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  • Thursday, December 13, 2018

    • Windows tip of the week

      How to deal with password reset questions

      by Ed Bott

      In recent versions of Windows 10, Microsoft has changed the setup process for creating a local user account (instead of a Microsoft account). Along with the account name and password, you're required to answer three password reset questions, from a list of six (first pet's name, mother's maiden name, and so on).

      This precaution is fine for casual users, who will have a way to recover if they forget their password. But the questions are too obvious and easy to guess for use on a PC that contains important personal or business data.

      You can't skip the questions completely, but there is a secure workaround: Lie. Seriously, Windows doesn't fact-check your responses, so create a three-word recovery passphrase and use those three words in succession as the answers to the reset questions. And if you want to eliminate the possibility that someone can break into your system even with those answers, go a step further: Mash the keyboard randomly for each "answer" (the more characters the better) and don't write any of it down. No one, not even you, will be able to guess those answers.

    • 22 Hidden Tricks Inside Windows 10 Think you know Windows inside and out? These expert tips make Microsoft's Editors' Choice-winning operating system even better.
    • Geekly Update - 12 December 2018

  • Thursday, December 06, 2018

    • Windows tip of the week

      Make Regedit easier to use

      by Ed Bott

      The Registry Editor utility, Regedit.exe, is an absolute necessity for Windows power users and system administrators. For decades, its design has been unchanged, but effective with Windows 10 version 1803 it gets some interesting usability tweaks.

      Most obvious is the new address bar, where you can enter or edit a key directly instead of having to navigate through the registry's hierarchy. The address bar is especially useful if you've copied a key to the Clipboard; just paste and go.

      And you don't have to type those long root key names, either. Instead, you can use standard shortcuts for the five root keys, such as HKLM for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKCU for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

      Finally, look on the View menu, where you'll find a new Font option. Click that dialog box to change the font, font style, and font size. If you're tired of squinting at those 9-point characters, try 11- or 12-point.

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  • Thursday, November 15, 2018

    • Windows tip of the week

      Get the MAC address for your network adapter

      by Ed Bott

      Every network adapter has a unique physical identifier, called a Media Access Control (MAC) address (MAC, in this case, has nothing to do with Apple's Macintosh.) assigned by the hardware manufacturer. A MAC address is 48 bits long and is written as a sequence of 12 hexadecimal digits: D4-81-D7-12-34-AC, for example.

      Most of the time, the MAC address is an irrelevant detail. But there are occasions when you'll need to look it up, such as when you want to define a list of devices that are allowed to connect to a wireless access point. MAC address filtering isn't a security panacea, because it's easy to spoof the MAC address for a device. But it's enough of a roadblock to prevent casual access.

      In Windows 10, you'll find the MAC address of your network adapter in Settings > Network & Internet. For a wireless adapter, click Wi-Fi, then click Hardware Properties. For a wired adapter, click Ethernet, then click the name of the adapter at the top of the page. In both cases, the MAC address is at the bottom of the list.

    • A Massive Impact Crater Has Been Detected Beneath Greenland's Ice Sheet
    • China's 'artificial sun' reaches 100 million degrees Celsius marking milestone for nuclear fusion

  • Thursday, November 08, 2018

    • Windows tip of the week

      Zero in on critical events

      by Ed Bott

      Event Viewer is one of the most powerful troubleshooting tools in Windows. It's also one of the most overwhelming to use, because of the sheer volume of information it processes every day.

      To cut that flood of information down to a manageable trickle of truly relevant events, use Event Viewer's built-in filtering technology to focus on only those events that Windows considers Critical.

      To start, open Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc) and select the Custom Views heading in the navigation pane on the left. In the Actions pane on the right, click Create Custom View. Click the Critical check box, and then, in the By Log section, click the down arrow and click the Windows Logs check box. Those options collectively select every event that Windows considers Critical in all five of its built-in log files: Application, Security, Setup, System, and Forwarded Events.

      Click OK and change the name of your custom view from the default New View to something descriptive like Critical Events. Click OK to save the name change.

      Your new custom view now appears in the navigation pane on the left, where you can open it to get an immediate assessment of any events that Windows wants to bring to your attention.

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    • Geekly Update - 07 November 2018
    • These Are the Facts Behind the Tragedy of the 9/11 Attacks