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Why the U.S. needs better privacy laws, now!

Microsoft recently published an open letter to President Obama, condemning some government surveillance techniques and calling for federal data-privacy legislation. While some industry heavyweights such as Amazon, Twitter, and Google would probably prefer fewer privacy rules, Microsoft weighs in on the side of consumers.

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The Windows Maintenance Challenge: Part 2

Can commercial, third-party maintenance software outperform Windows’ built-in, free tools? This is the conclusion of a two-part series that will help you determine which PC maintenance tools — free or paid — yield the best results on your specific system.

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The fight for net neutrality goes to round two

With 1.1 million (and counting) consumer comments to ponder and an alliance of tech companies nipping at its heels, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission enters round two of the fight for net neutrality. The end of the 120-day public-comment period ends Sept. 15 — at which time the real fight over access to the Internet begins.

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The Windows Maintenance Challenge: Part 1

Can commercial software maintain your PC better than Windows’ built-in and free tools? This article is the first in a series that will help you determine which tools — free or paid — yield the best results on your specific PC.

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Underused tools hiding in Windows 7 and 8

Back in Windows’ younger and simpler days, its coders hid small programs and features — called Easter eggs — in the OS for others to find. Microsoft eventually banned those unofficial applets, but there are still some relatively hidden features in Win7/8 that users find helpful. Here are my favorites.

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What you need to know about 802.11ac Wi-Fi

The Wave 2 update for the relatively new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard promises even faster and more efficient networks. Here’s what to expect — and why you might want to wait a bit before purchasing that new 802.11ac router.

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Move over, Windows; Google and Apple are movin’ in

With nearly infinite and virtually free cloud storage available, and with archrivals Google and Apple offering big ecosystems of apps and media, Microsoft seems to have the short end of the stick. Will Windows be able to compete in this brave new world? Or has it already been relegated to the technological bench — by consumers and, increasingly, companies?

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Mobile security: Apps to protect Android devices

There are hundreds of free and paid security apps for Android phones and tablets. But many of those offerings are of uncertain quality. Here’s a sampling of some of the best software for keeping Android devices free of malware, managing passwords, locking up your data, and more.

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Revisiting the WS Security Baseline: Part 1

Regular readers know that Windows Secrets discusses the importance of PC and Internet security almost every week. But it seems many Windows users never get the message. Here are tips for safe computing in the year 2014. Pass them along.

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Office Online versus Google Apps: Facts and FUD

Microsoft and Google are locked in battle over free-for-personal-use productivity applications. Each is fighting for your attention. At this time, there’s no one best online suite; both are quite capable and both have some important limitations.

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