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10 Free Ways to Do Things Faster on Your PC

Paul Mah | Jan. 22, 2014
Looking to hit the ground running? These 10 tips won't cost you anything but will help you work faster and more efficiently on your PC.

5. Learn Some New Keyboard Shortcuts
Learning a few new keyboard shortcuts is a good way to get things done faster, especially if you're a typical "hunt and peck" typist. Though it does take some effort to master these shortcuts, the benefits are for life.

For example, the Windows Key + E combo brings up the Windows File Explorer. ALT-F4 closes the current window. The Windows Key + Left arrow or Windows Key + Right arrow snaps your active app to the pertinent part of your screen. For more, check out an in-depth list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts from Microsoft.

6. Use a Fast Image and PDF Viewer
Depending on the hardware vendor, a typical PC comes preinstalled with Adobe PDF Reader for PDF files and the default Windows Photo Viewer for photos. These are perfectly functional, but there are faster file viewers for users who don't require access to the full range of capabilities. For example, Foxit Reader 6 and IrfanView are two lightweight, fast and free apps designed for PDF and image files, respectively.

7. Set Your Browser to Remember Your Password
If you haven't already done so, setting your Web browser to remember your password can help save a fair amount of time. (While detractors will argue that this is suboptimal from a security standpoint, it's worth noting that the use of a password manager would be of no help on a compromised PC.) To protect against data loss in the event of a lost or stolen laptop, enable BitLocker full disk encryption. For users more concerned about security, don't synchronize your browser passwords with the cloud, should the option exist.

8. Switch to a Multi-IM Chat Client
Instead of installing several instant messaging chat programs in order to communicate with various clients or vendors, why not make the switch to a multi-IM chat client such as Digsby, Pidgin or Trillian? These support popular IM protocols such as AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk and Jabber out of the box, making it possible to fire up only one app in place of multiple apps. Ultimately, it's easier to work from a single interface and have your entire chat history stored in one location.

9. Set Up Your Fingerprint Scanner
Still manually typing your password each time you power on your PC or when logging in after lunch? Most business laptops come with fingerprint scanners that take just a few minutes to set up. You don't necessarily have to use your thumb, either; with most fingerprint scanners, the index finger may in fact be easier to scan. Another alternative: Using facial recognition on laptops that support it. Though this may not be as secure as using your digits.


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