There are literally thousands of different configuration settings you can change in Windows to make it look and behave the way you want. The tips in this category deal with making the changes to those settings.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Configuration' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Adding a Tile to the Start Screen
The Start screen can serve as your launching pad for whatever programs you desire. Here's how to add tiles for your favorite apps and programs to make your Start screen reflect how you want to work.
Adding Items to the "New" Context Menu
You can add your own items to the "New" context menu, but it does take a bit of effort. This tip explains how to do it.
Adding the Administrative Tools Option
Windows provides a number of administrative programs that can be very helpful when managing your system. It's useful to have the Administrative Tools easy to get to. This tip shows you how to add the Administrative Tools option to the Start menu or the Start screen.
Adjusting How Quickly Your Keyboard Responds
Does your keyboard seem a bit sluggish or a bit too quick when you hold down keys? You can adjust how the keyboard responds by using the steps described in this tip.
Changing a Computer's Name
If you don't like the name that was assigned to your computer when it was put together, it's pretty easy to change. This tip tells you how.
Changing a Program's Compatibility Settings
If an older program no longer runs under Windows, you may still be able to get some life out of it by changing its compatibility settings. This tip tells you how.
Changing App Notifications
Windows apps can communicate with you, keeping you up to date with whatever task they are designed to perform. If you get too much communication, you can turn off notifications from any app you don't want to hear from.
Changing Behavior for Audio CDs
When you place an audio CD in you PC, Windows attempts to play the CD, by default. If you don't want Windows to behave in this manner, you'll appreciate the information in this tip.
Changing File Explorer's Default Startup Location
The File Explorer can start in either of two locations. This tip tells you how to set its default startup location to one of these two views.
Changing How the Power Button Behaves
When you shut down your system, you normally use the Power button that is visible after you click the Start button. You have complete control over what this button actually does.
Windows provide a surprising amount of flexibility when it comes to what you see on the screen. You can even make changes to the icons used for various desktop items, as highlighted in this tip.
Changing Regional Settings
Windows makes it easy to set your system to accurately reflect your regional settings. This tip sets you well on your way.
Changing Screen Resolution
Screen resolution is a key attribute of your monitor. You usually have choices for resolution, which provides you with a good deal of control in balancing screen "real estate" against readability.
Changing Sounds Associated with Windows Events
You can customize Windows so that various sounds (or none) are associated with various Windows events. This tip explains how the association is done.
Changing the Mouse Pointer
Windows is rather configurable, especially when it comes to the user interface. Here's how you can modify the way that mouse pointers look on your system.
Changing the Program that Opens a File
If you have multiple versions of the same program on your system, Windows can become confused as to which version it should use to open your files. Here's how to specify exactly which program should be used to open any type of data file.
Changing the Size of Start Screen Tiles
The Start screen can server as your launching pad for whatever programs you use on your system. If your Start screen includes live tiles, you may want to resize them to adjust the amount of information they show. Here's how.
Changing the Start Screen's Theme
You'll spend a lot of time viewing the Start screen in Windows. If you want to change up things, you can modify which theme the operating system uses for a background and color.
Changing the User Interface Language
Tired of Windows showing you information in English when you'd much prefer a different language? Here's how to modify the language that Windows utilizes for its user interface.
Changing Time Settings
As you no doubt know, Windows has a built-in clock that is used for a variety of purposes. This tip covers the various ways you can make adjustments to the time settings.
Changing Your Screen Saver
Screen savers can be works of art to bring some aesthetics to your computer monitor. This tip tells you how to change your screen saver.
Changing Your Sound Theme
Don't like the sounds that Windows has chosen to play when system events occur? Here's how to change the sound theme that Windows uses.
Configuring Automatic Windows Updates
One of the practices you should adopt to keep your system running smoothly is to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft patches. You can configure automatic updates so this happens behind the scenes without you having to remember to check for them.
Controlling the Mouse Pointer Speed
One of the personalization settings you can control is how fast the cursor moves when you move your mouse. You can fine-tune the mouse pointer speed so that it's optimal for how you like to work.
Customizing the SendTo Menu
The SendTo menu can be used to perform some handy tasks with files. By following the steps in this tip you'll be able to customize your SendTo menu to meet your needs.
Customizing the Start Menu
Windows gives you the ability to customize exactly what appears on your Start menu. Here's how you get to the controls for this feature.
Customizing What Appears on the Right Side of the Start Menu
You're probably used to seeing your Start menu appear a certain way. But is it the most effective display for how you work? This tip tells you how you can customize what appears on the right side of the Start menu.
Disabling Automatic Reboot after a Windows Update
It may not always be a good thing to have Windows automatically restart your computer after an update. This tip tells you how to disable such automatic reboots.
Disabling Automatic Updates
If you don't like that Windows automatically downloads and applies updates in the middle of the night, you can gain some control over how and when updates are handled. This tip explains how.
Enabling and Disabling Windows Features
Want to make sure that Windows is trim and fit, using only those features you routinely use? Here's how to enable or disable just about any built-in feature in the operating system.
Enabling Safe Mode
Safe Mode is an essential way to regain control of a system that fails to fully boot. Windows 10 doesn't come with a way to get into Safe Mode, however. Here's how to fix that problem.
Enlarging Screen Font Size
Sometimes things appearing on the screen are a bit too small to read easily. One possible solution is to adjust the size of the font Windows uses to display information. Here's how you can make the change.
Grouping Tiles on the Start Screen
The Start screen can serve as your launching pad for whatever programs you desire. You can move tiles around on the Start screen and group them in a manner that makes sense for how you work.
Improve Performance by Turning Off 3D Effects
Windows does a lot of nuancing to provide the user with a pleasing visual experience. All this attention to detail, though, comes at a price. If you want your computer to perform a bit better you might consider turning off its 3D effects. This tip tells you how.
Improving Text Sharpness with ClearType
Ever notice that even with a fancy new monitor, text can still look a bit muddy on the screen. You can use ClearType technology to sharpen the text so it appears very crisp instead of muted.
Making Sure Num Lock is On
The Num Lock key controls how your numeric keypad behaves and, possibly, a few other behaviors. Here's how to adjust whether the key is on or off when you start your system.
Modifying the Color Scheme
Windows maintains what it calls a color scheme to control how the various elements of Windows appear. Here's how to change the various colors in that scheme to reflect your personal preference.
Modifying the General Startup Process
Having problems getting Windows to start properly? You can try to track down what is causing the problem by using the techniques discussed in this tip.
Modifying What is Started when You Start Windows
Did you know that Windows automatically starts extra programs whenever you boot your system? If you want to see which programs are loading in your system, follow the steps outlined in this tip.
Modifying Windows Startup Services
Windows takes advantage of many different operating system components called services. Most of the Windows services are started when you boot your system. These services can, however, be selectively enabled or disabled by you. This can be very handy for troubleshooting.
Organizing the All Programs Menu
All of the programs installed on your system are visible when you choose All Programs from the Start menu. If you want to reorganize how those programs appear on the All Programs menu, Windows makes it easy.
Picking a Desktop Icon Size
Are the icons on your desktop displayed at the right size for your preference or needs? Windows provides three different sizes from which you can choose, as detailed in this tip.
Quick Screen Clear
Do you work with a lot of open windows at the same time? If so, you'll love this way to easily focus on only one of those windows.
Removing a Place from the Recent Places or Quick Access Lists
Some Windows features can be both time savers and privacy concerns at the same time. The Recent Places list and the Quick Access list are two such features. This tip tells you how you can handle the lists if privacy is an issue for you.
Removing a Tile from the Start Screen
The Start screen is a busy place in Windows. If it is too busy for your tastes, you can easily remove any of the tiles it contains.
Removing an Update
Windows installs updates automatically by default. If you want to remove an update, this tip tells you how.
Renaming Your Computer
When you buy a new computer, it typically has some obscure name that doesn't accurately reflect your personality. Or perhaps you gave your computer a name but now it's on a network and publicly viewable, so you want to change it to something else. Whatever the case, renaming your computer, assuming you have permission to do so, is quick and easy.
Restoring Send To Desktop (Create Shortcut)
Sometimes the 'Send to | Desktop (create shortcut)' option disappears, or perhaps it was never there in the first place. This tip explains how to restore this functionality.
Reviewing the Windows Update History
Windows installs updates automatically by default. If you want to review what updates have been installed, seeing the update history is just a few clicks away.
Running Older Programs in Windows
You may still need to use programs that worked under older versions of Windows that don't work so well under Windows 7 or Windows 8. Using the program compatibility wizard provides hope that these old programs may still work after all.
Sharing Resources on a Network
Business or home networks can make efficient use of resources by sharing them. You can establish a print server and/or a disk server so that most of your resources are concentrated on just a few systems, thus removing the need for every machine to have its own printer and its own disk farm.
Starting Applications Automatically when Starting Windows
Understanding the Task Scheduler is a great asset when you want your computer to do things automatically. This tip shows you how to use the Task Scheduler to start an application when Windows starts.
Swapping Mouse Buttons for Left-Handed Users
By default, the mouse is configured such that the primary mouse button is the left one, and the secondary mouse button is the right one. If you're left handed, this may seem backwards, so Windows makes it easy to swap the buttons.
Turning Off Aero
Windows implements a lot of visual effects that can make your screen and desktop look gorgeous. These good looks come at a price, however: They take up memory and processor time. If you want to speed up your system, consider turning off the Aero effects, as described in this tip.
Turning Off Bothersome Windows Messages
Bothered by messages from Microsoft letting you know about their various apps and tools? Here's a way to configure Windows to cut back on some of those messages.
Turning Off Window Drop-Shadows
Windows adds its own bells and whistles to what you see on your desktop. One of those flourishes is a drop-shadow added to each window. If you want to, you can turn off these drop-shadows, as discussed in this tip.
Turning on Inactive Window Scroll
Have you ever needed to scroll through an inactive window while keeping another window active? This tip will show you how to activate this setting.
Understanding Aero Peek
Windows implements a lot of visual effects that can make your screen and desktop look gorgeous. In Windows 7 those effects have a name: Aero. Part of Aero is a usability feature called Peek, as described in this tip.
Understanding and Changing AutoPlay Settings
You can configure Windows to perform some tasks automatically. This includes telling it what to do whenever Windows detects external media.
Understanding Compatibility Settings
Compatibility settings are parameters within executable images that allow or deny it to properly run under a given version of Windows. You can't change these parameters directly, but there is a Compatibility Wizard that you could use to see if it can help make your old programs run under Windows.
Understanding Computer Names
Every Windows computer on your network has a name. This name typically provides some identifying information about the system itself. Here's the low-down on what computer names really are all about.
ReadyBoost promised to provide a hot-swappable addition of memory that could end up improving system performance. Whether it really does depends on a number of factors. This tip provides some understanding of ReadyBoost.
Understanding Windows Firewall
There are a lot of malicious users on the Internet who are trying to break into other people's systems. One way to mitigate the risk of your system being compromised is to run behind a firewall.
Using a Dvorak Keyboard with Windows
Dvorak keyboards can provide more efficient typing as well as make the keyboard characters more accessible to those who type with one hand. This tip describes how to tell Windows you have a Dvorak keyboard.
Using Desktop Themes
Desktop themes allow you to quickly and easily personalize your system so that what you see and hear while working can be tailored to your taste. You can choose from built-in themes or create new ones. And switching between themes is just a couple of mouse clicks away.
Using Desktop Themes from Around the World
When you install Windows, it installs desktop themes appropriate to where you live. You can access a number of themes from other countries, though, if you know where to look.
Using the System Information Tool
Need to lift the hood and look into the inner workings of Windows? One place you can do this easily is through the System Information dialog box, introduced in this tip.
Using Your Own Pictures as Wallpaper
You can change the image that is displayed for your desktop background to your own picture. Changing the wallpaper to one of your own pictures is a simple process.
What is a Desktop.ini File?
When browsing through your system, you might see several files named Desktop.ini. This tip explains what these files are and how Windows uses them.