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.

Everybody that has ever used a computer has seen the clock in the Taskbar, but did you realize that you can customize what is displayed? So instead of hovering your mouse to see the day of the week, you can make it be there by default.

about 1 year ago - by  |  10 Replies

Windows has included batch files since before it existed… batch files are really old! Old or not, I still find myself frequently creating batch files to help me automate common tasks. One common task is uploading files to a remote FTP server. Here’s the way that I got around it.

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Downloading files from the PHP mirrors is annoying, because by default the redirector makes the name of the filename change to just “mirror.” So how do you fix this? Luckily wget has a simple argument that you can use to fix it — and it is useful for many scenarios.

about 1 year ago - by  |  4 Replies

Have you ever noticed that little blinking line at the end of whatever you are typing? Of course you have! But did you know that you can make the line darker if you want to? It also makes a fun prank setting to mess with your friends.

about 1 year ago - by  |  1 Reply

You are no doubt reading this article because you’ve looked in task manager and wondered what on earth all those rundll32.exe processes are, and why they are running… So what are they?

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It’s happened to everybody at some point—you go to install a new application, and Windows tells you to reboot first. Or reboot after. Or it asks you to close out of every other application first. Why does it do that?

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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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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.

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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.

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Friends and family members seem to ask me all the time whether they are running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, and I’ve finally realized that it would make more sense to show everybody how to figure it out for themselves. Here’s the two-step process to find out for yourself.

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If you’re already running a full anti-malware suite, you might not even realize that Windows Defender is already installed with Windows, and is probably wasting precious resources. Here’s how to get rid of it.

about 2 years ago - by  |  Comments (17)

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 2 years 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 2 years 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.

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You’ve seen the SendTo folder in action any time you right-click a file and select the Send To folder from the context menu. What you might be unaware of is that you can customize the items in this menu.

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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.

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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!

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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 2 years 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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