Personal computers make our lives easier. Typos fix themselves and numbers recalculate as you change individual figures to be added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. But PCs never really seem as easy as they should. Here are eight small programs, most of them free, that simplify common tasks and ease your burden. You probably won’t want all of them, but some will almost certainly be useful. None of these utilities come with potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) hiding in their installation routines. Install any of these, and you’ll only get the programs you want. Just remember: A few choice tools can ease the chores. But too many tools can slow down Windows. Pick the tools that seem most useful to you, personally, and let the others slide. Remove Formatting Quickly and Easily with PureText We all copy and paste text from one place to another, and when we do, the formatted text appears in its new location. But sometimes, you don’t want the italics, the special font, or the link; you just want the text. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, scanned passports, plans for world domination — these are only a few of the items that you may be tempted to send in an email. But unless you have encryption, you shouldn’t hit “send” on any of them. A message can pass through numerous servers on its journey and can be read on any of them. Encrypting a message can be much more complicated than encrypting a file or even a drive. There are other people involved. And they may not be as tech savvy or security conscious as you. So you need encryption that won’t confuse someone who panics at the thought of downloading a file. Another issue you need to consider: Just how much security do you need? It’s one thing to protect your information from run-of-the-mill cybercrooks. It’s another to keep your private words from the government. And remember that there is no perfect security. Even the best encryption algorithm can be cracked if someone uses a password like 123456. The goal is to find something both practical and sufficiently secure. The Weak Encryption You Probably Already Have Your messages probably already travel encrypted from your email client to your email provider’s server, … Read More
What’s more expensive: a Windows PC or a Mac? The answer seems obvious: When you compare price tags to power and features, PCs almost always win. But when you consider costs of use as well as costs of purchase, Macs appear to be cheaper. At least that’s the conclusions found by both IBM and computer repair company RESCUECOM (website). Using a computer costs money, especially in the workplace. Long learning curves cut productivity. When an employee must figure out why their computer isn’t behaving as it should, that employee is not being productive. If he or she is forced to call IT for advice or, worse, a visit, two people are taken away from their other chores. What’s more, if employees are frustrated by the tools given to them, morale drops. According to IBM, Macs are easier to learn and cause fewer problems than Windows PCs. And according to RESCUECOM, they need fewer repairs. That’s less downtime, fewer helpdesk calls — and therefore smaller overhead. IBM’s experience Fletcher Previn, IBM’s VP of Workplace as a Service, spoke last October at the jamf Nation User Conference (webpage) and said, “Every Mac we buy is in fact continuing to make and save IBM money.” This … Read More
You probably use Windows 10’s File Explorer a hundred times a day. You already know how to use it to move around your hard drive. Why bother to learn it better? Because you’ll work more efficiently. This truly excellent file manager has little-known tricks that makes it even more powerful and convenient. You can control what folder the program opens to. You can hide and unhide the ribbon. You can make your favorite File Explorer tools more readily available. And you can use keyboard shortcuts to make everything easier. I’m not going to tell you how to use File Explorer. I assume you already know the basics. But I’ll take you to the next level, and make File Explorer easier and faster for you. The Many Ways to Open File Explorer Of course you know how to open File Explorer. But do you know the fastest and simplest way to do it? Or how to control what folder it opens to? The fastest and easiest way to open File Explorer doesn’t involve your mouse or touchscreen. Simply press Win-E and up comes a File Explorer window. If you’re already running the program, it opens another File Explorer window. This article … Read More
These days, it seems nearly every event, big and small, is captured by a battery of digital cameras and smartphones. With the right software, it’s relatively easy to combine these random videos into a record that’s truly worth sharing.
As we get older, the small text and icons on a typical PC become harder to read, often resulting in eye fatigue. Glasses can only help so much. Luckily, Windows has some excellent built-in tools for making the screen more comfortable for aging eyes.
Keeping those deceitful and/or malicious messages out of our inboxes seems like a losing fight; even the best mail systems can’t catch all spam. Third-party anti-spam programs add another level of protection. But as a new report shows, they’re not equally effective — but many work as advertised.
Microsoft made a much-needed course correction with Windows 10, but a few flaws survived the transition from Win8. Most notable is Win10’s dual system-configuration interfaces, Settings and Control Panel, inherited from Win8. It’s proof that two isn’t always better than one — it simply creates unneeded confusion.