A beginner's guide to BitLocker, Windows' built-in encryption tool

The creators of TrueCrypt shocked the computer security world this week when they seemingly ended development of the popular open source encryption tool. Even more surprising, the creators said TrueCrypt could be insecure and that Windows users should migrate to Microsoft's BitLocker. Conspiracy theories immediately began to swirl around the surprise announcement.

Regardless of the true motivations behind the message, the TrueCrypt fiasco gives us a chance to talk about BitLocker—and how to use it.

What is BitLocker?

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3 time-saving Chrome extensions that maximize your Google search efficiency

Like many folks in the Internet age, I spend a huge chunk of my time searching for information on Google. Over the years I've learned lots of little tricks to help make those searches faster and more effective. But if turning to advanced queries alone isn't powerful enough for you, a handful of Google-made Chrome extensions can supercharge your scouring even more. 

Google Dictionary


Find defintions for words without leaving the web page with the Google Dictionary extension.

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Print anything from anywhere with Google Cloud Print

Printing at home is dead simple, and most of us don't think twice about it. But it sure is a heck of a lot easier when you can send a print job from any device, anywhere in the world to your printer at home.

A slew of cloud-connected printers let you do this, but even if you're stuck with a printer that doesn't talk to the web you can get in on the print-anywhere fun with the help of Google Cloud Print.

This free service from Google has been around since 2011, when it started as a way to print to any printer you owned from Gmail or other Google services. Since then Google has added a number of features, including greatly expanding its functionality and rolling out an Android app and Windows desktop integration.

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Get two-factor authentication on the desktop with Authy

One of the best security precautions you can take to protect your online accounts is to enable two-factor authentication on any service that supports it. This requires you to enter a short, one-time code to access your online accounts after you've entered your password.

Usually these codes are sent by text or email message, or generated by a smartphone app such as Google Authenticator. But a new service called Authy recently launched an app that lets you get two-factor codes on your desktop PC—a handy capability, and doubly so if you don't always carry a smartphone on you.

Getting started with Authy

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Getting started with read-it-later apps Instapaper and Pocket

I spend a lot of time reading news—partly because it's a big aspect of my job, but also because I simply love reading. There's just one problem: I never have enough time to take it all in when I find it. That's why I rely heavily on read-it-later apps to save all the interesting articles I find, stashing them away for future perusal.

Today, I'm going to introduce you to Instapaper and Pocket, two popular read-it-later apps. Both do essentially the same thing: Save articles and blog posts in a text-centric, distraction-free format for later consumption on your PC, smartphone, or tablet.That said, there are slight differences between the two that you'll want to be aware of when choosing your preferred app.

Instapaper: The no-nonsense reader

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Access your PCs from afar with Google's free, simple Chrome Remote Desktop software

Thanks to cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive it's pretty easy to access your files from anywhere. Even so, there are still times when you need remote access to your desktop while on the go.

That's where Google's handy Remote Desktop browser extension for Chrome comes in. With Chrome Remote Desktop installed and enabled, you can access your PC from any other PC that has Chrome installed, or from your Android device. (An iOS app is planned for later this year.)

Chrome Remote Desktop is both free and dead-simple to use, unlike most other remote desktop options. Here's how use it.

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Regain your privacy with these 3 browser add-ons

With so many advertisers, social networks, and other companies interested in your data, it's pretty hard to stay private online these days. But don't reach for that tinfoil hat just yet! There are a few tools that can help privacy-conscious users shake privacy-smashing trackers off their tails.

Here's a look at three extensions that keep your connections to websites encrypted whenever possible, block companies trying to track you, and erase any browsing data cached in your browser.

HTTPS Everywhere (Chrome, Firefox, Opera)

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