How to Configure AutoPlay in Windows

AutoPlay is a feature in Windows that will automatically scan a device when it is connected to your computer and based on your settings, will either perform a specified action or do nothing at all. In order to understand AutoPlay, though, you also have to understand another very similar feature called AutoRun.

 

Most people think AutoRun and AutoPlay are just two terms for the same thing, but that is not accurate. AutoRun is a feature that first came out in Windows 95, It's intended to make installing apps for non-technicians easier. If a CD contained a file called autorun.inf in the root directory, Windows would detect it automatically and follow the instructions in that file.

 

This file is normally very simple and basically just points to a file on the disc, usually the setup file or install file. Here is an example of one below:

 

 

In Windows XP and earlier, the file would be read and automatically run without any kind of prompt. If you have ever popped in an install CD/DVD for a piece of hardware or a program in Windows XP or earlier, it would just start running the setup program.

 

This obviously posed serious security risks and Microsoft introduced AutoPlay as a way to fix the problem. AutoPlay’s job is to examine a newly connected media device, determine what kind of content is on it, and then display a dialog that allows the user to launch an application to play, run or display the content.

 

Now depending on the operating system you are running, AutoRun and AutoPlay will work differently. In all versions of Windows earlier than Windows Vista, AutoRun is executed before AutoPlay, unless AutoRun is disabled. If it’s not disabled, AutoRun will execute and it will search for the AutoRun.inf file.

 

In Windows XP, if the autorun.inf file is found, AutoRun can go ahead and bypass AutoPlay altogether and launch the application without asking the user first.

 

In Windows Vista and higher, AutoRun cannot skip past AutoPlay. If there is an AutoRun.inf file, it will still be read, but instead of the application being launched automatically, a dialog box will pop up with a list of choices, some of which could be from the autorun.inf file.

 

AutoRun vs. AutoPlay Example

 

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Keeping sensitive files Encrypted with you

How can you encrypt sensitive files that are stored on a flash drive or external hard drive?

 

Flash drives are easy to lose. And anything lost can fall into the wrong hands. So if you’re carrying around sensitive information in your pocket, you need to make sure those files are encrypted.

 

Below are three easy solutions:

 

 

1. Buy an encrypted drive

 

You can buy a flash drive with built-in encryption, such as the DataTraveler Locker+ G3. When you plug the Locker+ in, it comes up as a 13MB, read-only drive. But once you launch the program file on that drive and enter the password that you previously setup, another drive opens up with all the storage space you paid for.

 

That drive, of course, is inaccessible without the password. The software runs off the drive, and it can be used on multiple computers and operating systems.

 

 

But I strongly recommend against using this drive’s optional cloud backup feature. It uses Dropbox, OneDrive, or whichever cloud service you pick, which at first glance seems like a nice convenience.

 

 

But this feature uploads the files without its own encryption. That means you’re trusting your sensitive files to the encryption capabilities of Dropbox and similar 3rd party services and you have no control over the encryption methods. Find another way to backup these files—preferably one where you can can control the encryption.

 

The DataTraveler Locker+ G3 starts at about $15 for the 8GB drive, and we've looked at other encrypted USB drives as well. 

 

2. Install specialized software on your drive

 

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factory defaults 

How to Restore Windows to Factory Settings

How to Restore Windows to Factory Settings

 

Factory DefaultsFactory settings also known as Factory Defaults, mean getting the computer back to the state when you first bought it. This includes the OS with all the third-party software they like to install with it. However, this may not be the most ideal choice.

 

Another option to think about, is to perform a clean install of the operating system, so that you are working with a bare bones version of the OS, then setting it up to your needs. The difference is that the clean install not include any junk or third party software.

 

Alternatively, performing a system restore reverts the OS to a previous state, which is like a clean install, but could help you get your system working properly.

 

There is also a repair install, which replaces all of the Windows system files, but keeps your data intact. This is a good option if your system has become infected with a virus or malware you can’t remove, but your data is clean. Windows and all apps will be wiped, but your data will be kept.

 

We'll expand on each one of these methods in the article below.

 

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Transfer Files to iPad

How to Copy and Transfer Files to your iPad

How to Copy and Transfer Files to iPad

Transfer Files to iPad

 

Do you love using your iPAD but still find the process of transferring files to the iPad quite unintuitive? Two reasons, Apple is quite particular about the file formats and they don’t have an official tool for converting your files to iPad format.

 

Cloud Drive is a great way to get content onto your iPad, but it’s a tool many users are unaware of.

 

In this article, we’ll show you a couple of different ways you can get data from a computer onto your iPad. If you have to transfer a very large file, like a movie, you should use the iTunes direct connection method. The iCloud Drive method is best for smaller files like documents and pictures.

 

Transfer Files to iPad

iTunes Direct Transfer

 

 

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mac

What to buy, a Mac or PC?

macCan’t decide if you should buy a Mac or PC? It’s a tough decision because both platforms have different advantages and disadvantages. It really also depends a lot on external factors like what other devices you own and what kind of software you use.

For example, if you own an Xbox One, a Windows Phone, a Surface tablet and all the other computers in your home are Windows PCs, then it might be more convenient to stick with a PC.

On the other hand, if you own an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple TV, and an AirPrint enabled printer, then a Mac would fit in really well with those other devices.

Mac Pros and PC (Windows) Cons

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iTunes Library

How to Setup an iTunes Library On an External Hard Drive or NAS

How to Setup an iTunes Library On an External Hard Drive or NAS

 

iTunes LibraryDid you know it is possible to move your iTunes library over to an external hard drive? If you’re low on space and you have a lot of media that simply cannot be stored using iCloud, then one great option is to move everything to an external USB drive.

 

In this article, We’re going to show you how you can easily move your entire iTunes library to an external drive.

 

 

 

Prerequisites

 

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5 Steps on how to remove a virus from your Android device

5 Steps on how to remove a virus from your Android device

By Sumai de Beer / Mike Rogan
 If you believe your Android phone or tablet has a virus then the  good news is it's really easy to delete. Here's how to remove a  virus from Android. 

 First of all, it's worth pointing out that it's  unlikely that your  Android phone or tablet has a virus.

 What you're more likely to be seeing is an ad that wants to  convince you, that your Android device is infected and you need  to download an app, or a dodgy pop-up, to prevent the virus.  Or perhaps your device is just misbehaving.

But viruses for Android do exist. If you're sure your device has one, here's how to remove it.

 


 Step 1.

 

Put your phone or tablet into Safe mode. This prevents any third-party apps running, including any malware. On many devices you can press the power button to access the power off options, then press and hold Power off to bring up an option to restart in Safe mode.

 

If this doesn't work for your device then you should Google 'How to put [your model name] into Safe mode' and follow the instructions. When in Safe mode you'll see 'Safe mode' at the bottom left of the screen.

 

               

  Step 2.

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Startup Programs

Disable Unneeded Startup Programs in Windows 7, 8 & 10

Startup Programs

Disable Unneeded Startup Programs in Windows 7, 8 & 10

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
Startup Programs

It is irritating when you start up your computer and have to wait 10 minutes while all kinds of software loads up: Dropbox, antivirus, Chrome, Java, Apple, Adobe, graphics & printer drivers drivers, etc. If you have a lot of programs loading up that you don’t use immediately, then they are just slowing your computer down and should be disabled.

 

Most software prefer to load into memory as soon as Windows starts up, so that when you use it, it loads quicker. We would prefer your computer working sooner, rather than have a program you use once a week slow you down every day.

 

Disabling startup programs can increase the speed of your computer and usually will not adversely affect your computer because the software is loaded manually when you open a program.

 

Managing Startup Programs

 

You can manage your startup programs by opening the System Configuration Utility. Click on Start and then Run, type in msconfig and click OK. In Windows 7, you can just click on Start and type in msconfig. In Windows 8, the msconfig command brings up the System Configuration utility, but the Startup section now appears in Task Manager.

 

msconfig start

 

system configuration

 

Clicking on the Startup tab in Task Manager on Windows 8 or in the System Configuration dialog will bring up the list of startup items. In Windows 8, the list looks a bit different and it also gives you some extra info like the estimated impact the process has on the startup time.

 

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Troubleshoot Windows from Safe Mode

Safe Mode

Troubleshoot Windows from Safe Mode

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
safe modeNeed to get into Safe Mode on your Windows PC? If you’re not able to boot your computer normally, you can try to enter safe mode, a diagnostic mode for Windows that lets you troubleshoot problems that prevent normal booting.

 

In Safe Mode, Windows only loads the most essential services and drivers in order for it to run. All other normal Windows settings and start up programs are disabled in order to allow the user to fix the problem with their computer.

 

In this guide, we're going to go through the steps to get into Safe Mode in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1 and Windows 10.

 

Safe ModeNote that if you installed a driver or just recently made a configuration change to your computer, you may want to try the “Last Known Good Configuration” before going into safe mode in Windows 7, Vista and XP.

 

Last Known Good Configuration loads the last working version of Windows. However, it is replaced each time you log into the computer, so if a problem has occurred, make sure to try this option BEFORE logging onto the computer again.

 

Note that in Windows 8/10 the Last Known option is no longer included. Instead, they have other options like Refresh, Reset (Reinstall), Restore, etc. I’ll go into more details below in the Windows 8/10 section.

 

Also note that there are three types of Safe Mode, so read the descriptions below to figure out which one is best for you.

 

Safe ModeSafe Mode – The basic option that loads Windows with a GUI interface and is usually what most people should choose when troubleshooting their computer. Safe Mode loads only the minimal required Drivers & Windows Services.

 

Safe ModeSafe Mode with Networking – If you need access to the Internet or the network while in Safe mode, then this is the option to choose. This mode is useful when you need to fix a problem that requires an Internet connection so that you can download updates, drivers, or other files to help fix your problem.

 

Safe ModeSafe Mode with Command Prompt – This mode will load with just the MS DOS command line prompt. This is useful if you need to run a DOS command like fixboot or chkdsk.

 

Safe Mode

Safe Mode in Windows XP/Vista/7

 

To get into the Safe Mode in Windows XP, Vista or 7, re-boot the computer and then press and hold the “F8 Key” which will then bring up the “Windows Advanced Options Menu“. Scroll down to “Safe Mode” using the arrow keys and press Enter.

 

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Reset your Lost or Forgotten Administrator Password in Windows

Reset Windows Password

Reset your Lost or Forgotten Administrator Password in Windows

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
ForgotPasswordIconWhat to do if you’ve forgotten your password? It’s never fun forgetting a password, especially if you have a lot of important data on your computer, but there are tools and methods that allow you to get access to your data without ever needing to know what the original password was.

 

Note, you will have to open command prompts & type DOS commands, but if you are an Existing IT Experts client, as long as you are on the Internet, we can also reset it for you at any time remotely.

 

 

Windows 7 & Windows 8.1 Reset Password

 

There are two ways you can go about resetting a password for a user account in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Both methods work on both operating systems, which is really convenient. The first method uses the Windows 7 or 8.1 installation DVD and the second method involves using a third-party tool. If you don’t have your install CD/DVD, then use the second method.

 

Get your supplied installation disc for Windows 7 or 8.1 and load it into your CD/DVD drive. Restart your computer and boot up from the disc. Note that you might have to change the boot order in your BIOS before the system will boot from the disc.

 

repair computer

 

For Windows 7, the first screen will make you pick your language, keyboard, etc. Just leave those as default and click Next. For Windows 8, it will be similar. On the next screen, you’ll see a Repair your computer link at the bottom. Click on that link.

 

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