SPEEDING UP A SLOW COMPUTER

Bob’s XP computer was so slow, Joy tried to talk him into restoring it back to its factory settings. Bob wouldn’t do it.

Because what it means is you’re clearing the hard drive. You’re taking it back to the beginning, when the Universe was dark. All your files, all your programs, will be gone. Did you back up the files before you reset it to factory specs? No? Too bad. Do you still have the disks to reinstall the old programs? Who does?

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MEANWHILE… DEEP IN THE JUNGLE

If you’re deep in the Amazon jungle, in a hurricane, or traveling too far from a cell phone tower, your text message won’t go through. (Good luck dealing with the giant Anaconda.) A new device called “goTenna” fixes that by using radio signals.

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THE CHROMEBOOK LIVES AND GROWS

Laptops with Google’s Chrome operating system, an alternative to Windows or Mac, are Chromebooks, and they are selling big. Sales are expected to reach 5.2 million units this year, up 79 percent over last year.

We first wrote about these laptops …

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DEALING WITH MICROSOFT

A reader wrote in to say he’s frustrated with Windows Live Mail, which is part of Windows 7, and would like to have Windows Mail back, which was part of Vista.

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AIR SHOT

AirHelp.eu will sue the airline for you if you get bumped without proper compensation and they overbooked the flight (which is common). Awards for this in the U.S. can go as high as $1,300. You pay nothing and they get 25 percent of whatever you receive.

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PESKY PROGRAMS

Readers were glad we wrote about CCleaner, a free program from Piriform.com; it has a tool for shutting off programs in the background that slow your machine.

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SPEEDING UP THE MAC

We often hear from readers with slow Windows computers. But what about Mac owners? Their machines can get slow too. Let’s hear it for slow Macs!

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TIPS AND TRICKS

– If you find the daily load of email as overwhelming as we do, try this trick: Instead of deleting messages you don’t want, one by one, check the box that selects them all. Then go down the list and uncheck the ones you want to look at. Dump the rest.

— Pulling a snapshot from a movie DVD can be done with…

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A SLOW COMPUTER

We installed the 2014 version of Tune-Up Utilities, $50 from tune-up.com. A new feature called the “deactivator” was a huge help. It stopped programs from running in the background and slowing down our test computer.

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EASY READING

You don’t need Adobe Reader to read PDF files if you have a Windows 8 computer. But you may want to download it anyway; it can make reading easier

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