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Category: #TechTips (page 1 of 53)

How to Change, Reset and Replace File Associations in Windows 10

change-reset-replace-file-associations-wFile associations are a vital part of a functioning Windows experience, so making sure that the right file types automatically open with the right software is a must. But what if you assign the wrong file association or just want to change it to a better program? Windows 10 has proven more restrictive than past versions in terms of file associations and can be particularly fiddly if you just want to remove an association altogether. Luckily, we have the answers, showing you how to change, reset and replace file associations in Windows 10. Related: How to Disable Recent Items and Frequent Places in Windows 10… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Robert Zak

Have You Ever Used YouTube to Learn How to Do Something?

writers-opinion-youtube-learn-featured.jYouTube has become a great way to display videos, and they’re published with so many purposes: ads, music, news, TV shows/movies, etc. But they’re also informational, and there are many, many how-to videos published on YouTube. In fact, a recent article explained half of the people using YouTube are viewing how-to videos. Are you in that half? Have you ever used YouTube to learn how to do something? Our Opinion Fabio reports he’s using it to try and learn French. “It’s a work in progress, but YouTube has helped a lot.” Simon says he uses it for that purpose all the time. He loves having… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Laura Tucker

5 of the Best File Managers for Linux

Linux-file-managers-00-featured.jpgOne of the pieces of software you use daily is a file manager. A good file manager is essential to your work. If you are a Linux user and want to try out file managers other than the default one that comes with your system, below is a list of the best Linux file managers you will find. What Is a File Manager? Let’s start with a definition first to make sure we are on the same page. A file manager is a computer application that you can access and manage the files and documents stored on your hard disk. In Windows this application is… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ada Ivanova

How to Stop Windows 10 from Reopening the Last Open Apps on Startup

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update back in 2017 came a change in the way Windows handles open apps when shutting down. During a normal shutdown, Windows tries to “bookmark” open applications and then reopen them when you start your PC again. There are ways to shut down Windows that stops that from happening.

How to Stop Windows From Reopening Last Opened Apps on Startup

Before the Fall Creators Update, shutting down your PC worked the way it always had: Windows closed all open apps, and after starting the system back up, you’d have to re-open them. After the update, Windows tries to remember open apps and launch them again when you start Windows.

While this does sound like a seamless approach to the whole user experience, it can cause delays if you’ve left a few resource-intensive apps open, like Photoshop or 3D rendering software, which will take priority to start again before you can begin opening other apps. These are some of the ways you can get around this feature if you want, all of which involve shutting down Windows in a slightly different way.

RELATED: Why Does Rebooting a Computer Fix So Many Problems?

Hold Down the Shift Key when Shutting Down

You can perform the old-style shut down by pressing and holding the Shift key on your keyboard when you click the “Shut Down” command. This works from the Start menu, the power options on the sign-in screen, or through the security screen after pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

On the Start menu, you’d click the Power Button first. Then, hold down Shift while clicking the “Shut Down” command.

Click Start, then power button, then hold down Shift while clicking Shut Down

All applications will force-close, and Windows will shut down immediately.

Use the Classic Shut Down Dialog

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brady Gavin

How to Configure a HiFi Desktop Audio System

A HiFi system is a set of components designed to make music sound as good as possible. HiFi aims for clear, noiseless audio, not just high volume and boosted bass. Music on a HiFi system will sound radically better than music on the headphones that came with your phone, due to many different factors like less signal interference (and thus, less noise), higher frequency response and clarity on the headphones, and a much better listening experience with over-ear headphones.

People who enjoy high-end audio are called “audiophiles,” and the audiophile scene is complicated and can seem hard to get into. Here, we’ll break down what each part in a HiFi setup does, and how it contributes to the overall sound.

Digital Audio Converters (DAC)

The DAC is essentially a really high-end headphone jack. It’s the starting point for all the audio in your system. Because of electrical noise in your computer, audio from the built in headphone jack sounds very noisy. You might not notice this noise on most headphones (as most headphones are noisy anyway), but on HiFi headphones it becomes apparent.

The solution is to isolate that electrical interference with an external DAC. These are built with much higher quality components than the built in DAC in your computer. They’re often are capable of powering higher impedance headphones and supplying phantom power to mics that need it.


For most speakers, and some headphones, you’ll want an amp to power up your audio before listening to it, as it may be quiet coming straight off the DAC. If you have lower impedance headphones, a USB DAC should power them just fine, but anything requiring 250 Ohm and above means you’ll probably want an amp so that the noise from the the DAC doesn’t ruin things.

The reason amps are necessary is because most DACs are not made to amplify audio beyond a certain point. If you were to turn the DAC up to 10, it would sound incredibly noisy (the bad kind of noise). However, you could turn it to 5, and then set the amp to crank it up 200%, and the audio would still be clear

Headphones and Speakers

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Anthony Heddings

How to Troubleshoot Critical Structure Corruption in Windows 10

windows10-critical-structure-corruption.There are a few frightening things that can happen while using your computer. Of all of them, the blue screen of death may just be the scariest. The name alone makes you feel there may be no redemption for the computer device. There is not just one cause of the blue screen of death, and if you pay attention closely, there is always a message appended when this system breakdown happens. One of these error messages is the “critical structure corruption.” In this article we will walk through the process of what you can do when your Windows 10 machine faces a crash due to this failure. Related:… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Afam Onyimadu

What is AutoArchive in Outlook and How Does it Work?

If you’ve used the mailbox cleanup tool, then you’ll have seen the AutoArchive button, but you may be wary of how it works and what it’ll do. Here’s what it does and how you can put it to use.

Clicking the AutoArchive button causes a process to swing through all of the folders in Outlook and apply any AutoArchive rules you’ve set up (don’t worry, the default AutoArchive rule is to do nothing, so you can’t do any harm by clicking the button). But if you want to move your older items to an archive where they’re out of the way, AutoArchive is how you automate the process. Let’s go through setting it up and running it.

How to Turn On AutoArchive

First, you need to turn on AutoArchive and choose its settings. Go to File > Options > Advanced and then click the “AutoArchive Settings” button.

As long as the “Run AutoArchive every” option is switched off (which is the default), AutoArchive will never run.

Once you turn the “Run AutoArchive every” option on, all of the options are now available.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rob Woodgate

Windows 10’s October 2018 Update Breaks Mapped Network Drives

Microsoft’s October 2018 Update drama is largely over, but there are still a few lingering bugs. Microsoft has confirmed an issue where mapped network drives are broken after a PC restarts. This will not be fixed until 2019.

Liam Tung covers this issue over at ZDNet:

Within days of Microsoft’s first release of Windows 10 1809 at the beginning of October, IT pros noticed that Windows File Explorer indicated that mapped network drives appeared to be broken.

“Testing the new 1809 update, and everything seems to be fine except all mapped drives to Windows 2012 file servers show disconnected (red x) after reboots or logoff/on,” wrote one IT pro on October 5, with many others confirming the same issue on company networks.

“Everything is fine if user opens the mapped drive. This causes problems when user opens a file located in map drive A but links to another file in mapped drive B.”

Mapped network drives are primarily used on domain and other large networks, so this isn’t a problem the average home user will likely notice.

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and provided some suggested workarounds. The Windows 10 version 1809 status page says “Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide updates in the 2019 timeframe.”

RELATED: Windows 10’s October Update Returns, Promises Not to Delete Your Files

Trend Micro and AMD Radeon Problems

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Hoffman

Google Says Faster Updates Are Coming: All Android Pie Phones Include Project Treble

Android’s update situation is notoriously bad, with even flagship phones like the Galaxy series taking months for the latest feature updates to come out. Google hasn’t stood still on this though, and its hard work with Project Treble is starting to pay off.

What is Project Treble?

Up until last year, building an Android update took much more effort. Here’s what had to happen with each update, no matter how small:

  • Google builds the new update and adds it to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository.
  • Silicon vendors like Qualcomm and MediaTek would add in and test code so that their processors would support the new software version.
  • Hardware vendors like Samsung and LG add in and test code to support other hardware in the phone and their own software features.

Project Treble simplifies that a bit. Starting with phones that shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo, the silicon vendor code can be separate from the hardware vendor code. Instead of Qualcomm, MediaTek and other SOC-makers needing to write new drivers for each and every update, the driver interface can be used on newer versions of Android and still work. Samsung, LG, and other device manufacturers don’t have to wait for this code to start their work on the update, meaning it gets rolled out to consumers that much faster.

It was optional for phones that were updated to Oreo to be compliant with Treble, but with Pie that goes away: every phone that receives an update to Android Pie must be compatible with Treble.

It’s Starting to Working

After a year of use, Project Treble is already starting to pay off: Google expects more devices to be updated to Android 9.0 Pie by the end of this year than were updated to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of 2017. At the 2018 Android Dev Summit, Google showed off multiple phones from different hardware vendors that were able to run on the exact same Generic System Image (GSI).

Showing the GSI running on all these different phones is a great testament to how well Treble works, and application developers can use the GSI to test app compatibility with Android Pie on a device that hasn’t been officially updated by its manufacturer.

That’s all well and good if you’re an app developer, but if you’re the average consumer it may be hard to care. But what it boils down to is this: it’s likely that your phone will receive a software update faster because some of the work to get that update out can be skipped. This also makes providing the update cheaper for the phone manufacturer, giving them more incentive to support older devices.

But it’s Still Not Perfect

While these improvements are great, if fast updates are the most important factor for you, there are still only a handful of manufacturers to choose from. Google’s Pixel phones would be the fastest, but Android One phones like Nokia’s line aren’t far behind. We’ll see if the Treble improvements help any, but Samsung has a tendency to hold onto software updates until the next Galaxy S phone is released, which means users have to wait until Spring to see platform updates.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Tom Westrick

Fix: My Microphone Doesn’t Work on Windows 10

Windows 10 may not hear your microphone’s audio for several reasons. All the usual PC microphone troubleshooting steps are still important, but Windows 10 contains a new system-wide option that completely disables microphone input in all applications.

Check Windows 10 Microphone Options

Windows 10’s Settings app has a few options that disable your microphone system-wide, in all applications. If your webcam is disabled in Settings, even desktop applications can’t receive microphone input.

This is a bit confusing. In general, the app permissions under Settings > Privacy only affect new applications from the Store, also known as Universal Windows Platform, or UWP, applications. But the microphone and webcam options also affect desktop applications.

If your microphone isn’t working, head to Settings > Privacy > Microphone.

At the top of the window, check that it says “Microphone access for this device is on.” If Windows says microphone access is off, click the “Change” button and set it to “On.” If access is off, Windows and all applications on your system can’t access audio from your microphone.

Below that, ensure “Allow apps to access your microphone” is set to “On.” If microphone access is off, all applications on your system won’t be able to hear audio from your microphone. However, the Windows operating system itself will still have access.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Hoffman

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