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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+.

When you sign up for cable Internet service, you need a modem. You’re often asked to choose between renting the modem from your Internet service provider for a monthly fee or buying it outright.

about 11 hours ago - by  |  9 Replies

Thanks to the switch from PowerPC to Intel many years ago, a Mac is just another PC. Macs come with Mac OS X, but you can easily install Windows on them with Apple’s built-in Boot Camp feature.

about 1 day ago - by  |  16 Replies

Many computers give you the option to set a “hard disk password” along with operating system passwords and BIOS passwords. This is different from encryption — a hard disk password doesn’t actually encrypt your files.

about 2 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Macs can automatically download and reinstall their operating system. This process normally keeps your personal files, but you can choose to erase them. You can also create USB installation media to speed up installing OS X on multiple Macs.

about 3 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Microsoft Office costs money, except when it doesn’t. From a hidden 60 day free trial that doesn’t require payment details to web apps and mobile apps, there are many ways to get Office for free.

about 3 days ago - by  |  22 Replies

You can reinstall Windows from scratch using the product key that came with your PC, but you’ll have to find installation media yourself. Microsoft offers free Windows ISO files — if you know where to look.

about 4 days ago - by  |  29 Replies

Windows XP isn’t dead and buried yet. Microsoft will be creating security updates for XP for years to come, but those updates won’t be available to normal users. No, they’re just for large businesses and governments with money to burn.

about 5 days ago - by  |  26 Replies

The numbers in the title will vary from carrier to carrier and phone to phone, but we show how we came up with these numbers below. They illustrate how you’re paying more when you buy a phone on contract, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.

about 7 days ago - by  |  11 Replies

Microsoft is done supporting Windows XP. If you want security patches, you’ll have to buy an new boxed copy of Windows or a new PC — or you can switch to Linux and get free security updates for years to come.

about 8 days ago - by  |  22 Replies

Fax machines are still trucking along in offices around the world. Government agencies, lawyers, doctors, and other slow-moving organizations often still require faxes — at best, it’s a necessary evil.

about 9 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Video chat was once the future. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the video phone was supposed to be an awe-inspiring example of future technology. Well, that future is here — video chat has been with us for many years.

about 10 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Go anywhere people are taking photos and you’ll see someone taking photos with an iPad or some sort of Android tablet. Everyone’s already pointed out how silly this looks — but is it really a bad idea?

about 10 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

A Windows, Linux, or Mac password just prevents people from logging into your operating system. It doesn’t prevent people from booting other operating systems, wiping your drive, or using a live CD to access your files.

about 13 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

We all know we should create secure passwords. But, for all the time we spend worrying about our passwords, there’s a backdoor we never think about. Security questions are often easy to guess and can often bypass passwords.

about 19 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Chrome is a powerful browser, whether you’re using a desktop PC, smartphone, or tablet. These tips will help you browse faster and take advantage of Chrome’s features on the go.

about 20 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Microsoft’s OneNote is now free. Once a Windows-only note-taking application included with Office, it’s now a free cross-platform note-taking service for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and the web. This is Microsoft’s free Evernote competitor.

about 21 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

If you’re buying a new laptop for Linux, you shouldn’t just buy the Windows laptop you like and hope for the best — you should plan your purchase to ensure it will work well with Linux. Thankfully, Linux hardware compatibility is better than ever.

about 22 days ago - by  |  28 Replies

UltraViolet is a “digital locker” for your movies designed by the big movie studios. It’s a response to iTunes — studios don’t want all their customers using iTunes with Apple being the single company in control.

about 23 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

Microsoft’s Games Explorer — also known as the Games folder — is only a single click away every time you open Windows 7′s Start menu. It’s Microsoft’s interface to your PC games, but not every game appears here — and what is a “Game Provider,” anyway?

about 24 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Cable TV is an outdated concept. You pay an ever-increasing bill every month for thousands of shows you’ll never watch. When you do want to watch, you have to organize your life around the TV schedule or set up your own DVR.

about 24 days ago - by  |  44 Replies

MacBooks offer quite a few multi-touch trackpad gestures. These gestures allow you to perform common actions more quickly — the trackpad isn’t for pointing and clicking.

about 25 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Linux systems aren’t as light on disk space as they could be. For example, the APT package manager keeps package files around even after you install them — a waste of space unless you plan on uninstalling and reinstalling them.

about 26 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Chrome OS is based on desktop Linux, so a Chromebook’s hardware will definitely work well with Linux. A Chromebook can make a solid, cheap Linux laptop.

about 27 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Safari is easy to use, but you may never find all of its useful features unless you go looking for them. iPads have many useful navigation tricks you may never stumble across, and Safari has its own tricks.

about 28 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

PC manufacturers are now beginning to create all-in-one Android desktop PCs. They also sell Android laptops and convertibles that transform from a laptop-with-keyboard to a tablet. But should you buy one?

about 29 days ago - by  |  7 Replies
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