Mihaita Bamburic

Celebrating SysAdmin Day with a System Mechanic giveaway

Red Cake

The last Friday in July marks not only the beginning of a lovely weekend, but also the day when system administrators across the globe are celebrated. July 31, 2015 is the sixteenth System Administrator Appreciation Day, and we have prepared a BetaNews giveaway to mark this special occasion.

Just like last year, we will be giving away 10 System Mechanic licenses, courtesy of iolo, the software's maker. As always, every BetaNews reader is welcome to enter the giveaway. Here is what you need to know.

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How to clean install Windows 10

Windows10-200-175

Windows 10 is now officially available, and many of you want to run the new operating system on your PCs and tablets right away. And why not? There are lots of cool features to get excited about, like the new Start menu, Cortana, Action Center, multiple desktops, and Edge. And it is offered as a free upgrade, if you have a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license, which makes it even more attractive.

Obviously, those who are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade straight to Windows 10. But, the same cannot be said about Windows XP or Windows Vista users, who have to perform a clean install. That being said, a clean install is always recommended when moving to a new version of Windows, as it allows you to have an untainted experience, devoid of any issues that can crop up as a result of an upgrade. Here is how you can make a clean install of Windows 10.

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How to install Windows 10 on your Mac

MacBook Pro 2015

Windows 10 is now officially available to PC users across the globe, launching in 190 countries on July 29. But Microsoft's latest operating system can also be experienced on Macs, requiring even less effort to get it up and running on your Apple-branded device. And here is how you can join the Windows 10 bandwagon right now.

Just like on a PC, there are two ways you can install Windows 10 on your Mac. The first is by using virtualization software, like Parallels 10. And the second is through Boot Camp. Here is what you need to know about both options, and which one is best for you.

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How to create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive

man hand usb flash laptop drive business suit

Microsoft has officially introduced Windows 10, making the new operating system available as a free upgrade, in the first year, to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. Those who cannot take advantage of this deal will have to purchase Windows 10, which is now offered on USB drives, on top of DVDs and digital downloads.

Bootable USB drives are a better option than DVDs, as they can be used on the vast majority of devices in use today, including slim ultrabooks which do not have optical drives. They are also much faster, so the time it takes to install Windows 10 is significantly lower, and pocketable, allowing you to easily carry one wherever you need. If you do not have a bootable Windows 10 USB drive, this detailed how-to guide takes you through all the steps involved in creating your own flash installation media.

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HTC has major discounts on One M9, Nexus 9, RE camera, and accessories

HTC_One_M9+_3V_Silver_Blog-Header

Even though it makes some very interesting products, HTC is not doing quite so well financially. The Taiwanese maker is struggling to attract consumers, who now have more options than ever in the smartphone market, especially in the value segment which is dominated by Chinese brands like Xiaomi.

To pique US consumers' interest, HTC has decided to offer some pretty impressive discounts on some of its most-popular products, the One M9 flagship, Google-branded Nexus 9 tablet and RE camera, as well as all of the accessories it sells.

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Apple Watch to be available from Best Buy next month

Apple Watch Sport on wrist

Apple has not revealed an official sales figure for Apple Watch, but, according to a Canalys report, it leads the smartwatch pack, with sales estimated to be around 4.2 million units. And we are talking about sales exclusively through Apple's own online and brick and mortar stores, which is a different strategy to iPhones and iPads.

Staring next month, however, Apple Watch will no longer be confined to Apple's own locations, as the smartwatch will also be available for purchase at US retailer Best Buy. Will this boost sales?

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Acer One 10 Windows 8.1 tablet with keyboard can be had for just $199.99

Acer One 10 Windows 8.1 Tablet with keyboard

Just like with Windows Phones, Windows tablets seem to be most-attractive when they offer great value for money. There are exceptions, like Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, but generally speaking that means good hardware with a low price tag. And if there is anything extra thrown into the mix, you have a winner.

Acer's One 10 Windows 8.1 slate offers plenty of value at the $199.99 price point. It features a large touchscreen, solid internals, and, last but not least, a free keyboard in the box. That last part adds plenty of value, making it easy for One 10 to double as a small laptop replacement. And that is not all.

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Microsoft Q4 FY2015 by the numbers: $22.2 billion revenue, $2.1 billion loss

Nope, Microsoft isn't getting into Android with a Cyanogen investment

Microsoft has revealed its financial results for Q4 FY 2015, posting its biggest-ever loss thanks to a $7.5 billion write-off related to the acquisition of Nokia's Devices & Services business. In the second quarter of the year, Microsoft's revenue was $22.2 billion, while gross margin, operating loss and loss per share came in at $14.7 billion, $2.1 billion and $0.40 per share.

Microsoft has also revealed a $780 million "restructuring charge" as well as a $160 million write-off that is related to its previous restructuring plan. However, both are basically chump change in comparison to the damage that buying Devices & Services has caused. Deciding to make its own Windows smartphones looks to be a huge mistake for Microsoft. There is, however, some good news too.

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Apple Watch leads the smartwatch market

Apple Watch Sport on wrist

Apple will release its Q3 FY2015 earnings report later today, revealing just how well its products have performed in the second quarter of the year. The star of the show will likely continue to be the iPhone line, while iPads are expected to disappoint once again. But what about its most-recent endeavor, Apple Watch?

Apple has been relatively quiet so far. There are no official figures of any kind yet, and there is no guarantee that the company will reveal any concrete information surrounding its smartwatch today. There is, however, an estimate from analyst company Canalys, which places Apple at the top of the wearable vendors list.

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Why I will not buy a Microsoft Lumia flagship anytime soon

Future Man Looking

Microsoft is rumored to be working on two Windows 10 Mobile flagships, that would serve as replacements for the aging, Nokia-made, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520. On paper, both look great, with specs that match those of high-end Android smartphones. And Windows 10 Mobile is not too shabby either, featuring lots of improvements over its predecessor. As someone who is frequently shopping in this segment, I should consider at least one of them as my next smartphone. However, going down this road again feels like a huge mistake.

After taking everything into account, the cons clearly outweigh the pros. It does not help that I currently use an iPhone 6 Plus, which constantly reminds me why I am not longer rocking a Windows Phone flagship as my daily driver. There is a whole host of reasons why I do not plan to buy a Lumia flagship in the foreseeable future, and here are the most important.

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Microsoft imposes Windows 10 automatic updates, whether you like it or not

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In past versions of Windows, Microsoft has allowed users to configure how they want operating system updates to be delivered. Those looking for the ultimate protection configure Windows Update to automatically install them, while others may, accidentally or not, disable the feature or postpone installing any updates for a very, very long time. I have seen systems that last had updates installed years before I was asked to troubleshoot them.

With Windows 10, however, Microsoft is taking matters into its own hands, by making automatic updates mandatory. This applies to both home and business users, unless the latter group turns to dedicated tools that allow them to have more control over how updates are installed. Basically, you have to go out of your way to keep Windows 10 out of date.

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Everyone can now sign up for Messenger without a Facebook account

Messenger Sign Up Without Facebook Account iPhone iOS

Facebook wants to make Messenger appeal to as many people as possible, so, last month, it announced that it will no longer require new users to have a Facebook account in order to use its increasingly popular messaging service. The feature was initially said to be offered in just a handful of markets, US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela.

Now, the feature is made globally available according to Facebook's David Marcus. Just like in the first markets, all that new users need to sign up for Messenger is their phone number.

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HTC One M9+ flagship coming to Europe

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Originally announced in April, One M9+ is HTC's most-impressive Android smartphone of the year so far, besting the One M9 global flagship. However, for some reason, HTC decided that it would only sell the device in a couple of Asian markets, forcing interested buyers in other parts of the globe to, basically, import the device.

Fortunately for those looking to get One M9+, HTC just announced that it is also making the Android device available in European markets. It looks like those in US will have to wait a bit longer for its official debut -- if it ever happens.

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Montar Universal Car Mount long-term review

Montar Universal Car Mount with Apple iPhone 6 Plus mounted

There is no place where I can safely store my iPhone 6 Plus while driving, without leaving it in a bag. It does not comfortably fit in any of my pockets, and the car does not even have a single cup holder between the seats. It pretty much stays in a bag, and I have to take it out every time the need calls for it. And then hold it. That's not very safe nor very convenient.

In my case, the best option is a smartphone car mount. I could easily place it on the middle of the dash. My iPhone 6 Plus would work great for navigation, and I would not have to hold it to see who is calling or what notifications I have received the rest of the time. A long-term test of Montar Universal Car Mount, over the course of a couple of months, reveals it to be just want I need.

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HTC brings new affordable Desire Android smartphones to US

HTC Desire 626

To get more consumer attention, a smartphone vendor has to cover all major segments well. It has to have solid low-end handsets, balanced mid-rangers, and, of course, cutting-edge flagships in its lineup. HTC does the last part well in US, with One M9, but, outside of this segment, its presence is not as strong.

HTC wants to change this, announcing four new Desire Android smartphones for the US market, which it hopes will get the attention of consumers on increasingly popular prepaid plans. Desire 520, Desire 526, Desire 626s and Desire 626 borrow design elements from the One M9 flagship, but at much lower price levels.

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