Ask HTG: Using a Laptop in the Sun, Resizing Windows Partitions, and Downloading YouTube Videos

By Jason Fitzpatrick on May 21st, 2012

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Once a week we round up some of the reader questions we’ve answered and share the solutions with everyone. Today we’re looking at laptop visibility in sunny areas, resizing Windows partitions, and a dependable way to download YouTube videos.

How Can I Keep My Laptop Screen Readable In Sunlight?

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Dear How-To Geek,

It’s finally getting nice and warm out… and I’d really like to work on the terrace at my office. The only problem is that my laptop screen is barely usable in the bright light! Do you have any pointers to help me enjoy some fresh air and sunshine while still getting some work done?

Sincerely,

Sunshine Guy

Dear Sunshine Guy,

The first thing you can do is avoid direct sunlight. In addition to the glare on the monitor, direct sun exposure generates a lot of heat and heat is the mortal enemy of computers big and small—laptops struggle enough to stay nice and cool without the sun baking down on them. Maybe you could get your company to splurge on a simple umbrella and stand for the terrace if there isn’t any natural shade. Often times, even in the shade though, glare is sill a problem. When possible, orient yourself so that the largest amount of natural light (whether it’s direct sunlight or reflected light off the side of the building) is in front of you. If the bright light is on the same side as the screen, it’s pretty much an instant wash out. If camping out under the umbrella and orienting yourself towards the sun doesn’t help, you could also use some black foam-core to build a simple laptop shade.

How Can I Resize My Windows Partition?

Dear How-To Geek,

I need to resize my Windows partition and do a little partition editing. When I first set up this computer I made a bunch of extra partitions that I didn’t’ end up using and I’d like to reclaim them for the primary partition to use. A long, long, time ago (circa 1995 or so) I remember using some tool to do just this but other than remembering I did it, I can’t remember anything about it. I’m running Windows 7. Help!

Sincerely,

Partition Buster

Dear Partition Buster,

Back in the day specialty programs were necessary to make simple changes to the partition system on a Windows machine once everything was in place. Since you’re running Windows 7 (and Windows disk management has radically improved since 1995) you can probably do everything you need to do from within the Windows Disk Management tool. Check out our guide to using it within Windows 7 here.

Is There a Way to Directly Download YouTube Videos?

Dear How-To Geek,

I’m aware of the web sites that make it easy to download YouTube videos but it seems like they crop up and vanish almost over night. I’m tired of going to use one and seeing that it’s gone! Could you show me how to download videos directly from YouTube using my computer instead of using a web site as an intermediary?

Sincerely,

Tube Archiver

Dear Tube Archiver,

We completely understand your desire to handle the process directly, YouTube helper type sites definitely come and go. A much better solution is the simple app VideoCacheView to grab the cached videos from your browser’s cache files. To do so, we recommend following along with our guide on the subject. You’ll be able to archive the video just as you saw it, no stops along the way.


Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at ask@howtogeek.com and we’ll do our best to answer it.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/21/12
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