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Recover from a disastrous hard-drive crash

Losing Windows’ file names can be almost as bad as losing the files themselves.

Getting all your data back the way it was may be possible, but it’ll take some serious digging.

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Tracking down and preventing unwanted reboots

Unwanted restarts can be more than an exercise in frustration and wasted time — they can easily result in lost data.

Fortunately, there are only three main causes of unintended reboots, so finding — and
controlling — them is usually not hard.

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Are the benefits of defragmentation overblown?

One of the never-ending, always-simmering debates between PC users is whether defragging modern hard drives provides any measurable benefits to PC performance.

Unfortunately, the answer is not an absolute yes or no but instead depends on how you defrag your system.

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Windows’ primary disk-checking tool gets stuck

Windows’ built-in disk-repair tool, chkdsk.exe, has come a long way over the years, but some disk problems are simply beyond its ability to remedy.

When Windows’ disk check is not up to the task, third-party repair tools may be your ticket back to a healthy hard drive.

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Using Task Manager to troubleshoot startup woes

Sometimes when trouble strikes, you have to choose between a simple brute-force fix and a more-complex but also more-informative surgical repair.

Reinstalling software is inelegant but usually works; using Windows’ built-in tools can be quicker and less traumatic.

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Is ‘Sleep’ the same as ‘Suspend’ or ‘Standby’?

The sleep-state modes programmed into today’s PCs are rigidly defined, but the common names of these modes vary wildly from vendor to vendor.

With no standardized language, it can be difficult to know exactly what it means when your PC goes into standby mode. But here’s help.

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