Experts agree that Windows 10 is the most stable version of Microsoft’s operating system to come down the pike in a long time. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll never experience problems with it. Issues range from everyday annoyances like slow bootups to occasional minor glitches and more serious malfunctions.
In this PDF, three Windows experts take different approaches to fixing Windows 10 problems: Preston Gralla pinpoints the five biggest Windows 10 headaches and outlines several approaches for fixing them, Howard Wen focuses on a handful of free Microsoft tools that you can use to repair the most common problems users encounter with Windows 10 PCs, and Mike Halsey delves into more advanced troubleshooting tools and utilities that are bundled into Windows 10.
With all these tools and techniques at your fingertips, we’re confident you’ll find solutions to the majority of Windows 10 problems and get back on track again with as little fuss as possible.
Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in each story:
How to fix five Windows 10 headaches
Kill Cortana. Not everyone is a fan of Cortana, Microsoft's sometimes pushy digital assistant. Before the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, that wasn't necessarily a problem, because it was easy to turn Cortana off. All you had to do was to open Cortana, select Settings, look for the setting "Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts and more," and move the slider to Off. Now, however, there seems to be no way to turn off Cortana -- unless you're willing to get down and dirty with the Windows Registry. (Find out how to kill Cortana and address other Windows headaches inside.)
Fix common Windows 10 problems with these free Microsoft tools
Clean installation of Windows 10 tool. When to use it: When you want to wipe out all the bloatware on a new PC.
One of the best features of Windows 10 is that it has a built-in tool that resets the OS into a like-new state. Ah, but there’s the rub. Brand-new Windows PCs tend to be chock full of bloatware -- trialware, adware and other unnecessary programs pre-installed by the manufacturer. Resetting Windows 10 from within the Settings app will likely install this bloatware again.
With the Anniversary Update of Windows 10, however, Microsoft introduced another choice, which can be described as “nuke everything and start from scratch.” It’s listed in the Settings app at the bottom of the Recovery menu as “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows,” but it’s actually a link that goes to a Microsoft site where you download the tool. (Learn more about this and other free fix-it tools inside.)
More tools and tips to troubleshoot Windows 10
Reliability History. If you're not quite sure what's been going wrong with your PC, you can search for Reliability in the Start Menu to View [the PC's] Reliability History. This will use red and yellow warning icons to detail crashes and errors that have occurred. Clicking one will display information about the problem, and include a Check for a solution link. The Reliability History can be useful to look for patterns in crashes and errors. This way, you'll be able to see if a particular Windows service or installed application is causing the issue. (Discover more troubleshooting tips and tools inside.)
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