How to lock and unlock your USB ports

Sourav Mallick says that “I want [to] protect the USB ports of my laptop from unauthorized access. Is there any software that can be used to lock the USB ports with a password and then unlock them when needed?”

Yes, and the program is called Microsoft Windows. You can disable and re-enable USB storage access with a Registry tweak. And, because you can change the Registry only from inside an administrator-level account, only someone with such an account can do it.

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

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How to share a video privately on YouTube or Vimeo

Dan Keinan wants “to share a private video with a few individuals,” but doesn’t want those individuals to share it with others.

Video services offer various ways to control who can and cannot watch a particular video. But for the most part they’re not all that secure. For instance, if you password-protect a video, your intended recipient might share that password with someone else.

You need a system where only the people you select can watch the video, and those people can’t share it with others. Here’s how to do that in Vimeo and YouTube.

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Upgrading to Windows 10: One good reason to wait

Patricia Hardy worries that some of her programs may not work in Windows 10.

Chances are that if a program runs successfully in Windows 7 or 8.1, it will run just fine in Windows 10. And if it doesn’t, the developers will fix the problem as soon as possible.

But really, we can’t be sure before the official release. And frankly, we can’t even be sure immediately after the release. It will take time for bugs and incompatibilities to surface. (For more details, read Mark Hachman’s article on how to upgrade.)

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When Wi-Fi doesn't work, try these things first

Tom’s laptop can’t access his Wi-Fi network.

Be patient. Diagnosing a network can be one of the most frustrating chores in the tech world. If the simple steps below don't work, we have a more detailed Wi-Fi troubleshooting guide, or you can check out some helpful Wi-Fi utilities

When your PC (or other device) can’t access your Wi-Fi network, you have to find out where the problem is—your laptop or your router. So the first thing you need to do is test the network without the laptop. Try another computer—or any device that uses Wi-Fi, such as a smartphone or tablet. If that other PC or device can access your Wi-Fi, the problem is with your laptop.

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Windows Sticky Notes isn't made for backup, but these alternatives are

I get questions all the time from readers who lost information stored in Windows’ Sticky Notes program. With Sticky Notes, when it’s lost, it’s lost.

At first glance, Sticky Notes seems like a handy little program. With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, you put virtual Post-It notes on your screen and write whatever you want in them.

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Zhorn's Stickies improves upon Sticky Notes.

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Five ways to add SSD speed to your laptop without losing storage capacity

Anand Prabhu asked if there’s a way to put an SSD and a hard drive into the same laptop.

A flash RAM-based SSD gives your PC amazing speed, but it’s expensive by the gigabyte. An old-fashioned, spinning-platter hard drive gives you vast amounts of storage for very little money. But if you use both, and set them up intelligently, you can enjoy a hard drive’s mass storage without losing too much performance.

But that only works if you can install two drives into your PC. That’s usually an option only in larger laptops. Some laptops, even affordable ones, support the standard 2.5-inch hard drive/SSD and also have the options to support the flash-only mSATA  or M.2 drives. The PC makers then fill the bays depending on what you buy. This still leaves the option for you to populate the mSATA and run the hard drive, too. But let’s assume you probably have the typical laptop that only has a single drive bay supporting one hard drive. Here are five solutions:

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How to diagnose and fix a dead laptop keyboard

The keyboard on Tom Dimas’ laptop stopped working. He’s hoping for a fix.

With a laptop, you can’t simply buy a new keyboard and plug it in. Replacing it is difficult (or expensive), so it’s best to find another fix before you take the big plunge.

If you don’t already have an external keyboard, buy one. It’s not a viable replacement for the built-in keyboard, but it will let you log into Windows with your password. It will also help you use your computer while figuring out the best solution.

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