One of the pains of owning a PC that's getting towards the end of its life is dealing with the ever-shrinking amount of storage as your PC fills up with music, photos, and documents. In the end, the only way to battle the bloat is often to get a new PC or more storage—but until you do, there are a number of tricks you can employ to make space on your PC.
A particularly handy one is to eliminate duplicate files and folders on your hard drive, getting rid of superfluous data you don't need. You'd be surprised how much content ends up duplicated on your PC thanks to a sync gone wrong with iTunes or an errant click with the photo importer.
Here are three tools that can help you reduce the clutter on your system.
Managing printers can be a pain especially if you're shifting a laptop between home and work and dealing with different printers on each network. Fortunately, Windows has a built-in tool just for you that lets you automatically switch between default printers based on the Wi-Fi network you're connected to.
If you have a Hewlett-Packard printer at home and a Canon at work, for example, Windows would automatically send print jobs to the Canon whenever your laptop was on the work network. The beauty of this feature is you only have to set it up once and never think about which printer is where again.
This tip should work for all users on Windows 8.1, but Windows 7 users will only have this option available to them if they are running Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise.
Most of the time we focus on helpful tips for Windows users, but today’s article will also appeal to anyone with a Chromebook. A company named Cameyo is known for its software that lets you run Windows program from a USB stick, but it also offers a virtualization service that lets you run full-blown Windows desktop programs in a browser for free.
Cameyo offers a number of open source programs by default, and if you don’t find what you need you can also upload your own EXE files. Cameyo isn’t perfect. Virtual programs tend to run slowly, some don’t work at all, and using personal files with the apps is not as obvious as it could be.
Nevertheless, Cameyo can come in handy in a pinch when you’re away from your primary PC. Here’s how it works.
Other browsers have had it for years, but Chrome is finally adding a “Reader mode” that strips down an online article to its most essential parts—images and text—to make it easier to read. The new feature, dubbed Distill, is currently a work in progress but is still worth trying out for full-time Chrome users.
Here’s how I enabled the Distill feature in Windows 8.1.
First, you’ll need to have Chrome pinned to your taskbar—a desktop shortcut would also work. If you haven’t pinned Chrome to your taskbar open Chrome, right-click the program’s icon and select “Pin this program to the taskbar.”
SD cards rock for easily boosting the storage capabilities of PCs—I like to use them for Raspberry Pi images, among other things. There's just one problem: SD cards can be downright annoying to use with a computer. Most SD cards are write protected, and even when you think write protection is disabled Windows still often won’t recognize the card as writeable.
But there are a few things you can do to correct this situation. Success will vary depending on your hardware, of course, but here are three ways you can try to get SD cards to work with your set up.
Evernote is a great tool for taking notes, clipping web pages, and saving other scraps of data you need to keep tabs on. But some people may not like its linear nature, where everything is clipped into notes contained in notebooks.
A web app called CardDesk (currently in beta) aims to change that. CardDesk is a digital corkboard that lets you organize your Evernote content as old-school index cards.
Windows is full of cryptic error messages, but few are more annoying than seeing a warning every time you plug in a USB drive. You know the one I’m talking about: “There’s a problem with this drive. Scan the drive now and fix it.”
So you go through the motions, scan the stupid drive, fix it, and everything’s fine. Then the next time you connect it to your PC, there’s that darn message again.