Just like the older Windows versions, and maybe even more so, since a new OS takes getting used to, Windows 10 contains numerous traps for careless users. The good news is that disaster can be prevented if you know how to act.
What do we refer to as a “disaster”? It’s what happens on your PC when you accidentally click a key sequence that causes batches of files or folders to disappear. You start to panic thinking that all of the files you worked hard on are now gone for good.
PC technicians can put together a list of mistakes inexperienced PC users may make that result in data loss. A good technician always has some tricks they can share with users to help them prevent these mistakes or deal with the consequences. Here are five easy solutions to some very common user mistakes that will help you avoid major trouble.
1. Sliding a Program Windows off PC Screen
This issue is so common, that even experienced computer users sometimes get into situations when a program window seems to disappear off the screen, although the program icon is still on the taskbar. With any luck you may see a tiny section of the program window sticking out from the side of your screen. If the window is completely gone, you may not realize it until you discover that clicking the program on the taskbar doesn’t bring the window up.
This may occur when you carelessly move things around your screen, especially while your system is frozen, or when you send your laptop into sleep mode with two displays and wake it up with just one. The windows you had open on the second display will normally not appear on the first one after PC wakes up.
The Solution: Use the program preview for maximizing the window.
Hover the mouse over the program icon you see in the taskbar and a small popup preview will open right above it.
Right-click on the preview window to get it maximized onto the main screen. When it reappears, you can change its size if you want, but don’t ever click the ‘Restore’ option, or it will take the window back to wherever it was before returning to your screen.
Instead, drag the window to where you’d like it to be by holding the title bar with your mouse. That’s it. We bet next time you’ll be very careful about moving things around your screen.
2. Deleting Files by Accident
If you’ve ever experienced it, you know that it’s one of the worst feelings to have for any computer user: when you discover that some of your files have mysteriously disappeared. It is unbelievably easy to accidentally delete files on your PC.
Files can get highlighted or selected by accident right before you hit the ‘Delete’ key and voila. You could hold the mouse button down by accident when moving the cursor around, which will highlight anything you go over. You may then click the ‘Delete’ button thinking that you are deleting another item, but get the highlighted objects wiped out instead.
No matter the cause, the good news is that this is reversible.
The Solution: Use CTRL + Z or recover from Recycle Bin.
If you haven’t heard of Ctrl+Z by now, you should make it your best friend. As long as you discover the problem right away, you can use this shortcut to undo the last action. This means that the files you’ve just deleted get placed right back where they were with this command. The sad thing is that this trick can solve the problem only right after it occurs. If you discovered the loss only after you’ve clicked on other things, opened programs, edited files and so on, the Ctrl+Z command will be useless.
If Ctrl+Z doesn’t help, there is always the good old Recycle Bin.
You probably know that you can access the Recycle Bin by clicking the trash can icon on your computer’s desktop. Any files you delete on your computer get sent to the Recycle Bin (unless you manually disable the Recycle Bin on your PC) and they stay in the Bin until you, someone else or a maintenance program deletes it.
You just right-click on the item you want back and click ‘Restore’. It will go back to where it was before you deleted it.
If accidents like these happen to you more than you want, you need to make sure that your Recycle Bin is not disabled and not cleared on a schedule by a maintenance program. Otherwise you may be in for a big surprise next time you delete something by accident and don’t discover it right away to be able to use Ctrl+Z on it.
To double-check that the Recycle Bin isn’t disabled, right-click on the trash can icon and select ‘Options’. Find the ‘Don’t move files to Recycle Bin’ option and make sure it is NOT selected.
3. Placing a File in the Wrong Folder by Accident
It probably happens to all of us computer users at least once. You accidentally let go of the mouse button as you are dragging a file to a specific location and the file gets dropped into some folder. The problem is you usually have no idea which one, so you panic.
The Solution: the magic Ctrl+Z combination or shake the window.
Just as it helped us before with reversing an accidental file deletion, the Ctrl+Z key combination will do the trick here. That is as long as you apply it right after you drop your file or folder in the wrong location. Just click the two keys simultaneously and watch your files magically reappear in their previous location.
A good way to prevent a problem like this from ever happening in the first place is to use a middle point between your origin and destination locations. Bet you didn’t know this trick. You can hold the window that has your origin folder open by the title bar and shake it a bit. This will minimize any other windows that were open and show the desktop. Drag the files you want to move over to your desktop. Now open the destination folder and drag the files over to it from your desktop. Just one extra step added, but it’s an easy one and it’s worth it, especially if you’ve had accidents like this more than once.
Or you could also simply copy the files and paste them into the new folder, then go back and delete the original copies. That way you can always be sure they won’t be dropped anywhere along the way.
4. Misclicking Context Menu Option
This can happen to anyone, even the most experienced computer users among us. You bring up the context menu by right-clicking on your desktop, and instead of selecting the option you came there for, you click Undo Move. This is especially common when you want to create a new folder on your desktop. The options are just too close to make mistakes easy. In a split second you click the wrong line and the last move operation gets undone. Chances are you don’t even remember what that last operation was, so you think you can’t repeat it that easily. Well, the good news is you can.
The Solution: Immediately redo the move.
Before you start panicking or try clicking some other options to try and remedy the situation, find the opposite command to the one you clicked by accident and run it. If you accidentally clicked Undo, then click Redo Move (it will only be available if you previously clicked Undo). That’s it, problem solved.
5. Accidentally Clicking ‘Select All’
This is one mistake that often causes batches of files to accidentally get deleted. Many users highlight the files they intend to move or remove by drawing a square around them. One more way to select multiple files is to use Ctrl+A – a command that selects all files in a folder. The command is a very useful shortcut, but it is also a risky one. You may be thinking you are selecting all files in some specific folder, but if you happen to have a different folder active on your screen at the moment, the command will select all files there.
And there are so many ways those files can get accidentally deleted. You may press ‘Backspace’, the ‘Delete’ button or the spacebar and the files will be gone. If you press the Enter key, it will open (or attempt to open) every file you have selected. Can you imagine hundreds of files opening simultaneously on your screen with no way to stop the show?
The Solution: The F5 key.
You need to keep this key in mind as a great fix for preventing catastrophes like this. If you see that you highlighted files you didn’t mean to highlight: for instance, files are highlighted in the wrong folder or more files are highlighted than needed, don’t fret. Breathe deeply and press the F5 key to refresh the active window. Any selections will clear and you will be able to calmly repeat the attempt at selecting the files you want, this time paying more attention to what you are doing.
If the above sounds like a lot of trouble, try not to let it scare you out of using your PC or trying new things on it. We all learn from our mistakes. A good way to prevent them is to not rush when you do things on your computer. That will help ensure that you don’t lose any of your files or at least that you will be able to fix any mistakes immediately after they occur.
The above tips should help you stay productive and accident-free when using your PC, and therefore make your computer experience more enjoyable.
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