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Is Microsoft using your Bandwidth?

Your computer is being used to distribute updates

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If you have Windows 10 you may want to prevent it from sharing windows update files with other computers. When Microsoft starts pushing out updates its Servers get slammed.    To help them distribute files they have given Windows 10 the ability to share updates on your computer to other computers.  This is on by default and if you don’t like the idea of MS using your computer to help distribute updates you need to turn it off.

 

 

 

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To get to the configuration page do the following:

  1. Search for “Check for updates” in the Start menu.
  2. Under “Windows Update” choose “Advanced options.”
  3. Under “Choose how updates are installed” click “Choose how updates are delivered.”
  4. Disable the toggle under “Updated from more than one place.”

 

Screenshot on the right is what it looks like by default.    You can either turn it off, or let it work for you if you have more than one Windows 10 computer on your network by clicking on “PC’s on my local network”

 Look below at screenshots.

 

 

 

2016-08-09 (2) 2016-08-09 (3)

 


Powerline Ethernet Adapters

Powerline Ethernet Adapters

Powerline Adapters

Extend your home network to all your rooms with Powerline Ethernet Adapters.

Sometimes you just can’t reach the room that you need to hook up to the internet with your wireless network.  The best way as far as bandwidth would be to run a UTP cable from your router to the room, which isn’t always the most practical.   The next best way to go would be to purchase a Powerline Ethernet Adapter starter kit.

It used to be that Powerline Adapters were expensive and not very fast.  They are now very affordable and can be faster than Wireless.   It was because of this that in the past I never tried it as a solution.   But I have tried it now, and I was impressed with the ease of setup and the speed of the connection.

I have a friend that wanted to have Internet Radio out in his barn which is a good 100’ away from the house.   It’s a great old barn and he has a power cable buried from the house to the barn.   I wasn’t too sure this would work, but it did.  Running a speed test he got all the bandwidth that Metrocast provides, plenty for Internet Radio or streaming videos.

I also tried these on my own home with old wiring which I believe gave it a good test.  I was able to go beyond my wireless signal out in the garage and was able to stream YouTube videos with no problem.  I tried it on several different outlets and it worked fine.

You can hook up more than two and they also offer a Wireless Access Point that you can hook up to the router by plugging  it into one of your outlets.

 

We used a starter kit from TP-Link, TL-PA4010KIT AV500 rated for 500 Mbps but probably more like 200 Mbps in real life.  Cost was around $38.

Amazon Link

Please contact me if you have any questions.


Dirty Computers Cleaned

Have you looked inside your Computer lately

 

dirty-desktop

Dirty Computer needs cleaning.

I recently worked on a computer with booting problems and when I opened it up I found this.  Granted this computer was in extreme conditions and probably hadn’t been opened in over 10 years.

When a computer gets dirty, air flow is restricted and causes the computer to run hot which causes any number of errors up to failed components and shortened life span.  This computer has been limping along and it is quite remarkable that it is still working.  It is now booting and keeping cool since I removed all the clogging dirt.

Computer cleaning $35


Built in Virus Protection on Windows Computers 1

binary-503583When you got your computer, more than likely it came with a virus software installed as a trial. At some point you were asked to shell out some money in order to keep it working. Companies like Norton, Webroot and McAfee pay PC sellers to put on the trial software in hopes you will buy it.

When I’m called to work on a computer, many times the virus protection is disabled or using expired signature files. You don’t need to pay money to buy these programs, there is an alternative. Microsoft has already put Virus software on Windows 8 and above called Windows Defender. If your virus software is expired then uninstall it. After you have done that, on Windows 8 or 8.1 go to the Start Screen and just start typing “Defender”, you should see Windows Defender in the search results. Click on it and make sure it is enabled.

If you have a Windows 7 computer you can download from microsoft.com a program called Microsoft Security Essentials and install that on your computer. There is no charge and no nagging to upgrade to premium. Go to this link https://microsoft.com/security for MSE and other security tips.

The main thing is not to completely rely on the Virus Protection. You still need to be careful what you click on or download. When downloading or installing a program you downloaded you need to look at every page as the wizard installs the program to your computer and opt out of installing toolbars and other useless programs. As an example updates to legit programs such as Java will always try to stick you with the ask.com toolbar.

I have seen virus infections with just about any brand virus software protection software installed, don’t completely rely on the software to protect you.  The best defense against viruses is to keep your computer updated. This includes Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java, Adobe Flash and most important Windows itself. Once updates are released the vulnerability becomes known to the bad people and they will try to exploit it.


SDD = Faster

Solid State Drives boost your computers speed.

A couple of years ago I bought a desktop computer to work on my photos.  It is a 3rd Generation Intel i5 with 8GB of memory in it.  I was never happy with the performance of this computer.  I knew a SDD (Solid  State Drive) instead of the 7200 rpm Hard Drive would increase my performance but I just couldn’t justify the expense.  As tends to happen though, the cost of these SDD’s has gone down.

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I was able to purchase a Crucial MX100 512GB drive for $200.  I could have gotten a 128GB SDD for $68, but since I work with photos I wanted to have more space available.  My computer now performs like I always thought it should. Boots under 2 minutes and all the applications load much faster.

Next to memory, the SDD is the best bang for the buck to speed up your computer.  If you are curious how much it would cost for you to have me upgrade your computer give me a call.  I don’t charge anything for the evaluation so why not call me at 603 923-3048.


Context Menu

Right Mouse Button for Context Menu

Right Mouse Button for Context Menu

 

 

A short post today regarding using the right mouse button on your mouse or keypad.  For example, say you want to change the look of your desktop.  You could click on the Start Button > Control Panel > Personalization for the options to change your desktops look.   Or you can use the “context menu” by right clicking while the mouse pointer is on the Desktop and choose Personalize.  When you use a mouse, you use the left button to select and click and drag.  That is great, but the Right Button is very useful as well. By clicking on an Icon, Desktop, or taskbar your are given a Context Menu for the object you are clicking on.   Want to make a new folder, go to a folder, say My Documents and right click in the folder.  On the Context Menu click on “New” and you are given some options to create a file or folder in the folder you are right clicking in.  Give it a look, play around right clicking on things to see the options you are offered.


Software Alternatives

Open Source Software

 

LibreOffice

" "Microsoft Office 2003 ended security updates on April 8th, same as Windows XP  operating system.  How much do you really use Microsoft Word or Excel?  Do you use all the features?   There is an alternative Office Suite that is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Office.   I have mentioned this before, LibreOffice a full featured office suite that is free to download and use.  You can get it from this link, LibreOffice Download.

 

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LibreOffice comes with Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and more.  You can open and save to the latest Microsoft programs including .docx, .xlsx and .pptx.  Before you purchase office take a look at this suite of office apps.  Doesn’t cost anything, so why not take a look.

 

I would be happy to talk with you about open source alternatives to commercial software.  FosterCNS can install these applications for you as well.

 

Other Open Source Alternatives

Open Source Software
Email – Thunderbird  Click here

Image Editor – GIMP Click Here

Audio Recorder and Editor – Audacity Click Here

 

 

 

 

 


Backup? 1

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Backup?

Did you backup your data today?

Since I started working on computers in the early 1990’s I have had this post card from Tech Data.  I’m sure many of you remember the character from Mad Magazine, Alfred E Neuman.

Imagine going to your computer to edit those photos you took on your latest vacation, or the presentation you worked on all week.   You go to the computer and you get an error message like this:

missingos

Operating System Not Found

Are those photos and data backed up on another drive?

 

Setting up a backup.

There are many options to backing up your hard drive.  It is good to have 3 copies of your data in two locations.

  1. On your computer
  2. On a another drive (external hard drive)
  3. In another location (external hard drive at a different location) or on the cloud
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Portable External Hard Drive

If you aren’t backing up, at the very least, go to your favorite electronics store and purchase a small portable external hard drive.When you plug it in to the USB port on your computer, you should get a prompt from Windows asking if you want to use the external HD to backup.   If you don’t get the pop-up,  go to “Backup and Restore” located in the Control Panel.  If you can’t find it, use the search box from the start menu.  With the program loaded click on the “setup a backup” wizard and it will guide you through setting up the backup.   On windows 8, they changed the name to “File History”.  There are many ways and options for backing up your computer.  Hooking up the external drive and letting Windows control the backup is just one way.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss your present backup strategy.

 

 

 


Print Screen

snipping tool

Windows Snipping Tool

Windows comes with a utility you may not be aware of called the Snipping Tool. This tool allows you to capture a full or partial screen shot of what is on your computer. Snipping Tool is located in the Windows Accessories folder, that you can get to from the Menu on Windows 7. If you are using Windows 8 and don’t have a start menu (I can help you with this) go to the Metro screen and just start typing Snipping Tool, it should show up in the search box.

Snipping Tool

 

 

Once you have the tool up, select new, the screen will fade a bit and you can “draw” a box on what you want to capture. This puts what you have selected in the clipboard. You can save, or paste it.

 

 

 

 

 Capture Screenshot lite

Capture Screen LiteIf you want to do more, like have the snipping tool pop-up when you press the “Print Screen” button. Yes, the button is still on your keyboard. There is a free utility from Gutmann Software called Capture Screenshot Lite. This little utility improves on the Snipping Tool by adding a few options, like Printing the captured screen shot or emailing the capture.

There are of course other options you can buy, but I find this works well for me.  If you want to try out Capture Screenshot lite, you can find it at this link. http://www.gutmannsoft.com/en/screenshot/capture-screenshot-lite.php

This download is safe, and the install doesn’t try to sneak crapware on your computer.

Please leave a comment with any questions or possible topics for me to cover in my next blog post.


Pop Up Ads

videoconverterpopupOne of the annoyances I have, are the pop-ups you get when you watch a YouTube video. It seems that Google will put any ad up, as long as they pay. I’m not talking about the ones for legitimate products or movies being advertised. I understand that the “free” service of YouTube has to be supported somehow. But the ones that make claims about web-popup2increasing computer performance, registry cleaners and the one I dislike the most, the video converter tool.

Although it says that it is an ad in fine print on the corner, these pop-ups make it seem that something is wrong and you need to click on them to web-popup1correct the problem. What they will do is install a program that you don’t need and don’t want. More than likely they will slow down your computer as well.

 

You won’t only find these ads on Youtube. You may just be browsing the World Wide Web, when you get a popup like this, just close the ad out by looking for the small x in the corner and be done with them.