Can't find a Windows 10 feature? Ask Cortana for help

Coming to Windows 10 from Windows 7 can be quite a shock to the system. Even though I’d argue that Windows 10 is a better experience overall, it can be difficult at first to confront Windows Store apps and the slow demise of the Control Panel. Not to mention that Microsoft has moved features and settings around a bit, requiring you to relearn where all the “furniture” is even if you’re coming from the relatively recent Windows 8.1.

So what’s a new Windows 10 convert to do, short of reading tutorials on PCWorld and searching endlessly for solutions on Google?

Ask Cortana, of course.

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How to play DVDs in Windows 10 for free

Windows 10 brings a lot of good stuff to the table, but it also takes away some key functionality that Windows 7 users might miss. In Windows 10, you have to say goodbye to Windows Media Center and with it, the ability to play DVDs natively. Microsoft said in May it would have a native solution for DVD playback to make up for those who lost it.

Originally this app was supposed to show up later in the year, but Microsoft’s solution is already available. In my tests, however, the app doesn’t work perfectly. Luckily, there are other options.

Windows DVD Player

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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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