Stuck CD,  DVDs & Roms that won’t open

Stuck CD,  DVDs & Roms that won't open

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

Try these steps to troubleshoot your Stuck Discs Stuck

Stuck CDsSometimes an important CD or DVD gets stuck inside the drive, and the tray just won't open. Stuck CD

 

That's when you wonder why you still mess with an optical drive – even though we still find them useful.

 

When the drive gets stuck, you have to try to save the drive, save the disc, and save your reputation as a level-headed person who doesn’t go hoarse screaming at non-sentient machines.

So what do you do when you push the button on the front of the drive plate and the tray doesn’t eject?

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Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts to improve your Office productivity

Keyboard Shortcuts to improve your Office productivity

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

Word Shortcuts

 

Everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word. These keyboard shortcuts will put you on the path to Word mastery.

 

Word Shortcuts

 

Google Docs is great and all, but Microsoft Word is still the de facto standard when it comes to putting words to digital page. But how well do you know this decades-old program or it's keyboard shortcuts?

 

Familiarity breeds complacency. Most of us just keep on using Microsoft's productivity powerhouse the same way we have for years. If you want to up your Word game, here are 15 extremely useful keyboard shortcuts you'll want to master, ranging from basic to little known.

 

These shortcuts work for both Word for Windows 2013 and 2016.

Keyboard Access to the Ribbon:

Just like Excel, Word has a method that lets you access menu items using only your keyboard. Just press Alt or F10 and letters will appear next to each visible menu item. Press the corresponding letter to activate a particular menu option. To get rid of the labels, press Esc.

 

Ctrl+ F1: Display or hide the Ribbon.
Ctrl+ K: Insert a hyperlink for the selected text.
Ctrl+ F: Open the search box in the navigation pane.
Alt+ Ctrl + S: Split or remove split in the document window.
Ctrl+ Backspace: Delete one word to the left.
Shift+ F3: Change the case of the selected letters.
Alt+ Shift + W: Underline the selected words, but not the spaces included in the selection.
Ctrl+ 1: Set single-line spacing.
Ctrl+ 2: Set double-line spacing.
Ctrl+ 5: Set 1.5-line spacing.
Ctrl+ Y: Re-do the last action.
Ctrl+ Enter: Insert page break.
Ctrl+ W: Close the current document.
Alt+ F4: Close the program

 

Excel Shortcuts

 

These 15 Excel keyboard shortcuts will help you become a spreadsheet master

 

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Ransomware’s latest new threats: CryptoWall & Chimera

Ransomware's latest new threats: CryptoWall & Chimera

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

Ransom-ware's latest new threatsRansomware thieves have come up with creative new schemes.

 

Current ransomware typically encrypts victims’ data and then threatens to delete the key if payment is not made. The latest variant of the CryptoWall malware, however, now scrambles the file-names on infected computers, making it even more difficult for victims to recover without buying the key from the attackers.

 

Potentially worse, another ransomware operation, known as Chimera, has threatened to publish the data of any non-cooperative victim—whether business or consumer—to the Internet.

 

The operation, which currently aims at German targets, demands the payment of almost 2.5 bitcoins, or more than US $800, according to German cyber-security site Botfrei, which reported the initial attack.

 

To frighten the user even more, the message indicates the threat to publish personal data and pictures somewhere on the internet – if user doesn’t pay the bribe

– Botfrei’s analysis of the attack.

 

An empty threat that may still signal a trend

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How to protect yourself from PC tech Support Scams

How to protect yourself from PC tech Support Scams

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

How to protect yourself from PC tech Support Scams

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's game of whack-a-mole with Windows tech support scammers continues.

The FTC and the State of Florida recently announced the temporary shut down of several businesses in two new cases of Windows tech support scams.

The two cases involved scams that bilked "tens of thousands" of Windows PC owners out of more than $120 million, the FTC says. 

For at least four years now, scam artists have been trying to pull one over on gullible computer users with phony tech support calls. The FTC said its latest operation was the third such case since 2011.

More are sure to come since putting together a scam like this is relatively cheap compared to the potential million dollar windfall.

PC users need to be wary of scams like these or risk falling prey to them. We've included a few tips that should help you stay scam free.

 

How the scam works

 

Previous scams involved cold-calling customers over the phone and then convincing them their computers were riddled with malware. This time around, however, the scammers had to wait for a user to download a bogus desktop program.

Usually people are enticed to download these phony apps with promises of improved security or performance for their PC. Then after they download a trial version, the app runs a scan and discovers non-existent errors on the PC.

To fix the phony errors, the user has to purchase the full version of the scam program, which can be priced anywhere from $29 to $49, according to the FTC.

But it doesn't stop there. Once the victim has purchased the full version, the software prompts them to call a toll-free number to activate the software.

After calling, the victims are shunted to telemarketers who convince their targets to give them remote access to their PCs. The call center people then show victims various screens on their own computer and claim there are serious problems with their PC.

At this point, telemarketers try to sell more phony goods such as extra security software and tech support services that can cost up to $500.

 

Protect yourself

 

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Wi-Fi made more wonderful

Wi-Fi made more wonderful

By Jeandre de Beer  /  PC World

Colorful WiFi symbol in three dimensional shape

Forget about sliced bread—Wi-Fi is easily one of the greatest inventions of the last few decades.

Thanks to Wi-Fi every device in your home can easily get online, whether it’s your iPad, desktop PC, the high-definition television in the living room, and maybe even your coffee pot or fridge.

But are you getting the most out of your wireless Internet connection? Is it truly as fast as your service provider claims?

Are the neighbors screwing up your signal? Do you know how to connect all your various devices together to share files at home?

Here are five free Wi-Fi-enhancing tools that can help you answer “yes” to all of those questions.

 

1. Channel Changers

Sometimes getting a better Wi-Fi signal is as simple as changing the channel. If you live in a densely populated area such as an apartment or townhouse complex you are probably surrounded by dozens or even hundreds of individual Wi-Fi routers.

Each one is broadcasting a signal to help its owner get online. The problem is that sometimes a bunch of closely situated routers can end up interfering with each other.

When that happens you can help yourself out by changing your router’s broadcast channel. To help you find an ideal channel (or the leastpopulated) use ViStumbler on Windows to get all kinds of data on the Wi-Fi routers around you.

Or you could give Wifi Analyzer for Android a try—this is also a great option to test signal strength at different points in your house.

 

2. Speed test

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9 Ways to lock down your device before it goes missing

9 Ways to lock down your device before it goes missing

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

Lockdown Device Don’t wait until your phone or tablet goes missing to think about security. 

YOU KNOW THAT icy stab of panic when you suddenly realize your Android phone or iPhone isn’t safe in your pocket where it should be?

Sure, features like “Find my iPhone” on iOS or the Android Device Manager can help. But if bad guys have snatched your phone or tablet, they can do a lot of damage before you zero in on its location.  

Read on for 9 easy ways to shore up your iOS or Android security, starting with a bonus tip.

 

Bonus: Lock your phone with a passcode, pronto

 

Here’s a tip that’s so obvious—well, to me, anyway—that I’m throwing it in as a bonus. Why mention it at all?

Because I still run into far too many people who have never bothered to lock their phones or tablets with a PIN, even in an era of Touch IDs (for iOS) and traceable, easy-to-remember “pattern” locks (on the Android side).

Now, if your tablet never leaves your coffee table, that’s one thing. (Although… burglars!) But when it comes to your phone—and the emails, numbers, passwords, online banking apps, and other private data sitting in its memory—well, you’re nuts if you don’t have a lock-screen PIN.

So please, do yourself a favor and set a passcode if you haven’t already.

For iOS, tap Settings > Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode, if your iPhone or iPad is Touch ID-ready). For Android, tap Settings > Security > Screen Lock.

And now, for the real tips…

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Bloatware: How, Why and Goodbye

Bloatware: How, Why and Goodbye

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

BLOATWARE, CRAPWARE: No matter what you call it, the junk  that PC makers dump onto new PCs is nothing short of a mess.

The situation was in the spotlight recently when it was revealed that several Lenovo PCs were preloaded with “Superfish” that actively left users vulnerable to attack.

The software compromised secure HTTPS web connections in a quest to inject ads on the sites you visit… and make Lenovo a few nickels. There’s no doubt about it: Even though the root vulnerability came from Superfish, Lenovo messed up. Hard.

This shouldn’t have happened, period. But Lenovo didn’t toss its users to the wolves out of malice—instead, the Superfish debacle is a natural extension of the entire bloatware epidemic.

Why does Bloatware exist?

 

Bloatware exists because we all like cheap or free software, and rightfully so. Money’s tight, and even the cheapest PCs are a major, multi-hundred dollar investment.

But good news! Prices are plummeting in the wake of dirt-cheap Chromebooks and Microsoft’s resulting counter-attack.

While that sounds good on paper, deep down it’s actually troubling news for the PC industry. Mainstream personal computers are a cutthroat business; prices have been racing to the bottom for years now.

PC vendors make little to no money on such slim margins, which is a core part of the reason HP is splitting off its PC division (again) , Dell took itself private, and Sony and Samsung have bowed out of the PC industry to varying degrees.

 

There’s simply no real money to be made on dirt-cheap hardware. Enter bloatware.

 

PC makers don’t really believe that short-lived antivirus trialware is the best security solution for you, or that adding browser toolbars will make your life easier, or that a “visual discovery tool” like Superfish truly adds to the user experience.

The developers of bloatware pay hardware makers cold, hard cash to pump your PC full of this crap and get in front of your eyeballs.

That extra revenue often makes all the difference for vendors between taking a bath on competitively priced PCs, or eking out a small profit. (There’s a reason pricier premium laptops often contain far less bloatware than budget PCs.)


It’s a symbiotic relationship for bloatware developers, PC makers, and everyday users. Bloatware effectively subsidizes PC prices. If it didn’t, you’d pay more—perhaps much more—for your computer.

 

How to beat Bloatware

 

 

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Part 2 : Top 10 fixes for common PC Problems

Part 2 : Top 10 fixes for common PC Problems

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

 

This is part 2 of our blog regarding the top 10 fixes for common pc problems.

In the first blog we discussed the following fixes : Attack of the BlueScreen of Death,  Recover deleted files,  Back up your data files,  Protect your privacy while browsing and  Speed up a slow PC without buying new hardware.

In this blog we will discuss : One antivirus program is better than two,  Securely wipe sensitive files—or your entire hard drive,  A slow Internet connection when you’re paying for a fast one,  Archive files so they’ll stay around for years and You do need to share your passwords.

1. One antivirus program is better than two

 

PROBLEM:  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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIX:    Before I explain why, let’s get some definitions out of the way. The term antivirus has come to mean a program that launches when you boot your PC and stays running in memory, protecting you in real time not just from viruses, but trojans, rootkits, and all other forms of malware.

Two antivirus programs, loaded and running simultaneously, will be, at the very least, redundant. And in this case, you don’t want redundancy. Keep in mind that every program running uses RAM and clock cycles, potentially slowing down every other running program.

A well-made antivirus program has a very small footprint, and doesn’t slow things down significantly. But two such programs running together will slow it down twice as much.

And it could be worse. The two programs may conflict with each other—remember that every time you download a file, both will try to scan it. Conflicts could result in other programs failing to work and Windows becoming less stable.

If you’re worried that one antivirus program isn’t enough, you can augment it with an on-demand malware scanner. Unlike antivirus programs, they don’t hang around. You load one, update its database, scan your hard drive with it, and close it when you’re done.

I use two of these programs—the free versions of SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Once a week, I scan my hard drive with one or the other.

 

2. Securely wipe sensitive files—or your entire hard drive

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Part 1 : Top 10 fixes for common PC Problems

Part 1 : Top 10 fixes for common PC Problems

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

 

Some computer related questions pop up over and over again. Others rarely come up, but nevertheless involve important issues that every user needs to know about.

Still, others are unanswerable, and the only advice I can give is to have a professional look at the PC

This blog post will be divided into two posts. In the first blog we will look at the following most common problems that users experience.

They are Attack of the BlueScreen of Death,  Recover deleted files,  Back up your data files,  Protect your privacy while browsing and  Speed up a slow PC without buying new hardware.

1. Attack of the BlueScreen of Death

 

PROBLEM: 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 screens frequently, you've got a problem that needs fixing.

 

FIX:  Microsoft calls these stop errors, but everyone else prefers a more descriptive label: The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD). They’re not as common as they used to be, but BSoDs still happen (I experienced one two days ago). If you get one, curse, reboot, and hope for the best.

But if you’re getting them frequently, you've got a problem that needs fixing. The trick is to find information about your particular BSoD, and  then—since that information usually comes in an obtuse form—search the Internet for more practical advice.

What should you look for when the BSoD is in front of you? You’ll find useful data immediately below the first paragraph, and under the “Technical information” label near the bottom of the screen.

Since you can’t use Windows’ Snipping Tool to capture a BSoD screen, you’ll need to write down the important information on paper. Or you can use a camera or phone to photograph the screen. Just don’t expect a great-looking photo—or even an easily readable one.

You can also get information on the BSoD after you’ve rebooted: If you get a “Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown” message, you’re in luck. Click View problem details for information. You can also click Check for solution, but don’t expect much help there.

You can also get information, after rebooting, via the free program BlueScreenView. Whichever way you get the info, intelligent use of a search engine can probably bring up something useful.

If it doesn’t, here are some other tests you might try:

> Check the health of your RAM with Memtest86+ (memtest.org).
> Update your drivers with SlimDrivers (slimwareutilities.com).
> Diagnose your hard drive with HD Tune (hdtune.com).

 

 

2. Recover deleted files

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You’ve fallen for a scam! Now what?

You've fallen for a scam! Now what?

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

What’s done is done. Here’s what you need to do to keep your mistake from costing you further.

Cyber Criminals tricked you into giving away some sensitive information. How can you mitigate this situation?

Don’t feel bad. We all make mistakes. 

 

But with these sorts  of mistakes, you have to act fast to avoid disaster.

 

What you need to do depends on how you were tricked.

 

Did you give them your email password? Your bank and/or credit card numbers? Your passwords for Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites?

Did they remotely access your PC, or trick you into installing software?

If you have reason to believe that criminals can access your financial accounts, call your banks and credit card companies immediately. Explain the situation and follow their instructions.

Next, change any passwords that might have fallen into criminal hands. This includes email, social-media, and other passwords. 

If you’ve been using the same password for multiple accounts, change all of those passwords as well.

And stop using the same password for multiple accounts already!

If you can’t change a password—or even log on to a site—that means the crook got there first. Check the site for instructions on recovering a
hijacked account.

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