Traditional mechanical disk drives need to be defragmented for optimum performance, although Windows now does a good job of doing this automatically. Some software companies claim that their tools can “optimize” SSDs, just as disk defragmenters could speed up mechanical drives.
Some geeks use “driver cleaners” when updating their drivers — generally graphics drivers — to ensure the old driver was completely uninstalled and that no leftover files will conflict with the new driver. But is this necessary?
If you’re like most Windows users, you probably just uninstall programs by launching their uninstallers from the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel. But if you’re a geek, there’s a chance you’ve dabbled with a third-party uninstaller.
Ask a geek how to fix a problem you’ve having with your Windows computer and they’ll likely ask “Have you tried rebooting it?” This seems like a flippant response, but rebooting a computer can actually solve many problems.
There was a time when every geek seemed to build their own PC. While the masses bought eMachines and Compaqs, geeks built their own more powerful and reliable desktop machines for cheaper. But does this still make sense?
Buy something at an electronics store and you’ll be confronted by a pushy salesperson who insists you need an extended warranty. You’ll also see extended warranties pushed hard when shopping online. But are they worth it?
Printer ink is expensive, more expensive per drop than fine champagne or even human blood. If you haven’t gone paperless, you’ll notice that you’re paying a lot for new ink cartridges — more than seems reasonable.
Apple loves to criticize the state of Android tablet apps when pushing its own iPad tablets. But just how bad is the Android tablet app situation? Should you avoid Android tablets like the Nexus 7 because of the apps?
Viruses and other types of malware seem largely confined to Windows in the real world. Even on a Windows 8 PC, you can still get infected with malware. But how vulnerable are other operating systems to malware?
IPv6 is extremely important for the long-term health of the Internet. But is your Internet service provider providing IPv6 connectivity yet? Does your home network support it? Should you even care if you’re using IPv6 yet?
Every device — smartphone, tablet, eReader, laptop — seems to come with its own charger. But do you really need all these chargers? Can you re-use the same charger for multiple devices?
Microsoft’s Windows XP started using the NTFS file system by default for its internal drives back in 2001. It’s now 12 years later, so why are USB flash drives, SD cards, and other removable drives still using FAT32?
Steam Machines, also known as Steamboxes, are Valve’s attempt at bringing PC gaming to the living room. In a way, they’ll compete with game consoles like the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U.
Malware isn’t the only online threat to worry about. Social engineering is a huge threat, and it can hit you on any operating system. In fact, social engineering can also occur over the phone and in face-to-face situations.
Bill Gates famously said “two years from now, spam will be solved” back in 2004. It’s now ten years later and more than 70% of emails are spam, according to Kaspersky. Why is spam still such a problem?
Not all Wi-Fi networks are created equal. Wi-Fi access points can function in either “ad-hoc” or “infrastructure” mode, and many WI-Fi-enabled devices can only connect to infrastructure-mode networks, not ad-hoc ones.
There are two types of mixed content — one is worse than the other, but neither is good. Mixed content warnings are in indication that something is wrong with a web page you’re visiting.
Most operating systems can be grouped into two different families. Aside from Microsoft’s Windows NT-based operating systems, nearly everything else traces its heritage back to Unix.
If there’s one complaint nearly everyone seems to have about Windows, it’s that it wants to reboot so frequently. Whether it’s for Windows updates or just when installing, uninstalling, or updating software, Windows will often ask to reboot.
Windows Activation, introduced in Windows XP, checks in with Microsoft when you install Windows or get a new Windows PC. This is an anti-piracy feature — it’s designed to annoy you if you’re using a non-genuine copy of Windows.
Yes, there are some situations where you’ll want to regularly change your passwords. But those will probably be the exception rather than the rule. Telling typical computer users they need to regularly change their passwords is a mistake.
RFID is a technology that surrounds us every day. It’s in our credit cards, passports, and some of the products we buy. Even many of our pets have RFID chips in them!
Different operating systems support different file systems. Your removable drive should use FAT32 for best compatibility, unless it’s bigger and needs NTFS. Mac-formatted drives use HFS+ and don’t work with Windows. And Linux has its own file systems, too.
Windows 10 includes a “Reset your PC” option that quickly restores Windows to its factory default configuration. It’s faster and more convenient than reinstalling Windows from scratch or using your manufacturer’s recovery partition.
Your Mac’s menu bar can start to look a lot like the Windows system tray after you install a few programs. Here’s how to declutter the menu bar and get those icons under control.