Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

Not all apps run in the foreground. Some sit quietly in the background, doing work for you with an icon in the Notification Area–also commonly (but apparently incorrectly) known as the System Tray. Windows helps you manage this clutter, controlling which icons appear on your taskbar and whether certain system icons appear at all.

about 8 hours ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Assigned Access allows you to easily lock a Windows PC to a single application of your choice. This feature makes it easy for anyone to configure Windows 10 (or Windows 8.1) PCs as point-of-sale or other kiosk systems.

about 9 hours ago - by  |  18 Replies

Let’s be honest: Modern web browsers are all pretty solid. Even Microsoft Edge is much better than older versions of Internet Explorer. But we believe Google Chrome is still the best web browser for most people.

about 17 hours ago - by  |  12 Replies

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality headsets sit over your eyes, and glasses can get in the way. You can use some pairs of glasses with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but you may want to measure your glasses before you buy a headset.

about 4 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Modern smartphones and cloud photo services want to automatically upload every single photo you take to the cloud. This ensures all those photos you take are safely backed up somewhere, but it isn’t ideal for every single photo. Unfortunately, companies like Apple and Google haven’t gotten that message. Here’s how to control which photos get uploaded, and to where.

about 4 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

There are two webs. There’s the normal web most people use every day, which is easily accessible and indexed by search engines. And then there’s the “dark web”–hidden websites that won’t show up when you search Google, and can’t be accessed without special software.

about 5 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Some laptops come with “Wi-Fi” function keys or switches that can quickly enable or disable your Wi-Fi. If your PC doesn’t have one of these, though, you can make one with the tools built into Windows.

about 5 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Laptops, tablets, and phones never seem to know exactly how many hours of power they have left. The estimate may jump from two hours to five hours before dropping back down to one hour. Even worse, the battery may suddenly die without warning.

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The Microsoft Outlook desktop application supports addresses ending in,,, and However, it’s not necessarily obvious how to add them–especially if you’re using two-step verification.

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Unlimited cellular data is tough to come by. Keep an eye on how much data you’re using to avoid paying overage fees or having your data speed throttled down to a trickle for the rest of your billing cycle.

about 7 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Transmission was long considered one of the best BitTorrent clients for Mac, but it’s recently seen back-to-back compromises of its servers. If you’re worried about Transmission’s security, here are some other great options.

about 8 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Data is data…except when it’s not. T-Mobile makes things a little confusing by giving you a certain amount of data, then offering unlimited music and video streaming that doesn’t count against the allowance–but only for certain services.

about 11 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Remember when uTorrent was great? The upstart BitTorrent client was super lightweight and trounced other popular BitTorrent clients. But that was long ago, before BitTorrent, Inc. bought uTorrent and crammed it full of crapware and scammy advertisements.

about 13 days ago - by  |  27 Replies

Website addresses that end in “.onion” aren’t like normal domain names, and you can’t access them with a normal web browser. Addresses that end with “.onion” point to Tor hidden services on the “deep web”.

about 15 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

If you ever wanted to make your web traffic seem like it was coming from a different browser–say, to trick a site that claims it’s incompatible with yours–you can. All popular browsers offer built-in user agent switchers, so you can change your user agent without installing any extensions.

about 16 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Microsoft’s Xbox One can now play a limited number of Xbox 360 games. But it’s not as simple as inserting any old disc and starting it up. Only some games will work, and the Xbox One runs them in an emulator.

about 17 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

If you need to access an FTP server, you can install dedicated FTP clients with lots of features –but you don’t necessarily have to. Windows itself offers several ways for connecting to an FTP server, allowing you to download and upload files in a pinch.

about 19 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

When you sign up for Insider Preview builds, Windows warns that you “may” need to reinstall Windows to get back to the stable version of Windows. But this is a worst case scenario, and there are other ways to get off the Insider Preview track.

about 19 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Connect speakers, headphones, a webcam with a built-in microphone, a Bluetooth headset, or another audio devices to your Windows PC and you’ll need to choose which devices Windows actually uses. This is easy to configure–and now even easier on Windows 10.

about 20 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Apple is working on a new file system known as the Apple File System. APFS will probably become the default file system on macOS and iOS in 2017, but it’s available as prerelease software on macOS Sierra.

about 21 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Did you know there’s a version of Windows 10 that doesn’t get big feature updates, and doesn’t even have the Windows Store or Microsoft Edge browser? It’s called Windows 10 LTSB, short for Long Term Servicing Branch.

about 21 days ago - by  |  25 Replies

Windows 10’s Game DVR feature can slow your gaming performance by recording video in the background. If you don’t care about recording your gameplay, disable Game DVR for performance reasons.

about 21 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

The Windows Search feature provides fast file searches by building an index. This index is used by the Start menu, the search box in File Explorer and Windows Explorer, and even the Cortana assistant on Windows 10.

about 22 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

iOS 9 brought a useful new feature you may not have noticed yet. Known as “Facedown detection”, your iPhone can detect when it’s placed face down and won’t turn the screen on when notifications arrive. This can save a lot of battery power if you regularly receive notifications.

about 24 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

You’ve seen it on plenty of PC help sites. “Uninstall fonts to speed up your computer!” Don’t follow this advice–it’s a myth. Uninstalling fonts is a troubleshooting tip for fixing a specific problem, not a general performance tip for speeding up your computer.

about 25 days ago - by  |  1 Reply
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