How to create a bootable Windows 8 recovery tool

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.
More by

Reader Larry wrote me regarding his new Asus machine, which came without any kind of recovery disks (which would be used to restore Windows in the event of a major system meltdown).

That's not uncommon these days. Even on systems that have optical drives (which are increasingly rare), computer vendors opt to save money by skipping the Windows restore/recover disks that were once common.

Read more »

16

Add a hard drive-activity LED to a laptop that lacks one

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.
More by

Activity Indicator.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like to know when my hard drive is active.

That's partly so I know when Windows has more or less finished its boot activity (which, on one aging machine, takes 7-8 minutes), and partly so I can troubleshoot problems.

Read more »

6

Add a Wi-Fi hotspot to Windows 8 with Virtual Router Plus

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.
More by

Virtual Router Plus

Recently I spent a full week in a hotel, where I grudgingly paid for Wi-Fi so I could get some work done. Unfortunately, it was a per-device purchase: Only my laptop could get online. If I wanted Internet access on my phone (which had a weak indoor signal) and tablet (Wi-Fi only), I'd have to pay again. And again.

Hey, wait a minute, doesn't Windows let you set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to share its connection with other devices? It did, in Windows 7; it doesn't in Windows 8. Actually, the capability is still there, but enabling it requires some serious command-line tinkering.

Read more »

11

Spruce up your Windows Media Center TV guide with My Channel Logos XL

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.
More by

My Channel Logos XL enhances your Windows Media Center program guide in many cool ways.

Despite Microsoft's endless attempts to crush my enthusiasm, I continue to be a fan of Windows Media Center. At least, I'm trying to be: It's not included with Windows 8. I'd literally have to spend $100 to get it as part of Microsoft's Pro Pack. (Windows 8 Pro users can buy WMC for $9.99, a slap in the face to the rest of us.)

Thankfully, I still run Windows 7 on my tuner-equipped media-center PC, and therefore still get to enjoy the benefits of the software.

Read more »

2

How to do smarter file searches 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.
More by

For me, one of the most awkward aspects of the Windows 8 Start screen (you know, the one with all the tiles) is file management.

Specifically, if I want to browse or search my files (Word documents, PDFs, etc.), it's not immediately clear how to do so. There's no file manager to speak of, at least not amidst the tiles, so anyone accustomed to an earlier version of Windows might be left thinking, "Dude, where's my data?"

As you may have learned, you can search for files the same way you can search for apps and settings: just start typing. Windows 8's dynamic search option immediately displays and filters results as you type.

Read more »

8

Gmail tip: Don't forget to check your spam filter

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.
More by

Most of these are spam, but at least one definitely isn't.

Before I incur the wrath of non-Gmail users, let me just note that this tip also applies to Hotmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo, and so on. But because I'm a Gmail user myself, and that's where my story begins, that's where I'm putting my focus.

When was the last time you checked your spam filter? I ask because until recently, I hadn't looked at mine for months. That's because I use Gmail, and the service is so good at keeping junk out of my inbox, I pretty much forgot spam existed.

Read more »

0

Learn Windows 8 basics with Microsoft's 'training brochure'

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.
More by

Windows 8 is here to stay, and whatever tweaks Microsoft makes in its upcoming Windows Blue release, many users find the new interface difficult to master.

That wouldn't be such a big deal if Microsoft gave you an instruction manual for learning all the new features, but, alas, I certainly didn't find one in the "box." (I bought and downloaded the upgrade several months back, so there was no box.)

Actually, there is a manual of sorts, though how anyone would ever find it is beyond me. It's called the Windows 8 End User Training Brochure, which sounds like something aimed at MIcrosoft Store salespeople, not everyday users.

Read more »

5