How to change the audio device in Skype on Windows 10

You can connect multiple audio devices to a Windows 10 system. You don’t have to use them all at once but you can keep various devices connected to it and switch devices from the system tray per your need. The audio devices that you connect can be used with Skype. Skype doesn’t automatically change the audio device to whichever one you’re using on Windows 10. It sticks to the one that you were using when you started the call so if you want to change the audio device in Skype, you have to do so from the app’s settings.

Audio device in Skype

Make sure the device you want to use in Skype is connected to your system. It can be a wired or wireless device. To check if the device connected correctly, click the speaker icon in the System Tray and from the menu, make sure that the device is listed.

Next, open the Skype app and click the more options button at the top right of the left column. Select Settings from the menu.

On the Settings window, go to the Audio & Video tab and open the dropdown next to Microphone and select the audio device you want to use. Repeat this for the Speakers.

You will notice that the menu has an option called ‘Default communication device’. The Default communication device is set in the Windows sound settings. This allows you to set a specific audio device to always be used when you use apps like Skype. If you have a device that you prefer to always use with Skype, you should first set it as the default communication device and then select the option in Skype.

If you plan on using the same device with other apps, it’s a good idea to change the audio device in Skype instead of setting it to use the default communication device.

You can change the audio device in Skype mid-call. The app allows you to do that however, there’s no guarantee that the change won’t interrupt the call. Ideally, you should set the device before you make a call or, if you forget, you should end a call and then make the change.

If you want, you can also change the webcam that you use with Skype. Connect it and make sure your system can detect it. You can change it from the same Audio & Video tab. Open the dropdown next to Webcam and select the one you want to use. Again, you shouldn’t make the change during a call.

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How to get CPU temperature alerts on Windows 10

If you have a laptop or desktop designed for heavy usage e.g., gaming or animation, it likely runs hot when you’re performing either of those tasks, or if you just have one too many Chrome tabs open. Hardware doesn’t damage easily if it gets a bit hot but if it gets too hot, your system might shut down and eventually, your hardware might be damaged. The trick is to keep an eye on your system’s temperature. There’s no shortage of apps that can measure your system’s temperature however not many will alert you when your CPU is running too hot. RealTemp is the exception. It can give you CPU temperature alerts when your system heats up.

CPU temperature alerts

Download RealTemp and install it. Run the app and look at the basic temperature settings that the app comes with. It has minimum and maximum temperatures set by default and you cannot change them however you can test them against a benchmark by clicking XS Bench.

Click the Settings button at the bottom to enable the CPU temperature alert. On the Settings window, enable the Alarm option and in CPU Temperature, enter the temperature that, when exceeded, will trigger the alarm. Click Apply and minimize the app to the system tray.

When your CPU exceeds the set temperature limit, you will hear a siren. The sound will not be accompanied with any sort of visual alert e.g., a toast notification however the alert will continue to sound at regular intervals to let you know your system is running hotter than you prefer it to.

We should warn you that before you use RealTemp to keep an eye on your system’s temperature, you should compare the temperature it reports with other apps that are built for monitoring a system. This app may, or may not, report the correct temperature and there might be some variance. If a little difference doesn’t bother you, you can leave your alarm settings the way they are. If the difference is huge, or you want a more precise alarm, you should change the value that triggers the alarm to make up for the discrepancy.

If you’re wondering how hot is too hot, that really all depends on your system. It shouldn’t consistently be running at 100 degrees but in many cases 70 is fine for when you’re running a game or rendering animation. Make sure system’s cooling is working and that it’s in a well ventilated position e.g., you should NOT have it resting on a cushion or carpet where the fans will be blocked.

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How to fix black background on folders on Windows 10

Windows 10 has a small visual bug where, when you open File Explorer and navigate to a location with folders in it, some of those folders have a black box around the standard folder icon. The black background on folders appears at random; some folders may get it while others may not. Refreshing the screen doesn’t do any good. Here’s how you can fix it.

Fix black background on folders

In order to fix the black background on folders, you need to first open the Disk Cleanup tool. You can search for it using Windows Search. Run disk cleanup on your Windows drive i.e., the drive that Windows 10 is installed on. Make sure that the Thumbnail option is selected, and click Ok. When prompted, confirm that you want to delete the files.

Next, you need to delete the icon cache that Windows 10 has built. To do that, open File Explorer and navigate to the following location;

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local

Here, look for a file called IconCache.db and delete.

Once you’ve done that, open File Explorer again and go to the following location. Select all the files here, and delete them. If Windows 10 prevents you from deleting some of the files, click the Skip button and delete the ones you can.

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Finally, you need to Restart File Explorer. You can do this from Task Manager. Open Task Manager and look for Windows Explorer on the Processes tab. Select it, and click the Restart button at the bottom right. When File Explorer restarts, the black background on folders will be gone. For good measure, restart your system.

This will fix the problem however, since it has to do with the icon cache, it may reappear. There’s no known cause behind this and since it’s a very small bug compared to everything else that goes wrong with Windows 10, it’s not exactly high priority. There are bigger problems that Microsoft still hasn’t fixed like Windows Search still not working for a lot of users so this one isn’t going to be resolved any time soon. If the bug ever surfaces again, you can run through the fix and get your folder icons back to normal.

Another solution, although a very crude one, is to delete the folder (after backing up its contents) and create a new one in its place. You can then move its contents back and hope the new folder doesn’t have the same black background.

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How to fix no album art in File Explorer on Windows 10

Album art, when included with an MP3 file is added to the metadata of the file. This allows the art work to show up in all media players. Unfortunately, some media players don’t always detect it and sometimes, the information itself is lost when you copy/move your audio files. There’s no shortcut to adding art work back to a file. If you want to do it manually, you can use Windows Media Player though it will take some time. If your audio files have covers but they fail to show in File Explorer, you’re going to need to apply a somewhat lengthy fix. Here’s how you can get album art in File Explorer.

Album art in File Explorer

Album art in File Explorer may not appear regardless of which app you’ve used to add it. This isn’t a problem with the app that you’re using and more a problem with File Explorer. The art is there and you will see it show up in other apps as well like Groove.

To fix the problem for a file, you will need to apply the fix for each file individually. If you have files that all belong to the same album, you can save some time.

First, download the image that you want to use for the file’s cover. Once you have the image, open Windows Media Player and go to your library. In your library, locate the file. Next, drag & drop the cover image onto the song or the album. You must not use any other method to add the cover art. It has to be drag and drop.

Once the cover is updated, visit the file in File Explorer and you will the standard file icon has been replaced with the cover art image.

You can later change the cover art if you want and you don’t necessarily need to use Windows Media Player to do so. The cover art should update in File Explorer once it shows up. If it doesn’t though, you need to apply this same fix.

Windows Media Player is, thankfully, still included in Windows 10 which is the only reason this trick works to begin with. In the event that you don’t have Windows Media Player on your system, or it is eventually deprecated, you can use Groove.

The reason Groove is mentioned as a second choice is that adding album art with it takes more effort than a simple drag and drop. Open the Groove app and go to albums tab. Look for your song file there. Click the Edit Info button. If you don’t see the Edit Info button, you will see a more options button. Click it and the menu that opens will have an Edit Info button.

On the Edit Info screen, click the edit button on the album art and select the image you want to use. Click Save and give it a second or two to update and the art will show up in File Explorer.

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How to get modern Intel Graphics drivers for Windows 10

Intel Graphics are almost a standard on laptops and desktops alike. For the most part, these drivers are the main graphics drivers i.e., the on-board graphics which handle basic, low performance tasks. Still, the graphics themselves aren’t bad in quality. It’s just better to use a dedicated GPU for games if you have it. That said, Intel is focusing on improving the performance of its graphics card and it has released modern Intel Graphics drivers specifically for Windows 10 and Windows server 2019. Here’s how you can get them.

Compatibility

Compatibility for these drivers is subject to several things. For one, if you’re on Windows 10, you must be running the Fall Creators Update, at the very least. This is Windows 10 1809.

Second, you must have a compatible CPU. To check if your CPU is compatible, visit the download page and scroll to the very end where there’s a list of compatible CPUs. Check if yours is on the list. If not, you will not be able to install the drivers.

Download

You can download the modern Intel Graphics drivers here.

Install modern Intel Graphics drivers

The driver file downloads as an EXE. Run it like any other app, and it will install the driver. To check if the driver installed correctly, open Device Manager, and expand Display Adapters. Right-click the Intel graphics card and select Properties from the context menu. Go to the driver tab. The driver version should be 25.x.

The driver being installed is not validated for this computer

When installing the driver, the installation can and does tend to fail. This happens mostly because system manufacturers don’t allow drivers to be installed as stand alone apps. This can happen even if you meet the other compatibility requirements.

In this case, Intel does not recommend that you force install the drivers. In fact, it discourages you from doing so. When these drivers were first released, they came as a zipped file and there was a work around that allowed users to force install them from the Device Manager literally using the method Intel warned against. Since then, the driver files now ship as an EXE and that method no longer works. It resulted in problems especially for those with a dedicated GPU so Intel used the EXE to circumvent it.

Alternatives

If you’re determined to get the new modern Intel Graphics drivers, you can try installing the Intel Driver & Support Assistant app, and using it to check for and install the drivers if they are available. If they aren’t, don’t force the update.

You won’t be missing out on much even if you do not have a dedicated GPU. Most users haven’t seen a major difference in their system’s performance.

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