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It was once hidden within the murky depths of msconfig, but the Startup tab has received a promotion and found itself a home in the new Task Manager. It still has the same level of functionality as before, allowing you to custom - ize which programs load when you boot your machine, but it's now much easier to access than before. You can also travel directly to the file location to see a rundown of the impact it has on your boot time. PERFORMANCE This is another example of the improvements Microsoft has made to the Task Manager, and will be of particular interest to power users. Previously, the main screen on the Performance tab only displayed a graph of your ma - chine's CPU usage, with a little extra detail about memory. Now, there's information about everything from proces - sor speed to the read and write speeds of your drives. This provides a comprehensive idea of how your machine is performing (image E). SYSTEM INFORMATION If you don't necessarily want to know how your machine is performing, but are looking for the details of your PC's components (from a software or hardware perspective), the System Information screen is the place for you. It will give you the full lowdown on every facet of your machine, from the drivers foryour mouse to the layout of your drive partitions. WINDOWS FIREWALL Nothing has really changed with the latest iteration of Windows Firewall and Advanced Security. It's still the place to go to fully customize your firewall settings, whether you want to import new exception policies or diagnose any kind of network/security prob - lems. It also allows you to monitor how your current network con - nection is configured (image F). BOOT INTO SAFE MODE Boot times in Windows 8 have improved, but with an SSD installed as a boot drive, it can be tricky to boot into Safe Mode. Luckily, you can access it via Advanced Boot Options, which is accessible through the extra settings on the Charms bar. If you hit Advanced Startup under the General tab, the PC will restart into Windows 8's debug mode.


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