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.


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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How to use cloud storage's hidden, helpful power tool: Robust file version histories

Cloud syncing services earn their keep by letting access your files from anywhere and with any device, but did you also know they can be lifesavers for people who stick to a single PC?

The other day I was writing an article in Microsoft Word. As usual, I saved it to OneDrive, closed the app and went on with my day. Later, I opened the article again and discovered that something had gone wrong. I now had two versions that didn't match: one in OneDrive and one in my desktop. Yikes.

Word asked me to choose between the OneDrive version and the desktop one. I figured the newest version must be on my desktop since that's where I worked on it last so I kept that one and overwrote the version on OneDrive. Turns out I was wrong, and my last two hours of work were gone.

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Three security-boosting steps to perform on every router

The computer industry has worked hard to make sure that a lot of the gadgets we use are mostly plug-and-play. In other words, you just fire up the device, login and you're ready to go—no configuration necessary. One device you should never consider "plug-and-play," however, is your home's network and wireless router.

After the technician leaves your house there are a few important things everyone should do.

Log in to your router and change the admin details

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How to start chatting with webRTC, the no-hassle, in-browser voice and video tech

There's a relatively new technology built in to most browsers that could revolutionize the way you talk with your friends and family. Called webRTC, the HTML 5-based tech could one day replace the need for third-party plugins from services like Google Hangouts or Skype, offering voice and video chat capabilities natively in your browser.

Even better, most implementations of the technology don't require an account of any kind. Chats take place on a web page that you set up on a site that supports webRTC. To get chatting all you have to do is share a link to the web page and you'll be up and running in no time. Talk about hassle free!

If you'd like to give webRTC a try, here's how to get started.

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The hidden power of Windows Jump Lists

Windows is full of so many handy little features it's easy to forget some of them if you aren't using it every day. One such feature is Jump Lists, which is the app-specific menu that appears when you right-click a desktop app icon on the taskbar.

What you see in a Jump List is almost totally dependent on the app developer. By default, all Windows will provide is an option to open/close the app and pin/unpin it from the taskbar. Beyond that it's up to the app maker to add what makes sense for their app

Many apps, if they use Jump Lists at all, simply use the feature to show your recently opened files, along with an option to permanently pin specific files to the list. That's a great feature, but Jump Lists can be far more useful and productive than that. They can, for example, allow you to jump to a specific section of an app or open the app with a specific mode or setting. There's really no limit to what a Jump List can do.

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