Tell your file manager to show hidden files and you’ll see quite a few junk files scattered across your folders. Windows creates thumbs.db and desktop.ini files in many folders, and Mac OS X creates .DS_Store files.
Each network-connected device — laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and everything else — has an IP address on the network and a unique MAC address. There are many reasons you might need to find this information, so here’s how to find it on all the laptops, smartphones, and tablets you might have lying around.
If you’re dual-booting Linux alongside Windows 10, 8, or 8.1 and you want to mount your Windows system partition and access its files, you’ll run into a problem. You’ll see an error saying “The NTFS partition is hibernated” due to the new hybrid boot feature, preventing you from accessing its files.
Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 all include BitLocker drive encryption, but that’s not the only encryption solution they offer. Windows also includes an encryption method named the “encrypting file system”, or EFS. Here’s how it differs from BitLocker.
The paperless office isn’t yet here for many of us, and printers are still a fact of life. If your printer isn’t working quite right on a Windows PC, here are some simple troubleshooting tips that can fix it.
Printers come in all shapes and sizes, but they have similar problems. Troubleshooting a printer on a Mac is similar to troubleshooting it on a Windows PC, but the options you’ll need to check are in different places on Mac OS X than they are on Windows.
It’s a good idea to give each of the devices you use a meaningful name. This is especially important on Windows 10, as Microsoft has removed the computer name option from the first-time setup process. Windows 10 PCs will just receive random, meaningless names by default.
Google’s Chromecast offers a way to play games on your TV, too. You won’t find the same ecosystem of games you will for the Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV, but you will find some fun party games people can gather around the TV and play, using their smartphones as controllers.
Amazon’s Fire Tablet offers both parental controls for quickly locking down a device as well as fine-grained “child profiles”. These child (or teen) profiles use the Kindle FreeTime feature, which is perhaps the most sophisticated parental-control solution for a tablet operating system
Steam’s Music Player allows you to add a MP3 file stored on your computer to a local music library and play it back — inside or outside a game, with a controller or keyboard and mouse. This would be particularly useful on a Steam Machine or living-room gaming PC in Big Picture Mode.
Sony and Microsoft chose not to ship the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles with solid-state drives. They went with slower mechanical drives to keep costs down, but you can speed up load times for your console games by adding a solid-state drive to your PS4 or Xbox One.
Microsoft has hidden the build number in an attempt to make Windows 10 look always-up-to-date, and there are still different editions of Windows 10 with different features. Microsoft is also still offering both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 10, too.
Modern desktop operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X offer built-in tools for calibrating your display‘s brightness, contrast, gamma, and color levels. This can help make text more readable and give images and videos more accurate colors.
Mac OS X can read from NTFS drives, but it can’t write to them unless you use one of the below tricks. We highly recommend paying for a third-party NTFS driver if you need to do this as the other solutions don’t work as well and are more work to set up.
If you’re a long-time Windows user, you’re probably familiar with service packs, but Microsoft seems done with them. Windows 10’s first big update — the “November update” — is a “build” rather than a service pack. Windows 10’s future big updates will be builds, too.
If your USB flash drive, SD card, or another drive isn’t working quite right, “cleaning” the drive and removing its partitions is one possible solution. This can fix problems with a drive that can’t be formatted or one that shows the wrong capacity.
Windows 10 doesn’t just automatically collect information about your computer usage. It does do that, but it may also pop up from time to time and ask for feedback. Here’s how to disable any Windows Feedback pop-up notifications you may see.
The exFAT file system is ideal for flash drives and SD cards. It’s like FAT32, but without the 4 GB file size limit. You can use exFAT drives on Linux with full read-write support, but you’ll need to install a few packages first.
Whether you’re formatting an internal drive, external drive, USB flash drive, or SD card, Windows will give you the choice of NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. The Format dialog in Windows doesn’t explain the difference, so we will.
Windows 10 automatically installs updates in the background. The only way to prevent them from being installed is to set your connection as metered so they don’t download automatically. But updates — especially major new builds of Windows 10 like the November update — could potentially cause problems.
Modern laptop and desktop keyboards have a multi-purpose set of keys in the “function” row. These keys can perform special actions related to the audio volume, playback, and hardware features. They can also function as the classic F1-F12 keys — but not at the same time.
Some manufacturers ship PCs with their internal drives divided into multiple partitions — one for the Windows operating system, and an empty “data” partition for your personal files. You can combine these partitions into a single one, if you prefer.
It’s easy to fill up a 16 GB phone by taking photos, recording videos, syncing music, and downloading large apps — especially large games. Here’s how to maximize that space if you’re not paying extra for more storage.
Whether you’re letting go of a computer or disposing of a USB drive, it’s a good idea to wipe that drive if there was ever sensitive, unencrypted data on it. This will prevent someone from using deleted-file-recovery tools to recover sensitive data from that drive.
All modern computers, smartphones, and tablets can now easily print web pages and other documents to PDF files without any extra software. Microsoft added this to Windows 10, and Apple added it to iOS 9.