We cover a lot of tips every day on Lifehacker, but we get our greatest pleasure from putting together in-depth, step-by-step guides. From Windows 7 to Hackintoshes and beyond, here’s a look back at our most popular how-to features of ’09.
How to Do Everything with Windows 7
Windows 7 was a huge part of 2009, and the Lifehacker crowd was eager to try it out early on—but not necessarily ready to ditch XP or Vista outright to do so. This guide got you up and running with a Windows 7 and Vista/XP dual-boot system. Once you got it up and running, ourcomplete guide to Windows 7 got you started with the most important parts of tackling your new operating system. We toured Windows 7’s best, most underhyped features, schooled you on its impressive list of cool new shortcuts, and detailed how to pull a little XP mode in Windows 7. It was a pretty good year for Windows users.
The Apple tax is always a little higher than a lot of people are willing to pay, so this year’s guide to building a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, start to finish, followed up by the simplified guide to install Snow Leopard on your Hackintosh PC, no hacking required made a pretty big splash.
Whether you’re verifying the security of your own network or up to something a little more dubious in nature, this guide to cracking a Wi-Fi network’s WEP password with BackTrack—followed by this WEP cracking redux post that took WEP cracking out of the command line realm proved popular.
Google Wave made a serious splash this year, and while a lot of people still aren’t sure how to best put it to use, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of interesting technology going on there. We did our best to help you understand how you might use it yourself, starting with our Google Wave first look, moving onto a few best use cases for Wave, and rounding it our with a guide to Wave keyboard shortcuts, filters, searches, and more with our Google Wave 101 guide.
Feel like your Mac isn’t the speedy little box it used to be? Our guide to cleaning up and reviving your bloated, sluggish Mac will get your machine back to running like a champ. (PC users, we’ve got you covered here.)
Windows users had the Windows 7 release, Mac users had the Snow Leopard upgrade, and this guide detailed how to prep your Mac for Snow Leopard for a painless transition.
The future of home entertainment isn’t in your cable box as you know it today—it’s in powerful home theater PCs. There was a time when you’d need a big, noisy box next to your computer if you wanted to impress with your HTPC, but this guide to building a silent, standalone XBMC media center on the cheap turns an inexpensive, tiny nettop computer into a standalone XBMC set-top box.
Ever been interested in building your own PC from the bottom up but always been a little scared of rolling up your sleeves with computer hardware? Building a computer from scratch is easier than you think, and it’s also one of the most satisfying projects a tech enthusiast can tackle.
Whether you just want to do some simple scripting or you want to start down the road to an entirely new skill set, our 101 guide for teaching yourself how to code is a great place to get started.
If you didn’t already fix every one of your relatives’ computers over Thanksgiving, don’t worry—the holidays are quickly approaching, and you know your the resident IT person for your friends and family. Our guide to fixing your relatives’ terrible computer can help.Photo by Justin Marty.
If our above guide to building a silent, standalone XBMC media center wasn’t quite your bag of chips, consider our step-by-step guide to cutting the cable for good with Boxee and Apple TV. You remember Boxee, right? They’re the killer media center folks who had to fight it out with Hulu all year, and they just updated with an impressive new look and feel. Photo by philcampbell.
Twitter may be taking the world by storm, but it’s often- and much-maligned by many of our readers. (47 percent of you say you’d never even use it.) Say what you will about tweeting, but if you’re not using Twitter for at least search, we think you’re missing out.
A whopping 40% of the used hard drives on eBay contain easily recoverable personal data. This guide details how to properly erase your physical media when you get rid of anything containing a hard drive so your personal data doesn’t end up in someone else’s hands. Photo by Robert Scoble.
Spend a lot of time on the road and out of the comfort of your home or office? Our definitive guide to finding free Wi-Fi can help you find some fast internet while you’re out of your home territory. Photo by ??Florian.
We play around a lot with various pieces of new software and even entire operating systems around these parts. Play it safe or just play around with our beginner’s guide to creating virtual machines with VirtualBox, a free, open-source virtualization tool.
The web is an amazing place. It can also be an extremely annoying place. Skip the annoying flashing ads, turn off auto-playing movies and sounds, skip the auto-refreshing pages, and more with our guide to fixing the web’s biggest annoyances with Firefox.
Ever wanted to try your hand at building a web site you’ve been dreaming about—but have no experience with web development? We’ve been there (I was proud to release MixTape.me earlier this year), and this guide for building a web site from scratch with no experience will point you in the right direction.
Your data is the most important thing you’ve got on your computer—in fact, it’s everything. If you aren’t backing it up correctly, one bad move and all that information—and all those memories—goes the way of the dodo. If you’re not sure if you’re backing up the right way, this how-to will steer you in the right direction.
If your inbox is overflowing and you feel like you’ve lost control, these 10 must-have Gmail filters will get you started slicing and dicing your inbox into a more manageable place.
If you spend a lot of time outside your home or office, your smartphone is likely your lifeline to the rest of the world. Problem is, your pesky battery can die pretty quickly if you’re not mindful of how you’re using it. Follow our exhaustive guide to saving your smartphone’s battery and you may be able to squeeze a few more hours out of that gadget of yours. Photo by .
If you’ve got a Wii and want to undertake a little homebrew fun, the Twilight Princess hack used to be the only way to go. Not so anymore, and our guide to hacking your Wii for homebrew without Twilight Princess walks you through how to go from zero to homebrew step by step.
Got a favorite Lifehacker guide on or off this list that we covered in ’09? Let’s hear about it in the comments. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can also gander back at the most popular how-to features of 2008.
Send an email to Adam Pash, the author of this post, at email@example.com