Jim's Tech Tips
Below are some tips on subjects that
affect most all PC owners sooner or later. Read them and use
them wisely. If you have another problem, or questions on
these, that you'd like more advice on just fill out our
contact form and we'll be glad to answer
your question free of charge.
Fighting Computer Viruses
Virus writers, also
known as malicious code programmers, are constantly writing new
virus programs with new methods of attack. You must have some
protection against these guys or your computer will be open for
My suggestion is to always keep your antivirus data files up to
date. If you want to spend your hard earned money on a big
brand name anti-virus program, go for it. However, be aware
that many of them have grown so big that viruses are being written
to specifically target them.
Instead I suggest
Microsoft Security Essentials. Both of these are free and
both are very effective. Both are much more
transparent than many you have to pay for and most of the time you
won't even know they're running.
If you have critical or precious items stored on your computer,
always maintain good backups.
NOTE: Do NOT run two different anti-virus programs at the same time!
Stop forwarding those
"chain letter" or "pass it on" emails. Nobody is going to send
you cash, your wish will not be guaranteed, you're not going to help
anyone, your prayers will not be heard any faster, or anything else
promised. Worst of all, many of those forwarded emails contain
viruses or links to an infected website. If you receive such
from someone else and feel it is important for others to read do
this: First check out the entire email before doing anything.
Check any links, read it carefully and be sure it is legit.
Copy the text of the email into a New empty email, leave out any
unnecessary text or links and then send the cleaned up new one on to
Also, Please show email etiquette. When sending mail out to numerous
people, do NOT put everyone's address in the TO: field.
Instead, put them all in the BCC field so no one sees all the
addresses. In the event mail gets intercepted or sent to a
spammer, they cannot harvest all of the addresses in your address
book this way as no one sees the addresses that mail is going to.
Drop the Browser Toolbars
Just about every time I work on a PC I
quickly notice that the owner has multiple browser toolbars
installed. Funny thing is, part of their complaint is the slow
loading browser. Google toolbar is the most popular along with
Yahoo, Ask, and MSN. What most people don’t realize is that anything
added to their browser is just another item that must be loaded
every time the browser is opened. The average computer we see in the
shop is usually loaded with so many browser toolbars and add-ons
that the browser takes an unusual amount of time to load. Many times
the strain on the browser can cause the computer to stall waiting on
the browser to completely load.
While some find a toolbar handy and use it regularly most never use
them and didn’t knowingly install the add-ons. This is where I take
offense with the distributers of most toolbars. The reason I do is
because most browser toolbars are installed without the knowledge of
the owner. The toolbars are commonly piggy backed on top of other
programs or devices. Many times it’s the free programs owners
download and install. I will give the toolbar designers and the free
programs credit as they do warn the person installing the program
that a toolbar will also be installed. Thing is, most just simply
click right past the message warning them of the new toolbar about
to be added on. Sometimes the toolbar is hidden if the user selects
the “recommended” method of installation. Sadly a few well known
programs owners have actually paid for also include browser add-ons.
Here are some steps to avoid the toolbar trap:
1. When installing any program carefully read every step and
2. Choose the “custom” method of installation as this usually
shows you everything that will be installed.
3. When you see any toolbar or add-on listed in the install
uncheck it where indicated.
4. If you are not sure about an installation ask someone
else. Many professionals like ourselves will gladly give free advice
on the installation of most programs.
One final point: Remember the old saying, “nothing is ever really
free.” When you choose to download and install a free program it is
common for them to contain advertising or some type of add-on. Just
be careful each and every time you install any program. If you do
inadvertently install an unwanted toolbar or add-on look for a way
to uninstall it, usually in the ‘Control Panel’ under ‘Add/Remove
Programs’ or ‘Program Features’.
As always, keep your PC clean and have it checked by a professional
whenever you suspect a problem.
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