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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5 key things Windows XP users need to know before buying a new PC

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 Tuesday, April 8, Microsoft will bid adieu to Windows XP, delivering the final security updates for the twelve year-old OS. While many XP users out there plan on keeping their PC—with or without Microsoft's support—many others are looking to at long last switch to a new computer.

Computer technology has changed a lot since the turn of the century, however. So as we head into XP's final weekend, here are a few key things to keep in mind if you're a displaced Windows XP lover on the lookout for a new PC. 

Do you want to be able to upgrade or fix parts?

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Force OneDrive to sort your files in a specific order across all your devices

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 other day I was organizing a set of photos I wanted to show to some friends as a slideshow. I’d sorted the images in OneDrive on my Windows 8.1 PC and then planned to display them on my Nexus 7.

But when I opened OneDrive for Android, all my images were out of order. They were disorganized even though each image had a filename in numerical order (01.jpg, 02.jpg, and so on), and they were sorted in ascending numerical order on my desktop.

Ack!

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Three essential tools for solving the worst Wi-Fi headaches

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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Thanks to improvements to routers and network management software, connecting to Wi-Fi is vastly easier than it used to be. But that doesn't mean the experience is seamless quite yet. Even now you can still run into problems like poor signal quality, dropped connections, lack of public hotspots, and slow speeds.

Sick of the hiccups? These three programs can help take the headache out of Wi-Fi woes.

ViStumbler

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How to disable Windows 8's deep cloud integration, piece by piece

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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You can accuse Windows 8.1 of a lot of things, but one thing you can't say about Microsoft's latest OS is that it lacks web integration. Thanks to deep integration with Bing, OneDrive, and other Microsoft online services, Windows 8.1 is most definitely where the desktop meets the cloud.

Not everyone's sold on the cloud, though. You could just use a local account to keeping Microsoft as far away from your PC as possible, but a lot of Microsoft's services are actually pretty useful. What if you wanted to enable some and disable others? Here's how to individually sever Bing and OneDrive's deep tendrils into your system, along with info on how to keep general Windows apps from looking over your virtual shoulder.

Bing search

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How to quickly convert old Google Drive Sheets to the new format for offline editing

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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Good news, productivity fans! The new version of Google Sheets, featuring full offline editing when you use the Google Chrome browser, is now rolling out to all users.

Bad news, productivity fans! The long-awaited offline editing will only work with spreadsheets created with the new version of Sheets. That means any older spreadsheets you have in Drive—which is probably most of them—won't work in offline mode. That's no good.

Google plans on automatically switching over all your files to the new Sheets format at some unspecified point in the future. But for now, Google suggests the easiest workaround is to copy-and-paste your old spreadsheet into a new file using the updated version of Sheets.

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