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Why your next cell phone should be unlocked

Purchasing a smartphone from your cellular-service provider typically comes with all sorts of compromises, restrictions, and limitations. But an unlocked Nexus phone can eliminate many, if not all, of these problems.

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Windows 10 gets its first big update

The much-anticipated fall update for Windows l0 has arrived. If you’re looking for significant changes, you’re going to be disappointed. Version 1511 is an important update, but many of the enhancements are either buried in the Settings menus or under the hood.

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Windows 10 bumps up support-call traffic

A major operating system upgrade always brings new problems — and a slew of frantic calls to tech-support services. Queries about a new OS often go well beyond learning a user interface; drivers and applications have to be updated, and no amount of beta testing ensures that everything works.

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Get your USB devices out of low gear

USB 3.0 data transfers should be up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 — and 2.0 should be almost 10 times faster than USB 1.0. But many factors can cause your USB connections to limp along at a fraction of their expected speeds. Here’s how to check your USB system’s performance to verify that it’s running at its full speed — and what to do if it’s not.

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A review of Win10’s new security features

Given the increasingly sophisticated nature of malware, it’s no surprise that Microsoft built new security capabilities in Windows 10. The company also enhanced its built-in encryption tool, BitLocker, to make it easier to protect your data.

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Best of breed: Win10’s hybrid backup system

Win10 blends the best parts of Win7’s and Win8’s backup/restore tools to create a new hybrid that could well be the best archive-and-recover system ever. When set up properly, Win10 gives you redundant, automatic, local, and remote backups of user files, making them effectively loss-proof.

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A few good reasons to upgrade from Win7 to Win10

That “Get Windows 10” icon sitting in Win7’s notification area will get you a free upgrade, but you haven’t decided whether it’s worth taking the plunge. For most Win8 users, upgrading is a virtual no-brainer; for Win7 users, however, the case is not so compelling. Here are a few enhancements that might tip the balance toward Win10.

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