Information & Tips

How To Repair And Restore Windows 10 In 6 Easy Steps

You have some urgent work to do, but your laptop is acting up. It won’t boot, and when it does manage to start up, the Windows OS crashes after every few minutes.

Sure, you could take it down to the technician first thing in the morning, but what can you do now to get things moving?

Windows 10 is a powerful OS that is easy to troubleshoot and usually recovers from problems itself. But sometimes human intervention becomes necessary; this may be one of those times.

Let’s explore what can be done to get your computer in a proper working state without losing any data.

6 Ways Of Troubleshooting Windows 10

PC problems creep in when least expected, and it always happens when you have a lot to do. We have detailed some commonly used DIY fixes for a Windows 10 computer that’s been acting up.

Try them all and see what works for you:

1.     Repairs With System File Checker (SFC)

The SFC can scan and verify the working versions of all system files, making it possible for you to quickly find if anything is wrong in there.

Go to start menu, search for ‘command prompt’ and enter ‘SFC/scannow’ at the command line. Make sure you do it as an administrator.

It’ll be a good 10 minutes before the scan completes, but might take longer depending on the hardware on your PC.

Next, this command will also attempt to repair the files that may be damaged or incomplete, by replacing it with a recent copy.  And if the cache file is also corrupted, the SFC command will try to fix that too.

Typically Windows 10 PCs start working a lot faster once the SFC cycle is complete.

2.     Repairs With DISM

Here’s the deal, SFC is faster because it’s a more cursory check.

If you believe there’s a need for a more in-depth and authoritative check, use the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) command. It can fix issues that SFC won’t detect.

But you’ll need to know basic file repair syntax to use DISM properly. Don’t worry, though, it’s easy to figure out, and you can find relevant tutorials online.

Open command prompt as an administrator and then enter individual commands or enter a complete set to check and repair. For example, try the ‘/checkhealth’ command to discover any loss or corruption in the running image of your OS.

So the syntax should read something like this:

dism/online/cleanup-image/checkhealth

On the other hand, the ‘/check’ command lets you know if the damage is fixable.

The ‘/restorehealth’ command attempts to repair the image as long as you can provide a viable source for a healthy image. Otherwise, it will try to find the necessary files online.

3.     Use Windows System Restore

If the system restore function is enabled, Windows automatically creates and saves various restore points on your behalf – you could also specify the time and date for creating this perfect copy of your system.

And when your computer starts acting up, simply go back and reset the system to this perfect copy. Hopefully, things will get back to normal again.

To access it, type “restore point” in the search bar, then click on the system properties tab, and access the system restore wizard. If the system restore tab is not clickable, it means that you do not have a restore point.

However, if the wizard opens up, you can see all the restore points made to date – choose an instance – and click on Scan for affected programs.

It would now show you what changes would be made to your current system. Next, run the restoration process. It should take about an hour to reinstate your system to its former glory, depending on the system and the amount of data that needs to be restored.

4.     In-Place Updates

This is one of the best methods of updating your Windows without losing any important files and folders.

You’ll need another version of Windows 10 on a bootable USB, disc, etc.; make sure it is the same version as the one on your system.

Now, login into windows from an administrator account and remove all antivirus software other than Defender. Then run the upgrade from the setup.exe file, and accept the terms and conditions and license agreements.

It should take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour, and your system would be upgraded, and all issues will be resolved.

5.     Factory Reset

If all else has failed, try this move to revert your Windows 10 to its original state, i.e., what it was like right after installation. But know that you might lose your apps, programs, and settings, etc. as a result of a reset, so do it only when necessary. Also, don’t forget to save any critical files and folders on an external drive.

Follow these steps for a factory reset:

  1. Log in as an administrator
  2. Go to settings, then update and security, and then recovery
  3. Right on the top, you will notice it says “Reset This PC,” and a clickable button which says “Get Started”
  4. Click on it, and you will be moved to a new menu where you choose between keep my files or remove everything
  5. Then let it run, and your PC will be reset with or without your files and minus all the apps and settings

6.     A Clean Install

If your system is inundated with malware, and viruses, or ransomware — it would be best to go for a clean install. Also, a fresh installation makes sense if you want to create new drives and delete old windows files that are of no use!

You can use a Windows 10 CD or bootable USB for a fresh install. Once complete, you’ll have a clean virus-free PC.

Please know that your data will not survive a clean install, so it would be best to backup personal files on an external drive before you begin the installation.

Key Takeaway

Hopefully, these ideas will help you resolve your issues, and your PC will work at its full potential so you can get back to work.

However, if all this seems too overwhelming, it’d be best to talk to an expert. Visit your local Windows tech to get your OS fixed ASAP.

 

Remote Working 101 – How To Fix Common Zoom Mistakes

2020 has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride — we have faced some of the most unusual scenarios in the past couple of months while fighting to curb the spread of COVID-19. Chief among them were the precautionary measures that mandated people maintain a physical distance from others.

As a result, many businesses and educational institutions had to close their doors for their staff and customers alike – resorting to working from home where possible.

This created an unexpected dependency on digital platforms that help people communicate and collaborate with ease. So, it comes as no surprise that Zoom usage has been up by 21% since the end of 2019 – there were 12.92 million active users in February this year, and the number keeps increasing.

That explains why Zoom has become the most popular video conferencing tool for organizations of all sizes that are struggling to stay in business despite the raging pandemic.

The good news is that using it is quite straight forward. However, like all things technical, it has some vulnerabilities that can frustrate users, especially those with little to no experience in dealing with technology.

Common Zoom Issues And Easy Fixes

We have explored some of the most common issues that users face and have provided instructions on how to solve them.

Audio Or Camera Troubles

Does it ever happen that you join a Zoom meeting but can’t see and/or hear others?

Don’t worry; it’s probably because you are in such a hurry to get started that you close the window that pops up before entering the conference, without caring for what it’s telling you.

Next time, do not close it, and just press “Join with Computer Audio Tab.” However, if you closed the window by mistake, press the join audio toggle on the bottom left, and then press “Join with Audio Computer.”

If people still can’t hear you – press the space bar – or click the microphone icon on the bottom left and unmute it.

If your camera is not functioning, click the camera icon in the taskbar to enable it. If it still shows an error, go your system’s camera settings and permit it to be accessed by apps.

Gatecrashers

Whether you are heading an online class or having a team conference to check progress — these sessions are private, and only relevant people should be allowed to participate.

Sadly, Zoom bombing has become a thing – it’s where unwanted individuals gatecrash your online meeting to cause chaos and put you off track. Despite the many security layers, some people manage to enter meetings where they aren’t welcomed.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your Zoom sessions remain secure:

  • Update to the latest version of Zoom — many new security measures have been put in place to prevent Zoom bombing. Now, apart from the ID, a password is also required, plus all participants first get placed in a waiting area and need to be allowed by the administrator to enter.
  • Don’t share your meeting ID and password on public places like your companies social media account. Instead, it would be best to send it privately via email, WhatsApp, etc.
  • Lock the meeting once everyone has joined by clicking on participants
  • Delete people who are not meant to be there by clicking on participants, then choosing the particular ID and then delete
  • Disallow deleted people to come back in, by going to the meeting tab under account settings

Don’t See All The Features

Did you just join a call and can’t see all the features that can enhance the experience for you?

You are either using a way old version of Zoom that needs to be updated, or you are accessing via your browser and not the dedicated app.

There is a simple fix, just download the app and use it to hold and join meetings – this way, all the features will be visible to you.

Distorted Videos And Audio

Since most of us are working from homes, it is quite common to a considerable amount of distortion in your meeting.

There can be several reasons for this: the internet connection may be glitchy, other participants may have rowdy children playing in the background, or they may have just left the TV on. Any of these circumstances can lower the quality of your Zoom experience.

So make sure that only one person talks at a time while everyone else keeps their mics off. In fact, next time, when hosting a meeting, deactivate all participant mics so they will be muted by default.

To do so, click on “Participants”, then “More”, and then select “Deactivate Participants” at the entrance. You also have the option to “Mute All” mikes during the call, by choosing Mute All under the participants tab.

Not Receiving The Activation Email

If you sent out a request to join but are unable to receive the email – wait a little – it can take up to half an hour.

However, if you haven’t received the email for more than 30 minutes, check your spam folder, and if it’s not there, you have to whitelist [email protected] with your email provider. That should solve the issue.

Call Cuts After 40 Minutes

This is not a problem per se but a limitation built into the Zoom app. However, if you get the premium subscription, the conference can stretch for as long as you want.

Moreover, the free plan also does not allow you to record the meeting on the Cloud. Instead, you can record on your personal device, then upload the file to the Cloud, which is far from convenient.

So next time, you call cuts after 40 minutes, simply create a new meeting, or to avoid the issue upgrade to a premium plan.

Bottom Line

Zoom is definitely a savior in these troubles times and has been helping many to communicate efficiently. Next time you face an issue during a call, follow the instructions detailed above to ensure that all your virtual meetings and conferences go on without a glitch from here on.

5 Ways To Fix Your Corrupted SD Card Without Losing Data

SD cards are getting smaller and more convenient as their storage capabilities grow exponentially.

However, the problem is that these storage devices are prone to corruption and damage. This loss doesn’t even have to be intentional, as these SD cards have a limited life, and they can get corrupt automatically after prolonged usage.

This usually means loss of any data, i.e., photos, videos or documents, you may have stored on there.

You can tell if you have a corrupted SD card at your hands if a computer or smartphone can no longer read its content. And even if you see the files, it gets impossible to add, save, delete, or copy them. Additionally, your device may display messages like, “SD card is not available. The file or directory is damaged and cannot be read” or “Memory Card Error” to let you know that something’s wrong.

But don’t worry just yet. It is possible to retrieve some or all of the content as long as you act quickly.

Here’s what you can do.

1.     Show Hidden Files

A virus-ridden SD card may hide all the files and folders on it, leading you to believe it’s already empty. However, you can tell that the data is still there because the available storage space usually remains unchanged.

This is because the attributes for all files have been changed to read-only or hidden, to make the card appear empty. Here’s how you can access these files:

  • Mount the SD Card to the reader
  • Open Windows Explorer, and then click on the Tools menu
  • Then go to Folder Options and click on view
  • Check the box next to show hidden files, folders & drives
  • Press ok, and now you can view all files

2.     Change The Drive

When we plug in an external USB drive or SD card into the computer, it automatically assigns a letter to the external device.

But in case you have a faulty card, the computer will say that the device is ready to use, but it won’t show up in the list of drives. Or the computer may not even detect it and keep telling you to “Please insert the disk.”

Do the following to fix the issue:

  • Open run and type in compmgmt.msc
  • Select disk management in the storage options
  • Right-click the drive that needs to be assigned a new letter and click Change Drive Letter and Paths
  • Then choose a new letter from the drop-down menu that appears under Assign following drive letter
  • Restart the PC, and the SD Card will hopefully now show up on your computer

3.     Uninstall and Reinstall

If nothing has worked thus far, reinstalling the SD Card’s driver may solve the issue. Here’s what needs to be done:

  • Right-click on This PC or My Computer
  • Click on Manage
  • Choose Disk driver then the drive in question (Assigned to your SD Card)
  • Uninstall it
  • Unmount the SD Card and then restart the PC
  • Put it back in the reader, and now the PC may detect it

4.     Try The Windows Troubleshooter

Follow these steps to repair a corrupt SD Card using the Windows Troubleshooter:

  • Plug in the card
  • In the Start Menu click on settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot
  • Choose the option that says Hardware and Devices to start the process
  • Once the troubleshooting is complete, restart the PC
  • Your SD Card should be functional now

5.     Resolve The Read-Only Error

Sometimes it just so happens that the card was never write-protected, but it continues to show a read-only error when you try to use it.

Here is a quick fix for this issue:

  • Open Command prompt and enter “diskpart”
  • Next, run these three commands: “list volume” followed by “select volume X” (Instead of X put the drive letter assigned to the SD Card), and finally enter “attributes disk clear read only”

The read-only error should no longer appear, so you can easily access and use your SD Card files.

Key Takeaway

If the steps mentioned above didn’t work for you, check with the SD Card manufacturer to see if they can offer a solution to your problem. You can also try a data recovery software that can even help get back deleted files, so corrupt data shouldn’t be an issue.

If nothing works, the only thing you are left to do is formatting the SD card. Yes, this means that you’ll never again be able to see the data that was saved on there earlier, but at least now the card is usable.

However, we advise you to invest in a new SD card and throw this one away.

 

15 Car Detailing Hacks To Save You Money

If you are looking for ways to keep your car looking as good as new, but have a limited budget, don’t worry!
Here are some simple tips that will help you fix and clean the exterior and interior of your car.

1 – Neutralize Any Smell From The Interior

For this, simply buy an odor neutralizer spray online or from your closest auto supplies store.

This goes a long way for masking strong smells such as tobacco smoke from the interior of your car. Lightly spray the carpet, door panels and seats, then turn the fan on – don’t forget to leave the windows closed for about an hour.

Another great way to keep your car smelling fresh is to seal some fruit rinds (like pineapple or orange) in a plastic bag and place it on your dashboard.

2 – Clean The Grime Off The Windows

A lot of people overlook that hint of grime on their windows, which is particularly visible when they are partially rolled down.

You can simply clean this with a rag and some detergent for a neat finish.

3 – Clean The Leather Inside

Are your leather seats permanently dirty from years of neglect?

Don’t worry, there is a simple solution for this – a leather cleaning kit.

Start by treating the leather with a conditioner, and apply the cleaner directly onto the stains. Rub it in gently and let it soak for about 30 seconds before you wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth.

4 – DIY Cleaner For Your Rims

Don’t want to invest money in buying a cleaner? No problem, this DIY solution made from common kitchen items can effectively clean your rims and hubcaps.

Mix half a cup of baking soda, a tablespoon of car shampoo and about two mugs of warm water together. Dip a towel or cloth into the mixture and scrub your rims; when you’re done, you can just rinse it off with water.

5 – Clean Air Vents With A Brush

The brush head on your vacuum cleaner might do the job, but it’s unlikely to be a thorough one.

To fully get rid of all the dust inside, get a paintbrush and spray some furniture polish on it. This will clean the dirt effectively, after which you can wipe the surface with a clean, dry cloth.

6 – Use Colorants

This is fairly straightforward; spray a few light coats of colorant on your vinyl or plastic doors and let each layer dry for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remember to let the colorant set in for at least 24 hours before you use the car.

7 – Rinse Your Car Prior To A Wash

Here’s one rule you should follow religiously; never apply soap to dry paint, as this grinds the grit and dirt right into the finish.

Start by rinsing your car with water so you can remove as much dirt as possible before dousing it with soapy water.

8 – Replace Old Carpets As Needed

Sometimes, it is cheaper to replace the older carpets with newer ones instead of using stain removers. For about $200, you can buy new carpets for your car, and simply install them yourself.

9 – Use The Correct Detergent

If you want to properly maintain your car paint, then it’s crucial to use the right detergent for cleaning. In other words, you should never use dish wash soap, as it is too harsh and dries the oils in the waxed layers of the paint.

After a thorough DIY cleaning job, learn how to effectively clean your hands of all the grease and grime here.

10 – Repair Leather Seat Tears

Fix the tears that appear in your leather seats with a vinyl leather repair kit. In addition to being cost effective, it is also easy and saves considerable time.

However, it’s important to note that this is not a miracle solution; you’ll still be left with noticeable tears, but you will no longer have large, gaping holes in your seats.

11 – DIY Paint Sealant

Also known as synthetic polymer wax, these can give your car a glossy finish. It’s not only easy to apply, but it also won’t leave a milky film on your trims.

Simply use a foam applicator to rub in the wax in circular motions, then wipe off any access with a soft (preferably microfiber) cloth or towel.

12 – Protect The Lid Of Your Tank

This is a seriously handy trick; just rub some WD-40 over the lid of your gas tank to protect it from rusting.

13 – Dust With Coffee Filters

Anyone who uses a simple cloth to dust their car knows that it spreads lint everywhere.

The easy solution is to use coffee filters; these are lint-free materials perfect for dusting your console, dashboards, doors, etc.

14 – Grease The Hood Hinges

After wiping them clean, spray the hinges with grease, or a few drops of motor oil.

Allow the solution to properly sink in by moving the hinge a couple of times, and make sure that it gets into both the sides.

15 – Clean Your Wipers With Soap

Like all other parts of your car, wipers are also subject to wear and tear. With time, the dirt and debris under your wipers can cause them to leave annoying streaks on the windshield; this can also turn into a major safety hazard in case of heavy rain or snow.

Hence, keep your blades clean by washing them with soapy water and wiping their edge with rubbing alcohol.

We hope our car detailing hacks will help you save money; with these, you no longer have to depend on experts for routine maintenance.

12 Weekend DIY Projects To Increase Your Home’s Value

Whether you are planning to put up your house on the market for sale, or thinking about renovations for Christmas, home improvement projects can be costly and time consuming. 

But with these simple DIY projects, they don’t have to be! You can easily start this weekend, and greatly increase your home’s value with a little time and effort. 

1 – A New House Number Plate

Want to impress people – or buyers – even before they enter your house? Start with the exterior and with the most basic DIY hack. You can either polish or shine your existing number plate, or build a new one that matches the door and the wall. 

 

2 – Improve The Look Of Your Curb

A green curb literally makes the best impression; trim the grass and add drought-tolerant plants, and it will change the overall look of your house.

Go for low maintenance plants that do not require a lot of effort to grow, unless you want to spend hours on pruning and mowing. 

3 – Hammock For Backyard 

Add a hammock in your backyard to enjoy a relaxing weekend with a cup of tea and your favorite book. It really makes the best hangout spot in the house, especially during summers. 

Remember, it’s the small things that make your home look cozy and inviting!

 

4 – Repaint Your Garage Door

A fresh new coat of paint on your garage door not only lends a pop of color to your exterior, but also makes your house look as good as new. 

Opt for colors like red, green, yellow, etc. to truly standout in a neighborhood filled with traditionally styled homes.

 

5 – Lighting Fixtures

The right lighting and fixture can change the look of the room all-together – you just have to be creative. 

If you don’t have the budget to buy new ceiling fixtures, then a good idea is to simply cut up a piece of wood in circular shapes, install Edison bulbs, and hook them up to the ceiling. Voila, you have a fancy new chandelier that any prospect walking into your house is bound to love.

 

6 – Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are not only super easy to build, but they also don’t require a lot of effort to install. You can simply buy these shelves in varying sizes, or build them as a weekend project. 

They’ll not only give your home a trendy vibe, especially if you paint them in bright colors, but you’ll also have extra storage space – a concern that many prospective buyers have.

 

7 – Remove The Carpet

Cleaning your carpet is a very tedious task – why not just remove it? 

If you feel that your floor is not up to the latest trend, you can stain, or paint it with your favorite stencil for a new look. To further enhance the look, you can place a matching rug to really make your floors pop.

 

8 – Change Door Knobs And Cabinet Handles

We often ignore these little fixtures, but they can add great value to your house. So, start by replacing all the door knobs and handles that you think need a makeover.  

Alternatively, you can make worn out fixtures look as good as new with a fresh coat of polish.

 

9 – Repaint The Walls

Walls define your house; scratches, stains, or old wallpapers can adversely affect your home’s value, and ruin look of your interior. 

Simply repaint your walls with a fresh, neutral color to make the rooms look spacious, and clean. 

 

10 – Re-Organize Your Laundry Room

A laundry room that actually makes you want to spend time washing and folding clothes in there? Imagine how great it would look to people who are thinking of buying the house.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money on this project; simply install shelves above the washing machine, and organize everything in neat little wooden baskets. 

 

11 – Paint The Cabinets

Tired of seeing the same old brown cupboards in your kitchen? Want a fresh and open vibe in the room?

Paint your cabinets a bright color; this is not only more cost effective than installing new ones, but you can make this a fun, weekend DIY project with your family. 

 

12 – Check Your Electrical Wiring

This is especially important if you have to put your house on the market, and want to get a good valuation. Install new switch boards, and check that all electrical wiring and outlets are up to code.

While some of these will require you to hire professional help, there are many small things that you can fix on your own – for example, your door bell, lights, garden sprinkler etc.

 

 

That’s it – these are some of the easiest ways to increase the curb appeal of your house, and its overall value.