Windows 10 Settings You Should Change Right Away

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windows10 settings to chang

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system offers a lot of compelling features, including Cortanaand a new Start menu. However, some of its default settings don't provide you with the best performance or usability. From showing file extensions to enabling system protection backups, here are seven things you need to change as soon as you get started with Windows 10.

Enable System Protection / Create a Restore Point

What happens if you install a bad piece of software or a defective driver and your computer starts acting strangely or you can't even boot. You'll want to revert Windows 10 to the previous system restore point, which will turn back the clock on your drivers, programs and settings to a time when the system worked perfectly. However, Windows 10 comes with system protection disabled. If you want to protect yourself -- and you should -- set up restore points following the instructions below.

1. Search for "restore point" in the Windows search box.

Features to Change Right Away in Windows 10.

2. Launch "Create a restore point" from the results. You should see a list of available drives.


3. Select the system drive and click Configure. The system drive is usually the C: drive and has the word "(System)" written after its volume name.


4. Toggle Restore Settings to "Turn on system protection," set the maximum disk space usage by moving the slider and click Ok. We recommend leaving 2 or 3 percent for restore pints but you may be able to get away with the lowest (1 percent).


5. Click Create so that you create an initial restore point right away.


6. Name the initial restore point when prompted.


Features to Change Right Away in Windows 10.

7. Click Close when it is done.

Features to Change Right Away in Windows 10.

If you need to restore from one of these points, you can click the System Restore button on the System Protection tab. If you can't boot, you can hit F8 or Shift + F8 during boot to get to the emergency menu on some computers. On other PCs, if you can at least get to the log in screen, you can hold down Shift while you select Restart.

Show File Extensions and Hidden Files

By default, Windows 10 hides most file extensions so, when you're browsing through your files, you can't easily see what type of file they are. Your quarterly report, for example, will appear as "3dqreport" instead of "3dqreport.pptx" while that web page you saved will display as "homepage" rather than "homepage.htm" or "homepage.html."

Microsoft has been disabling extensions by default for the past several versions of its OS in a misguided effort to simplify the file system for users. However, this approach can create more problems than it solves. For example, I recently ran into a problem when linking to a font file because I referenced it as "myfont.ttf" when the hidden extension was in caps and the real name was "myfont.TTF." 

In an effort to protect you from yourself, Microsoft also hides certain operating system files from you by default. But what if you need to find these files or edit them to troubleshoot? And can't you trust yourself not to delete important files?  Here's how to show extensions and hidden files in Windows 10.

1. Navigate to the control panel. You can get there by hitting Windows + X and selecting Control Panel


2. Open File Explorer Options. If you don't see the icon for it, change the control panel view (in the upper right corner) to large or small icons.


3. Navigate to the View tab.

Click View Tab

4. Toggle "Hidden files and folders" to "Show hidden files, folders and drives."

Toggle Hidden files and folders to show hidden files, folders and drives.5. Uncheck "Hide empty drives," "Hide extensions for known file types" and "Hide protected operating system files."

Uncheck hide extensions, empty drives and OS files


6. Click Yes when warned about unhiding protected files.

Click Yes

7. Click Ok.

 Disable User Account Control

User Account Control warning

Windows wants to wag a finger at you every time you try to install a program or change a vital setting by popping up a dialog box and making you click Ok to continue. Why warn  you if you already know what you're doing? Good question. Disable User Account control to stop the needless, annoying dialog boxes.

1. Search for "user account control" in the search box.

user account control

2. Open "Change User Account Control settings."

click change user account control settings

3. Slide the slider down to "Never notify" and click Ok.

Slide down to never notify and click ok

4. Click Yes when prompted.

Click yes

Disable the Lock Screen

Unless you have a tablet and, even if you do, the Windows lock screen is an unnecessary decoration that makes you click or swipe one extra time every time you boot or wake your computer. In order to unlock your computer, you have to dismiss the lock screen, but then still have to enter your password or PIN on the login scren. Why not just go straight to the login screen?

1. Open the registry editor. You can do that by typing regedit into the run box.

enter regedit

2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

3. Create a registry key called Personalization if one doesn't already exist. You can create a new key by right clicking in the right pane and selecting Key.

Select New > Key

4. Create a new DWORD value within the Personalization key and named it NoLockScreen.


5. Set NoLockScreen to 1. You set the value by double clicking on NoLockScreen, entering the number and clicking Ok.

Set value to 1 and click Ok

 Change Your Default Browser

If you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8, you'll notice that Microsoft Edge is now your default browser, even if Chrome or Firefox was your default before. Edge Browser is a bit faster than Chrome or Firefox, but doesn't provide the level of extensibility that its competitors offer. If you are a Chrome or Firefox user, you'll want to change your default right away.

1. Navigate to settings.

select settings

2. Click System.

click system

3. Select Default apps from the left pane.

select default apps

4. Click the Microsoft Edge icon under the "Web browser" header.

 select edge

5. Select the browser you want as your new default (ex: Chrome).

select Chrome

Delete the Windows.old Folder


If you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, the installation program keeps a copy of your previous version of Windows around, just in case you want to roll back. However, those files, which live in a folder called Windows.old, take up 15 to 16GB of disk space. If you plan to stay with Windows 10 (and you should), there's no reason to keep these archived files around. Unfortunately, deleting them isn't quite as simple as dragging the Windows.old folder into the recycle bin.

1. Navigate to the control panel. You can get there by hitting Windows + X and selecting control panel.

select control panel

2. Open Administrative Tools.

admin tools

3. Launch Disk Cleanup.

Disk cleanup

4. Click Ok, making sure that the C drive is selected.

Click ok

5. Click Clean up System Files.

Click Clean up system files

6. Click Ok again.

Click Ok

7 Check all the boxes on the "Files to delete" menu, especially "Previous Windows Installations" and "Temporary Windows Installation Files." Click Ok.

Check all boxes

8. Click Delete Files. It will take a few minutes to compl

Click Delete Files

9. Click Yes to confirm.

Click Yes

It will take a couple of minutes to complete the deletion process.

Speed Up Your Shutdowns

If you're old enough to have used a PC in the 1990s, you'll remember how quickly it shut off; you just hit the power button and walked away. Though Windows 10 boots very quickly, it can still take a while to shut down or restart. Part of the issue is that the OS waits a long time before exiting any programs you have running.

In some cases, Windows 10 even stops and waits indefineitely for you force close open applications. If you decided to reboot your computer, you probably meant to close that Wordpad window with the readme.txt file open in it. You can speed up your shutdowns by setting Windows 10 to kill processes and applications in short order.

1. Open regedit by hitting Windows + R and typing "regedit" into the box.

open regedit

2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control.

3. Open WaitToKillServiceTimeout.

Navigate to Control and open WaitToKillServiceTimeOut

4. Set the value to 2000 and click Ok. This is the amount of time, in milliseconds, that Windows waits to kill an unresponsive service. Most sites recommend you set this no lower than 2000 so that the system has some time to shut these processes without causing a problem.

Set to 2000

5. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.

6. Create a String Value and name it WaitToKillAppTimeOut. You can create a string value by right clicking in the right pane and selecting New > String Value.

create string value

7. Open WaitToKillAppTimeOut and set it to 2000.

set to 2000

8. Create a String Value called HungAppTimeout and set it to 2000.

Set HungAppTimeOut to 2000

9. Create another Sting Called AutoEndTasks and set it to 1.

Set AutoEndTasks to 1

Windows 10 How-tos

Having issues with Windows 10? Our sister site, Tom’s Hardware, has a team of staffers standing by in the forums to answer your questions 24/7.

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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 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
Add a comment
  • Michelle Says:

    I have a couple questions. Re: the OS taking a long time to shut down...does it just look at what I Did like as per my actions on a program? Or does it also equally look at what I Don't do? If it doesn't look equally at both, than I can't see how it will maintain any kind of progress in improving my experience with it and it would be indicating that it blindly pushes it's own people's work and likely doesn't get a good enough quantity of peer review to make the colllection of the upgrade-y downloads available as being at a sufficient quality standard. My computer on Windows XP. seemed to be smarter than a platform that wouldn't safeguard from unintelligent upgrades. Maybe Bill Gates needs a hiring policy for his developers or take back that ownership responsibility because random sampling as a means of acquiring employees who may be fly he night hacks is not the way we increase the quality of things. Please respond. And address All issues raised in this comment. Eliminating all Overt and Covert dishonesty. Thank you!

  • Joe Bryan Says:

    I am not a computer experted and even when i read the direction to disable the UAC settings saw it strange, i did the point restore thing and believe it can be useful but now im doubting because of the UAC thing

  • eric25 Says:

    not one bit of good advice in this article.
    Varies between a very short sighted view and being potentially damaging.

    1 thing you should not do - follow this article!

  • Winston Says:

    Disable UAC ? In windows 7 I'd have said yes but in windows 10 - no.

  • Jack T Says:

    Wow, that was all terrible advice. Do NOT disable UAC prompts. Windows finally implements a security model which starts catching up with OS X and Linux, and the first thing you do is break it??

    And why would you show hidden and protected files before you need to for a specific purpose? Just to make it easier to accidentally delete one?

    Most of these recommendations will make your Windows installation less secure, not more.

    Seriously wondering if this article is from a malware author trying to soften up targets.

  • preferred user Says:

    I've seen Windows (including WEin 10 ) become unstable when disabling UAC

    IOW caveat emptor !

    Sent from Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview advanced test Build 10532

  • David Lloyd Says:

    UAC is an essential security tool that has intercepted malware on many occasions. I cannot imagine why anyone would ever chose not to be informed about software installations they may not have initiated!

    In addition, Windows 10 is nowhere near being compatible enough to justify removing its safety net. My own computer crashed after three weeks of running fine. If anything, Microsoft erred in no allowing rollbacks for a longer period. In fact, the reason I read this article was to find out what I might do to make my installation more stable. DO NOT DELETE the rollback files prematurely, unless you can afford a complete loss of all programs, and at least a day of downtime!

  • Riko Says:

    Nice share bro..
    Works great on my Asus N56V


    where tablet is cannot be found

  • thzzzt Says:

    Disable UAC and spread those butt cheeks!

  • Hotip Says:

    Very good website and extensively helpful.

  • ThisArticle Sucks Says:

    Terrible article, terrible advice.

    * Disabling UAC is ridiculous. Even if you think you know what you are doing (you likely don't) you do need to be reminded when a program accesses protected areas of your fs. "Hm, why is this exe I just downloaded trying to write to that directory?" Congratulations, now you'll never know

    * Waiting before shutdown gives a chance for programs to save those spreadsheets that the user might have been editing. Congratulations, now they are lost forever

    Again, terrible article: those scammers calling to "fix your PC" probaly know more about windows.

  • Kate Says:

    I've just downloaded Windows 10- and in Word documents, click and drag to highlight a sentence suddenly results in changing the font and page size....and tonight, I've discovered that I can't click and drag a file from the saved documents list into a folder along the side like we've done for ages. That changes all sorts of settings, Any Suggestions how to set defaults that stay put?

  • Scott Says:

    This is horrible advice. Perhaps the author is comfortable and experienced enough to do this but with a title like "Windows 10 Settings You Should Change Right Away" you are going to be bringing in more inexperienced users than experienced. Also, telling them to show hidden files is bad advice as well.

  • Victor Says:

    The step to delete windows.old folder totally ruined my OS, now i cant even boot, it wont even auto repair or roll back or accept a recovery point, nothing will work, now i have to reinstall windows 8.1 again. Users Beware

  • Jonas Erik Says:

    Man... What a useless tutorial. I thought I would see something new and interesting.
    IF its a compilation of bad or useless advices.

  • 8bitsdeep Says:

    Disabling the UAC is terrible advice. You're creating a security risk by doing so.

  • Ozz Says:

    Great article,


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