How to use Nvidia ShadowPlay on Windows 10

A system that has an Nvidia GPU can install drivers for it via Windows Updates or by installing the GeForce Experience app. The GeForce Experience app does more than manage drivers. It also adds features that help games run better, and it adds the ShadowPlay feature to your system allowing you to record (or stream) gameplay.

Nvidia ShadowPlay compatibility

In order to use Nvidia ShadowPlay you must have the right hardware, and you must have the GeForce Experience app installed. The simplest way to check if you have compatible hardware is to install GeForce Experience.

  1. Run the GeForce Experience app.
  2. Click the cogwheel icon at the top to go to the app’s settings.
  3. Scroll down to the Features section.
  4. Check if ‘In-game overlay’ is enabled/available. If it is, you can use ShadowPlay.

Enable overlay shortcut

To easily use ShadowPlay, you should enable the shortcut for it.

  1. Open the GeForce Experience app.
  2. Click the cogwheel button.
  3. Scroll to the ‘In-game overlay’ card, and turn the switch on.

Use ShadowPlay

You can use ShadowPlay to record a game, any app, or the desktop.

  1. Tap the Alt+Z keyboard shortcut.
  2. An overlay will appear on the screen.
  3. Click the ‘Record’ button to start recording gameplay or tap Alt+F9
  4. Click ‘Instant Replay’ to enable it, and select the ‘Settings’ option that appears under it. Select the quality and length of an instant replay. You can activate the instant replay with the Alt+Shift+F10 keyboard shortcut.
  5. You can change the ShadowPlay settings by clicking the cogwheel button on this overlay.
  6. To capture a screenshot, use the Alt+F1 shortcut.
  7. Apply a game filter with Alt+F3.
  8. You can view photos and videos captured with GeForce by clicking the Gallery button.

Game compatibility

GeForce Experience can be installed on any system that has an Nvidia GPU but all its features won’t be available unless you have other supported hardware components. Likewise, when it comes to recording gameplay, you may also run into trouble with game compatibility.

The recording feature works with most, if not all, games. It’s usually the optimization feature that is subject to compatibility restrictions however, there will be some exceptions where the overlay cannot run atop the game. It may be blocked by the game itself, or the game may be too old to support recording. In some cases, the recording feature may work but Instant Replay might not.

Conclusion

The GeForce Experience app isn’t essential. Your GPU and your games will run fine without it and you can install new drivers/driver updates as well but if you like to record gameplay and you’re not too happy with the Game bar on Windows 10, this is a fairly decent alternative to try out.

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Bluetooth Headsets Not Showing in Playback Devices: Here’s How to Fix This

Connecting a pair of Bluetooth headsets on Windows 10 is fairly easy. They tend to work out of the box but sometimes, a Bluetooth device that you’ve paired, and previously connected to from your system stops working. Often, the only way to get it to connect again is to unpair and pair the device but if the issue reappears, you need to try a different fix.

Bluetooth headsets not showing in playback devices

#1 – Limit Bluetooth devices

Try to limit the Bluetooth devices that you’re using with your system. Normally, a system is able to connect to several Bluetooth devices but it may be congested. You don’t have to unpair devices but disconnect a device that you aren’t using.

  1. Tap the Win+K keyboard shortcut.
  2. A panel will open on the right; select the device that you aren’t using.
  3. Click Disconnect.
  4. Restart the system, and connect your Bluetooth headphones.

#2 – Restart Bluetooth

Try to toggle Bluetooth on your system.

  1. Click the Action center icon in the system tray.
  2. In the panel that opens, click the Bluetooth button to turn it off.
  3. Restart the system.
  4. Click the Action Center icon and click the Bluetooth button to turn it back on.
  5. Connect your headphones and they should appear as a playback device.

#3 – Run Bluetooth troubleshooter

Windows 10 has a built-in troubleshooter for Bluetooth.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Update & Security.
  3. Select the Troubleshoot tab.
  4. Scroll down and click ‘Additional troubleshooters’.
  5. Select the Bluetooth troubleshooter and run it.
  6. Apply any and all fixes it recommends, and restart the system.

#4 – Run hardware troubleshooter

If the Bluetooth troubleshooter doesn’t fix the problem, you can run the hardware troubleshooter instead.

  1.  Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the Run box.
  2. In the Run box, enter the following.
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
  1. Run the troubleshooter and apply any fixes it recommends.
  2. Restart the system.

#5 – Update Bluetooth drivers

An outdated Bluetooth driver may cause problems with some devices. Try updating the driver.

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
  2. Open the Device Manager.
  3. Expand Bluetooth devices.
  4. Right-click Bluetooth chip, and select Update driver.
  5. Install the driver update and restart the system.

#6 – Rollback Bluetooth driver

Drivers tend to update automatically on Windows 10. It’s possible that your Bluetooth driver updated and your headphones aren’t compatible with it. In that case, you can roll back the driver.

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand Bluetooth.
  3. Right-click your Bluetooth device, and select Properties.
  4. Go to the Driver tab.
  5. Click the Roll Back Driver button.
  6. Restart the system.

#7 – Check Bluetooth firmware update

Although rare, some Bluetooth headphones have their own firmware installed. Check if there’s an update available for the firmware. Doing so may fix any problems that the device is having. On that note, make sure the Bluetooth headphones are charged.

#8 – Check enabled/disabled audio devices

It’s possible that the Bluetooth device is disabled as an audio device.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware & Sound>Sound.
  3. Go to the Playback tab.
  4. Right-click in an empty area, and select ‘Show disabled devices’, and ‘Show disconnected devices’.
  5. Check if your Bluetooth headphones appear. If they do, right-click the device and select Enable.

#9 – Set Bluetooth service to autostart

Sometimes, the Bluetooth service on Windows 10 fails to start. Normally, it should start automatically.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut.
  2. In the run box, enter “services.msc”, and tap Enter.
  3. Look for the Bluetooth Support Service.
  4. Right-click it, and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu.
  5. On the General tab, open the Startup type dropdown, and select Automatic.
  6. Restart the system.

#10 – Install proprietary Bluetooth app

Much like some Bluetooth devices have their own firmware, they also tend to have proprietary apps released by the manufacturer of the device. Check if there’s an app that goes with your headphones and install it.

#11 – Run Windows Store Apps troubleshooter

This is an odd fix but it has helped quite a few users resolve this problem with Bluetooth headphones.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Open the dropdown at the top right, and select Large Icons.
  3. Select Troubleshooting.
  4. In the column on the left, click View All.
  5. In the list of troubleshooter, look for the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter.
  6. Run it, and apply any and all changes that it recommends.
  7. Restart the system.

Conclusion

Bluetooth devices are easy to set up but they can have trouble maintaining a connection with a system.

Make sure the headsets are fully charged.

Try using them with other devices e.g., a phone, and see if the device is able to maintain a connection with it. If not, the problem may be with the headset.

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Minecraft Failed to Authenticate Your Connection: Here’s How to Fix It

Minecraft offers online servers that allow players to play the game in large groups, and in elaborate maps. The online gameplay is one of the main reasons that the game is so popular. The servers themselves are easy to set up and many of them are online around the clock allowing players to join and play whenever they want.

Failed to Connect to Server?

If a user is unable to join a server, it’s usually because the server is offline, or it’s at capacity. In some rare cases though, users encounter the ‘Failed to authenticate your connection’ error that prevents users from joining a server.

Minecraft Failed to Authenticate Your Connection

Before you start, make sure;

  • The bug isn’t particular to just one sever. Try joining a different server and see if the error reappears.
  • Make sure you have an active internet connection.

1. Restart the router

The failed to authenticate your connection error in Minecraft is a problem with the network and your router might be the cause of it. You will need physical access to your router to restart it.

  1. Locate the power button on the router.
  2. Press and hold it for ten seconds.
  3. Release the button, and wait for a minute.
  4. Press the power button again to turn the router on.
  5. Try connecting to the Minecraft server.

2. Restart the game/launcher

This works more often for the Minecraft Java version than it does for the Windows 10 version.

  1. Close Minecraft and exit the launcher.
  2. Right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager from the context menu.
  3. Go through the items on the Processes tab, and look for Minecraft. It may or may not be there. Select it, and click the End Task button at the bottom right.
  4. Open the app again, and see if it’s able to connect to the server.
  5. Try using the official launcher and avoid using a third-party launcher.

3. Refresh session

It’s possible that there is a problem with your account. You may need to sign out and sign back.

  1. Open Minecraft.
  2. On the home screen, click the ‘Connected’ dropdown at the top left and select ‘Log out’.
  3. For the Minecraft Windows 10 version, open the Xbox app on your Windows 10 system.
  4. Click the cogwheel button and on the General tab, click log out under your account.
  5. Log back in and try connecting to the server in Minecraft.

4. Manually add server and connect

Try to manually add the server you’re trying to connect to instead of clicking on it from the list of servers.

  1. Open Minecraft and go to the Servers tab.
  2. Scroll down, and click ‘Add Server’.
  3. On the Add External Server screen, enter the server name, and the address, and click Play.

5. Flush DNS

It’s possible the network settings on your computer are causing problems with the connection. Flushing the DNS may resolve them.

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Run the following command.
ipconfig /flushdns
  1. For good measure, restart your system.

Conclusion

The ‘failed to authenticate your connection’ error is easy to fix but some servers are prone to it. It’s a problem with the server configuration and not something you can fix on your end.

Try to find a different server to play on if you consistently get this message when connecting to a particular server or, contact the server admin to let them know.

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How to pin portable apps to the Start Menu on Windows 10

The great thing about portable apps is that you do not need admin rights to install them. If you have restricted access on a system, you will either have to ask the system admin to install an app for you, or you will have to use a portable app. There are workarounds to installing an app without admin rights but there may be exceptions where not all apps can be installed.

Fortunately, there are some really great portable apps available for Windows 10, and while using them is easy, they aren’t added to the Apps list in the Start Menu and you cannot pin them to the Start Menu either. You can usually find them via Windows Search if the drive they’re on is being indexed but that is about it.

Add portable app to Start Menu

You can do this for any portable app. We tried it with ScreenToGif and it worked perfectly.

  1. Download the portable app you want to use. Move it to a folder you know it won’t be deleted from. You can place the folder on any internal drive. It does not have to be placed on the C drive or Windows drive.
  2. Run the app at least once. Some apps, like Rainmeter, will create a few additional directories in order to work even if they’re portable.
  3. Look for the EXE of the portable app. Right-click it, and select ‘Create Shortcut’ from the context menu.
  4. Open File Explorer.
  5. Enter the following in the location bar.
%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

  1. Create a new folder, and give it the same name as the app that you want to add to the Apps list and pin to the Start Menu.
  2. Open the folder you just created, and move the shortcut to the app’s EXE to it.
  3. Open the Start Menu and go to the Apps’ list.
  4. Navigate to the app you just added and expand its folder.
  5. Right-click the app’s executable under the folder, and select Pin to Start from the context menu.

Conclusion

You can remove a portable app from the Start Menu and the Apps list by deleting the folder you made. You can add the shortcut directly to the Programs folder but that may not always allow you to pin the app to the Start menu and in some cases, the app may not show up in the Apps list at all. Creating a dedicated folder for the app is also a good idea if you decide you want to move the actual executable to this folder instead of using a shortcut.

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GeForce Experience Recording Not Working – Here’s How to Fix This

Recording and streaming gameplay has become quite popular and there’s no shortage of apps that you can use to record gameplay or stream it live. In fact, Windows 10 offers both recording and streaming as a stock feature. Other apps used to record and/or stream gameplay are OBS and the Nvidia GeForce Experience app.

GeForce Experience Recording

The Nvidia GeForce Experience app can only be installed on systems that have an Nvidia GPU. It checks for and installs the latest GPU drivers, optimizes games for better performance, and lets you record and stream gameplay.

It’s very capable in terms of recording and streaming and it works out of the box. There isn’t anything that needs to be set up. It works in most, if not all games but sometimes, it fails to record anything.

Hardware requirements

GeForce Experience can only be installed on a system with an Nvidia GPU but having an Nvidia GPU isn’t the only requirement and not all GPUs are supported.

To check if your system meets the requirements for recording gameplay, follow these steps.

  1. Install GeForce Experience.
  2. Click the cogwheel button at the top to open the app’s settings.
  3. On the General tab, look for the Features section.
  4. If ‘In-game Overlay’ is supported, your system meets the hardware requirements for recording gameplay.

Fix GeForce experience recording not working

1. Check game-support

GeForce Experience works with a lot of games but not all of them. To check if a game you’re trying to record is supported, follow these steps.

  1. Open GeForce Experience. 
  2. On the home page, you will see all the games that the app has detected.
  3. All games with a green check-mark are supported. 
  4. For games you haven’t installed, refer to this Nvidia page that lists all supported games.

For unsupported games, you can try using a different recording or streaming tool.

2. Update drivers

If GeForce Experience has a pending driver update, install it.

  1. Open GeForce Experience.
  2. Go to the Drivers tab.
  3. If there’s an update listed, click to download and install it.

3. Reinstall driver

GeForce Experience can install drivers but sometimes the installation may not be successful or there may be a problem with it. You can try reinstalling the driver.

  1. Open the GeForce Experience app.
  2. Go to the Drivers tab.
  3. Click the more options (three dots) button.
  4. Select ‘Reinstall driver’.

4. Check disk space

In order to record gameplay, you must have free space on your drive.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Go to This PC.
  3. Right-click your Windows drive, and select Properties.
  4. Check how much free space is available. If there isn’t enough, free it up.

5. Change where videos are saved

If you’re low on disk space, or you’re using the Controlled Access feature on Windows 10, you can change where GeForce Experience is saving files to.

  1. Tap the Alt+Z keyboard shortcut to open the GeForce Experience in-game overlay.
  2. Click the cogwheel button.
  3. In the window that opens, click Recordings.
  4. In the Videos field, click the more options button and select a different location for saving files.

6. Exit other overlay and VR apps

One fix that works for a lot of users is to exit other gameplay recording apps that may add their own overlay to your system. Additionally, if you have a VR app installed e.g., the Oculus app, and you’re not playing a VR game, exit it. Make sure the GPU isn’t being used by another app.

7. Toggle in-game overlay

The recording feature works via the in-game overlay and sometimes, it has trouble starting up.

  1. Open GeForce Experience.
  2. Click the cogwheel button at the top right to go to the app’s settings.
  3. Go to the General tab.
  4. Turn the in-game overlay switch off.
  5. Exit the app. Restart your system.
  6. Open GeForce Experience.
  7. Click the cogwheel button.
  8. Go to the General tab.
  9. Turn the In-game overlay switch on.
  10. Try recording your gameplay.

8. Reinstall GeForce Experience

It is possible something is wrong with the GeForce Experience app. The problem may be hard to find but can normally be fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling the GeForce Experience app.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  3. Look for and select GeForce Experience.
  4. Click the Uninstall button and allow the app to be uninstalled.
  5. Once uninstalled, download and install GeForce Experience again.

Conclusion

The GeForce Experience app is a few years old but it tends to work differently based on your hardware configuration. Sometimes, the app struggles to work with older GPU chips even if they are supported.

Often the problem is easily fixed via one of the solutions in this post. If you’re tempted to reinstall Windows 10 to get rid of the problem, make sure you’ve run through every single solution we’ve listed first. Reinstalling the OS is a drastic step to take for such a simple problem.

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