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.

Microsoft’s SQL Server has a tool called Profiler that you can use to monitor every SQL query that hits the database. This is extremely useful for programmers as well as database administrators to troubleshoot the exact queries generated by an application.

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Every Geek uses Gmail… it’s pretty much required. And now you can set Gmail as the default client in Ubuntu without any extra software. (Windows requires the Gmail notifier be installed)

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Automatic Updates is a great feature. Your computer stays protected from threats without worrying about it… but if it’s 3am and I’m trying to play a video game, the last thing I want is for the automatic updates to pop up and remind me every 5 minutes that I need to reboot, interrupting my game… Drives me crazy!

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If you’ve tried to use the built-in “Extract Here” functionality in Ubuntu’s File Roller to extract either a single or a multi-part zip or rar file and ended up with a “Password required” error, then you might just assume the files are password protected when in fact they are not.

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If you encounter this error message as often as I do, you will thank your various gods for this extension, which allows you to hide the warning message on a per site basis, for both Firefox as well as Thunderbird.

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Did you know that you can run more than one Firefox profile at once? This can be extremely useful if you want to test out extensions more easily, create a web development profile, run a slimmed down profile just for Gmail, or if you just want to have a clean profile.

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The System Restore feature in Windows Vista is very important to keep enabled, what with all the problems Vista users are having with compatibility. Even so, the disk usage can get out of hand if you install a large amount of software.

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Ubuntu has an option for adding a Trash Can icon to the desktop, which might be a comfort for those of you migrating from Windows.

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Many utilities need to be run as administrator in order to function properly, especially older utilities that haven’t been updated to support Windows 7 or Vista yet.

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I prefer a clean desktop with no icons cluttering it up, but by default Ubuntu adds icons to the desktop for every single removable drive that you attach to your system.

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If you’ve been wondering why your XP desktop icons have a background color, you’ll be glad to know you can flip a checkbox and have them go back to a normal transparent background.

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Ubuntu includes a very limited shortcut key configuration utility which doesn’t allow you to assign hotkeys to your own applications or scripts. To get around this limitation, we can use the built-in gconf-editor utility to assign them ourselves.

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Restarting Firefox is always difficult for those of us with dozens of tabs open, because you don’t want to lose all the open tabs, but you might not want to bookmark them all either.

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It drives me crazy when applications install themselves into the system tray without giving me a choice during setup. QuickTime has no good reason to be in the system tray, but it’s there anyway after you install iTunes.

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I’ve previously written about mounting an ISO image in Windows Vista using Virtual CloneDrive, but I thought I’d go a step further and explain how you can mount more than one ISO at a time.

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If Outlook 2007’s new Instant Search just isn’t… instant… there’s a patch from Microsoft that might fix this problem for you.

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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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