How to Reduce Chrome’s RAM Usage

There are a lot of ways you can speed up your browsing and reduce the amount of memory that it’s using, but possibly the most important is Chrome’s Task Manager. Much like the Windows Task Manager, you can use this window to see which tabs and extensions are using the most memory and close them to free up some space.

In Windows, just hit Shift + Esc to access the Task Manager; on a Mac, you’ll need to open it from the Window menu.


Once you’ve gotten rid of the resource-heavy processes, there are a number of other things you can do. Enabling tab discarding, for example, will allow Chrome to get rid of tabs that you haven’t used in a long time if memory is low.


You can also disable extensions that are using a lot of power, or add a few extensions that will help you manage the amount of resources that Chrome is using. You can also delete the History Provider Cache to free up some space, and tweak hidden settings or mess around with Chrome flags.

How to Find or Disable Ads in Windows 10

We live in a world full of advertising and Windows 10 is no exception. You’ll find them on the lock screen, Start Menu, notification area and many other places. And it seems the number of adverts are increasing. You shouldn’t have to put up with that in an operating system, so let’s walk through how to disable them.

 1. On the Lock Screen

If you’re using Windows spotlight on your lock screen, a feature that displays high quality images from Microsoft’s library, then you may occasionally be greeted with an advert when you come to unlock your system.

Sadly, you either have to put up with these adverts or stop using Windows spotlight entirely. If the latter option is for you, press Windows key + I to open Settings and then navigate to Personalization > Lock screen.


From here, use the dropdown beneath Background to select either Picture or Slideshow. You can then customize as appropriate. If you want to make sure you don’t even get links to Store apps, slide Get fun facts, tips, tricks and more on your lock screen to Off.

2. On the Start Menu

The Start Menu is one of the worst offenders for adverts as they appear in two places.

Live Tiles

The current Start Menu has five tiles which display promoted applications by default. These might be pre-installed applications or links to Windows Store downloads. In an upcoming update to Windows 10, the number of these tiles are going to double to 10.


It’s a nuisance, but simple to deal with. For pre-installed apps, right-click the tile  and select Uninstall. For Windows Store links, right-click the tile and select Unpin from Start. These won’t reappear once you’ve removed them, unless a future update forces them back.

All Apps

When scrolling through your list of programs you might come across applications that are listed as being Suggested. These are placed by Microsoft — rather than the application developer — who is basing its suggestions on other apps that you’ve downloaded.


If you see an app suggestion you want gone, right-click it and select Don’t show this suggestion or Turn off all suggestions. Alternatively, if you want to be proactive and turn these off before even seeing them, press Windows key + I to load Settings and navigate to Personalization > Start. Once here, turn Occasionally show suggests in Start to Off.

3. Get X App

Never one to pass up an opportunity to promote their own products, Microsoft included a number of promotional apps within Windows 10. These include Get Office and Get Skype. You might already have the actual full app, but you’ll still see these.

Not only will you find these on your Start Menu, but you may also get notifications about them. To get rid of the notifications, press Windows key + I to open Settings and navigate to System > Notifications & actions and then slide the offending apps to Off.


But let’s go one step further and rid these promotional apps completely. Press Windows key + I and then navigate to System > Apps & features. This will bring up a list of all apps installed on your system. You can either do a search for an app or you might just want to scroll through them all and clear out the clutter while you’re here. Click an app and then select Uninstall to remove it.

4. In Some Windows Games

Gone are the days where you could play a simple game of the long-running desktop game Solitaire. Now it includes adverts! Microsoft Solitaire Collection comes preinstalled with Windows 10 and serves up a variety of adverts, from banner ads to full-screen videos. Minesweeper is available from the Store and you’ll get similar treatment in that game too.

Sadly, to remove these adverts you’ll have to pay and upgrade to a Premium membership. And it’s not cheap either: $1.49 per month or $10 for a year, per app. To to this, launch the game and go to Menu > Upgrade to Premium.


Alternatively, you could download similar applications from the Store, though they won’t be official Microsoft games. Otherwise, check out Winaero’s guide on how to run the Windows 7 games within Windows 10 — though please note we take no responsibility for the ZIP file they provide.

5. On the Windows Ink Workspace

A new feature in Windows 10 is the Windows Ink Workspace, which aims to make using a digital pen a smoother experience. Accessing the Workspace from your taskbar brings up various useful access points, like Sticky Notes and Sketchpad. But you’ll also notice a Suggested section, which is used for adverts.

This might fall on the helpful side of adverts because it’ll recommend apps that relate to using a digital pen, like Fresh Paint and SketchBook, but you don’t need to see them if you don’t want to.


To turn off these suggestions, press Windows key + I and navigate to Devices > Pen. Then switch Show recommended app suggestions to Off.

How to Crop Images Using Shapes in Photoshop

One of Photoshop’s most handy tools is the Clipping Mask. Buried in the complicated program’s layers, you can use this tool to create a frame for an image, revealing only the part of the image you want to display.

This can be a great way to crop an image in your Photoshop project without cropping the actual image.

The first step is to create the shape of your choice. The easiest way to do this is by using Photoshop’s Shapes tool which is found in the Tools bar on the left. You can choose from a rectangle, ellipse, rounded rectangle, polygon, or create a custom shape.


For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be using an ellipse. After selecting the shape, you can draw the shape one of two ways. You can either drag the cursor across the canvas to create the ellipse.

Holding down shift will allow you to create a perfect circle when using the ellipse, or perfect square when using the rectangle. Alternatively, you could just click anywhere on the canvas and type in the exact dimensions of the shape you want to create.


I’ve chosen to create a black circle so it’s easy to see on the canvas. The color is only important in so far as you can see the shape as it will be completely covered by the image.


Next you’re going to want to insert the image you want framed by that shape. To do so go to File > Place Embedded, and navigate to where the file is saved on your computer.

Doing it this way, rather than copying and pasting, allows you to manipulate the image in Photoshop without making irreversible changes to the original file.


I’m using this image from Pixabay, which I downloaded at 1920×1524. After navigating to it on my computer, it will look like this when you open it in Photoshop. Just hit Enter and it will create a new layer on your canvas.


You’ll notice that it restricted the size of the image to the boundaries of my 500 pixel wide canvas even though it’s a larger image. To ensure that the image will take up all of the circle, right-click it, and select “Free Transform”.


You’ll see the same diagonal lines across the image. Dragging the image from one corner, while holding down the shift key to preserve aspect ratio, enlarge the image until it’s covering the circle.circlecovered

Then going to your Layers panel, right click on the image layer of the dog and click “Create clipping mask”.


At that point you will see the borders of the image are restricted to the circle shape. You can move your shape around, make it bigger or smaller with the Free Transform tool, and show only the precise part of the image you want displayed.


How to Fix a Flickering Screen Error in Windows 10

Let’s face it: Windows 10 isn’t a perfect OS. Like any operating system, it has some problems. Some problems can be easily ignored or worked around, and others are a dealbreaker.

Some users are reporting just such a problem in the form a flashing or flickering screen in Windows 10. This leaves them unable to do anything while it’s happening, and is just a huge annoyance. But fear not, because we’ll show you how to fix the problem for good! No more restarting every time in hopes that it goes away.

First, you’ll need to run msconfig, a useful Windows utility that lets you change your startup functions and disable services running in Windows. To launch it, you can just type msconfig into the Windows search box, or open open a run window and type msconfig there.


Now, head to the Services tab and disable the following two: Problem Reports and Solution Control Panel and Windows Error Reporting Service. To disable them, uncheck the box next to them. Restart your computer, and when it comes back, you shouldn’t have any more issues with your screen flashing!

How to Get Rid of Lock Icons on Encrypted Folders in Windows

Do you share your computer with other people? One of the best ways to keep your files secure when other people are using your PC is to encrypt them. Windows makes it easy to do this, but there is a slight drawback.

By default, when you encrypt a folder Windows displays a little lock icon over it. Generally, you don’t encrypt folders for no reason, so this is basically advertising to others that there’s something in there that you don’t want them to see!

Fear not, because you can actually get rid of this lock icon, it just requires a tiny bit of registry tweaking.

First, type regedit into the Windows 10 search box. Once it opens, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons

If the Shell Icons key doesn’t exist, you’ll need to create it. To do so, scroll up to the Explorer key,right-click it, choose New, and select Key. Name the key Shell Icons.

2016-06-16_163815If you already have the key, you’ll need to create a new string value named 178. To do so, right-click Shell Icons, then select New, followed by String Value. Name it 178.

The next bit is a little complicated. You’ll need to make a blank icon file(.ico). TheWindowsClub has created one on this post (download here). Make note of where you saved the icon file, and edit the string for 178. To do so, right-click  it and select Modify. Insert the path of the blank .ico file.

Now, your encrypted files won’t have the big obvious lock telling anyone who uses your PC that you’re trying to hide something!