Windows doesn't always work the way you want it to. For all its advances, even Windows 7 has its own quirky methods of getting things done. And sometimes, the operating system simply breaks.
Tweaking and fixing these issues keeps consultants employed and sites like this one in business. But you know what? You don't have to spend hours and hours getting your sound working, disabling the Caps Lock key, or trying to change Word's "Normal" font choice from Calibri into something readable. After all, the hard part usually isn't performing the actual fix, it's finding exactly what is wrong and locating the proper submenu, checkbox, or Registry entry that hides the tweak you need. When you get right down to it, fixing your computer should take minutes, not months.
With that in mind, we offer this collection of 5-minute fixes: tweaks, upgrades, and how-tos for some of your PC's most aggravating issues, none of which should take you more than 5 minutes to resolve.
We've organized these tips and fixes into four different categories. Check out "Easy Fixes for Networking Problems" for help troubleshooting your Internet connection or sharing files, or read "Simple Fixes for a Problematic PC" if you're having difficulty with audio, drivers, or any other kind of computer-crippling issues. If you're wondering how to remap your keyboard, turn off automatic reboots, or nix AutoPlay, stop by "Quick Windows Fixes." And if you really do need to know how to change the "Normal" style in Microsoft Word, "Fast Fixes for Office Annoyances" is right up your alley.
Feel free to leave your own 5-minute fixes in the comments, too!
Illustration by Andrew Bannecker