READER TIP

In a recent column, we suggested using “msconfig” or Windows 8’s task manager to prevent too many programs from loading at start-up, slowing down your computer. A reader pointed out that a free program called “WinPatrol” from WinPatrol.com does the same job and provides more information.

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WHY WINDOWS SEEMS SLOW

Our favorite question-and-answer site, Quora.com, recently posted a message from David Seidman, a Microsoft employee, on the question of why Windows gets so slow after just a year of use. First off, he says, if you never install any software, except security updates, and leave lots of free disk space, it will never slow down. On the other hand, if you have lots of programs, you should run the “msconfig” utility to keep so many from loading at start up. In Windows 7, get to msconfig by clicking “start,” and “run” and typing “msconfig.” In Windows 8, get to the startup tab by right-clicking your taskbar and choosing “task manager.” Seidman says that Windows 8 runs many fewer services at […]

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SHARING SCREENS

TeamViewer for Android is a mobile version of this popular screen-sharing program. Use it to get tech support from a remote friend, or to offer it. When you sign in, you get a code to share and so it’s just the two of you seeing the same screen. Joy used it recently and was able to see a friend’s distant computer screen so she could show her how to add a profile picture to Facebook. The program is free for personal use.

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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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