Learn where you can--and where you cannot--play your Google content

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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Aviva received a $50 Google Play gift certificate. How does Google's formats and DRM policy effect where she can enjoy the music, movies, and books she buys?

When you legally buy downloadable content, the company you buy it from often has veto power over where it can play. This is all part of the ugly truth of Digital Rights Management (DRM).  The publishers, in trying to keep you from sharing your content with others, make it possible for retailers like Google to completely control how and where you can watch, read, or listen to what you buy.

Google sells music, reading material (books and magazines), and video (movies and TV shows), and treats all three differently. I wish they sold books and movies as openly as they sell music.

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What to do when you can't boot from an external source

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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Externe can't boot his laptop from a CD or a flash drive. He asked the Answer Line forum for help.

When you turn on a PC, you usually want and expect it to check the hard drive or SSD and, from there, load Windows or another operating system. But occasionally you need to boot into an alternative environment that isn't on your hard drive. You might, for instance, need to install an operating system or scan for malware from inside a clean environment. That's when you need to boot from a CD, DVD, or flash drive.

For more on why you might want to do this, see Boot discs explained: An overview of booting your PC from something other than your hard drive. For what to do when your PC won't boot this way, read on.

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File extensions control which application can open a file

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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BearPup sometimes wants to open a file in one program, and other times open it in another. He asked the Answer Line forum for an easy way to do this.

Windows uses a file's extension--the part of the file name after the period--to identify what program should open it. When you double-click, say, a .docx file, Windows checks to see what application is associated with that extension (probably a word processor) and opens the file in that program.

You can change these associations yourself, and you can associate multiple programs with a single extension. In fact, there's a good chance Windows has already done that for you.

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Keep your laptop battery healthy: Use it sparingly

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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Sibi Marcos asked about removing a laptop's battery to increase it's life.

Here's one of those sad facts of life that you just can't avoid: Like cars, clothing, and people, batteries wear out. You can't stop this process, but with proper care you can slow it down.

What wears down a battery? Charging and discharging. Obviously, you can't avoid either of those acts entirely (although if you could, you wouldn't have to worry about wearing out your battery). The trick, of course, is to do as little charging and discharging as possible. And one way to avoid charging and discharging is to remove the battery when you don't need it.

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Reinstall Windows on a new-to-you, used computer

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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Cydney Bulger bought a used computer that came with unwanted programs and content. What's the best way to make it like new?

Almost every major-brand Windows PC from the last decade came with a built-in restoration tool. This is usually a partition on the hard drive that contains an image backup of the hard drive's contents when it left the factory.

So you need to figure out how to launch this tool on your particular computer. This generally involves pressing a particular key or key combination early in the boot process--before Windows itself starts to load.

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How to grab a freeze-frame from a video

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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How to grab a freeze-frame from a video

Thc008 asked the Photo Editing forum about saving a video frame as a single photo.

Before I tell you how to do this, allow me to give you some caveats and advice:

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One antivirus program is better than two

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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Arcticsid installed one antivirus program on a new PC that already had another. Then he asked the Antivirus & Security Software forum if that was a good idea.

Running two antivirus programs simultaneously is a bit like mixing a fine, vintage Cabernet with breakfast cereal. Each is good on its own right, but the combination may have unpleasant effects.

Before I explain why, let's get some definitions out of the way. The term antivirus has come to mean a program that launches when you boot your PC and stays running in memory, protecting you in real time not just from viruses (which are, technically speaking, passé), but Trojans, rootkits, and all other forms of malware.

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