All modern operating systems — from smartphones and tablets to desktops and laptops — automatically send your local searches over the Internet and provide web results. But you can disable this, which is especially useful for protecting private searches.
If you’re a Linux user, there’s a good chance you’ve installed Linux alongside an existing Windows 7 or 8.1 system in a dual-boot configuration. You can get the free Windows 10 upgrade without damaging your existing Linux system.
Creating installation media for your operating system of choice used to be simple. Just download an ISO and burn it to CD or DVD. Now we’re using USB drives, and the process is a little different for each operating system.
The mobile web doesn’t need Flash. iPads, iPhones, and modern Android devices don’t support Flash, and web developers offer HTML5 videos to serve those devices. But desktop browsers won’t always get these by default, even if you uninstall Flash.
Everyone wants to replace the password with something better. Well, we already have smartphones — and some of us even have smartwatches. These tools can log you into your computer with a smartphone or smartwatch.
Adobe’s Flash plug-in has a big target painted on it. A recent leak shows there’s another Flash Player 0-day that allows attackers to compromise your computer, and that it’s been for sale for the last four years.
Skype doesn’t offer an obvious way to use multiple accounts at the same time. You don’t have to log out and log back in — you can sign into as many Skype accounts as you want via the web, Windows, Mac, or Linux Skype applications.
Want to turn any old computer into a Chromebook? Google doesn’t provide official builds of Chrome OS for any old computer, but there are ways you can install the open-source Chromium OS software or a similar operating system.
Systemd is now used by default in most Linux distributions, from Fedora and Red Hat to Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, and Arch. The systemctl command allows you to get information about systemd’s status and control running services.
Microsoft does offer a web-based version of Skype, so you can chat with your friends on your Chromebook. There’s no official voice or video support yet, but there are ways around that.
Need to sign a document and email it? Don’t print, sign, and then scan it back in again. Skip the entire process and apply your signature electronically. It saves time and you don’t need a printer or scanner.
Many boxes you plug into your TV, including the Roku, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PlayStation 3 offer DLNA (“Digital Living Network Alliance”) streaming support. They can stream video files and music over the network from your PC — as long as you set up a DLNA server first.
You generally don’t need to install hardware drivers on Linux. It’ll automatically detect the hardware in your computer and set it up for you — that’s the goal. But printers can be a different story.
Linux is often best installed in a dual-boot system. This allows you to run Linux on your actual hardware, but you can always reboot into Windows if you need to run Windows software or play PC games.
Wireless devices with Bluetooth radios must be “paired” with each other before they can communicate. This involves making them discoverable and potentially entering a PIN.
You don’t need third-party virtualization tools like VirtualBox and VMware on Linux. KVM (Kernel-based virtual machine) is an open-source virtualization technology built into the Linux kernel. GNOME Boxes provides a pretty front-end that makes it easy to use.
Windows needs manufacturer-provided hardware drivers before your hardware will work. Linux and other operating systems also need hardware drivers before hardware will work — but hardware drivers are handled differently on Linux.
Wi-Fi hasn’t completely taken over the world yet. Some hotels may offer wired Ethernet connections and spotty or unavailable Wi-Fi, for example. But you can turn that wired Ethernet connection into a Wi-Fi connection all your devices can use.
Need to replace a word with another word, or quickly remove bits of text from a document? Just use search-and-replace — whatever application or browser you’re using, you already have an easy find-and-replace tool available to you.
Think you can just plug a standard Linux live USB drive into your Mac and boot from it? Think again. You’ll need to go out of your way to create a live Linux USB drive that will boot on a Mac.
When you search using the Unity Dash, you may notice online content displaying in your search results. Your search terms are sent to productsearch.ubuntu.com and third parties such as Amazon and Facebook and used to provide you online search results in addition to local results.
Want to keep an old Windows or Linux installation around without keeping the hardware around? Convert that physical Windows partition to a virtual hard drive, allowing you to boot it in a virtual machine program like VMware, Hyper-V, Parallels, or VirtualBox.
When you delete sensitive files from your Dropbox account, you may think you’ve deleted them permanently. However, the files remain in a hidden cache folder on your hard drive for efficiency and emergency purposes that is cleared automatically every three days.
Ubuntu’s installer offers an easy “Use LVM” checkbox. The description says it enables Logical Volume Management so you can take snapshots and more easily resize your hard disk partitions — here’s how to do that.
Ctrl+Alt+Delete isn’t just necessary on Windows and other desktop operating systems. Applications can freeze or get stuck in bad states on modern iPhones, iPads, and Android devices too.