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Recycle Bin Missing from the Desktop by KenB

If you have somehow deleted the Recycle Bin and find the Recycle Bin missing and it is not showing on the desktop try the following:

Right Click on a blank section of the Desktop.
Then click on Personalize.

You will see this:

Recycle Bin Missing

Click on Change Desktop Icons

Recycle Bin Missing 2

Then, if there is no check mark in the box next to Recycle Bin, click the box > Apply > OK


You could also try the following:

Edit the registry to restore the Recycle Bin

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
To edit the registry to make the Recycle Bin icon reappear on the desktop, follow these steps: 1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
3. Locate the following registry key:


4. Right-click the registry key that you located in step 3, point to New, and then click Key.
5. Type {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}, and then press ENTER.
6. Click the new {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} key that you created in step 5.
7. In the right pane, double-click the (Default) entry.
8. In the Edit String dialog box, type Recycle Bin in the Value data box, and then click OK.
9. Close Registry Editor.

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Making a cloned hard drive using Macrium Reflect

by PlasticNev

As well as a system image which can be created and stored on an external hard drive for later or rescue use, a different approach is to clone your existing drive completely onto another different hard drive.
You would do this either as a fully exchangeable drive to be put to one side, so it can be swapped in at any time of major trouble such as a failed drive, or as could happen with the latest malware, and find all your files encrypted.
You can also make a clone from an existing small drive when it is getting too full, and put the clone on a larger hard drive for fitting in its place..

Please read through everything and please be sure you understand each stage of making a cloned hard drive before continuing.

You will need a spare hard drive either as big as the system one, or larger. and of the same type, either IDE or SATA.
One of these three, an adapter from IDE or SATA to USB, an enclosure for the spare drive to USB, or a hard drive docking station.
For now we will assume an enclosure with the spare drive fitted to it.
It is a good thing at this point to plug it in to the computer and allow Windows to see it and install drivers for it. Once that is done unless you are going to continue straight away, use the “Safe to remove” system to disconnect it from the computer.

OK, start up the computer and once fully booted up, (If it isn’t already) plug in the USB enclosure complete with the new drive in it. Autoplay may open a window for the new drive, if it does dismiss and close it as it isn’t needed. (Make sure no other device is plugged into any other USB ports or card slots, other than keyboard and mouse if they are USB.)

Next is to open the Macrium reflect program.
You should see this page open, if not click the “Disk Image” tab to open it.

Area “A” will be your existing drive, it may be slightly different from mine here as it depends on the number and sizes of partitions.

Area “B” should be your new drive in its enclosure, unlike mine it should show as empty. (Mine is a previous clone as I am showing my rescue drive)
It should also show the model number of the new drive, make a note of that in case you need to search for it.

Click on the Making a Cloned Hard Drive images to enlarge.

making a cloned hard drive _10

Click anywhere in area “A” to make sure that is selected, underneath it you should then see as in my picture as ringed “C” and click on “clone this disk.”

You should then see this next page open. check that there is a tick in all the boxes as you can see here, to be sure all will be copied as the clone.
Click on the “Select a disk to clone to”

making a cloned hard drive_11

Hopefully you should see something like this, if not you may get the system window open and you will need to search for the new drive, hence why I said to make a note of the new drive model number.
Otherwise Macrium normally knows which it is and shows this providing no other storage medium is plugged in to a USB port or memory card in a slot.

making a cloned hard drive_12

As shown click anywhere to select it and the next should be as here.

making a cloned hard drive_13

If there are any partitions, which in your case there should not be, click on the red crossed item “Delete existing partition” and in your case with no partitions it should then look like this.

making a cloned hard drive_14

Make sure there is a tick in the box for “copy selected partitions when I click next”, it usually is by default, but no harm to make sure.
If all is as above at this point, click the next button on the bottom right, and you should then see a list similar to mine which is listing the existing partitions to be cloned to the new drive in its enclosure.

making a cloned hard drive_15

Click the “Finish” button bottom right and it will then start to create the first stages of the clone, it may show a box asking to either format or over write the contents of the destination drive, accept it by clicking yes or whatever it says to mean yes, and it will carry on.
Depending on how much data is on your drive it will take some time, mine being fairly large does take a few hours, yours may be less than that.

Once the clone has been completed, and it does tell you, close everything concerned with Macrium, then have an explore of everything that is on the new drive to check it out.

If happy all is as it should be, use the safe to remove system to disconnect the external USB enclosure.

The next is a good thing to do to make sure the clone was fully successful.

Shut down and then remove the power plug and battery from the laptop or if a desktop disconnect the mains power at the wall.

Remove the now cloned drive from the enclosure, adapter, or docking station. If a laptop, you will have to remove the drive from it first and then install the clone drive.
If a desktop, you only need to remove the cover, then the plugs from the existing drive and temporarily connect the clone drive.
Replace the battery and power plug if a laptop, or reconnect mains power if a desktop.

If everything went correctly, the laptop or desktop should now boot up from the new drive.

If all is correct, it is maybe a good idea to check the full system at this point by running the System File Checker, or sfc /scannow as it is called, to verify the integrity of the operating system.
It may also correct any slight corruption if any has occurred during the cloning process.

This concludes the tutorial on making a cloned hard drive.

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Control Panel – Change how it is Viewed ………. written by KenB


Do you get a little frustrated when you are searching for something like “Mouse Settings” for instance.
It can, sometimes, be difficult to find what you are looking for.

Control Panel normally looks like this:

Control Panel change appearance


Not very helpful in many cases.
If you click on the down arrow next to “View by” ( red arrow ) and select “Large Icons” it will look like this:

Control Panel appearance


I find this much easier to find what I am looking for.

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Reset Windows Password

Tutorial written by KenB

In this article I am going to show how to create a Password Reset Disk for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. If you are using a login password to access your computer how disastrous would it be if you forgot it ?
No access to your files, folders or data.

The simple “solution” to this is to be prepared for the unlikely event.
Do this now – and don’t wait until you get locked out.

It is possible to create a Password Reset Disk by doing the following:

[size=15][color=blue]Start …. Control Panel …. User Accounts[/color][/size]

Top right of the panel you will see [b][color=blue]”Create a Password Reset Disk[/color][/b]”
Click on this.

You will be prompted to insert a USB Flash Drive ( Memory Stick )

[b][color=red]You need to be aware that if anybody gets hold of your memory stick they will be able to reset the password too.[/color][/b]

Password Reset Windows 7

There are no decisions to make – simply click “[size=15][color=blue]Next[/color][/size]”

Password Reset Windows 7 - 2

You will need to type in your present password.

If you change this at a later date it doesn’t matter – you will still be able to use this [b][color=blue]Reset “Disk”[/color][/b]

Forgotten Password Wizard


Now just click on “[b][color=blue]Next[/color][/b]” again and the[b][color=blue] Password Reset Disk [/color][/b]will be created.

Create Password Reset Disk


Completing the Forgotten Password Wizard

Don’t forget to [b][color=blue]label the Memory Stick [/color][/b]and keep it in a safe place – and hope you never need it. 🙂 In the future we will be covering more articles about Creating a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.

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Use this logo maker to make a free logo design now.

Written by maynardvdm

Here on Free PC Help we occasionaly use terms that may be unfamiliar to you, here is a description of acronyms and what they mean

BIOS – Basic Input Output System
BSOD – Blue Screen of Death
CD-ROM – Compact Disk – Read Only Memory
CMOS – Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor
CPU – Central Processing Unit
DDR SDRAM – Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory
DIMM – Dual In-line Memory Module
DOS – Disk Operating System
DRAM – Dynamic Random Access Memory
DVD – Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk
EMI – Electro-Magnetic Interference
EMP – Electro-Magnetic Pulse
ERD – Emergency Recovery Disk
EULA – End User License Agreement
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
FAT – File Allocation Table
FTP – File Transfer Protocol
FF – FireFox
GUI – Graphical User Interface
GPU – Graphics Processor Unit
HDD – Hard Disk Drive
LAN – Local Area Network
LCD – Liquid Crystal Display
LED – Light Emitting Diode
Mbps – Megabytes per second
MS – Microsoft
Mobo – Motherboard
MSN – Microsoft Network
NIC – Network Interface Card
NOS – Network Operating System
NTFS – New Technology File System
OS – Operating System
OE – Outlook Express
P2P – Peer To Peer
POST – Power On Self Test
POTS – Plain Old Telephone System
RAM – Random Access Memory
ROM – Read Only Memory
SVGA – Super VGA
USB – Universal Serial Bus
VGA – Video Graphics Adapter

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Run as Another User in Win 7 ……. written by KenB


How do I Run As another user in Win 7 ?

XP used to have this facility. Vista doesn’t for some reason.

If you need to use another User’s permissions / privileges on your computer to run an application it is possible with Windows 7.
You may wish to test out your child’s privileges for instance.

To Run as Another User ………..

Hold down the SHIFT key and right click on the Icon of the application.
You will see this:

Run as another user 1


If you don’t hold down the SHIFT key you see this:
(Run as a Different User” is not an Option.)

run as another user 2

Click on “Run as a Different User”

You will then see this box that asks for your User Name and Password.

Run as another user 3


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Find Windows Product Key – by KenB

The Product Key is a series of 25 letters and numbers that identify your specific Operating System.
They are usually written in 5 blocks of 5.

If your system is running OK the Product Code is seldom needed.
If, however, you need to do a re-install for instance, then you will need the Product Code during the process.
You cannot use somebody else’s Product Code.

The obvious place to look is on the sticker that is on the side of the tower ( if a desktop )
or on the underneath on the base if you have a laptop.

They look like this: ( these are for XP – but Vista and Win7 are similar )

I cannot find windows product key

Sometimes, especially with laptops, the Product Key becomes illegible due to constant wear.
On a home build there may not be a Sticker.

The Home Build installation disk should have come with a Product Key sticker ( not always used )

I cannot find windows product key 2


There are a number of ways of finding the Product Key.

PLEASE NOTE – your system must be operational.

Method 1

Download Speccy from here:
click here

After installing it – it will give you a comprehensive diagnostic of your system.
Under Operating System you will see something like this:

I cannot find windows product key 3

The Serial Number indicates the Product Key

Method 2

Download Magic Jelly Bean from here:
click here

You only need the free version.

When installing if you do not want to install the AVG products as well check the custom install ( see below )

I cannot find windows product key 4

After the installation the software will produce a window with your Product Key information ( see below )

I cannot find windows product key 5

There are other methods but one of the above should locate it for you

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The security certificate has expired -( by KenB )

This tutorial explains how to cope with the error message shown below:

the security certificate has expired or is not yet valid

If you are getting this error message when you try to connect to the internet or a specific website there could well be a simple solution.

It could be that your system is showing an incorrect Date or Time – or both.

You need to check the date and time that your machine is set to.

The time is shown in the bottom right corner.
If you need to adjust it right click on the icon > Adjust Date and Time

If you find that the date and time change again you probably need to change the CMOS battery on the motherboard.

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Run Command – How to Enable it in Vista


Tutorial written by Maynardvdm 

How to enable Run Command  Vista                                                             

Right-click on the Taskbar and select Properties…..


Then click on the Start Menu Tab:


Click on Customize like this:


In the box scroll down to Run Command and Tick the box next to it like this:


  • Then click on the OK button in both windows.

Then it should look like this when you click on the Start Menu


The Run Command can also be enabled or disabled in other versions of Windows in the same manner. In the other versions of Windows the Run Command is enabled by default.

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Vista Tips and Hints – written by Jelly Bean – Check Company databases to buy email database.

This article – Vista Tips and Hints – shows a few things that can be done / changed with Vista.

Turn System Restore on or off:

Open System by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking System.

In the left pane, click System Protection.If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To turn on System Protection for a hard disk, select the check box next to the disk, and then click OK.


To turn off System Protection for a hard disk, clear the check box next to the disk, and then click OK.

Start System Restore from a command prompt:

Start your computer in safe mode with command prompt.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

At the command prompt, type rstrui.exe, and then press ENTER.

Note:If you use System Restore when the computer is in safe mode, you cannot undo the restore operation. However, you can run System Restore again and choose a different restore point if one exists.

Undo System Restore:

Open System Restore by clicking the Start button/clicking All Programs/clicking Accessories/clicking System Tools/and then clicking System Restore.*If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation,type the password or provide confirmation.

Click Undo System Restore, and then click Next.

Review your choices, and then click Finish.

Your computer will restart. When finished, you’ll see a confirmation that the undo process is completed.

Note:If you use System Restore when the computer is in safe mode, you cannot undo the restore operation. However, you can run System Restore again and choose a different restore point if one exists.


Create a Customised Microsoft Management Console:

Click Start/All Programs/Accessories/ click Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

In Microsoft Management Console (MMC), on the Console menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

On the Standalone tab, click Add, click Group Policy under Available Standalone Snap-ins, and then click Add.

Accept the default of Local Computer in the Group Policy Object box, and then click Finish.

Close the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box, and then click OK on the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box.

Under Console Root, expand Local Computer Policy, expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand System, and then click System Restore.

Double-click Turn off System Restore, and then on the Setting tab, select Enable.

Double-click Turn off Configuration, and then on the Setting tab, select Enable.

Click Apply, and then click OK.

On the Console menu, click Save as, type the name of the new console, and accept the Administrative Tools folder as the default location in which to save this file.

To access the new console, click Start, click More Programs, and then click Administrative Tools.

If users try to access System Restore Configuration, the System Properties dialog box is present, but the System Restore tab is not present.

How to disable digital driver signing.

Right click on command prompt and choose run as admin.

Paste this command into the command prompt window:

Bcdedit.exe /set nointegritychecks ON 

Hit enter on your keyboard.

Restart your computer.


Short cut to run box.

Shortcut to make the Run Box Appear:
Winkey – R

Changing Your Windows Vista Theme.

Changing your Windows Vista theme doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow these simple steps to set up a new Windows Vista theme, or select the Classic Windows theme.

RIGHT Click the Desktop.

Click Personalize.

Click Themes.

Click the Theme Choices pull down menu and choose Classic.

Click Apply and OK .


To make the Start menu work in Classic mode:

RIGHT Click the Start button.

Click Properties.

Choose Classic Start menu.

Click Apply and OK.


Changing The Name Of The Windows Vista Registered Owner. 

To view the registered owner of your Windows Vista operating system, click Start, type winver in the search box and hit enter on your keyboard. 

To change the registered owner information: (make sure you backup the registry before making changes.
Click the Start Button, type regedit in the search box, and press Enter.

Click Continue to get past the User Account Control hurdle.

On the left panel, double-click to navigate to the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion

On the right panel, double-click on RegisteredOwner.

In the Value Data box, type the new name that you want to appear as the registered owner, then click OK.

Double-click RegisteredOrganization and type inthe new organization in the Value Data box.

Click OK.

Exit the Registry Editor, run winver again to view the change.


Use Group Policy Editor:

Click Start/All Programs/Accessories/click Run, type gpedit.msc. and then click OK.

Expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand System, and then click System Restore.

Double-click Turn off System Restore, and then on the Setting tab, select Enable.

Double-click Turn off Configuration, and then on the Setting tab, select Enable.

For more information about what these settings do, click the Explain tab on the Properties dialog box.

Click Apply, and then click OK.

If users try to access System Restore Configuration, the System Properties dialog box is present, but the System Restore tab is not present.


Dual boot,how to set priority OS boot.

1. Right-Click on My Computer and select properties
– (In Vista you can select View System Information from the Computer window.)

2. From the System Properties window select the Advanced tab.

3. Push the Settings button under Startup and Recovery.

4. Select the default OS from the Default operating system dropdown box.


Use a Screen Saver as your desktop background.

Open a command prompt.

Type in:aurora.scr /p65552 hit enter on your keyboard.

Close command prompt.

Other commands you can use:





Make Vista shut down quicker.

Click start and type in search box regedit.

Locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet/control.

On the right you will see at the bottom of the list:WaitToKillServicetimeout.

Right click on WaitToKillServicetimeout and choose modify.

It shows 20000 you can lower this to no lower than 5000.



Vista hidden benchmarks.

Right click on command prompt and choose run as admin.

Now test each of these commands in turn.

Type in the first command,hit enter on your keyboard and see the hidden wonders of Vista.

Then use ctrl+alt+Del to bring up task manager to close the screen.

Then try the next command.

Each time you will need to use ctrl+alt+Del to bring up task manager to close it.

Here are your commands be happy:

winsat d3d -objs C(20) -texshader -totalobj 50

winsat aurora

winsat d3d -texshader -totalobj 15

winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(10) -alushader -v -time 10

winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(1) -alushader -noalpha -v -time 10


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