Doing stuff with your mouse is cool. Doing stuff with your keyboard is cooler. These are the most important keyboard shortcuts, ranked from best to worst. (Unless noted, we’ve listed the Windows shortcuts; Mac users substitute cmd for ctrl.) With one exception, despite any flaws, all the shortcuts below are fundamentally good.
The undo shortcut is so essential that you’ve probably tried to hit it in real life. The “shake to undo” feature on phones is a gimmicky substitute that only triggers when you didn’t need it.
Undo your undo. And it uses the letter before Z. Legendary.
3. ctrl+X, ctrl+C, ctrl+V
Cut, copy, paste. About once a week I go to hit ctrl+V on my phone, before sighing and trying to hold my finger on the screen just long enough to pop up the paste menu, which always takes two tries. Cmd+X feels a bit weird on the Mac, but I used it to arrange this list, so I owe it some thanks. Thanks, Cmd+X.
In most text edit windows, this lets you turn selected text into a link, instead of just pasting the whole URL into the body of your text like some kind of caveman.
Open Spotlight (or the launcher you installed to replace it) on MacOS. It’s like the Terminal command line for normies. Wish I’d discovered it earlier in life. I could be a whole other person by now.
Windows and MacOS feature a whole array of shortcuts for capturing your whole screen, part of your screen, or a window, and saving it to your clipboard or as a file. On Windows you can even hit Windows key+H to capture your screen and pop up a share menu. We all have our favorites. But mine is cmd+shift+4, which lets a Mac user select a specific area to screenshot, then saves it as a file on the desktop. The key combo is a bit spaced out, but even my little hands can reach it comfortably.
On a Mac, this switches between windows of the same application. On Windows, you can do the same with alt+` if you install a little background app called Easy Window Switcher. What a smart idea, to incorporate an underused key that usually sits right above the tab key.
8. ctrl+F, ctrl+G
It’s cool to start a search with your keyboard. It’s even cooler to switch between results with your keyboard.
New tab. Makes sense. Easy to remember. T for tab. Don’t have to take your hand off the keyboard before typing in a new URL. Good job all around.
Switch tabs. Classic. Don’t waste your time contorting your fingers into ctrl+shift+tab to go back one tab. Ugh. Not everything has to be optimized, you nerd.
This is my custom Mac shortcut for resizing an image in Preview. It’s so insanely good that it ended up on this list of default shortcuts. Weird!
12. ctrl+N, ctrl+O, ctrl+shift+N
New file and open file are essential but boring. But that third shortcut: Depending on the context, ctrl+shift+N creates a new folder, a new smart playlist, or some other cool variation that technically makes you a coder.
13. Windows key+D
Minimize everything. Good life advice, good desktop-clearing trick. Macs can almost do it: Cmd+option+H hides everything but the current window, so if you click over your desktop first and you don’t have Finder open, you can hide all your windows.
On a Mac, this hides the current window. It’s cleaner than minimizing. To get the window back, just cmd+tab back to it. Windows users, you have to ctrl+alt+click.
15. alt+arrow keys
Back and forward in your browsing history. Not inherently bad, and it was wise of Chrome to disable the backspace, which caused so many of us to accidentally close out our Flash games. But these are also the best two extra buttons on a mouse, so they’re not that special.
Years ago, the “save file” shortcut would be on top of the list. Now everything auto-saves so you don’t have to obsessively tap this combo. You know what’s cool though? Ctrl+alt+shift+S to save a Photoshop project as an image.
Re-open a closed tab. Amazing function, terrible key combo. Rescuing a closed tab from oblivion makes you feel like Indiana Jones snatching his hat back. But to hit the keys, you either you stretch your left hand, or you take one hand off the mouse so you can hit it double-handed. I get that it’s an add-on to the ctrl+T shortcut for opening a new tab. But tbh this action should have a dedicated F key.
The thinking man’s alternative to switching apps through your Dock or Taskbar. But the app you want is always a little further or closer than you thought, and you have to switch again, and now you’re paying attention to the process instead of moving on with your work. Maybe the Dock-breathers are right.
This key combo is too arcane for closing an application. Mac users use cmd+Q, and you know what, it’s fine. We don’t accidentally close our apps that often.
First it meant restart, then it meant login. Now it’s disabled by default, and the top Google result for Ctrl+Alt+Del is the worst webcomic.
There are other shortcuts that matter, and you’re about to tell me all of them, but you’ll already know where they belong on this indisputable 20-point scale.
Share This Story
Never Use the Trackpad Again
Use a Gaming Mouse and Browse the Web Like a King
60 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts Every Office Worker Should Know
Back to Basics: Learn to Use Keyboard Shortcuts Like a Ninja
About the author
Staff Writer, Lifehacker | Nick has written for Gawker, Valleywag, the Daily Dot, and Urlesque. He currently runs the scripted comedy podcast “Roommate From Hell.”
The most common way to search in Windows File Explorer is to plop a word in the search bar, and the File Explorer will spit out the results. The File Explorer’s search bar is far more powerful than you think. Though there is nothing wrong with the general approach, you can further improve the search results using Windows Advanced Query Syntax, or what is simply known as search filters. Here are some of the most useful File Explorer search filters that every Windows user should know.
Find Files with a Specific Extension
When you want to find files with a specific file extension, then all you have to do is use the *.fileExtension search filter. The * in front of the file extension is called a wildcard and helps to ignore the filename. For instance, if you want to find all the MS Word documents on your hard drive, all you have to do is type *.docx in the File Explorer search bar and press the Enter button.
Since we are already using the wildcard, if you know part of the file name, you can add it before or after the * symbol. For instance, a search like ra*.mp3 shows all the mp3 files with the letters that start with “ra.”
Find Files Based on File Size
When your hard disk is filling up, it is time to find all those big files and either delete them or move them to other locations. To help you with that, File Explorer has a specific filter to find files based on their file size.
To find files based on file size, enter size: fileSize in the search bar. Replace “fileSize” with the actual file size, like 100MB. You can also use greater than (>) and less than (<) signs to find files larger or smaller than the specified file size. For instance, if you want to find files that are larger than one gigabyte, then use the search filter size: >1GB.
Though you can manually enter the file size as needed, File Explorer has some built-in easy-to-remember pre-defined properties to make things a tad bit easier. They are as follows.
Empty: Files that are empty or 0KB
Tiny: Files between 0 to 10KB
Small: Files between 10KB and 100KB
Medium: Files between 100KB and 1MB
Large: Files between 1MB and 16MB
Huge: Files between 16MB and 128MB
Gigantic: Files larger than 128MB
To use the above properties, type size: medium and press Enter. Of course, you can replace “medium” with any option you want.
Find Files Based on Date
Other than file size, you can also use the File Explorer’s search bar to find files that are created on, after, or before a certain date. Just like with the file size filter, you have to use the keyword date: to search files based on date. To be helpful, as soon as you type “date:” in the search bar, File Explorer will show a simple calendar so that you can quickly choose the date you need.
Use the > and < signs to find files created after or before the given date. If needed, you can use “>=” and “<=” to find files that are created on or after a given date and on or before a given date.
Find a Specific Kind of Files
While the file extension filter helps you find all the files with that specific extension, the “kind” filter helps you find all the files of a specific kind, regardless of their extension. For example, if you want to see all the images on your hard disk regardless of their file extension, like JPG, PNG, PSD, ICO, etc., then all you have to do is type kind:=picture.
There is a whole boatload of the “kind” properties. They include but are not limited to calendar, communication, film, music, note, video, task, program, email, and feed. The good thing is you don’t have to remember all these properties. Just place your mouse cursor in the search bar, click on the “Search” tab and then select the “Type” option to see all the available properties.
Find Files with the Specific Tag
I’ve recently shown how to tag files in Windows. Once tagged, you can find those files using the tag: property. For instance, if you want to find all the photos that are tagged as “vacation,” you simply type tag: vacation in the search field.
Additional Search Operators
Apart from the above search filters, File Explorer also offers additional search operators like “AND,” “OR,” “NOT,” and “[search term]” to further refine the search experience. If you have basic programming knowledge, you might’ve already guessed what these search operators can do. Other than “[search term],” these search operators are used to combine two search filters.
AND: when used, it will show results that satisfy both search filters. For example, *.mp3 AND size: >100MB will show all the MP3 files that are over 100MB.
OR: while the AND operator only shows results that satisfy both parameters, the OR operator shows results that satisfy at least one parameter. For example, using financial OR banking in the search bar results in files that have the word financial or the word banking in their name.
NOT: the NOT operator is useful when you want to exclude an item or search filter. As an example, a search like financial NOT banking will show all the files that contain the word “financial” but not “banking” in their name.
“[search term]”: When you know the exact phrase, you can use the “[search term]” filter and replace [search term] with the actual search term. A search like "family vacation" will result in files that have the exact phrase “family vacation” in them names.
The File Explorer’s search bar is a very powerful tool. The above search filters and operators are good enough for day to day usage. However, there are a lot more things you can do with the File Explorer’s search bar. Thankfully, Microsoft has detailed documentation regarding its Advanced Query Syntax and how to use it. So, spend some time with it and refine your search skills.
Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences regarding using the above search filters to search in File Explorer.
Microsoft Windows can get messy. It’s not (always) the operating system’s fault. You download tons of apps and files, and create new content stuff of your own, until your “Downloads” directory looks like a landfill for old content. Your desktop is so full of icons, you can’t see your pretty wallpaper. Your Start Menu looks like an app buffet. In short, your operating system is a mess, but it’s not unfixable.
We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?
There are a few free apps you can use to add some much-needed organization to your Windows world. Here are a few of our favorites:
We covered this app a long time ago, but it’s worth resurrecting. DropIt is a great utility that can help you stay organized if you’re the kind of person who dumps everything you download (or copy to your PC) into a single folder—one giant, sprawling hub that many files enter, but rarely leave.
DropIt allows you to set up a ton of different rules that fire off whenever you drag files onto the utility’s little icon. For example, you can set the app to always move image files into your primary photos folder, video files into your videos folder, and Word documents into—you guessed it—your documents folder.
That’s just the start. If you want to get more advanced, DropIt can automatically scan folders (like your Downloads folder) and apply more advanced filters to anything it finds, like automatically unzipping archives, renaming files based on your parameters, or compressing large batches of files that are otherwise taking up a bit more space than you want.
Automation is a great way to help you stay organized in Windows, and DropIt practically gives you a virtual helper at your fingertips.
If your sprawling photo library needs some serious organization but you don’t want to pay for something like Adobe Lightroom, the open-source app digiKam is a great alternative.
Use this app to sort your photos and create (or edit) metadata so you can find exactly what you’re looking for in one easy-to-access library. If you’re also a bit of a photo perfectionist, you can use digiKam to edit your regular and RAW shots to make them picture-perfect.
This app is a much better solution for organizing shots than just dumping them into arbitrary Windows folders. Your disorganized hard drive will thank you, and you’ll be much less likely to lose (or forget about) images going forward.
We’re not going to ask why you have a bunch of emulators installed on your system, and we’re going to assume that all the ROMs spread across that nightmare of a folder structure in the “Games” portion of your hard drive are completely legal. Right? Regardless, if you just spent the last day getting your nostalgia kick by downloading archives of thousands of different retro games to play on your modern-day PC, keeping these games under control is going to feel overwhelming.
We suggest grabbing LaunchBox, which is a great “game organizer” utility that allows you to quickly find and play titles in your giant library. You can tap into the app’s crowd-sourced database to pepper your titles with useful information, like release dates, genres, publishers, and images, and you can mark certain games as favorites to make theme easier to hunt down when you have a little time to kill.
LaunchBox also makes it (somewhat) easy to import games from your favorite distribution services, like Steam, Battle.net, and GoG (to name a few). If you’re the world’s biggest gamer who plays everything you can download and always grabs new titles to try from all the major services, LaunchBox is a great way to organize your games under one digital roof.
Everyone knows Windows’ Aero Snap shortcuts, right? Hit Windows Key + one of the arrow keys on your keyboard to send your active window flying all around your screen: minimizing, opening, shrinking to fill a quarter or half of your display, and bouncing off your primary display entirely (if you have a multi-monitor setup).
AquaSnap takes this concept and supercharges it. You can snap your windows to different parts of your display, just like with Aero Snap, but you can also do so much more.
For example, if you have three windows open in a lovely tiled configuration, you can resize all three on the fly just by dragging your mouse around—each expands and shrinks as needed. Your windows can now snap to each other, not just the corners of your display, and you can move connected apps around as one large chunk of a group.
Double-clicking on the edge of a window allows it to expand in that direction to fill the entirety of your display, a handy trick. Grabbing a app’s window and shaking it around with your mouse—yes, shaking it—turns the window transparent and sets it to sit “always on top” of any other windows you have open. That’s a great little feature if you need to access something like a calculator, but don’t want it getting too much in the way when you aren’t using it.
And if you want to get crazy, you can manage your Windows wizardry using AquaSnap’s keyboard hotkeys. Your coworkers and friends will be in awe of your mad window-moving skills.
If you’re the kind of person who arranges your smartphone apps by color, you’re going to love TileIconifier. Though it’s going to demand a bit of your time if you’re crazy about how your Start Menu looks, this utility allows you to customize your apps’ tiles.
For example, if you love a particular color (green), and are upset that the background color of your favorite app’s tile doesn’t align with your chromatic preferences, you can fix that. You can either upload your own custom image to use as a medium or small tile—sorry, large or wide tiles aren’t supported—or you can simply use the app’s existing icon (scaled to any size) with any background color you want. You can make both light and dark versions of the icon, too, in case you ever feel like switching Windows themes.
Of course, most of your icons’ backgrounds should just switch to whatever color you select as an accent in Windows 10 (Settings > Personalization > Colors). TileIconifier is a great way to bend the more stubborn icons to your will—or, worse, to replace every official icon on your tiles with a different image of a cute animal. (And do send us a screenshot if you go that route.)
PowerShell is a more powerful command line environment than the traditional command prompt. It can perform a lot of the same tasks as the command prompt, but also can be extended and scripted using “cmdlets.”
Open PowerShell by pressing Win + X and selecting Windows PowerShell on the Power User menu.
Enter the following command at the prompt and press Enter. You can copy and paste the command from here but replace the path and file name portion (“C:UsersLoriDocumentsInstalledProgramsInstalledProgramsPS.txt”) with your own path and the file name you want to use:
Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box. Then, type “cmd.exe” in the Open box and click OK or press Enter.
If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.
At the command prompt, type “wmic” and press Enter.
Enter the following line at the wmic:rootcli prompt and press Enter. Replace the path and file name portion (“C:UsersLoriDocumentsInstalledProgramsInstalledProgramsWMIC.txt”) with your own path and the file name you want to use:
/output:C:UsersLoriDocumentsInstalledProgramsInstalledProgramsWMIC.txt product get name,version
Once you get the wmic:rootcli prompt back, type “exit” and press Enter to return to the normal command prompt.
Type “exit” again and press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.
The text file with the name and version for the installed programs on your PC is generated and saved in the location you specified.
3. List Installed Programs Using Control Panel
If you don’t want to type commands to generate a list of installed programs, there are other methods. One way is to view all your installed programs on the Programs and Features screen in the Control Panel.
Type “control panel” in the Search box next to the Start menu. Then, click Control Panel under Best match.
On the Control Panel window, click Uninstall a program under Programs.
If you’re viewing the items by small or large icons, click the Programs and Features item.
To see all the details for each program in the list on the Uninstall or change a program screen, click the More options arrow on the Change Your View button and select Details.
Click on the title bar of the Control Panel window to make sure it’s active. Then, press Alt + Print Screen (or Alt + Fn + Print Screen on some laptops or other devices) to take a screenshot of the window.
Paste the screenshot into another program like Paint and save the image. In Paint, you can save your screenshot as a PNG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, or other formats.
Depending on how many programs are installed, you may need to take multiple screenshots of the Control Panel window, scrolling down for each one to capture the next part of the list. If this is the case, you may want to paste each image directly into a word processor like Word to save them all in one file.
4. List Installed Programs Using CCleaner
CCleaner is a Windows program that allows you to easily clean up and free up space on your PC. You can delete temporary files, your browsing and download history, and recent documents lists in some programs.
The program also includes an uninstaller tool, which generates a list of installed programs on your PC. This list can be saved to a text file.
Download CCleaner and install it. Be aware that Avast Free Antivirus will be automatically installed while installing CCleaner unless you uncheck the Yes, install Avast Free Antivirus box before clicking Install to begin the installation.
Open CCleaner and hit the Tools button on the gray sidebar on the left. Then, make sure that Uninstall is selected to the right of that sidebar.
Click the blue Save to text file button in the lower-right corner.
On the Save As dialog box, navigate to the folder where you want to save the installed programs list, enter a File name and click Save.
The list of installed programs includes the company, date installed, size, and version number for each program.
The text is tab-delimited, which makes it somewhat hard to read in a text editor. You can import the text from this file into Word or Excel to make it easier to read. Read on to learn how to convert this data into a table in Word or into a worksheet in Excel.
Remember that if you save your list of programs in Word or Excel, you must install that program on the newly installed or reset Windows system before you can access your list. Or use online document viewers. The next two tips show you how to format the text list into neat tables.
Tip: Convert Your List of Programs Into a Word Table
To convert your list to a table in Word, open the text file you saved in Word. The File Conversion dialog box displays before the file opens, showing how the text will look in the Preview box.
Accept the default settings and click OK.
Select the text you want to convert to a table. Then, on the Insert tab, click Table and select Convert Text to Table.
Make sure the number of columns is 5 and that Tabs is selected under Separate text at.
Click OK to continue with the conversion.
Format the table any way you want. Be sure to save the Word file to an external or network drive so you’ll have access to it once you reinstall or reset Windows.
Tip: Convert Your List of Programs Into an Excel Worksheet
If you’d rather have your list of programs in Excel, here’s how to convert the list to an Excel worksheet.
First, we recommend you make a copy of the original text file. Change the extension on the copied file from .txt to .csv and open the .csv file in Excel.
On the first screen of the Text Import Wizard dialog box, make sure Delimited is selected under Choose the file type that best describes your data.
Accept the defaults for the rest of the settings on this screen and click Next.
On the second screen, make sure Tab is checked under Delimiters.
Click Finish. For our purpose, we don’t need to do Step 3.
Your list of programs is imported into columns on a worksheet in Excel, making it easier to read. Be sure to save the Excel file to an external or network drive so you’ll have access to it once you reinstall or reset Windows.
5. List Installed Programs Using Geek Uninstaller
Geek Uninstaller is a free, portable Windows program used to thoroughly uninstall programs, including all leftovers. The program will also forcefully remove stubborn or broken programs. You can use Geek Uninstaller to generate and save a list of installed programs on your PC.
Download Geek Uninstaller. The program is portable. Simply unzip the downloaded file into a folder on your PC and run the EXE file.
A list of installed programs displays on the Geek Uninstaller main window. To save this list to an HTML file, open Geek Uninstaller and go to File > Export to HTML, or press Ctrl + S.
On the Save As dialog box, navigate to the folder where you want to save the installed programs list, enter a File name and click Save.
The HTML file automatically opens in the default browser once it’s saved. The list includes the name and size of each program and the date on which the program was installed.
If you’re using a browser like Firefox, Chrome, or Vivaldi, hit Ctrl + S to save the Installed Programs HTML page to a location you choose with a custom file name. You can save it to your local hard drive but be sure you transfer the file to an external or network drive before reinstalling Windows. Other browsers may have a different shortcut or option for saving HTML files.
Geek Uninstaller also allows you to display a list of apps installed from the Windows Store. Go to View > Windows Store Apps.
All the apps installed on your PC from the Windows Store display. You can export this list to an HTML file the same way you did for the list of regular Windows programs.
Store the Generated App Lists on External Media
You might have noticed that each of the methods we mentioned here produces a slightly different list of programs. So you might want to use more than one method and keep each separate list.
Remember to store your lists of programs on an external or network drive so you have access to it after reinstalling Windows. When you reset (instead of reinstalling) Windows 10, programs are removed but your data is preserved. No matter what the situation, it’s a good idea to back up your lists when backing up your data.
For the holiday weekend, we wanted to provide you with some more ways to have fun. The following sites allow you to play and download classic and retro games, such as DOS games, classic adventure games, and old console games.
Anonymous Game Developers (AGD) Interactive
AGD Interactive is a game development group that has committed to bringing back classic adventure gaming by remaking the classic Sierra On-Line adventure games, such as King’s Quest. They’ve remastered them with enhanced graphics, polished voice acting, and more, and now offer them as free downloads.
VirtualNES offers hundreds of vintage Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games you can play online. They also offer some special games, such as unlicensed games by enterprising developers, unreleased games that were left unfinished, and excellent homemade games by people who love video games and decided to make their own. The NES brought home console gaming back to life when it came out.
Nintendo8.com offers hundreds of classic 8-bit Nintendo games from the eighties and early nineties available for online play. It’s a link site that does not actually host any ROMs. All games linked to on the site are assumed to be “abandonware or copyleft.” The games use the vNES emulator from the VirtualNES site mentioned above.
They also have some sister sites that offer other classic console games you can play online.
Snessy (SNES games)
c64i (Commodore 64 games)
DOSDose (DOS games)
MasterSystem8 (SEGA games)
GBemul (Gameboy games)
DOSBox offers a full DOS environment that runs ancient DOS apps on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and other UNIX-like operating systems. It emulates an Intel x86 PC, with sound, graphics, mouse, joystick, etc. necessary for running many old DOS games that can’t be run on modern operating systems.
They also offer frontends to DOSBox, such as D-Fend Reloaded (discussed below), to make it easier to use DOSBox.
See our article for more information on using DOSBox.
D-Fend Reloaded is a graphical environment, or frontend, for DOSBox. The installation and configuration of DOSBox can be complicated. The D-Fend Reloaded installation package includes DOSBox, so there is only one installation to be run. You do not have to install DOSBox manually first before installing D-Fend Reloaded.
For more information about installing and using D-Fend Reloaded, see our article about it.
MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator)
MAME is a non-profit project whose purpose is to preserve many historical arcade games so they don’t disappear once the hardware on which they run stops working. In order to play games on MAME, you must provide the original ROMs, CDs, or hard disks from the arcade machines. There is no original game code inside the MAME executable.
There are also frontends to MAME (available at the link above) that make it easier to use, or you can use MAMEUI, which is a desktop-oriented GUI front-end for MAME. See our article about playing classic arcade games on your PC for more information about MAME and MAMEUI.
Some game developers have released some of their games for free, which you can download from the MAME developer site.
Abandonia offers downloadable, classic abandonware games for DOS. Abandonware games are discontinued game programs for which no product support is available and whose copyright ownership has expired.
Most games on the site have a review, screenshots, an editor rating, and a user rating. Browse and download old PC games by name, year, rating, and category.
Abandonware Games offers a large selection of abandonware DOS games that are no longer supported by anyone. You can download games in categories such as action, racing, RPG, and strategy. Most games have a star rating, status (freeware, shareware, etc.), screenshots, and facts and trivia about the game.
Classic Arcade Games
Classic Arcade Games offers free online arcade games you can play online or even add to your own website or blog. They have a lot of retro games such as Super Mario World, Galaga, PacMan, Donkey Kong Classic, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Free Classic DOS Games offers about 200 free games, most of which are accompanied by a review, description, screenshots, and a download link. The types of games available include action, adventure, arcade, role playing, shoot-em’ up, and strategy. You can browse through each category one by one or use the search feature to find a specific game.
RGB Classic Games
RGB Classic Games offers a large combination of classic games, previously unreleased games, and even a few “modern” DOS games. RGB Classic Games is “devoted to preserving classic games for defunct PC operating systems (DOS, CP/M-86, OS/2, Win16, Win9x) and making it easy to play them on modern computers.”
Almost all the games on RGB Classic Games were originally distributed commercially, except for a few shareware games that were extremely good. RGB Classic Games concentrate on quality, not quantity and they also attempt to include every version of each game listed on the site.
From the site: “The highest ideals of this site are to support the authors by providing links to their web sites and ordering information for the full versions of games that are still sold, and to encourage the authors of classic games to preserve their games for future generations by making them available for sale or as freeware. If you enjoy a shareware game, please consider buying it from the author.”
All the games on RGB Classic Games are “freely distributable because they are shareware, freeware, or because the copyright holder has officially and legally released all rights to the public domain (abandonware).”
DOS Games Archive
DOS Games Archive offer an archive of 275 DOS games from the eighties and nineties that can be downloaded for free. They are shareware, freeware, playable demos, and full versions of games that are released as freeware or into the public domain.
Free Game Empire
Free Game Empire offers classic games you play directly in your Firefox or Internet Explorer browser. The in-browser emulator is powered by DOSBox. They also have many forums dedicated to discussion of the games, a blog, and a My Games section, where you can log in and find all your active games. They also offer some old games for purchase that are still being sold for reasonable prices.
You do have to download each game to your computer, but game play takes place in your browser. Each game only has to be downloaded once. After that, you can return to the site and play it any time. The emulator can be uninstalled from within the Control Panel. The games on Free Game Empire can only be played in Windows.
Play.vg offers classic DOS games you can play online, such as PacMan and Sonic the Hedgehog, without downloading anything to your computer. Simply use your arrow keys and spacebar to play games like Zork, Asteroids, and Tetris.
Abandonware at Free Game Downloads
Free Game Downloads offers a large collection of free abandonware games. Their site is not very exciting to look at, but it’s easy to navigate through the categories and search for specific games. Their list of games also includes some remade versions of classic Atari games.
Remain In Play
Remain in Play offers commercial DOS and non-DOS games that were deliberately released as freeware. They have plenty of new and old games for download. You can sort the games by name, genre, OS, and even game data type. If you want to search by rating, refer to their list of Top 10 Games in the left sidebar.
Bgames.com offers free classic games in Flash format, such as RetroMash, Warning Foregone, and Alley Fighter. They update their list of fresh, free games daily. You can also browse through other games you can play online, games available for download, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) games, and Multiplayer games.
Free Classic Games at Online Flash Games
Online Flash Games offers classic games for free in their classic/retro category, such as break-out games, Tetris games, Mario games, Sonic games, Arkanoid games, and Invader games. You can also find Flash remakes of old consoles, or platforms, such as Commodore 64.
Online-Games-Zone offers free classic games, retro games, and old-school games for playing online, such as Tetris and PacMan. The thumbnails of the games in the middle of the page are not listed alphabetically. However, you can find an alphabetical list on the left side.
All the Oldies
All the Oldies offers free classic games found all over the web that you can play online. All the games, except for multiplayer games, require no registration. They are of high quality and are always free.
GamezArena offers a collection of free online classic games, such as Ludo, Connect 4, Solitaire, and Battleship. You can also license or purchase these games if you want to add them to your website.
Free Classic 80’s Arcade Games
Free Classic 80’s Arcade Games offers classic 1980’s Atari 2600, Nintendo (NES), Intellivision, and Colecovision games and even the Pong Game Console game for playing online. They also have Shockwave, Flash, and Java games and classic DOS games.
Pogo.com offers a collection of classic games you can play online, such as Monopoly, Chess, and Cribbage. You can register for free so you can enter daily for chances to win prizes and earn tokens that you can keep and redeem for fun gifts. Join Club Pogo to gain access to premium classic games and to play games ad-free. Club Pogo also allows you to download more games on the download page. Until September 10, 2012, you can join Club Pogo for $29.99 per year, which is $10 off the normal price.
You can also browse their collection of free games.
GOG.com offers 100% DRM-free games for sale, a lot of which are less than $20. Once you buy a game, you own it. There are no limits on how often you can download your games off the GOG.com cloud. You can also install them on as many PCs as you want and back them up without limits. They also bundle exclusive content as free bonus downloads.
When you sign up, you receive 9 PC classic games for free, including Beneath a Steel Sky and Ultima IV, so you can try GOG.com out before buying any games.
Wikipedia’s List of Commercial Video Games Released as Freeware
Wikipedia has a list of commercial video games released as freeware. These games were not freeware when originally released, but were re-released at a later date with a freeware license, sometimes as publicity for a forthcoming sequel or compilation release. The list is kept fairly up-to-date.
Chances are your computer’s desktop and other folders aren’t cluttered because you like it that way, but because you don’t want to spend time organizing every file that hits your hard drive. Automate your file organization and stay clutter-free without the effort.
(Awesome Belvedere logo by our good friends at What Cheer).
Few people are disorganized because it’s their preference. But organization takes time, and however little time it may be, it’s generally easier to do nothing than to take a few seconds to file something away in the appropriate folder. Easier, that is, until your desktop ends up looking like this:
Sure, you could work harder to improve your digital organization skills, but if that hasn’t worked so far, let’s take a closer look at how you can automatically clean and organize your desktop.
Automatically Clean Up Your Hard Drive with Belvedere and Hazel
To aid you in your automated, self-cleaning PC, may we suggest you check out one of two applications: Belvedere for Windows users and Hazel if you’re on a Mac. Belvedere is completely free and open source (and was, in fact, developed in house at Lifehacker). At $22, Hazel costs a pretty penny, but it works like a charm and offers a 14-day free trial if you need some convincing.
Apart from the Windows/Mac divide, Belvedere and Hazel are very similar apps. Belvedere was, in fact, inspired by Hazel, so anything you can do on Belvedere, you should also be able to do in Hazel. (Hazel is easily the more fully featured application.)
With that in mind, I’ll focus on Belvedere for the rest of this post, but remember that if you’re a Mac user, most of the same ideas should still apply with Hazel. In fact, a few years back we even detailed how to set up a self-cleaning Mac with Hazel, so you can also jump over there for some ideas.
These applications work on a pretty basic principle: Once installed, launch the utility (Belvedere sits in your Windows system tray; Hazel installs as a preference pane in your System Preferences), then get the ball rolling by adding a new folder you’d like to monitor, clean, and organize. (Click the ‘+’ button like in the screenshot above.) Common choices include your desktop, Downloads, and Documents folders.
Then create new rules for how you want to organize files in each folder. (Select the folder you just added in the left sidebar, then click the ‘+’ button under the Rules section.) You’ll be met with the Create a Rule window, where your options for setting up rules are pretty extensive; you can match files based on file name, extension, size, modified date, last opened date, and date created, and you can create any combination of these criteria to get laser-precise with matching rules. When files match rules you’ve set up, you can choose to move, rename, delete, copy, open, or send the file to your Recycle Bin.
It’s all the ingredients of better hard drive organization, but it’s also a little confusing, so lets take a look at a few example uses.
Move Common File Types to Appropriate Folders
If you download a lot of content from the web, chances are your Downloads folder is overflowing with images, video, installers, documents, ZIP files, and tons more—leaving you with an absolutely unwieldy and completely disorganized folder. If that sounds familiar—whether your Downloads folder, Documents folder, or desktop is the offending repository—try setting up rules to automatically file away common files to pre-defined folders.
The above rule will automatically file images with PNG, JPG, GIF, JPEG, RAW, and BMP file types to a dedicated Images folder. (Note: When you’re using Belvedere’s “one of” rules, separate various options with a comma and no space.) If you take a lot of screenshots, you could set up something similar for filing old screenshots to an Archived Screenshots folder.
To take it further, you could set up similar rules for moving common video file types to your video folder, Word documents to your Documents folder, and so on.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Desktop Shortcuts
Despite keeping a keen eye on the requisite checkboxes, it seems like every time you install a new application, the installer places another link you don’t want on your desktop. That’s clutter you just don’t need. Try setting up a rule that sends .lnk shortcut files to your Recycle Bin so that even when the occasional link slips by, you don’t have to worry about it cluttering up your desktop.
Regularly Clean Out Old, Unused Files
Most of the stuff we download—or the stuff that ends up cluttering our desktops—is probably important when we first put it there, but what about after three weeks? A month? A year?
Disaster Manual: Surviving Nuclear Fallout
Consider setting up a rule to monitor your common folders for those old, unused files, and send them to your Recycle Bin (e.g., files you haven’t opened in over 3 months):
Moving files around is one thing, but If you’re worried that a rule you’ve set up might accidentally end up deleting a file you need, you can vet your rules before you set them loose in a couple of ways.
First, before you set a new rule into motion, be sure to click the Test button to see what files match your rule. If something matches your rule that shouldn’t, your rule may need a few more tweaks.
Second, if you don’t like the idea of Belvedere moving around, copying, and deleting files, just tick the Confirm Action checkbox in the Rule Options. Before Belvedere takes any action on matching items, it’ll prompt you to green light any action.
Finally, if you’re a serious digital pack rat, you can always create a catchall Archive folder somewhere on your hard drive to file away the stuff that doesn’t really have a place but is taking up valuable place on your desktop.
Empty Your Recycle Bin on a Schedule
If you’re obsessive about keeping your Recycle Bin clean (at the very least, Lifehacker writer Whitson Gordon is seriously concerned with keeping his Bin clean), click the Recycle Bin tab in Belvedere’s main window, tick the Allow Belvedere to manage my Recycle Bin checkbox, then choose an interval for emptying it out. (I like to take out the trash once a week.)
Add Downloaded Music to iTunes
If you’re an iTunes user, I recently detailed how to use Belvedere to automatically add any song you download to your iTunes library, so for more details, check out that post. In a nutshell, you’re going to monitor your Downloads folder, BitTorrent downloads, and other common spots for new MP3s and other common music file types, then you’ll move those files to the folder that iTunes watches for new music. That rule will look something like:
VLC Media player is hailed as the Swiss Army Knife of all media players, and its supremacy is not without reason. Just throw any media file at it, and this smart player will not only play but also give you endless options while allowing you to view all relevant file information, including codec info and FPS.
Apart from playing any file format, VLC Media Player can also stream videos. And besides that, VLC also has other lesser-known functions such as the ability to rip a DVD. And now we are taking a step further to use a lesser known, yet most interesting feature of this player, which is to record a desktop.
No version of Windows has a built-in feature to record a computer’s screen. Windows 10 came close to implementing that functionality with Game DVR. However, this feature can only record games and app videos. Game DVR cannot function outside apps. That means to capture your computer’s screen, you’ll need a third party application, and most of these apps are not free.
But why install an additional software when you can use an already existing app to record your computer’s screen? In this tutorial we’ll walk you through the process of recording your Windows 10 screen using VLC media player.
Record Windows 10 Screen Using VLC Media Player
To record the Windows 10 screen using VLC, simply follow the steps below:
2. Click the Media menu on the top bar of the player, then select the “Convert/Save” option.
2. A new window will open. Click the “Capture Device” tab, and under the “Capture Mode” section select “Desktop.” Down there you’ll also find the option to select your preferred frame rate for the capture. Choose a decent frame rate – we recommend between 5 to 15 for good picture quality.
3. Click the “Save” button to continue.
4. Clicking the “Convert/Save” button will open the convert dialogue box. This is where you will choose where you want your file to be saved. Click the “Browse” button in the destination section at the bottom of the window to select your preferred destination.
5. Click “Save” to continue once you’ve defined your preferred location, and the system will take you back to the convert dialogue. Now click the “Start” button to start recording the screen. Note that the “Start” button will only become active after choosing the destination file. It’s also worth noting that VLC will not show you any indication on the screen that it is recording.
6. Finally, to stop the recording, click the “Stop” button on the VLC player and save the file.
You can now open the file with VLC or any other media player to watch the screen recording.
While VLC Media player is a great tool for screen recording, it’s not the best tool for that functionality and is lacking in some areas. For instance, it only lets you record the entire screen in raw format. This means you can’t record a section of the screen, which leads to large-sized videos even for a short-timed screencast.
Also, it doesn’t let you use your voice in the screen recording. That means you’ll need to record your voice separately and then stream the audio along with the screen recording. Other than that, VLC media player is a great and convenient screen-recording tool that is free and easy to use. Also check out our article on how to add and sync subtitles in VLC Media Player.
Have you ever used VLC Media Player for screen recording? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
At some point, you may need to record video of your desktop. Maybe you want to grab footage of a favorite game, or record steps of a problem you’re having. There are plenty of dedicated tools available for screen recording, but you probably already have one installed without knowing it.
Open VLC Media Player by searching for it in the Start Menu.
Click the Media tab on the toolbar and select Convert/Save.
Switch to the Capture Device tab. Here, change the Capture mode dropdown box to Desktop.
Set a number of frames per second in the Desired frame rate box. For basic screen recordings, 15FPS should work fine. If you need a high-quality recording, try 30FPS. A higher frame rate means a smoother recording but larger file size.
Click the Convert/Save button to open the next dialog box.
Select Browse next to the Destination file box and choose a place to save the recording.
Click Start once you’ve done this to start the recording. VLC will record everything on the screen, with no indication that it’s doing so.
To stop the recording, click the Stop button on VLC’s interface and it will automatically save the file. You’ll find it waiting in MP4 format at the location you specified earlier.
That’s all it takes to make a quick recording of your screen. VLC doesn’t offer advanced features like dedicated recorders, but it’s easy to use in a pinch. Now you can share what’s on your screen anytime—no more using your phone’s camera!
Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!
You’ve heard of Android phones, but did you know you could install the whole Android operating system directly onto your computer?
Maybe you have an iPhone and want to test the Android platform, or perhaps you’re getting into Android development and need an environment to test an app. Maybe you want to customize your Android phone’s user interface, but don’t want to risk bricking your phone.
No matter the reason, Android emulators can be a useful tool to have on any PC.
What Makes a Good Android Emulator?
There are plenty of fantastic Android emulators out there, available for free! There are, however, differences between a good and bad Android emulator. First in line is stability: if an emulator of any kind stalls, lags, or freezes, chuck it for a better one.
Next, you’ll need to view a feature list. For example, some emulators may allow for third-party controllers. Others aren’t so feature-packed. Keep in mind, however: there’s no point in downloading a large program if you won’t use most of its features.
Reminder: While all of these emulators are both functional and regularly updated, overall performance will depends on your PC’s hardware. Additionally, faster Android emulators typically achieve their speed by cutting back on features. Keep this in mind when choosing the emulator that’s right for you.
Nis is a widely trusted Android emulator. It’s the go-to Windows 10 Android emulator. For one, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more stable emulator on the market.
BlueStacks is the most used Android emulator for Windows 10, and for good reason. From its installation to its UI, BlueStacks is quick and easy to use. Simply install it on your machine as you would any other software, and BlueStacks will provide you a full Android environment on your PC.
BlueStacks, like Nox, is targeting mobile gamers, more than developers. Nevertheless, it’ll allow you to play and experiment freely in a stable and comprehensive Android environment.
Andy goes above and beyond. Besides providing you all the Android features you’d need to rival a smartphone experience, Andy packs as many features as it can into its bite-sized application frame.
Firstly, you can use your own smartphone as a remote control for Andy. Don’t have a smartphone? Use your Xbox or PS controller instead! Best of all, you can access local files — files stored on your PC — through Andy as well. Got an app to test? Andy can do it.
It’s snappy, too: from personal experience, I can say Andy is one of the fastest Android emulators.
Additionally, you can modify and customize things like RAM usage through Andy’s virtual machine settings. Simply open the VirtualBox that comes with Andy and change settings as you see fit. Not familiar with virtual machines? We’ve got that covered!
It’s an OS in a single program. Better yet, Remix OS Player allows users to play multiple games at the same time.
Remix OS Player is also fast. Very fast. Utilizing the latest Android Studio technology, you can rest assured that Remix OS Player will work seamlessly alongside your existing OS. What more can you want?
Yet another free option, MEmu is a great choice if you’re looking for an Android emulator. Not only is the installation process simple, it’s full of features users wish they’d see on other emulators.
The most compelling of these features is the keyboard mapping. Click an area on the screen and input a key for your game’s controls. That’s it! MEmu also supports one-click APK installation, meaning you can install any APK present on your local machine to MEmu. It’s like having an on-demand Android app player right on your PC.
Did I mention you can play Android games with up to 4K resolution on MEmu? Or modify RAM and CPU use to soup up your already speedy emulator? You can do all that and more with MEmu.
Whereas most of these emulators are designed for gaming, Genymotion is designed for testing. Genymotion is a fantastic and speedy Android emulator that allows developers to test their Android application with a variety of Android versions.
Genymotion works with VirtualBox, so you’ll have to install it before you can use Genymotion.
By default, Genymotion comes equipped with more features than you can count. Tools, plugins, and an unbeatable support staff come all inclusive when you subscribe to Genymotion. If you’re an Android developer, Genymotion is surely something you won’t regret investing in.
Operating systems like Windows never ceases to amaze me. Not only can you enjoy all the benefits of your local OS, you can download and run completely different operating systems on your PC as well! Whether you’re a mobile gamer or a developer looking for a testing environment, give these Android emulators a try.
Did we miss an Android emulator? Let us know in the comments below!
Enjoyed this article? Join our newsletter and follow us!
Unless you’re the only one who uses your computer, you probably have multiple accounts on it. This lets everyone do their own work without running into each other. When you need to quickly let someone use your PC, you could go through the process of making a new account every time, but this takes too long.
Why not use a Guest account instead? Microsoft removed the Guest account by default in Windows 10, but you can create your own Guest account in just a moment.
Log into your own account and right-click on the Start Button. Choose Command Prompt (Admin) and enter the following command to create a new account. Replace USERNAME with anything you like, but don’t use Guest since that name is reserved by Windows:
net user USERNAME /add /active:yes
Next, you’ll need to run the following command to add a password to the account. Since you don’t want a password on a Guest account, enter this command and just press Enter twice to leave it as blank:
net user USERNAME *
Finally, you’ll need to move this user from the default Users group to the Guest group. Do this by entering the following two commands in this order:
net localgroup users USERNAME /delete net localgroup guests USERNAME /add
This Guest account can sign into your PC without a password and use any basic apps you have installed. They can browse the web, listen to music, and work in Office, but can’t install software, change settings, or view your files.
If you ever want to remove this account, head to Settings > Accounts > Family & other people. Click the name of the account you made, then the Remove button to delete it.