Miscellaneous Computer Tips
by Chris Hoffman & Walter Glenn How-To Geek 1 Nov 2016
You can easily rename one or more files just with Windows Explorer, but you can do even more with
the Command Prompt or PowerShell. Add in third-party renaming utilities, and the possibilities are
endless. Let’s take a look at each option and how it works.
by Walter Glenn & Chris Hoffman How-To Geek 25 Oct 2016
This can happen on Windows 7, 8, or 10, but it’s become especially common with Windows 7.
Sometimes updates will error out, or some mes Windows Update may just get stuck “searching for
updates” forever. Here are a few ways to give it a kick start.
by Chris Hoffman How-To Geek 27 Jun 2016
The Windows Control Panel includes a variety of “troubleshooters” designed to quickly diagnose and
automatically solve various computer problems. Troubleshooters can’t fix everything, but they’re a
great place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer.
by Cameron Summerson How-To Geek 17 Jun 2016
You’re sitting at your PC and you receive a text message, so you pick up your phone, unlock it, read
the message, and type one back using the tiny touch screen keyboard. Why not use your PC
instead? If you’re already sitting at your computer, you can easily take advantage of your computer’s
keyboard to send and receive text messages.
by Eric Griffith PC Mag 23 May 2016
If you need to take a screenshot (or 10), this is the tutorial you need. We run down everything you
need to know about capturing screenshots, no matter the platform-Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android,
and other mobile operating systems.
By Michael Ansaldo PC World Apr 2016
We tend to use passwords we can easily recall. And that means they’re easy to hack. A good
password manager is the best way to relieve the burden of memorizing complex logins and keep
your data secure. Considering that the security of sensitive data is at stake, you shouldn’t take
choosing a password manager lightly. This guide will tell you what features to look for in a password
manager and compare four of the best.
by Eric Griffith PC Magazine Mar 2015
How to recover files you've accidentally deleted.
By Brad Chacos PC World Mar 2015
Unless you're a gamer or a video editor, you might be better off saving your cash and sticking with
the PC you already own. Here’s why.
By Brad Chacos PC World Aug 2014
These small, yet obscure Windows tips and tricks can make a big difference in your workflow and
save you tons of time in the process.
By Brad Chacos PC World Jun 2014
Windows is so deep and flexible that many of us never touch its more powerful tools, whether from
unawareness or sheer forgetfulness. But beneath Internet Explorer and the Start button hides a
universe of tools and tricks that are positively brimming with potential.
By Evan Dashevsky PC Magazine Aug 2014
It's easy to take the common Google search for granted. But if you take just a moment to really think
about it, you might appreciate it for what it truly is: crazy superhero magic!
Don Reisinger eWeek Aug 2014
Here's how we can all improve our online privacy. It might not be simple and there's no way to be
entirely anonymous online, but with the right moves, we can improve the current state of our privacy.
Kim Komando Jul 2014
Notice how on Facebook videos have started playing automatically? It can be annoying on your
computer, but it can destroy your data plan on mobile gadgets. Here's how to stop them from
Chris Hoffman How-To Geek Jan 2015
By Fred Langa Windows Secrets Jan 10 2013
Undo a year's worth of wear and tear
Preserve and protect system data - Take 1
Check the hard drive's physical/logical health
Patch and update all software and the OS
Do a thorough review of your PC's defenses
Take out all the trash accumulated in Windows
Defrag (or optimize) data on hard disks
Preserve and protect your data - Take 2
Dust you must, for a truly clean PC
You're now ready for another year of computing
Need productivity software? Try these FREE alternatives:
Spreadsheet, Word Processor, and Presentation software:
Bookkeeping - Small Business: GnuCash
Print-to-PDF (as if it's a printer)
Choose "doPDF" as the printer in your program, then print.
Choose "PDF4u" as the printer in your program, then print.
Choose "PDF reDirect" as the printer in your program, then print.
Can also preview, optimize, and merge pdf files.
Belarc Advisor - builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware,
network inventory, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, security benchmarks,
and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept
private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.
Ccleaner - cleans out leftover scraps that slow down your computer
Classic Shell - changes the Start Menu and Windows Explorer back to what you're used to
(whether "what you're used to" is Windows XP, Windows 7, or possibly newer - it's your
FreeFont - get a Free Font of the Month from Softmaker, a German software company
(What's the difference between TrueType (ttf) and OpenType (otf)? See OTF vs TTF.)
It's far more versatile than Microsoft's Notepad, and great for anything you want to write that's
just simple text - not a lot of formatting. You can keep many files instantly available in their own
tabs, without having to reload them each time you start the program -- which is great for those
files you may come back to repeatedly.
It can read all major ebook formats. It will also call up your default pdf reader (usually Adobe
Reader) to read pdf files, and your default text file reader (most likely Notepad) for any files that
are straight text.
by Brad Chacos PC World 25 Dec 2016
by J. Carlton Collins Journal of Accountancy Nov 2016
Q. Is it possible for me to delete all of my personal profile information on the internet? If so, how?
A. The website accountkiller.com contains instructions for removing your personal profile information
from many popular websites, including Facebook, Google, Skype, Twitter, Windows Live, Yahoo!,
and numerous others.
by Sammi Caramela businessdaily.com 11 Jul 2016 (via AIPB General Ledger Oct 2016)
Do not assume hackers will ignore you because you’re small. A report by Keeper Security and the
Ponemon Institute reveals that roughly half of all small businesses have been hacked within the last
year, possibly due to poorer security than large corporations, but also to being less careful with the
security they have.
How-To Geek Mar 2015
Surge protectors aren’t like diamonds. They have a definite lifespan. At some point, your surge
protector will stop protecting your gear from power surges and become a dumb power strip.
by Chris Hoffman How-To Geek Feb 2016
You’ve probably heard about countless different backup methods, but which one is right for you? And
what files do you really need to back up?
by Lowell Heddings How-To Geek Jan 2015
Any time you make a change to the Windows Registry, any responsible article will probably tell you to
backup the registry first. But how do you do that? It’s not quite as simple as you might think
By Neil J. Rubenking PC Magazine Dec 2016
These days, there's no question that keeping your computer safe from malware and other threats
should be a top priority. We've tested more than 30 premium AV packages to help you choose the
How-To Geek Aug 2014
Computers don’t come with operating system installation CDs anymore. If your operating system
won’t boot, you’ll need a bootable recovery drive to fix it. All operating systems allow you to create
by Chris Hoffman How To Geek Jul 2014
An “ATM skimmer” is a malicious device criminals attach to an ATM. When you use an ATM that’s
been compromised in such a way, the skimmer will create a copy of your card and capture your PIN.
Lincoln Spector PC Magazine 17 May 2016
Spreadsheets do a couple of crazy things with dates so they can count them for you correctly. This
explains how Excel sees dates and how to work with dates in formulas. (Also useful with other
by Brad Zomick SkilledUp.com Oct 2014
Nothing beats getting something for nothing! When it comes to learning Microsoft Excel, the same holds
true. Excel is such an important software application, many organizations have taken it upon themselves
to publish free Excel tutorials and how-to guides.
by Rayman Meservy and Marshall Romney, CPA Journal of Accountancy 1 Nov 2015
Field audit results compiled by University of Hawaii professor and spreadsheet expert Ray Panko showed
errors in 88% of 113 spreadsheets audited between 1995 and 2007. That's a scary statistic, especially
when one considers that decisions involving thousands or even millions of dollars are often based on
spreadsheets. This article walks you through different methods and built-in tools that can be used to
audit and debug Excel spreadsheets. (pdf copy)
Windows 10 News
by J. Carlton Collins Journal of Accountancy 1 Jan 2017
One of the most popular features in Windows 10 is the return of the Start button (the Start button
menu is pictured below), but the traditional Control Panel window is no longer readily accessible in the
Windows 10 default menu.
by Mark Hachman PCWorld 12 Jan 2017
Microsoft releases new builds of Windows 10 for its Insider beta testers every so often-some minor,
some really significant. You can call Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15002, released this week, a
really big deal. This will all be part of the Creators Update, coming in “early 2017”-most likely in a
couple of months.
by Lori Kaufman HowTo Geek 31 Oct 2016
If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 but don’t love what you see, there are ways to make Windows 10
look and act like Windows 7. That way, you can get the familiar interface you love while still taking
advantage of Windows 10’s other useful features.
By Jamie Lendino ExtremeTech 16 Aug 2016
Now that Windows 10 Anniversary Update is out and millions of people are running it, let’s take a look
at some of the best hidden features, tips, and tricks in the operating system.
by Lori Kaufman HowTo Geek 7 Jul 2016
There are a lot of changes in Windows 10’s File Explorer compared to Windows 7’s Windows
Explorer. If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 and you don’t like the changes, this shows how you can
get the look and feel of Windows 7’s Windows Explorer back.
Nick Mediati PCWorld 15 May 2016
Microsoft plans to double the number of promoted apps that appear in the Start Menu with this
summer's big Windows 10 update.
by Lincoln Spector PC World 11 Apr 2016
So much for the triumphant return of the Start menu. If it doesn't pop up for you, try these
by Erik Sherman Inc.com 21 Aug 2015
The author has already upgraded a few machines and learned a few things in the process. Here are
By Chris Hoffman HowTo Geek 29 Jun 2015
Don’t like Windows 10? As long as you’ve upgraded within the last month, you can uninstall Windows
10 and downgrade your PC back to its original Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 operating system. You can
always upgrade to Windows 10 again later.
Even if it’s been more than a month, you should be able to reinstall the version of Windows that came
with your PC using fresh installation media and its product key.
By Don Reisinger eWeek 2 Jun 2015
Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 10. Here's what you need to know about it to help you decide
whether or not you should upgrade to Microsoft's latest OS.
by Wayne Rash eWeek 17 May 2015
NEWS ANALYSIS: The next version of Microsoft Windows will be available in six versions, half of
which are specifically aimed at business users.
COMPUTER NEWS - Windows 8.x
Microsoft's Windows 8.1 came out on 17 Oct 2013.
An improvement over 8.0, it nevertheless has a couple of new things to beware of. Personally, I still think
it's probably useful for Tablet computers, but not so much for Laptops or Desktops. I'll stick with
Windows 7 on my desktop. But to help you make up your own mind, here are some links that I hope will
Classic Shell - A free classic Start Menu - I use it with Windows 7, and it's been updated and expanded
for Windows 8 & 10. Here's some reviews on SourceForge, and also a review article from PCWorld
(Classic Shell is toward the bottom of the article).
Windows 8 runs on Intel processors, and runs "apps" and "traditional" programs.
Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM processors, and only runs "apps".
Interested in Linux?
by Chris Hoffman (PC World) 18 May 2015
Wi-Fi (Wireless Network)
by Jamie Lendino ExtremeTech 15 Aug 2016
Some channels are indeed much faster - but that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and change them
just yet. Read on to find out more about 802.11 channels, interference, and the massive difference
between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi.
by Gordon Kelly TrustedReviews 11 May 2015
An explanation of the ins and outs of new-gen and last-gen Wi-Fi standards. "b, g, n, ac…" They
haven’t had the most logical of alphabetical progressions.
by Jess Bolluyt Gear Style Cheat Sheet 30 Oct 2016
It’s possible that your internet provider is just lying about the speeds that you should really expect on your
network, but it’s also possible that there’s someone other than you (and your roommates or family
members) using your Wi-Fi network.
by Manta Editorial Team Manta.com 26 Jun 2015
"Free" Wi-Fi can be very expensive if you're not careful. Before you jump on any old public network,
consider what you do most often online. Many of those activities put you at risk for a multitude of data
security issues, including identity the and wicked viruses. Reduce your exposure with these simple
by Chris Hoffman How-To Geek 10 Oct 2012
The main keys to improving your wireless network’s signal are positioning your router properly - taking
obstructions into account - and reducing interference from other wireless networks and household
Best of Open Source Software Awards
2016 Bossies Recognized 72 winners across five categories of software:
2015 Bossies Recognized 100 winners across six categories of software:
Smart-Phones & Cell Phones
by Ben Patterson PC World 15 Jun 2016
Zap cached app files in a single tap, clear the Downloads folder, delete unneeded offline maps, take
charge of music downloads, and more.
by Cameron Summerson How-To Geek 21 Jun 2016
Your phone is missing. Did you leave it at the restaurant? Or maybe at home? Did someone steal it?
Your mind races. You have no idea. Fortunately, there are some things you can do in this situation to
hopefully get your phone back.
by Lincoln Spector PCWorld Jul 2016
If someone else has physical access to your phone and knows your PIN or password, or if they can log
into your Google account, they can install an app without your knowing or noticing it.
by Chris Hoffman How-To Geek Jul 2016
Poor signal strength could be your carrier’s fault, or it could be because of signal-blocking materials in
your home’s walls. Whatever the cause, you can boost that signal and get the maximum number of
bars at home. Or, better yet, just use Wi-Fi calling on a modern phone.
by Joe McGauley Thrillist Tech Oct 2015
Some of our seemingly harmless habits are doing slow, silent, deadly damage to those precious
by Nat Berman Money Inc Aug 2016
Which phone charging myths do you believe? Here are five of the most common myths about charging
your smartphone, along with their corresponding truths.
by Michael Ansaldo PC World 21 Jul 2016
There’s something here for everybody, whether you want a no-hassle way to keep tabs on your in- and
outflows, a tool to help maximize your means, or a way to build wealth through investments. Unless
otherwise stated, each of these programs is cross-platform and will sync across devices.