Stories by Rick Broida

My five reasons to upgrade to Windows 7 in 2011

Can we talk? Based on the e-mails I get every day, I know a lot of you are still using Windows XP. I can understand why; it's like a comfortable old shoe. Plus, it's bought and paid for. Windows 7 probably seems stiff and scary, and it's not like Microsoft is handing out free upgrades.

Delete iPad documents in iTunes

If you're an iPad user, you may have discovered a rather strange quirk in iTunes. Although the program makes it blissfully easy to add documents to certain apps by way of its File Sharing feature, there appears to be no way to delete those documents.

Windows Explorer explained: Easier file selection

People who don't work with files on a regular basis have a devil of a time remembering the keyboard shortcut for selecting multiple files. (You hold down the Ctrl key while clicking each individual file.)

Q&A: XP and USB drives; XP backup in Win 7; IE errors in XP

Reader Thomas is having a problem with his six-year-old Windows XP Professional system: When he plugs in a flash drive, Windows doesn't recognize it -- but other USB devices work just fine. Before I reveal the solution to this vexing problem, Thomas, a quick slap on the wrist: you didn't give me nearly enough information in your initial e-mail. So to you and all other readers, I kindly ask that you read my Hassle-Free PC post on how to ask for tech help. You'll greatly increase your chances of a response if you follow those simple guidelines.

Optimize your PC, security apps 101, find folders fast

Want to clean and optimize your PC? You've probably heard of CCleaner, arguably the world's most popular tool for doing the job. Developer Piriform just released CCleaner 3.0. The big news in this update? A native 64-bit version for use with like editions of Windows.

Must-have Windows 7 downloads

It's hard to believe, but Windows 7 is just turning one year old. And what an impressive first year the operating system enjoyed, receiving almost universal praise from critics and users alike. Of course, even the most nimble, secure, and versatile OS has room for improvement. That's why we're following up our popular "Best Windows 7 Downloads" with another assortment of essential apps and utilities, all designed to help you make your 7-powered PC even better. And believe it or not, they're all free.

Give Windows 7 (or XP) a Vista-like sidebar

One of the things I miss about Windows Vista -- okay, the only thing I miss about Vista -- is the Sidebar. Much as I applaud Microsoft's decision to liberate its desktop gadgets, to make it so you can position them anywhere you like, did it have to be at the expense of the Sidebar itself?