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Windows is complicated and needs many different system utilities and security tools to run well — or does it? We recently covered the many types of system tools you don’t need. Here are the few utilities you actually do need.

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Windows users see advertisements for all sorts of system tools and optimization utilities. It’s easy for companies to tell you that you absolutely have to run these tools, but you don’t need most of the junk on offer.

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These days, it seems like every Windows user has heard about CCleaner. It’s widely recommended, online and offline. But what exactly does CCleaner do, should you use it — and how often?

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Computers normally run an operating system installed on their hard drives, whether it’s Windows, OS X, or Linux. But they can also boot from removable media devices, allowing you to boot a Linux desktop from a USB drive or CD.

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Windows is all about backwards compatibility, allowing people — especially businesses — to keep using their important applications on new versions of Windows. But there are limits. The older a program is, the more likely it will break.

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Portable scanners aren’t exactly brand-new technology, so what makes the Doxie Go portable scanner special? Read on as we take one for a test drive, show you how to set it up in the process, and highlight exactly why the Doxie Go will keep your inbox and file cabinets empty.

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On a PC, you can still play old games — which isn’t true for consoles. You may even find yourself actively buying these old games as they show up on great sales on Steam and elsewhere.

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When moving to a new Windows system, either after getting a new computer or reinstalling Windows, you may be tempted to copy a program’s folder to your new system just like you’d copy your files. But this normally won’t work.

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Official replacement batteries can be expensive. Whether you’re looking at a laptop or smartphone battery, you may be tempted to take the cheap route and buy an aftermarket battery. But this decision could blow up in your face — literally.

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Windows normally installs itself to a single partition on your hard drive. However, you can split your hard drive into several different partitions and store your data files separately from your system files.

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Install a new hard drive and all Windows will do is give you an empty drive letter. If you have a small solid-state drive and a larger mechanical hard drive — or just two large drives — these tips will help you put that additional drive to use.

about 12 months ago - by  |  4 Replies

Most people don’t spend much time customizing their taskbar, even though it’s something every Windows user uses every day. It seems almost set in stone — but it isn’t. The Windows taskbar is actually very customizable.

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Have you ever wondered how much time is added to the boot process by your anti-virus solution? This handy chart shows you the answer, with some surprising results.

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No matter how well you treat your laptop’s battery, it will eventually die. If you’re lucky, it will be time to replace your laptop by the time its battery dies. If you’re not, you’ll need to replace the battery.

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Windows has a built-in firewall that blocks inbound connections. If a program wants to act as a server, Windows will prompt you. Some geeks don’t like the built-in firewall because it doesn’t offer the same prompts for outgoing connections.

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Like any newcomer in the gaming world, the Ouya microconsole has a slew of lovestruck fans and an equal (if not greater) number of detractors. What’s the story behind the tiny game platform and is it worth your time and money? Read on as we review the quirky little Android-powered game machine.

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So you’re using your laptop and, all of the sudden, it dies. There was no battery warning from Windows — in fact, you recently checked and Windows said you had 30% battery power left. What’s going on?

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Windows XP won’t be officially supported for much longer. Sure, you could keep using it — it won’t just stop working one day. It will just become more insecure over time as Microsoft and everyone else stops supporting it.

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Malware, adware, and pushy software installers all love changing your browser settings, giving you new home pages, default search engines, and obnoxious toolbars. It’s easy to forget to uncheck these options while installing software.

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To actually erase files from a magnetic hard drive, you would have to overwrite the file with useless data. Some tools attempt to make this easier, offering to “securely delete” a file by deleting it and overwriting its sectors with junk.

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If you’re like most Windows users, you probably just uninstall programs by launching their uninstallers from the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel. But if you’re a geek, there’s a chance you’ve dabbled with a third-party uninstaller.

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Windows 8 awkwardly forces the Start menu programs list into a flat “All Apps” list. Many programs haven’t been properly updated for this new reality and fill your All Apps list with useless shortcuts to help files, websites, and uninstallers.

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Microsoft Office documents containing built-in macros can be dangerous. Macros are essentially bits of computer code, and historically they’ve been vehicles for malware. Luckily, modern versions of Office contain security features that will protect you from macros.

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Many features that once required root have been added to Android over the years. However, many advanced tricks still require rooting your Android smartphone or tablet.

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Scarcely larger than a thumb drive, Google’s new cloud-to-HDTV wonder, the Chromecast, promises cheap and dead simple video streaming. Does Google deliver? Read on as we take the Chromecast for a high-def spin.

about 12 months ago - by  |  14 Replies