Startup Programs

Disable Unneeded Startup Programs in Windows 7, 8 & 10

Startup Programs

Disable Unneeded Startup Programs in Windows 7, 8 & 10

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
Startup Programs

It is irritating when you start up your computer and have to wait 10 minutes while all kinds of software loads up: Dropbox, antivirus, Chrome, Java, Apple, Adobe, graphics & printer drivers drivers, etc. If you have a lot of programs loading up that you don’t use immediately, then they are just slowing your computer down and should be disabled.

 

Most software prefer to load into memory as soon as Windows starts up, so that when you use it, it loads quicker. We would prefer your computer working sooner, rather than have a program you use once a week slow you down every day.

 

Disabling startup programs can increase the speed of your computer and usually will not adversely affect your computer because the software is loaded manually when you open a program.

 

Managing Startup Programs

 

You can manage your startup programs by opening the System Configuration Utility. Click on Start and then Run, type in msconfig and click OK. In Windows 7, you can just click on Start and type in msconfig. In Windows 8, the msconfig command brings up the System Configuration utility, but the Startup section now appears in Task Manager.

 

msconfig start

 

system configuration

 

Clicking on the Startup tab in Task Manager on Windows 8 or in the System Configuration dialog will bring up the list of startup items. In Windows 8, the list looks a bit different and it also gives you some extra info like the estimated impact the process has on the startup time.

 

Read more

Troubleshoot Windows from Safe Mode

Safe Mode

Troubleshoot Windows from Safe Mode

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
safe modeNeed to get into Safe Mode on your Windows PC? If you’re not able to boot your computer normally, you can try to enter safe mode, a diagnostic mode for Windows that lets you troubleshoot problems that prevent normal booting.

 

In Safe Mode, Windows only loads the most essential services and drivers in order for it to run. All other normal Windows settings and start up programs are disabled in order to allow the user to fix the problem with their computer.

 

In this guide, we're going to go through the steps to get into Safe Mode in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1 and Windows 10.

 

Safe ModeNote that if you installed a driver or just recently made a configuration change to your computer, you may want to try the “Last Known Good Configuration” before going into safe mode in Windows 7, Vista and XP.

 

Last Known Good Configuration loads the last working version of Windows. However, it is replaced each time you log into the computer, so if a problem has occurred, make sure to try this option BEFORE logging onto the computer again.

 

Note that in Windows 8/10 the Last Known option is no longer included. Instead, they have other options like Refresh, Reset (Reinstall), Restore, etc. I’ll go into more details below in the Windows 8/10 section.

 

Also note that there are three types of Safe Mode, so read the descriptions below to figure out which one is best for you.

 

Safe ModeSafe Mode – The basic option that loads Windows with a GUI interface and is usually what most people should choose when troubleshooting their computer. Safe Mode loads only the minimal required Drivers & Windows Services.

 

Safe ModeSafe Mode with Networking – If you need access to the Internet or the network while in Safe mode, then this is the option to choose. This mode is useful when you need to fix a problem that requires an Internet connection so that you can download updates, drivers, or other files to help fix your problem.

 

Safe ModeSafe Mode with Command Prompt – This mode will load with just the MS DOS command line prompt. This is useful if you need to run a DOS command like fixboot or chkdsk.

 

Safe Mode

Safe Mode in Windows XP/Vista/7

 

To get into the Safe Mode in Windows XP, Vista or 7, re-boot the computer and then press and hold the “F8 Key” which will then bring up the “Windows Advanced Options Menu“. Scroll down to “Safe Mode” using the arrow keys and press Enter.

 

Read more

Reset your Lost or Forgotten Administrator Password in Windows

Reset Windows Password

Reset your Lost or Forgotten Administrator Password in Windows

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
ForgotPasswordIconWhat to do if you’ve forgotten your password? It’s never fun forgetting a password, especially if you have a lot of important data on your computer, but there are tools and methods that allow you to get access to your data without ever needing to know what the original password was.

 

Note, you will have to open command prompts & type DOS commands, but if you are an Existing IT Experts client, as long as you are on the Internet, we can also reset it for you at any time remotely.

 

 

Windows 7 & Windows 8.1 Reset Password

 

There are two ways you can go about resetting a password for a user account in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Both methods work on both operating systems, which is really convenient. The first method uses the Windows 7 or 8.1 installation DVD and the second method involves using a third-party tool. If you don’t have your install CD/DVD, then use the second method.

 

Get your supplied installation disc for Windows 7 or 8.1 and load it into your CD/DVD drive. Restart your computer and boot up from the disc. Note that you might have to change the boot order in your BIOS before the system will boot from the disc.

 

repair computer

 

For Windows 7, the first screen will make you pick your language, keyboard, etc. Just leave those as default and click Next. For Windows 8, it will be similar. On the next screen, you’ll see a Repair your computer link at the bottom. Click on that link.

 

Read more

13 Ways to Speed Up Windows Boot Times

Speed Up

13 Ways to Speed Up Windows Boot Times

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore


Speed UpEvery day millions of Windows machines are booted up and everyday millions of people sit idly by waiting for Windows to load onto the desktop.

 

The amount of time wasted can probably be measured in weeks considering how slow most Windows PCs boot up! Luckily, there are a lot of steps you can take to speed your computer’s boot time.

 

In this article, we're going to mention 14 simple ways we use to speed up PCs and hopefully you’ll find that they work for you aswell. 

 

1. Free Up Disk Space

Speed UpOne thing we do on computers running slow is clean up the disk space. There are aspects of Windows that use up quite a bit of disk space like the recycle bin, system restore, hibernation file, backed up service-pack files, WinSxS folder, temp directories, etc.

 

treesize

 

On top of that, you might have a lot of data lying on your hard that you might be able to move to an external hard drive or delete, I.e. Duplicates of files, Old Irrelevant document & Backups, etc. 

 

Take the time to clean up files on your computer at least once a month.

 

2. Disable Visual Effects

 

Read more

3 ways to keep sensitive files encrypted on a flash drive or external hard drive

3 ways to keep sensitive files encrypted on a flash drive or external hard drive

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

screen-encrypt_2868

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. 

 

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 services, and they aren’t all that secure. Find another way to backup these files—preferably one where you can can control the encryption.

 

Install specialized software on your drive

 

Read more

An SSD upgrade is still the single best thing you can do for your PC

An SSD upgrade is still the single best thing you can do for your PC

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

01_ssd_hdd I can't tell you exactly how much your PC will speed up with an SSD. But I can tell you it will be a lot.

 

John is "considering upgrading to a SSD."

 

He wants to know "how much faster would it really be?"

 

 

 

I can't tell give you exact numbers because I don't know either your computer or what SSD you'll buy. But I can tell you this: The hard drive, with its mechanical moving parts, is almost certainly the biggest bottleneck in your PC. (If it isn't, you've got something seriously wrong–probably in the software.) Replace that hard drive with an SSD, and the bottleneck disappears.

Read more

Three warning signs that email is malicious

Three Warning signs that email is malicious

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

e-mail-65928_1280

Email spam filtering is far better than it used to be. There was a time when nearly every scam email would land in your inbox.

Thankfully that's not the case anymore—especially if you're a Gmail user.

But no system is perfect. Every now and then a scam message will manage to slip into your inbox. But how do you know when you're looking at a scam or not?

 

Here are three basic tip-offs you can look for to figure out whether you're looking at an email with dishonest intentions. They're hardly an exhaustive list, but more often than not one of these tips will save you from getting scammed.

 

 

1. Dear customer …

Read more

How to diagnose and fix a dead laptop keyboard

How to diagnose and fix a dead laptop keyboard

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

wpid-bigstock-Stethoscope-On-Laptop-Keyboard-79833199You can't write that report with a dead keyboard. A few tests can tell you how to bring it back to life.

 

The keyboard on Jan Rademan’s laptop stopped working. He’s hoping for a fix.

 

With a laptop, you can’t simply buy a new keyboard and plug it in. Replacing it is difficult (or expensive), so it’s best to find another fix before you take the big plunge.

 

If you don’t already have an external keyboard, buy one. It’s not a viable replacement for the built-in keyboard, but it will let you log into Windows with your password. It will also help you use your computer while figuring out the best solution.

 

Read more

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?

Read more

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

 

Read more