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Short PC tips and tricks

How to Check If Your Email Account Has Been Hacked

The news is full of reports of hackers breaking into online databases and stealing personal information from many thousands of accounts. Many of these compromised accounts have been published on the Internet by hacker groups like LulzSec and Anonymous. One way to check if your email account is among those published is described in the New York Times.

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Three Tricks to Make the Windows 7 Explorer More Useful

When it introduced Windows Vista, Microsoft changed the appearance and functions of Windows Explorer quite a bit and in Windows 7 even more changes were made. Here are three tips to help you make better use of  some of the  features for accessing and viewing folders in Windows 7.

Opening the Folder Options dialog

One place for configuring the settings for the display of folders is the dialog “Folder Options”. There are numerous ways to open this dialog but here is a quick route.

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Windows Hotkey Shortcuts That Use the Function Keys F1- F12

Are you taking full advantage of the row of keys across the top of the keyboard that are known as function keys? They are the ones labeled F1 through F12. They provide a variety of hotkey shortcuts in numerous Windows applications but many people pay them scant attention.

Their exact function may vary from application to application but there are some general rules as well. Here are some of the common shortcuts that use these keys; learn these hotkeys and save time and effort.

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How to Configure the Transparency of Window Borders in Windows 7

Microsoft may brag about how great the transparency effects of Windows 7 Aero are but I do not personally see that it adds much to my computing experience. In fact, the transparent borders on windows of Aero themes are a problem when I want to make screenshots for articles.

However, the transparency effects can be configured to suit individual preferences and here is the procedure:

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Google Web Book Explains the Internet

Google has produced a nice little illustrated web book called “20 Things I learned About Browsers and the Web”. It uses HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Because of the HTML5, only the most recent browsers can display it. Chrome 11, Firefox 4, and IE9 work but IE8 does not. The book is now available in 15 languages. It has been open-sourced so that those who wish can look at the code to see how to produce their own web book.

Added later: As the comments show, Firefox 3.6 and IE8 browsers may work even when a warning about HTML5 is shown.

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New Microsoft Emergency Tool for Malware Infected Windows PCs

Everyone should have an emergency boot disk. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to have several. There are a number of articles at TSA describing how to create a bootable rescue disk (for example, at this link and also at this link).  

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How to Set Up Gmail with Your Own Font Preferences

The popular web mail service Gmail can be configured in a number of ways. However, many of the most interesting tweaks for Gmail are tucked away in the Labs section where they are often overlooked. For example, a previous tip showed how to enable the insertion of images into a message. This tip will show how to change the default fonts that are used for your Gmail messages.

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Use Google to its full potential

 
Use Google services to their full potential

Google is probably the best and most powerful search engine, but it provides so many results it can become confusing. If you never quite find what you are looking for, do not give up just yet. You are about to learn some tricks to become a Google search master.

 

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How To Extract Audio Out of Video Files Losslessly and Fast

 

When you want to save the audio stream from a video, there is only one way to do it right: demux. Demuxing means splitting up the different streams from a file. This way, you keep the streams in their original quality and it is very fast (less than a minute for 90 minutes of video).

So please, next time you want to save audio from a YouTube video, do not convert it to mp3 or use a website to give you a link. Download the video in the highest quality possible with tools such as Video DownloadHelper, then extract the audio.

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Use the Command Line for a Quick Cleanup of Windows Temp Files

 The previous tip showed how to configure Windows Disk Cleanup to reduce the time that temp files are kept. A simple approach that allows the deletion of temp files right away uses the Windows command line and the environment variable %TEMP%.

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