Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How to Report a Whole Facebook Group

How to Report a Whole Facebook Group

Facebook is a great tool, but it isn’t without its issues. Anyone can create a Facebook Group for any purpose. While lots of sports teams and clubs use Groups to organize things, there are also Groups that are used to coordinate abuse, sell illegal substances, and generally just violate Facebook’s Terms of Service. If you find one, here’s how to report it to Facebook.

Head to the offending Group and click on the three dots. You don’t need to be a member to see them.

From the dropdown, select Report Group.

Select the reason you’re reporting the Group and click Continue.

Facebook will offer you a range of possible actions. To place a report, select Submit to Facebook for Review.

On mobile, the process is similar. Visit the group. If you are a member tap Info and then Report Group.

How to Report a Whole Facebook Group

If you ware not a member, tap View Group Info and then Report Group.

You should only report a Group if the whole thing is breaking Facebook’s Terms of Service. If there’s just one or two posts, you can report them individually instead.

How to Sync Your Android Notifications to Your PC or Mac

How to Sync Your Android Notifications to Your PC or Mac

If you’re working at your computer and your phone goes off, you can grab it, unlock it, and check the notification, likely throwing off your workflow. Or, you could just sync your notifications to your computer, so they show up right there—which really makes a lot more sense.

Fortunately, this is a pretty simple task thanks to a tool called Pushbullet. Now, I’ll tell you right now: Pushbullet does a lot more than just sync notifications to from your phone to your computer. for now, let’s dig into notification syncing in a bit more detail.

Step One: Install the Pushbullet App and Extension

The first thing you’ll need to do is get Pushbullet going on both your phone and your computer. It’s a free install from the Google Play Store on your phone, so go ahead and grab that now.

On the computer side of things, however, you have a couple of options. Regardless of what platform you’re using (Windows, Linux, Mac, Chrome OS, etc.) you can use the Chrome, Firefox, or Opera extensions for your browser. This should cover everything for most people.

If you’re a Windows user, you can also use the Windows app, which is a standalone application instead of a browser extension. Really, it just incorporates itself into the operating system a bit more.

Either way, it’s your decision on what you do. For this tutorial, however, I’ll be using the Chrome extension since it’s the most universal solution.

Step Two: Set up Pushbullet on the Phone

Once you have it installed, you’ll need to get everything set up. Go ahead and fire it up on your phone.

When you launch it, the first thing you’ll need to do is sign in, which you can do with either your Google or Facebook account. Regardless of which one you choose here, you’ll need to use the same login on your computer (when we get to that part).

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll need to give Pushbullet access to your notifications. Click “Enable” on this first screen, which will redirect you to the Notification Access settings page.

Here, go ahead and slide the toggle (it might be a checkbox instead) to allow Pushbullet access to all notifications. A warning will pop up, letting you know that this will give Pushbullet the ability read all of your notifications. That’s part of the deal here, so if you want to show notifications on your PC, click “Allow.”

This should toss you back into the Pushbullet setup, where you’ll allow it to mirror incoming phone call details—just tap “OK” then approve the following permissions (Phone and Contacts). Done.

The next step will not only allow you to see your text messages, but also reply to them. If you’re into that, tap “Enable,” then allow the SMS permission.

How to Sync Your Android Notifications to Your PC or Mac

Once you’re finished with the initial set up, you’ll need to actually enable full notification mirroring. To do that, open the menu by sliding in from the left or tapping the three lines in the upper left corner. From there, choose “Notification Mirroring.”

To enable mirroring, slide the first toggle to the on position. If you only want notifications to mirror when you’re on Wi-Fi, go ahead and toggle the second one too. Lastly, if you don’t want to see silent notifications on your computer, you can turn that option off.

How to Sync Your Android Notifications to Your PC or Mac

Fore more granular control, you can tap the “Choose which apps to enable” option and pick which apps you’ll actually see synced notifications from. That’s cool.

Step Two: Set Up Pushbullet on the Computer

At this point, you should already have the Pushbullet Chrome extension installed, which is what I find to be the easiest way to use the application. Again, if you’re using something different—like the Firefox extension or Windows app, for example—things may look a little bit different. But for the most part, the setup process should be the same.

The extension should show up as a little icon in Chrome’s toolbar. It’s a green circle with a whimsical little bullet in it. Click that. It will prompt you to sign in on Pushbullet.com (which you can also use to interact with Pushbullet’s various options on your phone). Just remember to log in with the same account you used on your phone!


Once that’s done, you’re in. There shouldn’t be any additional setup on the computer. Your notifications should show up as a tooltip-style notification on your computer moving forward.

Step Three: Send a Test Notification and Access Past Notifications

Just to make sure everything is working properly, go ahead and jump back into the Notification Mirroring settings on the phone. The bottom option should read “Send a test notification.” Go ahead and tap that.

A notification should show up on your computer. Boom, you’re done there.

How to Sync Your Android Notifications to Your PC or Mac

With everything up and running, you can access your non-dismissed notifications in the Pushbullet extension by clicking the “Notifications” tab.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it.

How to Disable SMBv1 and Protect Your Windows PC From Attack

How to Disable SMBv1 and Protect Your Windows PC From Attack

The WannaCry and Petya ransomware epidemics both spread using flaws in the ancient SMBv1 protocol, which Windows still enables by default (for some ridiculous reason). Whether you’re using Windows 10, 8, or 7, you should ensure SMBv1 is disabled on your PC.

What Is SMBv1, and Why Is It Enabled By Default?

SMBv1 is an old version of the Server Message Block protocol Windows uses for file sharing on a local network. It’s been replaced by SMBv2 and SMBv3. You can leave versions 2 and 3 enabled—they’re secure.

The older SMBv1 protocol is only enabled because there are some older applications that haven’t been updated to use SMBv2 or SMBv3. Microsoft maintains a list of applications that still require SMBv1 here.

If you’re not using any of these applications—and you probably aren’t—you should disable SMBv1 on your Windows PC to help protect it from any future attacks on the vulnerable SMBv1 protocol. Even Microsoft recommends disabling this protocol unless you need it.

How to Disable SMBv1 on Windows 10 or 8

Microsoft will disable SMBv1 by default beginning with Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update. Sadly, it took a huge ransomware epidemic to push Microsoft to make this change, but better late than never, right?

In the meantime, SMBv1 is easy to disable on Windows 10 or 8. Head to Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows features on or off. You can also just open the Start menu, type “Features” into the search box, and click the “Turn Windows features on or off” shortcut.

How to Disable SMBv1 and Protect Your Windows PC From Attack

Scroll through the list and locate the “SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support” option. Uncheck it to disable this feature and click “OK”.

You’ll be prompted to restart your PC after making this change.

How to Disable SMBv1 and Protect Your Windows PC From Attack

How to Disable SMBv1 on Windows 7 by Editing the Registry

On Windows 7, you’ll have to edit the Windows registry to disable the SMBv1 protocol.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. 

To get started, open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit.” Press Enter to open Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.

In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters

Next, you’re going to create a new value inside the Parameters subkey. Right-click the Parameters key  and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Name the new value SMB1 .

The DWORD will be created with a value of “0”, and that’s perfect. “0” means SMBv1 is disabled. You don’t have to edit the value after creating it.

How to Disable SMBv1 and Protect Your Windows PC From Attack


You can now close the registry editor. You will also need to restart your PC before the changes take effect. If you ever want to undo your change, return here and delete the SMB1 value.

More Information About Disabling SMBv1

The above tricks are ideal for disabling SMBv1 on a single PC, but not across an entire network. Consult Microsoft’s official documentation for more information about other scenarios. For example, Microsoft’s documentation recommends rolling out the above registry change using Group Policy if you want to disable SMB1 on a network of Windows 7 machines.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

How to Skip the Wait and Upgrade Your Pixel or Nexus to Android Oreo Now

How to Skip the Wait and Upgrade Your Pixel or Nexus to Android Oreo Now

Android Oreo is here, but it’s rolling out to Pixel and Nexus devices slowly. If you still haven’t gotten the upgrade notification, here’s a little trick to upgrade sooner.

My Pixel hadn’t gotten the update notification today, but after performing these simple steps, I’m up and running Android 8.0 with no hassle. You don’t even need an unlocked bootloader.

It turns out, users enrolled in the Android Beta program are getting priority with this update. If you aren’t in the beta program, though, you can enroll now–and if the update has started to roll out for your device, you’ll get the final version of Oreo right away. When it’s done installing, you can just unenroll from the beta program without any consequences.

This only works for Google devices that are currently slated to get the Oreo update right now. In addition, it won’t work just yet for some devices–Google usually starts rolling out to some devices before others, so if it doesn’t work right away, try again later or in a few days.

Step One: Enroll in the Android Beta Program

This could not be simpler. First, head to this page in a web browser. If you’re logged into your Google account, you should see eligible devices in a list further down the page. Just click the “Enroll Device” button to enroll in the beta.

NOTE: The page claims your data will be wiped when you opt out, but as long as you’re downloading a final build and not a preview build, you’ll be fine–your device won’t be wiped. But we still recommend making a backup of your important data first, just in case.

How to Skip the Wait and Upgrade Your Pixel or Nexus to Android Oreo Now

Step Two: Download and Install the Update

You should soon see an update notification on your phone (mine came almost immediately). Tap it, and you’ll get more information about the update.

How to Skip the Wait and Upgrade Your Pixel or Nexus to Android Oreo Now

IMPORTANT: Make sure the page doesn’t say “beta” anywhere on it. If the page says “Oreo”, you know you’re getting the final version. If it says “O” or “beta” anywhere, that means the update is a preview build—so do not tap the Download button. Try again later to see if you get the final build. 

Give your phone time to download and install the update, and soon you should be running Android Oreo, fresh from Google’s official update mechanism.

Step Three: Unenroll in the Beta Program

Now that you have the update, head back to the beta enrollment page and click the “Unenroll Device” button for your phone. Now that you have the update, you don’t need the beta program anymore (unless you want to keep it). Again, the page warns that your device will be wiped, but as long as you installed a final build and not a preview build, your device should be fine.

.How to Skip the Wait and Upgrade Your Pixel or Nexus to Android Oreo Now

That’s it! Enjoy all the new features of Android Oreo, and go brag to all your friends that you got the update first.

Monday, 21 August 2017

How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows PC (and When You Should)

How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows PC (and When You Should)

Windows’ Safe Mode is an essential tool. On computers infected with malware or crashing because of buggy drivers, Safe Mode may be the only way to start the computer.

Safe Mode starts your PC with a minimal set of drivers and services. No third-party software or drivers get loaded, and even the built-in Windows stuff is limited to just what’s necessary. Safe Mode is a great way to remove problem-causing software—like malware—without that software getting in the way. It also provides an environment where you may find it easier to roll back drivers, and use certain troubleshooting tools.

When Safe Mode Can Help

How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows PC (and When You Should)

When Windows starts normally, it launches startup programs, fires up all the services configured to start, and loads the hardware drivers you have installed. If you start in Safe Mode, Windows uses a very low screen resolution with generic video drivers, doesn’t initialize much hardware support, starts only the necessary services, and avoids loading third-party startup programs.

Sometimes, you can start Windows in Safe Mode when you can’t start Windows normally, making it a good place to start troubleshooting potential problems. If your computer is infected with malware or has unstable hardware drivers that cause blue screens, Safe Mode can help you fix it because those things aren’t loaded the way they are when Windows starts normally.

If there’s a problem with your computer and you can’t seem to fix it—or if your computer is unstable and keeps crashing or blue-screening—you should drop into Safe Mode to fix it.

How to Start Windows In Safe Mode

How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows PC (and When You Should)

Your Windows PC should automatically start up in Safe Mode if it crashes more than once while trying to start normally. However, you can also boot into Safe Mode manually:

* Windows 7 and earlier: Press the F8 key while the computer is booting (after the initial BIOS screen, but before the Windows loading screen), and then select Safe Mode in the menu that appears.

* Windows 8: Hold Shift while clicking Restart on the Power menu on either the login screen or through the Charms bar menu.

* Windows 10: Hold Shift while clicking Restart on the “Power Options” submenu of the Start Menu.

How to Fix Your PC in Safe Mode

After starting Windows in Safe Mode, you can perform most of the regular system maintenance and troubleshooting tasks to fix your computer:

* Scan for Malware: Use your antivirus application to scan for malware and remove it in Safe Mode. Malware that may be impossible to remove in normal mode—because it’s running in the background and interfering with the antivirus—may be removable in Safe Mode. If you don’t have an antivirus installed, you should be able to download and install one in Safe Mode. Of course, if you’re using Windows Defender in Windows 10, you might be better off performing an offline malware scan.

Also Read:-

* Run System Restore: If your computer was recently working fine but it’s now unstable, you can use System Restore to restore its system state to the earlier, known-good configuration. Assuming your computer is unstable and crashing, it may be possible to run System Restore without crashing from Safe Mode.

* Uninstall Recently Installed Software: If you recently installed software (such as a hardware driver or a program that includes a driver) and it’s causing your computer to blue-screen, you can uninstall that software from the Control Panel. Your computer should hopefully start normally after you’ve uninstalled the interfering software.

* Update Hardware Drivers: Assuming your hardware drivers are causing system instability, you may want to download and install updated drivers from your manufacturer’s website and install them in Safe Mode. If your computer is unstable, you’ll have to do this from Safe Mode—the hardware drivers won’t interfere and make your computer unstable in Safe Mode.

* See Whether a Crash Occurs: If your computer is unstable normally but works fine in Safe Mode, it’s likely that there’s a software problem causing your computer to crash. However, if the computer continues to crash in Safe Mode, this is often a sign that there’s a hardware problem with your computer. (Note that stability in Safe Mode doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a hardware problem. For example, your graphics card may be faulty and causing crashes under load. However, it may be stable in Safe Mode because your computer isn’t performing demanding operations with it.)

Beyond Safe Mode: Reinstalling Windows

How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows PC (and When You Should)

If you are having computer problems, it’s often not a good use of your time to spend hours isolating and fixing them. It may be much faster to reinstall Windows and start over with a fresh system.

Of course, reinstalling Windows will cause you to lose your personal files, so be sure you have a backup. On Windows 8 or 10, Refreshing your PC will preserve your personal files while replacing the system software.

If your computer continues to be unstable after a full Windows reinstall, your computer’s hardware may be faulty. A complete Windows reinstall rules out any software problems, unless there’s a faulty hardware driver that needs to be updated.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

What Is “Enhance Pointer Precision” in Windows?

The “Enhance Pointer Precision” setting in Windows can actually make you less precise with your mouse in many situations. This poorly understood feature is enabled by default in Windows, and is a form of mouse acceleration.

What Is “Enhance Pointer Precision” in Windows?

What Does Enhance Pointer Precision Do?

Normally, the only thing that controls the distance your mouse cursor moves on the screen is how far you physically move your mouse. The relationship between the two is controlled by the “dots per inch” (DPI) setting. A higher DPI means your cursor moves farther when you move the mouse the same distance.

Enhance Pointer Precision is basically a type of mouse acceleration. With this setting enabled, Windows monitors how fast you move your mouse and essentially adjusts your DPI on the fly. When you move the mouse faster, the DPI increases and your cursor moves a longer distance. When you move it slower, the DPI decreases and your cursor moves a shorter distance.

In other words, Enhance Pointer Precision makes the speed you move your mouse matter. Without this feature enabled, you could move your mouse an inch and your cursor would always move the same distance on the screen, no matter how fast you moved the mouse. With Enhance Pointer Precision enabled, your cursor would travel a smaller distance if you moved your mouse more slowly, and a greater distance if you moved your mouse more quickly—even when moving your mouse the exact same distance.

Why Enhance Pointer Precision Is Enabled By Default

This feature is enabled by default in Windows because it’s useful in many situations.

For example, let’s say you’re using a PC in an office and you have a cheap $5 mouse. The mouse doesn’t have a very good sensor and is limited to a fairly low DPI setting. Without Enhance Pointer Precision, you may need to move the mouse a longer distance to move it from one side of the screen to another. With Enhance Pointer Precision, you can move the mouse more quickly to move it from one side of the screen to another without moving it a greater distance. You can also move the mouse more slowly than normal to gain better accuracy when precisely moving the mouse small distances.

This can also be particularly useful on laptop touchpads, allowing you to move your finger more quickly on the touchpad to move the mouse cursor a greater distance without dragging your finger all the way to the other side of the touchpad.

Also Read:- 

Is Enhance Pointer Precision Good, or Is It Bad?

Whether this setting is actually helpful depends on your mouse hardware and what you’re doing.

One problem is that the acceleration produced by Enhance Pointer Precision isn’t a perfectly linear increase, so it’s hard to predict. Move your mouse a tiny bit faster or a tiny bit slower and there may be a large increase or decrease in the distance your pointer moves.

With Enhance Pointer Precision disabled, you build up muscle memory better because you learn exactly how far you need to move your mouse to place it at a certain point on your screen. The distance is all that matters. With the acceleration enabled, it’s not just about distance—it also depends on how fast you move your mouse, and it’s difficult to predict what small differences in speed can do. This is bad for building up muscle memory.

In particular, gamers with decent mice tend to dislike Enhance Pointer Precision (and mouse acceleration in general) for this reason. It causes problems and can slow you down when you’re trying to make fast, precise movements in multiplayer games. Especially considering many gaming mice let you adjust DPI more precisely using buttons on the mouse—so you can use low DPI when aiming and high DPI when running around. (Some gamers may like that Enhance Pointer Precision handles this automatically, though.)

Office workers—especially if they have cheap mice with no DPI buttons—may be perfectly fine with Enhance Pointer Precision and used to the acceleration that occurs. Even if they’re off for a few milliseconds, it’s no problem. On the other hand, a few milliseconds in an online game can mean the difference between winning and losing.

How to Disable or Enable Enhance Pointer Precision

To control this setting, head to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Mouse. On Windows 10, you can also navigate to Settings > Devices > Mouse > Additional mouse options. Click the “Pointer Options” tab, toggle “Enhance pointer precision” on or off, and click “OK” to save your changes.

What Is “Enhance Pointer Precision” in Windows?

Some mouse manufacturers create mouse configuration tools, like Logitech SetPoint and Razer Synapse. These often disable Enhance pointer precision automatically so they can enforce the manufacturer’s preferred settings.

Unfortunately, this setting is system-wide. For example, you may have a laptop with a touchpad, and you may want to use Enhance Pointer Precision for the touchpad but not for a USB mouse you plug in. There’s no way to change the setting separately for each pointing device. All you can do is toggle it on or off.

Some PC games use raw mouse input, bypassing the system mouse acceleration settings while playing the game and enforcing their own mouse settings. However, not all games do.

On Windows 10, Windows automatically syncs this setting between your PCs, even though you may want different settings on different PCs with different hardware. Mouse manufacturer utilities may also forcibly disable it. 

How to Adjust Your Mouse’s DPI

If you’re used to the mouse acceleration produced by Enhance Pointer Precision, your mouse cursor will likely feel weird after you disable it. You need some time to get used to the new setting and build up muscle memory.

If you’ve just disabled Enhance Pointer Precision and it feels like you have to move your mouse too far to move longer distances, you should probably increase your mouse’s DPI. You can find this setting in one of two places: In your mouse manufacturer’s control panel tool, or adjusted via buttons on the mouse itself. You may need to download your mouse manufacturer’s tool from their website if you haven’t installed it already.

Don’t increase your DPI too much, however. With a higher DPI setting, you need smaller movements to move your mouse cursor. It’s all about how precisely you control the mouse and the distance it moves, not about how fast you move it.

What Is “Enhance Pointer Precision” in Windows?

Even after adjusting your DPI, you may also need to adjust the “pointer speed” option located next to the Enhance Pointer Precision option in the Mouse control panel window, which affects how far your cursor moves. The pointer speed option functions as a multiplier. In other words, DPI multiplied by pointer speed (also called mouse sensitivity) equals the distance your cursor moves. You’ll likely want to experiment with different combinations of settings to see what works for you and your mouse.

If you can’t change your DPI setting because you have a fairly cheap mouse and it isn’t working for you, you can still adjust the pointer speed option. However, you may just be better off leaving Enhance Pointer Precision enabled with mice like these.

What Is “Enhance Pointer Precision” in Windows?

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Wi-Fi Security: Should You Use WPA2-AES, WPA2-TKIP, or Both?

Wi-Fi Security: Should You Use WPA2-AES, WPA2-TKIP, or Both?

Many routers provide WPA2-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES), and WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES) as options. Choose the wrong one, though, and you’ll have a slower, less-secure network.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) are the primary security algorithms you’ll see when setting up a wireless network. WEP is the oldest and has proven to be vulnerable as more and more security flaws have been discovered. WPA improved security, but is now also considered vulnerable to intrusion. WPA2, while not perfect, is currently the most secure choice. Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) are the two different types of encryption you’ll see used on networks secured with WPA2. Let’s take a look at how they differ and which is best for you.

AES vs. TKIP

TKIP and AES are two different types of encryption that can be used by a Wi-Fi network. TKIP is actually an older encryption protocol introduced with WPA to replace the very-insecure WEP encryption at the time. TKIP is actually quite similar to WEP encryption. TKIP is no longer considered secure, and is now deprecated. In other words, you shouldn’t be using it.

AES is a more secure encryption protocol introduced with WPA2. AES isn’t some creaky standard developed specifically for Wi-Fi networks, either. It’s a serious worldwide encryption standard that’s even been adopted by the US government. For example, when you encrypt a hard drive with TrueCrypt, it can use AES encryption for that. AES is generally considered quite secure, and the main weaknesses would be brute-force attacks (prevented by using a strong passphrase) and security weaknesses in other aspects of WPA2.

The short version is that TKIP is an older encryption standard used by the WPA standard. AES is a newer Wi-Fi encryption solution used by the new-and-secure WPA2 standard. In theory, that’s the end of it. But, depending on your router, just choosing WPA2 may not be good enough.

While WPA2 is supposed to use AES for optimal security, it can also use TKIP where backward compatibility with legacy devices is needed. In such a state, devices that support WPA2 will connect with WPA2 and devices that support WPA will connect with WPA. So “WPA2” doesn’t always mean WPA2-AES. However, on devices without a visible “TKIP” or “AES” option, WPA2 is generally synonymous with WPA2-AES.

And in case you’re wondering, the “PSK” in those names stands for “pre-shared key” — the pre-shared key is generally your encryption passphrase. This distinguishes it from WPA-Enterprise, which uses a RADIUS server to hand out unique keys on larger corporate or government Wi-Fi networks.

Wi-Fi Security Modes Explained

Wi-Fi Security: Should You Use WPA2-AES, WPA2-TKIP, or Both?

Confused yet? We’re not surprised. But all you really need to do is hunt down the one, most secure option in the list that works with your devices. Here are the options you’re likely to see on your router:

* Open (risky): Open Wi-Fi networks have no passphrase. You shouldn’t set up an open Wi-Fi network—seriously, you could have your door busted down by police.

* WEP 64 (risky): The old WEP protocol standard is vulnerable and you really shouldn’t use it.

* WEP 128 (risky): This is WEP, but with a larger encryption key size. It isn’t really any less vulnerable than WEP 64.

* WPA-PSK (TKIP): This uses the original version of the WPA protocol (essentially WPA1). It has been superseded by WPA2 and isn’t secure.

* WPA-PSK (AES): This uses the original WPA protocol, but replaces TKIP with the more modern AES encryption. It’s offered as a stopgap, but devices that support AES will almost always support WPA2, while devices that require WPA will almost never support AES encryption. So, this option makes little sense.

* WPA2-PSK (TKIP): This uses the modern WPA2 standard with older TKIP encryption. This isn’t secure, and is only a good idea if you have older devices that can’t connect to a WPA2-PSK (AES) network.

* WPA2-PSK (AES): This is the most secure option. It uses WPA2, the latest Wi-Fi encryption standard, and the latest AES encryption protocol. You should be using this option. On some devices, you’ll just see the option “WPA2” or “WPA2-PSK.” If you do, it will probably just use AES, as that’s a common-sense choice.

* WPAWPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES): Some devices offer—and even recommend—this mixed-mode option. This option enables both WPA and WPA2, with both TKIP and AES. This provides maximum compatibility with any ancient devices you might have, but also allows an attacker to breach your network by cracking the more vulnerable WPA and TKIP protocols.

WPA2 certification became available in 2004, ten years ago. In 2006, WPA2 certification became mandatory. Any device manufactured after 2006 with a “Wi-Fi” logo must support WPA2 encryption.

Since your Wi-Fi enabled devices are most likely newer than 8-10 years old, you should be fine just choosing WPA2-PSK (AES). Select that option and then you can see if anything doesn’t work. If a device does stop working, you can always change it back. Although, if security is a concern, you might just want to buy a new device manufactured since 2006.

WPA and TKIP Will Slow Your Wi-Fi Down

WPA and TKIP compatability options can also slow down your Wi-Fi network. Many modern Wi-Fi routers that support 802.11n and newer, faster standards will slow down to 54mbps if you enable WPA or TKIP in their options. They do this to ensure they’re compatible with these older devices.

By comparison, even 802.11n supports up to 300mbps if you’re using WPA2 with AES. Theoretically, 802.11ac offers maximum speeds of 3.46 Gbps under optimum (read: perfect) conditions.

On most routers we’ve seen, the options are generally WEP, WPA (TKIP), and WPA2 (AES)—with perhaps a WPA (TKIP) + WPA2 (AES) compatibility mode thrown in for good measure.

If you do have an odd sort of router that offers WPA2 in either TKIP or AES flavors, choose AES. Almost all your devices will certainly work with it, and it’s faster and more secure. It’s an easy choice, as long as you can remember AES is the good one.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

Windows Update is supposed to work silently in the background, but it may refuse to continue if it can’t install an individual update.

Try running the Windows Update Troubleshooter, which you can search for in the Start menu.
If that doesn’t help, you can try deleting Windows Update’s cache by booting into Safe Mode, stopping the wuauserv service, and deleting the files in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.
If all else fails, download updates manually using the WSUS Offline Update tool.
This can happen on Windows 7, 8, or 10, but it’s become especially common with Windows 7. Sometimes updates will error out, or sometimes Windows Update may just get stuck “searching for updates” forever. Here are a few ways to give it a kick start.

Remember: Windows updates are important. No matter what troubles you’re having, we recommend keeping automatic updates turned on—it’s one of the best ways to keep yourself safe from ransomware and other threats. If you turn automatic updates off, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to new attacks.

# Windows 7, 8, and 10: Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

Windows includes a built-in troubleshooter that may be able to help fix a stuck update. It’s the easiest method to try, so go ahead and run it first. The troubleshooter performs three actions:

1. It shuts down Windows Update Services.

2. It renames the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old , essentially clearing the Windows Update download cache so that it can start over.

3. It restarts the Windows Update Services.

This troubleshooter is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10. You’ll find it in the same place on all modern versions of Windows.

To run the troubleshooter, hit Start, search for “troubleshooting,” and then run the selection that search comes up with.

In the Control Panel list of troubleshooters, in the “System and Security” section, click “Fix problems with Windows Update.”

In the Windows Update troubleshooting window, click “Advanced.”

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck


In the advanced settings, make sure that the “Apply repairs automatically” check box is enabled, click “Run as administrator” and then click Next. Giving the tool administrative privileges helps ensure that it can delete files in the download cache.

The troubleshooter works through its process and then lets you know whether it could identify and fix the problem. Most of the time, the troubleshooter can successfully remove a stuck update from the queue. Go ahead and try running Windows Update again. Even if the troubleshooter says it couldn’t identify the problem, it’s possible that the actions of starting and stopping the service and clearing out the cache did the trick.

Windows 7, 8, and 10: Fix Windows Update by Deleting Its Cache Manually

If you’re still having trouble after running the troubleshooter (or if you’re the type that just likes to do things yourself), performing the same actions manually may help where the troubleshooter didn’t. We’re also going to add the extra step of booting into Safe Mode first, just to make sure that Windows can really let go of that cache of Windows Update downloads.

Start off by booting Windows into Safe Mode. On Windows 7, restart your computer and press the “F8” key on your computer while it boots to access the boot options menu, where you’ll find a “Safe Mode” option. On Windows 8 and 10, hold down the Shift key as you click the “Restart” option in Windows and navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Windows Startup Settings > Restart > Safe Mode.


It’s a little more cumbersome than it used to be on the latest versions of Windows, but it’s still reasonably straightforward. Of course, if you want, you could also take some time to add Safe Mode to the Windows boot menu to make it easier in the future.

When you’ve booted into Safe Mode, the next step is to stop the Windows Update service, and the easiest way to do that is with the Command Prompt. To launch the Command Prompt in Windows 7, open the Start menu, search for “Command Prompt”, and launch the Command Prompt shortcut. You’ll also find it under Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt. In Windows 8 or 10, you can right-click the Start menu (or press Windows+X), choose “Command Prompt (Admin)” and then click Yes to allow it to run with administrative privileges.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

At the Command Prompt, type the following command and then hit Enter to stop the Windows Update service. Go ahead and leave the Command Prompt window open.

net stop wuauserv
Next, open a File Explorer window and navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution . Delete all the files in the folder. Don’t worry. There’s nothing vital here. Windows Update will recreate what it needs the next time you run it.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

Now, you’ll restart the Windows Update service. Return to the Command Prompt window, type the following, and hit Enter:

net start wuauserv
When the service has restarted, you can close Command Prompt and restart Windows into normal mode. Give Windows Update another try and see if your problem has been fixed.

# Windows 7: Update the Windows Update Service

If you’re installing Windows 7 from scratch, you’ll notice that Windows Update will take a very long time while checking for updates. This can also occur if you haven’t checked for updates in a while, even if you installed your Windows 7 system long ago. This occurs even if you install Windows 7 from a disc or USB drive with Service Pack 1 integrated, which you should. Microsoft’s official Windows 7 installation media downloads includes SP1.

Microsoft has now provided official instructions about how to fix this problem. According to Microsoft, this problem occurs because Windows Update itself needs an update, creating a bit of a catch-22. If the latest updates to Windows Update are installed, the process should work better.

Here are Microsoft’s official instructions for fixing the problem.

First, open Windows Update. Head to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update. Click the “Change Settings” link in the sidebar. Select “Never Check For Updates (Not Recommended)” in the dropdown box and then click “OK”.

Reboot your computer after you change this setting.

After the computer restarts, you’ll need to manually download and install two updates for Windows 7. You’ll need to check whether you’re running a 32-bit version of Windows or a 64-bit version and download the appropriate updates for your PC.

For 64-bit editions of Windows 7, download these updates:

* KB3020369, April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 (64-bit version)
* KB3172605, July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 (64-bit version)

or 32-bit editions of Windows 7:, download these updates:

* KB3020369, April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 (32-bit version)

* KB3172605, July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit version)

Double-click the “KB3020369” update to install it first.

After the first update finishes installing, double-click the “KB3172605” update to install it second. You’ll be asked to restart the computer as part of the installation process. After it restarts, Microsoft says you should wait ten to twelve minutes to allow the process to finish.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

When you’re done–remember to wait ten to twelve minutes after restarting–head back to the Windows Update dialog at Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update. Click “Change Settings” and set it back to Automatic (or choose your desired setting).


Click “Check for Updates” to have Windows check for and install updates. According to Microsoft, this should have fixed your problems and Windows Update should now work normally without any long delays.

Windows 7: Get the Convenience Rollup

Microsoft has also produced a “convenience rollup” for Windows 7. This is essentially Windows 7 Service Pack 2 in all but name. It bundles together a large number of updates that would take a very long time to install normally. This package includes updates released from February 2011 all the way to May 16, 2016.

To speed up the updating of a new Windows 7 system, download the convenience rollup and install it rather than waiting for Windows Update. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t offer the update rollup through Windows Update–you have to go out of your way to get it. But it’s easy enough to install if you know it exists and know you have to go looking for it after you install Windows 7.


There will be much fewer updates to install via Windows Update after you install this, so the process should be much faster.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

# Windows 7, 8, or 10: Download Updates Manually WSUS Offline Update

If none of the official solutions fixed your problem, we have another solution that’s worked for us in the past. It’s a third-party tool called WSUS Offline Update.

This tool will download available Windows Update packages from Microsoft and install them. Run it once, have it download those updates and install them, and Windows Update should work normally afterwards. This has worked for us in the past when none of the other solutions did.

Download WSUS Offline Update, extract it to a folder, and run the UpdateGenerator.exe application.

Select the version of Windows you’re using–“x64 Global” if you’re using a 64-bit edition or “x86 Global” if you’re using a 32-bit edition. After you do, click “Start” and WSUS Offline Update will download updates.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

Wait for the updates download. If it’s a fresh install of Windows 7, there will be a lot of updates, so this may take quite a while. It depends on the speed of your Internet connection and how fast Microsoft’s download servers are for you.

After the updates are done downloading, open the “client” folder in the WSUS Offline folder and run the UpdateInstaller.exe application.

How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck

Click “Start” to install the downloaded updates. After the tool finishes installing the updates, Windows Update should work normally again.

This should hopefully become a bit easier in the future. In October 2016, Microsoft announced that it was making changes to the way Windows 7 and 8.1 are “serviced”, or updated. Microsoft plans to release fewer small updates and more bundles of large updates. It will also begin combining previous updates into a monthly update rollup. This will mean fewer individual updates to install, and updating newly installed Windows 7 systems should become faster over time.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

10 Things You May Not Know You Can Do With Google Photos


Google Photos may seem like a simple image hosting service, but it’s actually quite powerful. Google Photos bridges the gap between cloud storage, image hosting, and image sharing services, giving stiff competition to Flickr, iCloud, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

You probably know that Google Photos can back up photos from your Android or iOS device, and that you can access it from the web to view your library. You probably even know that Google Photos provides free unlimited storage when you opt for their “high quality” setting (which means photos up to an ample 16-megapixel limit and HD videos up to 1080p). Any higher than that, and it’ll count toward your Google Drive storage. Though most of the features and services bundled with this application have been discussed for a while, here are some beyond-the-basics tricks you may not have known about.

Search for People, Places, and Objects

Google Photos will automatically arrange your uploaded pictures by location and by date taken. Using advanced image recognition and Google’s large database of information, it can recognize the subject of your photos quite easily. Search your photos for anything: a wedding you attended last month, pictures you took during holidays, pictures of your pets, food, and much more. At the bottom right, touch the search icon and from the box, type what you want to find–like food, cars, or your pet and touch “Enter” or “Search.”

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

The Google Photos app uses some complex image processing techniques to group photos together. The auto-grouped photos are shown in the main search interface. The categories you’ll see here depends upon what you take pictures of. These groups could be the places you visit, people you know, or objects such as food, cars, bikes, and more. At the top, you’ll see several Faces that Photos app has spotted in your uploaded pics.

Group Similar Faces Together and Label Them

Google Photos creates models of the faces in your photos in order to group similar faces together. That way, you can search your photo library for photos of certain people (like “Mom” or “Jenny”). Face groups and labels are private to your account, and won’t appear to anyone you share the photos with. To create a label for a face group, tap “Who is this?” located at the top of a face group. Enter a name or nickname (or choose from the suggestions). After you label a face group, you can search with that label using the search box.

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

If you wish to change or remove the label name, then tap the “Options” menu and choose “Edit or Remove name label.”

If there’s more than one face group for the same person, you can merge them. Label one of the face groups with a name, then label the other face group with the same name. When you confirm the second name, Google Photos will ask you if you want to merge the face groups. Face grouping is on by default, but you can stop grouping similar faces together in “Settings.” At the top left, tap or click the hamburger menu. Next to “Group similar faces,” turn the switch off. When you turn off this setting, it will delete all the face groups in your account, the face models you created for those groups, and any labels you created.

Delete Photos After Uploading Them

If you’re going to upload your photos to the cloud, why keep them on your phone? Google Photos can automatically remove images and videos from your phone once it uploads them, eliminating redundant copies of the photo. Previously, this feature was activated only if you’ve set the app to back up “Full original resolution” images, which costs you storage on Google Drive. But now it’s available “High quality (free unlimited storage)” too. Google Photos’ “Assistant” feature will prompt you to delete images from your phone when the storage space gets low. If you accept the prompt, it will give information on how much space you can free up if you delete images and videos on the device.

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

If back up and sync is always turned on, then you can manually delete local copies of your photos and videos too. At the top left, touch the hamburger menu and choose “Settings.” Touch “Free up device storage” to remove original photos and videos from your device that are already backed up.

Back Up Photos From Other Apps

Google Photos’ auto-backup is handy, but by default, it only backs up photos taken with the default Camera app. If you want to also back up photos you took in Instagram, WhatsApp, Viber, and other similar Android apps, you can do so. You just need to know where those apps store the photos they take.

Open the Google Photos app on your Android phone, and tap on the hamburger menu icon in the top left corner. Select “Device Folders” from the menu that appears. You’ll notice different folders holding images from various apps like Facebook, Instagram, messaging apps, and Screenshots. Chose which folders to include or exclude from the backup process. If you don’t want to clutter your Google Photos storage with screenshots, for example, you can leave that folder turned off. And if you want all those cute filtered Instagram images, tap the cloud icon and it’ll scan that folder in the future.

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

Alternatively, go to “Settings > Back up and sync,” touch “Choose folders to back up…” and select the folders you want to back up. Note that this setting is available only on Android devices.

Pinch to Change View

You probably know you can pinch to zoom in and out of a picture, but there’s more to it with Google Photos. By default, the app shows your images in a daily view with thumbnails arranged chronologically, but there are a number of other options such as monthly view and “comfortable” view, which makes the photos full-width on the screen. You can move between the views simply by pinching in or out on your device’s screen. You can even pinch in on an image in a view to open it in as an individual image, and pinch out on a full-screen image to go back to the image list. Swiping up or down on the full screen image will have the same effect.

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do


Select Multiple Photos With a Single Tap

Imagine having to select a hundred photos from your gallery and tapping on your screen a hundred times. Talk about tedious! Thankfully, Google Photos allows you to select multiple photos at a time. While viewing images in the Google Photos app, long-press on any photo to start selecting the photos. Then without lifting your finger, drag upward, downward, or sideways. This process will allow you to quickly select a series of photos without having to lift your finger. On the web, you can do the same thing by holding down the Shift key.

Undelete Photos

Let’s say you got a little trigger happy with the above gestures and accidentally deleted the wrong photos. Or perhaps you just changed your mind after hitting the Delete button. Google Photos will hold on to those images for at least 60 days in the trash. All you have to do is navigate to the trash folder, touch and hold the photo you want to undelete, and tap the restore arrow in the top right-hand corner. You can also delete those images permanently from the trash: just mark those images you want to get rid of and select the delete icon again.

Note: If you delete a photo or video and it appears to come back (without restoring it), try using your device’s Gallery app to delete it. The photo or video you tried to delete might be on a removable memory card in your device.
Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

Upload Faster with the Desktop Client

Google Photos automatically uploads photos from your phone, but it also has desktop uploaders for Windows and Mac OS X. You can also drag-and-drop folders from your desktop to photos.google.com, and they’ll be uploaded instantly. This is useful if you’re uploading a large number of photos, and want a faster upload speed than your cellular carrier offers. The desktop uploaders can also automatically upload photos from digital cameras and SD cards when you plug them in, which is great if you take photos on something other than your phone.

Show Photos on a TV with a Chromecast

If you have a Chromecast, then you can display your photos and videos on a big screen. Install the Chromecast app for Android or iOS and make sure that your devices are on the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast. At the top right, touch the “cast icon,” and select your Chromecast. Open a photo or video on your device, and click the “cast icon” to display it on your TV. Swipe the photos, and you’ll see the change happening on your TV as well. If you’re on a PC or Mac, you can cast photos and videos from the Chrome browser to your TV, too. Just install Google Cast extension and follow the on-screen instructions.

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

Download All Your Photos at Once

Unlike Dropbox, Google Photos’ desktop uploader is a one-way client. You can’t directly download all your photos from it. If you want to download all your media from Google’s servers in eone fell swoop, then you can do so with Google Takeout. Log in to your Google account and head over to the Google Takeout page. Select “Google Photos” and select the albums you’d like to download. Now you can download all the media as a ZIP file without having to tediously select each individual image in the Google Photos gallery.

Things You May Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do

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