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Common Windows 10 issues and how to fix them

Common Windows 10 issues and how to fix them
© Paulus Rusyanto | Dreamstime.com

Windows 10 may be a pretty reliable operating system, but that doesn't mean it can't give you fits from time to time. It can be peppered with some frustratingly common issues that may keep you from accomplishing the things you need to on your PC, but that doesn't mean they can't be taken care of with a little know-how.

If you find that you're running into problems here and there, we've got a selection of fixes you can try so you can get things back to normal again with a minimal amount of fuss.

It's usually pretty simple to apply these resolutions, so if you're having problems, read on for some easy ways to clear up the most common frustrations that can bring your PC time to a screeching halt – or at least make it a little less annoying.

Not enough space to install a Windows update

This is a fairly common problem that people run into all the time: You try to install a Windows update and run out of space. Not to worry! If you need to free up space quickly, there's an easy fix. Depending on the size of the update you want to start, you should delete a few programs or files to clear up space.

If you have a lot of extraneous programs or apps that need to be deleted, just head to Control Panel to uninstall the ones you aren't using. You should be able to clear up enough space here to execute the update, at the very least. You'd be surprised how much space things like games and other apps can take up.

If that doesn't work, go through your personal files and documents. Are there things like images and videos you've saved that you don't need anymore? Trash them! Just don't forget to empty the Recycle Bin once you're finished. Things aren't actually deleted until you've done that, anyway.

You received an error code while updating

It's happened to all of us. You're trying to install an update, but Windows has other plans. That's no problem! There's usually a quick fix for this issue, too. Your first step should be rising the Windows Update Troubleshooter, Run it, and then restart your device, then check for new updates by heading to the Start menu, go to Settings, then Update & Security. Select Windows Update, then Check for updates. If the problem you were experiencing was indeed fixed, you can then go ahead and install the updates you were having trouble with.

The search bar or Start menu disappears

Stopped seeing your search bar in Windows 10? You may have accidentally hidden the taskbar. To fix this, press the Windows logo key + I and select Personalization an then Taskbar. Click Lock the taskbar, and then turn off the Automtically hide the taskbar in desktop mode option. This should unhide your taskbar and keep it from going away in the future, leaving you to be able to access the search bar once again. There are a few other suggestions nestled away at this official Microsoft support page as well.

Apps won't work with Windows 10 after you've upgraded

Is the new app you just downloaded for Windows 10 refusing to work after you upgrade? You might need to head to the Windows Store to do a quick re-download. Delete your app from the Store, then reinstall a fresh copy. Chances are this will fix the issue handily and you won't have to worry about being down one less important app. It's always your favorites that seem to be affected, after all.

Set privacy and Wi-Fi settings

Don't make the simple mistake of leaving your wireless network open for others to see. If you're concerned about sharing the contents of your PC or letting its wireless service be available to everyone, make sure you follow this quick step. Head into your network settings and make sure to choose the Private network setting if you don't want to make your network or PC discoverable to other devices that may share the same network. Go ahead and ensure that's what your settings stay on so you don't have any privacy mishaps going forward.

Printer won't connect

Have an older printer that won't work with Windows 10? As you may have guessed, there's a fix for that too. You just need the Windows 10 compatible app. Go to Settings, then Devices, then Printers & scanners. You can select Add a printer or scanner, wait, and then your printer likely won't be found. Choose "The printer that I want isn't listed." You can choose My printer is a little older from there. Help me find it. from there, which will open up a list that you can choose your printer from. Choose Next. Name your printer, then click Next until you reach a screen that says "Print a test page." You should be good to go when your printer starts to grinding and printing out a test page like the screen says. Easy-peasy!

Your files open in the wrong apps

Do your files keep opening in the wrong apps in Windows 10? You can fix that with a few quick clicks. Just go to the Start button, select Apps, then Default apps. From there, go to Choose default apps by file type. Find the file extension that you want to change up, and then select the app you want to open it with. If there isn't a program you want to use, select Choose a default instead. You should be able to successfully open the file you want with the correct program going forward.

Notifications are out of control

Tired of getting tons of notifications as you use your computer? You can adjust them so you're not inundated every time you go to get work done (or play a game).

This is a quick process. Hit the Start menu, then select Settings. Go to System, then Notifications and actions. You can then tailor the notifications you want to receive to your preferences there, turn off the ones you don't want to see, and even turn Windows tips and tricks off if you prefer.

What happens when your computer boots up in Safe Mode?

Safe mode isn't anything to be concerned about. It's a diagnostic mode of your computer that can be used to help your computer fix issues that arise during normal use. It loads in a special way and allows you to troubleshoot the operating system so you can figure out why the computer isn't working right. To boot your computer in Safe Mode, you can hold F5 or F8 while your computer is starting up and select it from the boot menu. Sometimes, your computer will start in Safe Mode if it doesn't start up normally. If that happens, there's nothing to be concerned with – you can try a restart, uninstall software you just installed, and go from there. If the problem persists, you might want to seek professional assistance.

More tips for your Windows 10 PC

Become a Windows power user with the eBook "Windows 10: Secrets and Tips for Busy People." Even if you've used Windows for years, there's a lot to learn about getting the most out of the operating system. This eBook is packed with tips and tricks to make you more efficient and productive — and make life just a little easier.

Get your copy on Amazon Kindle here

Check out all my eBooks on topics to help you navigate the digital world, available on Amazon Kindle.

7 tools to fix Windows problems

If you've ever gummed up your Windows computer or are unsure why it's all of a sudden acting out of character, something's probably in need of some TLC.

Tap or click here for solutions for some of the most frustrating Windows issues around.

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