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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Deleting the cache is definitely something you’ll want to do if you are worried about your privacy. Just keep in mind that deleting the cache will only sorta delete those files — unless you overwrite the free space, you aren’t really deleting anything permanently. All you have to do is run a few utilities, and those deleted files are most likely going to be recovered.

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If you live in an apartment complex you’ve probably noticed more than just the passive-aggressive network IDs that your neighbors use—very likely you’ve had problems with your wireless connections dropping out, or just not being as fast as you’d like. Here’s a quick fix.

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When it comes to hidden gems in Windows, nothing beats the Reliability monitor tool, hidden behind a link inside of another tool that you don’t use either. Why Microsoft doesn’t shine more light on this really useful troubleshooting tool, we’ll never know.

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Windows users have been able to minimize every window on their desktop ever since keyboards with the Win key started showing up — just tap WIN + M on your keyboard, and every window is minimized. For Mac OS X, it’s not quite as simple.

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After switching to OS X when I got a new MacBook Air, one of the first things I needed to duplicate was my extremely customized AutoHotkey setup — the most important of which is using the J and K keys to navigate throughout tabbed windows easily. Yeah, I’m a Vim user.

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Microsoft released a preview of their update to Windows 8 today, and we’ve got all the details, starting with how to get your hands on it.

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