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Lowell Heddings

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

Recently we started a firestorm by telling the world how the Windows 8 app store was completely full of scam applications, and Microsoft has officially responded by removing 1500 applications and pledging to keep it clean.

about 2 days ago - by  |  Comments (0)

Today at work, I wanted to know how to create in Windows 7 a simple icon/shortcut to play a sound on the background, without having any media player opening (in my case, I wanted to play a rimshot sound whenever a colleague would say a relatively bad joke).

about 4 days ago - by  |  Comments (0)

If you want really quick access to launch a frequently used application without putting extra icons on your desktop, you can add that application to the context menu for the desktop with a simple registry hack. Here’s how to do it.

about 6 days ago - by  |  8 Replies

Microsoft’s Office 365 is actually pretty great — for $10 a month you can install Office on up to five computers, share with your family, use the official tablet / phone versions of MS Office, and you get 1 Terabyte of OneDrive storage. But all of a sudden the 64-bit version of Office went missing. What gives?

about 22 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Everybody knows that to shut down Windows you’ve always had to click on the Start button… but what if you don’t want to click? What if your mouse broke or you are just feeling lazy and don’t want to reach over? Here’s how to restart or shut down Windows 8 using just the keyboard.

about 24 days ago - by  |  13 Replies

It doesn’t happen very often for regular users, but sometimes a website or service needs to change their IP address and your computer’s local cached entry is incorrect. When you are a server administrator or programmer, this happens all the time.

about 24 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Everybody that has ever used a computer has seen the clock in the Taskbar, but did you realize that you can customize what is displayed? So instead of hovering your mouse to see the day of the week, you can make it be there by default.

about 26 days ago - by  |  10 Replies

Windows has included batch files since before it existed… batch files are really old! Old or not, I still find myself frequently creating batch files to help me automate common tasks. One common task is uploading files to a remote FTP server. Here’s the way that I got around it.

about 28 days ago - by  |  Comments (46)

Downloading files from the PHP mirrors is annoying, because by default the redirector makes the name of the filename change to just “mirror.” So how do you fix this? Luckily wget has a simple argument that you can use to fix it — and it is useful for many scenarios.

about 29 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

Have you ever noticed that little blinking line at the end of whatever you are typing? Of course you have! But did you know that you can make the line darker if you want to? It also makes a fun prank setting to mess with your friends.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

It’s happened to everybody at some point—you go to install a new application, and Windows tells you to reboot first. Or reboot after. Or it asks you to close out of every other application first. Why does it do that?

about 1 month ago - by  |  4 Replies

Ask any PC tech person how to make your computer faster, and almost every one of them will tell you to defrag your PC. But do you really need to manually trigger a defrag these days?

about 1 month ago - by  |  9 Replies

Seems like every guide to securing your wireless network tells you to keep your SSID from broadcasting to make your network more secure, but is that really worthwhile? Let’s take a look at one of the silliest myths out there.

about 1 month ago - by  |  16 Replies

Microsoft Word’s context menu has a menu item that most people have probably seen but don’t use — the ability to search for a selection using Bing. You can make this feature even more useful by changing it to search via Google instead.

about 1 month ago - by  |  7 Replies

Windows 8.x finally bundled an antivirus utility that used to be called Microsoft Security Essentials and rebranded it as Windows Defender. The only problem is that you can’t easily setup automatic scheduled scans anymore.

about 1 month ago - by  |  3 Replies

Quora is one of those question and answer sites that sadly decided to follow in the footsteps of Expertsexchange and create a terrible user interface that forces you to sign in to read past the first answer. But we can bypass that with a simple trick.

about 5 months ago - by  |  9 Replies

WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is professional-grade software that allows you to rip content stored on DVDs to your PC as commonly used video formats. Then, you can play the movie with any media software player or transfer the video file to iPhone, iPad, Samsung, HTC, Nexus, Kindle Fire, PS4, etc.

about 5 months ago - by  |  Comments (0)

Every now and then we realize that there’s a tip that we haven’t covered, and even when it’s as simple as clearing your terminal history, we feel compelled to write about it. Here’s how to clear your history on Linux or Mac OS X.

about 6 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Are you one of those people that has a Mail icon with a gigantic number next to it that never seems to go away? Here’s how to easily disable that feature instead of cleaning out your inbox.

about 7 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

While doing our regular security audit of all the accounts tied to the HTG site, we noticed something interesting: Inside your Google account settings there is a list of any site or app that you’ve given access to, and the list might surprise you. Time for a checkup!

about 7 months ago - by  |  9 Replies

Did you know that you can drag and drop files and folders to the command prompt or terminal? It simply auto-completes the path, so you don’t have to type the full thing out or navigate to the right folder. This works in Windows or Mac, and maybe elsewhere.

about 7 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

You can easily access the PC Settings screen in Windows 8.1… by swiping on the right side of the screen, and then clicking on Settings, and then finally clicking on PC Settings at the bottom of the window. Since that’s a pain, here is how to pin it to your Start Screen.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

While doing some cleaning up on a test computer around the office, we realized that we’ve never written about how to block an application from running using a registry hack. It’s easy, so here you go.

about 7 months ago - by  |  3 Replies

If you need really fast external storage for your laptop, you might be interested to know that you can buy an external solid state drive that connects over USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt… and it is crazy fast. We had to buy one for the office, so we’re reviewing it for you today.

about 7 months ago - by  |  8 Replies

The caller said “I’m calling you from Windows tech support.” The fake tech support scammers made the mistake of calling us today and we played along to learn their tricks just for fun. Here’s what happened.

about 7 months ago - by  |  54 Replies
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