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Your Windows 10 troubleshooting and repair toolkit

If you're experiencing problems with Windows 10, these are the built-in tools you can use for troubleshooting and repair.

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Troubleshooting tools

If you're looking for a specific troubleshooting tool, open the Windows 10 Settings app and type "troubleshoot" in the search box. That turns up this rich collection, which includes options from the classic Control Panel as well.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Routine maintenance

Windows 10 performs an assortment of maintenance tasks on a regular basis. This dashboard lets you review the latest results and also includes links to some more detailed reports.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Automated troubleshooters

Most experts turn their noses up at wizards, but these tools in the Troubleshooting section of Control Panel are worth running if you are experiencing problems. Even if they don't resolve the current issue, they provide a good baseline to confirm that you haven't missed a fundamental troubleshooting step.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Reliability Monitor

Reliability Monitor should be one of your go-to troubleshooting tools. Each red X indicates a problem that has occurred with the current installation of Windows. Some errors are harmless; others can indicate problems that need attention.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Problem details

Clicking View Technical Details for a problem report in the Critical Events section of Reliability Monitor leads to this display. Searching for the specific error message here leads to results that indicate a potential problem with the driver for Nvidia's graphics adapter.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Task Manager overview

If you're coming to Windows 10 from Windows 7, you should definitely get to know the new Task Manager. This overview page shows running processes, along with the amount of memory, CPU, and other resources  each process is using.

Click any heading to sort by that field, so you can see which process is using excessive amounts of memory or is making the CPU fan work overtime.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Task Manager's Startup tab

The Startup tab shows you every process that runs automatically when you sign in to Windows 10. Right-click any process name to see this menu, which lets you find the file in File Explorer, search for details about it online, or disable automatic startup for that process.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Performance at a glance

The graph's on Task Manager's Performance tab let you see a snapshot of your system's workload in real time, with the most recent 60 seconds of data displayed.

Click any of the thumbnails on the left to see the details for that measurement in the pane on the right. And if you need more details, click Open Resource Monitor, down along the bottom.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Resource Monitor

The amount of performance detail in Resource Monitor is truly amazing. You can expand or collapse any of these four areas to see full details for resource usage. Click by a column heading to sort by that measurement.

The system shown here is actually running a very light load and has no problems. Don't be alarmed by the seemingly large amount of memory the System process is using here. That's normal for Windows 10, which compresses memory pages that haven't been used recently and manages them from this process. They'll be swapped to disk if necessary.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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System Restore

When you install a new program or driver (including drivers that are included with Windows Update), Windows 10 creates a system checkpoint. You can use System Restore to undo any of those changes if they cause problems.

To get to this list, type rstrui in the search box. If System Restore isn't turned on, you can enable it by opening the System page in Control Panel, then clicking System Protection in the list on the left.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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Recovery options

When all else fails, start over.

Windows 10 includes some very good options for repairing the operating system in the event of problems. Reset This PC, the top option, allows you to perform a clean install, with the option of keeping your files or starting completely clean. (You don't need a product key or a Windows disk.)

And see that middle option? You have 30 days to go back to your previous operating system, with a restore option that literally takes just a few minutes.

For more detailed advice, see the companion article, "Troubleshooting and repairing Windows 10."

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