Tag : PC

Clean up that PC! 3 tools to help you out

At some point in your PCs life it is going to get so jam packed with STUFF that you have no choice but to clean house. This is a good thing, because it means your PC is used enough to get a healthy dose of clutter and that some user loves it enough to clean it up. There are a number of tricks you can use to free up storage on your PC and reap the benefits of a faster system. A particularly good place to start is by eradicating duplicate files and folders on your hard drive. Most are surprised to find out how much superfluous data is sitting on their machines. For the average user, these are the top three tools we recommend to help you tackle the junk.

download-Double-killerDoubleKiller – This all-purpose duplicate finder can not only scan folders but your entire hard drive, and even other PCs on your local network. By comparing file names, size, modification date, and even content, the program lets you know what things to get rid of, with your permission of course. You can also exclude files, if you are worried about accidentally being too clean. reports have been made that the infrastructure of the software can be a little tricky. If you get lost, start by adding some folders to scan under the Options tab, then go back to the DoubleKiller tab and click Run. When it has scanned your PC you can decided if you want to delete the files or move them to a new location.

dupeGuru Picture Edition – This tool is all about finding those pesky duplicates in your image folders. Pictures (especially if you are like me and have near 11,000 photos), are one of the top sources for duplicates. As people migrate to new PCs, restore data from back-ups, and extend pictures to the cloud, opportunity for random doubles arise. And I myself do not want to try to find each and every one of them. DupeGuru PE is very easy to use. A simple window appears with options to add folders for scanning. When you’ve decided the folders you would like scanned, just hit Scan and let the master take it away! Literally!

Winmerge – If you have lots of documents or text files this is the tool for you. Winmerge lets you compare two versions of a document, or an entire directory, and then view the actual differences between them on screen. You can choose to merge the text into one preferred document. Winmerge works differently then the other two tools on this list, as it does not search your entire hard drive for you. You have to know that you have two files or directories you’re comparing are similar or earlier versions of each other. This is effective in that you can see the differences and bring the files together into one version. The icons are designed to give the user visual cues to prompt you into understanding how everything works together.

Cheers to more storage!


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit :www.pcworld.com

Should I power down my PC each night?

 

Sure, leave it on…

For one, it is more convenient to keep your machine running. Rather than waiting for it to boot up, most of us would rather leave it on if we are going to be on and off it for work or play. A typical system takes around 30 seconds to a minute to boot into the operating system. If you have a large number of programs that are set to launch on boot this can add an additional minute or two to the startup process. Awakening a device from sleep mode only takes a few seconds and there is no additional wait for applications because they are still running.power down

Benefits of keeping the PC on will depend on your computers hardware. A PC with a solid state drive will take significantly less time to boot up than an equivalent machine with a traditional hard drive. Take this into consideration when determining whether sleep or off if a better resting state for your machine.

The maintenance of a good computer starts with regular updates, most of which are best left to work overnight. A few of these tasks could be installing operating system updates, creating backups, and running virus scans. Big moves of data, such as moving large quantities of photos to the cloud, can be scheduled automatically to occur at night. This ensures that the machine is kept up to date and that the user is not interrupted with update prompts and data moves during the work day.

I think most users keep their machines powered up because they need them to be. Have you ever gotten all the way home only to realize that important document you need to work on is on your work laptop? This can be a major setback if the work machine is powered off and sequentially pieces of software are unreachable. A device left on allows the user to simply log in and reach the work machine remotely from home.

Sure, turn it off…

Simple fact remains true whether you religiously power down your machine each night or not, every component of your machine has a life span. The back light in a monitor can last tens of thousands of hours, laptop battery capacity will shorten within the first 300 charge cycles, and a solid state drive is good for around 3000 program erase cycles. Powering down the device might extend the life of the parts, but most users hit the point of buying an upgraded machine long before they are replacing anything within their original device.

A massive distinction exists in power use between when a computer is active, idle, and sleeping. Turning the monitor off alone saves a significant chunk of power, while putting the machine to sleep saves even more. A computer that is turned off but still plugged in uses around 0.2W of power, for those trying to save money on their electric bill this summer. A computer that is powered down will avoid the risks associated with power surges and cuts associated with summer storms as well. Of course a surge protector will also help alleviate this risk.

power down Machines now don’t rely on constant reboots in order to survive, but reboots improve performance and that hasn’t changed. A reboot is still the most effective way of solving everyday errors that users encounter. If you find yourself with a application that is non responsive, a printer on the fritz, or some other glitchy activity, a simple reboot can make you feel like a technical genius. Turning off the machine at the end of the day allows the system to perform actions that may only occur when the device powers down. For instance, I learned that my MacBook at home performs clean up functions when powering down, such as clearing stored information from my daily web browsing activities. This is one less thing for me to remember to clear as well as gives me a little extra storage space for my machine. Just from a power down.

So…..basically……use common sense. If you use your computer all day at work, often need to remotely access it from home, and regularly update and backup your machine at night, leave the machine running, it has reason to do so. If you go out of town for a week and know that you won’t be needing the machine – power it down and give it a chance to cool down. If you use your machine for Pinterest recipes and Facebook, and don’t mind an occasional update during the day or often go days without accessing the computer at all, keep it powered down when not in use.

 


If you would like to learn more about the information presented in this blog post, please visit : www.makeuseof.com

 

What to do if you suspect Malware? We have the answers

Most often one does not know that they are infected with Malware until it is indefinitely too late. A few signs can lead you too believe you might be infected, such as incredibly slow PC performance, browser pop-ups when no browser is open, and security warnings from security programs that have never been installed on your computer, can make you feel uneasy about your machine. Try these tools to kick Malware in the butt. malware-microsoft

Update Antivirus

The software IDs within antivirus software identify existing malware based on what has come before and the latest updates available. Make sure your antivirus software is current, with all of the latest installs. Having software that is even one day out of date leaves your machine at risk for encryption. Antivirus vendors offer updates based on viruses they encounter both in the lab and in the field.

Find Safe Mode

Most malware, when designed correctly, is ready to evade System Restore points set in Windows. Perhaps this might be enough to fix the problem, but say that its not, as it most likely won’t be, try running a program designed to kill any known malware process in progress, such as RKill. The other option in this case is to boot Windows in a way that will not allow malware to get started, aka Safe Mode. By first restarting your PC (Windows 8 or 10), hold down the shift key during the boot sequence, and choose Safe Mode within the troubleshooting options.

Delete Hiding Places

You should then delete all temp files that could hide malware. To delete temp files, open the Start menu, type Disk Cleanup into the search bar and it will check the C:drive for all temp files that can be safely deleted. The software IDs within antivirus software identify existing malware based on what has come before and the latest updates available. Make sure your antivirus software is current, with all of the latest installs. Having software that is even one day out of date leaves your machine at risk for encryption. Antivirus vendors offer updates based on viruses they encounter both in the lab and in the field. After this process it is advised that you run an antivirus on-demand scanner, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This program is a great line of second defense against malware because it often comes to the rescue if your initial antivirus fails.

No Connection

A RAT, means that someone is remotely accessing your PC. Your first step in this case is to get off the internet. Turn off the Wi-Fi, remove the Ethernet cable, turn off the router, whatever needs to be done in order to detach from the internet. Now, being disconnected from the internet ensures that you are no longer able to be controlled, but it makes it a great deal harder to receive the latest antivirus without access to the internet. The latest software will need to be retrieved from a third party PC, at a different location preferably, then transferred to the RAT PC via USB flash drive. Another option would be to reboot the computer with a CD. Running a full anti-malware utility, these CDs are sometimes called “rescue CD” and can be used without internet connection. Of course, in order to use this option, a CD player will be necessary.

Portable Help

If all other options have failed, it may be the Operating System that has already been infected, making it impossible to even download the newest antivirus software. In order avoid the OS and let the antivirus do its job, you will need to utilize portable apps through a USB flash drive. These portable apps do not require a direct installation. Apps like this consist of Microsoft Safety Scanner, CLamWin, McAfee Stinger, or Kaspersky Security Scan. You can also try a mix of many portable apps since they will not conflict as you have to run each scan individually. There are also other software options such as Spybot and Symantec’s Norton Power Eraser that specifically target a type of malware called crimeware, that run scams. Although this is measure is aggressive, and often times deletes files that might not be malware, all in the effort of safety of course.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: How to Remove Malware From Your PC

Sophos, Did you say.. Free?

You heard right. Sophos is offering free commercial grade security software for users. Sophos free security

Sophos is a security software and hardware company that develops products for encryption, network security, mobile and email security as well as threat management. Although mostly geared toward large enterprise organizations, they haven’t forgot about the security needs of home users.

In addition to their free Sophos Cloud, which can be used in business, commercial, or government organizations, Sophos offers free home protection, a great tool for users. This free version of Sophos Home lets you manage and protect up to ten computers per account. A huge advantage for anyone looking to better protect sensitive data from their home base.

The free security software protects against malicious software and inappropriate websites and viruses. In a world where malware is at the forefront of security concerns, it is best to ensure added protection for all your Mac and PC devices. As an added cherry on top, you can manage security settings for the entire family from any browser.

If you want software that is trusted by IT professionals, we highly recommend trying the new free version of Sophos.

To find out more information about Sophos and sign up for Sophos Home please visit their website:

https://www.sophos.com/en-us/lp/sophos-home.aspx

 

Ransomware

 

Ransomware Malware Ransomware is the devilish and extremely debilitating program designed to lock and encrypt files in order to extort money from consumers, business owners, and even government officials. It seems that no one is safe in the fight against ransomware. Most ransomware programs are targeted at the most popular operating system, Windows. Ransomware programs can and will target other systems such as Android applications, Mac OS X and possibly even smart TVs in the near future. Not only is this an unsettling forecast for consumers, but also a call to action for preventative measures to protect your most important data files.

What can be done? Most users have learned the hard way that it is better to back up sensitive data to an external hard drive. However, this type of malware is tuned in to this. When a ransomware program infiltrates a computer, it infects all accessible drives and shared networks, encrypting all files found. This makes for a very irritating discovery of locked data across the board.

Rather than rely on the external hard drive method for backups, it is suggested that consumers adopt a new best practice. Ensure at least three copies of sensitive data are made, and stored in two different formats. At least one of these copies should be stored off-site or offline. This way if ransomware locks files away consumers are not forced into a sticky situation of deciding whether to risk paying for the data retrieval or losing the data forever.

What to do when faced with ransomware? Not much can be done once ransomware has attacked. Most security researchers advise not paying for files to be unlocked, as there is no guarantee that the hackers will provide the deception key once paid. Security vendors also worry about the implications for fueling the fire. The more consumers give in and pay for the safe return of their data, the further encouraged ransomware criminals become to continue this practice of extortion.

If I haven’t said it enough already, I will say it again. Prevention is key. Know how ransomware reaches your computer. Be especially careful of email attachments, word documents with macro code, and malicious advertisements. Always keep the software on your computer up to date. It is especially important to ensure that OS, browsers such as Flash Player, Adobe Reader, and Java are always updated when available. Unless you have verified the senders, never enable the execution of macros in documents. Finally and most importantly, perform daily activities from a limited user account rather than an administrative one. And always, always, utilize a well running and up to date antivirus program.

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3041001/security/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-ransomware.html

Three Unbelievably Tiny Computers

The market for a device that can easily replace the standard PC has taken a new approach to size. Don’t be fooled, you may be surprised when you find out what is hiding inside these small machines.

Zotac Zbox Sphere

This computer not only breaks the mold in terms of size, but shape. The Zbox is in fact, not a box, but a sphere. Simply twist the circular top and feast your eyes on the interior powerhouse of the computer. The top half of this tiny PC houses an Intel Core i5-42WP 300U motherboard and 4GB of memory. The back panel provides six USB ports, as well as an HDMI and DisplayPort. In addition, the Zbox includes a 802.11ac WiFi module and a spot for an Ethernet cable if preferred. This almost bowling ball like computer packs a serious punch in terms of creativity and power. WP 4

 

 

 

 

Intel Compute Stick

This tiny PC resembles a USB thumb drive, and has stirred massive attention since its release in early 2015. The Intel Compute Stick plugs into any monitWP 5or’s HDMI port, an added bonus for anyone working in tight spaces. Concerned about over heating? Fear not, this tiny machine has a fittingly tiny fan inside, ensuring fast performance without
overheating. Unfortunately the stick does not have an internal battery and thWP 6erefore must run off micro USB power at all times in order to function. What the Intel Compute Stick lacks in battery capabilities it makes up for with a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, with micro SD support for up to 128GB of storage. That’s a lot of power crammed into 4.5 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

Mouse Box

The tiniest computer of the three is cleverly disguised as a computer mouse. The Mouse Box device contains a quad-core 1.4GHz ARM processor, a 128GB solid-state drive, and built-in b/g/n WiFi. The wireless image transfer module allows for easy visual transmitting in addition to the convenient micro HDMI port. The coolest part? Sticking with the mouse motif, the Mouse Box doesn’t need to be plugged in. The inductive charging mat doubles as a mousepad. Although the Mouse Box is not up for public release quite yet, they most certainly have our attention.  WP 8

WP 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.geek.com/chips/the-11-tiniest-most-powerful-computers-your-money-can-buy-1627324/

Review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z

Are you looking for a top rated, middle of the road desktop for your offices? The Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z may be just what you need. With a touch screen 20 inch widescreen monitor at $917 direct, this PC is perfect for your mainline workers — the ones that manage projects, file and search data, or deal with your clients on a day-to-day basis. While less flashy then some other all-in-one PC’s such as the HP Compaq 8200 Elite or the Apple iMac 21.5 inch, it is definitely the biggest bang for your buck.

The desktop will blend seamlessly into your offices and while you should still supply a keyboard and mouse because of the vertical screen, the touch monitor is great for zooming in and out of photos, rotate online interfaces, and use swipe commands on the internet. The screen however isn’t the best for resolution. While still sufficient for clerical and mainline office workers, it’s not going to be ideal for digital artists who use their fingers as digital paintbrushes.

With two USB 2.0 ports, a media card reader, and audio jacks are on the left side; a tray-loading DVD drive on the right side; and a power button, drive light, and +/- on screen controls (brightness, etc.) on the front. The system’s forward-firing speakers are below the screen on the front panel as well. In the back, there are four more USB 2.0 ports, a standard 3-pin power jack, Ethernet, serial port (for older peripherals like bar code scanners), a Display Port-out port, a Kensington lock port, and a handle. The handle and power jack make things easier for your IT workers: the handle makes the system easy to transport, and the standard power port means that you don’t have to keep track of external power supplies (aka power bricks): you can just use the standard power cables used by tower desktops. If you have a 802.11 b/g/n wireless network, the M71z will connect to it easily. It would’ve been nice to see a Display Port-in or HDMI-in port, so you can reuse the M71z’s monitor with a future laptop or desktop when the M71z’s internal finally become too slow, but the DisplayPort-out is still useful. The DisplayPort-out port lets you use the system in a dual-monitor setup.

Performance wise the ThinkCentre M71z is very good as well—the ThinkCentre M71z’s 2,134 points on PCMark 7 beats the EC winning HP TouchSmart 320-1030 ($699.99 list), which got a lower 1,825 point score. The recently reviewed HP Compaq 8200 Elite and not so recently reviewed iMac 21.5-inch (Thunderbolt) are both quite a bit faster than these systems, but then again both the HP and iMac are significantly over $1,000.

The combination of price, capabilities, and corporate credibility earn the Thinkcentre M71z our Editors’ Choice award for all-in-one business desktops. Its features, performance, and price are excellent. This is the system we’d buy if we were outfitting an office with clerical level desktop PCs.

OnLive Desktop – Windows Desktop Access on an iPad

Windows on an iPad? Want access to Microsoft Office application on your iPad? With OnLive Desktop you will have access to a Windows7 Cloud desktop. This service allows you to have access to a Windows 7 desktop machine with Office pre-installed, a file storage center with 2gb of free storage space. What’s cool is that you can access your OnLive Desktop account through a web browser if you want to download or upload files for editing or review on the iPad or your main computing system. You will have to get used to the Windows keyboard versus the iPad keyboard when you’re using this app.

To see a demo check out this link http://desktop.onlive.com/

To use OnLive Desktop you will first have to create an account. There are several service accounts available however you will receive 2GB of cloud storage for free just for signing up for the service.

Features:
• PC Microsoft Office with 2GB cloud storage Free
• Full-featured document viewing and editing programs
• Easily transfer files between OnLive Desktop and other devices

Beefy Thin Client-HP Compaq 8200

bva is doing more and more VDI installations within the small to medium size businesses.  The request for having sessions that have many screens is one of the main requests that we get with is always an interesting request.  Some of the common requests that bva gets in the experience are as followed:

  • speed
  • stability
  • remote capabilities outside of the network/LAN
  • multiple monitors (2, 3, and 4 monitors)
  • having minimal latency issues
  • having no data on

There are many great thin clients out there that can handle two monitors without issue but when you go to more that 2 monitors the cheaper units create an issue. The graphics card in the cheaper units (base model) cannot handle the multiple monitors over 2 screens.  bva likes Wyse terminals and all the HP terminals.  For environments where you need a little more power and need up to 4 monitors, bva would recommend the HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-slim PC.  Its about $500 which is a little more expensive then the base models ($178) but the experience is well work the investment.