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+.

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 28 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

The Voice Memos app included with your iPhone is a convenient way to record quick voice messages, or anything else you can hear. Voice memos normally stay on your iPhone, but you can move them to your computer through the Share feature or via iTunes.

about 29 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

When you hook a game controller up to your PC—whether it’s an Xbox controller, PlayStation controller, Steam controller, or something else—you can remap the buttons for individual Steam games however you want. Here’s how.

about 1 month ago - by  |  3 Replies

Adobe recently added a browser extension to its Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software. Adobe tries to automatically install the extension in Google Chrome, but Chrome asks your permission before enabling it.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Steam offers multiple library folders, and you can choose where you want to install games when you download them. And, thanks to a recent update, you can easily move a game after you’ve downloaded it without re-downloading the entire thing.

about 1 month ago - by  |  5 Replies

Kaspersky Internet Security, like many other antivirus tools, is a noisy application. It displays notifications and advertisements, plays sounds, animates a system tray icon, and prompts you before visiting financial websites. You can disable all (or some) of these annoyances in Kaspersky’s settings.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Webcams often include a light showing whether the webcam is in use or not. Windows doesn’t make it easy to check which application is actually using the webcam when the light comes on, but it’s possible to find out.

about 1 month ago - by  |  10 Replies

Web browsers now allow websites to show you notifications. Visit many news and shopping websites, and you’ll see a popup telling you the website wants to show notifications on your desktop. You can disable these notification prompts in your web browser if they annoy you.

about 1 month ago - by  |  5 Replies

Avira is one of the less intrusive antivirus programs for Windows (that’s why we recommend it), but you’ll still get occasional ads for Avira’s pro antivirus, VPN, and system speedup software. You can disable these notification and quiet Avira down as much as you like.

about 1 month ago - by  |  5 Replies

Windows Hello, a new feature in Windows 10, allows you to sign into your computer with your fingerprint, facial recognition, a USB key, or another companion advice. It now allows you to sign into apps and websites via Microsoft Edge, too.

about 1 month ago - by  |  5 Replies

Apple Mail, the email application included with macOS, has some confusing account setup screens. If emails you send appear to be coming from the wrong address—for example, emails you send from your personal address are being sent from your work address, or vice versa—you can tweak your email account settings to fix this problem.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

Google Play Music offers an unlimited music streaming subscription paired with YouTube Red, but it’s more than that. Even if the music you want to listen to isn’t available in Google’s streaming library, you can add it to your own personal Google Play Music library and listen from any device.

about 1 month ago - by  |  1 Reply

Windows 10 sometimes uses encryption by default, and sometimes doesn’t—it’s complicated. Here’s how to check if your Windows 10 PC’s storage is encrypted and how to encrypt it if it isn’t. Encryption isn’t just about stopping the NSA—it’s about protecting your sensitive data in case you ever lose your PC, which is something everyone needs.

about 1 month ago - by  |  33 Replies

Making Flash click-to-play is a good idea, but browsers are going further. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge will all soon disable Flash by default, allowing you to enable it only on websites that need it.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Apple offers 5 GB of free iCloud space to everyone, but you’ll run up against that storage limit sooner than you’d think. Device backups, photos, documents, iCloud email, and other bits of data all share that space.

about 1 month ago - by  |  2 Replies

Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista all support symbolic links—also known as symlinks—that point to a file or folder on your system. You can create them using the Command Prompt or a third-party tool called Link Shell Extension.

about 1 month ago - by  |  4 Replies

TPM hardware provides a tamper-resistant way to store encryption keys on a computer. On Windows 10, 8, and 7, a TPM is normally required to enable and use encryption features like BitLocker. Here’s how to check whether your PC has a TPM chip, enable your TPM if it’s disabled, or add a TPM chip to a PC without one.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Linux allows you to create symbolic links, or symlinks, that point to another file or folder on your machine. The best way to do this is with the ln terminal command—though there are some graphical file managers that can create symbolic links too.

about 2 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Windows 10’s Cortana virtual assistant allows you to set reminders with your voice, by typing them into the Cortana box on your taskbar, or from the Sticky Notes app. But these reminders will normally only pop up when you’re at your computer, making them easy to miss.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Geeks love keyboard shortcuts—they’re often faster than clicking everything with your mouse. We’ve previously covered Chrome and other browsers support many keyboard shortcuts, and Chrome lets you assign your own keyboard shortcuts to extensions you’ve installed.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Windows PCs have historically had worse touchpads than Macs. Microsoft is trying to fix this problem with “precision touchpads”, but not every PC manufacturer is on board. Some PCs ship with precision touchpads, but others include older, traditional technology instead.

about 2 months ago - by  |  2 Replies

Windows 10 gained a new pen settings panel with the Anniversary Update. If your device has a pen or another type of stylus, you can customize exactly how it works and what its buttons do from the Settings window.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

CyanogenMod is dead, killed by parent company Cyanogen. The community is attempting to pick up the pieces and create a new project, LineageOS, based on the code. But it’s a reminder that open source software isn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and stability: in fact, it can often be very messy.

about 2 months ago - by  |  16 Replies

Windows’ “Enhance Pointer Precision” setting helps with some mice, but hurts with others. If you find that it keeps enabling or disabling itself automatically, here are some potential fixes.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply

Microsoft’s new Universal Windows Platform applications use the .Appx or .AppxBundle file format. They’re normally installed from the Windows Store, but Windows 10 allows you to sideload Appx packages from anywhere.

about 2 months ago - by  |  1 Reply