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5 Best Chromecast Ethernet Adapters for a Wired Connection

Google Chromecast is one of the best devices you can use to stream content from your phone to a TV . However, if your WiFi connection is weak or spotty , you may not be able to use Chromecast.

While you can still use a Chromecast without WiFi if you’re able to access an Ethernet connection, not all Chromecast models offer Ethernet support, except for the Chromecast Ultra.

With a Chromecast Ethernet adapter, you can hard-wire directly into your Ethernet port and eliminate all the WiFi-related issues you may face. Other benefits of an Ethernet connection include faster network performance and smoother streaming without skipping or buffering as you’ll have one less high-bandwidth device on your network.

Best Chromecast Ethernet Adapters

Here are the best Chromecast Ethernet adapters you can use with Chromecast to cast content on your screen with consistent stream quality.

1. Google Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

If you have the Chromecast Ultra, you won’t need to buy an Ethernet adapter separately because it comes with an Ethernet connector on the power adapter. For other Chromecast models like the Chromecast with Google TV or Chromecast 3, you’ll need a separate accessory.

Google offers an official Chromecast Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast with Google TV, which you can connect directly to your router and enjoy a fast and reliable connection for your Chromecast. 

The adapter is especially useful for WiFi spots that are hard to reach, and for streaming games with Stadia support. In addition, the Google Ethernet adapter comes with an integrated USB-C cable and a port on the opposite side. 

To set up the Google Ethernet adapter, attach the USB cable to your Chromecast, run the Ethernet cable from your router to the power outlet, and plug in.

2. UGREEN Ethernet Adapter

UGREEN is a simple and efficient Chromecast Ethernet adapter that enables you to access faster and more stable internet access where there’s no wireless router or the WiFi signal is weak .

The adapter plugs directly into the micro-USB port on your Chromecast (3/2/1) and adds a built-in USB cable to plug into your TV’s USB port or a wall adapter. On top of that, it has an Ethernet port so you can stream content easily.

To use the UGREEN adapter, run an Ethernet cable from your router to the adapter and start streaming your favorite content. The cable is 3.3 feet long so you won’t need to worry about the cable hanging in the air or making your Ethernet connection loose.

The UGREEN Ethernet adapter also works with a Fire TV Stick 4K, Google Home Mini and Raspberry Pi Zero.

3. Cable Matters Micro-USB to Ethernet Adapter

Cable Matters Micro USB to Ethernet adapter is a solid solution if you’re struggling with buffering and video lag issues over your WiFi connection. Unlike other Chromecast Ethernet adapters on this list, which transmit data at 100Mbps, this one supports Ethernet speed up to 480Mbps, which is almost five times what the other adapters transmit.

On top of that, the Cable Matters adapter comes with 3-foot cables for the USB and Micro-USB, which make it easy to set up no matter how you’ve configured your entertainment center.

However, the adapter isn’t compatible with smartphones and laptops, and it doesn’t support other devices like Fire TV (Gen 1) and Roku.

4. Smays Ethernet Adapter

The Smays Ethernet adapter is portable and compact sized, making it ideal to add wired internet to your Chromecast whether you’re at home or traveling.

The adapter comes with a powered OTG cable for power supply, powered OTG hub to add storage to your host device, and a LAN port with 10/100 Mbps to add wired internet connection. The hub is useful when you want to plug in your wireless keyboard or mouse for easier navigation or to connect an external flash drive and access your files from a streaming device.

Plus, it’s easy to use and driver-free so you need only plug and play to connect to stable wired internet and stream content without lag or buffering.

You can also use the Smays Ethernet adapter with other host streaming devices like Google Home Mini, Amazon Echo Show, and Fire TV Stick.

5. Snowpink Ethernet Adapter

Snowpink Ethernet adapter is a simple and reliable Chromecast Ethernet adapter that delivers a stable 10/100Mbps wired internet connection. The 3-foot Micro-USB cable delivers power to your Chromecast so you can enjoy faster, stable connection with uninterrupted viewing.

The adapter is also compatible with other devices such as Google Home Mini and Raspberry Pi Zero, but doesn’t support Fire Stick (Gen 1), Roku Express, smartphones or tablets.

You don’t need to install any driver program to use the Snowpink Ethernet adapter. Just plug your Chromecast into the HDMI port on your TV, connect the Micro-USB cable into the Chromecast, and then connect the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the Snowpink adapter.

Enjoy Consistent Stream Quality

Whether you’re watching Netflix with friends or you need to cast a Zoom meeting onto a bigger monitor, you’ll find plenty of Ethernet adapters that can provide a fast and stable wired connection. In addition, an Ethernet adapter eliminates interference and ensures that you get the best signal to your Chromecast.

If you’re a first time Chromecast user, check out our guide on how Google Chromecast works , and some cool things you can do with Chromecast . We’ve also rounded up the best Google Chromecast alternatives with access to many more apps for a more complete streaming experience.

Do you use a Chromecast Ethernet adapter? Share with us your favorite one in the comments.


5 Best Linux Distros for Gaming

Linux is a great platform for many things, but gaming isn’t really one of them. As a server, workstation, or media center, Linux offers many advantages over Windows, such as speed and security. Most gamers will probably look at alternatives, however, with Windows the dominant PC platform for gamers outside of consoles.

If you’re not interested in dual-booting Windows with Linux , then you’ll need to look at Linux distros suitable for gaming that allow you to play your favorite games. While Linux gaming isn’t a seamless or pain-free experience, you should be able to enjoy yourself by trying one of these five best Linux distros for gaming.

Choosing a Linux Distribution for Gaming

Before you rush to install one of the major Linux distros like Ubuntu or Debian, you’ll need to be aware of the state of Linux gaming. Most game developers don’t offer support for Linux, with support limited to indie titles or the (very rare) AAA release through platforms like Steam .

For most major game releases, you’ll need to try some workarounds to install Windows games . WINE , the Windows-to-Linux compatibility library, will allow you to run many PC games, but game support is mixed. Some games offer a near-perfect experience, while others won’t run at all.

This is (in part) down to device driver support on Linux. Linux support for graphics cards is patchy compared to Windows. For instance, Linux users may be forced to download, compile, and install drivers for new graphics cards before they can be used, if they’re supported at all. This creates a technical nightmare for Linux novices.

If you’re interested in retro gaming, however, then Linux support is far better. You can emulate many older consoles, from SNES to Wii, with ease using almost any Linux distro. You could also use an emulator like DOSBOX to play these types of games, which includes support for Debian, Fedora, and other distros.

With so much choice and difficulty to navigate, it makes sense to avoid installing a typical distro. Rather than installing Ubuntu, you should install a distro that has gaming in mind. These may have WINE or Steam installed by default, come with proprietary graphics card drivers, or have a TV-friendly interface for retro gaming.

The options for the best Linux distros for gaming listed below are tailored to any of these requirements, but they aren’t exhaustive. In almost all cases, you can take a standard Linux distro and install the same software. But these distros remove the difficulty, making it easier for new Linux gamers to make the jump from Windows.

Fedora Games

If you’re a fan of the open source philosophy that underpins the Linux community, but you’re still interested in trying new games, then Fedora Games is the solution. Fedora Games demonstrates what open source gaming can offer to players, with hundreds of included indie games that are ready to play upon installation.

Whether you’re interested in first-person shooters or complex, turn-based strategy games, Fedora Games has you covered. It uses the Xfce desktop environment, making it an ideal solution for older, lower-powered PCs. The installation ISO is roughly 4GB in size, so should fit well on smaller devices and drives.

With Fedora Games following the standard Fedora release cycle closely, you can also use it as a standard working PC. While it doesn’t include major game platforms like Steam, or compatibility libraries like WINE or PlayOnLinux , these can be installed quickly afterwards.

RetroPie

If you’re looking for a ready-to-use, retro-gaming Linux gaming platform with many console emulators pre-installed, look no further than RetroPie. While this project is built for single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi, RetroPie also supports standard PCs, allowing you to repurpose an older PC for gaming.

RetroPie is predominantly a Raspberry Pi project , however, with additional performance tweaks and support for major console controllers. What isn’t included with RetroPie is the games, but you can acquire older games from legal ROM sites online.

RetroPie has several installation images for Raspberry Pi devices, so you don’t need to install any additional software to get RetroPie up and running. RetroPie works as a standalone, full-screen retro arcade, running on top of the Raspberry Pi OS (previously Raspbian) to work effectively.

If you’re looking to repurpose an older PC, however, you’ll need to install another Linux distro like Debian first before you can use RetroPie.

Lakka

Lakka, much like RetroPie, is a platform for retro gamers. Unlike RetroPie, however, Lakka can be installed as an independent Linux distro on all types of PCs, using the popular RetroArch as a TV-friendly front-end for PC gaming without a keyboard or mouse.

Lakka supports almost all major Linux console emulators, allows for online multiplayer in retro games, and supports all major console controllers. Using the built-in RetroArch gaming platform, you can pause or rewind games mid-game, take advantage of numerous performance and graphics improvements, and more.

Lakka can be installed on a number of small, single-board PCs including the Raspberry Pi. But you can also install it on your PC, too. Like RetroPie, no games are included, but you can play your own copies (or use ROM sites to find your own).

Manjaro

The Arch Linux philosophy is simple: keep it simple. If you’re not interested in the small details, but still want the bleeding edge, speed and performance that Arch can offer, then you’ll need Manjaro. This Arch spin-off is perfect for potential Linux gamers.

Manjaro comes pre-packaged with various apps and services that make it an easier-to-use distro than standard Arch. In particular, it includes various must-have apps for gamers, including Steam. Thanks to its hardware detection tool, Manjaro can scan your system and configure itself for the best performance.

This makes Manjaro a great platform for PC gaming on newer and older hardware alike. You can install games, VOIP tools like Teamspeak, emulators, and game compatibility runtimes like WINE within a few clicks, allowing you to build a gaming PC that suits your own requirements.

Ubuntu Game Pack

While Manjaro is a perfect platform for quickly building your own gaming PC on Linux, it does still involve some configuration. If you want a Linux gaming distro that allows you to start playing as fast as possible, few distros can match Ubuntu Game Pack, an unofficial Ubuntu spin-off with all the major gaming services included.

Rather than worry about installing the emulators or services you need, Ubuntu Game Pack has them all. It has all the major Linux game emulators, including console and DOS game emulators. It also includes game platforms like Steam and Lutris , as well as indie platforms like Itch.io .

If you’re trying to play standard PC games, you’ll be covered with both PlayOnLinux, WINE, and CrossOver support. It also includes optimization apps and settings designed to make gameplay better on Linux, as well as support for streaming platforms like Twitch to allow you to share your gameplay with others.

If you want to play different types of games, or if you’re finding other distros difficult to use or set up, then give Ubuntu GamePack a try. You’ll need to supply your own games, but with Steam and other platforms pre-installed, you’ll be able to install these pretty quickly yourself.

Playing Games on Linux

There’s nothing stopping you from installing a fresh copy of Debian or another major Linux distro to play games. Many of the best Linux distros for gaming are based on an existing distribution, but allow new Linux gamers to jump straight into their games, rather than spend hours setting up their PC with the right settings and software. 

Of course, there are other things you can do with a Linux gaming PC. Installing some of the best Linux apps can help you make the switch from Windows, Mac, or even your Android smartphone . If you decide to dual boot, you can access Linux files on Windows to ensure a seamless experience for your important files and documents.


6 Best Camera Settings for Moon Photos

When there is a full moon coming up, especially a big, colorful blood moon or harvest moon, there’s nothing better than being able to take clear pictures of it. Taking pictures of the moon, though, can prove to be difficult, and much of the time you may end up with pictures that are nothing like what you see with your naked eye. 

You definitely can get good pictures of the moon through some trial and error, and the right photography techniques. But to get the best moon shots, take these camera settings for moon shots into account and remove the matter of chance. Here are the best camera settings to use when photographing the moon. 

ISO

Set your camera ISO to 100. This will allow your camera to clearly pick up the bright light and details of the moon, as well as darkening the night sky. Since the moon is your only focus, you don’t need to worry about being able to see other parts of the scenery. If you do want to pick up more scenery, check the settings below for capturing the foreground. 

Aperture

To get the clearest pictures, try to take your photos at a narrower aperture f/11. This will ensure that you get the widest shot you can and capture all the detail of the moon with sharpness. You can go slightly higher than this if you need to, if your lens takes clearer pictures at a certain aperture. It can be different for every lens. 

Shutter Speed

To get a good exposure of the moon’s light and details, you should set your shutter speed at around 1/100 to 1/125. This will work with what you have set your ISO and aperture to in order to maximize the detail you can see in the moon. 

Focus

Keep your camera in manual focus. This will make it easy for you to control how the camera focuses. If you use an automatic focus, it may make it more difficult to get clear photos and you’ll lose a lot of control over the photo. Since the moon is unmoving, you won’t have to worry about needing fast focus shifts. 

White Balance

This setting is more or less up to you, depending on what kind of colors you want to incorporate into your photo. Especially if you shoot in RAW as is recommended below, your white balance won’t matter as much. 

Using the Daylight White Balance preset, though, is probably your best go-to for photographing the moon. Or, experiment with the auto white balance setting enabled. 

Use a Long Lens

An important part of taking great moon photos is to have a lens that can capture something so far away with detail. You can still take moon photos with short lenses, but the result will be a much smaller moon with more of the surrounding scenery in the shot. 

If you want the moon to fill up the photo and show all its detail, using a long lens with a focal length of 200mm or longer is better. The speed of the lens doesn’t matter as much if you want to use the lens for only moon shots.

Shoot in Raw

If you plan to color balance your moon photo after taking it, it’s recommended to shoot your photos in the RAW format. This will allow for much simpler color balancing and correcting. It’s important to do this with moon photos as you can fix things like lighting and color, which are some of the most important parts of a good moon picture. 

These photos will take up more memory, as they are not compressed like JPEGs, so make sure to bring multiple memory cards if you can. 

Other Tips

Besides the camera settings for moon photography, there are also some other things you should keep in mind in order to get the best photos possible. 

Wait for the Moon to Rise

The moon shines at its brightest when it’s at the peak of its nightly path. This usually occurs around midnight, and then the moon will set at around 6 am. When the moon is at its highest point at midnight, you should be able to photograph it in this position for about an hour. Then it will be on its decline. 

Also, keep in mind that the phase of the moon will determine how brightly it shines. A full moon will be much brighter at its peak than in its crescent phase. 

Get There Early

Although it may not seem like it at first, it might take you a minute to get entirely set up to properly photograph the moon. You’ll have to set up your camera, tripod, and then compose your shots. This can take up precious time if you’re trying to photograph the moon at a specific point. 

So, be sure to get there early. It may also help to change the settings on your camera before you arrive, and then tweak them as needed to save some time. Think beforehand about what kinds of photos you want to compose, and the area you want to shoot it from. 

Use a Tripod

A tripod is essential equipment for any landscape photo and photos where light is an important factor (like sunset photography ). This will ensure there is no camera shake and this allows you to capture photos in finer detail. 

To increase the chance of clear photos, you can set a short timer on your camera to take the photo after you’ve pressed the button. This will prevent the act of pressing the button to impact your photo. 

Incorporating the Foreground

If you want to show more of the foreground as well as the moon in your photo, you’ll want to think about compositing two photos onto one another. It’s very difficult to get a correct exposure for both the moon and the ground or surrounding scenery, so taking multiple photos with different exposures set for each one will result in a much cleaner looking photograph. 

Image modifications are easy in Photoshop or another image editing software. 

Photographing the Moon

Although taking photos of the moon can seem daunting at first, hopefully this guide has helped you get a better grasp on moon photography. You can put your knowledge to use the next time there is an eye-catching lunar event you just have to get a picture of. Who knows, you might end up selling your perfect photograph online and giving a fillip to your photography skills.


6 Ways to Make Steam Downloads Faster

The feeling of buying a brand new game is great. But once you realize you’re going to have to have to wait, possibly hours, for it to download, that excitement can start to wane. You might start to wonder if there’s any possible way to make your Steam game download faster. And in fact, there are. 

All of the methods outlined here can help you get much faster download speeds for your Steam games, allowing you to begin your game much more quickly. Try these tips out and see just how much time is cut off from your next Steam download. 

Close Other Programs

If you have some other programs opened while trying to complete your Steam download, these can actually greatly hinder your download speed. Especially if certain programs are also connected to the internet and using data, you should look into closing them.

To do this, open your task manager by either going to Start and searching for it. Or, you can press Ctrl + Alt + Del and select Task manager from the menu. You can now see which programs you have open besides Steam. 

If you click More details, you can see which programs are running in the background. You can also see which programs are using your network connection by looking at the Network column. If another app is using a large percentage of it, you can close it by right-clicking the program and selecting End task

Strengthen Your Internet Connection

Sometimes, your issue might just be that your internet connection isn’t too great. There are some things you can do, though, to boost your connection and possibly increase download speeds. 

First, you’ll want to try connecting via ethernet cable if you can. This will significantly increase the speed of the internet to your computer. You can also try simply moving closer to your Wi-Fi router and see if that makes a difference, as signals can sometimes become weaker in certain areas of a house. Especially far away from the router. 

Set Priority for Steam

Another easy fix you can do to make Steam download faster is to set priority for Steam downloads in Task Manager. This will tell your computer you want Steam to have a high priority when it comes to its network connection. To do this, first open Task Manager, either search for it in the Windows start menu or press Ctrl + Alt + Del.

Find the Steam Client Service and right-click on it, then select Go to details

Now, right-click on SteamService.exe and select Set priority > High. This should give more connectivity priority to Steam and help with your downloads.

Change the Download Region

Steam will automatically select the region you connect to servers from, and if it incorrectly selects your area, you may be trying to download from a server much further away from you. To check your download region, in Steam go to Steam > Settings > Downloads

In this window, look at the Download Region section. Make sure the region is closest to where you’re actually located, as this will ensure the fastest download speeds. Another change we can make here is just below, where it reads Limit bandwidth to. Check this off to choose No limit, which will allow Steam to use the full extent of bandwidth needed to download your game. 

Disconnect Other Devices From Your Internet Connection

A big part of why your download might be going so slow is having other devices connected to your network that are using data. This could be things like your phone, tablets, or gaming consoles. If you want the fastest download speeds , it’s best to turn off these devices or disconnect them from your network so that nothing interferes with the connection to your PC.

Even if you may not be actively using these devices, if they are on or in sleep mode they still could be running programs in the background that are using your network. This is why turning them off or disconnecting them completely will help to avoid this and make your Steam download speeds much faster. 

Disable Antivirus Software

Antivirus software or firewalls have the potential to cause slower download speeds with Steam. This is because these softwares interact with disk and network operations, which could cause issues or even false alerts. Some firewalls may also prevent Steam from connecting to its servers, again causing problems for you. 

If you use a certain firewall or antivirus program, you’ll have to go into these programs and either disable them or set exceptions for Steam and your Steam games. If you’re using just Windows security, here’s how you can disable it. 

Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security

Then go to Windows Security > Virus & threat protection. Under Virus & threat protection settings, go to Manage settings. Here, find Real-time protection and set this to Off using the toggle switch. 

To allow Steam through the Windows Defender firewall, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Firewall & Network protection

In this window, select Allow an app through firewall. In the pop up window you can scroll through the list to see what apps are allowed by seeing if they are checked off. If you want to change this, click Change settings

If you don’t see Steam in the list already, you can select Allow another app and search for it on your computer. Make sure you also allow your Steam games . 

Download Your Steam Games Faster

Even if you just follow a few of these tips, you should notice a marked difference in your download speeds through Steam. Although it’s hard to control how powerful your actual internet connection is, using these methods you can make the most of what you can control. Then, you should be able to get to playing your favorite games again in no time. 


7 Best Free PDF Writers and Printers

The PDF document format works on any modern smartphone, computer or tablet. If you want to share or archive a web page or document, PDF is an ideal format to use thanks to its compatibility and portability.

With a free PDF writer, you can add information or highlight some areas on the document in order to update the file. A PDF printer app on the other hand offers printing facilities for your documents, email messages, photos, and other files making it easy to print PDFs right from your device.

Best Free PDF Writers and Printers

If you’re looking for the best free PDF writers and printers to use with your laptop or mobile device, here are some great options you can try.

1. Write on PDF

Write on PDF is a free PDF writer that allows you to make notes on PDF documents. The powerful and convenient app contains many features to add text, highlight and add free handwritten notes with ease.

Among other things you can do with Write on PDF include the ability to search throughout the PDF document, bookmark for navigation, sync with Dropbox , and view in vertical and horizontal ways.

On top of that, you can give tabs to list all the PDF files in your device, save or share a PDF file with your text and drawing content.

2. Sejda PDF Editor

Sejda is an online PDF writer that allows you to add text, images, shapes and drawings. You can also create forms , add annotations, highlight and whiteout sections of a document.

The powerful PDF writer and printer app is available online, which handles processing in the cloud, but you can also get the desktop edition for offline editing, which processes files locally.

If you need to quickly edit your PDF or add signatures to PDF documents, Sejda does that very well. In addition, Sejda recognizes text with OCR , and allows you to merge documents, add headers or footers with page numbers, crop or rotate pages, and split PDF files into smaller documents.

Sejda’s easy-to-use editor packs an impressive suite of features but its free version has page and hourly limits, limited access to specific tools, and limited file uploads no larger than 50MB in size. Plus, you can only work with one document at a time when using the web version of the app.

Depending on your needs, the free version may be adequate, but if you need more tools, you can subscribe to its paid-for version and access large file uploads of up to 500MB per file, processing multiple files at once, and unlimited documents with no page or hourly limits.

3. Xodo

Xodo is a free PDF printer, writer and viewer app that makes it easy to markup documents and supports annotations that works with other PDF viewers.

With Xodo, you can save digital signatures as you would with Adobe Acrobat and use it across multiple documents. You can also edit, annotate, and share PDF files on the web, mobile and desktop devices so you can get things done.

If you want to fill forms, Xodo takes the stress out of filling forms by allowing you to do it with a touch of your finger whether you’re using a tablet or smartphone.

Plus, you can annotate PDFs by adding sticky notes, underlining, highlighting, or striking out passages. If you want, you can insert shapes, draw freehand, and change your annotation’s size, color, opacity and thickness.

If you’re working as a team, Xodo has a chat feature that transforms your PDF into a virtual meeting room . This way, you can collaborate with others online in real time from a smartphone or computer, eliminating the need for emails or having to find time to meet.

Xodo also lets you sign PDF files and print them directly from the app. Moreover, the app syncs with cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox so you can save and access your PDF documents with all your annotations, comments and edits when and where you need them.

4. Foxit MobilePDF

Foxit MobilePDF is a small, lightweight PDF viewer that lets you open, view and annotate PDF documents . 

The app supports zooming, annotations and searching text, but you can also create PDFs and convert them into Microsoft Office documents.

The free PDF writer and printer covers most of your needs when it comes to PDFs while delivering industry leading capabilities to use PDF files on the go.

You can use bookmarks to jump directly to a certain page, record recently opened files, click links in a document to open webpages, and add stamps to PDF documents. Plus, you can add comments and adjust their opacity and colors, fill out and save PDF forms, print or export PDFs as images, HTML or TXT files.

5. CutePDF Writer

CutePDF Writer is an easy to use PDF writer and printer that allows you to add comments, create booklets and interactive form fields, stylized text stamps and more.

The app offers 128-bit AES security to encrypt your PDF file and restrict access from unauthorized users so that only you can access, edit, print and extract the content. If you want to edit a PDF though, you can still use the CutePDF Editor from your web browser.

Plus, you can convert printable documents to professional quality PDFs , and print your files by selecting CutePDF Writer from your list of printers on your PC.

The app only works with Windows (Vista to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2008-2019), and you need an additional free postscript to PDF driver to create PDFs.

6. BullZip PDF Printer

BullZip PDF printer is a free PDF printer, which means you can use its free version but with certain limitations. However, the app doesn’t contain pop ups or ads, and if you need advanced features, you can always go for its commercial application, which removes the 10 user limit in the free version.

With the BullZip PDF printer, you can write PDF documents from Windows programs, control whether you want to see the resulting PDF document and password protect your PDFs .

The app offers 128/256 bit AES encryption to add security to your PDFs, and you can edit it to add watermark text and sign PDF documents using digital certificates. Plus, BullZip PDF printer supports multiple output types including PNG, JPEG, BMP, PCX, PDF and TIFF.

7. doPDF

If you just need a PDF printer app, doPDF is a solid choice.

The free PDF printer app creates PDF files and allows you to convert printable files to PDFs. The app installs as a virtual PDF printer driver and you can print to PDF without downloading malware or other random add-ons.

You can convert PDFs to DOCX, PPTX, HTML or TXT files and print them out, or convert Microsoft Office documents into PDFs for printing or web publishing based on your needs.

The main downside with doPDF is that you can’t write or edit using the app; it’s just for printing or converting printable files or images to PDFs .

Quickly Edit and Print PDFs

There are so many tools you can use to write or print to PDF, making it difficult to select one. If you’re just looking for a simple tool, you can use the built-in Microsoft Print to PDF service in Windows 10. For macOS users, turn to our step-by-step guide on how to edit PDFs on Mac .

Do you have a favorite PDF writer or printer tool? Tell us about it in the comments.


Alt Tab Not Working? 13 Ways to Fix

Does nothing happen when you press Alt-Tab in Windows 10? Do your applications disappear before you can Tab your way through to them? Or does the app switcher fail to open a program once you’ve selected it?

Many reasons can stop the Alt-Tab keyboard shortcut from working correctly on your computer. Technical glitches, corrupt keyboard drivers, conflicting system settings, etc., are just a few.

Below, you will find several troubleshooting tips and methods to fix issues with Alt-Tab not working in Windows 10. Feel free to skip any that don’t apply.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

In almost all cases where the Alt-Tab shortcut fails to work, you can fix it immediately by restarting the Windows Explorer process. 

1. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.

2. Select More Details to expand the Task Manager.

3. Scroll down the Processes tab and locate Windows Explorer. Then, right-click it and select Restart.

Note: If you have any File Explorer windows open, you can find the Windows Explorer process listed underneath the Apps section.

4. Wait for a few seconds until Windows Explorer finishes restarting itself. You’ll see the taskbar and the desktop icons disappear in the meantime.

5. Press Alt+Tab and see if the key combination works without issues.

2. Reboot the Computer

If restarting Windows Explorer didn’t help, try rebooting your computer instead. That should take care of any minor technical glitches that cause the Alt-Tab keyboard shortcut to not work correctly.

3. Uninstall/Reinstall Keyboard Device

You can rule out any issues with a corrupt keyboard driver by uninstalling and reinstalling your keyboard via Device Manager.

1. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager.

2. Expand Keyboards.

3. Right-click HID Keyboard Device and select Uninstall Driver.

4. Select Uninstall to remove your keyboard.

Note: If you see multiple instances of HID Keyboard Device, remove all of them.

5. Restart your computer. Windows 10 should automatically detect your keyboard and re-install its driver.

4. Install Support Software

Did the issue with Alt-Tab start right after using a new keyboard? Check the keyboard manufacturer’s website ( Logitech , Dell , HP , etc.) for any specific device drivers or support software. Install them and see if that fixes the issue.

5. Check Keyboard on Another PC

If you continue to have issues with Alt-Tab not working on your computer, it’s best to connect your keyboard to another PC and test out both keys to rule out any hardware-related problems. If there’s nothing wrong, go ahead with the rest of the fixes.

6. Remove Third-Party Alt-Tab Switcher

Do you have a third-party Alt-Tab program installed on your computer? Despite improving the functionality of the app switcher, it can also break things down. Try removing it from your computer.

1. Right-click the Start menu.

2. Select Apps and Features.

3. Locate the third-party Alt-Tab program and select Uninstall.

If you can’t remove the Alt-Tab program (if it’s a portable applet, for example), open it and revert any modified settings to their defaults.

7. Enable Peek

Sometimes, Alt-Tab will refuse to switch windows if you’ve disabled Peek in Windows 10. It’s the functionality that allows you to “peek” into the desktop when you drag the cursor to the screen’s lower-right corner. Re-enable it and see if that helps.

1. Press Windows+R, type sysdm.cpl, and press Enter.

2. Switch to the Advanced tab and select Settings under Performance.

3. Check the box next to Enable Peek.

4. Select Apply, then OK, to save the changes.

5. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

6. Select Personalization.

7. Switch to the Taskbar side-tab.

8. Turn on the switch next to Use Peek to preview the desktop.

9. Exit the Settings pane and restart your computer.

8. Update Video Card Drivers

The Alt-Tab app switcher can stop working if you have any outdated video card drivers on your computer. Try updating them. 

You can get the latest graphics card drivers by heading over to the Intel , NVIDIA , or AMD websites. Alternatively, you can use a driver updater program to update the video drivers on your computer automatically.

9. Update Windows 10

If you continue to have issues, you must update Windows 10. That should take care of any known bugs that prevent the Alt-Tab keyboard shortcut from working correctly.

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

2. Select Update & Security.

3. Under the Windows Update side-tab, select Check for Updates and install any pending updates. 

Additionally, select the View optional updates option and install any hardware driver updates.

10. Run a Malware Scan

A malicious program can hijack your computer and stop core Windows 10 functionalities from working properly. If you haven’t already, use Windows Security to perform a quick scan for malware now.

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

2. Select Update & Security.

3. Switch to the Windows Security side-tab.

4. Select Virus & threat protection.

5. Select Quick Scan.

It’s best to follow that up with a dedicated malware removal tool such as Malwarebytes to make sure that your computer is free of malware.

11. Run SFC Scan

Run the System File Checker (SFC) via the elevated Command Prompt console to scan and fix any corrupted system files on your computer.

  1. Open the Start menu, type cmd, and select Run as administrator.
  2. Type sfc /scannow.
  1. Press Enter to initiate the scan.

The SFC scan should take several minutes to complete. Reboot your computer afterward and check if Alt-Tab works without issues.

12. Switch to Old Alt-Tab Viewer

Try switching to the older Alt-Tab app switcher (which displays app icons instead of preview thumbnails) and see if that helps.

1. Press Windows+R to open Run.

2. Type regedit and select OK.

3. Copy and paste the following path into the address bar to the top of the Registry Editor window and press Enter:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

4. Right-click the AltTabSettings registry entry and select Modify.

5. Set the value as 1 and select OK.

6. Restart your computer and check if Alt-Tab works without issues.

Suppose you can’t see the AltTabSettings registry key within the Registry Editor. Open an elevated Command Prompt console and run the following command:

REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer /v AltTabSettings /t REG_DWORD /d 1

That should create an AltTabSettings registry key with the correct value automatically. You do not have to revisit the Registry Editor, but you must reboot your computer.

13. Tweak Multitasking Settings

Do you use multiple desktops in Windows 10? If so, the Alt-Tab app switcher will not reveal open apps across desktops unless you modify the Multitasking settings.

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

2. Select System.

3. Switch to the Multitasking side-tab. Then, open the menu under Pressing Alt+Tab shows windows that are open on and select All Desktops.

The Multitasking screen also includes an additional setting that allows you to tweak the Alt-Tab app switcher’s behavior when you use it with Microsoft Edge. Use the menu under the Alt+Tab section to determine if you want the app switcher to reveal browser tabs as separate windows or not.

Alt-Tab Your Way Through

Most likely, you ended up fixing Alt-Tab straight off the bat by restarting the Windows Explorer process. If not, the other fixes should’ve helped with Alt-Tab not working. If you still have issues, however, you should try resetting Windows 10 to factory settings . That should take care of any corrupt settings or other issues stopping your computer from functioning properly.


Avast vs Malwarebytes: Which Is Better?

Did you know that cyber threats exposed more than 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019? The internet is no longer a luxury–it’s essential for staying connected with friends and family, working, and going to school. Without a strong and reliable antivirus program, your computer and personal information are at risk .

Two of the biggest names in the business are Avast and Malwarebytes. This article will break down the strengths and weaknesses of each program and help you decide which one is the best choice for you.

Pricing Structures

Both Avast and Malwarebytes offer free versions that provide more limited protection than their premium versions, but in a pinch even the limited protection is better than none at all.

Avast has three price tiers: Free, Premium, and Ultimate. Each is billed annually, with Premium coming in at $90 per year and Ultimate costing $120 per year. At the time of writing, Avast is offering a 50% deal for both subscriptions for the first year, bringing the price to $45 and $60. 

Avast Premium offers a 30-day free trial, too. There are also services like a VPN, an identity theft protection service, and an anti-tracker tool that can each be added on and are charged on annual subscriptions, too.

Malwarebytes has four pricing tiers including the free option: Premium for one device at $3.33 per month, or $40 per year; Premium for five devices at $6.67 per month, or $80 per year; and Premium + Privacy for $8.33 per month, $100 per year. 

It’s also worth noting that Malwarebytes forces you to sign up for a 14-day free trial through email, and you will subsequently receive a slew of marketing emails until you unsubscribe. 

Although Malwarebytes is more affordable at first glance, Avast offers protection for 10 devices at its base price. That equates to around $9 per device for a full year, while you would pay $160 for that same level of protection from Malwarebytes.

Winner: Avast

Features

Neither Avast or Malwarebytes offer a wide range of features in the free tier. The true comparison will lie in the premium versions. 

Free Tiers

Avast offers two main features in its free version: protection against ransomware, and protection against malware and viruses. It is a barebones antivirus program that gets the job done, but not much more than that.

On the other hand, Malwarebytes removes spyware and malware. That’s it. It doesn’t offer real-time protection or detection. It doesn’t watch for ransomware, either. While Malwarebytes is exceedingly good at spotting malware, the free version is a one-trick pony. 

Both free versions also monitor a single device only.

Premium Tiers

Once you invest a few dollars into your antivirus software , the number of features and tools available to you goes up quite a bit. Avast offers Wi-Fi network security checks, watches for unsafe and fake websites online, helps provide protections against phishing websites, and stops remote access attacks against your PC.

Avast also does this for up to 10 devices at a time. You can drop this protection to only a single PC or other device, but in doing so you save only $10 per year–not worth it, particularly when you consider the benefits of full-spectrum protection on all of your devices.

Malwarebytes provides real-time, 24/7 monitoring for malware and other threats against your system. It also works to stop exploit attacks, as well as ransomware strikes. Malwarebytes also offers protection against malicious and fake websites to prevent stolen data and/or identity theft.

Premium + Tiers

Both companies have different names for their highest pricing tiers, so “Premium+” is the generic name for the highest possible price point.

Avast offers two additional tools at this range: the SecureLine VPN for safe and secure browsing regardless of the connection you use, and Cleanup Premium, a tool that improves PC performance by removing unnecessary files.

Malwarebytes’ highest price tier includes a VPN. The Malwarebytes Privacy VPN prevents unauthorized tracking, masks your location, encrypts your connection, and more–all while reducing the amount of lag traditionally associated with VPNs.

Both programs offer a large number of features, especially at higher price points, but Avast still comes out on top due to the larger number of features and the higher number of devices protected by the software.

Winner: Avast

User Interface

Avast and Malwarebytes both have relatively easy-to-use and understand interfaces. Avast has more options available to the user, while Malwarebytes is more simplified.

Avast shows you the status of your machine, but breaks down the options into three categories: Protection, Privacy, and Performance. Clicking any of these options shows you additional sections that are available to you. 

Malwarebytes shows your history, an option to start a new scan, and sliders that allow you to turn off web, malware, ransomware, and exploit protection. The settings menu is more comprehensive, but the main features of the tool are all available in one spot. 

The UI for Malwarebytes feels a bit dated versus Avast, and the lack of tools become readily more apparent when you compare the two options based on their interface.

Winner: Avast

Avast vs Malwarebytes: Which Is Best?

The two programs are both good at what they do, but it ultimately boils down to which one offers the widest range of protection for the best price. If you had to choose just one of these programs, Avast is your best bet.

It offers the best suite of features and the best bang for your buck. Malwarebytes is not bad by any means, but it’s much more limited and more expensive on a device-by-device breakdown.


Copy and Paste Not Working on Windows 10? 7 Best Fixes

It’s always an annoying experience when some operations on your Windows computer suddenly stop working, particularly if you use them quite often. It gets worse when you don’t know the source of the problem or how to fix it.

Everyone knows how to copy and paste content, but not everyone knows what to do if (or when) these commands don’t yield the desired results. In this guide, we’ll show you seven troubleshooting solutions to try when copy and paste are not working on your Windows 10 computer.

If your computer is unresponsive to the “Ctrl + C” or “Ctrl + V” keyboard shortcuts, check that the keyboard is working correctly. Refer to this article on fixing Windows keyboard keys for guidance. If you use an external keyboard, you can also try resetting your keyboard to factory default . Restarting your computer might also help. Should these preliminary solutions prove abortive, proceed to the troubleshooting methods below.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

You might be unable to copy and paste files or folders from one directory to another if the Windows Explorer is malfunctioning . To fix this, head to the Task Manager and restart the Windows Explorer—even if it seems to be in perfect condition. You never know; that could help resolve the problem.

Launch the Task Manager using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut. In the Processes tab, right-click Windows Explorer and select Restart.

Wait for a few seconds for Windows to restart the Explorer and try using the copy and paste functionality again.

2. Update and Restart the Application

In the case that this problem is specific to an application, close and reopen the application. The problem with copy and paste not working could also be due to a software bug. So check if there’s an update available for the app via the Microsoft Store or the app’s settings menu.

3. Clear the Windows Clipboard Cache

This is another solution worth trying. Right-click on the Start button and click Command Prompt (Admin) on the Quick Access menu.

Type the command below in the Command Prompt console and press Enter.

echo off | clip

Close the Command Prompt window and check the copy and paste functionality now works. If it doesn’t, restart your computer and try again.

4. Troubleshoot Your Keyboard

There are several ways to copy and paste content on Windows 10. The Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V keyboard shortcuts are the easiest, no doubt. You can achieve the same result using your PC’s mouse.

As mentioned earlier, there could be an issue with your keyboard if you can’t copy and paste content using keyboard shortcuts. Run the Windows keyboard troubleshooter to find and fix problems with your PC’s keyboard settings.

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot and click Keyboard in the “Find and fix other problems” section.

2. Click the Run the troubleshooter button to proceed.

Wait for the troubleshooter to scan your computer for potential issues with your keyboard. The tool will recommend troubleshooting instructions if it finds any problem. 

5. Disable Third-Party Clipboard Managers

Clipboard managers or clipboard apps come with their benefits. They can significantly boost your copy-and-paste experience by holding multiple (copied) content, formatting texts, combining multiple clips, and a lot more advanced features.

One drawback of these clipboard managers is that they sometimes conflict with the built-in clipboard. Hence, preventing copy and paste from working correctly on your PC. If you use any third-party clipboard app, close or disable it, and see if that resolves the problem. You can restart your computer and try again.  

6. Disable RAM Optimization Apps

When you copy content, it is temporarily saved in your PC’s Random Access Memory (RAM). In a bid to save space and make your PC run faster , some file cleaning apps and RAM optimization software may clear your clipboard data.

So when you copy content to the clipboard, these programs may wipe them off, leaving the clipboard empty with nothing to paste. This may cause you to assume that your PC’s copy and paste functionality isn’t working.

If you use a RAM booster, force quit the app or modify its settings to exclude your PC’s clipboard data from its optimization process.  

7. Restart the Windows Remote Desktop Clipboard

If you’re using a Remote Desktop setup and the copy-and-paste functionality won’t work correctly between the remote desktop and the host device, try restarting the Remote Desktop Clipboard.

1. Launch the Windows Task Manager and locate RDP Clipboard (or rdpclip.exe) in the Processes tab. Right-click on the process and select End Task.

2. To restart the process, click File on the Task Manager’s menu bar and select Create new task.

3. Type rdpclip.exe in the dialog box, check the box that reads Create this task with administrative privileges and click OK.

An alternate way to restart the Remote Desktop Clipboard is to launch the Run box (Windows key + R), type C:\Windows\System32 in the dialog box, and click OK.

Right-click on the Remote Desktop Clipboard’s executable file (rdpclip.exe) and select Run as administrator.

Addendum: Enable Clipboard Mapping

In the rare instance that rdpclip.exe fails to run , head to the Windows Registry and enable the file responsible for clipboard mapping.

1. Launch the Run box (Windows key + R), type regedit in the dialog box, and click OK.

2. Paste the directory below in the Registry Editor’s search box and press Enter.

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Winstations\RDP-Tcp

3. Double-click on the registry file named fDisableClip and make sure its value is set to 0.

Close the Registry Editor and check if you can now copy and paste files between the devices on your Remote Desktop setup.

Duplicate Content Without Limitation

The copy and paste command may malfunction if your computer is infected with malware. Scan your PC for malware using Windows Defender or a reputable third-party antivirus software. You can also use the Windows System File Checker (SFC) to fix and repair corrupt files preventing content duplication (via copy and paste).


DDR3 vs DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM: Which Is The Best?

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about RAM . It’s not as sexy as the CPU or GPU after all. For the most part, all anyone cares about is that there’s enough of it for their needs. However, the truth is that there’s much more to RAM than pure capacity.

Improvements in memory technology are a key part of why computer performance is so good. The fastest CPU in the world can only work at a snail’s pace if it’s being fed data by slow, obsolete RAM. At the time of writing, there are three types of RAM to contend with when building or buying a computer. 

There’s DDR3, which is well over a decade old but still present in plenty of computers in use today. Then there’s DDR4, which is the current standard for new computers. DDR5 isn’t yet to be found in a computer you can buy, but the standard was officially released in mid-2020.

Which means it won’t be long until actual DDR5 hardware starts to ship. So, what’s the difference between these generations of RAM and which one is best for you to choose today?

What Is DDR?

Before we dive into the generational differences between the different DDRs, it’s worth explaining what “DDR” is in the first place. It’s not Dance Dance Revolution, in case that’s where your mind immediately went. Not that we’d know anything about that!

No, DDR is short for Double Data Rate and refers to the special method that this memory technology uses to perform an operation at both the peak and the trough of its clock cycle. In other words, a DDR memory chip running at 100Mhz does the same number of operations as an SDR (Single Data Rate) chip running at 200Mhz.

This is why the DDR memory speeds are written at twice the actual clock speed of the module. For example, DDR3 1600 RAM actually runs at 800Mhz.

Bandwidth Differences

One of the key differences between the different generations of DDR is the amount of bandwidth they offer. Each successive generation has offered a significant jump in data transfer rates. Of course, you can buy high-end DDR3 that comes close to the lower end of DDR4 and the same will likely be true for DDR5. 

There’s bound to be some performance overlap at the edges of the product spectrum. However, unless you’re aiming to build a system for the lowest price, each new generation should be significantly faster than the last.

How much of a difference does increased bandwidth make? 

In general it’s better to have a higher amount of slower RAM than a smaller amount of fast RAM. However, in the age of NVME SSDs and CPUs with many cores , it’s becoming more important than ever.

Within the DDR generation that a given CPU supports, bandwidth differences are less important, but what does matter is making use of multi-channel memory. In other words, if your motherboard supports dual (or more) channel memory, make sure you have the right number of modules in the right slots to enable it.

Power Consumption

With every new generation of RAM, performance goes up and power consumption goes down. This is especially beneficial when considering mobile computers, but less power consumption with better performance is never a bad thing in any context. 

While RAM isn’t the most power-hungry component by far, combined with power savings in other components it all adds up to a big drop in energy needs for modern systems. 

The bottom line is that a DDR3 system is likely to be harder on your battery or electricity bill, because components designed to work with that generation of DDR will consume more power by virtue of their era.

Prefetch Buffer Sizes

The prefetch buffer is an area of RAM where data is loaded before being handed over to the CPU. The original DDR standard could fetch one unit of data, but DDR could do twice as much at a time. DDR3 and DDR4 can do an impressive eight units at once and DDR5 can go up to 16, depending on the specific model. 

The bigger the prefetch buffer is, the more efficient the RAM is. This is because there’s a larger chance that the buffer contains the data that the CPU needs next if it’s bigger. 

DDR3, DDR4 and some DDR5 modules all have a buffer size of eight units. So there’s nothing to separate them in terms of efficiency. DDR5 memory with a 16-unit buffer size represents a huge leap on paper, but it’s still not clear if it’s a noteworthy upgrade in real-world computing for most users.

Physical Differences

By deliberate design, different generations of DDR have different hardware form factors. They all come in the form of a DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module), but the notches on the connector edge are in a different place.

This makes it impossible to slot memory into the wrong slot. That would be especially problematic since older DDR standards use so much more voltage than the newer technologies. Poof!

What’s LPDDR?

There’s a type of DDR you’ll find in ultrabooks and other devices that need to run for long periods of time from battery power. 

Low Power DDR (LPDDR) was initially a modified version of DDR1, but since then has diverged more and more as a ground-up type of mobile DDR. So don’t think of LPDDR 3,4 and 5 as mobile versions of their desktop namesakes. Instead, they are aggressively power-efficient memory technologies with a significant amount of their own unique DNA.

Latency Issues

You may have heard that DDR 4 has more latency than DDR3. That is, it takes DDR4 longer to respond to requests to read and write from and to its memory cells. This is true on paper, but makes no perceptible difference in real life. DDR4 is so much faster in other respects that it still outperforms its predecessor overall. DDR 5 may improve on the latency issue, but even if it doesn’t, it will also outperform DDR 4 as a whole.

Which DDR Is Best?

This question isn’t all that straightforward to answer, because it depends on your starting position:

  • If you’re buying or building a new computer as of this article’s publication, then DDR4 is the way to go.
  • If you have a computer running DDR3, then only consider upgrading if you reach the limits of your CPU and GPU. DDR4 by itself is not a good enough reason to move on to a new system.
  • DDR5 will remain expensive and poorly-supported for some time, so it’s worth waiting for mainstream motherboards and processors that support it before jumping ship.

Then there’s the issue of memory bandwidth versus capacity. For most users it’s better to have more slower RAM than less faster RAM, as mentioned before. That being said, you should get the fastest memory you can afford for the capacity you need. Putting too much RAM in a system that doesn’t need it will do nothing for performance. 

That extra RAM will therefore go unused and be a waste of money. For example, most gaming systems will do with 16GB of RAM, so putting in 32GB will offer diminishing returns. The best strategy is to determine what total amount of RAM is best for your needs and then get the fastest version of that RAM size you can afford.


Fedora vs Ubuntu: Which Linux Distribution Is Better?

There are many flavors of Linux and some, such as Manjaro , are quickly gaining a fantastic reputation as modern alternatives to Windows and macOS.

However, right now Ubuntu and Fedora Linux are two of the most popular options for desktop operating systems based on the Linux kernel. The question is which one is best for you?

Fedora Vs. Ubuntu: Different Branches on the Family Tree

The biggest fundamental difference between Fedora and Ubuntu are the branches of the Unix tree they descend from. Fedora comes from Red Hat Linux. Hence the hat-related name. Ubuntu comes from Debian, an extremely popular branch of Linux that’s been released in various desktop-focused distributions.

Support and Development

Another major difference between Fedora and Ubuntu is how they’re developed and maintained. While Fedora is an offshoot of Red Hat , the Red Hat company doesn’t develop or maintain Fedora. They do offer financial support and some development contributions, but it’s fundamentally a community-driven project.

Ubuntu is developed and supported by the Canonical company. While they don’t make money from Ubuntu directly, they take donations from users and charge for enterprise support. They are fully dedicated to maintaining and developing Ubuntu. 

Fedora also has a different philosophy to development than Ubuntu. Fedora prioritizes offering the latest developments in the Linux world. It’s usually the first to implement major updates to Linux staples such as the GNOME desktop.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, aims to be a more direct alternative to Windows. So it prioritizes usability, stability and ease of use. That’s not to say that either is bad at the area the other prioritizes, just that they aren’t aiming for the same goals.

Installation and Ease of Use

We’ve come a long way from the text-driven installation methods that most Linux users had to deal with. When we were using Red Hat in the early 2000s, it was an intensive manual process to get everything installed and working. Not only did you need to have a working knowledge of the correct partition structure, you had to make important choices at every juncture and it was entirely possible to end up with a useless installation. Which meant you had to start all over again.

Today, both Fedora and Ubuntu use modern graphical installation systems. Neither is difficult to install and every choice you have to make is explained with enough clarity to make things go smoothly. While certain aspects of installation might be better or worse on each side of the fence, on the whole there’s nothing here that should sway anyone in either direction.

As for the actual user interface, there’s no doubt that Ubuntu is the operating system of choice for the average user who doesn’t much care to tinker with their computers and just wants to use it. Ubuntu is a more direct alternative to Windows and macOS, whereas Fedora offers something closer to the classic Linux power user experience. Fedora is more than easy enough for an average user to find their way, but it’s not quite as user friendly.

Software Availability

Fedora and Ubuntu use completely different package management systems. Ubuntu uses Apt and installs standard .deb (Debian) packages. Fedora uses DNF and uses .rpm packages. These are systems inherited from their respective lineages and, sadly, they’re not cross-compatible.

As you might imagine there’s plenty of argumentation on the web about which type of distribution management is better, but from the average user’s perspective they do the same job and largely do it equally well.

The major difference here is that there’s simply more Debian software out there. You’re more likely to find a .deb version of an application than one compiled as a .rpm file. 

Gaming Support

Let’s face it, if you want the best gaming experience on a computer you should go for Microsoft Windows. Native Linux versions of major video games are relatively rare and compatibility layers such as WINE are imperfect.

That being said, Ubuntu has been making major strides towards being a great operating system for gaming . It has built-in support for proprietary hardware drivers, which is necessary to get good performance from video games in most cases. On top of this, the Steam gaming platform has a robust client on Ubuntu with the Steam Play compatibility layer. This lets you play many Windows games on Ubuntu Linux, often with full compatibility. 

It’s important to note that Fedora is also perfectly capable of running Steam and it’s compatible games, but Fedora has a bit more friction when it comes to installing them. Not to mention its lack of proprietary graphics drivers out of the box.

Proprietary Software Support

One of the most defining features of Fedora is its total commitment to Open Source software. While Fedora doesn’t stop you from using proprietary software, it also does nothing to push it either. That being said, in the latest version as of this writing you do get a prompt asking if you’d like to enable third-party repositories directly in the Fedora app store.

That’s in contrast to Ubuntu, which has options in its installation Wizard to automatically download and install 3rd-party closed-source software. You’ll also find closed-source applications in the Ubuntu software repository and of course closed source hardware drivers.

Ubuntu does clearly tell you when software comes with a closed-source license, but Fedora is a bit of a FOSS (Free and Open Source) fundamentalist. The advantage of that is you can be sure you aren’t using any proprietary software on a Fedora system unless you put it there. 

That can be critical to certain organizations or nonprofits. Plus, there are many users who care very much as well! Which distribution is “best” here really depends on your stance on open source software.

It’s Easy To Try Both for Yourself

The discussion above covers the most important differences between Fedora vs. Ubuntu Linux that matter when choosing which is right for you, but there’s no reason to base your decision simply on information you read.

Because both Fedora and Ubuntu are completely free, you can try them for yourself today. You don’t have to make any changes to your computer to try them either. There are two ways you can try these operating systems without disrupting your current system.

First, you can download a Live installation version of either version of Linux, write it to a disc or USB drive and then boot from it. This will change absolutely nothing on the system itself. Using this option you can play around with Fedora and Ubuntu and only permanently install them if you like them enough. Incidentally, live booting is a great tool if you want to use a public computer securely without leaving a trace, or to do first-aid on a computer that’s developed problems.

The second method you can use to try these operating systems is by using a virtual machine. We prefer the free VirtualBox application for this purpose. Once VirtualBox is installed, you only have to create a new virtual machine and point it to the disc image file you downloaded for Fedora or Ubuntu. Install it as you would on a real computer and enjoy a risk-free environment to learn and experiment.

Even if you do take the plunge and install either system, you can dual boot them, picking the one you like when you start up your computer. There really is no excuse not to give them a go!