Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

Have You Looked into Updating the Bios on Your GPU? by Kelly Lynn

  Computer guides for gamers often talk about how important it is to gaming systems to have the latest drivers for their graphics cards. Keeping up makes sure that a card has every recent tweak for efficiency and compatibility. Not many guides, though, bring up BIOS updates for graphics cards. While a driver is software that you install on Windows to help it work with a piece of hardware like a graphics card, BIOS is even more basic -- it is software that resides right on the graphics card. When graphics card manufacturer releases a BIOS update, they do it to take care of issues far more basic than any driver could address. If the manufacturer of your graphics card has a GPU BIOS update, you should install it. Where … Continue reading

Solutions: Calibrating Your Laptop's Battery Meter and Pausing Windows Defender by Kelly Lynn

  Here are solutions to two simple challenges that you may face with your computer. Calibrating the battery on your laptop Age and exposure to heat tend to cause laptop batteries to lose some of their capacity over time. Sometimes, though, what seems like a problem with a worn-out battery turns out to be something else -- the ability of the battery's inbuilt meter to measure the battery's charge accurately. While a number of things can throw an inbuilt battery meter off, a battery that is never allowed to drain completely tends to be one of the most common reasons why inbuilt meters become inaccurate over time. To keep the battery's meter in good shape, you need to calibrate it at least once every three months. Some laptops come with … Continue reading

What File System Should You Format Your New Portable Drive To? by Kelly Lynn

  Storage devices such as hard disks and flash drives are only capable of accepting data in binary form. Operating systems like Windows, though, are incapable of directly dealing with binary data. To be able to store a file on a storage device, then, Windows needs to use a translating framework that can turn the higher-level language that it uses to the more basic binary language dealt with by the device. This translating framework is called a file system . The most common ones in use today are FAT32, HFS+, exFAT and NTFS. Operating systems and file systems Each operating system is built to take advantage of the translating services of only specific file systems. For this reason, before you pick a file system for your storage device, you'll need … Continue reading

Learning to Look for File Extensions (And Then to Look Past Them) by Kelly Lynn

  One of the best ways of telling if a file that you receive presents a risk is to look at its file extension. If an attachment is supposed to contain a photo, e-book or song, and what you see instead is a file that ends in a . exe , .msi or other executable extension, you'll know right away that someone's playing a trick on you. Windows makes it hard to find file extensions By default, Windows hides file extensions -- you only see the file names. As a default setting it's dangerous. People can brazenly send you .exe files -- you won't ever see the file extension at the end. Learn to change the default setting It's easy to change the settings in Windows so that all file … Continue reading

The Truth About Four Graphics Card Myths by Kelly Lynn

  Graphics cards tend to be mysterious things to many casual gamers. They can't ever be quite sure how to judge their speed or their features. If you'd like to understand your graphics card better, here are four common myths to consider, and a little clarity on each topic. Upgrading your graphics card will help with lag If you find yourself getting creamed in a game, you might want to believe that it's your graphics card taking too long to process images. For anyone not at the highest levels of professional gaming, though, delays in processing by the graphics card and LCD display rarely cause lag serious enough to matter. Upgrading these components wouldn't help. In nearly every case that a gamer finds himself outclassed, he should think about his … Continue reading

How Does Professional Data Recovery Work for Broken Flash Drives? by Kelly Lynn

  It is common knowledge that when a hard disk fails, you take it to a recovery service. They take out the magnetic platter and read data off it in various ways. What if a thumb drive, SD card or solid-state drive were to fail, though? The data on these drives is stored on little chips; how do data recovery services get anything out of those? The encryption problem When flash drives first became common more than a decade ago, they were as large as the human thumb, and contained discrete parts. When a drive failed, assuming that its main memory chip was okay, recovery services would swap out the other parts to get it working again. Every high-capacity modern thumb drive comes with some kind of inbuilt hardware encryption. … Continue reading

Little Windows Tricks That Make Life Tolerable by Kelly Lynn

  Windows is chock-full of handy little tricks that help you get useful things done. Here are several tips that remind you where the fun is in Windows. Dial Win+x for mobility Windows Vista and 7 have something called a Mobility Center that can be reached with the keyboard shortcut Windows key + x. Mobility Center is a graphical control panel with shortcuts to a number of useful features - brightness, external display, volume, battery level and Wi-Fi connections among others. It can be useful to have all these shortcuts in one place. Keystroke-log yourself The term keystroke logger is usually used in connection with hackers who try to learn your passwords as you type them out. Keystroke logging software, though, can be useful in troubleshooting as a way to … Continue reading

Is Your Microsoft Office Document About To Rat You Out? by Kelly Lynn

  Each of the programs included in Microsoft Office maintains a metadata record that is kept hidden from plain view. The record on each document includes information on the name of every person who has worked on it, the amount of time that has been spent on it, information about every version of the document that has ever existed and the comments and changes inserted, among other things. Anyone who needs to send an Office document to someone else would do well to think about this additional information appended to it. It could get them into trouble. What could possibly go wrong? Many people take the risks involved in Office document metadata lightly and only wake up to the dangers involved when they actually get into trouble. A few examples … Continue reading

Fun Keyboard Shortcuts for Your Browser by Kelly Lynn

  You can use your mouse to do everything you need on your browser. Yet, using a mouse can often slow you down. If you can click a couple of keys for every common browser-related task, you can usually work far more efficiently. Here are several keyboard shortcuts that you can use on most popular browsers in Windows. S+Right-click on a web image Holding down the S key on your keyboard and right-clicking on any web image does different things in different browsers. On Chrome, it opens a new tab with a reverse image search for the image on Google. While you could do the same thing with a right-click and selecting Search Google for this image , the keyboard shortcut is faster. On Firefox and Safari, the same keyboard … Continue reading

Registry Edits for Better Taskbar Button Behavior and Better Disk Cleanups by Kelly Lynn

  Some of the behaviors programmed into Windows can seem fun at first, but can quickly get tiresome. Fortunately, all it takes to fix them is a simple registry edit or two. For both fixes described below, you first need to open Windows Registry Editor. To do so, you can either search for it on Windows Search or open the Run utility (press the Windows key and R) and type in the word regedit . The last active window When you have a number of Internet Explorer tabs, Word windows or Windows Explorer windows open, Windows still represents them on single taskbar buttons -- one for each program. To go to a specific window of an open program, you need to hover your mouse over its taskbar button, wait a … Continue reading