5 apps to easily move photos from your phone to your PC

As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you—and that's why so many of us have smartphones absolutely stocked with memories from nights out on the town to a child's first days in the world. But while taking photos on your smartphone is no problem, getting them off your phone and onto your PC can sometimes be a pain.

You could just hook your smartphone up to your PC every now and again and just transfer them over a USB cable, but ugh, wires.

A better alternative is to put the mobile apps you already have on your phone to work. Several can send pictures to your PC automatically, and one can even do it without leaning on the cloud whatsoever.

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Manage your hard drive space with Windows 8.1's hidden, helpful tools

For years, Windows users have checked their disk space through File Explorer and the good ol' Computer (or "My PC" in Windows 8.1) interface on the desktop. But that only tells you how much total space is left on your drive. To figure out which file types or folders were taking up all that space, you had to dive into your file system.

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft offers two features in the modern UI PC Settings app that make managing your disk space much easier.

Disk space

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Uninstall preloaded Windows 8 apps in bulk with this program

Removing bloatware from a new PC is a rite of passage for most Windows users whenever they get a new machine. And for years, desktop users have turned to third-party programs such as PC Decrapifier to automate bloatware removal.

But removing all those pre-installed "Metro" apps in Windows 8 hasn't been so easy, and boy, does Microsoft pre-install a lot of them. (Around 20 in the Windows 8.1 Update, if you're counting.) For the most part, the only option was to go through each modern app one-by-one, right-clicking the ones you didn't want, and then selecting "uninstall"—not too difficult, but very manual.

A new, free program aims to change all that. Called Windows 8 App Remover, this desktop program automates the process of uninstalling modern UI apps by letting you remove them all at once with just a few clicks, kind of like a Live Tile-hating version of PC Decrapifier. 

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Two tricks to take the hassle out of managing Windows 8 Wi-Fi connections

Windows 8.1 has some great little goodies in it, and Microsoft gave us a few more with the recent Windows 8.1 Update, which greatly boosted the operating system's usability on traditional PCs.

Speaking of goodies, two features buried in the recent versions of Windows are particularly useful for taking the hassle out of some pretty hassle-prone Wi-Fi management tasks.

The unknown known

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How to start receiving personalized alerts on Bing

Microsoft recently rolled out a new feature for Bing designed to make the search engine more personal by delivering useful updates to the Bing homepage based on your interests. You can get updates for news, weather, and traffic so you'll know what to expect on your commute as well as what Mother Nature has in store for the day.

The new feature precedes the launch of Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1, a Siri/Google Now-like digital personal assistant.

Once you've set-up your interests on Bing, updates can surface on Windows Phone 8.1 devices as well. Bing-powered apps such as the Sports app built-in to Windows 8.1 will also get interest integration, but the feature is not active yet.

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Windows 8.1 Update tip: Clean up that disk space now

On April 8, Microsoft blessed us with an update to Windows 8.1 that made the touchy-feely OS more palatable to PC users.

Now that you've had about a week to play around with the update—which brings the taskbar to the modern UI, among other welcome additions—the next few days present a good time to clear up extra space on your hard drive by getting rid of some Windows Update files.

How much space you'll recover depends on whether you've ever run the Disk Clean-up utility, and the number of different Windows versions you've ever run on your PC.

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Three essential 'hardware' tools every PC user needs

PCs are pretty self-sufficient. Most of the time they don't need extra accessories, and these days Windows 8.1 automatically takes care of many regular maintenance chores for you. Nevertheless, taking proper care of a PC means pulling out some physical equipment every now and again.

You don't need to plop a full-blown workbench next to your PC, though. These three easy, cheap "tools" can help you keep your computer in tip-top shape for years to come


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