Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

Do Your Minimized Programs Take Forever to Become Functional? by Kelly Lynn

  When you need to run a program off and on through the day, it's usually a good idea to minimize the program rather than shut it down altogether. Minimizing ensures that you will be up and running in a fraction of a second when you need to. The problem, though, is that restoring a program that's minimized to the taskbar isn't always quick. Sometimes, these programs can take as long as a minute to become fully functional -- longer than it would take to start the program if you shut it down. Photoshop is one program that frustrates users in this way. Why does Windows behave in this fashion? The problem: Windows takes resources away from inactive programs When programs are minimized for a while, Windows tends to take … Continue reading

Do You Really Use the Latest Version of Chrome? by Kelly Lynn

  If you have the standard Chrome browser that everyone uses, you only get to experience the best features that Google thought of months earlier. If you would like to try very latest that Chrome has -- 64-bit processing, HTML 5 and so on -- you'll need to step out of your comfort zone and try a version that's under development -- or, in Google's lingo, an under-development channel. You may need to put up with a bit of instability in the process. It could be worth it, though. You'd get to be on the cutting edge of browser technology. Google's different channels for Chrome Google makes Chrome available in four channels. The public launch channel, the one that most people run, is named the Stable channel. The three under-development channels are named Beta, Dev and Canary. … Continue reading

Make Your Computer Start Up Faster: Get Rid of Driver Bloatware by Kelly Lynn

  When you install a new graphics card, sound card or even a mouse on your computer, Windows is usually able to make it work by applying a generic driver from its inventory. If you want the latest driver, though, you need to either use the disc that comes with the device or download a driver direct from the manufacturer. When you apply a driver from either one of these sources, it usually comes with a good bit of bloatware -- control panels, startup applications and so on. More often than not, the features offered in these applications are mere fluff. They tend to add to your startup time, too. You could have a better user experience if you could simply get the driver and leave out the bloatware. Here's how you do it. Look … Continue reading

How Do You Catch Your Computer's Unauthorized Internet Use? by Kelly Lynn

  If your computer's connection to the Internet seems to have slowed down lately, it's possible that it has malware that uses your bandwidth without your knowledge.  Finding out about any unauthorized Internet use should be easy enough with a third-party firewall. It should show you a list of all the applications on your computer that try to get on the Internet. Many well-designed malware applications have exceptions added that make it hard for firewalls to report them, though. There is another way to check If your firewall won't tell you much about clandestine attempts by malware on your computer to access the Internet, you could check by hand.  If your computer runs XP or a later version of Windows, the Windows netstat command in command prompt is what you need. To use the … Continue reading

What is Wi-Fi Direct? by Kelly Lynn

  Devices with Bluetooth are able to wirelessly connect directly to one another. They don't need to go through a central hub of any kind. This is not how it works with Wi-Fi, though. If you have two Wi-Fi-enabled laptops or phones, sending data from one to another is usually tedious. They both need to connect to a router, set up permissions and so on. Engineers have been hard at work trying to make Wi-Fi connections more Bluetooth-like. The result is Wi-Fi Direct -- a protocol that allows Wi-Fi-enabled devices to directly communicate with one another, with no need for a router in the middle. You may already use Wi-Fi Direct If you have a Roku set-top box, you already use Wi-Fi Direct. Unlike regular remote controls that use infrared … Continue reading

A Fun Thing About Notepad That You Probably Never Knew by Kelly Lynn

  When you open Notepad and begin typing into it, the text that appears only becomes a part of the file once you save it. Until then, all the content in the window is held in an area called the stream of the file. It's just the way the NTFS file system seen on modern Windows computers works. Normally, users don't have access to the stream content of their files . The content is simply there for the operating system to access. If you know how to access the stream area of a file, though, you could store entirely different matter in it than what appears in the main file. It would be a place that no one would know to look for -- your own secret area. Here's how you access … Continue reading

Does Idle RAM Do Any Good? by Kelly Lynn

  It's commonly heard advice: if you want a faster computer, you need to equip it with plenty of RAM. The more, the better, you're told. What if you were to put 8 GB of RAM in your computer, though, only to find that Task Manager never reported using any more than 4 GB, no matter what you did? Are the other 4 GB in your computer not contributing to your computing experience at all? Would you have exactly the same speed and performance if you took out the idle RAM? How Windows uses RAM RAM that Task Manager shows as idle does not help at all with programs and tasks that are CPU-intensive. Only RAM that's shown as in use actually helps. Excess RAM, though, can help speed up … Continue reading

Tips to Help You Make the Most of Dropbox by Kelly Lynn

  Tips To Help You Make the Most of Dropbox Dropbox, the cloud file backup service, evolves and brings in new features all the time. Its iOS and Android apps are among the most popular ones on those platforms. If you use Dropbox, here are some of the best ways to get the most out of the latest version. Get extra free space without paying for it Dropbox assigns 2 GB of space to every free account. If you would like more free space, you have three options. To begin, you get 125 MB of extra space each time you go on Twitter to say something nice about Dropbox. Referring a friend to Dropbox can be a good way to earn some free space, too -- you get an extra … Continue reading

The Most Powerful Ways to Use Command Prompt by Kelly Lynn

  Command prompt in Windows isn't easy to use, the way the graphical user interface is. It's a throwback to the time you needed to remember arcane commands for everything that you needed your computer to do. Yet, it can be a useful tool. There are a few things that are best done from within command prompt. The following are some of the best ways to use command prompt. If you are ever in doubt about what exactly a command does, you simply need to type it in at the command prompt, followed by the string /? before you hit Enter . Right away, you get access to the built-in help file that shows you what the command does. Most of these commands work only when you run command prompt … Continue reading

Where Do You Find a Driver for an Old, No-Name Device? by Kelly Lynn

  New devices for Windows computers always come with the requisite drivers as part of Windows. You'll find them on a disc in the box or on the manufacturer's website. With many older devices or with ones that come from generic, no-name manufacturers, you could come up empty-handed. A device that doesn't have the right driver is usually useless -- it shows up on Device Manager as an Unknown device , marked by a yellow triangle with an exclamation point inside. Unless you get the driver and get it to work, you won't get any use out of the device. How do you find it then? If the device has labeling that mentions a brand name and model number (not something you can expect to find on every device), you … Continue reading