Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about computers & smartphones.

Windows

Disable Mouse Hovering in Windows 10

  • Start – Search Type in regedit – Click Yes when asked about the app making changes.
  • go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER
  • go to Control panel
  • go to Mouse
  • On the list on the right go to Mouse Hover Time
  • Click on it. I changed it from 400 to 4000, you can do less, it’s your call.
  • Close the registry editor.Now Log off, then log back on, or Restart if you feel more comfortable.
  • Now go to Control Panel – All Control Panel Items
  • go to Ease of Access Center
  • Go to Make the Mouse Easier to Use
  • Uncheck the “Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse” box
  • Click Apply
  • NOW RE-CHECK the “Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse”
  • Click Apply again.
  • You should now find your hover time between windows is at a reasonable delay, and not instant.

What Is a DNS Cache?

A DNS cache (sometimes called a DNS resolver cache) is a temporary database, maintained by a computer’s operating system, that contains records of all the recent visits and attempted visits to websites and other internet domains.

In other words, a DNS cache is just a memory of recent DNS lookups that your computer can quickly refer to when it’s trying to figure out how to load a website.
Most people only hear the phrase “DNS cache” when it refers to flushing/clearing the DNS cache in order to help fix an internet connectivity issue

The Purpose of a DNS Cache.
The internet relies on the Domain Name System (DNS) to maintain an index of all public websites and their corresponding IP addresses. You can think of it like a phone book.
With a phone book, we don’t have to memorize everyone’s phone number, which is the only way phones can communicate: with a number. In the same way, DNS is used so we can avoid having to memorize every website’s IP address, which is the only way network equipment can communicate with websites.
This is what happens behind the curtain when you ask your web browser to load a website…

You type in a URL like lifewire.com and your web browser asks your router for the IP address. The router has a DNS server address stored, so it asks the DNS server for the IP address of that hostname. The DNS server finds the IP address that belongs to lifewire.com and then is able to understand what website you’re asking for, after which your browser can then load the appropriate page.
This happens for every website you want to visit. Every time a user visits a website by its hostname, the web browser initiates a request out to the internet, but this request cannot be completed until the site’s name is “converted” into an IP address. The problem is that even though there are tons of public DNS servers your network can use to try to speed up the conversion/resolution process, it’s still quicker to have a local copy of the “phone book,” which is where DNS caches come into play.
The DNS cache attempts to speed up the process even more by handling the name resolution of recently visited addresses before the request is sent out to the internet.

Note: There are actually DNS caches at every hierarchy of the “lookup” process that ultimately gets your computer to load the website. The computer reaches your router, which contacts your ISP, which might hit another ISP before ending up at what’s called the “root DNS servers.” Each of those points in the process has a DNS cache for the same reason, which is to speed up the name resolution process.

How a DNS Cache Works
Before a browser issues its requests to the outside network, the computer intercepts each one and looks up the domain name in the DNS cache database. The database contains a list of all recently accessed domain names and the addresses that DNS calculated for them the first time a request was made.
The contents of a local DNS cache can be viewed on Windows using the command ipconfig /displaydns, with results similar to this:
docs.google.com
————————————-
Record Name . . . . . : docs.google.com
Record Type . . . . . : 1
Time To Live . . . . : 21
Data Length . . . . . : 4
Section . . . . . . . : Answer
A (Host) Record . . . : 172.217.6.174
In DNS, the “A” record is the portion of the DNS entry that contains the IP address for the given host name. The DNS cache stores this address, the requested website name, and several other parameters from the host DNS entry.

What Is DNS Cache Poisoning?
A DNS cache becomes poisoned or polluted when unauthorized domain names or IP addresses are inserted into it.
Occasionally a cache may become corrupted due to technical glitches or administrative accidents, but DNS cache poisoning is typically associated with computer viruses or other network attacks that insert invalid DNS entries into the cache.
Poisoning causes client requests to be redirected to the wrong destinations, usually malicious websites or pages full of advertisements.
For example, if the docs.google.com record from above had a different “A” record, then when you entered docs.google.com in your web browser, you’d be taken somewhere else.
This poses a massive problem for popular websites. If an attacker redirects your request for Gmail.com, for example, to a website that looks like Gmail but isn’t, you might end up suffering from a phishing attack like whaling.

DNS Flushing: What It Does and How to Do It
When troubleshooting cache poisoning or other internet connectivity issues, a computer administrator may wish to flush (i.e. clear, reset, or erase) a DNS cache.
Since clearing the DNS cache removes all the entries, it deletes any invalid records too, and forces your computer to repopulate those addresses the next time you try accessing those websites. These new addresses are taken from the DNS server your network is setup to use.
So, to use the example above, if the Gmail.com record was poisoned and redirecting you to a strange website, flushing the DNS is a good first step to getting the regular Gmail.com back again.

In Microsoft Windows, you can flush the local DNS cache using the ipconfig /flushdns command in a Command Prompt. You know it works when you see the Windows IP configuration successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache or Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache message.
Through a command terminal, macOS users should use dscacheutil -flushcache, but know that there is not a “successful” message after it runs, so you’re not told if it worked. Linux users should enter the /etc/rc.d/init.d/nscd restart command.
A router can have a DNS cache as well, which is why rebooting a router is often a troubleshooting step. For the same reason you might flush the DNS cache on your computer, you can reboot your router to clear the DNS entries stored in its temporary memory.

Where are iPhone firmware files stored on my computer?
Apple doesn’t go out of it’s way to tell you where iTunes stores the firmware files it downloads before it updates your iPhone.
Should you ever need to access these files, it helps to know where to find them.
Firmware files have an .ipsw extension and can be found at the following locations:
On Windows XP: Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
On Windows Vista/Windows 7: Users\\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates.
On Mac: ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates

How to repair a corrupted workbook

Applies To: Excel 2016 Excel 2013

When Microsoft Excel detects a corrupted workbook upon opening, it automatically starts File Recovery mode and attempts to repair the workbook.

If File Recovery mode doesn’t start, try using this manual process to recover your workbook:

Click File > Open.

Click the location and folder that contains the corrupted workbook.

In the Open dialog box, select the corrupted workbook.

Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open and Repair.

To recover as much of the workbook data as possible, pick Repair.

If Repair isn’t able to recover your data, pick Extract Data to extract values and formulas from the workbook.

If neither automatic nor manual repair works, there are some recovery methods that might help salvage your data.

You can also take some preventive measures to avoid losing your work by automatically saving a backup copy of your workbook or creating a recovery file from time to time.

How To Disable The Research Task Pane In Excel?

In Excel, when you press Alt key and then click one cell in worksheet, a Research pane will appear at right of the sheet at the same time as following screenshot shown. This will be annoying.
If you want to disable this pane, and make it no longer displayed when you apply Alt + Click in Excel. From this article, I will introduce you an easy way to solve it.

Disable the research task pane in Excel with VBA code
Do with the following operations to disable the research task pane in Excel:

1. Launch your workbook, and then hold down the Alt + F11 keys in Excel, and it opens the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

2. In the opened VB Editor, press Ctrl + G to open the Immediate Window, and then copy and paste this code Application.CommandBars(“Research”).Enabled = False into the Immediate box, and press Enter key on the keyboard.

3. Then save and close this VB Editor, and now, when you press Alt key and click the cell in the worksheet, the research task pane will not display any more.

Note:

If you need to make the research task pane appear again in your workbook, please copy and paste this code Application.CommandBars(“Research”).Enabled = True into the Immediate box to replace the original code, and remember to press Enter key.

MAC (OSX)

Reset Your Mac Administrator Password With Bootable CD

The simplest way may be to use the Recovery CD.
1. Boot into the Recovery HD (hold ? alt/option at boot and select the Recovery HD).
2. Once it has booted, click Utilities, then Terminal.
3. Type resetpassword then ? enter.
4. Follow the instructions.
Restarting Setup Assistant

Reset Your Mac Administrator Password Without Bootable CD

You can restart the Setup Assistant by performing the following:
1. Boot into Single User Mode (hold ? cmd + S at boot).
2. Mount the drive by typing /sbin/mount -uw / then ? enter.
3. Remove the Apple Setup Done file by typing rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone then ? enter.
4. Reboot by typing reboot then ? enter.
5. Continue setup, making sure not to transfer data.
6. Setup a new administrator account. You can use this account to reset the password to the original account (through System Preferences ? Users & Groups).

Where are iPhone firmware files stored on my computer?

Apple doesn’t go out of it’s way to tell you where iTunes stores the firmware files it downloads before it updates your iPhone.

Should you ever need to access these files, it helps to know where to find them.
Firmware files have an .ipsw extension and can be found at the following locations:
On Windows XP: Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
On Windows Vista/Windows 7: Users\\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates.
On Mac: ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates

iPhone (iOS)

How to Mark All Emails as Read on Your iPhone?

The trick is pretty simple and consists of the following steps:

Open up the Mail app and tap the Edit button.
Select one message.
Press and hold the Mark button at the bottom of the screen.
While still pressing and holding the Mark button, tap the email you previously selected to unmark it.
Release the Mark button.
Tap the Mark as Read button.
Release the Mark button.
Doing this confuses Mail because no messages are selected. Because it apparently interprets nothing as everything, it’ll mark all your messages as read without the tedious task of selecting each one individually.

How to Zoom out on your iPhone

If your Home screen icons are magnified on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

If the icons on your Home screen appear too large or are magnified to fit the screen,
your device may have the Zoom feature turned on.
Learn how to turn off Zoom.

Turn off Zoom in Settings on your device:
1-If you can’t access Settings because your Home screen icons are magnified, double tap with three fingers on the display to zoom out.
2-To turn off Zoom, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom > tap the slider to turn off.

Turn off Zoom in iTunes:
1-Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to a computer and open iTunes.
2-Select your device when it appears in iTunes.
3-Select Configure Accessibility on the device summary page.
4-Select Neither to turn off Zoom.
5-Click OK.

If iTunes doesn‘t recognize your iPhone, iPad, or iPod

If you connect your device to your computer with a USB cable and iTunes doesn’t recognize your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, get help.

When iTunes on your computer doesn’t recognize your connected device, you might see an unknown error or an “0xE” error. If you do, follow these steps and try to connect your device again after each step:

1. Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes that works with your computer.
2. Check that you have the latest software on your Mac or Windows PC.
3. Make sure that your device is turned on.
4. If you see a Trust this Computer alert, unlock your device and tap Trust.
5. Unplug all USB accessories from your computer except for your device. Try each USB port to see if one works. Then try a different Apple USB cable.
6. Restart your computer and iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
7. Try connecting your device to another computer. If you have the same issue on another computer, contact Apple Support.

If you use a Mac:

1. Hold down the Option key, click the Apple menu, and choose System Information or System Report.
2. From the list on the left, select USB.
3. If you see your iPhone, iPad, or iPod under USB Device Tree, uninstall third-party security software. If not, contact Apple Support.

If you use a Windows PC:

Follow these steps to reinstall the Apple Mobile Device USB driver:

1. Disconnect your device from the computer.
2. Reconnect your device. If iTunes opens, close it.
3. Press the Windows and R key on your keyboard to open the Run command.

4. In the Run window, enter:

%ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers

5. Click OK.

6. Right-click on the usbaapl64.inf or usbaapl.inf file and select Install.

You might see other files that start with usbaapl64 or usbaapl. Make sure to install the file that ends in .inf.
If you’re not sure which file to install, right-click a blank area in the File Explorer Window, click View, then click Details to find the correct file type.
You want to install the Setup Information file.

7. Disconnect your device from your computer, then restart your computer.
8. Reconnect your device and open iTunes.

If your device still isn’t recognized:

Check Device Manager to see if the Apple Mobile Device USB driver is installed. Follow these steps to open Device Manager:

1. Press the Windows and R key on your keyboard to open the Run command.
2. In the Run window, enter devmgmt.msc, then click OK. Device Manager should open.
3. Locate and expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section.
4. Look for the Apple Mobile Device USB driver.

If you don’t see the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver or you see Unknown Device:

1. Connect your device to your computer with a different USB cable.
2. Connect your device to a different computer. If you have the same issue on another computer, contact Apple Support.

If you see the Apple Mobile Device USB driver with an error symbol:

If you see , , or next to the Apple Mobile Device USB driver, follow these steps:

1. Restart the Apple Mobile Device Service.
2. Check for and resolve issues with third-party security software, then restart your computer.
3. Try to install the usbaapl64.inf or usbaapl.inf file again.

Other

Enable Adobe Flash Player for use in the Google Chrome web browser

Mac OS

1 – In the address bar, type chrome://settings/content.

2 – On the Content settings screen, find the Flash Player listing. Check the status.

3 – Select Allow sites to run Flash, and then click Done.

4 – To manage Flash Player settings by site, click Manage exceptions.

5 – On the Flash exceptions screen, enter the website domain and then choose Allow. When finished adding sites, click Done.

6 – Close the Content settings screen.

Windows

1 – In the address bar, type chrome://settings/content.

2 – On the Content settings screen, find the Flash Player listing. Check the status.

3 – Select Allow sites to run Flash, and then click Done.

4 – To manage Flash Player settings by site, click Manage exceptions.

5 – On the Flash exceptions screen, enter the website domain and then choose Allow. When finished adding sites, click Done.

6 – Close the Content settings screen.

Where iTunes backups are stored on your computer?

Make sure the backup folder is included in your periodic data-backup routine. iTunes places the backup files in the following places:
· Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
· Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
Note: To quickly access the Application Data folder, click Start, and choose Run. Type %appdata% and click OK.
· Windows Vista and Windows 7: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
Note: To quickly access the AppData folder, click Start. In the search bar, type %appdata% and press the Return key.

Echo device: About the Light Ring

The light ring is how your Echo device visually communicates its status to you.

Light Ring Status Description
Solid blue with spinning cyan lights The device is starting up.
All lights off The device is active and waiting for your request.
Solid blue with cyan pointing in direction of person speaking Alexa is busy processing your request.
Orange light spinning clockwise The device is connecting to your Wi-Fi network.
Solid red light You have turned off the microphones on your device. Press the Microphone button to turn on the microphones.
White light You are adjusting the volume level on your device.
Continuous oscillating violet light An error occurred during Wi-Fi setup. To learn more, go to Your Echo Device Doesn’t Connect to Wi-Fi.
Spinning blue light that ends in a solid purple light Do Not Disturb is enabled. To learn more, go to Use Do Not Disturb for Alexa.
Single flash of purple light after an interaction with Alexa Do Not Disturb is active.
Pulsing yellow light A message or notification is waiting for you. Say, “Play my messages” or “What did I miss?” To learn more go to About Alexa Messaging.
Pulsing green light You are receiving a call or Drop In on your device. To learn more go to Answer or Ignore Calls on Your Echo Device.

How to apply thermal paste to a CPU

CPU coolers vary in their effectiveness, but no heatsink can work properly if you don’t use thermal paste. Here we explain step by step how to apply thermal paste as well as how to removed any old hardened paste from your processor or cooler.

Whether you’re building a PC or are upgrading your CPU – or cooler – you’ll need to apply some new thermal paste to your processor. This is also known as TIM: Thermal Interface Material. Thermal paste is essential for the heat dissipation from the die of the CPU and your heatsink.

In this guide, we will be using the Intel Core Haswell i7 4770K and the Intel Desktop Board DZ87KLT-75K for demonstration purposes. You can use the ‘vertical line’ method for other generations of Intel CPUs, though. We will also explain the best thermal application for AMD CPUs, as the ‘pea-dot’ method yields different results.

We would like to thank Overclockers UK for sending us the Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut Paste, which costs £10.99 and the Akasa AK-TC TIM Clean CPU & Heatsink Cleaner, which you can buy for £5.99.

Disclaimer: All the pictures in this guide are pictured with the CPU latch open for clarity. You should ensure the CPU latch is closed and secured before proceeding. This isn’t essential, but prevents thermal paste from being accidentally applied to the latch. 

How to apply thermal paste to a CPU: understanding the importance of thermal paste

If there is too little or uneven thermal paste application, you might see a few of your CPU cores running hotter than the rest. Similarly if there’s too much thermal paste, you might suffer from bubbles between the CPU and the heatsink, creating pockets of heat to build up.

Previously, it was believed that a ‘spread’ method yielded the lowest CPU temperatures. However, due to heatsinks and even the CPU’s Integrated Heat Spreaders (IHS – the metal part on top of the CPU) not being perfectly flat, micro gaps between the heatsink and the CPU create less efficient heat dissipation through the spread method.

As well as the methods here, you can also use the X-shape, double- and even triple-line methods, but we’ve found the line and pea methods to be the best for the vast majority of modern processors.

It should also be noted that various different thermal pastes will require different applications. For example, Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra Thermal Paste is applied by applying an extremely thin layer on your processor (or the CPU die if you’re brave enough!). However, generally you’ll find most thermal paste to be of the same composition as the one we’ve used in this guide. Read next: How to install Windows 10.

How to apply thermal paste to a CPU: how to remove thermal paste

If you have a brand-new computer, this step will be irrelevant to you as you shouldn’t have any pre-applied thermal paste on the processor. However, if you previously had thermal paste applied on your processor, you’ll want to remove it before proceeding.

First you need to remove your old CPU cooler from the processor and clean the thermal paste using a cloth or a paper towel. Once you’ve removed the majority of the thermal paste, you’ll want to fully remove any residue that’s been left, by using TIM cleaner. In order to do this, apply a few drops of the TIM cleaner on a paper towel or cloth and then gently rub the solution in a circular motion on your processor.
This will slowly clean the processor, resulting in a clean IHS. If there’s residue thermal paste by the CPU latch, feel free to open your CPU latch and clean the latch and sides of your processor.

You can also do the same method to clean your CPU cooler’s heatsink. Once you’ve completed the cleaning process, you can move onto applying your new thermal paste! Read next: Best gaming PCs.

How to apply thermal paste to a CPU: Intel vertical line method

Intel CPUs generally have a rectangular die under the IHS, which means the vertical line method generally yields the lowest CPU temperatures. Through experience, we found that Intel CPUs run hotter on certain cores which are closer to the extremities of the die. For example, Core 3 on an Intel i7-3770K runs hotter due to it being closer to the iGPU module within the processor.

To properly apply the vertical line method on your processor, you’ll want to gently squeeze the thermal paste syringe in order for a small quantity to come out. Draw the syringe down in a vertical line. On our processor, this means applying the vertical line vertically on the written text on the CPU.

Now you can install your CPU cooler. We’ve used a piece of plastic so you can see the spread: you might notice the thermal paste application pictured has very small amount of bubbles present. This is the result of uneven pressure from the plastic part. You will not experience any air pockets with a proper CPU cooler. Read next: Best graphics cards.

 

How to apply thermal paste to a CPU: AMD pea-dot method

Note: Because we didn’t have an AMD chip and board to hand we took the lazy option and used same Intel chip. It’s the method that’s important!

AMD CPUs generally have a square die under the IHS, so a more circular and round thermal paste application is preferred over the oval and rectangular shaped thermal paste application. Through our experience (and with correctly applied thermal paste), we found AMD processors to have an even spread of temperature through their CPU cores.

In order to achieve the best results on an AMD processor, you’ll want to apply the pea-dot method (also known as the middle-dot method). In order to achieve the best results, carefully push on the syringe of your thermal paste and put a small pea-sized dot at the centre of your processor. This will ensure the CPU heatsink will have an even thermal paste application on the CPU’s IHS.

After applying our clear plastic ‘cooler’, you can just about see a very small amount of bubbles present. As with the Intel method above, it’s simply down to the thin plastic: a real heatsink won’t cause this to happen.Read next: Windows 10 review.

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