Uninstall, Disable, or Remove Windows 7 Media Center

Although Windows 7 Media Center has improved a lot over previous versions of Windows, but you might want to disable it for different reasons. Here we take a look at a couple of methods to get rid of it.
There are a variety of reasons you might want to disable Windows 7 Media Center. Maybe you own a business and don’t want it to run on the machines. Or perhaps you don’t use it at all and just don’t want it around.
Turn Off WMC Using Programs and Features



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Probably the easiest way to get rid of it on all versions of Windows 7 is to open Control Panel and select Programs and Features. This method is similar to disabling Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7.

On the left hand panel click on Turn Windows Features on or off.

Scroll down to Media Features and expand the folder. Then Uncheck Windows Media Center…

You’ll get a verification message making sure you want to disable it, click Yes.

Then the box next to Windows Media Center will be empty…click OK.

Wait while WMC is disabled…

To complete the process a reboot is required.

After getting back from the restart, the WMC icon will be gone and there won’t be any way to launch it.
Re-enable WMC
If you want to re-enable it, just go back in and recheck it.

Again you’ll need to wait while it’s configured, but when it’s done, a restart is not required.

Disable Media Center Using Group Policy
Note: This process uses Group Policy Editor which is not available in Home versions of Windows 7.
Click on the Start menu and type gpedit.msc into the Search box and hit Enter.

Now navigate to User Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Windows Components \ Windows Media Center.

Double-click on Do not allow Windows Media Center to run. Then select the radio button next to Enabled, click OK and close out of Group Policy Editor.

Now if a user tries to launch WMC they will get the following message.

Conclusion
If you’re not a fan of Windows Media Center or want to disable it for whatever reason, the process is simple and there are a couple of ways you can do it. WMC is not included in Starter or Home Basic versions of Windows 7. If you’re new to Windows 7 Media Center, you might want to check out our guide on getting started and setting up live TV.

How to Track, Disable, and Wipe a Lost iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Apple’s phone, tablet, and computer-tracking tools are the best in the business. You can remotely locate your device, disable it with a lock and message that persists through factory resets — the so-called “kill switch” — and wipe it.
These features aren’t enabled by default, so you’ll need to ensure the tracking features are enabled ahead of time if you’d ever like to remotely track, lock, or wipe your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.



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Enable Find My iPhone, Find My iPad, or Find My Mac

RELATED ARTICLEWhat iCloud Does and How to Access it From Windows
The “Find My” features are part of Apple’s iCloud service. To enable this feature, open the Settings app, tap iCloud, and set the Find My iPhone or Find My iPad slider to On. You’ll need to enable this setting on each device you want to track.
If you haven’t set up iCloud on your device, you’ll be prompted to set up an iCloud account here.

On a Mac, open the System Preferences window (Apple menu > System Preferences), click the iCloud icon, and ensure the Find My Mac box is checked. You’ll be prompted to set up iCloud here if you haven’t already.

Ensure you set a strong password for your Apple ID. If you set a weak password, someone could log into your account on the iCloud website and remotely lock or wipe your device. This password is important! If you want to change your Apple ID password, you can change it on the My Apple ID website. You’ll have to enter the new password on all your devices afterward.

Track, Lock, and Erase Your Device

To track your device, you can either sign into the iCloud website or use the Find My iPhone app for iPhone or iPad. In spite of its name, the Find My iPhone app and Find My iPhone feature in iCloud can track iPads and Macs as well as iPhones.
We’ll assume you’re using the website here, as you can use the website from any device — whether it’s a Mac, iPad, Windows PC, Chromebook, or Android tablet. Feel free to use the app if you want to do this on an iPhone or iPad.
Sign into either the app or the website with your Apple ID. On the iCloud website, click the Find My iPhone icon.

The website will display all your devices on a map by default. iCloud still uses Google Maps for this instead of Apple Maps on the web — after all, there’s no web-based version of Apple Maps.
Click the All Devices menu if you’d like to select a specific device. iPads and Macs may be more difficult to track then iPhones. If the iPad or Mac is powered off or doesn’t have an Internet connection, you won’t be able to track its location — however, you can still send wipe or lock commands and iCloud will execute them the next time the device connects. iPhones should be easier to track in real-time, as most iPhones will have a mobile data connection.

Click a device’s dot on the map and you’ll be able to issue it commands:

  • Play Sound: The Play Sound button will play a two-minute sound on the device. This happens immediately — if the device is offline, the two-minute sound will start playing the next time it comes online. This is ideal if you’ve lost the device somewhere nearby — maybe you don’t know where you left it in your house or perhaps you dropped your iPhone somewhere.
  • Lost Mode (iPhones and iPads): Enable Lost Mode as soon as possible when your device is lost or stolen. Lost Mode allows you to set a new passcode to prevent the thief from using your device. You can also enter a custom message that will be displayed on the device’s lock screen — you could provide details of where you can be reached if someone finds the device. The message will persist even through factory resets on iOS 7. “Activation lock” will also prevent people from activating the device without your original iCloud ID and password, so thieves won’t be able to resell or keep using your device. Lost Mode also enables a location tracking history, so you can sign into the iCloud website and track the device’s movements over time. If the device is currently offline, Lost Mode will be activated the next time it connects.
  • Lock (Macs): Macs don’t have a “lost mode,” but you can remotely lock them. This doesn’t just set a user account password — when the Mac receives the lock command, it will shut down. When someone boots the Mac, it will enter the recovery screen, display a message you’ve entered, and force someone to provide a firmware passcode you remotely set. The Mac will be useless until the passcode is provided. People won’t even be able to boot Windows, Linux, or other operating system on it.
  • Erase: You can also remotely erase the device, removing any sensitive personal or business data. On iOS 7, you can set a phone number and message that will be displayed on the screen after the device is erased so someone can contact you if they find it. The Erase feature should be used as a last resort — in most cases, Lost Mode and Lock should allow you to secure your data and continue remotely tracking your device.

Whatever you think of Apple, their device-tracking and remote-locking solutions are the best integrated services in the industry. Google’s Android Device Manager doesn’t allow you to flip a “kill switch” that survives a factory reset or view a history of a lost device’s movements. Microsoft and Google don’t provide any integrated way to track and remotely lock Windows PCs or Chromebooks. There are third-party tracking applications available for Windows, but they won’t be able to lock down a PC at the firmware level like Apple’s Mac solution can.

How To Uninstall, Disable, and Remove Windows Defender

If you’re already running a full anti-malware suite, you might not even realize that Windows Defender is already installed with Windows, and is probably wasting precious resources. Here’s how to get rid of it.
Now, just to be clear, we’re not saying that we hate Windows Defender. Some spyware protection is better than none, and it’s built in and free! But… if you are already running something that provides great anti-malware protection, there’s no need to have more than one application running at a time.

Run Malwarebytes Alongside Your Antivirus for Maximum Protection

Running antivirus is still very important, but these days the really active threats are from spyware, adware, crapware, and the worst of all: ransomware. That’s where Malwarebytes comes in.
Malwarebytes not only protects your computer from malware, but does a better job of cleaning up an infected computer than anything else on the market. And it doesn’t just work on PCs — they have a Mac version too.
And to protect your browser against zero-day exploits, Malwarebytes also includes Anti-Exploit and Anti-Ransomware features, which can stop drive-by attacks cold. And best of all, you can run Malwarebytes alongside your existing antivirus to keep yourself fully protected.
Download Malwarebytes Today

How to Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

Open up Windows Defender using the Start Menu search, and then click on Settings in the top right of the window.

You’ll be presented with the Settings dialog. You could also get here from Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Defender, of course.
Now just toggle that Real-time protection setting to Off. You can also turn off the Cloud-based Protection item if you want.

How to Disable Windows Defender in Windows 7 or 8

Unfortunately, Windows Defender is completely built into Windows, and you’re not going to actually uninstall it. What we can do, however, is disable it.
Open up Windows Defender, go to Tools on the top menu, and then click on Options.



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Now click on Administrator on the left-hand pane, uncheck the box for “Use this program”, and click the Save button.

You will then be told that the program is turned off. Awesome!

If you really, really want to make sure that it never comes back, you can also open up the Services panel through Control Panel, or by typing services.msc into the Start Menu search or run boxes. Find Windows Defender in the list and double-click on it…

And then you can change Startup type to Disabled.

Now again, we’re not necessarily advocating that you get rid of Windows Defender. Make sure you keep yourself protected from malware!

Make Sure You Are Using Antivirus

You do not want to run without an antivirus. There is simply too much malware out there to browse the web without some type of protection.
Kaspersky and Bitdefender consistently rank in the top of both the AV-Test and AV-Comparatives rankings, and we’ve used both products with good results. They aren’t free, but most of the free antivirus out there is bundling extra nonsense or trying to redirect your search engine to their “secure” solution that isn’t really secure and just shows you more ads or spies on your shopping habits.

How to Enable, Disable, and PIN Protect Voice Purchasing on Your Amazon Echo

There’s a whole host of tricks your Amazon Echo is capable of and, among them, is a pretty neat one: you can order products right off Amazon using voice commands. Read on as we show you how to enable it, disable it, and add a PIN protection code to the ordering process.



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Why Do I Want Do Do This?

If you arrived at this tutorial via search engine query there’s more than a few reasons that could have brought you here. Some people will be interested in taking advantage of the benefits of voice purchasing (it’s super handy to reorder something with a simple voice command when you’ve just run out of it).
Other people will want to disable the voice ordering system so their kids or roommates don’t go around ordering things willy nilly. Finally, even if you do like the idea of ordering items off Amazon with a simple voice command you may want to, either for security purposes or to simply protect against accidental ordering, place a 4 digit PIN on the ordering system.
Let’s take a look at how to even use the voice ordering system in the first place so you can decide if you want it on, off, or locked down, and then we’ll dig into how to do just that.

Using Alexa To Place Orders

There are two things you can purchase with your voice via the Alexa system. You can purchase music and you can reorder physical items. Why limit the ordering of physical items to reorders? The Amazon inventory is so vast and it’s difficult to convey all the information about products (especially those available from different vendors, with different shipping options, and so on) via the Alexa system; as such Amazon has opted, wisely we’d say, to limit voice ordering to just items you’ve already purchased and are familiar with.

Ordering Music

When buying music through the Amazon Digital Music Store you can approach your purchasing one of two ways. First you can shop by song or album, as well as by artist with commands like:

Alexa, shop for the song [name].
Alexa, shop for [album name].
Alexa, shop for [new] songs by [artist name].

The other way to purchase music is to purchase the sample you’re currently listening to. Sometimes when you use a command like “Alexa, play ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift” you’ll only hear a snippet of the song and will be told it’s just sample because the song is not part of the Prime music library. In such instances you can use the following commands to purchase the song or album:

Alexa, buy this [song/album].
Alexa, add this [song/album] to my library.

Like with all Amazon Music purchases any songs you purchase are stored for free on your Amazon account and you can access them from any device with the Amazon Music app installed.

Reordering Physical Items

If you buy a lot off Amazon and/or you take advantage of the Subscribe & Save system (where you get routine purchases like paper towels and detergent off Amazon at a discount) then you’ll likely find reordering via the Alexa to be very convenient both in practice and in terms of ease of use.
The command to reorder products via Alexa is as simple as it gets:

Alexa, reorder [item name].

So, for example, if you regularly order Mr. Super Sparkle Toothpaste off Amazon and you’ve just run out, you could simply say “Alexa, reorder Mr. Super Sparkle Toothpaste” and after a moment of calculation Alexa would respond with something like “I’ve found Mr. Super Sparkle Toothpaste in your order history. The order total is $5.99. Should I order it?” Simply reply “Yes” or “No”.
If Alexa can’t find a good match or you say “No” when she asks to order it on your behalf, you can open up your Amazon Alexa app for alternative items and additional details.

Enabling and Disabling Voice Purchasing

If all that sounds great and you’re ready to start using your Alexa voice assistant to place orders, let’s take a moment to confirm that you have voice ordering enabled. Not so thrilled about the idea? We can turn it off in the same location.
To do so start by opening up your Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone or navigating to echo.amazon.com while logged into the Amazon account the controls the Echo.

Navigate to Settings in the left-hand menu and select “Voice Purchasing” as seen above.

In the Voice Purchasing section there is a simple toggle beside “Purchase by voice”. Toggle it on or off depending on whether or not you wish to enable or disable voice purchasing.

Securing Voice Purchasing Via PIN

While we’re in the Voice Purchasing menu, there is an additional tweak we can apply. If you wish to use voice purchasing but want to add in a PIN code to either prevent accidental purchases or other users of the Echo from making purchases without your permission, you can so do so here.

In the “Require confirmation code” section enter a 4 digit code. Select “Save Changes” once you have entered your code to commit the new security code to your Echo.
There’s two important things to note about the PIN code system. First, you have to say it out loud when using the voice ordering system. Second, it appears in plain text in your Amazon Alexa app. It’s not a perfect system, to be sure, and we recommend selecting a totally unique PIN for this process and not the same one you use for your bank account or to, say, secure the media center’s adult content from the kids (because they’re bound to hear your say it at some point).
Nonetheless it’s still a nice way to ensure that anyone who has access to your Echo can’t willy nilly order things (and it will prevent the primary users from accidentally ordering things because reading off the PIN like you’re giving security clearance to the ship computer on Star Trek definitely gives you time to think about a purchase).


Have a question about your Amazon Echo or the Alexa voice assistant? Shoot us an email at ask@howtogeek.com and we’ll do our best to answer it.