Manage your hard drive space with Windows 8.1's hidden, helpful tools

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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For years, Windows users have checked their disk space through File Explorer and the good ol' Computer (or "My PC" in Windows 8.1) interface on the desktop. But that only tells you how much total space is left on your drive. To figure out which file types or folders were taking up all that space, you had to dive into your file system.

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft offers two features in the modern UI PC Settings app that make managing your disk space much easier.

Disk space

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Uninstall preloaded Windows 8 apps in bulk with this program

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Removing bloatware from a new PC is a rite of passage for most Windows users whenever they get a new machine. And for years, desktop users have turned to third-party programs such as PC Decrapifier to automate bloatware removal.

But removing all those pre-installed "Metro" apps in Windows 8 hasn't been so easy, and boy, does Microsoft pre-install a lot of them. (Around 20 in the Windows 8.1 Update, if you're counting.) For the most part, the only option was to go through each modern app one-by-one, right-clicking the ones you didn't want, and then selecting "uninstall"—not too difficult, but very manual.

A new, free program aims to change all that. Called Windows 8 App Remover, this desktop program automates the process of uninstalling modern UI apps by letting you remove them all at once with just a few clicks, kind of like a Live Tile-hating version of PC Decrapifier. 

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Two tricks to take the hassle out of managing Windows 8 Wi-Fi connections

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Windows 8.1 has some great little goodies in it, and Microsoft gave us a few more with the recent Windows 8.1 Update, which greatly boosted the operating system's usability on traditional PCs.

Speaking of goodies, two features buried in the recent versions of Windows are particularly useful for taking the hassle out of some pretty hassle-prone Wi-Fi management tasks.

The unknown known

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How to start receiving personalized alerts on Bing

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Microsoft recently rolled out a new feature for Bing designed to make the search engine more personal by delivering useful updates to the Bing homepage based on your interests. You can get updates for news, weather, and traffic so you'll know what to expect on your commute as well as what Mother Nature has in store for the day.

The new feature precedes the launch of Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1, a Siri/Google Now-like digital personal assistant.

Once you've set-up your interests on Bing, updates can surface on Windows Phone 8.1 devices as well. Bing-powered apps such as the Sports app built-in to Windows 8.1 will also get interest integration, but the feature is not active yet.

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Windows 8.1 Update tip: Clean up that disk space now

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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On April 8, Microsoft blessed us with an update to Windows 8.1 that made the touchy-feely OS more palatable to PC users.

Now that you've had about a week to play around with the update—which brings the taskbar to the modern UI, among other welcome additions—the next few days present a good time to clear up extra space on your hard drive by getting rid of some Windows Update files.

How much space you'll recover depends on whether you've ever run the Disk Clean-up utility, and the number of different Windows versions you've ever run on your PC.

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Three essential 'hardware' tools every PC user needs

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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PCs are pretty self-sufficient. Most of the time they don't need extra accessories, and these days Windows 8.1 automatically takes care of many regular maintenance chores for you. Nevertheless, taking proper care of a PC means pulling out some physical equipment every now and again.

You don't need to plop a full-blown workbench next to your PC, though. These three easy, cheap "tools" can help you keep your computer in tip-top shape for years to come

Screwdriver

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Three power user menu options every Windows 8.1 user should know

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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The Windows 8.1 Update goes public starting Tuesday, promising all kinds of new features for traditional PC users. One thing it won’t bring is the new Start menu that Microsoft recently debuted—that’s due in a later update in the coming months.

But Windows 8.1 already has a Start menu of sorts buried under a right-click on the Start button in the lower left corner. Commonly known as the power user menu, this menu is a popular option to quickly shut down a PC since it’s much simpler than clicking on the Settings charm.

There’s more to the power user menu than just turning off your computer, however. Here are three features from the power user menu that every Windows 8.1 user should know about.

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