry, but it’s set to delay by only 30 seconds.

WinPatrol delayed start
WinPatrol delayed start

Right-clicking the line brings up another context menu. In this one, options are available for changing the default time.

WinPatrol delayed start options
WinPatrol delayed start options

When I select that, a dialog box appears. I set my preferred delay to 20 minutes:

WinPatrol delayed start time
WinPatrol delayed start time

That’s all there is to it. From now on, whenever I restart the system, OneDrive won’t be loaded until 20 minutes later.