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 10’s Anniversary Update brings an interesting new feature: Any PC can now function as a wireless receiver for Miracast, allowing you to view the display from another Windows PC, an Android smartphone or tablet, or a Windows phone.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update brings a new “Quick Assist” feature. Built into Windows 10, Quick Assist allows you to take remote control of another person’s computer so you can help them troubleshoot it. It works similarly to Remote Desktop, but is available on all editions of Windows 10.

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A repeater sits within range of your Wi-Fi network and “repeats” it, extending your Wi-Fi coverage farther than your router could alone. If your Wi-Fi only covers one half of your house, a repeater placed in the middle of your home can extend your Wi-Fi to the rest of the building.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update offers new “game hubs” for PC games in the Xbox app. Your friends on Xbox Live will now be able to see when you’re playing a PC game, and what PC games you recently played.

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The $WINDOWS.~BT and $WINDOWS.~WS folders are associated with the Windows 10 upgrade process. They may appear on either Windows 7, 8, or 10, using gigabytes of disk space.

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Phones have gotten faster and faster, but their battery life hasn’t improved much. Modern iPhones still struggle to make it through a single day if you’re using them heavily, but there are ways to extend that battery life and keep your iPhone going.

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Windows 10 includes a “Reset your PC” option that quickly restores Windows to its factory default configuration. It’s faster and more convenient than reinstalling Windows from scratch or using your manufacturer’s recovery partition.

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Both Steam In-Home Streaming and NVIDIA GameStream allow you to stream games from a powerful gaming PC and play them on another device, bringing the power of your gaming PC to your living room or a slower laptop or tablet. But what’s the difference between them?

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Amazon, for all its conveniences, isn’t like walking into a traditional retail store. Amazon is a full marketplace that connects you not only to their own store, but to third-party sellers. This was driven home for me when I recently bought one of the top mini PCs on Amazon and found it came with a pirated Windows license.

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Windows can turn your PC into a wireless hotspot, allowing it to share its wired or wireless Internet connection with other wireless devices. But how you set it up that depends on what version of Windows you’re running. Here’s how it all works.

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So you’ve purchased a monitor that offers a 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate and plugged it in–great! But don’t stop there. Your monitor may not actually run at its advertised refresh rate until you change some settings and sort out your hardware.

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Microsoft regularly releases new firmware updates for its Xbox One controllers, and these updates fix various bugs. But, if you’re using an Xbox One controller with a PC, you won’t be automatically prompted to upgrade your controller’s firmware.

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Some people say they have “a smartphone with 64 GB of memory”, but they don’t. Those people might have smartphones with 64 GB of disk space, or storage, but that’s different than memory. It’s time to clear up this tech term misconception.

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PowerShell is now open source, and available for Linux and Mac. You can download official packages from Microsoft for the 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 14.04, CentOS 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, and Mac OS X 10.11.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update just broke millions of webcams. Microsoft supposedly has a fix coming in September, but there’s a registry hack you can use to fix the problem and get your webcam working properly today.

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Your iPhone allows you to call up to five people at once, making it easy to set up a quick conference call. The other people don’t need anything special–just any old cellular or landline telephone.

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Microsoft is now testing new “notification messages” in Windows 10’s File Explorer. These messages offer information about new Windows features. They’re first appearing in build 14901, the first Insider Preview build of Windows 10 released after the Anniversary Update.

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The phrase “scanning documents” used to mean spending a silly amount of time in front of a bulky machine, waiting for it to take a physical piece of paper and make it digital. But this is the mobile age, where nearly anything can be done with a phone. And scanning text-searchable documents is stupid easy with little more than your phone’s camera.

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Open a drive’s properties window, and you’ll see an option to “compress this drive to save disk space” on Windows. But how much disk space will you save, and what’s the catch?

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The Disk Cleanup tool included with Windows can quickly erase various system files and free up disk space. But some things–like “Windows ESD Installation Files” on Windows 10–probably shouldn’t be removed.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update improves on Windows 10’s stylus support with a new “Windows Ink Workspace” feature. It’s designed to make using a digital pen faster and easier with a Windows 10 tablet or convertible device.

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The “Reset Your PC” feature in Windows 10 restores your PC to its factory default settings…including all that bloatware your PC manufacturer included. But a new feature in Windows 10’s Anniversary update makes it easier to get a clean Windows system.

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Windows 10’s Task Manager displays your PC’s “Last BIOS time” on its Startup tab. Here’s what that number means–and how to decrease it so your PC boots faster.

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Internet Explorer is on the way out. Even Microsoft is recommending people avoid it in favor of their new browser, Edge. If you require Internet Explorer for an old website, though, you can secure it against attack with optional features like Enhanced Protected Mode.

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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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