9 Simple Computer Hacks That Are Legitimately Useful

September 29, 2016

The Internet is full of “life hacks” that allegedly make this world easier to navigate. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t terribly useful, or only come up in very specific situations.

We decided to transcend that and find the computer hacks out there that are helpful, or at least particularly interesting. And while it’s unlikely all of the following hacks pertain to you, there’s a good chance several will, and that should make your life (slightly) easier.

To create this list, we went to Quora, browsing a thread on useful computer hacks. From that, we selected the best nine. They are:

1. Find out all the information Google knows about you.

Shared by Pratik Shah

Have to give Google credit for being transparent, as they’ll show you all the information they’ve collected on you and even what ads they are serving you with. Here’s a full list of the information Google provides you with:

  • History – Your entire Google search history.
  • Ads – What Google thinks your interests are and the ads they are serving you based on those interests.
  • Location History – The places where you used Google to do anything.
  • Takeout – Here, you can export every piece of information Google knows about you.
  • Dashboard – An activity page that tells you about all the Google services you are using.
  • YouTube search history – YouTube also saves all of your searches.
  • Permissions – You can see here what permissions you gave to the extensions and sites you use.
2. Disable Facebook’s video autoplay option.

Shared by Pratik Shah

It can be slightly obnoxious to be scrolling through Facebook and have videos automatically play at you. You can change that by going to facebook.com/settings. On the left side of the screen you’ll see ‘Videos’ – click on it and you’ll be presented with an option to turn off autoplay.

3. Do a quick reverse image search.

Shared by Pratik Shah

Want to see where an online image came from? Within Chrome, hold S and right-click on the image. Once you do, a drop-down menu will appear, and you can select “Search Google for Image.”

4. Clear your cache really easily.

Shared by Pratik Shah

If you want to view a webpage with a cleared cache, simply click control, shift and R at the same time, and refresh the page.

5. Have the brightness of your computer screen automatically adjust to its surroundings.

Shared by Kunal Bodke

If you download f.lux, your computer screen will always have the right level of brightness, which could even help you sleep better.

Here’s f.lux’s own explanation of itself: "It makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day."

"It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better."

You can download f.lux here for free.

6. These five PC shortcuts will make you more productive.

Shared by Max Galka

Have a PC? These keyboard shortcuts will save you time:

  • Alt-tab: Switch between windows.
  • Alt-F4: Close a window.
  • Ctrl-tab: Switch between a browser and Excel tabs.
  • Ctrl-F4: Close a tab.
  • Ctrl-Z: Undo.
7. Have a YouTube video automatically repeat over and over.

Shared by Mahek Pavagadhi

Want to listen to the same song over and over, for example? You can make that happen by replacing “youtube” in any YouTube link with “listenonrepeat.” So, instead of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZiNtbgm9oM, it’s http://listenonrepeat.com/watch?v=IZiNtbgm9om.

8. Easily turn Chrome into a PDF reader.

Shared by Ishan Khedkar

Reading a PDF within Chrome is a solid experience, particularly on a laptop. To make that happen, just drag the PDF file into Chrome, and you can read it there.

9. Don’t have an Internet connection? Play a dinosaur game on Google Chrome.

Shared by Sanchit Jain

Whenever your computer is not able to connect to the Internet, Chrome displays a dinosaur on the broken page. Next time you see that page, click command and the up-arrow key simultaneously. A game will start running that doesn’t require an Internet connection, where you control the dinosaur with the arrow keys.

It is a simple application designed to entertain you until you get reconnected to the Internet. Perhaps not overly useful, but it helps you kill time as your company fixes the wireless.

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