Picking a UPS (Battery Backup) for Your Mac or PC

By Tom Nelson / Marco Horn

Picking a UPS (Battery Backup) for Your Mac or PC

Protect your Windows or Mac computer from power surges and outages.
A UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), also called a backup battery, is a wise investment for any Mac or PC user.
Even if you use software to back up your files, a UPS can be a lifesaver if you unexpectedly lose power.Information in this article applies broadly to a wide range of devices.
Check the specifications of individual products before making a purchase. 

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What to Do When Your USB Ports Aren’t Working

By Marco Horn /  Jeremy Laukkonen

When your USB ports suddenly stops working, the problem can always be tracked down to either a hardware or software failure. Some of these problems are the same across both Windows and Mac, while others are unique to just one or the other.

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Cleaning printer

How to Clean a Printer and Scanner

By Marco Horn /  Jordan Baranowski

One of the best ways to keep printers and scanners working at optimal levels for longer is by giving them regular cleanings. If you notice streaky, blurry, smudged, or otherwise distorted images when printing documents or scanning images, here’s how to clean a printer or scanner yourself before opening up your wallet for a costly fix or replacement.

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Use Deep Freeze to Restore Your PC on Boot

Ever wish you could undo all the changes your staff or kids have made to a PC? Or maybe you would like to install some software on your system to test it before purchasing, but you don’t know exactly what it will do?


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just restart the computer and all the changes made were simply wiped out? Luckily, there is a way to do this using a program called Deep Freeze by Faronics.


Now you would be right if you looked at that page and thought that this is a program that is used by big companies or institutions. However, those are not their only customers. They sell a standard edition of the program which is cost-effective considering the benefits.


We’ve spent a lot more on software and have normally been disappointed. That’s why nowadays we only use freeware or purchase subscription software like Adobe Creative Cloud. However, this is one program we can recommend purchasing because there simply isn’t a freeware that can do the same thing in such a convenient way.




It’s worth noting that we have not been asked to write this review by Faronics. We decided to try it out on our test PC that we use for installing test software and it’s made life a lot easier.


Features and Benefits

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Keeping sensitive files Encrypted with you

How can you encrypt sensitive files that are stored on a flash drive or external hard drive?


Flash drives are easy to lose. And anything lost can fall into the wrong hands. So if you’re carrying around sensitive information in your pocket, you need to make sure those files are encrypted.


Below are three easy solutions:



1. Buy an encrypted drive


You can buy a flash drive with built-in encryption, such as the DataTraveler Locker+ G3. When you plug the Locker+ in, it comes up as a 13MB, read-only drive. But once you launch the program file on that drive and enter the password that you previously setup, another drive opens up with all the storage space you paid for.


That drive, of course, is inaccessible without the password. The software runs off the drive, and it can be used on multiple computers and operating systems.



But I strongly recommend against using this drive’s optional cloud backup feature. It uses Dropbox, OneDrive, or whichever cloud service you pick, which at first glance seems like a nice convenience.



But this feature uploads the files without its own encryption. That means you’re trusting your sensitive files to the encryption capabilities of Dropbox and similar 3rd party services and you have no control over the encryption methods. Find another way to backup these files—preferably one where you can can control the encryption.


The DataTraveler Locker+ G3 starts at about $15 for the 8GB drive, and we've looked at other encrypted USB drives as well. 


2. Install specialized software on your drive


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factory defaults 

How to Restore Windows to Factory Settings

How to Restore Windows to Factory Settings


Factory DefaultsFactory settings also known as Factory Defaults, mean getting the computer back to the state when you first bought it. This includes the OS with all the third-party software they like to install with it. However, this may not be the most ideal choice.


Another option to think about, is to perform a clean install of the operating system, so that you are working with a bare bones version of the OS, then setting it up to your needs. The difference is that the clean install not include any junk or third party software.


Alternatively, performing a system restore reverts the OS to a previous state, which is like a clean install, but could help you get your system working properly.


There is also a repair install, which replaces all of the Windows system files, but keeps your data intact. This is a good option if your system has become infected with a virus or malware you can’t remove, but your data is clean. Windows and all apps will be wiped, but your data will be kept.


We'll expand on each one of these methods in the article below.


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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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by Jeandre de Beer

floppy-disksWe all spend a great amount of time on our computers for important personal or business dealings.   There are so many stories of people who have lost all of their files due to system crashes or computer viruses.


Backups must be an essential part of your to-do list. It is imperative to store your important files in a separate location from your computer.

If you have reliable backups and your computer crashes or become infected with a virus that results in a loss of files, you will still have access to your files on backup disks which you can then restore.


Do I really need backups?

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that data loss will never happen to you. Data loss happens more regularly than you think.

Imagine for a moment that one day you go to work to find that all your company data – meaning your email, your Word and Excel documents, PDFs, databases, contact lists, accounting data, billing information, etc. – has simply vanished, permanently.

Gone is everything that makes your company what it is and that has allowed it to operate and grow as a business.

How will your company recover? Are you going to recreate years worth of data in a few months, while trying to support and manage your current business obligations?

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I accidentally deleted a file – can I get it back?

I accidentally deleted a file – can I get it back?

By Jeandre de Beer

hdd 3



What if you accidentally deleted a file you were not supposed to – can you get it back? Anyone who has used computers for a while has accidentally deleted the wrong file – we know that feeling that you get when you realize what has just happened.




What can you do?


1. Immediately stop working on your computer

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Are your backups really working? How to test your backups

When last did you test your backups?

By Jeandre de Beer

BackupsYou have been working on a huge project lately – spent days and days to complete it on time.  You have been doing your backups diligently every week   –   but, how sure are you that your backups actually work?

Maybe you have set-up an automatic scheduled backup to run each week in the background – when last have you made sure that the backups are reliable?

Do you put your full trust in the backup report that says it’s been completed successfully  –  or have you actually restored your data lately to make sure all is well?

If you have not done this – how well do you sleep?


How to test your backups


Verification of backups is extremely important – do whatever it takes to make sure that all your precious data is backed up and can be restored successfully.  The easiest way to do this is to Read more