3 ways to remove ‘News and interests’ from Windows 10 taskbar

Date : March 20, 2023

‘News and interests’ one day appeared in everyone’s taskbar; apparently Microsoft thought we wanted to see ads news only one click away!

Some users have reported that “News and interests” can slow down their computer or cause other performance issues. If you’re experiencing any problems with the feature, disabling it from the taskbar may help improve your system’s performance.

In addition, there are certain environments where it’s not appropriate or necessary to have this showing. Fortunately, it’s easy to remove “News and interests” from the Windows 10 taskbar. Here’s how:

Method 1 – Manually Removing

  1. Right-click on an empty space on your taskbar.
  2. Hover over “News and interests.”
  3. Select “Turn off” from the context menu that appears.

Method 2 – Modify the Registry

If you’re comfortable modifying the Windows Registry, you can remove “News and interests” by setting the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Feeds registry key to 0. Here’s how:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” (without quotes) and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Feeds.
  4. Double-click on the “ShellFeedsTaskbarViewMode” value.
  5. Change the value data to 0.
  6. Click OK and close the Registry Editor.
  7. Restart your computer.

Method 3 – Group Policy

This method applies to Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise/Education only.

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” (without quotes) and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > News and interests.
  4. Double-click on the “Enable news and interests on the taskbar” policy.
  5. Select the “Disabled” option.
  6. Click OK and close the Group Policy Editor.

If these policies are not showing on your domain controller, you will need to manually update your admx files from Microsoft

It’s worth noting that removing “News and interests” from your taskbar won’t uninstall the feature entirely. It will still be available if you choose to access it through the Start menu or Windows search. However, removing it from the taskbar can help declutter your desktop and provide a more focused workspace.

Modifying the Subnet Mask of a DHCP Scope on Windows Server

Date : March 20, 2023


In certain situations, it may be necessary to change the subnet mask of a DHCP scope on a Windows Server. This can be done through a series of steps, including: exporting the DHCP scope configuration, modifying the configuration with the new subnet mask, deleting the DHCP scope, and importing the new configuration.

Modifying the Subnet Mask

The modifications can be made using either PowerShell cmdlets or the netsh utility from a command prompt in administrator mode.

Step 1: Export the existing DHCP scope

To export the scope configuration, use the netsh command:

netsh dhcp server \\HOSTNAME_OF_DHCP_SERVER scope 172.16.X.X dump > C:\dhcp.txt

or the PowerShell command:

Export-DhcpServer -ComputerName HOSTNAME_OF_DHCP_SERVER -Leases -File C:\dhcp.xml -Verbose -ScopeId 172.16.X.X

Step 2: Modify the DHCP config file

Once the configuration is exported, it can be modified with the new subnet mask. Open the exported file in notepad and amend the subnet mask as needed:

netsh method
PowerShell method

Step 3: delete the old DHCP scope

After the modifications are made, the DHCP scope must be deleted before importing the new configuration file. To delete the scope, right-click on the range and select “Delete.”

Deleting the DHCP scope

Step 4: import the new scope

To import the new scope configuration, use the netsh command:

netsh exec c:\dhcp.txt

or PowerShell command:

Import-DhcpServer -ComputerName HOSTNAME_OF_DHCP_SERVER -File C:\dhcp.xml -Verbose -ScopeId 172.16.X.X -Lease -BackupPatch C:\dhcp_backup


To ensure that the scope has been properly imported and the new mask is applied, check in the DHCP console that the scope has been imported and check the properties to verify that the new mask is properly applied.

If you are using a DHCP failover configuration, you must reconfigure the scope failover and update any equipment with a fixed IP configuration.


Modifying the subnet mask of a DHCP scope on a Windows Server can be a complex process, but by following the steps outlined in this article and preparing for the change in advance, the process can be successfully completed. Always be sure to validate and ensure the new scope will not clash with an existing one, and schedule the change at a time when the load on the network is light. Make sure to also reconfigure the DHCP failover if you are using it.

How to migrate your Windows installation and data from a Hard Drive to Solid State Drive (SSD) without reinstalling

Date : March 14, 2021

A SSD (Solid State Drive) is one of the best bang-for-buck upgrades you can perform on an older computer, typically decreasing the boot time by well over half. It can truly bring a 3-6 year old PC back from the garbage pile to something very usable.

If you’re tasked with swapping a Hard Drive out for an SSD, it can seem daunting at first, but it’s far easier than you could imagine:

Determining which type of SSD you require

Computer SSD’s typically come in two form-factors: 2.5″ SATA, and m.2

The first step before committing to an upgrade would be to open the desktop or laptop computer to determine:

a) is the drive is physically accessible? This can be very fiddly with some laptops and all-in-one desktops- a quick search of the model on YouTube or searching for the workshop manual on Google will almost always give you the answer

b) which form-factor do you require? Most likely, the answer will be a 2.5″ SATA drive. However, you may find an unpopulated m.2 slot on the motherboard, allowing you to add an SSD alongside your existing drive.

Equipment needed

At the time of writing, these are the most popular 2.5″ SATA and m.2 SSD’s on Amazon

2.5″ SATA SSD’s:

m.2 SSD’s:

If you’re installing a 2.5″ SSD, you’ll also require a USB adapter to allow you to clone the data over from the old drive to the new:

Step 1 – Downloading the Cloning software

The go-to software for this has been Macrium Reflect Free Edition, and for good reason – it’s free for both home and commercial use, and it’s very reliable! (When downloading, there is no need to enter an email or register)


Deploying WPA2 WiFi profile (including Pre-Shared key) using Group Policy

Date : April 13, 2019


Whilst there is a setting in Group Policy Preferences to deploy WiFi settings, this does not include the WiFi Pre-Shared Key (PSK).

The following method will allow you to also push out the Pre-Shared Key:


From a PC that already has the WiFi profile installed, open command prompt (as admin) and run the following command:

netsh wlan show profiles

Make a note of the name of the profile you want to export – such as MyWiFiSSID

Run the following command, replacing the profile name with the one you wish to export, and path to an existing folder where an XML file will be created

netsh wlan export profile name="MyWiFiSSID" folder=C:\WLAN key=clear

(Note that the key=clear is vital for this to work)

Copy that XML file to a network share that is accessible from the computer accounts. Do bear in mind the WiFi key is visible in plain text within this file, so consideration must be taken as where/how to store it.

The following command is used to install the profile:

netsh wlan add profile filename="\\servername\share\Wi-Fi-MyWiFiSSID.xml" user=all

… however, this will reinstall and reconnect the WiFi profile each time, causing a brief disconnect at startup.

From my experience, the best method is to create a Computer Startup .bat script GPO that will only run once. This one does the trick:


netsh wlan show profile MyWiFiSSID
if %errorlevel%==0 goto end
netsh wlan add profile filename="\\servername\share\Wi-Fi-MyWiFiSSID.xml" user=all

Many thanks to Ignacio for this more elegant deployment solution!

Canon MFD: “Could not verify the information specified for Department ID Management”

Date : July 21, 2017


When attempting to print from a client, the following error message appears:

Could not verify the information specified for Department ID Management or User Management. Printing will be canceled. Refer to [Troubleshooting] in Help for more information.

This issue is specific to setups where a Canon copier/MFD is being used in a print server/client scenario and Department ID’s requirement is enabled.



To resolve this issue, you need to install the Canon Driver Information Assist Service on the print server. The installer for this service is called “DIASsetup.exe” and can be found in the “misc” folder on the driver installation directory.

Once the Canon Driver Information Assist Service has been installed on the print server, printing should function properly from the client.

Accessing the BIOS on Lenovo V110-15ISK laptop

Date : June 15, 2017

Accessing the BIOS and boot options are critical for installing Windows or PXE booting. If I’m being honest, it took me a few attempts to get into the BIOS for this model of laptop. If I put this info here it may help a fellow techie elsewhere..


To access the BIOS..

press Fn+F2


To access the Boot Menu..

press Fn+F12

Migrate shares from one Windows server to another

Date : March 19, 2017

If you need to migrate your shares from one Windows server to another, the Microsoft documentation will give you the “proper” process (by way of File Server Resource Manager). This is a much quicker and dirtier method that I’ve used many times.

Perhaps you’re migrating your file server, or simply setting up another one; everyone at some point will need to migrate SMB shares and permissions. Luckily, it’s a relatively painless process:

Firstly if you haven’t already done so you should copy the data to the new server, keeping permissions and attributes intact



  • On the old server: open regedit and browse to: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares
  • Export the key
  • On the new server: check the same key and see if any shares already exist and need to be kept. If they do, export the key and keep it safe.
  • Transfer the exported registry key to the new server and double-click to import it.
  • (if you need to reinstate the original shares, re-import the new reg key over the top)
  • Reboot the server and that’s it!


I told you it was easy!

How to establish PowerShell connection into Office 365 Exchange

Date : March 4, 2017

We all know how important PowerShell has become, so it important to be able to establish a connection to Office 365.

Some things just can’t be done through the web-based GUI that Microsoft provides (or take a lot longer to do. Think repetitive tasks).


The 3 commands you will need to connect are:


$session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri "https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/" -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session


Enter these one at a time, and you’ll then be connected to Office 365 Exchange!


You can verify the connection with the very simple command to show you a list of all your users:



Happy PowerShell-ing!

Cannot print to network printer: “Win32 error code returned by the print processor: 5. Access is denied.”.

Date : December 2, 2016


Cannot print to network printer. Print jobs appear and disappear as expected in the print queue, however no data is sent to the printer.

Event viewer shows the following:

The document Test Page, owned by USERNAME, failed to print on printer PRINTER. Try to print the document again, or restart the print spooler.
Data type: RAW. Size of the spool file in bytes: 145189. Number of bytes printed: 0. Total number of pages in the document: 1. Number of pages printed: 0. Client computer: \\SERVERNAME. Win32 error code returned by the print processor: 5. Access is denied.

If you run Process Monitor with “process name = printfilterpipelinesvc.exe” you’ll see the following:

CreateFile    C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\*.tmp    ACCESS DENIED


Give modify permissions to Everyone on the following directory: C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP2 failed with error: -2068643838. Sophos Enterprise Console installation error

Date : October 26, 2016

I was trying to install Sophos Enterprise Console on a new server (a process I have done many, many times) and got hit with a very generic error message, prompting me to look at the installer log file.

I had a look, and all looked happy until it tried to execute the following command to install SQL Express:




Then this:

ERROR : Command: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP2 failed with error: -2068643838



Migrate files from one Windows server to another, keeping permissions and attributes intact

Date : October 26, 2016

Need to replace one of your file servers? Maybe you’re migrating from Server 2008 to 2012/2016.

Use this command to copy your files from one server to another keeping ACL permissions, owner info, timestamps etc. intact:

robocopy source destination /E /ZB /DCOPY:T /COPYALL /R:1 /W:1 /V /TEE /LOG:C:\copy.txt
(remember – robocopy knows how to handle UNC paths, also)

Best of luck with the rest of your migration!


Explanation of switches:

/E – copies subdirectories, including empty ones

/ZB – use restartable mode; if access denied use Backup mode (useful for locked files)

/DCOPY:T – copies timestamps for the directories

/COPYALL – copies: attributes, timestamps, ACL permissions, owner info, audit info

/R:1 – number of retries

/W:1 – wait time between retries

/V – verbose output

/TEE – output to console, as well as log file

/LOG:C:\copy.txt – log file location