The 5 Best New Features in Windows 10’s 1809 Update

Every October Microsoft releases a major update to Windows that (hopefully) fixes the biggest bugs and gripes, while also bringing new features into this OS-as-a-service product.

While there were quite a few problems with the 2018 “1809” update that caused a two month delay, it should now be available through the regular update service.

If you’re already running 1809 or are just looking forward to it, here are some feature highlights you can look forward to in the newest Windows version.

Finally, Dark Mode for Explorer!

Microsoft already provided a Dark theme in a previous update, but unfortunately Windows Explorer itself retained its white background.

Dark modes and themes are pretty much everywhere these days. Not only do they make screens easier to read in the dark, they reduce screen power consumption. Most importantly, they look pretty cool to boot.

Enabling Dark mode for Windows apps couldn’t be easier. First Go to Settings – Personalization – Colors. 

 

Now scroll down to the bottom of the window.

Under Default App Mode choose Dark. Now Windows Explorer will have a dark background and your eyes will thank you.

The Snip & Sketch Screenshot Tool

Windows 10 had much better support for screenshot editing out of the box than previous versions. However, the tools available were a little fragmented and with the 1809 update there is now one tool to rule (and replace) them all. The Snip and Sketch tool.

You can find this tool with all your other apps or by simply typing its name in the Start Menu search bar. With it you can easily capture and edit screenshots with ease.

Your Phone App for Android Users

Like it or not, smartphones are now a part of almost everyone’s daily life. So Microsoft has decided to integrate Android phones into the Windows Desktop using a new application known as Your Phone.

There is no indication when or if other phone OSes will ever be fully supported, but if you have an Android smartphone you can now send texts and view photos. There are also some limited iOS functions. Specifically sending web pages from your iPhone to Windows.

You can find the app among your other Windows apps. The fastest way to access is is by searching for “Your Phone” it in the Start Menu.

To link your phone, just click “Get Started” and follow the prompts. Then enter your number here.

Enter your number and click Send. You should receive a text with a link to the Your Phone Companion app. Install it and then open it.

Now you just need to sign in with your Microsoft account to complete the link.

Now you’re ready to start sharing content between your phone and Windows desktop.

Start Menu Search Upgrades

The search functions in the Start Menu have been expanded substantially. Now when you search for something you’ll see several tabs to categorize the results. There are also more relevant web results, with shortcuts to download or install an app.

The search itself is also now much faster, coming up at the same time it takes for the Start Menu itself to appear.

The Supercharged, Cloud-powered Clipboard

The humble Clipboard has also received a major overhaul. Now when you copy something to the Clipboard there are more things you can do than just paste it somewhere.

For example,you can now stack your copied items by activating the Clipboard History. If you press Windows+V then you can see that history and pick the item you want to paste.

You can also choose to sync clipboard data to the cloud and then to you other devices.

Windows, Reloaded

The Windows 10 of today is already much more mature and refined than when it first launched. Despite a rough start, the 1809 update has brought some truly useful and welcome changes to the system. Enjoy!

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How to Get Windows 10 for Free and is it Legal?

In this article, we will be exploring the different methods available to get Windows 10 for free. We will share four unique options and explain whether each of these options is legal.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be more clued up about how Windows 10 activation works and why Microsoft charges for it in the first place.

Downloading Windows 10 free from Third Party Websites

You may have heard from a friend or colleague that they were able to download Windows 10 for free from a third party website, or maybe you read about it online.

Your source of information may have mentioned that they can get you the full Windows 10 operating system for free, without any watermarks or product key.

Using a third party website to download Windows 10 for free is certainly against Microsoft’s policies and more importantly, it may present some legal troubles or other issues for you.

Is it Legal?

Downloading a full version of Windows 10 for free from a third party source is absolutely illegal and we wouldn’t recommend it.

It’s up to debate whether or not downloading Microsoft software illegally will land you in trouble or with a big fine, but it’s certainly possible and Microsoft have the right to pursue legal action in this case.

Is it Dangerous?

Perhaps more worryingly, downloading Windows 10 for free from third party websites can be very dangerous. Those that give away cracked software for free may tamper with the software and package it with malware or viruses.

Some malware may track your key presses and steal your information, or they may use your PC power to mine cryptocurrency. Alternatively, they may run ads on your system in the background to earn money from you.

Download Windows 10 ISO directly from Microsoft

If you desperately need to download Windows 10 for free and don’t have any installation media, you do not need to look for third party sources. Microsoft actually lets users download Windows 10 completely free directly from their own website.

You can find the Windows 10 Download tool here. With this tool, you can create your own bootable Windows 10 installation USB drive or CD.

Is it Legal?

Using this method is legal and is provided directly from Microsoft. With this method, you can install and run Windows 10 without a product activation key.

It’s important to note that if you continue to use Windows without activating it with a purchased license, you will be going against Microsoft’s terms of service.

It is recommended that you purchase a license to support Microsoft and ensure you are abiding by their terms of service. However, for a quick fix, this option is available to you if you need to get Windows 10 up and running on a machine quickly.

Is it Dangerous?

Using this method is not dangerous because it is provided directly from Microsoft. There is no chance that this method would include viruses or malware.

Just make sure you let the Windows 10 Download tool complete the process completely before installing it on a new system.

Evaluate Windows 10 Enterprise for 90 days

If you are considering using Windows 10 Enterprise for your business, you’ll be happy to hear that you can evaluate it for free for a period of 90 days.

Windows 10 Enterprise is a version of Windows 10 that is targeted toward medium to large businesses. It shares very similar functionality with Windows 10 Pro with some small adjustments.

You can find the evaluation page for Windows 10 Enterprise here.

Is it Legal?

It is completely legal to use this method to download Windows 10 Enterprise, but Microsoft have provided this option for those interested in purchasing a license from them after the initial evaluation stage.

Technically, there are no rules that state you must purchase Windows 10 Enterprise after the 90 day evaluation is up, but you will be going against their terms if you continue to use the software after the evaluation period without purchasing a license first.

Is it Dangerous?

Once again, this method isn’t dangerous because you’ll be going directly through Microsoft. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to create an ISO before installing the operating system, so this will require a bootable USB drive or a CD.

Re-use your Windows 10 Disc on Multiple Computers

If you purchased a Windows 10 installation disc in the past, it is possible to use it to install your copy of Windows 10 on another system. This is easily the most convenient option available because all you need to do is place the disc into the system you’d like to install Windows 10 on.

Is it Legal?

When you purchase a Windows 10 installation disc, you are asked that you only install and use the software on one system. Doing otherwise is against Microsoft’s license terms.

However, you can still stay within the boundaries of Microsoft’s terms if you contact them and ask to transfer your license from your existing system to this new system.

Alternatively, if you are installing the Windows 10 disc onto the system you first activated the license on, you are well within your rights to reinstall it on the same system. Windows will check your hardware to determine whether it’s the same system or not.

In some cases, if you change your hardware, the OS may assume it is a new system when it is in fact the same. You can contact Microsoft support to get assistance with this problem.

Is it Dangerous?

This option bares no risk – in fact, it may be the safest option because you are using media directly from Microsoft and you don’t even need the internet for the entire process.

Will Going Against Microsoft’s Terms Get Me in Trouble?

With Microsoft offering so many free methods to install Windows 10, it is possible to install Windows 10 for free directly from them and never pay to activate it.

If you choose to do this, you’ll still have access to updates and all of the operating system features will remain active to you.

The only negatives will be that there will be a watermark at the bottom of your display at all times and you will not be able to access Office 365 programs like Word or PowerPoint. Some personalization options will also be disabled.

Going this route will mean that you are going against Microsoft’s terms of service, but there’s very little Microsoft can do to stop you. If you are an individual, you are not going to run into any trouble. If you are a business that repairs or sells computers, you may then run into some legal troubles.

Ultimately, Microsoft has become very lenient with unactivated users – they would prefer even those that use Windows 10 without a license to have full security protection and the latest updates to avoid malware and virus infections.

So, in summary, the option is there to remain unlicensed, but it is still going against Microsoft’s licensing terms. It may be a payment you don’t want to make, but we’d recommend making the payment to support Microsoft.

It takes a lot of money to hire employees to develop, maintain, and provide support for Windows 10. Enjoy!

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Best Windows 10 Software for Better Audio

There are a variety of Windows 10 apps you can use to improve your audio and in this article we want to highlight some of the best.

We will be taking a look at some of the best equalizers, some of the best software for virtual surround sound, and some alternatives to the default Windows 10 mixer.

Also, be sure to check out our companion article on the best ways to improve display quality in Windows 10.

Best Equalizers for Windows 10

With an equalizer, you can change the sound profile of your audio. Equalizers are often used for music or listening to movies to help boost bass or limit other aspects.

With these equalizer apps, you can choose presets suitable for certain music genres or create your own custom equalizer preset. We’ve picked out two excellent equalizers for Windows 10 below.

FxSound Enhancer – $49.99

FxSound Enhancer claims on their website that they can boost the sound quality of your music. I’d argue that whilst FxSound Enhancer isn’t going to make a $20 pair of earphones sound like a $200 pair, they can use EQ presets to improve the listening experience for many use cases.

Firstly, I wanted to explain that FxSound Enhancer works smoothly and consistently across the entire Windows 10 OS. This is something that many equalizers struggle with, for some reason, so it’s a great starting point.

Essentially, when you switch on FxSound Enhancer, it will add an automatic EQ preset to your audio that will, in most cases, improve your listening experience if you are using cheaper audio equipment.

It’s a great alternative for forking out $200-500 on a good pair of headphones and a suitable DAC. The EQ presets are plentiful, which is great for when you want to get the best experience for listening to a certain genre of music. You can also create your own presets.

FxSound Enhancer also uses an interesting live ‘decompression’ technique to add more clarity to the audio you listen to. If you listen to music on YouTube or live streaming platforms with compression, this makes a big difference.

I would say that Spotify’s own Extreme quality or Tidal’s Hifi streaming subscription would be a better alternative, however.

FxSound Pro isn’t free, which is where it separates itself from our next suggestion below. An outright lifetime subscription costs $49.99, but you can get a 7 day free trial to test things out.

Equalizer APO With Peace Interface – Free

If you want convenience, a nice interface and an easy setup, I’d still suggest FxSound Enhancer from above. If you don’t mind getting your technical hands a little dirty, Equalizer APO is a better option, and it’s free and open source.

Setting it up takes some time and you’ll need to read through the support files carefully. You must install the Equalizer APO and then download the Peace Interface. The two combined give you a powerful audio control software alongside a feature packed interface.

With the Peace Interface, you are given extreme control over creating your own presets. There are also some excellent presets already for you to choose from. The listening experience is superb and once you’ve got to grips with things, everything runs pretty smoothly on Windows 10.

You can find the Equalizer APO here and the Peace graphical interface here.

Best Surround Sound Software for Windows 10

With surround sound software, you can turn your normal stereo headphones into a whole new experience.

Good virtual surround sound will mimic a real surround sound setup, which means you’ll be able to hear noises in video games in the same direction that they are coming from, or you can have a more immersive movie watching experience.

Below are three great surround sound software options for Windows 10.

Razer Surround – Free or $19.99

Razer Surround is a 7.1 surround sound software designed to give virtual surround sound to any pair of headphones or earphones. The base software is free but you can get the pro version for a $19.99 one time payment.

Coming from the Razer team, it’s clear immediately that the surround sound offered is designed specifically for gaming. So, the experience in video games is expectedly very good. Playing games like Battlefield 5 or Black Ops 4’s new Blackout mode is a real treat.

Both games have excellent sound engineering, but the 7.1 Razer Surround software takes it to another level. In games where surround sound is useful for pinpointing other player movement, Razer Surround does great, too.

Using Razer Surround is also very easy and thankfully there is very little needed if you’d like to switch off the virtual sound – just one single click of a button. In my opinion, Razer Surround is absolutely the best option for gamers.

Dolby Atmos – $14.99

Dolby Atmos can be accessed by downloading the Dolby Access app from the Microsoft Store. To access Dolby Atmos, you must also spend $14.99 after installing the Access app.

Going through the Access app feels a little clunky and it’s more of a hassle than what Razer has to offer. Ultimately, the surround sound is decent, but it seems to depend heavily on the headphones you have.

If you have a good pair of headphones, specifically open backed headphones, the surround sound from Dolby Atmos can work surprisingly well. It’s great for adding spatial immersion in movies and videos, but it can be hit or miss depending on how the audio for what you are watching was produced.

Obviously, if you have a surround sound speaker setup, Dolby Atmos is undoubtedly the best option. Dolby Atmos is top of the game when it comes to real surround sound.

Ultimately, Dolby Atmos is a useful application, especially if you have a real surround sound setup. If you use headphones, it is a bit of a gamble when it comes to whether it makes a difference or not, depending on what you are using it for.

Windows Sonic for Headphones – Free

Windows 10 already has virtual surround sound and chances are you may never have known. Microsoft quietly added Windows Sonic for Headphones in the Creators Update and stuffed it into the taskbar.

To activate Windows Spatial sound, right click the volume mixer icon on the taskbar, then click Spatial sound (Off). You will then have the option to choose Windows Sonic for Headphones.

In my experience, Windows Sonic for Headphones was just as good as Dolby Atmos. In fact, it was hard for me to distinguish the difference.

If you are looking for virtual surround sound for free, Windows own offering may be the best available. For a real surround sound speaker system, though, Atmos may be better.

Best Audio Mixer Alternative For Windows 10

The standard Windows 10 audio mixer is quite limited, so we thought we’d include two alternatives that can give you finer control over the volume levels of each app. You can also use the two suggestions below to manage the audio of two devices at once, and choose which apps use which audio device.

EarTrumpet – Free

EarTrumpet has been regarded as one of the top audio control apps on Windows 10. Instead of adding a bulky new interface to make your way through, EarTrumpet essentially expands on the existing Windows 10 audio mixer UI.

With EarTrumpet, you can control the individual volume of each open program, and you can quickly switch playback devices. You are also able to set up default audio devices for specific programs.

What I like most about EarTrumpet is that it integrates nicely into Windows 10 – it looks more like an official update to the audio mixer than a standalone app. What’s great about EarTrumpet is that it’s also free. You can find it in the Microsoft Store.

Voicemeeter – Free

VoiceMeeter is a massive step up from EarTrumpet, but the additional features are only really useful for those that need to fine tune individual audio streams.

With VoiceMeeter, you can change the EQ of multiple audio devices at once and adjust where audio is directed to. For example, you can record desktop audio but not your voice, or vice versa.

If you stream on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, you can make it so your game audio and voice is picked up, but the voice from your friends in your communication app isn’t.

There are many possibilities with Voicemeeter, although it does take some heavy reading or Youtube tutorial watching to learn how to master it. You can find the Voicemeeter software for free from VB-Audio.

Summary

Did any of the software suggestions in this article take your interest? Let me know if you have any questions about the software I have included. Enjoy!

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OTT Guide to Backups, System Images and Recovery in Windows 10

Just about all new versions of Windows have many components that are taken from previous versions of the OS. Most of the time, it’s a better version of the old software. Sometimes, like in Windows 8, multiple versions of the same feature are included and it can make things worse.

Lastly, some features from older versions of Windows are good enough to keep as-is in newer version. One example of this is the backup options. In this article, I’m going to talk about the built-in backup features in Windows 10 and how it’s a blend of new Windows 10 features and old Windows 7 backup options.

In a way, it’s a good thing that you still have all the options you had before, but it’s also more confusing, just like having IE 11 and Edge installed at the same time.

Windows 7 Backup Options in Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can still do everything you were able to do in Windows 7 in terms of backups and recovery. If you go to the Control Panel, you’ll see an option called Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

The dialog that pops up is pretty much the same one you see in Windows 7. You can Create a system image, Create a system repair disc, Set up backup or restore a backup if there is one available.

If you click on Create a system image, you’ll have a  choice of where you want to save the image. Only on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise can you save the system image to a network location.

Note that you cannot save the system image to any drive that is included in the system image. Creating a system image this way is a manual process. If you want to have it done automatically, you need to choose the Set up backup option.

This is the same as Backup and Restore in Windows 7. Basically, you choose where you want to save the backup to and then pick a schedule. The only thing you have to note is that you cannot create a system image if you backup to DVD. You have to backup to a hard disk or network location in order to have that option otherwise it’s greyed out.

By default, the system images are saved in the following format, where X is the drive you choose.

X:\WindowsImageBackup\PC_Name\Backup YYYY-MM-DD HHMMSS

For example, if I chose to save the system image to an external hard drive (E:), then I the location of the backup would be:

E:\WindowsImageBackup\AseemPC\Backup 2018-10-04 083421

Backup Restore Options in Windows 10

There are two ways to recover data from your backups in Windows 10. If you created a system image, then you have to boot to System Recovery Options in Windows 10 to restore the image. If you backed up using the schedule feature and picked files and folders, you can restore the files/folders from within the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) dialog.

Click on the Restore my files button and then you can go ahead and selectively choose which files you want to restore from the backup.

For restoring the system image, it’s a different procedure. Note that restoring a system image is a full restore, meaning that you can’t pick and choose what you want to restore; everything will be wiped out and replaced with the image. Restoring from a normal Windows backup allows you to restore individual files and folders.

To restore a system image, you need to boot to System Recovery Options in Windows 10. Once there, you need to click on Troubleshoot.

troubleshoot

Then click on Advanced Options.

advanced options

Then go ahead and click on System Image Recovery.

system image recovery

Next, you’ll have to choose an account and type in the password for that user account. You’ll then have the option to restore from the latest system image or choose a specific image, which you would do if you had the system image saved to an external USB hard drive, a network location or a DVD, for example.

system iamge backup

Once you have selected the image, you’ll have several options on how to restore the image to your computer. Note that you can only restore to a disk that is the same size or larger than the disks included in the backup image.

Reset this PC in Windows 10

In addition to the options above, you can also use a new feature in Windows 10 called Reset this PC. This is basically like performing a repair install in Windows XP or Windows 7. All system files are replaced and you essentially lose all your programs and settings, but you data stays intact.

This is exactly what Reset this PC does, but it’s a lot easier and really just takes a couple of clicks. It also gives you the option to completely erase everything and start from scratch. This is click performing a full clean install of Windows 10.

File History

In addition to all the Windows 7 backup and restore options, the Reset this PC option, you also have another new feature in Windows 10 called File History.

File History is turned off by default. Also note that if you are using a Windows 7 file backup with a schedule, File History cannot be enabled! You’ll see this message:

You have to turn off the schedule in order to use File History. This is kind of annoying since that means you’ll have to manually create system images if you like to have system images for your backups. Once you disable scheduled Windows 7 backups, you’ll see you now can turn File History on.

enable file history

It’s suggested that you use an external drive or secondary hard drive for saving the file history instead of a local hard drive or partition. You can also use a network location if you like. Actually, you can’t even choose a location on the same physical disk for File History. This is one advantage File History has over Shadow Copies, which was a similar technology in older version of Windows. If the drive dies, you can reinstall Windows 10, give it the same name as the dead system and then choose the same location for File History as the dead machine.

Once you have chosen a location, the Turn on button will be enabled so you can click on it. That’s about it, FIle History is now on! So what does that mean and what does it do?

Well, it basically saves versions of the files stored in your libraries, favorites, contacts, and a few other locations like Music, Videos, Pictures and Desktop. If you go back to File History after it’s made some copies, you can click on the Restore personal files option.

restore personal files

You can now browse through to a specific file or folder and navigate back and forth in time using the green blue keys at the bottom of the screen. Here’s an example of a text document I created and edited with some text.

windows 8 file history.png

If I click the left arrow key, I’ll see version 2 of 3, which has a little bit less text than version 3 of 3.

recover files windows 8

Pressing the green circular arrow button will allow you to restore that version of the file:

restore file

You can replace the file, skip it or see some comparison info on the files. Unfortunately, it won’t actually compare the content of the files, just the date and other info like the size, etc. File History sounds pretty good, but it has some serious issues in my opinion and with a lot of other people too, apparently.

1. If you rename a file, the history for that file is lost. It basically starts from scratch again. So renaming a file is pretty much the same thing as deleting a file and starting over. The old history still exists, just with the old name.

2. Following from point one, if you create another file with the name of the original file, the histories will be joined! So if you delete a file that had a history and then you create a new file with that same name, you’ll get the history of the previously deleted file too.

3. Copies are made of the entire file each time a backup is done. So if you have a 500 MB file that gets changed three times in a minor way, you’ll have three 500MB copies of that file.

4. You can’t backup anything other than files and folders. You’ll still have to rely on Backup and Restore (Windows 7) for actually backing up your Windows 10 system.

5. You can’t include additional folders other than the ones pre-defined by Microsoft. This means if you want to use File History, you’ll have to move the data to one of the designated folders.

Overall, it’s all complicated system of backup options in Windows 10 that will most likely confuse new users. Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the different options, their advantages and disadvantages and how you can use them in combination to create a robust backup plan for your Windows 10 PC.

Lastly, you can skip out on all the built-in options if they aren’t good enough and simply use a third-party tool for cloning and imaging your system. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment. Enjoy!

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10 Awesome Windows 10 Registry Hacks You Might Not Know

As Windows 10 gains a bigger market share over the next few years, you can be sure there are going to be a lot of ways to customize or tweak the registry! A lot of visual and under-the-hood changes can only be done via the registry.

In this article, I’ll show you 10 cool registry hacks you can use to customize your Windows 10 install. I’m sure there will be a lot more customizations in the future, so feel free to post a comment and let us know any good ones that you find.

Obviously, before you start, make sure you perform a backup of Windows and your registry.

Customize Desktop Context Menu

One nice registry hack is adding your own shortcuts to the desktop right-click context menu. By default, it doesn’t have much there, but if you happen to be on the desktop a lot, you can add some links to your favorite programs.

First, go to the following registry key:

Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shell\

Now you have to add two keys under the shell key. The first one should be the name that you want to use for the shortcut and the second will be called command. Above, I created one called Notepad and then created command underneath Notepad. Finally, double-click on the Default key in the right-hand pane and change the value to notepad.exe, for example.

Now when you right-click on the desktop, you’ll see Notepad and clicking on that will open Notepad! Nice!

Desktop Icon Spacing

icon spacing

Thanks Microsoft for getting rid of the options to customize our desktop! What used to be so easy is now a registry hack! In order to change the desktop icon spacing (horizontal and vertical), you have to edit two values in the registry. Check out our previous post below.

Change Desktop Icon Spacing in Windows 10

Click to Last Active Window

This is probably one of my favorite little hacks for Windows 10. Have you ever had several windows of the same application open, like Word or Excel, and then had to click over to a different application like Chrome?

However, when you click on the icon in the taskbar to get back to Word or Excel, instead of taking you straight to the window you were on previously, it just shows you a small thumbnail image of all the windows. With this hack, when you click on the icon for a program with multiple instances open, it will take you straight to the last active window.

Of course, you could just press the ALT + TAB key combo, but this is useful if you always end up using the mouse rather than the keyboard. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Go ahead and create a new 32-bit Dword called LastActiveClick and give it a value of 1.

Disable User Account Control

uac

User Account Control is a different beast in Windows 10 and you can’t even fully disable it via the traditional GUI interface you see above. To actually turn it off, you have to go to the registry or edit the local security policy. However, there are a few unexpected consequences to disabling UAC in Windows 10, which you can read in full below.

OTT Explains – UAC (User Account Control) in Windows 10

Confirm File Delete Dialog

Another missing feature in Windows 10 is the confirm file delete dialog we were all so familiar with. I never noticed it too much, but when I first deleted a file in Windows 10, I was shocked to see that the file just went straight to the recycle bin. I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, but if you really want it back, here’s how to get it back. Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\

Go ahead and create a new key under Policies called Explorer. Then create a new DWORD value and give it a name of ConfirmFileDelete. Change the value to 1 if you want the delete file dialog and 0 if you don’t want it. Sweet!

Registered Owner

Even though it’s so old and useless, I still like having the ability to change the registered owner in Windows to whatever I like. Don’t ask me why, it’s just some weird geek thing from the early days of Windows. Luckily, Microsoft still has the value stored in a registry key which you can change to whatever you like.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Under CurrentVersion, just find RegisteredOwner and change it. Also, note there is a RegisteredOrganization, you could could actually put two custom lines in the about Windows dialog. How do you even get to that dialog in Windows 10? Click on Start and type winver.

Paint Desktop Version

If you’re running several copies of Windows 10 on multiple computers and in virtual machines like I am, it’s nice to have the Windows version painted onto the desktop automatically. Windows 10 has a registry key that enables you to add this to your desktop automatically. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Find PaintDesktopVersion under the Desktop key and change the value from 0 to 1. Next time you login, you’ll see the Windows 10 version number and build number as shown above.

Border Width

border width

If you don’t like the border size around all your windows while on the desktop, then you can change it by going to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

Find the key called BorderWidth and change it to any value between 0 and 50. It’s defaulted to -15, which is some odd numbering scheme employed by Microsoft which I don’t really get. Luckily, you can just use 0 to 50 for this registry setting instead of the crazy negative numbers.

Get Windows 7 Volume Control

If you’re not a big fan of the new horizontal volume control in Windows 10, then you’ll be happy to know that you can get the vertical one again, just like in Windows 7. Navigate to the following key:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Create a new key under current version called MTCUVC and then create a new DWORD value inside of MTCUVC called EnableMtcUvc. Leave it with a value of 0.

Remove OneDrive from Explorer

Lastly, if you don’t use OneDrive for your cloud storage, then what’s the point of having it show up in Explorer all the time? Luckily, there’s a simple registry hack that will remove it from Explorer easily.

Navigate to the following key:

Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}

Change the value of System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree to 0 and restart your computer. That’s it!

If you’re using Windows 10 and feel comfortable modifying the registry, feel free to play around with the options above and customize Windows 10 to your delight. Enjoy!

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