Windows 8.1

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Organize the Windows 8.1 Start Screen for a Lean Mean Desktop

If the general idea is to build the Windows 8.1 Start screen specifically to help you use the old-fashioned Windows desktop as effectively as you can, you need to click and drag tiles into groups that [more…]

How to Boot Windows 8.1 to the Desktop

Windows 8.1 includes the ability to tell Windows that, when it starts, it should show the old-fashioned desktop, not the Metro Start screen. That was one of the most annoying features in Windows 8. [more…]

What’s the Difference among Restore, System Repair, Recovery Mode, Refresh, and Restart?

Windows 8.1 has three very different technologies for pulling you out of a tough spot. You can liken them to the Wayback Machine, a brain transplant, and global thermonuclear war. [more…]

What Is Safe Mode in Windows 8.1?

Safe Mode still exists in Windows 8.1, but it isn’t used as much as it once was. Safe Mode used to be the gateway into the Windows inner workings: In earlier versions of Windows, if something went wrong [more…]

How to Create a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.1

If you forget your password while working in Windows 8.1, a Password Reset Disk is what saves the day by enabling you to reset a password you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. If you have a password-protected [more…]

How to Use a Password Reset Disk with Windows 8.1

As long as you have created a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.1, which is, in fact, a little file called userkey.psw, you can reset your password. Here’s how to use the file and reset your password: [more…]

How to Run an Error Check on a Drive from Windows 8.1

If a drive starts acting weird (for example, you see error messages when trying to open a file, or Windows 8.1 crashes in unpredictable ways, or a simple file copy takes hours instead of minutes), run [more…]

How the Windows Live Apps Have Changed in Windows 8.1

While Windows Live Essentials were hyped as one of the great reasons to buy Windows 7, in Windows 8.1 they’re going the way of the do-do.

Several of the Windows Live programs are considerably better than [more…]

How to Get the Windows Essentials Apps

Want to install a couple of the Windows Essentials apps on your Windows 8.1 machine? Here’s how to get the Windows Essentials you want, and let the others sit and stew: [more…]

How to Run Windows (Formerly Live) Mail

Most people know Windows (formerly Live) Mail in Windows 8.1 as the progeny of the venerable, if quirky Outlook Express. The fact that Microsoft has three — yes, three — completely different e-mail programs [more…]

How to Get Started with Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery

The tiled Windows 8.1 Metro style app called Photos is fancy and glitzy, brings together photos from all over the place, including SkyDrive, and has only the most rudimentary controls for handling large [more…]

How to Add Photos to Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery

Any pictures or videos that you add to your PC’s Pictures or Videos Libraries will get picked up by Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery automatically. So if you want to add photos or videos to WPG, you only need [more…]

Tagging Pictures in Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery

When you tag your pictures, the Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery keeps an index that makes it lightning-quick to find any pic with the specific tag. The problem, of course, is that you have to type a tag or two [more…]

Internet Explorer on the Windows 8.1 Desktop

Internet Explorer on the desktop is very, very different from the Windows 8.1, tiled Metro-style version of IE. Use them for a few minutes and you’ll see: [more…]

Navigating in Windows 8.1 Desktop Internet Explorer

One great thing about the Windows 8.1 desktop version of Internet Explorer is that you can be an absolute no-clue beginner and, with just a few hints about tools and so on, you can find your way around [more…]

Changing the Home Page of Windows 8.1 Desktop Version of Internet Explorer

Every time you start the Windows 8.1 desktop version of IE, it whirrs, and after a relatively brief moment (how brief depends primarily on the speed of your Internet connection), a web page appears. The [more…]

Searching with Google in Windows 8.1 Desktop Version of Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer ships with Microsoft’s Bing as its default search engine. If you want to change to Google in the Windows 8.1 desktop version of IE, it’s remarkably difficult. [more…]

Customizing Firefox for Use in Windows 8.1

Firefox has more options than Internet Explorer: more add-ins that make it work better and safer than either IE or Chrome. Installing Firefox in Windows 8.1 can’t be simpler. You don’t need to disable [more…]

How to Set Up Windows Media Player in Windows 8.1

The first time you fire up Windows Media Player in Windows 8.1, you are presented with a bunch of inscrutable choices. If you haven’t run WMP yet, here’s how to get off on the right foot: [more…]

How to Adjust the Windows Media Player Ripping Settings

If you want to rip CD files into the MP3 format in Windows Media Player in Windows 8.1, you have to change the settings inside Windows Media Player. Don’t worry; it’s easy if you know how. [more…]

How to Create Playlists in Windows Media Player

If you have a favorite set of tracks that you like to hear in a particular order and the tracks are in the Music library (or Video Library), you can build a playlist that gives you precisely what you want [more…]

How to Burn an Audio CD in Windows Media Player

The process of writing data to a CD is called burning. Rip and burn. Windows Media Player in Windows 8.1 enables you to burn a plain, old-fashioned, everyday audio CD very, very easily. Here’s the quickest [more…]

How to Find the Real Control Panel in Windows 8.1

Over on the tiled Metro side of the Windows 8.1 fence, people seem to get to either the Settings panel or the Change Settings (sometimes called PC Settings) screen and figure they’re in the Control Panel [more…]

The Windows 8.1 Device Manager

Device Manager in Windows 8.1 is your point of first resort when something goes wrong with the hardware — the devices — on your system. It’s a Control Panel applet that gives you limited access to information [more…]

How to Turn Windows 8.1 Features On and Off

The ability to turn certain parts of Windows 8.1 on or off goes back to the days of Windows 3.1. Once upon a time, the feature was useful to reduce the bloat — the footprint — of Windows. Now, that isn’t [more…]

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