Get more out of the Windows Taskbar with these 3 shortcuts

One of the best features of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is the ability to pin apps to the Taskbar. Until Microsoft comes out with the refreshed Start menu, pinning apps is a must for Windows 8.1 users.

As the go-to location for dealing with and switching between open programs, the Taskbar may be the most clickable location on your desktop. But there’s no reason you can’t spice it up with a few keyboard tricks to make things a little more efficient.

Pick by number

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How to create an anonymous email account

A reader recently asked me how they could use aliases in Outlook.com to create an anonymous email account. My answer was simple: you really can’t.

Microsoft’s implementation of aliases is not designed to hide your identity. Instead, Outlook.com aliases are about creating throw away addresses that you can give out to marketers and others to avoid plugging up your inbox.

But the question remains, how do you create an anonymous email account? Let’s take a look.

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Three critical laptop accessories for summertime travel

With July in full swing now that Independence Day is over, thoughts are turning to company-sanctioned time off for travel and relaxing in the sun. Before you head out on your great summer vacation, you’ll want to make sure you pack well not only for yourself but your laptop as well.

No matter if you’re headed across the country in a VW bus or across the Atlantic on a 777, here are three critical laptop accessories no summer traveler can do without.

Adapt your laptop’s power supply

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Six modern Windows apps for Fourth-of-July fun

Independence Day may be largely an outdoor affair, but your PC or Surface can still play a role in planning your day. 

If you’re running Windows 8.1 on a tablet or traditional PC, the Windows Store has a number of apps that can help you prepare for your day.

Heat, humidity, precipitation

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Get tough on stubborn programs with Revo uninstaller

It’s rare these days, but every now and again you’ll come across a Windows program that refuses to uninstall. About three weeks ago, while doing research for this column, it happened to me. I downloaded a desktop program for mapping local Wi-Fi networks, but try as I might I couldn’t get the darn thing off my PC.

Eventually, I chalked up the problem to a quirk of Windows 8.1, figuring the program’s uninstaller was crashing when it came in contact with Microsoft’s latest OS. Not content to let an unwanted app sit on my system, I turned to Revo Uninstaller.

Revo is a well-known desktop utility that is part heavy duty uninstaller, part system cleaner. There’s a paid pro version for anyone who needs it, but for quick hits to get rid of a stubborn program that’s overstayed its welcome, the free version works just fine.

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I'm getting 1TB on OneDrive, now what?

On Monday, Microsoft got serious about its OneDrive cloud offerings by beefing up consumer storage limits. Free users now get 15 gigabytes of storage and Office 365 subscribers (Home Premium, Personal, and University) get a whopping 1 terabyte. Unless you start uploading tons of video files or are an ardent photographer, you’ll probably have a hard time making a dent in that 1TB.

The new storage limits will roll out over the next month, which gives you just enough time to ponder what you’re going to do with all that storage—especially if you’re an Office 365 subscriber.

IFTTT is a service that automatically takes actions for you based on events like marking a favorite photo on Instagram, getting tagged in a photo on Facebook, or adding a new item to an RSS feed. With OneDrive expanding for everyone, Microsoft’s cloud storage service is a perfect repository for your IFTTT data storage needs.

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Five questions to answer before paying for a VPN

If you work on a computer or mobile device away from home, you probably use Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, cafés, restaurants, airports, or on campus. The problem is, there is no way to know exactly how secure those networks are.

The best ways to stay safe on a public Wi-Fi network is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is basically an encrypted tunnel between your device and the Internet that makes all your online interactions safe from prying eyes lurking on the same network.

There are many free VPNs around, and they may serve your needs initially. Eventually, you really should consider paying for a VPN.

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