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How to Fix a “vcruntime140.Dll Is Missing” Error on Windows 10

If you’re seeing a missing DLL error on your Windows PC, it’s usually a sign that something has gone wrong. It could be that your software is corrupted and needs reinstalling, or it could point to deeper issues with your PC, such as corrupt system files or a stubborn malware infection .

Another major cause, however, are missing or corrupted software libraries that allow programs to run on Windows. A “vcruntime140.dll is missing” error, for instance, points to a missing or corrupted Microsoft Visual C++ runtime installation. If you want to fix this issue, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Repairing or Removing a Microsoft Visual C++ Installation

The vcruntime140.dll file is part of the Microsoft Visual C++ software runtime library. Provided by Microsoft, this library is used as part of the process of compiling software (created in C++ using Visual Studio) to run on Windows PCs. If the file is missing, the “vcruntime140.dll is missing” error will appear.

To fix this issue, the first thing you should attempt is to repair the Visual C++ installation on your PC. If that doesn’t work, you should remove it entirely by following these steps, then proceed to the next section to reinstall it.

  1. To repair a Visual C++ installation, you’ll need to open the Settings menu. To do this, right-click the Windows Start menu and select the Settings option.
  1. In the Settings menu, select Apps > Apps & features. On the left, you’ll see a list of installed apps. Scroll through the list or use the search bar until you find the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable option listed. If it’s missing, proceed to the next section.
  1. If the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable option is listed, however, select it, then select the Modify option.
  1. In the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable window that opens, select the Repair option.
  1.  Allow the process to complete, then restart your PC. If you still see a “vcruntime140.dll is missing” error, you’ll need to remove the Microsoft Visual C++ runtime entirely and reinstall it. To do this, select Uninstall > Uninstall in the Settings > Apps > Apps & features menu.
  1. In the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable window that opens, select the Uninstall option and allow the process to complete. Once it’s finished, restart your PC and continue to the next section. 

Installing or Reinstalling a Microsoft Visual C++ Installation

Without the Microsoft Visual C++ runtime library installed, software that relies on it won’t work, so you’ll need to install it. You’ll also need to do this if you’ve removed a corrupted installation previously.

  1. First, head to the Visual Studio website to download the latest version of the software runtime library. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page, then select the Other Tools, Frameworks, and Redistributables category to view the available options. From there, select the correct CPU architecture for your PC (eg. x64 for 64-bit PCs, x86 for 32-bit PCs, or ARM64 for ARM-based devices), then select the Download button.
  1. Run the installer file (eg. VC_redist.x64.exe) once the download is complete. In the installer window, accept the license terms by selecting the checkbox provided, then select the Install button to proceed.
  1. Allow the installer a few moments to complete. If it installs without any issues, select the Close button to close the window, then restart your PC.

This should, for most users, resolve the “vcruntime140.dll is missing” error on Windows 10 PCs. However, if the software you’re running requires an older version of the Visual C++ runtime (before 2015), you’ll need to download and install the older version instead.

You may also be able to fix the issue by removing and reinstalling software that has an older version of the Visual C++ runtime installer included. This is common in larger software bundles, such as games, that require multiple runtime libraries to work correctly.

By reinstalling software that’s coupled with an older Visual C++ runtime installer, the specific version of that library required to run the software should automatically reinstall itself and resolve any lingering issues.

Running Windows Update

The Microsoft Visual C++ runtime receives security updates through Windows Update, just like other major Windows services. If you’re having trouble with a “vcruntime140.dll is missing” error, it might be worth checking for any recent updates using the Windows Update service.

While this is unlikely to fix a broken installation, installing new updates could repair your installation automatically. You can check for new system updates in the Settings menu.

  1. To access this, right-click the Start menu, then select the Settings option.
  1. In the Settings menu, select the Update & Security option, then select Windows Update in the next menu.
  1. Select the Check for Updates option to search for new updates. If there are updates pending, select the Restart now option instead.

Windows will check for updates and install any that are currently pending. Once installed, you’ll need to restart your PC to ensure that they’ve been correctly applied. You should then check your software to see if the missing runtime issue is resolved.

Downloading DLL Files Online

If very specific error messages like “vcruntime140.dll is missing” start to appear, you might be tempted to source the file online to fix it. Various DLL download sites exist, allowing you to quickly download the missing file to resolve the issue.

We would recommend avoiding sites like these, however. DLL files are crucial elements of the Windows operating system that allow software to interact with more restricted Windows components. Unless you absolutely trust the source, it’s usually a better idea to remove and reinstall the entire Visual C++ runtime library instead.

This should resolve the issue for most users, but if you’re still having issues, you could source the file from another PC in your network as a last resort.

Keeping Windows 10 Maintained

The steps above should help you to fix a “vcruntime140.dll is missing” error on your Windows 10 PC. In most cases, repairing the installation or reinstalling the Visual C++ redistributable should fix the issue, but you may also need to look at removing and reinstalling any affected software .

A missing DLL file is usually a sign of a PC that’s having some issues, which is why it’s important to keep up with regular PC maintenance. You can do this by keeping Windows updated to ensure you have the latest bug fixes, as well as running regular malware scans to remove malware that could leave your PC at risk.


How to Fix AirDrop Not Working From iPhone to Mac

Does your Mac have trouble receiving images or documents sent over AirDrop from an iPhone ? Several reasons, such as connectivity issues associated with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, can prevent AirDrop from functioning correctly.

Work your way through the following list of troubleshooting methods and you should be able to fix problems with AirDrop not working from iPhone to Mac.

Check for Mac Compatibility

An iPhone can only AirDrop to a Mac introduced in 2012 or later (the 2012 Mac Pro is an exception). Additionally, your Mac should run at least OS X 10.10 Yosemite. 

Open the Apple menu and select About This Mac to check your Mac’s model and operating system version.

Enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Mac and iPhone)

You must enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on both the Mac and the iPhone for AirDrop to run without issues. You don’t have to connect the devices to a Wi-Fi network, however.

Enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on Mac

Open the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi status menus via the Mac’s menu bar or Control Center. Then, turn on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on iPhone

Open the iPhone’s Control Center by swiping down from the top-right of the screen. If you use an iPhone with Touch ID, swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead. Then, turn on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Bring Mac and iPhone Closer

Both the Mac and the iPhone should be at least 30 feet close to each other. If not, files can fail during transfer, even if the iPhone detects your Mac.

Disable Personal Hotspot on iPhone

If the iPhone has an active Personal Hotspot, try disabling it. Open the Control Center on your iPhone, long-press the Cellular icon, and set Personal Hotspot to Not Discoverable.

Open Finder Window on Mac

Sometimes, AirDrop will fail to kick into gear on your Mac unless you open an AirDrop window. To do that, simply bring up Finder and select AirDrop on the sidebar. Then, resend the files from the iPhone.

Disable Do Not Disturb on Mac

Do you have Do Not Disturb turned on in your Mac? Not only does that block AirDrop notifications from working, but it can also cause issues with discoverability.

Open the Mac’s Control Center and disable Do Not Disturb. If you use macOS Catalina or earlier, you must open the Notification Center instead to switch it off.

Set AirDrop to Everyone on Mac

By default, the receiving permission in AirDrop is set to Contacts Only. If you’re trying to send a file to your Mac from an iPhone that you own, that should not cause issues. 

However, if you want to receive a file from someone else’s iPhone, it’s best to change that to Everyone even if you have the person listed within the Contacts app. To do that, open an AirDrop window. Then, set Allow me to be discovered by: to Everyone.

If that worked, remember to set it back to Contacts Only to avoid being bombarded by AirDrop requests later on.

Turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Off/On (Mac and iPhone)

Try disabling and re-enabling Bluetooth on both the Mac and iPhone. That often takes care of minor technical glitches that prevent AirDrop from sending or receiving files.

Disable and Enable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on Mac

Open the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi status menus on the Mac’s menu bar or Control Center. Then, disable both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Wait for a few seconds and re-enable both options.

Disable and Enable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on iPhone

Open the Settings app on the iPhone. Then, select Wi-Fi and turn off the switch next to Wi-Fi. Go back to the previous screen, select Bluetooth, and turn off the switch next to Bluetooth. Wait for a few seconds and re-enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Restart Mac and iPhone

If you still keep running into issues with AirDrop not working from iPhone to Mac, try restarting both devices. That’s another way to get rid of any software-related snags that cause problems with AirDrop.

Reset Network Settings on iPhone

If possible, perform a network settings reset on the iPhone. That should resolve any issues caused by corrupt Bluetooth or Wi-Fi settings preventing the device from sending files to your Mac.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select General.

3. Select Reset.

4. Select Reset Network Settings.

5. Select Reset Network Settings again to confirm.

Delete Bluetooth/Wi-Fi PLIST Files and Mac

You can also attempt the equivalent of a network settings reset on the Mac by deleting the Property List (PLIST) files related to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Your Mac should automatically recreate the files after you restart it.

Delete Bluetooth PLIST Files

1. Open Finder. Then, select Go > Go to Folder.

2. Type the following path and select Go:

/Library/Preferences/

3. Control-click the following file and select Move to Trash.

  • com.apple.Bluetooth.plist

Delete Wi-Fi PLIST Files

1. Open Finder. Then, select Go > Go to Folder.

2. Type the following path and select Go:

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

3. Control-click the following files and select Move to Trash.

  • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
  • com.apple.network.identification.plist
  • com.apple.network.eapolclient.configuration.plist
  • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
  • NetworkInterfaces.plist
  • preferences.plist

Allow All Incoming Connections (Mac)

If you have the Mac’s firewall turned on, it may end up blocking all incoming connections. Make sure that isn’t the case.

1. Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

2. Select Security & Privacy.

3. Select the Firewall tab.

4. Select Click the lock to make changes and enter your administrator password.

5. Select Firewall Options.

6. Uncheck the box next to Block All Incoming Connections and select OK.

Update Mac/iPhone

You may also want to update your Mac and iPhone. The latest updates typically come with fixes for known bugs and issues, so install them if you haven’t in a while.

Update Mac

Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences. Then, choose Software Update. If you see any pending updates, select Update Now.

Update iPhone

Open the Settings app, and then go to General > Software Update. If you see any pending updates, tap Download and Install to apply them.

Reset NVRAM (Mac)

Resetting the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) on your Mac is another way to fix persistent connectivity-related issues. 

Start by turning off your Mac. Then, turn it back on and immediately press Option+Command+P+R until you hear the startup chime for the second time. If you use a Mac with a T2 Security Chip, you must hold them down until the Apple logo shows up and disappears twice.

After booting into your Mac, you must re-configure settings such as the time zone, volume sound, and keyboard preferences. For a complete walkthrough, here’s how to reset the NVRAM on a Mac .

Success: Sent and Received From iPhone to Mac

Troubleshooting issues with AirDrop not working on the Mac and iPhone can be rather tricky since you usually can’t isolate the problem to a single device. Despite that, something as simple as opening an AirDrop window, turning off/on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or changing AirDrop permissions to Everyone should almost always get things working again.


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.


How to Display Steam’s Built-In FPS Counter

If there’s one thing PC gamers all seem to agree on, it’s that knowing your FPS ( frames per second ) matters. It’s how enthusiasts measure the performance of their hardware and optimization, and it can actually give you a leg up on the competition in competitive shooters. 

There are a lot of options for displaying frames per second, but many are so intensive that they can actually decrease your system’s performance. The good news is that Steam has a built-in FPS counter that you can display whenever you play Steam games . Here’s how to set that up and see it.

How to Display Steam’s Built-In FPS Counter

Accessing Steam’s built-in FPS counter is simple. When you aren’t in a game, go to Steam > Settings and select In-Game from the left-hand menu. In the middle of the screen is a list of options. Choose In-game FPS counter and click the drop-down box.

By default, it’s set to “Off.” You can choose one of four positions for the counter to appear: top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right. After you choose the position, click Okay and launch a game. Your frame rate should appear when you do. 

Another option is available to you. Beneath the drop-down box, click High Contrast Color. This will make the number easily visible no matter the background color in a game. If you don’t enable this feature, the number will display as white and be difficult to see against the sky or clouds.

Ideal Target Framerate

The human eye can translate roughly 30 frames per second, but it can distinguish differences in rates beyond that. When it comes to gaming, anything lower than 30 frames is considered sub-par. Below 24 frames per second, the image will no longer look cohesive, but will instead appear stuttery and jilted.

30 frames per second is considered the bare minimum you should aim for. This is a perfectly acceptable number for single player games, although higher counts can make it more cinematic.

When you play multiplayer, 60 frames per second is the lowest you should go. That many frames will give you a smoother experience and is considered the “target” for performance on most gaming machines.

However, the highest-end machines can hit 300 frames per second and higher on certain games. The more frames generated per second, the smoother the animations on screen. Tests have shown that high framerates translate to better aiming in shooters, too–perfect for doing better in those competitive games. 

How to Handle Lower Frame Rates

If you enable the built-in Steam FPS counter and see rates lower than 30 on your favorite games, there are a few different culprits that might be responsible. Identifying and eliminating or upgrading these possibilities will improve your performance. 

The first thing to look at are the recommended and minimum specs of a game. Make sure your computer has the proper components to at least meet the minimum recommendations. If not, you will see sub-par performance. If you don’t meet the recommendations, your best option is to upgrade the components of your computer .

In many cases, frame rate is affected by the quality of your graphics card . If you’re using an older GPU, you’ll want to upgrade to a newer, more modern option. A good, budget-friendly choice is the GTX 1650. If you want to aim for top-of-the-line, such as the new RTX 3000 series, good luck–supply has been limited, which has driven the cost of these cards significantly higher. 

If you upgrade your GPU, you might also have to upgrade your motherboard and power supply to account for the greater power draw, so keep that in mind. Outside of the GPU, you should also consider whether your CPU needs an upgrade.

The final possibility for why your frame rates are lower than expected is optimization. Some people experience lower frames due to the game, no matter how powerful their system is. Take Microsoft Flight Simulator, for instance: It’s intensive on all computers, and very few (if any) gamers are getting perfect frame rates.

Alternative Frame Counters

If you don’t want to use Steam’s FPS counter (or you need to count the frames per second of a game that isn’t on Steam), there are alternative options. 

FRAPS

FRAPS is perhaps the most popular FPS counter available today. It’s been around for a long time and is broadly compatible with Windows. FRAPS is completely free to download and use, and has a huge number of customization options.

You can choose which corner of the screen to display the counter in, choose the frequency with which the counter is updated, and much more. This is one of the best options for keeping track of your frame rate. 

GeForce Experience

If you use an Nvidia graphics card, you can take advantage of the GeForce Experience software to display your frames per second–but note that it isn’t available to people with AMD graphics cards.

GeForce Experience is more than just a frame counter, though. It gives you full access to your graphics card’s settings and allows you to customize the card to fit your needs and desired performance. 

FPS Monitor

FPS Monitor is another free option for tracking your frames, but the utility doesn’t stop there. FPS Monitor can display a host of other information related to your system performance, including RAM and CPU usage, HDD speed, and more.

You can also customize the overlay to change the way it appears on-screen. This can be particularly useful when tweaking your computer’s performance, as FPS Monitor alerts you if hardware is approaching a critical point. 

Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a performance enthusiast, understanding how FPS counters can be used to optimize your computer and improve your gaming experience is important. Use one of these counters to see how your computer actually performs during your favorite games. 


How to Delete a File or Directory in Linux

If you have root access on your Linux PC, you have the power to delete any file or directory you like. This can be dangerous, however, with tools like rm allowing users to carelessly erase crucial system files by accident. That’s why, if you’re trying to delete files or directories in Linux , you need to take some precautions.

There are a few ways you can remove directories or files on Linux, using either your Linux distribution’s file manager or an open terminal (as long as you have the right permissions ). If you want to know how to delete a file or directory in Linux, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Using a File Manager to Remove Files or Directories in Linux

If you’re a Linux beginner , you might be wary about using the terminal to delete files or folders in Linux. After all, there’s no turning back once you set a command like rm off to start deleting files. Rather than risk this, you can use the file manager packaged with your Linux distribution to delete files or folders instead. 

While Linux file managers do vary in design, they should work in much the same way. This guide explores how to do this using Ubuntu’s file manager, but the steps are likely to be similar for the file manager included in other distributions.

  1. To start, open the file manager on your Linux distro. This shouldn’t be too hard to find, with the user icon likely in the shape of a document folder. On Ubuntu, this app is named Files.
  1. In your distro’s file manager, navigate to the directory containing the files or subfolders you wish to delete. First, select the files or folders you wish to delete. Once they’re selected, right-click on them and select Move to Trash, Move to Bin, or Delete, depending on your distribution and locale. You can also select the Delete key on your keyboard to achieve the same effect.
  1. Most distributions operate a trash system that allows you to “store” files before they’re deleted, giving you the chance to restore them. This is typically found on the desktop, as an entry in your file manager, or as an app you can launch in your software menu. To complete the deletion process, enter the trash folder, then select the Empty or Erase option. These options may vary, depending on your distribution.
  1. Alternatively, select your item (or items), then right-click and select Delete from Trash to completely remove them instead.

How to Remove Files or Directories in Linux Using the rm Command

Removing files or folders using your distribution’s file manager app works fine, but there are some limitations. For instance, if you’re not the owner of the file, you’ll need to open your file manager with root access using the terminal to delete it. You also can’t use an app like this on a headless (terminal-only) Linux installation.

That’s where the rm command comes in. This Unix command dates back to 1971 and remains the fastest way to delete files or directories on Linux. Be warned, however—the rm command has great power, especially if you’re running it with sudo or as the root user directly, so you’ll need to take care using it.

  1. To remove a single file using rm, open a new terminal window (or remote SSH connection) and type rm file, replacing file with the correct file name. If you’re not in the same directory, you’ll need to use cd to move to it first, or use the full file path (eg. rm /path/to/file) instead.
  1. To remove multiple files, type rm file1 file2, replacing file1 and file2 with the correct file name and file path. You can add additional files to this command to remove more than two.
  1. If you want to remove an empty directory on Linux, type rm -d directory, replacing directory with the correct directory name and path. If the directory isn’t empty and has sub-folders or files, type rm -r directory, replacing directory with the correct name and path. 
  1. You can also remove multiple directories at once by typing rm -r directory1, directory2, etc.
  1. If you want to remove all files or directories that match a partial file or directory name, you can use wildcards, such as an asterisk (*). To do this, type rm fil* or rm -r dir*, replacing the placeholders fil or dir with your own file names and directory paths.
  1. If the file or directory is protected, you may need to force its deletion. To do this, type rm -rf path, replacing the placeholder path with the correct directory or file path. This command carries extreme risk, so make sure the path you’re using is correct before you proceed.
  1. If you’re worried about using the rm -rf command, you can force rm to ask for confirmation before each file or directory is erased. To do this, use rm -i path, replacing path with your own file name or directory path. For directories, use rm -ir path instead. For each entry, select the Y key on your keyboard, then select Enter to confirm.

If you want to learn more about the possible rm options and arguments, type man shred in the terminal to view the full manual.

Completely Erasing Files Using the shred Command

While commands like rm and unlink are great for deleting files in Linux, they do leave traces. You (or somebody else) could use these traces to recover files from a hard drive or portable storage that you’ve previously deleted. This might not be ideal, especially if you don’t want the files to be retrieved.

To get around this problem, you can overwrite files first using the shred command. This makes sure that all data within the file is overwritten repeatedly before it’s deleted, ensuring no traces of the file are left and preventing it from being retrieved. You may want to use this command to erase sensitive documents, for instance.

  1. To do this, open a terminal window or make a connection remotely using SSH and type shred file, replacing file with your own file name and path. If you don’t want to provide the path to the file, use cd to travel to the directory containing the file or sub-directory you wish to remove first.
  1. The shred command has additional parameters that you can pass to ensure your file is safely deleted. For instance, shred -f will force the deletion of write-protected files, while shred -u will ensure the file is completely removed once shredded, ensuring it no longer appears in your file manager or using the ls command.
  1. If you want to overwrite the file more than the standard 3 times, use shred -n 0, replacing 0 with an alternative numerical value. If you want to hide the shred effect, use shred -z to force it to use a final run that overwrites the file with zeros.
  1. The shred command doesn’t typically output any results to the terminal. If you want to see more detail about what it’s doing as it runs, use shred -v instead.

As with rm, you can learn more by typing man shred in the terminal before using the command.

Protecting Your Files on Linux Systems

When you remove a directory or file in Linux, you’re freeing up space on your hard drive for the files that truly matter, whether it’s important documents or irreplaceable photos. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Linux Mint or any other major distribution , as the steps above should work for almost any Linux distro you choose to use.

If you’re worried about data loss, there are some steps you can take to protect your files. While Linux systems are typically more secure, a Linux antivirus can help you to keep your files safe from malware that could spread across your local network. You may want to consider automating a file backup using local or cloud storage, too.


How to Fix a Thread Stuck in Device Driver BSOD in Windows 10

The “Thread stuck in device driver” BSOD ( Blue Screen of Death ) error in Windows 10 is caused whenever a specific driver gets stuck in an endless loop waiting for its hardware to go into an idle state.

This is usually related to the driver hardware itself. Why would driver software start doing this? There can be multiple reasons. A few common ones include a driver bug that was fixed in a recent update that you don’t have yet. It could be a Windows bug that, again, was fixed in an update you don’t have. 

Blue BSOD Error At Computer. Malware Attack

In a few cases, it could also be caused by a corrupt system file that’s causing issues with the device driver. 

The following troubleshooting tips will walk you through the most common fixes for the “thread stuck in device driver” BSOD error, and will end with the least common ones. 

How to “Fix Thread Stuck in Device Driver” BSOD Error

The best way to work through this guide is from top to bottom. The more common fixes that come first should resolve the issue earlier. Hopefully, you never have to make it to the end of this article!

Update Your Device Driver

The easiest way to update your specific device driver is by using Device Manager. If the error provided the device that’s having the issue, make a note of this before opening Device Manager. If not, you should be able to find the error inside the Device Manager itself.

  1. To open Device Manager, select the Start menu, type “device” and select Device Manager.
  1. If you know the device that’s having the issue, scroll down to that device. Otherwise scroll down the list and look for any devices with an exclamation mark icon, which indicates a device error. Once you find the device, right-click and select Update Driver Software.
  1. To get the latest driver, select Search automatically for updated driver software. This will make Device Manager look for the latest device driver via the internet. It will identify the latest version and compare it to the version you currently have installed.
  1. If the driver you have is already updated, you’ll see a status displaying this.
  1. If it doesn’t, it’ll automatically update your driver to the latest version. You’ll see a status that the driver has been updated when it’s finished.
  1. Restart your computer and confirm that the “Thread stuck in device driver” error is resolved.

Keep in mind that even if the Device Driver doesn’t find the latest version for your driver, there may still be a newer version out there. If you know which device is having the issue, visit the manufacturer website and check the latest version. Compare this to your current driver version.

To see the version of your device driver, open Device Manager, right click on the device and select Properties. Select the Driver tab to see what your current Driver Version is.

If the manufacturer has a later version than what you have installed, download and install the new device driver.

Note: If you recently updated your driver right before the error started, you may want to consider rolling back the driver to see if it resolves your issue.

Upgrade Standard System Drivers

If you didn’t see any drivers with an error, or updating the device you’re having an issue with didn’t resolve the problem, make sure your graphics or audio drivers are updated.

This is because most applications need to interface with both the graphics and audio cards in your PC. If those drivers are out of date, it could lead to device driver errors.

To update your graphics driver, open Device Driver again and expand Display adapters

Select Update driver and go through the same process as above to update the graphics driver.

Do the same thing for your audio drivers. Expand the Audio inputs and outputs section in Device Manager.

Right click the audio devices you use and select Update driver for each of them. 

Once you’ve updated your graphics and audio drivers, restart your computer and confirm that this has resolved the “Thread stuck in Device Driver” error.

Run a System File Checker (SFC) Scan

If you’ve gotten to this point and nothing fixed the error, start with some deeper troubleshooting.

The first thing to check is whether there are any corrupt system files that could be causing conflicts with the device driver. 

To do this:

  1. Select the Start menu, type “command prompt”, right click the Command Prompt app, and select Run as administrator.
  1. Type the command sfc /scannow and press Enter.

The scanning process can take some time. It’ll update the process as a percentage on the screen. 

If the SFC process finds any corrupt or missing system files, it’ll automatically repair the file by replacing it with the correct system file (from backup). 

Once the scan is finished, restart your computer to check if the error is gone.

Restore a Previous Version of Windows

If nothing has fixed the error at this point, the last resort may be to restore Windows 10 to a previous restore point.

You can restore individual files, or restore your entire system to a previous restore point .

If you haven’t made any previous restore points for Windows, then unfortunately you’ll have no choice to restore Windows 10 to its original factory settings .

While this isn’t the idea solution, hopefully you haven’t had to get this far in this article. If you did, then remember that you can always back up your important folders and files before restoring Windows. This way you don’t have to put any of your important information and data at risk.


How to Fix a “Page Unresponsive” Error in Google Chrome

Google Chrome usually displays a “Page Unresponsive” error when a web page takes too long or fails to load correctly. In most cases, selecting Exit pages and refreshing the problematic page should help you get rid of the error for good. 

If not, try accessing the page on another browser such as Edge, Safari, or Firefox. If it shows up without running into any problems, you’re likely dealing with a Chrome-related issue that you must fix on your end. 

Below, you’ll find a list of troubleshooting tips and methods that you can work your way through to resolve persistent “Page Unresponsive” errors in Chrome.

Update Google Chrome

Google releases constant updates that introduce bug fixes and performance enhancements in Chrome. Although the browser updates itself automatically, it’s always a good idea to double-check. 

Start by opening the Chrome menu—select the 3-dots icon to the screen’s top-right. Then, point to Help and select About Google Chrome. That should force the browser to scan and install any pending updates. 

Restart PC or Mac

Restarting your PC or Mac typically helps resolve minor technical issues or other system-related anomalies that prevent Chrome—as well as other applications—from working properly. Do that now before moving on with the rest of the fixes.

Clear Cookies and Browser Cache

Outdated browsing data can end up causing all sorts of trouble while visiting websites. To rule that out as the reason behind the “Page Unresponsive” error, you must clear the Chrome cache. 

Note: It’s best to get rid of the cache and cookies for a problematic site first and follow by deleting the entire Chrome browser cache if that doesn’t help.

Clear Cache for a Specific Site

1. Go to Chrome’s Settings screen.

2. Select Privacy and security on the sidebar.

3. Select Site Settings.

4. Select View permissions and data stored across sites.

5. Pick the site from the list and select Clear data.

Clear Entire Chrome Browser Cache

1. Open a new Chrome tab.

2. Press Ctrl+Shift+Delete or Cmd+Shift+Delete to bring up Chrome’s Clear browsing data box.

3. Under the Basic tab, check the boxes next to Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files. Then, set the time range to All time and select Clear data.

Disable Third-party Cookies

Sometimes, web pages can take too long to load in Chrome due to third-party browser cookies . Disable them and check if that helps. 

To do that, open the Chrome menu and select Settings. Then, select Privacy and Security on the sidebar and pick the option labeled Cookies and other site data. On the screen that follows, select Block third-party cookies.

Note: Blocking third-party cookies in Chrome can break specific site functions. Re-enable them once you’ve finished visiting sites that end up with a “Page Unresponsive” error.

Disable Hardware Acceleration

Chrome uses hardware acceleration to speed things up. But rarely, that can also end up causing page rendering issues. Try disabling the functionality.

Go to Chrome’s Settings screen and select Advanced > System on the sidebar. Then, turn off the switch next to Use hardware acceleration when available and select Relaunch.

Update Graphics/Audio Drivers

If disabling hardware acceleration ended up fixing the “Page Unresponsive” error in Chrome on a PC, you should follow by updating the graphics and audio drivers. Use a driver updater tool to get the most recent driver updates automatically. Once you’ve done that, re-enable hardware acceleration in Chrome and check if the issue recurs.

Disable Extensions

Running lots of Chrome extensions at the same time can consume system resources, slow things down to a crawl, and result in “Page Unresponsive” errors. Some extensions can also create conflicts with site content and prevent pages from functioning correctly.

You can find out if that’s the reason behind the “Page Unresponsive” errors quite easily. Start by selecting the Extensions icon to the right side of the Chrome address bar. Then, select Manage Extensions and turn off all active extensions. 

If you don’t run into the “Page Unresponsive” error after that, re-enable the extensions one-by-one. That should help you identify any that uses too many system resources or cause other issues in Chrome. 

Remove Harmful Software

The “Page Unresponsive” error can also show up due to malicious extensions and browser hijackers. You can deal with that by taking Chrome’s built-in harmful software scanning tool out for a spin. It’s only included in the PC version of Chrome, however.

1. Open the Chrome menu and select Settings

2. Select Advanced > Reset and clean up on the sidebar. 

3. Select Clean up computer > Find to scan and remove harmful software.

Ideally, you should wrap up by scanning your computer with a dedicated malware removal tool. The free version of Malwarebytes is more than good enough for the job. It’s also available for both Windows and macOS.

Use a Content Blocker

Sometimes, sites with heavy page content can take a long time to load and break down in “Page Unresponsive” errors. Try adding a content blocking extension (which gets rid of ads and tracking scripts) to Chrome and check if that fixes the issue. uBlock Origin , AdGuard AdBlocker , and Adblock Plus are top picks.

Update Windows/macOS 

You must always keep the operating system on your PC or Mac up-to-date. That gives Chrome a stable platform to run on and minimizes possible conflicts with Windows or macOS.

Update Windows

Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security and select Download and install to apply the latest Windows updates.

Update macOS

Go to System Preferences > Software Update and select Update Now to install the latest macOS updates.

Create New Chrome Profile

If none of the fixes above helped, you’re likely dealing with a corrupt Chrome user profile. You can create a new one by renaming your current profile using File Explorer or Finder. But before you begin, make sure to sync your browsing data to a Google Account .

1. Exit Google Chrome.

2. Press Windows+R to open the Run box on the PC. If you use a Mac, open Finder and select Go > Go to Folder instead.

3. Copy and paste the relevant folder path below and press Enter:

PC — %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\

Mac — ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/

4. Rename the folder labeled Default to Default.old.

5. Reload Chrome. The browser should automatically generate a new profile. Sign in with your Google Account to start using it.

Reset Google Chrome

If you still keep running into frequent “Page Unresponsive” errors, it’s time to reset Google Chrome. That reverts all browser settings and allows you to start using Chrome in a new state. Again, make sure to sync your browsing data to a Google Account before you go ahead.

1. Open the Chrome menu and select Settings.

2. Select Advanced > Reset and clean up/Reset settings on the sidebar.

3. Select Restore settings to their defaults > Reset settings.

Fully Responsive Web Pages

Common fixes such as clearing the browser cache, turning off hardware acceleration, and disabling unnecessary extensions will almost always end up fixing the “Page Unresponsive” error in Chrome. Keep them in mind so that you know what to do the next time you run into it.


How to Add Desktop Clocks to Windows 10

Time matters now more than ever. More people are working from home . But that can make syncing up with your co-workers a little challenging. “I’m on Atlantic time and they’re on Central time, so is their 8 o’clock my 10 o’clock? What happens with Daylight Savings Time?” 

No need to Google that anymore. We’re going to show you how to add more desktop clocks to Windows 10 and some tips and tricks with clocks and time.

Add Desktop Clocks for Windows Clock

Built into Windows is the ability to add 2 more clocks to the clock in your system tray . It’s easy to do!

  1. Right-click on the clock in the system tray.
  1. Select Adjust date/time.
  1. In the Date & time window, scroll down and select Add clocks for different time zones.
  1. When the Date and Time window opens, select the Additional Clocks tab.
  1. Put a check-mark in the Show this clock box.
  2. Use the drop-down box to Select time zone: for the city you want to track.
  1. Enter display name and choose something that will stand out, like Chicago Office. Continue on to add a third clock if you’d like. When done, select the OK button.

Now you can see all three time zones by hovering over the system clock or selecting it.

Add a World Clock to Windows 10

Two time zones aren’t enough? You’re a go-getter. You need the Microsoft Alarms & Clock app and here’s how to use it.

  1. Windows 10 ships with the Alarms & Clock app already installed. If you don’t have it, Download Windows Alarms & Clock from the Microsoft Store and install it. It’s free!
  1. Open Alarms & Clocks and select the Clock tab.

Notice the shaded area above the green line. This represents the night, which helps visualize the time of day for different locations.

  1. To add time zone details, select the plus sign icon in the bottom-right corner. A search bar opens. Start typing the name of the city for which we need the time zone. It will narrow the selection down. Select the one that matches. You can add as many as you like. 

To remove a clock, select the multiple-select icon in the bottom right corner.

Check the clocks to remove and select the garbage can icon. Those clocks are gone.

  1. To convert a local time to the other time zones, select the multi-clock icon in the bottom-right corner.

A time slider appears. The number in the middle of the slider is your local time. Slide the bar left or right to a different hour and watch the time on the other clocks change in sync.

Add a Clock Screensaver to Windows 10

Turn your monitor into a great big clock when you’re not using it. It’s easy and stylish to do. There are many cool screensavers available. Fliqlo is one we recommend. Why? Many clock screensavers are Flash-based and Flash is end-of-life software now. But the new Fliqlo screensaver clock doesn’t use Flash . Plus, it’s free. We’re sure you’ve seen it before.

Fliqlo is available for Windows and Mac, but dual-screen support is only available on the Mac version. 

Add an Android Widget Style Clock to Windows

If you like widgets for your phone , you’ll like widgets in your Windows . Microsoft had widgets built-in prior to Windows 10 called Desktop Gadgets . Microsoft removed them because of security concerns. So other developers swooped in. 

We like Sense Desktop , an app from the Microsoft Store . It can show the time, temperature, and weather forecast in one convenient widget. Plus, there are about a dozen themes, so you will find one you like. It’s not free, but is 99 cents too much?

Get the Most Accurate Time in Windows 10

You need to be on time every day, and so does your computer for it to work best. For example, if you’re getting certificate errors in your web browser , having the wrong time on your computer could be the cause. You can make the clock synchronize with a time server. 

Time servers are computers whose sole job is to keep perfect time and share it with the world. They keep perfect time by being synchronized to an atomic clock. Atomic clocks are expensive, so governments and large companies maintain most of them. 

Fortunately, Windows 10 defaults to Microsoft’s time server. But you can connect to other time servers. You’ll need Administrator rights to do this.

  1. Open Control Panel and select Clock and Region.
  1. In the new window, select Set the time and date.
  1. In the Date and Time window, go to the Internet Time tab, then select Change settings…. You’ll need Administrator rights to do this.
  1. The Microsoft and NIST time servers are in the drop-down box. Select the one you want and select OK to set it. NIST is the National Institute of Science and Technology in the US. 

You can also type in another time server address if you’d like. Once it’s entered, select OK to set it.

It’s About Time

If time is money, then with all your new clocks you should make it rain! Do you have a favorite desktop clock tip or trick? A cool time screensaver or widget? Let us know in the comments.


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!


How to Change Password in Linux

Without a secure password , your data is vulnerable. Easy to guess or previously leaked passwords make a hacker’s job easy—after all, it isn’t hard to breach a user account if “password123” is your password. That’s why it’s important to change your password regularly, even on a more secure operating system like Linux.

Thankfully, it’s an easy process to change your password in Linux. You can change your password (or other user’s passwords) from the terminal locally or remotely, or set expiration dates to force other users to change it themselves when they next sign in. Here’s what you’ll need to do to change a user password in any Linux distribution.

Why You Should Change Your Linux Password Regularly

While a Linux-based operating system offers greater security than a typical Windows installation, that doesn’t mean it’s infallible to hackers. One of the easiest ways for someone to breach your PC is through lax security, with easy-to-crack passwords at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, you should also expect that time is against you. Many of us use the same passwords for multiple accounts. If your email password is compromised , for instance, and you use the same password to sign into your Linux PC, then you’re putting your PC (and all of your saved data) at risk.

That’s why it’s important to consider changing all your passwords in Linux on a regular basis, including your account passwords on Linux. A good password consists of a number of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters. It also requires the password to be of suitable length (at least 8 characters, if not more).

If you’re struggling to come up with a password you can remember, you can use a password manager to help you generate and remember it. You won’t be able to use this to fill out the login screen, but if you’re using a password manager like KeePass , you can quickly recall the password using the mobile app.

However, it’s probably best (and easiest) to create a password that you can remember. Dictionary words are off the menu for this one, but where possible, you should attempt to create a memorable password that no-one else could possibly know using the steps we’ve outlined above.

How to Change Your Password in Linux

While you should be able to change passwords using your distro’s desktop environment, those steps will vary significantly. If you’re using a headless version of Linux (without a GUI), you won’t be able to use a GUI to change your password at all. 

That’s why the best and fastest way to change your password in Linux is to use the terminal, regardless of the Linux distribution you’re using. 

  1. Open a new terminal window or make a remote SSH connection to your Linux PC or server. If you’re connecting remotely, you’ll need to type in your existing password to authenticate if you haven’t already.
  1. Once you’ve signed in (either remotely or locally), type passwd to begin the process of changing your password. The passwd command is common to almost all Unix-based operating systems, including Linux and macOS.
  1. To change your Linux password using passwd, type in your existing password first, then confirm your new password by entering it twice, selecting Enter to move to each new line. You won’t be able to see your input, so if you make a mistake during the typing process, select the Enter key on your keyboard at any point. This will cause passwd to fail, as it won’t be able to match the new passwords or authenticate using the previous one.
  1. If the process is successful, passwd will return a success message in the terminal. If it isn’t (for example, if you mistyped your password), you’ll need to repeat the process.

Changing Other User Account Passwords in Linux

If you have superuser or root access on your Linux PC or server (for instance, if you’re a system administrator), you can change the passwords of other local users. You may want to do this if someone has forgotten their password, for instance.

  1. To do this, open a terminal window locally or connect remotely using SSH. Once the terminal or connection is open, type su or sudo su to switch to the root user account. You’ll need to provide the correct root user password to be able to do this.
  1. Once you’ve switched to root using sudo su or su, you can begin to change another user’s password. To do this, type passwd user, replacing user with the username of the account you wish to change. If you’re unsure what the username is, type cat /etc/passwd instead. The first word in each line (for example, ubuntu) is a username on your PC.
  1. You’ll need to type in the new password twice, selecting the Enter key after each line.
  1. If you type the passwords correctly, passwd will return a success message. If you type the passwords incorrectly (eg. if the new passwords don’t match), you’ll need to repeat these steps to successfully change it.

How to Change the Root Password in Linux using Sudo

To help protect your system, many Linux distributions restrict normal user accounts by hiding certain access behind the root (superuser) account. When you elevate your terminal using commands like sudo su or su to grant root access, you’ll need to type the correct root password.

  1. To change the root password, you’ll need to open a terminal window or connect remotely using SSH. In the terminal, type sudo su or su to switch to the superuser account, then select the Enter key on your keyboard.
  1. With root access, type passwd and select the Enter key. You’ll need to provide a new password twice, selecting Enter after each line.
  1. If the command is successful, passwd will output a success message in the terminal. If it fails, you’ll need to repeat these steps to complete the process.

Setting a Password Expiry Date in Linux

By setting a built-in expiry date for passwords on your Linux PC, you don’t need to worry about manually running the passwd command on a regular basis. When the password expires, your PC will instruct you to change your password automatically.

  1. To set a password expiry date in Linux, open a terminal window or connect remotely using SSH. In the terminal, type chage -M 100 user and select the Enter key, replacing 100 with the number of days before the next expiration and user with your username. If you want to set expiration dates for other user accounts, type sudo chage -M 100 user instead, replacing the placeholder details with your own.
  1. With the details set, you can check the expiration date by typing chage -l user and selecting Enter, replacing user with the username you wish to check. 

Securing a Linux System

Linux is well known as one of the most secure operating systems available, but without a secure password in place, you’re leaving your PC vulnerable to attack. There are other ways you can secure your system further, such as maintaining a secure local network and scanning your files for viruses that could infect other PCs.

You could also think about using a secure web browser to stay safe online, especially if you consider using a VPN to mask your IP address. Making efforts to protect your online privacy and security won’t stop hacking attempts, but it will add another layer of defense against it.