How to create sublabels in Gmail

Beth wants to organize her emails in a main category of “bills” and then put emails in that category but also in sub-categories such as electricity, internet, etc. She uses Gmail, and luckily there is a simple solution. Gmail lets you create sublabels for any label, which effectively puts the emails in those sublabels in two categories, making them easy to find. Here’s how it works.

1. First you need to create an initial label. To do this just head to your Gmail and click the Settings button (symbolized by a cog icon) in the upper right corner. In the drop-down menu select Settings. In the Settings page that appears, click the Labels link in at the top of the page. Scroll down to the Labels section and select Create a new label.


Click this to create a new label.

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How to know when your SSD could die

Jeff wanted to know whether his SSD was “okay” or whether he should back it up, or if it’s somehow different from a hard drive.

SSDs are fundamentally different from hard drives, and they can, in fact, die in one of two ways. In this column I’ll explain this difference, how SSDs can die, and how you can check yours to make sure it still has plenty of life.

The main difference between hard drives and SSDs is this: The area of a hard drive that can hold data can can be rewritten as many times as is needed, and will always be usable as long as the drive is functioning (bad sectors aside). This is not the case with SSDs: Each cell that holds data can only be written to, or programmed, a finite number of times before it is effectively dead. That’s because every time a write operation needs to be performed, any data in the cell has to be erased before it’s used. This process of writing/erasing/rewriting essentially causes wear and tear on the cells and erosion of the insulator between cells. Eventually individual cells can no longer hold a charge. 

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Stop HTML5 autoplay videos in Chrome, Firefox, Opera (but not Edge, Explorer, Safari)

Allan H was having issues with videos autoplaying in his browser (imagine that!), and read the previous article on this topic written by my esteemed colleague. Unfortunately, the links provided for Chrome in the article are no longer working, so I decided to update his article and address a few other browsers too.

The backstory here is that most of today’s browsers ship with the capability to natively block Adobe Flash-based videos. Unfortunately, many websites are now using HTML5 to display ads, videos, and other types of content that will play regardless of your Flash settings. Often they’ll start automatically when the page loads. 


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What to do when you hate Windows 10

I usually start this column with “so and so needed something done to their PC,” but if I were to include the names of all the people who have written me about how unhappy they are with their Windows 10 “upgrade” the file would be so large the server that hosts this page would need a new hard drive. I’ve been inundated with unhappy Windows 10 users for the past two months, and my heart goes out to these folks. A lot of them were upgraded unsuspectingly, and Microsoft deserves a ton of scorn for its malware-like Windows 10 upgrade tactics. That said, now that you have Windows 10 on your PC and you’re not happy, here’s what you can do about it.

1. Keep it, but make some changes

I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but overall I don’t think Windows 10 is a bad OS like Windows 8 was when it launched. It’s essentially a hybrid version of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, and it’s going to be around for a very long time in one form or another so you might as well get comfortable with it now. It also offers a lot of tweaks that could help it grow on you. Here are some of my favorites:

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Importing bookmarks and favorites to Edge is easier with the Anniversary Update

Back in September my colleague Lincoln wrote a handy column on how to import bookmarks and favorites into Microsoft’s Edge browser. Now that Microsoft’s Anniversary Update is out in the wild, things have changed for the better (which hasn’t been the case with all aspects of the Anniversary Update, unfortunately). Here are the two ways you can do it. 

Import Link

If you’ve never used Edge before a handy link to import your favorites will appear the first time you open the browser. 

First, when you open Edge for the very first time, it’ll display a handy link right at the top of the browser that will take you right to the import dialog. Yeah, pretty easy.

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You can remove Cortana from Windows 10, but it's tricky

Travis wanted Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant for Windows 10, out of his PC once and for all. He’s probably not alone, so I figured I’d detail exactly how to perform a Cortana-ectomy.

This procedure was done on the latest build of Windows 10, which is 1607 (the Anniversary Update). Once complete you’ll have a regular search bar like in previous versions of Windows. Big kudos to this forum, where I unearthed these tips. 

No Cortana

Windows 10 search sans Cortana is just like in the olden days of Windows 8.

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Why your USB drive's file format matters: FAT32 vs. exFAT vs. NTFS

Majid was unable to copy a movie from his PC to his newly acquired 32GB USB key, and wondered why. He sent me a screenshot that clearly indicated the problem, as it read “The file is too large for the destination file system.” I replicated the issue quite easily by trying to move a 10GB file to a Fat32 disk, as Fat32 can’t handle any file larger than 4GB.

File too big!

FAT32 has a 4GB file size limitation, making it tough to copy HD or 4K video footage.

In dealing with this it occurred to me that Majid probably isn’t alone, and people might not be aware of the fact that you can format a USB key in Windows using one of three available file systems, and that each system has both advantages and limitations. My colleague wrote about this previously in regards to external drives, but he was discussing high-capacity hard drives you plug into your PC. Though Windows file systems work the same regardless of drive type I wanted to expand on his piece a bit by including the system called exFAT, so in this piece I’ll discuss the three file systems, their pluses and negatives, and which one to use according to your needs.

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