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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+.

Windows 8’s lock screen is at home on a tablet, but it just adds an additional key press to the login process on a desktop or laptop.  You can disable the lock screen with a quick registry hack.

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For years, Java has been the top source of browser exploits. Even after a recent emergency patch, Java is still vulnerable. To protect ourselves, we should assume that Java is always going to be vulnerable.

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Windows 8 encourages you to set up a separate user account for everyone who uses the computer. However, you might want to buy an app – such as Angry Birds – and allow other people to use it.

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Google’s Chrome Web Store offers a variety of themes for Chrome, which include background images for your new tab page and custom colors. Even better — you can create your own theme in just a few minutes.

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Traceroute is a command-line tool included with Windows and other operating systems. Along with the ping command, it’s an important tool for understanding Internet connection problems, including packet loss and high latency.

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Modern-style apps in Windows 8 need a screen resolution of at least 1024×768. Unfortunately, many netbooks have a 1024×600 resolution. If you have a netbook, there’s a chance you can bypass this limitation and run modern apps anyway.

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We’ve covered virtual private networks and when you might want to use them before. Connecting to a VPN is easy, as Windows and most other operating systems offer built-in VPN support.

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You should only run a single antivirus application at a time, but none of them are perfect. Some antiviruses may catch malware that other antiviruses miss. Luckily, you don’t just have to rely on a single antivirus program.

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A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.

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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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