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.

Ever since I’ve been using my new MacBook Air, I’ve been befuddled by how to do some of the simplest tasks in Mac OS X that I would normally do from my Windows laptop—like show the connection speed for the current Wi-Fi network. So am I using 802.11ac or not?

about 12 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

There’s nothing more tedious as a system administrator than running security updates on a dozen servers every single day. Luckily Ubuntu will let you automate stable security updates so you’re never at risk.

about 12 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

If you have a computer at home and there’s nobody else around, there really isn’t any reason to login every single time you need to use it. Luckily you can easily set OS X to login automatically.

about 1 year ago - by  |  1 Reply

In today’s edition of Stupid Geek Tricks (where we show off little-known tricks to impress your non-geek friends), we’ll learn how to hide data in a text file that can’t be seen by anybody else unless they know the name of the secret compartment.

about 1 year ago - by  |  5 Replies

Whenever an application wants to make itself accessible over the network, it claims a TCP/IP port, which means that port can’t be used by anything else. So if you need to use an in-use port, how do you tell what application is holding it?

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We’re always on the lookout for the simplest and easiest solution to perform a task, preferably while using the least amount of system resources. Here’s how to minimize to the system tray with a tiny little application helper.

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It’s common knowledge that almost every single geek hates Internet Explorer with a passion, but have you ever wondered why? Let’s take a fair look at the history and where it all began… for posterity, if nothing else.

about 1 year ago - by  |  21 Replies

If you’ve completely forgotten the Wi-Fi password, you can usually just read it from the sticker on the router provided by your ISP — but what if that isn’t the right one? You can also recover your Wi-Fi password from your Mac.

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The built-in Windows firewall is an important part of your system security, but over time, more and more applications end up being allowed through the firewall. Luckily there’s an easy way to reset all the settings to default again.

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You would think that Microsoft would have learned from their Windows 8 mistakes of forcing terrible features down people’s throats, but it looks like they’ve integrated a positively awful Search button / panel into the Taskbar. Here’s how to hide it using a registry hack.

about 1 year ago - by  |  33 Replies

The Disk Management tool in Windows gives you an easy-to-use graphical interface to dealing with partitions and drive letters, but what if you want to just quickly change a drive letter on the command prompt? The diskpart utility makes it easy.

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Ever since the first person wrote out 5318008 on a calculator, nerds have been hiding secret numbers inside of your PC, and using them to negotiate secret handshakes between applications and files. Today we take a quick look at some of the more entertaining examples.

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When you hover your mouse pointer over a button in the taskbar, Windows shows you a preview of that window by default, but that preview is usually really small. Luckily with a quick registry hack, we can make those thumbnails bigger.

about 1 year ago - by  |  9 Replies

Microsoft just released a new version of Outlook for Mac, although this one is only available to Office 365 customers. Since the first thing most geeks will want to do is add their Gmail account, here are the quick instructions on how to do that.

about 1 year ago - by  |  1 Reply

If your computer has been hijacked with an obnoxious malware that won’t let you change your home page, there’s a strong chance you’ve been infected with the Trovi Search Protect malware, which used to be known as Conduit. Here’s how to remove it.

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Over the years, we’ve created many Registry hacks to customize and tweak your Windows computer. Today we’re going to give you the keys to making your own registry hack files that you can use on any computer.

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We warned you at the beginning of the year that many of your browser extensions are spying on you, tracking what you are visiting, and even inserting ads into pages. These aren’t just no-name developers either: even Avast, one of the most trusted antivirus vendors was in on the game.

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If you don’t like the new transparent window effects in OS X Yosemite, you can easily disable them… or at least tone them down quite a bit.

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Recently an email has been making the rounds, scaring people like my mom by claiming that the flashlight app on their smartphone is stealing their information and sending it to China. This, of course, isn’t exactly true, and for the iPhone’s built-in flashlight, is patently false.

about 1 year ago - by  |  5 Replies

It’s always fun to find those little hidden tricks whenever a new operating system comes out. In this case, the same trick that worked back in the Windows 7 and Vista days also works in Windows 8 and 10, but it’s been improved.

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Microsoft has changed the name of “My Computer” to “Computer” and then to “This PC,” and for those people that prefer it one way or another — or something completely different — you can easily rename it.

about 1 year ago - by  |  4 Replies

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably had a problem with the Windows taskbar refusing to auto-hide, even though you’ve set the option in Control Panel. Here’s a few tips that might get that Taskbar hidden again.

about 1 year ago - by  |  Comments (8)

Last year, Google announced plans to lock down Chrome so that extensions can’t be side-loaded by crapware installers. Sadly they’ve found a way to trick users into installing lousy extensions, although in this case these spyware and adware extensions do exist in the Chrome Web Store.

about 1 year ago - by  |  40 Replies

Windows 10 is a huge step forward into the future! Or wait, isn’t it a step back? Either way, it’s a technical preview that isn’t finished yet, which gives us a huge opportunity to help shape what the final version might look like.

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Google recently launched a new tool in the fight against crapware and spyware, and it’s an excellent start to helping clean up a computer that has been infected with nonsense like the Ask Toolbar.

about 1 year ago - by  |  4 Replies