How to rearrange the quick-actions tiles in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Quick actions are a new and very helpful addition that Microsoft added to the operating system in Windows 10. This feature lets you quickly adjust various options such as airplane mode, location settings, screen brightness, and battery saver.

Quick-actions tiles sit inside the Action Center at the very bottom of the panel, and at first glance their arrangement may not seem that customizable. But it is, and Microsoft made that customization even easier with the Anniversary Update.

Quick actions’ display modes

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How to use Firefox's new experimental feature to outsmart error 404s

Mozilla’s Test Pilot program for Firefox is an interesting way to try out experimental features that aren’t yet ready to be an official part of the browser. In recent weeks, Mozilla rolled out a new Test Pilot feature called “No More 404s” that’s very helpful for anyone doing research online.

If you’re not familiar with it, error code 404 is the dreaded result you get when you come across a webpage that’s been deleted or is missing. Mozilla’s solution with No More 404s is to immediately search the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for a cached version of the page. This all happens automatically in the background so you don’t have to do any of the searching yourself.


Mozilla’s Firefox Test Pilot landing page.

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How to get to Firefox's 'about:' pages the easy way

Anyone who likes tinkering with Firefox’s various hidden features knows that the key to finding them is the browser’s 'about:' pages—for instance about:config or about:preferences. When these and other URLs are typed into Firefox's address bar, it returns a page with information and settings options for that given feature.

A handy add-on called ViewAbout makes it much easier to keep track of all those various about: options and get to them really easily.

To get started, download and install ViewAbout from the Firefox add-ons catalog. Once that’s done, you’ll have to restart the browser.

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How to use FileBot to organize your Plex video files

This may be the age of streaming video, but we still like to keep an eye on the Plex Media Server and its various apps for people who prefer to have local copies of their content. Plex makes it easy to organize any (non-DRM) movies and TV shows saved to your hard drive, and stream them across your devices. Plex works even better when your files are named properly. That’s where a handy little utility called FileBot comes in.

FileBot is a very reliable utility that can figure out what content you have and automatically rename it for you to something that makes it easier for Plex to recognize.

Now don’t get me wrong, Plex does a great job on its own of figuring out what your poorly named files actually are, but it’s not perfect. Sometimes whole TV shows or movies won’t show up in Plex due to a poor naming scheme. FileBot helps fix that.

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How to adjust your AutoPlay settings in Windows 10

Few features in Windows have as colored a history as AutoPlay. In its early days, the setting was infamous for passing viruses from errant USB drives to PCs. In more recent versions of Windows, AutoPlay is off by default to prevent malicious files from automatically executing on a PC.

AutoPlay is handy because it tells Windows to automatically carry out a specific action when you plug in some kind of removable media such as an SD card, a USB drive, or an external CD player. AutoPlay can be set to automatically import photos or videos, play any media, open File Explorer, or do nothing at all.

Even in the age of Windows 10, the best practice for AutoPlay is to leave it off or to have it ask you what to do every time you insert a device. If that doesn’t work for you, the next most benign step you can take is to set AutoPlay to open File Explorer. That way you can still see what’s on the USB stick, which is probably an action you would’ve taken anyway.

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How Windows 10's Anniversary Update takes the wait out of future updates

Microsoft added a new tool to Windows 10 to make it easier to get up and running after a major update. If you recently installed the Anniversary Update then you’ve already experienced the problem this tool tries to solve. You log in after the update, excited to get going with your refreshed PC, but the update isn’t finished. Instead, you have to wait through a bunch of single-color screens that tell you things like, “We’re just getting things ready” and “Your files are right where you left them.”

Windows 10’s new feature does away with all that by allowing your PC to sign in and automatically complete the update. That way, after a major update you don’t have to log in and wait for the final stages to complete.

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How to use Windows 10's Active Hours to prevent surprise update installs

If you want to feel totally assured that Windows 10 won't restart your computer and install updates while you're busy working, you'll be pleased to know about the Active Hours feature that Microsoft has added in the Anniversary Update (rolling out on Tuesday, August 2). Mind you, Windows 10 is already pretty good about understanding when your PC is in use, so as not to disrupt your activities with an update. In my experience, most Windows restarts are scheduled for early in the morning when you’re not likely to be using your PC. You can also schedule the update to be installed at a specific time. Even so, Microsoft is giving users even more control over the update process. 

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Active Hours lets you specifiy a specific block of time every day when it is forbidden for your PC to restart and install updates. Before you ask, yes, I did test to see what would happen if I set my Active Hours from 8:00 a.m. to 7:59 a.m. Nope, it wouldn’t let me do it. The feature only lets you block up to 12 hours per day, which means you can’t use Active Hours as a workaround to defeat Windows Update.

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