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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+.

The Windows 10 upgrade process drags old files, settings, and programs from your previous Windows system to your new one. If you want a completely fresh system, though, you have a couple options.

about 26 days ago - by  |  117 Replies

Dangerous root certificates are a serious problem. From Lenovo’s Superfish to Dell’s eDellRoot and a number of other certificates installed by adware programs, your computer’s manufacturer or a program you installed may have added a certificate that opens you to attack. Here’s how to check if your certificates are clean.

about 27 days ago - by  |  57 Replies

Manufacturers have been pushing “Ultra HD” 4k TVs for a couple years now. There are plenty of models available now, and they’re cheaper than ever, too. But should you buy one?

about 1 month ago - by  |  13 Replies

New 4K monitors are dropping in price, and they are available almost everywhere. They can be found now for a few hundred bucks, and we’ve seen some great sale prices. But are they worth the money, and should you upgrade?

about 1 month ago - by  |  18 Replies

Modern versions of Mac OS X no longer need you to repair disk permissions. However, that’s not the only issue that can occur with a disk or file system. Mac OS X contains a variety of tools for repairing disk, partition, and file system errors.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

With Windows 10, Microsoft seems to have disabled System Restore by default — at least on some PCs. System Restore has been around since Windows ME, creating snapshots of system files you can restore if a problem occurs.

about 1 month ago - by  |  11 Replies

BitLocker disk encryption normally requires a TPM on Windows. Microsoft’s EFS encryption can never use a TPM. The new “device encryption” feature on Windows 10 and 8.1 also requires a modern TPM, which is why it’s only enabled on new hardware. But what is a TPM?

about 1 month ago - by  |  13 Replies

Can’t remember your Mac’s password? Don’t worry. With the default settings, you can simply try logging into your Mac. Fail enough times and you’ll be able to reset your password with your Apple ID. But this won’t always work.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Tell your file manager to show hidden files and you’ll see quite a few junk files scattered across your folders. Windows creates thumbs.db and desktop.ini files in many folders, and Mac OS X creates .DS_Store files.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Each network-connected device — laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and everything else — has an IP address on the network and a unique MAC address. There are many reasons you might need to find this information, so here’s how to find it on all the laptops, smartphones, and tablets you might have lying around.

about 2 months ago - by  |  20 Replies

If you’re dual-booting Linux alongside Windows 10, 8, or 8.1 and you want to mount your Windows system partition and access its files, you’ll run into a problem. You’ll see an error saying “The NTFS partition is hibernated” due to the new hybrid boot feature, preventing you from accessing its files.

about 2 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 all include BitLocker drive encryption, but that’s not the only encryption solution they offer. Windows also includes an encryption method named the “encrypting file system”, or EFS. Here’s how it differs from BitLocker.

about 2 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 months ago - by  |  16 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 months ago - by  |  3 Replies