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+.

Before you sell your Xbox One or pass it on to someone else, you should perform a factory reset. This wipes all your personal data. Whoever gets the Xbox One will have to go through the first-time setup process once again, signing in with their own Microsoft account.

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It’s been more than a year since we drew attention to the crapware regularly foisted upon unsuspecting users by pretty much every big freeware site, including the venerable SourceForge. Since then, a few sites–including SourceForge themselves–have started cleaning up their act.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One allows you to remap the buttons on its controller. This feature was originally introduced with Microsoft’s high-end Xbox One Elite controller, but it now works with standard Xbox One controllers as well.

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Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10’s free upgrade offer will expire on July 29, 2016. After that, you’ll have to pay $119 to upgrade on any computer that hasn’t already made the leap. But with a few simple steps, you can “reserve” that free copy now, so you can upgrade after July 29 without paying.

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The Office Upload Center is part of Microsoft Office. Install Office on your computer, and this tool will appear in your system tray. Sure, you can hide this icon, but should you? What exactly does it do, anyway?

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Skype is more than just voice and video chat: it contains text chat, too. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly unreliable, and only getting worse. None of my friends use it anymore–everyone’s switched to Telegram, which always works properly. Microsoft has wasted its time by rewriting the Skype client over and over instead of fixing the core problem.

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Configuration profiles on an iPhone or iPad are sort of like Group Policy or the registry editor on Windows. They allow you to quickly distribute groups of settings and access powerful management features that aren’t normally available. Configuration profiles are really designed for organizations, but can be used by anyone.

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If you’ve been having trouble receiving text messages from iPhone users, Apple’s iMessage is probably at fault–especially if you recently switched from iPhone to Android, or something else.

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An iPad makes a great “kiosk” device–a tablet restricted to one specific app for your home or small business. You can create a makeshift kiosk using the Guided Access feature, or enable Single App Mode for a true kiosk environment.

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If you have notifications enabled, apps normally display your messages right on your lock screen. But you can hide the text of those messages without disabling the lock screen notifications entirely, allowing you to see you have a message while preventing people from reading those messages over your shoulder.

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Windows comes with a bunch of services running in the background. The Services.msc tool allows you to view these services and disable them, but you probably shouldn’t bother. Disabling the default services won’t speed up your PC or make it any more secure.

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Guided Access allows you to set a screen time limit on your iPhone or iPad. This is great if you have a child–they can only play games for as long as you choose. The iPhone or iPad will be automatically locked after the time limit expires.

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Microsoft Office lets you encrypt your Office documents and PDF files, allowing no one to even view the file unless they have the password. Modern versions of Office use secure encryption that you can rely on–assuming you set a strong password.

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Windows can’t normally read Mac-formatted drives, and will offer to erase them instead. But third-party tools fill the gap and provide access to drives formatted with Apple’s HFS+ file system on Windows. This also allows you to restore Time Machine backups on Windows.

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Supervised Mode is intended for organizations, but you can enable it on your own iPhone or iPad. Supervised Mode gets you a few extra features like hiding included apps, and always-on VPNs.

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Phones are private, full of personal data and messages. Guided Access allows you to share your iPhone with someone without being able to access that data–allowing them to look at photos, place a phone call, or play a game while your stuff stays hidden.

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduced “Snap” packages, which are a great new way of installing apps. Snaps require different terminal commands–apt-get and dpkg will only allow you to install .deb packages the old way, not Snaps.

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Many iPhone and iPad games include banner ads that take up part of your screen. Accidentally tap the ad, and you’ll be ripped from the game and taken to another app, like the App Store or Safari. Enable iOS’ “Guided Access” and you won’t have this problem.

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS includes a long-awaited feature: You can now move the Unity desktop’s launcher to the bottom of your screen. It isn’t locked to the left side of your screen anymore. However, this option requires a terminal command or tweaking tool, as it isn’t offered in Ubuntu’s normal System Settings window.

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Like many Bethesda games, modding is one of the big draws of games like Skyrim and Fallout 4 on the PC. Nexus Mod Manager is one of the best ways to install mods on your favorite games, and we’re here to show you how to use it.

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Your iPhone contacts will automatically come with you to a new phone–assuming that new phone is an iPhone, you’re backing up the contacts to iCloud, and you’re using the same iCloud account on both phones. But things get a bit more complicated if you want to do anything else.

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Believe it or not, Sony’s PlayStation 4 works with a mouse and keyboard. This makes it more convenient to type, use the web browser, and generally get around more quickly. Some games even support mouse and keyboard controls.

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People snicker about private browsing mode, but it isn’t just for pornography. In fact, it’s not even just for browsing privately–it has other uses. It’s named Incognito Mode in Chrome, Private Browsing in Firefox and Safari, and InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer–but it’s essentially the same feature in all these browsers.

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Windows 10 Enterprise offers quite a few exclusive features that aren’t available in the Professional edition of Windows. You can get these features without reinstalling Windows, and without even having an Enterprise disc. In fact, you don’t even need your own Windows 10 Enterprise key to perform this upgrade.

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Your iPhones and iPads automatically back up to Apple’s iCloud. But Apple is awfully stingy with iCloud storage, only offering 5GB for free. If you want to avoid the monthly fee but keep backing up to iCloud instead of to iTunes, we have a few tricks for you.

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