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Avast vs Malwarebytes: Which Is Better?

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

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

Pricing Structures

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Avast

Features

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

Free Tiers

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

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

Both free versions also monitor a single device only.

Premium Tiers

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

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

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

Premium + Tiers

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

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

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

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

Winner: Avast

User Interface

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

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

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

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

Winner: Avast

Avast vs Malwarebytes: Which Is Best?

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

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


How to Allocate More RAM to Specific Apps in Windows

RAM, or random access memory, is used to allow programs to boot more quickly and carry out tasks in a fraction of the time it would take if the program had to load from your hard drive. RAM is vital to performance in any program that needs to access a tremendous amount of data.

For example, a word processing program won’t rely heavily on RAM due to the low performance requirements. A detailed Excel spreadsheet or Photoshop, however, needs as much RAM as you can spare it. So do games. In many cases, you need to allocate extra RAM to gaming, especially if you’re using a lot of mods.

This is true in titles like Minecraft, as do games like Shadow of Mordor which needs a whopping 8.3 GB of VRAM. The good news is that you can allocate more RAM to specific apps to help improve their performance.

What is RAM?

RAM is an acronym for random access memory, and it is one of the most important parts of your computer. RAM is necessary for programs to run. Without it, you will be unable to run most applications, and those that you can run will perform at a seriously reduced level. 

Think of RAM as short-term memory for your computer. It allows your system to access data far more quickly than it can through even the SSD. If you have multiple applications running at the same time, you will need more RAM than if you are only using a few at a time.

In modern computers, RAM is typically found in multiples of 4. Motherboards often use something called dual-channel memory, which means you want RAM of the same type –either sticks of 4, sticks of 8, or sticks of 16. There is no upper limit to the amount of RAM you can have except what your motherboard can support, although there is a limit to how much you can reasonably ever use. 

Allow Windows 10 to Allocate More RAM

The easiest way to improve performance across the board is to allow Windows to use as much RAM as necessary to ensure performance . Find the This PC application and right-click the icon, then select Properties. Select Advanced system settings > Settings. Under the Visual Effects tab, there are four options. Select the Adjust for best performance option. 

After you do this, click Apply. The changes will take effect after you restart your PC. This setting allows Windows to allocate RAM as needed to ensure programs run as smoothly as possible.

Prioritize RAM Usage

Another way you can ensure specific programs have more than enough RAM, particularly if you are running multiple applications at once, is to prioritize RAM usage within the Task Manager . Open Task Manager and right-click the application you want to prioritize, then select Go to details.

This opens the Details tab of the Task Manager. Right-click the process and choose Set priority. From here, you can designate what priority the program receives: Realtime, High, Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal, or Low. 

Designate RAM Usage Within Specific Programs

Another option–and arguably the best choice–is to allocate more RAM within the settings of a given program. This holds especially true in games like Minecraft that are often played with mods. Many modpacks will not run correctly without more than the default amount of RAM.

Bear in mind that the exact process for doing this varies from program to program. Even among Minecraft, the process for allocating RAM depends on the launcher you use. As a brief example, you can select the Installations tab in the default launcher and click New > More Options and change the text under JVM Argument from Xmx2G to XmX2n, where n is the amount of RAM you want to use. 

If you are looking for a more in-depth explanation, here is another article than can help.  

Each game and program will have a different method for allocating more RAM, if it is even possible. Many applications are coded to use a specific amount of RAM based on your operating system, regardless of how much you have available. For example, Microsoft Excel on 32-bit operating systems is restricted to 2GB of RAM.

Risks of Using Too Much RAM

For the most part, RAM is harmless. You aren’t likely to cause catastrophic damage to your system because you use too much RAM on an application–the worst that happens is that a program will crash or background programs might behave in odd ways. 

However, there are times when it can cause more serious damage. Anyone that has ever worked in coding has experienced a stack overflow error–a problem that happens when the call stack memory is exceeded. This error results in a crash. A similar type of problem often happens when a program throws the “Not Responding” error message within Windows.

This happens when it exceeds its allotted amount of RAM and can no longer operate properly. Waiting for the memory to clear can sometimes resolve the problem, but the go-to method is to force quit a program by using the Task Manager. 


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. 


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.


5 Best Linux Distros for Gaming

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

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

Choosing a Linux Distribution for Gaming

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fedora Games

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

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

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

RetroPie

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

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

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

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

Lakka

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

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

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

Manjaro

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

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

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

Ubuntu Game Pack

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

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

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

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

Playing Games on Linux

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

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


Firefox Using Too Much Memory? 7 Ways to Fix

There are many Windows and Mac users who spend most of their time staring at open tabs in their web browser. It’s the center point of activity, allowing you to respond to emails, play games, check social media, watch videos, and more. The possibilities are endless, but, unfortunately, your system resources are not. 

Browsers like Mozilla Firefox can and will use up available system memory the more you use them. This can cause your computer to slow down and stop responding, especially if you can’t figure out the cause. If Firefox is using too much memory during general usage, you’ll need to try these fixes to see if they resolve the problem.

Restart Firefox

All web browsers suffer from memory leak issues, including Firefox and Chrome . Memory leaks are usually caused when a browser, with multiple running tabs, is left running for a long period of time. After a while, the open tabs begin to eat up and claim most of the available system resources, leaving your PC struggling to respond.

If that happens, and you think Firefox is the cause, an easy solution is simply to restart Firefox. Closing Firefox may not fully end any running Firefox processes, however. If you’re running Windows, you’ll need to check that all running Firefox processes have closed in Windows Task Manager.

  1. To do this, right-click the taskbar and select the Task Manager option.
  1. In the Task Manager window, find any running Firefox processes. To end them, right-click the entry and select the End Task option. This will force Firefox to close.
  1. If you’re on Mac, you can force quit a running Firefox window by right-clicking the Firefox icon on the Dock and selecting Quit. If Firefox doesn’t close and stops responding entirely, repeat the process, selecting Force Quit instead.

Disable Firefox Extensions, Plugins, and Themes

Firefox is a customizable browser with various add-ons that can extend its functionality, from themes to extensions (similar to how Chrome extensions work). Unfortunately, adding too many add-ons can occasionally have a detrimental impact on your browser performance, especially if you’re running on a lower-powered PC.

If you’re wondering whether a Firefox theme, plugin, or extension is causing Firefox to use too much memory, you’ll need to disable them. Here’s how.

  1. To disable Firefox add-ons, open Firefox and select the hamburger menu icon in the top-right. From the menu, select the Add-ons option.
  1. In the Add-ons menu, you’ll see options for Extensions, Themes, and Plugins on the left. In Extensions, select the slider next to an enabled extension to disable it. To remove it, select the three-dots menu icon next to it, then select Remove from the menu.
  1. If you’re using a custom Firefox theme, switch back to the Default theme by selecting the Enable button in the Add-ons > Themes menu. As the default Firefox theme, it offers the least likelihood of causing unnecessary memory usage.
  1. If you’re worried that a Firefox plugin (such as a media playback plugin) is causing issues, select the three-dots menu icon next to a plugin in the Add-ons > Plugins menu. From the menu, select the Never Activate option to disable it.

Check For Firefox Updates

Each new Firefox release brings new features and bug fixes that can help to reduce the impact of known issues, including unnecessary memory usage. If Firefox is out of date, you might be missing a crucial bug fix.

  1. To check for new Firefox updates, select the hamburger menu icon in the top-right. From the menu, select the Preferences option.
  1. In the Preferences menu, scroll down to the Firefox Updates section. To check for new updates, select the Check for updates option. Firefox will check for updates and, if an update is available, it will update automatically or prompt you to install it, depending on your settings.

Use The about:memory Menu to Minimize Memory Usage

Modern browsers like Firefox are designed to try and minimize their memory footprint, even if it doesn’t always work. If Firefox is using too much memory, you can take advantage of a hidden settings menu called about:memory to force it to quickly reduce active memory usage.

  1. To do this, type about:memory in the address bar and press enter. 
  1. From the list of available options in the about:memory settings menu, select the Minimize memory usage option. If successful, a Memory minimization completed message will appear beneath the options. You can repeat this process at any point.

Switch to Firefox Safe Mode

Firefox Safe Mode is a special browser mode that helps you to identify and fix issues with the browser. If you suspect that a problem with a Firefox add-on or setting is causing unnecessary memory usage, switching to Safe Mode can help to diagnose the problem.

  1. To switch to Firefox Safe Mode, select the hamburger menu icon in the top-right. From the menu, select Help > Restart with add-ons disabled.
  1. Confirm you want to restart Firefox in Safe Mode by selecting the Restart option in the pop-up.
  1. Firefox will restart, giving you the option to open Safe Mode or reset Firefox entirely. Select Start in Safe Mode to launch Safe Mode.

The Firefox window will launch as normal, but with all extensions, themes, and plugins disabled. Use your browser as normal while monitoring system resource usage. If it isn’t using a huge amount of memory, this would indicate a problem with Firefox during normal usage, and you’ll have to investigate further.

Change Hardware Acceleration Settings

To maximise the power of your system resources, Firefox uses hardware acceleration to balance out the demands of various running tabs and services. This can cause an increased demand on your system resources which can cause other running apps to slow down or crash.

If that’s the case, you’ll need to change Firefox’s hardware acceleration settings and, if necessary, disable it entirely.

  1. To start, open the Firefox settings menu by selecting the hamburger menu icon > Preferences.
  1. Under the General > Performance section of the Preferences tab, uncheck the Use recommended performance settings option to view additional settings. From there, reduce the Content process limit value to limit the number of additional running Firefox processes and reduce memory usage in the process. Alternatively, disable hardware acceleration completely by unchecking the Use hardware acceleration when available option.

Reset Firefox to Default Settings

When all else fails, and you can’t diagnose a problem with Firefox’s settings, add-ons, or features, you may find that resetting it to default settings can help to resolve a problem where Firefox is using too much memory.

  1. To do this, open Firefox and select the hamburger menu icon > Help > Troubleshooting Information
  1. In the Troubleshooting Information menu, select the Refresh Firefox option in the top-right corner.
  1. Firefox will warn you that this will erase any browser settings, add-ons, and customization. It won’t, however, remove your bookmarks and browsing history. To confirm, select the Refresh Firefox option to begin the process.
  1. Once the reset process is complete, Firefox will restart. You’ll see a Success message, allowing you to restore previous tabs and windows. Confirm your choice, then select Let’s go to resume using Firefox.

Using Firefox Effectively

If Firefox is using too much memory, the fixes above should help to resolve the problem in most cases. If they don’t, you may need to consider alternative solutions, such as switching to another browser or upgrading your hardware . A slow browser could point to other issues that might require diagnostic tools to help identify and fix.

Once Firefox is working properly, you can take advantage of its many privacy-focused features. For instance, you can make Firefox safer to use with extra security settings, use Firefox Monitor to alert you to any privacy breaches , or you can use Firefox Private Network to stay anonymous online.


How to Remove Audio From Video on Windows and Mac

Not every video requires sound, especially if the audio quality is poor. Loud background noises, unnecessary chatting, bad language—they can all reduce the quality of an otherwise perfect video, especially home videos. The best way to deal with this problem is to remove the audio entirely, leaving the video to speak for itself.

If you have iMovie installed on Mac, you can use it to quickly scrub the audio track, or use the cross-platform VLC to remove the audio instead. Alternatively, you could use online web services to remove the audio track for you. If you want to know how to remove audio from video on Windows or Mac, here’s what you’ll need to do.

How to Remove Audio From Video on Mac Using iMovie

If you’re trying to remove audio from video on a Mac, the best way to do it is to use the included iMovie app. iMovie is available for free for all Apple product owners and should be installed automatically on your Mac or MacBook. If it isn’t, you can download it for free from the App Store .

  1. To start, open the iMovie app on your Mac, then select the Projects tab at the top.
  1. In the Projects tab, select the Create New option to create a new video editing project. From the pop-up menu, select Movie.
  1. In the My Movie project window, select the Import Media option to load the video containing the audio you wish to remove. In the Finder window that opens, find and select the file to insert it.
  1. The My Movie project window will update to display your video. Using your mouse, drag the video file to the timeline area at the bottom of the window.
  1. With the video loaded into the iMovie timeline, right-click the timeline. From the menu, select the Detach Audio option.
  1. The timeline area will update, showing the audio track as a separate timeline beneath the video timeline, highlighted in green. To delete the audio, right-click the green audio track in the timeline area, then select the Delete option.
  1. With the audio removed, you’ll need to save the video. To do this, select File > Share > File from the menu bar.
  1. In the File menu box, you can change other video settings, such as video resolution and quality. Select the Next option to continue once you’re ready.
  1. You’ll need to provide a new filename for your audioless video file, as well as a suitable save location. Provide these, then select Save to save your file.

At this point, the video (with audio removed) will appear in the save location you selected. You can play the video to determine that sound has been removed, export it to another platform to share it, or transfer it to another video editor for further edits.

How to Remove Audio From Video on Windows or Mac Using VLC

If you’re looking to remove audio from a video on a Windows PC, or if you’re using a Mac and don’t want the huge iMovie app taking up space, then VLC Media Player is your best, free option. VLC isn’t a video editor, but it does offer some basic video conversion tools that allow you to quickly remove the audio track from a video.

On Windows

  1. To do this on Windows, you’ll need to first download and install VLC . Once installed, begin the removal by selecting Media > Convert/Save from the menu. 
  1. In the Open Media window, select Add to add the video containing the audio you wish to remove. Once added, select the Convert / Save option. 
  1. In the Convert window, you can make changes to your video output file. Select the settings icon in the Profile section to begin removing the audio track.
  1. In the Profile edition window, select the Audio codec tab. From there, uncheck the Audio checkbox. This will remove all audio from your video. Select the Save option to confirm. 
  1. With the audio track removed, you’ll return to the Convert window. Confirm where you’d like to save the audioless video file and give it a new file name by selecting the Browse option in the Destination section. Once you’ve done this, press Start to begin the conversion process.

Once saved, the new video file (without audio) will be available in your chosen save location.

On Mac

The steps for removing audio from video are slightly different using VLC on Mac.

  1. To start, download and install VLC for Mac . Open VLC is installed and opened, select File > Convert/Stream from the menu bar.
  1. In the Convert & Stream window, insert your video file by selecting Open Media. Once the file is inserted, select Customize to begin removing the audio track.
  1. In the pop-up window, select Audio Codec, then uncheck the Audio option to remove the audio track. Select Apply to apply the new settings.
  1. With the audio track removed, select Save as File to confirm the new filename and save location for the final, audioless video file. Once confirmed, select Save to begin the save process.

VLC will convert the file at this point, removing the audio track and leaving the video intact. If you select any other video conversion settings (such as changing the video file type), these will be applied at this point.

The source video file will remain intact, allowing you to make further changes and repeat the process, if desired.

Using Online Services to Remove Audio From Video

If you’re looking to remove audio from video without installing new software, you could use various online services to do it for you. However, a word of warning—doing this will involve uploading your video to a remote server, where a script will run to remove the audio from your video automatically.

There are some privacy implications that you should consider before doing this. While online video editing sites shouldn’t hold on to your video, it isn’t guaranteed. You should only use online services for audio removal for videos that don’t contain personal information, or for videos that you’d otherwise be happy to share.

  1. While various online services exist for this purpose, one of the quickest and easiest to use is AudioRemover . Open the AudioRemover website and select Browse to select your video file. Once selected, select Upload Video to upload the file to the remote server.
  1. AudioRemover will remove the audio track immediately once the upload is complete, but this may take some time, depending on the size of the file. Once completed, select the Download File link to download the audioless video file to your PC. Alternatively, select one of the sharing options to share it online using social media or to send it as an email. To delete the file, select the Delete file now link instead.

Better Video Editing on Windows and Mac

Now you know how to remove audio from video on Windows and Mac computers, you’ll be better placed to improve and edit videos with poor audio. You could leave the videos silent, or use a good video editor to add another audio track, such as a song or recorded commentary.

If you’re new to video editing, there are plenty of video editing tips you can try out, from organizing your video collection at the start to choosing the right video editor for your PC or Mac. You’ll just need to make sure you have a powerful PC or laptop for video editing , as it can place huge demands on your system resources.


5 Best Chromecast Ethernet Adapters for a Wired Connection

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

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

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

Best Chromecast Ethernet Adapters

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

1. Google Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

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

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

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

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

2. UGREEN Ethernet Adapter

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

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

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

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

3. Cable Matters Micro-USB to Ethernet Adapter

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

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

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

4. Smays Ethernet Adapter

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

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

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

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

5. Snowpink Ethernet Adapter

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

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

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

Enjoy Consistent Stream Quality

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

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

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


Alt Tab Not Working? 13 Ways to Fix

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

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

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

1. Restart Windows Explorer

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

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

2. Select More Details to expand the Task Manager.

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

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

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

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

2. Reboot the Computer

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

3. Uninstall/Reinstall Keyboard Device

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

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

2. Expand Keyboards.

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

4. Select Uninstall to remove your keyboard.

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

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

4. Install Support Software

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

5. Check Keyboard on Another PC

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

6. Remove Third-Party Alt-Tab Switcher

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

1. Right-click the Start menu.

2. Select Apps and Features.

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

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

7. Enable Peek

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

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

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

3. Check the box next to Enable Peek.

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

5. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

6. Select Personalization.

7. Switch to the Taskbar side-tab.

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

9. Exit the Settings pane and restart your computer.

8. Update Video Card Drivers

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

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

9. Update Windows 10

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

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

2. Select Update & Security.

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

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

10. Run a Malware Scan

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

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

2. Select Update & Security.

3. Switch to the Windows Security side-tab.

4. Select Virus & threat protection.

5. Select Quick Scan.

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

11. Run SFC Scan

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

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

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

12. Switch to Old Alt-Tab Viewer

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

1. Press Windows+R to open Run.

2. Type regedit and select OK.

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

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

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

5. Set the value as 1 and select OK.

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

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

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

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

13. Tweak Multitasking Settings

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

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

2. Select System.

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

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

Alt-Tab Your Way Through

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


Fedora vs Ubuntu: Which Linux Distribution Is Better?

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

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

Fedora Vs. Ubuntu: Different Branches on the Family Tree

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

Support and Development

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

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

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

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

Installation and Ease of Use

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

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

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

Software Availability

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

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

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

Gaming Support

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

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

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

Proprietary Software Support

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

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

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

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

It’s Easy To Try Both for Yourself

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

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

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

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

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