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Short PC tips and tricks

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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Free Microsoft Windows Security Tool EMET is Upgraded to Version 5.0

Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) has been frequently mentioned here and version 5.0 has just been released. The Microsoft description is at this page.

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Great Collection of Articles and Aids for Understanding and Explaining Technology

If you are an educator or someone who frequently explains technology to others, here is a resource that is a real find. It is a website called Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Educational technology site

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Four Ways to Make Windows XP Systems More Secure

Windows XP logoMicrosoft may have stopped providing security updates for Windows XP but a large number of PC users are sticking with the venerable old workhorse. Because safety is very dependent on individual habits and skills, I won’t comment on the controversial issue of whether continuing to use XP is safe.

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Easy Way to Customize the System Folders “Computer” in Windows 7 and 8 and “This PC” in Windows 8.1

The system folder that was once called My Computer became simply Computer in Windows 7/8 and has now morphed into This PC in Windows 8.1. Whatever you call it, it is convenient to be able to modify its contents to suit your own way of doing things. Computer and This PC are not regular folders so you can’t just add or delete a shortcut or file there the usual way. However, there is a free portable utility that makes it easy to edit the contents to suit yourself.

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How to Fix Problems Synching Gmail with Other Email Clients

If you like to synch a Gmail account with one of the common email clients, you may have started having problems. Today (15 July, 2014) Google has increased its security measures to make access to Google accounts harder. If you use one of the email clients listed below (and maybe others), you may not be able to synch them with Gmail without changing a setting:

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14 Mozilla Articles to Help Make You a Better and Safer User of the Firefox Browser

Firefox logoDo you use Firefox as your Internet browser? It turns out that even regular users are often unfamiliar with the rich resources available at Mozilla. There are many articles there that can help make you a better user of Firefox. Areas covered include installation, configuration, security, privacy, maintenance, and other areas of Firefox use. Here are 14 of my favorite links from the Mozilla collection.

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Large Collection of Free eBooks from Microsoft

Microsoft ebook From time to time Microsoft provides free ebooks with tips and help for using their products. They have just released another big batch. Topics covered include Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, Office 2010, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, Lync 2013, System Center, Azure, Cloud, SQL Server, and more.

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An Easy and Convenient Way to Find Out What Software and Hardware is on a PC

It always surprises me how little people know about what’s on their PC. If you want to know things such as how much RAM you have, what hardware and software are installed, and many other interesting details, there are a number of system information utilities available. One that is quite comprehensive and easy to use is a free program from Piriform called Speccy.

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How to Search Tweets Without Being Signed Up on Twitter

Whether or not you are signed up with Twitter (I’m not) you can’t ignore the fact that this is a major way that information is exchanged these days. So it is worthwhile to be aware that Twitter provides a search facility for all those tweets (around 500 million per day). The search facility is available whether you are signed up or not, so anyone can scour those short little bursts of information to see what is being said about the events of the day and any other topics that interest you.

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