Make Your Computer Run Brand New Again

Don't Let This Bug You

They say that computer users belong to a group known as procrastinators when it comes to maintenance. I confess I sometimes fall into this group too often and get reminded its time when someone cries out their “computer is so slow”.

In the old days of computing we had to manually clean out files and programs on our computers. This is when we had to know what we were doing. Cottage industries quickly grew in popularity, taking on the task of cleaning up computers. These businesses still flourish today. However, you can easily avoid the high costs of sending your computer in for repair by doing it the easy way: Do it yourself.

For some fun I called a local computer repair business to find out what it would cost to clean up my very slow computer. I don’t have a slow computer, I was curious on some pricing. I know it would be costly but I was not ready for the price of $101.70 for virus removal, of which they would not guarantee to get all the viruses or spyware. They suggested spending $113.00 for a complete format of my hard drive, meaning it would wipe everything from my computer and I would lose all the data. Wow!

What is a person to do?

My advice is to NOT pay these high costs when you can very easily do the same work yourself with a few clicks with a mouse? Want to learn more? Read on…

There are usually three issues that can slow down your computer.

  1. Malware and Spyware: Spyware and Malware software “programs can collect various types of personal information” (wikipedia.org) and redirect you to unsafe websites while on the Internet. It gets worse in that “Spyware is known to change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of Internet connection or functionality of other programs.” Here is a free program you should download and run:
    http://superantispyware.com
  2. Wasted Hard Drive Space: More than likely your computer is clogged up with junk files, unused useless files, traces of your Internet searches and other data that puts your registry out of sync. In the past, a highly trained technician was the only one to repair this section of your computer. Now the same task can be easily performed by you, and done extremely fast. The program to download for free is called CCleaner found at http://www.piriform.com/. You will note that more than 600 million people have already downloaded this program and it comes highly recommended for computer maintenance.
  3. Slow Starting Computer:I have worked on computers that are so slow starting up I didn’t think the machines was even going to run at all. Some didn’t. Those that were so slow starting were terribly slow running and some people said they could put a load of laundry in while waiting for the computer programs to appear.The problem could very well be that there are too many programs on your computer fighting for startup at the same time. Everything on your computer wants to begin running at the same time and that makes for a very slow computer. Why would you have a full blown office program starting up when you are not going to use it right away? What to do, you ask?

    CCleaner does a fast and amazing job of cleaning “up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software (cnet.com).”  A real benefit of this program also is that it keeps a watchful eye for you as it takes “a snapshot of your critical system resources, then alerting you to any changes that occur without your knowledge.” This is a good way to know if the bad guys have tried to enter your computer without your knowledge.

If your computer is still running strange, then you should consider formatting your hard drive, which means a reinstall of your operating system. Here are some websites that will help you:

Windows XP:    http://bit.ly/lhPy7g
Windows Vista: http://bit.ly/kagWR9

Windows 7:       http://bit.ly/ivEwt4

Good luck and I hope the first three items work well for you and no further work is required. Email me and let me know how you make out.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com

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Free Computer Help Seminars: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 76 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 267 posts. There were 113 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 12th with 84 views. The most popular post that day was A Windows 7 moment….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ifreestores.com, reddit.com, en.wordpress.com, central-united-church.org, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for free computer images, ausable river ontario, computer internet, internet computer, and google chrome video problem.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A Windows 7 moment… May 2010

2

Free Computer and Internet Lessons September 2009

3

Google Chrome Help – VIDEO PROBLEM SOLVED August 2010

4

Fall LineUp for FREE Computer Training Seminars July 2009

5

Canoe the Ausable River, Ontario August 2006
4 comments

Windows 7 – Complete Access

Guest Article:

Control All Functions in Windows 7 with “God Mode”

by Ira Wilsker

God Mode

Take Control

WEBSITES:

While Windows 7 generally works fine as they come from Microsoft with all of the default settings in place, many of us cannot resist tweaking our operating systems. In Windows 7 we can click on START (the orb) and CONTROL PANEL which will display the menu of most of the items that can be tweaked. Alternatively, the user can go directly to “SYSTEM” (START – CONTROL PANEL – SYSTEM) which will open the Control Panel Home where the basic customization functions can be located. For the past several months, geeks have been exchanging information about an undocumented Windows 7 feature. While this feature works very well on Windows 7, some published reports indicated that there have been problems using this feature with Vista. Based on published reports, I cannot recommend that users utilize this function on Vista. This undocumented function will display virtually all of the possible Windows 7 controls and tweaks in one place. Since this single command opens up so much of the innards of the operating system, and gives the user such great control, geekdom has given this control the moniker of “God Mode”. For those who would prefer not to refer to the deity in a Windows function, the user can easily change the name displayed to any name or title of his choosing.

To setup God Mode on the computer, the procedure is very simple. First, right click on an empty spot on the desktop, and go to NEW and then FOLDER (click on FOLDER); this will create a new, empty, generic folder on the desktop. Second, right click on the newly created folder and click on RENAME; in the box displayed, enter the following exactly (it may be manually typed, or pasted):

God-Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

It is here that the user can replace the name “God-Mode” with any other name or title to the left of the “period” if he so chooses. If you prefer to copy-and-paste, all of the links above have the exact string that can be copied and pasted into the name box for the new folder. Once that large string is entered for the name, the generic folder icon will automatically be replaced by the default Windows control panel icon. Now is when the fun really starts.

Clicking on the newly created icon will open up the “God Mode” (or whatever you chose for its name). God Mode offers easy access to 268 tweaks and controls, many of which most users are blissfully unaware that they exist. While none of the selected tweaks are terminal or irreversible, I strongly suggest that the user frequently create a system restore point in case the user wants to restore the computer to an earlier time. In Windows 7, click START – CONTROL PANEL – SYSTEM – SYSTEM PROTECTION – CREATE. Enter a brief description, and the time and date will be automatically appended to the chosen name of the restore point. If the user wants to use God Mode to create a restore point, simply scroll down to SYSTEM and click on “Create a restore point” and click on CREATE. The process is the same as if the same selection was found manually. If the user wants to restore the computer and go back to an earlier point in time, open God Mode and under the “Action Center” heading simply click on “restore your computer to an earlier time”; that will start the system restore process, which will not harm or delete any data files.

The God Mode display shows almost three dozen categories in its menu, each category having a selection of related tasks. Some of the categories include the Action Center, Administrative Tools, Backup and Restore, Date and Time, Default Programs, Device Manager, Devices and Printers, Display, Ease of Access, Fonts, Internet Options, Mouse, Network and Sharing, parental Controls, Personalization, Power Options, Programs and Features, Sound, System, Troubleshooting, Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, and Windows Update, among many others. Each of these categories contains a variety of tasks and tweaks, and by clicking on the task will open it and display whatever information and selections are available.

One of the several critical security functions is the firewall, which controls access to the computer from online sources, and controls which programs can access the internet. To control or access the firewall from God Mode, scroll down to “Windows Firewall” and click on “Check firewall status”. That will open the firewall window, and display the results and user-selectable settings. When finished the window can be closed, or by clicking on the back (left) arrow returns the user to God Mode.

In God Mode under the “System” heading there are 20 selections, including several that allow the user to control system performance, check the RAM in the computer, open the device manager, control the virtual memory, and access other performance related functions. It is much faster to access these System utilities with God Mode than it is to get to the same place manually, plus since all of the functions are laid out in plain sight, other tweaks can be quickly and easily identified.

` Many users never change the default Windows sounds, even though they are totally customizable. From God Mode, scroll to Sound, and select “Change system sounds”. When the “sounds” window opens, clicking on the “Sound Scheme” will show the selection of sound themes available, and give the user the opportunity to select sounds for any Windows function.

Under the heading “Personalization” are 12 tweaks that can be used to manipulate the desktop, change the color scheme or theme, get more free themes online, control the screen saver, and perform several other tasks. Without using God Mode, each of these functions would have to be found and accessed individually, but with God Mode, they all are in one place.

` “Mouse” allows the user to control all aspects of the mouse. The user can easily select the mouse pointer, change other mouse settings, select mouse buttons, and control the appearance of the mouse cursor on screen.

The “Internet Options” heading in God Mode offers the user 14 sets of internet tweaks and controls. Since many of us spend significant time online, some of these tweaks may increase our online satisfaction. It should be noted that the tweaks selected in this category only change Internet Explorer settings, and do not impact other browsers such as Firefox. The user can control pop-ups, cookies, security settings, select search providers, set a homepage (website shown when Internet Explorer is opened), manage browser add-ons, and other browser tasks.

There are about two dozen other categories available in God Mode, and anyone interested in tweaking his computer would find this undocumented feature very valuable. I now use God Mode exclusively to access Windows 7 functions, and have found it very fast, and an easy way to locate whatever tasks I am seeking. It takes almost nothing to set it up, and users will find it very simple to work with. Remember to create frequent restore points (accessible from God Mode), just in case something done is not as expected, so the computer can be restored to an earlier time. With that proviso in mind, enjoy the power (and responsibility) that God Mode provides the user.

Windows 7 – the missing manual REVIEW

Windows 7 the missing manual

"A keeper"

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com
Member of Computer Users’ Groups:
COMP: http://www.bwcomp.org
SCUG: scug.ca

Windows 7
The Missing Manual 2010

By David Pogue
Published by O’Reilly Media Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-596-80639-2
Pages: 887
USA: $39.99 / CDA: $43.99
missingmanuals.com

As a computer user since 1984 and an instructor for the past ten years, I found this book an amazing read. David Pogue’s humor keeps me turning pages and I simply could not put it down. The information on this new operating system herein is an invaluable resource for both the novice and the well seasoned computer user.

This book is packed with so many excellent tips, tricks and general computer knowledge I highly recommend reading it from cover-to-cover. However, most people won’t and that is good too. You can follow along in a systematic manner, or simply use the Table of Contents or the vast 30-page Index to quickly find what you need within the 8 parts and 27 chapters.

The Table of Contents begins with “Getting Started” covers the desktop and start menu and is an excellent place for novice users to begin. This is where you learn how to search the computer, organize files, decorating your Windows screen and most importantly: “getting help”.

Internet Explorer 8 (web browser) and Windows Live Mail (email) are fully explained from setup to tricks and tips that will take you well beyond the average user if you care to go that route. A complete step-by-step for your email setup from sending, reading, calendar syncing, RSS feeds, and the infamous junk mail.

Part Four will interest many these days with the complete guide to pictures, music and TV. The main tops include: Live Photo Gallery, Media Player, Media Center. Part Five takes the pain out of setting up how to Print, Fax, and Scan.  Part Six can save you money. This is aptly named: PC Health, Maintenance and Speed Tweaks. I know that most people don’t backup, but if you do want to change, Chapter 22 takes you through the easy steps in preserving your data for that day when things go bad.

This book is for those who want to not only learn Windows 7, but who do not want to hire an in-home computer tutor. I recommend keeping this book close to your computer for easy reference. For me, it is a great read, packed with information, help, and neat tips and tricks.

Google Bans Windows PCs

Well, they have banned their employees from using any Microsoft operating system claiming they are NOT SAFE TO USE.

The employees can use either Apple or Linux based computers.

Computer World’s, Preston Grala, informs us that “John Pescatore, an analyst at Gartner who specializes in security issues told Computerworld “If [hackers] know that Google uses Macs, then they’ll just target the company with Mac malware.”

My take on this is that Google is flexing its’ tech muscle against a country and keeps its’ citizens repressed and restricted via Internet usage. Google wants to show the world they won’t put up with a hack attack by China or anyone else.

However, isn’t Google coming out with their own operating system that will compete against Micrsoft’s Windows 7? Yes they are.

Hey, would the US Army allow free access for Russian or Chinese agents to check out any files and computers they please? This is what China threatened through Microsoft’s known unsafe systems…

Hey, we all know that any computer can be hacked…It is simply an matter of time.

Personally, I believe Google and so does many security experts who are now stating that:

China hacked Google to steal U.S. industrial secrets

A Windows 7 moment…

CAN’T RUN THAT OLD PROGRAM IN WIN

Oh yes you can…maybe!

See the missing manual series for more

Try this:

Click START an right above in the new search box start typing:
compatibility
until you see “Run programs made for previous versions of Windows”
Press Enter/Return button on your keyboard.

Tip: Right-click to get the wizard: Right-click a program’s icon, or shortcut icon, or even its name in the START menu; from the shortcut menu, choose “Troubleshoot compatibility.”

Answer the questions. You will come to a screen giving you a choice of auto or manual modes:

  1. try recommended settings (means let Windows do its thing)
  2. troubleshoot program (means find out what is wrong yourself)

Work through the question screens. When it is over you get a “Start the program” button to test if the program will run.

If this doesn’t work, return to the troubleshooting wizard and click “Next” for a new round of troubleshooting tests.

Good luck out there…

This is taken from a current review I am working on for OReilly Publishing:
Windows 7
the missing manual

by David Pogue

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