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

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Fall LineUp for FREE Computer Training Seminars

FREE COMPUTER & INTERNET TRAINING

By Gregory West

This is our 3rd. season for our Basic Computer and Internet Training Seminars. It is a FREE program open to the public.

Free Computer / Internet TrainingFree Computer / Internet Training

The only catch is that you can bring one canned goods product for a donation to the Sarnia Food Bank.

Here is our proposed lineup and it is numbers by the weeks of the presenation order.

I am looking for suggestions and comments so PLEASE email me: prospector16@gmail.com (Greg West)

Getting Started with Your Computer…and then some!

1: Buying a Computer.

– what to look out for
– what kinds are good ones
– what stores are better and safer
– is that low price really a good deal
– what do you need inside your computer
– how much should I spend

2: Setting Up Your Computer.

– add password
– additional users
– set time & date
– set screen size
– turn off computer

3: Getting around the Windows Desktop.

– taskbar
– quick launch bar
– recycle bin
– desktop shortcuts
– change desktop picture
– start button/menu
– arrange desktop icons (R-click)
– recycle bin
– find a file with Win Explorer
– start a program
– switch between programs
– resize a window close a program
– how to remove USB devices

4: Customizing Windows.

– change desktop background
– choose a desktop theme
– set up a screen saver
– change mouse behavior
– uninstall an application

5: Working with Files and Folders.

– understand how Windows organizes data
– find and open files
– choose a file or folder view
– create new folder
– rename folder
– search for a file
– add file to favourite list (open windows by Right click START and choosing EXPLORE
– back up – USB, CD, DVD

6: Working with Printers, Scanners, and Fax Machines.

– invite guest from Data Tek or Staples to demonstrate

7: Getting FREE Help

http://support.microsoft.com/windowsvista
– forums
– using search engines such as google & bing

8: Creating Documents with Works Word Processor.

doc = documents
– open new documents – enter & edit text
– save a doc
– open existing doc
– cut copy paste text
– format text
– add photo or graphic
– resize objects
– spell check
– print a doc
– types of text file such as rich text etc.

9: Work with Numbers and Finances.

– spreadsheet – guest speaker
– online banking – guest speaker from a bank
– online investing – as above
– pay bills online – my wife

10: Get the Most from Movies and Digital Photos.

– Windows Media Player
– Windows Photo Gallery
– Googleʼs Picasa
– Windows Movie Maker
– play movies with Windows Media Player
– upload photos from digital camera
– view digital image in Windows Photo Gallery
– add tags to photos
– play a slide show with Windows Photo Gallery
– fix photos
– burn photos to CD

11: Listening to & Downloading (recording) Music and more…

– iTunes
– Windows Media Player
– create Windows Media Player Playlist
– burn CD music
– buying music online
– playing online Radio Stations & Podcasts & TV

12: Playing Games in Windows Vista.

I am not a game player. I am sure we can get a few people to help demonstrate some of the computer games they like to play. We can show how to find FREE games, how to play games on the Internet against other people around the world in live sessions. And of course we can set a general discussion and live demonstration.

Exploring the Internet

13: Understanding Internet Basics.

– explain the Internet
– different types of connections & speeds
– navigate the web: enter click on blue E show back and forth
– tabbed browsing etc.
– popups
– setup a home page with tabs
– secure surfing and online safety

14: Browsing the Web with Internet Explorer & FireFox

– add website to favourites
– change website name in favourites
– organize favourites
– customize Internet Explorer Toolbar
– download files and save to hard drive doc
– printing web pages
– playing podcasts
– finding podcasts
– cookies
– privacy settings
– enable content advisor

15: Keeping in Touch with E-Mail.

– set up an account
– set up Windows Mail
– Windows Mail and inbox
– manage email accounts
– create and send email
– send an attachment
– read a message
– reply to and forward email
– create and add signature
– format email messages
– add contacts
– customize Windows Mail
– create message folders
– organize messages in folders
– create mail rules
– spam

16: Connecting with People Online.

– Skype phone calling free phone calling between computers anywhere on
 the planet
– instant messaging what is it and how does it work
– use a webcam (it is really easy honestly)
– Magic Jack phone via computer
– Blogs and their many uses
– explore virtual worlds – secondlife.com madwolfsw.com
– find people with common interests
– playing games on the Internet live with other people for free

Taking Care of Your Computer.

17: Protecting Windows Computers.

– cleaning inside and out and save yourself lots of money
– FREE virus protection that really works
– spyware
– adware
– malware
– Windows Defender included in Vista
– update patches Microsoft automatically
– run Windows Update
– enable Windows firewall
– run Windows Defender scan
– full scan, quick scan and custom scans

18: Maintaining Windows.

– defrag
– free up disk space
– delete cookies using IE
– set reminder for maintenance tasks
back up important files

PLEASE HELP ME OUT HERE:

IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, IDEAS, WANTS, OR NEEDS WITH YOUR COMPUTERING TASKS PLEASE LET ME KNOW VIA EMAIL TO: prospector16@gmail.com

WE WILL BEGIN THESE FREE SEMINARS AT CENTRAL UNITED CHURCH THIS COMING FALL. LAST TWO YEARS WE RAN THESE SEMINARS EACH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. NOT SURE OF THE TIME AND DATE THIS SEASON – IT WILL BE POSTED IN EMAILS AND ON THE CHURCH WEBSITE www.centralunitedsarnia.ca

OF COURSE ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO HELP ME OUT WITH THE MEETINGS AND PLANNING IDEAS FOR OUR SEMINARS CAN CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL. I NEVER TURN DOWN HELP :-)

Note: Outline for this came from Computers For Seniors For Dummies as a guideline
 reference.