Open a Command Prompt/Powershell Prompt at Folder Location

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Many times, you are browsing folders and find a console style program that you’d like to run, but would like to do it from the command prompt itself, or from the Powershell prompt. Rather than opening the CMD.EXE or Powershell prompt and navigating to the folder you’ve already opened, you can open the prompt very easily. Here is how.

1. Navigate to the folder you’d like. If you right click within the folder, you get the following menu. Notice it does not allow you to open a prompt.



2. Now, hold right shift and then right click within the folder. Notice the new menu option “Open Powershell window here” (some older versions may say “Open Command Prompt window here”).




3. When the prompt opens, it will already be at the folder location, ready to run the program or script and give you more verbose output without closing the prompt that is typical of running scripts from a window.



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Show Windows Side by Side; Stacked; Cascade

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Manipulating windows within Windows 10 is pretty simple. If you have multiple windows open and you want to make things easier to read, or to stack them to make them easier to find, you can have Windows do the work for you. Here are 3 different configurations that you can do to make manipulating windows easier:


Stacked Windows

1. Have at least 2 windows open. Right click the task bar and select Show windows stacked.





Side by Side Windows

1. Have at least 2 windows open. Right click the task bar and select Show windows side by side.





Cascading Windows

1. Have at least 2 windows open. Right click the task bar and select Cascade windows.



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How to Tell Which Build You Are Running in Windows 10

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Windows 10 was supposed to be the last version of Windows. It really is in a way. However, rather than incrementing the version number itself, Microsoft uses Windows 10 Build number to differentiate the various versions. They also assign certain builds (no longer called RTM’s) names such as Creators Build, Fall Creators Build, etc.. So, how do you know which build you are running? Knowing your build number can help out when looking for updates or seeing if a piece of software is compatible with your build, or if you are out of date with the current released version.

There are several methods, which I will describe here.


1. Right click on the start button and select Run. Type winver and press enter. This will bring up a small Windows with details of your Windows version. The build number is identified there.




2. Right click on the start button and select System. In that window, towards the bottom, the build number is listed.





3. For many Windows Insider builds, but not all – especially when getting close to final release – there is a watermark in the lower left hand corner of the screen.


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Set Dark Mode in Windows 10 Apps

Windows 10 has a dark side. Well, a darker theme for the Windows Apps. I prefer the darker theme myself, as I don’t like things so blindingly bright.

To switch from the light to the dark theme, you can follow these instructions.


1. Right click the Desktop and select Personalize.



2. In the left pane, select Colors. Then scroll down the right pane until you see “Choose your default app mode”. There, you can select Dark (or Light if you’re already changed it).



3. The change should be immediately apparent and you can click the X to close the window. The changes apply to Windows 10 Apps, including Calculator, Settings, Messaging, and others.









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Make File Explorer Open “This PC” and not “Quick Access”


One of my annoyances with Windows 10 is that when you open File Explorer, you are greeted with the “Quick Access” options, which for me is not really quick access. I find it faster and easier to go straight to “This PC”. Here is how you can switch the default behavior within File Explorer.



1. Open File Explorer. Click on Options > Change folder and search options:



2. On the ‘Open File Explorer to’ dropdown box, change the default from Quick Access to This PC.



3. Click OK, then test it by opening File Explorer from the quick start buttons on the task bar. It should open to This PC!


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Windows Update Troubleshooter Tool

Several people have had issues with Windows Update, from Windows 8.1 not able to update to Windows 10 not updating to the latest Insider build. Microsoft has a Troubleshooting tool that can help find the issue and correct it.

While this is not a fix all for everything that could be wrong with Windows Update, and it might not fix your particular issue, it is a good place to start. Also, if you are in the Insiders Program, always be sure to check the release notes. There are some known issues that have caused problems updating in the past (Anti-virus could interfere, SD Card could interfere, etc..). This is a great place to start if you are having issues, though, and it does work very fast to fix any issues with Windows Update that you may have.


1. Go to The Microsoft Windows Update Troubleshooter page ( and download the troubleshooter for your current operating system.



2. Run the file. This is a single file that can run on it’s own and does not require any installation. Select “Windows Update” and then click Next.



3. If it runs and cannot detect issues, it may need to be run as an Administrator, which is an option when it runs. The tool will run and check several things.





The Troubleshooting tool checks several things:

    • Default Windows Update data locations have changed?
    • Some security settings are missing or have been changed?
    • Check for missing or corrupt files.
    • Service registration is missing or corrupt.
    • Potential Windows Update Database error detected?


4. The tool will fix any found issues, and you can then close the troubleshooter. You can also click for a more detailed report to see what it did fix. From there, you can go back into Windows  Update and try the updates again.



If you click the View detailed information, you see what was checked and what was fixed.


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Extracting Your Windows 10 Key

Finding your Windows 10 key can be problematic with Windows 10. Here is a VBS script that can get your key with no issues. This script was not written by me, but has been posted in several places with no recognition of the author. If an original source is found, I will update with the author of the script.

1. Open Notepad.

2. Copy and paste the code below into Notepad.

Set WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead(“HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId”))

Function ConvertToKey(Key)
Const KeyOffset = 52
i = 28
Cur = 0
x = 14
Cur = Cur * 256
Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur
Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur \ 24) And 255
Cur = Cur Mod 24
x = x -1
Loop While x >= 0
i = i -1
KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput
If (((29 – i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i <> -1) Then
i = i -1
KeyOutput = “-” & KeyOutput
End If
Loop While i >= 0
ConvertToKey = KeyOutput
End Function

3. Save as windowskey.vbs (Change the file type to “All Files”)

4. Run the file and your key will be displayed.


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Configure Windows 10 To Notify When Updates Are Ready

Windows 10 will automatically download and update your system in the background without any interaction from the user. To change the way this happens, you can use a Windows 10 Pro feature called gpedit. This is not available on Windows 10 Home edition.

1. Click Start > Run and type gpedit.msc


2. Browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update. Click the Edit policy setting link in the right pane.


3. Select the option that fits your needs. I use ‘3 – Auto download and notify for install’ so it’s quick to install, but I can do it on my schedule.


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Fix Error 80240020 When Updating to Windows 10

Many people are getting an error 80240020 when updating to Windows 10. This is due to an incomplete download or a corrupted download. Here is a solution.

1. Browse to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download.

2. Delete everything within that folder.

3. Open a command prompt as Administrator. Type wuauclt.exe /updatenow


4. Go back into Windows Update and you should see Windows 10 re-downloading. When it is complete, you should be able to upgrade to Windows 10 with no issues.

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Use Start Screen Instead of Start Menu

In Windows 10, the Start menu is the default option for pressing the start button. However, many people are used to the full screen Start screen introduced in Windows 8. Here is how to change the default behavior of the Start button.


1. Right click the Windows task bar and select ‘Properties’.



2. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties windows, click the ‘Start Menu’ tab. Uncheck the ‘Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen” option at the top of the window.



3. Log off and back on to get the Start screen active. Behavior will be similar to Windows 8.x Start screen.


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