Tech & Gaming



Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

I never understood why Microsoft ditched the PowerToys brand over a decade ago. The name was brilliant, suggesting as it did the power tools you store in your garage. Like your drill, sander and saws, these programs kept things simple, doing one task very effectively. You didn’t get bombarded by extra settings you never asked for. So I was delighted when Microsoft revived PowerToys last year. This new range doesn’t yet have the breadth of tools found in Windows 95, but there are already enough to make your everyday computing easier – as our Cover Feature reveals. I’ve used all of them since they launched, but my favourites are FancyZones and PowerRename. The former has transformed how I operate my desktop, while the latter removes the pain from one of life’s most…

1 min.
don’t search for graham norton!

TV presenter Graham Norton has been named as the most dangerous celebrity to search for online because hackers try to lure people with clips of his chat show. Research from US security firm McAfee (www.snipca.com/36286) found that searching for Norton brought up the greatest number of malicious results, ahead of comedian Ricky Gervais (second) and actor Tom Hardy (third) – see box below left for full list. Most of these unsafe results linked to websites promising videos from Norton’s BBC show, on which he regularly interviews big Hollywood stars. McAfee warned that playing these videos installs malware on your computer. To compile the list it searched for celebrity names that most commonly appear alongside search terms such as ‘torrent’, ‘free mp3’, or ‘pirated download’, which people type when looking for content they can’t…

3 min.
scammers impersonating banks by phone

What’s the threat? Criminals are increasingly impersonating banks, utility companies, the police and government departments over the phone to steal money from victims. When they ring you’ll often see the real number from the organisation they claim to be representing, making the call appear genuine. Banking trade body UK Finance said reports of impersonation scams doubled to 15,000 in the first half of 2020. In some cases, scammers offer a government grant to help pay your bills during the coronavirus pandemic. They also pretend to be ringing from your bank claiming that your account has been hacked, and advising you to transfer your cash for “safe keeping”. Scams that involve you sending money are called authorised push payment (APP) scams: ‘authorised’ because you send the money yourself, not realising you’re being conned; and…

1 min.
sky promises refund but reader fixes phone herself

If there’s one law change that retailers haven’t communicated properly to their support teams, it’s that they’re allowed just one chance to repair an item. If it fails, they must replace or refund. The message might finally be sinking in at Sky, because it agreed to refund reader Linda Beswick after her Samsung A40 phone stopped working (see Issue 588). As it turned out, though, she fixed the phone herself. Initially, Sky said it had to offer a second repair because it didn’t have any Samsung A40 phones left. But that was neither relevant nor Linda’s problem. If Sky couldn’t replace the phone then it had to refund her instead. End of story. Linda thought she had to agree to this. To complicate matters, Sky had sent her £55 worth of Tesco…

3 min.
best free software

EBOOK READER Calibre 5.1 https://calibre-ebook.com/download What you need: Windows 8.1 or 10 If you’re an ebook lover and you don’t already have Calibre installed on your PC, you’re missing out. It lets you organise your collection the way you want it, including the ability to convert ebook formats, share books with others, retrieve articles from newspapers and magazines, edit ebooks you own and more. It works with a wide range of ebook readers, phones and tablets, letting you transfer ebooks from one device to another via USB or wirelessly. And, of course, you can use Calibre to read ebooks on your laptop or PC. The latest version of Calibre introduces some very useful features. You can now highlight text in your ebooks, using a variety of options, including colours, underlining and strikethroughs. Highlights can be…

2 min.
what can i use to monitor hard-drive space?

Q Following your advice on using Plex (Issue 590, page 50), I decided to buy a TV tuner for my old PC, turning it into a second TV set. However, I’m now downloading and recording so many programmes that my poor hard drive is constantly filling up. Can you recommend a tool that lets me monitor my drive space so I know when it’s time to do some housekeeping? Jim Bannister A For this, we recommend using a tool called Open Hardware Monitor (OHM). It’s portable, so there’s nothing to install – just download the ZIP file from www.snipca.com/36237, then extract the contents to a folder on your PC (don’t worry, at just 1.25MB it won’t take up much room). Double-click the ‘OpenHardwareMonitor.exe’ file to run the tool. The main OHM window will…