3 fixes for a dead Windows 10 Start menu

Pat Stuhlman was happy with Windows 10. Then, suddenly, the Start menu stopped working.

The return of the Start menu is probably Windows 10’s most popular feature. But it doesn’t work on all PCs. You can click the Start button, or press the Window key until Apple, Google, and Microsoft all merge together and switch to Linux, but the menu just won’t come up.

Here are three possible fixes. I can’t guarantee that any of them will work, but hopefully one will.

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7 Windows taskbar tricks

Donald Craig asked how he can configure the Windows taskbar for easier and more powerful access.

The taskbar at the bottom of your screen does more than give you easy access to your currently open programs. You can pin programs to the taskbar, pin data files to the programs, launch a program as an administrator, and do all sorts of other tricks.

I’ve tested all of these in Windows 7 and 10.

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Set which program opens when you double-click a file

Kavindu installed KMPlayer, then discovered that more file types opened in KMPlayer than he wanted.

When you open a data file, Windows uses the file’s extension (such as .docx, .mp3, .jpg) to see in what application it should launch. But this association between extension and application is malleable. Installation programs can change it, and so can you.

Keep in mind that many file types can be opened by multiple programs. For instance, I have eleven programs on my main PC that can open a .jpg file. But only one of those can be .jpg’s default application—the one that loads when you double-click the file.

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How to make your Windows 10 user account local


Sheila Harris set up a new Windows 10 PC, and realized afterwards that she set it up with a Microsoft account. That’s not what she wanted.

Microsoft really wants the user account on your Windows 10 PC to match up with your account on the company’s cloud-based service. The company therefore made the Microsoft account the default. But you can decouple the account on your PC from the one on Microsoft’s servers.

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Do you have bad RAM? Here's how to find out

Venka Tesh asked how to diagnose possible RAM problems.

Random Access Memory (RAM) wears out over time. If your PC frequently freezes, reboots, or brings up a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death), bad RAM just might be the problem. Corrupt files can be another sign of bad RAM, especially when the corruption is found in files that you’ve used recently. Another possible symptom: The PC slows down considerably as you use it, but seems re-energized after a boot.

But don’t just pull out and replace all of your RAM sticks. You need to diagnose them. That way, you’ll know which stick (if any) is bad. And no, don’t try to replace individual chips on the stick.

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How to autoload your favorite programs in Windows 10

Bill Russell wants to know how to configure Windows 10 so that Chrome, and possibly some other programs, load automatically when he boots his PC.

I’ve already described how to disable particular autoloading programs, so they don’t open every time you boot. And while you can re-enable programs you’ve disabled within Task Manager’s Startup tab, there’s no way you can enable programs that aren’t listed there in the first place.

Fortunately, you don’t have to.

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7 steps for setting up a new Windows 10 PC

MTP is replacing an old laptop with a new one, and wants advice on setting it up.

First, here’s what not to do. Don’t clone your old hard drive to the new PC—or restore an image backup. That doesn’t work. Every Windows installation is configured for the computer it was installed onto, and the copy of Windows that came with your old PC is licensed only for that computer. And even if it did work (it won’t), you’ll lose the advantages of a new OS and a clean slate.

So here’s what you should do:

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