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.

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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VMWare Workstation is great. The version 6 beta has even more awesome features…  but it’s slower than dirt, because debugging mode is turned on by default.

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If you run a dual-boot system with Linux and Windows, this has happened to you. You had to do your monthly reinstall of Windows, and now you don’t see the linux bootloader anymore, so you can’t boot into Ubuntu or whatever flavor of linux you prefer.

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This has been frustrating me for a while, ever since I got a new laptop with Adobe Reader 8 pre-installed on it. Every single time I open a PDF, no matter what size, I have to wait for the “Content Preparation Progress” dialog that tells me the document is being prepared for reading. I’m prepared to read the document, why isn’t my computer?

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If you’ve worked on a network with Windows servers, you’ve encountered this error message at least 37,000 times:

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If you’ve owned a computer running Windows, you’ve probably complained about things crashing on your computer. Windows Vista includes a Reliability Monitor utility that lets you track all of the times that something crashed.

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I’ve never actually used the Firefox download window for anything useful. I don’t really care about keeping a list of downloads, and anytime I accidentally open the downloads window, it seems to hang the browser for a few seconds.

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A very popular registry hack for Windows XP was the “Command Prompt Here” hack, that would automatically open a command prompt window in the directory that you had clicked on.

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I use a lot of batch files, command line applications, and even Ruby scripts (which run from the command line). One of the things that has always irritated me is the flashing command prompt window when I make a shortcut for a batch file, especially when I put it into the startup folder to run when I first login.

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One of the more annoying things about visiting blogs is having to fill out all the comment fields. They are the same on every blog (including this one). Sure, you can hit the down arrow key and Firefox might remember what you typed last, but it’s still a pain, especially as a blogger when you want to leave a lot of comments.

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If you are like me, then you probably use Google Reader just because it uses shortcut keys that remind me of the VIM editor. What I didn’t know until today is that you can quickly pop up a list of all the shortcut keys by just typing the question mark ( ? ).

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A common security concern at organizations is allowing users to plug in a usb flash drive, because they could so easily copy corporate data.

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It’s really very simple to enable the system clock to show military time in Windows 7 or Vista, but the setting is not in an obvious place, so you might not have found it.

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I know what you are thinking. Can’t I just make a shortcut? Of course you can. But using this tweak you can recreate the native Internet Explorer icon the way it used to be in prior versions of Windows.

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