Questions tagged [windows]

For questions not specific to a single version of Microsoft Windows. Otherwise, use a more specific tag such as [windows-7], [windows-10] or [windows-11].

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1066 votes
12 answers
1.4m views

Find out which process is locking a file or folder in Windows

How can I find out which process is locking a file or folder in Windows? For instance, when trying to delete a folder, Windows reports this: The action can't be completed because the folder is ...
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  • 19.2k
992 votes
19 answers
513k views

What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?

In Windows you have a C-drive. Everything labeled beyond that is with the following letter. So your second drive is D, your DVD is E and if you put in a USB stick it becomes F and the following ...
659 votes
8 answers
1.9m views

How can I display the contents of an environment variable from the command prompt in Windows 7?

In Windows 7, when I start the Command prompt, is there any command to display the contents of an environment variable (such as the JAVA_HOME or PATH variables)? I have tried with echo $PATH, echo ...
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  • 24.7k
561 votes
13 answers
3.3m views

Windows 7 SP1 Windows Update stuck checking for updates

I installed Windows 7 fresh and installed SP1. Now, when I try to check manually for Windows Updates it just hangs on the Checking for updates screen. I tried running the tools in How do I reset ...
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510 votes
12 answers
298k views

Create/rename a file/folder that begins with a dot in Windows?

Many programs needs folder names that starts with a dot, like .emacs.d, .gimp-2.2, .jedit etc. How do I create such a folder? When using the Windows Explorer in Windows 2000 (and other versions), I ...
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509 votes
3 answers
329k views

"directory junction" vs "directory symbolic link"?

In the context of NTFS: MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target /D Creates a directory symbolic link. Default is a file symbolic link. /H Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link. /J ...
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  • 25.4k
494 votes
17 answers
781k views

Is there any 'sudo' command for Windows?

I always work on a non-administrator account on my Windows computer. Sometimes I need to install programs which requires administrator access. As I mostly use the Windows command prompt, is there a ...
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  • 10.5k
481 votes
9 answers
717k views

Can I delete the folder C:\ProgramData\Package Cache\?

There is a new folder full of installers located at C:\ProgramData\Package Cache\. I believe this is from Visual Studio 2012 RC. Can I delete these gigabytes of data without consequences? Are they ...
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  • 5,180
463 votes
18 answers
317k views

How can I remove malicious spyware, malware, adware, viruses, trojans or rootkits from my PC?

What should I do if my Windows computer seems to be infected with a virus or malware? What are the symptoms of an infection? What should I do after noticing an infection? What can I do to get rid of ...
460 votes
4 answers
564k views

How do I run multiple commands on one line in PowerShell?

In a cmd prompt, you can run two commands on one line like so: ipconfig /release & ipconfig /renew When I run this command in PowerShell, I get: Ampersand not allowed. The `&` operator is ...
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  • 8,364
453 votes
8 answers
957k views

How can I free up drive space from the Windows installer folder without killing Windows?

On my SSD machine, the C:\Windows\Installer folder is massive and takes up about 15% of my total disk space. Is there a way to clean up that folder without killing Windows 8.1/10? Tucking away the ...
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  • 8,517
446 votes
27 answers
379k views

How to check if a binary is 32 or 64 bit on Windows?

Is there an easy way to check if a binary is 32 or 64 bit on Windows? I need to check before I move the program to a 32bit machine and experience a spectacular failure.
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  • 4,918
444 votes
21 answers
1.4m views

How to download files from command line in Windows like wget or curl

How can I download something from the web directly without Internet Explorer or Firefox opening Acrobat Reader/Quicktime/MS Word/whatever? I'm using Windows, so a Windows version of Wget would ...
419 votes
24 answers
488k views

How to delete directories with path/names too long for normal delete

Windows seems to have a length limit on file names when trying to delete, though it won't prevent those files from being created. Our build process creates a number of temporary files (many build off ...
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  • 8,764
417 votes
4 answers
626k views

How do I exit telnet?

I start telnet by telnet host port. How do I stop it in Windows? Shockingly, Ctrl+C doesn't work.
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  • 1
413 votes
10 answers
1.6m views

How to rename the User folder in Windows 10?

After installing Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3 it took my user name 'Jeremy' and created a user folder named C:\Users\jerem. I want to rename the folder C:\Users\Jeremy. The procedure for Windows 8 ...
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  • 6,730
397 votes
14 answers
551k views

How to disable the "Get Windows 10" icon shown in the notification area (tray)?

This icon showed up in my taskbar notification area today and I cannot seem to get rid of it: Clicking on it displays the following screen: So how do I disable or remove the "Get Windows 10" icon?
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346 votes
16 answers
955k views

How do you list all processes on the command line in Windows?

Is there a command equivalent to 'ps' on Unix that can list all processes on a Windows machine?
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  • 3,734
344 votes
7 answers
1.3m views

Why does virtualbox only have 32-bit option, no 64-bit option on Windows 7?

I have downloaded and installed the newest virtualbox 4.3.20 for my Windows 7 (64-bit OS), but when I want to install 64-bit Linux, the New->Create Virtual Machine only displays 32-bit option, no 64-...
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  • 4,003
343 votes
3 answers
697k views

What is the Windows equivalent of the Unix command cat?

I want to do exactly what unix "cat" does, but on my PC. Is there a simple equivalent command for the Windows command line? Specifically I want to create a file from all the files of a given type in ...
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  • 6,501
339 votes
12 answers
544k views

Native alternative to wget in Windows PowerShell?

I know I can download and install the aformentioned library (wget for Windows), but my question is this: In Windows PowerShell, is there a native alternative to wget? I need wget simply to retrieve ...
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  • 8,503
334 votes
8 answers
756k views

How to recursively delete directory from command line in windows?

What is the windows equivalent of rm -r [directory-name]?
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  • 7,458
332 votes
18 answers
498k views

Windows SSH: Permissions for 'private-key' are too open

I've OpenSSH 7.6 installed in Windows 7 for testing purposes. SSH client & server work just fine till I tried to access one of my AWS EC2 box from this windows. It seems like I need to change the ...
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  • 3,983
331 votes
10 answers
502k views

Keyboard language keeps changing in Windows 10

So I recently did a clean install of Windows 10 English. I configured it to have English UI language but Norwegian keyboard. I have several problems with that setup: The keyboard language keeps ...
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  • 4,369
324 votes
11 answers
320k views

Menu select item stuck on screen after context or command menu has closed

Periodically when I select a menu command, the label or selected option gets "stuck" on screen and won't go away. I can close all open applications, including whichever one I was using when it got ...
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  • 6,812
311 votes
10 answers
693k views

How to read ext4 partitions on Windows?

Is there a way to read ext4 partitions from Windows? If so, what can I do?
303 votes
21 answers
163k views

How can I visualize the file system usage on Windows?

How can I visualize which folders and files are taking up all of the space on my hard drive? I'm getting some conflicting reports on the size of hard drive contents. Namely what is and isn't there ...
302 votes
27 answers
117k views

How to mess up a PC running Windows 7? [closed]

Ok, so for my PC class I have to find 3 hacks that would mess up the lab's PC. Me and my partner are going to mess up the PC and then another team will try to fix it. The system on it is Windows 7. ...
300 votes
21 answers
652k views

How to move windows that open up offscreen?

I have a dual monitor setup, and I recently played around with the positioning settings, and some of my single window applications do the favour of preserving where they were last closed, and opening ...
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299 votes
14 answers
412k views

How do I find the location of an executable in Windows?

I remembered that I used a tool called as where to find locations for any executable programs like this in a console: C:\Tmp\Where myTool.exe C:\Program Files\MyApp\myTools.exe .... Now I cannot ...
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  • 4,325
287 votes
5 answers
248k views

How do I make Windows 10's File Explorer open "This PC" by default?

I know how to do that on Windows Vista and Windows 7, and I know how to do that on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, but neither of the ways work with Windows 10; it always defaults ...
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  • 3,007
285 votes
6 answers
838k views

Setting and getting Windows environment variables from the command prompt?

I want to set an environment variable from the command prompt and then be able to access it globally (for instance, I should see it by going to System -> Environment Variables). When I use the set ...
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  • 3,440
281 votes
10 answers
1.2m views

Using cd command in Windows command line, can't navigate to D:\

This may be a silly question, and I think I have looked elsewhere to find the answer... Might be a path issue, but when I open the command line and type from the C:\>: cd D:\ I cannot get to the ...
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  • 6,445
265 votes
5 answers
189k views

How to automatically reload modified files in Notepad++

How can automatically reload modified files in Notepad++? The confirmation step is annoying, and is completely unnecessary in some situations.
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  • 6,247
264 votes
5 answers
264k views

Is there a list of Windows special directories/shortcuts (like %TEMP%)?

I'm looking for a reference list of shortcuts like %TEMP%. When I'm using Windows+R or Windows Explorer and type %temp%, the Windows Explorer takes me to the Temp directory. Are there more of these ...
user avatar
  • 2,940
258 votes
10 answers
38k views

Why is Google so much faster than a hard-drive search?

When I search a file on my HD in Windows 7 or Windows XP it takes some minutes to finish the process. If I fill in a search term in Google, the answer is on my screen in milliseconds How is it ...
user avatar
  • 1,727
253 votes
13 answers
830k views

How to search inside files on Windows 7?

In Windows XP we can search for files that contain a defined keyword (inside all files types). Windows 7 can look inside files for a keyword, but only for text files. (*.doc, *.txt, *.inf, ...), not (...
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247 votes
14 answers
303k views

Equivalent of Linux `touch` to create an empty file with PowerShell [duplicate]

Is there an equivalent of touch in PowerShell? For instance, in Linux I can create a new empty file by invoking: touch filename On Windows this is pretty awkward -- usually I just open a new instance ...
user avatar
  • 8,503
246 votes
15 answers
188k views

How to quickly move current window to another Task View / desktop in Windows 10?

Windows 10 introduced Task View - the ability to have multiple virtual desktops. When I am in a window on Desktop 1, what's the quickest way to move it to Desktop 2? Currently, I need to enter the ...
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245 votes
10 answers
2.5m views

How can I check the temperature of my CPU in Windows?

Does Windows provide a means to check my CPU temperature natively? If not, are there any software tools which can reveal this information?
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  • 3,025
237 votes
11 answers
668k views

How can I execute a Windows command line in background?

How can I execute a windows command line in the background, without it interacting with the active user?
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231 votes
9 answers
1.3m views

How do I set system environment variables in Windows 10? [duplicate]

How do I set a system environment variable in Windows 10 (without using the registry editor)? (Note: Other answers don't specifically address Windows 10 - at least not yet - and they leave off ...
user avatar
  • 2,589
227 votes
19 answers
468k views

How to compare the differences between two PDF files on Windows?

Do you know a good way to compare PDF files side-by-side and show the modifications between the two? I'm looking for Windows software to accomplish this. It would be great if you can post both free ...
225 votes
9 answers
483k views

How do I change the language of all Powerpoint slides at once?

I want to change the proofing language of all my slides in a Powerpoint. I've tried setting the language via the Language Preferences menu, however this only changes it for new powerpoints.
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  • 2,859
224 votes
32 answers
366k views

Windows equivalent of the Linux command 'touch'?

What do you use when you want to update the date-modified field of a file on Windows? commands accessible via C++, .NET, C#, or something native to Windows (Vista preferably) tools/applications ...
223 votes
10 answers
306k views

Refresh Icon Cache Without Rebooting

Normally, to refresh the icon cache in Windows, we have to reboot. Is there a way to refresh the icon cache in Windows 7/8 without rebooting?
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  • 14k
223 votes
10 answers
901k views

Kill a process which says "Access denied"

I have a process that I can't kill with either Task Manager or Process Explorer - I get the error "Access denied". The process isn't a Windows executable. How can I kill it? Is there some tool I ...
user avatar
  • 10.9k
222 votes
7 answers
334k views

Windows 10 - disable reopening programs after restart/startup

Occasionally, a forced restart is happening on my Windows 10 computer. When the OS is restarted every program that I've had prior to the restart is reopened at startup. The programs are reopened like ...
user avatar
  • 2,382
212 votes
13 answers
792k views

How do I know what proxy server I'm using?

I need to know what the address for my proxy server is so I can configure another program to also use it. If I go into IE, Internet Properties, LAN Settings, then all I see is an automatic ...
user avatar
212 votes
10 answers
143k views

Windows equivalent of whereis?

Is there an equivalent of the Unix whereis command in Windows? So that I could figure out where commands I can run actually is.
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  • 34.9k

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