Pc Networks

Chrome Remote Desktop

How to access your computer from anywhere using Chrome Remote Desktop

How to access your computer from anywhere using Chrome Remote Desktop 

Chrome Remote DesktopLooking for a quick and easy way to access your Windows, Mac or Linux machine from an Apple device, an Android device or even from another Windows, Mac or Linux machine?


If so, then there is one solution that works really, really well: Chrome Remote Desktop.


In order to use it, all you need is Google Chrome installed on your device.


After setting everything up, which we will explain below, you can access any of your computers from your device. This means you can remotely control your Windows machine from my iPhone, Nexus 6 and Mac laptop without having to worry about port forwarding, dynamic DNS, different operating systems or anything else.


The great advantage about using Google Chrome is that it takes about 5 minutes to setup and even  less than that if you already have Chrome installed on your devices.


Install Chrome Remote Desktop


The first thing we need to do is install Google Chrome itself on your computers. Since Chrome can be installed on Windows, Mac or Linux, it means you can remotely access any of those systems too.


Chrome Remote Desktop


Once you have Chrome installed, you need to install the free Chrome Remote Desktop add-on. Click the Add To Chrome button at the very top right. A popup will appear with the permissions the app needs in order to work properly. Click Add App to continue if you’re OK with the permissions.


At this point, the app should be installed and a new tab should appear where you can see all the apps that have been installed in Chrome. If this tab doesn’t appear, just open a new tab and type in chrome://apps/ in the top address-bar.



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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


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


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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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Why you can trust (some) Free Software

Why you can trust (some) Free Software

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World


Question : Is it safe to use free software? What do the software authors get out of it?

Answer :   It’s good to be skeptical—and careful. Free products often come with strings attached.

But if you pay attention and listen for the right recommendations, you can get some excellent software for free.

There are some perfectly good reasons why an individual programmer, a programming collective, or even a for-profit company would let you use the fruit of its labor without getting paid.

The free version of a program is often a marketing tool for the paid version


The company gives away a stripped-down version of its product, which can build word of mouth that helps sell the paid “Pro” version. That Pro version will have features the free one lacks—features that many users can do without but others need.

For instance, only the paid version of EaseUS Todo Backup can password-protect your backups. And the free version generally comes without tech support. Also, many companies offer the free versions only for home use.

Businesses have to buy the Pro version. Free software can also produce income through advertising. However, this “advertising” can cross the line to become more like malware.

The worst such advertising caches itself within the installation routine. If you don’t take care when you walk through the installation wizard, you’ll install two or three programs you don’t want in addition to the one you do.

Many people regard these potentially unwanted programs, or PUPs, as malware.


The trick to avoiding PUPs is simple :

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7 Easy tips to extend your PC’s life span

7 Easy tips to extend your PC’s life span

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

MOST MODERN PROGRAMS can run just fine on PCs that are several years old. And thanks to the rise of cloud services, older PCs are even less of a drag on productivity these days. 

Extending the useful life of your computer doesn’t have to involve expensive upgrades. Keeping your system physically clean following some basic preventive measures, and exercising common sense can add years of life to your machine.


1. Keep your PC sparkling

Virtually every computer becomes laden with dust, dirt, hairballs, and other junk given enough time.

The grime can suffocate the hardware inside your PC, generating heat and putting stress on the components—which in turn can reduce performance and even contribute to a component’s premature death. Clean your computer thoroughly every 6 to 12 months. 


2. Give your PC room to breathe


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Keep your neighbors from hijacking your Wi-Fi

Keep your neighbours from hijacking your Wi-Fi

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

Question : ROSE SAYS that her Internet service intermittently  slows to a crawl, and that she wants to take steps to make sure that her neighbors haven’t hacked into her Wi-Fi network for free connectivity.

Answer : A NUMBER OF issues can produce intermittently slow Internet access, and most of them don’t involve foul play. You could have faulty cables, a bad modem or router, or outdated firmware on either of those devices.

The problem may be with your ISP, and therefore out of your hands. 

As much as we would like to think otherwise, however, your problem very well could be with a dishonest neighbour.



And in these days of data caps, such sneaky neighbors could be running up your Internet service bill as they’re slowing down your network’s connection.

I’m assuming that you've password-protected your Wi-Fi network already. If you haven’t, check your router’s documentation and do so immediately.

Even with a password, nothing is ever completely secure, and Wi-Fi networks can be cracked. You need to take extra precautions.

So how can you keep your neighbours from hijacking your Wi-Fi?


Start with a strong password

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Rescue your PC from ransomware

Rescue your PC from Ransomware

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

With the nasty CryptoLocker malware making the rounds lately— encrypting victims’ files, and refusing to unlock them unless victims pay $300 via Bitcoin or a prepaid cash voucher—ransomware is in the spotlight.

You can remove many kinds of ransomware without losing your files, but the process differs depending on the type of invader. 

The simplest type, sometimes called scareware, consists of bogus antivirus or clean-up tools that claim they’ve detected umpteen issues, and demand that you pay to fix them.

Some specimens may bombard you with alerts and pop-ups, while others might prevent you from running programs.

In contrast, lock-screen viruses don’t allow you to use your computer, and display a full-size window—usually with an FBI or Department of Justice logo—saying that you violated the law and that you must pay a fine.

Finally, encrypting malware, such as CryptoLocker, is the worst variant, because it encrypts and locks your personal files until you pay up. But even if you haven’t backed up your files, you may still have a chance to recover your data.

How can you rescue your PC from Ransomware?

1.  Removing ransomware


If you have a fake antivirus program or a bogus clean-up tool, you can usually remove it by following my general malware removal guide. The procedure includes entering Windows’ Safe Mode and running an on-demand virus scanner such as Malwarebytes. 

If the ransomware prevents you from entering Windows or running programs, try to use System Restore to roll Windows’ system files and your applications back in time.

Doing so doesn’t affect your personal files. (System Restore must be enabled beforehand; Windows enables the feature by default.) To try System Restore, first shut down your PC.

Turn the computer on, and as soon as you see anything on the screen, press the <F8> key repeatedly. This action should bring up the Advanced Boot Options menu; select Repair Your Computer and press <Enter>. You’ll likely have to log on as a user. You’ll then find shortcuts to a few tools; click System Restore

If you don’t see Repair Your Computer, use your Windows disc (if you have that) to access the recovery tools. Click Repair your computer on the main menu before proceeding with installation.

Alternatively, create a Windows System Repair Disc on another PC running the same Windows version, and then boot to that disc on the infected PC to reach the recovery tools. 

If you still can’t get into Windows, try an “offline virus scan,” in which you run a virus scanner from a bootable disc or USB drive. 

My favorite bootable scanner is from Bitdefender, but other major vendors also offer antivirus boot-disk software. Your last resort, if the above methods fail, is to perform a factory restore. Most ransomware isn’t that tenacious, however.


2.  Recovering hidden files and encrypted data


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