Microsoft says that Windows 10 is now installed on nearly 500 million gadgets worldwide. It appears the gamble of offering free upgrades to existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users seems to have paid off.
Windows 10 has been around long enough that many of the early kinks have been worked out. However, there are still some frustrating issues hanging around.
That’s why you need to know about these five annoying Windows problems and how to fix them.
1. Stop those annoying notifications
Is there anything more frustrating than trying to get some important work done on your computer and bam, you’re distracted by an unnecessary notification? That seems to happen a lot with Windows 10.
Eventually, the pop-up goes away and ends up in the Windows 10 Action Center. You’ll see notices from such things as social media apps, your email, system updates, and even software updates for programs running on your gadget.
If you want to cut down on what notifications you see, you can. There’s a way to make Action Center only show you information that you want to see. Here’s how:
Open the Settings menu >> tap System >> tap Notifications & Actions. Here you will see a menu with a collection of toggles that control how notifications are displayed.
Here you can toggle off tips about Windows, app notifications, alarms, reminders, and incoming VoIP calls on the lock screen, and notifications on the lock screen. There’s even an option to turn off notifications for individual apps. So if you’re getting tons of annoying notifications from a particular app, simply turn them off.
2. Is Windows having trouble updating properly?
Windows 10 is set by default to automatically download and install updates. However, the process doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to. Sometimes updates get stuck in the middle of downloading or fail to install altogether.
Many times this happens because the downloaded files are damaged. When this happens you will need to refresh the update process and begin downloading new files. Here’s how:
On your keyboard, press Windows + E, this will open the File Explorer. Then, tap (C:) >> Windows >> SoftwareDistribution. You will see a folder with a handful of files inside:
Delete all the files inside this folder. Once you’ve finished deleting these files, reboot your PC and then check for updates to download and install.
3. Tighten your privacy settings
In Windows 10, Microsoft helpfully puts a lot of major privacy settings in one location. Go to Start >> Settings and select Privacy.
You’ll get a long list of areas from “General” and “Location” to “Contacts,” “Calendar” and “Feedback.” You can poke around each one to see what it controls and shares with Microsoft.
One that you might want to lock down right away is Location tracking.
In the Privacy screen, head to the “Location” area. Here, you can tell Windows to stop tracking your location entirely or choose specific apps that can and can’t use your location.
Location is useful for apps that give weather updates or when you’re looking at maps because you don’t have to put in your address every time. However, other apps might use it to keep tabs on you.
Cortana, Windows 10’s built-in personal assistant, uses your location to suggest items of interest near you or learn the places you like to go (if you’re using a laptop or Windows Phone).
4. Turning off your advertising ID
Like every other major online company, Microsoft is using targeted advertising to drive revenue. That means it’s sending advertisers your data so they know what ads to send you. While you can’t shut off the advertising, you can stop advertisers from seeing what you’re doing.
In the Privacy screen, go to “General” and toggle “Let apps use my advertising ID” to Off. Now, advertisers won’t get your advertiser ID when you visit a page.
You can click the link for “Manage My Microsoft advertising and other Personalization info” to set your global Microsoft Account preferences for seeing advertising on other Microsoft products.
(Note: If you’re using a local Windows account, this link won’t do much.)
5. Set a restore point for your gadget
Have you ever had to use the System Restore feature on your computer? This allows you to revert your computer’s state to that of a previous point in time, which can be used to recover from system malfunctions or other problems.
Unfortunately, in Windows 10, System Restore is not enabled by default. You need to turn it on manually. Here’s how:
Type “create a restore point” in the Start Menu and click on it when it appears. Then click (C:) >> Configure >> select Turn on system protection.
Once you’ve turned System Restore on you’ll need to use the slider under Disk Space Usage to set an appropriate amount of maximum disk space. Typically 5GB is enough.
(Note: When Windows 10 gets major Updates, System Restore could return to its default setting if disabled. You’ll need to check after major updates to ensure this feature is enabled.)
Have a question about Windows 10? Kim has your answer!
Want more out of Windows 10? Here are 10 useful features you probably never use but should
Psst! You’re probably not getting the most out of Windows 10. That’s the Microsoft operating system that’s running on roughly half a billion PCs and laptops. Windows is so commonplace that most of us don’t pay attention to the ways it can make our lives a whole lot easier. These are helpful tricks that you probably forgot are there.