Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux all allow you to schedule boot-ups, shut-downs, and wake-ups. You can have your computer automatically power up in the morning and automatically shut down at night, if you’d like.
This is less necessary than ever thanks to sleep mode — a typical laptop just enters low-power sleep mode it can quickly resume from when it’s not being used — but may still be useful for desktop PCs. Read more >>
It’s happened to all of us. You step away from your computer and come back a few minutes later. While you were gone, your computer’s hard drive lights start flashing — but what exactly is it doing? It’s natural to be a bit suspicious.
This is generally nothing to worry about. All normally configured Windows systems will do this regularly. Malware is always a possibility, of course. You can run an antimalware scan if you’re worried. Read more >>
Set up a new disk on Windows 8.1 or 8 and you’ll be asked whether you want to use MBR or GPT. GPT is the new standard and is gradually replacing MBR.
GPT brings with it many advantages, but MBR is still the most compatible and is still necessary in some cases. This isn’t a Windows-only standard — Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems can also use GPT. Read more >>
Windows’ BitLocker encryption defaults to 128-bit AES encryption, but you can choose to use 256-bit AES encryption instead. Using a 256-bit AES key could potentially offer more security against future attempts to access your files.
Is this really more secure? Well, that’s a matter of some debate. You might naively assume that 256-bit encryption offers more security, but it isn’t that clear. Read more >>
BitLocker normally encrypts entire drives and partitions, but you can also create encrypted container files with tools built into Windows. Such encrypted VHD files can easily be moved between systems, backed up, and hidden when not in-use.
This trick allows you to create TrueCrypt-style encrypted volumes as files on your computer. Like other BitLocker features, it requires a Professional or Enterprise edition of Windows, or Ultimate for Windows 7. Read more >>