Pc Networks

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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5 Ways to print from your Tablet or Phone

5 Ways to print from your Tablet or Phone

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

tablet print 1

Have you ditched your computer for a tablet? More and more people all over the country are. They’re finding that tablets and smartphones can handle basic computer tasks.

But one problem area is printing. At first, it may seem complicated if you never printed from your device before, but once it’s all set up its actually really easy.

Best part is you don’t have to fight with cables and USB drives to get your digital documents into print form.

I’ve searched for a few apps to help you in your daily work and personal life when you’re always on the go. 

When using these apps, it will help to have an Apple or Google cloud account set up. 

 

 

1. THIN PRINT CLOUD PRINTER

 

ThinPrint connects your computer, smartphone and tablet to wirelessly print from wherever you may be. You will need to add your printer to the cloud, and after that, you can wirelessly print from anywhere as long as your home computer is on.

It’s perfect for the on-the-go business person because you can have your documents waiting for you at the office or at home.

There’s no need to fight with your computer and printer setup when you can simply tap a button and have your documents waiting for you.

 

 

2. GROOVEBOOK

 

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4 Ways to increase your home Wi-Fi signal

4 Ways to increase your home Wi-Fi signal

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

 

We all lwifi 6ove lounging around the house with our laptop, e-reader or tablet. But it’s a lot less fun when the Internet begins to slow to a crawl.
Here’s what to do when that starts happening to you.

 

1. Test your Internet speed.

 

The first step to diagnosing your speed woes: Find out just how fast your Internet really is. Speedtest.net is  a great free website to test your internet speed.

If you’re using a laptop, first of all, restart it to make sure the slowdown isn’t coming from too many browser windows open or songs and movies playing. Then hook it up directly to your cable or DSL modem.

That will give you a benchmark for how fast your Web is coming at you straight out of the pipes.

Make a note of the speed from time to time and make sure you’re getting the level you’re supposed to be getting from your Internet plan.

Then test the speed again on your wireless network and compare the two numbers.

If they’re pretty much the same, you know your Wi-Fi is OK and you’re just not getting enough out of your Internet provider.

Either upgrade your Internet plan to get faster speeds, or complain to your service provider that you aren’t getting the speed you’re paying for.

But if your computer’s speed is slower on your Wi-Fi, well then we have a problem.

 

 

2. Upgrade or update your router

 

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5 Ways to check your Internet connection

5 Ways to check your Internet connection

By Jeandre de Beer


sorry no internet 2It is really frustrating to find that your internet connection is down when you have important tasks to do.

Is the problem with your ADSL line, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or maybe with your modem or cables?

 

Your first reaction may be to repeatedly click the “reload” button in your browser, then maybe shake your fist at the screen in futility.

Rather try one of these 5 troubleshooting steps to find the problem.

 

1. Try opening another website

It is possible that the website you want to view is currently down. Try to open a well-known and reliable site like google.com or cnn.com

If they open – you know the problem is related to the specific website you are trying to open. If no websites open – try the following steps.

 

 

2. Check your connections

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Four things you can do to secure your computer system

How Secure is your Computer System?

By Jeandre de Beer

Computer Security

 

Protecting your computer has become more and more important these days.

It seems that hackers and scammers are around every corner. Most companies have basic security measures like anti virus software.

This goes a long way to protect users – but some security risks can only be minimized by the user themselves.

Four things you can do to protect your system

 

1. Passwords

It’s a difficult task to remember the passwords that we use on a multitude of websites each day.

Many users choose a single password to use across all sites. Many people prefer to use a simple password – ie birth date / kids or spouse name etc.

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