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People set their phones to silent or vibrate mode when in meetings, lectures, theaters, or anywhere else where it would be rude if the phone made noise. But what if there’s an emergency and someone needs to quickly get in touch with you? We’ll show you how to have your Android phone override silent mode and play an alert when a text message containing something like “Emergency” or “SOS” comes through. There are multiple ways to do this and we’ll cover two.
When you access a website on your smartphone, your cellular carrier, network operator, and government all know you accessed that website. Tor allows you to browse anonymously and bypass web censorship on your desktop. Orbot brings Tor to Android, so you can do the same from your smartphone. Whether you’re connected to a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi, Orbot works the same. Like the Tor browser bundle for PCs, it connects to the Tor network and allows you to browse the web anonymously.
Passwords are important and most people don’t know enough about them. How do you choose a strong password, use a unique password everywhere, and remember them all? How do you secure your accounts? How do you protect your files and operating system? And what if you ever lose a password? We’ve covered all this and more over the years. Be sure to read our password management guide for an in-depth overview to everything from choosing strong passwords to picking a password management technique and setting up two-factor authentication.
In the past, the only consumer operating systems that mattered were Windows and maybe Mac OS X and Linux. Now, we also have Chrome OS, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to worry about. And new versions of these operating systems are coming out even more frequently. Things are changing frequently. The days of learning a single operating system like Windows XP and using it for ten years are behind us. Here are some tips for keeping up with new operating systems and learning how they work.
Your laptop’s touchpad seems like a simple, boring piece of technology, used only when no mouse is available. But touchpads can be fast and efficient. They have shortcuts for everything from easily scrolling to gestures for quickly getting around in Windows 8. Spend a moment learning your touchpad’s tricks and configuring actions that work well for you. It will pay off when you can use your touchpad to get things done faster. For Windows 8 users, touchpads are a great way to add touch gestures to PCs without touch.
Windows 7′s file copy dialog is okay. It isn’t the fastest when copying a large number of files. However, there are faster ways to copy files. The traditional Windows file copy dialog’s worst problem is the way it stops and waits for input when it detects a problem, preventing you from leaving the process alone to finish on its own. Luckily, Microsoft improved this with Windows 8. If you’re not using Windows 8 yet, you can get this feature on Windows 7 or even older versions of Windows.
SSH is the de facto solution for securely accessing remote terminals on Linux and other UNIX-like systems. If you have a remote SSH server you want to access, you’ll have to download an SSH client. Windows doesn’t include one, although Mac OS X, Linux, and even Google’s Chrome OS include built-in SSH clients. Sure, Windows does include a Telnet client, but Telnet is horrifically insecure and should never be used unless you’re directly connected to the remote system and it’s not exposed to the Internet.
The Windows file system can be complicated, with folders scattered all over the place and even buried deep under other, hidden folders. If you need quick access to a variety of folders scattered across your file system — or you just want easier access to one or two folders you frequently use — there are a variety of ways you can bookmark these folders and make them more easily accessible. Whether you’re using Windows 7 or Windows 8, these tips will give you quicker access to your most frequently used folders.
Remember Internet Explorer 6? Well, Internet Explorer isn’t horrible anymore. Whether you like IE or not, you can’t deny that it has improved dramatically and is now worthy of taking its place alongside other modern browsers — especially with the new Internet Explorer 11. Internet Explorer 11 is part of Windows 8.1, which is currently available as a Preview release and will launch officially later this year. Windows 7 users will eventually be able to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, too.
Anyone using Windows 8 can now upgrade to a preview version of Windows 8.1 for free. This update refines Windows 8, giving keyboard and mouse users important interface improvements and making the Modern interface more powerful. Note that you can’t downgrade back to Windows 8 without completely reinstalling your operating system from Windows 8 installation media or a recovery drive. Windows 8.1 Preview is thus best confined to computers you can afford to experiment with and virtual machines.
The statistics don’t lie: Most Android malware comes from outside Google Play. Downloading cracked apps — or any type of app — from a shady website or untrustworthy third-party app store is the way most Android devices become infected. Never mind the harm to app creators — downloading cracked Android apps and games is a great way to harm yourself.
Windows 8 is full of gestures and shortcuts. In addition to touch-screen gestures, there are swipe gestures you can perform with your laptop’s touchpad and mouse gestures that involve moving your cursor to the corners of the screen. However, there are ways to disable all of these gestures. This is particularly useful if these gestures get in your way while using your touchpad or mouse. You can even disable a Windows 8 device’s touch screen entirely — we don’t recommend it, but it’s something you can do if you want.
Changing the system language in Windows 8 can be a complicated process, especially if you don’t understand the current language. If you’ve sat down at a Windows computer and found it’s in an unfamiliar language, trying to puzzle out where the language options are located can take a while. We’ll walk you through the process of changing the Windows system language on Windows, complete with screenshots for every step of the process. Note that you can set different languages for each user account.
Microsoft has made some aspects of managing Windows libraries rather difficult — what if you want to add removable drives or network shares to a library? What if you want to choose a custom icon for your libraries? To do these things, you’ll need a third-party tool for managing your Windows libraries. These tools are useful on Windows 7, but they can be even more useful on Windows 8, as Modern apps don’t have access to the file system and can only see files in the appropriate library.
By now, we’re sure you’ve read the advice over and over: Everyone needs to back up their files. But deciding to back up your files is only part of the process. There are so many different ways to back up your files, and it can be hard knowing where to start. We’ll cover all the best ways you can back up your files and help you find the method that’s right for you. The most important thing is having several copies of your files — either on an external drive or in the cloud somewhere.