XP AND BEYOND

We heard from several readers who said they have no intention of giving up their Windows XP machines when Microsoft support ends (neither does Bob), and others who asked, “What about Vista?”

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WINDOWS XP DEADLINE COMIN UP

Uh, oh. On April 8th, Bob and other XP users will have a decision to make – or not. That’s the day when Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP. Is this the end of civilization as we know it?

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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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NICE PICTURES AND A BIT MORE

Here’s a trick many people don’t seem to know about: You can have a new beautiful picture on your computer every day, and it’s free for Windows users.

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GETTING A NEW WINDOWS 8 COMPUTER

Just 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.”

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WINDOWS 8 WARNING

A reader was frustrated when Windows 8.1 didn’t work well with his Fujitsu scanner, and was tempted to revert to Windows 8.0. Warning: You can go back by using the Windows “Recovery Manager,” but you’ll have to re-install any programs you put on your machine. Our reader elected to download a new driver for the scanner instead.

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WINDOWS 8.1 HAS MANY THINGS TO LIKE

The reviews covering the new Windows 8.1 missed the thing we like best about it: the return of the “all programs” list. But there are lots more goodies than that in the new upgrade.

You need to have Windows 8 to get the 8.1 upgrade, and you do have to go get it — it’s not automatic. To get it, tap the Windows key (looks like a flag) and type “Store.” Then click on the free download link. If you get an error message like we did, try again. It took us several tries, perhaps because the servers were busy.

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GIVING UP ON WINDOWS

A friend of ours, a lifelong Windows user, switched to the Mac after a bad experience with Windows 8. This causes us to rethink our latest Windows recommendations.

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WINDOWS 8 FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME

“Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time,” $30 from Wiley.com, by Lance Whitney, has some great tips. Each tip will take only five minutes to implement, and you get colorful screenshots to show you exactly what to do.

For instance, you might want to use pictures instead of text for your passwords, customize the start screen so you see your favorite stocks updated regularly, keep everything backed up or print information from inside an app, such as the Travel app.

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WINDOWS 8 REDUX

As we’ve mentioned before, many Windows 8 users are exasperated by the start-up screen, sometimes called “Tile World.” It delays booting to the normal desktop screen and is distracting. Microsoft fixed that in version 8.1, available now in a “preview” version at Windows.Microsoft.com.

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