How 'Start - A New Tab Page' turns Chrome into an iGoogle replacement

Sure, it’s 2017, but if you miss the old days of iGoogle personalized homepages, there are a few Chrome extensions that can provide something similar on your new tab page. One of them is called “Start - A Better New Tab” from 64 Pixels.

This extension includes all kinds of information on your new tab page in the form of widgets. They include the current weather, top visited sites (as you see in the regular new tab page), top news stories from CNN or Google, Gmail, Facebook, popular videos on YouTube, your installed Chrome Apps, a notepad, Google Calendar, bookmarks, stocks, a to-do list, and the current time. Most widgets are activated by default.

startnewtabpage Ian Paul/IDG

Start - A New Tab Page in action.

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How to get past Windows Defender SmartScreen in Windows 10

We've all been there. You read about a great little traditional desktop application or utility that you think will be a great help. Once it's downloaded, boom!, Windows 10 blocks it thanks to Windows Defender SmartScreen, a feature that prevents unrecognized apps from running. It's a helpful security feature that can sometimes be annoying. Here's how to get past it.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Before we go any further, keep in mind that the SmartScreen is there for your protection. It is designed to restrict any programs that are known to be malicious or aren't commonly downloaded. For that reason, anything experimental or outside the norm is not trusted by Windows.

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What to do if Windows 10 Control Panel disappears from the WinX power user menu

Prior to the Creators Update rollout last month, I did a refresh of my Windows installation to shake out a few nagging problems. After the refresh, I noticed that Microsoft did me the very unhelpful favor of removing the Control Panel in the WinX power user menu that appears when you right-click Start or tap the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut. The Control Panel was replaced, of course, with the Settings app.

I understand that Microsoft is slowly moving the Control Panel's functionality over to Settings. Even so, the Control Panel is still very necessary, and I'd much rather have it in the WinX menu than Settings right now.

Here's how to switch back. First, you need a Control Panel shortcut. Instead of creating your own, download a pre-made shortcut from German-language blog Deskmodder.de (ZIP). Unzip the folder and put the Control Panel link on your desktop.

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How to customize Game Bar keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10

Before the Creators Update came around I was always hesitant to use the Game Bar in Windows 10. It always slowed my budget gaming PC to a crawl, but in the Creators Update it’s a usable feature.

Now that I’m turning to the Game Bar more often, I want to be able to customize the keyboard shortcuts that call up various commands such as opening the Game Bar, taking a screenshot, recording a game highlight, and starting a broadcast. Microsoft makes it easy to customize those shortcuts in the Creators Update.

You can’t choose just any keyboard shortcut you want, but if, for example, taking a screenshot with Windows key + Alt + PrtScrn doesn’t work for you, here’s how to change that.

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How to use your Windows 10 PC as a mobile hotspot

There’s nothing handier than turning one of your devices into a mobile hotspot so that all your gadgets can get on the internet when a router isn’t available. Usually when it comes down to sharing an internet connection, it’s your phone or tablet that does the heavy lifting. But there are times when your PC could end up being the device of choice.

If, for example, you’re on hotel Wi-Fi. Or say you want to share your Wi-Fi at home, but you don’t want to share your network password and your router doesn’t have a guest mode. Those are just two possible scenarios that you might run into from time to time.

mobilehotspot Ian Paul/IDG

You can turn your Windows 10 PC into a mobile hotspot.

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How to activate Game Mode in the Windows 10 Creators Update

One of our favorite features in the Windows 10 Creators Update is the new Game Mode. The feature improves gaming performance by reducing background processes to prevent other programs from eating up your system resources. It’s not a great fit for every PC user, but it can really help improve the experience on budget gaming PCs, for example.

We’ve already looked at the performance aspects of Game Mode if you want to see how the feature stacked up in our tests.

The bottom line is that if you’re gaming on a machine that meets or just goes over the minimum system requirements, Game Mode is worth using. To use it, however, it has to be activated first.

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How to get a shared family calendar with a Microsoft Account

Microsoft recently unveiled a helpful new addition to its family features that are part of your Microsoft Account. Users who need it can now get a shared family calendar on Outlook.com.

Prior to this, Family settings were mostly for managing the activity of children, such as limiting screen time, viewing activity reports, or finding their device locations on a map. Adults in the family, meanwhile, were merely administrators of their children's computer access. The addition of a family calendar changes that.

familycalendaremail Ian Paul/IDG

The email notification I received once my family calendar was created.

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