How-To Geek is a great place to learn all kinds of things, and some of our articles are in-depth explanations of how something works. We call these explainer topics, and here’s the best ones that we published in 2011.
What Files Should You Backup on Your Windows PC?
You’ve probably been told many times that it’s a good idea to backup your PC. But, where do you start? What do you actually need to backup? The following article shows you the basics of backing up your PC, what files and folders you should backup, and why. Remember that every PC is different and some of the files and folders you may need to backup may be different from the ones discussed in the article depending on what data is important on your PC.
HTG Explains: What’s the Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7?
Have you heard the terms “32-bit” and “64-bit” and wondered what these terms actually mean and why you might want to run the 64-bit version of Windows 7? The following article takes you through the history of 32-bit and 64-bit computing, what your computer can run, and the advantages and disadvantages of using a 64-bit Windows environment.
HTG Explains: How Does Email Work?
Email is such a common and important form of communication today. You send and receive messages daily, whether you use a computer, smart phone, or tablet. The following article explains how email works in language anyone can understand.
Stop Believing TV’s Lies: The Real Truth About “Enhancing” Images
You’ve probably seen it many times on television and in movies. Some government agency uses their advanced technology to “enhance” a blurry image to clear up the face of a villain. Is it really possible to find faces in blurry pixels? The following article argues, using science and technology, that it is impossible to do with current technology and will likely never be possible.
HTG Explains: What are the Differences Between all those Audio Formats?
There are many different digital audio formats out there. How do you tell what formats to use in which situations? The following article discusses some of the more common audio formats, the differences among them, and for what purposes you would want to use them.
HTG Explains: What is HDR Photography, and How Can I Use It?
How-To Geek has taught you about various aspects of photography. One of them, High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging, can create beautiful photos with detail and clarity thought to be impossible. The following article teaches you about the different types of HDR imaging and clarifies confusing terminology.
Image credit: Exposure by Nevit Dilmen
HTG Explains: Do Firefox Memory Cleaners Actually Work?
If you use Firefox, you’ve probably noticed that it can consume a lot of system memory during normal use. This may happen due to the number of tabs you have open or the number of add-ons you have installed. However, even a fresh install of Firefox can use quite a bit of memory. There are a few Firefox add-ons that claim to free up memory the browser is no longer using, but do they actually work? The following article gives a brief explanation about how Windows handles memory, goes through an example of monitoring Firefox’s memory usage and how to interpret the results, and suggests some more effective methods for managing Firefox’s memory usage.
HTG Explains: Learn How UEFI Will Replace Your PC’s BIOS
The BIOS has been a part of your PC for a long time. You’ve probably heard of it, but you may not know what it is or what it does. It’s low-level software that is built-in on the motherboard of your PC and gets the hardware in your computer going when you boot your computer. It then passes control to the operating system or other boot loader. The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is going to be taking the place of BIOS. The following article describes these two technologies and provides some history.
What Is Anti-Aliasing, and How Does It Affect My Photos and Images?
Anti-aliasing is an important part of photography and image editing and should be understood if you want to create high quality images. The following article describes what anti-aliasing is, why we use it, and when you shouldn’t use it. Be ready for a very geeky article. We use a lot of math and science to explain anti-aliasing!
What File System Should I Use for My USB Drive?
Different operating systems and devices use different file systems to manage their files. How do you know what file system to use on a USB drive so you can transfer files to all your different devices? The following article describes which formats work for which systems to help you decide what file system will work best for formatting your USB drive.
HTG Explains: So You Lost Your Smartphone, Now What?
If you’ve lost your smartphone, you are probably panicking about all the private data on it and thinking “identity theft.” The following article shows you some precautionary steps you can take to help protect your data and to locate your phone once it is lost. We also show you something you can do if you weren’t prepared when you lost your phone, and even options available for replacing your phone.
HTG Explains: Do You Really Need to Defrag Your PC?
In the past, it was always thought that defragging your PC would make it operate faster. However, with today’s operating systems, you probably don’t need to manually defrag your PC. The following article shows you a couple of scenarios that help explain why this is true.
HTG Explains: When Do You Need to Update Your Drivers?
Drivers are computer programs that allow Windows, and other programs you install in Windows, to interact with hardware devices. For example, your computer needs a software program to know how to interact with all the features of your video card. Drivers have updates just like Windows and programs do. The following article gives advice about how often you really need to update your drivers.
HTG Explains: How Hackers Take Over Web Sites with SQL Injection / DDoS
You’ve probably heard about the infamous Sony PlayStation hack that compromised the personal information of many PlayStation online gamers. If you’ve ever wondered how that was done, the following article discusses the tools and techniques hacker groups use so you can understand what’s going on. We show you how two common attacks, “(Distributed) Denial of Service” (DDoS) and “SQL Injections” (SQLI) work. Note that we’re not trying to provide a manual so you can do this yourself. It’s just smart to be informed.
HTG Explains: Understanding Routers, Switches, and Network Hardware
If you are trying to setup a network at home, you have probably tried to make sense of routers, switches, hubs, and other network hardware to figure out what you need and how to get it to work. The following article discusses home networking hardware, telling you what the individual pieces do. We help you to know when you need each piece and how best to deploy them to optimize your home network.
We hope you’ve learned a lot!
Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.
- Published 12/10/11