How to make the cursor or mouse pointer bigger

Eston Burciaga asked if “there’s a way to drastically increase the size of the standard Windows pointer?”

If you move your mouse, and can’t find the pointer, it’s time to change the way that the pointer looks and behaves. You can make that adjustment through Control Panel’s Mouse tool. The easiest way to get to that tool varies depending on your version of Windows.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

Read more »

0

How to encrypt and password-protect ZIP files the right way

 An anonymous reader asked “Is there any way to crack a password-protected zip file?”

That question can be interpreted two ways. Do you want to hack into someone else’s private files? Or do you want to avoid a form of encryption that won’t give you much protection? Since I believe that most PCWorld readers are inherently good people, I’ll assume that you simply want to be assured that your files will not be cracked.

For some years now, the .zip format—intended primarily for compression—has provided encryption as an added feature. But what kind of encryption it provides depends on the program you use to create and open the ZIP file.

Read more »

212

Your mobile IP address: Its safety is one thing, its privacy is another

After reading my article on stolen IP addresses, Natalya Kuznet asked if someone could steal your mobile IP address.

I very much doubt that anyone would even try to steal your mobile IP address, for the simple reason that it isn’t worth stealing. There are other reasons to be careful about your mobile IP address, though.

First, let’s understand the basics. Every device on the Internet has two IP addresses: a public and a private one. In your home, your router uses your public IP address—assigned by your ISP—to connect to the Internet. Your router assigns private IP addresses to PCs and other devices to create a local network. Only the public address is visible outside of your network, and only it can be linked to your home.

Read more »

222

Turn your Word doc into a PDF with a live table of contents

Jon Berger asked for a way of “creating PDFs with automatic links in the table of contents” to chapter titles in the main body of the document.

A long report needs to be broken up into sections. Readers will want shortcuts to the chapters that most interest them. So, if you’re distributing your reports as PDFs, you’ll want live tables of contents in which readers can easily go to the chapters they want to read.

Fortunately, this is easy to do in Word 2010 or 2013 (I haven’t tested this in earlier versions).

Read more »

35

When a CD or DVD is stuck or the drive won't open

Chisomo Masonga asked about removing a CD or DVD that’s stuck inside the drive.

Sometimes an important CD or DVD gets stuck inside the drive, and the tray just won’t open. That’s when you wonder why you still mess with an optical drive—even though I for one still find them useful.

When the drive gets stuck, you have to try to save the drive, save the disc, and save your reputation as a level-headed person who doesn’t go hoarse screaming at non-sentient machines. So what do you do when you push the button on the front of the drive plate and the tray doesn’t eject?

Read more »

98

Two backups are better than one--if you do them right

Dien Duong wants to back up to two separate external hard drives. But Windows’ built-in backup program won’t let him do that

Backing up is all about redundancy. And the more redundant, the better. If some ransomware steals your important files, the last thing you want to discover is that your backup drive is dead. Or that a bug in your backup software won’t let you restore anything (that actually happened to me once, a long time ago; and no, I don’t want to talk about it).

So Dien has the right idea—you should back up twice. His mistake is trying to do it with Windows’ built-in backup tool--called Backup and Restore in Windows 7, and File History in Windows 8.1 and 10.

Read more »

0

An SSD upgrade is still the single best thing you can do for your PC

John is "considering upgrading to a SSD." He wants to know "how much faster would it really be?"

I can't tell give you exact numbers because I don't know either your computer or what SSD you'll buy. But I can tell you this: The hard drive, with its mechanical moving parts, is almost certainly the biggest bottleneck in your PC. (If it isn't, you've got something seriously wrong--probably in the software.) Replace that hard drive with an SSD, and the bottleneck disappears.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

Read more »

0