FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK

Animated GIFs are everyone’s new favorite way of expressing themselves. They’ve become the moving equivalent of the emoticon, so it can be helpful to know how to create your own.

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Android N will bring a lot of new, innovative, and useful tools to Android, but if you don’t have a modern Nexus device, then it’s hard to say how long you’ll be waiting to get your hands on some of these new goodies. Fortunately, if you’re running a rooted device with the Xposed framework installed, getting many of N’s new features is only a quick download away.

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When you open a document created in an older version of Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in a modern version of Office, you may see “Compatibility Mode” appear after the name of the document in the titlebar. This changes the way the document appears and prevents you from using some modern features.

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In this day and age, there’s no reason to shut down your computer, then sit through the boot-up process when you want to use it. Save yourself time by putting your computer to sleep or hibernating it instead.

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Changing the default application for most files in OS X is easy. OS X also allows you to choose your default web browser and email client, but these options are hidden in a place you might not expect.

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Samsung has finally won me over.

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If you have a Kinect, you can use a variety of voice commands with your Xbox One that turn it on, navigate the interface, skype your friends, and even record your gameplay.

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It’s dinner time. You’re just sitting down when you get a call. On the other line, a robotic voice says: “We have important information regarding your credit accounts. Please hold to speak to a representative.”

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The 2nd generation of Philips Hue smart light bulbs have been out for quite a while now, but you can still buy 1st-generation Hue products at some stores. Here’s what you need to know about the 1st- and 2nd-generation Philips Hue hubs and bulbs, and the big differences between the two.

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Tools like FRAPS and NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay are great for monitoring your game performance on Windows, but they don’t work with Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games. Thankfully, a few tools will let you monitor your framerate and benchmark games made for Windows 10’s new application platform.

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If you’ve ever scrolled through your list of installed programs in Windows, wondering why there are so many versions of the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable on there, you’re not alone. Join us as we take a look at what these things are and why there are so many installed on your PC.

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Plex Media Server’s remote access function is usually so smooth to set up that it’s practically magic. But if you’re having trouble accessing your movies from afar, we’re here to help.

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The Xbox One allows you to play a game and use an app–or just use two apps–at once. You just “Snap” an app to the right side of your screen. With Windows 10 apps debuting on the Xbox One this summer, Snap will only get more powerful and useful.

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Ever since Windows 10 came out, Windows 7 and 8 users have been bombarded with upgrade notifications, thanks to a little Windows icon in their system trays called GWX (“Get Windows 10”). Here is how to remove that icon and avoid the pushy notifications.

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Nexus OTA updates are a bit of an enigma—they come straight from Google, but they also depend on carrier approval before they can be sent to devices on certain networks. Getting the latest OTA update meant either waiting a few weeks, or manually flashing a full factory image, which can be a bit janky. Now, however, the process is more streamlined, so you can flash the latest update with one command, no waiting necessary.

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Ever wonder why some photos look correct in some programs, but appear sideways or upside down in others? That’s because there are two different ways a photo can be rotated, and not every program is on the same page.

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Sony encourages you to use “Rest Mode” on your PlayStation 4 instead of completely powering it off. Rest Mode is a bit like sleep mode on your PC–it goes into a low-power mode instead of turning off entirely, so you can get to your games faster when you wake it up. The only downside to using Rest Mode is that it uses more energy than turning your PS4 off–but how much more, and how much does it cost?

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Microsoft has finally released a “Convenience Rollup” for Windows 7 that combines updates from the past few years into one package (like a service pack). Microsoft doesn’t offer ISO images with these updates integrated, but you can create your own in a few simple steps.

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Macs support a variety of file systems. By default, they format disks with the Mac-only OS X Extended file system. But, if you plan on using an external drive with both Macs and PCs, you should format the disk with the exFAT file system instead.

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When you install Windows 7 on a new system, you traditionally have to go through a long process of downloading years of updates and constantly rebooting. Not anymore: Microsoft now offers a “Windows 7 SP1 Convenience Rollup” that essentially functions as Windows 7 Service Pack 2. With a single download, you can install the hundreds of updates at once. But there’s a catch.

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The Xbox One has integrated TV features and support for streaming media apps like Netflix and Hulu, but that isn’t where it ends. You can play video and music files you’ve ripped or downloaded by plugging in a USB drive or streaming them over your local network.

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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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