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How to Back Up All Your Photos with Amazon’s Prime Photos

Millions of people are Amazon Prime subscribers, but many of them don’t realize that in addition to free shipping and Prime Instant Video, they also get unlimited photo storage for all their computers and mobile devices.

We’ve been encouraging people to get more out of their Amazon account by taking advantage of all the extra features—and unlimited photo storage is definitely a feature that Prime subscribers should take advantage of. Even if you already have a total PC backup system in place, or you’re taking advantage of another type of backup service for your photos like iCloud, we’d still encourage you to take advantage of Prime Photo storage—after all, you’ve already paid for it, and you can never have your irreplaceable photos backed up in too many places.

Thanks to a combination of manual upload through the Prime Photos site, the Amazon Drive + Photos app for Windows and Mac computers, and mobile apps for iOS and Android, it’s absolutely trivial to get your photos into Prime Photo and keep them up to date. Let’s take a look at each method, starting with the no-software-needed manual way.

Manual Upload: Drag, Drop, and Done

Manual upload is a great place to start, because to get there, you have to log into our Amazon Prime Photos control panel and become familiar with the service. To do so, simply visit amazon.com/photos and log in with your Amazon credentials.

If this is your first time every using the service, you’ll see a blank slate like the one seen below.

You can select the “Upload Photos” button to use your operating system’s file explore to select photos or, more conveniently, simply drag and drop photos right onto the browser pane.

Either way, you’ll see an upload meter in the lower left corner. Once it wraps up, you’re free to browse your photos.

In addition to the noting the upload is complete, also note the “People” tag in the sidebar, as well as the “Things” tags above it. Amazon’s Photo service has improved significantly since their clunky offerings in years past, now with sophisticated face recognition and the ability to recognize object patterns in photos. Thanks to the automatically generated tags, you can easily search for combinations of tags—like checking the tag for your kid in the “People” category and “Lawn” to show just photos of him outside in the yard or on the soccer field.

Be prepared to be shocked at how uncannily accurate the recognition algorithms are. In a series of photos we uploaded of some neighborhood dogs at play, the algorithm tagged all dog photos as “Dog”, including photos of puppies as “Puppy”.

The Desktop App: Because Nobody’s Drag ‘n Dropping 40,000 Photos

If you have a lot of photos to upload and you’re not interested in the hassle of manually uploading them, the desktop app is the path to happiness for you. The app also allows you convert the names of the folders into album names, which is especially handy.

Visit the Prime Photos splash page and download the appropriate version for your operating system. Run the app to install it and then log into your Amazon account.

After signing in, you’ll be prompted to confirm which folder you wish to use as the syncing folder. By default the app creates a brand new folder in your user directory called “Amazon Drive” as seen below. We recommend you leave this as the default for now. This will give you an opportunity to play around with the file syncing by adding a few folders to the directory before you unleash the syncing process and all your photos at once. (It’s far better to find out with a sample directory or two, for example, that your naming structure isn’t going to be…

What Is conhost.exe and Why Is It Running?

You are no doubt reading this article because you’ve stumbled across the Console Window Host (conhost.exe) process in Task Manager and are wondering what it is. We’ve got the answer for you.

This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in Task Manager, like svchost.exe, dwm.exe, ctfmon.exe, mDNSResponder.exe, rundll32.exe, Adobe_Updater.exe, and many others. Don’t know what those services are? Better start reading!

So What Is the Console Window Host Process?

Understanding the Console Window Host process requires a little bit of history. In the Windows XP days, the Command Prompt was handled by a process named the ClientServer Runtime System Service (CSRSS). As the name implies, CSRSS was a system level service. This created a couple of problems. First, a crash in CSRSS could bring down a whole system, which exposed not just reliability issues, but possible security vulnerabilities as well. The second problem was that CSRSS could not be themed, because the developers didn’t want to risk theme code to run in a system process. So, the Command Prompt always had the classic look rather than using new interface elements.

Notice in the screenshot of Windows XP below that the Command Prompt doesn’t get the same styling as an app like Notepad.

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Windows Vista introduced the Desktop Window Manager—a service that “draws” composite views of windows onto your desktop rather than letting each individual app handle that on its own. The Command Prompt gained some superficial theming from this (like the glassy frame present in other windows), but it came at the expense of being able to drag and drop files, text, and so on into the Command Prompt window.

Still, that theming only went so far. If you take a look at the console in Windows Vista, it looks like it uses the same theme as everything else, but you’ll notice that the scrollbars are still using the old style. This is because the Desktop Window Manager handles drawing the title bars and frame, but an old-fashioned CSRSS window still sits inside.

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Enter Windows 7 and the Console Window Host process. As the name implies, its a host process for the console window. The process sort of sits in the middle between CSRSS and the Command Prompt (cmd.exe), allowing Windows to fix both of the previous issues—interface elements like scrollbars draw correctly, and you can again drag and drop into the Command Prompt. And that’s the method still used in Windows 8 and 10, allowing all the new interface elements and styling that have come along since Windows 7.

Even…

How to Use Multiple Monitors to Be More Productive

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Many people swear by multiple monitors, whether they’re computer geeks or just people who need to be productive. Why use just one monitor when you can use two or more and see more at once?

Additional monitors allow you to expand your desktop, getting more screen real estate for your open programs. Windows makes it very easy to set up additional monitors, and your computer probably has the necessary ports.

Why Use Multiple Monitors?

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Multiple monitors give you more screen real estate. When you hook multiple monitors up to a computer, you can move your mouse back and forth between them, dragging programs between monitors as if you had an extra-large desktop. That way, rather than Alt+Tabbing and task switching to glance at another window, you can just look over with your eyes and then look back to the program you’re using.

Some examples of use cases for multiple monitors include:

  • Coders who want to view their code on one display with the other display reserved for documentation. They can just glance over at the documentation and look back at their primary workspace.
  • Anyone who needs to view something while working. Viewing a web page while writing an email, viewing another document while writing an something, or working with two large spreadsheets and having both visible at once.
  • People who need to keep an eye on information, whether it’s email or up-to-date statistics, while working.
  • Gamers who want to see more of the game world, extending the game across multiple displays.
  • Geeks who just want to watch a video on one screen while doing something else on the other screen.

If you just have a single monitor, you can also use the Snap feature to quickly place multiple Windows applications side by side. But how useful this feature is depends on your monitor’s size and resolution. If you have a large, high-resolution monitor, it will allow you to see a lot. But for many monitors (especially those on laptops), things will seem very cramped. That’s where dual monitors can come in handy.

Hooking Up Multiple Monitors

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Hooking up an additional monitor to your computer should be very simple. Most new desktop computers come with more than one port for a monitor—whether DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, the older VGA port, or a mix. Some computers may include splitter cables that allow you to connect multiple monitors to a single port.

Most laptops also come with ports that allow you to hook up an external monitor. Plug a monitor into your laptop’s DisplayPort, DVI, or HDMI port and Windows will allow you to use both your laptop’s integrated display and the external monitor at once (see the instructions in the next section).

This all depends on the ports your computer has and how your monitor connects. If you have an old VGA monitor lying around and you have a modern laptop with only DVI or HDMI connectors, you may need an adapter that allows you to plug your monitor’s VGA cable into the new port. Be sure to take your computer’s ports into account…