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Utilities

Windows Explorer is a – mostly – functional, if slightly, dull way of viewing the data you have stored on your hard drive. If you are looking for a particular file or folder, Explorer is a practical, non-nonsense tool that lets you get the job done.

But if you yearn for something more attractive, if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, if beauty is what you crave from your utilities, Spyglass is the sort of tool for you.

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One of the greatest features presented by Windows 7 (and maintained in Windows 8) is the way the taskbar has been improved upon. Until 7, the main section of the taskbar was divided in two parts: the “quick-launch bar” and the “open programs bar”, but with Windows 7 they were merged in a way that allows the user to lock some programs in the taskbar and to have the opened programs by their side. The ability to lock programs in the taskbar is called “pinning”.

While this really is a great innovation, it has also an important flaw: it does not allow the pinning of folders directly as it happens with programs. If a user tries to pin a folder, Windows will pin the Windows Explorer instance, instead of that specific folder. To solve this, a few independent apps were released, approaching this problem in different fashions. Today I’ll bring you TaskbarPinner, a small, portable and good-looking application which has proved to be an important ally to pin almost anything you want.

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The failure of a hard drive can be one of the most devastating things to happen to any computer user – within the realms of computing, at least – particularly if you are unprepared and have not been particularly diligent at creating regular backups.

Should the worst happen to you, you could sent your drive off to a team of data recovery experts, but you’ll have to pay a fairly hefty fee if you want your files back. But there are plenty of occasions when your files may not be accessible due to a no-physical problem with your drive, and TestDisk is a free tool that could get your data back without the need to part with a penny.

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Network admins have to think about looking after large numbers of computer, but even home users find that there are often two, three or even more PCs to tend to. If you find yourself having to maintain multiple machines, you’ll probably want to avoid having to physical access each one wherever possible.

This is something that AdminToys Suite can help with, making it possible to monitor and administer not only the computer you are sitting in front of, but also others that are connected to the same network.

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Every operating system has its advantages and disadvantages, and in the case of Linux the ease with which software can be downloaded and updated from a central repository is a big plus point. The various app stores that exist for mobile operating system work in much the same way, and Allmyapps brings similar options to Windows users.

You may have decided against upgrading to Windows 8, but this does not mean that you need miss out on having an app store of your own. Allmyapps is a free service that can be used to browse, install, update and sync your apps across multiple computers.

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Friend: “Hey, I wanted to borrow some music from you.”

Me: “Sure, what do you need?”

Friend: “Well, what do you have?”

When you have been ripping music CDs since the last millennium and buying digital ever since the iTunes store opened, it gets pretty much impossible to list all the artists or albums you have, let alone those stray songs.

In fact, the need to list a bunch of files comes up quite often. On past occasions, I’ve needed a file stored on my PC at home and couldn’t remember what it was called or where it was saved. Asking my wife to read out every file over the phone would’ve probably resulted in a call from a divorce lawyer. Is there a better way out? Sure there is!

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In modern society, social networks have become the norm. Gone are the days of basic communication — we like to share everything else with the world over the web now. Nowadays, I never have to check the news or even look outside my window for the weather – I’m sure that someone’s “Tweeting” about it. However, social networks do take different forms and the majority of us use a few different networks.

Although, keeping in control of every single one is often a hard task. Fliptoast is a brand new Windows 8 app which combines four of the biggest social networks into one easy to use application. Bringing together Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn makes Fliptoast a powerful app which will save you the trouble of navigation and organization.

Read on to find out more!

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Regardless of whether you like it or not, Microsoft is not backing down — Windows 8 is definitely here to  stay. The operating system is different than any previous version. In fact, it could be called the most radical change to Windows since 1995. Those changes have spawned a lot of controversy among the user base, especially with those who seem think they “just can’t live without the Start menu”.

In fact, the “upgrade” has created a whole new ecosystem of apps, including numerous ways to add the Start menu, customize the Start screen, disable features like the Charms menu, boot to the desktop and a lot more.

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In many ways, each new version of Windows is a great leap forwards in terms of innovation, but at the same time there is always concern about how much change is a good thing. This has been the case with the release of every version of Windows, but never more so than with Windows 8.

One of the bones of contention for many users is that there have been such as change in appearance in some areas of the operating system while other areas remain virtually identical and this disparity can be confusing. Perhaps the greatest cause for concern for most people is the Start menu, or lack thereof, and this is something that can be addressed through the use of Classic Shell.

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Reddit is a social content aggregator which has taken the world by storm. With millions of users, including even big celebrities such as Barack Obama, adopting the use of the site. Earlier this year the number of subreddits was recorded at 67,000 and I’m sure this amount will keep increasing all the time.

For those that haven’t heard of Reddit, it allows you to interact with other users who post pictures, questions or links. The site works by creating subreddits. These are specific categories which deal with a subject. The top ten of these are: pics, funny, politics, gaming, askreddit, worldnews, videos, iama, todayilearned and wtf. These are displayed at the top of the page to give you quick access to the most popular.

Personally, I’m a massive fan of the Reddit network which meant when I upgraded to Windows 8 and saw Reddit To Go I was excited. However, I was a bit skeptical as to whether the application would actually work. In the past I’ve tested similar applications which have just turned out to be a big disappointment.

Read on to find out what I thought of the newest competitor!

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