Your smartphone — and other devices that use Wi-Fi — broadcast a unique number when they search for nearby Wi-Fi networks. A device’s unique MAC address is sent along with “probe requests” that search for nearby Wi-Fi networks.
Windows doesn’t offer a built-in way for users to make a window always-on-top. There are many third-party tools for this, but they’re often bloated and clunky. Some just don’t work well on the modern 64-bit version of Windows.
Linux’s GRUB2 boot loader can boot Linux ISO files directly from your hard drive. Boot Linux live CDs or even install Linux on another hard drive partition without burning it to disc or booting from a USB drive.
You probably shouldn’t update your BIOS, but sometimes you need to. Here’s how to check what BIOS version your computer is using and flash that new BIOS version onto your motherboard as quickly and safely as possible.
Even with the advances in Wi-Fi routers it’s still possible you have a dead spot or two in your house (and if you have an older router it’s likely you have entire portions of your home with a poor or non-existent signal). D-Link’s DAP-1250 offers a dead simple and low-profile way to extend the reach of your home network.
Microsoft’s Windows To Go feature installs Windows as a live system on a bootable USB drive. It’s officially only for Enterprise editions of Windows, but we’ve found a way to do it with any edition of Windows 8 or 8.1.
Ubuntu doesn’t offer the Safe Mode and Automatic Repair tools you’ll find in Windows, but it does offer a recovery menu and a reinstall option that keeps your files and programs.
When Windows blue-screens, it creates memory dump files — also known as crash dumps. This is what Windows 8’s BSOD is talking about when it says its “just collecting some error info.”
Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions now use the GRUB2 boot loader. You can change its settings to select a default operating system, set a background image, and choose how long GRUB counts down before automatically booting the default OS.
The System Information panel has always been a great way to get more information about your system, but in Windows 8 you will have a hard time figuring out how to open it. Here’s how to do it.
Google introduced Google Drive on April 24, 2012 and promised Linux support “coming soon.” That was nearly two and a half years ago. There’s now a somewhat “official” Google Drive client for Linux, but it’s probably not what you want.
When you buy a new laptop or tablet, you’ll often be able to “customize” it by paying extra for a faster CPU. But this may not be a good idea — the higher-end CPU might be a worse fit for the device!
These days, you can share files using all of the different cloud storage providers like Dropbox and OneDrive, but if all you want is a super easy way to share files with people, Jumpshare might be worth a look.
Not all solid-state storage is as fast as an SSD. “eMMC” is the kind of flash storage you’ll find in cheap tablets and laptops. It’s slower and cheaper than a traditional SSD you’d find in more expensive computers.
Media center “sticks” like the Chromecast are more popular than ever and many of them come with little 3-4″ HDMI extension cables. What are the cables for and do you actually need to use them? Read on as we explain why, even if your Chromecast is working fine without it you may want to plug it in anyway.
Ubuntu and practically every other Linux distribution use the GRUB2 boot loader. Unless you have multiple operating systems installed, this bootloader is normally hidden — but it provides options you may sometimes need.
Until recently, you needed to spend hundreds of dollars — often $649 or “$199 with a two year contract” — to get a smartphone with good performance that could run the latest apps. Solid smartphones are now much cheaper.
Cloud storage isn’t just for your own personal files. You can use it to easily share files without any hassle. Share files back-and-forth with your friends and colleagues, or make them available to the entire Internet.
If you’re in the market for a dependable router with simple setup, administration, and simple network attached storage, the D-Link DIR-880L is a slender and far reaching workhorse that meets your needs.
Microsoft once claimed the original 64 GB Surface Pro would have only 23 GB of usable free space — that’s more than half used for system files! But Windows now fits on 16 GB drives.
Keyboard shortcuts are a crucial way to do almost anything on your computer faster, whether it’s browsing the web, working with text, or just getting around your desktop. Among its other useful features, VLC is packed with keyboard shortcuts.
The cloud storage wars are heating up. Microsoft now offers 1 TB of cloud storage along with Office 365, and both Dropbox and Google are offering 1 TB at just $10 per month. Flickr even offers 1 TB for free.
Every Windows user is fighting a constant war against junkware that legitimate application installers try to sneak onto our systems. Here’s everything you can do to protect yourself from obnoxious browser toolbars and all that other junk.
According to an old rule of thumb, your page file or swap should be “double your RAM” or “1.5x your RAM.” But do you really need a 32 GB page file or swap if you have 16 GB of RAM?
Free, public Wi-Fi access points are popping up in more and more places around the world. They’re extra useful when travelling, as you won’t have your home Wi-Fi network and may not want to pay for international mobile data.