Simple Windows RT registry tweak makes the Microsoft Surface RT a “touch” more responsive
The Surface RT firmware update Microsoft made available last week as part of this year's first Patch Tuesday brought with it a number of improvements, including improved audio playback in Connected Standby and “additional capabilities for handling firmware updates during low battery situations.” But as with most firmware updates, there are always issues, known and unknown, that remain unresolved until a future update — or, as in this case, a simple registry hack — gets rid of them.
Rage: more than a game, it’s the emotion that many gamers felt when they got their hands on iD’s long-awaited shooter. There have been a bunch of complaints leveled at the game – some of which iD claims is the fault of graphics drivers – but one thing bugging early adopters is the lack of graphics configuration options. iD left them out because Rage is supposed to automatically adjust detail levels to create the perfect blend of gameplay and “Oooh, pretty.” Unfortunately, many gamers say that’s buggered too, but Nvidia has posted a workaround to unlock those awesome, high-res visuals – and it should work for Radeon rockers, too.
Oh, Skype. We have you to thank for transforming thousands, of not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people into cheapskates. I say that lovingly, for I, too, dream of a day when I can forever free myself from the confines of a monthly cell phone plan and run into the loving, warm embrace of no-monthly-cost, Skype-based chatting…
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit overdramatic. But it would be silly to think that Skype hasn’t radically transformed the way a lot of people go about their daily lives. In fact, some people do indeed subsist on this service, and this service alone, for all of their phone-based needs. And many more people use Skype to conduct business; to make podcasts; to call loved ones from afar, as is the case with Maximum PC dream date winner Magali and her French family.
In short, Skype is kind of a big deal. You know it, I know it, but… the one thing that you likely don’t know off the top of your head is all the different ways you can maximize your VoIP-chatting experience through the use of third-party Skype add-ons, software tweaks, and more! That’s what we’ll be covering in this comprehensive tips guide: Making Skype awesome.
Some of my favorite kinds of freeware apps to find (and install) are the ones that build new functionality into the Windows operating system. I'm running Windows 7 right now, but even this latest version of Microsoft's OS has substantial room for third-party improvements.
It's not difficult to find free or open-source apps to boost the common interactions one has with one's operating system. The tough part is in the classification: I'm really not sure how to best lump this week's applications together, save for the fact that they're all awesome ways to enhance Windows with new and useful features. And I'm not talking about super-complex, command-line scripts or what-have-you. No, these apps are all super-easy to use-if you even see them at all, given that most will modify some form of your Windows OS without needing any further interaction past the installation screen.
Anyway, if you can think of a better way to classify this week's Freeware Files other than, "Apps that Make Windows Rock," I'm all ears. Otherwise, click the jump and get ready to take your operating system to new places!
Windows Explorer hasn't always been the most feature-packed of elements inside Microsoft's operating systems. Yet, oddly, it's probably the one part of your Windows version that you use most frequently. But that's not to say that everything is Microsoft's fault. We're often so quick to blame the software giant for what's more a lack of future-proofing than outright failure. In this case, Windows Explorer can't predict what's going to be the next big thing--it can't know that you'll want your photographs easily updated to Maximum Photos someday; it has no idea that you might somehow need to paste a direct link to a file instead of its name or containing folder.
Windows Explorer is, in a word, dumb.
But that's not what we're here to talk about. We're not going to sit around a table and lament about all the features Windows Explorer could have were you one, Bill Gates, and had access to an engineer, or two, or twenty thousand. We're going to go over all the unique little elements that you can build into Windows Explorer right this darn second. I can think of five off the top of my head that are useful additions to your standard interactions with your operating system. They're free, they're awesome, and they're yours for the taking after the jump!
One of Mozilla Firefox's bigger advantages over Google Chrome has just been wiped away and, dare we say, Google Chrome has actually one-upped its rival in terms of overall usability and ease-of-installation. We're referring, of course, to Greasemonkey. You might have heard this name echoed across tech and tweak sites far and wide. As well you should have--the functionality you can achieve by this upgrade to your surfing experience is simply unsurpassed in its depth or scope by any conventional add-on or extension.
Sound good? Because now, Google Chrome users have the ability to tap into Greasemonkey scripts as much as any other browser user. You don't even have to install a separate add-on, since scripts work natively in the browser!
But here's the catch: not all Greasemonkey scripts work perfectly in Google Chrome. The running estimation is that roughly 20 percent of what's out there is currently broken for Google's browser. That's not great news for a person who's easily frustrated by failure. However, here's where Maximum PC comes into the picture. We've run through a large swath of awesome Google Greasemonkey scripts to achieve two key goals: to see what works and to see which scripts, of the 40,000+ available, are awesome tweaks for your browser. Click the jump for a look at some of the top Greasemonkey scripts you could (or should) be slapping into your Google Chrome browser right now.
Wh...what's this? A piece of open-source software from Microsoft that adds speed and portability to the standard Windows 7 installation process? It almost sounds too good to be true, but it's not! There really is such a utility, and it really has been delivered by the Windows 7 manufacturer itself, and it really is open-source!
I might sound a little too excited about this entire concept, but that's just because this tool--the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool--is actually a great replacement for what is otherwise a semi-complex (and hard to remember) series of console commands. If you think I'm exaggerating just for the sake of fashioning up a fun article to read, you're wrong. I couldn't tell you off-hand how to create a bootable USB drive with a preloaded Windows 7 disc. I usually just turn to this series of steps as a general walkthrough.
While the Microsoft tool isn't perfect, in that it won't automatically rip the contents of your Windows 7 CD and fashion a bootable USB key out of that, it's still an awesome way to automate this entire process using a friendly GUI. But don't think that you can just use this tool to make bootable USB keys of any ol' ISO file sitting around on your hard drive. In fact, you can't even rip the Windows 7 DVD and use the subsequent ISO file as the basis of your bootable USB key. Not without some tweaking, that is...
Whenever you want to download a file in Firefox, you get a little gremlin tagging along for the ride. He's a helpful little monster, and his eerie resemblance to a common "download window" allows you to quickly see the status of, pause, and cancel your file transfers as you see fit. Easy as cake! Simple as can be! Insert more similes here! Seriously, how could one really improve a pop-up window whose sole purpose is to tell you how much time you have left on your download, only to scurry away into your browser's back pocket once the file is done?
I just gave you a clue. But this isn't a Sherlock Holmes mystery, so I'll jump straight to the big spoiler. Your download window in Firefox doesn't have to be a pop-up element that rests overtop your browser. In fact, this can be kind of annoying. Given that Firefox is all about the tabbed browsing, it makes much more sense to pull the download window out of the airspace and chain it to its own individual page amongst your plethora of open tabs. You can't do this via Firefox natively, and that's where this week's Firefox Addon of the Week comes into play.
EVGA's latest tool puts the art of overclocking in the palm of your hand, and quite literally we might add. The company's just-announced EVBot looks like a media player and is described as a "very simple and straightforward [device] much like your mobile phone."
Unlike like your smartphone, the EVBot hooks up to your EVGA-powered system by way of a motherboard connector and three separate VGA port connections. Once plugged in, you'll have the ability to adjust a ton of different voltages and a handful of clock frequencies, and all on-the-fly. Just some of the settings you can tweak include the CPU vCore, CPU VTT, CPU PLL vCore, CPU host frequency, PCI-E Frequency, CPU clock skew, CPU amplitude, and so on.
The EVBot communicates via the SMBus (System Management Bus) and includes a hardware monitor for keeping an eye on CPU temps, VREG temps, CPU vCore, and CPU frequency. It also boasts a feature called Opt Booster, which automatically gives your processor a temporary clockspeed boost every few seconds beyond the overclocked settings.
But don't go writing your BIOS's obituary just yet, because only select EVGA owners need apply. EVBot only works with the following:
EVGA X58 Classified 4-Way Motherboard
EVGA X58 Classified Motherboard
EVGA P55 Classified Motherboard
EVGA P55 FTW 200 Motherboard
EVGA P55 FTW Motherboard
EVGA GTX 285 Classified Graphics Card
The EVBot is available now marked down to $80 (from $100) direct from EVGA.
Ahh, batteries. The bane of any laptop user. It always feels like you just never have enough juice to finish whatever it is you're trying to do on your portable PC. And as the minutes count down on you notebook's battery estimation, you do everything you can to squeeze working time out of your laptop. You crank down the brightness to a near-dusk level. You disable the Wi-Fi in the hope that the Web pages you've physically downloaded will be enough to allow you to finish your work. You even quit out of as many applications and extra processes as you can think of to terminate--maybe a more idle CPU will make for an extra minute or three.
While doing the "Battery Dance" is an unavoidable part of portable computing, you don't always have to be caught off-guard by the ol' low battery warning. Not only are there a handful of applications that give you more details about your remaining battery life than Windows' default notifications, but there are also a bunch of utilities that you can use to squeak as much time out of your laptop battery as possible. Even better, a few of these utilities even automate this process in the background--you won't have to click a single button to reap the benefits of their tweaks.
Provided you still have some juice left in your laptop, click the jump. With luck, we'll be able to get you some extra battery life so you can finish the article...