Building your own computer is actually pretty simple. Don’t be afraid to dive right in — all you’ll need is a screwdriver, patience, and the ability to follow simple instructions.
Most computers ship with a single operating system, but you can have multiple operating systems installed on a single PC. Having two operating systems installed — and choosing between them at boot time — is known as “dual-booting.”
OpenOffice.org was once the open-source office suite of choice, but it fractured into two separate projects — Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Never mind Oracle Open Office, which was actually a closed-source office suite and was discontinued.
Yes, there are some situations where you’ll want to regularly change your passwords. But those will probably be the exception rather than the rule. Telling typical computer users they need to regularly change their passwords is a mistake.
iTunes uses an authorization system to ensure only a handful of computers can access your purchased music, videos, and other content at any given time. You should deauthorize iTunes before getting rid of a computer or reinstalling Windows.
Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade to all Windows 8 users, but you normally can’t install Windows 8.1 with a Windows 8 product key. Luckily, you can get around this limitation if you really want a fresh install of Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 allows you to limit and monitor data usage, which isn’t just useful if you have a Windows tablet or laptop with mobile data. It’s also useful if you’re tethering your PC to your smartphone.
Many Internet service providers are now giving their customers combined devices that function as both a modem and a wireless router. With these devices, you don’t have to buy a router — but you can, if you like.
Macs have a thriving ecosystem of software, but some programs still only support Windows. Whether you want to use business software or play Windows PC games, there are many ways to run Windows programs on your Mac.
If you use Windows 8.1 on the desktop, you can’t ignore the new “Windows 8-style” interface entirely. There are some important options you can only access from the PC Settings app, not the desktop Control Panel.
It’s common wisdom that deleted files can’t be recovered from solid-state media, only from traditional mechanical hard drives. But this only applies to internal drives — USB flash drives and external solid-state drives are vulnerable to file-recovery attacks.
If a Windows system is badly infected with malware, running an antivirus from inside Windows often won’t help. You can more easily find and purge malware by scanning from outside Windows.
Many computers give you the option to set a “hard disk password” along with operating system passwords and BIOS passwords. This is different from encryption — a hard disk password doesn’t actually encrypt your files.
Macs can automatically download and reinstall their operating system. This process normally keeps your personal files, but you can choose to erase them. You can also create USB installation media to speed up installing OS X on multiple Macs.
Windows XP isn’t dead and buried yet. Microsoft will be creating security updates for XP for years to come, but those updates won’t be available to normal users. No, they’re just for large businesses and governments with money to burn.
The numbers in the title will vary from carrier to carrier and phone to phone, but we show how we came up with these numbers below. They illustrate how you’re paying more when you buy a phone on contract, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.
Microsoft is done supporting Windows XP. If you want security patches, you’ll have to buy an new boxed copy of Windows or a new PC — or you can switch to Linux and get free security updates for years to come.
Video chat was once the future. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the video phone was supposed to be an awe-inspiring example of future technology. Well, that future is here — video chat has been with us for many years.
Go anywhere people are taking photos and you’ll see someone taking photos with an iPad or some sort of Android tablet. Everyone’s already pointed out how silly this looks — but is it really a bad idea?
A Windows, Linux, or Mac password just prevents people from logging into your operating system. It doesn’t prevent people from booting other operating systems, wiping your drive, or using a live CD to access your files.