How to remove Live Tiles from the Windows 10 Start menu

An easy way to divide a room of Windows 10 fans is to start debating the merits of the tiles section in the new Start menu. Some people love it, others don’t. Personally, I think Live Tiles on a PC can be helpful for quick hits of information like the weather, news headlines, and stock prices.

That said, lately I’ve been playing around with a tiles-free version of the Start menu. It’s very minimalist and forces me to make some hard choices about what I put on the taskbar. That’s because when you give up the Live Tiles section, you have almost zero control over the rest of the Start menu. Nevertheless, right now I’m finding it useful and you might too.

It’s that easy

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How to fix iTunes update headaches on Windows

I really wish I could quit iTunes. It’s such a big, bloaty monstrosity. But if you have Apple devices in the house, it’s an essential piece of software. Just the other day I needed to do a factory reset on an Apple TV that required the program.

What’s even more aggravating than iTunes itself is when the program won’t update. That’s a problem I’ve run into a few times lately. If you’ve ever seen an error when downloading iTunes on a Windows machine here are some ways you can try to fix it.

First things first

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Banish Netflix's 'Continue watching' pop-up with Flix Assist

Netflix loves to serve its binge-watching customers who view a whole season of House of Cards or Daredevil in a matter of days. But Netflix knows how to annoy us bingers, too. The worst is when the streaming service pauses your show every few episodes to ask if you’re still watching.

First-world problem? Definitely. Something you’d rather not have to deal with? Absolutely.

A new Chrome extension called Flix Assist aims to solve the ‘continue watching’ problem and get rid of that 30-second countdown between episodes.

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How to copy windows that weren't meant to be copied with Textify

One of the great things about computers is they make it so easy to copy information. That’s why there’s nothing more infuriating than encountering a situation where you can’t copy what you need. Windows error pop-ups are a perfect example. Not only do they have inscrutable codes that are meaningless without a Google search, you often can’t copy them.

Before you bother to take a screenshot or, heaven forbid, write down the error code with pen and paper, try out Textify. This free program for Windows is an easy-to-use utility that lets you copy text from areas on your display that weren’t designed with copying in mind.

textify

Textify’s dead-simple interface.

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How to uncover Windows 10's hidden 'Applications' view in File Explorer

Say what you will about Windows 8, but the operating system's All apps screen was handy for quickly viewing all your installed programs. On Windows 10, you can scroll through the Start menu, but that isn't the same thing.

The Windows 10 full-screen Start doesn't help either since you still end up scrolling through the same single-column list just at a larger scale. Besides, who wants to use the full-screen Start full-time on a PC?

An easier option is to uncover Windows 10's all-applications view in File Explorer. Using a simple command, you can get a listing in File Explorer showing all your installed programs.

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How to keep charging your USB devices past your PC's bedtime

There was a time when the only device I needed to charge via my PC's USB ports was an iPod—later replaced by a smartphone. Now, I've got portable routers, an activity tracker, a mini Bluetooth speaker, and any number of other little gadgets that can suck juice straight out of my PCs USB ports.

It's probably the same situation for most people these days. The only problem is that if your PC goes to sleep, your charging capability often does too. One solution is to tell your computer to never go to sleep so your devices can continue charging, but that will waste a heck of a lot of power. A better solution is to make one tweak in your PC's settings to ensure that your charge-friendly USB ports are still supplying power when your PC goes to sleep.

Before you change anything, however, you should verify that your USB ports don't supply power when the computer is asleep. You may find that several USB ports—typically colored yellow—already do this, and even supply power when the computer is completely shut down. 

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How Cortana in Edge can help you find context for images

Microsoft recently added a neat trick to Cortana integration in Microsoft Edge. Now you can use Microsoft’s digital assistant to get added context for images and not just text. When we first took a look at Edge we explained that if you were watching Pixar’s Ratatouille, for example, you could highlight the title and have Cortana tell you what ratatouille actually is. Now, you can do something similar with images.

Before you can take action, however, you need to make sure Cortana is activated in Edge. (For the purposes of this article we’ll assume you previously activated Cortana in the Windows 10 taskbar since Edge integration won’t work without it. If you need to turn on Cortana for the entire system check out Microsoft’s help pages.)

Open Edge and then click on the three horizontal dots in the upper-right corner and select Settings from the drop-down menu. On the next screen, scroll down to the bottom and click View advanced settings. Then, under Privacy and services make sure Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge is on.

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