Walter Glenn

Walter Glenn is a long time computer geek and tech writer. Though he's mostly a Windows and gadget guy, he has a fondness for anything tech. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

With the Anniversary Update to Windows 10, Windows Defender now notifies you about a lot of actions that it used to keep in the background. If you want to return to the quieter days when it only alerted you about critical events, you can turn these enhanced notifications off.

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We know, updating your PC is a hassle–but it’s important. New security flaws are discovered on a regular basis, and most companies are pretty good about about issuing fixes for those flaws as they crop up. Plugging those holes, however, depends largely upon you making sure things are properly updated.

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With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortana is now enabled by default on your lock screen–assuming you haven’t disabled her entirely. If you’d rather not have Cortana answering questions when your PC is locked, it’s an easy enough feature to disable.

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Windows 10’s Action Center finally brought you a central location for all your notifications to Windows. With the Anniversary Update of Windows 10, you can now set priorities for applications so they are grouped in the Action Center just the way you want.

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Microsoft OneDrive is a pretty solid cloud storage offering, and it’s deeply integrated into Windows. Not only does it do a good job syncing folders, it also allows you to remotely fetch files on your PC. OneDrive can be a bit of a network bandwidth hog, but with the Anniversary Update of Windows 10, you can now set transfer speed limits.

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You’d think call forwarding would be an easy thing to set up on your iPhone. While it isn’t really complicated, how you enable it depends on whether your phone provider uses the GSM or CDMA standard.

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Google provides no way to automatically sync contacts between two different Google accounts. Instead, you’ll have to perform a manual two-step process where you export your contacts from one account to a comma-separated values (CSV) file, then import contacts from that file into your second account. Here’s how to get it done.

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Chrome for iOS may never outperform Safari, but it has still become a solid browser alternative with some nice extra features all its own. The trouble is, when you install Chrome for iOS, there’s no way to directly import bookmarks from Safari into Chrome. For that, you’ll have take a few steps and even get your desktop computer involved.

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By default, when you download something using Safari, it gets saved in your Mac’s main Downloads folder. If you’d rather save your files somewhere else, you can change the default save folder. Here’s how to do it.

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If you’d like to install Windows but don’t have a DVD drive, it’s easy enough to create a bootable USB flash drive with the right installation media. Here’s how to get it done for Windows 10, 8, or 7.

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Windows–especially Windows 10–has a bad habit of installing new updates for hardware drivers whether you want them or not. You could go big and simply prevent Windows from downloading updates altogether, or you might have luck blocking or hiding updates. But if you’ve got the Pro or Enterprise version of Windows, you can tailor your actions a little better by using Group Policy Editor to prevent the installation or updating of specific devices.

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You’ve got your collection of Windows ISOs and maybe you’ve burned installation DVDs or flash drives for them. But why not make yourself a master installation drive that you can use to install any version of Windows?

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If you have to dial an extension to reach some of your contacts–or a code to join a conference–you know it’s a hassle remembering that information or looking it up before placing a call. Instead, why not have your iPhone automatically dial those extra digits for you?

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Apple’s Photos app is a pretty solid offering, but if you take a lot of photos with your iPhone, you know it can be a hassle scrolling through them all to find photos you took at a certain location or on a certain date. Among all the other useful things Siri can help you with, she can also help make finding photos a whole lot easier.

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You can reinstall Windows from scratch using the product key that came with your PC, but you’ll have to find installation media yourself. Microsoft offers free ISO files for downloading; you just have to know where to look.

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The Mail app in Windows 10 is surprisingly robust, supporting multiple accounts and multiple services like Outlook, Gmail, Exchange, and of course POP3 and IMAP. Assuming you’ve got multiple accounts set up, you can also create a live tile on your Start menu for each account. You can even create separate live tiles for folders you create in the app. Here’s how to do it.

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Windows 8 and 10 both allow you to set certain types of connections as metered so that you can limit the amount of data Windows (and certain apps) can use without asking. You can use the regular Settings interface to set mobile and Wi-Fi connections as metered, but for some reason Windows assumes you won’t need to do this with wired Ethernet connections. If you use an ISP that has monthly data caps, you know better. The good news is that a quick Registry edit will fix you right up.

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We talk about a lot of cool things here at How-To Geek that you can do by editing the Windows Registry. Occasionally, though, you will run into a Registry key or value that you don’t have permission to edit. When you try, you’ll see an error message saying “Cannot edit _____: Error writing the value’s new contents.” Fortunately, just like in the Windows file system, the Registry provides tools that let you take ownership of and edit permissions for keys. Here’s how to do it.

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By default, the Windows File Explorer’s sidebar is divided into big categories like Quick Access, This PC, Network, and so on. But a quick setting change can make your navigation pane look a bit more like the traditional tree you’d see in an Open/Save As dialog box, with a few normally hidden folders–like the Control Panel and Recycle Bin–to the view as a bonus.

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The Domain Name System (DNS) translates the human-friendly domain names you type in–like “howtogeek.com”–into numerical IP addresses. The trouble is, your internet provider may not have the fastest or most reliable DNS servers available. You can easily configure your Wi-Fi connections in iOS to use better DNS servers, like those run by Google or OpenDNS. Here’s how to get it done.

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It may seem rudimentary, but if you’re new to Windows–or just upgrading from Windows 7–the simple option to sign out of your account is a bit hidden in Windows 8 and 10. And even we geeks can be baffled at times, especially when Microsoft decides to hide common features away in new places. You can still sign out of Windows from the Start menu; it’s just not part of the Power options any more.

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Windows’ System Restore doesn’t get as much praise as it once did, even though it’s still an incredibly useful feature. Judging by the feedback on our own forums, it saves people from certain destruction on a nearly daily basis. The only problem is that it takes far too many steps to manually create a new restore point. Can’t we just make a shortcut icon for it? Turns out, yes, there are a couple of ways to do it.

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Whether you got them by iMessage or SMS, sometimes you need to remove messages from your iOS device’s message history. Maybe you’re clearing out old clutter, or maybe you need to remove messages with more sensitive information. Whatever your reason, you can remove specific messages from conversations or delete entire conversations at once (and you can also set messages to automatically expire). Here’s how to get it done.

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When you install a new app–like, say, a video player–but don’t set the new app as the default for file types it supports, when you open a file that app can read–in this example, a video file–Windows will notify you that you have a “new app that can open this type of file”, and show a window to choose a new default app for that file type. This can get annoying after a while, but thankfully you can turn those notifications off.

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You probably know that your iPhone (and iPad) can track your location, which can be super helpful for things like marking where a photo was taken or letting friends and family know where you are. But you may not know that, by default, iOS keeps track of locations you visit frequently so that it can make better local suggestions and give you a more personalized Today view in your Notification Center.

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