How to Allocate More RAM to Specific Apps in Windows

RAM, or random access memory, is used to allow programs to boot more quickly and carry out tasks in a fraction of the time it would take if the program had to load from your hard drive. RAM is vital to performance in any program that needs to access a tremendous amount of data.

For example, a word processing program won’t rely heavily on RAM due to the low performance requirements. A detailed Excel spreadsheet or Photoshop, however, needs as much RAM as you can spare it. So do games. In many cases, you need to allocate extra RAM to gaming, especially if you’re using a lot of mods.

This is true in titles like Minecraft, as do games like Shadow of Mordor which needs a whopping 8.3 GB of VRAM. The good news is that you can allocate more RAM to specific apps to help improve their performance.

What is RAM?

RAM is an acronym for random access memory, and it is one of the most important parts of your computer. RAM is necessary for programs to run. Without it, you will be unable to run most applications, and those that you can run will perform at a seriously reduced level. 

Think of RAM as short-term memory for your computer. It allows your system to access data far more quickly than it can through even the SSD. If you have multiple applications running at the same time, you will need more RAM than if you are only using a few at a time.

In modern computers, RAM is typically found in multiples of 4. Motherboards often use something called dual-channel memory, which means you want RAM of the same type –either sticks of 4, sticks of 8, or sticks of 16. There is no upper limit to the amount of RAM you can have except what your motherboard can support, although there is a limit to how much you can reasonably ever use. 

Allow Windows 10 to Allocate More RAM

The easiest way to improve performance across the board is to allow Windows to use as much RAM as necessary to ensure performance . Find the This PC application and right-click the icon, then select Properties. Select Advanced system settings > Settings. Under the Visual Effects tab, there are four options. Select the Adjust for best performance option. 

After you do this, click Apply. The changes will take effect after you restart your PC. This setting allows Windows to allocate RAM as needed to ensure programs run as smoothly as possible.

Prioritize RAM Usage

Another way you can ensure specific programs have more than enough RAM, particularly if you are running multiple applications at once, is to prioritize RAM usage within the Task Manager . Open Task Manager and right-click the application you want to prioritize, then select Go to details.

This opens the Details tab of the Task Manager. Right-click the process and choose Set priority. From here, you can designate what priority the program receives: Realtime, High, Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal, or Low. 

Designate RAM Usage Within Specific Programs

Another option–and arguably the best choice–is to allocate more RAM within the settings of a given program. This holds especially true in games like Minecraft that are often played with mods. Many modpacks will not run correctly without more than the default amount of RAM.

Bear in mind that the exact process for doing this varies from program to program. Even among Minecraft, the process for allocating RAM depends on the launcher you use. As a brief example, you can select the Installations tab in the default launcher and click New > More Options and change the text under JVM Argument from Xmx2G to XmX2n, where n is the amount of RAM you want to use. 

If you are looking for a more in-depth explanation, here is another article than can help.  

Each game and program will have a different method for allocating more RAM, if it is even possible. Many applications are coded to use a specific amount of RAM based on your operating system, regardless of how much you have available. For example, Microsoft Excel on 32-bit operating systems is restricted to 2GB of RAM.

Risks of Using Too Much RAM

For the most part, RAM is harmless. You aren’t likely to cause catastrophic damage to your system because you use too much RAM on an application–the worst that happens is that a program will crash or background programs might behave in odd ways. 

However, there are times when it can cause more serious damage. Anyone that has ever worked in coding has experienced a stack overflow error–a problem that happens when the call stack memory is exceeded. This error results in a crash. A similar type of problem often happens when a program throws the “Not Responding” error message within Windows.

This happens when it exceeds its allotted amount of RAM and can no longer operate properly. Waiting for the memory to clear can sometimes resolve the problem, but the go-to method is to force quit a program by using the Task Manager. 

Avast vs Malwarebytes: Which Is Better?

Did you know that cyber threats exposed more than 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019? The internet is no longer a luxury–it’s essential for staying connected with friends and family, working, and going to school. Without a strong and reliable antivirus program, your computer and personal information are at risk .

Two of the biggest names in the business are Avast and Malwarebytes. This article will break down the strengths and weaknesses of each program and help you decide which one is the best choice for you.

Pricing Structures

Both Avast and Malwarebytes offer free versions that provide more limited protection than their premium versions, but in a pinch even the limited protection is better than none at all.

Avast has three price tiers: Free, Premium, and Ultimate. Each is billed annually, with Premium coming in at $90 per year and Ultimate costing $120 per year. At the time of writing, Avast is offering a 50% deal for both subscriptions for the first year, bringing the price to $45 and $60. 

Avast Premium offers a 30-day free trial, too. There are also services like a VPN, an identity theft protection service, and an anti-tracker tool that can each be added on and are charged on annual subscriptions, too.

Malwarebytes has four pricing tiers including the free option: Premium for one device at $3.33 per month, or $40 per year; Premium for five devices at $6.67 per month, or $80 per year; and Premium + Privacy for $8.33 per month, $100 per year. 

It’s also worth noting that Malwarebytes forces you to sign up for a 14-day free trial through email, and you will subsequently receive a slew of marketing emails until you unsubscribe. 

Although Malwarebytes is more affordable at first glance, Avast offers protection for 10 devices at its base price. That equates to around $9 per device for a full year, while you would pay $160 for that same level of protection from Malwarebytes.

Winner: Avast

Features

Neither Avast or Malwarebytes offer a wide range of features in the free tier. The true comparison will lie in the premium versions. 

Free Tiers

Avast offers two main features in its free version: protection against ransomware, and protection against malware and viruses. It is a barebones antivirus program that gets the job done, but not much more than that.

On the other hand, Malwarebytes removes spyware and malware. That’s it. It doesn’t offer real-time protection or detection. It doesn’t watch for ransomware, either. While Malwarebytes is exceedingly good at spotting malware, the free version is a one-trick pony. 

Both free versions also monitor a single device only.

Premium Tiers

Once you invest a few dollars into your antivirus software , the number of features and tools available to you goes up quite a bit. Avast offers Wi-Fi network security checks, watches for unsafe and fake websites online, helps provide protections against phishing websites, and stops remote access attacks against your PC.

Avast also does this for up to 10 devices at a time. You can drop this protection to only a single PC or other device, but in doing so you save only $10 per year–not worth it, particularly when you consider the benefits of full-spectrum protection on all of your devices.

Malwarebytes provides real-time, 24/7 monitoring for malware and other threats against your system. It also works to stop exploit attacks, as well as ransomware strikes. Malwarebytes also offers protection against malicious and fake websites to prevent stolen data and/or identity theft.

Premium + Tiers

Both companies have different names for their highest pricing tiers, so “Premium+” is the generic name for the highest possible price point.

Avast offers two additional tools at this range: the SecureLine VPN for safe and secure browsing regardless of the connection you use, and Cleanup Premium, a tool that improves PC performance by removing unnecessary files.

Malwarebytes’ highest price tier includes a VPN. The Malwarebytes Privacy VPN prevents unauthorized tracking, masks your location, encrypts your connection, and more–all while reducing the amount of lag traditionally associated with VPNs.

Both programs offer a large number of features, especially at higher price points, but Avast still comes out on top due to the larger number of features and the higher number of devices protected by the software.

Winner: Avast

User Interface

Avast and Malwarebytes both have relatively easy-to-use and understand interfaces. Avast has more options available to the user, while Malwarebytes is more simplified.

Avast shows you the status of your machine, but breaks down the options into three categories: Protection, Privacy, and Performance. Clicking any of these options shows you additional sections that are available to you. 

Malwarebytes shows your history, an option to start a new scan, and sliders that allow you to turn off web, malware, ransomware, and exploit protection. The settings menu is more comprehensive, but the main features of the tool are all available in one spot. 

The UI for Malwarebytes feels a bit dated versus Avast, and the lack of tools become readily more apparent when you compare the two options based on their interface.

Winner: Avast

Avast vs Malwarebytes: Which Is Best?

The two programs are both good at what they do, but it ultimately boils down to which one offers the widest range of protection for the best price. If you had to choose just one of these programs, Avast is your best bet.

It offers the best suite of features and the best bang for your buck. Malwarebytes is not bad by any means, but it’s much more limited and more expensive on a device-by-device breakdown.

How to Fix System Interrupts High CPU Usage in Windows 10

No matter how powerful CPUs get, there’s always going to be something that uses up all the resources. Perhaps the most frustrating issue to fix is high CPU usage because of system interrupts. Hint: it’s almost always caused by hardware or device drivers.

The following are the steps to troubleshooting this issue. We’ll go into greater detail below. They’re listed from the easiest to the most complicated:

  1. Restart the computer
  2. Update driver, check for windows updates
  3. Disable Fast Startup
  4. Disable Magic Packet
  5. Disable hardware devices one by one
  6. Check for hardware failures
  7. Update BIOS

After each of these steps, use Task Manager to see if CPU usage for System Interrupts has dropped.

What Is a System Interrupt?

Believe it or not, computers can only do one thing at a time. They just do it really fast, so it seems like they’re multitasking. 

The hardware in your computer has to ask to get their tasks done. Sometimes they have to interrupt other tasks. It’s like kids interrupting parents. Kids’ needs are essential too, but getting an adult’s attention can go well or be disruptive. The same goes for hardware system interrupts.

How Much CPU Should System Interrupts Use?

Maybe you’re looking at it and thinking 5% is too high. It can vary from computer to computer, but if it’s higher than 10%, there’s an issue. It’s time to do something.

Restart the Computer

Have you tried turning it off and then on again? Yes, that old chestnut again. Why? Because it often works. 

There are a billion things that go into starting Windows and sometimes things don’t go right. Try it again and it might go right. It’s the simplest, easiest, fastest thing to do, and it works more often than not.

Update the Drivers 

Since the high CPU system interrupt issue is almost always hardware related, try updating the drivers. It’s a simple and easy approach that often works. Plus, it’s good to always keep drivers updated .

  1. Select the Start button.
  2. Start typing device and select Device Manager.
  1. Expand each element until you get down to specific devices. Right-click and select Update driver.
  1. Select Search automatically for updated driver software. You could choose to Browse my computer for driver software if you’ve already downloaded the driver and know where it is.
  1. If it finds a driver, install it. You can also try selecting Search for updated drivers on Windows Update.
  1. In Windows Update, select Check for updates even if it says You’re up to date. It might surprise you.

Disable Fast Startup

Fast Startup’s job is to put your computer into a deep sleep that it seems like it’s off. So when you start it again, it’s more like waking it up. This deep sleep state can sometimes cause problems for hardware. 

The reasons behind that are complex and beyond this article. To do this, you’ll need Administrator privileges on the computer.

  1. Select the Start button and start typing control.
  2. Select Control Panel.
  1. In the Control Panel, search for power.
  2. Select Change what the power buttons do.
  1. Select Change settings that are currently unavailable. If you see the blue and yellow shield, that means you need to have Administrator rights on this computer.
  1. Uncheck the Turn on fast startup box.
  2. Select the Save changes.

Disable Magic Packet

That can’t really be a thing, can it? Yes, Magic Packet is real. It allows for your computer to awaken from standby or sleeping mode when it receives the Magic Packet from the local network. You may have heard this called Wake On LAN (WOL).

  1. Select the Start button and start typing device manager to find the utility.
  2. Select Device Manager.
  1. Navigate to Network Adapters and right-click on your Ethernet adapter. Select Properties.
  1. Select the Advanced tab in the Properties window.
  2. In the Property pane, scroll down to Magic Packet and select it with a single click.
  3. In the Value: select box, change it to Disabled, and select the OK button to commit the change. It may take a few seconds. 

Disable Hardware Devices One by One

Some hardware can’t be unplugged. Here’s how to disable them, one by one. When you find the one that drops the System Interrupt CPU usage, that’s the hardware to fix.

  1. Select the Start button and start typing device manager to find the utility.
  2. Select Device Manager.
  1. Navigate through the tree to find hardware that isn’t critical for the computer. If you’re not sure what’s critical or not, move on to the next method. Right-click on the hardware that’s not critical, and select Disable device.
  1. It will warn you. If you’re confident it is safe to disable the device, select Yes.
  1. Check System Interrupts CPU usage in Task Manager to see if it’s gone down. If not, find another piece of hardware in Device Manager and disable it. Do this one by one until you solve the problem or you run out of hardware to disable.

Remove External Hardware One by One

Chances are you already disabled external hardware in the previous method. But maybe you missed something.

  1. Have Task Manager open and focus on System Interrupts
  2. Unplug one device at a time from your computer and wait a few moments. See if the System Interrupts CPU usage drops. If not, move on to the next device.
  3. If you find the device this way, update its drivers and try it again. Also, check the hardware maker’s support page.

Check for Failing Hardware

It’s possible that a piece of hardware may be close to failure and intermittently causes the System Interrupts high CPU issue. Use our How to Diagnose, Check, and Test for Bad Memory as a guide to check your RAM. 

We also share 15 Windows Diagnostics Tools to Improve Your PC’s Health . Especially useful is HWiNFO and CrystalDiskInfo . Both are available as portable apps to run from a USB stick, so they don’t require a full installation.

Update BIOS

This is the last thing you should do. BIOS can go bad and make your computer useless, possibly requiring a new motherboard or replacing the computer. So first, check if a BIOS update is needed . 

The article the link goes to also tells you how to do the update. If you’re not comfortable doing this, then take your computer to a respected computer shop. They can also check the hardware for you.

The System Interrupts CPU Usage is Still Too High

You have two choices. Take the computer to a certified, competent computer technician or upgrade the computer. Don’t feel bad, you’ve done your best. Remember, the average computer’s maximum life span is 5 years. Each year is like 14 years to your computer’s health. Be kind to it.

How to Pixelate an Image on Windows and Mac

There are a number of reasons why you might want to pixelate part or all of an image. If you’re touching up a family photo to post online, you may want to pixelate the faces of some of your family members. If you’re editing a scanned image, you may want to pixelate some personal data to protect yourself before posting it online.

There are several ways you can quickly pixelate an image on Windows and Mac using various free or paid photo editors , such as Photoshop and GIMP, or by using online services to edit your images. If you want to know how to pixelate an image, here’s what you’ll need to do.

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ΩHow to Pixelate Images Using Photos on Mac

The easiest way to pixelate images is to use the tools you already have at your disposal. If you’re a Mac user, this means using the built-in Photos app to pixelate your images quickly.

Photos is pre-installed on all Macs, so you don’t need to install anything extra to begin. You can launch Photos from the Applications folder in the Finder app or from the Launchpad via the Dock instead.

  1. To pixelate images using the Photos app, open your image in the app by selecting it from your Library tab. If it isn’t visible, select File > Import to import it.
  1. With the photo imported, double-click the image in the Imports tab to view it. Once the image is open, select the Edit option in the top-right to begin editing the image.
  1. The image editing options will appear on the right-hand side of the Photos app. While Photos doesn’t have a built-in pixelation tool, you can use the retouch tool to achieve a similar effect. Move the retouch slider to increase the effect, select the checkbox to activate it, then apply the effect using your mouse to the area you want to hide.
  1. You can preview the slider effect on the right. If you’re unhappy, select Revert to Original in the top menu bar, or select Done to save the changes.

While the retouch tool isn’t technically pixelating the image, it is distorting it, resulting in a similar effect. If you want to pixelate an image using block-style pixelation, however, you’ll need to try one of the methods listed below.

How to Pixelate Images Using Paint 3D on Windows

The Paint 3D tool is a replacement for Microsoft Paint, created by Microsoft to introduce new features (such as basic 3D modelling) that aren’t possible in the original software.

One useful feature of Paint 3D, however, is a quick pixelation tool for images. Paint 3D should be pre-installed on your Windows PC but, if it isn’t, you can download and install it from the Microsoft Store .

  1. To start, open the Paint 3D app on your PC and select Menu > Open > Browse Files to open your image.
  1. Once the file is open, use the Select tool to select the portion of the image you want to pixelate (or select the whole image to pixelate the entire image). Once selected, reduce the selected portion of the image in size—this will reduce the quality of the selected portion of the image.
  1. After reducing the size of the section, deselect it by clicking anywhere else on the image. You’ll now need to reselect and resize the reduced image section to its previous size using the Select tool, making sure not to add any white space doing so. Once resized, the image quality will be reduced in that section, creating a pixelation effect.

Using Adobe Photoshop to Pixelate Images on Windows or Mac

While Adobe Photoshop is one of the best and well known professional photo editors for Windows and Mac users, it can also handle pretty simple tasks like image pixelation.

  1. To pixelate an image in Photoshop, open the image by selecting File > Open.
  1. Using the Select tool, select the portion of your image that you want to pixelate. If you want to pixelate the entire image, proceed to the next step.
  1. With the portion of your image selected, select Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic to begin the pixelation process.
  1. In the Pixelate box, move the Cell Size slider to increase the pixelation effect. Select OK to apply it.
  1. Once the pixelation effect is applied, you’ll need to save the image by selecting File > Save or Save As.

Using GIMP to Pixelate Images on Windows or Mac

If you want to pixelate images using free software, you can use the open source GIMP to do it. This free photo editor is available for Windows and Mac, as well as other platforms like Linux.

  1. To start, open GIMP on your PC or Mac and load the image by selecting File > Open.
  1. If you want to pixelate a section of the image, use the Select tool to select this first. Otherwise, GIMP will pixelate the entire image. To begin the pixelation process, select Filters > Blur > Pixelise from the menu.
  1. In the Pixelise box, increase or decrease the pixelation effect by changing the Block weight and Block weight values. To apply the effect, select OK.
  1. Once the effect is applied, save the file by selecting File > Save or Save As.

Using Adobe Photoshop Express to Pixelate Images Online

If you want to pixelate images quickly without installing a third-party app, you can use an online photo editor. Various websites exist, but one of the best is to use Adobe Photoshop Express, which will allow you to pixelate an entire image.

  1. To start, upload an image to the Adobe Photoshop Express website by selecting the Upload file option.
  1. Once the image is loaded, select Art effects on the right, then select the Effects category in the Art effects tab on the right. 
  1. Select the Pixelate effect to apply it to the image and move the Pixel size slider to increase or decrease the effect. Select Apply to apply the change.
  1. Once the effect is applied, download the image by selecting the Download option at the top.

Better Photo Editing on Windows and Mac

Now you know how to pixelate images on Windows and Mac, you can take your photo editing to the next level. For instance, you may want to restore old photos using tools like GIMP or create high-resolution vector images using Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator. 

If your images become too large, don’t forget to reduce the image size , especially if you’re thinking about posting online. It’s better to do this yourself, as online services like Instagram will compress images automatically, reducing their quality. Be sure to use photo editing apps to make your images social media-friendly first.

How to Add Footnotes in Word

Have you heard the one about the author who said if he practiced yoga long enough he’d be able to pick up a pencil with his toes? He said, “Then I’ll be able to write footnotes.” (Sorry.)

Seriously, though, there are lots of reasons you might want to add footnotes to a Word document. In academia, footnotes are frequently used to cite sources. In other kinds of writing, footnotes are a way to add information without detracting or distracting from the main text. Even popular fiction authors like Terry Pratchett and Junot Díaz put footnotes to good use in their novels. 

Microsoft Word has had built-in support for footnotes for decades. Below we’ll walk you through how to add footnotes in your Word document, and we’ll add a couple tips and tricks to try. These instructions should work on any modern version of Word.

How to Insert a Footnote Into a Word Document

  1. Open your Word document and position the flashing cursor at the point where you want to insert a footnote.
  1. Next, on the References tab on the toolbar ribbon, select Insert Footnote.
  1. Word will add a superscript footnote number in the main text and a footnote section to the bottom of the page where the actual footnotes will go. Footnotes will be numbered sequentially throughout the document.
  1. Type your footnote in the footnote section at the bottom of the page. Bang, it’s that easy.

Repeat the steps above to add multiple footnotes to your document. Footnotes will always appear at the bottom of the page they’re used on. Anyone old enough to have used a typewriter might remember how hard it was to predict how much space to leave at the bottom of the page to fit footnotes. Luckily, Word figures all that out for you and automatically adjusts.

If you add a new footnote to the middle of your document before one or more existing footnotes, Word will renumber your footnotes accordingly. 

Viewing Footnotes in the Main Document Text

Once you’ve added a footnote in Word, you can hover your mouse over the superscript footnote reference number within the main document text to quickly view a popup of that footnote, making it easy to read the footnote without scrolling to the bottom of the page.

To find the next or previous footnote within the main document text, select the Next Footnote button on the References tab of the ribbon. 

If you select the dropdown arrow to the right of the Next Footnote button, you’ll see the Previous Footnote button.

Formatting and Customizing Footnotes in Microsoft Word

To customize the format and other aspects of footnotes, select References and the popout arrow in the Footnotes section of the toolbar.

The Footnote and Endnote options panel will display. This is where you can make the following customizations:

  • Location. Choose to display footnotes at the bottom of the page or below the text. In other words, do you want the footnote section to snap to the bottom of the page? If so, choose Bottom of page. If, on the other hand, you want the footnotes section to appear directly below the document text, choose Below text.
  • This is also where you can convert footnotes to endnotes and vice versa. Endnotes can be set to appear at the end of the document or the end of the section.
  • Footnote layout. If you want your footnotes to display in multiple columns, this is where you choose how many columns you want.
  • Format. Who said footnotes have to be numbered? In this section, you can change the number format to a variety of other options, including a custom mark or symbol.
  • You can also choose between continuous numbering and restarting numbering in each section or page.
  • At the bottom of the Footnote and Endnote panel, you can direct Word to apply the changes you just made to the whole document or to the section you’re in (if you have created sections).

When you’re finished adjusting these options, select the Apply button.

Selecting and Formatting All Footnotes

A good way to format footnotes in Word is to select them all and apply a style to them. Better yet, adjust Microsoft’s built-in style for Footnotes. Here’s how.

  1. Click into the footnote section of any page in your document.
  2. Press ctrl+a to select all the footnotes in the document—not just the footnotes on that page.
  3. Select Home on the toolbar ribbon and the popout arrow in the Styles section.
  1. Footnote text is a style that’s hidden by default. To find and edit it, select the Style inspector icon.
  1. The Style Inspector panel will appear.
  1. In the dropdown under Paragraph formatting (click inside the field to activate the dropdown), choose Modify.
  1. In the Modify Style popup that appears, adjust the formatting of your footnotes however you want.
  1. Select OK, and the style of all your footnotes will be updated to match.

Customizing the Footnote Separator

If you’re using a desktop version of Word, then you can customize the line that separates the footnote section of each page containing footnotes.

  1. Select View on the toolbar and then press the Draft button.
  1. Select References on the toolbar and then Show Notes
  2. In the Footnotes dropdown beneath your main document, select Footnote Separator.
  1. Now you can edit or delete the footnote separator line. You could change the line’s thickness (just adjust the font size) or enter different text to use instead of a line. 
  2. Return to View>Print Layout to view how your document will look when it’s printed.

Get the Most You Can Out of Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has been around for so long that even people who have been using it for decades don’t know all its secrets. Expand your Word expertise by learning how to create a mail merge , finding the best add-ins , or adding new fonts .

What is IgfxEM Module in Windows 10 (and Is It Safe?)

When you power on your Windows computer, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, even before the operating system boots. Some programs stored on the motherboard get everything in the computer ready to start the OS. Other programs on the OS ensure that changes and settings made to your computer before you shut it down remain the same upon restart.

One such program is the Intel Graphics Executable Main Module, shortly called the IgfxEM module. It’s an integral part of the Windows operating system and usually, it runs in the background without affecting your PC’s performance.

However, there are instances when this graphics module constitutes a nuisance. We’ve seen complaints and reports of the IgfxEM process using high CPU resources , raising CPU temperature , and other abnormalities.

In this explainer, we’ll walk you through what the IgfxEM Module is, what it does, and how to determine if it is safe for your PC or not. We’ll also show you how to fix problems relating to the IgfxEM.exe process.

What Is IgfxEM.exe

igfxEM.exe is the executable file and component of the Intel Graphic Executable Main Module. You’ll find the igfxEM.exe process running in the background if your PC uses an Intel graphics card. Some NVIDIA and AMD graphics card drivers also use this executable file.

When you change your PC’s screen resolution , for example, igfxEM.exe acts as a middleman between your graphics card and your PC’s display interface. It communicates your action to the graphics card, changes the screen resolution, and makes sure the new resolution stays the same—even when you power off your PC.

The igfxEM process also works collaboratively with your PC’s graphics cards to modify keyboard shortcuts and other display-related configurations like screen rotation.

High CPU Usage: Is the igfxEM Module Safe?

Although the igfxEM.exe file is important to keep some features of your PC running smoothly, it’s not a core Windows 10 system file. It’s designed and developed by Intel Corporation but also digitally verified/signed by Microsoft. This certifies the igfxEM.exe as a genuine file.

However, the genuineness of the file doesn’t totally guarantee its safety. If for some reason, the igfxEM.exe process continues to consume CPU resources, then it becomes unsafe for the health of your computer. There’s also the issue of malware impersonation.

The safety of igfxEM.exe is relative to two things: the file’s digital certification and its behavior on your computer. In summary, the following factors are responsible for igfxEM.exe high CPU usage:

  1. When the igfxEM module conflicts with other software or background processes.
  2. When malware or virus camouflages/imitates the igfxEM.exe file to cause harm to your PC.

In the next section, we’ll show you how to check if you have the genuine igfxEM.exe file installed on your computer.

Is Your IgfxEM.exe File Genuine?

The igfxEM.exe file comes bundled with the Intel graphics suite. This means that it’s automatically installed alongside your PC’s graphics driver. However, if the process is malfunctioning, you should check if the file is genuine or if malware is hiding under the guise of the igfxEM executable file.

  1. Type igfxem in the Windows Search box, right-click igfxem (or IgfxEM.exe) in the search result, and select Open file location.
  1. Right-click on igfxem.exe and select Properties from the context menu.
  1. Go to the Digital Signatures tab and check the Signature list table.

If Intel (or Intel Corporation) and Microsoft are the digital signatories, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, the igfxem.exe file on your PC is not genuine and most likely malware. You should delete it ASAP.

Troubleshooting igfxEM.exe Errors

There are several factors that trigger the igfxEM.exe file to throw error messages, consume large virtual memory, or use high CPU resources. Luckily, there are also a handful of ways to curb its excesses.

1. Force Stop the igfxEM Module

This is by far the quickest (and easiest) way to put a rogue igfxEM module in order. Launch the Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc), right-click the igfxEM module, and select End task.

You can also reduce the CPU usage of the IgfxEM module by closing other unnecessary applications that are active in the background. Try the next solution if the process initiates itself (i.e. if it comes back on automatically) and continues to overburden your PC’s CPU or memory.

2. Update Your Graphics Card Driver

The igfxEM.exe process may malfunction if your computer’s graphics card driver is out of date. You can check if an update for the Intel graphics card is available using the Windows Device Manager. 

Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager. Expand the Display adapters section and right-click on your graphics card’s adapter and select Update Driver or Update Driver Software.

Select Search automatically for update driver software. The Device Manager will search your computer and the internet for the latest graphic card driver software available for your device. So make sure you’re connected to the internet before you proceed.

If the Device Manager doesn’t find an update for the driver, you can use Intel’s Driver & Support Assistant (Intel DSA). The tool is a little more reliable for updating Intel graphic drivers. Head to Intel’s support page, download the Driver & Support Assistant setup file, and install it on your computer.

Connect your PC to the internet and launch the app. That’ll redirect you to a resource page where you’ll find driver and software updates available for your computer.

3. Disable the IgfxEM Process

If your graphics driver is up-to-date but the problem continues, try disabling IgfxEM.exe using the System Configuration tool.

1. Launch the Windows Run box (Windows key + R). Type msconfig into the dialog box and click OK.

2. Navigate to the Services tab.

3. Scroll through the list of services and uncheck the igfxEM Module.

4. Click Apply and then OK to proceed.

4. Scan for Malware and Viruses

Viruses and malware can cause an unreasonable spike in CPU usage for certain processes. Run a virus scan using the Windows Defender or trusted third-party antivirus software. Refer to our tutorial on how to thoroughly scan a Windows 10 PC for viruses and malware .

TL;DR: The IgfxEM Module Can Be Both Safe and Unsafe

The IgfxEM allows your PC’s graphics card to function to its fullest potential. When it works correctly, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that the module consumes too much CPU space, make sure you check that it’s digitally signed and verified—not malware in disguise.

If it’s malware, use a virus or malware scanner to remove it from your PC. Otherwise, follow the recommended troubleshooting solutions to reduce its CPU usage.

What Is Windows Smartscreen and Is It Safe?

Windows 10 includes a number of built-in protections that aim to boost your PC’s security. From integrated antivirus scanning to passwordless logins , Windows 10 offers greater protection than previous Windows releases. To help boost this even further, Microsoft automatically blocks unknown apps and programs from running.

This feature is Windows SmartScreen, designed to stop potentially malicious code from running. The SmartScreen process (smartscreen.exe) runs in the background, which may mean it uses up your system resources occasionally. If you’re curious to learn more, or you’re worried about security, this guide should put you at ease.

What Is Windows SmartScreen and How Does It Work?

Windows SmartScreen has been a feature since the release of Windows 8. It’s designed to stop unknown apps from running automatically. SmartScreen works by scanning a program and checking it against a huge Microsoft database of known apps and services. If it doesn’t recognize it, it stops the app from running.

SmartScreen isn’t likely to do this for well-known software it recognizes, such as Spotify or Google Chrome, but it will likely take a cautious approach to unknown apps by other third-party developers. If it recognizes it as malware, SmartScreen will step in and block it from running, protecting your PC from damage.

If SmartScreen isn’t sure, you’ll be able to override the decision. You can do this if you’re absolutely sure that a piece of software you’re running is safe, but if you want to check, you can run it in Windows 10 Sandbox mode , an isolated version of Windows that you can use to test out software you don’t fully trust.

SmartScreen is also the name for the phishing and malware protection built into the new Google Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. As with file protection, SmartScreen in Edge will warn against and block sites and downloads it believes to be unsafe. 

As a Windows system service, the SmartScreen process (listed as SmartScreen or smartscreen.exe in Task Manager) is completely safe. As it protects against dangerous files, it’s best to leave SmartScreen running, but you can unblock apps you trust to ensure that files it doesn’t recognize can still run.

Why Does SmartScreen Cause High CPU, RAM, or Other System Resource Issues?

While rare, it is reported that SmartScreen can cause high CPU, RAM, or other issues with your system resources. While there isn’t a clear cause for this issue, it’s possible that a stubborn malware infection or corrupt system files are behind the problem.

Before you consider disabling Windows SmartScreen, you should attempt to repair your PC’s system files using the System File Checker (SFC) tool. This should help to resolve issues with your PC’s performance, especially with Windows system processes like smartscreen.exe.

  1. To do this, right-click the Start menu and select the Windows PowerShell (Admin) option.
  1. In the PowerShell window, type sfc /scannow to begin checking your system files for errors.

The SFC tool will automatically search for and fix any issues with your system files. While this isn’t a guaranteed fix for this problem, making sure your system is well maintained and has no corrupted files should help to prevent issues with your PC performance.

If missing files or a malware infection isn’t the cause, you may need to look at the PC itself. As Microsoft introduces new features, Windows becomes harder to run on older PCs. If that’s the case, you may need to consider upgrading your PC to run the latest version of Windows 10 without performance issues.

You can also disable SmartScreen entirely by following the steps below. This will reduce SmartScreen’s system resource usage to minimal levels, but it isn’t something we recommended for most users.

Adding Software to Windows SmartScreen Allow List or Block List

The Windows SmartScreen service is a trust-based service. If Microsoft recognizes an app and knows it can trust it based on the telemetry data it receives, then it’ll allow it to run. If it doesn’t recognize it, it doesn’t trust it, so it will block it as a precaution.

If you trust an app and want it to run without SmartScreen blocking it, you can add the app to SmartScreen’s allow list. Alternatively, if you want to block an executable file from running on your PC again, you can add it to SmartScreen’s block list.

  1. To add a .exe file to Windows SmartScreen’s allow or block list, find the file in File Explorer or on your desktop. If you haven’t attempted to run the software before, double-click the file to run it. This will allow it to become identified by SmartScreen.
  1. For software that hasn’t previously run on your PC, SmartScreen will check it against its database. If it doesn’t trust it, you’ll see the Windows protected your PC message. Select Don’t run to close the prompt.
  1. To block or unblock an app using SmartScreen, right-click the file in File Explorer or on your desktop, then select the Properties option.
  1. In the General tab of the Properties window, you should see a section labeled Security. To ensure SmartScreen blocks the file from being opened in the future, make sure the Unblock checkbox is unchecked. If you want to unblock the file and add it to the approved list, however, check the Unblock checkbox. Select OK (or Apply > OK) to save your setting.

How to Disable Windows SmartScreen

Windows SmartScreen is a security feature that should remain enabled for most users, as it can help to stop you running software or opening files that could potentially damage your PC. While it can be annoying, you can bypass SmartScreen prompts that appear for apps you trust by following the steps above.

With this in mind, we strongly recommend you leave SmartScreen enabled. If you want to disable it for testing or performance issues, however, you can do so by following these steps.

  1. To disable SmartScreen protection for software (as well as websites in Microsoft Edge), right-click the Start menu and select the Settings option.
  1. In the Settings menu, select Update & Security > Windows Security > Open Windows Security. This will open the Windows Security menu in a new window.
  1. In the Windows Security window, select App & browser control on the left. On the right, select the Reputation-based protection settings option.
  1. To disable SmartScreen protection for running apps and files, select the Check apps and files slider to the Off position. 
  1. If you want to disable SmartScreen filtering in Microsoft Edge, select the SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge slider to Off
  1. To stop protection against files that Windows doesn’t recognize (for instance, files you’ve downloaded online), select the Potentially unwanted app blocking slider to Off.
  1. Finally, to stop SmartScreen web filtering in Microsoft Store apps, select the SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps slider to Off.

Protecting Against Threats in Windows 10

The Windows SmartScreen process is one of several essential processes, from werfault.exe to ntoskrnl.exe , that help keep Windows up and running. Keeping SmartScreen active is a great way to protect against threats in Windows 10, but you could also think about setting a scan schedule in Windows Defender or encrypting your hard drive .

If you’re worried about data loss from viruses or malware, you should make sure to back up your system and check for malware regularly to ensure your PC is safe to use. Don’t forget to check other devices too, because even your router can become infected with malware .

What Is Double NAT and How to Fix It on a Network

Anyone that has ever played a game online knows what a NAT type is – and they usually don’t have good implications, as NAT errors tend to prevent people from playing together. The problem only gets worse when dealing with a double NAT. 

Double NAT isn’t necessarily bad. You might not even notice it though it can give you some unforeseen problems with some applications and hardware. Some of them are related to services that need UPnP (Universal Plug-and-Play) support or manual port forwarding.

But what exactly is a Double NAT and how can you fix the issues that can arise? Let’s answer both questions here. 

What is a Double NAT?

NAT is short for Network Address Translation . This is how your router translates the public IP–the overall network provided by your Internet Service Provider–to the private IP address for your computer and home network. The router is responsible for the NAT.

When you add a second router to the network , you create a second NAT. In many cases, having a double NAT doesn’t create problems–however, it does make port forwarding all but impossible and can cause issues with universal plug and play. 

That said, if it does create problems with your network, there are a few steps you can take. 

Remove the ISP Router From Your Network

The simplest solution for correcting a double NAT is to get rid of one of the routers that is causing the problem. If you have two routers plugged in, but you don’t really need one, just use your ISP’s provided router. 

If you’re a power use, though, this solution likely isn’t the best option for you. ISP-provided routers lack features that more expensive options have. In that case, you can remove your ISP router from the network. 

Connect the network cable from your modem to the WAN port on your personal router. Once you have plugged the network in, you will need to log into your router’s settings menu and configure it.  

How to Configure Your Router

You log into your router through a browser by typing your router’s IP address into the URL bar. Most routers use 192.168.1.1 as the default IP, but this varies. If you aren’t sure, you need to find the IP address of your router.

Bring up the command line terminal on your PC by typing cmd into Run. Once the terminal appears, type in ipconfig. In the screen that appears, scroll down until you find Default Gateway. The number beside that is the IP address of your router.

Once you find the address, you will need to log in using the username and password for your router. This is typically on the bottom of the device, but you can change the username and password off the default if you like. 

Once you have logged in, you will need to change various settings , but these settings differ depending on your router and ISP. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, contact your ISP for assistance or check their website–the majority of service providers have detailed information available for users online. 

Enable Bridge Mode on Your Router

Another solution to the double NAT problem can be found in configuring Bridge Mode on your router. Bridge Mode disables the router’s NAT feature and allows it to act as a server without an IP address conflict–in other words, it passes along the settings of the initial router. 

In some cases, you will not have access to this, especially if you use an ISP-provided router. You will have to call your ISP and request your router be placed into Bridge Mode. However, if you can configure the settings within your router, it’s an easy switch to make.

Log into your router through your browser to access its configuration settings. Once you have logged in, look for the option to enable Bridge Mode. This is in a different place depending on your router, but sometimes it is as simple as click Enable. Of course, configuring the router after you have it enabled it is sometimes more difficult. 

How to Fix Double NAT on Xbox

One place where a double NAT does present a problem is in gaming. For example, many Xbox One users have experienced an error message that tells them a double NAT was detected on their network. 

In gaming, you want an Open NAT, or Nat Type 1. This allows the widest range of compatibility and lets you join anyone’s game or session. If you have a Moderate NAT, or Nat Type 2, you can connect to most sessions but will have limited functionality.

NAT Type 3, or Strict NAT, is the problem. This makes it all but impossible to join someone’s game. Sure, single-player gaming is still an option, but trying to join an online match will pose difficulties. 

A double NAT will create problems when trying to play anything multiplayer, and might even stop your Xbox from connecting to the internet. When you receive this error, you will need to eliminate the issue by either removing one of the routers or by enabling Bridge Mode as shown above. 

Another solution is to connect the Xbox directly to your router with an Ethernet cable. In most cases, this will eliminate the double NAT issue–just use the first router on your network, not the second, as the hardwire point. 

All of these solutions can work to solve a double NAT error. In most instances, you don’t need a second router on your network. If your original router isn’t strong enough to broadcast the network across your entire home, you can use a spare router as a WiFi extender . 

How to Do a Conference Call on PC or Mobile

As remote work continues to increase in many parts of the world, virtual conferencing has become a necessity. A host of video conferencing systems is available, which makes it easier to host your own conference calls than ever before.

If you’re wondering how to do a conference call, there are dozens of conference call apps that make it easy to set up and hop on a call. However, it can be daunting trying to find the right one because most of them offer similar features.

How to Do a Conference Call Using a Conference Call App

Whether you own a small business, you’re working from home or just want to stay in touch with family and friends , we’ll help you choose the right conference call app to stay connected.  

1. Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing app that gained popularity when the global pandemic rendered physical meetings impossible. The app is not only user-friendly and reliable but offers a wide range of tools and features that let you host constructive meetings.

If you want to host a conference call, turn to our guide on how to set up and use Zoom . However, if you received an invitation to join a Zoom meeting, you can join by clicking on the link, entering the Zoom ID and password provided by the meeting host, or dial into a Zoom meeting with your phone number .

Zoom offers plans and services suitable for different budgets, and the best part is that there’s no limit to the number of video feeds you can have on at the same time.  

Other valuable features you’ll find in Zoom include meeting recording , group messaging, breakout rooms , whiteboard and screen sharing, active speaker views, and integration with Outlook and Chrome.

You can also raise your hand to ask a question without interrupting the rest of the participants, and designate someone else as host if you need to leave the call.

The app is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices so you can start or join a meeting from your smartphone or desktop . If you’re on ChromeOS, turn to our guide on how to use Zoom on Chromebook .

2. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is not only a conference calling app but also a group collaboration software designed for teams to work together remotely. The app offers lots of features and collaboration tools including chat, video calls, as well as access to Office programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

With Teams, you can share your screen , create surveys and polls, work on a digital whiteboard, share files, and host meetings from a desktop or mobile app.

If you’re wondering whether to go with Microsoft Teams or Zoom to do a conference call, it’ll depend on whether you’re using the free or paid plans. With Teams, the free plan only lets you host one-on-one video calls so you can’t host a conference call with multiple participants.

Zoom, on the other hand, allows you to host a conference call with multiple attendees using its free version.

One of the unique features you’ll find with Teams is the Together Mode, which allows you to meet other participants in a virtual space of your choosing whether it’s an office or coffee shop. See our guide on the best Microsoft Teams tips and tricks to help you be more productive using the app. 

3. Skype

Skype is among the earliest apps to offer video chat and VoIP services since 2003. The app offers free Skype-to-Skype calls, free video conferencing for up to 50 participants, and other features such as SMS texting, HD video and audio and landline phone calls.

You can also share your screen, upload files, use real-time translation in Skype as you would with Zoom, and record Skype calls on your Windows, Mac, iPhone or Android device .

To set up a conference call on Skype, you can create a free meeting link online or set one up using the Skype app on your desktop or mobile device.

If you’re using the Skype app, launch it on your computer or mobile device, and select the Group icon above your contacts list. In the empty window, select and drag the contacts you want to be in the conference call and then initiate the call by selecting the Call group button.

4. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is an excellent conference calling app for small business owners as it allows you to host large meetings depending on the service plan you subscribe to.

The service is chock-full of high-quality conference calling features including messaging, recording, screen sharing, transcriptions, meeting locks, and drawing tools .

You can use GoToMeeting on a web browser, desktop or mobile device, and host instant meetings or schedule a meeting for later. The main drawback is that there’s no free plan but a 14-day trial is available for you to try it out at no cost.

A chat feature is included that lets participants communicate with each other without interrupting the speaker, and HD video stream for crystal-clear pictures during meetings.

To do a conference call using GoToMeeting, sign into your account and then select the Schedule button under Schedule a Meeting on the My Meetings page. In the new browser window, select a date and time for the call, choose whether it’s a one-time or recurring meeting, your audio options, and then set permissions and passwords.

Once the meeting settings are in place, invite your attendees and then start the conference call. During the meeting, you can access other options and list of attendees from the control panel, collaborate and share the call recordings with participants.

5. Google Meet

Google Meet and Zoom are almost similar in terms of features and set up, but Google Meet is a free conference call app for all Google account users.

The app works on desktop and mobile devices, and you can access it from Gmail itself or create an instant conference call from the Google Meet front page or app on your mobile device.

During a meeting, you can make a presentation , raise your hand, conduct polls, use breakout rooms, use a whiteboard, change your background, send chat messages, and even use captions.

Check out our in-depth guide on Google Meet and how it works for detailed steps on how to set it up.

Enhance Your Group Call Experience

Gone are the days when you needed a phone, SIM card and enough airtime to set up a conference call. Today, all you need is strong WiFi , a laptop or mobile device and a good conference calling app.

With these five conference call apps you get better connectivity with family or colleagues across the world, more flexibility to work from anywhere, and you can run meetings at the drop of a hat. If you want a more immersive way to meet with colleagues, check out the best services to hold meetings in virtual reality .

What’s your favorite conference calling service? Tell us about it in the comments.

Copy and Paste Not Working on Windows 10? 7 Best Fixes

It’s always an annoying experience when some operations on your Windows computer suddenly stop working, particularly if you use them quite often. It gets worse when you don’t know the source of the problem or how to fix it.

Everyone knows how to copy and paste content, but not everyone knows what to do if (or when) these commands don’t yield the desired results. In this guide, we’ll show you seven troubleshooting solutions to try when copy and paste are not working on your Windows 10 computer.

If your computer is unresponsive to the “Ctrl + C” or “Ctrl + V” keyboard shortcuts, check that the keyboard is working correctly. Refer to this article on fixing Windows keyboard keys for guidance. If you use an external keyboard, you can also try resetting your keyboard to factory default . Restarting your computer might also help. Should these preliminary solutions prove abortive, proceed to the troubleshooting methods below.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

You might be unable to copy and paste files or folders from one directory to another if the Windows Explorer is malfunctioning . To fix this, head to the Task Manager and restart the Windows Explorer—even if it seems to be in perfect condition. You never know; that could help resolve the problem.

Launch the Task Manager using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut. In the Processes tab, right-click Windows Explorer and select Restart.

Wait for a few seconds for Windows to restart the Explorer and try using the copy and paste functionality again.

2. Update and Restart the Application

In the case that this problem is specific to an application, close and reopen the application. The problem with copy and paste not working could also be due to a software bug. So check if there’s an update available for the app via the Microsoft Store or the app’s settings menu.

3. Clear the Windows Clipboard Cache

This is another solution worth trying. Right-click on the Start button and click Command Prompt (Admin) on the Quick Access menu.

Type the command below in the Command Prompt console and press Enter.

echo off | clip

Close the Command Prompt window and check the copy and paste functionality now works. If it doesn’t, restart your computer and try again.

4. Troubleshoot Your Keyboard

There are several ways to copy and paste content on Windows 10. The Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V keyboard shortcuts are the easiest, no doubt. You can achieve the same result using your PC’s mouse.

As mentioned earlier, there could be an issue with your keyboard if you can’t copy and paste content using keyboard shortcuts. Run the Windows keyboard troubleshooter to find and fix problems with your PC’s keyboard settings.

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot and click Keyboard in the “Find and fix other problems” section.

2. Click the Run the troubleshooter button to proceed.

Wait for the troubleshooter to scan your computer for potential issues with your keyboard. The tool will recommend troubleshooting instructions if it finds any problem. 

5. Disable Third-Party Clipboard Managers

Clipboard managers or clipboard apps come with their benefits. They can significantly boost your copy-and-paste experience by holding multiple (copied) content, formatting texts, combining multiple clips, and a lot more advanced features.

One drawback of these clipboard managers is that they sometimes conflict with the built-in clipboard. Hence, preventing copy and paste from working correctly on your PC. If you use any third-party clipboard app, close or disable it, and see if that resolves the problem. You can restart your computer and try again.  

6. Disable RAM Optimization Apps

When you copy content, it is temporarily saved in your PC’s Random Access Memory (RAM). In a bid to save space and make your PC run faster , some file cleaning apps and RAM optimization software may clear your clipboard data.

So when you copy content to the clipboard, these programs may wipe them off, leaving the clipboard empty with nothing to paste. This may cause you to assume that your PC’s copy and paste functionality isn’t working.

If you use a RAM booster, force quit the app or modify its settings to exclude your PC’s clipboard data from its optimization process.  

7. Restart the Windows Remote Desktop Clipboard

If you’re using a Remote Desktop setup and the copy-and-paste functionality won’t work correctly between the remote desktop and the host device, try restarting the Remote Desktop Clipboard.

1. Launch the Windows Task Manager and locate RDP Clipboard (or rdpclip.exe) in the Processes tab. Right-click on the process and select End Task.

2. To restart the process, click File on the Task Manager’s menu bar and select Create new task.

3. Type rdpclip.exe in the dialog box, check the box that reads Create this task with administrative privileges and click OK.

An alternate way to restart the Remote Desktop Clipboard is to launch the Run box (Windows key + R), type C:\Windows\System32 in the dialog box, and click OK.

Right-click on the Remote Desktop Clipboard’s executable file (rdpclip.exe) and select Run as administrator.

Addendum: Enable Clipboard Mapping

In the rare instance that rdpclip.exe fails to run , head to the Windows Registry and enable the file responsible for clipboard mapping.

1. Launch the Run box (Windows key + R), type regedit in the dialog box, and click OK.

2. Paste the directory below in the Registry Editor’s search box and press Enter.

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Winstations\RDP-Tcp

3. Double-click on the registry file named fDisableClip and make sure its value is set to 0.

Close the Registry Editor and check if you can now copy and paste files between the devices on your Remote Desktop setup.

Duplicate Content Without Limitation

The copy and paste command may malfunction if your computer is infected with malware. Scan your PC for malware using Windows Defender or a reputable third-party antivirus software. You can also use the Windows System File Checker (SFC) to fix and repair corrupt files preventing content duplication (via copy and paste).