The hidden power of Windows Jump Lists

Windows is full of so many handy little features it's easy to forget some of them if you aren't using it every day. One such feature is Jump Lists, which is the app-specific menu that appears when you right-click a desktop app icon on the taskbar.

What you see in a Jump List is almost totally dependent on the app developer. By default, all Windows will provide is an option to open/close the app and pin/unpin it from the taskbar. Beyond that it's up to the app maker to add what makes sense for their app

Many apps, if they use Jump Lists at all, simply use the feature to show your recently opened files, along with an option to permanently pin specific files to the list. That's a great feature, but Jump Lists can be far more useful and productive than that. They can, for example, allow you to jump to a specific section of an app or open the app with a specific mode or setting. There's really no limit to what a Jump List can do.

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Free up space on your hard drive using your cloud storage's selective sync option

Running out of hard drive space on your PC used to be a problem. It usually meant you had to get a new PC, or offload some files onto an external hard disk, or upgrade your internal drive. All three options were pretty much a pain.

Cloud storage services haven't solved these hassles completely, but they are making it easier to clear up some space on your hard drive.

Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive drive are offering ever increasing amounts of free (and free-ish) storage. New Google Drive users start off with 15GB, as do OneDrive users. If you happen to be an Office 365 subscriber you get unlimited storage on OneDrive as part of your subscription.

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Don't throw it out! 5 handy uses for a secondary PC

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday past us, the holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and many people are pondering a new PC purchase. Whether you're getting a new tower for gaming or an ultraportable to tote around at meetings, don't throw out your old PC!

Sure, its glory days may lay in the past, but as long as the aging machine you're about to replace still runs there are plenty of ways to put it to good use.

Home theater PC

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How to limit your PC's data usage while tethering

When you absolutely have to have an Internet connection, tethering your laptop to your phone is sometimes your only option. It happened to me the other day after a big thunderstorm knocked out my broadband for a few hours.

But even with my multi-gigabyte carrier plan, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of having my PC suck down too much of my monthly mobile data allotment. If you find yourself in a similar situation here are a few tips to reduce your data usage while tethering.

Set as metered

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How to skip the Black Friday crowds and still find great deals online

Sometimes the biggest pain with a new PC is simply buying it, especially if you’re eyeing one of those Black Friday deals set to go live next week. Thanksgiving weekend can be a great time for deals, but it’s also notorious for massive crowds and long waits.

This year, try something new. Instead of leaving your Thanksgiving dinner and the warmth of family and friends behind, fire up your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and shop for deals online.

Sure, you might miss out on some jaw-dropping doorbuster deals that are in-store only. But here’s the truth about doorbusters: Most stores stock precious few of those amazing doorbuster deals, making your chances of grabbing that $200 laptop slim anyway. 

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How to find free Internet for your laptop while traveling

Sure, you can do a lot on a smartphone, phablet, or slate, but there are times when only a laptop will do. Unfortunately, situations like this always seem to pop-up while I'm on the road with no obvious Internet access.

But have no fear, weary traveler. This is no time to cave and start paying for Wi-Fi. Instead, put this three-step plan for finding free(ish) Wi-Fi into action before you even think about paying for that Boingo or Gogo day pass.

Wi-Fi hotspots

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Office 2013 tips: How to open common files quickly and save to any cloud storage service

We may live in the era of free productivity apps like Google Docs and Office Online, but I still find value in owning the paid, desktop-bound version of Microsoft's productivity suite—especially with all the extras Microsoft keeps throwing at Office 365 subscribers, like boundless cloud storage.

Today, I've got two quick tips for Office 2013 owners and Office 365 customers. One helps you keep your oft-used files and folders at the top of your Office suite apps, and the second one is for those who prefer to use Dropbox or another cloud storage service over OneDrive.

Pin your files

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