Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

Windows has always displayed your username somewhere prominent — usually in the Start menu — and Windows 8 is no different. Call up the Start screen and you’ll see your name to the upper right of the screen. If you want to change the way your name appears here, it is not immediately obvious how to do so. Here’s how to go about it.

about 3 years ago - by  |  1 Reply

Cloud storage services are constantly vying for attention, and the inclusion of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 is indicative of the importance Microsoft places on it. But not everyone is so enamored with the service and would rather that it wasn’t so hard-baked into the OS. Using Group Policy Editor or the Registry Editor, it can be disabled.

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Some compromises had to be made for the Surface Pro and Surface RT’s keyboards. As is the case with many portable devices, space is at a premium, and certain non-essential keys had to be shifted to secondary function positions or dropped altogether.

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For almost everyone who made the upgrade, Windows 8 proved to be something of a disappointment for one reason or another. Windows 8.1 (or Windows Blue) was released to address many of the issues users had complained about, including reintroducing the ability to boot straight to the desktop.

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When it comes to getting things done quickly, automation is the name of the game. We’ve looked at IFTTT before, and a new batch of updates has introduced a number of options that can be used to automatically do things with files that are sent to your Gmail address.

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The ability to sync data and settings between computers running Windows 8 is great, but it does mean that your information – possibly personal – is stored in the cloud. If you have changed your mind about syncing and want to remove your data from the cloud, here’s how to do it.

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Online services are becoming increasingly concerned with security, with two-factor authentication now being the flavor of the day. Extra security at login is great, but what if you forget your password? Facebook’s Trusted Contacts can help out here.

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Skype is one of those services that’s loved and hated in equal measure. If you find that you ‘have’ to use it because it is the only way some of your contacts will communicate, you’ll be pleased that it’s no longer necessary to have a messaging client installed – it can all be done from within a browser… with a plugin installed.

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Getting data from your computer to your phone or tablet can seem like harder work than it ought to be. Forget emailing files or text from your PC so you can access it on your Android; PushBullet lets you push files from your web browser to your Android device, saving time and effort.

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There’s a font for just about every occasion and eventuality, but what about those times when you need something a little different? Windows includes the Private Character Editor which can be used to create your own fonts, or just individual characters and symbols.

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Using your Android to control your computer is a great way to interact with programs. Your phone can be used a trackpad, or could be used to use a media player using custom controls. Monect lets you take things further by turning your Android device into all manner of peripherals.

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Automation is always a good thing, and we’ve looked at various ways in which you can automate tasks on your Android. AutoMagic takes a different approach to things, making it possible to create flow charts that are used to trigger actions based on various conditions.

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Upgrading to Windows 8 was rather different to previous versions of the operating system – this time it could be done entirely online. You may well have decided to keep upgrade costs as low as possible by not buying a backup DVD. Here’s how you can create your own.

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In recent years it has become common for Microsoft to release trial or preview versions of its big-name products. This has been the case with Windows 8 as well as Office 2013 giving consumer the chance to try before they buy. If you downloaded the trial version of the suite, you can gain some extra try-out time with this handy hack.

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Taking photos with your Android phone is great, but there comes a time when you need to get those photos onto your computer. A little while back we took a look at SnapPea, a handy tool for managing phones and tablets from Windows; SnapPea Photos is a Chrome extension designed specifically with photo management in mind.

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Any parent will know that giving their children access to the internet is a double-edged sword. Access to the world’s biggest free library is invaluable, but there are plenty of unpleasant corners of the web that young eyes are best shielded from.  If you’re using Windows 8, Family Safety can be used to lock down your kids’ accounts.

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Most of us have more than one email address these days – it makes it easier to keep different areas of life separate. But having to switch between email accounts can be a pain. With Gmail, you can set things up so you can send from multiple accounts without the need to keep switching.

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There are probably countless streaming media services that you use regularly – YouTube for music videos, and any number of websites for listening to streaming music and live radio. Forget using endless apps and website after website; Tomahawk lets you access everything in the same place.

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To help keep online accounts secure, two-step verification is becoming increasingly common. Apple is the latest firm to introduce this extra level of authentication, meaning that logging into your account requires more than just a basic password.

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The battery life of cell phones just doesn’t seem to be as long as it used to be. If your Android device is dying faster than you would like, Wakelock Detector can help you to home in on apps you have installed that might be killing your battery or preventing the screen from switching off.

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We have looked at some of the various ways in which remote access of your computer can be achieved, including using TeamViewer and VNC, but if you have Chrome installed you can do the same with nothing more than a browser extension.

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Choosing a ringtone volume can be hard – there is no one setting that is right for all environments. What works perfectly at home may be too quiet for when you’re on the train, but too loud for the office.  Intelligent Ringer can be used to adjust ringtone volume according to ambient noise levels.

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There’s a lot to be said for app stores and the way they simplify the installation and updating of software, but Linux users can take advantage of the apt-get command to gain more control over things. With Chocolatey, Windows users can do much the same from the command line.

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The accessibility options that are available in Windows have been designed to help people that have difficulty using a computer because of a condition or impairment, but there are plenty of interesting options that could prove incredibly useful to everyone. We will reveal how the Ease of Access Center could help you.

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When you’re in a meeting, on the train, or have muted your phone for some other reason, vibrations can let you know when you receive a call. But with Vybe, you can create unique vibration patterns for contacts so you’ll know who’s calling without the need to look at your phone.

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