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Sneak peak: An early look at the next Windows

After months of speculation, we’re now seeing some credible leaks showing parts of the next Windows.

Invitations are going out now for Microsoft’s Windows Technical Preview debut, scheduled for Sept. 30 in San Francisco; here’s what the current tea leaves portend.

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Turn your Windows PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot

Using a feature built into Windows, all your Wi-Fi-based devices can access the Web through a single Internet connection — no additional hardware or software required. This capability isn’t new; Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) has been around for years. But it’s somewhat hidden on some Win8 systems. Here’s how to find it, enable it, and use it.

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Why the U.S. needs better privacy laws, now!

Microsoft recently published an open letter to President Obama, condemning some government surveillance techniques and calling for federal data-privacy legislation. While some industry heavyweights such as Amazon, Twitter, and Google would probably prefer fewer privacy rules, Microsoft weighs in on the side of consumers.

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The Windows Maintenance Challenge: Part 2

Can commercial, third-party maintenance software outperform Windows’ built-in, free tools? This is the conclusion of a two-part series that will help you determine which PC maintenance tools — free or paid — yield the best results on your specific system.

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The fight for net neutrality goes to round two

With 1.1 million (and counting) consumer comments to ponder and an alliance of tech companies nipping at its heels, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission enters round two of the fight for net neutrality. The end of the 120-day public-comment period ends Sept. 15 — at which time the real fight over access to the Internet begins.

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The Windows Maintenance Challenge: Part 1

Can commercial software maintain your PC better than Windows’ built-in and free tools? This article is the first in a series that will help you determine which tools — free or paid — yield the best results on your specific PC.

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Underused tools hiding in Windows 7 and 8

Back in Windows’ younger and simpler days, its coders hid small programs and features — called Easter eggs — in the OS for others to find. Microsoft eventually banned those unofficial applets, but there are still some relatively hidden features in Win7/8 that users find helpful. Here are my favorites.

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