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Hide sensitive files with Alternate Data Streams

Almost every small business and individual PC user has some sensitive or private files to keep away from prying eyes.

If you’re running a modern version of Windows, you can use a little-known feature called Alternate Data Streams to hide your confidential files inside other files or folders.

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WGA: better, but still not good enough

When it was first released, Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) was widely criticized for spyware-like qualities and numerous false positives.

Since then, Microsoft has given its anticopying program a number of changes, but they’re not enough to give this tool a positive reputation.

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Simple tips save power and the environment

Computers and computer peripherals consume dramatic amounts of electricity every year, draining your budget and contributing to greenhouse gases.

But for little or no money, you can reduce the number of watts your system and peripherals use, saving cash and limiting the environmental damage.

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One quick trick prevents AutoRun attacks

The AutoRun function in Windows can launch installers and other programs automatically when you insert a CD or flash drive, but this convenience poses a serious security risk.

Unfortunately, simply turning off AutoPlay, a separate feature, isn’t enough to prevent AutoRun from introducing a rogue program into your system.

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Free software finds your security flaws

Computer security covers a host of areas — password policies, software patches, account restrictions, protection against malware and more.

Fortunately, with the right software, you can get a complete security analysis of your system for free without hiring a costly consultant.

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PC rebooting? The cause may be MS OneCare

Installing Windows Live OneCare, Microsoft’s downloadable security suite, changes the settings of Automatic Updates without notifying users or honoring their update preferences.

This behavior may explain reports that Windows has been mysteriously installing patches and rebooting itself, even though users had completely shut down the Automatic Updates function.

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Free software on USB enables portable computing

USB flash drives are good for more than just storing and transferring files — with the right software, your flash drive can become a tiny computer.

Fortunately, you can find plenty of great software that not only runs on a USB flash drive, but is also completely free.

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Carry a flash drive instead of a laptop

You can avoid lugging a laptop everywhere installing your favorite apps on a USB flash drive and running them on any computer you want.

I’ll guide you in selecting a flash drive that’s best suited for portable software and tell you which apps you should install.

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Get free patching without Windows Update

My
Sept. 20
and
Sept. 27
articles about silent and flawed upgrades involving Windows Update have made many people wonder whether they should really trust Microsoft’s installer.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to Windows Update that will keep your system fully patched without costing you a dime.

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Stealth Windows update prevents XP repair

A silent update that Microsoft deployed widely in July and August is preventing the “repair” feature of Windows XP from completing successfully.

Ever since the Redmond company’s recent download of new support files for Windows Update, users of XP’s repair function have been unable to install the latest 80 patches from Microsoft.

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