Three cool ways to tweak File Explorer 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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Microsoft may have bungled a few things with Windows 8 (snark reply: "Just a few?!"), but File Explorer isn't one of them.

For one thing, the file manager finally earned a home on the Taskbar (even if you have to switch to the desktop to find it). Even better, Microsoft endowed it with the now-familiar Ribbon interface, making for much easier navigation of your files (and Explorer itself).

However, I think it could be even better with a little tweaking. Here are three simple changes you can make to improve the File Explorer experience:

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Convert a PDF for Kindle viewing, no software required

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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If you rely on a Kindle (or Kindle app) for reading, you probably know that it supports not only ebooks, but also PDFs.

In fact, if you've done your homework, you also know that your Kindle (or Kindle app) has its own email address, meaning you can send any PDF straight to your device just by attaching it to an email. (You can find this address in the Kindle's Settings area.)

Unfortunately, most PDFs arrive exactly as they are: static images that aren't optimized for Kindle viewing, and therefore require a lot of zooming and scrolling. If you ask me, they're almost unreadable in this state.

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Install any version of Windows using any Windows disc you can find

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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Reader Chris needs to reinstall Windows 7 Home Basic on his laptop. Just one problem: he lost his recovery discs.

A more common problem is when you need to reinstall Windows and you never had recovery discs to begin with. Few manufacturers provide them anymore, and many new PCs don't have optical drives even if they did.

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How to bypass your PC when ordering photo prints

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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FreePrints for Android

Old habits die hard. For example, many of us still insist on syncing our smartphones to our PCs, even though it's hardly necessary anymore. (Android, iOS, and Windows phones can automatically sync to the cloud.)

Likewise, many users still take the old-school approach when it comes to ordering prints of the photos they've snapped: They copy (or even email) them to a PC, then upload them to a printing service.

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Get a disposable email address from MailDrop

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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Your email address is like your home address: Never give it out unless absolutely necessary.

Thus, if you're registering online for some freebie, promotion, or Web site that you just know is going to deluge you with ads and other spam, it makes sense to supply a disposable address—something you can access as needed for confirmation messages or the like, but that won't otherwise interfere with your primary inbox.

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How to fix a broken favicon

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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facebook logo

A couple days ago, I fired up my Web browser to discover that my Facebook "favicon" (the little icon that appears on the favorites toolbar right below the address bar) had changed.

In place of that familiar little blue "f," I was looking at some grayish approximation of a sailboat sail. I'm not sure how it happened or why, but fortunately all my other favicons looked fine.

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Make Windows Media Player the default audio player 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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Like many Windows 8 users, I spend most of my time using Desktop mode, which affords me a more Windows 7-like experience.

However, every so often the OS kicks me into an app that I don't especially like or want to use. For example, my home-phone service (Ooma) delivers voice-mail messages to me as MP3 email attachments. When I open one, it fires up Microsoft's Music app, which inconveniently bounces me out of Desktop mode.

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