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Preview: PC World How-To's and Tips

PCWorld How-To





Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:24:43 -0700

Last Build Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:24:43 -0700

 



How to use MAME emulator to cure computer game nostalgia

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 03:30:00 -0700

Every once in a while, we get a question about those old games that were once the bleeding edge of entertainment in arcades and bars. Invariably from someone who played them and misses them—not from the current generation of cell-phone gaming addicts.

But even if you’re the latter, you might want to see how your parents amused themselves in the days when Pong, Asteroids, and Galaxian were the height of gaming technology. You can easily do so right on your PC. Adventurous programmers have long sharpened their skills by writing emulators for a vast array of computers, game machines, and gaming consoles. For the last decade or so, however, the big project has been MAME.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to master your music metadata (Part 1)

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Tired of seeing “unknown track” by “unnamed artist” on your favorite music player? We’ll show you how to automatically identify, tag, and properly rename all your mystery tracks and albums to whip your music library into shape.


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When to defrag a hard drive, TRIM an SSD and perform other storage tasks, or not

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:00:00 -0700

We still get quite a few questions about when and how to optimize storage devices. Easy answer: The care and feeding of storage devices is either taken care of automatically by Windows, or it's simply unnecessary. Mostly.

[Have a tech question? Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

Defragging

Defragging hard drives (not SSDs) has been of limited benefit since Microsoft switched to the NTFS file system. Why? Because to a large extent, NTFS is self-optimizing. Add Windows’ various tricks such as pre-fetch, better ordering of files, and hard-wiring important files to set locations, and there’s rarely any noticeable degradation in hard drive performance even after years of use.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to find the Windows 10 Creators Update's hidden desktop themes

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:50:00 -0700

If you're looking to pretty up the look of your desktop, there are just under 175 preset themes available in the Windows Store in the Windows 10 Creators Update at this writing—but finding them isn't so simple. Searching for 'themes' in the Store only gets you a bunch of apps and a random assortment of other items.

Nope, to find the cornucopia of themes available for the Windows 10 Creators Update, the only way in is through a link in the Settings app. But once you get there you can pick any number of desktop themes.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How Excel can help with metric and American Standard conversions

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:20:00 -0700

Let Excel do the currency and metric conversions you need for your global business or travel. The following Excel functions can be used in Europe with the metric system (officially called International System of Units or SI) and the euro currency. Once you calculate the spreadsheet functions, you can use the various Excel apps to run the programs on your smartphone or tablet.

Fahrenheit to Celsius

To convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius, subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit number, then divide the difference by 1.8. For example, 175 degrees Fahrenheit minus 32 equals 143, divided by 1.8 equals 79.44 degrees Celsius (close enough for a manual calculation). For Celsius to Fahrenheit, do the opposite: Multiply the temperature by 1.8 and then add 32 to the product.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to save your parking spot in Google Maps

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:51:00 -0700

Update, 4/26/17: The article has been updated with additional information now that the parking feature is out of beta testing.

Google Maps is finally starting to understand the headache that is parking. Earlier this year it added a parking availability feature that let you know how hard it would be to find a spot at your destination, but the latest addition to Maps is one we’ve been waiting years to get.

Google has long offered a parking reminder card in Google Now, but it’s always been kind of flaky (and never really belonged there). With the latest version of Maps on iOS and Android, Google is giving it a new home, right inside the Maps app. And it's a snap to use. When you tap the blue location dot on the map on your Android phone, you’ll see a new "Save your parking" option, (or "Set as parking location" on iOS), which will let you chart your position right inside Maps.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to stop websites from asking for your location in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, Safari

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:36:00 -0700

We’ve already looked at how to turn off location services in the Windows 10 Creators Update. But the operating system isn’t the only way your location gets used. Your browser can also serve up your location, though by default most browsers ask your permission before doing so.

If you don’t wish to get those requests, here’s how to turn off location requests in the major browsers on Windows.

Microsoft Edge

(image) Ian Paul/IDG

Let’s start with the easy one. Because Edge is built on the Windows Store platform, stopping it from asking for your location is simple. Open the Settings app and go to Privacy > Location. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen until you see the heading “Choose apps that can use your precise location.” Now just turn the slider next to Microsoft Edge to Off.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Word newsletter tutorial: Using page layout features for professional results

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:26:00 -0700

Word can make a professional-looking newsletter using the Page Layout features and other tricks. Here’s an example so you can try the tools: 

Initial setup

1. Open a new document.

2. Go to Page Layout > Page Setup, click the Size button and choose Legal 8.5” x 14” from the drop-down list.

3. From the same location, click the Orientation button and select Landscape from the drop-down list.

4. Next, click the View tab and choose the One Page button so you can see the entire page.

5. From the same location, click the Columns button, and choose Two columns from the drop-down list. Since we’re planning to fold this page in half, this option actually gives us four pages.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Set your power button to turn off all your PC's displays in the Creators Update

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Have you ever wanted the power button on your PC to do more than just turn off the PC? The Control Panel’s Power Options lets you change what the power button does, and there’s one power-button option in Windows 10 that I particularly like: that which lets you shut off all the displays in a multi-monitor setup without the PC going to sleep or logging out.

This process should work on all machines running the Anniversary Update and up. 

If you’re on a laptop, get started by clicking the upward facing arrow in the system tray, and then right-click the battery icon. In the context menu that appears, select Power Options. On a desktop, open the Control Panel, make sure the category view (upper-right corner) is set to Large icons, and select Power Options.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Windows 10 Privacy: How to disable the Location features

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:30:00 -0700

Windows 10’s Creators Update makes it easier to disable location tracking and also erase location history.


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How to minimize the risks of phishing scams

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Employees are often the weakest link in your company's security chain. But with a little knowledge and foresight you can mitigate the risks. In this video, CIO.com senior writer Sharon Florentine explains the anatomy of a phishing scam and how you and your workers can avoid becoming a victim.


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How to create a single-column Start menu in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:12:00 -0700

If there’s one thing Microsoft loves to do, it’s play around with the Start menu in Windows 10. The Creators Update is no different with Microsoft adding an interesting new setting for the minimalists out there.

A year ago, we looked at a way to get a Windows 7-ish Start menu without using third-party software by dumping all the live tiles. This didn’t truly give you a Windows 7 replica, but what it did was simplify the Start menu into a single column.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Use PowerPoint Photo Album to chronicle corporate or personal events

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:00:00 -0700

Those charming slideshows that people make for wedding couples to highlight their lives before the nuptials aren’t the only reason to use PowerPoint’s Photo Albums. Corporations create similar slideshows to celebrate or chronicle corporate events, then place them on the company’s Intranet for all the employees to enjoy. They also use Photo Album slideshows for kiosks, trade show booths, and other marketing events to showcase the company and its products.

PowerPoint makes this task super-easy with its intuitive menus and dialog screens that walk you through the process, prompting you for responses along the way. It all starts with the Photo Album button on the Ribbon menu under the Insert Tab. The following instructions explain this feature in detail.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to use Snapchat’s new augmented reality 3D world lenses

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:43:00 -0700

Snapchat is not going down without a fight. After seeing its main features adopted by Facebook’s suite of mobile apps, Snapchat has launched the all-new 3D world lenses.

Snapchat’s 3D world lenses rely on similar augmented reality-powered animations that made its selfie filters so popular. Snapchat’s selfie filters were eventually stolen for Facebook’s own AR camera features. Instead of using AR to animate your face, however, Snapchat’s 3D world lenses can be used to add floating animations to what’s in front of you using the rear-facing camera on your smartphone.

Here’s how: After updating to the latest version of the Snapchat app, launch the app and switch to the rear-facing camera by tapping the icon on the upper-right hand corner or double-tapping anywhere on the viewfinder.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to defer future updates in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 09:25:00 -0700

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators Update is making it easier for users to delay updates delivered via Windows Update. Unfortunately, this tip only applies to anyone using Windows 10 Pro and up, Home users do not get the advantage of this setting. 

Get started by opening the settings app and go to Update & security > Windows Update. Then under the Update settings heading select Advanced options. On the next page, look for the heading Choose when updates are installed.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to enable Windows Sonic virtual surround sound in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 07:18:00 -0700

The Windows 10 Creators Update comes packed with all kinds of little surprises. This tip covers a new feature that audiophiles will want to know about, as well as those who want to try and get a little bit extra out of their headphones and speakers.

(image) Ian Paul/IDG

The Creators Update sonic for headphones setting.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to use Night Light in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0700

The Windows 10 Creators Update has a new feature that’s supposed to be easier on the eyes and help you fall asleep after a long night of web surfing. It’s called Night Light, and the feature restricts blue light emanating from your display by changing its hue.

Studies have shown that blue light at night suppresses melatonin production more than other colors and shifts the body’s circadian timing, thereby disrupting the sleep-wake cycle. Prior to Night Light, users had to turn to third-party software such as the always popular f.lux to address this issue.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to overclock your PC's CPU

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0700

If you think that overclocking is solely for performance-obsessed geeks armed with bottles of liquid nitrogen, it’s time to reconsider! Even a small bump in PC performance can delay the need to upgrade your CPU, keeping money in your pocket.

Today I’ll walk you through simple overclocking steps that can boost processor speeds 10 percent or more. If you’re a gamer, video artist, or media streamer, that’s a useful, no-cost upgrade. Read on if you want your PC to go faster!

What is overclocking, anyway?

Overclocking is a technique for tweaking various types of PC hardware, so that it runs faster than the manufacturer’s intended specification. Many processors, RAM modules, and graphics cards can be overclocked, usually by adjusting their settings via your motherboard’s UEFI BIOS. Operate in safe margins and overclocking shouldn’t damage your PC. But, as we’ll discuss, it’s important to manage the additional heat that accelerated hardware can generate.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Windows 10 Privacy in the Creators Update

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Windows 10 privacy settings are easier to find and use in the Creators Update. But there's a difference between getting more control and getting more privacy.


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How to use Start menu folders in the Creators Update

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 09:35:00 -0700

Windows 10 on PCs has always been influenced by mobile, and the newly released Creators Update is no different. This time around the latest update adds a particularly helpful feature from mobile: app folders.

Since there’s no home screen for PCs—unless you’re a masochist—app folders appear in the tiles section of the Start screen. The idea behind folders is to stuff more app tiles into a smaller space.


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How to free up storage space automatically with Storage Sense in the Creators Update

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:54:00 -0700

One of the standard ways to free up storage space on a PC is to delete temporary files, empty the recycle bin, and maybe dump the contents of the downloads folder. The pain is you usually have to do all this manually or at least semi-manually with a system utility or third-party tool.

With the Creators Update, Microsoft is making things a little bit easier with a new automated feature called Storage Sense. The name Storage Sense is nothing new. It first made an appearance in Windows Phone 8.1 and was even spotted way back when we were calling Windows 10, Windows 9.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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4 easy ways to keep your iCloud password safe

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:22:00 -0700

If you’re an iPhone, iPad or Mac user, your iCloud password is the key to your digital realm. With your iCloud password, you can access such personal data as your iCloud mail messages, your calendar, your contacts, and your stored iCloud credit cards. Your iCloud password could even be used to track, lock and wipe your precious devices.

Needless to say, it would be a very bad thing if your iCloud password landed in the wrong hands. But in just a few basic steps, you can secure your iCloud account from the most common threats, and you can take all those steps directly from your device.

Let’s start with the easiest—and most important—way to protect your iCloud password, which is...

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to watch Netflix offline on your PC

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Netflix is finally making it possible to watch shows offline on your Windows PC, but you won’t be using your browser to do it. The Netflix app in the Windows Store supports downloading select titles for offline viewing.

This is great news for PC users who want to watch titles on a laptop-sized screen during their next flight or an LTE coverage gap somewhere on the Great Plains. Even better, it gives you a reason to actually use Netflix’s Windows 10 app since it offers something the web app doesn’t.

If you haven’t fired up Netflix for Windows 10 in a while, make sure you’ve got the latest version by opening the Windows Store, clicking on your user profile picture, and selecting Downloads and Updates from the drop-down menu.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to prevent installation of apps from outside the Windows Store

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0700

In February, we got our first look at a Creators Update feature that lets you block apps and programs from anywhere but the Windows Store. For most users that sounds like a terrible idea since traditional desktop programs offer far better and more flexible software options than the Windows Store. But for anyone managing a family computer with only one user account it could be a helpful feature to prevent unwanted programs sneaking onto the PC.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to limit Xbox One screen time for your kids

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 04:29:00 -0700

With the Xbox One Creators Update, parents no longer have to watch the clock to keep their kids from playing too many video games. Instead, parents can now set precise limits on screen time per day and define the hours during which it’s okay to play.

Setup’s a bit of a hassle, though, especially if the kids aren’t already set up with a Microsoft account. We’re here to walk you through it.

Setting up screen time

Currently, Microsoft does not support setting time limits directly through the Xbox One. Instead, you must set up screen time through a phone, tablet, or PC first.

1. Using a web browser, head to account.microsoft.com/family, then sign into your Microsoft account.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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​Tips and tricks to master Gboard, Google's super smart Android keyboard

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Type smarter
(image)

Image by Derek Walter/IDG

Gboard is more than just a keyboard. It’s another hub for Google to offer its superior search and artificial intelligence services and have them literally one touch away on any Android device.

Packed into Gboard are a ton of innovations to help you type better. While it works just fine out of the box, you’ll get a better experience if you dive into some of its customization options to make sure everything is set up for the way you like to type.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to ensure your internet connection and home network are primed for cord cutting

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 04:35:00 -0700

When people look to cut the cord, they spend a lot of time looking at the equipment and services they need to assemble for the ideal setup. There’s the over-the-air antenna to pull in free local channels and all that goes along with setting that up. Then there’s finding the right media streamer for your TV, and deciding which services to subscribe to for live and on-demand programming: Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, HBO Go, PlayStation Vue, and so on.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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CIO Career Coach: How IT leaders can succeed in the digital marketplace

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 22:00:00 -0700

Martha Heller showcases what it takes for CIOs and IT leaders to lead a digital strategy and move their organizations forward.


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How to reclaim file permissions and ownership in Windows

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:06:00 -0700

It doesn’t happen often, but either by malware attack or networking snafu (sometimes when computers are removed from a domain), you can lose permissions and ownership of your files.

(image) Microsoft

Windows' file or folder properties has a Security tab that few users ever visit.

Here's another scenario: You might want to access files from another user of your PC who’s left the company, but you can’t open them due to lack of ownership.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to remove or change the signature in Windows 10 Mail

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0700


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Switching from Mac to PC, Part 4: How to keep your iPad and iPhone in the mix

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0700


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How to have Windows re-open active windows and programs on reboot

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 06:20:00 -0700

Jackie asked why her PC isn't able to re-open all her active windows and programs after a reboot like it does on the Mac.

As a PC and Mac user I've also experienced this phenomenon, and it's odd why Microsoft doesn't provide this as an option. When you restart a Mac it asks you if you want all your open windows and programs to launch after reboot, making it quite easy to resume working after an update is installed. This normally isn't that big of a deal on the Windows platform, but with Windows 10 a lot of users are experiencing unplanned reboots due to how Microsoft's mandatory updates.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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How to re-enable delete confirmation for Sticky Notes

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 06:13:00 -0700

Angeline W. made the “mistake” of clicking “Don’t ask me again” when deleting a Sticky Note in Windows, and now it is unsurprisingly not asking her again, so she wanted to fix it. 

(image)

This box really means it. 

I looked into this for Angeline and found a quick and easy method to remedy this situation:

[Have a tech question? Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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9 nifty Gboard for Android tricks you need to try

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 03:21:00 -0700

The only problem with Google's Gboard keyboard for Android is that I'm totally hooked on its best features. Number and symbol shortcuts above each key? Gotta have 'em. One-handed mode? Ditto. Swipe to delete? Love it, need it.

Read on for nine of the niftiest Gboard features, from dedicated number rows and an on-demand numeric keypad to "neural" translations and a long-press shortcut for oft-used symbols.

Note: Yes, there's also a version of Gboard for iOS, but most of my favorite Gboard tricks only work on the Android version.

1. Type with one hand

Tapping a virtual keypad with a single thumb can be something of a stretch if your phone has a massive screen. Luckily, Gboard has a clever feature that makes it easier to tap with just one hand.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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