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Short PC tips and tricks

Dandy Dozen of Free Windows Programs that I Install on Every New PC

Do you have some favorite free applications and utilities that you wouldn’t do without? Most active PC users have a list of favorite programs and here is my selection. I put these on every new PC I get.

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How to Bring Back the Windows Experience Index to Windows 8.1

In Vista, Microsoft introduced a tool called the Windows Experience Index (WEI). This tool provided a way to assess the capabilities of the hardware on a system. The tool is also present in Windows 7 and 8 but you won’t find it in Windows 8.1. However, you can restore it with a free little utility called the Winaero WEI Tool.

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Create Your Own Custom Windows Hotkeys with this Free Utility

Keyboard shortcuts or “hotkeys” are always a popular subject and there are probably thousands of them. Many applications come with a set of hotkeys but how about creating some of your own? If you have programs, folders or files where you would like quick and convenient access, you might give a try to the free little utility called “WinHotKey”.

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Use this Free Utility to Help Make Your Windows Files Easier to Organize and Find

Do you have a lot of personal files on your PC? Want help keeping them sorted? One useful way to help organize them is to tag them in various ways with metadata. In Windows Vista and up, only a few file types normally allow their metadata to be edited. However, there is a free program called “File Meta” that allows you to add tags, comments, and other types of metadata to most files in Windows 7 and 8.x.

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Severe Problems with Windows August Updates

Many people are reporting that some of the monthly updates issued by Microsoft on August 12, 2014 are causing severe problems. For example, some Windows 7 64-bit systems are getting system crashes. There are also font problems with some systems. Microsoft is withdrawing certain updates and is recommending that they be uninstalled.  The Microsoft advisory with details is at this link.

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New Free Windows System Tool Called Sysmon from Sysinternals

It isn’t often that we get a brand-new addition to the famous suite of free system tools provided at Windows Sysinternals and when we do it’s worth noting. Mark Russinovich has just announced a tool called Sysmon. The description and download link are at this page.

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Give Your Gmail Messages a New Look with this HTML Formatting Tip

Most of the time, simple formatting of a Gmail message is all you want. However, if the occasion arises for some fancier formatting, it turns out that there are a number of HTML tags that Gmail supports. A former Google employee has posted an unofficial list on his blog. He also gives a list of HTML tags that don’t work.

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Five Windows 8.1 Tips You Need to Know

Windows 8.1 and 8.1 Update brought quite a few changes. Here are tips to help you configure five of the important changes to suit your own preferences.

1. Disable Bing integration into search and configure Smart Search

In Windows 8.1, the search function (called Smart Search) has been integrated with Bing. Even your local searches are sent to Microsoft’s Bing servers. If you don’t want information about all your files and searches sent to Microsoft, you can change the way Smart Search works.

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