Even new PCs can have 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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Recently I splurged on a new laptop, a 13.3-inch Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook. Incredibly thin, light, and fast, it overjoyed me from the moment I unpacked it.

It wasn't long, though, before my joy turned to frustration. Although it booted with lightning speed, Internet access seemed slow. In fact, sometimes I couldn't load Web pages at all.

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With an SSD, backups are more important than ever

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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Welcome to the dawn of the SSD age. Solid-state drives now offer great performance at affordable prices, which is why more and more users are choosing them in new PCs and adding them to older ones.

I'm a big fan myself, but I want to share a cautionary tale. About six months ago, an acquaintance of mine installed an SSD in his laptop. Initially, he was delighted: the drive helped his system boot faster and run longer between trips to the wall socket.

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How to upgrade your external hard drive to USB 3.0

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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Ready for an unconventional upgrade? How about this: You can turn an old, pokey external hard drive into a blazingly fast one with about 10 minutes of your time and $15 of your money.

See, most modern computers have at least one USB 3.0 port. You can plug an older, USB 2.0 drive into one, but you won't get the faster throughput afforded by the newer technology.

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How to find out where you can see your favorite movie

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 TV Guide Watchlist

Recently, the conversation turned to POW movies, which inevitably got me talking about "Stalag 17," the classic that inspired the (inferior) TV series "Hogan's Heroes."

I hadn't seen the film in years, but now, with it at the forefront of my mind, I was dying for a screening. Indeed, I thought even my kids were old enough to enjoy it, what with its great blend of humor, mystery, and suspense.

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How to make the power button shut down your Windows 8 system

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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A few days ago I showed you how to create a Windows 8 shutdown tile, the idea being to circumvent the ridiculous hoops Microsoft makes you jump through just to turn off your computer.

Some would argue that doing so is an antiquated idea. After all, Windows 7 and 8 don't need regular reboots to continue running smoothly the way earlier versions did. On most modern systems you can leverage sleep/hibernate modes almost indefinitely, enjoying the benefits of quick wake/standby without ever actually shutting down.

Ah, but sleep mode continues to draw a bit of power, so it's not always the best option--especially for battery-conscious laptop users. And, let's face it, some users are just accustomed to turning off their PCs at the end of the day.

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How to create a Windows 8 shutdown tile

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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Wouldn't you love to have this option in your Windows 8 Start screen?

Last October I explained to how to shut down Windows 8—a subject you wouldn't think would require its own how-to guide. And yet.

At the end of that post (which generated quite the conversation), I promised to return with a shortcut that would minimize the hassles of mousing and clicking through the Settings menu to reach the shutdown option. And then I plumb forgot!

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How to undo accidental browser zoom

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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Earlier today my dad called the Hassle-Free Hotline (also known as my home phone number). The poor guy seems to encounter more than his fair share of inadvertant computer problems.

For example, somehow, while using his laptop's touchpad, he'd made everything in his browser bigger. Consequently, he had to scroll pages left and right, not just up and down.

Welcome to the Curse of the Multitouch Touchpad. Most laptop owners know that dragging a finger across the touchpad moves the cursor. On some systems, dragging two fingers up and down enables scrolling. But there's another "gesture" that's easy to perform by accident, and the results often leave users scratching their heads.

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