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+.

When you configure a proxy server for a Wi-Fi network, your iPhone or iPad will use it when accessing that network. This is sometimes required to access the Internet on a business or school network, for example. Your network traffic will be sent through the proxy you configure.

about 14 hours ago - by  |  Leave a reply

It’s been over four years since Microsoft first released the PC Settings interface with Windows 8, but the Control Panel and Settings app are still a confusing, split experience. There still isn’t a single interface, as there is on other operating systems, and Microsoft is seriously dragging their feet on consolidating them.

about 16 hours ago - by  |  11 Replies

Your computer’s BIOS is the first thing that loads when you start your computer. It initializes your hardware before booting an operating system from your hard drive or another device. Many low-level system settings are only available in your BIOS.

about 4 days ago - by  |  9 Replies

Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and other Chrome OS devices allow you to set a proxy server through which you can route your traffic.This may be required to access the Internet on some networks—for example, on business or school networks.

about 4 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

You’ll sometimes see MD5, SHA-1, or SHA-256 hashes displayed alongside downloads during your internet travels, but not really known what they are. These seemingly random strings of text allow you to verify files you download aren’t corrupted or tampered with. You can do this with the commands built into Windows, macOS, and Linux.

about 5 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

When you configure a proxy server on your Mac, applications will send their network traffic through the proxy server before going to their destination. This may be required by your employer to bypass a firewall, or you may want to use a proxy to bypass geoblocking and access websites that aren’t available in your country.

about 5 days ago - by  |  Leave a reply

Some Windows 10 devices ship with “Device Encryption”, but other PCs require you to pay another $99 to get BitLocker on Windows Pro for full-disk encryption. If you’d rather not, you can use the free and open-source VeraCrypt software to get full-disk encryption on any version of Windows.

about 7 days ago - by  |  28 Replies

An SSH client connects to a Secure Shell server, which allows you to run terminal commands as if you were sitting in front of another computer. But an SSH client also allows you to “tunnel” a port between your local system and a remote SSH server.

about 8 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

If you want to send your web browser traffic—and only your browser traffic—through a proxy, Mozilla Firefox is a great option. It uses your system-wide proxy settings by default, but you can configure separate proxy settings for Firefox only.

about 9 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

You’ve been emailed a document, and you have to sign it and send it back. You could print out the document, sign it, and then scan it back in and email it. But there’s a better, faster way.

about 9 days ago - by  |  23 Replies

Amazon offers free music streaming with Prime, a paid music service for an additional monthly fee, direct MP3 sales, a way to get MP3s when you purchase audio CDs, and a music locker you can upload your own songs to. That’s a lot to keep track of! Here are all of Amazon’s confusing music services, explained.

about 11 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

BitLocker’s full-disk encryption normally requires a computer with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Try to enable BitLocker on a PC without a TPM, and you’ll be told your administrator must set a system policy option.

about 11 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Norton, like most other antivirus tools, is rather intrusive. It installs a toolbar in your web browser, pops up notifications even when you download safe files, and shows you various special offers and reports. But you can set Norton to only notify you when there’s an actual problem.

about 12 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

McAfee, like most other modern antivirus programs, doesn’t stay out of your way. It installs browser extensions and shows various alert messages you might not want to see. If McAfee came with your PC, you may regularly see messages that your subscription is expired. Here’s how to get rid of that noise.

about 13 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Many extensions in the Chrome Web Store want to “read and change all your data on the websites you visit”. That sounds a little dangerous—and it can be—but many extensions just need that permission to do their jobs.

about 16 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Bitdefender, like other antivirus tools, is more than just an antivirus that quietly protects your PC. Install Bitdefender and you’ll get a password manager, separate web browser, and a variety of other notifications and advertisements you might not want to see.

about 18 days ago - by  |  4 Replies

When Google introduced Google Drive in April 24, 2012, they promised Linux support “coming soon.” That was nearly five years ago. Google still hasn’t released an official version of Google Drive for Linux, but there are other tools to fill the gap.

about 20 days ago - by  |  27 Replies

Avast is an unusually noisy antivirus application. It speaks notifications aloud, displays ads, and bundles a lot of additional software. You can disable some (or all) of these annoyances to quiet Avast down.

about 20 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Steam trading cards are basically free money. Assuming you own a few games on Steam, you’re probably generating Steam trading cards without even realizing it—and you can sell them on the community market for Steam Wallet credit, which you can use to purchase games.

about 21 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

U2F is an emerging standard for physical authentication tokens. Current U2F keys are all small USB devices. To log in, you won’t need to enter an authentication code provided from an app or SMS—just insert the USB security key and press a button. Here’s how they work.

about 22 days ago - by  |  12 Replies

The lock screen on Windows 8 and 10 isn’t just a background image or slideshow. It can display notifications and detailed status information from a variety of apps. You can also access Cortana directly from this screen.

about 23 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Web browsers include a few search engines for you to choose from, but you can easily add more. Even if a website doesn’t offer an official search plugin, you can add any custom search engine you like with a few tricks.

about 25 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Email services automatically classify messages as “spam” if they look spammy. And in general, they do a pretty good job. But those filters aren’t perfect, and occasionally you may see messages you want getting sent to the spam folder.

about 26 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Mac webcams include a light that turns on when your webcam is in use. With the right command, you can check which application is actually using your webcam.

about 26 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

AVG Antivirus includes browser extensions, notifications, and other features sure to distract you. If you just want an antivirus to silently protect your system in the background, here’s how to slim AVG down.

about 27 days ago - by  |  1 Reply
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