How-To Geek

What Topics Should The How-To Geek Write About?

I’ve noticed quite a number of people mentioning that I’m covering Vista too much (is that possible?) and have requested that I cover more topics… so I’m going to open it up to you, the readers, for suggestions on what topics I should branch out into.

Note that I’m not saying I’ll stop covering Vista, in fact quite the opposite. I plan to write about every single feature in Vista – every single tip, trick, and hack that you can possibly use to make your Vista better.

So, which would you like to read more about?

  • Linux
  • Mac / OS X
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Office
  • Other Applications (be specific)
  • Geek productivity
  • Something else?

Leave your ideas in the comments.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/24/07

Comments (53)

  1. Daniel Spiewak

    Personally, I’ve always loved your linux tips. In fact, that’s what first made me subscribe to your site. I’d love to see more of these. :-) Also, I think it’d be great to hear your thoughts on MacOS X, as well as more Geek Productivity stuff. (Keyboard Ninja forever!) Just my 2cents

  2. 摩摩诘

    I like linux tips,especially Ubuntu tips.

  3. jumper

    i know there’s already a lot of coverage on XP, but it’s still interesting to be reminded of some old tips and tricks that might have been forgotten already. :)

    firefox and microsoft office tips are super cool too!

  4. Jake

    I would personally like to see more Linux related articles, as well as free and opensource software in general. It seems like you have been overly focused on closed source stuff lately.

  5. Jordy Rossell

    Ubuntu Tips plz!

    and some Mac too.

  6. Lisaweb

    XP tips are always welcome… new Firefox addons are cool too… wouldn’t mind seeing a few tips for Thunderbird as well. And tips regarding firewall tweaking would help too. But all in all, love your site. Your little tweaks have transformed my life – esp the caps lock registry hack. My fingers have been in keyboard bliss ever since. :-)

  7. engambament

    linux and firefox.
    as Daniel, I have subscribed to your site only for ubuntu tips.

  8. mgo

    1: Not enough is being written about the annoying indexing problems in both XP and Vista. I’m talking about the endless hard drive thrashing and how indexing cycles constantly up and down while needlessly loading and then unloading data in the index. Despite pleadings by IT people to Microsoft (read some of the fora about this) Microsoft is just absolutely unresponsive about it. How do we fix this? I have some tricks, but they may not work for everybody.

    2: Not enough is getting written about RoboCopy which is finally now a standalone applet in Vista. RoboCopy is a very fast copy and restore file utility has has been hoarded by MS insiders for years. It beats the heck out of the awfully slow Copy and Paste in Vista’s Windows Explorer, which still works quite well in XP but is horrid in Vista.

    Robocopy is a wonderful substitute for the incomprehensible backup program that plagued XP users forever.

    3: With your other nice and helpful Office tips, why not include a good tutorial on how to create a table of contents in a .doc. As usual, the Microsoft how-to is nearly unreadable. (what -drugs- to these people take before they write those instructions, eh?)

  9. fahme

    i like linux, can you give me linux command tips?

  10. Shadowduck

    “I’ve noticed quite a number of people mentioning that I’m covering Vista too much (is that possible?)…”

    Why, yes. Yes it is. As with a few of the other commenters I’m only here for the Ubuntu tips, which I file away in case I should ever need them.

    That said, I appreciate you need to cover the lesser OSs too so I just skip the non-linux stuff. :P

  11. Nogg3r5

    Ubuntu tips are greatly appreciated.

    How about more FOSS software. Stuff like Audacity, Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin/Gaim.

    Oh yeah, and too much vista. Way too much vista. Although, I’m biased, I dislike vista.

  12. Gordon Keenan

    I have found that the people who complain the most are usually the ones who are using Linux or a Mac :). They just find it hard to accept that when a new operating system is released, OF COURSE there will be lots of NEW HINTS AND TIPS, that’s because…. IT’S NEW!!!
    The thign is, it becomes boring after a while going back over old hints and tips that most people probably all know about, so maybe if the complainers would move on a bit then their would be enough new material to keep them happy!

    I use Vista – XP and dabble in Linux but it’s still the Microsoft hints and tips I like as Linux still leaves me cold cold cold…

    Bottom line, ignore the whiners and continue offering the good material as you find it. You will NEVER make everyone happy, so just make sure you keep yourself happy and dam the rest!!!

  13. josh

    yeah more ubuntu tips, but the windows tips are all good too. keep up the good work!

  14. Richard

    I think you are doing a great job. I suggest you continue with “business as usual” on your tips. Vista tips will eventually become less interesting and other OSes, apps, web services or tweaks will become more interesting. For now, carry on.

  15. Russ

    WinXP, Linux/Ubuntu, Mac/OSX, Firfox, all would be nice. I agree that you cover Vista too much and I have no interest in that all.

  16. Valery

    I agree with Gordon Keenan – ignore the whiners. And give us more Office 2007 and Vista tips! :)

  17. Urvaksh

    Linux, ubuntu and firefox, please.

  18. Tim

    I would like to see more vista tips, firefox addons or just more tweaks to make it go faster or customize it. And old Xp tweaks

  19. Gustav Dahl

    I like your Ubuntu/Linux and Firefox tips! :)

  20. dar

    Yup, Ubuntu tips are my cuppa.
    Many Thanks!

  21. Mari

    More XP and Firefox tips please!

  22. jambarama

    Yeah I have to agree with the majority. My work won’t go to Vista anytime soon, thus I won’t waste my time with it. Personally, I think you should keep blogging about whatever you’re using. Don’t go out of your way to get *nix tips if you aren’t using it in the natural course.

    I’ve liked your *nix and networking tips in the past the most, and the kind of “what new things can you do with what you already have.” But if you go out of your way to find a tip relevant to these categories, it likely won’t be one terribly useful to most of those users. E.g. when I was using Solaris, everything I told my Solaris friend, who was having considerable difficulties with somethings, were issues he’d solved long ago and was dealing with deeper issues.

    It’d be cool if there was just a way to filter the rss feeds by keyword (like the digg filter greasemonkey scripts) that way people could just filter Vista if they don’t want to hear about it, and stop whining.

  23. Tolu Orekoya

    You are doing just fine… the mix is fine – as far as I can see in the short time I have been visiting your site. Perhaps a bit more of Linux, but no matter.

  24. Brian

    I think your newsletter is simply great!!

    More XP and Firefox items would be appreciated.

    Since I, like many others don’t have Vista, I would like to see at least one XP item covered for each Vista item you cover especially since I suspect there are move XP users than Vista. Then in about a year or so I can see where Vista should prevail.

    How about some right click items for XP like:
    1. Right click to bring up my Netscape account.
    2. Right click to bring up a send box in my Netscape account.
    3. Right click to bring up Open With to allow one to select any program.
    4. In fact, it would be nice to show us exactly to create our own right click items.

    Thanks again for the great newsletter, if you don’t change anything it will still be a great newsletter,
    but with more XP items it will be even better.


  25. David

    I’d like to see something regarding replacing common but lousy applications (e.g. dumping Acrobat Reader for Foxit Reader).

  26. GBot

    I want a 1-key hotkey for Flip 3d. Specifically I’d like to map shift+win+tab to my “menu” button, which I don’t think I’ve EVER used. If you know how, I’d appreciate you telling me how. Thanks! GBot

  27. GBot

    I want a 1-key hotkey for Flip 3d. Specifically I’d like to map ctrl+win+tab to my “menu” button, which I don’t think I’ve EVER used. If you know how, I’d appreciate you telling me how. Thanks! GBot

    sorry, I previously posted SHIFT+win+tab, but CTRL is what I meant to say :)

  28. Lisaweb

    David: “I’d like to see something regarding replacing common but lousy applications”

    Brilliant suggestion! I agree most heartily!

  29. rothgar

    I love the vista tips (as I am using it) Tweaking vista and office 07 really helps me learn it faster.

    I would love some other tips that I am trying to get into more though:

    1. WordPress/movable type – tips and tweaks.
    2. programming tutorials – spcifically python, visual basic
    3. live cd’s/usb keys – vistape, dsl, knoppmyth
    4. wireless tutorials – packet sniffing, proxy servers, connecting 2 access points to same network, etc.

  30. Audy

    I love the Ubuntu and Windows XP Tweaking tips :D

  31. supermansghost

    I’d like to see more dual-booting articles, as the forums are completely full of questions about that subject.

  32. Dr. Zad

    I prefereed to have more how to with Windows XP and networking tips as they are the most popular worldwide

  33. umbilino

    Linux, Ubuntu in first, and Open Source software running in Windows.

  34. Joe

    How about more web stuff? – like how to use a Mac to Design in ASP .NET and run IIS like I run XAMPP for PHP on my Mac machine? or maybe I’m just dreaming?

  35. Joe

    By the way – When you said “I’ve noticed quite a number of people mentioning that I’m covering Vista too much (is that possible?)…” I said to myself “Nobody has Vista!” I mean unless you just bought a home computer maybe but the workplace tends to be more than a few years behind current technology, probably why there’s such demand for ‘MacGuyvering’ older stuff instead of optimizing the new.

  36. Michael Goes

    I’d very much like to hear about new developments of web-based, business and productivity applications.

  37. ivan

    I’d like to see more linux howto’s

  38. Dave F

    Photoshop CS3-
    I’m just learning Photoshop and it’s hard to figure out how to do something in general from the help or tutorials. Like “how do I make a transparent background?” Adobe’s help is way too comprehensive, I just want the steps to do one simple one. PS- HowToGeek ROCKS!

  39. Henriette

    As already mentioned I feel that the feed is drowning in Vista tips. Have you considered dividing the feed into “sub”-feeds, i.e.. linux-feed, windows-feed, other-feed?

    Well, that and more Ubuntu please :o)

  40. Henriette

    Hmm, that should have been a :)

  41. paul becher

    You asked for suggestions on topics. This may apply to almost evereyone with an “old” laptop. I have a dell 500mghz inspiron laying around. Its currently running Windows xp but is slow and the 10G hard drive is “full” just using office. lt will never take Windows Vista. As a matter of fact, even my “relativley” new one a Compaq r3070US doesnt pass the Vista test. (The bios version is too old) Appparently the bios cant be upgraded to a compatable version. (Too bad nobody is offereing this service). The question is what OS’s and progams are small, efficient, compatable and interesting, yet have the ability to be useful for ancilliary tasking like; home control/monitoring, gps navigation, robiotics input, old games, cnc control firewall, file server, printserver, etc? There are all kinds of opinioms on linux distro’s for laptops but it seems that all the information I have found is old. How about it?

  42. Mark

    I would love to see feeds that are category based… I don’t use Vista, and never plan to! I understand that most of the world will, so I don’t ask you to stop writing about it, I just wish I could subscribe to only Non Vista Specific Posts…

    Is there any way I can do that now? or could you set it up so that it was possible?

    If you wanted to write about Fedora as well that would be cool… Or maybe just put all Linux based posts under Linux Category or Linux feed… That way I would not have to sift through all the Vista posts… as I tend not to read anything when I see Vista Vista Vista… I just ignore all the posts… maybe its just me

  43. Teufel

    You have Suse,Ubuntu tips which are great. If you can give some Mandriva 2007 Tips that will be really appreciated by me … :-)

    Some Tips on broadband or internet usage will be helpful.


  44. Deadpool

    I think you should post more XP tips because I think a lot of people still have XP.

  45. Mike

    Personally I think you do a hell of a job with this site, so I cannot complain about what topics you post on too much because you have allot of stuff on here that is extremly usefull. If I did have a say I would think you could get some cool tricks for the opera browser. I like using that browser more than any other, and its completly customizable. I am sure you could find something clever to tweak that browser even more.

  46. Sal D

    Great site – I would like to see more topics relative to accessing remote PCs/Computers with explicit details and instructions.

    I just read the article about CroosLoop which was very interesting.

    What I really would like is a full blown explanation of how to set up various applications that allow remote control of remote computers especially if the computers are behind routers and cable modems – etc.

    Thank you.

  47. Steve

    like the site. was hoping for some Thunderbird tricks also.

  48. moxiemd

    In return, I’ll save your life (should you stumble into my ER or ICU), but Mac OSX (Leo) tips/tweaks elude me.

    Entirely ludicrous amounts of arts. RT Vista; I know many are vociferous for Linux/Ubuntu, but some of us who were using Prodigy eons back still do seek the OSX grail(s).

    For me, your site could* be my version of caffeine;)
    Great job all around–so thanks much b/c what you do does make a difference.


  49. Judith

    I am using a laptop with Vista
    I have Outlook 2007
    I have a 2003 microsoft exchange server.
    I have an iPhone 3G
    Please tell me in words of one syllable how to synchronize my iPhone with my Outlook Exchange Mail, Calendars and Contacts.
    I think this question should be somewhere else, but I feel as if you might be able to do this for me. I’ll also leave it on the forum

  50. Carolyn

    You write a great column, one of the best on the Internet.

    For those of us who are used to XP and are having problems converting to Vista and Office applications in Vista, I’d like to see more of the “this is how you did ‘something’ in XP and here’s how you do the same thing in Vista and especially Office applications.”

    Oh and just for fun, how about “How do I play my old DOS-based games in XP or Vista?”

  51. Judith

    I would like to have a “Cheat Sheet” for Excel 2007 (and possibly Word 2007).

    There are so many changes, and things that were “right at the top” of the menus can now be three layers down and have a different name.

    I am starting to hate the new excel because it’s so frustrating! I am doing F1 and searching for how to do things all the time.


  52. Marta

    How can I catch a keylogger in the act? I have no ex’s and would love to know who, why and how eblaster got on my machine. I have two laptops HP Windows XP pro and Vista Ultimate Home. Infection two years apart 12/2007 and 2/2009. Running Spy-bot and Kaspersky. It actually disabled Kaspersky; I had to safe mode it back to life. I added a password for good measure.

    Thanks, any insight you can share will be greatly appreciated.


  53. sushibu

    please write about file sharing in adhoc wirless networks between xp and vista machines

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