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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.