Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Why Is My Computer Slow?

When you first bought your PC or laptop it was so fast and new.  After time it has slowed down but you have not noticed it until it finally takes a while to even go into a webpage.

When you are trawling the internet looking at sites your computer gathers this information as well as setting aside temporary files to help run the PC.

Now these cause the PC to slow down as they have to be loaded in order before you can use the computer.  You can delete these however by typing in %temp% into the run section of the Windows Start bar.  

This then brings up a Windows Explorer window with a group of files and folders.  If you select all then delete this will then get rid of them.

Another way to speed up your PC is to move files from the Desktop.  Sometimes files are downloaded onto the Desktop and never removed.  These will cause the PC to load slowly if they are too big.

There is nothing quite like giving your PC a memory boost though.  Sometimes you try these and short of re-installing the machine there is nothing left to do then try to install more memory.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Top 10 Computer Tips (Part 2)

Clean the computer clean

Keeping the computer physically clean can help keep the computer running smoothly, help prevent issues such as over heating, and help protect you from getting sick. While cleaning the computer, it's also a good idea to clean the data on the computer. Microsoft Windows users can run ScanDisk to check the hard drive for errors and Defrag to keep the data on the hard drive organized. It's also a good idea to go through the installed programs and uninstall anything you no longer use.

Be familiar with free alternatives

Be familiar with and know about free alternatives to popular commercial programs. For example, almost every computer user needs a word processor program installed on their computer. Instead of purchasing Microsoft Office, which is several hundred dollars use a free alternative such as Open Office that is just as capable.  There are free virus removers such as AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials even down to free CD burn programs such as CDBurnerXP.  A free alternative to defrag is called Smart Defrag.

Take full advantage of all the mouse buttons and wheels

Many new computer users only use the left mouse button. Use the mouse to its full potential by also using the right mouse button to access the context menu. For example, if you highlight text and then right-click that text it will bring up a menu that will allow you to copy, cut, and perform many other options that text, the same thing applies to files.
Although most users already use the mouse wheel to scroll up and down on a web page, this wheel can also often be used as a third-button by pressing down on the mouse. Some computer mice also allow the wheel to be pushed right-and-left on to perform additional features such as moving forward and back on a web page.
Finally, many computer mice also have side buttons also known as thumb buttons that can be programmed to do any number of features, including going back on a web page or opening a magnifier.

Use included help files and the Internet

Every program includes some type of online help that can often be accessed by pressing the F1function key while in the program or through the file help menu. If the included help does not answer your questions, searching the Internet or using online help services such as Computer Hope can answer those questions.

Don't be scared about using your computer

Remember that using your computer should open new doors and learn new things and gather useful information.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Top Ten Computer Tips (Part 1)

Backup important data
A computer or its hard disk drive can fail at any time and without warning. When it does all your personal documents, letters, pictures, music, video, etc. is lost and in many situations cannot be recovered or costs a lot of money to be recovered. Make sure you have backups of all your important data so it is not lost when the computer fails.
Windows 7 has a program called Windows Backup so you can choose your most important data.  External hard drives are the most popular types of backup and are available at most stores.

Protect the computer
Make sure to protect your computer from electrical surgesbrownouts, and black outs. At the very least, every computer user should have a decent surge protector on their computer and phone line if they use a modem. Surge protectors can help protect your computer during an electrical storm and could save you hundreds of dollars in repair, if it were to get damaged. It is also a good idea to have the computer running on a power surge protected extension lead.  This can help prevent damage to a computer during a brownout or blackout.

Keep computer and its programs updated
There is no such thing as a perfect software program or hardware drivers. After the developer has released their program they may discover errors and release updates to fix these problems. In the case of major software programs and operating systems, there can be several hundred updates and service packs released during its life time. Making sure your computer and its programs are up-to-date can help prevent problems.
In addition to updating a program, programs that use other programs or plugins may also need updates, for example, it is very important to make sure all the plugins for your Internet browser are also up-to-date

Keep the computer safe and be familiar with viruses, spyware, phishing and spam
Every computer connected to the Internet or other network need to be protected. If you're using Microsoft Windows, we recommend having some form of anti-virus program installed and running on the computer. It's also a good idea to have a malware detection program running on the computer to pickup any spyware or malware that an anti-virus may not have detected. Finally, every computer user should also be fully aware of other security risks such as chain mails, phishing, and spam while on the Internet.

Read, understand, and watch for tricks
One of the most common mistakes new computer users make is agreeing to dialog text boxes, agreements, or other prompts without reading the dialog text box or understanding it. Before clicking any Ok or Install button, make sure you understand what you are doing. If you do not understand the prompt, click the Cancel button or close the box.
Also, while installing any program watch for any check boxes. Often free programs, plugins, and updates have check boxes that ask if it's ok to install additional programs onto the computer. For example, when installing the Adobe Flash plugin there is often a check box to install an additional anti-virus, firewall, toolbar, or other program. If left checked (often checked by default), these additional programs will be installed and may cause problems or frustration because it is not something you wanted.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Virus Infection on your PC.

Gone are the days now that a virus infection is caused by "dodgy sites".  Yet people still think that is the cause.  When I have a customer who has a virus there are two lines which commonly are said.  It is either "the computer has a virus, he must have been on some dodgy sites" or "my computer has a virus, I haven't been on any dodgy sites honestly."
The virus website stigma is still there.  Some viruses are attached to sites of current interest or latest big news story.  It doesn't take much to put a website up with the headline that will grab you, copy and paste the story etc and have the virus attach as soon as you visit.
When you do an internet search you mainly click on the websites on the first page, when an industry is worth over $150m dollars then they have the financial backing and know how to get their site on that first page.  Sometimes the safebrowser aspect of you internet browser cannot detect that it is a malicious site and then you are infected.  All you can do is make sure that your anti virus is up to date and do regular checks, getting rid of any minor infections and make sure you are going to safe websites.

PS.  Any site with a virus is a dodgy site.  Dodgy no longer just means you know.... nudge nudge dodgy.

Harry  (not a dodgy site).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Adobe Acrobat X Update Scam

An email coming from Adobe (Ontario) gives you a link to click on to download the Adobe Acrobat X upgrade.  This of course is a scam and leads you to the following pay page above.  It does not offer any software but just takes your money and offers you free software.  OpenOffice (which is free anyway).
It is a similar scam to the Fake Anti-Virus (FakeAV) scam.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Security Threats To Your PC - Part 2

Phishing Emails

Pronounced ‘fishing’ they’re named this for good reason.  They pose as legitimate emails from banks or shopping websites.  Their aim is to get you to give up your private usernames, passwords and other valuable information.  They will usually say something like ‘Due to an upgrade we require you to log-in and confirm your security details‘.
A word of warning.  No bank or shopping website will EVER ask you to do this.  If you ever receive any email asking you to do so, from PayPal for instance, then ignore it.  If you think there could be some legitimacy in it, never click on the link in the email.  Instead manually type the website address, into your browser and log-in that way.


This is more of an annoyance than a threat these days.  Be aware though that should you ever click on a link in a spam email, there could be a virus or trojan on the website at the other end.

Trojans / Keyloggers

These are malicious programs that can be installed remotely by websites as plug-ins or distributed by email.
They can grant criminals back-door access to your computer or, using a program called a keylogger, record and broadcast everything you type.  This would include all your usernames and passwords.  A trojan could also use your computer to send spam email, using up the available bandwidth your ISP allows you each month, which could result in letters of complaint from your ISP and even, in very extreme cases, disconnection.
I hope this will help you to stay safe online.