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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.

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 9 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 9 months ago - by  |  54 Replies

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 9 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We had no idea that a company could pack this much power into a really slim laptop, but they’ve managed it — with dual NVIDIA GTX 765M graphics cards, no less. 17.3″ display, Intel Core i7, up to 32 GB of RAM, and dual SSD drives in a package that is 0.9″ thick. We’re guessing the battery doesn’t last very long.

about 10 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

It’s been a while since we’ve been impressed with anything Yahoo has to offer, but they’ve definitely been making a comeback lately. The Yahoo Weather app is beautiful and functional, and today at CES they announced a very interesting and visually impressive News Digest app for iPhone.

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Toshiba announced their first Chromebook at CES yesterday, and it’s the first one with a 13.3-inch display, priced under 300 bucks. Haswell processor and nine hours of battery life make it an interesting choice.

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CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show, is happening right now in Vegas, and How-To Geek has boots on the ground. The Pebble Smartwatch has launched a new version made from stainless steel instead of plastic. It’s stylish, sturdy, and does everything the old version did.

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Ever since switching to OS X there has been one tiny annoyance bugging me, and it really is a small one: My SSH sessions will hang whenever my VPN times out, and then I have to close out of the Terminal to get it to disconnect, because SSH takes forever to time out for some reason.

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If you are using Windows 8.x for any amount of time, you will quickly get to the point where your Start Screen becomes a giant mess of nonsense tiles. Want to reset them to default? It’s easy!

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Over the years, readers have written in asking how to download Windows and make a bootable install disk, and we’ve always had to tell them that there isn’t a great way to do that. Microsoft has finally fixed this problem in Windows 8.x, and here is how to do it.

about 10 months ago - by  |  10 Replies

Windows 8.1 has the new Start Screen, but what if you don’t want to bother with it, and prefer seeing the list of applications installed on your computer instead? Thankfully, you can easily change this setting in the Taskbar Properties.

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Windows 8.1 adds many improvements to the Windows 8 experience, both for classic PC users and users with hybrid devices or tablets. These 10 features will be appreciated by users with touch screens in Windows 8.1, so if you have a tablet or a hybrid device with Windows 8, here’s what’s exciting about Windows 8.1.

about 10 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

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, and 8.1, and it maybe works in XP, though you won’t need it there.

about 11 months ago - by  |  Comments (327)

I’ve previously written about a way to enable or disable UAC from the command line. This is an easier method that you can use to do the same thing from the GUI interface in either Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or Vista. To recap my earlier article, UAC is ANNOYING.

about 11 months ago - by  |  Comments (244)

Have you ever wondered how much time is added to the boot process by your anti-virus solution? This handy chart shows you the answer, with some surprising results.

about 1 year ago - by  |  31 Replies