Use the drivers Windows provides and you won’t have to worry about bloatware. If you do have to install the drivers provided by your manufacturer, here’s how to avoid all the heavy control panels and startup applications they include.
Linux applications store their settings in hidden folders inside each user account’s home folder. This makes application settings much easier to back up and restore than they are on Windows, where settings are scattered across the registry and system folders.
Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your computer, open iTunes, and you’ll see a large amount of space used by “Other” storage. iTunes won’t let you delete any of this “Other” data to free up space.
Ubuntu provides four different software repositories, all of them official — Main, Restricted, Universe, and Multiverse. Main and Restricted are fully supported by Canonical, while Universe and Multiverse don’t receive the support you might expect.
Your Windows system’s uptime is displayed in the Task Manager. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open it.
Your computer is probably running a 64-bit version of Windows. But take a look at the Task Manager and you’ll see most programs on your system are still 32-bit. Is this a problem?
Windows domains are typically used on large networks — corporate networks, school networks, and government networks. They aren’t something you’ll encounter at home unless you have a laptop provided by your employer or school.
Regulatory agencies in the US, Canada, and Europe now allow you to use electronics during takeoff and landing. This is called “gate-to-gate” device use — you could be using a device the entire time you’re on an airplane.
Google Services shows up on Android’s Battery statistics screen as one of the many things draining your battery. It can sometimes drain an excessive amount of battery power, but you can solve this problem.
Search engines are becoming ever-more integrated into mobile operating systems, but you can still change your default search engine on your smartphone or tablet. You don’t have to stick with the search engine the device manufacturer chose for you.
An “ATM skimmer” is a malicious device criminals attach to an ATM. When you use an ATM that’s been compromised in such a way, the skimmer will create a copy of your card and capture your PIN.
Adobe is no longer developing the Flash for Firefox on Linux. You’re still getting security updates, but that’s it — your Flash Player plug-in is already several major versions out-of-date.
Windows is packed full of system tools, and many of them are in the Administrative Tools folder. The tools here are more powerful and complex, so they’re hidden where most Windows users won’t stumble across them.
Set up a new disk on Windows 8.1 or 8 and you’ll be asked whether you want to use MBR or GPT. GPT is the new standard and is gradually replacing MBR.
Windows’ BitLocker encryption defaults to 128-bit AES encryption, but you can choose to use 256-bit AES encryption instead. Using a 256-bit AES key could potentially offer more security against future attempts to access your files.
Unknown devices show up in the Windows Device Manager when Windows can’t identify a piece of hardware and provide a driver for it. An unknown device isn’t just unknown — it’s not functioning until you install the right driver.
Each Linux distribution comes with a single default desktop environment chosen from the many different desktop environments available for Linux. But you don’t have to stick with the default.
Want to install a custom Android ROM — in other words, a third-party version of the Android operating system — like CyanogenMod? You’ll probably be instructed to install a custom recovery, too.
BitLocker normally encrypts entire drives and partitions, but you can also create encrypted container files with tools built into Windows. Such encrypted VHD files can easily be moved between systems, backed up, and hidden when not in-use.
Whether you want to use a new font in a Word or just change your operating system’s system font to give it a different look, you’ll first have to install the font on your operating system.
Whether your device was stolen or simply lost, you can remotely track, lock, and wipe it. Don’t wait until you’ve lost your hardware to think about this — these features need to be enabled ahead of time.
Linux distributions tend to use two different types of release cycles: standard releases and rolling releases. Some people swear by rolling releases to have the latest software, while others like standard releases for being more stable and tested.
Windows can encrypt entire operating system drives and removable devices with its built-in BitLocker encryption. When TrueCrypt controversially closed up shop, they recommended their users transition away from TrueCrypt to BitLocker.
Apple’s phone, tablet, and computer-tracking tools are the best in the business. You can remotely locate your device, disable it with a lock and message that persists through factory resets — the so-called “kill switch” — and wipe it.
Passwords can be reset or bypassed on every operating system. On Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, you can gain access to a computer’s unencrypted files after resetting the password — the password doesn’t actually prevent access to your files.