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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 10 won’t hassle you to install an antivirus like Windows 7 did. Since Windows 8, Windows now includes a built-in antivirus named Windows Defender. But is it really the best for protecting your PC–or even just good enough?

about 9 months ago - by  |  37 Replies

Windows 10 has been released to the wider world, but the “Windows Insider” program is continuing. Testers will get access to new Windows features before everyone else, just as Windows Insiders could use Windows 10 for months before the rest of the world got it.

about 9 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Windows 10 isn’t just an improved desktop environment. It includes many “universal apps,” which often replace existing desktop apps. Unlike on Windows 8, these apps can run in windows on the desktop so you may actually want to use them.

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Windows 10 PCs automatically check for updates and install any updates they find. You can take some control over this and have Windows 10 install updates on your schedule, but these options are hidden. Windows Update really wants to automatically update on Windows 10.

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Apple’s Mac OS X and iOS send your Spotlight searches over the Internet to Apple. You then see results from Bing and suggested websites, locations, and media content. You can disable this and keep your searches entirely local, whether you’re using Spotlight on a Mac or iOS device.

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Windows 10 phones home more than any other version of Windows before it. Along with Windows 10, Microsoft released a new privacy policy and services agreement containing 45 pages of legalese. If Google wrote these, Microsoft might say you were being “Scroogled.”

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Here’s a dirty secret: Most Android devices never receive security updates. Ninety-five percent of Android devices can now be compromised via an MMS message, and that’s just the most high-profile bug. Google has no way to apply security patches to these devices, and manufacturers and carriers just don’t care.

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Windows 10 includes a package management tool built into PowerShell. In the final version, it’s named “PackageManagement”, but it’s still based on an open-source project named OneGet.

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Windows 10 includes some flashy new features like Task View virtual desktops, Cortana, the Edge browser, a Start menu, and apps that run in windows. Here are some of the other, more overlooked improvements.

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Windows 10 allows you to change the lock screen background, but the login screen background always features the default Windows 10 background. Use these tweaks and you can set any image or color you want as the background.

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Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs all updates. This includes security updates, feature updates, and driver updates provided through Windows Update. If a driver or update causes problems, you can uninstall it and block Windows from downloading it again.

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Upgraded an old version of Windows to a new version of Windows? You have a Windows.old folder on your computer, and it’s wasting a huge amount of space. You can delete it — but not like you’d delete a normal folder.

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Windows 10 is finally out — kind of. Microsoft initially promised that everyone could take advantage of the free upgrade offer on July 29, but you may have to wait a while before Microsoft offers the upgrade to your PC.

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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.

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Creating installation media for your operating system of choice used to be simple. Just download an ISO and burn it to CD or DVD. Now we’re using USB drives, and the process is a little different for each operating system.

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Some slow-moving businesses and government agencies may not accept documents over email, forcing you to fax them in. If you are forced to send a fax, you can do it from your computer for free.

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You probably shouldn’t install Windows 10 on your primary PC. But, if you are going to, you should at least install it in a dual-boot configuration. You can then reboot to switch between your installed versions of Windows.

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Google has added more and more parental control-style features to Android over the years. You can give a kid his or her own restricted user account, lock access to a specific app, or restrict what websites kids are allowed to use.

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Anti-exploit programs provide an additional layer of security by blocking the techniques attackers use. These solutions can protect you against Flash exploits and browser vulnerabilities, even new ones that haven’t been seen before or patched yet.

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The Cortana virtual assistant is one of Windows 10‘s headline features, but it’s only available in seven countries around the world at launch. “I’m afraid I’m not available to help in your region,” she’ll apologize.

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The mobile web doesn’t need Flash. iPads, iPhones, and modern Android devices don’t support Flash, and web developers offer HTML5 videos to serve those devices. But desktop browsers won’t always get these by default, even if you uninstall Flash.

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Yes, Macs can get malware. Beyond traditional viruses, worms, and Trojans, there’s now a thriving ecosystem of adware and spyware programs that bombard you with ads and spy on your web browsing, just like on Windows.

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Everyone wants to replace the password with something better. Well, we already have smartphones — and some of us even have smartwatches. These tools can log you into your computer with a smartphone or smartwatch.

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Your Windows 10 system may have a “Defer upgrades” option for Windows Update. This option delays feature upgrades for several months while allowing security updates through.

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Windows Update has seen a lot of changes on Windows 10. The biggest is a more aggressive approach to getting everyone up-to-date, but Windows 10 will also use BitTorrent-style peer-to-peer downloads for updates.

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