As its feature set expanded, Windows became something of an omnibus. It now includes not one, but two built-in browsers, a defragmentation tool, and even Candy Crush. But like most do-it-all tools, just because Windows can do almost everything doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do anything. So it is with the default photo viewer.
I was walking through the dorms in 2003 when I saw it: a desk with three computer monitors, all with a Matrix screen saver scrolling green text. It’s laughable in retrospect, but I thought it was just the coolest. Don’t lie, you would have too.
Microsoft has announced Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. This is a higher-end version of Windows 10 Professional for expensive PCs with powerful hardware. The included features are already available on Windows Server, but are being brought over to a desktop version of Windows.
If you had a computer in the early 2000s and didn’t have a ton of common sense (or proper antivirus software), you probably ended up with an allegedly helpful purple ape named BonziBuddy crowding your desktop. He could talk, tell jokes, “sing,” and generally annoy you. He promised to help you use the internet, but mostly he just got in the way.
Windows’ Safe Mode is an essential tool. On computers infected with malware or crashing because of buggy drivers, Safe Mode may be the only way to start the computer.
The “Enhance Pointer Precision” setting in Windows can actually make you less precise with your mouse in many situations. This poorly understood feature is enabled by default in Windows, and is a form of mouse acceleration.
The Kindle is a fantastic reading device, but it’s almost entirely reliant upon Amazon’s closed retail system for buying books. That’s by design, of course—it’s an Amazon gadget, they want you to spend money on their store. But if you have a collection of eBooks obtained somewhere else, designed for cross-platform reading in another format without the typical DRM, it’s possible to get them loaded onto your Kindle fairly easily.
Forget Solitaire and Minesweeper. The best game ever included with Windows was a virtual pinball table. With blinking lights and arcade sounds, 3D Pinball for Windows seemed like magic back in 1995, and is surprisingly playable even today.
The “wsappx” process is part of Windows 8 and 10, and you may see it running in the background or even using a significant amount of CPU and disk resources. It’s related to the Windows Store and Microsoft’s new “Universal” app platform.
Stardew Valley, the smash hit indie farming simulation role-playing game, is the kind of game players get quite attached to after sinking a lot of time into their farms, their relationships with the characters, and building their skills. Let’s look at how to safely backup your game so your farm is always safe.
Comic books as a medium seem tailor-made for tablets, even if the timeline doesn’t precisely add up. But there are a surprising amount of comic reading applications meant for old-fashioned desktop machines, too. This stuff comes in handy for gadgets that blur the lines, like the Microsoft Surface, or for someone who’s amassed a large collection of DRM-free comic book files.
Browser extensions are much more dangerous than most people realize. These small tools often have access to everything you do online, so they can capture your passwords, track your web browsing, insert advertisements into web pages you visit, and more. Popular browser extensions are often sold to shady companies or hijacked, and automatic updates can turn them into malware.
Windows 10 automatically performs system maintenance tasks like security scanning and disk optimization on a schedule. By default, Windows runs these tasks every day at 2 AM and wakes up your PC to do it if it’s sleeping.
Mapping a network drive to a shared folder from Windows’ graphic interface isn’t hard. But if you already know the network path for the shared folder, you can map drives a lot quicker using the Command Prompt.
As a fairly versatile operating system, Windows has always had ways of browsing and viewing photos. But with Windows 10, Microsoft decided to try and mash browsing, organizing, and viewing all together in one application, with some basic editing to boot. The result, the innocuously-titles “Photos” app, can be less than intuitive.
Building a gaming PC is an expensive proposition, even on the “value” side of things—we’re talking about at lest $500 for a new machine. Penny-pinchers often forego unnecessary extras. And since most CPUs come with a cooler right in the box, why bother with a big bulky aftermarket cooler, especially if you’re not going to overclock anything?
Windows 10 finally added virtual desktops as a built-in feature. If you keep a lot of apps open at once—or use your PC for very different types of tasks—virtual desktops offer a convenient way to stay organized.
This weekend, while most of the technology and gaming press wasn’t working on anything particularly important, Warner Bros. Interactive tried to slip a small news item past their attention. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the highly-anticipated sequel to the Tolkien-themed adventure game Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, will include microtransactions. This $60 game—up to $100 USD if you spring for the special pre-order versions—will ask players to pay even more in bite-sized chunks to unlock some of its content faster.
Microsoft’s stripped-down Windows 10 S is now shipping on PCs like the Surface Laptop. If you want to try it before you buy, you can install it yourself in a virtual machine or a PC you have lying around.
Ever wish you could copy something on one computer, then paste it on another? Synced clipboards are becoming common: you can sync your clipboard between macOS Sierra and iOS 10, for example, without any third party software. Pushbullet allows you to sync your Windows clipboard to Android (along with other features.)
By default, Windows 10 asks you to create a Microsoft account when you log in to Windows for the first time. But if you’d prefer to use an email that you actually use for, you know, email, that’s an option too. Windows 10 accepts new non-Microsoft email accounts on setup, and you can create a new Windows user with any email account.
Windows 10 uses memory compression to store more data in your system’s memory than it otherwise could. If you visit the Task Manager and look at your memory usage details, you’ll likely see that some of your memory is “compressed”. Here’s what that means.
Your wireless router has a variety of useful options you can configure. These are practically hidden—you wouldn’t know these features exist unless you were digging through your router’s configuration pages. But they’re worth knowing about.
Games are expensive. Want to play the latest headline-grabbing entry from EA or Activision? Be prepared to shell out $60…or $100 for the real version with a name like “Ultimate Edition.” Maybe that’s why so many developers are extending their horizons into the free-to-play arena. Here are ten online multiplayer shooters you can play without spending a dime.
Windows 10’s Start menu can search your files, but it seems like Microsoft is more interested in pushing Bing and other online search features these days. While Windows still has some powerful search features, they’re a bit harder to find—and you might want to consider a third-party tool instead.