Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Very Basic Beginning to PC System Admininstration - Just Enough to SYA - Save Your Ass - Maybe

Take Charge of Your Machine!

It's Not So Hard!
You Know What You Are Doing

I (Working Computers) will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Library on 
February 26, 2020 from 7 PM to around 8:00 PM
to discuss Windows System Admin with the tools that come with the Operating System, and image backups using Casper 10, and the Windows Backup Tools in Windows 10, mainly:

Windows Settings

The Windows Control Panel

"Settings" is the latest collection of tools, which is gradually taking over from the Control Panel and overlaps and duplicates some of the Control Panel functionality. It is easily accessible from the Windows Start Menu in the Lower Left Hand Corner of the screen as the Gear Icon. From it you can access 13 different categories of hardware and hardware connection, 

Which are:

System - display, sound, notifications, and power
Devices - Bluetooth, Printers, Mouse
Phone - Link your Android, iPhone
Network and Internet - WiFi, Ethernet, various settings
Apps - Uninstall, defaults, optional features
Accounts - Your Accounts, email, sync, work, family
Time and Language -  Speech, Region, Date
Gaming - I don't care
Ease of Access - Narrator, Magnifier, High Contrast
Cortana - Cortana Language, Permissions, Notifications
Privacy - Location, Camera, App Access to Camera
Update and Security - Windows Update, recovery, backup

Most Windows users already know something about the Control Panel, and some of the admin tools located there, but haven't walked through the roster of utilities and may not understand what they are for. Next Wednesday, Apr. 24,  we are going to fix some of that with a talk through the most (to me) useful. They fall into 2 Groups -- those that Control The OS Software and those that Control Hardware and Both.

They are:

Administrative Tools
Device Manager
Devices and Printers
File Explorer Options
Indexing Options
Network and Sharing Center
Programs and Features
Taskbar and Navigation
User Accounts

I have deliberately left out other items which may be useful from time to time but which are either accessed less frequently, less critically, or handled with other applications

Disk Management


We will be discussing Adding Hard Disks, Setting Up Disk Backups,  and Customizing the Taskbar and working with User Accounts as well as other stuff people want to talk about.

In the Meantime, what is the Single and Most Important thing you can do to preserve your Windows License and OS install on your computer?

Answer: Make a Bootable Recovery USB Drive.


Most Easily -- Plug a 32GB or larger USB flash drive into a USB port, and then go to the Cortana Search Window and type "Recovery Drive", Click on "Create a Recovery Drive" which will start Recovery Media Creator and check the Box for "Back up system files to the recovery drive. Then wait for the box showing available drives to appear and select your USB drive as a target. That's it.
This drive will become a bootable, recovery drive, capable of restoring your Win 10 license, system files, and a bootable OS.  It may even be able to repair damaged boot loader for your old system drive. It won't restore your data. Backup your stuff!

If you have your stuff backed up with Casper 10, you can even do minor, manual repairs to your boot drive or other drives just by cut and paste replacement of damaged or missing files.

Here's how: Make sure you have admin privileges - you are going to "unhide" the files Win10 does not want you messing with; of course if they are gone or damaged, you don't care.

If Windows Explorer, and the File, and then Options, and then View, uncheck the  Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives box. Click OK - now you can see stuff that was  heretofore ... invisible. For example: stuff in the Appdata directory where all of you personal usage app stuff is stored, like  Browsing History, Favorites, Downloads, Saved Pages and other stuff for all of your Browsers. 

If you have an image backup you can restore lost data from the backup tot he boot drive, with Cut and Paste.

What is another easy and important thing you can do for an oddly behaving computer?

Repair the OS or system files.

Open a Command Window.

As an Administrator, open an Admin Command or Powershell Windows by hitting the Win(Flag) Key and X key together and select Windows Command or Powershell Admin.

In the open Window type"

sfc /scannow

This command will find and fix corrupted OS files

Then type:

dism  /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Finally type:

chkdsk /f /r

Note that you can target a specific drive by using the drive letter, as in:

chkdsk c: /f /r

Note also that, if you do so, the machine will  execute the command on reboot only.

We will be happy to discuss problems that you have with your individual machines, if they are fairly brief, and we will have a discussion period at the end. Feel free to bring your laptop.

Do give Kim Christian at the Kinnelon Library to sign up at 973 838 1321 and/or email her at

Thanks, and hope to see you there !


Photo Credits to:

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