I’m on constant lookout for better ways to keep all of my data painlessly in sync, both between devices and between my devices and the Cloud. Dropbox has been my drop-it-and-forget-it syncing service of choice for much of the last three years, and it’s unquestionably a great option for many users and uses.
But earlier this year I went in search of… not a replacement to Dropbox, but a service that would add to and complement what Dropbox already did for me. My search led me to a lot of syncing services, but in the end there was only one that did everything I wanted: SugarSync. As I wrote in April, SugarSync was the best method for keeping certain work files synced between my office Windows desktop and Mac laptop, and it it performed spectacularly for this purpose. Still does. But over the last three months, I’ve found that it’s also a worthy Dropbox replacement, particularly if A) you have limited free space on Dropbox, and/or B) you are willing to pay for a syncing service but find Dropbox’s $120, $240 or $600 yearly costs too high.
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Our homes are filled with more devices that connect to the internet – and each other – than ever before. Many, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and printers, can live by wireless alone; but there are also devices that greatly benefit from (or even require) a direct, wired Ethernet connection: smart TVs, game consoles, streaming video players (Apple TV, Roku, etc.) NAS storage drives, VoIP telephone adapters and home security systems.
Problem is, most wireless routers – the gizmos that share a modem’s internet connection with both wireless and wired devices – usually have only four onboard Ethernet ports (those highlighted in yellow in the image above). Connect a desktop, game console, TV and VoIP adapter, and you’re slap out of ports. If this is a problem you’ve run into, you may be asking yourself if it’s time to buy a new router with more ports.
Answer: probably not. If you’re happy with your router’s wireless performance, all you need for additional ports is an Ethernet Switch.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to Ethernet Switches, show you how to use them to expand a LAN, help you choose the right model for your needs, and give a brief overview of how to best configure your network with a switch.
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If you have a large 1TB or 2TB boot drive in your Windows PC, you probably won’t care about this article; a few lost gigabytes means jack to you. If, on the other hand, you’re using a high-speed SSD as a boot drive, every gigabyte counts, and you’ll want to read on.
Most Windows users with SSDs probably have either 64GB or 128GB models (256GB, 512GB, and other large capacity models are still quite pricey). Filling these drives with applications, videos, photos and games is easy, but we expect these things to occupy our precious gigs of space. What we probably don’t expect – and certainly don’t like – is having 10-15GB taken up for no good reason at all. And, for most users, that’s exactly what the HIBERFIL.SYS and PAGEFILE.SYS files do: take up space and offer nothing in return.
What follows is a quick outline of how to get rid of these two files and free up space on your SSD or hard drive.
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A friend came to me a few weeks ago and said he wanted to upgrade his PC. It was a 2010 eMachine with a relatively low-end AMD processor and a very limited motherboard with onboard graphics. I told him I’d do the upgrade, so he ordered a new motherboard, Intel Core i5 CPU and video card. I got to work.
After replacing the old hardware, it was time to re-install Windows 7 Home Premium. He chose not to upgrade the hard drive, but using the existing hard disk’s recovery partition to restore the OS wasn’t an option: restoring the PC to factory specs using these tools would have resulted in an installation and driver package not compatible with the new motherboard without major tinkering, so a clean install was necessary. There was no discrete Windows installer on the recovery partition, only a complete drive image, so did my friend need to purchase another copy of Windows 7 in order to perform this type of installation?
Here’s how to install Windows 7 on a modified retail PC with a Windows 7 disc and activate it using an OEM product key.