Until recently, Windows 10 store games could only be played when connected to the internet. Microsoft has thankfully changed this, but as usual, they had to make things complicated: You can only have one “designated offline device” at a time.
Feel like you forgot to log out of Gmail on your friend’s computer? Google makes it easy to see all the devices—laptop, phone, tablet, and otherwise—logged into your Google account. You can view both a list of IP addresses that have accessed it, and a list of devices that have actively used your account in the last 28 days.
Much of the data on your Android phone or tablet is backed up by Google (or the individual apps you use) automatically, but what is being saved for you, and what do you need to save for yourself?
On modern versions of Windows, you’ll see a “ProgramData” folder on your system drive—usually the C:\ drive. This folder is hidden, so you’ll only see it if you show hidden files in File Explorer.
You don’t really need a full Internet security suite. However, many people like having them — and they pay dearly with subscription fees. But you can assemble your own security suite for free.
Internet security suites are big business. Trial versions packed full of features come with most new Windows computers. They typically include powerful two-way firewalls, phishing filters, and cookie-scanning technology. But you don’t really need all these features.
Gamers are accusing NVIDIA’s new drivers of spying on you, collecting more data with new telemetry services. But NVIDIA isn’t spying on you—or, at least, NVIDIA isn’t gathering more data than it already was, and most of that data is required for it to work properly.
Chromebooks don’t officially support Windows. You normally can’t even install Windows—Chromebooks ship with a special type of BIOS designed for Chrome OS. But there are ways to install Windows on many Chromebook models, if you’re willing to get your hands dirty.
Windows 10, like Windows 8 before it, is integrated with Microsoft’s online services. Microsoft would prefer you sign into Windows with your Microsoft account, although you can still create a local account. Certain features are only available if you sign in with a Microsoft account, however.
Apple Maps doesn’t automatically detect your Home address. If you move, Apple Maps and its widget will keep telling you how long it will take to drive to your previous home address—until you give it your new one.
Do you prefer Google Chrome to Microsoft’s Windows 8 apps? Well, you’re in luck, even if you have a Windows 8 PC. You can swap the entire “Modern” environment for the Chrome OS desktop, hiding the Windows 8 interface entirely.
If you’re new to the world of PC gaming, it can all seem a bit complicated. Consoles don’t have upgradable hardware, desktop software running in the background, or graphics settings that must be tweaked for ideal performance.
Whether you saw a message saying a virus was detected, or your computer just seems slow and unreliable, you’ll want to scan for malware on your PC and remove any you find.
Modern PCs ship with a feature called “Secure Boot” enabled. This is a platform feature in UEFI, which replaces the traditional PC BIOS. If a PC manufacturer wants to place a “Windows 10” or “Windows 8” logo sticker to their PC, Microsoft requires they enable Secure Boot and follow some guidelines.
Got a bunch of files you want to rename, but don’t want to go through them each one by one? Windows provides more ways to do this than you may realize.
Android developers can restrict their apps to certain devices, countries, and minimum versions of Android. However, there are ways around these restrictions, allowing you to install apps marked as “not compatible with your device.”
USB drives should automatically appear in Windows Explorer when you connect them to your computer. Follow these troubleshooting steps if Windows doesn’t show a connected drive.
Chromebooks aren’t “just a browser”—they’re Linux laptops. You can easily install a full Linux desktop alongside alongside Chrome OS and instantly switch between the two with a hotkey, no rebooting necessary.
Windows 8 asked you to “Trust This PC” after you signed in with a Microsoft account. This message is gone in Windows 10, replaced with a new “Trusted Devices” system that works differently.
Batteries need to be cared for properly — they’re a critical part of our mobile devices and battery technology hasn’t advanced as fast as other technologies. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of incorrect information about batteries out there.
Need to extract an archive or compress some files? Avoid big-name programs like WinZip and WinRAR, which are packed with nags and advertisements. Modern versions of Windows have integrated support for ZIP files, and anything else is best managed with the free, open source 7-Zip.
Desktop gadgets and the Windows Sidebar were a big hallmark feature in Windows Vista and Windows 7. But Microsoft removed desktop gadgets, and you won’t find them in Windows 8 or 10.
Windows 10’s Anniversary Update offers a big new feature for developers: A full, Ubuntu-based Bash shell that can run Linux software directly on Windows. This is made possible by the new “Windows Subsystem for Linux” Microsoft is adding to Windows 10.
Not all apps run in the foreground. Some sit quietly in the background, doing work for you with an icon in the Notification Area–also commonly (but apparently incorrectly) known as the System Tray. Windows helps you manage this clutter, controlling which icons appear on your taskbar and whether certain system icons appear at all.
Assigned Access allows you to easily lock a Windows PC to a single application of your choice. This feature makes it easy for anyone to configure Windows 10 (or Windows 8.1) PCs as point-of-sale or other kiosk systems.