Why it's a good idea to own a USB-to-SATA adapter

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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USB-to-SATA adapter

A couple years back I called the USB-to-IDE/SATA adapter the most indispensable tool in my PC repair kit. Just this weekend, it once again proved itself worthy of that title.

In a nutshell, the adapter allows you to connect an internal hard drive to your PC—externally. What would an internal drive be doing outside your desktop or laptop? Funny you should ask.

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How to use Windows 8's cool new file-copy feature

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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My new slogan for Windows 8: "It's not all bad!" ($50K and it's yours, Microsoft.)

Misguided though the Metro interface may be, there are some nice under-the-hood improvements to be found in the OS. For example, there's the File History feature I wrote about a couple months ago.

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Use SpeedTest to help diagnose Internet problems

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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For the past week or so, I've been trying to pinpoint a problem with my Internet connection.

Usually I blame Comcast, my ISP, but a typical Comcast outage is exactly that: a total interruption of service. I can tell from looking at the System Tray network icon that there's no connection.

This time, however, the problem was intermittent. Sometimes my connection would slow to a crawl, other times it would disappear altogether for a few minutes. But the network icon didn't indicate a loss of service.

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Three quick ways to ease your transition to Windows 8

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to test-drive a couple Windows 8 laptops, and even though I've used the OS intermittently for months now, I still find it jarring every time the Metro interface (a.k.a. Start screen) appears.

Indeed, for anyone brand new to Windows 8, anyone who's already familiar with an earlier version of Windows, that tile-based interface can be startling, confusing, and ultimately very frustrating.

Can you learn it? Sure. Should you have to? No. With a few simple steps, you can make your new Windows 8 PC much more familiar, both in look and operation.

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Turn an RSS feed into a 'Star Wars' crawl

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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StarRSS

After the events of the last few days, I thought everybody could use a smile. And this definitely brought one to my face.

Many users still rely on RSS feeds to see the latest posts on their favorite sites. Of course, now that Google is pulling the plug on Reader, the door is wide open for interesting alternatives.

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How to enable Family Safety features in Windows 8

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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The Internet? Kind of a cesspool. And as the parent of kids who are now old enough to operate a Web browser, you can bet I'm keen on checking their activities and filtering out the inappropriate content.

Thankfully, Windows 8 offers some solid tools for doing just that. (Windows 7 does, too, but Microsoft made them easier and more robust in the new version of the OS.)

For example, you can limit your child's Web browsing to age-appropriate sites and block or allow specific sites as needed. You can impose time limits, perhaps locking out the PC during hours when you're at work and not able to supervise. And you can control what games and apps can be played and purchased.

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How to restore Google Chrome's missing buttons in Windows 8

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Now that I'm running Windows 8 for at least part of my workday (much to my chagrin), I'm doing my best to make it hospitable. And for me, the first step is installing Google Chrome, my preferred Web browser.

So I dropped into Desktop, fired up Internet Explorer, downloaded and installed Chrome, and set it as my default browser.

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