How to Turn Off AutoFit Table Columns Feature in Word

Microsoft Word will auto adjust table column widths to fit the content you are entering. This is the default setting for a Word table. There are times you may not want this, instead, you want to control the column widths.

The default setting may push the table beyond the right margin or a column widens unnecessarily.

So, let’s see how to turn off AutoFit option and do table adjustments yourself.

This is for Office 365 Microsoft Word on PCs, Macs and similar platforms. Other versions of Word will be similar.

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Turn Off AutoFit Feature

To turn off this feature, first, place your cursor anywhere in the table you want to change.

Next, go to the Layout tab located in right hand side, not to be confused with the other Layout tab to the left side of the screen. Note! This option only appears when you are in a table. Refer to below image:

Word AutoFit 1

Now, click AutoFit and select the Fixed Column Width option. See below image:

Word AutoFit 2

You can now drag the column borders to your desired width. The column borders you set will stay that way even if you enter longer text into them. See following image:

Word AutoFit 3

Now, you can control Word’s table column widths. That’s it.

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How to Show Explorer’s Preview Pane in Windows 10

It is easy to preview files without opening them in Windows 10, thanks to the Preview Pane feature in File Explorer. You can see thumbnails of most images, videos, audio files and some text-based documents. Lets see how to do this.

You may have heard about a security flaw in using the preview pane, but that was fixed in Windows 10 update released on April 14, 2020. If you have the latest updates, it’s safe to use.

This is for Windows 10 operating system

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Opening File Explorer

There are at least three ways to access the File Explorer:

  1. Open File Explorer by pressing Windows+E
  2. Click the Explorer folder icon in your taskbar
  3. Click the Explorer option in your Start menu

Accessing the Preview Pane

In the menu bar at the top of the File Explorer window, click View. See below image:

File Explorer Preview 1
Selecting the View option

Find Preview pane option in the upper-left of the toolbar and click on it. Refer to below image:

File Explorer Preview 2
Selecting the Preview pane option

The Preview pane will be highlighted and is now activated. Navigate the File Explorer to a folder that has documents you’d like to preview. When you select a file, you will see its preview thumbnail in the right side of the window. See following image:

File Explorer Preview 3
The results of Previw pane option displayed on the right

Accessing the Details Pane

File Explorer also has a related feature called Details Pane. To turn it on, click View in the Explorer menu bar, then click the Details pane option in the toolbar (it’s right below the Preview pane option). Refer to below image:

File Explorer Preview 4
Selecting the Details pane option

When you highlight a file with Details pane turned on, you will see a tiny thumbnail (for applicable file types) and some details about the file, such as its size, date created, date modified, etc. in the right portion of the window. See following image:

File Explorer Preview 5
The results of Details pane option displayed on the right

To return to the normal view of File Explorer, first, you have to click on View, then, either click the Preview or Details pane option depending on which one is highlighted.

You also have other options under the View tab to see your contents; like the size of your icons; extra large, large, medium and small, as well as by list, details, tiles and content.

Keyboard Shortcuts

It’s also possible to quickly toggle the Preview and Details panes using keyboard shortcuts. First, open File Explorer, then use the below shortcuts:

  1. Press Alt+P to open or close the Preview pane
  2. Press Alt+Shift+P to open or close the Details pane

That its. You have successfully explored two seldom used options of the File Explorer in Windows 10.

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How to Use a Virtual Device in Windows 10

In Windows 10, it’s easy to enable and use a virtual device, like a keyboard. This is super handy if you have a touch screen device. There are times when using a mouse or touchpad is inconvenient and problematic with kids or pets squirming on your lap.

This how-to guide shows you how to enable and use the virtual interface built into Windows 10.

This is for Windows 10 operating system

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Enable the Virtual Device

It’s super easy to enable the virtual interface. Just right-click on any open area of your Taskbar and select Show touch keyboard button. Refer to below image:

Virtual Device 1
View the touch keyboard option

You should now see a keyboard icon in the Taskbar tray. See below image:

Virtual Device 2
Showing the touch keyboard icon

Use the Virtual Device

To bring up a virtual keyboard, click on that icon.

If you have a touch display, you may now tap the keys with your finger or use your mouse or touchpad for selecting the keys. To close the virtual keyboard, click the X in upper right hand corner. See following image:

Virtual Device 3
The default touch keyboard

To change the default setting, you can tap or click one of the icons in upper left hand corner. There are three keyboard layouts to choose from, including a full QWERTY keyboard. See below image:

Virtual Device 4
The QWERTY touch keyboard

You can opt to enable your microphone for the interface dictation or select one of the touchpad options. There is also an option to choose a different language for your virtual keyboard.

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How to Enable Developer Settings to Control Windows 10

Several of the more powerful applications, tools and utilities available in Windows 10 are locked behind disabled settings and a labyrinth of configurations menus. We can reach some of these power tools through Developer Settings. Lets get started.

This is for Windows 10 devices

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Access Developer Settings

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Select Settings (the gear icon)
  3. Select Update & Security
  4. Select For Developers

My wifes computer always wants to only install apps from the Microsoft Store. To turn this off, select Sideload apps which allows third party apps to be installed

I suggest you leave Developer mod setting disabled

Device Portal and Device Discovery is to see, configure and manage your PC remotely over a network or USB connection. Unless you have a need for this, leave the features unchecked. See following image:

Win 10 Developers 1
For Developers screen

To view or change the other features, scroll down the right pane (For Developers)

The File Explorer

Note! In the File Explorer, Remote Desktop and Powershell sections, click the Show Settings blue link to view or change the setting. If you change a setting, remember to click OK at the bottom of the dialog box to save your change.

These options will be familar to power users. The benefits of the settings are fairly self-explanatory. Refer to below image:

Win 10 Developers 2
For Developers File Explorer screen

Click Apply to save any changes

Remote Desktop Functions

Remote access to a workstation connected to a local enterprise network through a VPN is often required. To enable a secure remote connection, these settings must be enabled. See following image:

Win 10 Developers 3
For Developers Remote Access screen

Click Apply to save any changes

The Powershell

This allows developers to run special utility scripts that have no certificate associated with them. If you are not running Powershell scripts on a regular basis, its best to leave the setting disabled. Refer to following image:

Win 10 Developers 4
For Developers Powershell screen

Click Apply to save any changes

While many of the configurationn settings located in the For Developers section can be managed from other configuration menus and screens, in Windows 10 they are conviently located in a central location. In previous versions of Windows, power users had to track down these settings. Now, they are in one place.

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How to Send a Message with Google Maps

By using Google Maps you can find the location of a restaurant, store or some other company. How about asking the business a question? In some cases, you can do so through Google Maps. If the entity supports Google Maps messaging feature, you can send a message to that company. If the company responds, you can carry on a back-and-forth conversation; like texting, but instead you are using Google Maps.

To date, this is the most unusual post I have written. Its relatively unknown to the business community. I recommend you try out my example before searching for a business in your area that uses Google Maps for messaging.

This feature is for your iOS (iPhone/iPad) or Android device or whatever smart device supports Google Maps

If you haven’t already done so, download and install Google Maps to your device.

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Search for a Business

  1. Launch Google Maps
  2. Search for a business you want to use or visit. In my example, I am searching for “Lobster House”. Refer to following image:
Google Maps 1
Search for Lobster House

If using my example, select the first entry. Refer to following screenshot:

Google Maps 2
Selecting First Entry for Lobster House

View the Overview Tab

Swipe Up below the map till you see the Overview tab, like the following image:

Google Maps 3
Overview Tab for Lobster House

If the company supports Google Maps messaging, in the center of the screen you will see a link that says “Contact us now

Type in Your Message

  1. Tap on this link
  2. Type in your message and tap the Send icon. A pertinent question might be reserving a table at a certain time instead of my example. Refer to following screen:
Google Maps 5
Messaging Lobster House

In my example of the “Lobster House”, they usually respond within a few hours. So, revisit the “Lobster House” for their reply by:

Search for Messages

  1. Searching for the business
  2. Swipe Up to view the Overview Tab
  3. Tap the 3 dots in upper right hand corner. Refer to following image:
Google Maps 6
Check for a Response

Reply to Messages

You will see the following screen. Tap on Message to view their reply. You can then reply back to the business if you need to.

Google Maps 7
The Message Screen

Whats challenging about this feature is finding a business that supports Google Maps messaging. Unfortunately, many do not. But, if a business of interest does offer messaging, you can use this feature to obtain more information about the company or perhaps, setup a reservation.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to Add Captions in Word

Word’s Caption feature allows you to insert captions after figures, tables or equations in your document. You can choose to have Word insert them automatically or do it yourself manually. Lets learn how to add and edit captions to set apart elements in your document.

You are not limited to figures, tables or equations; you can create a new label like Picture or Photo. If you are using Chapters in your document, you can add the Chapter number to your caption. Almost any object or inserted item in Word can be captioned.

This is for PCs, Macs and similar platforms that support Microsoft Word

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Add a Caption

There are two ways to add a caption:

  1. Select the figure/table/equation, right click and select Insert Caption. (Note! This method works only for figures and tables, not equations.)
  2. Select the figure/table/equation, go to the References tab on the ribbon and select Insert Caption. See below image:
Word Caption 1

If you don’t select the object and choose References > Insert Caption the caption will be inserted where the cursor is placed.

Your Caption Options

The Caption dialog box will now open, with a number of options for you to set. Refer to below image;

Word Caption 2

Below are the options to chose from:

Captions – type in the label you want

Label – or more correctly caption prefix.  Choose table, equation or figure. This will automatically add that label to the caption.

New Label – If you want your captions to have a label other than the ones provided, you can add a new one from the New Label option. (For example, Word provides the options Equation, Figure and Table, but if you are including photos in your document, you may prefer to label them Picture or Photo.)

Exclude Label from Captions – check this box and no label/prefix will be included. The caption will just contain the number and the text that you enter.

Position – caption to appear above or below the object. Only works if the object is selected before Insert Caption. Otherwise this field will be disabled and the caption placed where you have set your cursor.

AutoCaption certain types of objects can be automatically captioned when they are included in a document.

The caption will now appear in the specified location, with its number automatically allocated. See following image:

Word Capture 3
Figure 1- View of LZ Cindy from Searchlight Hill

Numbering Options for Your Captions

If you want to change the format of the numbering system on your captions, do this by clicking the Numbering button in the Caption dialog box. Refer to below image:

Word Capture 4

The Caption Numbering dialog box will open. See below image:

Word Capture 5

Format: Choose the numbering format you want to use:

  • Numerals (1, 2, 3, 4…)
  • Lowercase letters (a, b, c, d…)
  • Uppercase letters (A, B, C, D…)
  • Lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv…)
  • Uppercase Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV…)
  • And others depending on the installed language packs.

Include Chapter Number: If your document contains chapters, you can choose to have the numbering restart for each chapter and have the chapter number included in the caption numbering system.

First select the Caption in your Word document. Then you need to link the Style (e.g. Heading 1) with a multi-level list at Home > Paragraph > Multi-Level List > Define Multi-Level List > More. This adds automatic numbering to each style so the captions have a number to show. See following image;

Word Capture 6

Chapter Starts with Style: Select what level of heading you would like to signify a new chapter.

Use Separator:  Choose the separator that you would like to use between the chapter number and the caption number (hyphen, period, colon or em-dash).

Change Your Caption Settings

Changing the caption settings isn’t obvious because right-clicking doesn’t show an option to open the Caption dialog.

The trick is to select the whole caption then References > Captions > Insert Caption. Refer to below image:

Word Caption 7

This opens the Caption dialog with the current settings.

Updating Your Caption Numbering

At the core of captions are field codes. Updating the caption numbering is the same as any other field code updates.

Select the whole document with Ctrl+A then update fields with F9 (or right-click to choose Update Field).

Change Your Caption Text

The text after the caption label can be edited in the document. Just click in the caption text and type as usual. See following image;

Word Caption 8

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How to Disable/Enable the Insert Key in Windows 10

The Insert Key was needed in early versions of Windows. In our modern day of Windows, the key is no longer needed. Now, we just place our cursor where we want to insert text and start typing. If we use the Insert Key, our text is overwritten. This can be frustrating as we find ourselves clicking Undo and starting over.

Every key has a corresponding key scan code that tells Windows how to handle the keystroke. We can find this code and change it to a null character in the Windows Registry, which disables the key.

Instead of editing the Registry directly, we are going to use a free software utility to perform this task.

Note! You should first create a backup of the Registry. See my blog post on Wise Registry Cleaner on how create a backup or click this link to download and install the free Regbak software.

This is for desktop/laptop using Windows 10. SharpKeys will run on Vista through Windows 10.

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Running Regbak Software

First, open and run the program. Next, click on the New Backup button to create a Registry backup. Refer to below image:

Regbak 1
Selecting a new backup

A backup dialog box will appear. Here you can chose a Backup Folder. It is recommended you use the default. Next, give the backup a Description of your choice, then click Start. See below image:

Regbak 2
Chosing the backup location and entering a description

When the program has finished, you will receive a message at the top of the screen that the backup operation has completed. At the bottom of the dialog box, check for the mesage that the operation finished successfully. Now, click Close. See following image:

Regbak 3
Completing the process

A final dialog box will appear showing your newly created Registry backup entry. Additionally, by highlighting an entry you can either Restore or Delete a Registry backup. Click Close to end the program. Refer to below image:

Regbak 4
Exit the program

SharpKeys Overview

SharpKeys is free software for you to edit specific Registry entries. It uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to remap keys on your keyboard. This software makes it easy to edit the Registry without using the built-in Registry Editor. Using the Editor is time consuming and error prone.

Download and Install

Open your browser and click this link to download and install SharpKeys. You can download the file in Microsoft Installer (MSI) or Zip format; the easiest method is using the MSI.

Using SharpKeys

Note! This program requires Administrative Privileges to run. Please open the program as an Administrator by right-clicking on the program under Start, and click on More > Run as Administrator.

Once the program is running, click the Add button. See below image:

SharpKeys 1
Opening the program

Scroll through the list on the left and click on Special: Insert (E0_52). Next, click on Turn Key Off (00_00) from the list on the right. To remap the Insert Key, click OK. Refer to below image:

SharpKeys 2
Selecting the Insert Key to be remapped

The value in parentheses is the key scan code associated with it. We are replacing the Insert Key code of E0_52 to a non-existence code of 00_00, which will disable the key.

Next, click the Write to Registry button. The software will add the new code for the Insert Key to the Registry for you. See following image:

SharpKeys 3
Write the null key scan code to the Registry

To complete the process, click OK. Refer to below image:

SharpKeys 4
Restart message

To exit the program, click Close. See below image:

SharpKeys 5
Exit the program

For the changes to take effect, you will need to log out or restart your computer.

You can use SharpKeys to remap a host of other keyboard characters.

Undoing Your Change

If you have made no other changes, you can use Wise Registry Cleaner or Regbak to restore the Registry depending on which software you used to create a Registry backup. If you have made other changes and wish to restore the Insert Key function, those changes will be lost.

Another method is using the Registry Editor to reenable the Insert Key function. This method is very technical, frustrating and error prone; so I don’t recommend doing this.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to Backup Facebook Photos and Videos

You have searched for a favorite photo or video on Facebook but are unable to locate it. Facebook has an option to backup most anything saved through its app. This would allow for easier searching instead of scrolling endlessly through Facebook posts.

You may have decided to deactivate your account for health reasons or you just want a backup. There is no such thing as “too many backups”. In my IT career, I have been “burned” by not having adequate backups resulting in lost time in recreating them.

Depending on how long you have been a Facebook user, the backup file can be quite large. If you have limited storage or on a free storage plan for your mobile device, you might consider backing up to a PC or Mac.

Using this post as a guide, I am backing up thirteen years of Facebook photos and videos on a Windows 10 PC. My backup file, in Zip format, was a 1.4 GB file.

This is for PCs, Mac, mobile devices and similar platforms using Facebook

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Accessing Facebook Settings

Launch Facebook. in the upper right hand corner, click on the Account icon. Next, click the Settings & Privacy option. See below image

Facebook Photo Backup 1
The Settings and Privacy option

Next, click on the Settings option. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 2
The Settings option

Downloading Your Facebook Information

Then click on Your Facebook Information. See following image:

Facebook Photo Backup 3
The Facebook Information option

Next, click on Download Your Information. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 4
Download your information option

Selecting ONLY Photos and Videos

From here, click on Deselect All link. Then select only Photos and Videos option. From this screen there are many options on what to backup. For our purposes, we only want photos and videos. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 5
Deselecting all, then selecting only photos and videos option

Once photos and videos have been selected and all other option are unselected, click the Create File button. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 6
Clicking the Create File option

Messages and Emails From Facebook

You will receive a pop-up message regarding the creation of your Facebook backup for photos and videos. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 7
Facebook response to iyour request

Check your email that is associated with your Facebook account for the file request. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 8
Email from Facebook about your request

It may take several hours for Facebook to process your request. When the file is ready, you will receive an email that your file is ready. Follow the directions in the message. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 9
Email from Facebook that your backup file is ready

Downloading Your Photos and Videos Backup

Click on the link for Download Your Information. Then, click the Available Copies tab. You should see information about your download file. Now, click the Download button. See following image:

Facebook Photo Backup 10
Download option to your Downloads folder

Facebook will ask you to enter your Password, then click Submit. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 11
Submitting your password

Viewing Your Downloaded Zip File via File Explorer

Your photos and videos backup file will be in your Downloads folder in Zip format. Below is a screenshot of my backup file. Notice it contains over 3000 files. Your backuped file number will depend on how often you post photos and videos and how many years on Facebook. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 12
An example of your downloaded Facebook photos and videos file

What I would like to see is an option to select a date range for the backup instead of everything.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to Remove Malware for Windows

If your Windows computer is being redirected to unwanted sites, advertisements are popping up while you browse the Internet, or a message saying a virus was detected, then it is possible that you have malware installed on your computer.

This is for Windows 7 through 10, also applies to Macs and mobile devices. The wording in this post is for Windows 10

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Malware refers to any type of malicious software that tries to infect a computer or mobile device. Hackers use malware for any number of reasons such as, extracting personal information or passwords, stealing money or preventing owners from accessing their device.

Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs. The majority of malware threats are usually worms or trojans rather than viruses.

Following are some examples of an infected PC:

  1. Your web browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
  2. You get redirected to web pages other than the one you intended to go to
  3. You receive numerous web-browser popup messages
  4. Strange or unexpected toolbars appear at the top of your web browser
  5. Your computer runs slower than usual
  6. Your computer freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
  7. Your computer restarts by itself (but not a restart caused by Windows Updates)
  8. You see unusual error messages (e.g., messages saying there are missing or corrupt files folders)

For several months, I had malware that crashed my PC on a daily basis. I read lots of help articles and followed its advice. I soon came to realize that no one piece of software will remove the malware. In my case, the virus would attach itself to a Dell executable (exe) file. I located the suspected file and renamed it, no luck here. So, I deleted the file; the suspected file would recreate itself with the virus attached. I did a scan of the Registry to find the infected file, it was not found. What the heck is going on? Then I came across an in-depth article on removing malware. In summary, to remove the malware, perform the following:

Restart your machine and stop all running programs

Download, install and run the following programs one at a time in order as shown below. There is a free or trial version for each software. Do not install any third-party tools associated with the installs. The softare title and links are as follows:

Malwarebytes

Avast

HitmanPro

Zemana

Now, restart your machine. The malware should be eliminated. Since this is a one-time removal, uninstall each program. If left installed and active, they will interfere with each other and cause other problems.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to Change Your Name on Windows 10 Log-In Screen

Whenever you log-in to Windows 10, your name appears above the password entry. What if you want to change your name? This post addresses this issue.

Whether you use a local account or a Microsoft Account, it’s relative easy to change your display name.

This is for Windows 10 devices

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Changing Your Display Name for a Microsoft Account

To change you name for a Microsoft Account, you need to open your account preferences on the Microsoft website.

Opens the Settings app by pressing the Windows key+I or type in Settings in the Cortana search field, then click the Settings app at top of the screen. Then click on the Accounts option. Refer to below image:

Change Login Name 1
Selecting your Accounts option

Below your name and photo, click on Manage my Microsoft account. See following image:

Change Login Name 2
Selecting Manange my Microsoft account

Signin to your Microsoft Account if not already signed. This will open your account preferences in your browser. After your browser opens, click the More Actions drop-down box, then click on Edit Profile from the options list. See below image:

Change Login Name 3
Selecting Edit Profile

Below your name, click Edit Name. Refer to below image:

Change Login Name 4
Selecting Edit your name

Enter your first and last name, solve the CAPTCHA challenge, then click Save to update your name. See following image:

Change Login Name 5
Changing your firsr and/or last name and entering the CAPTCHA letters

When your Profile page reloads, it will update with the name change.

Note! When you change your Microsoft Account name, it changes on all devices that you use to log-in with this account.

For your new name to show on your Windows 10 log-in screen, you will have to log out of Windows 10. Be sure to save any unsaved work or applications before signing out.

Changing Your Display Name for a Local Account

A local account is a basic approach in using Windows 10. Local accounts don’t have the added features like syncing files, settings, browser history, etc. across multiple devices.

If you want to change your local account name, fire up the Control Panel. In the Cortana search box, type in Control Panel then click on the Control Panel app at the top of the screen.

Next click on the User Accounts option. Refer to below image:

Change Login Name 6
Selecting User Accounts from the Control Panel

Now click on User Accounts one more time. See below image:

Change Login Name 7
Selecting User Accounts again

Now, select Change your account name option to change your log-in name. See following image:

Change Login Name 8
Selection for changing your account name

Note: If an organization manages your device or you don’t have administrator privileges, you won’t be able to change your name.

Enter the new log-in name into the text field, then click the Change Name button to save your changes. Refer to below image:

Change Login Name 9
Changing your log-in name

You are done and may now close the Control Panel window. For your new name to show on your Windows 10 log-in screen, you will have to log out of Windows 10. Be sure to save any unsaved work or applications before signing out.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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