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

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Jill’s planning to buy a new PC. She asked me if she should go with Windows 7 or Windows 8.

We’re allowed to change our minds. Back in 2012, I wrote an opinion piece called Why you shouldn’t upgrade to Windows 8. At that time I so hated what Microsoft was doing that I wondered if I’d ever buy another Windows computer.

I still haven’t upgraded my main PC. But when it comes time to replace it, I’ll be more than happy to move over to Windows 8.whatever.

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Brush up on your tech acronyms

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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H. Basco asked for “a list of all the abbreviations that computer-savvy geniuses use, thinking we all KNOW what they mean!”

Sorry, but I can’t provide you with every tech acronym in existence. That would require writing a very large book. And it would be out of date long before I could finish it. But I’ve provided a handful of the more common abbreviations.

For the others, just search the web.

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Speed up or slow down your slideshows

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Fjjaf asked me how “to set the seconds a photo will show in Picasa until moving to the next photo.” My answer covers more than Picasa.

Back in February, I discussed ways to spruce up your automated slideshows with fancy transitions. But when you think about it, those transitions aren’t nearly as important as the photos shown between them—or the length of time you show each photo.

Here’s how to set a slideshow’s speed in Picasa and a couple other programs. Whatever program you use, I suggest leaving each photo up for three to five seconds.

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

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Martin Lønn Naess’ PC “suddenly turns off while rendering a video.” My guess is that it’s overheating. Here’s what to do about it.

Chips and hard drives use electricity, and therefore generate heat. That heat can seriously damage the circuits inside your PC. Luckily, the computer is smart enough to shut itself down when it gets too hot, protecting itself from permanent damage. A PC that suddenly shuts itself down may be a lesser evil, but it’s still something you want to avoid.

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

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Some files need encryption and some files don't

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Andre De Beer asked if certain files on his hard drive need encryption. Some do and some don’t.

If you’re like the vast majority of PC users, you have no need to encrypt everything on your hard drive. Before you decide to encrypt anything, ask yourself this: What would you lose if criminals or the NSA got their hands on these files? If the answer is “nothing,” those files don’t need encryption.

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

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Take precautions when using Gmail—or any other email service

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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G. Jitchaku asked me if Gmail was “safe.” That’s a very broad question, so I’m offering a very broad answer.

Nothing in this world is ever entirely safe, and that goes double for anything that lives in the cloud. If you use Gmail, your mail could be read by someone other than the intended recipient, or your account just might get hijacked.

That’s the case with every email service. Whether you use Gmail, Outlook, or your ISP’s email service, you need to protect yourself. I’ll concentrate on Gmail here, but the basic advice applies to any mail service.

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What to do when a second hard drive bricks your PC

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Mahenthiran K installed a second hard drive into his PC. The computer should still boot from the original drive, but it doesn’t boot at all.

When you install a second hard drive in a PC, it shouldn't get in the way of the original drive’s boot process. Of course, there’s often a big gap between what should happen and what does happen.

Let’s see if we can fix this problem.

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