Stories by Rick Broida

Windows IQ: learn your laptop's power settings

My aunt recently told me about a problem with her new laptop: Whenever she'd step away from it for more than a few minutes, she'd close the lid. Upon returning, she'd open the lid, only to be faced with a blank screen and no response from the mouse or keyboard.

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.