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Windows Tips

Jim’s Windows Tips

Each week my goal is to provide you with useful tips for your Windows 11 and Windows 10 operating systems. The tips will not always be about a single topic. Some weeks might offer an array of helpful shortcuts, features, free software, and little-used options that are already contained in either or both operating systems or will be soon. The tips will range from a single lengthy process, where downloads might be necessary or modifications to your version of Windows. There may be a few easy “one-click to perform” tips. Hopefully, most will find readers looking for exactly the feature the tip provides.

Codes

Each tip will contain a code to help you understand the degree of difficulty required to make it work. My goal is to prompt you to investigate them because they may be exactly what you need to make your computing life easier. All these tips are of course reversible, but some might require you to delve deeper into your operating system than you are used to. A tip might have a code indicating you might want to wait until you are more familiar with the operating system. While some tips offered might depend on the average user’s comfort zone, all are doable if you follow the exact steps offered. Some only require you to turn a feature on.

The codes provided are defined:

DOD (Degree of Difficulty), the DOD will be followed by a number from 1 to 5:

    1. Easy to do
    2. Easy but might have system requirements like Home vs Pro versions or 32bit vs 64bit versions
    3. A download from Windows or a third-party site must be done and installed. If you wish to uninstall it, the Windows uninstaller will work fine
    4. Registry entries will need to be made*
    5. CMD line or PowerShell functions will have to be entered **

*If you are uncomfortable with using the Windows Registry Editor (Regedit) you might want to skip any code 4-rated tip. However, instructions will be clear and concise and will always include directions on backing up your registry to preserve the original version.

**CMD or PowerShell operations will be needed. They might appear confusing, but every step needed once you open the CMD Box or PowerShell app will be clearly defined.

This week, I will cover two colorful tips that can help you navigate your multiple boot options, and lower the blue light on your computer.

Multiple Boot Icons Tip 1 (Code 5)

If you boot into several different Operating Systems, it can sometimes become confusing mainly if more than one of them is the same Operating System but a different version. There can be several reasons for this. In my case, I run Windows 11 Pro as my primary OS. I often boot into Windows 11 Pro Insider Edition to check on new or upcoming improvements to the system. I also boot into Win 11 Home to make comparisons when comparing software or hardware options. Finally, I boot into Win 10 Pro. I know, a little extreme for most users but some users boot into Win 10 in English and have another Windows 10 in their native language. On my previous computer, I would boot into several Linux systems.

When you boot into an Operating System drive, it will always be “C” and be labeled as the current OS in the System Configuration App in Windows where it may or may not also be labeled as the {default} OS depending on what you have selected.

All this is easy to see when you are in Windows and open the System Configuration App. To open the System Configuration window, hold down the Windows and “R” key to open the “Run” box. Type in “msconfig” and hit enter.

system-config

However, when you boot your computer, the blue labels will carry the name of the operating system that was installed. See the image below for a better understanding of what I mean.

boot-screen-1

Fortunately, there is a very easy way to change the names of the boot labels using an elevated CMD function. “Elevated” only means that it must be run as an Administrator.

Steps

  1. Use File Explorer or the Disk Management Tool (Right Click on the Start Logo and select Disk Management). Note the drive letters of the Operating Systems.drive-letters-in-file-explorer
  2. Type CMD in the search window, right-click the app, and choose Run as Administrator.open-elevated-command-prompt
  3. At the CMD prompt type “bcdedit” and hit enter. If you see the following error, you’re not in Administrator Mode.cmd-not-in-admin-mode
  4. If you are in Admin Mode, depending on how many boot options you have, the screen might auto-scroll down. Return to the top and you will see the Windows Boot Manager section, DO NOT MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENT TO THIS AREA.bcdedit-results-in-cmd
  5. Each “Windows Boot Loader” will have an identifier to the right. In the example below the first is identified as {current} while the next identifier is a long alphanumeric string.
  6. Scroll down to the bottom of the window until you see the command prompt again.
  7. To change the “Windows Boot Loader” Identifier you only need to enter this command:
    1. C:\Windows\System32> bcdedit /set {identifier name or number} description “new name”
    2. An effective way to ensure you are changing the Correct OS is to use the drive letters to guide you that you retrieved from File Explorer or Disk Management.

In the line above, bcdedit  /set is the command – the identifier must be in brackets – the word description must be typed and followed by the new name in quotes.

  1. To ensure that your changes have taken place, type the bcdedit command again and you should see that the identifier name has been changed.

That is all there is to it. If you only have two boot options once you change the identifier of {current} you know what the other Windows Boot Loader should be named.

Reduce The Blue Light On Your Computer Tip (Code 1)

Researchers at Harvard Health say that “Blue Light has a dark side”. Any light can affect your sleep but not all colors have the same effect. Blue wavelengths, during the day, might boost attention, reaction times, and even your mood. However, at night the same blue wavelengths are disruptive and can have a profound effect on your sleep.

Researchers at Harvard conducted an experiment comparing the effect of 6.5 hours of blue light exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for approximately twice as long as the green light. It also shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs 1.5 hours).

Luckily for us, there is an easy solution Windows offers the ability to filter most of the harmful blue wavelengths by giving us the option to turn on a “Night Light”.

Steps   

  1. Type “Settings” in the search function”
  2. Select the (gear icon) to enter Settings
  3. Select System
  4. Select Display
  5. Turn the “Night Light Switch” to “On”
    1. Optional: You may adjust the strength of the blue light by sliding the setting to the left or right and using the button right above it to see the difference between on or off.night-light-options-1
    2. Optional: An excellent feature is to schedule the blue to enter “Night Lite”.night-light-options-2
      1. You may simply check Sunset to sunrise (which changes automatically throughout the year)
      2. You may set the exact hours you wish to have it turn the feature on by setting the “Turn On” and “Turn Off” times.

Summary

Even though the first Tip is a code “5”, it is easy to perform and will make those multiple boot options much easier to understand. Unlike some settings, the description can be rather long if desired. Now running three different Windows and three different distros will make the hobbyist’s life easier.

The second tip is as easy as it will get. Each function is part of Windows and hopefully, the “Night Light” feature will give you many more restful nights.

1 thought on “Windows Tips”

  1. Elliott W. Carmack

    I have experimented with dual-booting Windows and Linux on a couple of my desktop PCs. The easy way for me was to download and install a small program called EasyBCD 2.4 from NeoSmart Technologies (https://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/). It was free when I got it, but now lists for $39.99 on their website.

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