FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK

If you’re running your own router alongside the modem/router combo your ISP gave you, there’s a good chance you’re inadvertently giving yourself a huge headache and a host of difficult-to-pin-down network problems. Let’s look at why these issues arise, how to detect them, and how to fix them.

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Parental controls allow you to restrict child accounts on an Xbox One. You can restrict access to games, media, and apps by age rating, filter the web, and control online privacy and chat features. This works similarly to the parental controls in Windows 10.

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Even if you use the Windows Command Prompt a lot, you might be surprised at the number of useful keyboard shortcuts it supports. You can use them to streamline everything from selecting and manipulating text to repeating commands you’ve already typed. And we’ve got the full list for you.

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Mental health doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Today, we’re taking a break from technology for some personal stories and useful guides in an effort to spread awareness about depression, anxiety, and other issues.

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While setting up your Xbox One, you’ll be asked whether you want to use “Instant On” mode or “Energy Saving” mode. You can also change this option at any time. We’ll show you how to calculate exactly how much Instant On mode costs in your area, so you can make an informed decision.

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When it comes to video playback, the cross-platform application VLC is a veritable Swiss Army knife. It’s been popular on Windows, Mac, and Linux for a long time, but now you can get that same great plays-anything-under-the-sun power on your Apple TV.

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Not all scanners are created equal. Even if you buy a top of the line model, it might not be the right tool for the job, and you’ll waste time, get inferior results, and curse the day you bought the wrong model.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One allows you to easily capture a screenshot or record the last thirty seconds of gameplay as a video. You can also use the Game DVR app for more fine-grained recording options. All video clips are saved in 720p resolution at 30 frames per second.

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Nova Launcher is an unofficial fan favorite for Android power users, and with good reason—it’s chock-full of nifty customization features to help users make Android look how they want. But it’s also full of useful time-saving features that can make your life easier. Here are five of our favorites.

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Before you sell your Xbox One or pass it on to someone else, you should perform a factory reset. This wipes all your personal data. Whoever gets the Xbox One will have to go through the first-time setup process once again, signing in with their own Microsoft account.

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It’s been more than a year since we drew attention to the crapware regularly foisted upon unsuspecting users by pretty much every big freeware site, including the venerable SourceForge. Since then, a few sites–including SourceForge themselves–have started cleaning up their act.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One allows you to remap the buttons on its controller. This feature was originally introduced with Microsoft’s high-end Xbox One Elite controller, but it now works with standard Xbox One controllers as well.

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If you’ve been using Windows for very long at all, you’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s .NET, probably because an application asked you to install it, or you noticed it in your list of installed programs. Unless you’re a developer, you don’t need a lot of knowledge to make use of it. You just need it to work. But, since we geeks like knowing things, join us as we explore just what .NET is and why so many applications need it.

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Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10’s free upgrade offer will expire on July 29, 2016. After that, you’ll have to pay $119 to upgrade on any computer that hasn’t already made the leap. But with a few simple steps, you can “reserve” that free copy now, so you can upgrade after July 29 without paying.

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The Office Upload Center is part of Microsoft Office. Install Office on your computer, and this tool will appear in your system tray. Sure, you can hide this icon, but should you? What exactly does it do, anyway?

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Skype is more than just voice and video chat: it contains text chat, too. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly unreliable, and only getting worse. None of my friends use it anymore–everyone’s switched to Telegram, which always works properly. Microsoft has wasted its time by rewriting the Skype client over and over instead of fixing the core problem.

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Amazon has gone into overdrive promoting their powerful and popular voice assistant Alexa, but most people don’t realize: Alexa is more than just the Amazon Echo.

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Configuration profiles on an iPhone or iPad are sort of like Group Policy or the registry editor on Windows. They allow you to quickly distribute groups of settings and access powerful management features that aren’t normally available. Configuration profiles are really designed for organizations, but can be used by anyone.

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So you got a shiny new Android phone. You changed the wallpaper, bought a case that you like, arranged your home screens…you know, made it yours. Then someone calls. Why on earth are you still using a stock ringtone? Get that out of here—it’s time to not only make it look like yours, but sound like it too.

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Many people use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to mask their identity, encrypt their communications, or browse the web from a different location. All those goals can fall apart if your real information is leaking through a security hole, which is more common than you’d think. Let’s look at how to identify and patch those leaks.

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If you’ve been having trouble receiving text messages from iPhone users, Apple’s iMessage is probably at fault–especially if you recently switched from iPhone to Android, or something else.

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An iPad makes a great “kiosk” device–a tablet restricted to one specific app for your home or small business. You can create a makeshift kiosk using the Guided Access feature, or enable Single App Mode for a true kiosk environment.

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If you’re like most Windows users, you have lots of great little utilities that run when you start Windows. While this works great for most apps, there are some that would be nice to start even before a user logs in to the PC. To do this, you’ll need to run the app as a Windows service.

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When you leave for work, you likely turn down your thermostat before you head out the door to save energy. But the Nest Thermostat can automatically do that for you, by detecting when you’re away and when you come home.

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If you have notifications enabled, apps normally display your messages right on your lock screen. But you can hide the text of those messages without disabling the lock screen notifications entirely, allowing you to see you have a message while preventing people from reading those messages over your shoulder.

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