How Did That Get There?

As a computer repair tech working, I often see customers computers with lots of unwanted programs, toolbars on their computer. Because when customers install a program they are not always paying attention to the screen they click next and next again and go right by it.  A lot of free software includes third-party applications to help pay for their free software, that will include browsers, toolbars and changing to their home page. By default it is already checked off by third-party software.

The only way not to install third-party applications is to go slow when clicking next, uncheck all boxes for the third-party applications. The only thing you can do if you did install third-party applications is to uninstall it with a program I use called Revo UnInstaller.

When installing software take your time and make sure your installing it correctly. If not you will have a lot of unwanted toolbars, unwanted browsers and your homepage changed that you did not want.

Here are samples of third-party applications trying to install on you computer:

SuperAntiSpyware

clamwin

CCleaner MixiDJ-Toolbar-Software

 

 

 

 

 

Foxit ReaderAuslogics Defrag

Warning: Microsoft will never call you, but scammers will!!!

Scam AlertYou get a phone call, claiming to be from Microsoft. That’s what happened to me this week I got a call on the phone somebody claiming that there working for Microsoft and notice I have problems on my computer. When he called he asked for me by name to make it more legitimate, I first played along with him, he was telling me my computer was infected and he could fix it for me. Then when he was going on I told him I am a computer repair tech and there is no way that a server can get information on my computer and send it to him. This is when I lost it and gave him hell for taking advantage of people that don’t know better, and I told him this is as far that I’m going to go with him and hung up.

Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know:

  • They take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • They can or make you install malicious software.
  • They could damage your computer by deleting system files.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Ask for your personal (password) information.

How to protect you from telephone tech support scams:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  •  Ask if there is a fee or subscription service.
  • Never give control of your computer to an unknown person over the phone.
  • You can take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support or anybody.
  • The best thing to do is just, hang up.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

For more information check out Alan Parekh Hacked Gadgets has fun with Computer Scammer called Global IT 3 Video’s.

 

 

The Return of the Start Button

Everybody was complaining when Windows 8 came out that there was no start button and start menu. Microsoft has decided to bring back the start button only; a lot of people are still complaining not having the start menu. Microsoft said it will not bring the start menu back, Metro is the new start menu now.

But if you right-click on the start button you will get a lot of features that will help not having the start menu, a lot of features are easy to get to now.

Below is a picture of key features of the right-click start button.

Start Button right click

Is Dust, Smoke and Pet hair destroying your Computer?

I am computer repair tech working on desktop and laptop for many years, dust, smoke and pet hair plays a key role in many computer problems. Just as people need air to breathe, computers need air to cool down there hot components.

What do computers and laptop hate? Dust, Smoke and Pet hair

dusty-computerDust, smoke and pet hair accumulates in the computer case and in laptop can cause several different issues such as overheating, disrupt airflow, and damage to some components. Overheating is because when dust, smoke and pet hair accumulates on top of heat sink, circuits on the motherboard and power supply and especially in laptop vents. Dust, smoke and pet hair prevents cool air from reaching the components that need to be cooled in order to operate efficiently. If there is enough dust, smoke and pet hair in the computer’s vents it can completely disrupt the airflow needed to keep the parts cool. In a very bad situation dust, smoke and pet hair can completely stop fans from working. When that happens the computer will start to overheat and begin to shutdown in order to prevent damage to the components such as CPU and motherboard. Thermal paste can break down and becomes ineffective.

How can I prevent from overheating computer and laptop?

  • Clean out the dust, smoke and pet hair regularly with a can of air, small leaf blower or small electric blower (not a vacuum cleaner). Usually cleaning once a year will keeps your computer and laptop running. Depending on your situation you may need to clean out your case more often, if you live in an area that’s dusty, if you smoke a lot or have pets with long hair.
  • Keeping your computer off the floor, by putting it on top of a desk, or anywhere away from the floor will help keep dust and pet hair away from the computer.
  • Make sure all PCI slots are covered and the case is closed. Another good way for dust to get in your computer is by PCI slots that have been left open and uncovered after removing a PCI card, or switching around a graphics card. The bigger the hole is the more easier it is for dust to get inside, which is why it is important to cover up any PCI slots or holes in the case that aren’t necessary for proper ventilation.

If you take measures to remove the dust from your computer and laptop on a regular basis, it will not have a chance to build up dust, smoke and pet hair on your computer. You will have extended the life of the computer and laptop to a considerable degree.

Excuses, For Not Back Up Your Data

It’s only a matter of time before your computer crashes, the hard drive fails and all your data, pictures and music is lost forever. This will never happen if you backup your computer with a full image of your hard drive. Data backup is probably something everyone doesn’t think about with regards to computers.

The average person probably just downloads their pictures, videos from their camera without thinking about backup up the files. All your work is stored on the hard drive in your computer, and nowhere else.

Imagine what would happen if you’re hard drive suddenly failed, and the data was no longer retrievable? How would you feel knowing that all your hard work was gone, possible for good? There are many excuses you use not to backup your data. Let’s look at a few excuses.

  • No time to backup my data. Everyone is busy today, and backing up data is not one of the items on your to-do list. There is a lot of backup software out there that can automatically backup your data with free and paid version. There are even 2.5 inch portable hard drives that will automatically backup your data once they are connected with their software. Like Western Digital passport hard drive and the Seagate Goflex are just to the hard drives. Online backup, provide another solution for backing up in the background automatically to the cloud like Carbonite and Mozy. The truth is you don’t need a lot of time or money to backup. 
  • My hard drive won’t crash. Hard drives are sensitive pieces of hardware that contain moving parts. Something as simple as a spike in the electric current from the outside can destroy your hard drive. Your hard drive can also suffer a mechanical breakdown. Don’t think that your hard drive is immune to viruses are another way to lose your data. All hard drives are prone to failure, and most probably do, sometimes they only last months or the last many years. The question is not if the hard drive going to fail but when the hard drive going to fail, so be ready with a backup image.
  • I don’t know how to backup. I agree that not everyone is technical inclined, but backup software today makes it easier than ever to protect your data. All backup software will do a full backup and also incremental backups, just takes a little configuration to set up.asset a few minutes
  • I’m not sure what to backup. Today you make full image backup that makes it very easy to make a backup. Before you would get frustrated trying to decide what folder, file and where they are located of your hard drive. So today with a full image backup there is no guesswork you get the operating system and all your data in one backup, so all you have to do is mount the backup image to retrieve your files and folders you may need.
  • Do I need a lot of storage space? The good news is that hard drives have gotten larger; with a low-cost. You can purchase hard drives in gigabytes and terabytes, which should be more than enough hard, drive space to store your image backup with multiple copies.

There is now no reason not to backup your computer, with the full image backup no guesswork on what to backup, you know now that hard drives will crash but when, and your data may not be safe just in one location. So backing up your computer is a sensible thing to do, will give you peace of mind that your data is safe in multiple areas.

Upgrade to a Faster Computer

Over time, your computers can slow down, and act sluggish can often be attributed to an adequate hardware. There are some steps that you can take to help speed up your computer’s performance when it seems like its running slower than when it was new.

RamFirst step you can do and the cheapest are adding more RAM to the computer. Check to see if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit computer. The 32-bit maximum RAM is 4 GB, the 64-bit maximum RAM is 192 GB on a Windows 7 computer, nobody uses that much on a computer only servers, 8 to 16 GB is fine on the computer upgrading to an 8 gigabytes more RAM is about a hundred dollars. This can give your computer a second wind and is considered a cost-effective investment.

However, since the installation involves messing with the hardware a little, and it’s easy to get confused when choosing between different types of RAM, it’s best to leave the installation to an expert or repair person.

SSDThis next step you can do is upgrade to a solid-state disk (SSD) drives, use non-volatile flash memory. Because there are no actuator arm and read/write head like on a hard disk drive (HDD), they are faster in reading and, in most cases, writing data.

Solid-state disk (SSD) drives, cost about 3x the price of a hard disk drive (HDD), so if price is not an issue sacrificing storage capacity for speed and performance is a good trade-off.

For spending a little bit of money you can increase the performance of your computer and keep the computer for a few more years..

 

Should You Upgrade From A Hard Drive To An SSD?

SSD’s are a natural progression that I believe started with USB memory sticks. USB keys have certainly changed the way data is shared between people. More and more, we’re seeing solid state hard drives being offered on store shelves and being sold with new desktops and laptops.

HDD   HDD VS SSD   SSD

Advantages

SSD’s with no moving parts offer almost very fast access to data mean faster transfer rates, the current generation SSD’s offer 3 to 4 times greater speed. Upgrading to a solid state drive makes the overall system feel more responsive when compared to a mechanical hard drive.

Solid state drives, since they have no moving parts, should outlast comparable hard drives.  This does remain to be seen, though, since SSDs haven’t been out too long compared to standard hard drives.

Disadvantages

SSD’s weakness is significantly higher prices and comparatively lower capacities drive. Like all new technology, early adopters pay the price of new technology. While current costs per Gigabyte for SSD’s approach $2 per GB, traditional hard drives are approaching $0.05 per GB.

Who Should Buy a SSD?

  • Enthusiasts who’ve gotten their hands on an SSD and felt the difference don’t want to go back to using a mechanical hard disk.
  • If you’re used to waiting a minute to load Windows, then an SSD may be of value to you. The SSD’s specialty lies with accessing multiple files at once.
  • Upgrading to a solid state drive makes the overall system feel more responsive when compared to a mechanical hard drive.
  • With no moving parts laptops can run cooler then with hard disk

Let’s say it again, though. An SSD, regardless of which one you pick, runs circles around mechanical storage.

Windows 8.1 “It’s coming for you soon”

• Mimicrosoft 8.1crosoft Windows 8.1 new features Previewing on June 26.
Microsoft Final release of Windows 8.1, it will be later in the calendar year.   
Price for Windows 8.1 will be a free update to Windows 8 and RT users.
Windows 8.1 respond to customer feedback.

 

Let checkout some new features Windows 8.1 has to offer:

  1. The Start button is back: it will be a shortcut for the Start Screen only. It also will be visible while working on the desktop, while in the Metro UI; you will be able to access it by simply moving the mouse cursor in the lower left corner like it was before.
  2. The lock screen will let you customization with sideshows using photos that you stored on your computer or in SkyDrive.
  3. Windows 8.1 to let you shut down directly via Start button.
  4. The Start Screen will have new background and color settings and also features animated background. In also can use your desktop wallpaper as a background for the Start Screen, Metro and the desktop will blend seamlessly together.
  5. All Apps screen has been improved in a few ways. You swipe up to reach it now, and you can sort the screen by app name, date installed, most used or category.
  6. Live tiles will come in four different sizes will allow you to order them by usage. Microsoft thinks that the Start Screen will bring it closer to the original Start Menu.
  7. Internet Explorer 11 will also be included and will come with improvements.
  8. SkyDrive has a major improvement it will come with deeper Windows 8 integration. You can save your files right to SkyDrive.
  9. Snap View mode will let you run apps side by side like windows 7 does. You can snap up to 4 different Metro applications.
  10. The Windows Store will undergo a major makeover; will display more details about each app and have new rankings for each category.
  11. Metro apps will be updated automatically when a new version are released.
  12. The Search Charm will be powered by Bing and will allow you to look for information on the computer and on the web. It will offer support for files, apps, settings, web, and SkyDrive accounts.
  13. New Metro apps will be installed by default on all Windows 8.1 machines, including an Alarm app, Movie Moments, Reading List, and Calculator.
  14. The touch keyboard will have new improvements, auto-suggest features and will support new gestures.
  15. Users will be allowed to skip the Start Screen completely and boot directly to desktop.
  16. File Explorer, the new file manager available in Windows 8, will also be updated. Libraries will no longer be displayed in the navigation panel, while Computer will be renamed to “This PC.”

Check out the chart (by Into Windows) to see the difference between
windows 8 and 8.1.

Difference-Between-Windows-8-and-8.1

If everything works out for windows 8.1, I will be upgrading to the final release of windows 8.1 later in this year !!!

 

Speeding Up Your Computer

lightningThe first thing I will install or run portable is Crystaldiskinfo, to make sure that the hard drive is healthy and has no errors, because if the hard drive is healthy and will continue doing the next steps, if the hard drive is in caution state I will stop, making an image of the hard drive and restore it to a new hard drive before continuing.

You should perform this temporary file cleanup, a lot of uses don’t know about this and can lead to the computer slowing down. Over time running the computer could add up to hundreds or gigabytes of temporary files that need to be freed up on the computer that hasn’t seen regular maintenance.I recommend using a program like CCleaner.

CCleaner also features a built in registry cleaner, which I recommend for the next step. Simply run the registry cleaner by “scan for issues.” After this is completed, simply click “fix selected issues.” You can also check the option to backup the registry before applying the fix.

Next step you should perform is to remove unwanted programs, toolbars, coupons, etc… that was installed by mistake when installing programs. Also properly read the installation text when installing a new program and uncheck the unwanted programs that comes with this installation. Be careful not to remove any program that your unsure of or need because this can lead to programs that no longer work on the computer. The program I use is Revo Uninstaller.

Another task is your virus and malware programs, make sure they are up-to-date and are set to run automatic or manual scans. The program I use for virus detection is Microsoft security essentials it’s free, because the paid versions cannot guarantee removing viruses why pay for it. And for malware detection I used two programs Malwarebytes that I pay for the Pro version that will run in the background and stop the malware from coming in to the computer, and the free version of SuperAntiSpyware.

For added security I use Sandboxie runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

The last step I do is defragment the hard drive. The product I use is Auslogics free, I usually run defrag and optimize (Places system files to the faster part of the disk, minimizing the time needed for the hard drive to access them).

All together they can fix pretty much most basic speed problems, but still want a little more speed the next step is to upgrade the hardware to finish the upgrade.