How to eject a USB drive with a keyboard shortcut on Windows 10

On Windows 10, you no longer have to safely eject an external drive or a USB. There is a setting that you have to change and once you change it, you can just remove/disconnect the drive. If you haven’t turned it off, or you’re just in the habit of ejecting drives safely, you might want to make it easier to do with a keyboard shortcut. In order to eject a USB drive with a keyboard shortcut, we’re going to use an app called USB Disk Ejector.

Eject USB drive with keyboard shortcut

Download USB Disk Ejector. Connect the drive you want to be able to eject with a keyboard shortcut to your system, and then launch the app.

Click the More button at the bottom left and select Options. Go to the Hotkeys tab and open the dropdown. Select how you want your USB drive to be identified i.e., by drive label, drive letter, mount point, or by drive name. Once you’ve selected identification criteria, enter it by selecting your drive from the dropdown below it.

Finally, record a hotkey/keyboard shortcut for it. Click Add, and minimize the app to the system tray.

With the app running in the system tray, you can use the defined keyboard shortcut to eject the USB drive.

You can use any of the supported methods to identify and eject a drive. If your PC dynamically assigns drive letters e.g., whichever USB drive you connect to your system is going to be assigned the letter E, you can use it to eject almost all drives. You will have to create a few different shortcuts so that you can still use them to eject drives when there is more than one drive connected to your system i.e., create shortcuts for ejecting drives E, F, and G.

If you’d like for a shortcut to be for one particular drive, you can use either the label or the name criteria. Give your drive a name, and it will always stick no matter how many other drives are connected to your system.

USB Disk Ejector works with USB disks, and with card readers. It won’t work with other types of devices that need to be ejected before they can be removed. One easy way to check if the app will be able to eject a particular device/drive is to connect it to your system and look at the app’s window. If the drive shows up as a connected device, you will be able to map a shortcut that can eject it.

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How to recover a hijacked Chrome browser

A few years ago, installing the wrong app on the desktop, or the wrong extension in a browser was enough for it to be hijacked. Getting rid of malicious apps that did everything from changing browser settings to injecting ads, and manipulating search results wasn’t easy. Chrome was just as much prey to these apps as any other browser and it has taken steps to prevent this from happening and to help you get your browser back in case it does. Here’s how you can recover a hijacked Chrome browser.

Remove the malware

Before you you can fix the browser, you need to get rid of whatever took it over. If it’s an app you installed on your desktop, remove it and scan your system with an anti-virus. If you think an extension is to blame, remove it. If you’re unsure about it being an extension, remove them all.

You should run Chrome’s built-in computer scan as well. Click the more options button at the top right and select Settings. Expand Advanced Settings and select Reset and clean up. Click the ‘Clean up computer’ option to run the scan.

In some cases, the app might have made a change to the registry or your user folder. These are not cleaned when an app is uninstalled and they may not be detected by an anti-virus. Use the free version of Malware Bytes to scan your system and remove any malicious items it finds.

Backup Chrome data

Set up Chrome sync so that your data is not lost. Chrome sync will ensure that everything important like history, bookmarks, and form data are saved without copying any data that may have been modified by the malicious app. This will allow you to recover everything when you’ve cleaned Chrome up.

Reset Chrome

It’s now time to reset Chrome. Click the more options button at the top right and select Settings. Go to Advanced Settings and select ‘Reset and clean up’. Click the ‘Restore settings to their original defaults’ option. When the restoration is complete, check if your browser is working the same as before.

If it isn’t, move on to the next section.

Clean install Chrome

You need to uninstall Chrome and install it again however, in between all this, you need to delete the folder that Chrome creates for storing profile data. First, uninstall the browser.

Next, go to the following location in your user folder and delete the Google folder.

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local

Install Chrome again, and use Chrome sync to get your bookmarks, history, form data, etc., back. This should do the trick and Chrome will work the way it did before.

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How to install FFMPEG on Windows 10

FFMPEG is a collection of programs that can handle various audio and video encoding, recording, and conversion functions. It does a lot but it is a command-line tool which means there is no GUI for you to use it from. If you’re unfamiliar with how command-line tools work or unsure about how to install FFMPEG on Windows 10, you should know that it is simple to set up, and little more than a file download.

This article points you to the most suitable build of FFMPEG you should use on a Windows 10 system, and how to add the tool to PATH so you can run it from any Command Prompt window.

Download FFMPEG

This is the official FFMPEG website where you can download the tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Click the Windows logo and you will see a link just below it ‘Windows builds by Zeranoe’. Click it and download either the 64-bit or 32-bit build.

Running FFMPEG

Once you’ve downloaded the build, extract the zipped file. Inside the extracted folder, you will find a folder called ‘bin’. In it is the EXE for FFMPEG. To run it/use the app, you need to open a new Command Prompt window and use the ‘cd’ command to move to the ‘bin’ folder. After that, you can run a command and it will execute.

Add FFMPEG to PATH

If you intend to use FFMPEG often and as a regular part of your daily tasks, using the ‘cd’ command to move to the folder its EXE is in, is going to get tedious. You should instead add it to PATH.

First, move the folder somewhere you know you won’t delete it.

Next, open a new File Explorer window and paste the following in the location bar, and tap Enter.

Control Panel\System and Security\System

This will open Control Panel. In the column on the left, click Advanced System Settings.  A new window will open. Go to the ‘Advanced’ tab on this window, and click the Environment Variable button at the very bottom.

In the new window that opens, select ‘Path’ under ‘User variables for [Your username]’ and click Edit. Another window will open. Click the ‘New’ button and then use the Browse button to go to the ‘bin’ folder, and add it. Click OK, and close all the windows.

You can now use FFMPEG from any Command Prompt window. You will not have to use the ‘cd’ command to first change the directory that Command Prompt is in. Make sure you do not move the folder that FFMPEG is in. If you do move it, you will have to update the path or it won’t work anymore.

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How to record system sound with FFMPEG on Windows 10

Recording audio output i.e. audio from the speakers is a tricky process. You can’t just record it as input detected by the mic because there will be quite a bit of noise in the recording. There are of course ways to do it, and apps that allow you to. We’ve covered how you can record audio from a specific app with Audacity however, this works for a specific app. If you’d like to record any and all system sound, it’s best to use FFMPEG. The tool is a command-line tool and it can be a bit daunting to get started with it but, it’s one of the easiest ways to record system sound.

Before you can start, make sure ‘Stereo Mix’ shows up as a device under sounds.

Record system sound with FFMPEG

Download FFMPEG. You can add it to the PATH if you want but it isn’t necessary. Open File Explorer and navigate to the zip file you downloaded. Extract it, and in the extracted folder, go to the ‘bin’ folder. Click inside the location bar in File Explorer and enter ‘cmd’. Tap Enter. This will open a new Command Prompt window that is already in that directory.

Next, open a new File Explorer window and create a folder where you will save the audio file that is created. This folder can be created anywhere you like. You do not have to create it inside the FFMPEG folder. It can be on a different drive or an external drive.

Return to the Command Prompt window, and run the following command.

ffmpeg -list_devices true -f dshow -i dummy

This command will return a list of devices that can record or output audio. This will include speakers, mics, and webcams. In this list, look for the name of the audio device i.e, your speakers that you want to record sound from. Copy it to your clipboard and paste it somewhere you will be able to retrieve it easily. In the screenshot below, the audio device that I’m going to record sound from is called ‘Stereo Mix (Realtek Audio)’.

Now that you have the device name, use the following command to begin the recording. Change the name of the device to whichever you want to record, and the path and name of file to whatever you like. You can also change the file format to a different one that FFMPEG supports.

Command

ffmpeg -f dshow -i audio="Device name" path-to-file\file-name.mp3

Example

ffmpeg -f dshow -i audio="Stereo Mix (Realtek Audio)" C:\Users\fatiw\Desktop\Audio\output.mp3

The recording will begin right away. You can minimize the Command Prompt window if you like but do not close it. When you want to stop the recording, return to the Command Prompt window and tap the Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut.

Open the folder that you specified in the path and you will see the audio file there.

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How to get high CPU and RAM alerts on Windows 10

Keeping an eye on your system’s vitals is essential. You don’t have to worry about the CPU or the RAM usage if you’re running light apps like word processors or a web browser but for heavier apps like animation tools, games, video editors, or large database programs, you need to know just how much CPU and RAM are being consumed. We’ve covered quite a few tools for keeping an eye on these two components. XMeters is one excellent app that lets you monitor both CPU and RAM usage from the taskbar. It’s passive though so if you need to get alerts for when the CPU or RAM usage exceeds a certain threshold, you’re going to need a different app. Give CPU Monitor and Alert a try. The name only mentions the CPU but the app can also monitor RAM usage and send alerts for it.

This app is also available for Linux.

High CPU and RAM alerts

Download CPU Monitor and Alert. Install the app and run it. Go to File>Settings. By default, the app will alert you when the CPU and the RAM usage exceed 85%. You can change this by changing the value in the ‘CPU warning threshold (%)’ and ‘Memory warning threshold (%)’ fields, respectively. The CPU and RAM thresholds are set independent of each other.

By default, if the app detects the threshold has been exceeded when it checks ten times consecutively, it will give you an audio alert. You can increase or decrease this threshold by changing the value under ‘# of consecutive usage exceed threshold to trigger alert sending’ field. CPU Monitor and Alert checks the usage every 5 seconds but you can change that from ‘Time interval for monitoring’.

Lastly, you must enable the ‘Play warning sound every time the usage exceed the threshold limit’ option, save the change and allow the app to run in the background (minimize to system tray).

When either the CPU usage or the RAM usage exceeds the set threshold, you will hear a siren sound, and if you open the app, it will show you which component has exceeded its threshold.

CPU Monitor and Alert constantly monitors CPU and RAM usage but you can stop it from the app’s interface, or from the context menu that appears when you right-click its system tray icon. The app does not show you a desktop notification and relies solely on audio alerts. You can choose any other sound if you don’t like the default Siren sound.

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