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.
More by

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.)

Read more »

11

'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.
More by

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).

Read more »

13

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.
More by

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.

Read more »

3

Holiday cooking tip: Windows 8's Food & Drink hands-free mode keeps your screen clean

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.
More by

It’s holiday time, and America’s kitchens will soon be filled with laptops, tablets, and smartphones as home chefs follow along with all those great looking recipes you can find on the Internet. And you know what that that means: sticky, icky gunk smeared across your device's display.

But wait! Holiday cooking doesn't have to smudge up your screen—if you take advantage of a great feature in Microsoft's Bing Food & Drink app, which comes bundled with Windows 8.1.

Food & Drink features recipes for all kinds of holiday treats, pulled in from sites such as Epicurious, Saveur, and AllRecipes.com. More importantly for the health and safety of your device, however, it features a hands-free mode that lets you move through each step of a recipe by waving your hand in front of your device's webcam.

Read more »

4

How to turn any Web page into an impromptu Music app playlist in Windows 8.1

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.
More by

Say what you want about the Windows Store, the one thing Windows 8.1 is not suffering from is a lack of music, thanks to apps like Nokia Mix Radio, iHeart Radio, and, Microsoft’s built-in Music app.

Those modern UI music apps get even better when you combine them with a neat feature built into Windows 8.1 that creates automated playlists based on the web page you're browsing. (Sorry Windows 7 and 8 users, you’ll have to sit this one out).

For this hassle-free holiday tip, you’re going to need a Windows 8.1 device, an Internet connection, and either an Xbox Music Pass subscription or a few hours left on your monthly free streaming limit. Ready? Let’s get started.

Read more »

0

Easily find far-flung customization options with Windows' secret GodMode

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.
More by

Like putting a personal touch on your PCs? Customization options abound in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, but these features can often be hard to find, an issue exacerbated by Microsoft's dual (or should I say dueling?) interfaces. Strategically burying some Control Panel options under the Charm bar doesn't help matters either.

Enter GodMode—a handy, hidden folder well-known to IT pros who want to quickly get at a wide range of customization options on the desktop, but one few everyday users know about.

GodMode basically provides easy, direct access to all of Windows' various far-flung features and customization options from a single interface, sorting them into handy categories like Display and Administrative Tools. Whether you want to adjust your monitor's resolution, tweak your folder options, or customize your taskbar's notification area, it's all a single click away in GodMode.

Read more »

22

Juggle multiple Twitter accounts in Google Chrome

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
More by

QuickTweet

I'm not what you would call a heavy Twitter user (I've lost weight! Kidding, kidding...), but I do have two accounts I like to check daily. And doing that in my browser is quite the hassle, as it means signing out of one account, signing into the other, and on and on. If I had three, four, or even more accounts, it would really be a nightmare.

There are lots of social-network managers out there, but all I really need is a simple way to hop between my two handles. And I found that in QuickTweet, a Chrome extension for managing multiple Twitter accounts.

Read more »

3