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by JB Burke

Q. I'm always looking for helpful hints and tips on how to get more out of my computer. Can you point me to some online resources that have such information?

A. You bet we can. There are several very useful web sites that provide a wealth of helpful hints and tips, sometimes with very good depth of information, and all for free. To start with, one of my favorites is MakeUseOf. The main tabs on the home page are: "How To Tips"; "Best of Apps" (apps for many different operating systems and devices); "Ask Tech Help"; "Cheats & Guides" (many cheatsheets and in-depth guides); "Web Sites Index" (useful websites); "Geeky Fun" (computer related cartoons and jokes); and "Premium Courses" (of which there is currently only one – the iPhone). Each of these contains a great deal of help, knowledge and just plain interesting material. One hint – when you go to download one of the Guides, you'll either need to sign in with your Facebook account, or do what I do – enter the "secret" password (makeuseof). I could probably stop here, but there are more.

Another great site is Lifehacker. It is arranged totally differently than MakeUseOf, but contains a major amount of useful information nevertheless. Down toward the bottom of the home page, you'll find a set of links such as "Ask Lifehacker", "Best of Lifehacker" and "Lifehacker Top Ten". These will take you to some very useful pages of "the best of", "top 10", etc. related to software, hardware and support issues. This will help guide you to the best of the software, hardware and how-to articles on the web. It's good to have a trustworthy guide.

One last one I will mention is HowToGeek. This site contains a great deal of information on Windows, Linux, Malware, Office, Web Browsing and all things computer related. An example of a current article is "How to Factory Reset Your Android Phone or Tablet When It Won't Boot". This is a great site to just open and browse through. You are bound to find educational and entertaining material there.

Published: Courier 12/16/12 - Page 3C