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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.

We’ve been doing a lot of research into crapware and malware lately, and one of the most troubling things we found was that Google was serving up search results for open source software… with crapware-bundling ads at the top. Now it appears they’ve ended this policy and are pointing to the real download at the top.

about 5 months ago - by  |  25 Replies

It’s a scary time to be a Windows user. Lenovo was bundling HTTPS-hijacking Superfish adware, Comodo ships with an even worse security hole called PrivDog, and dozens of other apps like LavaSoft are doing the same. It’s really bad, but if you want your encrypted web sessions to be hijacked just head to CNET Downloads or any freeware site, because they are all bundling HTTPS-breaking adware now.

about 5 months ago - by  |  46 Replies

The latest trend in the awful Windows ecosystem is pretty ridiculous — scammers have a fake version of the reputable AdwCleaner tool, which is a real tool for Windows experts. And this one pretends your computer is infected and tries to make you pay them to remove it.

about 6 months ago - by  |  11 Replies

The news that Anthem got hacked and 80 million people’s identities were stolen wasn’t very surprising — everybody is getting hacked these days. Last week, TurboTax had to temporarily shut down nationwide because of identity theft fraud. So how can you protect yourself from criminals opening accounts in your name?

about 6 months ago - by  |  9 Replies

If you upgraded your Surface Pro tablet to the Windows 10 preview and everything broke, or you just need to completely reinstall the thing, today we’re going to show you how to reload Windows with a recovery USB.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

We’ve been complaining for a long time that there’s no safe place to download freeware where the downloads are free of bundled add-ons that usually redirect your browser to something other than what you chose. And even Microsoft is bundling extra installers into their own download site to redirect your browser to Bing if you don’t uncheck the box.

about 6 months ago - by  |  27 Replies

If you’ve had an iPhone for a while, you might have seen a popup message that tells you there is a Carrier Settings Update and asking if you’d like to update them now. If you’re the type that doesn’t click things until you know what they are (good for you!), then you are in the right place.

about 6 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

You might be asking yourself why we’d write an article about how to switch to Google as your default search engine on the iPhone or iPad when it’s already the default. The answer is simple: rumors are that Apple might switch the iOS default search engine to Yahoo or Bing at some point in the future.

about 6 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

If you are tired of the way certain keys on your system work, such as the Caps Lock key, you can re-map them to function as a different key by using a registry hack. But there should be an easier way, right?

about 6 months ago - by  |  Comments (68)

You are no doubt reading this article because you are wondering why on earth there are nearly a dozen processes running with the name svchost.exe. You can’t kill them, and you don’t remember starting them… so what are they?

about 6 months ago - by  |  Comments (544)

We were testing out our theory that all freeware download sites are awful when we got infected with the ShopperPro adware, which just completely takes over your entire browser window with obnoxious ads, redirects Amazon links to some shady site, and is awful. Here’s how to remove it.

about 6 months ago - by  |  5 Replies

Microsoft officially announced Windows 10’s features today, and it includes things like the Cortana digital assistant, Xbox integration, a completely new browser that isn’t Internet Explorer, and yes, holograms. But should you care? We’d argue that even without the gimmicks, Windows 10 is an amazing upgrade for all. And it’s a free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.

about 6 months ago - by  |  61 Replies

When we wrote about what happens when you install the top ten apps from CNET Downloads, about half of the comments were from people saying, “Well you should download from a trusted source.” The only problem is that there isn’t a freeware download site that is free of crapware or adware. And here’s the result of our investigation to prove it.

about 7 months ago - by  |  123 Replies

We were testing out some freeware download sites to prove our assertion that all download sites are pushing bundled crapware (and yes, they are) when we ran across a truly terrible piece of malware called BoBrowser which replaces Chrome with a lookalike that is chock full of adware.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

We were setting up a new Minecraft server at HTG headquarters to play the awesome Captive Minecraft survival mode game (which uses vanilla Minecraft, no mods required), when we realized we didn’t have an article about how to find your saved games folder.

about 7 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

Remote Desktop is disabled by default in Windows, but it’s easy enough to turn it back on. If you need to access your Windows PC from another box, it’s an essential thing to turn on.

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (190)

After switching to OS X, there was one big annoyance that kept happening over and over — every time I plug anything into my MacBook and it happens to have a DCIM folder on the file system, iPhoto will immediately launch and start scanning.

about 7 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

While researching for our article about what happens when you install crapware from a really lousy download site, we noticed that some of the crapware and spyware will actually try to install a proxy server to spy on you. So how do you know if your PC is using a proxy?

about 7 months ago - by  |  7 Replies

We installed the top 10 apps from Download.com, and you’ll never believe what happened! Well… I guess maybe you might have a good guess. Awful things. Awful things are what happens. Join us for the fun!

about 7 months ago - by  |  97 Replies

Changing this in XP was extremely simple, but in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, or Vista it’s buried behind a few more menus. Here are three routes you can take to open up System Properties:

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (126)

If you are a command line junkie like me, and have been testing out Windows… one of the first things you’ll notice is that there is no way to run a command from the run box in “Administrator” mode. Until now.

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (92)

Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and Vista include a built-in functionality in Disk Management to shrink and expand partitions. No more 3rd party utilities needed! It’s worth noting that many third-party utilities will be more feature-rich, but you can do the very basic stuff in Windows without adding anything new.

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (288)

Most of the How-To Geek team is at CES 2015, and we’re doing a group photo “live blog” of sorts, which just means that we’ll be posting pictures of everything we’re looking at in Vegas, as we’re looking at it (assuming we have a decent Internet connection).

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (0)

Many people familiar with prior versions of Windows are curious what happened to the built-in Administrator account that was always created by default. Does this account still exist, and how can you access it?

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (340)

Taking ownership of system files or folders in Windows is not a simple task. Whether you use the GUI or the command line, it takes far too many steps. This method works in Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, and it maybe works in XP, though you won’t need it there.

about 7 months ago - by  |  Comments (327)