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So you have finally decided to trade in your old desktop or notebook PC for a new model. But before you resell or recycle it, you need to ensure that none of the personal data stored on your PC gets into the hands of whoever uses it next.

The quick way, of course, is to just format your hard drive. But if you are reselling the device, deleting Windows 7 or any older version of the OS will diminish its value; after all, your buyer wants a fully functional PC too.

Don’t worry, you can get rid of all your data with the help of a few apps. And don’t forget to back up your data first. Use an external drive, or better still a cloud storage application, to store your important files and documents. Google Drive and Dropbox are great for general storage, while professional solutions like Hightail or Zoho Docs are perfect for secure document storage and management.


If you are used to using Notepad for general text and script editing, or perhaps have upgraded to some of the other 3rd party text editors, I’d like to introduce you to SciTE. It truly is an excellent all-round text editor, with a quick start-up time (essential), and support for script highlighting and compiling.

Read on for an overview of some of the key benefits of this excellent app.


Explorer may not be the most advanced file management tool that’s available, but it does get the job done. If you’ve been a Windows user for any length of time, you’ve probably grown used to hitting the Windows key and E to fire up Explorer.

This is the reason that it can be difficult to move to an Explorer replacement – your memory muscle will almost invariably default to using the known shortcut and you may well find that you end up defaulting back to Explorer. Clover is an Explorer add-on that enables you to stick with Windows’ built in file browser while gaining some extra features.


Photography apps seem to pop up everywhere we go. Searching through the marketplace I constantly come across the “next big thing” in the photography category. It seems that the majority of us have moved on from the normal social networks and have transferred over to the world of photo social networking.

Unfortunately, we Windows Phone Users lack the ability to download the most popular app of this kind, Instagram. Until I came across Fontli, which quickly becoming one of my favourite apps. Fontli supports a sleek design which works perfectly with the layout. However, the most interesting feature is that all the pictures revolve around typography and how the letters are structured – something I hadn’t seen before.


For day to day tasks Windows Explorer gets the job done, but it is far from being the most versatile file manager that’s available. If you spend a good proportion of your time working with files – organizing them, backing them up, searching, etc – you’ll quickly find that Explorer leaves a lot to be desired.

There is a burgeoning market for Explorer replacement tools, and the use of the word ‘market’ should come as an indication that many of these tools come at a price. The same cannot be said of FileMind (for the time-being, at least) which is an astonishingly good file manger which I wanted to share with you.


What’s the most important component of your computer? RAM? Processor? Monitor? How about your hard drive? As well as being home to Windows itself, your hard drive is where you store all of your documents and it is a piece of hardware that it in constant use whenever your computer is switched on.

The problem with any hard drive is that files become fragmented – they are broken up into a series of small chunks which have to be pieced together whenever they are accessed. This is a serious bottleneck to performance and it is not a problem that can be tackled without the right tool.


I’m a big fan of maximizing my available workspace and here on Windows.AppStorm, I’ve looked at various tools that can be used to enhance virtual desktops and multiple monitor setups. Now I’d like to share another tool I’ve found that makes use of existing hardware you may own.

If you have an Android or iOS phone or tablet, you can use iDisplay to transform it into an extra monitor. The desktop software is free of charge and while the mobile apps do have price tag attached to them, they are a great deal cheaper than buying a new monitor of any size.


You’ve got your own PC set up at home just the way you like it, with all of the software you need installed ready for when you need it. When you’re out and about, you probably take your laptop with you and this has been similarly set up.

But what about when you have to use someone else’s computer? You might be at a friend’s house and want to use a particular program that they don’t have installed. If you don’t want to have to go to the trouble of downloading and installing your favorite apps every time you move to a different computer, portable apps may be what you need.


Running out of hard drive space is far less of an issue than it used to be, but if you have an older machine that you don’t want to spend money on to get a larger drive, or you’re just looking to help keep your drive in better shape, having a clean out from time to time is a great idea.

Clearing out the crud that can accumulate helps to give Windows room to breathe, but there is also the added bonus that you can protect your privacy by deleting various files that have been used to record your activities. JFRemover is a free tool that can be used to make your file removals easier than ever.


What’s the most frustrating thing about your computer? I’d be willing to bet that it’s how long it can take to start up. Even if you have a fairly new PC that opens program quickly and generally operates fast enough for your needs, if you have to wait ages for the desktop to reach a useable state you’re likely to get annoyed before even get started on whatever you switched your computer on for.

Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to help reduce start up times, and one of my most recent discoveries is Argus Boot Accelerator. This is an intriguing free app that includes a number of options for keeping your boot time to an absolute minimum.


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