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+.

Disc images have become more useful than ever on modern PCs that often lack CD and DVD drives. Create ISO files and other types of disc images and you can “mount” them, accessing the virtual discs as if they were physical discs inserted into your computer.

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Android phones and tablets aren’t all kept up-to-date with the current version of Android. It’s often helpful to know which version of Android a specific phone or tablet is running so you can get help with something or determine whether a feature is present.

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PCs don’t have to be power hogs, but they often are. High-powered desktops with gaming-focused dedicated graphics hardware are the most thirsty for energy, but older PCs are typically less energy-efficient than modern ones.

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Apple just opened iOS up a little bit. It’s now possible to sideload open-source apps — emulators, for example — onto an iPhone or iPad without paying $99 per year for a developer license.

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The Task Manager in Windows 8 and 10 has been completely overhauled. It’s easier-to-use, slicker, and more feature-packed than ever. Windows 8 may be all about Metro, but the Task Manager and Windows Explorer are better than ever.

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Install Windows 3.1 in DOSBox to run old 16-bit Windows games on 64-bit versions of Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and anywhere else DOSBox runs. This is particularly useful as only 32-bit versions of Windows can run those 16-bit applications.

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Apple wants to keep your iPhone and iPad up-to-date. But you may want to go back to an older operating system. This is especially true if you’re trying out a beta version of iOS on your iPhone or iPad.

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New versions of Windows don’t fully support classic DOS games and other old applications — this is where DOSBox comes in. It provides a full DOS environment that runs ancient DOS apps on modern operating systems.

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The Safari web browser likes showing the websites you frequently visit when you open it. On an iPhone or iPad, it shows “frequently visited sites.” On a Mac, it shows your “top sites.” You can disable this to prevent your browser from advertising the websites you frequently visit.

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To use the Linux terminal like a pro, you’ll need to know the basics of managing files and navigating directories. True to the Unix philosophy, each command does one thing and does it well.

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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a great security tool that’s particularly effective against “potentially unwanted programs (PUPs)” and other nasty software traditional antivirus programs don’t deal with. But it’s intended to be used alongside an antivirus and doesn’t replace one entirely.

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ImageMagick is a suite of command-line utilities for modifying and working with images. ImageMagick can quickly perform operations on an image from a terminal, perform batch processing of many images, or be integrated into a bash script.

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When you a delete a file, it isn’t really erased – it continues existing on your hard drive, even after you empty it from the Recycle Bin. This allows you (and other people) to recover files you’ve deleted.

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Apple added a new “low power mode” to the iPhone as part of iOS 9. You’ll be prompted to activate it each time your phone reaches 20 percent battery, but you can also enable it before that point to stretch your battery power further.

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Apple’s iCloud Drive normally just works in the background on an iPhone or iPad. iOS 9 makes iCloud more accessible and useful, providing a new iCloud Drive app that lets you browse, view, and manage all the files stored in iCloud Drive.

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Hard drives are getting larger and larger, but somehow they always seem to fill up. This is even more true if you’re using a solid-state drive (SSD), which offers much less hard drive space than traditional mechanical hard drives.

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An ISO file is a complete disc image of a CD or DVD bundled into a single file. You can mount an ISO file to make it available as a virtual CD or DVD, allowing you to convert physical discs to virtual ones.

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Most of your older Windows apps should just work on Windows 10. If they worked on Windows 7, they’ll almost certainly work on Windows 10. Some older PC applications won’t just work, but there are many ways to get them working again.

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Your web browser is under attack. Aside from simply tricking you into downloading and running malicious software, attackers mainly target flaws in your browser and its plug-ins to compromise your PC.

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Mozilla has been making a lot of changes to Firefox recently. Mozilla’s own Firefox Hello video chat service and the Pocket read-it-later service are now integrated and appear on Firefox’s toolbar by default.

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Spotlight search isn’t just for Macs. Powerful web and on-device search is just a quick swipe away from your iPhone or iPad’s home screen. It’s a convenient way to launch apps, search the web, perform calculations, and do lots more.

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Go shopping for a PC display and you’ll see ones advertising support for technologies like NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync. These work in concert with modern NVIDIA and AMD GPUs to provide a smoother image.

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iOS 9 added a long-awaited feature to the iPad: the ability to have multiple apps on-screen at the same time. iPads support three different types of multitasking: Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture. The other app-switching gestures on an iPad still work, too.

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Physical disc drives are going the way of the dodo. Modern laptops — and even many modern desktop PCs — are dropping disc drives. If you still have discs with software, music, videos, or anything else on them, there are still ways to use them.

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Thanks to modern smartphones, it’s possible to know where your family members and friends are at all times. Apple, Google, and Microsoft all have their own solutions for sharing your pinpoint location in real time.

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