9 Best Network Troubleshooting Tools We Reviewed in 2018

It seems like everyone blames the network for any possible issue they encounter with computers. There’s a reason for that though: It often IS the network. The fact is that networks are complex and a lot happens on a typical network. And with a lot happening, a lot can go wrong. So, when something does go wrong–and it eventually will–you need to start troubleshooting. And just like with any other task, efficient troubleshooting requires the use of the proper tools. Today, we’re discussing the best network troubleshooting tools.

We’ll start off with a general discussion on network troubleshooting. What it is, why it’s necessary and how to approach the task. The, we’ll jump right in and introduce our top nine best network troubleshooting tools. As you will see, not all of our favorite tools are elaborate, multi-thousand dollar tools. Some are plain old command-line tools included with most operating systems. In fact, we’ve tried to keep a good balance of command-line vs GUI tools. Our selection of tools work together to form what we believe to be a great toolset that will help you with most troubleshooting scenarios.

About Network Troubleshooting

Efficient network troubleshooting requires a systematic approach. You start with basic symptoms or user complaints and work your way in to pinpoint the source of the problem. Once you do find it, fixing it is often a piece of cake. The main difficulty is usually finding the issue. Networks are big and complex things so, where to start?

Your best bet is often to look at recent changes. Assuming that your network is properly set up, it won’t break by itself. Unlike a car or other mechanical device, a network is not subject to wear and tear that could cause it to eventually break. Most of the time, when something starts going wrong, it’s because something has changed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the network has changed. It could be its usage that is different. For instance, a single user could be downloading a huge file from the Internet and cause everyone else to experience degraded Internet performance.

The most basic golden rule of troubleshooting anything–not just networks–could save you a lot of time and grief: Make no assumption. In particular, don’t assume that users are telling you everything–or even that what they’re telling you is true. Verify everything yourself.

The 9 Best Network Troubleshooting Tools

As for the tools one can use to troubleshoot networking issues, there are so many of them that we could write an entire book about them. In fact, numerous books have been written on the subject. For today, we’ll concentrate on what we’ve found to be the most useful tools. You probably already know a few of them but might not have realized how they can help with troubleshooting. Other tools on our list have no other purpose than to help with troubleshooting.

1. SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset (FREE TRIAL)

Our first entry is the Engineer’s Toolset from SolarWinds. In case you don’t know the company, SolarWinds makes some of the best network and system administration tools. Its flagship product, the Network Performance Monitor, is one of the very best network monitoring tools. SolarWinds is also famous for making a handful of excellent free tools a few of which were recently reviewed when we discussed the best subnet calculators or the best TFTP servers.

But today, we’re talking about the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset. As its name implies, this is not a tool but rather a complete set of tools. The Engineer’s Toolset includes over 60 different tools. It has a bit of everything. Through automated discovery, the tool will discover all your networking devices including in-depth details such as switch port mappings. While this won’t help you much with your troubleshooting efforts once issues arise, they can improve your knowledge of the network which can prove invaluable when troubleshooting.

SolarWinds Enginerr's Toolset - Web Console

This toolset has some great dedicated troubleshooting tools. Tools like Ping Sweep, DNS Analyzer and TraceRoute can be used to perform robust network diagnostics and quickly resolve complex network issues. And if your concerns are with security, you can use some of the toolset’s tools to simulate attacks on your network and help identify vulnerabilities.

The Engineer’s Toolset also has some excellent monitoring and alerting features. It will monitor your devices and raise alerts when it detects availability or health issues. This can often give you time to react before users start calling to complain. And if that ain’t enough, you can also use some of the included tools for configuration management and log consolidation.

With all these features, the SolarWinds Engineer’s toolset is not free. Pricing starts at $1 495 and is per seat, requiring one license per named user. If you’d want to give this toolset a try, a free 30-day trial is available from SolarWinds.

FREE 30-DAY TRIAL: SOLARWINDS ENGINEER’S TOOLSET

A Handful Of Useful Command-line Tools

Some of the most useful network troubleshooting tools are built right into most operating systems. They might not strike you as troubleshooting tools but, as we’re about to see, each can provide some valuable insight onto what could be wrong with your network.

2. Ping

Ping is really the most basic of all troubleshooting commands. It doesn’t do much but what it does is so useful that it is included with every single operating system. Technically speaking, Ping just sends ICMP echo request packets to the target and waits for it to respond by sending back ICMP echo reply packets. This process is repeated a certain number of times–5 by default on windows and until it is stopped by default under most Unix/Linux implementations–allowing it to collect statistics. Ping calculates the delay between each request and its reply and displays as the round trip time. On Unix variants, it usually also displays the value of the reply’s TTL field, Providing an indication of the number of hops–or routers–between the source and the destination.

As a troubleshooting tool, Ping can be your first step. Say, for example, that a user complains of slow response from the corporate intranet. By running a Ping of the intranet web server from that user’s workstation, you can quickly have a first diagnostic. If the Ping statistics show a slow response time, chance are you have a network problem. On the other hand, it pings are normal, perhaps it’s the server that is not responding quickly enough. No matter what, it give you a starting point for further debugging.

3. Tracert/Traceroute

Depending on whether you’re coming from the Windows or the *nix world, you’ll know this command-line tool as either Tracert or Traceroute. They’re almost identical and serve the exact same purpose. The command, which you launch by giving it a destination IP address, will display a list of every router that has to be traversed between the computer you’re issuing the command from and the destination IP address.

As a troubleshooting tool, Tracert is just as useful as Ping. Modern networks are often built with resiliency and redundancy with multiple paths between any two points. When one of several paths go down for whatever reason, traffic will automatically be rerouted through a different path. This different path may degrade performance.

Another useful feature of Traceroute is that, just like Ping, it will display some response time statistics for each hop. This makes it an invaluable tool to use to pinpoint the location of any network slowness or congestion. For each hop, Traceroute will show you the minimum, average, and maximum response times.

4. Ipconfig

Ipconfig is another command-line tool that is included with most operating systems. The command is used to display information on the IP protocol stack of the computer where you run it. Various switches or command-line options will allow you to display more or less details.

By default, the command will list display the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway associated with each network interface installed on a computer. Adding the /all option will display considerably more information. It will, for instance, give you the MAC address of each interface. It will also indicate if the IP address and configuration was done manually or through DHCP. And in the case of DHCP, it will tell you the details about the DHCP server and lease.

Ipconfig has another utility beyond providing information about the local machine. Some of Ipconfig’s command-line switches will cause some parameters to be reset or modified. DHCP leases can be modified by using the commands ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew. The former will release the current DHCP lease while the latter will request a new IP address from the DHCP server. As another example, the command ipconfig /flushdns can be used to clear the DNS name resolution cache.

5. Netstat

One of the problems with troubleshooting TCP/IP connectivity issues comes from the huge number of connections and services on any system. Netstat can help you identify the status of each connection and which services are running, helping you you narrow down the search. Netstat, which is available on most operating systems, can quickly provide details about client services and TCP/IP communications.

Issuing the command displays all active connections on the local computer, both incoming an outgoing. Furthermore, Netstat can also display listening ports on the computer where it’s run. Netstat is a command that accepts many options. And to make thing more confusing, options differ between platforms. For instance, Netstat -b on Windows would display the name of the executable associated with each connection whereas on OS X or BSD, it is used in conjunction with -i to display statistics in bytes.

The best way to learn about all the available parameter of your specific version on Netstat is to run it with the -? option to display the tool’s help screen. On *nix systems, you can display the Netstat man page to get the same information.

6. Nslookup (And Dig)

The last of our command-line tools are called Nslookup and Dig. Why two different tools? We’re about to explain. Nslookup and Dig are used to verify DNS resolution. The Domain Name Service, or DNS, is a service used by computers to resolve hostnames such as www.microsoft.com to IP addresses. Incorrect DNS resolution—where a DNS server will return an erroneous IP address—is a common problem although it is often overlooked.

The Nslookup command is usually followed by a hostname and will return the corresponding IP address. One of the drawbacks of Nslookup as a troubleshooting tool is that, although it will by default interrogate the DNS server configured locally, it doesn’t use the operating system’s name resolution libraries. Therefore, Nslookup could return correct information even when the computer’s name resolution system won’t work.

To circumvent this problem, Dig was created. Although its syntax is somewhat different–especially when using advanced options, Dig serves essentially the same purpose as Nslookup but it uses the operating system’s libraries. The main drawback of Dig is that it’s not included in most operating systems although it comes with Bind–the ISC DNS server software–which can be downloaded from the ISC’s website.

7. Sysinternals Tools

Sysinternals is not really a product. It’s a website that is now part of Microsoft TechNet. Sysinternals is on our list because it has a handful of useful network troubleshooting tool. Overall, the site has over 60 different tools that can be downloaded but not all of them are for network troubleshooting.

Among the most interesting tools from Sysinternals is Piping which is an improve version of Ping that you can use to measure network performance. This is a command-line tool just like Ping but it offers more options such as the possibility to do Pings using TCP packets instead of ICMP. This could prove to be a better test than the standard Ping as ICMP requests are not always treated the same was as TCP.

TechNet Sysinternals Home Page

Another useful tool from Sysinternals is called TCPView, a Windows program that will show you detailed listings of all TCP and UDP endpoints on your system, including the local and remote addresses and state of TCP connections. On older versions of Windows, TCPView also reports the name of the process that owns the endpoint. TCPView is similar to Netstat discussed above. However, it offers a more informative and conveniently presented subset of Netstat.

8. Wireshark

Packet sniffers are a special kind of troubleshooting tool that let you examine network traffic in great depth. They are the microscopes of network troubleshooting tools. Packet sniffers do two things. First, they capture every single packet that comes in or goes out of a network interface. But more importantly, packet sniffers offer powerful analysis tools that will decode packet headers, reassemble conversations and provide a welcome insight on what is going on on your network.

Wireshark Screenshot

When talking about packet sniffers, Wireshark, a free and open-source tool, seems to be the reference. It has become the standard that many other tools—even commercial ones—want to emulate. The tool is particularly famous for its powerful analysis capabilities. Many administrators use command-line utilities such as tcpdump or Windump to capture traffic because they are already present on the systems where they want to capture traffic. They then load the capture file into Wireshark for analysis. In addition to its analysis capabilities, Wireshark’s filters are another impressive feature of the product. Using filters, one can zero in on exactly the data they’re interested in, making analysis simpler.

Wireshark has a steep learning curve but it is well-worth learning. It is one of the most useful of troubleshooting tools. It’s been around for almost twenty years and has been ported to most major platforms.

9. Nmap/Zenmap

Nmap, which stands for Network Mapper, is a scanning tool used to discover hosts and services, thus building a “map” of the network, hence its name. Nmap works by sending specially crafted packets to the target host(s)–sort of like Ping–and analyzing the responses.

Nmap’s primary use is in analyzing what services are available on a computer. It will discover hosts and their services and detect their operating system. Through scripting, the tool can be used for advanced service detection, vulnerability detection, and more.

Zenmap GUI Screenshot

Nmap, which is a command-line tool started as a Linux-only utility but it has since been ported to several other operating systems including Windows, Solaris, HP-UX, most BSD variants including OS X, AmigaOS, and IRIX. If you prefer graphical user interfaces, several GUI front-ends to Nmap have been released. The best one goes by the name Zenmap and it is from the same team as Nmap. Zenmap, when compared to Nmap is much easier to learn and master, thanks to its well-designed user interface. It might not be the prettiest tool but it has some great functionality.

Conclusion

This was just a sample of what we found to be the best–or the most useful–network troubleshooting tools. There are plenty of other tools available and to be totally honest, we didn’t try them all. In fact, there are possibly a lot of tools we don’t even know. And the best tool for one troubleshooting scenario might not be the best in a different context. So, there is not one best tool that will fit all needs. Your best bet is to have as many as possible available and to learn how to use them before you need to.

Read 9 Best Network Troubleshooting Tools We Reviewed in 2018 by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Move Objects In Photoshop To A Specific Position

Photoshop allows you set the canvas size to anything you like. You can set the size in pixels, or in inches and you can change it while you’re working on a file. For every canvas that you create, every pixel on it is mapped to a position that is defined in x and y coordinates. These coordinates can be used to move objects in Photoshop to a specific position , and there are angles that allow you to rotate them.

Find x/y Coordinates

First, open Photoshop’s preferences from Edit>Preferences. Go to Units & rulers, and change the units from inches to pixels.

Next, assuming you know where you want to move an object to by just looking at the canvas, you need to find its address i.e., its x/y coordinates.

Go to Window>Info to show the info window. Position your mouse cursor over the area you want to find x/y coordinates for.

The Info window will tell you the exact coordinates for your cursor’s current position. If you move your mouse around, it will update in real time. Note down the coordinates.

Move Objects

Select the layer that the object is on and tap the Ctrl+T (Windows) or Command+T (Mac) keyboard shortcut to enter free transform mode. On the top bar, you will see input fields for x/y coordinates. Enter the ones you noted down in the previous section, and the object will be moved to that position.

Objects are position by their center i.e., the center that appears when the object is in free transform mode is the point that is positioned where you specify it in the x/y coordinates fields. The object is not positioned from its left-top edge.

What this means is that the entire layer’s center will be used. To make sure the object is moved accurately, you should make sure there isn’t so much as an extra pixel worth of a dot on a layer. Only the object you intend to use should be present on the layer.

It might help to also use guides and grids while you try to figure out where to move an object. Drag them out and create intersection points if you need to snap an object to a particular position and the x/y coordinates aren’t working for you. Use linked layers if you need to keep two or more layers at relative positions to each other, and lock them down once you’ve positioned them correctly. It is possible to position items off-canvas if you enter the wrong coordinates so if your object disappears you can hit undo, or just drag the mouse cursor to find its outline. Zoom out and it will be easier to find it.

Read How To Move Objects In Photoshop To A Specific Position by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best VPNs to Bypass GDPR Blocks and Access Foreign News Sites

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was a milestone for modern internet privacy. Web surfers around the world are no doubt familiar with the GDPR “cookie” messages appearing on many sites, along with e-mails from companies offering opt-outs for subscriptions in order to remain compliant with this new regulation.

The GDPR laws are a net benefit for citizens of the European Union, and citizens of the world, really. One downside to the regulation is that online services must be GDPR-compliant, otherwise they’re inaccessible throughout Europe. No matter where the site or service is located, if they can’t follow GDPR rules, they’re effectively blocked in the EU.

Several dozen news and entertainment websites have so far failed to make the necessary updates to allow access after GDPR went into effect. The result is many of these foreign sites and news sources are completely inaccessible in Europe. Until those companies get their act together, European citizens will need to use a VPN to bypass the GDPR block to access news sources around the world.

VPNs and Online Privacy

Data security has never been more important than it is right now. Government agencies run Government Snooping on citizens, ISPs track and log data to sell to advertisers, and every hacker with a laptop would love to crack open your browser and grab your search history. These dangers simply were not present in the early days of the web. But now, even ordinary web users are aware of how dangerous the internet can be.

How VPNs Work

VPNs provide an elegant solution for a number of online problems. They do this by adding encryption to every packet of data that leaves your device. Encryption seals everything up tight so no one can tell what you’re doing online. It doesn’t matter which sites you visit or what you download, with a VPN in place your activity is safe and secure.

VPNs also provide a handy workaround for geo-restricted content. They do this by allowing you to choose a unique virtual IP address each time you connect to one of their servers. This lets anyone appear as if they’re in a different country, all with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a smartphone’s touch screen.

The end result of using a VPN is total online privacy and near-perfect anonymity. You can access foreign movies, keep your identity secure, or even defeat internet fast lanes introduced by broken net neutrality laws!

GDPR and Privacy

GDPR is the European Union’s answer to websites and online services storing a large amount of user information without giving them the choice to opt-out. With GDPR in place, every site servicing EU citizens must provide visitors with the ability to voluntarily consent to each form of data collection. Does a website use cookies to temporarily store information? They have to ask users first.

Most online companies around the world updated their terms of service and privacy policies across the board, not just for EU citizens, as this is much easier than having separate privacy practices for multiple regions. The net effect is improved privacy and data control for everyone in the world, and that’s a good thing!

Blocked by GDPR

What happens to sites that fail to comply with these data retention laws? European ISPs block them, plain and simple. Until a site makes the required changes to adhere with GDPR regulations, they simply won’t be accessible to European citizens.

The GDPR does have some deeper caveats, as well. Some of the wordings in the laws may allow the EU to regulate or outright block sites with little or no warning. This has raised some privacy concerns for the future, but at the time it doesn’t seem GDPR poses a threat, only improved privacy.

VPNs and GDPR

How can a VPN help bypass GDPR blocks? Simple: by giving users the option to appear as if they’re from another country. Accessing any of the currently blocked news sites from Europe will return an error message. If you have a good VPN, however, you can click a few options, choose a server located outside of the EU, then reload the site and enjoy.

Access GDPR News Sites in Europe with These VPNs

Stuck behind a frustrating piece of legislation and can’t access the news sites you’d like? Don’t worry, a good VPN can make everything right in a jiffy.

Privacy is a top concern on the modern internet, but there are other important features you should pay attention to when researching a VPN, too. Below is a list of the criteria we prioritized when researching the list of recommended VPNs.

  • Logging policy – Your privacy is never secure if a VPN keeps detailed logs.
  • Reputation – The most difficult aspect of a VPN service to quantify is also one of the most important. If other people don’t trust the VPN, neither should you.
  • Security features – Keeping your identity safe requires more than just encryption. The best VPNs offer DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, at a minimum.
  • Jurisdiction – Where a VPN company is registered can have a huge impact on your privacy. For bypassing GDPR, make sure it’s located outside of the EU.
  • Server locations – More servers is always a good thing, but make sure your VPN has plenty of nodes outside of Europe for optimal connections.

1 – ExpressVPN – Fast and User-Friendly

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most reliable VPNs around, scoring high marks in everything from server speeds to privacy practices. It has easy to use software for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs as well as Android and iOS smartphones tablets, all of which can log in and connect to the network in a matter of seconds. ExpressVPN also gives you full access to over 2,000 servers in 94 different countries, making it the perfect choice for bypassing GDPR firewalls and surfing the free and open web.

ExpressVPN keeps data secure with 256-bit AES encryption and a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. Its software comes with DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch for even stronger online privacy. You’ll also have access to hundreds of servers in the U.S. and abroad, providing excellent access to the internet outside of GDPR controlled zones.

Want to know more about ExpressVPN’s features? Check out our full ExpressVPN review.

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2 – NordVPN – Powerful Protection

NordVPN is filled with features that VPN users and privacy fanatics love to talk about. The most impressive is the company’s ever-growing network of over 4,580 servers in 62 different countries, more than twice the size of many competing VPNs. With this many locations you’re guaranteed access to lightning fast nodes anywhere in the world, so all you have to do is just log in and start surfing!

NordVPN has an amazing zero-logging policy that covers everything from bandwidth to traffic, time stamps, and even IP addresses. Backing these features is an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit AES encryption on all data, along with exclusive access to DDoS protection, onion over VPN, and double encryption servers, as well!

Learn more about the pros and cons of using NordVPN in our full NordVPN review.

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3 – CyberGhost – Fast, Safe, Secure

CyberGhost is a balanced, easy to use, and lightning fast VPN service designed to protect users from online dangers around the world. Subscribers have full and unlimited access to over 1,200 servers in 60 different countries with CyberGhost, providing all the speed and security you could ever need. It’s perfect for bypassing censorship firewalls, leaping over GDPR blockades, or unlocking Netflix videos from other countries.

CyberGhost sets up a strong privacy shield built on 256-bit AES encryption and a zero-logging policy on traffic, time stamps, and IP address. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch are standard with the company’s custom software, as well, which blocks potential cracks to ensure no identifying information ever leaves your device. This allows you to log in and stream anything you want in complete privacy.

Learn more about CyberGhost’s unique features in our complete CyberGhost review.

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4 – PrivateVPN – Stable and Secure

PrivateVPN is a reliable and well-regarded VPN service that focuses on tough security and fast speeds. The VPN allows users to stay safe anywhere in the world, all while streaming and surfing the web without a GDPR blockade (or any other type of censorship) in sight. PrivateVPN runs well on smartphones, desktop PCs, and other devices, as well, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to use a VPN without struggling with complicated setups.

This provider runs a small but strong network of 80 servers in 56 different countries, with dozens of nodes located in the U.S. and outside of the European Union. PrivateVPN also locks down data with 256-bit AES encryption, secures your connection with an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection, and features a zero logging policy on all traffic for a strong foundation of privacy.

Read more about PrivateVPN’s useful features in our full PrivateVPN review.

5 – PureVPN – Privacy and Much More

PureVPN is a full-featured VPN that offers more than just privacy and security. The company gives you an entire suite of online protection tools to keep you safe every time you connect, including malware shields, app blockers, DNS website filters, and anti-virus protection. These features are included with the VPN software and work on almost all devices, allowing you to keep every connection safe from online dangers without having to install and manage a dozen different apps.

PureVPN runs a fast network of over 750 servers in 140 countries around the world. Data passing through this network is secured with 256-bit encryption and protected by a zero-logging policy on traffic. PureVPN adds DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to every version of its software for strong privacy, allowing you to stream movies and surf the web with complete peace of mind every single time.

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How to Access Blocked News Websites from the EU

Once you’ve got a good VPN in place, you’re ready to unblock all the news sites in the world, regardless of their status with the GDPR. Follow the steps below and you’ll be surfing the free and open web in complete privacy in a matter of seconds.

Step 1 – Download and Connect to Your VPN

VPN services do a great job making the installation and connection process as painless as possible. Follow the steps below to get your VPN and connect to a non-local server. If you run into any problems during the process, refer to your VPN’s support pages for more detailed instructions.

  1. On a web browser, sign into your VPN account and download the app for your device.
  2. Install the software and launch it.
  3. Enter your VPN account login credentials.
  4. Open the list of servers and choose one outside of the EU.
  5. Wait a few moments for it to connect.
  6. You’re now free to use the internet and browse a world of news sites, even if they’re blocked by GDPR!

Step 2 – Verify Your IP Address

It’s a good idea to make sure your VPN is actually providing a legitimate IP address outside of the European Union, otherwise you will won’t be able to access the news sites you’re interested in. Run a quick, free IP leak test below to verify that your VPN is ready to go.

  1. Open your VPN app, go to the server browser, and connect to a server. Make sure it’s located outside of the European Union, preferably somewhere in the United States.
  2. Launch a web browser on the same device and visit ipleak.net.
  3. When the page loads it will automatically run an IP address lookup.
  4. Look at the box at the top of the page beneath “Your IP addresses”. If it shows a country different than the one you’re currently sitting in, you’re set.
  5. If the box shows your physical location, you may need to check with your VPN provider to resolve an IP leak error.

Which Major News Websites Can’t Europeans Access?

The sites currently failing compliance measures with GDPR hail from two main U.S.-based companies: Tronc Inc and Lee Enterprises. Together these two companies control dozens of sites from nearly every state in the U.S., all of which are completely inaccessible from the European Union.

A partial list of the blocked news websites can be found below. Some of them are smaller local publications, but others, like the Chicago Tribute and the Los Angeles Times, focus on the entire world.

  • Arizona Daily Sun
  • Baltimore Sun
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Daily Journal
  • Daily Press
  • Diego Union-Tribune
  • Globe Gazette
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Missoula Independent
  • Montana Standard
  • New York Daily News
  • Orlando Sentinel
  • RedEye
  • Sun-Sentinel
  • The Capital
  • The Citizen
  • The Daily News
  • The Hartford Courant
  • The Morning Call
  • The Post-Star
  • The Sentinel
  • The Virginia-Pilot
  • The World

If you can’t access any of the sites above from Europe, fire up your VPN, choose a server in the U.S., reload the page and enjoy.

Conclusion

If you’re frustrated with some of the downsides to the GDPR laws, don’t worry, a good VPN can set things straight. By changing to an IP address outside of the European Union, you can access major news websites in any country, even if they don’t comply with GDPR. All it takes is a few clicks and you’re set!

Which publications are you most looking forward to unblocking with your VPN? What other uses have you found for your VPN? Leave your tips in the comments below!

Read Best VPNs to Bypass GDPR Blocks and Access Foreign News Sites by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Block Graphics Driver Updates On Windows 10

Windows 10 updates often cause bugs but this is a problem that’s usually reserved for large, feature updates. That said, as part of its regular updates, Windows 10 downloads and installs driver updates as well. Often, the graphics driver will be updated and the new version may not work well. These are mostly generic drivers and if you know for a fact that the newer one isn’t going to work for you, you need to block graphics driver updates on Windows 10.

Block Graphics Driver Updates

We should warn you that driver updates, or updates of any kind, should only be blocked if they make your system unstable.

In order to block graphics driver updates, you can turn to third-party apps built for blocking updates on Windows 10 however, a better, safer option is to use this troubleshooting tool from Microsoft. It is built specifically for blocking updates.

The first thing you need to do is uninstall the problematic graphics driver. To uninstall the driver, open the Device Manager and expand Display Adapters. Right-click the graphics card that was updated and select Properties from the context menu. In the Properties window, go to the Driver tab, and select the roll back option.

Once you’ve done that, Windows 10 will try and install the driver again. This is when you run the troubleshooting tool.

Click the Next button on the start screen, and select the ‘Hide Updates’ option. The tool will search for and list all the available updates. Select the ones you want to hide, and click Next.

Hiding updates will prevent Windows 10 from downloading, and subsequently installing them. If you ever need to unhide the updates, run this same tool again, but click the Show hidden updates option. From the list of hidden updates, you can choose which updates to unhide.

Since this is your graphics driver that we’re talking about, it might be a good idea to check if your system has an app from your GPU manufacturer installed on it. Both Nvidia and AMD have dedicated apps that can download and install drivers. It’s possible that these apps are updating the driver and not Windows 10. If the troubleshooting utility fails to find any graphics drivers after you roll one back, check the permissions your GPU’s application has. If auto-updates are enabled, disable them.

Lastly, if your GPU has begun to cause problems after a major Windows 10 update, check forums and other online help portals, particularly any forums hosted by the manufacturer of your GPU for known bugs, and available solutions.

Read How To Block Graphics Driver Updates On Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter