Update to the 8.1 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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Robert Pepe uses Windows 8.1. He asked if it is necessary to get the update, and how to do it.

I’d have a hard time coming up with a more ridiculous label than “Windows 8.1 Update.” Things would have been far less confusing if Microsoft had simply called this one Windows 8.2.

Regular readers know that I hated Windows 8 from the start. But Windows 8.1’s user interface improvements were a step in the right direction. The Windows 8.1 update, which brings several more improvements, is another good step.

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How to install Ubuntu and keep Windows

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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Amar Thakur wants to install Ubuntu on a PC without removing Windows 7. “How will I do that?”

Ubuntu offers three ways to launch the operating system without hurting Windows. Two of these options require a bootable Ubuntu CD or flash drive, so I'll first discuss how to set up those devices.

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

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How to set and keep your preferred default font in LibreOffice Writer

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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After reading How to set and keep your preferred default font in Word, Paul Reitman asked about doing the same thing in the free LibreOffice.

Not everyone wants to pay for their word processor and spreadsheet, and they often don’t have to. LibreOffice offers a reasonably powerful and versatile set of tools for free. It’s not for everyone (I still prefer Microsoft’s suite for a number of reasons), but for many people it’s a perfectly good substitute.

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

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Protect your privacy while you browse

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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It once sounded like paranoia; now it’s more like common sense. Steve asked for safe and secure ways to access the Internet without being tracked by crooks, corporations, and governments.

There’s no such thing as complete, 100-percent perfect privacy or security. The Heartbleed vulnerability made that patently clear. But you can lock down your Internet access, making a security breach much less likely.

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

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How to run DOS programs in a current version of Windows

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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Kenneth M. Frith is moving away from Windows XP (as he should). But he still has some old DOS programs he’s either unwilling or unable to give up. Can they run in Windows 8?

The big question is: Does your new PC run the 32- or 64-bit version of Windows 7 or 8? If you have the 32-bit version (referred to as x86 for historical reasons), you should have no trouble with many (but not all) DOS programs. But if you’re using the 64-bit version (x64), running a DOS program is officially impossible.

But that doesn't mean it can't be done.

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Why you don’t need to encrypt your backup

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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Richard O'Hara backs up regularly to an external hard drive, but that leaves him worried. “How can I make the data on the external drive secure in case it's lost or stolen?”

Back up and encrypt. Those are vital habits for everyone in our digital society. Without a backup, each and every document, spreadsheet, photo and video on your hard drive could disappear in seconds. And without encryption, your sensitive files could fall into the wrong hands, resulting in identity theft and other disasters.

In short, you need to back up all of your files. You also need to encrypt the ones containing sensitive information. And the encrypted files need to remain encrypted in the backup.

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The pros and cons (mostly cons) of saving files to the desktop

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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For years, Jocelyn Warfield saved her document files to the desktop. She asked me about continuing the process.

As far back as I can remember, no version of Windows has ever, by default, saved data files (documents, spreadsheets, photos, and so on) to the desktop. And at least since XP, it has not been a particularly safe place to save them.

But, because the desktop is always visible, some people just can’t resist temptation.

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