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Issue #535: October 22-28, 2017

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Q: After a recent Windows update, my HP desktop running Win 10 no longer automatically goes in sleep mode as scheduled. I have checked power settings, and tried different ones including factory, all to no avail. Using the power icon I can manually get into sleep mode. Got confused looking at the CMD options.

– Dave U.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Geek Note: I received the above e-mail a few weeks ago.  Seemed like a good one to answer in the column, so I put it on my short list of questions to use.  Before I could get around to doing so, I received this follow-up from Reader Dave:

“Sleep Mode problem solved. Went to print something and found out I had a document waiting to be printed. Once that was done, computer returned to its normal self.”

So, why, you may ask, if Dave solved his own problem, would I even bother publishing his question?  The answer is simple.  First of all, I personally had no idea that a document stuck in the printer queue would stop Windows from going to sleep.  Second, It’s Geek To Me is intended to be more than a means for individuals to get help on issues specific to their computer.  If one person is experiencing a problem, chances are that others are having the same problem.  It is my sincere hope that the questions I choose to publish will be useful for many people.  I didn’t know that a document waiting in queue would stop Windows from sleeping, and I bet a lot of you reader-Geeks didn’t know it either.  Well, now you do.  So, if your system won’t sleep, you now know something to check for.  Thanks for the tip, Dave!


Geek Tip of the Week – File Search in Windows: I get many contacts from people that criticize me for always “pushing” Microsoft products.  Why, they ask, am I such a big advocate for Windows, when so much is constantly going wrong with it?  The simple answer is that I’m not.  Rather, I’m an advocate for you, the Windows end-user, who has few choices on places to turn for assistance when you can’t figure out how to do something on your system.  Case-in-point – using Windows Explorer to perform a file search.  I’ll tell you flat out – I hate the search facility in Windows 10.  My experiences with it have been that it’s unreliable, hard to learn, and hard to use.  I used to get great results with the search in Windows XP.  Sadly, that’s been retired in the name of “obsolescence” and we’re left with what we have.  But I’ve learned a few things along the way that I will share in hopes of helping you.

First, and most important, understand that Windows can search either by filename, or by keyword within file contents.  You should know which one the system is using to ensure you get the results you want, and because under some circumstances, searching within file contents can be super-slow.  To check which method will be used, start with a Windows Explorer window (make sure you’re not mixing-up Windows Explorer with Internet Explorer!).  Click on Tools->Folder Options, then click on the “Search” tab.  Here you will find several options that give you some control over how Windows will perform searches, such as whether to drill-down into subfolders, and whether to match all or only part of the keyword you supply.

When searching remember the adage “less is more, more is less”.  The more specific your search gets, the fewer results will be returned.  This can be either good or bad, depending on your situation.  You might have 10,000 Word documents on your machine to wade through, and giving a partial filename can pare that down substantially.  But it’s also easy to provide so much information that the file you’re looking for gets filtered out of the results.  The best way to search is to provide the minimum amount of information that will identify what you’re seeking.  If you’re searching file contents, avoid using common words like “it”, “the”, “and”, etc. as keywords, since rather than narrow down your results they actually expand them to include every file that contains these very common words.

Finally, it may be of benefit to spend a little time in the Windows Help files, reading-up on working with files and searches.  Click the blue question mark on Windows Explorer to begin, and scroll down to the section on Finding files.

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