Microsoft Windows Tweaks, Tips and How-To Articles

Disable Virtual Based Security (VBS) on Windows 11 to Boost Game Performance

Posted in Windows 11 by Steve Sinchak

If you purchase a modern Windows 11 PC and really care about your game performance, you may notice the Virtual Based Security (VBS) feature in Windows 11 preventing you from reaching top performance with your hardware.  While this is a very important security feature of Windows that isolates critical components from others to prevent your machine from being compromised, if you device is dedicated to gaming and you want to squeeze every little bit of performance out of your hardware, it may be worth checking into if VBS is enabled on your hardware and testing performance with it disabled.

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Install Windows 11 with only a Local Account

Posted in Windows 11 by Steve Sinchak

Microsoft really wants you to use a Microsoft Account as your login for Windows 11. In fact, they have hidden the ability to use a local account on most versions of Windows 11 even though it is still technically possible to do so.  While on the "How would you like to set up this device?" screen, you will notice that no matter where you click, you are forced to use a Microsoft Account.  That is where a special trick on this screen comes in handy that will allow you to create a local account with authentication into your Windows 11 PC.  Follow these steps if you prefer a local account over being forced to use a Microsoft Account. 

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Where to find Windows Update Device Drivers in Windows 11

Posted in Windows 11 by Steve Sinchak

After installing Windows 11, or really any version of Windows, it has become common practice to head over to Windows Update to update and install any drivers for your device.  Over the years this has become a valuable technique to get your machine not only running, but with the latest version of drivers to make sure your device is operating at top performance.  But after installing Windows 11 on one of my laptops, I became very worried that the feature I have come to depend on was no longer present in Windows 11. After hitting Check for updates many times I was never presented with the option to install drivers for any of the devices that Windows 10 happily installed for me with this same technique.  After some digging around in the new Settings app, I discovered that Driver Updates are now separate and located within Advanced option of the Windows Update section. 

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How to Install Windows 11 on just about any Device

Posted in Windows 11 by Steve Sinchak

For the first time in many years Microsoft increased the minimum system requirements for its latest operating system, Windows 11.  While this is always controversial, this time around it certainly generated a lot of noise as the new requirements instantly made a big chunk of Windows 10 compatible computers ineligible for the latest version of Windows.  While it is not unusual for older hardware to be left behind when new operating systems are released, the jump in requirements and specifically requiring only certain CPU models and TPM chips instantly made a lot of good PC hardware incompatible.  The good news is that despite the often confusing messaging on the topic coming from Microsoft, it is possible to install Windows 11 on just about any 64-bit devices that is compatible with Windows 10.  

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Download Windows 11 Now

Posted in Windows 11 by Steve Sinchak

The latest version of Windows is finally here and ready for all compatible PC to install now if you don't want to wait for your PC to be offered the update via Windows Update.  That's right, while Microsoft said most PCs will receive the update by mid-2022, there is no reason to wait if you are ready to dive in now.  Just follow these instructions to get started right away. 

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Create bootable USB flash drive from Windows 10 ISO

Posted in Windows 10 by Steve Sinchak

I've written about a few methods over the years to create a bootable USB flash drive from a Windows 10 ISO file.  But recently I switched to using a new tool called Rufus that is both reliable at successfully creating bootable media and automating many steps to quickly get the job done so you can perform a clean install.  This is very helpful when performing a clean install of the Windows 10 20H2 October update ISO

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Download Windows 10 20H2 (October Update) ISO

Posted in Windows 10 by Steve Sinchak

The latest update to Windows 10 known officially as the October 2020 update and 20H2 is ready for use and has begun rolling out.  The final build number of the 20H2 update is 19042 with minor revisions rolling out along with normal security updates via Windows Update. At this time the new build is available to testers before Microsoft pushes it to millions of users in the weeks ahead.  Check out the download links below to get started with Windows 10 October Update today!

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PowerToys are back for Windows 10!

Posted in Windows 10 by Steve Sinchak

I was a big users of the original power toys that were first introduced for Windows 95. In fact, one of the most popular original power toys called Tweak UI was the inspiration for my first website about tweaking Windows called TweakXP.com.  The initial release of PowerToys for Windows 10 includes two utilities for helping you customize your Windows 10 experience and increase your productivity.  The first is called FancyZones which is a window layout manager that builds upon the Snap Assist feature in Windows 10.  Instead of just a few options and locations to "snap" your windows, FancyZones allows you to define custom layouts.  The second utility is a useful keyboard shortcut guide that is available on demand to help identify shortcuts to make your more productive.

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Get Started with the New Windows Terminal

Posted in Windows 10 by Steve Sinchak

The Windows Terminal is a terminal application for Windows 10 that provides convenient access to multiple command-line tools such as command line, Powershell, Powershell Core, Ubuntu, Debian, Kali, Azure Cloud Shell, and more in an easy to use browser like tabbed experience. Additional features include Unicode and UTF-8 character support, custom themes, styles, configurations and GPU accelerated text rendering.  Best of all, Windows Terminal is a free open source project by Microsoft. 

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Windows Defender Browser Protection for Google Chrome

Posted in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 by Steve Sinchak

Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 includes the Windows Defender SmartScreen service for years that prevents users from accidentally browsing to known malicious and fake phishing websites. While Microsoft Edge is a great browser and has many very strong security features, Microsoft understands that many people choose to use Google Chrome.  As such, Microsoft still cares about the security of the web browser that you use because after all, the web browser remains to be the number one attack vector to infect your PC.  To help Google Chrome protect your PC, Microsoft has released the Windows Defender Browser Protection extension for Google Chrome. 

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