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+.

With Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, Microsoft now offers a dark theme–known as “dark mode”. This option was previously hidden and could only be enabled with a registry hack. Now, it’s a simple toggle.

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Windows 10 can find your device’s location in a variety of ways, often by examining nearby Wi-Fi networks. But this doesn’t always work well, especially on desktop PCs. That’s why Windows 10 offers a way to set a “default location” that is reported to apps if it can’t get a solid read on your location.

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The free Windows 10 license you receive is tied to your PC’s hardware. You’re still allowed to use Windows 10 on that same PC even after changing its hardware. Activating that license is easier than ever in Windows 10’s Anniversary Update.

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With Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, you can now reset an app’s data without actually uninstalling and reinstalling the app. This can fix problems when an app has gotten into a bad state, or just quickly restore an app to its default settings.

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Microsoft has long offered a “Windows Defender Offline” tool you can use to perform malware scans from outside of Windows. With Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, this tool is included with Windows, and even easier to launch. Here’s how to use it, no matter which version of Windows you’re on.

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Windows 10 has always included the Windows Defender antivirus, but many Windows users didn’t notice it was even there. To make it more obvious, Windows 10’s Anniversary Update adds a Windows Defender icon to the notification area on your taskbar.

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Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender, a built-in antivirus tool to help protect your PC from malware. With the Anniversary Update, Windows Defender can keep protecting your PC by providing a second layer of protection, even if you install another antivirus.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update brings a “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows” environment to Windows 10. But don’t be deceived: This is more than just a Bash shell. It’s a full compatibility layer for running Linux applications on Windows.

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Microsoft Edge finally supports browser extensions thanks to Windows 10’s Anniversary Update. Edge extensions are now available in the Windows Store, although only a few are initially available.

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Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs updates, but a new feature in Windows 10’s Anniversary Update gives you more control over when this happens. Set “active hours” when you generally use your PC, and Windows won’t restart your computer during those hours.

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Microsoft recently updated the Xbox One, replacing Xbox voice commands with the Cortana assistant. Cortana is more powerful and flexible, but it’s also slower than the old Xbox voice commands.

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Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer is over–or is it? There’s still a way to activate Windows 10 with a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 key, in addition to Microsoft’s accessibility offer.

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Did you just install the Anniversary update? If so, there’s more than 10 GB of data wasting space on your hard drive. On a laptop or tablet with a limited amount of storage, this can fill up your device quite a bit.

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Microsoft doesn’t want you to disable Cortana. You used to be able to turn Cortana off in Windows 10, but Microsoft removed that easy toggle switch in the Anniversary Update. But you can still disable Cortana via a registry hack or group policy setting. This transforms the Cortana box into a “Search Windows” tool for local application and file searches.

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Windows 10’s second big update, dubbed the “Anniversary Update”, is finally here. This is a huge update that touches every corner of the operating system. It includes many, many more changes than the November update did.

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The macOS dock normally appears at the bottom of your screen, but it doesn’t have to. The dock is customizable in quite a few ways you might not be aware of, especially if you’re a new Mac user.

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The free Windows 10 upgrade offer is finally over, and Microsoft will stop harassing Windows 7 and 8.1 users with misleading upgrade popups. But Windows 7 and 8.1 aren’t done for. They’re both solid operating systems that Microsoft will be officially supporting for years to come.

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The free Windows 10 upgrade offer may technically be over, but it isn’t 100% gone. Microsoft still provides a free Windows 10 upgrade to anyone who checks a box saying they use assistive technologies on their computer. This offer will end at some point, but Microsoft hasn’t announced when.

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Poor signal strength could be your carrier’s fault, or it could be because of signal-blocking materials in your home’s walls. Whatever the cause, you can boost that signal and get the maximum number of bars at home. Or, better yet, just use Wi-Fi calling on a modern phone.

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Windows 10 is an odd beast. It’s a worthy upgrade to Windows 7, and a big improvement from Windows 8. But Microsoft made quite a few decisions people weren’t happy about. So, a year into Windows 10, with a new update on the way, we ask: Did Microsoft listen to the complaints?

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Microsoft’s BitLocker encryption always forces you to create a recovery key when you set it up. You may have printed that recovery key, written it down, saved it to a file, or stored it online with a Microsoft account. If your BitLocker drive isn’t unlocking normally, the recovery key is your only option.

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SourceForge and Tucows aren’t the only download sites cleaning up their act. We can finally confirm that, also known as CNET Download, has ended the installer program that they were so often criticized for.

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If you encrypt your Windows system drive with BitLocker, you can add a PIN for additional security. You’ll need to enter the PIN each time you turn on your PC, before Windows will even start. This is separate from a login PIN, which you enter after Windows boots up.

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Do you know how to use the Command Prompt? If you do, you can write a batch file. In its simplest form, a batch file (or batch script) is a list of several commands that are executed when you double-click the file. Batch files go all the way back to DOS, but still work on modern versions of Windows.

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Wine is an open source program for running Windows software on non-Windows operating systems. While it’s most often used on Linux, Wine can run Windows software directly on a Mac, too–without requiring a Windows license or needing Windows running in the background.

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