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KVM switch and its usage

You probably heard about switches for LAN but not a lot of people heard about KVM switches. So what exactly is KVM switch?

KVM switch

If we look at the name, it is a shortcut for Keyboard, Video & Mouse and the original idea was to have multiple computers but one keyboard, mouse, and monitor. These peripherals would be connected to the KVM switch and other computers could all use one set of these on the fly when needed.

The technology behind the switch is a little interesting since it will actively fake signals to other computers that are not using peripherals. Once they are switched to them the transition is smooth and not noticeable. In old days these switches were more important than today since on every mouse or keyboard disconnection you had to reboot the computer, and although today that is not the case CPU will still detect disconnection and on the next connection it will run through the ID of the device and try to use the existing driver and if peripheral was connected in other USB port, it will install the same driver but connect it to the new USB port.

This type of reconnection can slow down work and place unnecessary load on the CPU so that is why KVM will fake connection in order to make switching externals on the computer smooth and in nick of a time.

Modern KVM switch

These days modern KVM switches will offer you more options than just being able to switch between keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Modern switches now offer Lan, audio, and many more various options.

There are also different kinds of switches offering you only one option, like for example just a Video switch that will let you use one monitor on three computers and many more other specialized options.

Software switches

So far we talked about Hardware switches, a real device being able to take peripherals into it and switch computers on the fly. On the other line, we have software switch solutions that will have specific software installed on all computers and have it run at all times, and switching between them will be through specific software.

There are two very good and main advantages of using software solutions instead of a hardware one. First, of course, is the price, since the most popular Synergy is an open-source solution, completely free of charge. The second big advantage is that software switch is not limited to how many computers can you use. Hardware switches tend to go to a large number like 16 but if you have a large cluster of computers over a LAN, let's say 30 then the box solution might be difficult.

On the other hand software solution will switch only keyboard and mouse since each other computer will have to have some screen on it in order to work. Both solutions have their strong advantages and disadvantages and it is up to you to choose one that best suits you.

Conclusion

If you are multitasking with a lot of computers or just need your peripherals from time to time to connect to another machine then the KVM switch is something that you might find the use of. Just be aware that if you go for some cheap switch you might experience some lag on your peripherals, but if that is not a concern you can get hardware one for as low as $50 USD.

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Mapped network drives are not working
When you have to connect to a drive that’s on a different computer or on external storage, that’s where the mapped network drives come in. Mapped network drives make accessing files a lot easier. However, there are times when it won’t work for some reason. Windows will notify you about the unavailability of mapped network drives in several ways. For one, Windows might display a red X on the network drives or it could be that its status will be unavailable when you try to use it from the Command Prompt or via a notification. It is recommended that you run a few scripts when you log in to your PC as it may so happen that the network drive takes more than usual to connect. Before you start troubleshooting the problem using the given options below, keep in mind that some workouts might only work under certain scenarios. You might need some network access at logon or you might need access to the Group Policy settings. So you need to choose what you prefer more. You can try the given workarounds below if the mapped network drives are not showing or connecting or working on your Windows 10 computer. These workarounds use scripts to make sure that you are connected to them as soon as you start to use your PC. As mentioned, before you can troubleshoot, you need to create scripts first. There are two scripts here namely MapDrives.ps1 which is executed by the second script named MapDrives.cmd and is done at a regular and non-elevated Command Prompt. Follow the steps below to get started.
  • You have to create a script file named “MapDrives.cmd” first and then save it on a place where the files are safe. To do that, open a text editor like Notepad and then copy and paste the following script:
PowerShell -Command "Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser Unrestricted" >> "%TEMP%StartupLog.txt" 2>&1 PowerShell -File "%SystemDrive%ScriptsMapDrives.ps1" >> "%TEMP%StartupLog.txt" 2>&1
  • After that, save the file and name it “MapDrives.cmd”.
  • Next, create a script file named “MapDrives.ps1” and then copy and paste the following content. Just make sure to save both scripts in the same folder.
$i=3 while($True){     $error.clear()     $MappedDrives = Get-SmbMapping |where -property Status -Value Unavailable -EQ | select LocalPath,RemotePath     foreach( $MappedDrive in $MappedDrives)     {         try {             New-SmbMapping -LocalPath $MappedDrive.LocalPath -RemotePath $MappedDrive.RemotePath -Persistent $True         } catch {             Write-Host "There was an error mapping $MappedDrive.RemotePath to $MappedDrive.LocalPath"         }     }     $i = $i - 1     if($error.Count -eq 0 -Or $i -eq 0) {break}     Start-Sleep -Seconds 30 } Note: Now that you’ve created the script files, it’s time for you to proceed to the options given below.

Option 1 – Try creating a startup item

Note that this option only works on devices that have network access at login. So if it’s not there, the script will fail to reconnect the network drivers automatically. To create a startup item, here’s what you have to do:
  • Open the Startup folder located at %ProgramData%MicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartUp.
  • From there, copy and paste the MapDrives.cmd.
  • After that, open the Scripts folder located at %SystemDrive%Scripts copy-paste MapDrives.ps1 and then copy and paste MapDrives.ps1 in there.
Note: After you complete the steps above, a log file named “StartupLog.txt” will be created in the %TEMP% folder. Now all that’s left for you to do is to log out of your computer and then log back in. This will ensure that the mapped drives are open.

Option 2 – Create a scheduled task

It is possible to create a scheduled task that runs as soon as you log in to your computer. To create a scheduled task, follow the steps below.
  • You have to copy the MapDrives.ps1 script file to the scripts folder of Windows located at %SystemDrive%Scripts.
  • After that, open the Task Scheduler and select Action > Create Task.
  • Next, type a name and description of the task in the General tab.
  • Then click on the Change User or Group button and select a local user group and click OK.
  • Now check the box labeled “Run with highest privileges” and switch to the Triggers tab.
  • From there, create a new trigger with the “At Logon” option in the Begin the task drop-down menu and then click OK.
  • After that, switch to the Actions tab and create a new action then choose to Start a program.
  • Next, type “Powershell.exe” in the Program/Script field, and in the Add arguments (optional) field, type the following:
-windowsstyle hidden -command .MapDrives.ps1 >> %TEMP%StartupLog.txt 2>&1
  • And in the Start in the (optional) field, type “%SystemDrive%Scripts” as the location of the script file.
  • Now under the Conditions tab, select the “Start only if the following network connection is available” option and then select Any connection and click OK.
  • Restart your computer or log off from your account and then log back in so that the task will be executed.

Option 3 – Use the Group Policy settings

You need this option if the mapped network drives are defined via Group Policy settings. You have to update the action of the drive maps to Replace. As a result, it will delete the existing mapped drive and create the mapping on each logon again. However, any settings on the mapped drive that are changed from the Group Policy settings will be gone on each logon. So if the changes don’t work, you need to run the gpupdate command together with the /force parameter in order to refresh the Group Policy setting quickly.
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Network License NotAvailable15.570.0 Autodesk
If when trying to start Autodesk applications you receive a Network license not available error then please keep on reading, this guide is for you:

Causes of the error:

  • The license on the License Server is invalid.
  • The port for Autodesk Network License Manager is blocked.
  • The client computer is configured with incorrect license server information.
  • The license request is timing out on the client's computer before the license is obtained.

Solutions for the error:


Verify that the Autodesk License Server is setup with the correct license file.

To set up a license server for Windows, perform the following:

  1. Download and install the Network License Manager for Windows:
  2. Open LMTools and access the System Settings tab. Make a note of the "hostname" and "ethernet address" of the license server.
  3. Generate a Network License File in Autodesk Account.
  4. On the Service/License tab, select Configuration Using Services and LMTOOLS ignores license file path environment variables.
  5. On the Config Services tab, enter a name for the new service in the Service Name field.
  6. Fill the following fields, using the Browse buttons:
    • Path to the lmgrd.exe - Navigate to this file: C:\Autodesk\Network License Manager.
    • Path to the License file - Navigate to the new Autodesk.lic file, typically placed in: C:\Autodesk\Network License Manager\Licenses.
    • Path to the Debug Log file: C:\Autodesk\Network License Manager.
    • If no file is present, create a TXT file in Notepad and rename it “Debug.log.”
  7. Make sure the "Start Server at Power Up" and the "Use Services" boxes are checked. Then click Save Services.
  8. On the Start/Stop/Reread tab, click Start Server.
  9. On the Server Status tab, click Perform Status Enquiry.
  10. Licenses should display as active.

How to set up the Autodesk Network License Manager on a Mac.

Note: The Autodesk License Server Manager (version 11.16.2.0) is supported only on the following Mac operating systems:
  • Apple macOS High Sierra 10.13
  • Apple macOS Sierra 10.12
  • Apple Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11
  1. Download Autodesk Network License Manager version 11.16.2.0 for Mac
    • ​​Download the nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_mac_universal.tar.gz file to the Desktop.
  2. To install the Autodesk Network License Manager:
    • Double click on nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_mac_universal.tar.gz to unpack the installer package.
    • After unpacking nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_mac_universal.pkg, will be /Downloads/adlm/FLEXnet folder.
    • Double click on nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_mac_universal.pkg to start installation and follow the installation wizard.
    • The license server will be installed in /usr/local/flexnetserver/ directory.
  3. Change permissions for /usr/local/flexnetserver/ directory to 777
  • Open Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/Terminal) and enter the following command:
sudo chmod -R 777 /usr/local/flexnetserver
  • Note: Administrator password may be asked. While typing no characters are shown, just type out the password and hit return key.
  • Note: To start the license server only with elevated permissions (using sudo command), change permissions to 755 instead of 777.
  1. Create /usr/local/flexnetserver/licenses directory for network license file location
sudo mkdir /usr/local/flexnetserver/licenses
  1. Find the license server Host Name and Host ID.
  2. Generate the Network License File in the Autodesk Account
    • Once the license file is generated, make sure it has a .lic extension (e.g. adsk_license.lic) and is in a plain text format and place it in /usr/local/flexnetserver/licenses directory
Note: In this article we will refer to  adsk_license.lic as network license file name. Feel free to change the actual name of the license file, but make sure to reflect the new name when using the commands below.
  1. Create a debug.log file in the /usr/local/flexnetserver/ directory using the following command:
touch debug.log
  1. To start the Network License Server use the following command:
/usr/local/flexnetserver/lmgrd -c /usr/local/flexnetserver/licenses/adsk_license.lic -l /usr/local/flexnetserver/debug.log
Note: If folder permissions for  /usr/local/flexnetserver/ are set to  775, then use sudo command to start the server. For example:
sudo /usr/local/flexnetserver/lmgrd -c /usr/local/flexnetserver/licenses/adsk_license.lic -l /usr/local/flexnetserver/debug.log
  1. To obtain license server status enquiry:
/usr/local/flexnetserver/lmutil lmstat -a -c /usr/local/flexnetserver/licenses/adsk_license.lic
  1. To stop the license server:
/usr/local/flexnetserver/lmutil lmdown -q -force
  • A​​lternatively, run ps command to obtain process ids for lmgrd and adskflex and then kill those processes:
ps -ax | grep lmgrd
ps -ax | grep adskflex
kill -9
  • (provide process ids obtained by previous commands individually)

How to set up the Autodesk Network License Manager on Linux.

Note: The Autodesk License Manager (11.16.2.0) is supported only on the following Linux distros:
  • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 7
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise 11
To configure the license manager use the following steps:
  1. Download Autodesk Network License Manager v. 11.16.2 for Linux from this link
    • ​​Download the nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_linux64.tar.gz file to your desktop.
  2. To install the Autodesk Network License Manager run following command as root.
    • tar –zxvf nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_linux64.tar.gz
    • rpm -vhi nlm11.16.2.0_ipv4_ipv6_linux64.rpm
    • The license server will be installed in /opt/flexnetserver/ directory.
  3. Find the license server Host Name and Host ID
  • To obtain the license server system hostid run the following command
/opt/flexnetserver/lmutil lmhostid From the command output note the hostid in quotes, if the system has two active NIC cards, select the first MAC address. lmutil - Copyright (c) 1989-2018 Flexera. All Rights Reserved. The FlexNet host ID of this machine is "000c297949e0"
  • To obtain the license server system hostname run the following command
/opt/flexnetserver/lmutil lmhostid hostname From the command output note the hostname of the license server. mutil - Copyright (c) 1989-2018 Flexera. All Rights Reserved. The FlexNet host ID of this machine is "HOSTNAME=Centos7.localdomain"
  1. Generate your Network License File in Autodesk Account
    • Once the license file is generated, make sure it has .lic extension (e.g. adsk_license.lic) and place it in /opt/flexnetserver/licenses directory.  If the directory doesn't exits, create it with this command: sudo mkdir /opt/flexnetserver/licenses
Note: in this article we will refer by adsk_license.lic your network license file name.
  1. To start the Network License Server
    • /opt/flexnetserver/lmgrd -c /opt/flexnetserver/licenses/adsk_license.lic -l /opt/flexnetserver/server_log.log
  2. To obtain license server status enquiry
    • /opt/flexnetserver/lmutil lmstat -a -c /opt/flexnetserver/licenses/adsk_license.lic
  3. To stop your license server service
    • /opt/flexnetserver/lmutil lmdown -q -force
    • alternatively you can also run ps command to obtain process ids for lmgrd and adskflex and then kill those processes
      • ps -aw | grep lmgrd
      • ps -aw | grep adskflex
      • kill -9 (provide process ids obtained by previous commands individually)
  4. To start the license server automatically after the system reboot
    • Open /etc/rc.d/rc.local script as root and enter license server start up command in it.
touch /var/lock/subsys/local /opt/flexnetserver/lmgrd -c /opt/flexnetserver/licenses/adsk_license.lic -l /opt/flexnetserver/server_log.logNote: To ensure that the script will be executed during boot, run following command as root. chmod +x /etc/rc.d/rc.local
  1. Make sure that all necessary ports are open:
  • lmgrd.exe needs ports 27000 to 27009.
  • adskflex.exe needs port 2080.
Note: Errors may occur if the network license file is corrupt or in the case of a combined network license it has incorrectly combined licenses. To learn more about combining licenses, see Combining License Files for Multiple Autodesk Products. Use the License File Parser to verify that the license contains the appropriate products and FLEXnet feature codes and does not display an error

Verify that TCP ports (2080, 27000-27009) used by Autodesk Network License Manager are not blocked by Firewall.

The FLEXlm® based version uses the following incoming ports:
  • TCP ports 2080 (for the adskflex vendor daemon)
  • TCP ports 27000 to 27009 (for the lmgrd master daemon, which uses the first open port in the range)
Note: If these port addresses are restricted by a router or firewall software, users on the remote side of the router will not have access to licenses controlled by the Network License Manager.

Verify that the client computer is configured with the correct license server name or IP.

Windows:

Clear license server information from the system registry.

  1. Type regedit in the Windows Search box and hit Enter key.
  2. Select the following registry key
  • [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\FLEXlm License Manager]
  1. As the key is selected, in right panel ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE will be visible.
  2. Right click on the key and delete it.

Specify the license server in ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE system variable 

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System.
  2. Select Advanced system settings.
  3. On the System Properties dialog, click Environment Variables.
  4. Under System Variables, click New.
  5. Enter ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE for the variable name and [email protected]SERVER_NAME _OR _IP for the variable value.
Note: the license server information most often is recorded in LICPATH.lic file and can be verified there too.  ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE system variable supersedes LICPATH.lic.  Thus, setting the system variable is preferable when this error is seen.

If the license server is on a VPN or a remote network set the FLEXLM_TIMEOUT environment variable:

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System.
  2. Select Advanced system settings.
  3. On the System Properties dialog, click Environment Variables.
  4. Under System Variables, click New.
  5. Enter FLEXLM_TIMEOUT for the variable name and 5000000 for the variable value.
  6. Click OK to save the setting.
Note: if needed the variable value can be increased to 10000000.

Mac/Linux:

Specify the Autodesk Network License server information in $HOME/.flexlmrc file.

Use a text editor to create a flexlmrc.txt file and save it in Plain text format (In TextEdit on Mac: Format - Make Plain Text) on desktop. The file content should look like this, except with the name or IP address of the license server.
If the license server is on the same machine as the Autodesk software, use localhost as the license server name.  Thus, the content of flexlmrc file could look like this:
Note: On firewall restricted network or when accessing the license server via VPN, need to include TCP port/s (usually 27000 or 2080) into Autodesk License Server service as follows: [email protected]_NAME _OR _IP

Once flexlmrc file is created move it to user's $HOME folder as follows:

  1. Open a Terminal window
  2. Type open ~ (Mac) or nautilus ~ (Linux) to open $HOME folder
  3. Drag and drop flexlmrc.txt file from Desktop to the home folder.
  4. To make the file a configuration file, rename it to .flexlmrc (please note . [DOT] in front of the file name) by running the following command:
  • mv flexlmrc.txt .flexlmrc (Mac)
  • mv flexlmrc .flexlmrc (Linux)

Verify that the license server information registered with the product is correct (versions 2020 and later only)

In versions 2020 and later, the license server information is registered with the AdskLicensing service running locally on the workstation. When changing to a new license server, the old server information may still be registered with AdskLicensing and result in the error above, if this is not appropriately updated. See the below steps to solve this:
  1. Click the Start menu and type cmd.
  2. Right-click on the Command prompt and choose "Run As Administrator."
  3. In the Command prompt, run the following command, followed by ENTER:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\AdskLicensing\Current\helper\AdskLicensingInstHelper.exe" change -pk PRODKEY -pv VER.0.0.F -lm "" -ls "" -lt""

Note:

  • Replace PRODKEY with the product key correspondent to your product(s). See Look Up Product Keys for the full list.
  • Replace VER with the version you are using. E.g. 2020 for AutoCAD 2020.
  • Repeat this step for each software you need to reset.
  1. Open Registry Editor (Start > type regedit > ENTER).
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FLEXlm License Manager.
  3. On the right-side, verify of the ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE key exists. If yes, remove it (right-click > Delete).
  4. Run the software again.
  5. Select Multi-user in the Let's Get Started screen.
  6. Follow the steps to connect to your license server.
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Fix Error 1061 The service cannot accept control messages at this time Error in Windows 10
If you are trying to run or starting a program on your Windows 10 computer and you suddenly get an error message saying, “Error 1061 The service cannot accept control messages at this time”, read on as this post will show you what you can do to fix the problem. This kind of error pops up since the Application Information Service does not respond to the requests to raise applications to Administrator in Windows 10 like the Task Manager, Service updates, and so on. Thus, you won’t be able to run or open apps and will only get stuck with this error. The “Error 1061 The service cannot accept control messages at this time” message is a type of network error that typically occurs when there is a temporary mismatch between the requested control and the state of the service to be controlled. It’s most likely that the service is in a state of start-pending, stop-pending, stopped or it may already be used by another user which explains why this error message suddenly appears. You can encounter this error message on any Windows operation. Here are some of the most common occurrences:
  • Debugging a Windows service
  • Starting Task Manager
  • Starting Registry Editor
  • Starting Firewall
  • Starting services.msc
  • Starting dsm.exe
  • Updating services
  • Asking for file permissions, etc.

According to Microsoft MSDN, the error occurs because:

“There is a temporary mismatch between the requested control and the state of the service to be controlled. The service may be in a state of start-pending, stop-pending, or stopped. Wait a few minutes, then retry your operation.” If after a few minutes, the error still appears, then you may have to follow the options prepared below.

Option 1 – Try to restart the Credential Manager Service

  • Go to the Start menu.
  • Then type in “services” in the search box.
  • From the search results, right-click on “Services” and select the “Run as Administrator” option.
  • Next, look for the Credential Manager Service in the Services window.
  • Once you found it, double-click on it to open its Properties. From there, you need to click on the Stop button.
  • After that, set the Credential Manager Service to “Automatic” and click on the Start button to restart it.

Option 2 – Try to start the Application Information Service

You can also try starting the Application Information Service to fix the “Error 1061 The service cannot accept control messages at this time”. Just open the Windows Services Manager and make sure that Application Information Service is Started. And if you find that it’s already started, you need to restart it.

Option 3 – Try killing the IIS Worker Process via Task Manager

  • Tap the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and select the Task Manager.
  • Next, click on More details to expand the Task Manager and then look for the IIS Worker Process entry which should be displayed in the list under the Processes tab. From there, you can see it in the Background processes. Once you find it, kill its process.
  • You can also try to look for the “w3wp.exe” entries and end its process. if you find many entries, right-click on some of them and select the End task option from the context menu.
  • Now restart your PC. That should fix the problem.
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Onscreen keyboard becomes transparent
If you suddenly noticed that your Onscreen keyboard in Windows 10 has become completely white or transparent for some reason, then you’ve come to the right place as this post will guide you on what you can do to resolve this kind of issue in your computer. As you know, the on-screen keyboard is included in Windows 10 and has an executable file named “osk.exe”. The on-screen keyboard is a part of the Ease of Access feature in Windows 10 which allows users to navigate the computer with the help of the mouse instead of the physical keyboard. However, there are times when you might encounter some issues when using the on-screen keyboard. One of the issues reported recently is that the on-screen keyboard becomes transparent or it only displays the borders but there is no way for you to access it. You also won’t be able to move it from the view completely. To fix this problem, there are several suggestions you can check out. You can try to check the Fade button or run the Windows Touch Keyboard troubleshooter. You can also restart its process in the Task Manager. For more details, refer to each one of the given options below.

Option 1 – Try to check the Fade button

The first thing you can do is to check the Fade button on the on-screen keyboard. You can find it at the bottom right corner of the keyboard. If it is enabled, then it’s probably the reason why your on-screen keyboard is transparent as it lets it fade in the background. Thus, you have to disable it to resolve the problem.

Option 2 – Try to run the Windows Touch Keyboard troubleshooter

The next option you can check out is running the Windows Touch Keyboard troubleshooter. This troubleshooter will help you identify the problem and would fix them automatically.

Option 3 – Try to restart the process of the on-screen keyboard via Task Manager

The next thing you can do is to restart the on-screen keyboard’s process in the Task Manager. Just follow the steps below.
  • First, tap the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager.
  • Next, go to the Processes tab and look for the option that says, “Accessibility On-screen Keyboard”.
  • Once you found it, click on the drop-down arrow next to it and right click on the “On-screen Keyboard” option, and select End task to end its process.
  • After that, tap the Win + R keys to launch the Run utility and type “osk.exe” in the field, and then hit Enter to open the on-screen keyboard.
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Update cannot currently check for updates
If you receive an error message saying, “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates because updates on this computer are controlled”, while trying to change the Windows Update preferences or manually update, then read on as this post will guide you in fixing it. You can mostly encounter this error in managed systems where an Administrator controls the permission on the operating system. The reason why you are not able to modify the Windows Update preferences or manually update your system is that a group policy prevents you from doing so and that the only user who can do these things is none other than the administrator of the system. Troubleshooting this kind of problem is the same as when you troubleshoot an error message that says, “Some settings are managed by your organization”. In such cases, you need to check both the Windows Update Group Policy and Registry settings. If you’re just a standard user, you have to contact your system administrator regarding this issue and if you are the administrator, you can make adjustments to the system settings via the Registry Editor and the Group Policy Editor. Refer to the instructions given below for detailed instructions.

Option 1 – via the Registry Editor

If you are using the Home edition of Windows 10 and you want to change the policy for non-admin users on your local computer, then you can use the Registry Editor for that. Here’s how you can do it:
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Then type “Regedit” in the field and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  • After that, navigate to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows
  • From there, look for the key named “WindowsUpdate” in the Windows folder and if it does not exist, you can just right-click on the Windows folder and select New > Key.
  • Now name the new key “WindowsUpdate” and create a new sub-key under the newly created key and input “AU” as its name.
  • Keep AU selected and then right-click anywhere in the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  • Then name the Value as “AUOptions” and right-click on AUOptions and select Modify.
  • Next, change the value of the Value data to “5” and click OK to save the changes made to the settings. Note that the Value Data of 5 refers to the policy to allow the local admin to choose the setting.
  • Now restart your computer once you’re done and check if non-admin users can now modify the Windows Update settings or update Windows.

Option 2 – via Group Policy Editor

  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box and then type “gpedit.msc” and hit Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
  • Next, navigate to this folder: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.
  • Now look for the “Configure Automatic Updates” policy on the right pane and double click on it to open its Properties.
  • After that, shift the Radio button to “Enabled” and from the drop-down menu for Configure automatic updating, select option 5: Allow local admin to choose the setting.
  • Then click on Apply and OK to save the changes made to the settings.
  • Restart your computer and check if the problem’s fixed or not.
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Disabling Security Questions in Windows
We’ve already covered disabling Security Questions If you want to disable Security Questions on your Windows 10 computer then you’ve come to the right place as this post will guide you in doing exactly that. In this post, you will be disabling Security Questions using a PowerShell script. This PowerShell script is called “Update-AllUsersQA”. It is designed to remove or disable the security questions and answers for local users on a Windows 10 computer. It lets administrators take control of the security questions in the environment and at the same time minimizes the risk that comes with them. If a user has a Microsoft account that’s configured to sign in to Windows 10 then he will not probably notice the Password Recovery questions. On the other hand, if he has a chosen local account for installing Windows, he will e prompted to create three security questions that can be used to reset the password and log into the Windows 10 account in case there is any misfortune. However, if you do not have much use for these Security Questions, then you can definitely have them disabled using a simple PowerShell script which you can download from GitHub. For more details on how to disable security questions in a Windows 10 machine, refer to the steps provided below. Step 1: You need to first download the .ps1 file from the GitHub repository. Step 2: Once you’ve downloaded the file, open the PowerShell window with admin privileges. Step 3: After that, navigate to the folder where you had saved the .ps1 file. Then copy the address of the folder location. Step 4: Next, change the directory by using the following command:
cd "folder location address"
Step 5: After that, enter the following script to disable the security questions:
Update-AllUsersQA
Once you’ve completed the steps above, the Security Questions should be disabled and you will be notified with a message stating that the feature has been disabled. On the other hand, if you have a change of heart and you want to enable the Security Questions back, here are some steps you need to take: Step 1: First, open the PowerShell window as admin. Step 2: Next, run the same script with one more parameter such as:
Update-AllUsersQA -answer SecretAnswer
Step 3: And that’s about it. Do not forget to replace the Secret Answer with your preferred one and once you’re done, it will be set as the answer for all the Security Questions. Step 4: Now all that’s left to do is go to the Settings app to change the answer to the questions and you should be good to go.
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Fix Windows Updates and MS Store, 0x80240438
If you were trying to update your Windows 10 computer and failed due to Error Code 0x80240438, then you’ve come to the right place as this post will give you a couple of suggestions you can check out to resolve this error. You can encounter Error Code 0x80240438 not just in Windows Updates but also in Microsoft Store. This is due to the fact that the delivery mechanism for both Windows Updates and Microsoft Store is common and interdependent. This is why a lot of Windows Update and Microsoft Store error codes are similar. And so fixing them won’t be that hard as well since most methods are basically the same. When you encounter this kind of error in Windows Update or Microsoft Store, you will see the following error message on your screen:
“There were some problems installing updates, but we’ll try again later. If you keep seeing this and want to search the web or contact support for information, this may help – (0x80240438).”
To resolve Error Code 0x80240438, here are some potential fixes you need to check out:

Option 1 – Try to run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

The Windows 10 Store Apps Troubleshooter will help you in fixing the Error Code 0x80240438. This is a great built-in tool from Microsoft that helps users fix any app installation issues. So this is worth a try to solve the problem. This built-in tool also helps you fix the Windows 10 Store if it isn’t working. To use the Windows Store Troubleshooter, follow the steps below.
  • Tap Win + I keys again to open the Windows Settings panel.
  • Go to Update & Security and then go to Troubleshoot.
  • Under the Troubleshoot section, on your left-hand side, scroll down to find Windows Update and then click on Run the troubleshooter option and follow the on-screen instructions and then see if it fixes the problem.

Option 2 – Try to temporarily disable anti-virus and Windows Defender Firewall

As mentioned, the error could be due to the antivirus program or the Windows Defender Firewall installed on your computer. Thus, disabling them or any security software installed in your computer is always a good idea you can try when you’re not able to access the shared drive on your computer. There are times when you encounter problems like Error Code 0x80240438 due to interference of antivirus or security programs. Thus, you have to disable both your antivirus program and Windows Defender Firewall for the meantime and check if it fixes the error or not.

Option 3 – Disable the Proxy server

You can also try to disable the Proxy server for your LAN to fix Error Code 0x80240438 especially if your computer was attacked by some malware or adware recently. In such cases, there is a chance that the malware or adware has changed your network settings in order to generate intrusive advertisements. Thus, you have to disable the proxy server and you can do that by following these steps:
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Then type “inetcpl.cpl” in the field and hit Enter to pull up the Internet Properties.
  • After that, go to the Connections tab and select the LAN settings.
  • From there. Uncheck the “Use a Proxy Server” option for your LAN and then make sure that the “Automatically detect settings” option is checked.
  • Now click the OK and the Apply buttons.
  • Restart your PC.
Note: If you are using a third-party proxy service, you have to disable it.

Option 4 – Try modifying the “Remove access to use all the Windows Update features” Policy

  • Start by tapping the Win + R key combination to open the Run utility.
  • Then type “gpedit.msc” in the field and tap Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
  • Once you’ve pulled up the Group Policy Editor, navigate to this setting: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
  • Next, double click on the “Remove access to use all the Windows Update features” policy and set its radio button to “Not Configured”. As you can see, this policy setting has the following description:
“This setting allows you to remove access to Windows Update. If you enable this setting, all Windows Update features are removed. This includes blocking access to the Windows Update Web site at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com, from the Windows Update hyperlink on the Start menu, and also on the Tools menu in Internet Explorer. Windows automatic updating is also disabled; you will neither be notified about nor will you receive critical updates from Windows Update. This setting also prevents Device Manager from automatically installing driver updates from the Windows Update Web site.”
If you enable this policy setting, you can configure one of the following notification options:
  • 0 = Do not show any notifications: This setting will remove all access to Windows Update features, and no notifications will be shown.
  • 1 = Show restart required notifications – This setting will show notifications about restarts that are required to complete an installation.
  • Now you need to exit the Group Policy Editor and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Option 5 – Try resetting the Windows Update folders

Resetting the Windows Update folders can also help in fixing the error in both Windows Update and Microsoft Store. All you have to do is delete the contents in both the SoftwareDistribution folder and reset the Catroot2 folder as well.

Option 6 – Try downloading and installing the Windows Updates manually

Error Code 0x80240438 might be due to a Windows Update that has failed. So if it is not a feature update and only a cumulative update, you can download the Windows Update and install it manually. But first, you need to find out which update has failed, and to do so, refer to the following steps:
  • Go to Settings and from there go to Update and Security > View Update History.
  • Next, check which particular update has failed. Note that Updates that have failed to install will be displayed under the Status column which has a label of “Failed”.
  • After that, go to the Microsoft Download Center and look for that update using its KB number and once you find it, download and then install it manually.
Note: You can also use the Microsoft Update Catalog, a service from Microsoft that provides a list of software updates that can be distributed over a corporate network. With the help of this service, it can be easier for you to find Microsoft software updates, drivers as well as fixes.
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Repairing a corrupt Group Policy in Windows
If you recently made some changes in your Windows 10 computer using the Group Policy Editor but they were not reflected and you got errors instead, it could be that your Windows computer wasn’t able to read the Group Policy file (registry.pol). To resolve this kind of issue, you have to repair the potentially corrupted Group Policy using the options given in this post. .As you know, Group Policy is a feature in the Microsoft Windows Active Directory which allows an admin to make changes in the features on Windows PCs that are on the network. So if the modifications you just made weren’t successfully applied, then there could be something wrong with the registry.pol file on the client or it could also be that the Group Policy folder is missing. To fix this issue in the Group Policy, you need to refer to the given suggestions below and make sure that you have admin privileges as you execute them.

Option 1 – Try to delete or recreate the missing registry.pol file

The entire settings of the Group Policy are stored in the registry.pol file so if it went missing, all the changes you make will not be reflected. The good thing is that you can recreate it but if the file exists and is corrupted, you need to delete it first before you recreate it.
  • First, go to the C:/Windows/System32/GroupPolicy/Machine location.
  • And from there, check if the registry.pol file exists or not. If it’s there, just delete it permanently by tapping the Shift + Delete keys.
  • Now it’s time to recreate the file. Just open Windows PowerShell with admin privileges by tapping Win + X + A keys.
  • After opening PowerShell, type this command: gpupdate /force
  • The command you entered will recreate the registry.pol file and will refresh the Group Policy. Restart your computer.

Option 2 – Try recreating the secedit.sdb file

The security settings of Group Policy are stored in the secedit.sdb file so if you made some changes to security and they weren’t reflected, you can try to delete and recreate the secedit.sdb file instead of deleting the Group Policy file. All you have to do is navigate to the C:/WINDOWS/security/Database folder and look for the secedit.sdb file and rename it or move it to another folder. After that, restart your computer. Once your computer has restarted, the secedit.sdb file will be created again.

Option 3 – Try to reset the Group Policy to default

You can also try to reset the Group Policy back to its default state. There are several ways you can do that. You can either use the gpupdate or the secedit command in the Windows PowerShell to do that. Resetting the Group Policy will resolve any issues that could be caused by its current settings.

Option 4 – Try to perform System Restore

System Restore can also help resolve the Group Policy issue. It could be that prior to the issue, you’ve made some changes in the system that might have affected the Group Policy. To undo these changes, perform System Restore.
  • First, tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • After that, type in “sysdm.cpl” in the field and tap Enter.
  • Next, go to the System Protection tab then click the System Restore button. This will open a new window where you have to select your preferred System Restore point.
  • After that, follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process and then restart your computer and check if the problem is fixed or not.

Option 5 – Use the DISM tool

You can also try running the Deployment Imaging and Servicing Management or DISM tool. This tool will repair the Windows System Image as well as the Windows Component Store in your Windows 10 computer. So if there are any missing or corrupted folders and files, the DISM tool can restore and repair them. As a result, any system consistencies and corruptions will be fixed. To run this tool, follow these steps:
  • Tap the Win + X keys and click on the “Command Prompt (Admin)” option.
  • After that, input each one of the commands listed below sequentially to execute them:
    • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • Once you’ve executed the commands given above, restart your computer.
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Windows requires a digitally signed driver
Device drivers are needed in order for the hardware and software to communicate in an operating system. Some of these drivers are digitally signed. These kinds of drivers are drivers that are signed by their issuing authority in a way that the end-user or any third party won’t be able to modify them. And there are times when you encounter an error that says, “Windows requires a digitally signed driver” when you try to install or update device drivers. Driver Signing is the process of associating a digital signature with a driver package. Digital signatures are used in Windows device installations to verify the identity of the vendor providing the driver packages as well as to verify the integrity of the driver packages. All the drivers you usually install on your PC from Windows Update, Original Equipment Manufacturers, or some other third-party driver download software and so on must be verified digitally by Microsoft through the digital signature. A digital signature is an electronic security mark that verifies the publisher for the driver and all the relevant information related to it. That’s why Windows won’t run a driver if it isn’t certified by Microsoft, be it a 32-bit or 64-bit system – this is called the Driver Signature Enforcement. The only Kernel-mode drivers that Windows 10 will load are the ones that are digitally signed by the Dev Portal. However, the changes only affect the new installations of the operating system with Secure Boot on while the non-upgraded fresh installations would require drivers that are signed by Microsoft. The “Windows requires a digitally signed driver” error indicates that the driver you are trying to update or install hasn’t been signed digitally by the issuing authority, preventing you from installing or updating it. To resolve this issue, you can try to update the drivers directly from the manufacturer’s site. You could also disable driver signing via Group Policy Editor.

Option 1 – Update the device drivers directly from the manufacturer’s site

The reason why you’re getting the “Windows requires a digitally signed driver” error in the first place is that you might have downloaded the drivers from external media. It could also be that the drivers didn’t update for some time now and the issuing authority changed its policies. Thus, you can try to update the drivers straight from the manufacturer’s website and install them. If this option didn’t work, then you’ll have to disable the driver signing or its recognition in Windows 10. Keep in mind that doing so is not advisable if you have to use the concerned driver.

Option 2 – Disable driver signing via Group Policy Editor

  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run utility and type “gpedit.msc” in the field and tap Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
  • After that, navigate to this policy setting: User configuration > Administrative templates > System > Driver installation
  • Next, double click on the “Code signing for device drivers” entry located on the right pane to open its properties where you’ll see the following description:
“This setting determines how the system responds when a user tries to install device driver files that are not digitally signed. It establishes the least secure response permitted on the systems of users in the group. Users can use the System in Control Panel to select a more secure setting, but when this setting is enabled, the system does not implement any setting less secure than the one the setting established. When you enable this setting, use the drop-down box to specify the desired response. “Ignore” directs the system to proceed with the installation even if it includes unsigned files. “Warn” notifies the user that files are not digitally signed and lets the user decide whether to stop or to proceed with the installation and whether to permit unsigned files to be installed. “Warn” is the default. “Block” directs the system to refuse to install unsigned files. As a result, the installation stops, and none of the files in the driver package are installed. To change driver file security without specifying a setting, use System in Control Panel. Right-click My Computer, click Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click the Driver Signing button.”
  • Now select the radio button for “Enabled” and select Ignore from the drop-down menu under “When Windows detects a driver file without a digital signature”.
  • Then click on the Apply and OK buttons to save the changes made. This will get rid of the “Windows requires a digitally signed driver” error but take note that this will also make your system less secure.
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Fix Error Accessing the Registry in Windows
If you encounter an error saying, “error accessing the registry” when you try to merge a registry key on your Windows 10 computer, you’re not alone as some users also experienced the same problem. According to these users, they encounter the error after they’ve re-installed their Windows version and tried to open a .reg file. Based on the reports, this error could occur if the registry file does not have administrative privileges. Meaning to say, the program does not have the necessary permission to merge the .reg file. This is common with fresh installs as well as reinstalls. Moreover, this kind of issue could also occur due to system file corruption. Whichever the case may be, here are some troubleshooting tips you can check out to resolve the error.

Option 1 – Try to import the .reg file with admin privileges

As pointed out, the error may be due to a lack of admin privileges. It could be that the Registry Editor does not have admin privileges to merge the registry file. This is common with new Windows installations especially since the Registry Editor hasn’t been opened before. So you need to import the .reg file again and this time, with admin privileges.
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Then type “Regedit” in the field and tap the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys to open the Registry Editor with admin privileges.
  • A User Account Control or UAC prompt will appear where you have to click Yes to proceed.
  • After opening the Registry Editor, go to File > Import using the ribbon bar at the top.
  • Next, use the import menu to go to the location of the file you were trying to merge. Once you’ve found it, click Open to merge it with your current registry. This should fix the problem. If not, refer to the next options below.

Option 2 – Try performing a System Restore

Running System Restore can also help you fix the error when accessing the Registry. You can do this option either by booting into Safe Mode or in System Restore. If you are already in the Advanced Startup Options, just directly select System Restore and proceed with the next steps. And if you have just booted your PC into Safe Mode, refer to the steps below.
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • After that, type in “sysdm.cpl” in the field and tap Enter.
  • Next, go to the System Protection tab then click the System Restore button. This will open a new window where you have to select your preferred System Restore point.
  • After that, follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process and then restart your computer and check if the problem is fixed or not.
  • Once the next startup is complete, you have to merge or import the file again and see if the error is now fixed or not.

Option 3 – Try to perform repair install by creating a Windows 10 installation media

  • Click this link and then click the Download Tool Now button.
  • Next, click the “Use the tool to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file)…” option and follow the next given instructions on the screen.
  • Now select the ISO file option in step 5.
  • After that, you should now have an ISO file.
  • Next, go to the location where you’ve downloaded the ISO file.
  • Then right-click on the Windows 10 ISO file and select the Open with option and then select File Explorer.
  • Now click on “setup.exe” and follow the next instructions that appear on the screen. When asked, you have to select either Nothing (clean install) or Keep personal files only option. Take note that you must not select the “Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings since it doesn’t really work.

Option 4 – Try running the System File Checker Scan

As mentioned, the error when accessing the Registry might be caused by file corruption. And that’s where the SFC scan comes in. The SFC or System File Checker scan could detect and automatically repair damaged system files. SFC is a built-in command utility that helps in restoring corrupted files as well as missing files. It replaces bad and corrupted system files with good system files. To run the SFC command, follow the steps given below.
  • Tap Win + R to launch Run.
  • Type in cmd in the field and tap Enter.
  • After opening Command Prompt, type in sfc /scannow
The command will start a system scan which will take a few whiles before it finishes. Once it’s done, you could get the following results:
  1. Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.
  2. Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.
  3. Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.
  • Now restart your computer.
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