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10 Awesome Cyber Monday Deals That You Should Check Out (up to 94% off)

It’s that time of the year again. If you skipped Black Friday there’s still Cyber Monday.

And there are tools and resources out there that you’ll find only once a year at this great price. We’ve gathered the best of them in this article.

Bookmarking this page isn’t a solution. Don’t let a slow decision ruin your chance of getting these products or resources at a discounted rate. Act fast and don’t let them slip by.


1. Brizy Cloud Website Builder

In addition to the Cyber Monday savings you could realize, Brizy has lots of free stuff to offer as well, including the website builder itself. This premium product enables designers to create multipage websites fast, easily, and efficiently. Thanks to the 150+ customizable layouts and more than 700 design blocks that come with the package, coding is not necessary.

There is a small catch. You should sign up for a free account to be able to save what you build. You have full control over what you build and how your websites and those of your clients will appear on responsive devices.

Where does the Cyber Monday deal come in? Aside from the Free Forever plan, there are two annual paid plans (Personal and Studio). These are very affordable plans that have much more to offer than the free plan and can be yours at a 40% discount if you order 2 December or 3 December. You might check out Brizy before that date to see if a paid plan is the preferred choice for you. Use discount code CM40OFF.



2. Smart Slider 3 Pro

Smart Slider Pro 3 features a free plan and three paid plans (Single Domain, Business, and Unlimited). Give it a test drive for free. Yes, you can demo it for free. And if you like it, you can buy one of the paid plans at a discount until December 3.

Smart Slider 3 Free allows you to build beautiful responsive sliders. The paid plans provide additional special effects such as parallax animation and the popular Ken Burns effect.

You won’t get bogged down with extraneous features you have no use for. There are two different editing modes (content and canvas) to work with. In the content mode the slide acts as a page builder, in the canvas mode you can work with layers unobstructed.

Features include 180+ sample sliders (one click installation), a layer animation builder, and an astonishing array of animations and special effects. Any of the pro plans can be yours at a Cyber Monday discount of 40%. Use code SAVE4019.



3. Paymo

Paymo is a work management software application teams can use to plan their workflow, track time, and invoice clients. Having all these functions managed by a single app ensures that everything is kept in sync. Project managers will know exactly how much time (including billable hours) is spent on each task, making it easy to send accurate reports and charge clients correctly and fairly.

Paymo integrates with Adobe to allow you to track work time directly on Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Premier.

Live, up-to-date reports can be generated for sharing with team members and project stakeholders. Paymo also helps team management with task planning, tracking expenses, performing leave management tasks, and more. Other important features include Gantt charting, Kanban Boards, and a resource scheduler.

Upon subscribing, use code GVX233 for a 30% Paymo discount.



4. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem is a bold and beautiful WordPress theme that is regarded by many, including its 40K satisfied customers, as featuring the most complete designer’s toolkit of any theme on the market. WPBakery ensures easy and intuitive front-end page editing, plus more than 90 pre-built complete websites, installable with one click, allows you to get off to a quick start.

Premade templates and design elements are easily combinable. This premier theme is yours at a 50% discount Cyber Monday.



5. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is drag and drop website building plugin that enables you to separate page building from your theme, giving you total control over your content. Beaver Builder works with any theme, and you can even switch themes without any loss of content. 30+ landing pages come with the package, no coding is necessary, and Beaver Builder is SEO friendly and mobile responsive. No discount code is required. The 25% discount is automatically applied during checkout from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.



6. Kalium

Kalium is a superior choice for beginners and advanced WordPress users alike. It is easy to use and easy to maintain, it includes several of the most popular WordPress plugins, and it supports all the better known ones. This creative multipurpose theme is an award winning top seller. It’s trusted by 30,000+ clients and provides top customer support.

Normally selling for $60, Kalium can be yours Cyber Monday for $30; a 50% discount and a great deal.



7. Mobirise Website Builder

Mobirise is an offline website building app for Windows and Mac that features an extremely easy to use interface. It’s mobile friendly, it’s free for both commercial and non-profit use, and you can build fast, responsive, Google-friendly websites in minutes. Mobirise’s Website Builder Kit, normally priced at $2,654, features all premium themes, 200+ blocks, and 66 Mobirise themes and extensions.

On Monday you can purchase this all-in-one Kit for $149, a whopping 94% discount!



8. Simple Author Box

The Simple Author Box plugin’s features give you the ability to add guest authors and multiple authors to your posts, add links to author’s social networks, and select specific post types where you want your author box to show up. Simple Author Box is Gutenberg block compatible.

Although a free version is available, signing up for a subscription plan is recommended. The Cyber Monday offer of a 30% discount on all lifetime licenses is valid until 4 December.



9. MyThemeShop

This is for the designer who wants to be able to choose among a huge variety of premium themes, domain licenses, plugins, and memberships in conversion tracking, user behavior, and social media platform tool usage and more.

For Cyber Monday, MyThemeShop’s annual fee is discounted to $99.47. This Cyber Monday special is valid from 1 December to 7 December.



10. WordLift

As you write content, WordLift is busy adding semantic markups to feed to search engine crawlers with the intent of helping you reach a broader audience. This semantic SEO tool uses natural language processing, analyzes content, and transforms any text into machine-friendly content.

A quality SEO tool like WordLift makes a great investment as it produces greatly superior results as compared to attempting to create SEO friendly content on your own. Cyber Monday features a 50% discount on your first subscription.




Cyber Monday will fall on the 2nd of December you can witness some of the biggest online deals of the year on tech-related items. Many of these deals are available in physical stores as well. However, online shopping is generally much more convenient, especially if all you have to do is confirm your order and perhaps press “Download”. As far as comparisons with Black Friday are concerned, Cyber Monday discounts are at least as large, and often larger.


[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of BeTheme –]

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5 Ways to Check the Security of Your Internet Connection

With so many potential weak points in a network, it’s hard to know if everything is properly secured. Is your connection secure, and how would you know where the flaws lie?

Here’s how to check if your network is secure so you can have peace of mind.

1. Test Your Firewall for Weaknesses

The first port of call for checking your internet security is the firewall. The firewall’s main job is to protect the ports on your computer from unwanted visitors. As such, it’s a good idea to test these ports to ensure unauthorized connections can’t creep through.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pay a hacker to attack your firewall. Services such as ShieldUp! prod at your computer’s ports and report back if it breaches your defenses. If your firewall doesn’t protect you, it’s worth trying a more secure one. We covered the top firewall programs for you to consider

7 Top Firewall Programs to Consider for Your Computer’s Security

7 Top Firewall Programs to Consider for Your Computer’s Security

Firewalls are crucial for modern computer security. Here are your best options and which one is right for you.
Read More

, so be sure to check them out if your current one fails you.

2. Test Your Antivirus Strength

Antivirus software secures your downloads to ensure nothing malicious slips onto your system. As a result, it’s a good idea to ensure it’s active and doing its job properly. A poor antivirus won’t catch threats as they appear and will let them infect your computer.

To safely test an antivirus, you can download an EICAR file. EICAR files are harmless by themselves, but antiviruses are trained to detect it as if it were a virus. The EICAR file can be downloaded on its own, or bundled up in layers of ZIP files in an effort to hide it from your antivirus. This makes EICAR files a great way to test your antivirus without exposing your PC to actual threats.

We covered more ways to check in the ways to safely test your antivirus

5 Ways to Safely Test Your Antivirus Software

5 Ways to Safely Test Your Antivirus Software

Is your antivirus software secure and effective? Here’s how to test it and see for yourself.
Read More

. If you’re wondering if your antivirus is up to par, be sure to try some of those methods.

3. Check Your Protocol While Browsing

A URL secured by the HTTPS protocol
Image Credit: Jirsak/Depositphotos

When you send data to a website that uses the HTTP protocol, it’s sent as what’s called “plaintext.” This means there’s nothing that encrypts the data between you and the target server. People can snoop on what you’re sending and note any private information. This makes HTTP dangerous to use on a public network, as you’re never sure if someone is logging your data.

On the flipside, HTTPS does encrypt your data. HTTPS is typically used when you log into a website, so your information is hidden. You can tell if a website uses HTTPS by looking at the URL; it should start with “HTTPS” if your connection is secure. Browsers may also show an icon next to the address bar to let you know your data is encrypted. Google Chrome, for example, will show a little padlock to inform you that it’s using HTTPS.

When you’re logging into a website, be sure to check the protocol. If it uses HTTPS, you’re safe to log in. If you don’t see the lock, the website is using HTTP and is unsafe. If this happens when you visit a popular website, there’s a good chance that malware has redirected you to a fake website that looks identical to the real thing. This is done so the hackers can get your login details and get into your real account on the actual website.

If you’re interested in using HTTPS on as many websites as possible, it’s worth looking at HTTPS Everywhere. This is an addon that’s compatible with most popular browsers and forces HTTPS on every website that supports it.

4. Secure Your Router From Hackers

Your router is the central hub for your home’s internet connection. It handles who can and can’t use your connection, which makes it a key target for hackers. As such, it’s worth securing your router to prevent any headaches in the future.

For one, make sure you’re using WPA2 for your Wi-Fi key. If you received your router semi-recently, there’s a very good chance it has been using WPA2 since you bought it. Older models will use WPA, or worse, WEP. There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t use WEP

What Is WEP Wi-Fi Encryption? Here’s Why You Should NOT Use It

What Is WEP Wi-Fi Encryption? Here’s Why You Should NOT Use It

Here’s why WEP encryption just isn’t good enough and why you should stop using it on your wireless routers at home.
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, so be sure to buy a new router if your one uses it.

Is your network secure from password hacking? If you’re unsure, double-check the passwords that your router uses. There are two you need to check: the password to access the network and the password that gives you admin controls over the router itself.

These days, routers use randomized passwords for every model to stop hacks. Older or cheaper models, however, will likely use default usernames and passwords, such as the classic “username: admin, password: admin” standard. If yours has this, be sure to change it immediately!

If you’re feeling paranoid, you can also change the SSID of your router. By default, your router broadcasts a name that gives away what model it is. If hackers find a flaw in your model of router, your SSID will reveal that you’re using a vulnerable router.

Giving your router a fun name hides your model name and makes it harder for hackers to crack your security.

5. Check Your VPN Connection for Leaks

IP Leak Testing a VPN in Spain

Is your internet connection secure from DNS leaks? If you use a VPN, it’s a good idea to double-check if it’s leaking information about your true whereabouts. If the term “VPN” doesn’t mean anything to you, you don’t need to worry about this step. Instead, why not check out some reasons why you need a VPN, and what it means

11 Reasons Why You Need a VPN and What It Is

11 Reasons Why You Need a VPN and What It Is

Virtual private networks can protect your privacy. We explain what exactly they do and why you should use a VPN.
Read More


If you do use a VPN, you can double-check that the service is hiding you using IP Leak. This will prod at your traffic to make sure that your VPN connection is secure, and doesn’t “leak” your real details. If you visit the website without the VPN, it will show you all the information it can deduce from your connection.

When you revisit the website after activating the VPN, it should show the VPN’s server details instead of your own. If you see your details, it means your VPN isn’t properly securing your connection.

Keeping Your Connection Safe

There are many ways in which a hacker can compromise your connection. There’s no need to fret, however; by performing some simple tests, you can make sure that your connection is safe to use.

If you want to take this a step further, why not learn some simple tips to secure your router

7 Simple Tips to Secure Your Router and Wi-Fi Network in Minutes

7 Simple Tips to Secure Your Router and Wi-Fi Network in Minutes

Is someone sniffing and eavesdropping on your Wi-Fi traffic, stealing your passwords and credit card numbers? Would you even know if somebody was? Probably not, so secure your wireless network with these 7 simple steps.
Read More


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The Best Time to Check Your Gutters Is in the Pouring Rain – LifeSavvy

house gutters in the pouring rain

You can get up on a ladder and inspect your gutters, but you don’t really know how they’re working until you see them under stress. Next time it’s pouring rain, grab an umbrella and go check them out.

No matter how closely you look at your gutters, downspouts, and surrounding water mitigation systems on a sunny day—even if you put a hose on them to test the flow—it just doesn’t compare to checking out how the system is working when rain is pouring down, monsoon-style, on your roof.

So the next time it’s raining—but not lightning! safety first!—head out in the yard with an umbrella and look for the following things:

  • Gutters: Is the water contained in the gutter, or is it spilling partially or completely over the side? Except for truly massive rainstorms, your gutters should be able to handle even hard rain.
  • Gutter and downspout seams: Is the water flowing over the seams and into the downspouts without leaking?
  • Downspout flow: Is the water moving freely out of the downspout?
  • Flow zones: Once it comes out of the downspout, where is the water going? Is it soaking into the ground at least several feet away from the house? Is it flowing away? Flowing back towards the foundation?

When the gutters are dry and you’re just trying to eyeball how the system might work, it’s too difficult to really see how it handles heavy rain. When it’s actually raining, however, you can see all the problem areas: the seams that need resealing, the spots where the level of the gutter is off and it flows back away from the downspout, where there’s a bad grade near your home that channels water against the foundation.

Make a note of any problem spots and when it’s dry and safe to do so, fix the problems or call in a professional to fix them for you.

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Check for Bed Bugs in Your Hotel Room or Apartment: 8 Tips and Tools

Few things strike fear into the hearts of renters and holiday-makers like the words “bed bugs.” When you stay somewhere, you want to have a good night’s sleep.

Unfortunately, bed bugs are small, insidious, and pervasive. Your rental experience or dream vacation can quickly turn into a disaster.

Fortunately, technology has made it easier to avoid, identify, and destroy these pests. Here are the best websites and apps that will help you decide if your hotel room, Airbnb, or apartment has bed bugs.

1. How to Check for Bed Bugs

How to Check for Bed Bugs in Your Apartment or Hotel

Before we run through the websites and apps, we want to do a basic rundown on the best ways to look for bed bugs.

If You’re Renting a New Apartment

  • Try to find online reviews about this apartment building, to see if other renters have complained.
  • Ask the rental company or landlord if there is a history of bed bugs. It’s important to do your diligence.

If You’re Booking a Hotel Room or Airbnb

  • Read online reviews to see if previous guests have complained about bed bugs.
  • Read up on the cancellation policies of the place you’re staying at. If you find bed bugs, you’ll need to rebook your room.

In both of these cases, but especially when entering a room with a used mattress:

  • Do not put your luggage on the bed. Check for bed bugs first.
  • Get a small flashlight and check the headboard, the mattress cover, and the piping of the mattress for adult or juvenile bed bugs.
  • Check the mattress for tiny bloodstains. This is a sign of the bed bugs feeding.

If luck prevails, your accommodations will be clean. But what if you do find bed bugs in your hotel room or apartment? What are your options?

2. What Should I Do If I Find Bed Bugs?

What Should I Do If I Find Bed Bugs?

We’re going to keep this section pretty short, as there’s a wealth of information and resources further down on the list. That said, there are a few basic things you should know.

If Your Hotel Has Bed Bugs

  • Go to the front desk and inform the concierge. Either ask them to move you to a new room or book another room at a different hotel yourself.
  • Be warned: Depending on their cancellation policy, you may or may not be charged for this room.

If Your Airbnb Has Bed Bugs

  • Let your host know that there are bed bugs on the premises.
  • If you read the fine print on Airbnb’s TOS, you’ll notice that you may not be able to receive a full refund on your booking if you cancel last minute. This will depend on the Airbnb cancellation policy for that specific accommodation.

If Your Apartment Has Bed Bugs

  • Finding bed bugs in your apartment is both the easiest and most intractable situation on this list.
  • If you’re looking for a place to rent and you haven’t signed a lease yet, you can simply say “thanks but no thanks” to the landlord, then move on.
  • If you’re living in an apartment and you find bed bugs, you need to:
    • Record evidence of the infestation.
    • Immediately report the issue to your landlord.
    • Make sure pest control is called, and a date is set up to deal with the issue.
    • Follow the steps recommended by pest control to remove the infected materials from your apartment.

As you can imagine, all these steps can get expensive very quickly. On the flip side—if you’re a host—a guest bringing bed bugs onto the premises is one of the many risks Airbnb hosts might face

The Risks and Rewards of Renting Out Your Apartment on Airbnb

The Risks and Rewards of Renting Out Your Apartment on Airbnb

Are you thinking about renting your spare rooms out on Airbnb? Here’s why you should, and also why you might think twice.
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This is why it’s so important to use tech-based tools ahead of time to rule out problematic buildings. Here are the websites and apps that you can use to make a more informed decision on where to stay.

Bed Bug TV is a YouTube channel devoted to all things bed bugs. With new videos posted on a semi-regular basis, Bed Bug TV acts as a resource for people who learn better through visual cues.

Along with its incredibly useful videos on how to find bed bugs, they also run the website BedBug Central, where you can find additional information on how to detect and contain these small insects.

Bedbugger.com Front Page

Bedbugger.com is a website devoted to everything and anything on bed bugs. It has been around for a long time, as you can probably tell from its very outdated “look.”

That said, you shouldn’t judge this website by its cover. It’s a useful tool for anyone looking to get a comprehensive understanding of how to get rid of bedbugs and how to protect yourself in the future.

On the website, there are links to useful tools to get rid of bed bugs, along with a community forum of fellow sufferers.

Bed Bug Registry Front Page

The Bedbug Registry is an outdated website that has been around since 2006, but it’s still a useful tool if you want to get an overall idea of “does my apartment have a history of bed bugs?”

Through self-reporting by users, the registry keeps track of bed bug incidents in the US and Canada. You can either look up specific addresses to see if there have been any reports, sign up for bed bug alerts, or check out the bed bug maps.

Please Note:

  • While users are still posting new alerts to this website, The Bedbug Registry website doesn’t look like it’s been updated in some time.
  • There have been extended periods where the search functionality and overall website have suffered errors.
  • The Bedbug Registry also doesn’t verify its reviews, as explained by its FAQ.

If you see multiple reports for bed bugs at the same location, you shouldn’t outright dismiss the report. But you should definitely check the date of the report, to see if it’s recent.

You should also double-check your sources when trying to determine the report’s veracity. The anonymity of the reporting system leaves The Bedbug Registry vulnerable to abuse from malicious actors or rival landlords.

Trip Advisor Search for Bed Bugs

We know, it seems strange to include TripAdvisor on this list! But TripAdvisor is one of the best, if not the best travel review website that you can use. It’s invaluable when looking up hotels and their issues with bed bugs.

The reviews on TripAdvisor—by and large—are strongly vetted. When you go into the comments section for a place that you want to stay at, chances are high that you can trust the information that’s there.

You can find out about the overall cleanliness of the building, along with any pest control issues that have been reported. Definitely use this website if the question “does my hotel have bed bugs” keeps you up at night.

BedBugs 101—run by the company Protect-a-bed—is a great little app for iOS and Android.

The app hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it’s a handy reference if you’re actively searching for a new apartment, signing into a hotel room, or checking into an Airbnb. The app contains a lot of easy-to-understand information on how to spot, detect, and disinfect an area with bed bugs.

The only downside to this app? Protect-a-bed is a mattress company, so they have an obvious incentive to promote their products. This might throw you off if you’re looking for an “unbiased” source of information.

Download: BedBugs 101 for Android | iOS (Free)

8. Bed Bug Field Guide

A full-fledged field guide, the simply-named “Bed Bug Field Guide” functions as a mini-encyclopedia on all things bed bugs. It’s a great tool for anyone who wants to get into the details of how to identify these insects and locate them.

Download: Bed Bug Field Guide for Android | iOS (Free)

Beware of Bed Bugs

With these apps and websites on hand—and armed with common sense—you should be able to avoid all but the most unexpected of infestations. You’ll also be well prepared for anything that may go wrong.

However, bed bugs are not the only thing you have to worry about when apartment hunting. You’ll need to actually find the apartment itself: one that has the right location and amenities.

If you’re searching for a new apartment but have had no luck, you can narrow down your search by using some of the best apartment finder websites

The 8 Best Apartment Finder Websites and Apartment Search Sites

The 8 Best Apartment Finder Websites and Apartment Search Sites

Looking for the perfect house to rent in a crowded city? Look no further than these powerful apartment finder sites.
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Does Your Computer Have a Virus? Here’s How to Check

Concept image of a virus or another type of malware popping up on a laptop.

Windows computers sometimes do get viruses and other malware, but not every slow or misbehaving PC is infected by malware. Here’s how to check if you actually have a virus—and whether that suspicious process is dangerous or not.

What Are the Signs of a Virus?

Poor performance, application crashes, and computer freezes can sometimes be the sign of a virus or another type of malware wreaking havoc. However, that’s not always the case: There are many other causes of problems that can slow down your PC.

Likewise, just because your PC is running fine doesn’t mean it doesn’t have malware. The viruses of a decade ago were often pranks that ran wild and used a lot of system resources. Modern malware is more likely to lurk silently and covertly in the background, trying to evade detection so it can capture your credit card numbers and other personal information. In other words, modern-day malware is often created by criminals just to make money, and well-crafted malware won’t cause any noticeable PC problems at all.

Still, sudden poor PC performance may be one sign you have malware. Strange applications on your system may also indicate malware—but, once again, there’s no guarantee malware is involved. Some applications pop up a Command Prompt window when they update, so strange windows flashing onto your screen and quickly disappearing may be a normal part of the legitimate software on your system.

There’s no one-size-fits-all piece of evidence to look for without actually scanning your PC for malware. Sometimes malware causes PC problems, and sometimes it’s well-behaved while sneakily accomplishing its goal in the background. The only way to know for sure whether you have malware is to examine your system for it.

RELATED: 10 Quick Ways to Speed Up a Slow PC Running Windows 7, 8, or 10

How to Check if a Process Is a Virus or Not

You might be wondering if your computer has a virus because you’ve seen a strange process in the Windows Task Manager, which you can open by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc or by right-clicking the Windows taskbar and selecting “Task Manager.”

Opening the Windows Task Manager from Windows 10's taskbar.

It’s normal to see quite a few processes here—click “More Details” if you see a smaller list. Many of these processes have strange, confusing names. That’s normal. Windows includes quite a few background processes, your PC manufacturer added some, and applications you install often add them.

Windows 10's Task Manager showing running processes.

Badly behaved malware will often use a large amount of CPU, memory, or disk resources and may stand out here. If you’re curious about whether a specific program is malicious, right-click it in the Task Manager and select “Search Online” to find more information.

If information about malware appears when you search the process, that’s a sign you likely have malware. However, don’t assume that your computer is virus-free just because a process looks legitimate. A process could lie and say it’s “Google Chrome” or “chrome.exe,” but it may just be malware impersonating Google Chrome that’s located in a different folder on your system. If you’re concerned you might have malware, we recommend performing an anti-malware scan.

The Search Online option isn’t available on Windows 7. If you use Windows 7, you’ll have to plug the name of the process into Google or another search engine instead.

Searching for a process's name online from the Windows Task Manager.

RELATED: What’s the Best Antivirus for Windows 10? (Is Windows Defender Good Enough?)

How to Scan Your Computer for Viruses

By default, Windows 10 is always scanning your PC for malware with the integrated Windows Security application, also known as Windows Defender. You can, however, perform manual scans.

On Windows 10, open your Start menu, type “Security,” and click the “Windows Security” shortcut to open it. You can also head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Open Windows Security.

Opening the Windows Security application from Windows 10's Settings.

To perform an anti-malware scan, click “Virus & threat protection.”

Opening the Virus & threat protection settings in Windows Security.

Click “Quick Scan” to scan your system for malware. Windows Security will perform a scan and give you the results. If any malware is found, it will offer to remove it from your PC automatically.

Manually scanning for viruses and other malware in Windows Security.

If you want a second opinion—always a good idea if you’re concerned you might have malware, and your primary antivirus doesn’t find anything—you can perform a scan with a different security application, too.

We like and recommend Malwarebytes, which pairs well with Windows Security to provide an extra layer of protection for your PC. The free version of Malwarebytes will let you perform manual scans to check for viruses and other malware on your PC. The paid version adds real-time protection—but, if you’re just looking to test a computer for malware, the free version will work perfectly.

Scanning for malware with Malwarebytes on Windows.

Windows 7 doesn’t include built-in antivirus software. For free antivirus, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials and run a scan with it. This provides similar protection to the Windows Defender security software built into Windows 10.

If your antivirus application finds malware but has trouble removing it, try performing a scan in Safe Mode. You can also ensure you don’t have malware on your PC by resetting Windows 10 to its default state.

RELATED: How to Remove Viruses and Malware on Your Windows PC

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6 Free Hash Checkers to Check the Integrity of Any File

At times when you download files online, you are provided with a file hash to check the integrity of the file. Rightly or wrongly, most people ignore file hash verification, the assumption being that if the file is malicious, the site owner would realize and take it down. That or their antivirus would stomp out the suspicious download before it executes.

Wondering how you check the file hash? Here are six tools you can use to verify the file you’re downloading is safe.

1. Check File Hash Using PowerShell

Handily, Windows comes with an integrated file hash checker. It is a PowerShell function, and it is easy to use. The PowerShell file hash check function supports SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, MACTripleDES, MD5, and RIPEMD160.

Here’s how you check a file hash using PowerShell.

First, press the Windows Key, then type PowerShell. Select the best match to open PowerShell. The basic file hash check command is:

get-filehash FILEPATH

For example, “get-filehash c:test.txt” which gives you following output:

powershell getfile hash check

The default hash output is in SHA256. If you want a different hash value for the file, use the following command:

get-filehash -Algorithm [HASH TYPE] FILEPATH

For example, “get-filehash -Algorithm SHA384 c:test.txt” now gives the following output:

powershell getfile hash check sha387

The time it takes to generate a hash depends on the size of the file and the algorithm you use.

hash generator generate file hash

SecurityExploded’s Hash Generator is an easy to use hash generation tool that accommodates a wide range of hashing algorithms. The free hash tool can generate hashes for MD5, SHAxxx, Base64, LM, NTLM, CRC32, ROT13, RIPEMD, ALDER32, HAVAL, and more.

It is one of the most comprehensive hashing tools around.

What’s great about Hash Generator is that you can use it for any number of situations. Want a hash for a specific piece of text? Just copy the text into Hash Generator. Want to create a file hash quickly in File Explorer? Use the Hash Generator option in your right-click context menu.

You can also drag and drop a file into Hash Generator, and it’ll start working immediately.

Download: Hash Generator for Windows (Free)

hashmyfiles folder generate hashes

Ever-present software developers Nirsoft’s HashMyFiles is a handy portable hash generator. Setting it aside from most tools, HashMyFiles allows for batch hash generation. You can load up HashMyFiles with a list of files you want the hash for, set it to work, and receive hashes for the entire list.

HashMyFiles will display hashes for MD5, SHAxxx, and CRC32. Like Hash Generator, you can add a HashMyFiles entry to your right-click context menu. However, HashMyFiles allows you to add an entire folder for hashing via the context menu, rather than the single file option of Hash Generator.

Download: HashMyFiles for Windows (32-bit) | Windows (64-bit) (Both Free)

hashtab extra hashes comparison

HashTab is a different take on file hash generation. Rather than using a separate interface to generate your file hashes, HashTab adds a tab to your Properties menu. Then, instead of dragging and dropping a file into the program, you right-click the file, select Properties, and open the File Hashes tab.

HashTab generates hashes for MD5, CRC32, and SHA1 by default. The HashTab options allow you to add hashes for over 25 additional hashes, including the SHA family, RIPEMD, TIGER, and WHIRLPOOL.

You can add more hashes to the File Hashes tab by opening the Properties menu, selecting the File Hashes tab, and selecting Settings. Check the hashes you want to add and press OK.

Another nice HashTab feature is the integrated file checker. You can cross-reference any file from the File Hashes tab using the Compare a File menu option.

Download: HashTab for Windows (Free Personal License)

QuickHash hash generation

QuickHash is an open-source hash generator for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is also one of the most fully featured hash generation and checking options on this list.

Although the number of hashes you can use is small—just MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA512, and xxHash64—Quick Hash has a heap of additional functions.

QuickHash can hash an entire folder, compare two individual files, compare entire directories, or an entire disk. Of course, the latter takes a substantial amount of time due to the size, but the option is nice to see. You can also work through a text document line by line, hashing each one as you go.

Download: QuickHash for Windows | macOS | Linux (Debian) (Free)

Multi Hasher hash generation and checking

MultiHasher presents users with a wide array of hash generation and checking tools in a single package. Like many of the best hash generation and checking programs, MultiHasher has several hashing options. You can drag and drop a single file or an entire folder for hashing or generate a hash for a text string.

MultiHasher outputs hashes in MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, or RIPEMD-160.

MultiHasher also has a feature I haven’t seen in any other file hash generator and checker: it integrates the malicious file checking database of VirusTotal. You can check the hash of the downloaded file matches the download source, as well as inform VirusTotal of anything untoward or malicious at the same time.

To use the VirusTotal query, select a file hash from your list, then head to Tools > Query VirusTotal.

Download: MultiHasher for Windows (Free)

How Do You Verify the Integrity of a File?

Checking the hash of the downloaded file is a quick and easy way to verify that your file is safe. If the downloaded file is malicious or has been tampered with in any way, the resulting hash will differ from the hash the website gives you.

Of course, not all websites offer you the chance to cross-reference a file hash to ensure file integrity.

In all honesty, most people don’t take the time to vet their downloads, and as such, many major websites don’t offer file hashing comparisons.

Also, many websites don’t need to offer specific file hashing because they use integrated driver signing or a Certificate Authority to sign their software. In these cases, the operating system won’t allow the software to install or run as it does not match an officially recognized software signature.

However, the system is far from perfect, which is why many people prefer to cross-reference their software using a file hash generation and checking tool. Want to understand more about encryption and hashing? Here are ten basic encryption terms everyone should know and understand

10 Basic Encryption Terms Everyone Should Know and Understand

10 Basic Encryption Terms Everyone Should Know and Understand

Everyone’s talking about encryption, but if you find yourself lost or confused, here are some key encryption terms to know that’ll bring you up to speed.
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7 Reasons to Check Out Microsoft Launcher on Android

While the Windows Phone platform is long gone, you can still enjoy some of the Windows experience on a mobile device.

One of the best ways to do this is through Microsoft Launcher. It’s an Android app that replaces the default home screen on your phone or tablet. For anyone who is more tightly integrated with Microsoft’s suite of services rather than Google’s, it’s definitely worth checking out.

But what are the key features of Microsoft Launcher? What benefits does it offer over your default Android launcher? And how do you install it on your device? Keep reading to learn more.

Why Does Microsoft Launcher Exist?

Historically, Microsoft’s relationship with mobile operating systems has not been a happy one. Windows Phone flopped, the company’s acquisition of Nokia was ill-conceived, and its early offerings on both Android and iOS were lackluster.

More recently, however, the company has finally started to hit its stride in the mobile department. There’s an acceptance that Microsoft will never be able to muscle in on the market share of Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems. As a consequence, they’ve come up with alternative strategies.

Android development has become a central pillar of those strategies. Microsoft now sells Android devices in its own online shop, and almost all the Microsoft apps on Google Play have received complete overhauls. Pinning everything together is the fully redesigned Microsoft Launcher.

How to Download and Set Up Microsoft Launcher

You can install Microsoft Launcher directly from the Google Play Store. The installation process is the same as any other app. And unlike lots of other alternative Android launchers, Microsoft Launcher is entirely free to download and use.

When you run the launcher for the first time, there’s a basic setup process you’ll need to work through. The launcher will prompt you to either use your current wallpaper or Bing’s daily choice, select your favorite apps that you want to appear on your home screen, and decide whether you want to use the app as the default launcher.

Download: Microsoft Launcher (Free)

Why Use Microsoft Launcher?

What are the standout features of Microsoft Launcher, and why does it deserve your attention?

1. A New Feed

The biggest selling point of Microsoft Launcher is its integration with the company’s other apps and services.

At the center of that experience is the Feed. Swipe left on the home screen to access it. The Feed has three views (reachable via the tabs at the bottom of the screen). They are Glance, News, and Timeline.


Glance is a card-based list of important items you want to keep an eye on. It will show calendar appointments, upcoming tasks, your Sticky Notes from Windows 10, recent documents, and more.

Eleven widgets are available in total. They are Microsoft Family, Calendar, Tasks, Sticky Notes, Cortana, Screen Time, Wunderlist, Recent activities, Frequently used apps, People, and Documents.


The News tab is a built-in version of the Microsoft News app. You can select the country whose news you want to see, then customize the feed with the topics that interest you. Sadly, there is no way to add custom topics for niche interests.


The Timeline tab provides a complete list of all activity across any device connected to your Microsoft account. This includes Windows, Surface tablets, Office 365, and more.

If you tap on a card, it will take you directly to the file, app, or action that it refers to. As such, the feature is really useful if you’re the type of person who is often on-the-go and jumps between different screens to stay productive.

2. Cortana

As you’d expect, Cortana is also a fully integrated part of Microsoft Launcher. As with Windows, simply saying “Hey Cortana” will fire it up.

You can then use Cortana for nearly all the basic productivity tasks you’d want to accomplish on your phone. Try it for setting reminders, creating tasks, providing daily agendas, reading out messages and emails, and providing directions.

3. A New Dock

Microsoft Launcher introduces a new dock feature. It acts as a go-between for your most-used apps on the home screen and the list of all apps in the app drawer.

You can use the dock to add a combination of apps, contacts, widgets, operating system shortcuts (such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and brightness), and search tools. You have control over the number of items in the dock, as well as various display options.

4. Customizable Home Screen

The home screen customization options available in Microsoft’s launcher are much more extensive than the stock Android launcher.

You can adjust the icon layout and size, change the way folders appear, flip between scrolling and swiping to change pages, lock the home screen to prevent changes, and lots more. The launcher also supports existing app widgets.

To make alterations, fire up the Microsoft Launcher app from the app drawer, or open the dock and tap on the Settings icon.

5. Customizable App Drawer

Like most launchers, if you swipe up on your home screen, you will open your app drawer. By default, it will show all the apps running on your device. However, Microsoft Launcher offers more customization options than the stock experience.

If you tap on the three dots in the upper-right corner, you can switch between a vertical grid, horizontal grid, or alphabetical list. You can also toggle the recent apps view on/off, customize the number of rows and columns (you can fit up to 12 apps on a single row), and hide apps that you don’t want other people to see.

6. Multiple Themes

Microsoft Launcher comes with a fully functional light theme, dark theme, and transparent theme. You can also tweak other aspects of the theme, such as the blur effect, opacity, and accent colors.

7. Gestures

You can specify how you want gestures to work on your device in line with the new features made available on Microsoft Launcher.

Gestures are available for Cortana, the dock, your Feed, your Microsoft account, and Bing wallpaper rotation, as well as the usual slew of general OS shortcuts.

More Android Launchers to Consider

Microsoft Launcher definitely has a lot to offer, so give it a try if you’re bored with what’s on your phone now. But if you don’t care for Microsoft Launcher, you have a number of Android launchers to choose from.

Sure, there are some old-timers like Nova Launcher and Smart Launcher that are as popular as ever, but lots of newcomers are also worth your attention. To have a look at some of these, check out our roundup of the best Android launchers

Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare the Best!

Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare the Best!

These awesome launchers will have your Android device feeling brand new.
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How Often Should You Check Your Credit Score? – LifeSavvy

a tablet computer with a credit score portal visible on a desktop covered in office supplies

When you’re on a mission to get your credit score up a few points so you can make a big purchase, it’s tempting to check your credit score every day. Unfortunately, you’re only going to make yourself crazy. Here’s how score updating works and how often you should take a peek.

Credit Bureaus don’t require creditors to report their information by a specific day each month, and many lenders submit batches of information to one or more credit reporting agency once per month, which slows down processing. Credit reporting agencies update the information regularly but knowing the exact day the change will show up on your score is nearly impossible.

If you have a free credit score report with your credit card company or loan company, that number is likely only updated once a month as well, so checking more often could lead to frustration.

Rapid Rescoring

If you need your credit score updated quickly (because you’re trying to get a loan), you may be able to get a rapid rescoring. A lender (like a mortgage broker) has to request the rapid rescore for you. There may be a fee for this service, but the credit reporting agency can update your score in days instead of weeks.

Where to Check Your Credit Score

Many people don’t know their credit score isn’t part of the credit report. While federal law requires credit reporting agencies to provide you free access to your credit report at least once per year, they are not required to provide your credit score.

If you want to access your credit score free, you have a few options, including your credit card company. Some companies offer access to your credit score free. The number is usually updated once per month. You can check if your lender offers this by logging into your account online or calling their customer service number.

Another option is to utilize one of the free credit score services like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. Both services offer email updates if something new appears on your credit score and they offer tips for improving your score. My husband and I signed up for both, and we also have a free credit score with our credit card account. We’ve noticed that there can be a significant difference between the scores you get from Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, and the number a lender shows you.

If you’re planning to apply for a major loan (like a mortgage or a car loan), consider talking with the lender beforehand to find out which scoring system they use. Chatting with your lender in advance can help ensure your score aligns with the system the lender uses.

You can also see your credit score if a lender approves or denies you access to credit based on your credit score information. Lenders are required to notify you why they made the decision they did. Your credit score will be included in the disclosure letter they send you.

If you’d prefer to get your number straight from the horse’s mouth, you can purchase your score from any of the three credit reporting agencies or FICO.

While raising your credit score may seem like an emergency, it’s a bit like baking bread. It takes a little time to rise. So be patient, and stay focused on making smart financial decisions in the meantime.

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Check Website Traffic With These 7 Top Tools

Checking your website’s traffic isn’t hard with the right tools. But checking another website’s traffic? A lot more difficult.

Most sites don’t publish their stats for public viewing, so accurate traffic numbers are hard to come by. At best, you can look for a website’s “advertising page,” which may include marketing materials, demographic information, and yes, monthly traffic data.

But when that’s not available, your only option is to rely on a website traffic estimator. Since these are never 100 percent accurate, we only recommend using them to compare traffic of sites in relative terms—and even then, you should only compare estimates from the same tool.

1. Check Website Traffic With SimilarWeb

this is a screen capture of SimilarWeb a web traffic analyzer

SimilarWeb is my estimator of choice when I want to see what kind of traffic a website gets.

The real value of SimilarWeb is its Top Website Rankings page where you can see the top ranking sites according to category and country (limited to the top 50 for free users), but it also lets you search for a specific domain and see that particular site’s stats.

When you look up a site, you get three points of data right away: global rank, country rank, and category rank. These are awesome for website competition at a glance. But if you scroll down, you can see the engagement stats: monthly traffic, average visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate.

Keep scrolling and you’ll see a bunch of other details, such as traffic source breakdown, top referring sites, social media traffic, audience demographics, and more. All of it’s available for free, solidifying this as the best website traffic estimator tool.

2. The Most Accurate Website Stats: Quantcast

This is a screen capture of Quantcast which is a traffic analyzer

Quantcast is probably the most accurate traffic estimator tool currently available, but it comes with two important caveats: first, its accuracy is spotty from site to site, and second, its data set is severely limited compared to sites like SimilarWeb or Alexa.

This is due to how Quantcast works: a website must set up Quantcast’s data collection feed, which allows Quantcast to start collecting data and estimating traffic for that site. Quantcast cannot accurately estimate traffic for sites that don’t participate. Therefore, you won’t find stats for most lesser-known websites on Quantcast.

That being said, when a site is tracked, Quantcast offers a lot of amazing data to pore over. The demographic breakdown is especially insightful, which includes visitor ethnicity, shopping interests, media interests, occupations, and political affiliations.

3. The Best Website Traffic Checker: Ahrefs

This is a screen capture of Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a powerful search engine optimization tool for webmasters and is mainly used for mining all kinds of search traffic-related data—both for your own sites and for competitors’ sites.

Not only can you see accurate measures of a site’s monthly search traffic, but you can see detailed breakdowns of where that traffic is coming from and what kinds of keywords are bringing the traffic. You can also see backlink information, such as which other sites are linking to the site, how often they’re linking, and how that data changes over time.

Unfortunately, while Ahrefs is the most powerful tool in this list, that power comes at a price. There’s no free plan, but you can try a seven-day no-restrictions trial for $7. After that, it costs at least $99 per month for the lowest plan. It’s expensive, but the data is good.

4. Track Website Traffic With SEMRush

This is a screen capture of SEMRush which is a traffic analysis website

SEMRush is primarily a search engine optimization tool, meaning you’d use it as a website owner to help find and target keywords that bring you more search engine traffic. However, as a regular web surfer, you can use it to see what kind of search traffic a site gets.

Just to be clear, SEMRush won’t give you absolute traffic numbers—if that’s what you’re looking for, turn to SimilarWeb or Quantcast. SEMRush is best when you only care about search traffic and you want to compare search traffic patterns between sites. For that, SEMRush tends to be the most accurate.

SEMRush shows you top keywords for a given site, but on top of that, you can see actual numbers and search engine positions for those keywords. You can also filter the stats by country, allowing you to see search patterns on a regional basis.

Note that SEMRush is a freemium tool. As a free user, you get 10 free searches per day and only get access to a basic overview. You’ll need a paid plan to unlock higher limits and more data, and they start at $100 per month.

5. See Basic Site Traffic With Alexa

This is a screen capture of Alexa which can track web traffic

Alexa is probably the first tool that popped into mind when you went looking for a website traffic estimation. Unfortunately, Alexa has dumbed down its free option so much over the years that it’s almost useless now.

Search for any website and you’ll see its Global Alexa Rank and Country Alexa Rank, plus a simple chart showing its rise and fall in ranking over the past year. You’ll also see limited demographics and keywords information. It’s quite stingy but suffices if you just want to compare two sites and see which one is more popular.

If you want to see more than the limited data you get as a free Alexa user, you’ll need to upgrade to the Insight plan—and that costs $79 per month. You can sign up for a seven-day free trial, but you’ll have to enter your credit card details and make sure you cancel before the free trial ends.

This is a screen capture of SitePrice a website traffic analyzer

SitePrice is actually a website value calculator and not a traffic estimator, but it does include traffic estimates in its value calculations. When you look up a site, just scroll down to see the estimated traffic and revenue stats, including daily pageviews, daily unique visitors, and daily ad revenues.

You’ll notice that these values are way off from what you’d find on, say, SimilarWeb or Quantcast. That’s because SitePrice pulls its data from several sources (including SimilarWeb and Quantcast) and averages them to get a more “accurate” reading. It’s up to you whether you trust it more or less.

Other nifty stats include search engine visibility, backlink counts, domain age, and top competitors. Also, remember that this tool is just an estimator so don’t take its website valuations at face value.

This is a screen capture of Traffic Estimate which is a traffic analyzer

Traffic Estimate may not be the best-looking estimator tool, but it serves its purpose in a pinch. The estimation graph shows you a website’s traffic patterns over the past year, and you get a numerical traffic value for the past 30 days. It’s pretty simplistic—perhaps too much.

Scroll down and you’ll see data on which keywords are targeted by the site. This is helpful to explore which other sites are the main competitors for this site. There isn’t much beyond that. For best results, use Traffic Estimate as a supplementary tool in conjunction with the others on this list.

How Popular Are Your Favorite Websites?

You’ll notice that two oft-recommended tools are missing from this list: Alexa and Compete.

If you want to see traffic estimates for websites using Alexa, you’ll need to sign up for the Advanced plan which costs $149 per month, and that’s way too expensive when you can get similar estimates elsewhere for free. As for Compete, it was shut down at the end of 2016.

Now that you know how to estimate a website’s traffic, why not check out our roundup of the best websites on the internet

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The 100+ Best Websites on the Internet

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 and see how popular they are?

Image Credit: Rawpixel/Depositphotos

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10 Ways to Check Which Linux Version You’re Running

Which version of Linux are you running? Ubuntu? Arch? Red Hat? No, that’s not what you really want to know, is it? What you want is the actual Linux version, or even the Linux kernel version.

After all, it’s not displayed anywhere, so how could you know? Here are nine commands to help check the Linux version and the Kernel version of your current distro.

OS Version or Kernel: What’s the Difference?

The first thing to check is whether you’re looking for the OS version or the Kernel version.

For example, if you’re using Ubuntu, you might want to check the version of the operating system. It could be 19.04, but is there a subsequent built number?

On the other hand, you may need to know the Linux kernel version. The Kernel is the core of Linux, the code that lets the software communicate with the hardware. Our guide to the Linux kernel

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What Is a Kernel in Linux and How Do You Check Your Version?

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will explain this in more detail.

Show Your Linux Version on the Desktop

In addition to the nine command line options below, you can also check your Linux version from the desktop. This will differ depending on the desktop environment and operating system. However, if you want to check your Ubuntu version, your CentOS version, or whatever, without the command line, you can.

For example, to check your Ubuntu version from the desktop, go to System Settings > Details. Here, you’ll see the distro version you’re running. While this won’t give you as much detail as the command line, it is enough to confirm your Linux version.

How to Check Your Linux Distro and Kernel Version

As you’ll have gathered, the desktop will only give you the basic information concerning your Linux version. For more details, you’ll need to rely on the command line.

Various commands can be used to reveal interesting information about your Linux system. Along with the details of your Linux version, you can find out about the distribution release, codename, and Kernel. This information can prove useful for several reasons. You night need it for troubleshooting, for example, or simply to check if your Linux version has updated.

The following nine commands let you check your Linux version and Kernel version from the terminal.

1. Easily Show Your Linux OS Version With cat /etc/os-release

Check your Linux version with osrelease

Your first option is to check the os-release file in the /etc/ directory. This will provide quite a detailed account of your Linux operating system’s version. We can check this quickly using the cat (concatenate) command, which can be used to display or create new files.

cat /etc/os-release

Our example was tested with Ubuntu. Here, the OS name, full version, version ID, and codenames are listed.

2. Another Option to Check Your Linux Version: cat /etc/*release

Check your Linux version

Slightly more information can be gathered using the *release file instead. This displays all information from files ending with the word “release” in the /etc/ directory, concatenated into a single output.

cat /etc/*release

The output is largely the same as previously, but with additional distribution information.

3. Get Your Linux Version: cat /etc/issue

use the issue command to check your Linux version

For a more straightforward response to your request for a Linux OS version number, try this cat command.

cat /etc/issue

Here you’ll see the distro name and version. Simple!

4. Find Your Linux Distro Version: lsb_release -a

Use the lsb_release command to check your Linux version

The lsb_release command will display Linux Standard Base (lsb) information about your Linux distro.

lsb_release -a

Notice the name of the distributor, as well as the distro name, release, and codename. Again, this is a straightforward command with compact, clear results.

5. Display the Linux Kernel Version With hostnamectl

Check your version with hostnamectl

The hostnamectl command can be used to change the system hostname but used alone will display Linux version details.


Using the command displays the hostname of the device, along with machine ID, and architecture. You’ll also find the Linux version and Linux kernel version displayed with this command.

6. Use uname -r to Check the Linux Kernel Version

Check your Linux kernel version with uname -r

Although the previous command displays details about the Linux kernel version, if that’s all want, try uname -r instead.

uname -r

This will output the version number for your distro’s Linux kernel. There’s no context to this, just the version number.

7. More Linux Kernel Details With uname -mrs

Check your inux kernel version with uname

Additional information about your current distro’s Linux version can be found by expanding the -r switch to -mrs.

languaguname -mrs

This has nothing to do with your wife or mother. Rather, the -mrs command provides information about the Kernel name and hardware version. In our example, we’ve run the command on a Raspberry Pi 4, which displays armv71. A 32-bit or 64-bit Intel/AMD-based architecture would show x86_64 instead.

8. Display More Linux Kernel Version Information: uname -a

Check your Linux kernel version with uname -a

Even more information can be displayed about your Linux kernel with the -a command extension.

uname -a

Using this, you’ll see the device name, Linux kernel version, release date, architecture, and full OS name (typically GNU/Linux

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9. Detailed Linux Kernel Information With cat /proc/version

Check your Linux kernel version in the command line

The final option to check your Linux kernel version is another cat command. This uses the version file in the /proc directory.

cat /proc/version

You’ll find the version number of your current Linux kernel, compiled from information from the /proc/sys/kernel/ostype, /proc/sys/kernel/osrelease, and /proc/sys/kernel/version files. As noted earlier, the cat command concatenates information from various files, which is what is happening here.

Now You Know What Version of Linux You’re Running

With nine command line options and the details you can find in your distro’s chosen desktop environment, you should now know how to find your Linux OS version. Checking your Linux distro is easy—if you know how! Similarly, tracking down the details of your Linux kernel version should now also be clear.

Want to do more in the Linux terminal? Become a Linux command line master with these tips and tricks

Become a Linux Command Line Master With These Tips and Tricks

Become a Linux Command Line Master With These Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re brand new to Linux, or a seasoned Linux veteran, the command line offers a bevy of uses. Try these tips for mastering the command line.
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