3 tips for a hassle-free Windows 10 upgrade

The waiting is almost over.

On Wednesday, Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 upgrades to Insider members, followed by users who’ve made a reservation, and then the general public. If you’ve got a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, you’re eligible for a free upgrade, and there’s a lot to love about Windows 10, from new features to under-the-hood tweaks to a much-needed interface revamp.

Before you upgrade, however, there some things you can do to make your migration to the next chapter in Windows history as seamless as possible.

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Couch computing: How to browse your PC's videos from your tablet

Imagine you’ve got a (DRM-free) movie saved on your PC and you want to watch it on your Android tablet. There are numerous ways to transfer that movie, such as a USB cable, AirDroid, or BitTorrent Sync. But all of those solutions require you to take action on your PC, and since it’s Friday and you’re already on the couch and your PC is all the way upstairs...forget it.

Well, not if you’ve embraced the magic of free Windows folder sharing. With this built-in feature enabled, that movie is only an app download and a few taps away.

This post is a little meaty, but the process is very quick and simple—it just takes a while to explain.

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Stop pesky HTML5 videos from auto-playing with this helpful Firefox add-on

Mozilla is already working on the ability to detect and silence tabs with auto-playing audio or video in Firefox, and I recently told you about a Firefox add-on called Open Link in Silent Tab that helps you take control of noisy tabs. Today, I’d like to revisit the topic and tell you about another add-on called Noise Control that works similarly to Chrome’s noisy tab-stopping feature, as well as what Firefox is working on.

The big difference with Noise Control is that it’s far more intuitive to use than Silent Tabs. It also goes a long way to silencing select auto-play videos. That’s especially true if you’ve gone anti-Adobe Flash Player, because Noise Control only works with HTML5-based content, not Flash. The good news is there’s a whole lot of HTML5 content on the web, including sites like YouTube.


Noise Control at work. Note the audio icon in the tab.

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3 free tools that transform YouTube into a streaming music service

It’s a sad day for music fans who loved to listen to music from YouTube without the videos. The popular Chrome extension Streamus disappeared from the Chrome Web Store on Tuesday, July 14. Current users of the extension shouldn’t lose functionality, the extension’s developer Sean Anderson told me, as he intends to keep the Streamus database running.  

Even if Streamus does stop working, have no fear—there are a number of alternatives for getting your streaming fix on.

What happened to Streamus?

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How to add virtual desktops to your PC without upgrading to Windows 10

For years, both Mac and Linux users have taken advantage of virtual desktops that let you create multiple desktop work spaces on your PC. Finally, Microsoft is getting into the game by adding this feature into Windows 10. But the truth is, Windows has supported this capability for some time—Microsoft just never enabled it by default. So how do you get multiple desktops? All it takes is a small download from a Microsoft site.

There are many reasons you might want to use multiple desktops on a single computer. If you don’t have a multi-monitor set-up, for example, you can use multiple desktops to keep organized. You could have one desktop set-up with productivity apps, and a second with entertainment such as a music player. You may even prefer to have your email open on its own desktop to stop yourself from reacting to every message that hits your inbox.

How to go multi-desktop

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Two tools that help you stop over-using words in your documents

I go through phases with my writing. Sometimes I feel like every second sentence needs to start with “but,” then I start using “however,” which becomes “nevertheless,” and on and on it goes until the bad habit stops.

For times like those, it’s handy to use a word frequency tool to understand how often I’m using problem words. Here are two ways to get that done. One is easy and the other is a little advanced.

Web app solution

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