12 Dumbest PC Default Settings (and How to Change Them)

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If you bought a new car that came with the seat tilted all the way back, the air conditioner going at full blast in the winter and the radio volume turned down to inaudible levels, you'd immediately make adjustments. Unfortunately, most PC users don't change the default settings in their operating system or other popular software. Programmers know this and often configure the defaults to protect users, distract them with unnecessary bling or push a business agenda.

Fortunately, when you know what to change, you can take control of your computer. Here are the 12 dumbest default PC settings and how to change them.

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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15 comments
  • Pro M. Thius Says:

    I must be a perfectionist. Never noticed backspace sends me back a page. Never thought of using it accept except to correct a word. What started irritating me and it could be subliminal communication is the flashing "tweet deleted" message after a deleted tweet has disappeared. Hardly reassuring.

  • Reasonable Guy Says:

    Backspace button: this website has the best description EVER of the INSANE double usage of the Backspace button. A button used to remove one tiny letter or number from a little text field should NEVER be used to completely change the entire page you are on, erasing work and time in the process. And as for Loren and any other INCONSIDERATE people lacking empathy and/or reason, STOP IT! Just because you want your car's parking brake to double as an emergency ejection lever for the driver's seat but only when the headlights happen to be on rather than off... Are you insane? It is clear that the Backspace button should NEVER change the entire page you are on, simply because of the value of people's time and effort in completing webforms, which are not going away. Pick a new shortcut key for your stupid BACKPAGE function. Maybe Shift+Backspace will do. And apologies for the vitriol but I hate losing my work and that has happened several times and it is often not possible to know if one's cursor is in a writeable field on unfamiliar webforms. Sometimes you click on a field you think needs to be changed and the cursor establishes itself and remains there flashing like it is ready to edit and then you hit Backspace and lose all your work. It's no fun. So learn a new shortcut key and stop being so insensitive to the pain and loss of those who use webforms. Thank you.

  • Drexel Says:

    Why all of a sudden no audio on downloads.It was set what changed it is maddening!

  • Amusa Damilola Oluwafemi Says:

    Nice technology development.
    which to study over there.....

  • Nate Says:

    No, no, no, no. A thousand times no. Stop giving people BAD advice. Turn off UAC? Blindly allow Office macros? What's next, tell people to leave their front doors unlocked! STOP IT.

  • Michael Says:

    Disabling UAB is the dumbest idea. Let's have everyone make it easier for a hacker to run software on a person's system.

  • Alex Balcanquall Says:

    Don't disable UAC - it turns off UAC virtualization and will break some applications as turning off UAC prevents apps from being able to write to key locations (with UAC on the apps write to a per app virtualization location). In fact if you install apps with UAC on / UAC off and then flip the setting you will likely break apps.

  • Tharun Amudala Says:

    Hai..
    iam Tharun want to buy a laptop for my college use.
    Which will be the best laptop or else a note book which can be used for my assiagnments and everything and where can i buy...
    thank you..

  • Yimi Says:

    Rick Roberts Says:
    September 10th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    "Or you could, you know, get a Mac."

    Pointless because Mac (also a PC) end up installing boot camp or parallels to utilize Windows operating systems.

  • Fritz Says:

    Thanks for the tip about error reporting to Microsoft. Never once has Windows found a solution to any "problem".

  • Weltanschauung Says:

    You know what I'd love to see? Some great tip to disable (on demand) those annoying slideshows/galleries in web pages. It would be useful especially when the slideshow/gallery format is used on a article (and not for a photo album). Laptop, stop doing that.

    PS. Curly quotes are nice because Word is primarily for printed work... Or it used to be.

  • Rick Roberts Says:

    Or you could, you know, get a Mac.

  • Graeme Evans Says:

    If you disable UAC, then when running as a standard user - not an insecure user (admin) how can one elevate to install software?

    In 2013, you cannot propose disabling UAC.

    In fact, I only agree with the first one - Backspace in the browser.

    Word Macro Disable? ILOVEYOU
    Group Applications? Yes please or have hundreds of Windows95 Style buttons everywhere, no.

  • CD Says:

    "To set your home page to be blank in IE". People still use IE?

  • Loren Says:

    The BACKSPACE to return to previous page is something I use all the time with a browser. My mouse has buttons assigned for forward and back, but really, the backspace makes a browser easier to control with any mouse with a third button which can be assigned.

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