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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 How-To Geek doesn’t allow just anybody to leave any comment they feel like. Because this site is dedicated towards helping people, only helpful, constructive, on-topic or interesting comments will be approved.

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If you have an external hard drive that is always plugged into your computer, you can enable write caching to speed up performance significantly when writing to the disk.

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Windows Media Player has an interesting option that will let you open files in the Mini Player mode instead of the full player window. This is especially useful for opening music files where you really don’t need the full-size window.

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If you’ve been having problems copying large files over mapped drives, network disconnects, or having to reboot your router a lot more often than normal, then you can try out this fix to solve the problem.

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The default action for searching with the Firefox toolbar is to open the search in the current tab. This drives me crazy, but thankfully it’s easy to fix.

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The close tab buttons on each tab in Firefox 2 are really annoying. When you have a lot of tabs open, it becomes very difficult to click on the tab without accidentally clicking the close button instead.

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If you have a lot of tabs open at a time, it’s sometimes quicker to have Ctrl+Tab switch to the most recent tab instead of the next one to the right. This is the default setting in the Tab Mix Plus extension for Firefox, so a lot of you are probably used to it.

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My friend made the huge mistake of downloading PartyPoker onto a laptop from work - even after he uninstalled it, the menu item still showed up. He was worried about getting caught by the IT people, so he asked me how to get rid of it.

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I prefer files being download directly to the desktop, but a lot of other people would prefer to download into a downloads folder, or a directory inside their Documents directory.

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If the main reason you install the Google Toolbar is for the PageRank, now you can easily display the PageRank of any site with a tiny extension for Firefox instead of the full Google Toolbar.

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The headers and footers that always print along with the page when printing a page can be irritating. I know very well what page it was I printed, so it’s not useful to me to show the URL at the bottom of the page.

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The quickest way to lock your computer screen is to just use the Win+L keyboard shortcut. Some people prefer to use the mouse to lock the workstation, however, or would just like to have both options.

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We’ve all seen it at some point or another – Some company full of pointy haired bosses feels the need to insert their company name into our Internet Explorer title bar.

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One of the features in Firefox 2.0 that drives me crazy is the tab scrolling buttons when you have a lot of tabs open. I’d prefer to just see all the tabs on the screen, even if they are small.

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WIndows Vista includes a file encryption technology very similar from a user perspective to the one that existed in Windows XP, but Vista makes it very easy to make a backup of the file encryption key. In XP, your encrypted files would be lost if you changed your password. In Vista, an encryption key is used to sign the encrypted files, which also means it can be backed up.

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Like most power users, I always have at least Google Reader and Gmail tabs open… and they always take up so much space. If only there was an extension to shrink certain tabs down to just the very memorable icon.

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There’s lots of reasons for emptying the browser cache automatically… privacy, security, not wanting milions of tiny files on your hard drive…

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As a webmaster, I’ve often wanted to be able to see real-time hits as they arrive. Sure, Google Analytics is a wonderful package for looking at trends over time, but there’s a delay of a few hours there, and you really can’t see data like requests per second or total bytes.

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I’ve received a number of requests for an article on how to share a folder. I know for many of you this is a very simple operation, but I finally realized there’s a reason for the confusion users are having.

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You might have already seen this tip on Lifehacker recently, but I felt it was important to spread the word on how to stop web sites from resizing your browser (One of my pet peeves).

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If you are jealous of your geeky linux friends that have Beryl running under linux, you should check out Yod’m 3D, a small application for Windows XP / Vista that will give you a decent substitute for the “Desktop Cube” effect.

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I prefer the built-in search box to the full Google Toolbar, but I miss having the PageRank easily visible when I’m browsing around without the Google Toolbar enabled. Sure, you can have it installed and hidden, but then you have to reload the page for the pagerank to show up after you unhide the toolbar.

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One of the complaints that I’ve heard quite often lately about Firefox is that the default Firefox theme in Vista just doesn’t feel like it belongs with the rest of the eye candy. After doing some browsing around today, I’ve figured out some repeatable steps to make Firefox look a lot like IE7.

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Ever wonder how big a table really is in your database? You know there are a million rows in the table, but how much space is that really taking?

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It was only a matter of time before people started cloning Windows Vista features and adding them into Windows XP. One of my favorite Vista features is the thumbnails that popup when you mouse over the taskbar. And now I can use them in XP as well.

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