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Windows 8 shows desktop application shortcuts on its Start screen, but these shortcuts look out of place in the new, tile-based interface. However, there is a way to spruce up your Start screen with detailed tile icons for your desktop applications.

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A graphics driver is the software that allow your operating system and programs to use your computer’s graphics hardware. If you play PC games, you should keep your computer’s graphics drivers updated to get the best performance out of your hardware.

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File compression is so ubiquitous that it is now built into many operating systems as a standard feature. Zip files are generally the default archival format – occasionally replaced by RARs – but KGB Archiver is a tool that offers unparalleled levels of compression, although it does come at quite a price.

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If you frequently use applications that prompt you to engage administrative privileges, it can put a kink in your workflow. Is it possible to disable the administrative nagging in Windows 8?

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Compared to a PC, phones and tablets are fairly locked-down devices. Jailbreaking, rooting, and unlocking are all ways of bypassing their limitations, and doing things that manufacturers and carriers don’t want you to do.

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The idea of running server-side apps is nothing new, but it’s not really a concept that is readily associated with everyday applications such as OpenOffice. There are various online apps available – like Google Docs – but Spoon.net gives you access to a wider range of familiar titles that can be run in the cloud.

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Spend just a short while working with your computer and you will probably find that you are overrun with windows. Keyboard shortcuts and features of Windows such as Aero Snap can help make these easier to manage, but WindowMenuPlus makes things even simpler and provides additional options.

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If you are regularly seeing the “Whoa! Google Chrome has crashed” message, there is likely a problem on your system. An occasional crash can happen, but regular crashes are probably caused by something you can fix.

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Firefox can crash for a variety of reasons, but you can quickly fix most crashes with Firefox’s Safe Mode and Reset features. However, even these tricks won’t fix every crash.

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Without wanting to start a platform war, we think there are some areas in which Windows could learn from OS X. One seemingly small, but delightfully useful feature enjoyed by Mac owners sees desktop icons created whenever removable disks are inserted. This can be added to Windows with TweakNow DriveShortcut.

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Our last edition of WIG for January is filled with news link coverage on topics such as Ubuntu is considering a move to a rolling release cycle, some users have started experiencing update problems with Microsoft Security Essentials, Google has indexed more than 86,000 HP ‘public’ printers, and more.

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Hard drives use S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) to gauge their own reliability and determine if they’re failing.  You can view your hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. data and see if it has started to develop problems.

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If you’re not a fan of the touchpad-based swipe gestures in Windows 8 there is a way to completely disable them and reclaim your touchpad.

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If Windows won’t boot, recovering your files can be a headache.  You do not have to pull the hard drive or use a Linux live CD – you can use a Windows installer disc to quickly back up your files.

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Windows Live Messenger – formerly MSN Messenger – is set to shut down on March 15, 2013.  Microsoft is replacing it with Skype and migrating Windows Live IDs (now known as Microsoft accounts) to Skype.

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Windows 8 or 10’s lock screen is at home on a tablet, but it just adds an additional key press to the login process on a desktop or laptop.  You can disable the lock screen with a quick registry hack.

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Windows 8 encourages you to set up a separate user account for everyone who uses the computer. However, you might want to buy an app – such as Angry Birds – and allow other people to use it.

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Traceroute is a command-line tool included with Windows and other operating systems. Along with the ping command, it’s an important tool for understanding Internet connection problems, including packet loss and high latency.

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Are you working on a new website design or document page layout and need sample text, but are tired of the same old Lorem Ipsum? Then what you need is Riker Ipsum! Yes, now you can fill those sample designs and layouts with a...

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Modern-style apps in Windows 8 need a screen resolution of at least 1024×768. Unfortunately, many netbooks have a 1024×600 resolution. If you have a netbook, there’s a chance you can bypass this limitation and run modern apps anyway.

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We’ve covered virtual private networks and when you might want to use them before. Connecting to a VPN is easy, as Windows and most other operating systems offer built-in VPN support.

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You should only run a single antivirus application at a time, but none of them are perfect. Some antiviruses may catch malware that other antiviruses miss. Luckily, you don’t just have to rely on a single antivirus program.

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A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.

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If you use Safari on Windows, we have some bad news for you: the new Safari 6 has been out for over five months and Apple has confirmed it will not be released on Windows.

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Our latest edition of WIG is filled with news link coverage on topics such as Windows 8 Fast Startup feature can put data at risk on dual-boot systems, a critical Ruby on Rails bug threatens 200,000+ sites, Microsoft confirms Windows Live Messenger – Skype transition bugs, and more.

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