All-in-One Desktop PC Becoming the New Standard with Windows 8

all-in-one-pc-windows8 After years of being the “weird kid on the block”, the All-in-One desktop PC is now becoming mainstream with the release of Windows 8. With the touch screen capability of the new Windows, these PC’s are now attractive. People seem to like their similar look and feel to tablet PC’s.

The advance of the technology has made this form of computer more realistic and reliable than ever before. When they first came out years ago, they were clunky, slow and unreliable. They would overheat because of the cramped space inside and require lots of visits to the computer repair shop. Ultimately they all died a quick death. With today’s cool running, yet powerful processors from Intel and AMD, the PC’s no longer have heat issues. [Read more…]

Top 10 Windows Computer Services You Can Disable for a Faster PC or Laptop

Speed Up Your PC or LaptopWant a faster PC or Laptop? Faster startup times and smoother performance? Did you ever wonder about all those background programs running on your PC? Do you need all these running all the time? Here are some tips to help you.

Windows has a core set of programs, called “system services” that must run in the background so that the system can perform basic operations. However, you may not need to have all the services running, and disabling unnecessary services can enhance performance.

Here is a list of 10 services you can disable on your Windows 7 systems that will probably not negatively affect you at all. I say “probably” for a reason. Before you take drastic action, such as disabling a service on your PC, make sure you don’t need the service. This is not a definitive list of unneeded services, just some obvious ones.

Test your changes and undo them if you have problems. Create a System Restore point before making any changes, so you can undo them if you get into trouble. [Read more…]

Computer Tips & Tricks: Is Disk Defragmenting Still Necessary Today?

With today’s hard drive technologies, people wonder if it’s still necessary to defragment their hard drives. By the way, what the heck is defragmenting anyway?

Defragmenting your hard drive quite simply means reorganizing the way information is stored on a computer disk so that all of the information belonging to a file is stored in a single, contiguous area on the disk. Believe it or not, a file (like a document, photo, etc) can actually be split up into smaller pieces. Its sub-pieces can be be physically spread out into different locations on the hard disk. This is what is meant by “fragmentation”. [Read more…]

Online PC Tuneup Sites – Most are Useless or Even Scams

What’s the deal with these sites that promise to double your PC’s speed with just the click of a button?  Yes, we all hear the commercials where someone is ecstatically happy because his or her PC is running “faster than ever”.  Oh really?

You may think I’m posting this because I’m a repair technician and get angry when I hear these.  Well you’re right, but not because I’m afraid of the competition.  I’m angry because these claims are mostly scams that take advantage of people.  You can speed up your PC by downloading any of a wide selection of free utilities, versus paying these bozos.

Now I’m only talking about very basic cleanup processes on PC’s that are basically in good shape, because that’s all that these sites or the free utilities can handle.  A badly under-performing PC that locks up and freezes, or gets Windows errors cannot be fixed like this.  These sites dupe people into thinking they will, and that angers me even more.  Then, they start charging extra fees for more extensive procedures.

Why not Clean Your PC Yourself, for Free?

I recommend a great little free program called “C-Cleaner“.  It’s very popular among PC Technicians and is part of our arsenal of standard tools.  You can download it from the “Resources” tab on our Saguaro PC Tech website, or at Download.com.  There’s a paid version too, but you don’t need it.

To clean and tune a really slow PC suffering from lockups and errors, several procedures are required, including checking for viruses and spyware, checking the health of the hard drive, removing outdated programs, installing Windows and driver updates, etc.  The list goes on.

Again, these sites will charge for more work, but many of these procedures can’t be done very well, or even at all via on line support.  Don’t waste your time or money.  You may find that taking your PC to a reputable local repair shop will be both cheaper and more effective.

Top 10 Simple Online Privacy Tricks Anyone Can Do: Tip 3

Use Multiple or Disposable Email Addresses to Avoid Spam and Stay Secure

There are two concerns here.  One is reducing spam and the other is avoiding viruses from emails.  Here are two approaches.

 

1)     Reducing Spam: Use Multiple eMail Accounts.

I get a lot of resistance from customers on this, because it seems confusing, but it’s really not.  Just create 1 or 2 more email accounts with a free email provider like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail (Live Mail) or AOL.  It costs nothing and can greatly reduce the hassle and risk of spam and viruses.

Use one of these addresses for sites you don’t want to hear regularly from, like newsletters or coupon sites you’re only mildly interested in, or any new site you haven’t heard of, where you suspect they’re going to bombard you with spam.

I like to use them for product registrations, like when I buy a new printer, because I know they’re going to spam me with all kinds of product offers and deals.  Sure, I may want to look at these occasionally, but only when I feel like it.  I don’t want them cluttering up my regular mail inbox.

Do not add any contacts to the address book.  You don’t want to worry about a worm infecting it and sending spam to your friends.

This is also a good way of separating different aspects of your on line life into different areas, associating each area with a different email address.

 

2)     Security and Reducing Spam:  Use Disposable eMail Accounts.

A more aggressive way to reduce spam in your inbox is to use a disposable email addresses for websites you suspect might be very risky or questionable.  These are also great for sites you want to check out once (out of curiosity) but don’t want to go back to, or ever hear from again.

Many such sites require you to register with your email address before you can see their content.  These could be sites like forums, or “marketing” sites that offer business tips and help, but are really about harvesting email addresses so they can spam you.

For this, you can use a service like Trashmail or 10 Minute Mail.  You’ll use these temporary email addresses to get the necessary “confirmation email”, check out the site, and avoid the spam that might come your way.

 

That’s it for now.  We hope you are finding this series of articles useful.  Stay tunes for the next installment later this week.

As always, if you need more help in any area of computer repair in Tucson, or general support, please visit our Saguaro PC Tech Website or Facebook page.

Speed Up Windows 7: Turn off Indexing if You Don’t Need it.

Did you know Windows constantly creates and indexes your data, and that this heavy chore can slow down your PC?

Actually, indexing is good if you have tons of files and you use the built-in Windows Search to find your data.  The indexing makes the searches quick and easy.

But what if you don’t have tons of files and don’t need to do searches to find your data?  Then you might as well reduce the activity of this feature, or disable it altogether.  The result will be a faster computer.

To modify or disable indexing, open the Indexing Options applet in the Control Panel.  Note that if you have your Control Panel set to “Category View”, you will not see it.  Change the view to “icons” (large or small), and you will see the Indexing Options applet.  Upon opening, you’ll see a window showing what locations are being indexed.  Click “Modify” and remove locations (folders, etc.) being indexed.  You might just choose to index only your Documents folder and nothing else, or choose nothing at all.  It’s up to you.  You can even choose what types of files are indexed as well.

If you do want to leave search indexing on, but find that it occasionally slows you down, you can stop its process when you need extra speed. Right-click on “Computer” either in the Start menu or on the desktop, then choose the “Manage” option.  Then double-click Services and Applications, then Services. Find the “Windows Search” item and double click on that.  From this properties dialog, choose “Stop”.  You can also choose the Startup type, setting it to Manual or Disabled.  For occasional use, set it to Manual and it will start indexing the next time you do a search.

Again, if you don’t have many files and you know exactly where you keep them, then disable it altogether and remove all locations.  If you have a very fast PC with for instance,  a Quad-Core processor and over 4GB or memory, this won’t make much of a difference.  Go ahead and leave it on, as you might enjoy using the search feature from time to time.

If you have any questions about this or want help tuning and optimizing your PC, we can help (but only if you live in Tucson, of course).  Our contact information is on the Saguaro PC Tech website.