Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

The Storage Spaces feature built into Windows allows you to combine multiple hard drives into a single virtual drive. It can mirror data across multiple drives for redundancy, or combine multiple physical drives into a single pool of storage. Storage Spaces is similar to RAID or LVM on Linux.

about 1 day ago - by  |  2 Replies

Windows plays a startup sound and other sound effects regularly, and they can get obnoxious. They’re especially annoying on Windows 7, where Windows plays a click sound every time you switch folders in Windows Explorer. You can disable them entirely—or even set custom sound effects, if you prefer.

about 4 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Windows 10 automatically creates the $GetCurrent and $SysReset folders in your C:\ drive in certain situations. These folders can use gigabytes of space, but what do they do, and can you delete them?

about 4 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack demonstrates the importance of automatic security updates. No matter how careful you are, malware could exploit a security hole over the network and gain control of your system—unless you install security patches.

about 5 days ago - by  |  8 Replies

Windows won’t allow you to modify files that open programs have locked. if you try to delete a file and see a message that it’s open in another program, you’ll have to unlock the file (or close the program).

about 6 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

Your iPhone is packed with hidden touch gestures and shortcuts you could use, if only you knew about them. You might have discovered some of these already, but Apple is always adding more new gestures. Here are 10 of our favorites.

about 7 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

The SmartScreen filter built into Windows automatically scans applications, files, downloads, and websites, blocking known-dangerous content and warning you before you run unknown applications. You can disable it, if you like.

about 9 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Most Linux distributions configure the Bash prompt to look something like username@hostname:directory$ . But you can configure the Bash prompt to contain whatever you like, and even choose whatever colors you like.

about 10 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Origin’s “Great Game Guarantee” applies to all games published by EA itself and a few third-party games. If you’re not happy with a game purchase, you can return it for a refund—just like on Steam. Origin began offering refunds before Steam did, but Steam’s refund policy does apply to a wider selection of games.

about 11 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Passwords can be reset or bypassed on every operating system, so even if you’ve forgotten yours, there may be a way in. This also means that evildoers can likely get into your system if they have access to it—and it’s way easier than you think.

about 11 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

New computers use UEFI firmware instead of the traditional BIOS. Both are low-level software that starts when you boot your PC before booting your operating system, but UEFI is a more modern solution, supporting larger hard drives, faster boot times, more security features, and—conveniently—graphics and mouse cursors.

about 12 days ago - by  |  13 Replies

Ubuntu and many other Linux distributions use the GRUB2 boot loader. If GRUB2 breaks—for example, if you install Windows after installing Ubuntu, or overwrite your MBR—you won’t be able to boot into Ubuntu.

about 13 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

The classic desktop versions of Solitaire and Minesweeper are gone in Windows 8 and 10. Instead, you’ll find shiny new versions with advertisements, Xbox integration, and optional subscription fees. But you can still play Solitaire and Minesweeper without ads, and without paying a cent.

about 13 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Many HP laptops released in 2015 and 2016 have a major problem. The audio driver provided by Conexant has debugging code enabled, and it either logs all your keystrokes to a file or prints them to the system debug log, where malware could snoop on them without looking too suspicious. Here’s how to check if your PC is affected.

about 16 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, codenamed Redstone 3, will be released in September 2017. Here are all the new features Microsoft announced at its BUILD 2017 event on May 11.

about 17 days ago - by  |  10 Replies

Many people swear by multiple monitors, whether they’re computer geeks or just people who need to be productive. Why use just one monitor when you can use two or more and see more at once?

about 17 days ago - by  |  19 Replies

Windows 10 includes OneDrive, but if you’d rather not see it, there are several ways to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10.

about 18 days ago - by  |  Comments (0)

Spotlight search on iOS 10 now remembers your previous searches. If you tap the Spotlight search bar on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll see a list of searches you’ve performed. Here’s how to clear that list—or hide it entirely.

about 19 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Virtual machines can use a large amount of disk space. If you want to regain some of that disk space, just deleting files inside the virtual machine won’t help. You’ll need to reclaim that disk space, shrinking the virtual hard disk and making it use less space on your Mac.

about 20 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

If you try to visit a website and see a “500 Internal Server Error” message, it means something has gone wrong with the website. This isn’t a problem with your browser, your computer, or your internet connection. It’s a problem with the site you’re trying to visit.

about 20 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Your iPhone has secret codes you can plug into the dialer to access hidden options. These codes “interrogate” the phone to find and change various settings. For example, you can view a more precise display of your cellular signal strength and set up call barring to block outgoing phone calls.

about 22 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Nothing ever vanishes completely from the Internet. Whether a web page has been down for a few minutes or a few years, there are a few ways you can view its content anyway.

about 23 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

High pixel density displays are now common on new Windows PCs, just as they are on smartphones, tablets, and Macs. But be careful what you wish for—many desktop apps still have problems on high-DPI displays.

about 24 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

Windows 10 S is “the soul of today’s Windows”, according to Microsoft. It’s a new version of Windows intended for school PCs, but available to everyone. It’s designed to be more simple and streamlined, so it only runs applications from the Windows Store—unless you spend another $50 to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

about 26 days ago - by  |  31 Replies

You can easily set any image you like as your login screen background on Windows 10. This was complicated in the initial release of Windows 10, but Microsoft made it simple with the Anniversary Update.

about 26 days ago - by  |  27 Replies
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