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Software that updates your other software

The release of Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) 3.0 prompts a test drive of the new version, plus six alternative general-purpose auto-update tools. One surprise: Some of these automatic-update programs can worsen your PC’s condition.

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Kill those Vista and Win7 gadgets now!

In the unlikely chance that you’re using Windows gadgets, you need to get rid of them — right now! Those seemingly innocuous accessory apps that you stick onto your desktop, included with Vista and Windows 7, could be used to subvert your system.

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House Call 2012: One family, four PCs

Lexington, Mass., was in glorious, late-spring bloom when I visited Windows Secrets reader Helene Mayer. Helene had a houseful of PCs (running XP, Vista, and Win7) exhibiting a variety of problems. I was there to help.

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Some ugliness installing an after-market SSD

Ever look inside a solid-state drive? Neither had I — until I bought one and had to disassemble it to make it fit into my notebook. This story ultimately has a happy ending, but unexpected trouble along the way made the process far more difficult than it needed to be.

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Where we stand — and are going — with Windows 8

Work on Windows 8 is in the home stretch, but predicting its success is still pure speculation — probably more so than with any previous Window release. Microsoft’s announcement that it will build and sell its own Windows 8 computers just adds more drama to an already opaque roll-out schedule.

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Little-known browser commands and functions

No matter what browser you use, chances are good that you’ve never even heard of some its powerful and useful commands, features, and functions. Here’s a guided tour to some of the most interesting — and unfamiliar — functions in Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

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Exploring Windows’ Administrative Tools: Part 2

Windows’ Performance Monitor is the key to understanding the details of your PC’s operation. This tool (built into XP, Vista, and Win7) lets you see, in real time and in collected data logs, how your PC reacts as different programs run — or fail to run!

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How to transfer files from Windows to the iPad

The iPad (and other iOS devices) might be the coolest computing device, but it lacks a clear and simple way to share files with Windows PCs. Sure, an iPad contains storage and connects to your PC via USB, but it doesn’t behave like a flash drive or Android phone. Here are three tricks for moving files on and off an iPad.

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Unusual photo and video effects from Microsoft

Digital photography gives us the freedom to take hundreds of photos and videos of places and people, at very little expense — so many images, that family and friends might be blasé at best about your latest efforts. But three little-known apps from Microsoft can put some unexpected novelty back into your images.

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Best practices for trouble-free Windows patching

For Windows users who manage their own system updates, the patching process is a bit like going to the dentist — you really hope it’ll be pain-free. For making that twice-monthly chore a little easier, here are some simple tips and tricks to avoid patching woes.

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