10 Common User Errors & How To Fix Them In Windows 8

Sep 22, 2015

By Chris Hoffman

Try as it might to be an easy-to-use, simplified operating system for tablets and other consumption devices, Windows 8 is still Windows at heart. If you’re using Windows 8’s desktop, you’ll still be facing many of the issues you faced on previous versions of Windows. It’s possible to delete files, fill your computer’s system tray with startup programs, and experience other Windows system issues.

We’ll cover some common problems users will face and how to fix them on Windows 8. Some of these tricks may work on previous versions of Windows, but Windows 8 adds many new tools to help with these sorts of problems. For example, Windows 8 includes a built-in antivirus, so users will have malware protection out of the box.

Accidentally Deleted Files?

Windows 8’s File History feature automatically makes copies of your files if you enable it. After enabling this feature, you can restore a file you’ve deleted or restore a previous copy of a file — ideal if you’ve made some changes to a document and want to get the old version back.  File History runs frequently, making backup copies of your files every hour.

After enabling file history, just click the History button on the ribbon in the folder that once contained the file to start restoring it.

windows 8 backup

Forgot to Set Up File History?

If you use a traditional magnetic hard drive instead of a modern solid-state drive, you may also be able to restore deleted files with a file recovery program likePiriform’s Recuva. Such programs scan your hard drive, looking for bits of deleted files and offering to restore them.

They won’t work on solid-state drives because files deleted from SSDs are typically erased immediately, unless TRIM was disabled. If you’re using an SSD, be sure toenable File History before you accidentally delete a file!

Got Too Many Startup Programs?

Windows 8’s Task Manager allows you to manage your startup programs. If you’ve installed too many programs that are automatically starting with your computer and they’re slowing down your startup process and cluttering your system tray, there’s finally an integrated way to manage these properly.

Just right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click the More details link and use the options on the Startup tab to disable your startup programs. Windows 8 even tells you how much time each program adds to your startup process.

make windows 8 fast

Have You Messed Up Any Settings?

You can restore the default options in many Windows programs if you’ve changed them and want to get back to how they were before you messed around with them. If you’ve…

  • Deleted a library: Right-click the Libraries header in the File Explorer application and select Restore default libraries.
  • Messed up your folder display settings: Click the View tab in File Explorer, click the Options icon, and select Change folder and search options. There’s a separate Restore Defaults button on each tab here — each one will restore the options specified on the tab to their default settings.
  • Hid too many system tray icons: Right-click the taskbar, click Properties, click the Customize button next to Notification area, and select Restore default icon behaviors.

Experiencing Problems With Internet Explorer?

The desktop version of Internet Explorer can experience problems if you install too many browser add-ons, such as toolbars. You may also experience problems if you’ve tweaked too many of the advanced settings in Internet Explorer and disabled things you shouldn’t have.

Luckily, Internet Explorer gives you a way to reset it to its default state. To do so, open Internet Explorer, click the gear icon, select Internet Options, click the Advanced tab, and click Reset.

You’ll lose your toolbars, add-ons, browser settings, and most other browsing data. However, you won’t lose your Internet Explorer favorites.


Does the idea of using Internet Explorer make you shiver? The browser has evolved! Read our review on Internet Explorer 11.

Suffering From Frozen or Resource-Sucking Programs?

It’s not an error on your part, but occasionally a program will freeze and become unresponsive. Worse yet, sometimes a program may stay running in the background, sucking up CPU and memory resources to do nothing at all. In cases like this one, you can use the Task Manager to end the program.

Either Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and click Task Manager or right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager to open the Task Manger. From here, you can right-click a program and select End Task to forcibly stop it. The Windows 8 task manager color-codes programs by resource usage, so it’s easy to see if a program is malfunctioning and consuming too much resources in the background.

make windows 8 fast

Does Your Computer Freeze?

It’s possible that your computer may become frozen completely. If it’s not responding at all, you should press Ctrl+Alt+Delete at the same time. If you’re lucky, your computer is still responsive and you can use the Ctrl+Alt+Delete screen to open the Task Manager and kill programs or just click the Power button and reboot your computer.

If your computer isn’t responding at all, you can press and hold the physical power button on your computer. After a few seconds, it will stop completely. This method shouldn’t be used to turn off your PC regularly, as it’s a forcible, hard reset that doesn’t allow your computer to shut down cleanly. However, it’s necessary if your computer isn’t responding.


Facing General PC Issues?

Windows 8 allows you to “Refresh Your PC,” which is essentially an easy way to reinstall Windows. Windows will automatically refresh itself, restoring itself to its default state. Windows will preserve your personal files and Modern apps from the Windows Store, but you’ll have to reinstall any desktop apps you have installed after this.

This is a quick way to get Windows back to a fresh state without losing your files or going through the traditional Windows install process. You’ll find this option in the PC settings app under the General section.

restore windows 8

Experiencing System Issues?

You can also use the System Restore feature to partially restore your system without performing a Refresh. System Restore won’t erase the desktop programs you have installed, so this can be a faster method. System Restore automatically creates “restore points,” which make a backup copy of important system files.

This can be useful after system files have become damaged somehow — perhaps you installed unstable drivers on your system or accidentally uninstalled a device driver. System Restore can fix such problems without needing to perform a Refresh and lose all your desktop programs.


Accidentally Deleted System Files?

Windows includes the System File Checker (SFC) command, which you can run manually. Run this command and Windows will scan the computer’s system files, ensuring they’re all present and in working order. If a file has become deleted or corrupted, the System File Checker will notice and automatically replace it. This all happens without needing to use the Refresh or System Restore features.

To use this command, press the Start button, type Command Prompt, right-click the Command Prompt shortcut, and select Run as administrator. In the Administrator Command Prompt window that appears, run the following command:

sfc /scannow


Do you know any other common problems and fixes for them on Windows 8? Leave a comment and share your solutions!