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+.

W3M is a terminal web browser for Linux. It’s got a few tricks up its sleeve, including support for images, tabs, tables, frames and other features not usually included with terminal web browsers.

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Heard of Pidgin? You should have. It’s one of the best multi-protocol instant messaging apps for Windows and Linux, and it’s open source. Pidgin includes some interesting plugins and features that you might not know about.

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If you’ve spent any amount of time playing multiplayer PC games online, you’ve probably encountered Ventrilo. It’s one of the most popular VoIP apps among PC gamers, but its user interface is hostile to newbies.

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Use Internet Explorer 9? It may be sending your entire browsing history to Microsoft. Or, it may be automatically blocking tracking websites. It’s all in how you tweak Internet Explorer’s privacy settings.

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Vi is a powerful text editor included with most Linux systems, even embedded ones. Sometimes you’ll have to edit a text file on a system that doesn’t include a friendlier text editor, so knowing Vi is essential.

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There are tons of third-party partition managers for Windows, but did you know that Windows includes its own partition manager? Microsoft did a good job of hiding the built-in partition manager, but it’s there.

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Ubuntu’s Grub boot loader lets anyone edit boot entries or use its command-line mode by default. Secure Grub with a password and no one can edit them — you can even require a password before booting operating systems.

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Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment has customizable keyboard shortcuts and animations, but its options are all hidden. We’ll show you how to get started with the CompizConfig Settings Manager and point out some of Unity’s more interesting configuration options.

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The cron daemon on Linux runs tasks in the background at specific times; it’s like the Task Scheduler on Windows. Add tasks to your system’s crontab files using the appropriate syntax and cron will automatically run them for you.

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If Windows isn’t starting properly, you can often use the integrated “startup repair” tool to fix it. This recovery tool will scan your PC for problems like missing or damaged system files. It can’t fix hardware issues or Windows installation problems, but it’s a great first place to start if you’re experiencing trouble booting into Windows.

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