Recover files from a dead 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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Freeflowing89 has "a ton of music and documents on an HP laptop" that's not "even close to starting up." Fixing or replacing the computer is one thing, but in the meantime, Freeflowing needs to get those files back.

The easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to recover files from a dead PC doesn't require any access to the computer. You simply restore the files from your most recent backup.

Unless, of course, you don't have a recent backup. And I'm guessing you don't. People with up-to-date backups don't ask me this sort of question.

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Your IP address: Who can see it and what you can do about it

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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Melanie, concerned about online privacy, asked the Antivirus & Security Software forum who can see her IP address and how serious a problem that is.

All Internet communications require Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. If a website you visit couldn't see your IP address, it would have no way to send you pages, images, files, and so on.

To see how easily a site can see your IP address, visit What Is My  IP Address. Or just Google what's my ip address. It's easier to get than your telephone number.

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How to set and keep your preferred default font in Word

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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Streeter S. Stuart (whose name is as unique as mine) doesn’t like Word’s default Calibri font. He’s also tired of changing it every time he starts a new document.

If you’re happy with the default settings, Microsoft Word can be a wondrously powerful and intuitive application. It’s also extremely versatile and can be configured to match your own personal preferences. Unfortunately, many of the configuration tools are anything but intuitive.

That also goes for changing Word’s default font. It’s easy enough to change a font in the word, paragraph, or document you’re working on. But changing the programs’ default font—the one that comes up every time you create a new document—isn’t so obvious.

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When Windows Update won't update

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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Something is blocking Windows Updates on Robert Douglas' PC.

0310 shut down 140

It happens every month: Windows tells you that you need to shut down the PC for an update. But sometimes, you shut it down, reboot, and you still get the update Shut down notice. The update hasn't updated.

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Use KeePass in both Windows and Android

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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R. Don Schneider protects his passwords by storing them in KeePass. But he also wants to access them on his Android phone.

Everyone on the Internet should use a password manager, and KeePass Password Safe is one of the best. Like all such programs, it stores your passwords in an encrypted database that's easy to access as long as you remember the master password. But it's also free, easy to use, and open source. (See Some password managers are safer than others for details.)

But you're not always at your computer. You'll inevitably want access to your password database from your smartphone, as well.

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Move from a hard drive to an SSD

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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David R McCullough needs to clone his 1TB hard drive to a 120GB SSD. It's like moving all your furniture from a big house to a small apartment.

I've discussed the advantages of installing an SSD while also keeping your large hard drive in The Best of Both Worlds: An SSD and a HDD. I've also explained how to Move your libraries to an external drive without messing things up--important with most laptops when you switch to an SSD.

But I confess: I never covered the basic job of moving your Windows installation from a large-capacity hard drive to a faster but more limited SSD. I'll fix that right now.

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Reinstall Windows when you've lost your reinstall disc or partition

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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Wayne Klawuhn used DBAN to securely wipe his hard drive. Unfortunately, it also wiped the tools necessary for reinstalling Windows.

Every computer sold with Windows pre-installed must come with a tool for reinstalling the operating system. The most common approach puts the restoration tool on a special partition on the hard drive. Some PCs, especially from small manufacturers, come instead with an OEM Windows DVD.

But what do you do if the partition has been lost--either through a hard drive crash or user error? Or what if that DVD has been misplaced?

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