GETTING A NEW WINDOWS 8 COMPUTER

wordpadJust when we thought we’d heard every complaint about Windows 8 computers, we heard a new one. A friend wondered where in the world she should save her files, because now she sees two choices: “Skydrive,” and “This PC.”

The best choice is Microsoft’s “Skydrive,” also available to Windows 7 and XP users at Skydrive.com. It offers 10 gigabytes of storage space in the cloud. When saving files there, you don’t have to worry about your computer going down, getting stolen or otherwise exploding. The files will be there, ready to download to another machine.

Skydrive is one folder in what is now called “File Explorer,” the place where you see all of your file folders. Windows 7 and XP users know it as “Windows Explorer,” and old-timers like us will remember “File Manager” from Windows 3.1.  To get to File Explorer, click the “start” icon in Windows 8.1 with your right mouse button and then click “File Explorer.” Or, click the manila folder that usually shows up in your task bar.

Another problem you may have when you buy a new computer is bringing in your mail contacts. A friend uses Windows Mail, so those contacts are all offline, stored on her old machine. (Using a service like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or Outlook.com is easier, since everything goes with you when you log in.) If you search on “Import Windows Mail Contacts,” you’ll find a Microsoft article on how to do this.

Finally, what if you don’t want to buy Microsoft Office for your new computer? We like “Kingsoft Writer Free” which looks like a clone of an older version of Word. To get an Excel-like spreadsheet for free, download OpenOffice, from OpenOffice.org.

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