Friday, July 18, 2014

Top 10 Fixes for Common Computer Problems

 There are questions that are unanswerable for most when coming across issues with your PC.

Many people look at their devices and have no idea how to start fixing the problem.

This article from PC World will provide you with helpful tips to deal with your computer obstacles and resolve issues regarding blue screen, slow run times, and recovery & backup.

Per PC Advisor/

From backups to BSODs, Lincoln Spector lists the top 10 tips he gathered from the past two years of Answers Line letters.


Top 10 Fixes for Computer Problems

Here are 10 Answer Line articles from the last two years that every Windows user should read.

1. Attack of the Blue Screen of Death
You’re working on an important project, and suddenly your screen displays nothing but white text against a blue background. If it happens once, you curse, reboot, and hope for the best. But if you’re getting these BSODs frequently, you’ve got a problem that needs fixing.

Brewski13 had such a problem, and I provided advice for diagnosing, and hopefully fixing, the underlying cause.

2. How to recover deleted files
Now you see them, now you don’t. Files are like that sometimes.

So where are they? Are you sure you don’t have a backup somewhere? Files can hide in the Recycle Bin and “empty” sectors of your hard drive, even if you’ve deleted them.

Megan Aitken’s partner lost “a load of photos.” I walked her, and other readers, through the steps toward recovery.

3. Introduction to backup
I don’t get a lot of questions about backup. I sure get a lot from people who should have backed up, though.

Scarcely a week goes by without at least one email from a terrified reader with a crashed disk or an overwritten file. I remember a grad student who lost a laptop with all the notes for his dissertation.

Rickaber asked the right question. Before disaster hit, he wanted someone to explain the basics of backing up. I was happy to oblige.

4. Protect your privacy while you browse
What once sounded like paranoia is now common sense. Steve asked for safe and secure ways to access the Internet without being tracked by crooks, corporations, and governments.

While there’s no such thing as complete,  perfect privacy or security, you can use plenty of tricks to provide a reasonable degree of anonymity. You can use your browser’s private mode, then supplement that mode with the right add-ons. You can also replace that browser with one designed to keep your real self a secret.

When Steve asked, I explained the options.

5. Speed up a slow PC without buying new hardware
If a once-fast computer has slowed to a crawl, you can’t really blame the hardware. Sure, you can speed things up by adding RAM, upgrading the CPU, or replacing the hard drive with an SSD. But none of those solutions–all of which cost money–address the underlying problem. Your hardware isn’t necessarily underpowered. It’s probably just overloaded.

Gamersim17 complained that his PC was “moving extremely slowly and not performing like it should.” I provided advice for identifying and removing the software that slowed it down.

6. Is one antivirus program really better than two?
Arcticsid made the mistake of installing one antivirus program on a new PC that already had another.

Running two antivirus programs is a bit like mixing a fine, vintage Cabernet with breakfast cereal. Each is good in its own right, but the combination may have unpleasant side effects.

My original article explains the issues and offers a better way to get a second opinion on your system’s health.

7. How to securely wipe sensitive files–or your entire hard drive
When you delete a file, the data doesn’t actually go away–even after you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin. The actual bits remain written on the drive until some other disk activity writes over them. Even when you format a drive, the files are still there for those who want and know how to read them.

That’s good news if you’ve lost some files. It’s not so great if you truly want a file to go away, or if you’re giving away an old PC and to want make sure that your private records won’t be accessible. You have to take special steps to protect yourself.

I give Rommel advice on how to remove files so that no one can get them.

8. An obscenely slow Internet connection when you’re paying for a fast one
Interronator was paying Time Warner for 20mbps Internet service, but was only getting about 0.7.

Almost no one gets the Internet performance that their ISP advertises, but the difference between advertised and real speed should be reasonably close.

Is the fault in your equipment, or is your ISP to blame? I provide step-by-step diagnostics to help you identify the bottleneck.

9. How to archive files so they’ll stay around for years
Nothing lasts forever, but you want at least some of your files to last a very long time. So it was no surprise when Daisky asked about making family photos available to future generations.

No one is really sure how long you can archive digital files so that your great-grandchildren will enjoy them. In fact, no one is really sure if it’s possible.

If you follow my suggestions, you’ll increase the odds of preserving your precious digital memories. But you won’t really be sure of your success for a few decades.

10. Actually, you do need to share your passwords
As I just said, nothing lasts forever. And that includes you and me.

When we die, loved ones will need access to our bank accounts, email accounts, and the encrypted parts of our computers. So, despite the generally good advice about not sharing passwords, there is one big exception. You must find someone you can trust with that information, and make sure they can access your various passwords.

By Lincoln Spector

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This Day in Tech History: July 9

Gil Amelio Ousted from Apple


Today in tech history on July 9, 1997,  Apple Computer announced the resignation of Gil Amelio as CEO.
Amelio was ousted by the board of directors and his departure paved the way for Steve Jobs to re-take command of Apple.

It was the ousting of  Amelio who brought Mr.Jobs back into Apple by purchasing Jobs’ company NeXT .
NeXT was used as a basis for the Mac operating system.

Donkey Kong and Mario’s Birthday


On July 9, 1981, the two most famous character video games were released for sale.

Donkey Kong, created by Nintendo, a Japanese playing card and toy company turned into an enthusiastic video game developer.

The game took off in the North American market.

The video game had challenges with acquiring a license to create a video game based on the Popeye character.

Nintendo decided to create a game depicting the characteristics and constant battle between Popeye and Bluto.

Donkey Kong is named after the game’s villain, which is a  pet gorilla that has gone rogue.

The game’s original hero was called Jumpman, but then renamed Mario, once the game became popular and Nintendo decided to use the character in future games.

The similarity between Donkey Kong and King Kong landed Nintendo with a lawsuit.

Because Kong, is a common Japanese slang for gorilla, the lawsuit was ruled in favor of Nintendo.

Donkey Kong successfully helped Nintendo become one of the dominant companies in the video game market.

Don’t miss out on the latest tech news and computer security alerts! Follow us on Twitter at @hyphenet,  “Like” us on Facebook or add us to your circle on Google+.

Brown, Marcel
This Day in Tech History

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Microsoft Patch Inconsistencies

Microsoft-Patch It's been a busy week for Microsoft. The email patch on Tuesday was stopped by Microsoft, then they changed their mind. The Redmondians (Microsoft's headquarters ) sent out a decree last Friday stating that email notifications of security advisories are coming to a stop on July 1st. The decree mentions "changing governmental policies concerning the insurance of automated electronic messaging". This new Canadian anti-spam law takes effect on July 1st. The announcement is as followed:
Notice to IT professionals:
As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is suspending the use of email notifications that announce the following:
* Security bulletin advance notifications
* Security bulletin summaries
* New security advisories and bulletins
* Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins
The new law attempts to rid of annoying spam email, it is required to consent for a commercial business to communicate through email, text message and social media messages. Canada's moving from email opt-OUT to email opt-IN. Penalties stated in the notice say, if your business sends a notice of a special sale to someone who only signed up for an e-newsletter, and the party complains then:
  • Your business may be fined up to $10,000,000
  • Your CEO, and each officer, may be fined up to $1,000,000
  • Your Marketing Agency may be fined up to $10,000,000
  • You, as an individual, may be fined $10,000
Canada couldn't understand how Microsoft could be misreading the law like this. Neil Schwartzman, executive director of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), and CASL accommodates emails concerning warranty and product safety and security alerts. This means Microsoft's security advisories would be exempt.
He quotes Schwartzman:
I am at a complete and total loss to understand how the people in Redmond made such an apparently panicked decision ... This is the first company I know of that’s been that dumb.
CAUCE board member Jeff Williams, a former group program manager at Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center, told Krebs that Microsoft’s decision likely could be attributed to having come out of a tough choice rather than a lack of legal understanding or grey matter:
I can imagine the discussion and wondering among the lawyers and [Microsoft] whether they should try to get hundreds of millions of opt-ins before June 30 or if they should change the way they share info. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but I wouldn’t call it an overreaction.
But, fear not, Microsoft has now performed a restart on its security notifications. A spokesperson told Brian Krebs late yesterday that Microsoft will be re-starting its emails early in July.
On June 27, 2014, Microsoft notified customers that we were suspending Microsoft Security Notifications due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging. We have reviewed our processes and will resume these security notifications with our monthly Advanced Notification Service (ANS) on July 3, 2014. [via: NakedSecurity]
We stay up-to-date on patches and notifications, stay tunes with us for more updates! Don’t miss out on the latest tech news and computer security alerts! Follow us on Twitter at @hyphenet, “Like” us on Facebook or add us to your circle on Google+. Referenced: Vaas, Lisa Microsoft stops Patch Tuesday emails, blames Canada, then does U-turn Published: July 1, 2014

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Publishers Clearing House Scam Alert


Everyone wants to win the lottery!  There’s a dream within all of us that wins a ginormous amount of money or a major sweepstakes.

Sometimes people get too caught up in the idea of becoming a millionaire and lose touch with reality.

There’s something about the chance of winning something great that gets us to fantasize the possibility of it really happening.

This is an avenue that con artists take advantage of.


Often, Publishers Clearing House, a legitimate business, is used as bait.

The multi-million dollar giveaway from Publishers Clearing House are among the highest paying sweepstakes that receives millions of entries weekly.

So how do you know if you are entering into a legitimate sweepstakes or a scam?
  • If you receive an email, telephone call, or bulk mail letter saying that you’ve won a big prize, it’s a scam.  If you actually won anything from PCH, you would receive a certified or express letter or get an in person visit!
  • Receiving a check does not mean it’s a valid.  It’s nothing more than a piece of paper.
  • Never trust anyone asking you to send them money.  PCH will not ask you to send them money in order to receive money.
Here are a few emails received from the fake PCH:
“I just received a notice in the mail supposedly from Publishers Clearing House. They are saying that I have won a sweepstakes. Is this real?”
“I received a win letter along with a check from Publishers Clearing House to cover expenses. Did I really win?”
“Publishers Clearing House keeps calling and saying I’ve won $100,000,000. They say I have to pay 1% in taxes before they release the prize. What should I do?”

You can go directly to the site to get more tips  from here.
Don’t miss out on the latest tech news and computer security alerts! Follow us on Twitter at @hyphenet,  “Like” us on Facebook or add us to your circle on Google+.

Lawrence, Shelby
Publishers Clearing House Scam Alert – ArkLaTex…

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