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What To Do if Your Windows 8 Settings Are Messed Up

Sometimes you want to return your Windows 8 settings to the way they were before you started messing around with them. Your salvation lies in the Restore Default button, which awaits your command in strategically placed areas throughout Windows 8. A click of that button returns the settings to the way Windows 8 originally set them up.

Here are a few Restore Default buttons you may find useful:

  • Libraries: Every folder’s Navigation Pane lists your libraries — collections of your files and folders. But if one of your libraries is missing (say, the Music library), you can put it back. Right-click the word Libraries along the right side of any folder and choose Restore Default Libraries. Your default libraries — Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos — all reappear.

  • Taskbar: From the desktop, right-click a blank part of the taskbar and choose Properties. Click the Customize button and then click the words Restore Default Icon Behaviors at the bottom of the Properties window.

  • Internet Explorer: When the desktop’s Internet Explorer program seems clogged with unwanted toolbars, spyware, or just plain weirdness, take the last resort of bringing back its original settings: In Internet Explorer, click the Tools icon and choose Internet Options from the drop-down menu. Click the Advanced tab and click the Reset button.

    This action wipes out nearly everything, including your toolbars, add-ons, and search engine preference. If you also select Internet Explorer’s Delete Personal Settings check box, clicking the Reset button even kills your browser history and saved passwords. Only your favorites, feeds, and a few other items remain. (For a complete list of what’s deleted, click that page’s How Does Resetting Affect My Computer option.)

  • Firewall: If you suspect foul play within Windows Firewall, bring back its original settings and start over. (Some of your programs may need to be reinstalled.) From the desktop, right-click in the screen’s bottom-left corner and choose Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, choose System and Security, and open Windows Firewall. Click Restore Defaults in the left column.

  • Media Player: When the Media Player library contains mistakes, tell it to delete its index and start over. In Media Player, press and release the Alt key, click Tools, choose Advanced from the pop-out menu, and choose Restore Media Library. (Or if you’ve accidentally removed items from the Media Player library, choose Restore Deleted Library Items instead.)

  • Colors: Windows lets you tweak your desktop’s colors and sounds, sometimes into a disturbing mess. To return to the default colors and sounds, right-click your desktop, choose Personalize, and choose Windows from the Windows Default Themes section.

  • Fonts: Have you tweaked your fonts beyond recognition? Return them to normal by opening the desktop’s Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Fonts. In the left pane, click Font Settings and then click the Restore Default Font Settings button.

  • Folders: Windows 8 hides a slew of switches relating to folders, their Navigation Panes, the items they show, how they behave, and how they search for items. To mull over their options or return them to their default settings, open any folder and click the View tab on the Ribbon menu along the top.

    Click the Options icon; when the drop-down list appears, click Change Folder and Search Options. You can find a Restore Defaults button on each tab: General, View, and Search.

Finally, don’t forget the new Refresh option in Windows 8, although it’s overkill for many problems, it resets most of your settings to the default.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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