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Stories by Rick Broida

  • Disaster-proof your PC: image your drive

    Last week I told you how to make a new computer hassle-free; to wit, I described how to create a system-repair disc, dump the junkware, and set up security. Now that you've got your PC just the way you want it, it's time to perform what I consider to be the ultimate hassle-prevention steps: imaging your hard drive and setting up a backup routine.

  • Use Aero Snap to simplify file management

    In my early computing days (I'm talking Commodore Amiga here), I grew accustomed to file managers that used a side-by-side approach: Your complete file system was represented in two adjoining windows. That made it very easy to move or copy files and folders.

  • Free tools for fine-tuning your Windows 7 setup

    Last week I told you how to migrate to Windows 7 at your own pace--there's no need to jump into the deep end right away. Now that you've got Windows 7 up and running on your newly partitioned, dual-boot PC, it's time for the next big step in any OS migration: reinstalling your software.

  • Add more storage for Windows Media Center TV

    Yesterday I told you how to limit the amount of hard-drive space Windows Media Center could claim for TV recording. Today let's look at the flipside: adding more storage so you can record to your heart's content.

  • Outlook tip: view your Google Reader feeds

    I can't say I'm an Outlook fan, but for better or worse, I'm stuck with it. Fortunately, I've found a few ways to make the most of it, like using it as an RSS reader for my Google Reader account.

  • Write effective e-mail subject lines

    People. It's 2009. E-mail is not a new phenomenon. As a planet, we've been at it for a couple decades now. And yet some otherwise-very-intelligent-I'm-sure folks still haven't mastered the basics. Like writing an effective subject line.

  • Find free apps for your iPhone

    The only thing better than cool iPhone apps? Free iPhone apps. Of course, iTunes' App Store doesn't do a particularly good job highlighting the freebies, particularly those apps that used to cost a few bucks but are now permanently, or temporarily, gratis.

  • Be more productive in Microsoft Outlook

    Do you depend on Microsoft Outlook for your e-mail and scheduling needs? Are you annoyed with the e-mail client? Well, join the club--thousands of Outlook users are lobbying Microsoft for improvements in the next version. But this week let's not just complain about Outlook; I'm here to tell you how to make it better.

  • How to get Windows 7 features on a Vista or XP system

    Vista received well-deserved criticism for bringing few noteworthy new features in its train when it arrived to take over from Windows XP. In contrast, Windows 7 offers plenty of new stuff to like. Fortunately, you can add many of these features to your Vista or XP machine by using downloads and Web services.