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Third time’s the charm with Microsoft’s Surface

Is the Surface tablet best platform for Windows 8? Or is Win8.1 the ideal platform for a powerful and fully functional tablet? This chicken-or-egg question came to mind while I was reviewing the new Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. And the answer to both questions is — yes!

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Win10 build 10122: Two steps forward, one back

May’s Win10 build 10122 release is a bit shaky, but many of its new features are coming into sharper focus. Improvements include a more functional Edge browser, a cleaner start menu, a much improved Tablet Mode — and even the return of an optional Win7-style backup/restore.

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How a packet sniffer reveals local net traffic

How often have you looked at an ostensibly idle PC’s flashing drive-access light and wondered: “What’s my computer doing?” Some of that activity is internal, but much of it also involves external devices and services. Here’s how to get a peek at that otherwise hidden network chatter.

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Win10 build 10074: What’s new, what’s unknown

With the recent release of build 10074, Windows 10 Technical Preview should be nearing the feature-complete phase. But while there’s lots to see in the latest build, there’s also much that’s still unknown. Here’s a look at what’s new, what’s been killed, what’s likely, and what’s still obscure.

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How to defend yourself from ransomware

Despite the CryptoLocker headlines, ransomware is still a growing threat to both individual PC users and small-to-medium businesses. Though our malware defenses have improved, ransomware authors are finding new ways to infect our systems. Fortunately, we have options and solutions.

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How to safely test file and image backups

Imagine this: You’ve lost important files, but when you go to restore them, you discover that your backups are completely unusable — and your next words are unprintable. Fortunately, this nightmare is completely avoidable; here’s how to ensure that your backup files are valid, complete, and usable.

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Linux for Windows users: Installing Ubuntu

In a February article, we gave a brief introduction to Linux and its history, showing why some Windows users might want to experiment with this open-source OS. This follow-up story will tell you how to install and run one of the more popular Linux distributions — Ubuntu (pronounced, “oo-boon-too”).

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Changing names again: ‘Metro’ becomes ‘Windows’

An obscure notice that ‘Metro apps’ are now ‘Windows apps’ leaves more than a few Windows observers confused. Microsoft has a long history of bungled product branding, but its latest decision plumbs new depths.

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Working with Windows 10 Preview, build 10041

After a nearly two-month hiatus, Microsoft has finally released a new Windows 10 Technical Preview build. You might run into a few hurdles when installing build 10041, but the changes and new features are worth the effort.

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