Tech Tips


Short PC tips and tricks

What Your PC Will Need if You Want to Upgrade to Windows 10

It’s looking more and more likely that Microsoft will achieve its announced aim of shipping Windows 10 sometime around the end of July or thereabouts. The May 20 announcement of build 10122 seems to indicate that most of the important feature changes are in. So we may have reached the point where it is time to start considering if you are going to take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 that will be available to many people.

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Security Attack Called Logjam makes Browsers Vulnerable

Secure web browser imageA security hole in many major browsers called "logjam" is being reported. The attack makes use of a weakness in a cryptographic algorithm used to make connections secure. If you go to the site reporting the exploit, it will tell you if your browser is vulnerable to the attack.

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Windows 10 Editions and Upgrades Announced

Microsoft has just announced which editions of the new Windows 10 will be offered.  As usual with Microsoft, the announcement is full of uninformative, gee-whiz marketing fluff hedged by the legal department but here is a summary of what I think they said.

Windows 10

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How to get a Better Windows File Manager

Over the years, the file manager in Windows has been persistently inadequate. Microsoft’s failure to come up with something better has been a long-time deficiency and annoyance in Windows. However, there are plenty of alternate file managers available, both commercial and free. A selection of the best free ones is discussed in this Gizmo review and one of the favorites is Multi Commander.

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New Free Tweaker from Winaero for Windows 7/8/10

The developer at Winaero has been responsible for a number of useful small free Windows utilities and many have been reviewed in previous tips at Gizmo's. Recently, the developer has combined a collection of his utilities into a single tweaking application called Winaero Tweaker.

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Free Windows Program Makes it Easy to Extract High-Quality Icons

Many Windows files contain useful icons that can be extracted and re-used. For example, there are well over a thousand different icons stored in various Windows system files. (See this list.) There are a number of free programs available for extracting icons from files and one I like is called BeCyIconGrabber.

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Three More Quick Tricks for Better Use of Windows 8.1

Do you like quick and easy tips? Here are three tricks that are simple but will make Windows 8.1 easier to use.

1. Hidden Shutdown Utility in Windows 8.1

In the C:\Windows\System32 directory of Windows 8.1 there is a little-known executable file called slidetoshutdown.exe. This is a utility to shut down the PC that seems to be aimed at touch screens but is also handy for mouse users. If you run this file, a shutdown display will appear on the desktop as illustrated below.

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Windows File Name Restrictions – Why a File Name Can be too Long

Did you ever run into a Windows error message saying that the name of one of your files was too long and you wondered what caused this to happen? (Example below.) Here is an explanation of the limits on the length of a Windows file name.

Long file name warning

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Microsoft Image Composite Editor

Have you ever wanted to take a panoramic photo, one of those sweeping views of everything you see? Unless you have a fancy wide-angle lens you might think that it couldn’t be done. But, in fact, even a basic camera in a phone can be used to create a panoramic view of your surroundings. One way is with Microsoft’s free Windows photo stitching software called Image Composite Editor (ICE).

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A New Free Windows Anti-Malware Suite

It isn’t often that a new entry in the free anti-malware suite category comes along since that area already has numerous products from established security companies. However, I just came across a program called Tencent PC Manager. The program has received a number of recent write-ups and was recently updated to version 10.4.25533.501. Because of the importance of anti-malware suites, I thought I would take a look.

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