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+.

The paperless office isn’t yet here for many of us, and printers are still a fact of life. If your printer isn’t working quite right on a Windows PC, here are some simple troubleshooting tips that can fix it.

about 10 months ago - by  |  8 Replies

Printers come in all shapes and sizes, but they have similar problems. Troubleshooting a printer on a Mac is similar to troubleshooting it on a Windows PC, but the options you’ll need to check are in different places on Mac OS X than they are on Windows.

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

It’s a good idea to give each of the devices you use a meaningful name. This is especially important on Windows 10, as Microsoft has removed the computer name option from the first-time setup process. Windows 10 PCs will just receive random, meaningless names by default.

about 10 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

Google’s Chromecast offers a way to play games on your TV, too. You won’t find the same ecosystem of games you will for the Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV, but you will find some fun party games people can gather around the TV and play, using their smartphones as controllers.

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Amazon’s Fire Tablet offers both parental controls for quickly locking down a device as well as fine-grained “child profiles”. These child (or teen) profiles use the Kindle FreeTime feature, which is perhaps the most sophisticated parental-control solution for a tablet operating system

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Steam’s Music Player allows you to add a MP3 file stored on your computer to a local music library and play it back — inside or outside a game, with a controller or keyboard and mouse. This would be particularly useful on a Steam Machine or living-room gaming PC in Big Picture Mode.

about 10 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Sony and Microsoft chose not to ship the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles with solid-state drives. They went with slower mechanical drives to keep costs down, but you can speed up load times for your console games by adding a solid-state drive to your PS4 or Xbox One.

about 10 months ago - by  |  15 Replies

Microsoft has hidden the build number in an attempt to make Windows 10 look always-up-to-date, and there are still different editions of Windows 10 with different features. Microsoft is also still offering both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 10, too.

about 10 months ago - by  |  16 Replies

Modern desktop operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X offer built-in tools for calibrating your display‘s brightness, contrast, gamma, and color levels. This can help make text more readable and give images and videos more accurate colors.

about 10 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

Mac OS X can read from NTFS drives, but it can’t write to them unless you use one of the below tricks. We highly recommend paying for a third-party NTFS driver if you need to do this as the other solutions don’t work as well and are more work to set up.

about 10 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

If you’re a long-time Windows user, you’re probably familiar with service packs, but Microsoft seems done with them. Windows 10’s first big update — the “November update” — is a “build” rather than a service pack. Windows 10’s future big updates will be builds, too.

about 11 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

If your USB flash drive, SD card, or another drive isn’t working quite right, “cleaning” the drive and removing its partitions is one possible solution. This can fix problems with a drive that can’t be formatted or one that shows the wrong capacity.

about 11 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

Windows 10 doesn’t just automatically collect information about your computer usage. It does do that, but it may also pop up from time to time and ask for feedback. Here’s how to disable any Windows Feedback pop-up notifications you may see.

about 11 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

The exFAT file system is ideal for flash drives and SD cards. It’s like FAT32, but without the 4 GB file size limit. You can use exFAT drives on Linux with full read-write support, but you’ll need to install a few packages first.

about 11 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Whether you’re formatting an internal drive, external drive, USB flash drive, or SD card, Windows will give you the choice of NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. The Format dialog in Windows doesn’t explain the difference, so we will.

about 11 months ago - by  |  22 Replies

Windows 10 automatically installs updates in the background. The only way to prevent them from being installed is to set your connection as metered so they don’t download automatically. But updates — especially major new builds of Windows 10 like the November update — could potentially cause problems.

about 11 months ago - by  |  16 Replies

Modern laptop and desktop keyboards have a multi-purpose set of keys in the “function” row. These keys can perform special actions related to the audio volume, playback, and hardware features. They can also function as the classic F1-F12 keys — but not at the same time.

about 11 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Some manufacturers ship PCs with their internal drives divided into multiple partitions — one for the Windows operating system, and an empty “data” partition for your personal files. You can combine these partitions into a single one, if you prefer.

about 11 months ago - by  |  12 Replies

It’s easy to fill up a 16 GB phone by taking photos, recording videos, syncing music, and downloading large apps — especially large games. Here’s how to maximize that space if you’re not paying extra for more storage.

about 11 months ago - by  |  12 Replies

Whether you’re letting go of a computer or disposing of a USB drive, it’s a good idea to wipe that drive if there was ever sensitive, unencrypted data on it. This will prevent someone from using deleted-file-recovery tools to recover sensitive data from that drive.

about 11 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

All modern computers, smartphones, and tablets can now easily print web pages and other documents to PDF files without any extra software. Microsoft added this to Windows 10, and Apple added it to iOS 9.

about 11 months ago - by  |  9 Replies

Windows 10’s first big update in November 2015 added a device-tracking feature. You can now enable GPS tracking and remotely locate a lost Windows 10 tablet or laptop just like you’d track a smartphone, tablet, or MacBook.

about 11 months ago - by  |  11 Replies

Windows 10’s big November update added the ability to install apps from the Store onto an SD card, a USB drive, or another type of external or internal drive. This will be extremely useful on tablets and other devices with a small amount of storage. Just plug in an SD card and you can install apps to it.

about 11 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

Most new PCs come with Windows 10 Home, but you can pay for an upgrade from within Windows 10 to upgrade from Home to Pro. If you upgraded from the Professional editions of Windows 7 or 8.1, you already have Windows 10 Professional.

about 11 months ago - by  |  12 Replies

Windows 10 sometimes uses encryption by default, and sometimes it doesn’t — it’s complicated. Here’s how to check if your Windows 10 PC’s storage is encrypted and how to encrypt it if it isn’t. Encryption isn’t just about stopping the NSA — it’s about protecting your sensitive data in case you ever lose your PC.

about 11 months ago - by  |  32 Replies