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I use Windows 8 on all of our home computers — except for the home server, which runs FreeNAS. But, if you are here looking for apps to do things like bring back the Start menu then you are in the wrong place. I do not miss that relic from Windows 95 and have no problem using the new interface.

What I wished to cover here is not just for Windows 8. These apps work across many versions of the operating system and I find them incredibly useful on a regular basis. The only requirement to qualify here is that the app be free, and all of these meet that criteria. Beyond that, I am only looking for software that is truly useful on a daily, or almost daily, basis.

I will spare you the boring things like alternative web browsers to replace Internet Explorer — just use Chrome or Firefox, it’s an easy choice. Not all of these apps are for everyone, as it depends largely on your tastes and needs, but most should satisfy every computer user in some way and many are useful on an almost daily basis.

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Social networks are extremely prevalent in today’s society. You’d probably find it hard to find one person who didn’t have a prominent presence on at least one. However, the market is dominated by the big networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While in this article I will cover these, the big focus will on social networks which are a little less known.

The Windows Phone network gives users a humongous amount of choice so not exploring different options would just be frivolous. Read on to find out about the networks I recommend!

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There are many text editors out there. You’ve already heard of most of them. Here’s one you probably haven’t heard of. SlickEdit, the sole product of a company by the same name, is an editor that is focused on only one thing: writing code. This is a tool for professionals with a feature set—and price—to match.

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Inevitably, an app store will revolve around several types of apps – with many different alternatives available. This is the case with any app store, with Windows 8 as well. Pocket is a popular application for reading blog posts and other content not right at the moment. Articles are saved in a queue – and there are several Pocket clients in the Windows app store that promise to fulfill this task.

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In the Windows Phone Elite series I try to show readers apps which will be fantastic on their phone and be a big part of their day. For me, music is a massive part of everyday and listening to my favourite songs is a great way to get through mountains of work. In this article I’m going to look at some of the best applications for your Windows Phone which will allow you to listen to music quickly and to a high standard.

Read on to find out what we recommend!

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Smartphones proliferate the market today for good reason. The largest of which may be the fact that carriers are steering customers in that direction, but also because most of us want that functionality. To that end, many of us change the wallpapers, add apps and generally make the device a personal statement. The biggest, and most popular, change is usually the ringtone.

Our ringtones are a personal expression of our tastes. Be it Windows Phone, Blackberry, iPhone or Android, all of the major mobile platforms can be customized in this way. And all of the services would love to sell you a ringtone at roughly twice the price of buying a full version of the song.

There is a better, and cheaper, way of doing this. Ringtone Maker is a free app for Windows that allows you to take any song and create a ringtone for any mobile operating system.

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In this round-up, I review three utilities that give the user the ability to input accented and other non-ASCII characters on a PC. They are FreeCompose, AllChars, and Unichars.

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In the Windows Phone Elite series we often look at apps which you would use all the time. These have included finance management apps and platform games, although, something we are yet to look at is the smaller apps. There is a wealth of these in the Windows Marketplace and even though they may be basic in concept; they can sometimes help us an awful lot.

Read on the find out what we think are the best utilities for your Windows Phone.

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An operating system is most useful in its day-to-day functions – functions like an RSS reader, a chat program, a note-taking app; and a news app. And, in theory, every political app reports on the news with absolutely no slant at all – because we all know how unbiased the journalism scene is.

Still, it’s no crime to want to read the news in a format that’s easy to use and comfortable to read in. Which news app for Windows 8 does the best job of this? Read on for more.

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Media consumption is likely a large part of your day-to-day activities. The method by which this media is consumed varies depending on personal preference. Local media libraries are often consumed and managed via a media player. Unfortunately, however, the default media player inside of Windows is often considered to be sub-par when compared to some of the feature-rich, well-polished, and free alternatives that are currently available.

If you are not satisfied with your current media player, I have compiled a list of my top six favorite media players that are available for Windows.

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