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The Geek

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.

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?

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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 day ago - by  |  5 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 2 days ago - by  |  6 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 5 days ago - by  |  2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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.

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During a junk room cleaning session, I came across a bunch of older hard drives that I wanted to give away… but what if they have my personal data on them? The answer is to securely wipe them, and on Mac OS X it couldn’t be simpler.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Anybody who wants to test their connection speed can easily do so from a speed test web site — but that isn’t very geeky. Here’s how to do a test from the terminal prompt instead.

about 6 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

If your Taskbar, System Tray, or even the Start Screen starts acting up, you don’t have to power off or reboot your computer. You can usually just restart the Explorer process, and Windows 8.x makes that really easy.

about 6 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Icons on the desktop make things look really cluttered, and Mac OS X has always embraced them for removable drives — but thankfully you can easily turn them off in the preferences page.

about 6 months ago - by  |  6 Replies

The internet exploded Friday with the news that Google Chrome extensions are being sold and injected with adware. But the little-known and much more important fact is that your extensions are spying on you and selling your browsing history to shady corporations. HTG investigates.

about 6 months ago - by  |  66 Replies

Rsync is one of the most useful utilities for a server administrator, but it syncs everything by default, which can be annoying if your application creates a lot of temporary files. Here’s how to exclude files when using rsync.

about 6 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

When you manage your own servers, one of the things you end up needing to do on a semi-regular basis is extract stuff from the middle of a file. Maybe it’s a log file, or you need to extra a single table from the middle of your MySQL backup file, like I did.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

After you’ve had your iDevice for a while, you’ll end up with a home screen completely confused and littered with apps and folders and you can’t find anything. Here’s how to reset to the default iOS screen so you can start over.

about 6 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

This year’s CES unveiled a ton of new gadgets, but most of them aren’t that interesting. Here are the ones that we liked the best — just the most interesting gadgets and gear that we looked at.

about 6 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

The other day we wrote a guide to help people choose a battery pack for recharging their mobile devices, but we never considered that some people might want to also use it as a jump starter for their car. Well, we came across one that can do just that.

about 7 months ago - by  |  32 Replies

Windows 8 infamously removed the Start Button, and then Windows 8.1 brought that button back — but maybe you are the kind of person that got used to it being gone. So now you can remove it again.

about 7 months ago - by  |  8 Replies
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