Three distraction-free tools that force you to focus on your tasks

Computers are both a blessing and a curse when it comes to getting work done. They make it so much more efficient to create the next great novel or balance the books than doing the same task on paper. But they are also a distraction machine, tempting us with Netflix streaming, Facebook, YouTube, games, and more.

To get past that, developers have come up with some inventive ways to overcome our appetite for diversion with distraction-free mode.

This is when an app appears full screen and everything else about your PC—the taskbar, web browser, and other apps—disappears. Some apps allow you to return to the land of distraction with a simple key press, while others aren’t so easily dismissed.

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Wi-Fi triage: 5 common solutions to your wireless woes

Wi-Fi is the most wonderful home convenience—except for when it isn’t. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a mental checklist on hand for common issues that might be causing the problem when your Wi-Fi checks out.

Everybody has their own favorite way of handling Wi-Fi problems, but here’s mine.

Reboot your router

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Which cloud personality are you? Three ways to approach online storage

Cloud storage is incredibly convenient, but it can also be confusing. Sometimes you’re just not sure what files to put up there or if you should store anything online at all. One way to approach the issue is to ask yourself what you want to get out of storing files online. Is your overarching concern convenience, security, or a mix of the two?

Here’s a look at what you might call three different “cloud personalities” that can help you decide what you want to get out of a service like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox. I’ve also included some suggestions about services or strategies that might work best for each type.

Convenience cloud

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VPNs made easy: 3 services with one-click desktop apps

We’ve talked before about the importance of virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep you safe and protected when using open Wi-Fi networks. The downside of VPN’s, however, is that some need manual set-up, requiring you to muck around with the built-in VPN client in Windows or a third-party client like OpenVPN.

That’s all well and good if you like getting your hands dirty, but the whole point of what we do here is to find solutions that are—dare I say it—hassle-free.

Many VPNs these days offer their own no muss, no fuss downloadable client. You just download the program, turn it on, and boom! You’re connected.

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4 easy ways to cut your software costs in 2015

The holidays are over, the new year has begun, and thoughts are turning back towards normal life—and post-holiday finances. There's a reason that "Save more money" is such a popular New Year's resolution.

One easy way to cut costs is to reassess the software you're paying for and why you're paying for it. If there's anything that can be cut and replaced with free or near-free alternatives, try it! Virtually every premium program out there has a no-cost alternative or three.

Without further ado, here are four free software suggestions that can help you start brainstorming your own list of software cost-cutting measures. For a deeper set of suggestions, check out PCWorld's "Your new PC needs these 22 free, excellent programs," which has no-cost software solutions that can cover all your computing bases.

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The one way to upload folders to OneDrive in-browser

Microsoft gave Office 365 subscribers an early holiday treat in October when it promised unlimited cloud storage via OneDrive. One way to take advantage of all that storage in Windows 8.1 is to simply copy all the files you want in the cloud over to the OneDrive folder on your desktop.

cantuploadfolderonedrive

Internet Explorer won't let you upload folders to OneDrive.

Another useful trick, however, is to use the browser—and if you do, you won't have to move a bunch of subfolders into your OneDrive folder for long-term storage or multi-device synching, which comes in handy if you're taking advantage of OneDrive's selective synching options. Officially, OneDrive doesn't seem able to handle in-browser folder uploads. If you use Firefox or Internet Explorer to upload folders, you'll get a message like the one you see at right.

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8 easy digital resolutions for a happy, high-tech 2015

Welcome to 2015: A brand new year and a great time for a fresh start. Instead of shooting for nebulous, unrealistic goals in the New Year, start off 2015 with vows to improve your digital life. (You weren’t really going to go to the gym every day or be nicer to your siblings anyway.)

Most of the suggestions below aren’t hard to achieve and some are even the set-it-and-forget-it kinds of resolutions. But you, your PC, and your data will be much better off once you’ve hit these technological high points.

Back up your stuff... online

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