SEARCH

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+.

You probably shouldn’t update your BIOS, but sometimes you need to. Here’s how to check what BIOS version your computer is using and flash that new BIOS version onto your motherboard as quickly and safely as possible.

about 10 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Microsoft’s Windows To Go feature installs Windows as a live system on a bootable USB drive. It’s officially only for Enterprise editions of Windows, but we’ve found a way to do it with any edition of Windows 8 or 8.1.

about 10 months ago - by  |  16 Replies

Ubuntu doesn’t offer the Safe Mode and Automatic Repair tools you’ll find in Windows, but it does offer a recovery menu and a reinstall option that keeps your files and programs.

about 10 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

When Windows blue-screens, it creates memory dump files — also known as crash dumps. This is what Windows 8’s BSOD is talking about when it says its “just collecting some error info.”

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions now use the GRUB2 boot loader. You can change its settings to select a default operating system, set a background image, and choose how long GRUB counts down before automatically booting the default OS.

about 10 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

Google introduced Google Drive on April 24, 2012 and promised Linux support “coming soon.” That was nearly two and a half years ago. There’s now a somewhat “official” Google Drive client for Linux, but it’s probably not what you want.

about 10 months ago - by  |  23 Replies

When you buy a new laptop or tablet, you’ll often be able to “customize” it by paying extra for a faster CPU. But this may not be a good idea — the higher-end CPU might be a worse fit for the device!

about 10 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Not all solid-state storage is as fast as an SSD. “eMMC” is the kind of flash storage you’ll find in cheap tablets and laptops. It’s slower and cheaper than a traditional SSD you’d find in more expensive computers.

about 11 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Ubuntu and practically every other Linux distribution use the GRUB2 boot loader. Unless you have multiple operating systems installed, this bootloader is normally hidden — but it provides options you may sometimes need.

about 11 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Until recently, you needed to spend hundreds of dollars — often $649 or “$199 with a two year contract” — to get a smartphone with good performance that could run the latest apps. Solid smartphones are now much cheaper.

about 11 months ago - by  |  18 Replies

Cloud storage isn’t just for your own personal files. You can use it to easily share files without any hassle. Share files back-and-forth with your friends and colleagues, or make them available to the entire Internet.

about 11 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Microsoft once claimed the original 64 GB Surface Pro would have only 23 GB of usable free space — that’s more than half used for system files! But Windows now fits on 16 GB drives.

about 11 months ago - by  |  11 Replies

Keyboard shortcuts are a crucial way to do almost anything on your computer faster, whether it’s browsing the web, working with text, or just getting around your desktop. Among its other useful features, VLC is packed with keyboard shortcuts.

about 11 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

The cloud storage wars are heating up. Microsoft now offers 1 TB of cloud storage along with Office 365, and both Dropbox and Google are offering 1 TB at just $10 per month. Flickr even offers 1 TB for free.

about 11 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

Every Windows user is fighting a constant war against junkware that legitimate application installers try to sneak onto our systems. Here’s everything you can do to protect yourself from obnoxious browser toolbars and all that other junk.

about 11 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Have you ever wanted to monitor who’s logging into your computer and when? On Professional editions of Windows, you can enable logon auditing to have Windows track which user accounts log in and when.

about 11 months ago - by  |  Comments (17)

According to an old rule of thumb, your page file or swap should be “double your RAM” or “1.5x your RAM.” But do you really need a 32 GB page file or swap if you have 16 GB of RAM?

about 11 months ago - by  |  19 Replies

Free, public Wi-Fi access points are popping up in more and more places around the world. They’re extra useful when travelling, as you won’t have your home Wi-Fi network and may not want to pay for international mobile data.

about 11 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Hyper-V is a virtual machine feature built into Windows. It was originally part of Windows Server 2008, but made the leap the to desktop with Windows 8. Hyper-V allows you to create virtual machines without any additional software.

about 11 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Your smartphone or tablet’s home screen isn’t just for apps. Whatever platfgorm you’re using, you can pin your favorite websites to your home screen so you can quickly access them.

about 11 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Virtual machines allow you to run an operating system in a window on your desktop. Use them to run software made for other operating systems, experiment with different operating systems, and sandbox software.

about 11 months ago - by  |  17 Replies

The permissions here are really file and directory permissions, but they’re generally called “disk permissions.” Your Mac won’t automatically repair permissions except while installing or upgrading Mac OS X itself.

about 11 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Many new laptops, tablets, and devices in between are coming with an ever-smaller amount of storage. But you can expand your device’s storage without spending much money or time.

about 11 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

VLC has many hidden features you might not have noticed. Among these features is a powerful add-on system that supports everything from feature-adding extensions to skins.

about 11 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Some laptops and tablets now ship with Microsoft’s “Windows 8.1 with Bing” operating system, something you may see mentioned in their technical specifications. But how is this different from Windows 8.1 — is using Bing mandatory?

about 11 months ago - by  |  5 Replies