Optimize Windows with Advanced Care

Today, we are featuring a software that will enable you to optimize your Windows PC, Advanced System Care for Free! Optimizing entails clean up files, delete old program files that you remove long ago, clearing up cache, freeing up memory, applying updates, etc. Fortunately, Advanced Care enables you to do all this with a few clicks without the need of several programs to do each task.  

If your computer has been sluggish and have not done much outside of a virus scan. I recommend running the Deep Scan for full optimization potential, results may vary of course. The Deep Scan will do:

  • Full Malware Scan
  • Deep Registry Fix
  • System Optimization
  • Short Cut Fix
  • Privacy Sweep
  • Junk Files Clean
  • Passive Defense- Spyware,malware prevention
  • Disk Scan - scan and fix hard disk errors
  • Vulnerability Fix
  • Disk Defragment

The duration will take some time especially if you have not kept your computer running efficiently. It will be worth the wait.

After a doing a deep scan or if you feel like your computer may need some regular maintenance outside a deep scan you can access the tool box from the main screen. From the toolbox you could access various tools to address specific problems or concerns that you may have.

A common tool that I have utilize is the Smart Ram. Since I primarily use a netbook I find the computer slowing down when running programs after a period usually after running the browser for a while. Since netbooks are limited in memory and a large portion is used by the OS memory get filled up quick. Freeing up memory reduces the sluggishness in your computer, once again your results may vary. Outside a clean install/reinstall, as well as technical expertise Advanced System Care will enable you to clean up your computer in one place

Below is a screen cap from the program itself.  As well as the download link.

http://www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.html

 

MAC MALWARE ALERT!!!!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="189" caption="Image via macstoreupdates"][/caption]  

Presently, many Mac users have a false sense of security due to the common notion that Macs can not get virus or malware. The main reason being that ten or even as recent as five years go Mac were rarely used by your average consumer. Now as they are increasing become more popular, largely due to IPhone and IPod,

Unfortunately, today's post is a Malware Alert for Mac users. The exploit it appears to be via Adobe Flash Player as reported in a article for Sophos, Mac malware evolves - time for Apple owners to wake up. The article also provides a link to how to check if this current Mac exploit has effected your Mac, if you wish to go straight to how to check follow the following link, Mac Flash/Trojan.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="219" caption="Image via uncyclopedia.wikia.com"][/caption]

Sophos, a IT security company, also has an article The short history of Mac malware: 1982 - 2011, I recommend Mac users  read this brief history to be better informed in regards to security threats towards Mac computers.

Long story short, any technology is vulnerable in some form. The question for most virus/malware creators is which tech out there will make one famous.

Three Programs to Check for Malware

In today's post I will give you a break down of three programs that I use to scan for malware. These are my choices but if you ask each IT guy they will have their own opinion. All of these are free, some are only for personal use and others have limited uses.  I use these religiously.

1.) Malwarebytes - www.malwarebytes.org

Malwarebytes is a standalone application that does not interfere with anti-virus software.  It's designed to catch the normal stuff but also rogue security software, adware, and spyware.  I have used this for about 7 years and only once have I met a false positive.

2.) Microsoft Security Essentials - www.microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials also known as MSE for short is Microsoft anti-virus product released in 2009. This is a program that can replace your McAfee or Norton antivirus.  This was designed to remove computer virus, spyware, root-kits and trojan horses. I have used this since the beta and have found it very useful. It makes to use a ant-virus made by the people who actually make Windows.

3.) Super Anti Spyware - www.superantispyware.com

Super Anti-Spyware , another standalone program, is designed to remove spyware, ad-ware, trojan horses, rogue security software, computer worms, root-kits. I really have fallen in love with this software because it is really effective in remove tracking cookies. I am very shocked in what it finds sometimes.

-Q&A-

Why should I use multiple programs?

It's a good question. The main reason is that not all programs work the same and do not have the same virus database. Each will find different things.

Will these programs clean everything? 

In most cases if you ask a security expert they will say no but in most cases if you ask an IT guy they say yes. I always say it is  NEVER a guarantee that you will know that your computer is clean unless you reformat your drive and re-install Windows. It is that sad truth.

 

 

Favorite OneTechTips

  The past few months we have been on a bit of hiatus due to school and some technical difficulties with our host. Now, we are back and better than ever. We are slowly evolving our webpage and always looking for improvement. Monday October 17, we shall see the official relaunch of OneTechTip (OTT) with daily posts and some new featured posts, still following our one post, one tip a day format. For example, we will be having an Andriod/iOS App of the week each week on Tuesdays. Subsequently, we shall be increasing our activity via social networks the next couple of weeks so be sure to follows on @OneTechTip and on Facebook. In addition we have an Android App which can be downloaded via the market, here.

Here is 7 of my favorite featured tips on OTT in no specific order.

  1. Remote Access to Your PC From Anywhere - Teamviewer enables the user to take control of another computer, File Transfers, and access presentations. Great way to help a friend with a computer issue or see what they see.
  2. Look at the Alternatives - This posted highlights a site that features a list of Open Source Alternatives, free to use, to Premium Software.
  3. IM from your Browser - Increasingly social media networks are becoming an integral part of our lives, and many feature chats. In this post we show you a site that enables you to chat via multiple IM clients from one webpage.
  4. Apple Refresh - Apple has come a long way in a little over 10 years. Presently, Apple product redesigns and refreshes are quite common, in this post we feature a site that let's you know whether to hold of on purchasing the current iPhone or to go for it.
  5. Let's Make a Deal - Many of our non-tech savvy friends are unaware that often they save a significant amount of money by buying online.
  6. PCPartPicker - Ever wanted to build your own PC but did not know what components go with what?
  7. Learn HTML, CSS, Javascript - for FREE!!
Feel Free to Contact Us about a tip or a tech related problem you face, whether you are tech savy or not.
Control technology, do not allow it to control you. :)

Computer Running HOT?

If your desktop computer begins to shut down and you notice it runs really hot, you might consider doing some maintenance. It is pretty cheap to do so!

  • The easiest thing to is buy compressed air to blow out the dust bunnies.
  • upgrade the fans
  • apply some thermal paste, I recommend Arctic Silver 5
  • make sure it is not near heat sources
  • make sure the back is away from any nearby walls

The usual culprits are the CPU or if you have one, the graphics card. To diagnose, you can use software like Speedfan or even the BIOS. The BIOS is a menu you can go into before Windows even loads. You can also test stress  by playing a video at full screen or running a program that works the CPU at 100%. There is also software out there that will stress test such as Everest and Sandra. Hope it helps!

What's my IP Address?

For X reason you need to know your IP address. How do you find it?  Under Windows, go to Run->type 'cmd' without the quotes. Once you get to the command prompt ( black window), type in 'ipconfig' without the quotes again. Hit enter! You should see something like this :

In my case, 192.168.1.106 is my laptop's IP address. If I ever need to configure my router, I just type 192.168.1.1 on any browser and it will take me to a menu to configure my router.

Control Your Computer from a Land Far, Far Away

Ever needed toaccess your computer to do some work from afar? LogMeIn enables the user to access their computer from another computer with the remote access software LogMeIn. Why would you want to do this? Perhaps your on vacation and you need to access your computer for a business related emergency or you do not want to be carrying your notebook computer everywhere you go.

LogMeIn Free includes:

  • Access from any Internet-connected web browser
  • Access to a Windows PC or Mac
  • Remote control and desktop viewing
  • Copy and paste between computers
  • Wake on LAN
  • Reboot/reconnect (including safe mode)
  • Basic reports (remote access sessions and user access)
  • Chat
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • SSL/TLS intrusion detection
  • IP address lockout
  • No need for firewall, router or proxy configuration
  • No requirement for remote PC admin rights

Subsequently, there is a premium version that enables you to do more while accessing remotely.

NTLDR is NOT Missing

Whether it be a power failure or if you angrily unplugged your Windows XP computer on the loading splash screen (below), you might find an unpleasant "NTLDR is missing" error the next time you try booting the computer. [caption id="attachment_2526" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="by Mark Turner"][/caption]

Alas, don't worry or  pull your hair out! Find a second computer and burn yourself a copy of Hiren's Boot CD. I am not sure if the the utility is fully legal as it contains commercial tools, but I don't see why one should be forbidden from using the freeware! If you can't get a copy, try a simple search for the standalone freeware tool. Happy fixing!

Don't Pay for Anti-Virus Software

It has come to my attention people are tricked into buying anti-virus software especially when  buying  from a walk-in retail store.  It's bad because they overcharge for the software's true value, overcharge for the installation and the paid service often expires usually after a year. This can become problematic as sometimes the user is not aware they are no longer being protected and soon the computer becomes infected! It turns out there is good anti-virus software that is completely free!  On my list for computer protection, I use: Avast Anti-Virus

Windows Defender

Malware Bytes

Ad-Aware Pro ( got it for free from slickdeals.net)

All of these programs work together in harmony. Of course, I encourage safety Internet surfing! Don't be fooled anymore but if you feel you need a paid version, try and find a discounted price on it! Some paid software is sometimes free (like Ad-aware) or really cheap after some discount such as a mail-in rebate.

Defragment Windows Efficiently

Windows 7 and most modern versions of Windows have a built-in defragmenter tool to remove fragments from the hard drive. A good rule of thumb is that if you have many fragmented files, your computer will slow down because your hard drive is not seeking data efficiently. It turns out the hard drive is the slowest component in a computer, and the slowest sub-activity of any hard drive is seeking. It is the reason why SSD drives are "better"; they do not do any mechanical seeking. When a computer's hard drive is heavily fragmented, it will spend a long time "running around" like if it were a mailman going to random houses in given area instead of going door-to-door.

Now that you are convinced why you should defragment your computer once in a while, you may notice the built-in Windows tool does not have many options. Introduce Defraggler. Why do I prefer Defraggler?  Defraggler gives the option to defragment individual files, shows the size of the largest fragmented files and has an interface that shows the progress.

If you do not want a full system defragmentation, you get to pick which files can be defragmented or which ones are not worth defragmenting. Leading to my next point, if you have a large fragmented file, you might just want to delete it if it has little to no use for you. Finally, being able to see the work in progress reassures you the work is getting done.

How Fast ARE Macs?

I ran into a nifty little tool called Xbench which measures the performance of your Mac OS X computer. Notice I  did not say Macbook, iMac or Mac Pro and that is because such statement would exclude Hackintosh computers! In the benchmark charts you might notice the Hackintosh computers have better scores; it is know fact a user will get less performance per dollar when they buy an Apple computer. Then again, not everyone is confident in investing in a Hackintosh.

Moving on, if you feel like your Macbook Pro is running slow, check it out to compare your computer to other Macbook Pro's, etc. It might help you decipher hardware problems too. For example, if your hard drive is underperforming, there is a chance it might fail soon.  I find it powerful, you might too!

Turn Off Windows Update Restart Window

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Revised Restart dialog box in Windows Vista[/caption]

If your on Windows, you know and have been itrrupted by the Windows Update pop up that bugs you to restart your computer. That screen can be so annoying. There are just three options,  to remind you later to restart your computer but no option to LEAVE YOU ALONE.  There is a solution to that. If you head over to www.persistenceunlimited.com and download the application LeaveMeAlone you can have this software

temporarily turn off the source of these restart messages

it's that easy. Download it and be more productive.

 

Out of Warranty!? DIY!!

Have you ever purchased an item only for the item to not work after warranty expires? I'm sure many of us have experienced that scenario or know someone who has. Today, I will specifically discussing my experience taking apart a note book, specifically a Toshiba A105-S4084. [caption id="attachment_1850" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The LCD and Motherboard Case"][/caption]

A bit of background first. I purchased the computer in 2006, without warranty. Following the subsequent purchased it has been pretty reliable until the hard drive failed which i replaced and upgraded my self to a 320 gb and 7200 rpm hard drive from the original 120gb and 5200 rpm. I always try to make it point to others that often you could do the fixes yourself, especially when sending it in for repairs could be more costly. Most laptops these days have easily interchangeable parts.

[caption id="attachment_1851" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Keyboard, Hardrive, CD Drive, batter, ram modules"][/caption]

Unfortunately, the past year or so my laptop has had problems charging the source of the problem was determined to be the DC power jack. I looked up how much it would cost if it were taken in for repaired it would be more than $100 while the part alone costs $10. Therefore, I took this as an opportunity to put my skills to the test and learn something new about computers by disassembling the computer. Fortunately, i had backed up all my data two weeks before predicting the day it would not charge at all would be soon.

 

[caption id="attachment_1852" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="DC Power Jack (The Problem)"][/caption]

As mentioned earlier, i did my research. I goggled searched for guides on how to take disassemble the computer laptopka provided a good guide to do so. (NOTE: laptopka has guides only for toshiba for others ones try laptoprepair101)

[caption id="attachment_1853" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Motherboard"][/caption]

Subsequently, the process went smooth, I did not break anything- i think. The entire disassemble took about it 2 hours but afterwards could do confidently do it again in less than an hour. This is my first time taking a notebook apart and fairly comfortable working with the necessary tools. The guide i used also listed the required screwdrivers to make the repair easy. The only difficulty i experienced was with disconnecting the ribbon type connections for example the connector with the keyboard and motherboard. Eventually, I found the source of the problem but did not have the replacement part. Unfortunately, the part was set to arrive the day after the disassemble but sadly has gotten lost in the mail :'( . I have to reorder the replacement. Hopefully, next weekend I could update you with how everything went being my first BIG repair. In the future, I hope to fix my broken camera LCD screen so look out for that as well.

Nvidia, Dell, HP, Apple Settlement

A couple days late, but apparently, there has been a settlement between chip maker Nvidia and computer manufacturers including Dell, HP and Apple. As it is, Nvidia supplies video chips to these companies for video capabilities for their respective computers. As Dell, HP, and Apple are major suppliers of computers, there is a high chance for people to qualify for a replacement especially if your computer failed in the last couple of years. To see if you qualify check here. Personally, I own a Compaq that failed recently, I will proceed with trying to get a replacement and will provide a follow-up if anyone is interested. [polldaddy poll=3883013]

Avoid System Failure with Speedfan

As the name implies it, Speedfan is a program used to control the speed of  some or even all of your computer's fans. Because I run the program on a laptop, there is only one fan in it! What fans are actually controlled depends on the hardware's capabilities. Moving on, Speedfan is more useful for monitoring system temperature and the hard disks' health.

Why is this important? Manufacturers try to save money by minimizing the system's physical size, cramming as much as possible inside lowering airflow.  Of course, you have control over airflow if you custom-built a desktop PC, but for laptops and store bought computers like Dell and HP, the user has no direct say in the arrangement of the PC components.  Over time, dust can build up and heat issues will begin to appear. There is a direct correlation between over heating the system and premature system failure! The cooler the system runs, the higher chance for long-term use. In my perspective, anything above 50C is uncomfortably hot while working on my laptop.

The blue bars at the bottom are an averaged out indicator of the currently selected hard disk from the drop down menu. Determining when a hard drive is near failure is difficult, but from experience, if the fitness drops three or more bars, the chances are high.  System failure is inevitable, but we can definitely avoid being caught by surprise! Comments and questions are always welcomed!