Archive for December, 2008

Secondary email addresses

7 December 2008

Welcome to Computing Matters 10 – Secondary email addresses

Republished from October 2008

Many computer users only have one email address with one provider. This newsletter is aimed to get you thinking about setting up a backup secondary email address with a different provider.

Having a backup email address will not cost anything and can prove to be very useful.

Sometimes I find myself unable to email certain people from my email account. Reasons for this have been temporary glitches with my email provider, or even longer term issues where my email provider is rejected by some company firewalls. In situations like this, a secondary email address is useful to use either at certain times or with certain contacts.

The Converse is also true. Sometimes your contacts will be unable to email you at your regular email address (perhaps since their own provider has been “black listed” by your provider). In such a case, they may find it easier to email you with a secondary address.

Two examples of secondary email addresses are Google Mail and Hotmail. There are of course many other free email addresses available out there!

So, for example, although my principle email address is gabriel at friedman.co.uk, I also have gabrielfriedman at gmail.com and gabrielfriedman at hotmail.com. Of the two, I recommend Google Mail – http://www.gmail.com which even offers free pop access – this means you can set it to come into outlook automatically with all your other emails. Googlemail offers great storage capacity and a useful email grouping facility. Other features such an online calendar and access to online tools such as an online word processor and spreadsheet (called “Google Docs”) are also available at no cost. If your principal address is already Google Mail, then hotmail will make an excellent secondary email address.

If you are still reliant on your broadband ISP (internet Service Provider) for your principle email address (e.g. you have a bt, tiscali, orange, blue yonder, virgin etc. related email address), please consider changing your principle address and slowly wean yourself away from the ISP email address. The reason for this is to avoid independence on a broadband ISP for your email – if you decide to leave them to try another ISP, or if you leave the country to another (where, most likely, the ISP do not operate), then you will lose the email address. So Best to setup a second email address and receive both for a year until on your contacts are aware of the new email address and you are no longer tied to one ISP.

I hope you find this newsletter useful. Hopefully it will help make your day to day practical computing easier.

saving money on telephone calls and your broadband connection

7 December 2008

Welcome to Computing Matter 9

saving money on telephone calls and your broadband connection

Republished newsletter from Aug 2008

I hope you are enjoying the summer! With the summer headlines focusing on credit crunch, I will focus some of my forthcoming newsletters to money saving techniques.

A big way to cut down monthly costs is to look at your broadband and telephone bills. A lot of people are still paying over £25 a month for a home broadband connection. These days, this is too much!

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/search/package/basic.html

About a year ago, I changed ISP from my old favourite Nildram, to TalkTalk. Two years ago, I would never have recommended such a move to TalkTalk, but I now feel that they are coping well with their service.

It’s all about saving money – approximately £20 per month!

Assuming that you are getting Internet through a BT line, many of you will be paying approximately £15 per month to BT for line rental and approx £25 per month for broadband. That is at least £40 per month for both. TalkTalk offer their equivalent for £16.39 – line rental and broadband all in one bill. They have a second package costing £20.99 a month for line rental + broadband + free calls to landlines in UK and in 36 international destinations day and night. Both these prices are currently discounted!

Have a look at: talktalk

I personally went for the £20.99 per month package and I am very happy, aside from the fact that they broadband is much faster than what I had with very liberal download limits of 40GB per month. Also, my broadband speed increased from 2Mbps to 5Mbps.

So switching to TalkTalk can save you at least £240 a year. It will save even more if you make landlines calls to countries including the UK and most of Europe, USA and Australia. With the Global Anytime package, you can make calls to all these landlines in these countries completely free (limited to 70 minutes a call).

The free call list is limited to 36 countries. Check out the column for the free calls titled “Talk Global Anytime”

TalkTalk also offer all the services that BT offer for a small fee e.g. caller display and 3-way calling. The only downside is services like 1899 and 1815 and 18866 will only work if you use their 0208 access number or you could use 0845 access numbers to call mobiles abroad.

Alternative access numbers to make cheap calls abroad can be found using the following site for a database of access numbers:

http://callchecker.moneysavingexpert.com/intcallchecker/

Signing up to TalkTalk takes 10 minutes online. You need bank account details and they will do the rest including terminating your existing broadband service. There should be no downtime (except on the day of the switchover when you need to update the username and password on your router) and if you like I will be happy to guide you through the process over the phone. Just send me an email to arrange this.

PS. Another ISP recommended to me is Plusnet.

Best wishes and enjoy cheaper phone calls and cheaper broadband connectivity!

backing up Outlook

7 December 2008

Welcome to Computing Matters 8 – backing up Outlook

Republished newsletter from July 2008

Apple Mac update: Recently, I have been working more and more on Macs and am now in a position to support them with skills growing almost daily. For the time being, my newsletters will remain PC focused.

Backing up emails on Outlook is something very few people do correctly, yet it is so crucial.

Outlook is not just a full collection of emails – it also contains valuable contact information, your diary and notes. Other custom features may include custom signatures, custom dictionaries, templates, user settings and preferences.

One easy way to backup the contacts, calendar and notes is with to synchronise with your phone. However, this is not always reliable and does not effectively backup all emails and settings.

The most effective way to backup outlook at no cost (see below) is to use the “Export” function in outlook. To see this procedure, see the bottom of this email. Once you export the outlook information, you can use an online backup like Carbonite (see link below) to effectively “backup the backup”. The biggest problem with this method is that it is not automated.

When it comes to computers, automation is always the most desirable way forward.

The best and easiest solution is to use a third party software specially designed to do the job properly and at scheduled times.

An excellent product to try out is Genie backup manager which can be used to backup Outlook and/or Outlook Express and a number of other things in Windows. (Note that is the past I recommended Outback Plus and if you are using this it is fine).

Genie Backup Manger (Home) is free for a 30-day trial and then purchase it for a one-off fee of approx £35+vat.

If you use carbonite, there is no need to download the disaster recovery option, but please ensure you are making a “remote backup or your backup”! This is the most secure way to avoid disaster.

Good luck backing up Outlook properly – this is REALLY important.

I have seen how painful it is to lose emails, contacts or even Internet Explorer favourites (all the programs above backup the Internet Explorer Favourites).

Once you have successfully backed up Outlook (I suggest doing this at least weekly), you should then effectively back this backup remotely. Try Carbonite for a month for free.
Addenda

Stages to backing up Outlook manually

(a) Click “File” menu in Outlook,

(b) Select “Export to File”

(c) Click “Import and Export”

(d) Select “Personal Folder File (.pst)”

(e) Choose what you want to backup e.g. click on “Personal Folders” and tick option to “include subfolders” to backup everything

(f) Click “Next” and give the backup an appropriate name e.g. “Outlook backup 15 July 2008” and decide where you want to backup the file to e.g. “C:Outlook backups”

(g) Click “Finish”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this website are my own.
Feel free to contact me for any professional advice related to you specifically.

Email maintenance

7 December 2008

Welcome to Computing Matters 6 – Email maintenance

Republished newsletter from February 2008.

Please forgive me for not being emailing in January 2008 – it was a busy month for me.

My colleagues and I have also launched a new venture after more than two years of planning and development. www.urgoing.to is a site for any person who arranges an event or gathering requiring payment for tickets. It can be for a charity party, a weekend away or a cookery class. This site allows you to sell tickets and collect payment to your PayPal account and it takes just 5 minutes to post an event on the site. In addition to this, it is completely free, so if you know anyone arranging an event this year, please pass on this web address! www.urgoing.to

The New Year is always a good time to do some email archiving. This is really important if you use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.

The more emails you store, the more likely they are susceptible to cause problems.
For example: Outlook 2003 has a maximum acceptable file size of 1.8GB. After it reaches this size (without any warning), emails will simply stop coming in! I had to deal with this issue as many as ten times in 2007. In my work I come across many corrupt outlooks which could have been avoided with some routine maintenance (regular email backups also help and I will talk about this another time).

How to routinely maintain Outlook (or Outlook Express / Windows Mail) – two solutions:

1. Delete large emails from 2008
Firstly, order all your emails by size and delete all emails over 1MB that you really do not need. Most of these will be attachments and many will be jokes. If you really want to keep them, consider saving them to “My Documents”. If you have more time, look at all emails over 500K also. Also, please remember to check your sent items. If you send five emails with the same content to five different recipients, do you need to keep all five?

Once you have deleted all large emails, it is crucial to compact the email program. In Outlook, you right click on “Personal Folders” on the left hand side of the screen, then click on “properties”, then “advanced” and finally click on “compact now” (note that this could take a few hours but you can always stop and start another time).

2. Archive all 2008 emails
Create a new outlook file (known as a pst) and I call it Outlook 200x. Within this, I create an “inbox archive 200x” and a “sent items archive 200x”. I then drag all emails (month by month) to the relevant folder. This can take some time. Finally it is essential to compact the original pst as described above. I personally carry out this method, but day to day, I am very harsh wist the emails I choose to keep in Outlook.

I hope this concept has not been too technical. You can of course call me for advice or to manually archive your emails for you. I cannot stress how important this is to keep your Outlook healthy.

Dealing with Spam

7 December 2008

Welcome to Computing Matters 5 – Dealing with Spam

republishing old newsletter from October 2007

Welcome to Computing Matters 5 in which I will briefly cover the growing nuisance issue of spam. If you find this newsletter useful, please see link below to make a donation to Norwood.

Spam is almost unavoidable and we all suffer from this infliction! As an email address becomes publicly known by your contacts and by websites, however careful you are, you will start to receive spam or junk mail.

Spam emails should not be confused with newsletter emails like this one. Newsletters from genuine sources can easily be unsubscribed from by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom or by replying with “unsubscribe” in the subject. However, there are rouge newsletter emails that are effectively spam and spotting the difference is sometimes a challenge. Genuine newsletters will generally come from a known source or service you have used.

In my opinion, most spam results from either rouge websites collecting your email address and using this data inappropriately or from friends sending out “friendly” emails to a large group of people. These emails get forwarded on and on until it reached a spammer who then takes 1000 email addresses from one email! So please encourage your friends to use the BCC field when sending out group emails, as discussed in the second edition of Computing Matters.

The most effective way to avoid spam completely is actually to change your email address! However, this poses the inconvenience of notifying your contacts and updating all sorts of website records. Most of us would not be prepared to go through the work of doing this.

For those of you who use Outlook or Outlook Express or the Vista Windows Mail, an effective solution to trapping spam is to use a spam filter like Cloudmark which I find to be very effective. Cloudmark will work in conjunction with (but substantially more effectively then) the built-in junk mail filter that Outlook 2003/07 and Windows Mail.

Try Cloudmark free for two weeks

If you own your own domain name – make sure you are not receiving what is known as a “catch all”. For example, I own the friedman.co.uk domain, but if you try to email info at friedman.co.uk the email will bounce back since the address does not exist. For some people however, even though the address does not exist, if they have a “catch all” switched on, they will still get the email.

There are also website services that can be used to prevent spam. They work by intercepting any person who sends you an email with an “auto response” asking the person to click a link to establish that they are genuine…however, I personally think these are too intrusive and will not be recommending any in this newsletter.

The Possible Dangers of WiFi

7 December 2008

Welcome to Computing Matters 4 – The Possible Dangers of WiFi

Lately there has been a lot of controversy regarding the safety of WiFi (wireless internet). In particular, a Panorama programme around spring 2007 raised some concerns. As a result, many of my clients have asked for me for my opinion on the matter and the bottom line is that I really do not know whether WiFi is dangerous or not. I don’t think anyone knows for sure.

I have personally felt and understood that WiFi is similar to radio waves which none of us can avoid. I am not certain that is can be compared to the rays emitted from a mobile phone.

Here is an interesting clip which mainly criticises the Panorama programme in question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flKosgr8IN4

Like most of my clients, I personally have WiFi at home, which is constantly on and am presently not concerned about it. However, if I had growing children at home, I may rethink this since children’s skulls are not fully formed. I certainly do feel that a wireless broadband router kept in a bedroom is not sensible.

Indeed, some of my clients do turn of their router at night and I cannot see a problem with that (other than possible damage to the router from constant turning off and on).

One excellent solution to avoid having WiFi at home is to use something called a “Homeplug”. This will transmit broadband through your home or office electricity supply (only works in UK) and will network computers at very fast speeds of up to 200Mbps. In fact homeplug is fantastic for those of you with WiFi “deadspots”.

Have a look at: Zyxel PowerLine HomePlug

This kit will cater for one computer. One will connect to your router and the other will connect to a computer. Any further kits purchased will cater for a further two computers. It can also be used for a network printer.

Whatever you decide to do with WiFi in your own home, it will be difficult escaping WiFi from other neighbours in your street. I am sure more will come to light about this matter in due course – as I am sure will be the case with mobile phones.

Things for free

7 December 2008

Computing Matters 3 – Things for free

Republishing an ild newsletter from Aug 2007

Welcome to my third newsletter, now titled “Computing Matters”. In this newsletter I will cover Things for Free.

Well, believe it or not there are things for free on the internet. And good things! Here are four sites to look at:

1. File Hippo
Lots of free software on one website!

This is a website is a compilation of all sorts of useful free software to download. I tend to visit file hippo several times a week to find out what new versions are released such as Acrobat Reader 9 and itunes 8.2.

The main thing I recommend downloading and installing from this site is AVG antivirus (or Avira AntiVir). Both these are completely free antivirus products and work excellently.

Incidentally, in a PC professional magazine this month, AVG got a rating of 83% effectiveness in comparison to 78% for McAfee and 68% for Norton. Avira AntiVir actually got 92% but I still prefer the way AVG works!

Based on years of experience, I always feel that if you have Norton antivirus installed on your computer, one of the best things I personally think you can do for your computer is to uninstall it! It has an amazing tendency to spread its paws all over a system, causing it to be slower with frequent crashing.

Note: never run two anti viruses on one computer. This could lead to constant crashing!

2. Foldershare soon to be called Windows Live Sync
Sharing documents with others

A great free service from Microsoft allowing you to keep the same documents synchronised on two or more computers. I recently ran a business with three others and we used this to maintain a special “my documents” folder between the three of us. If one person added, deleted or changed a document, regardless of where we were in the world, the other two would then see the same changes on their own computer very soon after.

3. Speed testing your broadband connection – How fast is your internet connection?

Today, at a client, we investigated the speed he was getting for broadband. This site does a great graphical job of estimating those speeds…give it a try!

If you are getting only a speed of 512k, then you should call up your internet service provider. Many will now upgrade you to speeds of 2MB or even up to 8MB free of charge!

Finally I received an email of a very amusing clip trying to educate us on fraudsters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=372Ah0Z_L1w
Enjoy and spread the word!

I hope you enjoyed this edition – I hope to over another “things for free” email in a few months time. In the meantime, I will be covering issues like spam, spyware, wifi, outlook backup, domain names, changing internet service provider.

the “bcc” field and “paranoia emails”

7 December 2008

Computer Matters Newsletter 2 – the “bcc” field and “paranoia emails”

Republishing an old newsletter from July 2007:

I hope all is well and welcome to my second newsletter. At the bottom of this email, you will find an update on my attempt to raise some charity.

Please also note that I will now be in London for the month of July and most of August, so I am happy to hear from you if your computers need any attention!

In this letter I will briefly cover the use of the “Bcc” field in Outlook and why this is so important. So what is this Bcc? Does it have anything to do with the BBC?

If you open up a new email in Outlook, you should see at the top of the email three “fields”. At the very top is the “To” field, followed by the “Cc” field followed by the “Bcc” field. You should also see a Bcc in other email programs like hotmail, gmail and Outlook Express.

Note: On some versions of Outlook, you may not see the Bcc field, especially if you use word as an editor. If the “Bcc” is missing in your Outlook, please feel free to email me.

The “To” field is obvious – we use it all the time to dictate who we want to send the email to. So what is the purpose of “Cc” and “Bcc”?

Well, “Cc” stands for “Carbon Copy” and “Bcc” stands for “Blind carbon copy” and has nothing to do with the BBC. The former field just means that everyone listed in “Cc” will know “they are being copied in” but it is more for their reference than for them to action something. The email was really sent to the person mention in the “To” field.

The “Bcc” is far more interesting – anyone listed in this field will not be revealed as a recipient of the email. Only the email addresses of people listed in the “To” or “Cc” fields will be known.

So, for example: If I send Fred an email AND I “Cc”: Janet AND I also “Bcc”: George; Mary; Peter

Then:

(a) Fred sees the email and knows I copied Janet in. But Fred does not know three other people have been sent the email.
(b) Janet sees the email and knows I sent the email to Fred and copied her in. But Janet does not know three other people have been sent the email.
(c) George, Mary and Peter all see the email and know I sent it to Fred and copied Janet. They should also know that they were “secretly” blind copied in to the email, but they do not know that others were also secretly blind copied in to the email.

I hope that makes sense and you like my originality in my use of names – it really took me a while to think them up.

So, when would using “Bcc” be useful?

There are SO MANY examples!!!!! Two that spring to mind are:

1. If you write an email to someone and want to reference other people – BUT you really do not want the main recipient of the email to know that I am copying other people in.
2. If you want to send a group email and you want to protect the precious list of all your contacts.

I cannot begin to stress how important point 2 is. How many times have you received what I call a “paranoia” email? How many times have you forwarded one on to all your contacts?

For example: the dangers of filling up petrol at a petrol station, or Osama Bin-Laden is going to appear on your computer in a week deleting all your emails, or Bill Gates will send you and all your mates a box of champagne if you forward this email on……

99% of these emails are fakes. If you copy and paste a line of such an email in to google, you will often find websites confirming they are fake. They are just designed by spammers and crazy folk to spread fear quickly through cyberspace.

Why do people do this? Possibly because it gives them a kick to do so, like some people enjoy vandalism and graffiti. Or possibly because spammers are rubbing their hands together with glee when they get forwarded an email with 300 legitimate email addresses revealed.

I have personally saved well over 1000 email addresses of people I do not know from these types of emails….just in case I decide to become a spammer :>)

So, if you do come across an email that you truly want to forward on (after checking in google that is it not a hoax), then please, please, please start making good use of the “Bcc” field and then at least recipients of your generously forwarded message will rest assured that their precious email address is not being forwarded on to the whole world.

Online backup

7 December 2008

Computer Matters Newsletter 1 – Online backup

Taken from my first newsletter back in May 2007

As always, I hope all is well. Here is my first newsletter as promised….I hope you find it useful.

When trying to decide what to write about in this first newsletter, it was a very easy decision. Backup is key for anyone with a computer and it is a lack of backups that cause the most distress after a computer disaster or theft.

Computers can be repaired or replaced. Data cannot. Without proper backup, there is a risk of losing all those photos, that music collection, personal and business documents and all those emails you have.

In my opinion, any form of backup is a good start and already keeps you a step ahead of many computer users. However, any “off-site” backup is getting you in the right direction – since “on-site” backups can be stolen, lost or damaged e.g. by fire.

Furthermore, the more regularly you backup the better. If you diarise to do something weekly and you stick to it – it’s a good start, daily is even better. Automated backups (reliable ones) are truly the way forward….I say “reliable” since many automated schedulers are not reliable and just do not take place.

Another issue to consider is security. Making a backup is one thing, but if it is not secure, one does not want it to get in to the wrong hands.

To suffice all these requirements, online backup is really the best way forward for most users. It is automated, it is off-site and it is secure.

Just as an aside, even as I write this email in word, I am clicking “save” on every paragraph – it is just good practice. If I was working on a desktop and there was a sudden power-cut, there is no guarantee of document recovery even with the “auto-save” features in word.

In this email I will write briefly about storage capacities, summarise different forms of backup and end of with two recommendations for online backup services that you could setup immediately.

Storage capacities: These are measured in bytes, kilobytes (KB), megabytes(MB), gigabytes(GB), or even terabytes.

Examples of storage requirements:

1. Word/Excel/pdf documents take up anything from 10KB and up depending on its content. Documents with photos will always take a higher capacity. Most of my documents are around 50KB in size. I have personally amassed 2,200 in “my documents” taking up approx 700MB of space

2. Music mp3 files – the average song recorded at a good sound quality, is about 1MB per minute. So a music 70 minute album in mp3 format is typically around 70MB. Following this though, 10 albums will be around 700MB and 100 albums will be 7GB.

3. Photos – a good quality photo is about 1MB, I personally have now amassed approx 10,000 photos taking up approx 10GB

4. Emails – users of outlook can have emails from 10MB rising to 2GB or more. I try to keep my outlook files at under 200MB by using archiving techniques. I will cover issues regarding Outlook such as archiving proper backup in other newsletters.

There are many ways to backup, such as using: –

(a) “usb key” also called a “usb flash drive”, “usb drive” or “disk on key”
available storage range from small capacities like 128MB – 8GB and growing!
The usb flash drive is the modern replacement to the floppy drive, with greater storage and improved reliability and portability. In fact, you will generally not be able to buy a computer with a floppy disk drive any more….so if you still have stuff on floppies, it is time to transfer them to a USB drive.

These are easy to use – when you plug them in, they just appear as an additional drive like a “D” drive in “My Computer”. You then just drag files to the relevant drive in explorer or save any file to the drive. They are also very portable – I carry one often in my pocket.

The downsides are: they are easy to lose (I have lost one), they can break (I have seen that happen) and data on them can be lost or stolen (I have heard of this also – it was stolen with a laptop). Encryption solutions are available, but not as standard.

This is certainly not a practical solution to serious backup but an excellent way to transfer files around.

(b) DVD storage 8GB and increasing / CD storage – 740MB
Update 2008: Blueray is now entering the arena with storage capacities as high as 50GB!

DVD storage is quite reliable and the storage capacity is cheap per GB. If you use a “writeable only” DVD, the data cannot be tampered with and should last a lifetime.

Downsides: Writing to a DVD generally requires a little more expertise and a special program, a DVD write process can go wrong or be disturbed, it is time consuming to check that a write was 100% successful, DVD’s can be broken, DVD’s with scratches are harder to read and some drives have trouble with certain DVD’s. Writing a DVD can be very slow. DVD’s can be broken in half. It is not really possible to efficiently use DVD’s for automated backup. Data stored on a DVD is generally not secure i.e. accessible to anyone who looks at the DVD.

Upsides: DVD’s can easily be stored off-site. Data on a dvd is usually safe.

(c) External Hard Disk – storage anything from 40GB – 1000GB and growing

This is the fasted form of backup and can be automated reliably.

The biggest downsides are that this is not an off-site backup, it is not generally secure and hard disks can break-down.

(d) Online backup – storage for any capacity but realistically under 40GB at present

As I have already made clear, this is my favourite form of backup which has taken off big time since the advent of broadband. It is automated, secure and off-site. It is also generally very easy to use once set-up.

The biggest downside I can think of is that the very first backup can take a long time….perhaps 2GB every 24 hours depending on your broadband connection. However, once the initial backup is complete, future backups are incremental and will always take less time. Also, if you often tend to use GPRS while travelling to connect to broadband (i.e. you pay for every bit of data you send and receive) then any online backup can be very costly with this type of connection. The solution is simply to turn the online backup off when travelling.

There are two services I have experience with and I use them both for different reasons.

Depositit

This is an excellent solution for a business and they email you every time a successful backup is made. You can also store multiple cycles of data (e.g. 30 days of different backups of your documents, so that you can restore previous versions). They are a UK based company also.

Of course, deposit is secure and automated.

The downside is that it can get “quite” costly if you backup more than about 7GB of data (compressed) then prices start to go up and up. I say “quite” since in relative costs, it is cheap for the peace of mind and the service….starting cost of just £120+vat for 4GB storage (compressed), it is worth every penny to backup documents…which exactly what I do with my 700MB of documents. Also, you can use once licence on more than one computer.

Carbonite

An American company offering a very cheap home solution for up to 40GB of storage….at only $90 (£45) for two years! They do not have prices increases for increased use of storage, so your fee with them is fixed. It is completely automated, secure and extremely easy to use. You can even use the link above for a free 14-day trial to see how easy it is.

Downsides: they do not email you when a backup is complete and it is not possible to store multiple cycles of a backup. So this is not an effective business backup solution on its own. It is just limited to one computer, so for more than one computer you will need to pay another whopping $90 for two years.

Because Carbonite is so incredibly cheap, I use them to backup almost everything on my computer including the 10GB of photos and all my music.

Carbonite works very well in conjunction with Depositit, so my recommendation is to setup both and use the latter for “My documents” without any music or photos and then use Carbonite for the rest. However, if cost is an issue, start with Carbonite.

The bottom line is that if you have not got an automated off-site backup, please set one up now – it will take 10-15 minutes of your time and it is worth it just for the feeling of knowing that your data and precious photos are safe.

Feel free to checkout my websites:
http://www.urgoing.to
http://www.friedman.co.uk

Boost your Windows PC

7 December 2008

Boost your Windows PC – Tip number 2

Turn off or reschedule unnecessary scans

If your computer anti virus is set to scan daily at for example midday, then for two hours or so it will run very sluggishly while every single file on the system is being scanned!

If you consider yourself to be low risk to viruses, then just turn off daily scanning!

So long as your anti virus is still running in the background (and shows and icon near the time on the bottom right hand side), then your computer should have adequate protection.

Otherwise, reschedule the scan for a time when you are not on the computer.

Windows Vista comes with an anti spyware program called “Defender” which is set to scan your computer daily. I personally think that Windows Defender is useless, hardly catching any of difficult spyware and so I always turn it off completely.

To turn off defender in Vista, simply:

click “Start” and type “Defender”
then click on “Windows Defender” at the top
click “Tools” at the top
click “Options”
scroll down to the bottom and look for “Administrator Options”
un-tick “use windows defender”
click “save” and “ok” to any warning

If you decide to turn this off, please scan your computer regularly with a more effective anti-spyware program. For recommendations, see the useful links section.