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Let’s put your firewall to the test

Most PC users take it on wary faith that their firewalls are providing full protection from malicious applications.

A better policy is to use firewall testing services and free applications to ensure your firewall is correctly set.

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Solving Windows 7 networking problems

Win7-to-Win7 networking may be easy, but connecting your new Win7 system to older PCs with previous versions of Windows or non-Windows systems can sometimes be a real headache.

Firewalls and Win7′s HomeGroups are usually the primary culprits, but the following step-by-step tips should help solve your networking troubles with minimal hassle.

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Fine-tune your Registry for faster startups

A little Registry maintenance and tweaking can make your system boot faster.

In fact, free Registry tools can improve all your system’s phases: startup, shutdown, and everything in between.

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Many free alternatives to Microsoft Office

There are a surprising number of excellent office software suites available, and some of the best don’t cost a dime.

MS Office remains the king of office suites, but if you can’t or don’t want to use it, numerous free and commercial substitutes stand ready to serve.

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Extend the life of your laptop’s battery

With proper care and feeding, the expensive lithium-ion batteries in your notebook PCs and other portable gear can run well for many, many years.

On the other hand, common battery-care mistakes will reduce your batteries’ run times and lead to needless and costly early replacement.

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Windows, solid-state disks, and ‘trim’

It’s a little-known fact that all solid-state disks — all of them — suffer inevitable performance declines over time.

It’s also little known that Windows 7 and Server 2008 are currently the world’s only operating systems to fully implement the new trim command that helps forestall this speed decline.

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