FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK

You may already know about smart outlets, or outlets with integrated USB ports. But you might be surprised at how many “normal” outlets you can actually buy for your house. They’re all built for different situations, and you want to make sure that your house is equipped with the right outlet for the job. Here are the different kinds of electrical outlets you can buy.

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Windows 10 is controversial partly because it “phones home” so much. That’s true, but so does every other operating system–and practically every single program you use. Saying a program “phones home” doesn’t have meaning anymore. It’s why a program phones home that’s important.

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When it comes to saving money on your electricity and other utility costs, getting something like a smart thermostat or smart outlet to monitor and optimize energy usage can be helpful. But there are a ton of things you can do that require little to no money or effort, too. Here are eight really easy tasks to do around the house that will instantly save you money on your bills.

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Windows 10 finally brought back the Start menu, and it’s more customizable than ever. Here’s a quick rundown of all the different ways that you can make the Start menu your own.

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VLC’s developers have been working on Chromecast support for some time, and it’s finally here. In the latest bleeding edge Windows versions of VLC, you can stream video and audio files from VLC media player on your PC to your Chromecast.

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In all generations of Android devices—up to an including Marshmallow—operating system updates have essentially worked the same way: the update is downloaded, the phone reboots, and the update is applied. During this time, the phone is rendered useless, at least until the update has been fully installed. With Nougat’s new “Seamless Updates,” this model is a thing of the past.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update brings an interesting new feature: Any PC can now function as a wireless receiver for Miracast, allowing you to view the display from another Windows PC, an Android smartphone or tablet, or a Windows phone.

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If you’ve ever missed an alarm because your phone unexpectedly rebooted in the middle of the night and wouldn’t start up until the correct PIN, pattern, or password was entered, Andorid Nougat’s new Direct Boot is the answer.

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Every year, Apple comes out with new iPhones and iPads and a new version of iOS. While it’s a good idea to stay current on software, few can afford to buy new hardware every year, or even every few years. If your iPhone or iPad is showing its age, try these tricks to squeeze out a bit more performance.

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Chances are, you have some old gadgets lying around your house you no longer use. Why not get some money for them? Craigslist is one of the best places to sell your unused junk, and you can pretty much list anything you want on there. When it comes to selling your gadgets for the best price possible, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update brings a new “Quick Assist” feature. Built into Windows 10, Quick Assist allows you to take remote control of another person’s computer so you can help them troubleshoot it. It works similarly to Remote Desktop, but is available on all editions of Windows 10.

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Getting a smart thermostat to control the heating and cooling in your house can potentially save you money depending on how you use it, but a thermostat isn’t going to save you money all by itself. Your home also needs good airflow and insulation, and the attic is the biggest piece of the puzzle.

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A repeater sits within range of your Wi-Fi network and “repeats” it, extending your Wi-Fi coverage farther than your router could alone. If your Wi-Fi only covers one half of your house, a repeater placed in the middle of your home can extend your Wi-Fi to the rest of the building.

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Over the years, Windows has gotten much better about how it handles networked printers. But if you want to share a printer over the network, you may still need to do a little legwork to get it all up and running. Here’s how it all works.

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Windows 10’s Anniversary Update offers new “game hubs” for PC games in the Xbox app. Your friends on Xbox Live will now be able to see when you’re playing a PC game, and what PC games you recently played.

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There’s always a lot of chatter about computer graphics cards, thanks to bigger and better models every few months. It’s not always clear who actually needs one, though. Let’s take a look at what they are, and whether or not they’re a good fit for your PC.

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They say you can never have too many tools, but everyone has to start somewhere. If you’re just getting into the DIY scene, are are some basic tools that everyone should have in their toolbox.

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The $WINDOWS.~BT and $WINDOWS.~WS folders are associated with the Windows 10 upgrade process. They may appear on either Windows 7, 8, or 10, using gigabytes of disk space.

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Phones have gotten faster and faster, but their battery life hasn’t improved much. Modern iPhones still struggle to make it through a single day if you’re using them heavily, but there are ways to extend that battery life and keep your iPhone going.

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So you’ve upgraded the hard drive in your computer, and you’re left with this old, seemingly useless bare hard drive. Don’t throw it away! It takes surprisingly little effort to turn an old (or new) hard drive into an external drive perfect for stashing your extra files on. Let’s look at how you can blow the dust off those old drives and save money in the process.

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You probably got that Oculus Rift or HTC Vive to play games, but VR can also offer a seriously immersive video-watching experience. Here’s how to watch a movie on your headset, whether it’s a regular 2D movie, a 3D movie, or a full 360-degree VR production.

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If you play Pokémon GO, then you of course want the best possible Pokémon you can get. The thing is, knowing how good an individual Pokémon is goes far beyond just looking at its CP and move set. Each Pokémon has its own IVs—Individual Values—that define how it will actually perform in battle.

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If you swipe down from Android’s menu bar twice, you’ll get a nice panel of quick settings you can toggle with one tap. Want to hide some of these settings, move them around, or add new ones? You have a few choices.

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Both Steam In-Home Streaming and NVIDIA GameStream allow you to stream games from a powerful gaming PC and play them on another device, bringing the power of your gaming PC to your living room or a slower laptop or tablet. But what’s the difference between them?

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Amazon, for all its conveniences, isn’t like walking into a traditional retail store. Amazon is a full marketplace that connects you not only to their own store, but to third-party sellers. This was driven home for me when I recently bought one of the top mini PCs on Amazon and found it came with a pirated Windows license.

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