Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Kodi: New TV Streaming Sensation

Kodi: New TV Streaming Sensation

Kodi is one of the most powerful media players that’s ever been released for Windows – and it’s also one of the most controversial. David Ludlow explains how to use it legally

Few programs in recent years have proved as controversial – or as popular – as Kodi. On one level it’s a brilliant music and video player, letting you stream content between computers. If you connect your laptop to your TV with an HDMI cable you’ll also be able to access and watch everything on the big screen of your television.

Kodi – known as XBMC until 2014 – also excels at online streaming. It gives you access to all kinds of add-ons that expand its basic features, so you can watch YouTube, iPlayer, out-of-copyright movies and a whole host of other video content straight from one convenient location. In addition, you can listen to hundreds of radio stations from around the world, view all your photos and stream podcasts.

Start afresh in Windows 10

Start afresh in Windows 10

If you upgraded to Windows 10 from a previous version your PC will probably be bloated with old apps and programs. Mike Plant explains how to restart Windows 10 with a clean installation

How did you install Windows 10? If, like the vast majority of Windows 10 users, you installed it over the top of a previous version – such as 7 or 8.1 – you’ve probably never enjoyed a full and clean version of Windows 10. That’s because installing one operating system over another is similar to wiping a whiteboard with an eraser. Most of what you scrawled on there has gone, but look close enough and you’ll see remnants of what was written there before.

The good news is that Microsoft’s new Refresh tool is there for users looking to make their version of Windows 10 as fresh as if it had come pre-installed on a new computer.

Here, we’ll take you through the process, starting with making a backup of all the important files and information on your PC, before explaining how to refresh Windows 10 and then get it off to the best possible start.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Keep your PC perfectly safe with sandboxing

Keep your PC perfectly safe with sandboxing

Wayne Williams explains how to use a sandbox to protect your PC from malicious programs, snoops and more

Sandboxing is a method used to prevent software from taking control of your operating system or making any changes to it. It works by containing the program in a secure and disposable section of your computer’s hard drive or memory. Software running in this ‘sandbox’ is allowed to read data from the hard drive as normal, but it can’t write data outside of the sandbox or make any changes to Windows.

There are several benefits to sandboxing software in this way, such as keeping your system safe from potential malware and letting you try as many programs as you like without worrying about cluttering up Windows or causing problems.

It’s also useful for privacy reasons: if you sandbox your web browser, nothing you do will be recorded on your computer, and bookmarks, cookies, cached pages and browsing history will vanish when you empty or exit the sandbox.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Centralise your storage with a NAS

Centralise your storage with a NAS

NAS drives take the pain out of backing up and sharing files across your PCs. Jonathan Parkyn explains why you might need one and how to set it up

Network attached storage (NAS) devices used to be costly and complicated to set up. But prices have dropped to the point where some models aren’t much more expensive than a standard external drive – Western Digital’s 2TB My Cloud, for example, can be bought for around £110 (www.snipca.com/23561). User-friendliness has also drastically improved, and many NAS devices are now simpler than ever to configure. But what is a NAS? Do you need one? And, if so, how do you go about setting one up? Read on to find out.

Complete guide to digitising your old photos

Complete guide to digitising your old photos

Scanning photos doesn’t have to be an organisational nightmare. Jane Hoskyn explains how to digitise and sort whole albums of photos for free

You might assume that turning your dusty old photo prints into digital photos is a right palaver. And, until recently, you’d have been right. You had to fork out for an expensive flatbed scanner, then spend days, weeks and months using the infernal thing to churn out massive files with meaningless names like ‘1931304_47829780167_8088_n.TIFF’ – not the most charming title for an image of your wedding day.

But things have changed fast, thanks to powerful scanning and tagging tools that make this once-Herculean task quick and easy. Here, we reveal the best new ways to capture entire albums of prints, then organise them using tags so your favourite scanned photos are even easier to find than when they were in albums on your bookshelf - and it won’t cost you a penny.