A network-attached storage (NAS) device is the Robin to a LAN’s Batman. The two should be inseparable, and for good reason. A NAS box gives you a guaranteed way to store all of your files and stream your media. Running a NAS box also means that you don’t have to boot your power-leeching desktop rig every time you want to access your files from another device.
But you don’t have to go out and purchase a NAS device. You can build a superior alternative using spare parts left over after upgrading your PC.
One of the biggest challenges Maximum PC readers often face is the never ending battle we endure when it comes to restoring the PC’s of family and friends. We often find ourselves bombarded with machines that may have once been configured by us, but have become infected or modified beyond recognition. The good news is that Microsoft finally has a solution and it comes in the form of a free add on for Windows XP and Vista which promises to restore sanity to your world.
Windows Steady State goes far beyond a simple group policy editor. It gives users the protection and peace of mind that until now could only be matched by a virtual machine. Simply put, Windows Steady State gives you nearly unlimited control over what can and cannot be done on a protected PC. With the ability to flush unwanted changes with each reboot every new session can be as fresh and snappy as the day you first installed the OS.
The obvious application for Steady State is anyone who maintains a large fleet of public computers, but I would argue that it works just as well for anyone who maintains a troublesome household computer with friends or family who just can’t resist opening email attachments. Steady State gives administrators full control over how users access the internet, how they import and export data, and even what programs they can use. Interested in learning how to master this amazing new utility?
Read on to learn how to configure Steady State for your application.
Partitioning your hard drive has never been easier. Free options, including the Windows install disk, make this once monumental task a fairly simple two-click experience that many of us don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about when we first install our OS’s. It can sometimes be difficult to anticipate your storage needs up front, and many users just assume they are stuck with decisions they made long ago.
A typical user could have many reasons for breaking up a hard drive into multiple volumes, but partitioning your drive after installing an OS is typically a destructive proposition -- one that usually involves backing up your data, formatting, and starting clean. Commercial solutions such as Norton Partition Magic has existed for years and allows you to preserve your data while resizing volumes, but what if you’re working on a limited budget (or completely without one)? That’s where GParted comes into play. This free and open source disk partitioning tool was designed for Linux, but luckily for us Windows users, it comes bundled in a live CD or USB version called Parted Magic which takes care of the Linux requirement.
In this guide we will look at how to use the interface to resize, delete, or create new partitions, all without losing your data or starting over. This will come in handy if you made your Windows partition too large or too small, or if you’re happy with Windows XP, but want to give Vista a spin. Backups are still heavily advised, but with our help, and a bit of luck, you won’t need them. Read on!
Setting up a streaming TV show on the Internet is a pretty easy task. You grab a webcam, plug it into a PC, and use an Internet streaming site to host your amateur show. We’re stressing the amateur part because let’s face it, we’ve all seen enough YouTube stars to know the score.
But since this is Maximum PC, we’re kicking it up a notch and showing you how to become an online video producer. First off, we’re upping the number of cameras to two. Second, we’re going to show you how to stream your video live. By using Ustream’s (www.ustream.tv) online interface, you’ll be able to switch back and forth between your two cameras. Give your audience two different views of your head! Or more likely, use the second camera to feature a special guest or sidekick.
Find out how to be your own internet celebrity after the jump.
And as a full-featured Windows replacement, no other Linux distribution comes close to Ubuntu, which features a full suite of pre-loaded desktop applications and an easy to use installer. Ubuntu contains many unique and innovative qualities designed to make it less intimidating the average Windows user who may be looking for a change. One of these features is called Live CD. Once you have downloaded and burned a copy of the Live CD ISO, you will have the ability to launch a fully functional copy of the Ubuntu to test out driver compatibility and to sample the user interface, all without installing a single file to your PC. This guide will walk you through testing your hardware and installing a dual boot setup all without formatting or repartitioning your hard drive.
Take control of your ever-expanding video and movie collection, so you can play whatever you want without spending hours searching for it!
We’d love to tell you that there’s a single free program that’s ideal for keeping track of every kind of video content you own—but we can’t. We have, however, discovered a pair of free programs that can make almost any video collection easy to manage!
There’s nothing we dislike more than firing up a fresh, new installation of an operating system only to find a slew of hotfixes, updates, and patches awaiting us through the Windows Update mechanism. Granted, we can take some small comfort from the fact that the updating process is relatively automatic—but not so when it comes to outfitting a new OS installation with all the requisite driver packages.
But you can reduce the time and effort it takes to get a fresh install into tip-top shape. By creating a slipstreamed installation disc you’ll have all the patches, fixes, drivers, and options you need at the ready to be easily and automatically integrated into your next OS install—be it XP or Vista.
Hit the jump and we'll show you how how to create a no-fuss OS installation disc that contains all the hotfixes, drivers, and options you’ll need.
As much as we would love for our computers to work perfectly, the fact is that PCs and gadgets are complex devices that often fall short of exactly what we want. When confronted with this fact, we’re reminded of the old saw that says if you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself. And who are we to doubt that kind of wisdom? As power users, we’re not content with hardware the way it comes out of the box; we have an insatiable need to hack our electronics in ways that will improve performance, functionality, and ease of use. And there’s no doubt about it, modifying your hardware will increase your productivity and make your life that much simpler.
Your IT department won’t let you copy MP3s onto your work PC, and your iPod won’t hold your massive music collection, but you need to listen to tunes while you toil away at the day’s labor. What’s an audiophile to do? The answer is simple: Stream the collection you have stored on your rig at home to your PC at work.
Tired of Vista installation bloat? Looking for an easy way to set up an unattended install process? Wishing for a faster way to tweak your favorite settings after Vista is installed? There’s an easy solution for all these scenarios, thanks to a little program called vLite.