Move from a hard drive to an SSD

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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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

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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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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Read EPUB books in your browser

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Rudi Lehnert asked if there’s a way to open and read .epub books in a browser.

Most of the e-books I read are in the .epub format, primarily because I’m allergic to Digital Rights Management. (An .epub can have DRM, but they usually don’t.) A handful of e-tailers sell unprotected .epub books, although you may have a hard time finding recent bestsellers that way. And almost any book old enough to be in the public domain is available free in that format from Project Gutenberg and similar sites.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Improve the look of your slideshows

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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When he runs a slideshow, Dan Brindell wants more than a quick cut from one photo to another. He wants the photos to “roll and fade” with interesting transitions.

Windows’ native file manager, called File Explorer in Windows 8 and Windows Explorer in previous versions, has a built-in slideshow. Open a folder filled with photos, and you’ll find a Slide show button on the toolbar (Microsoft prefers the two-word spelling—slide show; I don’t). When you select that option, then right-click the resulting full-screen slideshow, you’ll find options to control the order and speed of your show. But you won’t find options for fades, dissolves, wipes, or other transition effects.

For that you’ll have to download additional software.

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Can a hacker use a brute-force attack to steal an online password?

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Harish Kumar asked if a brute force attack--which tries random text strings until one turns out to be your password—would work on major websites. “Will Facebook allow millions of failed attempts?”

We all know that cybercriminals successfully hack Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft accounts. In one recent three-day period, two readers emailed me for advice on recovering their hacked Twitter accounts. (I point them to Your Twitter account has been hacked! Here's what to do about it.)

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Log into Windows 8 without having to type a strong password

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Papa John created a strong, complex password for his Microsoft account--as he should. But he wants a simpler password for logging into Windows 8.1.

Microsoft built Windows 8 on the assumption that your local user account and your online Microsoft account would be one and the same. While this provides certain conveniences (and Microsoft profits), it also causes problems.

One big problem: Everything is set up so that you use one password for both logging into your computer and accessing Microsoft’s cloud-based services. But online passwords need to be strong (see Learn to use strong passwords), and local logon passwords should be easy to remember and type. You can’t have both.

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How to create hotkeys for Windows sleep and shutdown

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

Freelance journalist (and sometimes humorist) Lincoln Spector has been writing about tech longer than he would care to admit. A passionate cinephile, he also writes the Bayflicks.net movie blog.
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Allen Flores asked whether there were shortcut keys for putting a PC into sleep mode, rebooting it, or shutting Windows down entirely.

Your computer has one, and maybe two, special buttons that you can configure for just these purposes. In addition, you can create shortcuts for these tasks, and assign hotkeys to the shortcuts.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com.]

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