MovieCaptioner Support

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How To Use MovieCaptioner for Mac (PDF)
How To Use MovieCaptioner for Windows (PDF)


You may find more answers to your questions in this How to Use MovieCaptioner manual available under the Help menu of MovieCaptioner.

If you cannot find the answer here, shoot me an email. I'll be glad to help you! Please be as specific in describing your issue as you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I make CEA 608 (Line 21) captions for broadcasting? How about CEA-708 captions?
  2. I get an error that says that MovieCaptioner cannot find my Spellcheck Dictionary
  3. My captions or video are not showing up when I hit the Preview button or export to QT Embedded captions.
  4. My captions are a second or two off when I export as embedded SCC captions.
  5. I get garbage characters when I Preview or export to Embedded QT captions.
  6. MovieCaptioner won't launch.
  7. I get garbage characters when I import text.
  8. I get an error that says "This does not appear to be a file created by MovieCaptioner".
  9. My movie is not opening in the QuickTime Player.
  10. After I export, I see to sets of captions, one at the top and one at the bottom of my movie.
  11. My Embedded SCC captions are not showing up in QuickTime. I get a black screen that says "Sonic Scenarist V1.0".
  12. Where are my SCC captions? I embedded them in my movie and now they're not there.
  13. I used Compressor to add SCC captions to my movie, but they're not there.
  14. When I try to save my captions in the QT Player, I get an error that says "The movie could not be saved. The end of the file was reached."
  15. My QT SMIL movies don't display my captions online.
  16. I get an error that says "An exception of class OutOfBoundsException was not handled. The application must shut down." when I try to open my project. Then MovieCaptioner crashes.
  17. After exporting the SCC captions to be embedded in the QT movie, when I try to save I get an "End of File" error and it never saves.
  18. MovieCaptioner crashed. Is there a way to recover my project?
  19. After I load my movie, MovieCaptioner crashes.
  20. MovieCaptioner won't launch on my Mac. It says it's from an unidentified developer.
  21. MovieCaptioner will run as administrator on Windows, but won't run for other users.

1. How do I make CEA-608 (Line 21) captions for broadcasting? How about CEA-708 captions?

The easiest way to make captioned video for broadcast is on a Mac using MovieCaptioner and Compressor. MovieCaptioner cannot actually create the broadcast file, but it will create the caption file you will need to add to your video. In Compressor you just add your high def movie, then add your SCC caption file and export as an MPEG-2 transport stream or whatever your broadcaster calls for. This will create what is known as CEA-608 captions in the movie. Please see this tutorial Using Compressor to add SCC Captions to Video for Broadcast TV.

On Windows (and Mac as well) you may be able to use Adobe Premiere to export your captioned video if your broadcaster can accept what is known as "sidecar captions". You would export as Sonic Scenarist (SCC Premiere-compatible) format from MovieCaptioner, then import your SCC file into Premiere before exporting your final movie.

The newer format, CEA-708 captions require a MCC caption file which MovieCaptioner cannot currently create, although I do have programmer working on this. Most broadcasters can up-convert the CEA-608 to 708 if the SCC captions are present, however.

If you are on Windows or your broadcaster requires CEA-708 captions and cannot upconvert, you can send your MovieCaptioner project file and your video to our affiliate, East Texas Captioning http://www.easttexascaptioning.com and they can add the captions to your HD video for a small fee. Hopefully one day MovieCaptioner will have this capability too, but for now those are your best options.

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2. I get an error that says that MovieCaptioner cannot find my Spellcheck Dictionary

This is due to a recent change in the Mac OS. If this occurs you'll need to click on the Spellcheck Dictionary folder within the MovieCaptioner folder and add Read/Write permissions for that folder. Just right-click or control-click on that folder and select Get Info. In the Get Info window, click on the little lock on the lower right corner of the window and log in to make changes. Then click the little + sign on the lower left of that window to add a new permission. Select your user account (it should say "Me" next to it in parentheses) and set the permissions to Read & Write. Also set it to "Apply to enclosed items" via the little cog icon next to the + - buttons.

spellcheck dictionary permissions




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3. My captions or video are not showing up when I hit the Preview button or export to QT Embedded captions.

If you're on a Mac, you may be trying to view the captioned video in QuickTime X, the default QT Player that comes on all new Macs. Unfortunately QT X does not support QT Text captions (oddly enough!). You need to install QuickTime 7 for the Mac in addition to already having QuickTime X. You can download it here: QuickTime 7.6.6. To get captions to show up in QuickTime X, you can use the Pro version of Quicktime 7 if you have it (unfortunately no longer available from Apple) and re-export as a new movie after adding the captions. More info here: http://synchrimedia.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-create-open-captions-for-your.html

If you don't have it and you're on a Mac you can use the free app Subler to add either an SCC or SRT file to your video. Note that the viewer would need to turn on closed captioning (for SCC captions) or Subtitles (SRT captions). See this tutorial on Soft Subtitles in QuickTime.

Another cause of captions not showing up is if MovieCaptioner can't find your movie. MovieCaptioner works best if you do not have your movies on an external drive or volume. Keep your movies on your main hard drive. If your movie is on an external hard drive, MovieCaptioner may have trouble finding the movie or writing the QT Text file necessary for Preview, Embedded QT, or SMIL movies. If MovieCaptioner crashes on export or the movie does not load in QT on use of the Preview button, this may be the cause. I typically put both the project and the movie on my Desktop while I work, then move them to another folder or hard drive when I'm done. When editing a previous project I just move them to the Desktop again and open the project.

If you are using the QuickTime Player instead of the built-in Preview player (Mac only), there is an issue with QuickTime in that if our movie's name has spaces in it, it will fail to load. You should get an alert to this affect, however, when you first load your movie into your MovieCaptioner project. Just get rid of the spaces in the name or replace them with underscores or dashes and it should work.

It could also be due to the movie being encoded with AVC Coding as the video encoder. This video format is known to cause problems with QuickTime when trying to add or save captions into a movie. It may also crash MovieCaptioner in some cases (if using JVT/AVC Coding). To know if your movie it using AVC Coding, open it in QuickTime Player and go to the Movie Inspector window. If you see AVC Coding listed, that's probably the culprit. Do not get this confused with AAC audio, which is just fine. The fix is usually to re-export your movie using MPEG Streamclip, a free cross-platform video conversion software that you can download here: http://www.squared5.com. On Windows, it will not say AVC Coding, but may instead say H.264. The H.264 format is usually OK, but it may be in the AVC Coding format, which is not. Try exporting it again using MPEG Streamclip and see if that helps.




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Another cause is that some movies are just not written correctly for some reason. I've found that deleting the last few frames of the movie and saving it somehow fixes the problem. In QuickTime Pro, for instance, you could move both selection arrows on the playbar to the end of the movie, then select the left one (the inpoint arrow) and use your left arrow key a few times to move the inpoint a few frames earlier. Then delete those selected frames and save your movie. Then try using it in MovieCaptioner again.

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4. My captions are a second or two off when I export as embedded SCC captions.

You may need to use "Shift Start Times..." under the edit window to fine tune your SCC export timing. It sometimes depends on how you got your captions in to begin with. If you set them all in MovieCaptioner, they're probably fine, but if you imported from an SCC file, for example, they may be slightly off as SCC files can be optimized for different outputs (such as Compressor or DVD Studio Pro). See the tutorial video on Setting Timecode for more information.

It could also be that you didn't set your frame rate to match your movie. To find your movie's frame rate, open it in QuickTime Player and check what the FPS setting is in the Movie Inspector window, then in MovieCaptioner's Preferences window you can set the frame rate to match it.




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5. I get garbage characters when I Preview or export to Embedded QT captions.

This problem should have been taken care of with the release of MovieCaptioner version 4.7. It was due to QuickTime's lack of support for special characters. Version 4.7 now uses XML files instead of QT text files to create the captions.

It could also be that you failed to save your text file that you imported into MovieCaptioner with UTF-8 Encoding and Unix line breaks. See this video on Importing Text Files.


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6. MovieCaptioner won't launch.

If MovieCaptioner fails to launch on Windows (Runtime Error), it's probably because you don't have QuickTime 7 installed. It often looks something like this...

MovieCaptioner needs the QuickTime libraries to function properly. Download and install QuickTime for Windows here: http://synchrimedia.com/QT/QuickTimeInstaller.exe.zip. Please restart your computer after installing QuickTime so the QT libraries will become available to MovieCaptioner.

Also on Windows, if you try to start MovieCaptioner and nothing happens, it may be that you need to adjust the permissions to the ProgramData\MovieCaptioner directory so that it has Read & Write permissions for all users. Make sure that the files within that folder have Read & Write permissions as well. Just right-click that directory, select Properties, then click on the Security tab. From there you can change the permissions for users by selecting Users, then the Edit button and just making sure that all users have Read & Execute, Listfolder contents, Read, Write, and Special permissions.

On a Mac, try deleting your preferences file. It will create a new one once it's opened again. To do so, go to ~user/LIbrary/Preferences/ and delete the file called MovCaptionerPrefs.

Also, make sure MovieCaptioner is in your main hard drive's Applications folder. The whole MovieCaptioner folder should be there, not just the application.

If the MovieCaptioner application folder is grayed out, you need to reset the permissions so that you have read and write access to it (may need to do this as an admin).




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7. I get garbage characters when I import text.

First, make sure you are importing a ".txt" file and not RTF or MS Word, which can contain text formatting which will show up as garbage characters, which can interfere with your caption exports. Save your file as plain text and make sure it uses "UTF-8 Encoding". UTF-8 Encoding should fix the unsupported characters for you. Unsupported characters include things like smart quotes, curly apostrophes, em-dashes, en-dashes, ellipses and some others. Please see the video on Importing Text Files for more information.




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8. I get an error that says "This does not appear to be a file created by MovieCaptioner".

If you get this error, it probably means you closed out of the project before entering any captions or that there is something wrong with your project file. You'll need to start over in this case by loading your movie again. Since you never set any captions you haven't really lost anything. If you know you've set captions already, quit out of MovieCaptioner, then open MovieCaptioner again and go to File > Open Backups Folder. There you might find a previous version of your project in a folder listed by date.




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9. My movie is not opening in the QuickTime Player.

It may not be an accepted format or you may not have the right plugin for QuickTime to play it. MovieCaptioner accepts MP4, MOV, M4V, and MP3 files natively. For FLV (Flash) movies you will need to download the free Perian plugin for QuickTime at htttp://www.perian.org. If you are trying to load a WMV (Windows Media) movie, you will need the Flip4Mac plugin available from http://www.telestream.net/flip4mac/overview.htm.

Also, if you are using OS X 10.5 or newer on Mac, make sure you have QuickTime 7 installed. QuickTime X (the default QT Player for Snow Leopard) will not give you all the functionality of QuickTime Pro. QuickTime 7 is also required for Windows.

Another reason for the failure of QuickTime to launch could be that there is a timing conflict with some of your captions, ie, there may be caption occurring at 00:05:03 and the caption following it may be the exact same time or at a previous time like 00:05:01. This shouldn't really happen, but if it does it will confuse QuickTime Pro, so the track will not be added. MovieCaptioner should auto-check your timecode to see if any rows are out of sequential timecode order and let you know, but sometimes it may miss something. You can either try retyping your timecode for the affected captions or using the Set Timecode button to reset the timing for those captions. See the How To Use MovieCaptioner document under the Help menu for more information on the Set Timecode function.

Another reason for the failure of QuickTime to launch could be that you are using brackets "[ ]" or "{ }" somewhere in your captions. While these may work in some caption formats, others will give an error in both Preview (SMIL) and Embedded QT caption formats. The reason for this is that some formats use QT Text files. When QT sees the square brackets, it expects timecode to be between them and thus throws an error. You can do a search for brackets using the Find/Replace option under the Edit menu. Try using parentheses instead of brackets.

Another problem could be that the movie you are trying to add captions to is write-protected, or that it is on a CD, in which case it cannot be changed. Try saving a copy of the movie to the Desktop and using that one in your project instead. MovieCaptioner tries to write the QT Text file into the same directory as the movie, so if the movie is on a CD or another hard drive, it may not be able to do so.




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10. After I export, I see to sets of captions, one at the top and one at the bottom of my movie.

If you are seeing this when you hit the Preview button, you probably forgot to close out of the QuickTime Player before going back to editing in MovieCaptioner. Always close the QuickTime Player window before going back to MovieCaptioner.

If you click the Embedded Captions export option and you end up seeing two sets of captions (top and bottom), you probably already have a caption track in the movie and it will need to be removed before adding a new caption track. Go to the Edit menu and choose Remove Text Track From Movie. Or you may open the movie in QuickTime Pro, go to the Movie Properties window and delete the extra tracks there. MovieCaptioner assumes you only have a video and a sound track in your movies. It may also mean that you embedded captions, then left the QT Player window open when you went back to edit your captions. Always close the QT Player window before going back to MovieCaptioner to edit.

Make sure your movies have a video track and a sound track and not a single muxed track that you get with MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 videos. A muxed track will cause issues when you go to embed captions. You can tell by opening the movie in QT Pro and selecting the Show Movie Properties window. A muxed track will contain both the video and audio and will not work for adding captions. Use MPEG Streamclip to separate the tracks. Also, some movies ripped from DVD or from a DVD video camera may contain several tracks. Delete all but the video and audio tracks and save the movie before trying to embed captions.




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11. My Embedded SCC captions are not showing up in QuickTime. I get a black screen that says "Sonic Scenarist V1.0".

You might have an issue with timecode in your project. Make sure all timecodes are in sequence and preferably at least one second apart to give the player enough time to buffer the next captions. Otherwise they could be skipped and/or an error such as this will occur. Another reason would be if you do not have the ClosedCaptionImporter plugin installed or installed incorrectly. You can download the CloseCaptionImporter.component here. Another possibility is that two (or more) of the captions are long and are coming in too quickly in succession. Sometimes the SCC format cannot display the captions so close together and it results in an error. Try breaking up the captions somewhat to even them out if possible.

More SCC file troubleshooting tips may be found here: http://synchrimedia.blogspot.com/2011/06/troubleshooting-scc-line-21-caption.html.


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12. Where are my SCC captions? I embedded them in my movie and now they're not there.

There are several things to check here...

First of all, QuickTime will only save SCC captions for MPEG-4 (MP4) movies. If you try to embed captions into a plain old ".mov" file, you may see the captions after you embed them, however, if you quit out of QT Player and then open your movie again, even though the closed caption track is still there, QT Player will be unable to display the captions. I recommend downloading MPEG Streamclip (free video conversion tool that is cross platform) and exporting your movie from it as MPEG-4, which will save it with the ".mp4" extension. Then load this into MovieCaptioner prior to exporting as embedded SCC captions (go to File > Load Movie in MovieCaptioner to replace a movie you had in your project already). Once you save the movie with captions it should work even if you quit out of QT Player and open it again. Just be sure that Show Closed Captioning is selected under the View menu if they don't display right away.

If you close your SCC captioned movie without saving, QuickTime Player will not warn you to save and you'll lose your caption track and will have to export again from MovieCaptioner (don't worry, your captions will still be in your MovieCaptioner project window).

If you did save your SCC captioned movie and you don't see the captions next time you open it in QuickTime Player, go to the View menu in the QuickTime Player and choose Show CLosed Captioning. This is turned off by default in QuickTime Player.




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13. I used Compressor to add SCC captions to my movie, but they're not there.

First, open your movie in QuickTime Pro ($30 upgrade to QuickTime Player 7 from Apple) and go to the Movie Properties window. Make sure there is only a Video Track and a Sound Track and no other tracks prior to opening your movie in Compressor. Extra tracks will mess it up. If your see a Timecode Track, for example, select it and hit the Delete button in the corner of the Movie Properties window, then save the movie.

Another reason that you may not see your captions after using Compressor is that Compressor adds the captions differently than QuickTime does and you may need to use another video player such as VLC Player to see your captions. VLC will display the captions differently than what SCC captions usually look like, but at least you'll know they were successfully added to your movie. This is a good way to check your MPEG-2 Transport stream movie prior to sending it to your broadcaster. QuickTime usually cannot open these types of movies anyway.

Make sure that Show Closed Captioning is on (under QuickTime Player's View menu) if you are playing a movie that has SCC captions. By default this is turned off usually.

Finally, I've seen cases where Compressor cannot seem to handle some types of video formats. You may have to try exporting your movie in a different format prior to opening it in Compressor.




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14. When I try to save my captions in the QT Player, I get an error that says "The movie could not be saved. The end of the file was reached."

This usually means that there is something wrong with the movie, even though it may play correctly in QuickTime. You may need to re-export your movie from Final Cut or wherever it was originally made and try again. Most often I've seen this problem with movies that use AVC Coding as the video compression algorithm. Re-exporting a new movie from QT Pro usually solves the problem.




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15. My QT SMIL movies don't display my captions online.

Embedding a QT SMIL movie in a web page will require you to use absolute URLs to the files instead of the local ones written by MovieCaptioner. Also, all 3 files (the QT movie, the QT text file, and the QT.SMI file) should be uploaded to the same folder on your website. So if they are uploaded to http://www.mywebsite.com/movies/ you will need to go into the .qt.smi file and change the links to the video source and textstream source to "http://www.mywebsite.com/movies/myMovie.mov" and "http://www.mywebsite.com/movies/myMovie.txt".

Note that there is a known bug in QuickTime for Windows that may garble the sound on Windows computers when movies are played via a QT SMIL file. The only fix seems to be to play the SMIL file in the QuickTime Player for Windows (instead of the browser), then open the AV Control panel and slightly adjust the Pitch, Jog, or Playback Speed and the sound will become normal. Just moving one of these controls slightly should do the trick. It can be reset to the default value after that and the sound will work. Unfortunately you have to do this for each movie you open. It will not reset it for all.




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16. I get an error that says "An exception of class OutOfBoundsException was not handled. The application must shut down." when I try to open my project. Then MovieCaptioner crashes.

A couple things can cause this. First, make sure you have MovieCaptioner installed properly in your main hard drive's Applications folder. If that's not the issue, then open your project (.mcpt) file in a text editor such as BBEdit or Text Wrangler and make sure that Soft Wrap Text is not enabled (so things that are written to one line stay on one line and are not wrapped). Due to a bug in earlier versions of MovieCaptioner, extra carriage returns may get saved into the project in the captions line, which is line 8 if you have "Show Line Numbers" enabled in BBEdit. Look at your file. The line with the captions (all separted by ":::") should be on line 8 only. They should not wrap to two or more lines. If you have more than one line of captions, then you need to get all the captions back on line 8. Just put your cursor before the next line and hit the Delete key to move that line up to line 8. Do this for each extra line, being careful to keep the ":::" separators intact. Then try opening it in MovieCaptioner again. If you can't get it, send your project file to me at synchrimedia@gmail.com and I'll try to fix it for you right away. This error will not occur again since version 4.1 was released. It was caused by editing in the text area below the movie (instead of in the caption list). A line break would get written back into the caption and transferred to the project file. That won't happen anymore, but I'd still recommend editing in the caption list on the right and using the text area only for creating new captions.

If you get this crash error after attempting to import a particular format of caption file, it's probably due to a problem with the file not following the spec properly for that format. Tabs, spaces, commas and other elements must be properly used or it could throw a monkey wrench into things. Also, be careful that timecode elements like 00:00:05 are not included in the captions or it may cause MovieCaptioner to think that line is a timecode line. Best to remove it until you import the file. This also goes for timecode separators such as "-->" that is present in SRT files. Keep them out of the captions or they may cause a crash.


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17. After exporting the SCC captions to be embedded in the QT movie, when I try to save I get an "End of File" error and it never saves.

This is usually caused by movies that are exported with AVC Coding as the video compressor. What you need to do is open the movie in QT Pro ($30 upgrade to QuickTime 7 Player from Apple) or MPEG Streamclip (free from Squared5) and re-export using h.264 and AAC audio (even if it already was). The new movie should fix the problem. If not, you may need to trim the last 3 frames from the movie and save it. See #19 below.




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18. MovieCaptioner crashed. Is there a way to recover my project?

As of version 4.4 of MovieCaptioner, a Backups folder was added to the user/Library/Application Support/MovieCaptioner folder. When you close your MovieCaptioner project, MovieCaptioner will copy all the files in the Temp folder and add them to a folder (named by the date) in the Backup folder. This is easily accessible via the File menu in MovieCaptioner. Select the version of your project with the highest number that is appended to the file name and that should be the most recent version. It will ask you to resave your project to another location.

Another option might be that if you had exported a file during the course of your work that MovieCaptioner can import, you can import that file into a new project and recover much of your work.




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19. After I load my movie, MovieCaptioner crashes.

This could be a couple of things and both are related to the movie itself.

If your movie uses JVT/AVC Coding, it may cause MovieCaptioner to crash. That format also will often prevent captions from being embedded into the movie. You will probably need to re-export the movie as H.264 with AAC audio. You can either use QuickTime Pro ($30 upgrade to the QuickTime 7 Player) or MPEG Streamclip, a free app available from Squared5. For more info on this issue, see this blog post: Problems with AVC Coding and Captioning.

Another reason could be an error in the way the movie was saved. Even if the movie is saved as H.264, it could crash MovieCaptioner due to a poorly written file. I've found that the fix is to delete the last 3 frames of the movie using QuickTime Pro, then save the movie. All you do is open your movie in QT Pro, move the selection markers to the end, select the left one and hit your arrow key on your keyboard once. This will move the selection about 3 frames in from the end. Then hit your Delete key and save the movie. If that was the problem, it should no longer crash MovieCaptioner. This image might help:

instructions on deleting the last frames of a movie to repair it


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20. MovieCaptioner won't launch on my Mac. It says it's from an unidentified developer. unidentified developer alert message

Since OS X 10.8 Apple began using a Gatekeeper which is supposed to prevent malware by looking for a "signature" that was registered with Apple. Unfortunately not all apps are registered with Apple, including MovieCaptioner. You will need to override this setting to be able to launch MovieCaptioner. Don't worry. There's no malware in MovieCaptioner to worry about.

All you need to do is go to the System Preferences, select Security and Privacy and then click the lock icon at the bottom of that window to make changes to that panel. Then select Anywhere under the sentence that says Allow applications downloaded from. It should then open just fine.

screenshot of security preferences icon

screenshot of security preferences settings

See this link for more information: New Security Features in OS X Mountain Lion | The Mac Security Blog




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21. MovieCaptioner will run as administrator on Windows, but won't run for other users on the same computer.

Most issues with Windows are due to the user not having read/write permissions. Make sure all users have read/write permissions to the ProgramData\MovieCaptioner folder. Make sure all the files in that folder have read/write rights as well.

Another option is to give the application rights to run as admin. See this link for more info on that: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/always-run-a-program-in-administrator-mode-in-windows-10/

windows security settings