Regain your PC's administrator rights, even if you don't have the password

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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LouieB62 needs administrator-level access to his Windows PC, but he doesn't have the password. He asked the Answer Line forum for help.

Your Windows PC has at least one administrator-level account. If you can't access that account, you've got a problem--you can't install or uninstall programs, or change certain settings.

I'll tell you a way to gain this access,  but first, ask yourself if you really should be doing this. If it's unquestionably your computer and you've forgotten your password (or if the previous owner failed to give it to you), you have every right acquire or change the password. But if it's a company computer and the IT department wants to keep full administrator control to itself, this is a good way to get fired. And if it's someone else's computer, it's a good way to get arrested.

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Manage the tile-based slide show in Windows 8's Photo app

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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Walter Bott asked how he could better control Windows 8's built-in Photo app--the one that usually presents a small slide show in its Start page tile.

I've discussed this app briefly before, in How to better control Windows 8 slide shows. But this time around, I want to touch on two issues I didn't cover back then: How to turn on and off the little, tile-based slideshow on the Start screen, and how to control what pictures turn up on that slideshow, and in the Photo app in general.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

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Privately share a video that only a select few can watch

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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Larry wants to make a video available, via streaming, to friends and family, and only to friends and family.

Perfectly understandable. Streaming video is the obvious and easy way to share home movies, but sometimes you need to control who can jump into that stream. You may want everyone in the world to enjoy your cat videos, but humans often object when their drunken dancing turns up all over the Internet.

I'll give you privacy control settings for three free and popular streaming services.

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For security's sake, upgrade to a newer version of Office

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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Russell Caplan still uses Office 2003, which Microsoft will stop supporting next year. He asked if he will need to upgrade to a more current version.

You probably should upgrade before next April. After that month, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Office 2003 (or, for that matter, Windows XP). If someone finds a new vulnerability in one of the programs, Microsoft won't make and release a patch for it. Your copy of Office will remain vulnerable.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

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Improve performance with a hard drive upgrade

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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Alloystory asked the Laptops forum about speeding up a PC by replacing the hard drive with something faster.

Hard drives are classic bottlenecks, and they definitely slow down computers. But whether you can significantly open up that bottleneck depends on the speed of your current drive, how many available drive bays you have, how much storage space you need, and how much money you're willing to spend.

You effectively have three options (four if you include leaving things as they are). You can buy an SSD, buy a faster hard drive, or set up a RAID. I've already discussed RAIDs in Multiple hard drives working together: All about RAID setups, so I won't cover that here.

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Why some Web sites are much slower than others

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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John asked why one Web page "comes up right away, while another takes quite a long time to load."

You can't set a clock by your Internet download speed. A great many factors make one page faster than another. And a great many other factors can make the same page fast one day (or hour) and slow the next.

Most of these variables are completely out of your control. But it's still worthwhile to understand them.

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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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