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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+.

If you’ve heard anything at all about Linux, you’ve probably heard of Linux distributions – often shortened to “Linux distros.” When deciding to use Linux – on a desktop computer or server – you’ll first need to choose a distro.

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If you use Safari on Windows, we have some bad news for you: the new Safari 6 has been out for over five months and Apple has confirmed it will not be released on Windows.

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You’re guaranteed to stumble into an occasional error page while browsing the web. This guide will help you understand exactly what each erro page means and what to do when you see them.

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Linux has come a long way, but you may still need to run Windows applications occasionally – especially Windows-only PC games. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to run Windows applications on Linux.

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Windows 8 no longer includes the Windows Classic theme, which hasn’t been the default theme since Windows 2000. If you don’t like Windows 8’s bright colors, you can get classic-style themes for your Windows 8 desktop – or create your own.

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Reinstalling Windows is one of the easiest ways to fix software problems on your computer, whether it’s running slow or infected by viruses. You should also reinstall Windows before you get rid of an old PC.

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The NTFS file system used by Windows has a built-in compression feature known as NTFS compression. With a few clicks, you can compress files, making them take up less space on your hard drive. Best of all, you can still access the files normally.

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Open home Wi-Fi networks are still too common. The situation has improved as wireless router manufacturers began shipping with wireless passwords enabled by default, but there are still too many unsecured Wi-Fi networks out there.

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The Professional edition of Windows 8 comes with “downgrade rights.” If you’re not happy with Windows 8 on a new computer, you can downgrade it to Windows 7 for free – as long as you have Windows 8 Pro.

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Steam for Linux is finally out. Whether you’re an old Linux user who’s never cared much about gaming performance or a new user dipping your toes into Linux gaming, we’ll help get those games running as smoothly as possible.

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Computer repair places like Best Buy’s Geek Squad do a lot of things that you can easily do yourself. Instead of paying for a pricy malware removal or computer tune-up, you can do it yourself.

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Windows 8 no longer comes with Windows Media Center by default. To get it, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro and purchase the Media Center Pack. It’s free until January 31, 2013, but this will soon be even pricier.

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Windows users regularly reinstall Windows (or restore from a recovery partition) to fix system problems. Windows 8 includes easier-to-use “Refresh” and “Reset” options that quickly restore Windows to a fresh, factory default configuration.

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You’ve got WEP encryption enabled, your network’s SSID is hidden, and you’ve enabled MAC address filtering so no one else can connect. Your Wi-Fi network is secure, right? Not really.

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If you’re looking to purchase Windows 8, there are two main editions you need to concern yourself with: Windows 8 (similar to the Home edition in previous versions of Windows) and Windows 8 Pro.

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We’ve written about rooting your Android smartphones and tablets before, but why don’t they come rooted? Google argues that rooting is a mistake for security reasons, as it subverts Android’s security model.

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Every now and then, you’ll encounter a website that forces you to register to view it. Rather than give the website your real email address – often an invitation to spam – you can use one of these tricks instead.

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We’ve covered several solutions for accessing your desktop remotely over the Internet, including TeamViewer and VNC. However, if you have a Professional edition of Windows, you already have Windows Remote Desktop installed.

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Windows 8’s advanced startup tools function differently than the tools on previous versions of Windows. If your Windows 8 system can’t boot properly, the tools will appear automatically so you can fix the problem.

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Windows 8 allows you to create a recovery drive (USB) or system repair disc (CD or DVD) that can be used to troubleshoot and restore your computer. Each type of recovery media gives you access to Windows’ advanced startup options.

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In a world where you can have 3D scenes rendered in real time as your smartphone’s background, plain black wallpapers aren’t the most eye-catching option. However, they can offer battery life improvements over colored wallpapers on some displays.

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Installing RAM should be as simple as placing the new RAM into the slots and powering on your computer. However, a number of issues – both hardware and software related – can cause problems when installing new RAM.

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Your computer stores low-level settings like the system time and hardware settings in its CMOS. These settings are configured in the BIOS setup menu. If you’re experiencing a hardware compatibility issue or another problem, you may want to try clearing the CMOS.

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Windows 8 has a new File History backup system that replaces Windows 7’s backup tools. However, Windows 8 still contains the Windows 7 backup tools. They’re particularly useful for creating full system image backups.

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Windows Live Mesh is set to shut down on February 13, 2013. If you still depend on Windows Live Mesh, you’ll need to find some alternatives soon. Remember to download your files before the deadline, too!

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