Windows recovery disk tip: When and if it needs updating

Jimmie Bates wants to know if he should ever update his Windows recovery disk. I checked with Microsoft to get the full story, and here’s what I found out.

Making a recovery drive

Windows 8 and 10 have a built-in tool to create a rescue disk, aka Recovery Drive. 

First of all, let’s be clear about what the recovery disk is. It’s not an image of your entire OS installation, or a full system backup. According to Microsoft, a user-created recovery disk for Windows 10 includes a bootable recovery environment along with the following:

Read more »


4 Windows Command Prompt tricks everyone should know

You’d think the Command Prompt (formerly known as the DOS prompt) would be long-gone after 30 years of Windows’ graphical interface, but it’s not, and there’s a good reason why. Though many of its duties have been replaced by icons or tiles, there are still things a DOS command does better or faster, as any IT professional already knows. 

Most users don’t need to go into the deep weeds with command prompts (check out Microsoft's A-Z reference if you do), but there are a few tasks and tricks that are handy for everyone to know. What are your favorite commands? Tell us at and we might add it to this article.

[Have a tech question? Send your query to]

Read more »


How to reinstall Windows 10 without any bloatware

Patrick Scott bought some laptops for his kids, but they were so slow the kids stopped using them. This is a common issue with bloatware-laden consumer laptops, sadly. He performed a “factory reset,” with the hopes of reinstalling the OS without all the crap that was preinstalled. To his horror he discovered the factory reset reinstalled all the bloatware, leaving him back where he started. 

Luckily for Patrick, there’s a way to get a clean installation of Windows 10, without all the apps that came with your PC. Here’s how it works. 

1. From Windows 10’s Start menu, go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery. You can also get there from the traditional Control Panel by clicking Recovery. At the bottom of that window, click the long hyperlink that reads, “If you’re having problems with your PC, go to Settings...

Read more »


Everything you need to know about Windows 10 recovery drives

You never know when you’ll need a Windows recovery drive, so the time to make one is now—and it’s very easy to do. 

A recovery drive is similar to the media you’d receive if you bought a pre-built system. Back in the day, PCs would ship with a CD or DVD that included an image of the system as it left the factory. If your PC’s OS went sideways, you could easily revert to the way things were on day one (though you’d lose all of your subsequently created data and applications, obviously). Nowadays manufacturers usually just put an image of the system as it left the factory on a hidden partition of your main drive.

A Windows recovery disk builds on this idea. In addition to letting you reinstall Windows, it includes several troubleshooting tools, which can be a lifesaver if your system won’t boot.

Read more »


When your Windows 10 login password fails, you need a recovery drive

The Windows 10 login password went amiss for Albert Pye and about a dozen others who wrote to me saying they couldn't log into their PCs. In every instance they had not touched their computer nor changed anything, yet all of a sudden their password or PIN was incorrect.

Microsoft hasn’t acknowledged it specifically in its update log, so that makes me think it’s a strange brew of circumstance and hardware/software malfunction, perhaps some problem with the installation of an update. These workarounds could help you. 

First, try using the on-screen keyboard to enter your password or PIN, as I’ve read that could work when your regular input devices don't. Click the Ease of Access icon (it looks like a sort of clock with a dotted circle) in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. 

Read more »


The easy way to save Facebook videos

Mike wants to save a video from Facebook. Luckily if you’re using a desktop or laptop PC it’s quite easy.

I can almost hear you saying, “Hold on Josh—when I watch a Facebook video on my PC there aren’t any links to save it!” Correct, but all you have to do is trick your browser into thinking you’re browsing Facebook on your phone. Here are the steps:

Right-click any non-Youtube video and select Show video URL

Read more »


How to add a Hibernate option to the Windows 10 Start menu

At the end of every day do you still dutifully close every file and program window before shutting down your PC? That’s the standard way to handle things, but for quite a few versions of Windows, Microsoft also offered the ability to use Sleep and Hibernate modes instead of just a regular shut down.

In Windows 10, however, Microsoft decided not to include hibernate with the rest of the shut down options under Start > Power by default. The good news is it’s easy to put the option back.

Why hibernate?

Read more »