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How to Disable Ads and Notifications in Windows 10's File Explorer

Le 9 octobre 2017, 06:02 dans Humeurs 0

Microsoft is now testing new "notification messages" in Windows 10's File Explorer. These messages offer information about new Windows features. They're first appearing in build 14901, the first Insider Preview build of Windows 10 released after the Anniversary Update.

These notifications currently only appear if you're using an Insider Preview build of Windows 10. However, they could appear on the stable version of Windows 10 soon, since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update appears to support these messages, too.

How to Disable Notification Messages in File Explorer

While you can just click an "x" at the top right corner of the notification message in File Explorer to dismiss it, that won't permanently disable the messages. This button just dismisses an individual message. You'll continue to see future notification messages Microsoft sends.

If you don't want to see any more notification messages in File Explorer, you'll need to disable this feature entirely. However, the option to disable these messages is confusingly named.

To do so, click the "View" tab at the top of the File Explorer window and click the "Options" button.

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Click the "View" tab at the top of the Folder Options window that appears. Scroll down, uncheck "Show Sync Provider Notifications", and click "OK" to save your settings.

Once you've changed this option, you shouldn't see any future notification messages in File Explorer. You'll continue to see notification messages with information about Windows elsewhere, such as in your Action Center and on Microsoft Edge's Start page.

Given the name of this option, you might wonder if disabling this option will also disable any other useful features. It doesn't appear that this option currently controls any other features in File Explorer. There's little documentation about this option, and it may be entirely new in the Anniversary Update. It's possible that disabling this option may also disable future notifications banners from OneDrive in File Explorer, but we haven't seen any notification messages from OneDrive yet.

Prevent Windows Asking for a Password on Wake Up from Sleep/Standby

Le 29 septembre 2017, 09:21 dans Humeurs 0

If you've configured Windows to automatically log you in rather than having to enter a password, you might find it annoying that you still need to enter a password when your PC comes out of sleep mode. Here's the fix.

Make Windows 10 Not Require a Password

In Windows 10, you'll need to head in the "Settings" app to make this change. Just hit Windows+I to bring it up and then click the "Accounts" option.

On the "Accounts" page, switch to the "Sign-in options" tab, and then select "Never" from the "Require sign-in" dropdown menu.

Despite the somewhat confusing wording of this option, this only removes the password requirement when Windows wakes from sleep. You'll still be asked to sign in if you restart, sign out of, or lock your PC.

Make Windows 7 or 8 Not Require a Password

If you're running Windows 7 or 8, you'll need to head into the "Power Options" Control Panel app. Hit Start, type "power options," and then hit Enter. In the "Power Options" window, click the "Require a password on wakeup" link on the left-hand side.

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In the "System Settings" window, click the "Change settings that are currently unavailable" link.

At the bottom of the next window, select the "Don't require a password" option, and then click the "Save Changes" button.

Make Windows 8 Touch Devices Not Require a Password

If you're using a Windows 8 tablet, you'll have to to things a bit differently than on a desktop PC. Open "PC settings", and then click "Accounts."

From there, click "Sign-in options" on the left-hand side to get to the security options. Click the "Change" button in the "Password Policy" section.

Clicking the Change button will allow you to stop requiring a password.

Make Windows Vista Not Require a Password

In Windows Vista, you'll need to head into the "Power Options" Control Panel app, find the power plan you're using, and then click the "Change plan settings" link.

On the "Edit Plan Settigs" screen, click the "Change advanced power settings" link at the bottom.

In the "Power Options" dialog box, click the "Change settings that are currently unavailable" link.

Expand the "Balanced" category, and then expand the "Require a password on wakeup" category. You can change the password requirement for when you're running on battery and when your PC is plugged in. Make sure to set both options to "No" if you don't want to be bothered entering a password on wakeup at all.

How to Block An Application from Accessing the Internet with Windows Firewall

Le 26 septembre 2017, 08:26 dans Humeurs 0

Most of the time we want our applications online and connected to both our local network and the greater Internet. There are instances, however, when we want to prevent an application from connecting to the Internet. Read on as we show you how to lock down an application via the Windows Firewall.

Why Do I Want To Do This?

Some of you might have been sold immediately by the headline, as blocking an application is exactly what you've been wanting to do. Others may have opened this tutorial curious as to why one would block an application in the first place.

Although you generally want your applications to have free access to the network (after all what good is a web browser that can't reach the web) there are a variety of situations in which you may wish to prevent an application from accessing the network.

Some simple and commonplace examples are as follows. You might have an application that insists on automatically updating itself, but find that those updates break some functionality and you want to stop them. You might have a video game that you're comfortable with your child playing, but you're not so comfortable with the online (and unsupervised) multiplayer elements. You might be using an application with really obnoxious ads that can be silenced by cutting off the application's Internet access.

Regardless of why you want to drop the cone of network connectivity silence over a given application, a trip into the guts of the Windows Firewall is an easy way to do so. Let's take a look at how to block an application from accessing the local network and Internet now.

Creating a Windows Firewall Rule

Although we'll be demonstrating this trick on Windows 10, the basic layout and premise has remained largely unchanged over the years and you can easily adapt this tutorial to earlier versions of Windows.

To create a Window Firewall rule, you first need to open up the advanced Firewall interface, which is named, appropriately enough, Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. To do so navigate to the Control Panel and select "Windows Firewall." In the "Windows Firewall" window, click the "Advanced Settings" link on the left.

Note: There is a lot going on in the advanced interface and we encourage you follow along closely, leaving anything outside the scope of the tutorial and your experience level alone. Mucking up your firewall rules is a surefire way to a big headache.

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In the far left navigation pane, click the "Outbound Rules" link This displays all the existing outbound firewall rules in the middle pane. Don't be surprised that it is already populated with dozens and dozens of Windows-generated entries.

In the far right pane, click "New Rule" to create a new rule for outbound traffic.

In the "New Outbound Rule Wizard," confirm that the "Program" option is selected, and then click the "Next" button.

On the "Program" screen, select the "This program path" option, and then type (or browse for) the path to the program you want to block. For the purposes of this tutorial, we're going to block a portable copy of the Maxthon web browser-mostly because it will be easy to demonstrate to you that the browser is blocked. But, don't click "Next" just yet.

There's an important change you need to make before you continue. Trust us on this. If you skip this step you'll end up frustrated.

When you use the "Browse" command to select an EXE file, Windows defaults to using what are known as environmental variables if the particular path includes a given path portion represented by one of those variables. For example, instead of inserting C:UsersSteve, it will swap that portion for the environmental variable %USERPROFILE% .

For some reason, despite the fact that this is the default way it populated the program path field, it will break the firewall rule. If the file you have browsed to is anywhere that uses an environmental variable (like the /User/ path or the /Program Files/ path), you have to manually edit the program path entry to remove the variable and replace it with the correct and full file path. In case that's a tad confusing let us illustrate with our example program from above.

It's possible this is some quirk isolated to the current version of the Windows 10 firewall, and that you can use environmental variables in other versions, but we'd encourage you to just remove the variable and use the full and absolute file path to save yourself a headache today and down the road.

Finally, there's one small but important thing to keep in mind here. For most applications, the main EXE file is the one you want to block, but there are examples of applications where things are a bit counter-intuitive. Take Minecraft, for example. At first glance it seems like you should block Minecraft.exe , but Minecraft.exe is actually just the launcher file and the actual network connectivity happens through Java. So, if you want to restrict your child from connecting to online Minecraft servers you need to block Javaw.exe and not Minecraft.exe . That's atypical, though, as most applications can be blocked through the main executable.

At any rate, once you've selected your application and confirmed the path, you can finally click that "Next" button. On the "Action" screen of the wizard, select the "Block the connection" option, and then click "Next."

On the "Profile" screen, you're asked to select when the rule applies. Here, you have three options:

Domain: The rule applies when a computer is connected to a domain.

Private: The rule applies when a computer is connected to a private network, such as your home or small business network.

Public: The rule applies when a computer is connected to a public network, such as at a coffee shop or hotel.

What's the Difference Between Private and Public Networks in Windows?

So, for example, if you have a laptop that you use at home (a network you've defined as private) and at a coffee shop (a network you've defined as public) and you want the rule to apply to both places, you need to check both options. If you want the rule only to apply when you're at the public Wi-Fi spot at the coffee shop, then just check Public. When in doubt, just check them all to block the application across all networks. When you've made your selection click "Next".

The final step is to name your rule. Give it a clear name you'll recognize later on. We named ours, simply, "Maxathon Block" to indicate which application we're blocking. If you want, you can add a fuller description. When you've filled the appropriate information in, click the "Finish" button.

You'll now have an entry at the top of the "Outbound Rules" list for your new rule. If your goal was blanket blocking you're all done. If you want to tweak and refine the rule you can double click on the entry and make adjustments-like adding local exceptions (e.g. the application can't access the Internet but it can connect so another PC on your network so you can use a network resource or the like).

At this point we've achieved the goal outlined in the title of this article: all outbound communication from the application in question is now cut off. If you want to further tighten the grip you have on the application you can select the "Inbound Rules" option in right hand navigation panel of the "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security" and repeat the process, step for step, recreating an identical firewall rule that governs inbound traffic for that application too.

Testing the Rule

Now that the rule is active it's time to fire up the application in question and test it. Our test application was the Maxthon web browser. Practically speaking, and for obvious reasons, it's not super useful to block your web browser from accessing the Internet. But, it does serve as a useful example, because we can immediately and clearly demonstrate that the firewall rule is in effect.

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