TheITBros http://theitbros.com We Know So You Don't Have To Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:33:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five Tools for Defragmenting Your Hard Drive http://theitbros.com/five-tools-for-defragmenting-your-hard-drive/ http://theitbros.com/five-tools-for-defragmenting-your-hard-drive/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:33:45 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9307 defrag

If you want to defragment your hard drive, Windows has you covered. Microsoft’s operating system has been offering defragmentation tools for quite some now. That being said, there are plenty of third-party tools which offer features not found in the standard Windows package. In this post we take a quick look at some of these […]

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defrag

If you want to defragment your hard drive, Windows has you covered. Microsoft’s operating system has been offering defragmentation tools for quite some now. That being said, there are plenty of third-party tools which offer features not found in the standard Windows package. In this post we take a quick look at some of these programs.

1. Ashampoo Magical Defrag

Ashampoo Magical Defrag can be used to perform a thorough analysis of your PC’s hard disks, as well as automated defragmentation. A great thing about this tool, which sets it apart from others, is that it is SSD aware – something which can prove to be really important, since defragmentation is not good for an SSD.

Another nice touch is the fact that the application comes with a screensaver showing a world map as a way to let you know of the defragmentation status.

Ashampoo Magical Defrag is available for $14.99. As usual, there is a free trial available if you want to test the software first.

2. PerfectDisk Professional

PerfectDisk Professional lets you perform defragmentation at boot time, but also following a pre-defined schedule or manually. Moreover, the tool allows you to prevent auto-optimization from happening during specific periods of time.

In addition to this, PerfectDisk displays your hard drive’s SMART ((Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology)) information and comes with a neat dashboard view bringing together everything you need to know about your hardware’s status, SMART information, alerts, and scheduled tasks.

You can download PerfectDisk Professional from their website for $29.99, but you can also use a free trial version first.

3. UltimateDefrag Freeware Edition

Another great third-party tool for defragmenting your hard drive is Ultimate Defrag Freeware Edition. What’s particularly great about is the fact that it lets you choose which type of defragmentation you want to perform. What this means is that you can defragment files only, you can perform a consolidated defragmentation, or you can defragment according to filename and folder name, volatility, or how recent the files and folders are.

4. WinUtilities Free Edition

Another great program which you cost you anything is WinUtilities Free Edition. What sets it apart from other similar applications is the fact it offers a whole range of tools and utilities in addition to the defragmenter. These include a disk cleaner, a registry cleaner, and an uninstaller, among others.

One thing to keep in mind is that, although the free version comes with all the basic features, you can get a lot more if you go for the paid version.

5. Defrag Professional Edition

Defrag Professional Edition features a built-in cluster inspector, as well as the option to optimize thin provisioning. Not only that, the tool also offers a built-in reporting machine.

You can get O&O Defrag Professional Edition for $29.95, but there’s also a free trial available should you want to test the application before you buy it.

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How to Hide Text Messages on the iPhone (Turn Off SMS Preview) http://theitbros.com/how-to-hide-text-messages-on-the-iphone-turn-off-sms-preview/ http://theitbros.com/how-to-hide-text-messages-on-the-iphone-turn-off-sms-preview/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:32:41 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9225 iphone-6

If you’re the owner of an Apple iPhone you definitely know about this feature called SMS Text Preview, which shown the name of the sender together with a preview of the message itself on the main screen whenever you receive a new message. While this can be useful feature if you want to be able […]

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iphone-6

If you’re the owner of an Apple iPhone you definitely know about this feature called SMS Text Preview, which shown the name of the sender together with a preview of the message itself on the main screen whenever you receive a new message.

While this can be useful feature if you want to be able to quickly see who the message is from and what it’s about, it probably isn’t something you want if you’re not the only one who has access to your phone. For instance, you might work in an office where you tend to leave the device lying around where anyone can look at the screen.

Needless to say, even if you trust the people around you, this can be a bit of an annoyance if you care about your privacy. After all, anybody within a few feet could see who the sender is and what they’re saying by just glancing toward your phone, even accidentally! Thankfully, there are ways to disable SMS Preview, as we are about to show you.

The first thing you could do to keep your messages private is to set a passcode lock. To do that, go to Settings, then General, and then tap Passcode Lock. If you don’t already have a passcode set up, you will be asked to do so.

After confirming the passcode, you will see a series of options, which include “Show SMS Preview”. Set it to off and don’t forget to change the Require Passcode time to whatever value you think is best.

This works really well, except it generates another minor inconvenience: you’ll have to enter the passcode every time you want to use the phone. You could always set a really long idle time (the time your phone has to be idle before you’ll have to enter the passcode), something like 30 minutes or an hour – however this sort of defeats the purpose of taking such a precaution – someone could easily see you message during that hour your phone remains on.

You can also turn off the text message preview on the iOS lockscreen completely by following these simple steps:

Go to Settings, tap on Notification Center, and then on Messages. There you will find these options: “Show on Lock Screen” and “Show Preview“. Switch both of them to OFF. It’s really that simple!

We hope you can now feel a bit more safe about leaving your phone around where people could see it, secure in the knowledge that, even if someone sends you a message you don’t want anyone else knowing about, there’s no chance of prying eyes “casually” (or even intentionally) breaching your privacy.

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How to Save Money When Building Your Own PC http://theitbros.com/how-to-save-money-when-building-your-own-pc/ http://theitbros.com/how-to-save-money-when-building-your-own-pc/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:32:24 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9274 pc

If you’re on a budget and you want to get the best computer you can possibly can, the most cost-efficient thing you can do is to try and build it yourself. It’s a lot simpler than you think and, when you draw the line, the extra effort is definitely worth it. In this post we […]

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pc

If you’re on a budget and you want to get the best computer you can possibly can, the most cost-efficient thing you can do is to try and build it yourself. It’s a lot simpler than you think and, when you draw the line, the extra effort is definitely worth it. In this post we will guide you through the process, starting with:

1. How to pick the right parts

The first thing you do when attempting to cook a new dish is look for the right ingredients. Building a computer is basically the same, only in this case the ingredients are the hardware components, so you’ll spend a lot of time researching not only which components are the best for the money you have, but also how well those components work together.

Buying a really expensive processor won’t be of too much help if you’re motherboard or graphics card aren’t of the same caliber. Also, learn which components are worth spending a premium on, since it’s not always the case that paying extra will get you better results.

Sometimes you can find something cheaper which works just as well as its more expensive counterpart. For example, you don’t really need to buy one of Intel’s cutting-edge Haswell processors if you don’t have the budget for it – the previous generation of Ivy Bridge processors will easily do.

The main thing to take away from this is the fact that you have to choose the parts you’re interested in first, see which ones work well together, and then shop around looking for the right price. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap, but don’t pay extra for something just because it’s more expensive, either!

2. Consider the future

Nobody really knows how technology is going to evolve in the future, but thing is for certain: it’s going to evolve fast! Even if you buy top-of-the-line components, you can be sure they will become obsolete incredibly quickly (or, at least, something will come along that will knock them off the spot fairly soon). So it’s important to always think ahead when buying computer hardware.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy the most expensive parts you can find – things are a little more subtle than that! What you actually have to do is get something which you know will be compatible with future technologies, so any upgrades you’ll be making will integrate seamlessly into your build.

If, for instance, you think you’ll be getting an SSD device in the not-too-distant future, buy a motherboard which supports SATA 6GB/s. Or if you think you plan on adding a second graphics card, see to it that you have enough PCI slots, as well as a motherboard which supports SLI and Crossfire, and an adequate power supply.

3. Be careful where you get your hardware

Now that you’ve chosen the build you want, it’s time to go online and shop around for the components. At this point you’d be tempted to just go on Newegg or Amazon and be done with it, but this won’t actually get you the best possible price.

A better tactic is to go on these websites, read some reviews and get a general idea of what the prices are. Then, you can use a price matching tool like PCPartPicker or trusty old Google to find the best deal you can get.

4. It’s OK to buy used parts, but be smart about it

If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can buy used parts online for at least part of your build. But don’t just go anywhere online looking for them!

Sites like Craigslist aren’t particularly trustworthy in this case, so head over to hardware-oriented websites like Hard Forum, the Overclock.net Marketplace, AnandTech’s classifieds, or even /r/hardwareswap on Reddit. If you choose to go down this path, look for the seller’s “reputation” indicator, and if they usually get positive feedback, it’s probably safe to buy from them.

5. Cut costs with price matching and store pickup

If you’re buying new components and have found the ones you want on multiple websites, don’t just buy all of them from their respective stores! Everything you’ve gained by shopping around you will lose in shipping costs.

Instead, save some money by taking advantage of price matching. NCIX, for instance, will usually match their competitor’s prices if you simply send them a link to the store’s page for that particular component.

Also, retailers like Amazon, NCIX, and Newegg sometimes have stores or warehouses nearby and will allow you to pick up items without paying shipping.

6. Watch for coupons, open box items, and combo deals

If you’re not really in a hurry, waiting a month or two can also help you save some money. For one thing, this gives you more time to monitor prices, making sure you get the best possible deal. But you can also keep an eye out for coupons and special offers. Newegg and Amazon frequently offer combo deals, meaning you get a discount when you buy two or more specific parts together.

Also look for open box items, which are parts that have been opened but never used (by people who bought something and then changed their mind and returned it). These items are a lot cheaper than new ones, and if you eliminate the risk by making sure you can return them yourself if they’re broken, they can save you quite a lot of money!

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10 Common Computer Myths You Should Stop Believing http://theitbros.com/10-common-computer-myths-you-should-stop-believing/ http://theitbros.com/10-common-computer-myths-you-should-stop-believing/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:11:06 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9293 computer

Computers have been a big part of our daily lives for decades now, yet despite of this (or maybe precisely because of it!) there are still lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding even the most basic aspects of their use. In this post we want to do a bit of clarifying, so we’ve put together […]

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computer

Computers have been a big part of our daily lives for decades now, yet despite of this (or maybe precisely because of it!) there are still lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding even the most basic aspects of their use.

In this post we want to do a bit of clarifying, so we’ve put together some of the most common misconceptions floating around and why you should stop believing them, starting with:

10. More is always better when it comes to performance

When you add more RAM, you reduce your system’s dependency on virtual memory, which will make it seem like it’s running faster. This isn’t always the case when you add extra cores, where quality trumps quantity every time. This means, for example, that a top-of-the-line quad-core processor will almost always be better than your average octo-core processor.

9. You need to defragment your drive often

One of the most common myths about computer maintenance holds that you have to defragment your hard drive from time to time to keep it running smoothly. This is simply not true.

Windows computers now come with a built-in defragmentation utility which runs in the background on a pre-determined schedule. Macs, on the other hand, have a file system (called OS X HFS+) which defragments files automatically in a process called Hot File Adaptive Clustering (or HFC).

Not only that, but most PCs nowadays come with SSD or flash storage which should NOT be defragmented, as that process is harmful to SSD.

8. Paid “cleaner” software improves performance

Paid cleaner programs usually advertise themselves as very useful software which will greatly improve your computer’s performance by doing things like cleaning registries, downloading driver updates, uninstalling programs you can’t manually install, and more. But in fact, not only is this software unnecessary, it sometimes is used to actually deliver the malware!

To be clear, registry entries are tiny pieces of software with no impact on your disk space or system performance. You don’t need a special program to download and install driver updates, which is something fairly straightforward to do on your own.

Same with paid uninstallers – if you can’t uninstall a program completely the usual way, the files left behind are simply registry entries which shouldn’t be of any concern to you.

7. You don’t need antivirus software

This mistaken belief is especially common with Mac users. And yes, for a long time the Apple were relatively virus-free, however the reason for that is simply because Windows was far more dominant on the market at it was more profitable to focus on computers running Microsoft’s OS. This is no longer the case, so Mac users have to start thinking about their system’s security as well.

You could also think you’re safe from viruses because you don’t do anything online that’s potentially risky, like download stuff via torrents or visit shady websites. However the truth is, you’re never completely safe while online, so no matter how careful you think you are, you’re not doing enough if you don’t also have a good antivirus program installed.

6. Viruses and spyware are slowing down your computer

One of the first things you are told to do when you notice your computer has started slowing down is check for malware (viruses, spyware etc.). While this might have been the case in the past, the way things currently stand it’s actually counterproductive for malware creators to tip you off in any way that the malicious software has infected your system – so if your computer has been compromised, it’s unlikely you’ll notice.

In fact, when your computer runs slower, it’s probably too many programs, plugins, or add-ons running, or lack of disk space.

5. Regularly turning your computer on and off is bad, or not turning your computer off at night is bad

In this case, there isn’t a clear cut answer – it ultimately depends on your preferences, but there’s nothing actually bad about turning your computer on and off regularly, or leaving it on at night.

It is, however, a good idea to turn your PC off from time to time, as it not only saves power but also helps prolong the life of its components.

4. A particular web browser is better at protecting you from threats than the others

When it comes to protecting you from various online threats, no one browser is better than the others. Security has almost nothing to do with which program you use to surf the net, so your choice of Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer won’t make any difference. The best protection from malware is a good antivirus program, so focus on that!

3. Deleting files makes them disappear and to be extra certain of that, use a magnet

When you delete a file, it might no longer be accessible to you, but it’s not actually disappeared from the hard drive. Deleting data merely means the space they used to occupy is available, so until something new is recorded in their place, those files can still be recovered.

According to another common myth, you can permanently erase a hard drive using a magnet. While this might have worked in the days of the floppy disk, modern hard disks and flash storage devices are largely unaffected by magnets. To permanently get rid of your data, you could either use a special program designed make multiple passes on your hard drive, or simply drill a dozen or so holes into the thing.

2. Macs are better than PCs, or Macs are overhyped and overpriced

First of all, the entire argument is a bit pointless, since Macs are also PC, only they run OS X instead of Windows of Linux. But people to gather behind Windows or Mac like they do behind sports teams, so the passion is somewhat understandable.

The truth is, it’s really difficult to say which computer is better – it ultimately depends on the needs and tastes of the user, which is impossible to estimate objectively. However when it comes to prices, a quick look to the high-end devices on both sides shows that the difference is either not that big, or non-existent.

1. Building your own PC is a good way to save money

This was definitely true in the past, when there weren’t so many options available to consumers. And it can also be true today, if you know what you’re doing and you want to build a high-end machine. But for most users, buying a pre-built model is the way to go, even if you’re on a budget.

 

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5 Bad iPhone Habits http://theitbros.com/5-bad-iphone-habits/ http://theitbros.com/5-bad-iphone-habits/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:14:26 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9273 iphone-6

We all pick up bad habits in life, especially when it comes to using software and technology, which we learn to use on our own, most of the time without proper guidance. These habits can be difficult to shake, particularly when you don’t even know they’re harmful in the first place! Luckily, we’re here to […]

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iphone-6

We all pick up bad habits in life, especially when it comes to using software and technology, which we learn to use on our own, most of the time without proper guidance. These habits can be difficult to shake, particularly when you don’t even know they’re harmful in the first place!

Luckily, we’re here to help, so here is a list of the most common iPhone related bad habits and how you should change them:

1. Using your phone without a password

If you’re a typical smartphone user, it’s safe to assume that almost all the services you utilize can be easily accessed from your device. And while this can be very convenient for you, it becomes a huge problem if your phone is lost or stolen.

Someone with malicious intent having access to your email address, social media accounts, and PayPal is definitely not a scenario you want to imagine, let alone experience!

Thankfully, there’s something you can do which can give you a little bit of peace of mind, and that’s setting up a passcode for your device.

Starting with iOS 9, the passcode can be six digits long, which means there are now one million possible combinations, a huge increase from the 10,000 you could have previously. This makes guessing the code or brute force hacking a lot more difficult.

You can also go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode and set Simple Passcode to Off to enable you to set up an alphanumeric passscode, for an even higher level of security.

2. Searching through folders for apps

Folders are a great way to organize your apps, but don’t expect them to be much helpful when you’re actually trying to find something.

For that, you should use the iPhone’s built-in search feature instead. To access it all you have to do is pull down on the home screen (which contains your list of apps) and type in your query.

It’s as simple as that! Also, to make the feature even more helpful, you can put applications at the top of your search results (and deselect results you want to omit) by going to Settings -> General -> Spotlight Search.

3. Emailing yourself reminders

Sending emails to your own address is an easy way to send yourself a reminder – after all, you probably check your email all the time, so there’s little chance of it going unobserved. Nevertheless, this isn’t exactly the optimal way of going about things: the message can get lost among other emails, or you could forget about it after you read it the first time.

This is why you should use an organization tool which is designed precisely for that purpose, something like Evernote or even the iPhone’s own Notes app.

Not only will these tools allow you to take notes and organize them, you can also set them up to provide you with reminders, so your tasks and messages won’t get lost in your hectic schedule.

4. Allowing too many notifications

Push notifications are a great way of keeping up with everything you need to know about your phone, but this can quickly turn into a case of “too much as anything is bad for you.”

When you receive too many notifications, you tend to become somewhat insensitive to them, and you could miss something important just because you’ve become used to being notified about a lot of useless things.

Thankfully, you can set what notifications you receive and how you receive them by going to Settings -> Notifications. Consider carefully what you want to be notified about, and don’t forget to do the same in the future when a new app asks for your permission to do that.

5. Swiping up to kill apps

One of the most common mistakes iOS users make when using their smartphones or tablets is swiping up to kill apps. When you minimize and app by pressing the home button, that particular process doesn’t just go on in the background indefinitely, instead iOS puts a stop to if after 10 minutes. Exceptions to this include apps with access to GPS information, VoIP apps, and music playback apps.

This means that programs with access to GPS information can stay open indefinitely, and some take advantage of this to remain open in the background more than you’d want them to.

Dropbox, for example, uses location data to keep the app active and continue uploading images from the Camera Roll in the background, something which can drain your battery quicker than normal. If you find it doing that, you can revoke its access by going to Settings, then Privacy, and finally Location Services.

The task switcher isn’t a list of currently running programs, but more of a tool which lets you quickly access programs you’ve been using recently.

And while you could use it to kill unresponsive processes or GPS apps (in order to prevent them from trying to stay active once you no longer need them), you’re probably doing more harm than good by removing the ability to pick up where you left off and restart whichever apps you were in.

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What You Should Know About The Latest OS X Vulnerability http://theitbros.com/what-you-should-know-about-the-latest-os-x-vulnerability/ http://theitbros.com/what-you-should-know-about-the-latest-os-x-vulnerability/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:41:01 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9264 Mac-OSX

The latest version of OS X comes with a new bug which can be exploited by hackers, enabling them to install all sorts of malware on your Mac, even without knowing your password. The bug is caused by a new OS X feature that logs errors, something which was recently revealed to be quite vulnerable […]

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Mac-OSX

The latest version of OS X comes with a new bug which can be exploited by hackers, enabling them to install all sorts of malware on your Mac, even without knowing your password.

The bug is caused by a new OS X feature that logs errors, something which was recently revealed to be quite vulnerable to hackers, enabling them to create files with root privileges anywhere on OS X.

In a recent blog post, anti-malware company Malwarebytes described the problem, stating that it is related to the sudoers file, which “is a hidden Unix file that determines, among other things, who is allowed to get root permissions in a Unix shell, and how.”

Moreover, as the author explained, this modification “allowed the app to gain root permissions via a Unix shell without needing a password.”

Since the bug is on the current version of OS X (10.10.4), a lot of users might be at risk. On the other hand, the bug is not in a beta release of 10.11, suggesting that Apple knew about the problem and are working on a solution.

So what exactly is this malware and how does it work?

The malicious software has been named DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE due to the fact that it is an exploit of the infected command, and it is capable of issuing commands and controlling the passwords needed to issue those commands.

This ability means vulnerable Macs can become an access point for adware, something hackers can easily implement taking advantage of this bug. This vulnerability has already been patched in both the OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta, as well as in the OS X 10.10.5 beta, however he former will not be released until sometime this fall.

This is how the infecting command looks in the user’s subdoers file:


echo ‘echo “$(whoami) ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL” >&3′ | DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE=/etc/sudoers newgrp; sudo –s

Since the issue has made some waves in the IT community, Apple quickly moved to revoke the malware’s certificate. What this means is that Gatekeeper (which is Apple’s service responsible for blocking untrusted programs) will prevent it from launching.

The company is also working on updates to OS X’s anti-malware definitions, so that the malware will be rejected in the future as soon as any external installation attempts are made.

Gatekeeper is a very important player in situations such as this one due to its ability to revoke certificates. This makes using a Mac computer safer while Apple works behind the scenes on a patch to fix the bug.

With the expected release of OS X El Capitan, System Integrity Prospection will become the newest certificate protection component, and will do even more to limit potential threats.

Also, Apple is encouraging customers to use the Mac Apple Store as the only source for apps, since every app there is thoroughly checked for any viruses or vulnerabilities before being released.

How will this vulnerability affect you?

Though it has the potential to cause you some problems if you’re running OS X 10.10.4, DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE isn’t quite as serious as you might fear.

Due to the fact that Apple promptly removed the malware’s certificate, a lot of its ability to do harm has been taken away, though we’ll have to wait for a patch to see the problem go away entirely.

So even though there’s no reason to panic, you should still be wary of downloading software from sites you don’t trust or email. This should be something you do anyway, at all time – which will ensure that neither this, nor the next malware creeping around the internet won’t cause you any trouble.

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Windows 10 New Useful Apps http://theitbros.com/windows-10-new-useful-apps/ http://theitbros.com/windows-10-new-useful-apps/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:27:51 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9206 windows10

You’ve probably heard a lot about Microsoft’s new operating system: Windows 10. In fact, you’ve probably heard so much that you don’t know exactly what to make of it, and if it will actually be of any use to you. To help you with this, here is a list of some of the most interesting […]

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windows10

You’ve probably heard a lot about Microsoft’s new operating system: Windows 10. In fact, you’ve probably heard so much that you don’t know exactly what to make of it, and if it will actually be of any use to you.

To help you with this, here is a list of some of the most interesting and helpful new features Microsoft’s latest big release comes with.

Calendar

calendar

The Calendar app is one of the tools which have seen quite a bit of improvement in Windows 10. This elegant app can easily serve as an alternative to whichever tool of this kind you’re using right now.

Probably the most significant change you’ll notice is the addition of support for Google calendar. This means that now you will be able to import your events just as easily as you would have through a calendar created in Outlook.

Not only that, but the new app also offers a great deal of information without ever making you feel it’s too much. In other words, you get lots of useful data, and none of the clutter sometimes associated with tools of this kind.

Cortana

cortana

When it comes to the new features and capabilities of Windows 10, Cortana is the star of the show. The virtual assistant is fast becoming a staple of cutting-edge smartphones, so naturally Microsoft would want to implement something of this kind in its latest operating system.

While talking to your phone is something you can get used to (after all, that what they’re made for!), talking to your PC might seem a bit strange at first. Luckily, Cortana works really well as far as these kinds of programs go, so you’ll quickly find it is something worth using.

To grab Cortana’s attention, you can either click on the icon in her search bar or the Taskbar, use the shortcuts Windows Key + S or Windows Key + Q, or enable a voice command such as “hey, Cortana!”, which is set as default. After you do that, you can offer instructions or asks questions.

You can use Cortana to quickly and easily perform tasks like sending emails or setting events in your calendar, which make this one of the best new tools Windows 10 has to offer.

Action Center

action-center

The Action Center offers quick access to your notifications in Windows 10. To open it, simply click the notification icon you will find on the bottom-right of your Taskbar, or press Windows Key + A. If you have a touch screen, you can just swipe in from the right.

Thanks to the existence of the Action Center, you will no longer miss important notifications, something which might have caused some problems in earlier versions of Microsoft’s operating system.

Not only that, but this tool also provides users with links to a variety of commonly used areas of the Settings app. To customize what Quick Actions you will see on the Action Center, go to Settings -> System -> Notifications and Actions.

Task View

task-view

The Task Views is a new feature introduced in Windows 10 which offers users a new way of implementing, as well as organizing virtual desktops. To access Task View, you can either use the icon located to the right of the Cortana search bar, or by pressing Windows Key + Tab. If you have a touch screen, you can simply swipe from the left.

After opening Task View, you’ll see all the windows you have open at that moment (similar, in a way, to the Alt + Tab command). If you then click New Desktop (which you can find in the bottom-right corner), you get a fresh new Desktop which you can then use for a totally different set of tasks.

This can be very convenient if you use your computer to perform multiple tasks. When, for example, you’re working on a project and you have a few programs and applications open, it can get a bit annoying to navigate between all of them plus a game or a video player.

Thanks to this feature however, you can separate these things completely! To make things even more flexible, you can also drag and drop applications from one Desktop to the other, or you can right-click a certain process and choose to open it in a new Desktop on its own.

The shortcuts for using multiple desktops are as follows: Windows Key + Ctrl + D to add a new desktop; Windows Key + Ctrl + Left/Right to navigate through the desktops you already have open; Windows Key + Tab will launch Task View.

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Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10’s Privacy Issues http://theitbros.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-windows-10s-privacy-issues/ http://theitbros.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-windows-10s-privacy-issues/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 08:43:06 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9256 win10_windows_startscreen-5

Privacy seems more important today than it ever was, so naturally a big release like Windows 10 will get a lot of scrutiny in that department. Microsoft’s latest operating system generally viewed favorably and has been a huge success commercially, but what is using it like in terms of privacy? Read on to find out […]

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Privacy seems more important today than it ever was, so naturally a big release like Windows 10 will get a lot of scrutiny in that department.

Microsoft’s latest operating system generally viewed favorably and has been a huge success commercially, but what is using it like in terms of privacy? Read on to find out about the most common complaints: is there any truth to them and what can you do about it if there is?

Windows 10 is stealing your bandwidth

One claim people have been making is that Windows 10 “borrows” (some would say “steals”) part of your internet bandwidth, something it does to deliver updates quicker and more efficiently. Outrageous as this may sound, this is actually true, and is a “feature” that’s enabled by default!

The operating system actually uses cutting edge peer-to-peer technology to allow your computer to share updates with other machines on its network, and quite possibly with any other computer on the planet.

And while this isn’t exactly like Microsoft is taking your bandwidth and using it for its own purposes, it still has the potential to slow down your computer while you’re browsing the internet.

Thankfully, there is a way to disable this. Go to Start, then Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update -> Advanced Options. Once there, look for the “Choose how updates are delivered” option, and simply set the “Updates from more than one place” setting to Off.

Your browser history, favorites, and even passwords are synced with Microsoft’s servers

This feature isn’t something new, in fact this has been part of the package ever since Windows 8. The thing is, this synchronization isn’t automatic. In order for it to occur, you will have to sign in with your Microsoft Account and choose Express Settings when you set up the operating system for the first time.

Even if you clicked Express Settings without knowing what effects it will have, you can fairly easily reverse these features by going to Start, then Settings -> Accounts -> Sync your Settings, and once there selecting the features you wish to enable.

If you don’t want anything to do with this feature, you could simply use a local account. To do this, go to Start, then Settings -> Accounts -> Your account -> Sign in with a local account instead, and once there follow the instructions to complete the process.

Wi-Fi Sense is automatically sharing your password

Of all the rumors regarding the operating system’s privacy issues, this one is the farthest from the truth. Here’s why:

First of all, this is an opt-in feature, which means you have to actually enable it for it to work. Furthermore, even after you turn it on, it never actually shares your password. What this feature actually does is it allows you to choose whether you share Wi-Fi login information with your contacts when you log in to any network.

Also, you can select the people you share this data with, so it’s not like everybody in your address book knows about it. And finally, even those with whom you share this information won’t actually see your password, they will simply get logged on to the network automatically.

Advertisers will know all about you

You know what they say, if a service is free, than you’re the product! On the internet, what companies that offer free software are usually interested in is information about you so that you can be better targeted by ads. And since Windows 10 is free, that’s what must be happening in this case, too.

However this isn’t actually the case. Sure, Windows 10 does generate a unique advertising ID for each user and on each device, but this also used to be the case with Windows 8. And after all, all this does is it allows app developers, ad networks, Microsoft, and others to send you targeted ads – basically like the entire internet!

While this is enabled by default, it can be easily switched off. Go to Start, then Settings -> Privacy -> General, and disable the “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps” option.

If you really dislike advertising, go to the “Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalized info” option you can see at the bottom of the screen. You will be directed to a web page which allows you to opt out of both personalized ads in the browser, as well as personalized ads, wherever you might be using your Microsoft Account.

Cortana is spying on you

According to the terms of use, Cortana can gather all sorts of information about you, from your device location, to data from your calendar, to the music you listen to or even your alarm settings.

As your personal assistant, you’d expect Cortana to want to know some information about you. But ultimately it’s a question of what’s more valuable to you: your privacy or the convenience of having a program which can help you organize or find answers to various questions.

By default, the service is disabled and will only search the web and your system for information you’ve requested. However Cortana won’t respond to any voice commands until you enable it.

Big tech companies aren’t exactly known as champions of privacy and almost every one of their new releases gets immediately criticized for problems in this area – so it’s no surprise Microsoft’s latest operating system is getting its fair share of flak on this issue.

What do you think about the criticism? Do you think it’s fair, or are Microsoft’s practices reasonable in the current privacy climate? Let us know in the comments!

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Common Windows 10 Upgrade Errors http://theitbros.com/common-windows-10-upgrade-errors/ http://theitbros.com/common-windows-10-upgrade-errors/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:07:03 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9204 windows10

Microsoft has rolled out Windows 10 on July 29, and ever since then millions of people from around the world have made the upgrade to the software giant’s latest (and perhaps last) operating system. Inevitably, however, a release on such a massive scale can’t go through without a hitch, so many people have reported a […]

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windows10

Microsoft has rolled out Windows 10 on July 29, and ever since then millions of people from around the world have made the upgrade to the software giant’s latest (and perhaps last) operating system.

Inevitably, however, a release on such a massive scale can’t go through without a hitch, so many people have reported a variety of errors and bugs while going through this process – despite Microsoft’s best efforts to smoothen things out.

None of these problems are insurmountable, however, and the following post will guide you through dealing with them.

How to fix error message 80240020

Although Windows 10 wasn’t intended for everybody all at once (instead the release was supposed to be a gradual one), many people found a way around this and attempted to force the free upgrade on their computers.

However, after Windows Update is done downloading the necessary files, many of these users encountered the error 82040020 message.

Note that this isn’t actually a problem and there’s nothing wrong with the installation file – you just have to be patient until Windows 10 is ready to install. If you don’t want to wait, there is something you can do to immediately install Windows 10, which is to modify a registry key.

Here is how to do that, but be advised: modifying registries can have all sorts of nasty consequences if you don’t know what you’re doing, so proceed with caution!

First of all, find the registry key Locate the registry key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade]

(If this key doesn’t exist, you will have to create it.)

Now, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value with Name = AllowOSUpgrade, and set the Value = 0x00000001.

After you’ve modified the registry, go back to the Control Panel and check for new updates. The process should now work just fine.

How to fix error message 0x80200056

If you got an error code 0x80200056, all it means is that the upgrade was interrupted by the computer rebooting or the user account signing out. To fix the issue, simply restart the process, and make sure whatever interruption there was in the first place doesn’t happen again.

How to fix error message 0x800F022

If there isn’t enough space on the System Reserved partition, you will get the error 0x800F022 message. To get around this, you will need to use a third-party software which increases the size of the System Reserved partition.

You can also get the same error if your system can’t connect to the Windows Update servers, so make sure Windows Update is enabled and you aren’t connected to a network using a VPN.

How to fix error message 0x800F0923

This particular error likely means that there’s a problem with a driver or another piece of software, which isn’t compatible with the Windows 10 upgrade. To see what went wrong, open the Get Windows 10 app, click Check your PC, and identify the software that’s having compatibility issues.

After identifying the problem, go to the manufacturer’s support website and download the latest drivers or software update. If you can’t find any, uninstall the software you are having trouble with.

How to resolve failure to upgrade to Windows 10

While upgrading your operating system, you might also encounter error messages like “Error: We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer.” or “Error: Failure configuring Windows Updates. Reverting changes.”

It could be difficult to figure out exactly what the issue is from such a vague message, so you’ll have to take a look at the exact error details to know more.

To find that information, go to Control Panel, then to All Control Panel Items\Windows Update\Windows update history. Once there, double-click the update with the “Failed” status to find additional details.

Once you have that, either look for the official Microsoft support instructions, or ask for help somewhere else on the internet.

How to fix compatibility issues

The error codes 0xC1900200 – 0x20008 and 0xC1900202 – 0x20008 tell you that your computer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements needed to download and install Windows 10.

You can get compatibility information for different pieces of hardware or software at the Windows Compatibility Center.

You should also know that error code 0xC1900208 – 0x4000C means a particular app on your PC is preventing the update process. The easiest way to deal with this is to uninstall the software and proceed with the update.

How to make room for the upgrade

Error messages 0x80070070 – 0x50011, 0x80070070 – 0x50012, and 0x80070070 – 0x60000 tell you that there isn’t enough disk space for the update to be completed. The way to solve issues like this one is pretty straightforward (you’ve probably done this before on other occasions): make more room!

You can perform a Disk Cleanup via the tool offered by Windows, or you can simply select some files and delete them or move to an external drive.

How to update Windows to avoid errors during the upgrade

If you get an error telling you “The update isn’t applicable to your computer,” it means you’re not running the required version of the operating system which allows the upgrade to take place. Windows 7 should have Service Pack 1, while Windows 8 should be running the Windows 8.1 version.

By the way, if you’re not sure which Windows version you have installed, go to Run, type Winver, and hit Enter to find out.

How to fix Windows 10 activation issues

Some users have reported getting the message “Windows not activated” after performing a clean install of Windows 10.

First of all, you should know that Microsoft recommends updating their operating system via the “Get Windows 10” app. If you prefer to do it “manually,” by downloading the installation files yourself, here’s what you need to know:

First of all, you’ll need to upgrade your current version of the OS using Windows Update (which involves converting your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key to a product key that will activate Windows 10).

Only then you should download the installation files from Microsoft and go through with the process.

You can also activate Windows 10 by phone: open the Settings app, go to Update and security, and select Activation. If your system can’t activate, you will see the Activate by phone option.

A few recommendations before upgrading

As always when performing a task on such a “scale,” it’s a good idea to back up your important files first. You can use either an external drive or a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. This way, if something goes terribly wrong during the upgrade process, the consequences won’t be as severe as if you’d lost files you really needed.

Write your Windows product key on a piece of paper. If you lose it, you might end up having to purchase a new license for Windows 10, so you definitely want to take the time to do this!

Disable or uninstall security software, like antivirus programs and firewalls. Also, disconnect all the peripherals that are connected to your PC.

Finally, make sure you have a good, stable internet connection, as well as a reliable power source.

Incoming search terms:

  • windows 10 errors

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How to Disable Bing in the Windows 10 Start Menu http://theitbros.com/how-to-disable-bing-in-the-windows-10-start-menu/ http://theitbros.com/how-to-disable-bing-in-the-windows-10-start-menu/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 18:58:12 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9167 search-bing

Windows 10 is finally here and it’s full of great new features, but also a few questionable ones. One of them which can be easily placed into the latter category is the fact that everything you search for in the Start Menu will be sent to Microsoft servers and return a result from Bing search. […]

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search-bing

Windows 10 is finally here and it’s full of great new features, but also a few questionable ones. One of them which can be easily placed into the latter category is the fact that everything you search for in the Start Menu will be sent to Microsoft servers and return a result from Bing search.

A rather aggressive way for the company to promote its search engine, and certainly not something many people will appreciate. Fortunately, there is a way to disable this feature, and in this post we’ll show you how to do it.

First of all, we know Android and iOS will also return search results through their servers in order to bring you the most relevant results, however while this might work on mobile devices, it’s an entirely different feeling when you’re using a PC, searching through your most private and personal files.

Note that, if you want to use Cortana, you’ll have to accept the fact that search is handled through Bing, so you can’t really have one without the other. To disable web integration, you’ll also have to deactivate Bing, so there’s a choice to make before even starting this whole process.

Bing is pretty easy to disable, so you won’t have to jump through many hoops to solve this issue. All you have to do is find the Cortana search settings screen, and that’s as easy as typing “Cortana settings” into the Start Menu and selecting the Cortana and Search Settings item which should appear shortly.

This brings up the settings dialog, which you should expect to look different if you’ve already disabled Cortana. If you want to disable Bing integration, you will have to also disable Cortana, so just flip the appropriate switch to Off.

After performing this step, you’ll see a change in the rest of the dialog and an option will appear for Search online and include web results. You’ll want to disable this too, as this is what actually disables Bing from the Start Menu.

That’s it! Now every time you search for something, the system will only go through your own computer. It even says “Search my stuff” instead of “search the web”.

Finally, you should also know that if you wish to disable the Search box from the Taskbar, you have to simply right-click it and select the Hidden option.

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Password Managers – What They’re Good For And How to Use Them http://theitbros.com/password-managers-what-theyre-good-for-and-how-to-use-them/ http://theitbros.com/password-managers-what-theyre-good-for-and-how-to-use-them/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 07:55:24 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9231 pwd

We all know the “right” way to create and use passwords, but very few of us actually follow the guidelines. It’s important to come up with passwords which are hard (if not impossible) to guess, using lots of characters of different kinds; also, once you have this strong password, you have to refrain from reusing […]

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pwd

We all know the “right” way to create and use passwords, but very few of us actually follow the guidelines. It’s important to come up with passwords which are hard (if not impossible) to guess, using lots of characters of different kinds; also, once you have this strong password, you have to refrain from reusing it on more than one account.

Needless to say, this is easier said than done! A password that’s difficult for someone else to guess is also difficult to remember, while using a different password for every website and service you use can make managing them all a real nightmare.

Thankfully, there’s a solution to this, and it’s called a password manager. This tool stores your password information from all the websites you’re registered on and allows you to log in to them automatically. Since they encrypt your entire password database with a single master password, there’s only one code that you need to actually remember.

First of all, it’s important to understand why it’s not a good idea to reuse passwords. No matter how big and seemingly secure a website is, there’s always the potential for hackers to obtain your user information.

It’s bad enough when this happens for one particular website, but these people can also then use your user ID, email address, and password for other websites as well, and can easily gain access to all of them if you reuse your password.

To mitigate the damage done in such cases, you should have a unique, strong password for every one of the websites you use. And to keep track of all of them, you should use a password manager! Here’s how this works:

What a password manager basically does is store the user information for all your online services. You just have to log in using a single master password and this tool will automatically fill the necessary information into the website’s fields: username, email address, and password. All you have to remember is the master password, everything else is taken care of!

Now, you might be thinking, “wait doesn’t my browser do something like that already?” Well, sort of. Popular browsers like Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox all store you account information, but the first two don’t encrypt it – anybody with access to your computer could easily find that information.

Firefox, on the other hand, does have a master password feature which allows you to store passwords in an encrypted format, however it lacks other features a password manager has, like the ability to generate random codes (which make for really strong passwords) and cross-platform syncing).

So what are some good password managers you could use? Two of them are particularly popular: LastPass and KeePass.

LastPass

lastpass

LastPass is a cloud-based password manager which features extensions, mobile apps, and desktop apps for every browser and operating system you could ask for.

It is not only very convenient and easy to use, but also extremely secure: the program stores your passwords on LastPass`s servers in encrypted form, however it then decrypts and encrypts the code locally whenever you log in. This means LastPass can never find out your information, even if they tried!

KeePass

keepass

KeePass is a great solution for those who are bit uneasy about storing their login information in the cloud. It is a free, open source, cross-platform and light-weight password manager which stores its database locally and gives you a great amount of control of your user experience.

Since it is open source, you can even have a look through the code and build your own plug ins, however this won’t be of much use to you unless you really know what you’re doing – if not, simply leave the coding to the professionals!

The most important thing when using a password manager is choosing the right master password – and then remembering it. Naturally, this has to be a strong password, so don’t use anything obvious like “012345” or your birthday, but instead put together a meaningless string of letters (both lower and upper case), numbers, and symbols.

You will of course have to remember this password, since if you lose it, you lose access to your saved passwords – but this should be a reasonable task now that there’s only one code you need to memorize. You might even want to write it down and put it somewhere safe, just in case you do forget.

It’s also worth noting that you can use password managers to safely store other kinds of data, like credit card numbers or various notes and messages.

And since password managers fill account information based on the web page’s URL, they can also be used to guard against phishing. If you’ve loaded a web page and the information doesn’t immediately get filled in, it’s possible you’ve landed on a phishing website and you should proceed with caution.

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How to Use Your Google Calendar in the Windows 10 Calendar App http://theitbros.com/how-to-use-your-google-calendar-in-the-windows-10-calendar-app/ http://theitbros.com/how-to-use-your-google-calendar-in-the-windows-10-calendar-app/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 07:21:57 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9223 windows-google-calendar

Though not entirely novel, the Calendar app has been heavily modified with the release of Windows 10, so much so that it appears as one of the operating system’s best new features. One of the great things about it is the fact that it works really well with a wide range of other apps, which […]

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windows-google-calendar

Though not entirely novel, the Calendar app has been heavily modified with the release of Windows 10, so much so that it appears as one of the operating system’s best new features. One of the great things about it is the fact that it works really well with a wide range of other apps, which greatly increases its usefulness.

In this post, we’re going to talk about syncing the Windows 10 Calendar app with Google Calendar, not only how to go about doing that, but also why you should definitely try it out.

Sync your account

First of all, what you need to do is sync your Google account information with the Windows 10 calendar app. In order to do this, go to the Start Menu, and click on the Calendar – which you’ll find in the top right corner. From there, look for the Settings icon, which you should see in the bottom-left corner of the app.

In the Settings menu click on Accounts and then select Add account. Here, you’ll get a prompt which allows you to choose from several different options: adding an Outlook.com account, linking your Office 365 Exchange, Google account, or iCloud. We’re going to look at what happens when you go with the Google account option.

The first thing you’ll see is the standard Google login page. Depending on your settings, you can either log in immediately or go through the two-step verification process to access your account.

Before you’re done with the sync process you’ll get an overview of Google permissions, which is a list of all the various apps and services Google needs access to if you are to use the account from your Windows 10 PC.

After you’ve gone through all that, you can begin customizing the Windows 10 Calendar to better suit your needs – which is what we will talking about next.

Configure your Calendar

After you’ve set up the Calendar app, you will definitely want to play around with the settings to make the most out of this valuable tool. The exact configurations available with, of course, depend on which service you’ve linked to the app (in other words, what you get with Outlook is different from what you get with Google).

To get to the Settings page, hit the small clockwork icon you see in the bottom-left corner of the Calendar app. Now enter Calendar Settings, where you will find the options that have been opened since the Google account was synced.

From there you can change a variety of settings, like which day the app considers to be the first of the week. You can also specify the hours during which you work during the day, so the Calendar doesn’t bother you with unnecessary notifications during your time off.

Modify sync settings

Finally, if you want to change the way Calendar communicates with Google’s servers when it comes to new appointments and notification updates, you can do all of that by going to Settings, and then to Accounts.

After opening the Gmail account, hit the Change mailbox settings button, and another menu will open. There, you will be able to choose the frequency with which Calendar pings its host account for updates (this can be every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on), but also whether or not full descriptions or messages will be downloaded each time something new is found.

You can also change where specifically the Calendar app connects to in order to get information from Google, however you probably shouldn’t be changing things around over there unless you have a special configuration on the server side.

Since you can add your Google account to the Calendar, Windows can automatically sync your attached emails, too. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep the two systems separated, there are two ways for this particular feature to be disabled.

For the first one, you’ll need to go to your Account settings and set the sync for email to “Off”. You can do the same thing for both Contact, as well as the Calendar itself, however you should know that if you do that, none of the data you’ve just set up will be accessible through the app in the first place.

You can also sever the link between your email and calendar by going to the Calendar tab in Settings, and then switching it off manually after the syncing process is done by using the Mail and Calendar setting.

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5 Ways to Share Personal Data on Linux-Windows Dual Boot PCs http://theitbros.com/5-ways-to-share-personal-data-on-linux-windows-dual-boot-pcs/ http://theitbros.com/5-ways-to-share-personal-data-on-linux-windows-dual-boot-pcs/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 08:36:22 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9196 Data-Sharing

Many of you might be running both Linux and Windows on the same computer, using either one of the operating systems or the other depending on what you need. For whatever reason, you could be planning to switch to Linux completely, even removing Windows from your system altogether. One of the things that might make […]

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Data-Sharing

Many of you might be running both Linux and Windows on the same computer, using either one of the operating systems or the other depending on what you need.

For whatever reason, you could be planning to switch to Linux completely, even removing Windows from your system altogether.

One of the things that might make you think twice about this course of action is the fact you’re not sure how to access data between the two operating systems. With this in mind, we’ve put together a short guide instructing you on how to get around the issue.

Connect a USB storage device or an SD card

A relatively easy and straightforward solution would be to simply put all your data on a removable storage device, like a SUB flash drive or an SD card.

Just copy the data from one operating system to the removable storage, reboot the PC, swap the operating system, and finally copy the data back to the hard drive.

Even though this is the easiest way you can go about this, it is isn’t exactly the best. Copying a large amount of files can be really time consuming, not to mention prone to all sorts of errors.

A standard USB 2.0 connection will simply take much too long the make the process convenient, so if you don’t have a computer with USB 3.0 and a USB flash stick that’s compatible with it, we suggest you look for other solutions.

Use an external hard drive

A slightly better solution is using an external HDD, which you can connect to your computer via USB (preferably, a USB 3.0 connection, if you have it available).

You’ll need to format the drive as FAT32, as Linux doesn’t work well with NTFS, while Windows can’t read Ext2/3/4 journaling unless you use a third party tool to do it.

Browse Windows HDD in Linux

If you’re using Linux more than Windows and you have both installed on the same hard drive, you can browse the drive and look for any files you might need, and then copy them onto the Linux partition.

To do this, make sure you have enhanced permissions. The Windows partition is mounted in Nautilus (which is the default file manager in Ubuntu as well as other distros, however if you’re using another file manager this should still work), so once you’re there simply click the drive to show its contents in the right-hand pane.

You can find your documents by expanding the C:\ drive, then going down to \Documents and Settings\[“YourUserName”]\Documents (or alternatively \Music, or \Pictures, depending on what kind of files you are looking for).

You can then open compatible documents (like images, audio and video files, and even most Microsoft Office documents) and use them in the appropriate Linux apps.

Use a network share or NAS

Another solution which offers a bit more flexibility is using a network share with a second device (though this will be useless if you’re using a dual booting laptop and you’ve gone out of range). The second device could be a Windows PC, or even a Windows server or an NAS device.

Keep in mind the hard disk on the server or NAS will have to be formatted as NTFS. The nice thing about this solution is that it gives you a great deal of mobility, since you can move around and don’t have to remember to connect and disconnect external hard drives.

Use Dropbox or other cloud services to exchange data

You’ve probably used cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive before, so you know this is a relatively easy and convenient way to move your files around.

Backing up your data to the cloud is already something you should e doing as a fail-safe in case your system becomes compromised and you lose access to your most important files. Using one of these services to exchange data between operating systems is just another use you can find for them.

When trying to decide on which one to opt for, choose one with a reputation for reliability, but also do some research to see if it compatible with both Windows and Linux. Dropbox is usually the first choice when it comes to cloud services, but Google Drive is a good option as well.

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Rooting Your Android Device http://theitbros.com/rooting-your-android-device/ http://theitbros.com/rooting-your-android-device/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 09:31:05 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9194 3d illustration of a large wrench and screwdriver lying in a cross over top of a framed glowing green Google Android logo

People who want to tinker with their Android device and thus get the most of if it must first go through a process called rooting. In this post will attempt to guide you through this process and explain the reasons you might want to do it, as well as the risks involved. To understand all […]

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3d illustration of a large wrench and screwdriver lying in a cross over top of a framed glowing green Google Android logo

People who want to tinker with their Android device and thus get the most of if it must first go through a process called rooting. In this post will attempt to guide you through this process and explain the reasons you might want to do it, as well as the risks involved.

To understand all of that, you must first know that the Android operating system is based on Linux. On this, as well as other operating systems based on UNIX, the root user is basically what the Administrator is on Windows, meaning he or she can access the entire operating system and do virtually anything they want.

Mostly for security reasons, you don’t have default root access to your own device. This means that certain apps, which need root access to operate, won’t work on your smartphone – until you do something about that is, which is what we are about to show you.

Although it’s always there within your device, there’s no built-in, clear-cut way of accessing your root user account. Once you gain it, however, you can remove bloatware that came pre-installed on your phone, enable tethering (even if your carrier is blocking it), use an app permissions manager, run a firewall, install all sorts of apps that wouldn’t previously have worked, manually back up your installed app settings, and generally perform all kinds of adjustments which require low-level system access.

If you’re interested in any one of the above actions, great! If not, we don’t recommend going through the process. There are some risks involved (see below), and besides, you’ll lose root access as soon as you perform a system update.

Risks with rooting your Android device

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are reasons you don’t have access to the root user by default. Google, as well as the device manufacturers, do all they can to discourage you from rooting your device.

The process works by either taking advantage of certain “exploits” in a device, or by unlocking its bootloader and modifying your system partition. None of this is officially supported, quite the contrary! Here are some of the things that could happen when you attempt to root your device:

Security risks: Since rooting breaks apps out of Android’s security sandbox, they could take advantage of root privileges and spy on or otherwise interfere with other apps. In fact, Google has recommended against the use Google Wallet on a rooted device for that very reason.

Warranty issues: Rooting usually voids your devices warranty. It doesn’t, however, damage the hardware in any way, and there’s no way to know you rooted your device if you subsequently unroot it.

Bricking: Though the process is normally safe, moving forward down an unsupported path is not without its risks. If you do something wrong and en up rendering your device unusable (something often referred to as “bricking”), there’s no official support available and no warranty, either.

How to root your device

Now that you know what rooting is and what are the risks involved in the process, you can decide for yourself if you want to go through with it. If the answer is yes, there are a few paths you can choose, most of which involve using some sort of third-party app.

One of these apps is called Kingo Root. It is a Windows desktop app, so you’ll need to install it on your Windows PC first and run it from there. You will, of course, have to connect your device to the PC via USB cable to do that, just remember to enable USB debugging for it to work!

The app works by using certain “exploits” to root the device, so it shouldn’t require an unlocked bootloader. Simply install it on your computer, enable USB debugging, and connect the two devices. Kingo Root will install the drivers automatically and guide you through the entire process.

Another great option is Towelroot. Developed by GeoHot, an established name in the iPhone jailbreaking community, this tool requires you to first enable apps from “Unknown sources” (for that, go to Settings, then Security).

Next download the app and install it; Android will tell you that by doing this you are attempting to bypass the operating system’s security settings, which is alright, because that’s exactly what you wanted to do in the first place.

Towelroot uses an exploit in Android to root the device.

How to manage root permissions with the SuperSU app

Whichever rooting tool you choose, chances are it will install SuperSU, Superuser, or another app of this kind to you device.

This app works as an interface which you can use to control what other apps on your phone or tablet get root permission. This means that every time an app wants root permission, it has to go through the SuperSU app, which will immediate prompt you.

Once you’ve installed SuperSU (or another similar app), you can open it any time to manage permissions on your device. Apps which want root access use the “su” or “superuser” command to gain this privilege.

If the rooting tool doesn’t install SuperSU by default, you can always get the app from Google Play. Keep in mind that if you’re device isn’t rooted, the app doesn’t do anything, so don’t install otherwise.

CyanogenMod and other custom ROMs come with an easy root toggle

The entire process could get even easier for you if you happen to be already using a custom ROM, in which case an easy root toggle might be included by default. CyanogenMod, for example, one of the most widely used Android ROMs, has this tool built in.

To enable root access, all you have to do is go to the device’s Settings, find the Superuser settings page, and then toggle “Superuser Access”. For security reasons, it is still disabled by default, but as you can see it’s really easy to change that. Also, if you’re using a custom ROM, you won’t lose root access when you update your operating system.

How to unroot your device

The easiest way to unroot your device involves the SuperSU app you should already have installed. Open the app, then go to Settings, and tap the “Full unroot” button.

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Windows 10 Start Menu Tips http://theitbros.com/windows-10-start-menu-tips/ http://theitbros.com/windows-10-start-menu-tips/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 08:15:40 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9128 windows10

Even since the days of Windows 95, people have used the Start Menu to get around their system, finding and using applications. Microsoft’s attempt to change this with Windows 8 wasn’t exactly well-received, so for Windows 10 the Start Menu is back – and it seems to be as good it gets! In this post […]

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Even since the days of Windows 95, people have used the Start Menu to get around their system, finding and using applications. Microsoft’s attempt to change this with Windows 8 wasn’t exactly well-received, so for Windows 10 the Start Menu is back – and it seems to be as good it gets!

In this post we’re going to show you what new features to look out for and how to make the most out the Windows 10 Star Menu:

How to get started

What the Start Menu in Windows 10 tries to do is be a blend between the tried and tested Windows Start Menu and the more modern, tablet-oriented Metro interface Windows 8 introduced. To get started, you just have to click the button in the bottom-left corner of the screen, or alternatively press the Windows Key on your keyboard.

As you’re probably used to, the column appearing on the left will allow you to quickly access the most important applications and services, while the rest consists of Live Tiles.

Right-clicking on a single tile lets you do things like toggling whether it updates automatically when it has access to the internet, resizing it, or removing it completely from the Start Menu.

How to access Start Menu settings

While you can indeed customize some things about the Start Menu without going further than the Desktop, to really do some interesting things you’ll have to go to the Settings menu. You can easily access it by right-clicking anywhere on the Desktop and then clicking Personalize, then going to the Start section.

It is here that you select what exactly you will see on your Start Menu. To view all the options at your disposal, simply click on the Customize list link you will see there.

This is also where you can switch between the classic Start Menu most people are familiar with and prefer using, and the full-screen version, which will probably appeal to Windows 8 fans.

How to pin commonly used settings tasks to the Start Menu

Once you’ve figured out how the Start Menu works, you might want to modify its settings in order to optimize the user experience. One way of doing that is by pinning various Settings tasks you’d like to have easy access to directly to the Start Menu.

In order to do that, go to the Settings app you want to pin to the Start Menu. Right-click the section you’re interested in (which you will see in the Settings app, part of the leftmost column) and then select Pin to Start. To remove it, all you have to do is right-click the shortcut and click Unpin to Start.

How to switch to Tablet Mode on mobile

A great feature of the Windows 10 operating system is the fact that it is optimized for a whole range of different devices. So naturally the Start Menu will offer the same great user experience on a tablet as it does on a PC.

Here’s how you activate Tablet Mode: go to Settings, then System, and finally to Tablet Mode. There you will find a toggle for this mode, as well the When I sign in option, which can also be very important for the customizing process.

Within the dropdown you’ll find various settings which allow you to choose whether you default to Tablet or to Desktop Mode, or you simply stay with the settings you had when you were previously logged into the device.

How to add color to the Start Menu

While Live Tiles really seem to add a welcome touch of liveliness to the Start Menu, it might not be the exact flavor you’re looking for — until you get to add the exact colors you like.

You can do that by navigating through Setting, then Personalization, and then Colors. Next you scroll down to the toggle switch named Show color on Start, taskbar and action center, and set it to On. Now you’ll be able to choose one of many different swatches.

Another thing you could do is make the Show color on Start, taskbar and action center transparent, with another toggle switch you will find in the same menu. You can play around with different settings as see which one is the most pleasant to your eye.

How to disable Internet Search

Another cool new Windows 10 feature is the Desktop search bar, however there might be some who are put off by the fact that it also returns internet search results alongside things found on your PC.

To keep things separate you will have to disable the online search part. For that you’ll need to open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, then create an Outbound Rule for a program, and set the Program Path when the tool requests that of you.

You have to navigate the following path: Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy > SearchUI.exe. After you’ve found it, set it in such a way that all connections are blocked.

After putting this rule in place, you’ll still be able to use the Search bar as before, only now it won’t show any results from the internet, since the Firewall rule doesn’t allow it to make a connection. If you change your mind, go through the same process and disable the rule.

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New Facebook Changes You Should Know http://theitbros.com/new-facebook-changes-you-should-know/ http://theitbros.com/new-facebook-changes-you-should-know/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 07:28:08 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9165 facebook

Facebook is always optimizing its service, coming up with all sorts of new features and gradually releasing them to the users. Unless you make a point out of following these kinds of things, you probably aren’t keeping up with all the changes, so to help you stay informed we’ve put together this list of the […]

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Facebook is always optimizing its service, coming up with all sorts of new features and gradually releasing them to the users. Unless you make a point out of following these kinds of things, you probably aren’t keeping up with all the changes, so to help you stay informed we’ve put together this list of the most improvements Facebook has rolled out recently:

1. You can now customize what appears in your News Feed

Your News Feed can get pretty crowded sometimes, especially if you’re the kind of person who has many friends and has ‘liked’ a lot of things.

Still, everybody has a certain group of people and pages that they want to follow before anything else, which is exactly what the newly-introduced News Feed Preferences feature allows you to do.

This means you can now prioritize your most significant friends (by “starring” them with a simple tap), and in this way making sure updates from them appear first. You can also unfollow acquaintances “in bulk,” thus remaining friends but avoiding their posts, which is a great way to clean up you feed without resorting to the “nuclear option” of unfriending.

Already available in the iOS app, this feature has started rolling out to Android users as well and will be fully available on all platforms in the near future.

2. You can add a legacy Contact to handle your account after you die

This isn’t exactly a fun thing to talk about, but it is nevertheless a real issue: what happens to your Facebook account in case you die? To address this, Facebook has added the ability to select a so-called Legacy Contact, which is in a way similar to a person who handles your estate after you pass away.

Your Legacy Contact will be able to change the profile and cover photos, respond to friend requests, and write a post at the top of your timeline, only they will be doing that as themselves, on your behalf – it will be clear to everyone that it’s not you doing the posting.

You don’t actually have to set a Legacy Contact, but getting access to a deceased person’s account is a laborious process your family and/or friends should have to go through, so it’s a good idea to use this feature as it becomes available.

3. Reminisce with the On This Day feature

Facebook has been around for quite some time now, and if you’ve been a user for a few years, chances are many important moments in your life have been marked on the website, in one way or another.

Whether it’s a picture you shared, a song that marked a significant moment, or a comment you made for a special occasion, it’s all there, part of your recent history.

Now Facebook gives you easy access to these events with its On This Day feature. Every day, you can visit facebook.com/OnThisDay to see your activity on that particular day in the past. Also, you can activate the notification for this feature and be reminded of events automatically – a real treat for the nostalgic person.

4. You can create a private, controlled scrapbook of your child’s pictures

While most of us have a lot of the past few years on Facebook, young children might have their entire lives up until now recorded on the social networking site, thanks to their parents.

Now, Facebook has added the Scrapbook feature, which allows adults to set up a digital scrapbook only they can control, thus ensuring an appropriate level of privacy for their family.

Parents are the only people who can tag the baby in photos and can choose whatever name they want for him or her to appear publicly (it can be the child’s real name, or something like “the baby”). They can also customize the privacy settings for the scrapbook and will be notified whenever a picture has been set to “Public.”

5. Messenger goes stand-alone and adds video calls

Facebook has been promoting its Messenger app pretty aggressively, at one point disabling the service on its main app, which meant that it was only available as an extra app.

Now, the company thinks Messenger is big enough to stand on its own, so they have released it as an independent service that doesn’t even require users to have a Facebook account anymore!

In addition to this, Facebook Messenger will also start offering video calls, making it a serious competitor to Skype and Google Hangouts.

6. A more streamlined experience with Facebook Lite

A lot of people have Facebook mostly to keep in touch with friends using the Messenger app and since now you can have one without the other, you might think a less resource-intensive version would suit your needs better.

This is where Facebook Lite comes in, an app which takes up less disk space and needs fewer resources to run, making it perfect for people using older phones with smaller memories and less powerful hardware.

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The 12-inch MacBook Review http://theitbros.com/12-inch-macbook-review/ http://theitbros.com/12-inch-macbook-review/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 07:36:18 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9132 screen-shot-2015-05-15-at-5-15-34-am

As is the case with most Apple releases, the 12-inch MacBook has stirred quite a controversy immediately after its release. Some like it a lot, others not so much, but one’s thing for sure – the Apple device has certainly made an impact on the scene. In this post, we are going to take a […]

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As is the case with most Apple releases, the 12-inch MacBook has stirred quite a controversy immediately after its release. Some like it a lot, others not so much, but one’s thing for sure – the Apple device has certainly made an impact on the scene. In this post, we are going to take a closer look at the MacBook and see which side, if any, has got it right on this one.

The latest Apple notebook is ridiculously thin and light, which is of course one of its main drawing points. However there have been concerns that you can’t really make a device so small without sacrificing performance and battery life in the process. Unfortunately, these concerns have proven to be largely correct.

The 12-inch MacBook is not an upgrade in terms of performance – on the contrary, it feels more like a move towards tablet-level capabilities. And battery life isn’t that impressive either.

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On the other hand, this is an Apple product we’re talking about, so it is expected to be much more than “just” a computing machine. In fact, it seems that once again the designers over at Cupertino have created wonderfully elegant device first, and the latest in notebook technology second.

The 12-inch MacBook seems to have on a diet and has returned thinner and lighter (it almost feels like a tablet now!), not to mention more eye-catching.

And it’s not just the weight and the size that make this device so great. The keyboard layout is about as good as it gets, with the keys showing a strike bounce that is unlike anything you’ve felt before on something of this kind.

You’d almost think the latest MacBook has been designed with the more delicate hands of female customers in mind, especially given the downsizing the device has also went through.

The trackpad is also equal to none. The addition of Force Touch is potentially an iffy decision (since the feature hasn’t exactly worked perfectly every time when tested), however it’s not something you will actually be using unless tap really hard on the trackpad.

Apart from all of this, the 12-inch MacBook offers everything else you’d expect from a top tier notebook. This makes it great for casual users, or for people who expect to spend most of their productive time on the device browsing the web.

Due to its relatively modest technical capabilities, it’s not something you’d recommend to graphic artists or video editors – which is a shame, since the high-quality Retina display would benefit these categories of users the most.

Another drawback is the price, which is a hefty $1,200. But it’s not like anybody was expecting an Apple product to be cheap! Still, if you have funds to burn and you want a beautifully designed notebook with reasonable specs, you might want to consider buying the new 12-inch MacBook. If not, perhaps wait a little while longer for a more well-rounded release from Apple.

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Our List For Free Multiplayer Browser Games http://theitbros.com/our-list-for-free-multiplayer-browser-games/ http://theitbros.com/our-list-for-free-multiplayer-browser-games/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:11:34 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9158 brows

The internet is full of games you can play either on your own or with a friend, many of which are really worth a try. We’ve looked at some of them and put together this list containing the most interesting and fun free online games you can play together with a friend. Games for two […]

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The internet is full of games you can play either on your own or with a friend, many of which are really worth a try. We’ve looked at some of them and put together this list containing the most interesting and fun free online games you can play together with a friend.

Games for two players using the same computer

1. Gun Mayhem

This is a fun, colorful fighting game which lets you play as a cartoonish mobster figure as you attempt to blow your opponents away. To do this you can use weapons which drop from the sky as you go, alongside various power-ups including shields, speed boosters, or extra lives. You can set the controls for up to four players, which is bound to be very chaotic, but also very fun!

There’s also a sequel you can try if you want a similar, but even better gaming experience: Gun Mayhem 2.

2. Stick Figure Badminton 2

This one is pretty straightforward, but it can turn out to be really fun! One player controls his character with the WASD keys, while the other has the use of the arrow keys. Pressing Down or S swings the racket, while the others can be used to move around and jump. No sign up is necessary, but you will need the Flash player.

3. Tank Wars

Everybody loves a good tank battle, and this is precisely what Tank Wars offers. Basically a quaint physics game, Tank Wars allows you to set the angle and speed of the projectile your machine shoots, taking into account conditions like the landscape and wind speed. Every impact creates a huge crater, which can change the environment quite a bit. This isn’t the fastest game you can play with a friend (partly because it’s turn based), but it can be really fun if you play it with a friend.

4. Fortz

A simple, yet surprisingly captivating game, Fortz will put you and a friend in charge of “forts” on opposite sides of the screen, each with the objective of taking down the opponent.

You do this by gathering power-ups or ammo for cannons, and things quickly turn into a race against the clock to see who can outwit and outmaneuver the opposing player first.

5. Sports Heads Football

Right off the bat we’ll have to clarify for our American readers that this is European football (i.e., soccer) we’re talking about. Sports Heads Football allows you to play head to head, so to speak, as a single player (incidentally with the likeness of various current or former superstars) with an oversized head.

The controls are really simple (WASD and the arrow keys to move, Space to shoot), and you can get different power-ups which can make the game even more fun. The winner is whoever scores more goals within the time limit.

Games for two players battling it out on the internet

1. Cube Slam

Cube Slam is a beautiful game created by Google which reveals the power of HTML5 and shows just how great-looking and smooth a browser game can get. It’s basically a version of the classic Pong game, only in this game you have a first person perspective and you can either play a friend or a… bear, for some reason.

In addition to the core game mechanic (you have to use your paddle to get a puck past your opponent), as you go forward through the levels your can also collect various power-ups, making the experience that more interesting.

2. Battleship Online

This is one of the most popular two player games in any medium, and the fact that you can now play it online with your friends makes it even better! You’re probably familiar with the rules: set up a 10-by-10 grid, select your battleship and click on your opponent’s grid to try to hit his ship and sink it.

You can choose one of two fleet types, classic or Russian; the later offers more options, making the game that much more fun. If you don’t have a friend available at the moment, you can play a random person online, and you don’t even need Flash player for the game to work!

3. Lichness

Another great take on a classic game, Lichess is more than just a place to play a casual game of chess. In fact, it’s a great tool to connect to other chess enthusiasts from around the world and to practice and learn more about this fascinating game.

That being said, the fact that you can quickly set up a game with a friend and take advantage of its learning resources without having to even sign up first makes this a fantastic website for those looking to simply have some fun playing chess.

4. 8-Ball Pool

Pool games are always fun to play, both offline and online. In the latter case, the graphics and the physics are what separate the good from the great, and by this test 8-Ball Pool is a really great game. You’ll have to sign up for a Miniclip account to be able to play this one however, but it’s definitely worth a couple of minutes for all the fun you can have playing the game.

5. Speed Sudoku

Sudoku is a fun game you can play all by yourself if you just want to test your wits, but can make it even better if you add another player and turn it into a competitive thing. With Speed Sudoku, you can have as many as four players simultaneously in a single game, trying to see you can solve the numeric puzzle faster.

Unlike most other games on this list, sign up is necessary, but at least you won’t need the Flash player.

We encourage you to try all of these games and tell us what you think! Which one of them is your favorite? Are there other awesome browser games you know about that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Use All of Your Internet Plan Data http://theitbros.com/how-to-use-all-of-your-internet-plan-data/ http://theitbros.com/how-to-use-all-of-your-internet-plan-data/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 07:44:59 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9138 3

If you’re on one of those expensive high-speed broadband plans, you probably don’t want to leave too much of your bandwidth unused at the end of the month. After all, you’ve already paid for it, so why let it go to waste? The reason people get these expensive data plans in the first place is […]

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If you’re on one of those expensive high-speed broadband plans, you probably don’t want to leave too much of your bandwidth unused at the end of the month. After all, you’ve already paid for it, so why let it go to waste?

The reason people get these expensive data plans in the first place is because regular plans switch to a lower speed after the bandwidth has been used up.

Basically you’re giving extra money to keep having a decent internet connection throughout the period you’re paying for it. The least you could do is actually use up all that data and not let the internet service provider profit from you even more than it already is!

So how exactly can you do that? Well, first you’ll need to know how much data you have available, since every subscriber has their monthly billing cycle. You can easily find this out by logging into your ISP account: this shows you not only your total allowed data use, but also how much of that data you’ve actually went through.

After performing this simple task, check to see when exactly does your billing cycle start. If, for example, yours starts on the 20th of each month, you will want to check in and see how much unused data you have shortly before this date, at least a day before but probably a few days in advance would be even better. You can actually set a Google calendar alert or something similar to remind you to do this.

Some ISPs might even send you a message when you’ve reached a certain point in your data limit, usually somewhere near the end. If your billing cycle has nearly expired and you haven’t received anything like that, it means there’s a large data download up ahead.

If you find yourself in the final day(s) of your billing cycle and you still have a sizeable chunk of your data left, you will probably want to use it all up quickly, or it will go to waste (and the ISP wins, don’t let the ISP win!).

Besides, since there’s not that much time left on the cycle, you basically will not even feel the slower speed kicking in – so you actually don’t have anything to lose, either!

Here are a few things you could do to quickly go through a large amount of download data if you find yourself in the situation we’ve described above:

1. App updates: Most of your mobile apps are in constant need of updates. You probably shouldn’t set then on auto-update mode and only perform this task over Wi-Fi connection.

However, if at the end of the billing cycle you still have a lot of data available, this is the perfect moment to update all of them. This way you’ll know you’re up to date with all the tools and services you’re using, and you’re not wasting any data on your plan either.

2. Stream TV shows and movies: Streaming movies and TV shows also gets you through a huge amount of data really quickly. This is also one of the most fun ways of maxing out your data plan, since there’s always some interesting movie out or a TV show you have to catch up on.

An HD movie can mean about 2GB of data worth of download, and you can watch it as part of your Netflix subscription, or you can rent it through services live Apple TV or Amazon.

If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, this is another process you might to save your data for, since it could require about 3GB for every device you perform the upgrade on.

So there you have it, now you know what to do in case you have one of those broadband data plans and you’re still left with plenty of data at the end of each billing cycle.

At the very least, we hope this post has provided you with a bit of motivation to start thinking about this issue and perhaps actually do something about it. Happy downloading!

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Intel Compute Stick Smallest Windows Computer http://theitbros.com/intel-compute-stick-smallest-windows-computer/ http://theitbros.com/intel-compute-stick-smallest-windows-computer/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:03:05 +0000 http://theitbros.com/?p=9136 463454-unboxing-the-intel-compute-stick

You’d be forgiven if you thought it’s just a somewhat larger USB pen drive, however the Intel Compute Stick is a tiny device which packs quite a punch. Simply plug it into an HDMI monitor or an HD TV and you get a fully powered Windows computer with everything you need. Though it hasn’t gone […]

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You’d be forgiven if you thought it’s just a somewhat larger USB pen drive, however the Intel Compute Stick is a tiny device which packs quite a punch. Simply plug it into an HDMI monitor or an HD TV and you get a fully powered Windows computer with everything you need.

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Though it hasn’t gone entirely mainstream just yet, the Intel Compute Stick has been on the market for some time and is becoming increasing popular, especially with those for whom a laptop is too cumbersome to carry around and a tablet isn’t quite versatile enough.

Its operating system is Windows 8.1, but users will get the free Windows 10 update alongside other devices running Windows 8 starting with the end of July.

When you first set up the device, it will install the operating system; after that, it basically works like a plug-and-play gadget. It’s remarkable how many features and capabilities Intel has managed to put together in such a small device – you actually have the brain of a Windows PC that can fit in your pocket! In addition to the monitor, all you need is a Bluetooth keyboard, plus a mouse, and you’re good to go.

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In terms of technical specs, the Intel Compute Stick boasts an Intel Atom Quad-Core processor, with 2GB soldered single-channel DDR3L RAM. It offers 32GB of storage space, however users can extend that using Micro SD cards. All in all, quite a respectable set of features.

It can connect through HDMI to a TV or monitor and offers Intel HD Graphics, which make for an impressive viewing experience. The device only offers a single USB 2.0 slot, which might a bit inconvenient if you wish to attach more USB accessories, but you can get around this easily by simply getting a USB port hub.

It’s also important to note that the Intel Compute Stick draws power from the MicroUSB slot, and not the HDMI, which means you’ll have to keep it connected to a power supply. Finally, the device features Bluetooth 4 and Wi-Fi support.

You can get the Intel Compute Stick from Amazon and other online retailers for around $150.

In the tech industry, smaller is often times better, so it’s not surprising that these tiny devices are becoming increasingly popular. And Intel isn’t the only big company working on this.

Microsoft has already created a stick PC which, at just under $100, is the cheapest device of its kind. Lenovo is working on a gadget similar to the one launched by Intel called Ideacenter Stick 300, which is expected to cost around $130.

Even Google has announced the Chromebit, its answer to what seems like a significant trend among computer manufacturers. When giants like Intel, Microsoft, and Google are competing in the field of consumer electronics, it’s the customers who benefit, so we’ve looking forward to seeing lots of better, more powerful stick PCs in the future from these companies and others.

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