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IT Forum / 10 Unique Ways To Use Microsoft OneNote
« on: October 02, 2014, 02:18:46 PM »
OneNote is one of Microsoft’s most underrated apps. Not only can you jot down notes or keep to do lists, you can use a stylus to do it, convert handwritten notes to text or organise your recipe collection. OneNote is available on almost every platform, making this ridiculously useful app even more relevant.

Although OneNote is available with good functionality on mobile devices, the tips below are mainly intended for running OneNote 2013 on Windows and Mac OS X.

Managing Your Shopping List

Ever arrived at the supermarket and found that you forgot what you went for? Even on a paper-based list, it’s easy to forget things if you haven’t got a pen to mark them off.

Back in 2010 when Windows Phone was released, one of the advertisements (in a Microsoft “multi-product” ad that also promoted Windows 7) featured a dad going shopping using OneNote on his phone as to view a shopping list that was updated by his cheeky sons as the trip went on. This was possible by using the same Microsoft account on the phone and the version of OneNote that was used to create the list.

You don’t have to use a Windows Phone to create and use a shopping list in OneNote, however, as the note-taking app is now available for Android and iOS (as well as Mac OS X). Simply create a list on one device, select the items and select Tag as To Do to add check boxes. While you’re shopping, mark off items as you go – and look out for your significant other sneakily adding 12 bottles of wine to the list!

Managing Recipes In OneNote

If you’re a bit of a foody (and if you’re also a Windows 8 user there are plenty of useful apps for you to gather recipes!) then it might interest you how easy it is to manage recipes in OneNote.

You can approach this in different ways. Begin by creating a new section in your notebook and labelling it “Recipes”. You can use the camera on your mobile device to snap recipes in books and magazines or use the Print function in your browser (choosing OneNote as the printer) to add recipes to this new section, organising them onto individual pages for each recipe, or perhaps each meal type.

For those using a device that recognises handwriting, you can also use your finger or stylus to make notes on the recipe as you cook – perhaps a measurement has been printed incorrectly, or you need to make a temperature adjustment for your fan oven!

OneNote As Your Newsreader

An amazing way of using OneNote is to adopt it as an extension of your newsreader app. It sounds pretty unlikely, but is made possible thanks to IFTTT, which has recently launched a OneNote channel. A number of different integrations are available, enabling many recipes, and we think that this is one of the best.

The recipe uses Feedly and enables you to set posts you enjoyed in the news reader app and set as favourite in OneNote. This is particularly useful as it saves you having to track back and find them later on, and of course OneNote will sync the content across devices, making it easy to find.

Use It As Your Media Player

Don’t have time to set up a playlist in iTunes, Xbox Music or whatever your chosen MP3 player is? Why not just play your favourite tunes through a OneNote page?

This is particularly useful if you’re working in OneNote, perhaps on a long collection of notes. All you need to do for this is find the MP3s in question by browsing Windows Explorer and drag and drop them into your OneNote page. From there, arrange them so they’re not in your way, and click play to begin listening.

Note that the MP3s will become part of the document while you work, and if you use OneDrive they’ll also be synced with the cloud, so you may want to avoid an unrealistically large file size by removing the tracks from OneNote when you’re done with the page.

Recording A Demo Tape

This is a variation on using OneNote for interviewing. If you’re a musician or singer songwriter and want an easy way to record tracks and keep all music, notes, chord changes and lyrics on the same screen, OneNote is a really good way to do this – and it lets you record at the same time!

After you have got everything you need to record the demo together, use Insert > Record Audio to record the song. Obviously this isn’t meant for demos intended for record companies or radio stations, rather those that you would produce to share with bandmates and collaborators, or as a point of reference to develop your track further.

Manage An Interview With Text To Speech

For writers (or researchers) using the app’s recording facility is a must, and combined with the presence of text on the page, you can easily turn your OneNote running computer or Windows tablet into a device that will record questions as you ask them!

Prepare your interview by using OneNote to write your questions. When the interview commences, use the Insert > Record Audio (or Record Video) to begin recording the discussion. Transcribing the interview will then be much simpler as you can easily press play and pause the dialogue as you go. You might even use the Windows Speech Recognition tool to transcribe the interview as it takes place!

OCR: Converting Images To Text

Another of OneNote’s superb built in features is OCR, optical character recognition. This means that images (perhaps taken using your Windows Phone) are scanned and the text in the image captured and converted to text that you can edit in OneNote. What applications might there be for this?

Following on the suggestion above, you might wish to transcribe the contents of a historical document quickly so that you might share it with others researching similar records. Alternatively, you might use OCR as a quick note-taking tool – it’s particularly useful for writers who have kept press clippings about particular topics.

Scan & Manage Receipts

OCR can also prove useful for managing your scanned receipts. Everything that you add into OneNote is made searchable, which means that you should be able to easily find any receipt simply by entering a date, name of the item or store, or the value that was spent.

If you have a good reason to collect receipts (for expense claims, perhaps) then this functionality can help you save a lot of time looking for expenses that you wish to claim from your employer. Planning on trying this out? It’s a good idea to start a new section especially for receipts, and to group them by month-to-a-page.

Illustrate Your Family Tree

Whether you’re handy at using your mouse or you have a touchscreen device with an accurate stylus, a great use for OneNote is planning things out – in particular, the branches of a family tree. You might be learning about your family tree for the first time or be an experienced researcher in this field, but it’s always good to have something you can jot down and share instantly.

OneNote’s ability in taking down notes and illustrations makes it a great option for anyone wishing to create a quick outline of ancestry. However you might also go further, dedicated single pages to each individual in your tree where you can add notes and images as facts are uncovered.

Create An Instagram Photo Journal With IFTTT

A quick browse of the IFTTT OneNote channel (see above) will reveal a lot of useful automations, but one of the most effective is the creation of a photo journal using the images uploaded to your OneNote account. Each time you create a new photo in Instagram, it is synced to your OneNote notebook, enabling you to create a record of your images in a more accessible, browsable form.

The possibilities here are strong: you might convert the notebook into Word or PDF format (using File > Export) and then have the book printed using a POD solution such as Lulu or CreateSpace.


IT Forum / Windows 9 Leaked Screens Revealing Known Unknowns
« on: October 02, 2014, 02:06:16 PM »
The New Start Menu Looks Great

We heard way back in April that the much beloved Start menu would be returning, now updated as fully Windows ecosystem integrated search feature, serving results from your personal indexed locations and the Windows App store, offering comprehensive search functionality in a familiar location – more on this later.

The new look Start menu appears to be fully interactive, allowing for resizing, relocation and reconfiguration of each tile as part of a fully customisable experience, porting the sometimes frustrating and seemingly endlessly scrolling Windows 8 Start menu interface into a bite size, functional work tool.

New Icons Are Nice, Too.

The leaked screens indicate a smattering of new icons across both the traditional desktop and the modern interface experience formerly known as ‘Metro,’ providing updates on the UI style established with the release of Windows 8 and now found across the Windows digital and mobile spectrum. This is part of a wider shift in the focus of Windows toward expansion of their mobile and tablet sales through desktop and mobile integration, similar to the continued merging of all Apple products: one UI, one cloud, a united vision for integration.

Cortana Meets Your Desktop

Two of the most exciting aspects of Windows 9 will be virtual desktop support and the introduction of the brilliant Cortana to our home screens. Given Windows previous commitments to its virtual assistant Cortana, it seems likely she will appear in some format (Paperclip, anyone?!), most likely as a wholly unified aspect of the search function whose icon you will note nestled next to the Start menu, essentially making the taskbar her domicile.

Virtual Desktops Look Promising

The second interesting leak development has been virtual desktops. Windows 9 offers the chance to create distinct workspaces on the fly that will presumably – as part of the wider networking and integration efforts being undertaken throughout the company – come with or work well with a wider network sharing tool for community/office/social online workspaces. On a more basic level, simply having a desktop configuration for home, work and play could prove handy for those looking for more.

Particularly interesting and of massive productivity potential is the popup overlays for each desktop, allowing an interactive insight into each virtual workspace. No more endless scrolling through open windows via ALT+TAB, only to miss your scheduled stop. A potential nightmare for employers, however, with employees cycling through from Excel to their office game of OpenTTD and back again.

How, What and Why: Microsoft Are Evolving

Productivity and integration seem to be central to the ‘new’ Windows ethos. The introduction of Satya Nadella as Microsoft’s CEO has promoted a company-wide unification message, clearly enacting a vision of a merged, integrated future for all Windows desktop, mobile and Xbox devices. Productivity is key to the success of Nadella’s future and indeed, the continued future of Windows 9. Shifting quickly between screens, integrated desk applications and wider Windows device support all point to a serious Microsoft, pushing to and beginning to truly understand their role in the contemporary digital market.

It seems that Windows 9 will be provided to officially licensed users as a free upgrade (or for $20, where applicable) and potentially to new users also. In recognition of our social mobile concentrated society and the shifting demographics of desktop users, updates are likely to come in smaller, more frequent packages to enable continued development – though according to Microsoft coverage savant, Mary Jo Foley, there is another, more consumer focused preview (see Windows 9 running on ARM processors) on its way to establish what has been built with tablet and mobile users in mind.


One in all PC tips / How To Fix High CPU Usage In Windows
« on: September 08, 2014, 05:00:39 PM »
If your computer fans frequently hit top speeds, it’s a sign that your CPU is fully loaded. Simultaneously, your computer may slow down. That’s annoying, especially if you’re not actually doing anything.

The CPU (central processing unit), also known as processor, is the brain of your computer. Like your own noggin, it can become overwhelmed if bombarded with too many processes, or if a single task consumes undue attention. Just as you may find work difficult when overwhelmed, your processor can slow to a crawl if too much is asked of it at once.

Normally, this situation can be avoided by staying away from demanding apps, but CPU usage can sometimes go out of control because of a bug in a process, such as the infamous WmiPrvSE.exe. Fortunately, high CPU usage is usually easy to fix.


This process, which has the full name of Windows Management Instrumentation, is part of Windows and assists organizations in monitoring and troubleshooting a large number of systems on a network. It’s not uncommon for the process to go out of control, however.

You can tell if this is your problem by opening the Task Manager and looking for the WmiPrvSE.exe process. If its CPU usage is higher than a few percent, and you’re not running any program that would impact it, it’s not functioning properly.

Microsoft has an official fix that will stop the problem for most users. If that fix doesn’t work, or you can’t download it, you can try manually restarting the service. Do a Windows Search for Services and, in the window that opens, look for Windows Management Instrumentation. Right click it, then select Restart. You can also stop the service entirely, if you desire.

Finally, there’s a possibly that the service could be a worm or virus. You should see only one version of the process at any given time, and the process should stop if you halt it through the Services window. If you see two versions of it, or the process will not stop, run a virus scan immediately.

System Idle Process

Windows users occasionally run across high utilization by something called System Idle Process. This obscure process seems to hog all the CPU power it possibly can – terrible, right?

Actually, this process is simply a thread that consumes processor cycles, which are not otherwise being used. The process is used because of some very arcane peculiarities in coding, which make it sometimes preferable, and even more efficient, for a processor to run something instead of nothing at all. This is not just a Windows thing, but Windows displays the process in task manager, so users see it and assume something is wrong.

This is not to say you can’t experience performance issues when the System Idle Process is showing high “load,” but the issue lies elsewhere. In fact, you should expect to see this process report that it consumes 95% (or more) of your processor when your PC is at idle. If it’s not, something else is consuming processor cycles without your knowledge.

Too Many Background Processes

A background process is a program that’s running on your PC, even though it’s not open in a window. A typical computer will have many background processes running at once, as Windows itself requires some to run. But as you install programs, over the years you may collect more and more, and eventually overwhelm your PC.

You can check on this by opening Task Manager via a Windows Search for the same or by running taskmgr.exe. The Processes tab will appear by default, displaying not only overall CPU usage, but also the usage of each app. You should do this while no other programs are open to prevent confusion. Note the processes which appear to be using at least 10% of your processor’s capability on a regular basis.

Now, exit Task Manager and open msconfig.exe via Windows Search or the Run dialog. Go to the Startup tab and find startup items correlated with the items that you noted. Uncheck them, click okay, and then restart your PC. This will stop those programs from launching at boot.

It Could Be An Annoying Anti-virus

Do you notice that your computer becomes slow at seemingly random times, and those times often correlate with high disk activity? Then your problem is probably your anti-virus!

An anti-virus program, when actively searching your disk for a threat, can consume a surprising amount of processor load. This usually isn’t enough to slow a modern desktop or high-end laptop, but older or slower systems may noticeably slow under the strain.

Fixing this is easy. Virtually all anti-virus apps come with a scheduling function that lets you adjust when it automatically scans. Change the schedule to a time when you’re not using the laptop, and you’ll no longer be bothered.

Or It Could Be A Virus

On the other hand, malware could be the source of your issue. A system that’s infected may run processes in the background, or may attempt to spread itself by sending malware to others via your email, your network, or other sources. All of this requires processing power, which can translate to poor performance.

Confirming an infection manually is not easy, and for the layman is more guesswork than anything else. If you don’t have an anti-virus, download a free malware application and run it. In fact, you may want to try several anti-malware tools, because malware that’s already installed has the advantage; it may be able to hide itself from any single anti-virus app.

Once you’ve found the problem, you can remove it with the anti-virus app you used to scan. If that fails, read our malware removal guide; the tips there can help you exorcise whatever has possessed your PC.

High CPU Usage Is A Diverse Issue

High CPU usage can be hard to track down. While the problems listed here are among the most common causes, but you may find that CPU usage is still an issue even after your try everything suggested above. If this problem still plagues you, head over to MakeUseOf Answers, where you can ask other readers for advice about how to deal with your particular situation.


Control your Android phone or tablet using the mouse and keyboard on your computer. Whether you want to respond to texts using your computer’s keyboard or use your tablet as a second screen for research, this setup feels like magic when it’s working.

Even better: you can copy text on one device and paste it on another.

Synergy has long made it possible for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers to share the same mouse and keyboard. Doing so is seamless: move your mouse pointer past the edge of one screen and you’re immediately in control of another device. This is perfect if you have two computers on the same desk.

It’s 2014, and most people don’t have multiple computers on the same desk — but it’s not unusual to have an Android phone or tablet alongside your computer. If you’d like to control that device using the mouse and keyboard you already control your computer with, the Android version of Synergy is exactly what you’re looking for.
Synergy for Android requires your device to be rooted — there’s no way around this. It’s also buggy on some devices, shutting down regularly. Be warned: your mileage may vary.

> How Do I Set It Up

First things first: download the desktop version Synergy ( and the Android version of Synergy ( You’ll need to install both.

Now let’s get into terminology. There are two main pieces to a Synergy setup: the server, and the client.

Don’t leave! It’s not as complex as it sounds. The “server” is the device you’re going to use to control your other device — that is, the device hooked up to your mouse and keyboard. In this setup, that probably means your computer. The “client” is the device being controlled by another device’s mouse and keyboard — in this case, probably your Android device.

Let’s go over setting up the server first. You’re going to want to open Synergy, then set up your computer to run as the server. You then need to tell the program how to arrange your displays:

Your server is in the center; place your Android to whichever side you like. This is a Mac setup, but the options shouldn’t be different on a Linux or Windows computer. Give your Android device a name you’ll remember — something like “Android”.

When everything’s setup up the way you like, take note of your server’s IP.

Knowing that, hit the “Start” button and move on to Synergy on your Android device.

Make sure the “Client Name” is the same one you used for your device when you were setting up your screen arrangement on your server. Use your server’s IP in the next box, and leave the Server Port untouched (assuming you didn’t change it). You should now be able to tap “Connect”.

If everything is working, you can now move your mouse pointer from your computer to your Android device. On many devices this is crashing regularly as it is an alpha build and still in the works. Hopefully the client will receive updates soon.

> Screen Keeps Turning Off

This setup becomes less useful if you screen turns off constantly, which is why I suggest installing Wakey ( on your device alongside Synergy.

This will stop Android from shutting down your screen (, which is something you want if you’re going to use your device as a second screen.

> What Can You Use This For?

Okay, so now you’ve got this working, but what will you use it for? If you’re using your tablet for productivity, you’ve probably already got some ideas. But here are a few more we came up with:

> Answering texts using your computer’s keyboard
> Developing apps? Push them to your phone, then test them without the need to pick up your device.
> Hate the desktop chat interface for Google Hangouts? Me too. Use your tablet instead.
> Research on your tablet, write on your computer.


IT Forum / Google - 13 Facts
« on: August 24, 2014, 01:15:45 PM »
Google is now one of the most powerful, influential and far-reaching companies this country (maybe even this planet) has ever produced. We've already established that the multi-billion dollar company will be our supreme overlords, so we might as well learn something about them. Here are some crazy interesting facts about the company. Some of this is just ridiculous...

1.) They have a dinosaur! Yup! A dino's skeleton was found near their building in Mountain View, so Google has erected a giant t-rex skeleton and named it "Stan" in its honor. A powerful name for a powerful hunter.

2.) Google has added the Cherokee language into +Gmail. Wado Google!

3.) The Google homepage loads the fastest out of any other site, which is why many people use it to test their connection.

4.) Speaking of fast, right now there are 2 million Google searches going on per second.

5.) Google is a dog company, or so says their official code of conduct. They say they like cats, but due to the amount of pooches roaming their offices, they warn that their kitty friends might feel uncomfortable.

6.) Six billion hours of video are viewed each month on YouTube, which is owned by Google. That's about an hour for each person on earth.

7.) The "I'm feeling lucky" button costs the company $110 million a year.

8.) Google owns common misspellings of its own name as well, including,, and They also own which is google spelled out on the phone.

9.) Last year Google made $55.5 billion in advertising, which is about 90% of their profit.

10.) Sometimes Google uses the help of some hungry goats to keep their lawns in shape.

11.) One time, the daughter of an employee wrote to Google to ask if her father could have the day off for his birthday. They gave him the whole week!

12.) Google has photographed and posted 5 million miles of road for Google Street View.

13.) The first Google doodle was created when Larry Page and Sergey Brin went to Burning Man in 1998. (They drew the logo to let everyone know where they would be.) Groovy, man!


When you hit the delete button, where does that file go? Does it just evaporate and leave a blank space on your drive? If you’ve been around computers long enough, you know that’s not what happens. But if you’re mostly an email and Facebook type of computer user, you might not know, or not even thought about it.

What Happens To A File When It is Deleted

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

When you delete a file it goes to the Recycle Bin. That gives you a chance to recover it in case you accidentally deleted it and need it back. But what happens when you delete it from the Recycle Bin? Actually, not much at all. The file doesn’t move or go anywhere. In fact, when you moved it to the Recycle Bin, it didn’t physically move there either. All that happened was an index got updated to say that the file is in the Recycle Bin, not the Documents folder.
The index is called the Master File Table (MFT) for Hard Disk Drives. It looks like this. The left-most column are the block addresses. The middle column shows data in hex code. the right column shows what that data would like as plain text.

When the file is ‘deleted’ the information stays on the drive, but the MFT is changed to say, “Hey, you know that spot where Secret-File.txt was? Yeah, Computer, you can now put data there if you want. We don’t need it anymore.” Until the computer puts data in that spot, the Secret-File.txt data remains. It could be minutes, days, weeks, or months until that data is overwritten. Kind of like a condemned house sitting on a lot. It’s not usable, but it’s still there until the bulldozer comes and they build something else.

Here’s an example. The left column shows red Xs for MFT locations that have been set to be overwritten, the one with the page icon is marked to stay. The right column shows the data that is still in that location, even though you can’t find it with Windows Explorer. See the problem with ordinary deletes now?

Solid State Drives (SSDs)

It’s not exactly the same for Solid State Drives. SSDs are always shifting files around, randomly. So, figuratively speaking, if you deleted a file from location 2871, the deleted info may, sooner or later, get moved off to another random location, until at some point in time the SSD decides to finally overwrite that file. How do you target the old file for secure deletion on an SSD, then?
Well, you can’t really. A group of engineers at the University of California studied how difficult it is to erase data from an SSD. Trying to securely erase a single file left behind anywhere from 4 to 75% of the information. And it’s tough on the drive. What you can do is make sure you encrypt your SSD, and make sure that you’ve got an SSD drive with TRIM capability.

This isn’t a problem for most people, but you might be concerned that people could still access that deleted information. Maybe you handle sensitive medical documents, or you’re an international art thief, or just a little paranoid like me. How do you securely get rid of that data, immediately and forever?

What is ‘Secure’?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of secure data deletion, we need to look at what secure means. Secure means whatever you think it means. If you’re happy with the level of security you have, then it’s secure. If the data you don’t want recovered isn’t life threatening, then the measures you take to delete it don’t need to be as severe as deleting the security codes for the last sample of smallpox off the CDC’s servers.

Let’s take a look at the methods in order of  least secure to most secure. Until we get to entire drive deletion, these methods will only apply to traditional HDDs.

Least Secure Method

Simply delete the file in your Windows Explorer and empty the Recycle Bin. Unless you think someone is going to come along with data recovery software and look for that file in the next week or so, that will probably be secure enough. Examples of information like this could be anything from a silly animated GIF to a letter to your Nan. You really should write to her. She misses you, you know.

Mildly Secure Method (HDD Only)

As we talked about, overwriting data is a pretty good way to obscure the old data. You can do this on a file by file basis with programs that are commonly referred to as file shredders. Although the interfaces for these utilities can differ, the method of operation is essentially the same – delete the old file, then write zeroes to the places on the HDD where the file used to be. These tools are only mildly secure, because you have to make sure you use them when you need them. If you want to securely delete a file with your Social Security Number on it, but forget to use the shredder, that info will still be sitting on your drive for awhile.

Examples of use for this method is where the person occasionally deals with sensitive information that pertains only to them. It might be the odd copy of a tax return, or a bank statement that you want to delete. That’s where file shredders are most handy.

Moderately Secure Method (HDD Only)

A more moderately secure method to delete information from your drives is to use software that allows you to wipe free space on your drives. CCleaner is a favourite for this task. When you choose the Wipe Free Space option, it writes zeroes to the blocks where files used to be. The difference between this and the shredders is that wiping free space takes care of ALL deleted files. It’s just that little bit more thorough. The catch is that this method takes a fair bit of time and should be scheduled or you’ll forget to do it frequently enough.

Examples of good uses for this are for people who frequently delete files that are quite sensitive. Maybe they are heavy online bankers or do some online trading. Perhaps they have just backed up their important info to an encrypted external drive and don’t need it on the computer anymore.

Most Secure Method (HDD & SSD)

The most secure methods are really for deleting the entire contents of a drive. Yet again, because of the differences between HDDs and SSDs, the same methods don’t apply to both. Chose the appropriate one for your drive and situation.

Examples where you’d want to go to this level include switching to a new computer which will have the info, but you’re keeping, selling, or disposing of the old computer. Perhaps you are re-purposing a computer from an information-sensitive use to a more day-to-day use.

HDD – Formatting

Formatting is a catch-all term for a few different things. It can mean simply deleting the MFT so it appears like all the data is gone, but it isn’t. It’s still there and intact until overwritten. Or, it can mean true formatting, known as low-level formatting, which overwrites all the data with zeroes. You can’t low-level format your entire hard drive from within Windows. You’ll need a formatting utility that you can boot your computer into, like Darik’s Boot and Nuke.

You might be tempted to choose one of the hardcore multipass methods, but that’s probably going to be overkill. Especially if you want it done quick and don’t want to shorten the life of your hard drive. The RCMP TSSIT OPS-II or DoD Short methods are sufficient. RCMP is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the DoD is the British Department of Defence. Good enough for them should be good enough for you.

SSD – Manufacturer’s Utility

Most SSD manufacturers have a utility for managing and securely erasing their SSDs. Tim Brookes was kind enough to compile a list of links for the top manufacturers in his article, How To Securely Erase Your SSD Without Destroying It.

Download: Intel Solid State Toolbox( / OCZ Toolbox ( / Corsair SSD Toolbox ( / Samsung Magician ( / SanDisk SSD Toolkit (

Paranoid Method (HDD and SSD)

The National Institute of Science and Technology has a policy to deal with the destruction of extremely sensitive data. It’s even more aggressive than what the RCMP or DoD use, so it will destroy your data to the point where not even Sherlock Holmes riding on Hercule Poirot’s back with Frank Columbo leading them around would get anything out of it.

That’s not hyperbole, that’s NIST’s actual standard. Oh, and to meet the grade you have to find a NIST licensed incinerator to do the job. That job in the picture above wouldn’t be good enough.

What Will You Do?

You’ve got the knowledge and some resources now. It’s up to you what you will do with them. However, if you’re not already using several techniques to keep your information safe from prying eyes, secure deletion shouldn’t be your first concern. If someone already has your info, it doesn’t matter how you delete your copy.


Use of PC / How to Easily Bypass YouTube’s Regional Filter
« on: May 15, 2014, 11:49:03 AM »

Some YouTube videos are restricted by location — BBC’s content is only available to UK residents, while US cable channels are only available online if you’re in the US, and so forth.  Luckily, there are a few tricks to bypass this regional filter, and watch any YouTube videos you want to, regardless of your location.
Earlier, you could adjust the YouTube URL to bypass a regional filter. Since that no longer works, we’ve put together a list that makes it possible to watch those restricted videos. Some of these tricks will also work beyond YouTube, and are applicable to other geo-restricted sites like Hulu, as well as audio content on the likes of Pandora and Spotify.


If you find yourself running into this problem on a regular basis, the best solution is a browser plugin that will run in the background and automatically unblock videos, with no effort on your part whatsoever. ProxMate works beyond just YouTube, and can be used to unblock restricted content on Hulu, Pandora, MTV and more.

You can also choose to switch off ProxMate when you don’t need it in case it slows down loading time on your videos – this is as simple as clicking the ProxMate button in your browser bar.  ProxMate is available for download for Chrome from its website, or from the Firefox Add-Ons library. To install it on Chrome, you’ll have to download the extension, and then drag it onto the open Extensions page in your browser.

Unblock YouTube

The aptly named Unblock YouTube allows you to select the video quality, and player type. For the latter, you can choose between HTML5 or a Flash player, for those of you using older browsers.

Each of these services provides a different way to access blocked YouTube content, but hands down the one service that offers the best options is ProxMate. It offers users a native YouTube experience, complete with all of the standard features that you expect to find when watching an online video.

Do you have any services to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

First use your finger to make a sliding motion from bottom to top on the illuminated screen in Modern UI, then click once All Applications. If you are using a mouse, please right click once All Applications.

Then on the command command prompt character use your finger to slide from top to bottom, and click once more Executable by system administrator. If you are using a mouse, click on the command prompt character and right click, then click once more Executable by system administrator.

If there is user account control, please click once yes.

Click to input Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes,when completed press the Enter key on the keyboard. If you need to cancel the prompt to enter options at startup, simply change Yes to No.

Once completed, please restart your computer, then press F8 to enter setup screen upon startup, then press F4 or 4 to enter safemode.


One in all PC tips / Re: Must-Know Windows 8.1 Tips and Tricks
« on: November 27, 2013, 12:37:07 PM »
thanks. very useful , nice share

Thanks for sharing this useful post

Use of PC / 10 Common PC Maintenance Errors That You Can Avoid
« on: November 27, 2013, 09:56:54 AM »
PCs still require maintenance, as much as we wish they were magic boxes that did all the work for us. Unfortunately, many people make mistakes when it comes to maintaining their PC. These mistakes could result in hardware damage, security breaches, data loss, money spent unnecessarily, and general system instability.

We generally cover lists of PC maintenance tips you should do, but knowing what not to do can be even more important. We’ll cover some of the most common mistakes so you can avoid them and keep your PC running like new.

Not Updating Your Operating System and Software

Keeping your computer’s software updated is important. Operating systems, browsers, and their plug-ins in particular are frequently updated with security fixes. If you’re running an unpatched version of Windows, outdated version of Firefox, or vulnerable version of Java, your computer is at risk.

Be sure to keep your software updated. Set Windows to automatically install updates or at least inform you of them, leave your browser set to automatically install updates, and ensure Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, and other browser plug-ins you have installed are set to update automatically. Don’t disable these auto-updating features — they help keep your PC secure.

Letting Dust Build Up

Dust builds up inside of your PC’s case over time. This dust clogs up fans, reducing air flow and increasing the temperature inside your PC. A large amount of dust build-up can result in problems with cooling, which could even lead to system crashes as your CPU’s temperature increases too far. If you’re playing demanding games on a PC that’s clogged with dust, the heat will have nowhere to go and may damage your hardware.

To help with air flow, you should open your desktop computer’s case occasionally and clean out the dust using a can of compressed air. Cleaning the dust inside your laptop will likely be more difficult, as laptop’s aren’t generally meant to be easy-to-open. Spraying compressed air into your laptop’s fan vents may help dislodge some of the dust, but you’d have to open your laptop’s case for a serious cleaning.

Not Backing Up Your Files

Your computer’s hard drive will fail eventually. It might even fail tomorrow. If your computer’s hard drive failed tomorrow, would you have backup copies of all your important documents, photos, and other files? Or would you lose lots of important data?

Create a backup strategy to ensure your files won’t go down with your computer, whether you make regular backups on a removable hard drive or cloud storage service. Windows 8 has a built-in backup tool that functions similarly to Apple’s Time Machine, while Windows 7 has its own backup feature.

Many people ignore backups until they lose their files. Don’t become one of them — start backing up your files before you lose them.

Plugging Directly into the Power Outlet

Do you have your desktop computer or laptop plugged directly into a wall outlet? You shouldn’t. You should have your computer plugged into a surge protector and the surge protector plugged into the wall. Many power bars have built-in surge protectors, but the cheapest ones just function as extension cords and provide no surge protection.

A surge protector ensures that power surges — which can occur during bad storms, for example — won’t destroy your computer’s hardware. Plugging your computer directly into the power outlet could result in a power surge damaging it. You can even get portable surge protectors for your laptop.

Defragmenting When Unnecessary

Windows automatically defragments your hard drive in the background, so most people should never need to open the Disk Defragmenter and defragment their hard drives manually. There are some exceptions — for example, if you’ve just installed a large game and you want maximum performance, you may want to defragment before you play the game.

However, most of the time, defragmenting your hard drives is probably unnecessary. On a solid-state drive, it can actually be harmful — you should never defragment a solid-state drive.

Running Multiple Antivirus Programs

You should only use one antivirus program on your computer. Antivirus programs hook deep into the operating system, checking programs before they run. If you have two antivirus programs attempting to do this at once, they can interfere with each other and cause your computer to crash. They may identify each other as malware or prevent each other from working.

Ensure you only have a single antivirus program installed and running in the background. If you want a second opinion, you can use an antivirus program that will just perform a system scan while not running in the background.

Using a Registry Cleaner or “PC Cleaning” App

Everyone wants to sell you a program that will somehow speed up your computer by deleting temporary files and cleaning up your registry. These programs are at best unnecessary, and at worst harmful. Either way, many of them will take a bite out of your bank account.

We’ve already covered why registry cleaners aren’t useful. A registry cleaner won’t speed up your computer, but it could cause damage to your registry.

The “PC cleaning” apps advertised on television at 3 a.m. and on banner ads all over the web are similarly unnecessary. If you want to delete temporary files, you can use the Disk Cleanup program included with Windows or use the free CCleaner utility. Avoid the paid PC-cleaning apps.

Obstructing Air Flow

Your computer needs proper cooling. In addition to ensuring that dust doesn’t clog its vents, you’ll want to ensure that the air vents don’t become obstructed. For example, if you have a desktop PC in a tower, ensure that its air vents aren’t pressed up against a wall. If you have a laptop with an air vent, don’t place it on a bed that it will sink into, causing the blanket to obstruct its air vents. Don’t put your laptop on your lap in a position that will result in the air vents being blocked, either. Always take cooling and air flow into account.

This is particularly important when playing a demanding game or otherwise stressing your PC. If you’re just browsing the web, your computer shouldn’t heat up too much. You can get away with having your laptop’s vents blocked for a short time during light usage, but don’t leave it that way for long.

Installing Dangerous or Annoying Programs

When installing programs on your computer, you should be vigilant. Judge the trustworthiness of each program before you download it. Don’t install programs that look scammy. Be careful when you install software so you don’t end up installing browser toolbars and other adware that will annoy you. Know the types of files that are dangerous and be careful when running them — for example, don’t download screensavers, which can contain viruses.

Using Power-Hungry Graphics Cards

Everyone likes powerful hardware, but most people don’t need it. If you’re building a PC for your parents or upgrading an existing PC, don’t just put the most power-hungry graphics card in it. More importantly, don’t just install two of the most power-hungry graphics cards in an SLI or Crossfire setup. The most powerful graphics cards can suck down a lot of electricity, even if they’re not being used heavily. Even if you got a great deal on that graphics card, it may not be worth installing — if you never play games, it will only increase your electricity bill.

Try to avoid using other hardware that sucks down too much electricity, too. For example, if you still use an old CRT monitor, you should upgrade to an LCD monitor — they take much less electricity to run, in addition to eliminating the CRT monitor flicker that can cause headaches.

We’re sure these aren’t the only widespread errors that people make. Leave a comment and share other bad PC maintenance habits people should avoid!

Image Credit: Serviceman Testing Computer via Shutterstock, versageek on Flickr, Electric Power Bar via Shutterstock, Paul Sullivan on Flickr, foskarulla on Flickr

One in all PC tips / How To Copy Data From A Laptop
« on: November 26, 2013, 10:23:36 PM »

Laptops have a particularly short lifetime. If they have not been physically damaged by the time their hardware is hopelessly outdated, they have certainly suffered some serious wear & tear and have probably driven their owner nuts with slow response times and other bugs. Not surprisingly, the average laptop is replaced within less than three years.

While it is possible to upgrade laptop hardware, e.g. add more RAM, or even fix an overheating laptop or repair a broken laptop screen, one day the time will come when that is just not possible or worth it any more. This is when you will want to copy your data from your old laptop to a new device. How you can do this essentially depends on how much data there is to back up and whether or not the old laptop is still booting. And the methods I describe below work equally well when you just need to copy data for any other reason.

Best Case Scenario: Laptop Is Booting

So you decided to move to a new device before it’s too late or you just need to copy some data. The source laptop is booting perfectly fine and you cannot (be bothered to) remove its hard drive. Great, this will be easy!

Option 1: Cloud Storage

If the laptop has Internet access and in case you don’t have to copy a large amount of data, cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive are a great solution to quickly transfer data to the cloud and later download them to another device.


    -> cross-platform compatible
    -> does not depend on external hardware
    -> can be used without installing a third party application

Option 2: External Drive

Should you not have access to an Internet connection (that is fast enough) to copy data, this is probably the simplest solution. You will need an external drive large enough to hold the data you need to copy. This can be an SD card, a USB stick, or an external hard drive.

Check whether the laptop has the necessary ports or you can bring an external card reader. If you want to use an external hard drive, be sure the file system is compatible with the laptop’s operating system; FAT32 is pretty much universal and NTFS (Windows) will be readable on both Linux and Mac computers (but not writeable). I have also discussed the file systems FAT32 and NTFS in this article on how to format a USB drive.

If you are migrating from Windows to OS X, Apple provides a tool which you can install on your Windows laptop that makes the process very simple.


    -> quick & easy
    -> no Internet connection needed
    -> secure

Option 3: Network / LAN Share

When both the source laptop and the future home of the data are on the same network, you don’t need cloud storage or hardware to transfer data. You can simply set up a network share between the two devices.

In Windows, home network file sharing is very simple. To make it even easier, we have written a whole guide on home networking in Windows. If you need something that works across platforms, try Nitroshare to share files on your network between multiple operating systems.

Mac users can do this between OS X machines using Finder’s in-built AirDrop feature.


    -> fast
    -> convenient
    -> no hardware needed

Option 4: Direct Ethernet or USB Connection

If you don’t have a network set up, there is a hardware solution to directly transfer files from one laptop to another computer. What you need is a Ethernet crossover cable. This cable looks like a regular LAN cable and has the same connectors, but the wiring is different, allowing you to send data between two machines.

When you want to migrate files from Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7, consider using the Windows Easy Transfer tool. In combination with an EasyTransfer USB cable, transferring files becomes a breeze.


    -> fast
    -> convenient
    -> no home network needed

Worst Case Scenario: Laptop Is Dead

If the laptop no longer boots, you may still be able to recover the data, provided the hard drive still works.

Option 5: Live CD / USB

A Live CD or Live USB essentially is an external operating system that runs from a CD or USB stick. Live CDs typically run Linux, but you can also create a Windows Live CD or install multiple bootable operating systems on a USB stick. All of these live media give you access to the data on your laptop hard drive when the operating system is no longer working. Combined with the methods above, especially using an external drive, you can then copy the data to a safe location.


    -> fool proof
    -> no hardware needed
    -> earn geek credit

Option 6: External Enclosure or Adapter

Last but not least, you can remove the internal drive and transfer it to an external enclosure. In other words, create an external USB drive from the old laptop drive. If you don’t really need an external hard drive, a cheaper alternative is to only get a laptop hard drive adapter. This method requires some skill, as you need to remove the hard drive, identify its connector, i.e. SATA or IDE, and get a suitable USB adapter or enclosure. But it’s really easier than it sounds.


    -> upcycle your old drive into an external USB drive
    -> demonstrate your geekiness
    -> aquire some tech skills or apply existing skills


IT Forum / 5 Tips to Resolve Your Tablet’s Touchscreen Problems
« on: November 26, 2013, 03:51:41 PM »

We’ve all been there. Tapping, swiping or zoom-pinching, there’s often a moment when the touchscreen display on your tablet refuses to respond. How do you overcome this, and achieve tablet-tapping Zen?

Why Your Tablet Touchscreen Doesn’t Respond

As the primary mode of interaction between you and your apps, the tablet touchscreen is vitally important. Any damage inflicted – be it knocks to the device, scratches or worse – will degrade the reliability of the component, and short of paying for a replacement screen and digitiser, you will need to make sure the display is kept safe and intact at all times.

There are several things you can do to help with this, not least applying a screen protector, which is probably easier to do correctly than you think. Employing a case with a soft interior and keeping pens well away from the device is also a good idea, as is never, ever, placing the device face down on hard surfaces. The tiniest bit of dirt can cause all manner of scratches on your display, resulting in problems with the touchscreen’s responsiveness.

The following five tips – which might also help for issues with a touchscreen smartphone – will help you resolve your tablet’s touchscreen responsiveness issues. Note that this should be seen as a general guide for all touchscreen tablet computers, running iOS, Android and Windows 8.

1. Make More RAM Available

Perhaps the best place to start in troubleshooting any screen responsiveness issues is to make more system RAM available. This may take a moment (and in some cases require a restart, see below) but should give you an idea of how bad the problem is.

Android users have a wealth of options for freeing up space on tablets, such as clearing the app cache or using third party apps such as Memory Booster – RAM Optimizer. Chris Hoffman’s guide to spring cleaning your Android should come in handy here.

Memory issues on an iPad can lead to slow responses from your touchscreen. The best way to deal with this is (in iOS 6 and lower) to double-click the Home button to display the currently open apps, then tap and hold one to display the cross in the top right corner. For devices running iOS 7, the process is slightly different – read James’ What’s New in iOS 7 article or our iOS guide. After you’ve closed all the apps you no longer need, your tablet should be more responsive. Jailbroken iPads can run task management apps, meanwhile, which will help you to close any running processes you don’t need.

In Windows 8, close as many desktop apps as is practical can before switching to the Start screen. Display the Modern task switching view, dragging each app into the main screen before closing them (Modern apps are closed by dragging your finger down from the top of the screen to the bottom).

If freeing up some RAM helps with your touchscreen tablet’s responsiveness, then this should be all you need to do.

2. Restart Your Tablet

Further troubleshooting can be performed by restarting your tablet. When the device restarts, the majority of applications will be closed. You can then check the responsiveness of the touchscreen, either finding that all is well or by using the apps suggested below to find out more.

Restarting a tablet isn’t a case of just tapping the power button to turn the screen off. Instead, the whole device must be switched off and back on again.

For Android users, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem – all you will need to do is hold the power button down and select Restart.

Apple iPad owners, however, will need to close each open app before holding the Sleep/Wake button and dragging the slider. If app closing isn’t possible, hold Sleep/Wake together for a few seconds until the Apple logo is displayed.

Windows 8 tablet owners can restart their devices by opening the Charms menu, then tapping Settings > Power > Restart. If the device fails to respond, hold the Windows button and the power button together for a few seconds until it reboots.

3. Realign The Display

To be performed only if you have a device that is out of warranty and don’t have the money to pay for professional repairs!

This step really applies to some cheaper Android tablets rather than any high-end gear like the iPad, and basically involves you removing the screen and replacing it, with the desired outcome of a better response for your touchscreen gestures.

For instance, a knock might dislodge the digitizer; similar, dropping or jarring the tablet might cause a cable connecting the digitizer to the motherboard to come loose (this shouldn’t happen, but isn’t unheard of).

Before you grab your tablet, of course, you should check if you can find the tools and instructions for disassembling your device. The first place you should look is YouTube. We don’t advise taking this step lightly; similarly, perform as much research as possible before you begin to break your tablet open.

4. Use Native Apps To Troubleshoot

Often when a tablet touchscreen is being unresponsive, the problem can be localized to a particular portion of the display.

Knowing which area(s) of the touchscreen are failing to respond correctly can be useful in diagnosing what is wrong; the information would certainly prove useful to any engineer who ends up repairing the tablet.

A useful means of checking which areas of your display work and which don’t is to employ a couple of apps.

With a calculator app you can test simple taps across the display (screen rotate function will let you check the tablet in all orientations)

A maps app, meanwhile, can be used to determine problems with dragging and pinch-to-zoom.

5. Employ A Calibration Tool

Calibrating your tablet display can resolve many touchscreen detection issues.

For iPad users, there is no calibration tool available or required. However, if you are using a jailbroken device and have found that the display is registering your taps and swipes incorrectly, a hard reset to undo the jailbreak is recommended.

On Android, it depends on the version of the OS and the device. Typically, you would find a calibration option in Settings > Display but if none is apparent, there are several apps you might try, such as TouchScreen Tune (requires root) that can be used to resolve many touchscreen issues.

Windows 8 users can tap Start and type calibrate, tap Settings and select Calibrate the screen for pen and touch input, click Calibrate… and follow the instructions.

Photo Credit: redaleka

When setting up wireless encryption on your router, you’ll come across a variety of confusing terms — WPA2, WPA, WEP, WPA-Personal, and WPA-Enterprise. Understanding what these terms mean and how they’re different will help you protect your Wi-Fi network from eavesdroppers, Wi-Fi leeches, and criminals.

We’ll also look at which Wi-Fi encryption standard is the truly secure way to encrypt your Wi-Fi. This is a tough question without a one-size-fits-all answer.


WEP is the oldest, least secure way to encrypt your Wi-Fi — short of leaving it unencrypted! Its name stands for “Wired Equivalent Privacy,” which is humorous now that so many flaws have been discovered in it. It’s very easy to crack a WEP password and gain access to a WEP-secured network. WEP will only stop the most casual of Wi-Fi users from connecting to your network. Anyone who really wants access to your network can easily gain access if you’re using WEP.

There’s no reason to use WEP. If you have an ancient router that only supports WEP, you should upgrade it right now. If you have an older device that only supports WEP, you should upgrade it, too. Every recent device should support stronger WPA encryption.

WPA vs. WPA2

WPA is the newer Wi-Fi security standard. WPA stands for “Wi-Fi Protected Access.” There are two versions of WPA — WPA and WPA2. WPA was implemented first as a temporary solution for devices that originally only supported WEP. These devices could be upgraded to WPA encryption for additional security, allowing them to escape WEP and its many flaws. The original WPA was always a stop-gap solution and just isn’t as secure as WPA2.

WPA2 is the final version of Wi-Fi Protected Access. It’s the most secure option available and the one you should be using. If you have a router or another device that only supports WEP and WPA, it’s probably very old and you should upgrade. New devices that are properly set up for security should be using WPA2 out of the box. Note that there are two versions of WPA2 you can choose from, which we’ll cover below.

The Wi-Fi Protected Setup — or WPS — method of connecting to WPA-secured wireless networks is fairly insecure, however. You shouldn’t be using WPS along with WPA2.

WPA2-Personal or WPA2-PSK

The PSK in WPA2-PSK stands for Pre-Shared Key. This is also known as Personal mode. It’s intended for homes and small office networks, as it’s a much easier option to set up than the alternative, which we’ll look at below.

Your wireless router encrypts network traffic with a key. With WPA-Personal, this key is calculated from the Wi-Fi passphrase you set up on your router. Before a device can connect to the network and understand the encryption, you must enter your passphrase on it.

The primary real-world weaknesses with WPA2-Personal encryption are weak passphrases. Just as many people use weak passwords like “password” and “letmein” for their online accounts, many people will likely use weak passphrases to secure their wireless networks. A strong passphrase should be used to properly secure the network or WPA2 won’t protect you much.

WPA2 is still fairly secure, but it’s not perfect. Some potential vulnerabilities have been found, but they’re nowhere near as easy to exploit as they are with WEP. Your main concern should be enabling WPA2-Personal on your home network and setting a strong passphrase.

WPA2-Enterprise or WPA2-802.1X

WPA2-Enterprise is also referred to as WPA2-802.1X mode because of the standard it implements. The Enterprise in the name is no joke — this is a solution that’s intended for enterprise networks as it requires more hardware and is more difficult to set up and maintain.

To use WPA2-Enterprise, you’ll need a RADIUS authentication server. RADIUS stands for Remote Authentication Dial In User Service. To authenticate with such a server, a variety of EAP — Extensible Authentication Protocols — can be used. After connecting to the Wi-Fi network, each client would have to log in with a username and password. Traffic to each client would be encrypted with a unique encryption key which isn’t derived from a pre-shared key. This is more secure than simply deriving a key from the same pre-shared key on each device. This also allows network administrators to monitor who’s connecting to the network and revoke access to specific users at any time without affecting other users.

Large businesses should implement WPA2-Enterprise for additional security, but there’s no reason home users and small businesses should set up WPA2-Enterprise. It’s much more complicated to set up and manage a RADIUS authentication server than it is to simply set a wireless passphrase on your router.

So Which Is Truly Secure?

The most secure way to set up a Wi-Fi network is with WPA2-Enterprise, so if you run a Wi-Fi network for a large business, you should be setting up a RADIUS authentication server.

Of course, you probably only have a small Wi-Fi network to manage. For regular people and small businesses, WPA2-Personal is the ideal encryption option to use. WPA2-Personal along with a strong passphrase will provide you with very good security.

WEP is very easy to crack and should not be used for any purpose.

But is WPA2 really good enough? Well, security isn’t about absolutes. Saying WPA2-Enterprise is more secure than WPA2-Personal is like saying a bank vault door is more secure than the door on your house or apartment. It’s true, but that doesn’t mean you should replace your front door with a bank vault door — it’s more expensive and difficult to manage, just like a RADIUS authentication server. For another thing, the bank needs protection from bank robbers, just as Wi-Fi networks at large corporations need more protection from corporate espionage and criminals targeting high-end targets.

In the real world, WPA2-Personal with a strong passphrase is plenty secure.

Image Credit: Keith Williamson on Flickr


Do you know the difference between an “access point” and an “ad hoc network? What is a “wireless repeater” and how can it improve your home network? Is a “wireless router” as simple as it sounds, or is there more to it? There are a lot more wireless networking terms around that encompass more than “WiFi” ever could, and it might turn out to be beneficial for you if you knew what these terms meant.

Not only will these terms help you to be more knowledgeable on the networks at home, at school, or at work; they may even prove useful when you need to troubleshoot issues. Nonetheless, wireless networking is a large component of modern technology, so there’s no downside to clarifying your familiarity with these terms.

Access Point

Before the invention of wireless connections, networks were comprised of long lines of interconnected cables. In order to tap into such a network, you would need to physically connect your device to the network. An access point is a device connected to such a network that allows other devices to tap in wirelessly.

Access points can be either private or public. For example, a home network may have a private access point that’s encrypted and password-protected, allowing only household users to access the network. On the other hand, a café might have a public access point that allows anyone to use their network, otherwise known as a wireless hotspot.

Don’t confuse the term access point with the term wireless router. There is some overlap between the two, but semantically speaking, an access point is different from a wireless router. A wireless router is an access point, but an access point doesn’t have to be a wireless router.

Ad Hoc Network

A wireless ad hoc network is a type of wireless network that doesn’t rely on a preexisting network. The phrase “ad hoc” is used to describe something that’s created for a singular purpose; therefore, a wireless ad hoc network can be thought of as a spontaneous wireless connection between computers for a temporary purpose, such as a file transfer.

The important distinction is that an ad hoc network is decentralized. There is no particular device acting as the hub for wireless activity. In the case of an access point, the access point is the gateway through which all devices must connect into the network. In an ad hoc network, you can think of each participating device as an individual peer.

Wireless Router

A wireless router is a device that acts as both an access point and a network router. In other words, it acts as a wireless gateway into the network and routes incoming network data to multiple connections (e.g., desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, etc.). Again, all wireless routers will have elements of an access point, but not all access points are wireless routers.

When looking to buy a new wireless router, you should first become familiar with the most important wireless router features to see which ones you would make use of. Then, check out this post on what you need to know when buying a wireless router. For those of you who are more advanced, you may want to look into using DD-WRT to supercharge your router.

Wireless Repeater

A wireless repeater, which can also be known as a wireless range extender, is a device that takes a signal from an existing access point and rebroadcasts it as a second network. Users who connect to the second network will actually be part of the initial network but using the repeater as a sort of gateway. As the name would suggest, wireless repeaters are great for extending the range of a wireless network.

While wireless repeaters are useful for situations where a computer is outside a network’s range, it can also be useful for computers which have a weak signal to a network. The repeater can boost signal strength, allowing for a stronger connection. Similarly, a repeater can prove beneficial in cases where there is a lot of interference from walls, metal, or other wireless signals.

Most modern wireless routers offer a “repeater mode” that you can enable, turning the router into a repeater. This is a great way to utilize old routers that you no longer need to boost signal strengths around the house.

Wireless Bridge

Remember that an access point is a device that connects to a wired network and allows other devices to wirelessly connect to said network. A wireless bridge works in a similar but opposite way. The bridge device first connects wirelessly to a network, then allows other devices to connect to it using wires. In essence, a bridge allows wired devices to join a wireless network.

Most modern wireless routers offer a “bridge mode” that you can use to extend your home wireless network to far away wired devices (e.g., a gaming console on the other side of your house) without having to weave long lengths of cabling through multiple rooms. We even have a post detailing how to turn an old router into a wireless bridge.

Wireless Network Adapter

A wireless network adapter allows a device that normally doesn’t have wireless capability to join a wireless network. These adapters are built with the ability to both send and receive wireless signals. Most portable devices, such as laptops and tablets, are manufactured with a wireless network adapter already in place.

Network adapters come in two main forms: the network card and the USB dongle. A network card is installed directly into the motherboard and provides wireless connectivity that way. A USB dongle requires little more than to be plugged into a free USB port, which makes it a more convenient option. In general, though, network cards tend to offer stronger connections and faster speeds than their USB counterparts.

Image Credit: Wireless Access Point, Wireless Ad Hoc Network, Wireless Router Via Shutterstock, Wireless Range Extender, Wireless Bridge, Wireless USB Adapter Via Shutterstock, osde8info/flickr

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