FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The beauty of technology isn’t just doing more stuff–it’s doing stuff quickly. Whether you want to call a specific contact with one tap, keep your phone unlocked when you’re at home or work, launch the camera in a flash to quickly capture the perfect moment, or search for an app while in a rush, here are some of the best shortcuts built into Android that you’re probably not using.
Windows comes with a bunch of services running in the background. The Services.msc tool allows you to view these services and disable them, but you probably shouldn’t bother. Disabling the default services won’t speed up your PC or make it any more secure.
Philips Hue is a really cool Wi-Fi-enabled lighting system that allows you to turn on and off your lights right from your smartphone (or from other smarthome-controlling devices, like the Amazon Echo). It’s one of the first steps in turning your house into a smarthome of the future. Here’s how to set up your Philips Hue lights using the new Philips Hue app.
Plex Media Server is a user-friendly way to store all your movies, shows, and other media in one place–and make it accessible from any device, whether you’re at home or on-the-go. If you’re looking for a no-headache way to watch your movies anywhere, this is it.
Windows can’t normally read Mac-formatted drives, and will offer to erase them instead. But third-party tools fill the gap and provide access to drives formatted with Apple’s HFS+ file system on Windows. This also allows you to restore Time Machine backups on Windows.