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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+.

Macs include a Wireless Diagnostics tool that can help you speed up your Wi-Fi network and improve its signal strength. It also includes many additional tools for power users.

about 11 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

All modern smartphone, tablet, and desktop operating systems offer secure ways to give a guest access to your computer. Lock them to a specific app or give them restricted access to your PC. Forget looking over their shoulder!

about 11 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Put your Chromebook into “Developer Mode” and you’ll get full root access, including the ability to modify your Chromebook’s system files. This is often used to install a full Linux system with something like Crouton.

about 11 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

Most characters you can type don’t appear on your keyboard, whether you’re using a physical keyboard or a touch one. Here’s how you can type them on your computer or mobile device.

about 12 months ago - by  |  21 Replies

Apple hides a lot of additional information and useful options in your Mac’s menus. You can access these hidden options by holding down the Option key.

about 12 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Upgrade to Windows 8 or 10 and you may be surprised to find that you can no longer play video DVDs or Blu-ray. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 and 10 don’t include built-in support for playing DVDs.

about 12 months ago - by  |  Comments (33)

If you use Google Chrome, there’s a good chance you’ve seen files with the “.crdownload” extension in your Downloads directory. Google Chrome creates one each time you begin downloading a file.

about 12 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Mac OS X has a desktop app store, unlike Windows. Get a new Mac and you may be excited to open the Mac App Store and install all your favorite software — but you won’t find all your favorite apps in the store.

about 12 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Local media servers have gone out of style. Microsoft no longer makes Windows Home Server and is phasing out Windows Media Center. But there are still great solutions if you want to run a home media server and stream to all your devices.

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The Internet is supposed to be a global network that links the entire world, but many websites are confined to specific countries. Unsurprisingly, piracy is higher in countries where content isn’t legally available.

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Wired connections, which use Ethernet cables, are generally faster and have lower latency than Wi-Fi connections. But, just as modern Wi-Fi hardware has advanced, modern Ethernet cables are capable of communicating at faster speeds.

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You’ll need a unique product key to reinstall Windows on your PC. This is more confusing than it sounds — you may not be able to re-use the key your computer’s manufacturer used.

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Microsoft operates over 100 retail stores across the USA and Canada. They’re not just places to shop — Microsoft Stores will perform basic Windows PC maintenance for you, for free. It doesn’t matter where you bought the PC, as long as it runs Windows.

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Windows makes it possible to change the welcome screen that appears when you start your computer without any third-party software, but this setting is well hidden in Windows 7 — although much easier in Windows 8 or 10. You can set any image you like as your background.

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Old devices using 802.11b Wi-Fi are a problem. They slow down modern Wi-Fi networks just by operating on the same channel nearby. Even your neighbors’ Wireless B devices may be slowing down your Wi-Fi.

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Crouton — made by a Google employee — is the ideal solution for running Linux on your Chromebook. If you’re a Crouton user, there are some extra commands you’ll want to know.

about 12 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Lenovo’s been shipping Superfish on their PCs for months. This is a security disaster, and it shows how little PC manufacturers actually care about your PC’s security. There’s only one way to ensure your new PC is actually safe to use.

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Apple’s Photos app saw some changes in iOS 8, and more changes are coming when iCloud Photo Library launches soon. Did you know that your photos app keeps copies of photos you’ve deleted?

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Are you using Apple’s Mail app on your Mac? Then you’re losing gigabytes of space you could be putting to better use! The mail app wants to cache every single email and attachment you’ve ever received offline.

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Want to make your tablet or smartphone’s battery last longer? Prevent it from automatically checking for new emails and other data in the background. “Fetch” will drain your battery the fastest.

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It’s easier than ever to find a PC game’s FPS. Steam now offers a built-in FPS display, and so does NVIDIA via its GeForce Experience software. Fraps is still around to display this for other games — and many games have this built-in, too.

about 12 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

It’s impossible to completely protect any device from an attacker with physical access. But, unless you set up your Mac properly, it just takes a reboot and a few seconds to bypass your password — or wipe your hard drive.

about 12 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Your iPhone’s keyboard offers some hidden tricks that can help you type faster. iPads offer some hidden tricks, too — did you know you can split your iPad’s keyboard and move it around the screen?

about 1 year ago - by  |  3 Replies

Not all of us have switched to smartphone photography. Whether you use a DSLR or just a point-and-shoot camera, there are ways to automatically upload and sync photos like you would with a smartphone.

about 1 year ago - by  |  2 Replies

For all the old jokes about one-button mice and simplicity, Macs have some power-user features Windows just doesn’t offer. Automator is one of them, offering a simple way to automate repetitive tasks without any third-party software.

about 1 year ago - by  |  1 Reply