After more than a decade as a fervent PC gamer, I purchased a PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii U last year, eager to try the current crop of consoles. The last console I seriously used was a Nintendo 64. A lot has changed since then.
MacBooks attempt to automatically manage your display brightness for you, dimming the display when you step away from an outlet and adjusting the brightness to suit the overall light level nearby. But you can adjust the brightness manually and even disable these features, if you like.
Those new Windows 10 apps have permission to run in the background so they can update their live tiles, fetch new data, and receive notifications. Even if you never even touch them, they may drain some battery power. But you can control which apps are allowed to run in the background.
You probably need to change your screen brightness regularly. When it’s bright outside, you want to turn it up so you can see. When you’re in a dark room, you’ll want it dim so it doesn’t hurt your eyes. Decreasing your screen brightness will also help save you power and increase your laptop’s battery life.
If you switch to a Mac after becoming familiar with Windows, you’ll quickly find that the standard Ctrl+Alt+Delete shortcut doesn’t do anything. Mac OS X does have its own version of the Task Manager, but it’s a bit different than Windows’, and you access it by pressing Command+Option+Esc.
Windows 10 includes a new “Battery Use” screen that shows you what’s draining your laptop’s juice. That means it’ll tell you exactly what apps–both desktop and Windows 10 “universal” apps–are using too much power.
Using Chrome on Windows? There’s a good chance you’re still using the 32-bit version. You should upgrade to the 64-bit version. It’s more secure–not to mention faster and more stable.
Windows 10 includes a “Battery Saver” mode that’s designed to extend your laptop or tablet’s battery life. Windows will automatically enable Battery Saver when your PC’s battery runs low, but you can control this–and choose exactly what Battery Saver does.
NVIDIA’s GameStream technology lets you stream games from a GeForce-powered Windows PC to another device. It only officially supports NVIDIA’s own Android-based SHIELD devices, but with a third-party open-source GameStream client known as Moonlight, you can stream games to Windows PCs, Macs, Linux PCs, iPhones, iPads, and non-SHIELD Android devices.
Windows sets all PCs to a “Balanced” power plan by default. But there are also “Power saver” and “High performance” plans. Your PC manufacturer may have even created their own power plans. What’s the difference between them all, and should you bother switching?
Everything has DRM these days, and while Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and even DVDs and Blu-rays “just work” on most systems, Linux users always have to do a little more work. Here’s how penguin lovers can get all those services working on their machines.
Windows offers an on-screen keyboard that lets you type even if you don’t have access to a physical keyboard. It’s particularly useful with a touch screen, but you can also use it to type with a mouse–or even to type with a game controller from your couch.
This week, Microsoft made Windows 10 a “recommended update” that will automatically download for many Windows 7 and 8.1 users. This is just Microsoft’s latest move in aggressively pushing Windows 10–here’s how we got to this point.
Rooting your Android device gives you access to a wider variety of apps and a deeper access to the Android system. But some apps–like Google’s Android Pay–won’t work at all on a rooted device.
A mouse and keyboard isn’t always the most convenient way to control a PC, especially a media center PC you control from the couch. You can try to control your desktop with a game controller, but your smartphone will do the trick as well.
USB Type-C brings a new universal connector to laptops and smartphones, and many devices are already starting to use it. But beware: many USB-C cables aren’t designed properly and could potentially damage your hardware.
Many Android tweaking and hacking guides warn that you’ll void your warranty by continuing. But will you actually be denied repair service if you’ve rooted or unlocked your bootloader?
Commercial DVDs and Blu-ray discs are encrypted. The Digital Rights Management (DRM) is designed to prevent you from ripping them, copying them, and watching them on unsupported players. You can get around this protection to watch DVDs and Blu-rays on Linux, but it’ll take some tweaking.
If you have your PC set up as a living room gaming PC and media center, why use a mouse for everything when you could just use your game controller?
Apple’s iPhones and iPads use its own Lightning connector for charging and data transmission. You can purchase third-party cables and accessories, but they must be certified. If a cable or accessory wasn’t certified by Apple, you’ll see a warning message when you connect it. However, this message can sometimes appear incorrectly, too.
Most modern browsers support extensions, which add additional features to your browser. But the fewer extensions you have installed, the speedier your browser should be. Here’s how to uninstall or disable extensions you don’t use.
Sony’s DualShock 4 controller is actually a standard gamepad, and you can connect it to any PC with a USB cable, standard Bluetooth, or Sony’s official wireless USB adapter. It will work in a variety of games, too, since Steam now offers official support for DualShock 4 controllers.
Most antivirus programs–or “security suites”, as they call themselves–want you to install their browser extensions. They promise these toolbars will help keep you safe online, but they usually just exist to make the company some money. Worse yet, these extensions are often hideously vulnerable to attack.
If you recently built or bought a new PC, you may be wondering if you can just transfer your old hard drive into the new computer–thus migrating your entire installation in one fell swoop. But it’s not as easy as it seems.
Nintendo’s Wii U has apps for watching Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and all kinds of other streaming video. But Nintendo doesn’t offer an app that will play media files from an external drive or media server. Here’s a little trick that will let you stream videos from your home network to your TV with your Wii U.