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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+.

Windows 8.1 invites you to “Get more features with a new edition of Windows.” You’ll get six more features if you upgrade to the Professional edition — plus a seventh if you pay extra.

about 10 hours ago - by  |  9 Replies

The Xposed Framework is a way to make system-level changes to your Android operating system without installing a custom ROM. All you need is root access. Here’s a look at what you can actually do with the Xposed Framework.

about 13 hours ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Google Docs doesn’t have the cluttered ribbon full of features you’ll find in Microsoft Office, but it does have quite a few useful tricks up its sleeve. You may never find these features unless you go looking for them.

about 1 day ago - by  |  Leave a reply

You can upgrade to the Professional edition of Windows 8 to get advanced features like BitLocker encryption, but other¬†features aren’t available to normal Windows users. They’re only in the Enterprise edition of Windows, which requires a volume-licensing agreement.

about 2 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Using a password manager helps here, as it can create strong passwords and remember them for you. But, even if you use a password manager, you’ll at least need to create and a remember a password for your password manager.

about 3 days ago - by  |  12 Replies

A whitelist should be a foolproof way to secure a relative’s PC. Select a handful of approved applications and only allow them to run. If someone using the PC downloads another .exe file, Windows will refuse to run it.

about 4 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Once, people seemed to love netbooks and were buying them in droves. Today, people love to hate netbooks. Netbooks sit unused and gathering dust in drawers and closets. But the core ideas behind netbooks lives on today.

about 5 days ago - by  |  24 Replies

Hybrid hard drives promise some of the performance of a solid-state drive with the capacity of a mechanical drive. They’re bigger than an SSD and faster than a plain-old mechanical drive.

about 6 days ago - by  |  15 Replies

There was a time when Macs and PCs were very different, but they’re now basically the same. Open a MacBook up and you’ll find the same hardware you’d find in a PC Ultrabook.

about 7 days ago - by  |  27 Replies

Tab completion is an extremely helpful feature in nearly any command-line environment, whether you’re using the Bash shell on Linux, Command Prompt or PowerShell on Windows, or a terminal window on Mac OS X.

about 8 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Windows is designed for desktop use, not gaming. The Windows key, Alt+Tab, and other keyboard options like Sticky Keys will rip you out of full-screen games and back to your desktop — but you can disable them.

about 8 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Windows, Linux, and other operating systems all have built-in support for IPv6, and it’s enabled by default. According to a myth going around, this IPv6 support is slowing down your connection and disabling it will speed things up.

about 9 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

You can hide files on any operating system, but hidden files can be accessed by anyone with access to your PC or its storage. Encryption actually protects your files, preventing people from accessing them without your encryption key.

about 10 days ago - by  |  23 Replies

In 2005, Linus Torvalds said, “I don’t use GNOME, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn’t do what I need it to do.” GNOME’s developers have continued removing options.

about 11 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

The update formerly known as Windows 8.1 Update 2 — now known as the August Update — was released on August 12. You probably didn’t even notice. It’s a small update that barely adds anything.

about 12 days ago - by  |  27 Replies

For most people, Caps Lock is only an obstacle to avoid while typing. Having Caps Lock do nothing at all would be an improvement. You don’t have to pry Caps Lock off your keyboard — you can disable it.

about 13 days ago - by  |  10 Replies

It’s time to upgrade to an SSD if you’re still using a mechanical hard drive in your computer. An SSD is the single biggest upgrade you can give your computer, and prices have come down dramatically.

about 14 days ago - by  |  46 Replies

The central processing unit (CPU) in your computer does the computational work — running programs, basically. But one single-core CPU can only perform one task at a time, which is where multiple CPUs, hyper-threading, and multi-core CPUs come into play.

about 15 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Microsoft’s Windows Store is a mess. It’s full of apps that exist only to scam people and take their money. Why doesn’t Microsoft care that their flagship app store is such a cesspool?

about 15 days ago - by  |  55 Replies

A hidden file or folder is just a normal file or folder with a “hidden” option set. Operating systems hide these files by default, so you can use this trick to hide some files if you share a computer with someone else.

about 16 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Linux, Mac, and other Unix-like systems display “load average” numbers. These numbers tell you how busy your system’s CPU, disk, and other resources are. They’re not self-explanatory at first, but it’s easy to become familiar with them.

about 17 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

If a program isn’t working right, just reinstalling it won’t necessarily fix it. You may need to reset the program to its default settings, and some programs don’t offer an easy way to do this.

about 18 days ago - by  |  8 Replies

Computers don’t come with operating system installation CDs anymore. If your operating system won’t boot, you’ll need a bootable recovery drive to fix it. All operating systems allow you to create these.

about 19 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

If you’ve had your laptop for a year or two, it may be full of dust. Dust clogs fans, vents, and heat sinks, preventing your PC from cooling down properly. You can remove a good amount of this dust, even if you can’t open your laptop.

about 20 days ago - by  |  17 Replies

Airplane mode disables a device’s cellular radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth — the wireless transmission functions. But many airplanes now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, and cellular access may be coming to planes soon — so where does that leave airplane mode?

about 21 days ago - by  |  19 Replies
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