How to move to a new PC (Spoiler: Don't clone)

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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Tristan asked if he should transfer everything to his new laptop by cloning the old PC's hard drive.

I strongly recommend against cloning the drive on an old PC to a new one. You bring all of your old problems to a new machine. What's more, you create more problems, because every Windows installation is adapted to the particular hardware it was installed on. Finally, you'll have the same Windows license running on two computers (Microsoft doesn't like that) while not using the license you paid for when you bought the new PC.

Sorry to say this, but you need to take the time to move everything over properly. Here's how:

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How to set up two monitors

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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Ray Raulerson asked about running a computer with two monitors.

For years, I was quite happy with one monitor. I would see other people working with two of them, and it struck me as a waste of desk space and electricity. Three monitors looked like they would flap their wings and fly away.

Then, one day I was working with my closed laptop in its docking bay, and my eyes on my external monitor. On a whim, I opened the laptop and got a second screen. I've been a two-screen user ever since.

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Stop the Shockwave Flash Chrome crash

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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M A Hameed has a Chrome problem. Web pages suddenly die in Chrome with "Shockwave flash has crashed" messages.

You almost certainly have two versions of Flash running at the same time. They tend to trip over each other. I know; I've suffered from that same problem myself.

Here's the problem: Chrome comes with its own version of Flash. In addition, you may have another Flash installation, downloaded from Adobe or bundled with your computer. The trick is to turn one of them off.

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Speed up a slow PC without buying new hardware

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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Gamersim17 complains that his PC is "moving extremely slowly and not performing like it should." He asked the Desktops forum for advice.

If a once-fast computer has slowed to a crawl, you can't really blame the hardware. Sure, you may be able to improve speed by adding RAM, upgrading the CPU, or replacing the hard drive with an SSD. But none of those solutions--all of which cost money--address the underlying problem. Your hardware isn't underpowered. It's overloaded.

Cleaning out Windows will very likely speed up a PC. And no, I'm not suggesting reinstalling the operating system. There are less drastic fixes.

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Recover files from a dead external drive

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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Xolelwa Mzili's PC no longer sees her external hard drive. Can she recover the files?

Because they're used heavily for backup and sneakernet, we tend to assume that every file on an external hard drive also exists elsewhere. But if a file is only on the external drive, it is not backed up and can be lost.

So if you keep any files exclusively on an external hard drive, you need a backup of that drive.

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Disable Windows' logon 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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Don doesn't need to keep other people off his PC. He asked me how he could skip the logon screen and boot directly into Windows without a password.

My first piece of advice would be to leave your computer as is. That password is important. Without it, your PC is vulnerable. Anyone who can get physical access to your PC can also get access to your files, email, and so on. They may even be able to send email as you.

On the other hand, it would be nice to turn on your PC, walk away, come back a few minutes later, and be ready to work. Besides, it's not the difficult for someone else to remove the Windows password. Of course, you could (and should) protect your most vital files with a third-party encryption tool.

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Extend your Wi-Fi network throughout the house

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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The wireless signal from Aidan's router doesn't reach throughout the house. Here are a few ways to fix the problem.

Extending a Wi-Fi network can be as easy as playing with cardboard and tape, or as difficult as rewiring your house. It all depends how big a boost you need, and how much time and money you're willing to devote to the task.

Here are three ways to increase your signal's range.

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