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Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

Windows 8 no longer comes with Windows Media Center by default. To get it, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro and purchase the Media Center Pack. It’s free until January 31, 2013, but this will soon be even pricier.

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Windows users regularly reinstall Windows (or restore from a recovery partition) to fix system problems. Windows 8 includes easier-to-use “Refresh” and “Reset” options that quickly restore Windows to a fresh, factory default configuration.

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You’ve got WEP encryption enabled, your network’s SSID is hidden, and you’ve enabled MAC address filtering so no one else can connect. Your Wi-Fi network is secure, right? Not really.

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If you’re looking to purchase Windows 8, there are two main editions you need to concern yourself with: Windows 8 (similar to the Home edition in previous versions of Windows) and Windows 8 Pro.

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We’ve written about rooting your Android smartphones and tablets before, but why don’t they come rooted? Google argues that rooting is a mistake for security reasons, as it subverts Android’s security model.

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Every now and then, you’ll encounter a website that forces you to register to view it. Rather than give the website your real email address – often an invitation to spam – you can use one of these tricks instead.

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We’ve covered several solutions for accessing your desktop remotely over the Internet, including TeamViewer and VNC. However, if you have a Professional edition of Windows, you already have Windows Remote Desktop installed.

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Windows 8’s advanced startup tools function differently than the tools on previous versions of Windows. If your Windows 8 system can’t boot properly, the tools will appear automatically so you can fix the problem.

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Windows 8 allows you to create a recovery drive (USB) or system repair disc (CD or DVD) that can be used to troubleshoot and restore your computer. Each type of recovery media gives you access to Windows’ advanced startup options.

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In a world where you can have 3D scenes rendered in real time as your smartphone’s background, plain black wallpapers aren’t the most eye-catching option. However, they can offer battery life improvements over colored wallpapers on some displays.

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Installing RAM should be as simple as placing the new RAM into the slots and powering on your computer. However, a number of issues – both hardware and software related – can cause problems when installing new RAM.

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Your computer stores low-level settings like the system time and hardware settings in its CMOS. These settings are configured in the BIOS setup menu. If you’re experiencing a hardware compatibility issue or another problem, you may want to try clearing the CMOS.

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Windows 8 has a new File History backup system that replaces Windows 7′s backup tools. However, Windows 8 still contains the Windows 7 backup tools. They’re particularly useful for creating full system image backups.

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Windows Live Mesh is set to shut down on February 13, 2013. If you still depend on Windows Live Mesh, you’ll need to find some alternatives soon. Remember to download your files before the deadline, too!

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Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera – they all offer bookmark synchronization. Internet Explorer users don’t have to be left out. There are several ways to sync your favorites, including an integrated method on Windows 8.

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Routers protect their web interfaces, where you can configure their networking, parental control, and port forwarding settings, with a username and password. These default passwords can be changed to protect the router’s settings.

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Have you ever had a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or any other electronic gadget become unresponsive? The surefire way to recover from the freeze – assuming it’s not a hardware problem – is by power-cycling the gadget.

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Have you had any issues with your Nexus 7? We’ve run into quite a few problems and fixed them all – from bad performance and touch-screen responsiveness issues to tablets that won’t power on and separating screens.

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The “Firefox is already running, but is not responding” error has haunted Firefox users for years. You don’t have to restart your computer when you see this error – you can usually fix it with a quick trip to the Task Manager.

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Android has decent multitasking, but the missing piece of the puzzle is the ability to have multiple apps on-screen at the same time – particularly useful on a larger tablet. Floating apps fill this need.

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Two-factor authentication, also known as 2-step verification, provides additional security for your online accounts. Even if someone discovers your password, they’ll need a special one-time code to log in after you enable two-factor authentication on these services.

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Have you ever noticed that a pixel – a little dot on your computer’s LCD monitor – is staying a single color all of the time? You have a stuck pixel. Luckily, stuck pixels aren’t always permanent.

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Most of the app data on your Android is probably synced online will automatically sync to a new phone or tablet. However, your Google Authenticator credentials won’t — they aren’t synchronized for obvious security reasons.

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Safe mode can help you troubleshoot your Android, but sometimes you’ll need to wipe everything and restore your device to its factory state. You can even perform a factory reset when your Android phone or tablet won’t boot normally.

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The Mail app included with Windows 8 only supports IMAP, Exchange, Hotmail/Outlook.com, and Gmail accounts. Mail offers POP3 as an option when setting up the account – but if you select POP3, you’ll be informed that Mail doesn’t support POP.

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