How to Use Google Authenticator on Windows 10

One of the best ways to protect your online accounts from being compromised is to use two-factor authentication (2FA). This adds a second layer to the sign-in process, requiring you to use a one-use only generated code (usually created on your smartphone) to sign in successfully using tools like Google Authenticator.

That is, of course, if you actually have a smartphone with Google Authenticator installed. If you don’t, then your options are limited, but it is possible to use Google Authenticator on your PC without requiring another device. If you want to know how to use Google Authenticator on Windows 10, here’s what you’ll need.

Generating the Google Authenticator Secret Code

If a username and password is leaked online, your account is at risk. Even using a password manager won’t help you at this point—you’ll need to change any passwords that are compromised by a breach.

To help overcome this issue, you can link your online accounts to a two-factor authentication service like Google Authenticator. This generates a one-time password (OTP) to successfully sign in to Google and other online services.

It doesn’t matter if a password is breached if the hacker doesn’t have your 2FA credentials. 2FA adds another layer of security. To generate the codes, you’ll need to set up Google Authenticator on your Windows PC using a third-party app and insert the secret code that matches your Google account.

The secret code is like a master password—without it, the codes being generated won’t work to complete a 2FA sign in. This code will only work for your Google account sign-in, but you’ll need similar codes to link your other online services with a 2FA app on your Windows PC.

  1. To find the secret code for your Google account, open the Google account website. In the left-hand menu, select Security.
  1. In the Security area of the Google account website, scroll down to the Signing in to Google section, then select the 2-Step Verification option. You may need to sign in again at this point.
  1. If you haven’t already enabled 2FA with a mobile device previously, you’ll need to follow the on-screen instructions to do so on the 2-Step Verification page. Once this is done, scroll down to the Authenticator app section, then select Set Up to begin.
  1. In the pop-up menu, select either Android or iPhone, as the option doesn’t matter. Select Next to continue.
  1. At the next stage, you’ll see a QR code that you’d typically need to scan. You won’t be doing this, however, so select the Can’t Scan It? option instead.
  1. The secret code for your Google account will appear in the box below, in a combination of 32 letters and numbers. Write this down or make a suitable copy of it, then select Next to continue. Keep this page open, as you’ll need it to complete the setup process afterwards.

Once you’ve saved the secret code, you’ll need to install a 2FA app on your PC to proceed.

Installing a Two Factor Authentication App for Windows 10

Unfortunately, there are few apps that exist for extending Google Authenticator support to Windows 10. WinAuth is one exception, and while it remains popular, WinAuth is no longer in active development, so we can’t guarantee that it continues to work as intended as a Google Authenticator alternative.

With few desktop apps available, the best alternatives are found in the Microsoft Store. One example is WinOTP Authenticator, an open-source 2FA app that can be installed officially through the Microsoft Store, although the source code is available for review on the developer’s GitHub page.

  1. To begin, download and install WinOTP Authenticator from the Microsoft Store. Once installed and opened, select the + (Add) icon at the bottom.
  1. You’ll need to save your Google account details here. Under Service, type Google. For Username, type your Google account email address. Finally, type your 32-digit secret code (with or without spaces) in the Code section, before selecting Save to save it to the app.
  1. If successful, a six-digit one-time passcode will appear at the top of the window. Return to the Google Authenticator app setup page (as described in the section above), or open the Google Authenticator App setup page directly, selecting the Set Up option in the Authenticator app section. Enter the six-digit code you see in the WinOTP app in the Google Authenticator app setup box, then select Verify to continue.
  1. If verified, WinOTP Authenticator will become the default Google Authentication app for your account. You can then use WinOTP to generate the 2FA codes you need to successfully sign in to your Google account (and into other Google services) in the future. If you want to remove the app at any point, press the remove icon next to the Authenticator app option listed in your Google account settings. 

Installing a Two Factor Authentication Extension in Google Chrome

While WinOTP Authenticator offers a quick and easy way to sign in to Google services with two-factor authentication enabled, you can also set up a quick and easy-to-use 2FA app using a Google Chrome extension named Authenticator.

  1. To do this, you’ll need to open Google Chrome in your browser and install the Authenticator extension. As the simple name suggests, this extension allows you to quickly create OTP codes for two-factor authentication.
  1. Once installed, select the Authenticator extension icon (or select it from the Extensions menu in the top-right). From the drop-down menu, select the pencil icon.
  1. Press the + (plus) icon that appears in the card below to proceed.
  1. From the menu, select Manual Entry.
  1. You’ll need to provide your Google Authenticator secret code and account information here. Under Issuer, type Google. For Secret, type the 32-digit secret code for your Google account (as explained in the steps above). Select Advanced, then place your Google account username in the Username box, before selecting OK at the bottom to save your details.
  1. Once saved, select the Authenticator extension icon again to view your one-time passcode for your Google account.

Using Google Authenticator on Windows 10

Once a 2FA app is installed on your PC, you’ll be free to use Google Authenticator on Windows to sign into your Google account without needing a smartphone. This gives you a 2FA backup device, offering peace of mind that you won’t be locked out of your Google account, even if you lose your smartphone.

However, you’ll need to bear in mind that only one Authenticator app is allowed for each account. If you want to use Google Authenticator on Windows, you won’t be able to use the Google Authenticator app on Android or iPhone to sign in to your Google account after this point.

If you haven’t already, it’s advisable to set up two-factor authentication on all of your important accounts to help improve your privacy online. This includes setting up 2FA on social media to help keep your accounts free from hackers who could compromise your identity.

How to Fix the Dreaded BSOD Error in Windows 10

A sad smiley face accompanies the dreaded Blue Screen of Death or BSOD error on Windows 10 for a reason. The bugcheck can be bad news depending on why and when it occurs. If your encounter it while you’re using your computer, you could lose your unsaved data. And if it appears when you’re updating your OS, the update may fail to install.

5 BSOD Error Fixes

Read on to learn about Windows 10 BSOD bug causes and solutions.

What Triggers BSOD Bugchecks in Windows 10

How to fix BSOD errors on Windows 10 depends on their root causes. A conflict between out-dated hardware drivers and the operating system is usually the bugcheck’s trigger. That’s why some users report the bug after installing a Windows 10 cumulative update (CU).

If you recently installed a Windows 10 cumulative update (CU) that’s incompatible with a certain device on your PC. You may need to install a software patch from Microsoft or the device’s manufacturer to address the CU/driver conflict.   

In some cases, the bug may quickly go away after system reboot. But if it prevents your OS from rebooting, it could deny you desktop access. This scenario forces you to use safe mode or other options instead.

Learn how to repair the BSOD error on Windows 10 when you have desktop access.

How to Fix Windows 10 BSOD Bugs Via Your Desktop

If you can reboot Windows 10 despite the BSOD bugcheck, try updating the OS and device drivers. But you need to first determine which device drivers are causing the problem. It also helps to figure out if a recent Windows 10 update may be the cause of your PC trouble.

1.      Research the BSOD Bug

If you started getting the bugcheck after installing a Patch Tuesday or optional update, research the specific files that you recently installed. You might discover that you’re not the only one experiencing that issue. Moreover, Microsoft sometimes acknowledges bugs that come with some of the regular Windows 10 updates.

Besides, only research might reveal the specific update or driver you need to install to fix the issue. With that background information, you can go ahead and update your PC.  

Alternatively, use the BlueScreenView software to get the BSOD crash details. The app will extract minidump files and information to help identify the reason for the bugcheck. It’s good to have such diagnostics on hand before downloading and installing any BSOD fix. 

2.      Install Windows 10 Updates

Follow these steps to install the latest Windows 10 updates on your PC:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Choose Update & Security
  3. Click on Windows Update
  4. Click on the Check for Updates command button 

Update Windows to Fix BSOD

Once you complete the above procedure, Windows will automatically search for and download the latest fixes and improvements that may address the issue.

You may go to the Microsoft Update Catalog to look up and manually download the required files. If you don’t how to do that, check out this guide. Be sure to search the right file name, though, because the catalog has tons of updates.

3.      How to Install Driver Updates in Windows 10

If an outdated driver is the cause of the blue screen of death, you may update it to repair the problem. Follow the steps below:

  1. Type Device Manager in Windows Search and hit Enter (or click on the Device Manager search result) Launch Device Manager
  2. Click on View on the Device Manager’s main menu
  3. Tick the Show hidden devices option if it’s off
  4. Double click on the hardware category with the fault to reveal the device in question
  5. Right-click the device and click on the Update Driver Option Uninstalling BSOD Device driver
  6. On the “Update Drivers” dialog window, do one of the following:
    1. Click on Search automatically for updated driver software. If Windows finds a more up-to-date driver for the device, it’ll download and install it.
    2. Click on Browse my computer for driver software. Choose this option if you already have the appropriate driver on your hard drive or removable storage. Follow the prompts and browse to the folder with the driver, select the file, and click Open.

The above steps enable you to update an outdated driver via the device manager. In case the instructions don’t get you the required drivers, follow these alternative steps:

  1. Go to the device manufacturer’s website
  2. Search for the device’s latest drivers on the site
  3. Click on the appropriate driver download link in the search results
  4. Double-click on the driver’s executable file (.exe) to install it
  5. Follow the ensuing prompts until you’re asked to click Ok to complete the installation

4.      Uninstall Faulty Drivers

Sometimes, the latest version of the driver is the problem. That’s usually the case if your system was okay before your updated the driver. In such a scenario, searching for a more recent solution may not work until Microsoft or the device’s manufacturer announces an update.

One of your remaining options here is to uninstall the defective driver causing a BSOD error. Keep in mind that, while this solution works, it renders the affected device unusable. If you still need to use the hardware in question, consider rolling back to a driver that worked instead.

Here’s how to remove defective drivers:

  1. Type Device Manager in Windows Search and tap on the Enter key
  2. Double-click the defective device category
  3. Right-click the problematic device and click on uninstall device
  4. Click Ok

After completing these steps, you may notice a yellow exclamation market to the left of the device you just uninstalled. Nonetheless, the hardware component won’t be triggering a BSOD bugcheck anymore.    

5.      Rollback Driver

You may revert to the previous driver version that worked in Windows 10.

Follow these steps:

  1. Type Device Manager in Windows Search and tap on the Enter key
  2. Double-click the defective device category
  3. Right-click the problematic device and click on Properties Click Properties
  4. Switch to the Driver tab
  5. Click on Roll Back Driver. This option is available only there’s a previously installed driver for the specific device on your system. Rollback
  6. On the prompt that comes up next, choose an answer for why you’re rolling back. You may provide a detailed or personalized answer in the text box below the options.
  7. Click Yes to proceed with the device driver rollback.
  8. Reboot your PC

With the above steps, Windows 10 will replace the latest driver installed for the device in question with a previous version. However, the system can’t roll back to a non-existent previous version of firmware.


Windows 10 BSOD errors have multiple troubleshooting options. The above 5 are just some of the easiest you can try even if you’re not a power user, provided that you can still access your desktop.  

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How to Disable Edge Browser Tabs in Alt + Tab on Windows 10

Chromium-based Microsoft Edge and the latest versions of Windows 10 have some powerful sets of features that jointly make life a lot easier for PC users.

If you’re a multitasker using insider builds of Windows 10, you may have already experienced the inclusion of Edge browser tabs in the Alt + Tab menu. And now, with the Windows 10 October 2020 Update and the latest version of Microsoft Edge, the command recognizes browser tabs as separate apps by default.

Edge browser tabs in Alt + Tab

Source: Microsoft

While the feature lets you quickly switch between apps and Edge browser tabs, it doesn’t always work for everyone. The good thing is that Microsoft made a provision for customizing or removing the browser tabs from the Alt + Tab menu in the October 2020 update.

How to Turn Off Edge Browser Tabs in Alt + Tab on Windows 10

You may want to remove browser tabs from Alt + Tab to stop the navigation nightmare this option presents. The feature works fine when you only have a couple of tabs open. But when you include browser tabs, which can be many, getting to certain items on the menu takes time.

Follow these steps to prevent Microsoft Edge browser tabs from appearing in Alt + Tab in the Windows 10 October 2020 Update:

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Go to System
  3. Select Multitasking
  4. Below the “Alt + Tab” section, choose Open windows only from the drop down menu

Next time you press Alt + Tab, no Edge browser tabs will appear.

However, the browser tabs in Alt + Tab experience isn’t that bad if you only have a couple of browser tabs open. Instead of disabling the feature, you may customize it to include only a few of the most recent sites you visited.

How to Customize the Windows 10 Edge Browser Tabs in Alt + Tab Feature

Follow these steps to show only a handful of Edge browser tabs when you press Alt + Tab in the Windows 10 October 2020 Update.

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Go to System
  3. Select Multitasking
  4. Below the “Alt + Tab” section, select the number of recent Edge browser tabs you want included in the Alt + Tab task switcher. The drop down menu offers three other options in addition to Open windows only.
  • Open windows and all tabs in Edge
  • Open windows and 5 most recent tabs in Edge
  • Open windows and 3 most recent tabs in Edge

After applying any of the three options, you’ll see a maximum of 3 or 5  or all Edge browser tabs next time you invoke the Alt + Tab task switcher.

The Windows 10 October 2020 Update is a major OS upgrade, so its innovative features don’t come as a surprise to most users. But not all enhancements are excellent for you, and customizing Windows 10 experiences comes down to what works for you. Hopefully, you can now tweak the new Alt + Tab feature in the latest version of Windows to optimize your experience.


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How to Install Windows 10 Using UEFI Bootable USB

Ultra-thin laptops are extremely light and portable, and most of them can handle any computing task you throw at them. But their compact size comes at the expense of a vital PC part—the DVD drive. That shouldn’t be a big problem for you except for when you need to install Windows 10 or any other OS on your device.

UEFI Boot USB stick with Windows 10 ISO

The good news is that all PCs, big or small, come with a USB port, giving you another way to upgrade or perform a clean Windows 10 installation on a device without an optical drive. You only have to load Windows and format your USB stick into a bootable drive to perform the installation on a PC that uses the basic input/out system (BIOS) to boot the OS and handle communication between the OS and devices.

However, for those of you with modern PC motherboards that use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) instead of BIOS, you need a different type of bootable USB drive to install Windows 10.

Installing Windows 10 Using a USB With UEFI Support

The following requirements are necessary to install Windows 10 using an UEFI-bootable USB:

  • Windows 10 ISO image
  • A properly formatted UEFI bootable USB stick
  • USB drive should have at least 8GB of storage
  • An internet connection

Creating Windows 10 UEFI Bootable Drive With the Media Creation Tool

Microsoft built the Media Creation Tool to help Windows users install the OS on devices without a working DVD drive. It’s one of the most straightforward methods, though there are others worth trying out. You can download the latest version of the resource from the Microsoft website.

Take these steps to make a UEFI bootable USB drive for Windows 10:

  1. Back up your USB drive data because you’ll lose it after the formatting process
  2. Plug your USB stick into your PC
  3. Visit the Microsoft Windows 10 Download page
  4. Scroll down to the “Create Windows 10 Installation Media” section of the page and click the Download tool now link to download the executable file on your laptopInstalling the Media Creation Tool
  5. Run the MediaCreationToolxxxx.exe by double clicking on it
  6. Accept Microsoft terms to proceed
  7. On the prompt that comes up, click the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC optionMaking Bootable USB
  8. Click the Next command
  9. Select OS and hardware specifics for the installation. Your choices depend on factors such as whether you’re installing on a 32-bit or 64-bit machine. Under Architecture, choose the Both option to configure your UEFI bootable drive for either of the architectures. Also, select the language and version of Windows you’re installing. System settings
  10. Clear the Use the recommended options for this PC checkbox if it’s ticked off
  11. Click the Next command
  12. Click the USB flash drive option button Under “Choose which media to use” Choose USB Drive
  13. Click the Next command
  14. From the list of removable drives that comes up, select the USB drive you need formatted for UEFI installation. If the name of your preferred device doesn’t appear, click the Refresh drive list option.
  15. Click the Next command
  16. Click Finish

The above processes download and write the Windows 10 ISO file to your USB drive. You can use the installation media now to install Windows 10 on devices with either BIOS or UEFI motherboards.

How to Create Windows 10 UEFI bootable USB With Rufus

Rufus comes in handy when you need to quickly create a Windows 10 USB installation drive with an ISO. The tool is compatible with several PC platforms, including UEFI and Linux. It has multiple uses, such as, firmware flashing from an ISO or running low-level utilities.

Take these steps to create a UEFI bootable USB drive with a Windows 10 ISO:

  1. Plug an 8GB (or higher) flash drive into your PC
  2. Head on over to the Rufus download page
  3. Scroll to the “Download” part of the page and choose the latest version of Rufus. Downloading Rufus for ISO Writing
  4. Once the executable file (Rufus-x.x.exe) is on your PC, double click on it to initiate the installation media creation process
  5. Choose the target device under “Device”
  6. To specify the Windows 10 ISO file under “Boot selection,” click on the SELECT option to the right.
  7. Navigate to the folder containing the ISO and click Open to select it
  8. Under “Image option,” navigate the drop down menu and click the Standard Windows installation option
  9. Under “Partition Scheme,” choose GPT from the drop down list
  10. Select UEFI (non CSM) from the Target system drop down list. This selection directs Rufus to create bootable media for a UEFI PC. Rufus USB Drive properties
  11. Don’t interfere with the default configurations under “Show Advanced drive properties”
  12. Go to the Format Options section and specify a name for your UEFI bootable drive in the “Volume label” text box  
  13. Don’t change the default “File system” and “Cluster size” specifications
  14. Under “Show advanced format options,” tick off the Quick format and Create extended label and icon files checkboxes Rufus drive Formatting options
  15. Initiate the installation media creation process by clicking on the Start command
  16. Click on the OK button to proceed
  17. Select Close when the writing process is complete

Rufus usually takes about 10 or fewer minutes to write the Windows 10 ISO to your USB drive. It shouldn’t be a boring process since the Status bar lets you track progress every step of the way. When the ISO writing process is complete, the entire progress bar turns green and displays the word READY.

Congratulations! You now have a bootable USB drive with which you may install or upgrade Windows 10 on a UEFI computer.  

With the Rufus software or Microsoft Media Creation Tool, you can quickly format your USB drive into a UEFI bootable drive. You may then use it to install Windows 10 on a PC without a working optical drive. 

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How to Leave the Windows Insider Program Now

The Windows 10 October 2020 update is currently rolling out to select users. It brings a host of new features, some of which you may have already explored as a member of the Windows Insider Program. Notably, the OS introduces theme-aware live tiles that Microsoft has teased numerous times before.

Now that the final product has hit general availability, it’s understandable that you may want to drop out of the beta testing program before the next Windows 10 development cycle kicks off.  

Windows 10 Insider Program Opt-Out Tips

As you may already know, the redesigned Start Menu and refined Alt + Tab browsing experiences in Chromium-based Edge are not the last Windows 10 enhancements yet. So, the Windows Insider Program will continue offering new OS builds with new features for the pre-release testing and fixing of any functional bugs or aesthetic/user-interface issues.

You can opt out of the Windows Insider Program if you wish to halt your participation in the beta-testing phases of the most popular desktop OS in the world. After all, you may have had it with the instability of the latest pre-release version of Windows, and now you just want to enjoy the final, polished product.

How to Leave the Windows Insider Program Before the Next Development Cycle Begins

Opting out of the Windows Insider Program doesn’t mean you cannot rejoin it later. But leaving is a lot easier now than later when the next development cycle is already underway.

Follow these easy steps to take a break from the program without triggering any glitches in your current operating system:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Update & Security
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program on the window’s left pane
  4. Under Windows Insider account, locate the Stop getting preview builds section and activate the toggle switch below itOpt out of Windows Insider Program
  5. Restart your PC to update the setting

Taking the above steps prevents Microsoft from rolling out the next Windows 10 preview build versions to your PC.

How to Exit With the Windows 10 Development Cycle Underway

The next development cycle often begins soon after a major Windows 10 update is out. Sometimes, you may not like the new insider build experiences, making it necessary to revert to a version that’s more user-friendly and stable.

You still can quit as a Windows insider in case you missed the first opt-out window. However, you’ll need to take several steps to successfully leave the testing program.

System Recovery Option

  1. Head on over to Settings
  2. Go to Update & Security
  3. Click on Recovery
  4. Click on Get Started under the “Go back to the previous version of Windows 10” section. System recovery
  5. Next, Microsoft requires feedback about your reason for reverting to an earlier version of Windows. So, a blue screen will come up, offering possible reasons for rolling back, such as device incompatibility or previous versions were faster or more user-friendly. You may tick the  My apps or devices don’t work on this build option, for example.Why roll back to previous version
  6. Under Tell us more, describe your issue or reason in details. You don’t have to write anything, though.
  7. Click Next    
  8. On the next prompt, choose No, thanks
  9. Click Next. This screen lets you know that reverting to a previous Windows 10 version leads to the loss of any settings changes made while your PC was on the latest preview build. Also, you’ll need to reinstall all your apps after system recovery. While this process doesn’t usually delete your data, you may want to backup to be on the safe side.
  10. Click Next on the “Don’t get locked out screen.” Of course, you need to remember your logon details for signing in your earlier version of Windows 10.
  11. Click on Go back to earlier build on the “Thanks for trying out this build” promptRestore previous Windows 10 build

So far, you’ve only rolled back to a stable version of Windows, but you’re still a Windows insider. As such, Microsoft will keep offering your device new preview builds. So, you need to leave the entire Windows Insider Program now.

Take These Steps to Exit the Windows Insider Program

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Update & Security
  3. Select Windows Insider Program
  4. Activate the toggle switch under Stop getting preview builds
  5. Restart your PC

You’ve now opted out of the Windows Insider Program, meaning that you won’t be receiving early builds of upcoming Windows 10 versions. To avoid unpleasant surprises, such as data loss, be sure to backup all your system files before attempting to roll back to any previous version. 

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