Print more easily, find files faster, and send email right from your desktop.

1. Print from Windows Explorer

If you need to print a document, let’s say a Microsoft Word document, there’s no need to launch Word first. Browse your hard drive for the file that you want to print, right-click its icon, and then click Print. This will automatically send the document to your printer without launching Word.

2. Pin programs to the Start menu

Want to add your favorite programs to the Start menu? From the Start menu, click All Programs. Locate a favorite program, right-click the program’s icon, and then click Pin to Start menu. That’s it. More »

What I really want to do is add a link to Google Docs on the right-click (context) menu in Windows Explorer. That way, I could open a file in Google Docs by right-clicking it in Explorer and choosing Send To > Google Docs.

Well, I wasn’t able to figure out how to do this. So instead, I created a shortcut to open Google Docs, and then I browsed to the file and opened it the old-fashioned way.

This won’t save you a lot of time, but at least Google Docs makes it easy for you to transmit the file to the service as an e-mail attachment. And, of course, you can send the file to other e-mail recipients at the same time.

To create the shortcut to Google Docs, log in to the service, copy the URL in the address bar, right-click the desktop or any folder window, choose New > Shortcut, paste the URL in the Location field, click Next, type Google Docs (or the name of your choice), and press Enter (or click Finish).

Now navigate to the shortcut you just created, right-click it, and choose Properties. Click in the “Shortcut key” box, and type your preferred keyboard shortcut (I chose Ctrl-Alt-G). More »

A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s also much easier for someone trying to help you solve a computer problem if they have access to your computer. They can see the problem and figure it out much faster if they can access your computer rather than taking shots in the dark by asking you all kinds of questions.

This guide shows you how to ask for remote assistance which enables someone to view or control your computer remotely.

Warning: Only give people you trust access to your computer with Remote Assistance. More »

If you’re going on vacation, you’re probably looking forward to getting away from the phone. But e-mail is less intrusive, and many of us want to bring it with us.

That used to be a real chore. But accessing e-mail from anywhere has become easier over the years. Today, it’s not much more difficult than downloading it at the office.

The key is finding decent PC access to the Internet on the road. Most hotels offer such access. Even a dial-up account is OK for downloading e-mail. And with Wi-Fi hotspots all over urban areas, fast access is a snap.

Of course, you have to find a way to access your e-mail server. So let’s look at how that can be done. More »