Not sure you want to buy a Chromebook this fall? Try out Chrome OS in Windows first

With the back-to-school season gearing up, PC shoppers are going to have a lot of choices in front of them: hybrids, convertibles, Windows tablets, and Chromebooks. Although they've been around for several years, Chrome OS-powered laptops have gained in popularity recently as they shed their browser-in-a-box, online-only reputation.

The offline capabilities of Chromebooks are pretty solid these days and the laptops themselves are getting ever-improving processing power.

If you're considering a Chromebook for school, whether a teacher or student, there's a lot to like, including a relatively low price and fast boot times.

Read more »


How to securely overwrite deleted files with a built-in Windows tool

Most Windows users know that when you delete a file on a PC, it isn't truly gone and can still be recovered. In fact, those deleted files are actually just sitting there on your hard drive until they are overwritten with new data.

To truly wipe data, users often turn to apps like CCleaner or Eraser that wipe free space for you. But Windows also has a built-in feature called Cipher that will overwrite deleted files for you and may even free up some extra disk space in the process.

Commanding Windows

Read more »


These 3 Chrome extensions make encryption easier for everyone

Thanks to the fallout from the revelations about the U.S. government's surveillance tactics, people are starting to take interest in using encryption tools for keeping email, files, and instant messaging private. Just recently, Yahoo said it would build encryption into Yahoo Mail and Google is doing something similar with Gmail.

The problem is that encryption is usually a task that only power users can handle. Email encryption, for example, has typically required a desktop email client. But who doesn't use webmail these days? That's a problem that Google and Yahoo aim to change. 

But they aren't the only ones. Lately, some easy-to-use encryption tools have popped up that are very well designed and don't require you to dramatically change your usage habits.

Read more »


Google Search: 5 of the most useful instant answers

There are many search tricks you can use to get the most out of Google, and one of my favorites is to use Google’s capability to deliver instant answers. These answers appear in a special box at the top of the search results page and are often all you need for basic questions.

The thing about Google’s instant answers is that you often have to formulate your search in a certain way to get the answers you’re looking for.

You can use these searches to get find your IP address, track flights, find out when the sun will rise tomorrow, and do unit conversions.

Read more »


Swap files between Windows and Android in 2 clicks with Pushbullet

There are many ways to get files from your PC to a mobile Android device. One of our favorite methods around here is the super useful AirDroid for Android. But a recent feature from the free app Pushbullet for Android and iOS recently caught our attention.

Pushbullet makes it ridiculously simple to transfer files from one device to another with just a few clicks. The connection between your devices is always present, meaning you don't have to reconnect every time you want to swap a picture.

I wouldn't call Pushbullet a replacement or even a competitor to AirDroid though, because the two apps don't work the same way.

Read more »


Monitor multiple time zones from your desktop with the Windows clock

Windows has so many handy little features hidden all over the place, you can often forget they're there and until someone reminds you. Here's a reminder. 

Since I work overseas, I have to keep track of several times zones so that I know when my editors will be online and when would be a good time to call my family. One way to do this is just by doing the math in your head or typing "time [city name]" into Google.

But if you want this information at hand for a quick glance, Windows has a built-in solution.

Read more »


Drop the Dropbox icon, and other notification area tweaks

Of all the locations on the desktop, how often do we pay attention to the lower right corner also known as the system tray/notification area? Unless we get a pop-up notification or want to check the time, probably not much.

But maybe you’d pay a little more attention to what you’ve got going on there by tweaking and customizing it a little.

Here’s how.

Read more »