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+.

Chromebooks don’t officially support Windows. You normally can’t even install Windows—Chromebooks ship with a special type of BIOS designed for Chrome OS. But there are ways to install Windows on many Chromebook models, if you’re willing to get your hands dirty.

about 28 days ago - by  |  11 Replies

Microsoft is now more aggressively pushing taskbar and action center ads for Microsoft Edge. These are just one of the many types of advertising in Windows 10. Here’s how to make Edge stop nagging you.

about 29 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

Windows 10, like Windows 8 before it, is integrated with Microsoft’s online services. Microsoft would prefer you sign into Windows with your Microsoft account, although you can still create a local account. Certain features are only available if you sign in with a Microsoft account, however.

about 30 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Apple Maps doesn’t automatically detect your Home address. If you move, Apple Maps and its widget will keep telling you how long it will take to drive to your previous home address—until you give it your new one.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

Whether you saw a message saying a virus was detected, or your computer just seems slow and unreliable, you’ll want to scan for malware on your PC and remove any you find.

about 1 month ago - by  |  17 Replies

Modern PCs ship with a feature called “Secure Boot” enabled. This is a platform feature in UEFI, which replaces the traditional PC BIOS. If a PC manufacturer wants to place a “Windows 10” or “Windows 8” logo sticker to their PC, Microsoft requires they enable Secure Boot and follow some guidelines.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

Got a bunch of files you want to rename, but don’t want to go through them each one by one? Windows provides more ways to do this than you may realize.

about 1 month ago - by  |  3 Replies

USB drives should automatically appear in Windows Explorer when you connect them to your computer. Follow these troubleshooting steps if Windows doesn’t show a connected drive.

about 1 month ago - by  |  5 Replies

Chromebooks aren’t “just a browser”—they’re Linux laptops. You can easily install a full Linux desktop alongside alongside Chrome OS and instantly switch between the two with a hotkey, no rebooting necessary.

about 1 month ago - by  |  28 Replies

Android is very customizable–many of its features are just defaults, and can be swapped out for third-party alternatives without any rooting required. When it comes to iOS, well…not so much.

about 1 month ago - by  |  4 Replies

Windows 8 asked you to “Trust This PC” after you signed in with a Microsoft account. This message is gone in Windows 10, replaced with a new “Trusted Devices” system that works differently.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

Starting with the Windows 10 Creators Update, which comes out this spring, anyone who installs the Bash environment will get Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial). But, if you’ve previously installed Bash in the Anniversary Update, you’ll be stuck with Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) until you manually upgrade.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Apple claims their live streams are only available in Safari on macOS and iOS. But you don’t have to miss the new iPhone launch if you’re using a Windows PC or Android device. Apple doesn’t make it obvious how to do this, but you can watch its live events on any operating system.

about 1 month ago - by  |  10 Replies

Need to extract an archive or compress some files? Avoid big-name programs like WinZip and WinRAR, which are packed with nags and advertisements. Modern versions of Windows have integrated support for ZIP files, and anything else is best managed with the free, open source 7-Zip.

about 1 month ago - by  |  7 Replies

The Windows 10 Creators Update–also known as Redstone 2–is due to hit PCs in Spring 2017. Like other updates to Windows 10, it’s free, and includes a host of new features.

about 1 month ago - by  |  12 Replies

Desktop gadgets and the Windows Sidebar were a big hallmark feature in Windows Vista and Windows 7. But Microsoft removed desktop gadgets, and you won’t find them in Windows 8 or 10.

about 1 month ago - by  |  4 Replies

Not all apps run in the foreground. Some sit quietly in the background, doing work for you with an icon in the Notification Area–also commonly (but apparently incorrectly) known as the System Tray. Windows helps you manage this clutter, controlling which icons appear on your taskbar and whether certain system icons appear at all.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

Assigned Access allows you to easily lock a Windows PC to a single application of your choice. This feature makes it easy for anyone to configure Windows 10 (or Windows 8.1) PCs as point-of-sale or other kiosk systems.

about 1 month ago - by  |  18 Replies

Let’s be honest: Modern web browsers are all pretty solid. Even Microsoft Edge is much better than older versions of Internet Explorer. But we believe Google Chrome is still the best web browser for most people.

about 1 month ago - by  |  26 Replies

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality headsets sit over your eyes, and glasses can get in the way. You can use some pairs of glasses with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but you may want to measure your glasses before you buy a headset.

about 2 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Modern smartphones and cloud photo services want to automatically upload every single photo you take to the cloud. This ensures all those photos you take are safely backed up somewhere, but it isn’t ideal for every single photo. Unfortunately, companies like Apple and Google haven’t gotten that message. Here’s how to control which photos get uploaded, and to where.

about 2 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

There are two webs. There’s the normal web most people use every day, which is easily accessible and indexed by search engines. And then there’s the “dark web”–hidden websites that won’t show up when you search Google, and can’t be accessed without special software.

about 2 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

Some laptops come with “Wi-Fi” function keys or switches that can quickly enable or disable your Wi-Fi. If your PC doesn’t have one of these, though, you can make one with the tools built into Windows.

about 2 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Laptops, tablets, and phones never seem to know exactly how many hours of power they have left. The estimate may jump from two hours to five hours before dropping back down to one hour. Even worse, the battery may suddenly die without warning.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

The Microsoft Outlook desktop application supports Outlook.com addresses ending in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, and @msn.com. However, it’s not necessarily obvious how to add them–especially if you’re using two-step verification.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply