Friday, March 7, 2008

How to minimize your risks of Viruses, Adware and Spyware

We all have run into a virus or something of the like at one point or another, here are some tips you can use to keep your computer healthy and happy. Viruses, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, What are they? How do you get them? How do you get rid of them? How do you prevent from getting them? All these questions will be answered in the article.

  • VIRUS-
A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user.

Spyware is computer software that is stealthily installed on a computer to intercept or take partial control over the user's interaction with the computer, without the user's consent.

A software application that includes advertisements, which are displayed while the software is running. Developers use adware as a source of income and to keep the costs of the software down (usually making it free). Some adware programs can include spyware. One form of adware is those pesky toolbars that everyone wants you to download and use.

  • Now that we know what they are, how does one get an infection?
Viruses, Spyware, and Adware can come form many sources, the most common way to get an infection is by visiting some web pages(most adult sites contain them), if the web page does not appear professional or prompts you to download something such as an ActiveX control or media codec chances are you will get an infection this way.

The new breeding ground for viruses, spyware, and adware is peer to peer (P2P) programs such as limewire, utorrent, and many others. I'm not saying not to use such programs but use them with care. For example, if you are using limewire and you are looking for a particular song always look at the file size. Most mp3 songs are typically around 5MB(5000B) and if you find your song and the file size is very low (5B) chances are you got a problem if download this. My rule of thumb is #1 only download files that have a high number of sources, and #2 always check the files size before downloading anything. You can search for just about anything and return results that contain infections very consistently, again use these programs with care.

  • I got infected, know how do I get rid of those pesky buggers?

I'm sure most of us are familiar with antivirus programs such as McAfee, or Norton. However these are pay-programs and there are some great programs you can get for free that work just as well. Don't rely on just one anti-program either, some programs only catch viruses, others only spyware, and some specialize in adware. I will discuss my favorite free programs and where you can get them.

  • My Top Picks of Free Software
  1. AntiVirus - AVG Free Edition
  2. AntiSpware - Spyware Blaster
  3. AntiAdware - Ad-Aware

I recommend using all three of these programs, by doing so you have all your bases covered. AVG Free edition is an awesome program, it updates daily so you can catch even the newest viruses. Best of all it's free! Spyware Blaster is another great program, I've found that this will pick up a lot of things other programs may miss, again it's a free program. Ad-Aware is another great program, this program will also clear out any tracking cookies you may have acquired over time. I use all three of these personally and install them on every computer I build or service.

  • Where do I get these great free programs.

If you haven't visited CNET's already you are missing out on tons of great free programs, they have everything from games demo's to music editing software, screen savers, and of course antivirus, antispyware, and antiadware programs. This site is updated frequently and includes many reviews on their content. u could simply go to this page and use the search box to find the above mentioned programs, but I'll make it easy for you, follow the below links.

For AVG anti virus-

For Spyware Blaster-

For AdAware-

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me at for any comments, feedback, or article ideas that may assist in your daily electronic needs.

Friday, December 28, 2007

PC tips and tricks.

I would like to take a few minutes to discuss how you can keep you computer running smoothly with some simple tips and tricks. If you surf the net on a regular basis make sure you delete your temporary internet files and cookies. Every time your browser goes to a web page it takes an imprint of the page and saves it to the hard drive, this is done to increase page load time for future visits. If you don't clean these out from time to time they will start consuming your disk space, and if you have an older computer with a small hard drive this will bog your system down entirely. Follow these steps to remove these files and cookies.

1.) Open your browser


3.) Under browsing history click the delete button

4.) Click the delete temporary internet files button

5.) Click the delete cookies button

While your at that screen at may also be a good idea to delete you history.

Another awesome tip is to increase the size of your virtual memory. That's right "virtual memory", memory that doesn't really exist, or at least it doesn't physically exist. As we know windows is a very memory intensive operating system, as a result microsoft had to devise a way to get extra memory when windows requires it. Virtul memory is basically a reserved section of your hard drive that windows converts into temporary memory, the problem is windows doesn't manage the virtual memory to well, it never has enough. By increasing the virtual memory your load times when launching programs or applications will be reduced and windows will be much happier. I would recommend using at least 4GB of your hard drive for virtual memory. So here's a step by step on how to edit virtual memory settings.


2.) Double click on SYSTEM

3.) Then click the ADVANCED tab at the top

4.) Under performance click the SETTINGS button

5.) Then click the ADVANCED tab at the top

6.) Under Virtual Memory click the CHANGE button

7.) By default "system managed size" is checked, click the CUSTOM SIZE button

8.) Set your initial size to 1000MB, and your maximum size to 4096MB, then click OK

That's it you have now increased your virtual memory.

That's all I got for now, but stay tuned for more tips and tricks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How to get music onto your USB MP3 player without software.

One of the typical problems people run into with MP3 players is that they lose the software that came with the player and can't figure out how to get music on or off the player. So here's a quick how to. This will work with most brands of MP3 players, or even USB flash drives.

First you need to plug it in to the USB port, if you are running anything newer than windows 98 you won't need a driver. Double click on my computer and it shows up as a removable disc(usually drive letter f:), double click this drive to open it as folder. This folder will show you all directory's and files on your player, here you can delete any songs on your player by finding the file and deleteing it. From here you can also put your music onto the player by copying and pasting your music files from your hard drive. If you are not sure where your music is located you can run a search by clicking START>SEARCH>FOR FILES OR FOLDERS (if you are running XP click pictures music or video, check music then click search, each file will have it's location in small print below it's name, or you can right click each song and hit copy, then go back to f: drive and right click and hit paste, you can copy more than one). Hope this helps.


Lot's of us have iPod's today, but would you know what to do if your iPOD froze?

Try resetting the iPod, this usually works.

As follows:

How to reset iPod To reset an iPod with a Click Wheel, including:iPod nano (3rd generation) iPod classic iPod (5th generation) iPod nano (2nd generation)iPod nano iPod with color display (iPod photo) iPod (Click Wheel) iPod mini iPod mini (2nd generation)

Toggle the Hold switch on and off. (Slide it to Hold, then turn it off again.)Press and hold the Menu and Center (Select) buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears, about 6 to 8 seconds.

You may need to repeat this step. Tip: If you are having difficulty resetting your iPod, set it on a flat surface. Make sure the finger pressing the Select button is not touching any part of the click wheel. Also make sure that you are pressing the Menu button toward the outside of the click wheel, and not near the center.

If the above steps did not work, try connecting iPod to a power adapter and plug the power adapter into an electrical outlet, or connect iPod to your computer. Make sure the computer is turned on and isn't set to go to sleep.

To reset iPod, iPod (scroll wheel), iPod (touch wheel), and iPod (dock connector)Toggle the Hold switch on and off. (Slide it to Hold, then turn it off again.)Press and hold the Play/Pause and Menu buttons simultaneously until the Apple/iPod logo appears, about 6 to 8 seconds. You may need to repeat this step.

If the above steps did not work, try connecting iPod to a power adapter and plug the power adapter into an electrical outlet, or connect iPod to your computer. Make sure the computer is turned on and isn't set to go to sleep.

If you are still unable to reset your iPod, use only one finger from one hand to press the Center (Select) button, and one finger from the other hand to press the Menu button.When you reset iPod all your music and files are saved, but some customized settings may be lost. Date and time is preserved (unless the iPod reset itself because it had no power and then was reconnected to power). Other customized settings, such as Bookmarks, On-The-Go Playlists, Shuffle, Backlight timer, and so forth are preserved from the last time the hard drive turned on.

Laptop battery life.

Here we go again, another laptop that doesn't hold a charge. This is another common problem today, please read below.

"My laptop is only a year old. It needs to constantly be on AC power, even when I charge it, the moment it is taken off AC power, it displays the LOW BATTERY icon and asks to immediately be switched to a power source. The charger adapter box has a green light (shows its working?). I've even tried charging it the whole night but it still says LOW BATTERY when I take it off its charger.Please help, thank you!"

It's one of two things, the more likely of the two is that that battery is totally shot, laptop battery's are usually only good for 1.5 years then loose there ability to retain a charge. It sounds like that one's just done. Unfortunately that those batteries cost more than there worth, 100 bucks or more. The second possibility is the power cord, is that the original power cord for that? Or was on that was bought aftermarket, some aftermarket chargers will only power your laptop and not charge. Also remove the battery and check for corrosion. You can build your own battery for a laptop if got a few hours time, and are good with a soldering gun. You get the lithium ion cells you need for about 40 bucks.Follow the below link for a step by step on how to build your own battery

How to boost a low wireless internet signal.

Another common question I get is........

"I have a very low wireless internet signal can i boost it and how?"

Yes,The easiest solution is to purchase a range extending antenna($39.99) found at various electronic/computer stores. If you need more range (1000ft or more) you can purchase power extenders(Netgear makes one for $149.99) these will send your signal through your house AC lines.

Good Luck and I hope this helps

Bluetooth Headset PIN code??

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is "What is the PIN code for pairing a bluetooth headset?". You are prompted to enter this 4 digit code when you attempt to "pair" (pairing is configuring your headset to your phone or device) your headset. It's real easy, the PIN code is 0000. That's right it's just four zero's, the PIN is the same regardless of brand or model of headset. So if you need the pin, here it is, and I hope this helps.