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Must-have tools and tricks

Rick Broida | Feb. 23, 2011
It's time for another grab bag of hassle killers. This week I tell you how to get a disposable e-mail address to use as a spam magnet, how to turn off Windows 7's automatic window resizing, and how to recover data from a crashed drive.

It's a pretty cool feature, one I use from time to time--but not everybody likes it. Indeed, some users might prefer to turn off the feature entirely, to resize windows as they see fit. Just one problem: where oh where in Windows 7's sea of settings do you find that particular one? In a place you might not expect.

Here's what to do:

Click Start, type Ease, then click Ease of Access Center. Scroll down a bit and click Make the mouse easier to use. Scroll down to and enable the last check box in that window: Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen. Click OK.

Now your windows won't dock or resize when you drag them to the various hotspots.

Recover Lost Data From a Crashed Laptop Hard Drive

Reader Luis is trying to help a friend whose laptop hard drive started having boot problems. The friend replaced the drive, but now Luis is trying to help her recover prized family photos from it. He mentioned running Recuva' a great utility for such rescue missions, but can't figure out the logistics of reconnecting the bad drive to the laptop.

Specifically, he's trying to determine how to put Recuva on a bootable CD, restore access to the bad drive, and then find a home for the salvaged pictures.

This is easier than you think, Luis! What you need is an external enclosure for the old, displaced drive. These little housings cost no more than $15-20, and they turn a formerly internal hard drive into an external one, able to plug into any USB port. Just make sure you buy an enclosure that matches the size (i.e. thickness) and interface (i.e. IDE or SATA) of the drive.

Installing it in the enclosure takes no more than a few minutes, and from there you should be able to access the drive just like any other removable storage. The only uncertainty is whether or not Recuva can recognize it. If so, have at it--and just save any recovered photos to the new drive. If not, you might need to look at some more robust data-recovery utilities.

 

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