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Office 2010′s Web tools raise security questions

Microsoft’s newest Office adds some nifty Internet features, including easy access to shared documents via SkyDrive and PowerPoint Broadcast.

But putting personal and business information into the cloud opens up potential security risks that all Office 2010 users should be aware of.

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SkyDrive takes on the online-storage arena

Office 2010 marked Microsoft’s aggressive entrance into the cloud-computing arena, and Sky Drive is a key component of the company’s move to online services.

Part of the new Windows Live service, SkyDrive offers generous — and free — online data storage and simple collaboration. But there are other cloud-based services that provide more features and better options.

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Now you can vote for your favorite Lounge posts

Our online forum, the Windows Secrets Lounge, is a great warehouse of computer knowledge — but sometimes it’s a bit hard to find the single best page you need out of the 125,000 discussion threads our members have contributed.

That’s why our developers are launching this week a significant improvement to the Lounge — a way to cast votes for the posts you consider the most useful and, in so doing, help others find them.

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Little-known beta apps enhance Gmail’s usability

While there’s much to like about Gmail, there’s also much that’s missing — such as multiple signatures, hierarchical tags, and the ability to embed pictures as part of your mail.

You might be surprised to learn that Gmail actually does support those features, and about 50 more, in a beta program called Gmail Labs.

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Five small and essential apps to armor your PC

Protecting yourself from the criminals of the Internet shouldn’t cost you a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost you anything.

Firewalls and antivirus programs can’t do all the work of safe computing — small, targeted utility apps that encrypt your files, keep your passwords safe, and clean up your PC add to your protection.

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Going green with Win7 is harder than it looks

Trying to consume less energy in a home office by putting workstations to sleep automatically seemed like the right thing to do.

But when two Windows 7 PCs developed insomnia, returning them to a greener state let me discover some interesting tricks and tips.

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Tighten your Facebook privacy settings

In their hunt for market dominance, social networks Facebook, Google Buzz, and Microsoft Live are redefining what social means — and in the process, straining the bounds of personal privacy.

Facebook, the big daddy of these three, has made quiet changes to its privacy settings, ones that members need to understand if they are going to manage the distribution of their personal information.

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New findings update WS Security Baseline

Our monthly update of the Windows Secrets Security Baseline focuses on malware suites — all-in-one commercial packages that fight viruses, spam, spyware, and malware that’s still unknown — plus suites you assemble yourself.

Regardless of your skill level — beginner, intermediate, or advanced user — you should be able to find security protection that’s right for your needs.

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The 120-day Microsoft security suite test drive

Frustration with most commercial antivirus suites launched a long-term, real-life test of Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft’s free anti-malware application.

In one of the rare extended tests outside a lab, Microsoft’s software has quietly kept two Windows 7 PCs free of infections, even in dangerous public environments.

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Hotmail’s social networking busts your privacy

In its rush to take on Facebook and Google Buzz, Microsoft is now collecting and displaying personal information on your Hotmail page — information you may never have wanted to broadcast.

Exactly how it’s mining this information is something of a mystery, but if you use Hotmail or Windows Live, it’s time to review your privacy settings — lest something you said or did comes back to haunt you.

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