Help Desk Geek Tech Tips from Trusted Tech Experts Sun, 03 Dec 2023 20:00:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Microsoft Surface Stuck on Windows Logo Screen? Try These 5 Fixes Now Sodiq Olanrewaju]]> Mon, 04 Dec 2023 23:00:00 +0000

It’s frustrating when Surface won’t turn on or boot into Windows, but the issue can be quickly resolved. This article highlights troubleshooting solutions for Surface devices stuck on the Windows […]]]>
It’s frustrating when Surface won’t turn on or boot into Windows, but the issue can be quickly resolved. This article highlights troubleshooting solutions for Surface devices stuck on the Windows logo or black screen.

Problems with your Surface hardware or power supply could cause it to remain on the Windows logo screen during startup. Surface devices can also get stuck on the startup screen or in a boot loop while docked or installing updates. Follow the troubleshooting tips below to boot your Surface into Windows.

1. Wait for Updates to Install

Does your Surface reboot and get stuck on the Windows logo screen while installing driver or Windows updates? You might have to wait for your device to finish installing the updates before it boots past the screen.

Microsoft says it could take up to 20 minutes for Surface devices to install large updates. Try the next troubleshooting step if your Surface remains on the Windows logo screen after 20 minutes.

2. Charge Your Surface

Surface devices might fail to install updates and get stuck on the Windows logo screen on a low battery. Ensure your Surface has at least 40 percent battery before installing updates that require a reboot. Alternatively, connect your Surface to a power source while it reboots or installs an update.

We recommend using the power supply that shipped with your Surface device or authentic Microsoft-branded charging accessories.

If your Surface charger has a USB charging port, connecting a device to the port can interrupt your Surface’s boot process—especially if your Surface’s battery is dead or faulty. Disconnect any device plugged into your power supply’s charging port and check if your Surface boots successfully.

3. Disconnect External Accessories and Devices

External devices or peripherals (USB flash drive, Type Cover, external display, Surface Dock, etc.) can disrupt your Surface boot process. Unplug devices connected to your Surface and wait a few minutes for it to boot past the Windows logo screen.

If your Surface is charging, ensure no other device is connected to the USB port on the power supply. You can also try disconnecting the power supply and check if your Surface boots on battery power. Force restart your Surface if it’s still stuck on the Windows logo screen.

4. Force Restart or Soft Reset Your Microsoft Surface

If your Surface becomes unresponsive during boot or usage, initiating a soft reset should get it working again. Performing a soft reset entails forcefully shutting down your Surface and turning it back on.

A soft reset clears your Surface’s memory and refreshes its operating system. How you force-restart your Surface will depend on its model and configuration.

Force Restart Surface Using Power Button

For newer Microsoft Surface laptops and desktop models, holding the Power button for 20-30 seconds should force them to restart.

Follow the steps in the next section to force-restart older Surface models using the “Two-button shutdown” method.

Force Restart Microsoft Surface Using the Two-Button Method

The steps below apply to the following Surface models: Surface RT, Surface Book, Surface 2, Surface 3, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, and Surface Pro 4.

  1. Press and hold the Power and Volume Up button for about 15 seconds.
  2. Your Surface may flash the Surface logo while you hold both buttons. Release the buttons only when your Surface’s screen turns off, and wait ten seconds.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on your Surface and wait for it to boot past the Surface/Windows logo.

5. Hard Reset Your Surface

Factory reset your Surface using a USB recovery drive if it gets stuck on the Windows logo screen. The process is called a “hard reset,” as it deletes everything on your Surface—apps, personal files, and settings.

With a recovery drive, you can boot into Windows or reset your Surface even if it doesn’t start.

  1. Download a recovery image for your Surface using another Surface or Windows PC. Save the recovery image on a new or empty USB 3.0 drive with at least 16GB of free storage.

Note: You must sign in to your Microsoft account and provide your Surface’s serial number to download a recovery image from Microsoft’s website.

  1. Use the “Recovery Media Creator” or “Recovery Drive” tool to convert the USB drive to a recovery drive. See our tutorial on Creating a Windows 11 Recovery USB Drive for step-by-step instructions.
  2. Shut down your Surface, insert the recovery drive in the USB port, and connect it to a power source.
  3. Press and hold your Surface’s Volume Down button, then press and release the Power button.
  1. Release the Volume Down button when the Surface or Microsoft logo appears on the screen.
  2. You might get a prompt to choose a preferred language and keyboard layout. Select Troubleshoot or Recover from a drive on the next screen to proceed.

Note: Select Skip this drive if prompted to provide a recovery key.

  1. Choose a reset option on the next page. Microsoft recommends Fully clean the drive when resetting your Surface to sell or recycle. Otherwise, select Just remove my files if you’re troubleshooting an issue.
  1. Select Recover to start the factory reset.

The reset process takes several minutes. Your Surface will reboot and display the Surface logo while it resets.

Revive Your Surface

Microsoft recommends installing the latest driver and firmware updates for Surface and Windows when your Surface reboots. That’ll help remove software bugs and resolve underlying glitches causing your Surface to malfunction.

Damage to certain hardware components (hard drive, motherboard, etc.) could result in intermittent startup failure. Contact Microsoft Surface if your Surface won’t boot beyond the Windows logo after trying the troubleshooting fixes above.

If you reside in the United States, India, China, or Japan, visit a Microsoft walk-in center to service or repair your Surface.

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How to Find External Links in Microsoft Excel Workbooks Jake Harfield]]> Sun, 03 Dec 2023 11:00:00 +0000

Finding links and external references in a Microsoft Excel workbook isn’t as easy as you’d expect. To find all workbook links, you’ll need to search in the formulas, defined names, […]]]>
Finding links and external references in a Microsoft Excel workbook isn’t as easy as you’d expect. To find all workbook links, you’ll need to search in the formulas, defined names, objects, chart titles, and chart data series.

In this tutorial, we’ll explain how to find external links in Excel quickly and easily.

How to Find External Links in Excel Cells

The first way to find external links is by searching within cell formulas. To do so, you need to use the Excel Find feature:

  1. Open your Excel worksheet and press Ctrl + F to open the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Select Options.
  3. In the Find what box, type “.xl” to capture all Excel file extensions.
  4. Under Within, select Workbook.
  5. Under Look in, choose Formulas.
  6. Select Find All. The Find and Replace window will display a list of all external links found within formulas inside your workbook.

Note: If you’ve linked your spreadsheet to an external workbook, the link name will display the workbook’s filename along with its .xl file extension. This should be either .xlsm, .xls, or .xlsx.

How to Find External Links in Defined Names

Defined names are used to name ranges and cells so that they’re easier to reference in formulas and data validation drop-down lists. These lists and formulas often reference external sources of data, so it’s worth searching them for external links:

  1. Select the Formulas tab and then press Name Manager.
  2. For each entry in the list, check the Refers To column. Links to external workbooks should be surrounded by square brackets, making them easy to find.

How to Find External Links in Objects

It’s possible to link objects like text boxes, shapes, and WordArt to external Excel files. To find external links within objects:

  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Press the Home tab.
  3. Under Formats, choose Find & Select and then Go to Special.
  1. In the Go to Special dialog box, tick the circle next to Objects and press OK.
  1. Check the first object for external links, then press Tab to move to the next object. Continue until you’ve checked all objects for links to external data sources.

Note: To check each object for links, select the object and refer to the formula bar. Alternatively, hover over the object to see where the external link goes.

How to Find External Links in Excel Charts

To find any external links used in chart titles or chart data series:

  1. Open the Excel sheet that contains the chart.
  2. Select the chart title and check the formula bar for a reference to another file.
  1. Select the data series and check the formula bar for external hyperlinks.

How to Find External Links in PivotTables

Occasionally, Excel users will create PivotTables that reference outside data. To check for external links in your PivotTables:

  1. Select a cell within your PivotTable.
  2. Under the PivotTable Analyze tab, select Change Data Source.
  1. Check whether the source file next to “Table/Range” links to your current workbook or another workbook.

How to Break External Links in Excel

To break links in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Select the Data tab.
  2. Under the Queries & Connections group, select the Edit Links button. If the Edit Links option is gray, it means there are no links in your workbook.
  1. When the Edit Links dialog box opens, choose the link you want to break, then select Break Link.

Note: This method will only help you break links that are present in your cells. Links in PivotTables, Charts, and elsewhere require a different method. Read our in-depth guide on how to break links in Microsoft Excel. If they won’t break, find out why.

Cleaning Up Your Excel Workbook

Broken links can be a nightmare, preventing your workbook from functioning correctly. Worse, Excel doesn’t make it easy to quickly scan, break, and replace links — you have to check each possible location manually or create complicated VBA code macros to do it for you. But with this guide, you should be able to find external links and clean your workbook up in no time.

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How to Print Microsoft Word Documents in Black and White Jake Harfield]]> Sat, 02 Dec 2023 11:00:00 +0000

Printing in black and white is a great way to save colored ink, especially when the document you’re printing doesn’t require color printing. Luckily, it’s easy to print in monochrome […]]]>
Printing in black and white is a great way to save colored ink, especially when the document you’re printing doesn’t require color printing. Luckily, it’s easy to print in monochrome on Microsoft Word — all you need is enough black ink.

In this article, we’ll explain how to print in black and white on Word.

How to Print a Word Document in Black and White

To print a document in black and white using the Microsoft Word app, you just need to change your print settings. The process should be the same whether you use a Windows 10, Windows 11, or Mac computer, but the settings will appear slightly differently depending on your printer.

Here’s how to print your document in black and white:

  1. Open the Microsoft Word document you want to print in black and white.
  2. Select the File menu.
  1. Choose Print from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, press Ctrl + P to bring up the print dialog box.
  1. Under Printer, choose the correct printer.
  1. Select Printer Properties.
  1. When the Printer Properties opens, choose the Quick Setup tab and tick the checkbox next to the Grayscale Printing color option. If this printing option isn’t here, check for similar settings. For example, for HP Smart Printing, it’s under Basic > Color Mode.
  1. Select OK.
  2. Select Print.

Make sure to change your printing preferences next time you want to print documents with color. To do so, open your document in MS Word, follow the steps above to access the print menu, and uncheck the Grayscale Printer setting. Then, simply click Print to print pages in full color.

Note: Occasionally, printers refuse to print black ink – or print at all. This odd glitch results in all of your documents coming out in colored ink. If this happens to you, find out what to do if your printer won’t print in black.

Printing Grayscale in Microsoft Office

A frustrating feature of modern printers is that when they print in grayscale, they sometimes use a combination of colored inks to mark the paper, which is far more expensive than using the black-and-white option. But hopefully, with this tutorial, you can print your documents in black and white and save your ink cartridges and money.

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How to Fix “Hard Drive Not Installed” Error on Windows 11 Jake Harfield]]> Fri, 01 Dec 2023 11:00:00 +0000

If your Windows PC won’t boot and displays a “Hard drive not installed” error message, you have either a hardware failure or an incorrect boot priority order. This error occurs […]]]>
If your Windows PC won’t boot and displays a “Hard drive not installed” error message, you have either a hardware failure or an incorrect boot priority order. This error occurs on both Windows 10 and 11 and seems to commonly affect Dell laptops.

In this article, we’ll explain how to troubleshoot and fix the “Hard drive not installed” error so that you can get your PC up and running once again.

Step 1: Try a Hard Reset

A hard reset completely reboots your computer and can help resolve frustrating glitches. To hard reset your PC:

  1. Turn off the computer and then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  2. Disconnect the power adapter. If you’re using a laptop with a removable battery, remove it.
  1. Unplug all external devices.
  2. Press and hold the power button for another 15 seconds.
  3. Reconnect the power cable and battery, then turn on the computer and check if it now starts correctly.

Step 2: Check the Hard Drive Cables

One of the most common reasons for the hard drive not detected issue is a loose or damaged connection between your hard drive and motherboard. Luckily, this is also the easiest to fix, whether your problem lies with an internal HDD, SSD, or external hard drive.

To check whether this is the case, open up your computer’s case and locate the hard drive(s). They usually look like small, flat, black boxes. There should be a SATA cable and power cable connecting each hard drive to the motherboard and power supply.

Make sure these cable connections are all firmly in place and don’t show any signs of deterioration. If they look damaged, try replacing them with new cables, then re-enter the BIOS setup utility and check whether the system recognizes the drive.

If you have a laptop, this process is a bit more complicated. You can open up the back of the laptop case to have a look at your storage devices, but you might cause irreparable damage in the process. We recommend that if the case is too difficult to open on your own, you take it to a reputable repair shop to avoid further damage.

Step 3: Check the BIOS/UEFI

The “Hard drive not installed” bug is a BIOS error message that appears when you try to boot a Windows PC, and it can’t find the boot drive. In order to fix this error, you need to enter the BIOS settings. Here’s how:

  1. Turn your PC off and disconnect all external devices and peripherals.
  2. Press the power button to boot the PC. As it’s starting, press the BIOS key repeatedly. This is usually either the Delete, F2, or Esc key. Here’s how to enter the BIOS on Windows 10 and older operating systems.
  3. A basic menu screen should open. Select the option to enter the BIOS Setup. This may appear differently depending on your device, motherboard, and operating system. You’ll need to use the enter and arrow keys to navigate the menus.

Once you have access to the BIOS settings, you need to check a few key settings:

Check the Date and Time

Incorrect date and time settings can prevent your computer from booting. Here’s how to change the date and time within the BIOS settings:

  1. In the BIOS menu, expand the General tab.
  2. Select Date/Time.
  1. Set the correct date and time, then press Apply.
  2. Restart your computer and see if it boots correctly. If it does, you may need to reset the date and time settings every time you start your computer. In this case, it’s likely a failing CMOS battery at fault, and you’ll need to source a replacement.

Change the Boot Mode

This step is particularly important if you use a Dell PC, though it may help with other manufacturers as well. Dell computers provide two boot modes: UEFI (the default mode) and Legacy. If you install your operating system in one mode, but the boot mode is set to the other, you’ll run into this hard drive error.

Here’s how to change the BIOS mode:

  1. Enter the BIOS interface as above.
  2. Select General > Boot Sequence.
  1. Change the boot mode to the mode your computer uses.
  2. Restart your computer and check to see if it now boots correctly.

Note: Some users also recommend changing the HDD operating mode to AHCI. This is based on the fact that setting the HDD operating mode to RAID seems to cause both the hard drive not installed error and the Inaccessible Boot Device error.

Run Hardware Diagnostics

Most computers offer a hardware diagnostics feature that’s accessible from the BIOS menu. To access this setting, reboot your computer, then press the BIOS key repeatedly until the menu opens. When it does, select Diagnostics.

Follow the on-screen instructions to run your computer through several hardware diagnostics tests. If any errors appear during this process, note them down. Once it completes, look up each error code to find out what it means — hopefully, one will relate to your disk drive and you’ll have an answer to your problems.

Step 4: Test the Hard Drive in a Different Computer

If there’s no visible physical damage to your hard drive or cables, it’s possible that the hard disk has lost functionality for various reasons. To check whether or not this is the case, you could remove your boot device and connect it to a different PC.

If it doesn’t work on the new PC either, you’ll likely need a new hard drive. If the PC can access the hard drive normally, then the problem lies elsewhere. In this case, you should test the hard drive for bad sectors and repair them before reconnecting it to the other computer.

To do so:

  1. Press Start and search for Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  1. Type chdsk /r and press Enter. This will execute Microsoft’s Check Disk utility tool.
  1. Wait for the scan to complete. If any bad sectors are found, the error-checking tool will attempt to repair them.

If this doesn’t work, you can also try formatting your hard drive. We recommend backing up your data before doing so, as this process will delete everything that’s on the hard drive — including the Windows operating system.

  1. Open the Start menu and search for “Disk Management.”
  2. Select the top result, then right-click your HDD and choose Format.
  1. Choose a file system and click OK.
  2. When the formatting is complete, reconnect the hard disk to your other computer. Keep in mind that if your operating system was installed on this disk, you’ll have to create a new Windows installation.

Hard Drive; Easy Fix

Getting locked out of your PC due to a mystery error is frustrating, and it can even affect your livelihood if you need to work from home. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you can troubleshoot and resolve your hard drive issues.

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How to Remove the Footer From PowerPoint Slides Ben Stockton]]> Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:00:00 +0000

The footer text at the bottom of your PowerPoint slides has several potential uses. It can be used as a place to number your slides or as a way to […]]]>
The footer text at the bottom of your PowerPoint slides has several potential uses. It can be used as a place to number your slides or as a way to place a topic or brand on the slide without distracting from the content.

However, what happens if you want to remove the footer from your PowerPoint slides? You may want to keep the slide clean from any extra content. Thankfully, you can easily remove the footer from your PowerPoint slides using the steps below.

How to Remove the Footer from a PowerPoint Slide

If you want to remove the footer from your PowerPoint slides, you’ll need to access the Header and Footer menu. This is where you can see and edit your slides’ header and footer options. You can also remove or hide other elements such as slide numbers and the date or time from your slides.

To remove the footer from your PowerPoint slides, follow these steps.

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and press the Insert tab on the ribbon bar.
  1. Next, press the Header and Footer icon in the Text group. This will open a menu box where you’ll be able to edit the header and footer options for your slides.
  1. To remove the footer, uncheck the Footer box under the Slide tab. You can also uncheck the Slide number and Date and time checkboxes if you don’t want them to appear on your slides.
  1. Once you uncheck the boxes, you can choose whether to apply the changes to all slides or only to the selected slides. If you want to remove the footer from all slides, press Apply to All.
  1. If you want to remove it from only some slides, select those slides first, then press Apply instead.
  1. Your slides will be updated immediately. To undo the changes, press the Undo button in the top-left corner above the ribbon bar before saving your presentation.

How to Remove a Hidden Footer from a PowerPoint Slide Template

Trying to remove a footer from your slide, but it won’t disappear? If that’s the case, you’re probably trying to remove a hidden footer from a slide, without realizing that it’s applied to the slide template.

If you’re using a template that has a hidden text box in the footer, the template will override any settings you make to ensure that it remains visible. To remove this hidden footer, you’ll need to access the Slide Master view to remove it from your template.

To remove a hidden footer from a PowerPoint slide template, follow these steps.

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and press Slide Master from the View tab on the ribbon bar.
  1. This will show you the template slides that you’re using in your presentation. Look for the slide in your template that has a text box at the bottom with some footer text.
  1. To remove it, select the text box and press Delete on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can edit or format that text box if you want to keep it but otherwise change its content or appearance.
  1. When you’re done, press the Close Master View button to return to your standard PowerPoint slide view.
  1. Press File > Save to save the changes to your presentation.

Editing Your PowerPoint Presentation

If you’ve decided to remove the footer from your Microsoft PowerPoint slides, you can use the steps above to help you. If you disable the footer, it’ll disappear from view, but it won’t be completely removed—you can always re-enable it afterward.

You can also add new headers and footers to your PowerPoint presentation after removing them. If you’re running out of space, you can also resize your PowerPoint slides to increase your space for text and other content.

Don’t go too text-heavy, though. You may want to consider adding other visual elements, like a YouTube video, instead.

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