How to Change the Format of Dates and Times in Windows 10

By default, Windows formats dates with slashes (3/23/16). However, if you want to use a different format for the date, such as using periods instead of slashes (3.23.16), that’s easy to change in Windows’ settings. You can also change the format of the time.

The format of the date and time affects the clock on the Taskbar, as shown above. It also affects programs you run in Windows, such as Excel, unless you override the format in the program itself. For example, you might want use slashes on the date shown on the Taskbar, but use periods in the dates you enter in Excel.

We’ll show you how to select a different format and how to create a custom format for the date and time in Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. Accessing the basic choices for changing the date and time format is slightly different in each version of Windows, so we’ll discuss those procedures separately in the first three sections below. However, entering a custom format for the date and time is done the same way in all three Windows versions. So, follow the steps in one of the first three sections, depending on which version of Windows you are using, and then continue with the last section.

As an example in this article, we’ll show you how to change the date format, but changing the time format is a similar process, and we’ll mention where you can do that as well.

How to Access the Date and Time Format Settings in Windows 10

If you’re using Windows 10, click on the Search box or button on the Taskbar. If you don’t see the Search box or button, you can easily enable one or the other.

Type ”change the date” in the Search box. Results start to display as you type. Click ”Change the date and time format” in the list of results.

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On this Change Date and Time Formats settings screen, you can select different formats for the ”Short date”, ”Long date”, ”Short time”, and ”Long time”.

You may not see the format you want in the list of options for the date or time. For example, there are various formats using slashes and a couple using dashes, but no dates using periods. You have to access a screen in the old Control Panel to be able to enter a custom date or time format.

To access the screen in the Control Panel that will allow you to enter a custom date or time format, click the back arrow button in the upper-left corner of the Settings screen.

You are returned to the Date & time screen in the Time & Language settings.

Scroll down on the right side of the Date and time screen and click the ”Additional date, time, & regional settings” link under Related settings.

The Clock, Language, and Region screen on the Control Panel displays. In the Region section on the right, click the ”Change date, time, or number formats” link. This opens the Region dialog box. See the last section of this post for information on how to create a custom date or time format from this menu.

Note that there are other ways of accessing the Control Panel in Windows 10 as well.

How to Auto-Control Your PC’s Fans for Cool, Quiet Operation

A good set of fans can keep your computer from overheating, but they can also make your computer sound like a wind tunnel. Here’s how to control your PC’s fans for superior cooling when it’s working hard, and silence when it isn’t.

Sure, you could connect a manual fan controller to your PC, with knobs that set fans to different speeds. But there’s nothing quite like automatic fan control, where your PC ramps up the fans when things get hot, and turn them down when it’s business as usual.

How you control your fans depends a lot on your computer, your fans, and how everything is put together, so let’s start with some basics.

Do I Really Need This?

Let’s start with a really simple question: Do you really need to customize your fan control?

If you are using a laptop or other off-the-shelf computer (like a Dell), chances are your computer automatically controls its fans to some extent already. If your computer is getting hotter than you’d like, or your fans are louder than you’d like, you should do a couple of other things first:

How To Thoroughly Clean Your Dirty Desktop Computer

Open your computer and check for dust buildup. If it’s dusty, clean it out (especially the fans) with some compressed air. We have entire guides on cleaning out desktops and laptops.

Make sure your computer is well ventilated. If you’re using a desktop, make sure there’s some space around the case, not pushed up against a wall or in a closed cupboard. If you’re using a laptop, try to keep it on a flat surface where the rubber feet can allow air to pass under it, rather than using it on top of a blanket or mattress. RELATED ARTICLE

How to Use the New Task Manager in Windows 8 or 10

Check your running programs. Open up Windows’ Task Manager and see if there are any programs working hard that shouldn’t be. If your computer is constantly working hard due to a runaway program, its fans are going to run much more often.

But let’s say you’re still not satisfied. Depending on your computer, you may be able to change how hard and how often the fans run to cool down your PC. This is especially common (and necessary!) with home-built computers, but can sometimes work on pre-built desktops and laptops as well-though your mileage may vary.

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The Different Ways Fans Connect to Your PC

The fans in your computer can get power in one of two ways: From the motherboard, or directly from your computer’s power supply. If they’re connected to the power supply (usually through a Molex connector), there’s no way to control them through software-you’d have to hook them up to a hardware fan controller.

If you can connect them to your motherboard, however, you may have options.

Motherboard-connected fans come in two varieties: those with 3-pin cables, and those with 4-pin cables. In addition, your motherboard can either have 3-pin sockets or 4-pin sockets (or both!). Having a 4-pin fan connected to a 4-pin socket is ideal, since 4-pin connections allow your fans to be controlled through pulse-width modulation, or PWM.

If your motherboard only has 3-pin connections, though, you can sometimes control the fans by changing the voltage supplied to the fan. Not all motherboards support this, so you’ll probably have to check your motherboard’s manual or search the web for answers. In addition, voltage control isn’t quite as smooth as PWM-but it’ll get the job done.

And, to make matters even more confusing, you can connect 3-pin fans to 4-pin sockets and vice-versa, as shown above-you just won’t be able to use PWM control.

Having trouble understanding all that? Here it is in flowchart form:

Got it? Alright, with that, let’s talk about the different ways you can control those fans.

For Simple, Built-In Controls: Check Your BIOS

What Does a PC’s BIOS Do, and When Should I Use It?

A lot of modern computers have fan controls built right in-you just need to dig into the BIOS. To access the BIOS, you’ll need to reboot your computer, and then press a certain key as it boots-usually Delete or F12. Your boot screen will let you know which, with a line like ”Press DEL to enter setup”.

Once in the BIOS, you may have to hunt around to find your fan controls. I found them under Settings > Hardware Monitor on my MSI motherboard, but the location of yours may vary. (If you don’t find them, it’s possible they aren’t available on your PC.)

Every motherboard’s fan controls are different, but most will follow a somewhat similar pattern. You’ll get the choice to enable automatic fan control for your CPU fan (which is attached to your processor) and SYS fans (or system fans, which are usually spread around your case).

BIOS fan control

These are the settings for my CPU fan, but yours will differ, depending on the size and quality of your fan. 12.5% may be too low for most heatsinks, which are on the smaller side.

Your CPU fan will likely have an option for a target temperature, in degrees Celsius, and a minimum speed, either in percentage or RPM. Basically, this allows you to say ”Keep my fan at X speed until the CPU reaches Y degrees-then intelligently ramp up the fan to cool it down.” The hotter your CPU gets, the faster your fan will spin. Not every motherboard will have all these options-some simplify it more than others-but most will follow this general pattern.

NOTE: If either of these values is too low, you’ll run into a bit of an annoyance. Your fan will ramp up to cool the PC, and slow down when it reaches your target temperature. But then your temperature will increase, because the fan has slowed down, creating a situation in which the fan is constantly ramping up, slowing down, then ramping up again every minute or two. If you find that happening, you’ll want to raise your target temperature and/or raise your minimum fan speed. You may have to play with these values a bit to get them just right.

Your SYS fans may have similar options, or you may only be able to set them to certain constant speeds. Dig through your BIOS settings and your motherboard’s manual for more information on your specific PC.

For example, in my computer’s BIOS, I can only automatically control fans based on the CPU temperature. If you want to control your fans based on other values, like your hard drive temperatures, you’ll want to take a look at the next section in this article, ”Get More Advanced Control with SpeedFan”.

Some motherboards may also come with their own applications to control the fans, in addition to the built-in BIOS options. We won’t go over these today, since they’re dependent on your motherboard and will be different for everyone-and the BIOS options are usually a better choice.

Get More Advanced Control with SpeedFan

If your computer’s BIOS doesn’t have enough options for you, you can get more control with a Windows program called SpeedFan. It’s a little more complex, and somewhat old at this point, but it allows you to control fans based on the temperature of any component (not just your CPU), and allows you to monitor everything from one window. Due to its complexity, though, we only recommend you download this application if you’re an advanced user. You’re messing with your computer’s cooling system, and if you aren’t careful, you could damage your hardware.

Also, keep in mind that SpeedFan will not support every computer, so not everyone will be able to control their fans with this program. But, when it works, it’s pretty useful. You can check SpeedFan’s list of supported chipsets here, or just give it a try for yourself. Even though my motherboard wasn’t listed, it still worked well on my home-built PC. If at any point you find these instructions aren’t working for you, it may just be because your motherboard or fan setup is incompatible with SpeedFan. Don’t feel bad-you aren’t the only one.

NOTE: Turn off any fan settings in your BIOS before using SpeedFan, as the two can conflict. If you altered any settings using the above instructions, head back to your BIOS and set any smart fan functions to ”Disabled”, and all your fans to 100% before continuing.

Step One: Download SpeedFan and Get Acquainted

Download SpeedFan from its home page and install it (watch out for the ads on the download page-the real download link is much smaller, where it says ”the latest version is ___”). Start it up, and-after giving it a few seconds to scan your machine-you’ll see the main window.

On the left, you’ll see a column that shows how fast your fans are running in rotations per minute (RPM). On the right, you’ll see a list of temperatures for your graphics card, motherboard chipset, hard drives, processor, and more.

How to Play Any Windows Game In Full Screen Borderless Windowed Mode

If you’re a regular PC gamer, you know that playing a game in full screen mode can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Switching to a background program, using a second monitor, or suddenly getting a notification that takes focus can mess up your game. Playing the game in a window fixes these problems, but it’s less immersive and doesn’t use your monitor’s full space effectively.

Borderless windowed mode is an elegant solution. It runs the game in a window (with a small performance hit), but slims that window down to about a pixel width on all size. Set the game to run in a window at or near the maximum, and you can get those gorgeous full screen visuals while being able to instantly switch to another program,

Most high-end games published these days offer something like borderless windowed mode. But if you’ve found one that doesn’t, it’s an easy thing to fix with a handy freeware application.

Download Fullscreenizer

Head to this address: it’s a page for a tiny little freeware application called Fullscreenizer. Click ”executable” to go to the download page, then click the ”download” button. You’ll download a ZIP file to your desktop.

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Unzip the file with whatever program you prefer, then double-click the fullscreenizer.exe file. Now you need to configure the game.

Get Your Game Ready

Open up the game you want to apply the change to, and go it its configuration panel. Change the display mode to ”windowed” rather than ”full screen.”

Now before applying the changes, select the highest possible resolution. Generally this is the same resolution as your primary monitor (most likely 1920×1080 at 60hz for modern desktop and laptop displays). This will make the window render at the same resolution as your monitor, but because of the non-adaptive elements of the Windows user interface like the taskbar, you won’t actually be able to see the full window at once.

Apply the changes to your game, and verify them or restart the game as necessary.

Activate Fullscreenizer

Now with both the game and Fullscreenizer, switch away from the game with Windows’ Alt+Tab command. Click the Fullscreenizer window, and click ”refresh” if you don’t see your game in the list of running programs.

Now just click the game and click ”Fullscreenize.” The game will come back into focus in the foreground, now covering the taskbar and all other windows. Bingo, you’ve got a full screen window running at your screen’s maximum resolution, but you can switch to other programs with Alt+Tab or the Windows key without that two-to-five second delay with a blank screen.

Understanding Shut Down Options in Windows 7

It seems like the simplest thing in the world: shutting down your computer. But Windows 7 gives you a number of different ways to do that, and they’re not all the same. Some methods help you shut down your computer completely, while another makes it look like your PC is turned off but it’s actually ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice. Here’s a guide to choosing the best shut down option based on what you need your computer to do at any given time.

The key to shutting down your Windows 7 computer is in the Start menu. Click on the Start button in Windows 7 and you’ll see, among other items, the Shut down button on the lower right-hand side. Next to that button is a triangle; click the triangle to bring up the other shut down options.

Option No. 1: Shut down

If you click the Shut down button itself, without clicking the triangle and opening the other options, Windows 7 ends all current processes and shuts down the computer completely. You would normally do this to turn off your work computer at the end of the day, or your home computer before going to bed.

Option No. 2: Restart

The Restart button ”reboots” your computer (it is sometimes called a ”warm boot” or ”soft boot.”) That means it saves your information to the hard drive, turns off the computer for a moment, then turns it back on again. This is most often done after fixing a problem, adding a new program, or making a configuration change to Windows that requires a restart.

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Restarts are often needed in troubleshooting scenarios. In fact, when your PC does something unexpected this should always be your first recourse to try and solve the problem.

Option No. 3: Sleep

Clicking on Sleep puts your computer into a low-power state, but doesn’t turn it off. The main advantage of Sleep is that it allows you to get back to work quickly, without having to wait for the computer to do a full boot, which can take several minutes.

Normally, pressing the computer’s power button ”wakes it up” from Sleep mode, and it’s ready to work within seconds.

Sleep is a good option for those times when you’ll be away from your computer for a short period. It saves power (which saves money), and allows you to get back to work quickly. Keep in mind, however, that it does slowly drain the battery; if you’re using a laptop and are low on power, this mode could eventually result in your computer turning itself off. In other words, check how much battery power your laptop has left before going into sleep mode.

Option No. 4: Hibernate

Hibernate mode is sort of a compromise between the Shut down and Sleep modes. It remembers the current state of your desktop and fully shuts down the computer. So if, for instance, you have open a web browser, a Microsoft Word document, a spreadsheet, and a chat window, it would turn off the computer, while remembering what you were working on. Then, when you start up again, those applications will be waiting for you, right where you left off. Convenient, right?

Hibernate mode is intended mainly for laptop and netbook users. If you’ll be away from your laptop for an extended period, and are worried about the battery dying, this is the option to choose.

It doesn’t use any power, but still remembers what you were doing. The downside is you will have to wait for your computer to boot all over again when it’s time to get back to work.

There you have it. The four shut down modes in Windows 7. It’s a good idea to experiment with the various shut down modes, and learn what works best for you in a given situation.

How to enable remote desktop access in Windows 7

Remote access if a great tool that allows a PC’s desktop, along with files, folders, programs and settings, to be accessed from another location with the help of a net connection. It’s an ideal solution for those that want help from either an IT guy, family member or friend to fix their PC, or perhaps you just need to quickly review a file you’ve left on your office PC when you’re working on-the-go.

In previous versions of Windows, if you wanted to ensure that you or someone else could remotely access your PC, you had to download software onto your PC. While some of these programs, such as TeamViewer, are free it was still a hassle. However, with this in mind Microsoft introduced a remote access feature into Windows 7 that allows others to access your PC remotely without the need for third-party software.

Here’s how to turn on remote access settings in Windows 7.

Step one

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From the Start Menu, right-click on Computer on the far right-hand side and select Properties.

Step two

Chose Remote settings from the left-hand side of the window that appears. Ensure the box next to Allow remote assistance connections to this computer is checked. Now under the Remote Desktop section select one of the three options that either allow remote access, don’t allow remote access, or allow remote access with Network Level authentication.

Step three

Now press Select Users and press Add. Now you can specify the location of the remote users you want to access your PC as well as the name of the PC you want to access your machine. Press OK and the names will be displayed in the Remote Desktop Users window. Press Ok again.

Change colour of all folders in Windows 8


How to change the colour of folders in Windows 8 and Windows 7. Colour code folders in Windows Explorer to help you work faster.

Why change colour of folders in Windows 8 and Windows 7

Making your folders different colours has more than a cosmetic affect makes navigating Windows folders much easier. Maybe make urgent folders red, actionable this week could be amber, folders to share green and so on. We’ve seen reports that such colour coding can help speed things up when dragging and dropping files. It makes sense.

It’s free, and easy to roll back, so why no follow the advice we offer below, try colour-coding folders in Windows and see if it helps you work more quickly.

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How to change colour of all folders in Windows 8 and Windows 7

For this article we are going to use Folder Colorizer. Folder Colorizer is free software with which you can assign a set colour to each folder in Explorer. There are other programs such as Folder Marker Free, but this is the one we have tried. And we like it (it’s free).

Once you’ve installed it you are given some pre-set colours with which to start playing around. To install a specified colour simply right-click on any folder. You’ll see a new ”Colorize!” option in your Explorer menu – unfortunately the US spelling and exclamation point are non-negotiable.


From this option you can choose a colour for your folder. The changes you choose take effect immediately. And if you don’t like the change you’ve made you can change to another colour, choose ”restore original color”, or reveal the hidden files in Explorer to reveal a temporary colour file inside the folder. Delete that and your folder’s original colour will immediately re-appear.

There’s more customisation that we expect you can use. If you don’t like the preset colours you can create your own with a colour wheel that allows you to point to red, green, yellow, and so on.

Remember not to colour-code Read-only files if you want to use this system to improve dragging-and-dropping speeds. To check, right-click on the folder, choose ”properties ”, and in the ”general ” tab, look at the ”attributes ” section. The Read-Only box is there–just make sure it’s unchecked and once that’s done, you’ll be ready to give the folder a fresh coat of paint.

How to get rid of redundant Windows programs and services

Not everybody is keen on using the Internet Explorer or the Windows Media Player as his tools of choice. More often than not, they just push themselves in the way of more advanced software. Here’s how you can disable them for good.

It probably isn’t too bold a claim to say that the Internet Explorer isn’t necessarily the most popular of browsers. In the same fashion, many PC users have long ditched the Windows Media Player in favour of more sophisticated media software. And yet, whether it be due to a weird hyperlink or an unusual file extension, both often manage to find their way back into our lives again by opening themselves unwanted. This doesn’t have to happen, though. What most users aren’t aware of: They can both be completely deactivated quite easily.

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Disable Windows functions

First, navigate into your control panel and click on ”Programs and Features”. Alternatively, simply hold down the Windows-key + R and enter ”Appwiz.cpl” to enter this menu directly. Search on the left side of the window for ”Turn Windows features on or off” and click on it. You might be asked to confirm your administrator rights before continuing on. Once inside, you will now see a full list of all Windows features that can be switched off. Simply uncheck the boxes in front of them to disable all superfluous services. To confirm your changes, click on ”OK” and leave the control panel, but note that this might take Windows a couple of seconds.

In case that you unexpectedly change your mind about a tool later, simply return to the control panel and re-check the box of whichever service you disabled earlier. Be aware, however, that Windows might need its installation or service pack DVD for this process in some instances.

Who hacked you and why? windows defender atp has the answer

Windows 10 has continuously increased its security from previous versions, recently stepping up its Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). With it, you can quickly detect and remediate any breaches in your security that the first line of defenses didn’t prevent.

The next large enterprise release of Windows 10 is said to be in April, including a new release of its Windows Defender ATP. This release will include many new features, such as watching for attacks by advanced malware like memory and kernel-level exploits.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is not the same thing as Windows Defender antivirus tools. The antivirus includes assistance with Edge’s downloader to help people avoid downloading infected files, as well as offering Office 365 spam and malware protection. ATP, instead, is focused more on post-attack.

It assists users by attempting to track the attacker directly through your network. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection was released to assist enterprise customers ”detect, investigate, and respond to advanced and targeted attacks on their networks.”

The newest update builds on many of the pre-existing security features to specifically provide post-breach layers of protection. Attacks are getting more common and sophisticated every day, using social engineering, zero-day vulnerabilities, and more to break into corporate networks.

Because of this, security in this day and age cannot only focus on how to prevent breaches. It also must layer your response system so you will have better detection and repair features after an attack happens.

ATP isn’t focused on stopping attacks from happening. The focus of that will be placed on already provided antimalware software. ATP itself focuses on identifying the attacker, what they did, how it happened, and what could have been compromised from the attack.

This makes Microsoft’s new ATP different from many security tools, and one that’s immensely important. How can you prevent further attacks from getting through your security tools if you can’t exactly see how your security was breached?

Because of the inevitability of being attacked, ATP will hopefully prove itself to be a useful feature. Windows Defender ATP, according to Microsoft, is made up of three different parts: endpoint behavioral sensors, cloud security analytics, and threat intelligence.

Client endpoint behavioral sensor

This is automatically built into Windows 10 and logs any security events that it deems relevant, as well as endpoint behaviors. The endpoint sensors collect and process behaviors signals, such as process, registry, file, and network communications, from the operating system.

After this, they use machine learning to understand signals coming from your device and then transmit the telemetry to your private, isolated, cloud instance of Windows Defender ATP.

This is vital in determining what happened during the attack and exactly how it happened so you can prevent further access to your systems, both from the same attacker who might already be in your system and others who will infiltrate it in the same way in the future.

If ATP can understand what your computer typically looks like, it better knows if it is compromised. The newest version of Windows 10 and ATP will update these sensors to understand and detect even more attacks, such as ”in-memory malware, kernel-level attacks, and cross-process code injections.”

To be clear, the sensors supposedly only develop telemetry when you believe you’ve been attacked and use Windows Defender ATP as a response to that breach. Additionally, the information is said to be anonymized when it is shared outside of Microsoft.

If you use ATP as a backup to section off infected areas of your computer, you can much more quickly and simply remove exploits before they spread further, as well as prevent that from happening again.

Additionally, using an uncompromised system in the cloud to isolate and mitigate the suspected breaches is important because attackers are much less likely to see what you do in response to the attack.

Tightening up windows 10 security settings

Windows 10 is the most secure operating system ever from Microsoft, and its security is constantly being improved. There’s no denying that fact. Of course, it’s also the newest, which kind of gives it an edge, you know? And speaking of Edge, the Edge browser is also the fastest, most secure production browser. It is also the newest, which again gives it an edge over the competition. It’s getting to be a truism that the newest OS is the most secure one, and the newest browser is the fastest one. But there are always a few things left enabled to support legacy applications that might poke a hole in that veil. Here are a few things you can easily and quickly do to tidy up Windows 10 security.

Windows 10 security settings: Disable SMB1

SMB1 is an old technology, and recently the WannaCry ransomware took advantage of it on Windows 7 and older computers. But it’s still around in Windows 10, too. It is used to pass information between devices or applications. It arrived on the scene as part of the earliest desktop networking designs and was finally integrated by Microsoft around 1990. Wikipedia has an SMB history page Server Message Block if you’re interested. In summary, this is some very old technology. SMB1 has been replaced over the years with newer versions, and we’re currently at SMB4. However, some older applications (FoxPro, for example) or devices (old copiers, for example) are still in use in many businesses so SMB1 is still a requirement for them. Microsoft gets a lot of pressure to make their products backwards compatible, but if your business doesn’t have these limitations, then let’s tidy up and just close down SMB1 in Windows 10.

Press the Windows key

Start typing Turn Windows features on or off and select the Turn Windows features on or off Control Panel item.

Scroll down the list (it’s alphabetical) and uncheck the box next to SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support

Press OK

You will be prompted to restart

Get warned if an application tries to install something not from the Microsoft Store

The mere mention of Microsoft Store may make this seem like it’s going to cause you a problem, but it really won’t because you’re going to implement this after you have all of your applications installed. Even if you need to install an application later it’ll be OK because you’ll just get a popup verifying that you meant to install the application. Once the computer is set up, the frequency of the popup will be very low for most people, but the opportunity to save yourself from a malware installation is worth the small amount of annoyance.

Here’s how you enable it.

Press the Windows key

Start typing Apps and features

Select Apps & Features

At the top of the page, choose Warn me before installing apps from outside the Store from the drop-down box