How to make the power button shut down your Windows 8 system

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.
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A few days ago I showed you how to create a Windows 8 shutdown tile, the idea being to circumvent the ridiculous hoops Microsoft makes you jump through just to turn off your computer.

Some would argue that doing so is an antiquated idea. After all, Windows 7 and 8 don't need regular reboots to continue running smoothly the way earlier versions did. On most modern systems you can leverage sleep/hibernate modes almost indefinitely, enjoying the benefits of quick wake/standby without ever actually shutting down.

Ah, but sleep mode continues to draw a bit of power, so it's not always the best option--especially for battery-conscious laptop users. And, let's face it, some users are just accustomed to turning off their PCs at the end of the day.

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How to create a Windows 8 shutdown tile

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.
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Wouldn't you love to have this option in your Windows 8 Start screen?

Last October I explained to how to shut down Windows 8—a subject you wouldn't think would require its own how-to guide. And yet.

At the end of that post (which generated quite the conversation), I promised to return with a shortcut that would minimize the hassles of mousing and clicking through the Settings menu to reach the shutdown option. And then I plumb forgot!

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How to undo accidental browser zoom

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.
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Earlier today my dad called the Hassle-Free Hotline (also known as my home phone number). The poor guy seems to encounter more than his fair share of inadvertant computer problems.

For example, somehow, while using his laptop's touchpad, he'd made everything in his browser bigger. Consequently, he had to scroll pages left and right, not just up and down.

Welcome to the Curse of the Multitouch Touchpad. Most laptop owners know that dragging a finger across the touchpad moves the cursor. On some systems, dragging two fingers up and down enables scrolling. But there's another "gesture" that's easy to perform by accident, and the results often leave users scratching their heads.

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Passwords: You're doing it wrong. Here's how to make them uncrackable.

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.
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For years now I've harangued relatives about their shoddy password practices. Either they use easily-hacked passwords or forget the passwords they've created—sometimes both.

If you won't take it from me, beloved family, consider this Password Day (yes, apparently it's a thing) statement from McAfee's Robert Siciliano: "74% of Internet users use the same password across multiple websites, so if a hacker gets your password, they now have access to all your accounts. Reusing passwords for email, banking, and social media accounts can lead to identity theft and financial loss."

What's the fix? It's easier than you might think. For starters, head to Intel's Password Grader to see just how easily cracked your current password is. (The site promises not to retain any information, though still recommends that you not use your actual password—so maybe just use somethings similar.)

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Windows 8 tip: Restore the merge-folders option

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.
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Clear this box to restore the merge-conflict dialog.

Recently I told you how to take advantage of Windows 8's cool new file-copy feature. What I didn't mention was a small, but potentially significant, change in the way Windows 8 handles certain folder-copy functions.

Specifically, when you copy a folder to a drive or other destination that already has a folder with the same name, Windows 8 will automatically merge their contents.

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Get a free Windows 8 tips-and-tricks guide

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.
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Even for the most tech-savvy users, Windows 8 presents a bit of a learning curve. Just figuring out something as simple as shutting down your PC can be challenging.

Sure, you can read all the great Windows 8-related tutorials and how-to guides here at PC World, or even take a free online course. But sometimes your best bet is a cheat-sheet—something you can keep right beside your keyboard for at-a-glance information.

The folks at TradePub have just the thing: the Microsoft Windows 8 Quick Reference Card. It's a colorful two-page guide to Windows 8's most commonly used areas. And if you don't mind sharing a bit of personal information, it's free.

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Use Net Uptime Monitor to help diagnose Internet problems

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.
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As I documented last week, I've been having intermittent problems with my Internet connection. Just when I thought I'd solved it, I woke up this morning to yet another massive slowdown.

Using the method I described previously—running SpeedTest on at least two devices—I verified that this wasn't a local hardware problem. Something was amiss with either my router, my modem, or my ISP (Comcast).

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