Top Story

Recovery: the last step in total data security

In recent issues, I’ve described Windows 7’s four levels of built-in data protection, each with differing capabilities for preserving your data.

Now I’ll tell you how to dig the data out of your backups, whether it’s a single file, a folder — or even your entire drive contents.

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Privacy smackdown: Facebook versus Google+

With Google+ rocketing to millions of users in record time, many people wonder whether the claims are true: is Google+ really that much better at defending your privacy than Facebook?

Facebook’s rocky history with fluctuating privacy settings and a memorable, scummy, mud-slinging attempt to smear Google make it easy to jump to conclusions, warranted or not. Here’s what you need to know.

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The advanced system-recover toolkit

You probably know and use various real-time antivirus tools, but there are also advanced security tools that work under the operating system.

Many of these are based on Linux and help scan, fix, or even reset Windows passwords.

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How to download and save streaming videos

How many times have you wanted to download and store an online streaming video so you could play it back at a different time or on a different machine?

While the basics of downloading YouTube and other videos have been around for a long time, there are tricks to getting the video you want into a format you can use.

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Win7’s no-reformat, nondestructive reinstall

Microsoft won’t tell you this, but you can do a fast, nondestructive, in-place, total reinstall of Windows 7 without damaging your user accounts, data, installed programs, or system drivers.

That means you may never have to do a full, from-scratch reinstall again, even when your system is misbehaving so badly that a full reformat-and-reinstall seems the only answer!

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Don’t pay for software you don’t need — Part 3

In the first two installments of this series, I stepped you through a boatload of software that you don’t need if you have Windows 7.

Many of you wrote to me in disbelief — some of you disagreed in very strong terms. But from what I’ve seen, most of the add-on software that people buy for Windows is just a waste of money.

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It’s time to move up to Internet Explorer 9

With the exception of Internet Explorer, updating to your browser’s latest version is usually a given.

For Vista and Win7 users, upgrading to IE 9 requires a bit more consideration and planning than updating Firefox or Chrome — but the time has come.

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RPV: Win7’s least-known data-protection system

You deleted a file yesterday; now you really need it back. Your Windows recycle bin is empty — what now?

Your next-best option is the Restore Previous Versions tool — a truly great, automatic data-protection feature buried in Win7.

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What you need to know now about Windows 8

Few Microsoft publicity efforts have ever drawn as much attention as last week’s 20-minute Windows 8 sneak preview.

If you’ve heard that Windows 8 is for the dogs or that it will look like a phone, you haven’t heard the whole story.

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Re-examining Dropbox and its alternatives

Recent revelations about privacy concerns with Dropbox have led many people — including me — to think about changing my practices regarding online file-storage and -synchronization providers. If you use Dropbox or some other cloud storage and sync program, let me explain what you do — and don’t — need to be concerned about.

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