Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

Why is Windows So Bad at Estimating Copy Times? by Kelly Lynn

  When you initiate a file transfer or another file-related action on Windows, the countdown in the dialog box that comes up is usually worse than useless. Windows can wildly seesaw in its estimation of how much time any given process might take, rapidly switching back and forth between several minutes at one point and a few seconds the next. Why is Windows so bad at estimating how much time an action takes? How the misestimations happen When you first start a folder transfer or another operation, Windows doesn't give you an estimate right away. Rather, it waits a few seconds to see how fast it goes, before extrapolating for the entire folder. Simple extrapolations rarely make sense, though. The hardware part of the problem When you try to transfer … Continue reading

Getting Used to Windows 8.1 by Kelly Lynn

  Microsoft has changed a few things around in Windows 8.1. If you miss a few features, here's how you access them. Miss the Libraries sidebar link in Windows 8.1? The Windows Libraries feature (introduced in Windows 7) is a genuinely useful idea. Before Windows 7, if you wanted to organize files and folders in different places in a way that they could be accessible in one window, you had to either copy and paste them in one folder or create shortcuts to them in that folder. Both methods tend to be awkward. With the Libraries feature, when you want to see folders from different places in one window, you simply need to create something called a Library, click on each folder you need, and then select Include in library … Continue reading

Should You Use the Inbuilt NTFS File Compression System in Windows? by Kelly Lynn

  All versions of Windows since 3.1 in 1993 store information in a format called NTFS. Not only does this format offer better security and convenience over the systems that it replaces, it offers a convenient space-saving feature that isn't used nearly as often as it should be: NTFS has inbuilt file compression. When you use NTFS file compression, you get to save on disk space and get access to your files quickly without going through a file expansion step. The downside to using NTFS file compression While the NTFS file compression system offers on-the-fly expansion when you need to access your files, it does require considerable CPU power to offer a seamless experience. If your CPU isn't well-enough specified, you could experience slowdowns. With most modern CPUs, though, slowdowns … Continue reading

You Have Antivirus. How Do You Know That It Works? by Kelly Lynn

  If you have antivirus software and firewalls on your system, you may feel safe in the knowledge that you've done your part. How do you know, though, if all your security actually works? What if it simply stops working one day, and you never realize it? It's usually a good idea to actually test your software for effectiveness. Here's how you do it. Test your antivirus While willfully getting your system infected with a virus could help you see if your antivirus still does any good, it's hardly advisable. To help you test your antivirus without risking your system, you need to make use of a fake virus. EICAR, t he European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research, has just the thing you need. You simply need to go to … Continue reading

Creating Your Own Portable Software by Kelly Lynn

  If you often need to access computers that belong to other people or other offices, you may have a hard time working the way you need to -- you may not have access to the programs you usually have. Google tries to make working on multiple computers simpler by automatically bringing your browsing history and bookmarks to any installation of Chrome when you sign in. You also have Google Docs. For other programs, though, you're usually on your own. Carrying the software you need with you as you move from one computer to another may seem like an option. The problem with this approach is that you wouldn't usually be able to install your programs on someone else's computer. It would also take time. The right approach to this … Continue reading

Love an Icon You See? Here’s How You Grab It by Kelly Lynn

  The stock icons that come with many programs, file types and shortcuts are often pretty enough to make you want to use them elsewhere. Before you use them, though, you need to learn how to extract them and save them. Then, you'll be able to assign them to represent a file or folder or use them anywhere else. Here's how you grab, save and reuse icons that you like. You need a special utility A quick search on the Internet easily brings up a number of icon grabbing tools. With most easily available tools, though, you are limited to small icons under 48×48 pixels. If you're interested in large, 256x256-pixel icons of the kind that you see in Windows 7 and Windows 8, you'll need a special tool that's … Continue reading

Why You’d Want to Change Your Mac Address and How You’d Do It by Kelly Lynn

  Every device that connects to the Internet through Ethernet or Wi-Fi comes with its own unique identity number -- its Media Access Control address or MAC address. While networking components have permanent MAC addresses preinstalled in the factory (mentioned on a sticker somewhere on the device, usually), it's possible to make temporary changes. What use exactly are MAC addresses? MAC addresses are primarily used on networks to make sure that every data request is delivered to the correct destination. A number of alternative uses exist, too. They help identify devices on a network : If you're on a public Wi-Fi hotspot (at an airport or coffee shop, perhaps), the host may use your MAC address to identify you and keep track of how long you stay on their service. … Continue reading

How Do You Access Files on Your Home Computer When You're Outside? by Kelly Lynn

  If you have multiple computers at home, accessing files on one computer from another is easy - you only need to set up a home network, connect all your computers to it and then set up file sharing or homegroups. What do you do, though, when you're outside and need access to files on these computers? You have various tools now to tap into your home network over the Internet. While remote access of local networks has always been possible, they've been complicated methods. Easily accessible methods have only recently begun to show up. Using a router Most routers only come with Wi-Fi and Ethernet ports, but some have USB ports too. These ports accept USB portable hard drives. Once attached, the software that comes with these routers allows … Continue reading

Are the Drivers Included in Windows Good Enough? by Kelly Lynn

  Many kinds of add-on components for computers require special software called drivers to be able to work with Windows or any other operating system . In versions of Windows before XP, the only way to get this software was to use the disc supplied by the manufacturer of the hardware. Ever since Vista, though, Windows has come with drivers included out-of-the-box  for an ever-increasing range of hardware components. When a supported device is connected, Windows directly calls up the right driver from its vast catalog and applies it, allowing the device to be used without fuss. There's a price to pay for convenience Windows' inventory of drivers is meant only to quickly make devices functional. The inventory isn't usually kept up-to-date with the latest driver release by every device manufacturer.  … Continue reading

Handling Chapters in Word by Kelly Lynn

  Introduction Microsoft Word is the world's most popular word processing application. You can use it to create letters, blogs, email, articles and books, among others. It has extensive publishing capabilities and can integrate with Microsoft Excel and other programs. Word can easily accommodate large manuscripts, but the first time you deal with chapters can be a hassle. Chapters in Word If you are writing a book or other multi-chapter work, you will definitely want to keep all the material in a single file, so that you can apply global changes, such as a font change, in one easy operation. If it's the first time you are working with chapters in Word, you'll need to consider a few items: . Chapter separation . Numbering 3. Headers and Footers . Table … Continue reading