FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK

Microsoft allows anyone to download Windows 10 for free and install it without a product key. It’ll keep working for the foreseeable future, with only a few small cosmetic restrictions. And you can even pay to upgrade to a licensed copy of Windows 10 after you install it.

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Google has released a very early preview of Android N to developers, giving us a peek at what might be in store for the next version of Android. Here are the coolest features lurking in the preview.

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The Hue Dimmer switch is a great way to add physical controls to your Hue lighting system but is, alas, a bit rudimentary. Thanks to a handy little app, however, you can teach the Dimmer Switch a bunch of new tricks–like set any scene with the click of a button.

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Microsoft is clashing with the PC gaming community again, with everyone from PC gamers to the CEO of Epic criticizing Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform. Microsoft doesn’t have a lot of goodwill left in the PC gaming community, thanks especially to the disastrous “Games for Windows LIVE” service from a few years back…and they’re worried history will repeat itself.

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Migrating your files, settings, and programs to a new PC can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re not completely organized. These tools and simple tips will help you get started.

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PC gamers have to set a myriad of graphics options to balance performance with graphics quality. If you don’t want to tweak them by hand, both NVIDIA and AMD provide tools that will do it for you.

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When you have more than one or two gadgets, the outlets near that kitchen counter can get very cluttered. If you want to clean things up, you can upgrade your outlets to support not just standard 120-volt power cords but 5v USB charging too.

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Applications can use Windows 10’s location services to view your physical location. You’ll see a system tray icon that reads “Your location has recently been accessed” or “Your location is currently in use” when this happens, and it can get a little annoying.

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If you have an Android phone or tablet with a small amount of storage, you probably keep uninstalling apps to make room for other ones. But there is a way to expand the storage of an Android device if it has an SD card slot.

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AgileBits is trying to wean people off of this feature, but–unfortunately–it hasn’t provided any equivalent functionality. You can still gain web access to your 1Password vault by changing a few settings, and it will continue to function as long as you don’t migrate to the new database format.

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Need a file from an old Windows backup on your Mac? Macs can read Windows drives, but Time Machine won’t help you recover files from a Windows backup. You have to extract files from the backup manually, and it’ll take a bit of work.

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Much like Microsoft’s Xbox-to-PC streaming, Sony’s PlayStation 4 can stream games to a few of Sony’s Xperia smartphones and tablets. However, with a small tweak, you can stream your PlayStation 4 games to nearly any Android device.

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The Windows Store included with Windows 10 could be a one-stop place to find all the software you’re looking for. But it isn’t. Search for common desktop applications–even the Microsoft Office desktop apps–and you won’t just won’t find them.

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Newer Linksys routers have a File Server feature that allows you to plug in a USB drive and access its files from anywhere–ensuring you’ll never be too far away from your library of favorite movies, music, and pictures, no matter where you are in the world.

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Windows 10’s Fast Startup (called Fast Boot in Windows 8) works similarly to the hybrid sleep mode of previous versions of Windows. By saving the operating system state to a hibernation file, it can make your computer boot up even faster, saving valuable seconds every time you turn your machine on.

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Keeping your password secret is a fundamental security practice, but there are times when you want to share a password with family members. Don’t just send those passwords in an email, though! Use these secure alternatives instead.

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Any purchase you make within an app–rather than in Google Play itself–is an in-app purchase. Google Play tracks these in-app purchases. Some are permanent and can be recovered on a new device, but others are used up after you buy them.

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Manufacturers and carriers often load Android phones with their own apps. If you don’t use them, they just clutter your system, or–even worse–drain your battery in the background. Take control of your device and stop the bloatware.

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Have you ever wondered why some TV shows go to great lengths to obscure logos on laptops and other well-known products? The reasons are seemingly simple, but not necessarily clear cut.

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If you’ve bought a laptop within the past five years, it probably has a decent Wi-Fi card installed already. But if you’ve been experiencing a shoddy connection, spent too long waiting for Netflix to buffer, or missed that last fireball because of lag, then it might be time to consider adding on an external USB Wi-Fi adapter instead.

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When you install a major Windows 10 update, you may reboot to find some of your programs missing. Yes, Windows 10 may remove your programs without asking you–but you can get them back pretty easily.

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There’s a very curious short coming in the Apple HomeKit system: HomeKit supports combining your smarthome devices into rooms, zones, and scenes, but if a given app doesn’t support one of those things, you’re out of luck. And no smarthome apps let you create scenes with multiple products from different companies. Enter the Home app, which solves both these problems.

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Does this sound familiar? You start to watch a video on YouTube, and want to pause it. So you press the spacebar on your keyboard, but rather than pause the video, you randomly jump down the page instead.

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Everyone loses data at some point in their lives. Your computer’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, ransomware could hold your files hostage, or a software bug could delete your important files. If you’re not regularly backing up your computer, you could lose those files forever.

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Ever want to watch a video on your phone or tablet without wasting its storage space? Or maybe you just need to view a file your friend gave you. Most modern Android devices support standard USB drives, so you can plug in a flash drive just like you would on a computer.

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