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Short PC tips and tricks

How to Join the Microsoft Insider Program and Get a Trial Copy of Windows 10 Preview

If you are interested in participating in a Microsoft program that previews Windows 10 as it undergoes further devlopment, you can sign up at this link to download a preview copy of Windows 10. You'll have to join the program and agree to provide feedback. In essence, you sign up to be a beta tester. Of course, you would not do this on your regular system. This is an unfinished product with many bugs likely. It should be installed only on a virtual machine or a system you are not using for anything else.

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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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