Teach your laptop to treat a secondary monitor as the primary display

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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I'm not much of a gamer, but I still play about 15 minutes of Diablo III on my notebook every day. (I figure I should finish the game just in time for Diablo IV to come out.) One annoying thing about the game—an irritation that also affects desktop programs and Windows 8 apps—is that if you've connected your notebook to a second monitor, newly opened programs still default to your primary display.

If you've paired your laptop to a nice 24-inch 1080p monitor, that often means you’re squinting at your 12-inch clamshell display instead of the larger, nicer screen. Let’s fix that by making our external monitor the center of attention.

To adjust our monitor settings, we’re going to need to open up the Control Panel. From the Windows 8.1 desktop, right-click the Start button—Windows 8 users should right-click the Start icon in the lower left corner—and then select “Control Panel” from the Quick Access Menu. Windows 7 users can just get at the Control Panel from the Start menu.

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How to easily swap files between your PC and Android device with AirDroid

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 HomeGroup option in Windows is a great way to share files and printers between PCs you have on your home network—but it doesn't support mobile devices. Until it does, we'll have to make do with our own workarounds for trading files wirelessly between PCs and 'Droids.

That's where AirDroid—an app I use every day to transfer music, photos, and other files between my Android devices and my Windows PC—comes in.

If you're an Android user and you’re not using the AirDroid app yet, you're missing out. It's by far the easiest way to wirelessly swap files between your phone or tablet and your computer. As an added bonus, AirDroid can also serve as a dashboard for your phone when you're on your PC. So instead of reaching for your handset, you can send a text message or manage your apps directly from your PC's browser. (Paying for a premium subscription unlocks a slew of other handy-dandy remote Android management tools.)

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How to prevent strangers on Google+ from flooding your Gmail inbox

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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If you use Google+ and Gmail, Google is about to open your email account to a whole new level of spam. A new feature rolling out over the next couple of days makes it possible for any Google+ user to email you, as long as they follow you on Google+—they don’t need to know your actual email address, and you don't even have to follow them back. And to make it even worse, Google took the Facebook approach by turning on the new feature by default.

Fun, right? Not so much. I’ve already got this new “feature” in my inbox and the first thing I did was turn it off. Today, I’m going to show you how to do the same thing.

But first, let’s cover the basics about how this new “email via Google+” feature works.

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Organize your digital life with Windows Libraries

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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It took me a while to get used to them when they came out with Windows 7, but I love using Windows Libraries to keep all my far flung folders and files in order. Beyond the standard Libraries for documents, music, photo, and video that I rely on all the time, I also use Libraries to wrangle work projects and other important things.

Over the years Microsoft and third-party Windows programs have become smarter about integrating with Libraries so that a lot of your music, videos, and pictures just show up in the right place. Libraries aren’t perfect, however, and sometimes you have to add folders manually to stay organized.

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Libraries in Windows 8.1 (after being resurrected.)

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How to clean up File Explorer's cluttered Ribbon menu in Windows 8

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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When it comes to Windows, there is nothing I love more than Microsoft’s infamous Ribbon interface—and nothing I hate more. Using it in Microsoft Office is great, but adding Ribbon to Windows 8's file explorer was a bit much for me.

So I decided to pare File Explorer down a little and put the features I might need front and center, while banishing the rest of the Ribbon from my sight. If you’re tired of dealing with a Ribbon-loaded File Explorer, here’s a quick way to simplify your menu hopping.

winexbasic

The Home tab of Windows 8's stock Ribbon interface. (Click to enlarge all images in this article.)

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'Should I Remove It?' helps you choose which programs to purge

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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Being a technology writer (and an unapologetic enthusiast of shiny new things), I'm constantly trying out new software. I love it! …But I don't love the after effects. An app experimentalist's PC clogs up with junk pretty fast. Every few months I have to go through my app catalog and get rid of all the detritus plugging up my hard drive.

Here's the problem though: Windows' built-in add and remove programs feature isn't particularly helpful. It doesn't tell you what a program does, or how many other people ended up uninstalling it, for example.

So instead of going the Control Panel route, I've been trying out a relatively new program called Should I Remove It? (which I'll refer to as "SIRT" from here on out to avoid question mark overload).

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Speed up your web browsing with Vimium's keyboard shortcuts

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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Here's a little secret: I can't stand taking my hands off the keyboard. Mice and trackpads are great tools, but they aren't always an ideal (or speedy) solution for navigating the Web.

That's where keyboard shortcuts come in. Of course, memorizing a list of keyboard commands can be just as painful as repeatedly shifting your hands from your keyboard to your mouse and back again. So what's a smart PC user to do? My suggestion: Use a small number of keyboard shortcuts and only those that make life easier.

Two useful keyboard shortcuts can be yours courtesy of Vimium, a browser extension for Chrome that lets you control most of your web browsing from the keyboard. Vimium was inspired by 'vi,' an arcane text editor created at a time when the mouse didn't exist and the only way to navigate a document was with your keyboard.

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