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Linux Mint vs Ubuntu: Which Is Better?

There are a number of Linux distributions out there, each with a certain focus or flavor. Some Linux distros are focused on security testing , while others are made for gaming . Whatever distro you choose, the best Linux distros are the all-rounders that allow you to do anything you need to, like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu .

While these big names fight for dominance, another name is in the frame as a top, beginner-friendly distro: Linux Mint. Linux Mint and Ubuntu share a lot of similarities, but there are also important differences to consider. To help you choose between Linux Mint vs Ubuntu, we’ve compared the pros and cons in this helpful guide.

Ubuntu vs Linux Mint: Same But Different

Ubuntu, first released back in 2004, has risen to the top of the Linux hierarchy as one of the most popular Linux distro for desktop PCs and servers alike. Unlike some of the other distros, the Ubuntu development team hasn’t been afraid to make big changes, introducing new features, switching desktop environments, and more.

Unlike some of the setup-heavy Linux distros like Arch, Ubuntu is absolutely beginner friendly. It comes with support for major hardware out-of-the-box, with an interface that beginners can get used to without needing to open the terminal. If you don’t like it, don’t worry—Ubuntu has plenty of flavors to choose from. 

Quite literally, in fact, as “Ubuntu flavors” refers to a number of officially-supported offshoots of Ubuntu, each geared to a different working environment, such as Lubuntu (which swaps out the GNOME desktop with LXDE) or Linux MATE (which uses the pre-2010 GNOME version 2).

In a way, you could also consider Linux Mint to be a “flavor” of Ubuntu. It is itself based on Ubuntu’s core code, with a release cycle that follows a few months after Ubuntu’s release schedule. Linux Mint is an entirely independent project however, with a core set of developers that maintain its features and project objectives.

Linux Mint might be based on Ubuntu, but it’s more than an Ubuntu spin-off. It has a totally different interface, better themes, custom apps, and more. While it previously included some proprietary tools by default (unlike Ubuntu), these were made opt-in only from version 18.1.

Release Cycle and Development Speed

Because Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, they ultimately share similar release cycles. Ubuntu’s major releases are released in April in a two-year cycle, while minor (named interim releases) and major releases (named LTS or Long Term Support releases) fall each year in April or October.

Ubuntu is funded and largely developed by Canonical, a for-profit organization based in the UK. It also has support and development from third-party outside developers, who (along with Canonical) collectively make the major decisions relating to the Ubuntu project as a whole.

Linux Mint, on the other hand, follows Ubuntu’s Long-Term Support releases. Each major release of Linux Mint follows some months after an Ubuntu LTS release, allowing the developers to take stock of any code changes and make their own. There isn’t a set scheduled for this, as Linux Mint relies on volunteer development.

Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint is a community project without a main corporate backer, although it does have sponsors and donors who help fund it. As a whole, ideas and changes can be discussed and voted on by the community via the Linux Mint website. 

Installation and Ease of Use

Both Linux Mint and Ubuntu are designed to be easy-to-use compared to other major distributions. This philosophy is baked into the user interface, stretching from the initial installation to general, day-to-day usage.

When you install Linux Mint or Ubuntu, you’ll typically use a graphical installer to do so. Everything is explained clearly and, as both products are Ubuntu-based, many of the options you’ll see in either Linux Mint or Ubuntu are identical. Either way, you should be up-and-running within the hour with either distro.

As both main releases of Linux Mint and Ubuntu use GNOME (or, in Linux Mint’s case, a GNOME-based interface called Cinnamon), the interface you’ll see should be straightforward to navigate. 

Linux Mint follows the approach of the Windows Start menu, with apps and settings accessible from a pop-up menu in the bottom-left corner. You can customize Linux Mint with themes, backgrounds and more. If you run into trouble, you can easily reinstall Linux Mint without losing your data , similar to Windows 10’s reset process.

Ubuntu’s user interface is pretty easy to navigate, too. You can access your running and favorite apps from the left side bar, as well as access all your installed apps and settings via the app drawer in the bottom-left. Like Linux Mint, you can customize your desktop environment with custom themes, widgets, and backgrounds.

Ubuntu’s interface, however, is bulkier and can require a better PC to run smoothly. If you’re running on older hardware, you’ll probably be better choosing Linux Mint or a less-intensive “flavor” of Ubuntu such as Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

If you run into any difficulties with either distro, you can also take advantage of the huge community forums for Ubuntu and Linux Mint, where you ask questions and gain support from other community volunteers. You can also search through and look for answers to problems in the Linux Mint user guide and the Ubuntu Wiki .

Software Options

Software availability in Ubuntu and Linux Mint is also pretty similar. Like Ubuntu, Linux Mint uses the APT package manager for software packages. From a terminal, APT can be used to install or remove packages and update your system entirely. 

Both platforms share similar repositories (especially for core apps and services), making it easy to find and use the same kind of apps on either distro. Commonly-used tools, such as a calendar, calculator, web browser (Firefox, by default), and more are shared between Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

There are some differences, but these are mostly stylistic. Linux Mint has its own Software Manager tool to install software, while Ubuntu uses GNOME Software. Either way, both apps are wrappers for APT and install software from similar core repositories, although Linux Mint has its own repositories for Linux Mint apps.

If you need to install proprietary software (such as graphics drivers or media codecs), both Linux Mint and Ubuntu offer tools to do so. You can usually install this via the installer on both systems, but you can also install these manually via apt or using each platform’s software management tool.

The biggest difference, however, is in speed. GNOME Software is slower to use than Linux’s own Software Manager tool, but if your PC has enough juice, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Linux Mint vs Ubuntu: Choosing a Linux Distro For You

Linux Mint and Ubuntu offer slightly different experiences but many of the same benefits. As an Ubuntu-based distro itself, Linux Mint shares much of the same code, but with tweaks and changes that aim to make it a more friendly-to-use system—even more so than Ubuntu itself.

If you’re looking to try something new, you can dual-boot Linux Mint and Windows to give you the chance to easily switch between platforms. You can do the same with Ubuntu , or you could think about running a Linux distro on Windows 10 using the Windows Subsystem for Linux compatibility layer.


Microsoft Teams vs. Slack: Which Is Better?

Collaboration tools are a dime a dozen , but two have risen to the top. Slack and Microsoft Teams are currently duking it out, and while one has some clear advantages over the other, it’s worth taking a look at both before deciding which one to use.

Slack was the self-proclaimed front runner until Microsoft Teams came around a couple years ago, but when it comes down to it, Slack is a communications tool, and Teams is a total collaboration tool—including communications. 

Yes, you can extend Slack by adding on third-party integrations, but that happens natively in Teams with direct access to other Microsoft apps without ever leaving the Teams interface. That said, there might be some reasons to choose Slack over Teams. We took a look at both apps and considered price and features of Microsoft Teams vs. Slack to help you determine which one will be best for your purposes. 

Pricing: Microsoft Teams vs. Slack

Anyone can access Teams with a free Microsoft account. With the free edition, you’ll get unlimited messaging and meetings, a fair bit of file storage, and, at least for now, you can host meetings for up to 300 participants.

Normally, users of the free edition can’t host meetings that last longer than a hour, and those meetings are restricted to a maximum of 100 people. However, to help people stay connected during the global pandemic, Microsoft has increased those limits. 

If you’re looking for a more feature-rich package, then consider these tiers of Microsoft 365 business accounts which come with varying levels of access to other tools and apps.

Slack, too, offers both free and paid versions. The free edition limits users to 10,000 messages and up to ten integrations with third-party apps. 

Slack’s paid versions range from $6.67/per person, per month when billed yearly to $15.00/per person per month when billed monthly.

The upshot is that if your main concern is getting the most value for your dollar, then Microsoft 365 is the best choice. You can get the entire suite of Microsoft 365 apps, including Teams, for less than the cost of Slack’s cheapest plan.

Features: Microsoft Teams vs. Slack

This is hardly a fair contest. Team’s native integration with all the other Microsoft 365 apps is amazing and, as mentioned, makes Teams an entirely different kind of tool than Slack. 

Document Collaboration

Consider document collaboration. Slack doesn’t even claim to offer a way to collaborate on documents. Instead, Slack boasts about document and file sharing, by which they mean that you can attach documents to chats. Other users must download shared documents to view them, and the app offers no native way for multiple people to collaborate on a single document. 

Contrast that with Teams where you can open and collaborate on virtually any Microsoft document within the app itself.

Integrations with Other Apps

Ask yourself, “What other apps does my team currently use and need?” If the answer is largely other Microsoft programs like Word, Excel, OneDrive, or PowerPoint, then Teams is the way to go. Moreover, Teams also offers connections to over 700 third-party apps. 

Slack, on the other hand, offers connections to three times the number of third-party apps that Teams offers, with an app directory currently at 2,200 entries and climbing.

If your goal is to make communication among your team members easier and you rely on lots of different tools and services to do that, then the sheer number of Slack’s app integrations might make your choice easy.

Virtual Meetings

Teams has Slack beat when it comes to audio and video conferencing, too. Teams even gives video-conferencing giant Zoom a run for its money , especially now that Teams has introduced breakout rooms. 

With a limitation on the number of meeting participants, lack of breakout rooms, and no native ability to record the meeting or for participants to raise their hand, Slack just can’t compete. You can’t even share your screen in a Slack meeting without a paid plan.

Channels

The terminology each app uses can get confusing, but when it comes to organizing communications, the bottom line is this: you can’t add subchannels in Slack. Channels are where communication happens in Slack, and the lack of subchannels means every channel in your workspace is top-level, which makes it harder to organize your team’s communications and increases sprawl.

Microsoft Teams lets you add multiple channels to any team, which helps organize conversations and makes it easier for users to find the information they’re looking for.

Quick Hits: Microsoft Teams vs. Slack 

Novels could be written about user experience in Teams vs. Slack. Here are a few quick facts.

  • IT admins beware: setting up Teams is more complicated than setting up Slack. 
  • If you’re only looking for a communications tool, the other aspects of Teams will probably make the app feel bloated. 
  • Teams comes with better security than Slack.
  • Main navigation happens in the left menu in both Teams and Slack.
  • Slack gives users more control over the look and feel of the app through dozens of themes.
  • Teams users can only choose between light, dark, or high-contrast themes.
  • Both apps give users access to emoji, gifs, mentions, reactions, and memes.

Hopefully, the information above will help you to make an informed choice about whether to use Microsoft Teams or Slack.

But, Wait! A New Player Enters the Game

Rumors abound that Google is working on its own unified communications and collaboration tool. Details are scarce, but given the number of users immersed in the Google universe, Google could soon be a major competitor in this space.


Oculus Quest Vs PSVR: Which Is Better?

In 2016, VR finally lived up to its promise with the release of the Oculus Rift . While the Rift (and the computer you needed to power it) were still stupendously expensive, both the technology and pricing fell within reach of enthusiasts. 

Roll on to 2021 and now most mid-range computers can handle VR without issue. VR headsets themselves are now many times cheaper than before as well. For a long time, the Sony PlayStation VR was the most affordable way to experience premium VR games, but things have changed. The mainstream darling is the Oculus Quest 2 , but which one is better for you to buy?

Cost of Ownership

One of the main reasons people are comparing the Oculus Quest vs PSVR is because of their similar cost. Both the Oculus Quest 2 and PSVR should set you back around $299.  There is another model of Quest 2 headset that costs more than this, but the only difference is a larger internal storage capacity,

The problem is that the headset price by itself doesn’t tell the whole story. The most important fact to consider here is that the Quest 2 is a completely standalone system. Once you spend your $299, you have everything you need to start playing, apart from the cost of software titles of course.

The PSVR requires a PS4 or PS5 console to work. If you already own a compatible console, then you’ve already spent the money and it doesn’t have to be added to the total cost of ownership. If you don’t own a PS4, PS4 Pro or PS5 you need to consider that cost in addition to PSVR. That makes the PSVR far more expensive than a Quest 2.

Software Library

One of the strongest points in favor of the PSVR is its library of exclusive games. If you want to experience Resident Evil 7, Wipeout, Gran Turismo Sport, Ace Combat 7 or Iron Man in VR there’s only one headset in town – PSVR.

That being said, the Oculus Quest is well-known for having a carefully-curated library of quality exclusive games and experiences. It comes down to personal preferences and which titles appeal to you most. It’s also worth noting that the Quest headsets have access to the full PC VR catalogue as well, assuming you have the computer to drive them. We’ll discuss how that works below.

Versatility

The Oculus Quest is one of the most versatile VR headsets you can buy. Out of the box, it’s a complete standalone system you can use anywhere. It can play curated Quest titles, selected Oculus Go and Gear VR titles, and a wealth of non-Oculus approved apps and games through SideQuest .

If you own a powerful gaming PC, you can connect the Quest to your computer using a USB cable and use it to play Oculus Rift and SteamVR titles such as Half Life Alyx using a feature known as Oculus Link . This means you can invest in a Quest 2 today and should you get a gaming PC down the line, your VR horizons will expand.

The PSVR, on the other hand, is limited to PS4 PSVR titles. While hacks to use it with a PC are available, it loses its full depth-tracking capabilities. In other words, the headset can track the rotation of your head, but it can’t tell where your head is positioned in 3D space. This drastically limits what the headset can do. 

Technology

There’s really no gentle way to put this, but the PSVR system uses very obsolete technology. Sony made some very smart choices by repurposing existing PlayStation hardware for PSVR, which helps keep the costs down. However, that means it really offers a very old-school experience compared to the Oculus Quest.

The PSVR makes use of the PlayStation Move controllers for motion control. These devices were originally designed for the PlayStation 3, with relatively basic motion sensors and camera tracking using the PS4 camera.

That same camera is also responsible for external tracking of the headset itself. The modern standard for headsets such as the Quest is so-called “inside-out” tracking. Here, cameras onboard the headset calculate your head’s position based on how the room appears to move relative to your headset. This is much more elegant and allows for room-scale experiences without any accessories.

The display resolution, audio and haptic controllers for the Quest are several generations more advanced than the PSVR, making it hard to recommend that anyone opt for the older system at current prices.

Ergonomics

The PSVR pioneered the halo-strap headband design which has since been copied by various other VR headset brands. Sadly, the Oculus Quest 2 is not one of them. While the Quest 2 does offer a better level of comfort than the Quest 1 , neither headset is as comfortable to wear as the PSVR.

The PSVR also makes it easy to flip up the headset to quickly dip into the real world, look around and chat to other people. The Quest has a nifty pass-through mode that quickly lets you see through the onboard cameras, but it’s not quite as convenient.

Most VR play sessions are relatively short. The Quest 2 only offers about 2.5 hours of play at a time, but if you want to have long sessions of VR play the PSVR is the better choice. This is perfect if you want to lose track of time doing laps in Gran Turismo Sport VR.

Privacy and Platform Considerations

While the Quest 2 seems the better choice compared to the PSVR in virtually every category, there is one area of significant concern. FaceBook, which owns Oculus, has decided that a FaceBook account is mandatory for all Quest 2 owners. Without it you can’t use the device. You may not mind this requirement if you’re already a FaceBook user, but for many potential buyers that’s a serious issue. 

With PSVR, on the other hand, you are not required to be a PlayStation Network subscriber. You’re not even required to have an internet connection. Strictly-speaking, you can simply hook up the PSVR, pop in a game disc and play your games in complete privacy.

Oculus Quest Vs PSVR: The Final Verdict

It should come as no surprise that we think the Oculus Quest 2 is the better choice compared to the PSVR. However, that’s not really the PSVR’s fault. After all, it was an amazing product at the time of its launch and the most affordable premium VR solution for years.

While the PSVR actually works with the PS5 using a free camera adapter , Sony is undoubtedly working on a modernized successor. While we don’t know much about the PSVR2, we have no doubt that it will feature modern VR technology and give the Oculus Quest a run for its money.

If you want to get into VR right now, we recommend the Oculus Quest 2. If you have your heart set on console-based VR, we recommend waiting for the PSVR2 (slated for 2022 at the earliest) unless you really want to play a specific PSVR-exclusive title.


Outlook App Not Syncing? 13 Fixes to Try

Usually, setting up and using Outlook on both Android and iOS is a seamless affair. But sometimes, Microsoft’s email client can put a dent in your day by failing to sync emails, contacts, and calendar events locally or between other devices. 

Many factors such as bugs and glitches, incorrect configurations, conflicting device settings, and so on, can prevent Outlook from syncing correctly. 

If you keep experiencing sync issues with Outlook’s mobile apps, the following troubleshooting methods that follow should help you fix them.

Important: Fixes involving the Settings app in Android may not appear the same on your device. If you have trouble locating specific options, try searching for them instead.

1. Force-quit and Re-open App

Force-quitting and reopening the Outlook app is a quick way to fix the odd issue with the Outlook app not syncing. Just bring up the App Switcher on your Android or iOS device and swipe away the Outlook app card. Then, relaunch Outlook. In most cases, that should help get things moving again.

2. Reset Email Account

If you continue to have sync issues in Outlook’s Android or iOS apps, it’s a good idea to reset the email account in question.

1. Open Outlook and switch to the Mail tab.

2. Tap your profile portrait to the screen’s top-left to bring up the Outlook sidebar.

3. Tap the Settings icon.

4. Pick the email account under the Email Accounts section.

5. Select Restart Account.

6. Select OK to confirm.

The Outlook app will quit automatically. Reopen it, and it should attempt to update your data. If you still encounter any issues, go ahead with the rest of the fixes.

3. Unhide Calendars

If you don’t see specific calendar events in Outlook, make sure you’ve selected the relevant calendars.

1. Switch to the Calendars tab in Outlook.

2. Bring up the Outlook sidebar from the screen’s top-left.

3. Select the calendars that you want the app to display.

If you don’t see any calendars, you may have added your email account using the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) . In that case, try setting it up without using IMAP. You can find out how to remove and re-add accounts in Outlook further below.

4. Check Sync Settings

Outlook allows you to sync your contacts and calendars with the native Contacts and Calendar apps on your Android device. On iOS, you can save your contacts locally to the Contacts app. If that does not happen, check Outlook’s sync settings.

1. Open Outlook and switch to the Mail tab.

2. Bring up the Outlook sidebar.

3. Tap Settings.

4. Pick the email account under the Email Accounts section.

5. Turn on the switches next to the Sync contacts and Sync calendars options. On Outlook for iOS, turn on the Save Contacts option.

Note: Outlook for iOS will only save contacts locally. It will not upload any contacts from the Contacts app.

5. Provide Permissions

Outlook may not sync/save your contacts or calendars locally unless you provide the app with the required system permissions despite configuring the app.

Provide Permissions on Android

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap Apps & notifications.

3. Select Permissions.

4. Select Contacts.

5. Turn on the switch next to Outlook.

6. Go back to the previous screen and select Calendar.

7. Turn on the switch next to Outlook.

Provide Permissions on iOS

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and select Outlook.

3. Turn on the switch next to Contacts.

6. Clear Outlook Cache (Android Only)

On Android, if your Outlook app is not syncing you can try clearing the Outlook cache. That should get rid of any redundant data preventing the app from functioning normally.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap Apps & notifications.

3. Select Apps.

4. Scroll down the list and select Outlook.

5. Select Storage.

6. Tap Clear Cache.

7. Update Outlook App

You must update the Outlook app on your Android or iOS device regularly. That should patch out any known issues preventing your email, calendars, or contacts from syncing.

Update Outlook on Android 

1. Open the Google Play Store.

2. Bring up the Google Play menu and tap the My apps & games option.

3. Select the Update option next to Outlook.

Update Outlook on iOS

1. Long-press the App Store icon on the Home screen and select Updates

2. Swipe down the Account screen to scan for new updates.

3. Select Update next to Outlook.

8. Restart Android or iOS Device

If you continue to have issues syncing your email, calendars, or contacts, try restarting your Android or iPhone before moving on with the rest of the fixes. 

9. Disable Power Saving Mode

Power-saving features on Android devices may interfere with Outlook and prevent it from updating or syncing data correctly. Disable them and check if that helps. The same goes for Low Power Mode on the iPhone .

Disable Power Saving Mode on Android

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select Battery.

3. Disable Power saving mode or any equivalent setting on your device.

You must also check for and disable any battery optimization settings that apply to Outlook. You can usually find them listed on the same screen.

Disable Low Power Mode on iPhone

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select Battery.

3. Turn off the switch next to Low Power Mode.

10. Enable Background App Refresh

On iOS, you must make sure that you’ve enabled Background App Refresh for Outlook. If not, the app may fail to update your emails, contacts, or calendars properly while running in the background.

Go to Settings > Outlook and turn on the switch next to Background App Refresh, if disabled.

11. Remove/Re-add Email Account

If the Outlook app is still not syncing, it’s a good idea to remove and re-add any problematic email accounts. 

1. Open Outlook and switch to the Mail tab.

2. Bring up the Outlook sidebar.

3. Tap the Settings icon.

4. Pick the email account under the Email Accounts section.

5. Select Delete Account.

6. Select Delete to confirm.

7. Tap Add Mail Account to add your email account from scratch. If you want to access your contacts or calendar, avoid setting it up using IMAP.

12. Reinstall Outlook App

If removing and re-adding your email account (or accounts) didn’t help, try reinstalling Outlook. 

Start by deleting the Outlook app from your Android or iPhone. Then, reboot your Android or iOS device, reinstall them via the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store , and set everything up from scratch.

13. Reset Network Settings

You can patch out broken or corrupt network configurations from interfering with Outlook by resetting the network settings on your Android or iOS device.

Reset Network Settings on Android

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select System

3. Select Reset.

4. Tap Network settings reset.

5. Tap Network Settings Reset to confirm.

Reset Network Settings on iOS

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Select General

3. Select Reset.
4. Network Settings Reset.

5. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm.

After the network settings reset, use cellular data or Wi-Fi (you must add Wi-Fi networks from scratch) and check if Outlook syncs your data properly.

Outlook App Not Syncing

Hopefully, the troubleshooting tips above worked, and you’re back to using Outlook without issues on your Android or iOS device. To minimize the chances of problems messing things up in the future, make it a point to keep the email client up-to-date. You should also install the latest system software updates whenever possible.


The Best Windows Command Line Network Commands

Windows comes packed with several useful network utilities. These programs can get you critical information about your network connection and help diagnose problems. There are four TCP/IP network utilities that every Windows user should know about:

  1. Netstat
  2. Tracert
  3. IPconfig
  4. NSlookup

Let’s see what these utilities do and how they’re commonly used.

A Refresher on TCP/IP

All four utilities are TCP/IP network programs. What does that mean? 

TCP/IP is short for Transmission Control Protocol Internet Protocol. A protocol is a set of rules and specifications that determine how a process works. 

For example, at work it might be protocol to first make an appointment with your boss’ personal assistant instead of barging into their office at random times of day. Similarly, TCP/IP describes how the various devices connected to each other on the internet can communicate in an orderly fashion.

Learning to Love the Command Line

While 99% of computer interfaces these days are graphical, there will always be a need for text-based command line tools. For the most part, these TCP/IP utilities work through the command line. That means you need to type in the name of the utility and the action you want it to take.

In Windows this has always been achieved through the Command Prompt , but that’s being phased out. The preferred command line interface today is Windows PowerShell. 

To access the Powershell:

  1. Right-click on the Start Button
  2. Select Windows PowerShell (Admin)

Now you can type your commands into the command line in PowerShell to your heart’s content. If you want to walk the path of the PowerShell master, it begins with a single step. That is, Using PowerShell for Home Users – A Beginner’s Guide by our very own Guy McDowell.

Now let’s begin to know them better.

What is Netstat?

Netstat or Network Statistics is a powerful information utility that gives you important insights into what your network connection is doing at any given moment. It gives you basic statistics on key network activity. This includes which ports are open and in use and what connections are open and running.

Netstat isn’t just a Windows application, it’s on Linux, Unix and Mac as well. It started life on Unix and has become a fundamental weapon in the network administrator’s toolbox. 

There is a graphical alternative in the form of Microsoft TCPView , but knowing how to use netstat will always be useful. There are many use cases for the program, but one common purpose these days is the detection of malware. Malicious software such as trojans often open a port and wait to be contacted by their creators for further instructions. With netstat you can quickly see if there’s a suspicious connection from your computer to the network.

Important Netstat Commands

Netstat is one of the easiest TCP/IP utilities to use. All you have to do is type “netstat” (without the quotes) and you’ll get the standard list of active connections. Which should look something like this:

This is fine for a normal overview of your network connections, but you can modify the output by using modifiers. For example, “netstat -a” displays all active ports and “netstat -b” will show you the executable file responsible for each listening port. Here are more key commands:

  • Netstat -e – displays details of packets that have been sent
  • Netstat -n – lists currently connected hosts
  • Netstat -p – allow to specify what type of protocol you want to check
  • Netstat -r – provides a list of routing tables
  • Netstat -s – gives statistics on IPv4, IPv6, ICMP, TCP, etc

What is Tracert?

Tracert is short for traceroute. It’s a network utility that shows you information about every stop along the way from your computer’s network interface to the destination device.

When you use Tracert, the application sends special Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets which compel the devices at each hop to send back information. Specifically, it asks them to relay the exact time the packet arrived and then uses that information to calculate the travel time between each hop.

There are three main uses for Tracert:

  • To see where a packet gets lost.
  • To determine where packets are delayed.
  • To see the IP addresses of each hop along the packet’s route.

Next, let’s see the Tracert command in action.

Important Tracert Commands

The most basic form of the Tracert command requires the name of the utility as well as the network destination. The destination can be expressed as either an IP address or a website URL. For example: Tracert www.google.com .

The output of the command looks like this:

Tracert also has a small number of options, here’s the list:

  • Tracert -d: Tells Tracert not to resolve addresses to host names
  • Tracert -h: Maximum_hops – lets you change the default number of hops, e.g. -h 30
  • Tracert -j host-list: Specifies the LSR ( loose source route ) along the host list
  • -w timeout: Lets you set how long Tracert waits at each hop before considering it a timeout. E.g. Tracert -w 1000

It’s a simple tool, but can be incredibly useful if you’re playing network detective!

What is IPconfig?

One of the most useful network TCP/IP utilities, IPconfig shows you the current configuration of network devices in your computer. It can also be used to manually force certain actions relating to your network connections.

IPconfig is particularly useful if your computer has an IP address assigned to it dynamically. Since it lets you quickly see what IP address your system currently has.

Important IPconfig Commands

IPconfig is generally used with a parameter, which either displays network information or performs a network-related task. Here are some of the most important commands to know:

  • IPconfig /all: Shows you all physical and virtual network adapter connection information.
  • IPconfig /flushdns: Resets the DNS resolver cache. Good for solving DNS-related problems.
  • /IPconfig /renew: Forces a new IP address to be assigned.

IPconfig is the go-to utility for general internet connection troubleshooting, so it’s worth memorizing its key commands.

What is NSLookup?

NSlookup is short for nameserver lookup. A “nameserver” is a key type of server in the DNS (domain name system). It is in effect a DNS server and that means it’s a network device that connects the URL you type into your browser with the IP address of the server that hosts the content.

Usually this process is hidden from you as the user, but NSlookup lets you do two things:

  • Find which IP address is behind a particular website address.
  • To find the URL connected to a specific IP address.

So if you only have either a web address or an IP address, you can use NSlookup to find the other part of the puzzle. You can combine this with the information from other tools, such as Tracert or Netstat to determine which web servers are attached to the IP addresses they report.

Important NSLookup Commands

There are three main NSLookup commands you should know. The first is just “nslookup”. This shows you the current name server and its IP address.

Note that NSlookup is still running and you are at its command line, not PowerShell. If you want to go back to PowerShell, type exit and press enter.

However, let’s stick around for a second and ask our nameserver to give us the address for Google.com. Just type google.com and press enter.

As you can see, this gives us the IP address 172.217.170.46. Type that into your web browser and you’ll be taken straight to the Google search engine. You can also do a reverse search and enter an IP address, which should then return the URL of the server associated with it.

Now you’re familiar with four of the fundamental TCP/IP utilities that will help you understand what’s going on in your network and pull back the curtain on the mystery that is the internet. Have fun!


What Is a Headphone Amp and Should You Buy One?

Like most people, you probably don’t think twice about plugging your headphones directly into the headphone jack of your computer, laptop or smartphone. For the typical pair of mobile headphones this is acceptable, but as you move up the ladder of headphone quality the output from these devices just doesn’t cut the mustard. 

If you want quality audio and expect to be blown away, then a headphone amp might be just what you need.

What Is a Headphone Amp?

In essence any audio amplifier is a device that takes a signal which has relatively low strength and reproduces it at a higher power level. We perceive that higher power level as more loudness.

However, not all amplifiers are equal. A good amplifier does more than simply make your music louder. It will also try to preserve the detail and intent of the original signal. Good amplifiers won’t add noise and will work to clean up issues with the original audio.

There are many different approaches to the design of amplifiers and headphone amps are no different. 

For example, some only accept an analog input, which means your device’s own internal amp and audio hardware will have the first go at the sound. 

If your audio source is analog (e.g. vinyl records) then this isn’t a problem for the headphone amplifier, because you avoid unnecessary analog to digital conversion.

Then, there are headphone amps that have their own DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) which connects to your computer via USB . These amplifiers have complete control over the audio, since they only receive digital audio data and handle every stage involved in getting it out of your headphone speakers and into your ears.

Many headphone amplifiers offer both types of input, which can be useful given that many mobile devices won’t work with an external USB DAC.

Why Do We Need Headphone Amps?

Whether in headphones or on a desk, speakers need electrical power to create the air vibrations we perceive as sound. If there isn’t enough energy on tap, then resulting audio is weak and quiet. As a result, it lacks detail and punch.

The internal amplifiers in smartphones and computer sound cards compromise. They have to fit into an incredibly tiny amount of space, shared with other components. In battery powered devices, amps have to be carefully designed and balanced so that they aren’t power hogs. Honestly, there’s a lot to admire about these devices, which manage to offer usable, pleasing audio despite seemingly impossible engineering obstacles.

It also helps that most headphones these days are explicitly designed to work with smartphones and other similar devices, so they are loud enough. This has to do with the sensitivity of a given headphone set. 

Headphones designed for mobile device use have a high level of sensitivity, which essentially means that they can achieve a given level of loudness using very little power. The downside of this is that high sensitivity levels tend to muddy audio, compromising the integrity of the sound. 

It’s not such a big deal if you’re listening to compressed streaming music while out for a morning jog, but for intentional listening the problems are there if you pay attention.

To fix this problem you have to reduce the sensitivity of the headphones, but the less sensitive the phones, the lower the volume you can achieve with the power output of a smartphone or computer.

Which Headphones are Suitable for Amps?

The short answer is that high-impedance headphones need a dedicated headphone amplifier to achieve their full potential. 

Impedance” is the resistance electrical energy encounters as it travels through the headphone wiring on the way to the speakers. Impedance is measured in Ohms and generally high-impedance, low sensitivity headphones have a rating of 25 Ohms and higher. Higher-end headphones tend to have more than 100 Ohms of impedance. 

So if your headphones have less than 25 Ohms of impedance, you don’t need an amp, the higher up you go from that number the more crucial an amp becomes.

Bluetooth headphones obviously don’t need an external amplifier because they have one built in, but some Bluetooth headphones also have a wired option. This option commonly bypasses the internal amplifier, so depending on their sensitivity levels an amp could be suitable there as well.

Headphone Amp Types

Internally, there are various ways in which amplifiers can be designed, which are discussed in excruciating detail on audiophile forums. However, for the rest of us there are two main types of headphone amplifier to consider: solid state amplifiers and tube amplifiers.

Solid state amplifiers use nothing but microchips in the chain of components leading to your actual eardrums. It’s all-digital, crisp, and, as some contend, cold. Solid state amplifiers are usually more affordable, durable and compact.

Tube amplifiers hark back to the days before transistors and integrated circuits overtook the audio industry. They are easy to spot thanks to the prominent glass tubes sticking out of the chassis. More expensive ones usually have more tubes, cheaper models tend to make use of solid state components in tandem with analog tubes.

Many audiophiles swear by the warm tone and coloration tubes give to music and sound, but it is very subjective. What’s not so subjective is that tube amps are generally more expensive, fragile and take up more space. The truth is that a good solid-state amp will be fine for most people, but you should sample tube amplifier audio to see if it tickles your fancy.

Headphone Amp Suggestions

So, if you’re set on investing in a quality set of cans and know that you’ll be needing an amp to make the best of it, what should you buy? 

We had a look at the best-selling headphone amplifiers on Amazon and found three options which look quite promising for someone looking to dabble in headphone amps. As a bonus, they also represent three distinct categories of headphone amp.

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

The FiiO E10K headphone amp is a very affordable solid-state amp with a clean shell and minimal controls. All you have to do is plug everything in and crank up the volume to a comfortable level. 

The E10K only supports digital input via USB, but has a variety of outputs beyond just a headphone jack. If you hook this up to your computer and use it with high-impedance headphones, you should enjoy strong, detailed audio with low levels of noise and distortion. 

While it’s not going to make the mouths (ears?) of true audiophiles water, based on the many positive reviews of the amp it’s an affordable and effective upgrade for virtually anyone.

Neoteck Headphone Amplifier

The Neoteck amplifier doesn’t inspire much confidence at first with it’s poorly-translated marketing copy, but it’s a well-reviewed and undeniably interesting product. The big selling point of this amp is that it’s battery powered. 

Supporting headphones between 16 and 150 Ohm, there’s a large selection of mid-grade headphones that would benefit from a straightforward amplifier such as this one. 

If you’re looking for an amp to take on public transport or to use at work or school, it’s a very affordable option.

LOXJIE P20 Full Balance Tube Amplifier

Finally, we have the Loxjie P20 tube amplifier. It’s one of the cheapest entry-level tube amps we could find and represents a perfect way for you to dip your toes into the signature tube sound before buying something with a more serious price tag. 

You get to sample the warmth and smoothness of tubes and decide if it’s for you. Although most buyer’s seem blown away by the amp as a daily driver solution in its own right.

Do You Need a Headphone Amp?

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think about headphones amps. Have you tried them? Are they worth it? Which ones would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!


What is a youtube to mp3 converter?

Downloading audio from a video posted a propos YouTube can be useful in a broad variety of situations. Now, within the framework of this platform, you can agree to to be compositions by a expansive variety of artists, as ably as numerous lid versions of ably-known songs that comprehensibly get not exist in audio format. In such situations, there is no subsidiary new but to download the audio from the video.
In accumulate together, various lectures, podcasts, entertainment stories, and much more are regularly posted all but YouTube. However, such opinion is most convenient to hear to, gone a podcast, for example, can last several hours. Fortunately, the steadfast to this hard times has been something like for quite some become archaic.
The YouTube video hosting itself does not locate the keep for leave to enter you to download either video or audio from it, for that explanation this task has to be solved subsequent to the get of third-party facilities. It is highly simple and fast to put it on this subsequent to the help going on of special online converters. The principle of operation of all such facilities is the same: you specify a connect to a video on the subject of a sure site, convert it to MP3 format and download the exceeding and done in the middle of audio to your device. Next, we will look at the most popular services of this within realize.
Converter ytsmp3.com
This is a fairly easy and convenient tool for downloading audio content from YouTube. It allows you to convert files to MP3, MP4, m4a and webm formats. In build up happening to videos from YouTube, this help along following allows you to convert content from various social networks, as accurately as many optional relationship sites. Here are just some of the advantages of this encourage:
High unassailable character;
The help is user-amenable;
No habit to install every portion of upon the order of the PC;
No habit to register;
No ads are inserted in the downloaded files.
The disadvantages augment the waiting become obsolete. In adding up going on, unnecessarily long videos are not always successfully converted.
How the retain works
To load an audio track, you craving to follow a few roomy steps:
Way
Open the puff page ytsmp3.com using the put up with higher than tool.
Insert a connect to the video you are interested in. You can use contacts of modify formats, the full list is provided as a list.

Click the pronounce button and wait until the conversion is horrible and the desired mp3 file is downloaded.

How to download music from YouTube bearing in mind one click roughly speaking ytsmp3.com
There are many videos upon YouTube when an audio track that may be of merger. These are various clips, commercials and trailers. To download an audio file from YouTube to mp3, users used to have to find a craving to download a video from a website, difficult surgically separate the audio stream from it and convertidor online mp3. Thanks to this encouragement, you can avoid unnecessary comings and goings using a user-nice interface.
Thanks to the integration of the utter features, including the mp3 converter from youtube, you can now download audio from YouTube in just one click. This saves a lot of time, especially taking into account downloading from a amassed list of links at bearing in mind. This is facilitated by the purchase to acknowledge to the fore in multithreaded mode.
When creating the support, we tried to make it as universal as realizable. That is why it is a web page that can be opened from any device. Without installing any further applications. You can as with ease as convert youtube to mp3 online through this assuage.
Other advantages of the assistance be behind-door to the non-attendance of the habit to register a cut off account. every functions, including downloading from youtube to mp3, are easily reached in guest mode. Therefore, each visitor can use the substitute to keep audio files to mp3 without store loss of period to make their own account.


What Is Double NAT and How to Fix It on a Network

Anyone that has ever played a game online knows what a NAT type is – and they usually don’t have good implications, as NAT errors tend to prevent people from playing together. The problem only gets worse when dealing with a double NAT. 

Double NAT isn’t necessarily bad. You might not even notice it though it can give you some unforeseen problems with some applications and hardware. Some of them are related to services that need UPnP (Universal Plug-and-Play) support or manual port forwarding.

But what exactly is a Double NAT and how can you fix the issues that can arise? Let’s answer both questions here. 

What is a Double NAT?

NAT is short for Network Address Translation . This is how your router translates the public IP–the overall network provided by your Internet Service Provider–to the private IP address for your computer and home network. The router is responsible for the NAT.

When you add a second router to the network , you create a second NAT. In many cases, having a double NAT doesn’t create problems–however, it does make port forwarding all but impossible and can cause issues with universal plug and play. 

That said, if it does create problems with your network, there are a few steps you can take. 

Remove the ISP Router From Your Network

The simplest solution for correcting a double NAT is to get rid of one of the routers that is causing the problem. If you have two routers plugged in, but you don’t really need one, just use your ISP’s provided router. 

If you’re a power use, though, this solution likely isn’t the best option for you. ISP-provided routers lack features that more expensive options have. In that case, you can remove your ISP router from the network. 

Connect the network cable from your modem to the WAN port on your personal router. Once you have plugged the network in, you will need to log into your router’s settings menu and configure it.  

How to Configure Your Router

You log into your router through a browser by typing your router’s IP address into the URL bar. Most routers use 192.168.1.1 as the default IP, but this varies. If you aren’t sure, you need to find the IP address of your router.

Bring up the command line terminal on your PC by typing cmd into Run. Once the terminal appears, type in ipconfig. In the screen that appears, scroll down until you find Default Gateway. The number beside that is the IP address of your router.

Once you find the address, you will need to log in using the username and password for your router. This is typically on the bottom of the device, but you can change the username and password off the default if you like. 

Once you have logged in, you will need to change various settings , but these settings differ depending on your router and ISP. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, contact your ISP for assistance or check their website–the majority of service providers have detailed information available for users online. 

Enable Bridge Mode on Your Router

Another solution to the double NAT problem can be found in configuring Bridge Mode on your router. Bridge Mode disables the router’s NAT feature and allows it to act as a server without an IP address conflict–in other words, it passes along the settings of the initial router. 

In some cases, you will not have access to this, especially if you use an ISP-provided router. You will have to call your ISP and request your router be placed into Bridge Mode. However, if you can configure the settings within your router, it’s an easy switch to make.

Log into your router through your browser to access its configuration settings. Once you have logged in, look for the option to enable Bridge Mode. This is in a different place depending on your router, but sometimes it is as simple as click Enable. Of course, configuring the router after you have it enabled it is sometimes more difficult. 

How to Fix Double NAT on Xbox

One place where a double NAT does present a problem is in gaming. For example, many Xbox One users have experienced an error message that tells them a double NAT was detected on their network. 

In gaming, you want an Open NAT, or Nat Type 1. This allows the widest range of compatibility and lets you join anyone’s game or session. If you have a Moderate NAT, or Nat Type 2, you can connect to most sessions but will have limited functionality.

NAT Type 3, or Strict NAT, is the problem. This makes it all but impossible to join someone’s game. Sure, single-player gaming is still an option, but trying to join an online match will pose difficulties. 

A double NAT will create problems when trying to play anything multiplayer, and might even stop your Xbox from connecting to the internet. When you receive this error, you will need to eliminate the issue by either removing one of the routers or by enabling Bridge Mode as shown above. 

Another solution is to connect the Xbox directly to your router with an Ethernet cable. In most cases, this will eliminate the double NAT issue–just use the first router on your network, not the second, as the hardwire point. 

All of these solutions can work to solve a double NAT error. In most instances, you don’t need a second router on your network. If your original router isn’t strong enough to broadcast the network across your entire home, you can use a spare router as a WiFi extender . 


What Is idp.generic and How to Safely Remove It on Windows 10

You might have recently been infected with a new virus or malware – or so your anti-virus says. Many users get an alert that idp.generic has been detected on their system, often from otherwise harmless programs. For example, many users report this happening from Spotify Web Helper. This alert can either be malware or a false positive .

Deciding whether the threat is malware or not is vitally important. Most users reported this issue arising when using AVG and Avast antivirus software. While it isn’t impossible that you’ll receive this warning from other programs, it’s unlikely. Here is what you need to know about idp.generic and whether it is safe to remove from your system or not.

What Is idp.generic?

IDP.generic is a potential threat to your system that has been detected by the Identity Detection Protection, or IDP feature of your antivirus program. This is designed to protect your computer from viruses, malware, and trojans that might steal your personal information and data.

The .generic ending means the threat was detected from a generic file. When your antivirus program detects a threat like this, its first step is usually to isolate and delete the file.

While you should always pay attention to warnings from your antivirus program, the vast majority of idp.generic alerts are false positives. That said, you should double-check by running a scan with a different antivirus program to guarantee it isn’t a malicious file in disguise.

The problem arises by the program’s response to the file. If it detects the idp.generic threat in a file that’s necessary for another program to run–like the previously mentioned Spotify Web Helper–and deletes that file, then Spotify might encounter glitches and other problems. 

What Causes idp.generic Warnings?

There are several causes for idp.generic warnings, but the most common cause is outdated AVG or Avast antivirus software that flags innocent programs as malicious. Another potential cause is outdated Java software . 

If you’ve been receiving this alert, make sure you update your antivirus software to the latest version. Both Avast and AVG have received updates that eliminate this problem, but if you haven’t updated you might still receive the alert.

If that doesn’t work, update Java. To do this, open Control Panel > Programs > Java and navigate to the Update tab. At the bottom, click Update Now.

To update Avast, click the Menu icon in the top-right corner, choose Update, and then choose Check for Update under both options. Doing this will ensure that both your software and your virus definitions are fully up to date. 

When Is idp.generic Not a False Positive?

You can never be 100 percent certain that idp.generic is not a false positive. When you receive the alert, you should always run a second scan to be sure. That said, there are a few clues that the alert might be more than a false positive.

The first is if the infected file is in the temp folder. This is a common destination for trojans and malware. If the alert points you here, it’s worth a second look . 

The second is if the infected file is an executable. Unless it’s from a trusted source, you should be wary of opening the file. Executable files in virus scans often mean trouble, because if it truly is a virus, it can infect your system with a host of problematic malware.

Pay attention to the name of the file, too. If the name of the file is obviously malicious or does not belong, then the threat is most likely real. 

How Do I Remove idp.generic On Windows 10?

If you receive an idp.generic warning, you might be tempted to remove it from your system immediately. If the file is not attached to anything important, by all means, let your antivirus do its job. 

If there is a chance this is a false positive identification by your antivirus, take the time to update both Java and your antivirus software. Once you have downloaded the update, restart your computer and run the scan again. 

If the antivirus software still detects idp.generic, download a program like Malwarebytes or Kaspersky and run a secondary scan. You want to use a program that isn’t AVG or Avast in case the problem still lies within the antivirus software itself. 

If the threat is detected, allow the antivirus software to remove the threat, either by deleting it or quarantining it. While it is possible to remove it from your system on your own, this can be a complicated process. Antivirus software will remove any and all contaminated files related to the original threat. 

How Can I Prevent idp.generic Threats?

These threats are usually due to outdated software. Enable automatic updates for your antivirus software so that it remains up to date at all times, and do the same for Java. This will prevent false positive alerts from AVG and Avast, so whenever an idp.generic threat appears, you will know to take it more seriously.

As for avoiding other threats online, be wary of opening any email from an unknown sender. Avoid websites and downloads from sources you don’t trust. Between a bit of awareness and reliable antivirus software , you can avoid the majority of threats to your computer and personal data. 


What is IgfxEM Module in Windows 10 (and Is It Safe?)

When you power on your Windows computer, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, even before the operating system boots. Some programs stored on the motherboard get everything in the computer ready to start the OS. Other programs on the OS ensure that changes and settings made to your computer before you shut it down remain the same upon restart.

One such program is the Intel Graphics Executable Main Module, shortly called the IgfxEM module. It’s an integral part of the Windows operating system and usually, it runs in the background without affecting your PC’s performance.

However, there are instances when this graphics module constitutes a nuisance. We’ve seen complaints and reports of the IgfxEM process using high CPU resources , raising CPU temperature , and other abnormalities.

In this explainer, we’ll walk you through what the IgfxEM Module is, what it does, and how to determine if it is safe for your PC or not. We’ll also show you how to fix problems relating to the IgfxEM.exe process.

What Is IgfxEM.exe

igfxEM.exe is the executable file and component of the Intel Graphic Executable Main Module. You’ll find the igfxEM.exe process running in the background if your PC uses an Intel graphics card. Some NVIDIA and AMD graphics card drivers also use this executable file.

When you change your PC’s screen resolution , for example, igfxEM.exe acts as a middleman between your graphics card and your PC’s display interface. It communicates your action to the graphics card, changes the screen resolution, and makes sure the new resolution stays the same—even when you power off your PC.

The igfxEM process also works collaboratively with your PC’s graphics cards to modify keyboard shortcuts and other display-related configurations like screen rotation.

High CPU Usage: Is the igfxEM Module Safe?

Although the igfxEM.exe file is important to keep some features of your PC running smoothly, it’s not a core Windows 10 system file. It’s designed and developed by Intel Corporation but also digitally verified/signed by Microsoft. This certifies the igfxEM.exe as a genuine file.

However, the genuineness of the file doesn’t totally guarantee its safety. If for some reason, the igfxEM.exe process continues to consume CPU resources, then it becomes unsafe for the health of your computer. There’s also the issue of malware impersonation.

The safety of igfxEM.exe is relative to two things: the file’s digital certification and its behavior on your computer. In summary, the following factors are responsible for igfxEM.exe high CPU usage:

  1. When the igfxEM module conflicts with other software or background processes.
  2. When malware or virus camouflages/imitates the igfxEM.exe file to cause harm to your PC.

In the next section, we’ll show you how to check if you have the genuine igfxEM.exe file installed on your computer.

Is Your IgfxEM.exe File Genuine?

The igfxEM.exe file comes bundled with the Intel graphics suite. This means that it’s automatically installed alongside your PC’s graphics driver. However, if the process is malfunctioning, you should check if the file is genuine or if malware is hiding under the guise of the igfxEM executable file.

  1. Type igfxem in the Windows Search box, right-click igfxem (or IgfxEM.exe) in the search result, and select Open file location.
  1. Right-click on igfxem.exe and select Properties from the context menu.
  1. Go to the Digital Signatures tab and check the Signature list table.

If Intel (or Intel Corporation) and Microsoft are the digital signatories, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, the igfxem.exe file on your PC is not genuine and most likely malware. You should delete it ASAP.

Troubleshooting igfxEM.exe Errors

There are several factors that trigger the igfxEM.exe file to throw error messages, consume large virtual memory, or use high CPU resources. Luckily, there are also a handful of ways to curb its excesses.

1. Force Stop the igfxEM Module

This is by far the quickest (and easiest) way to put a rogue igfxEM module in order. Launch the Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc), right-click the igfxEM module, and select End task.

You can also reduce the CPU usage of the IgfxEM module by closing other unnecessary applications that are active in the background. Try the next solution if the process initiates itself (i.e. if it comes back on automatically) and continues to overburden your PC’s CPU or memory.

2. Update Your Graphics Card Driver

The igfxEM.exe process may malfunction if your computer’s graphics card driver is out of date. You can check if an update for the Intel graphics card is available using the Windows Device Manager. 

Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager. Expand the Display adapters section and right-click on your graphics card’s adapter and select Update Driver or Update Driver Software.

Select Search automatically for update driver software. The Device Manager will search your computer and the internet for the latest graphic card driver software available for your device. So make sure you’re connected to the internet before you proceed.

If the Device Manager doesn’t find an update for the driver, you can use Intel’s Driver & Support Assistant (Intel DSA). The tool is a little more reliable for updating Intel graphic drivers. Head to Intel’s support page, download the Driver & Support Assistant setup file, and install it on your computer.

Connect your PC to the internet and launch the app. That’ll redirect you to a resource page where you’ll find driver and software updates available for your computer.

3. Disable the IgfxEM Process

If your graphics driver is up-to-date but the problem continues, try disabling IgfxEM.exe using the System Configuration tool.

1. Launch the Windows Run box (Windows key + R). Type msconfig into the dialog box and click OK.

2. Navigate to the Services tab.

3. Scroll through the list of services and uncheck the igfxEM Module.

4. Click Apply and then OK to proceed.

4. Scan for Malware and Viruses

Viruses and malware can cause an unreasonable spike in CPU usage for certain processes. Run a virus scan using the Windows Defender or trusted third-party antivirus software. Refer to our tutorial on how to thoroughly scan a Windows 10 PC for viruses and malware .

TL;DR: The IgfxEM Module Can Be Both Safe and Unsafe

The IgfxEM allows your PC’s graphics card to function to its fullest potential. When it works correctly, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that the module consumes too much CPU space, make sure you check that it’s digitally signed and verified—not malware in disguise.

If it’s malware, use a virus or malware scanner to remove it from your PC. Otherwise, follow the recommended troubleshooting solutions to reduce its CPU usage.