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Control your desktop, or Windows will control it for you

Windows rarely leaves the icons on your desktop where you want them. Here's how to fix that annoying problem.

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Buying a new PC? Don't worry, Windows 8 is just fine.

I hated Windows 8 from the start. But now I can wholeheartedly recommend Microsoft's troubled OS.

0717 primary

Brush up on your tech acronyms

You hear and read the same acronyms over and over again. Many you know well. Others you can guess. And some just baffle you. Let's unclutter the alphabet soup.

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Speed up or slow down your slideshows

Showing photos to friends? If the pictures move too slowly, you bore your audience. If they move to fast, you annoy them. Here's how to set the speed in several common programs.

Computer shutting down on its own? Maybe it's time to play it cool.

If your computer has acquired the habit of shutting down when you didn't ask it to, there's a good chance that it's overheated. Here's how to cool it down.

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Some files need encryption and some files don't

Chances are you don't have to encrypt your entire hard drive. But you need to know what files to encrypt.

Take precautions when using Gmail—or any other email service

Google's almost ubiquitous email client doesn't guarantee that your email will be private, or that your account won't be hacked. But the right precautions can give you reasonable protection.

Installation traps

How to spot and avoid installing potentially unwanted programs

Options that trick you into installing potentially unwanted programs are common during the setup of free tools and programs. Here's how to spot them and keep them off your system.

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What to do when a second hard drive bricks your PC

You install a second hard drive, plug in the power, and turn on the PC. But Windows doesn't boot. Run through this checklist to fix the problem.

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The top 10 Windows 8 questions everyone asks

We get asked about Windows 8 all the time, and some burning questions just don't die. See if you're savvy enough to answer the top 10 puzzlers for this still-new OS.

USB 3.0 speed: real and imagined

In theory, USB 3.0 transfers data at an awesome 5gbps, but the flash drives available now can't even hit USB 2.0's much-lower speed ceiling.

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How to stream media from your PC to your HDTV over WiFi

Your PC is in one room, and your HDTV is in another. Here's an easy way to stream videos, music, and photos from the hard drive to the big screen.

Don't use the same external drive for backup and storage

External hard drives can provide both backup and storage. But don't use the same drive for both.

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Top 10 fixes for common PC problems: The best of PCWorld's Answer Line

From backups to BSODs, Lincoln Spector lists the top 10 tips he's gathered from the past two years of Answer Line letters.

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You've fallen for a scam! Now what?

We all make mistakes. Here's what you need to do after realizing that you have been had, and keep those mistakes from costing you.