Ask Leo! #632 – XP Die-hards, Something System Restore is Good For, Turning off (More Of) Cortana, and more…

Merry New Year!

Here we are in the middle of the holiday season! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, or whatever celebration you might participate in (even if that's just "Sunday" Smile).

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support, and to wish you all the best for the year to come.

I have a few changes brewing this year. Shouldn't be anything too major, but I'm finding I need to focus my efforts so that I can serve you more effectively. Year-end is always a great time to review and re-imagine what it is I do and how I do it.

As always, your comments (and questions) are always welcome. Just hit reply.

Here's to a productive and problem-free 2017!


PS: I did something new on my personal blog this year you might be interested in: My Top 5 Books for 2016. Completely unrelated to tech, for the most part.


Four Options for XP Die-hards

For PCs I still use XP. This is for several reasons (real or imagined) — I hate going to W10 and don't plan to do so ever if I can. I hate the "upgraded" versions of Microsoft Office. They are ever more clumsy and harder to use. And — worst of all, they are not backward and forward compatible. I'm retired, but in my prior life I was involved with computers used in military air defense systems. If we had delivered software to the military with the software problems that Microsoft delivers to the public I think I would have been fired prior to the first delivery.

I am at a loss for what to do for my next upgrade. Shall I go to W7, suffer with W10, evolve to Linux, retire and let my brain rot — or what? I do not have an answer and soon I will have too many XP issues to progress further. (I spend a couple of hours a day investing in the market.)

Do you have any thoughts on this? I am not necessarily looking for a public answer, but your thinking would be valuable to me.

I have thoughts a'plenty.

You're not alone in your situation. There are plenty of XP die-hards who are reluctant (to put it politely) to use anything else.

What's right for you, however, still comes back to you, and what you're willing to endure.

That being said, I'll rule out brain-rot right from the start. This is a wonderful opportunity for just the opposite, in my opinion.

Continue Reading: Four Options for XP Die-hards

Backup and Restore the Registry Using System Restore

The registry is a database of information Windows keeps for just about everything. Most of your settings, configuration, passwords and more are all kept in the system registry. Windows applications are also encouraged to keep their settings and configuration information there, too.

It's a key component of Windows, and while it doesn't happen often, sometimes changes made to the contents of the registry can cause problems, from misbehaving applications to systems that simply won't boot.

Unfortunately, changing some settings in Windows, particularly in the Home edition, requires us to play with the registry manually, increasing the risk that something might go wrong.

The solution? Back it up first.

Continue Reading: Backup and Restore the Registry Using System Restore

Get Rid of Cortana Completely

I saw your article last week about turning off Cortana. That didn't really turn it off, it just hid most all the controls. When you search it's still using Cortana. I want Cortana GONE.

Personally, I'm happy just ignoring Cortana and not letting "her" bug me by hiding all those controls, as we did previously.

Apparently, that's not enough for some.

OK, fine. We'll break out a bigger hammer. Since it needs to work in all editions of Windows 10, that hammer turns out to be a registry setting.

Continue Reading: Get Rid of Cortana Completely


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Glossary Term

registry, Windows

The registry is nothing more than a highly structured database of information managed by Windows.

Almost all user and system settings, configuration information, passwords, and more are kept in the registry. Windows applications are also encouraged to keep their settings and configuration in the registry.

Its implementation is somewhat controversial; some feel that a simpler mechanism such as plain text files used in other OS's would be more robust. The reality is that most registry related issues are due to the data stored in the registry and not the fault of the registry itself.

There is no doubt that the registry is a large and complex database of information that application developers need to understand before attempting to use. The registry is designed to securely support several multi-user and enterprise-wide features, and do so in as fault-tolerant a way as possible. Information must cover corporate policies, per-user settings for the system and all installed applications, as well as machine-specific data. On top of the different types of data stored on a machine, some user-specific data may also apply to, and need to be easily replicated to, a corporate-wide environment. The result is that the registry is a database of fairly complex data.

Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.

Featured Comments

You Can't Un-Ring a Bell

Christopher Souter writes:

I seem to remember that, some years ago, I read somewhere that Facebook records every keystroke made by any given user, and that record is retained, EVEN IF THAT USER DELETES ALL THE TEXT THAT HE/SHE HAS TYPED!

I understood from the article that this applies, EVEN IF THE USER CANCELLED THE POST - I don't mean deleted it after posting: I mean, that the user changed his/her mind, and decided not to go ahead and post.

I also understaood from the article that the reason Facebook records the text as it's being typed, is to improve the targetting of advertisements to any given user.

Just my 2* worth... :)

Does anyone else remember reading this article, or something similar? I'm fairly sure that it could be anything up to 5 years ago when I saw the article, and I seriously doubt that I could find a link to it now, but if I do, I'll post it here.

Leo writes:

I don't believe that Facebook records every keystroke. That's a little too "conspiracy theory" for me. They do, obviously, work with the text as you type (it's how they automatically turn names of Facebook friends and pages into links, for example), so they could, of course. But man that'd be a lot of text. I doubt very seriously that they're recording it.

Comes back to another of my maxims: don't use services you don't trust. (Or, don't use them further than you trust them.) If even the possibility concerns you, then your only recourse is to get off of Facebook.

Four Options for XP Die-hards

Midwest guy writes:

I, too, was reluctant migrating to Windows 10. I loved XP...and loved Windows 7 just as much. One thing I did that made the move to Windows 10 more comfortable for me was to install Macrium Reflect onto my system and image Windows 7 before trying out Windows 10. I figured that if I hated Windows 10, I could easily reinstall the Windows 7 image that I had made. Having that option available to me via Macrium Reflect has helpful.

As it turned out, I like Windows 10 and keep it on my system 90% of the time, and create frequent images of it. But every now and then I reinstall my Windows 7 image, install the latest updates, and then backup a new image of it just-in-case.

Gary T writes:

" Both Windows 7 and 10 have nice features in their Start Menu. Yes, it isn't as organized as XP, " Seriously ? I love the win 10 start menu now that they have updated it somewhat. How can you not like your applications laid out in alphabetical order ? The tiles you can keep what you need or be rid of them all if you like a minimalist look. Windows 10 definitely has it's warts what with forced updates that can play havoc with your drivers, but overall, it is a good operating system.

Bill Landau, Your Personal Computer Guru writes:

Glad to see your recommendation for Classic Shell. When I set up new Windows 10 machines for clients I always offer them the option. Had one client whose computer had been upgraded to Windows 10 without her informed consent. She told me she hated it, wanted me to get rid of it. I installed Classic Shell, and all her complaints disappeared!

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Backing Up 101 Saved! - Backing Up with Macrium Reflect - 2nd Edition Saved! Backing Up With EaseUS Todo
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Posted: December 27, 2016 in: 2016
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