Reinstall Windows Without Losing Your Data

The ultimate repair job doesn’t have to be the ultimate disaster.

By Lincoln Spector, PCWorld

How did things get this messed up? Windows has slowed to a crawl. Programs won’t run. The free firewall you installed last year won’t update or uninstall itself.

Windows 7 System Restore hasn’t helped; neither have your assorted cleanup and antimalware programs. Only one option remains: Reinstall Windows and start from scratch.

I’m not going to lie to you–this is a scary and time-consuming job. Your PC may be unusable for a day or more. You could even lose all of your data.

And let’s face it: You’d be wise to avoid this chore if at all possible. If someone in tech support tells you to do it, get a second opinion, and then a third.

If you have to reinstall–and sometimes it is necessary–here’s how to make the process as safe and painless as possible.

Gather What You Need

You’ll have to collect a few things before you can begin.

First, you’ll need your recovery tool. What’s that? If you’re using the version of Windows that came on your PC, it’s probably in a hidden partition on the computer’s hard drive. That partition contains the information necessary to restore the hard drive to its factory condition.

Obviously, a hard-drive partition is not something you have to gather. But if your PC is a few years old, the recovery tool may be on one or more CDs or DVDs instead. Find the discs that came with your PC and see if anything looks promising. Alternatively, check the PC’s manual to learn what kind of recovery tool came with the machine, and, if it’s on a partition, how to access it.

If you upgraded Windows since you bought the PC–for instance, going from XP or Vista to Windows 7–the upgrade disc is now your recovery tool.

If you can’t find a recovery disc, and the PC has no hidden partition (or offers no workable way to access that partition), contact the system manufacturer to see what they can do for you. Read “How Do I Restore Windows If I’ve Lost My Restore CD?” for details.

After Windows installs, you’ll have to reinstall all of your programs. Collect all the original discs or downloaded installation files, and all of your license numbers.

You’ll want an empty external hard drive with a capacity at least as large as your existing hard drive. Another external hard drive will come in handy later. That one doesn’t have to be empty; you’ll need only a part of it.

Finally, you’ll need time. The best-case scenario for a reinstall is a day. The worst case: three or four days. You’ll be spending a lot of that time waiting, so get a good book, too. Seguir leyendo “Reinstall Windows Without Losing Your Data”

Playboy lanza disco duro externo con contenido precargado

Si eres de aquellos que aún no sabes qué pedirle al Viejito Pascuero (Papá Noel, Santa Claus o San Nicolás), tal vez esta sea el regalo que siempre quisiste tener.

La compañía Playboy acaba de poner a la venta un disco duro externo cuya principal característica es traer precargado todo el material publicado por la revista hasta estos días (650 ediciones, más de 100.000 páginas).

El disco duro tienen una capacidad de 250 GB y posee unas dimensiones que ya se quisiera cualquier conejita: 5×3×5 pulgadas.

Seguir leyendo “Playboy lanza disco duro externo con contenido precargado”

How to Check the Health of your Hard Drive

Hard disk failure is possibly the worst thing that can happen to your computer and it often occurs without giving any warning signs.

Test Your Hard Drive for Impending Problems

hard diskYou may however run certain tests on your computer beforehand to get an idea about the current condition of your hard disk. This should in turn help you decide whether a replacement drive is necessary or not. Seguir leyendo “How to Check the Health of your Hard Drive”

[Chicas relajen…, o no!, bueno aquí unos consejos] 7 Myths About Sex After 50

By Dr. Dorree Lynn

7 Myths About Sex After 50

Who says sex stops at midlife?  Dr. Dorree Lynn, author of Sex for Grownups, debunks the myths and reveals the lies.

Myth #1: Older women are lousy lovers.
False! For centuries, older women would initiate young men into the world of sexual pleasures.  You have history and experience on your side; you’ve lived long enough to have earned your stature. Hold your head up high and believe in yourself. Think of some of those wonderful role models: Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirran, Meryl Streep, Iman and so many others. Roll like a Role Model and show the word how wonderful it is to be over 50 and how fortunate a woman is to get there.

Myth #2: Older women don’t want sex as much as older men do.
Women just want more talk along with sex. Women love foreplay and feeling desired. If your partner doesn’t “get it” suggest a date night away from the bedroom and gently talk to him (or her) about what you want. Communication is the key. Foreplay starts in the morning with an “ I love you” or a stroke of your hair. Desire can continue at any age.
Seguir leyendo “[Chicas relajen…, o no!, bueno aquí unos consejos] 7 Myths About Sex After 50”

Commodore makes new computer with very old-looking hardware

There’s something unabashedly cool about retro technology, and when it comes to computers it doesn’t get more retro than the Commodore 64. That’s why Commodore USA is recreating the very classic computer casing but this time with very modern hardware.

Citing “overwhelming demand from former Commodore users worldwide,” the company is creating an “exact replica of the original beige chassis Commodore C64.” Except this time it has 4 GB of DDR3 memory, a one terabyte hard drive, HDMI compatibility, an Intel Atom 525 CPU and Nvidia Ion2 graphics. It also packs in six USB ports, a 6-in-1 media card reader, and an optional Blu-ray Disc drive. This ain’t your granddaddy’s Commodore 64!

Enthusiasts out there have become legendary for merging old and new technologies to create extremely unique and captivating pieces of hardware. But it’s not often that a company actually goes back to its roots and devotes resources to recreating a look that by all standards is completely outdated. Seguir leyendo “Commodore makes new computer with very old-looking hardware”

What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?

What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?Dear Lifehacker,
I have a dead hard drive that is out of warranty. Is there anything I can do besides recycle it?

All My Drives are Down ‘n Dead

Photo by ArtMast.

Dear Down ‘n Dead,
You’re in luck. While your hard drive may be dead to its original function you can harvest parts from it for all sorts of fun and interesting DIY projects.

Before we delve into gutting your hard drive and repurposing its guts, let’s talk data security. While you didn’t specify what “dead hard drive” means, we’ll assume this means the disk is inoperable and any means of recovering the disk for use using software have failed. If the disk has truly sensitive data on it—data worth enough that someone would invest significant time and energy in recovering it—the only safe thing to do is to reference the Symphony of Destruction portion of our guide to properly erasing your physical media. If, on the other hand, the disk was mostly populated with your bootleg Bon Jovi concert rips, it’s ripe for all manner of DIY projects.

We’ve roughly ordered the following projects by the amount of effort and technical knowledge required to carry them out. At the start of the list you’ll need little more than basic tools and some patience. By the end of the list you’ll need to be comfortable with a soldering iron and working with electronics. Seguir leyendo “What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?”

How to Password Protect your Files and Folders

folder passwordDo you have files and folders on your computer that you absolutely don’t want anyone else to see? Or do you even carry important documents on those easy-to-misplace USB drives?

If the answer is yes, you should definitely download a copy of SafeHouse Explorer – it’s a free and incredibly easy-to-use file encryption utility that will hide all your private files from prying eyes in few easy steps. You may use the tool to password protect files that are residing on your computer’s internal hard disk or even on external USB drives.

Tutorial: Encrypt and Password Protect your Files and Folders

SafeHouse Explorer, in simple English, works something like this. It creates a hidden storage area on your disk to hold all the files that you want to protect. These files and folders are hidden from normal view and will only become visible when you enter the correct password.

Here’s a more detailed tutorial on how you can protect your files with SafeHouse Explorer. Seguir leyendo “How to Password Protect your Files and Folders”

15 Things Every PC User Should Know

Disk Cleanup; click for full-size image.Whether you’re a grizzled tech veteran or an uninitiated newb, here are 15 essential facts and tricks that you ought to know.

Patrick Miller

Think you know tech? If you don’t have a handle on every single one of these 15 tech facts, habits, and efficiency tricks, you’re not living up to your potential.

1. Don’t double-click everything. Windows 101: Double-clicking is how you open items in Windows. It’s not how you open links in your Web browser, click buttons in dialog boxes, or do pretty much anything else–and if you reflexively double-click, you might accidentally zip right past something important or submit a form twice. If you don’t need this reminder yourself, chances are you know someone who does.

2. Use slashes and backslashes in the appropriate situations. Let’s get it straight: / is a slash (or forward slash, if you must), and \ is a backslash. Backslashes are conventionally used for Windows file paths (C:\Program Files\Whatever), while slashes are used for Internet addresses (

3. Record the exact error message. When your PC crashes, it’ll usually try to tell you why it is doing so–albeit with a string of numbers and letters that you won’t understand. Write the message down in its entirety (or take a screenshot, if possible) so you can later plug it into Google or give it to your tech support agent. If your PC didn’t provide an error message, go to Action Center (in the Control Panel) and see if it shows up under ‘View archived messages’ or ‘View problems to report’. Seguir leyendo “15 Things Every PC User Should Know”

The Different Ways to Backup your Home Computer

There are a couple of ways by which you can backup your documents, photos, emails and other important files that on your home computer. For instance, you may:

external hard disk1. Use an external drive – You can attach an external hard disk to your PC or Mac through the USB port and use the built-in software to backup all your important files and folders automatically. These devices are sleek, portable and some even have FireWire ports so the data transfer happens at a much faster rate.

2. Clone the computer – You can use disk imaging tools like Acronis True Image or DriveImage XML (free for personal use) to create an exact mirror image of your hard-drive. The tools will even backup your system files and program settings so you can easily restore the computer to a working state in case your hard-drive crashes.

[*] If you are using Windows 7, you don’t really need any of these tools as the OS itself has a backup tool that will let you create system images at any point of time. You can store these snapshots on another partition of the same hard-disk or you may use an external drive. Seguir leyendo “The Different Ways to Backup your Home Computer”

The Case of the Stolen Laptop: How to Encrypt, and Why

By Barton Gellman

The Case of the Stolen Laptop: How to Encrypt, and Why

There’s an investigator I know, top of her profession, who once put her laptop in the trunk of a cab. By the time she reached her hotel, the laptop was gone. This happens thousands of times a year at airports, train stations, libraries and coffee shops. Sometimes the thief wants your hardware. Sometimes your data turns out to be more valuable, or its loss more damaging. (It’s pathetically easy to find examples.) And sometimes the victim is not a matter of chance.

In this case our investigator was onto something hot. She was closing in on a high-profile scandal that disturbed the interests of powerful and resourceful people. Maybe her bag was jacked by a petty thief, but Occam’s Razor pointed another way. She had to assume her targets now knew anything they could glean from her computer. I found her to be oddly undisturbed by this. She said she had followed the first rule of prudence, which is not to write anything down — especially in digital form — that you really, really need to keep secret. But I thought she was nuts to believe she lost nothing sensitive. It is astonishing what current forensic tools can learn from your computer. Seguir leyendo “The Case of the Stolen Laptop: How to Encrypt, and Why”

9 Essential Tips To Speed Up Windows 7

By Trinity Nick

The Microsoft Windows 7 operating system has been designed for delivering better speeds than its predecessors. However, as time passes by, the laptop/PC might tend to get slower. This is not exactly the fault of the OS. As the matter of fact, it is a common problem faced by many operating systems.

windows 7 performances tips

The major reasons for this are accumulation of junk in the system or a highly stuffed hard drive or running of too many unnecessary services and programs. Here we shared a few essential tips that can help speed up Windows 7 performance on laptops or computers. Hope it helps! Seguir leyendo “9 Essential Tips To Speed Up Windows 7”