How to get out of Windows Safe Mode

You boot into Safe Mode to fix things. So it’s not right when Safe Mode ends up being the thing that needs fixing. If your Windows computer insists on booting into Safe Mode, you’ll have to figure out what’s causing the problem.

What made you go into Safe Mode in the first place? I assume you did it intentionally, but how? If you did it through the System Configuration tool, that’s your problem.

Press Win + R, type msconfig, and press Enter.

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PCs

What to do when your laptop's touchpad stops working

When your laptop’s touchpad stops responding to your fingers, you’ve got a problem. Have you ever tried to use a Windows PC without a mouse, touchpad, or other pointing device? It’s all but impossible. 

If the problem just started, reboot your computer and see if that fixes it. (Yes, I know that’s painfully obvious, but we all sometimes overlook the obvious.) If that doesn’t work, try these solutions.

First, make sure you haven’t accidentally disabled the touchpad. In all likelihood, there’s a key combination that will toggle the touchpad on and off. It usually involves holding down the Fn key (which is probably near the lower-left corner of the keyboard) while pressing another key.

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How to change your email address without losing your friends

Think of all the places where your old email address resides, outside of your immediate control, waiting to give people plenty of false information. There are other people’s address books, old messages in people’s inboxes, websites that use your address as your logon name, and your business cards.

Changing your email address can be quite a chore.

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How to boot into Windows 10's Safe Mode

When you’re having issues with a Windows computer, one of the first steps to troubleshooting is to boot into Windows’ Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a simple, stripped-down version of the operating system, loading only the most essential files and drivers. It’s a way of eliminating as many variables as possible, and to ensure that the issue doesn’t originate at this most basic level. This is a great place to scan for malware, for instance.

But the old-fashioned way to get into Safe Mode—booting the PC and pressing F8 at the exact right moment—seldom works on PCs running Windows 10. These techniques will:

If you can successfully boot into Windows, booting into Safe Mode is relatively easy—if you know the trick.

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When Windows 10 takes up too much disk space, try this

Roelof Die Hoenderboer was having issues running Windows 10 on his 16GB SSD. 

Windows 10 works best with more disk space. While it’s not optimal to run Windows 10 from a 16GB or even 32GB SSD, the OS has some tricks up its sleeve that allow it to run on devices with skimpy storage space, such as tablets. It’s not that painful once you take the proper steps. 

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How to create a Windows 10 recovery USB drive

You never know when you’ll need a Windows recovery drive in order to restore your system to a pristine state, so the time to make one is now—and it’s very easy to do. 

A recovery drive is similar to the media you’d receive if you bought a prebuilt system. Back in the day, PCs would ship with a CD or DVD that included an image of the system as it left the factory. If your PC’s OS went sideways, you could easily restore it to the way things were on day one (though you’d lose all of your subsequently created data and applications, obviously). Nowadays manufacturers usually just put an image of the system as it left the factory on a hidden partition of your main drive.

A Windows recovery disk builds on this idea. In addition to letting you reinstall Windows, it includes several troubleshooting tools, which can be lifesavers if your system won’t boot.

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External drive died? Your data may still be easy to recover

Tawffic Abdul Wahab 's external hard drive stopped showing up on his system. Not a great thing to have happen. However, unlike with an internal hard drive, he's not necessarily looking at an expensive recovery bill.

Note: The following is for external drives that are out of warranty and/or without a recovery contract. Use those if they apply, though warranties generally don't include recovery. If you need the data, you might want to try these tricks anyway.

[Have a tech question? Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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