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+.

Windows 10 is designed for PCs with unlimited Internet connections, and it normally uses as much of your download and upload bandwidth as it wants without asking. Setting a connection as metered puts you back in control, and it’s essential on some types of connections.

about 2 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

Windows 10’s Game DVR feature can slow your gaming performance by recording video in the background. If you don’t care about recording your gameplay, disable Game DVR for performance reasons.

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Chrome no longer supports any plugin except Flash, and even Flash won’t run automatically unless you give it permission. However, Chrome’s new click-to-play behavior is a little different from the old behavior.

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All web browsers remember a list of the web pages you’ve visited. You can delete this list at any time, clearing your browsing history and erasing the tracks stored on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Each browser has its own separate history, so you’ll need to clear the history in multiple places if you’ve used more than one browser.

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Want to set a web page aside and come back to it in the future? If you use Microsoft Edge in Windows 10’s Creators Update, you don’t have to leave the tab open or bookmark it and remember to come back. You can tell Cortana to remind you about the address in the future and forget about it.

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Steam offers a generous refund system. You can refund any game you purchase through Steam, for any reason—whether it isn’t working properly on your PC or you just don’t find it fun.

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Windows includes a variety of “troubleshooters” designed to quickly diagnose and automatically solve various computer problems. Troubleshooters can’t fix everything, but they’re a great place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer.

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You may want to turn your Wi-Fi off to save battery power on an airplane or somewhere else where there’s no Wi-Fi available. With Windows 10’s Creators Update, you can now have your PC automatically re-enable your Wi-Fi so you don’t have to remember to do so later.

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Windows 10 includes a telemetry service that automatically sends diagnostic and usage data about your computer to Microsoft. These settings have caused a lot of controversy since Windows 10’s release, but what do they actually do?

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Microsoft’s “Shared Experiences” allow you to start a task on one device and finish it on another, or easily set up a remote control or other companion app on a smartphone.

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Paint 3D is a new application included with Windows 10’s Creators Update. You can use it to work with 3D models and put together 3D scenes. Your work can be shared online or even printed on a 3D printer.

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The “Reset Your PC” feature in Windows 10 restores your PC to its factory default settings…including all that bloatware your PC manufacturer included. But the new “Fresh Start” feature in Windows 10’s Creators Update makes it much easier to get a clean Windows system.

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The Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 provide more control over Windows Update than the Home edition does. If you have one of those editions, then starting with the Creators Update, you can now pause receiving updates and defer some updates for up to a year.

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Windows 10’s Creators Update includes a new live game-streaming feature. You can broadcast your gameplay in real time to your friends without any additional software.

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Microsoft Office document files you download from the internet can harm your PC. Office files can contain dangerous macros, but macros aren’t the only risk. With new malware attacking PCs through dangerous Office documents that don’t even contain macros, keeping yourself safe in Office is just one of the security practices you should follow.

about 17 days ago - by  |  6 Replies

Like other modern browsers, Microsoft Edge includes some features that send your data over the Internet. A few of them even send your browser history to Microsoft. We don’t advise you disable all these features, as they do useful things. But we’ll explain what the various options do so you can make informed decisions.

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Windows 10’s Creators Update adds Dynamic Lock, which tries to automatically lock your PC when you step away. Dynamic Lock uses Bluetooth to check the signal strength of your smartphone. If the signal drops to a certain level, Windows assumes you’ve walked away with your smartphone and locks your PC.

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Windows 10 automatically installs updates, including new versions of hardware drivers. But you can block Windows Update from installing driver updates, if you like. Early versions of the Creators Update included an easy graphical option to change this setting on Windows 10 Professional, but Microsoft decided to remove it.

about 19 days ago - by  |  Comments (0)

Windows 10’s Creators Update includes Night Light, a “blue light filter” that makes your display use warmer colors at night to help you sleep better and reduce eyestrain. It works just like Night Shift on the iPhone and Mac, Night Mode on Android, Blue Shade on Amazon’s Fire tablets, and the f.lux application that started it all.

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Windows 10’s Creators Update adds themes to the Windows Store, making it easy to customize your desktop with new backgrounds, sounds, and colors. These are the same types of desktop themes originally offered in Windows 7.

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The Windows 10 Creators Update—codenamed Redstone 2—will begin rolling out on April 11, 2017. Like other updates to Windows 10, it’s free, and includes a host of new features. It will be rolled out slowly like the Anniversary Update, so it will be a few months before Microsoft offers it to everyone.

about 19 days ago - by  |  Comments (0)

Windows 10’s Creators Update has a switch you can flip to only allow apps from the Windows Store. This feature can also be used to whitelist your existing desktop apps, only allowing your currently installed applications to run and blocking new applications until you allow them. It’s similar to Gatekeeper on macOS.

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The bash shell is the standard terminal environment included with most Linux distributions, included with macOS, and available for installation on Windows 10. It remembers the commands you type and stores them in a history file. You probably know a few basics of the bash history, but it’s a lot more powerful than you might realize.

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Some PDFs are encrypted with a password, which you’ll need to enter each time you want to view the document. You can remove the password to save yourself some inconvenience if you’re keeping the PDF in a secure location.

about 22 days ago - by  |  5 Replies

The vim text editor, a standard tool included on Linux and macOS, can quickly encrypt text files with a password. It’s faster and more convenient than encrypting a text file with a separate utility. Here’s how to set it up.

about 23 days ago - by  |  2 Replies
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