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.

Siri is actually pretty useful for all kinds of things, from searching for things to identifying songs. You can also use her to create, delete, and change alarms in your clock app. Here’s how it works.

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By default, when you download something using Firefox, that download gets saved to the main Downloads folder for your user account (just like Chrome and Internet Explorer).  If you’d rather Firefox save your download files somewhere else, it’s really easy to change the default save folder location. Here’s how to do it.

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Just like on your desktop computer, browsers on your mobile devices save your browsing history to make it easier to get back to sites you’ve been to before. That also means that anyone who has access to your device can also sift through your browsing history, so it’s probably in your best interest to clear it once in a while.

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By default, most versions of Windows record an event every time a user tries to log on, whether that log on is successful or not. You can view this information by diving into the Event Viewer, but there’s also a way to add information about previous logons right on the sign in screen where you can’t miss it. To make it work, you’re going to have to dive into the Windows Registry or, if you have a Pro or Enterprise version of Windows, the Group Policy Editor. But don’t worry. The changes are pretty simple and we’ll walk you through them.

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Siri can make use of the Shazam engine to identify songs it hears, which is pretty useful–especially if you’re using Siri hands-free.. Unfortunately, you can’t just ask Siri to show you a list of a songs you’ve identified. For that, you have to dive into the iTunes app or, for a more complete list, the Shazam app. Here’s how it all works.

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In the Windows 10 Fall 2015 update, Microsoft introduced what they call the “Microsoft Consumer Experience”, which includes some rather annoying “suggestions” in the Start menu–both on the left side, under your apps, and on the right side as live tiles.

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There’s an emergency and you have to use someone else’s locked iPhone to call for help. Or, you need to call for help using your own iPhone, but it’s out of your reach or you’re not able to dial a number. The iPhone comes equipped to help out in both these circumstances by providing a dialing keypad for emergency use, and the ability to make an emergency call with Siri (assuming she’s turned on and ready to use hands-free).

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Most browsers, like Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, let you change the default downloads folder by adjusting settings within the browser. Microsoft Edge doesn’t play that way, though. Like other browsers, it saves downloaded files to your Downloads folder by default. But to change that default, you actually have to dive into the Registry for a quick edit. Here’s how make the change.

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Your iPhone keeps a history of recent calls you’ve made and received. For the most part, this list is pretty handy. If you favor privacy, though, it’s easy enough to delete individual calls from your iPhone’s call history or even clear the whole recent calls list at once. Here’s how to do it.

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The taskbar in Windows 10 is highly configurable, and Windows 10 already includes an option in its personalization settings to make the taskbar transparent. But, with a little Registry magic, you can enable a setting that gives the taskbar an even higher level of transparency.

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By default, when you download something using Internet Explorer, it gets saved the main Downloads folder for your user account. 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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DirectX is a collection of APIs used in Windows for multimedia and video programs, and is especially important to gamers. The DirectX Diagnostic Tool displays a wealth of information about DirectX, and also lets you perform basic diagnostic tests on the DirectX system. If you want to check what version of DirectX you’re running–or even output a file full of diagnostic information for troubleshooting–here’s how to do it.

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With the “Speak Screen” feature in iOS, you can have your device read whatever’s on the screen to you just by swiping two fingers down from the top of the page. It can read just about anything, from settings pages to web sites to ebooks. While it’s obviously useful if you have some form of visual impairment, it can also be really handy when you want to catch up on your reading but don’t want your eyes glued to a screen. Here’s how to set it up.

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When you mute iOS, incoming phone calls and texts vibrate instead of playing whatever ringtone you set up. Alarms, on the other hand, will always play the ringtone whether your phone is muted or not. If you’d like to be able have an alarm vibrate your device instead of making a sound, you can do that by creating a silent ringtone.

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Many of the hidden system folders in Windows are identified in the Windows Registry along with a class ID (CLSID) key, special folder names, and the folders’ locations on your PC. Using those special folder names along with the Shell command means that even hidden folders buried deep in your file system are always just a few keystrokes away.

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Let’s face it: iTunes is not great. Even though it got a little better with iTunes 12, it has since devolved into another slow mess of mostly useless features. You can use your iOS device without iTunes or, even better, use a good iTunes alternative. But if you need to keep iTunes installed and just don’t want it to automatically open and sync when you plug your iOS device in, here’s how to make it happen.

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Windows 10 changed the interface for the clock, calendar, and battery pretty dramatically from previous versions. While the new style is attractive and fits in well with the Windows 10 look, you can still restore the old interface used in Windows 7 and 8 for these features if you prefer them. Changing back to the old battery interface also gives you a quicker way to toggle between power plans. You’ll need to make a couple of edits in the Registry to make these changes happen, but it’s a pretty easy hack. Here’s how to do it.

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If you have an iPhone 6 or newer, you can change the speed and resolution at which your phone captures recorded video and slow motion video. If you prefer to use less storage and really only look at your videos on your phone, a lower resolution can help you save space. If you want higher resolution captures (like 4K) or smoother video (like 60fps), bumping up the settings costs some storage space, but might be worth it for you.

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It’s not too hard to browse through Windows’ settings to find what you need, but if there’s a setting you access frequently, why not make it a little easier on yourself? Windows exposes a number of useful settings through Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) that you can use to create a shortcut or context menu item for quick access to that setting.

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iOS makes smart use of the Home button. You can double-click to switch apps, and even triple-click to do all sorts of things. The speed at which you need to click the Home button to register a double- or triple-click is fine for many people, but if you find yourself struggling to click the button fast enough, you can slow things down a bit.

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It’s a somewhat rare problem, but on occasion, Windows might display the same hard disk or partition twice using different drive letters. Thankfully, there’s usually a simple solution.

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You’ve just closed an Office document and accidentally clicked Don’t Save. Or maybe Word crashed or your laptop lost power before you remembered to save what you were working on. We’ve all felt that pain, but all is not necessarily lost. By default, Office applications automatically save temporary backup copies of your documents as you work and there’s a good chance you can recover them.

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The Disk Cleanup tool has been around in Windows for years. It offers a quick way to remove temporary, cache, and other non-essential files to help you free up some disk space. You can even use it to remove old versions of Windows after an upgrade to Windows 10. Disk Cleanup also has several hidden options that you can only access if you run it from the Command Prompt or a custom shortcut.

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Google Chrome’s internal chrome:// pages are full of all kinds of statistics, tools, and experimental features (much like the advanced settings of any other browser). What you may not know is that many individual settings have their own URL as well, and aren’t listed individually on the chrome://about page. If there are any you access regularly, you can bookmark them for easier access in the future.

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If you’ve ever scrolled through your list of installed programs in Windows, wondering why there are so many versions of the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable on there, you’re not alone. Join us as we take a look at what these things are and why there are so many installed on your PC.

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