Stories by Brad Chacos

With this phone, I thee wed: How the Nokia-Microsoft union changes everything

There's no getting cold feet now. On Friday, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's device business became official, after months of delays and regulatory hurdles. The remnants of Nokia will get a whopping $7.2 billion. In return, Microsoft will get 32,000 new employees, a legion of Lumias, and oh yeah, those funky Android-based Nokia X phones.

Don't wait for Windows 9: How to get a Start Menu, windowed Metro apps today

Between the release of the PC-friendly spring update for Windows 8.1 and the newfound introduction of universal "buy once, play anywhere" Windows apps, Microsoft is doing all it can to spur the One Microsoft vision while, well, letting a PC be a PC and a tablet be a tablet. But, sadly, the most anticipated improvements have yet to arrive.

Why a leaked Windows 8.1 update and Microsoft's new CEO bode well for PC lovers

As a diehard PC geek and, by extension, a longtime Windows enthusiast, I'm feeling very optimistic for the future of the traditional Windows desktop because of two portentous events that occurred this week: The leak of an early build of the impending Windows 8.1 update 1 and Satya Nadella being appointed the CEO of Microsoft.

In Pictures: Your new PC needs these 22 free programs

More than a mere blank slate, a new PC is a fresh opportunity—a collection of components that, with the right software installed, could accomplish anything from balancing your household budget to helping to cure cancer. Yes, stocking your PC is an intensely personal task. Even still, some programs are so helpful, so handy, so useful across the board that we heartily recommend them to everybody. These are the programs you want to install on a new PC first.