27
Jun 14

 

 Importance-software-updates

Always frustrating and seemingly in the way, but necessary? Updates for your computer are essential for maintaining a smooth running, well-oiled machine. You wouldn’t go months without changing your oil or taking your car in for that all important recall right?…..We’ll come back to that question another time perhaps.

With the always changing world of technology, new viruses and malware attacks always a threat, keeping your computer updated is one of the simplest and most effective ways of staying ahead. Automatic updates on a PC makes it easy, they even remind you with a nice little bubble usually that pops in down at the bottom of your screen, but it’s just so easy to ignore and who really has the time right?

Let’s look at everything that updates do for us:

Optimizes OS resources

Removes outdated and unprotected features

Updates to newer and more secure features

Keeps drivers updated

Fixes security issues

It’s very similar to someone saying “If you let me change the oil, upgrade the spark plugs, change the filters out for these higher efficiency ones, and rotate the tires but instead of air we’ll put this liquid cooling gel that helps with gas mileage then you’re car will run better, faster, and cleaner.”

“…..no thanks”

Crazy right, we’d be throwing our cars at them saying “Yes!!! That sounds great….and it’s free? I’ll call my friends so they can get in on this magic also.”

 

So even though running your updates seems like a pain it’s very easy to do and in the long run it helps keep your computer running at the peak of its abilities. If you want to dig into your computer a little bit you can actually setup your updates to only run at a certain time, say around 2am that way it won’t annoy you too bad in the middle of the day.

 

set_automatic_updates 

 

In conclusion…..UPDATE!!!

 

Until next time….

 

13
Mar 14

backup2

 

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us at one time or another, we’re sitting at home or at the office while it’s raining outside when all the sudden the power goes off. No problem right? Yeah maybe you lost a couple hours of work but it’s not the end of the world. So you drink your cup of coffee or tea (hopefully you made it before the power kicked off) and just enjoy the looking out your window at the storm blowing through….

 

Ok, power comes back on, back to work…. 

 … 

no drive detected… 

hmmm, that’s odd, let’s try a reboot 

…. 

…….. 

no drive detected…

 

Ok so now we’re panicking, you’re hard drive has completely crash and instead of losing a couple hours of work you’ve now lost everything from those family pictures to videos of the kids playing out in the backyard. But only everything that happened after your last backup….backup? What’s that? I don’t know how to do that? That’s too much hassle, you need an extra hard drive and you have to schedule it and maintain it…to much trouble right? Well it’s really not as hard as you might think and after you get it setup once everything else is a breeze. Now what I’ll be talking about today is not using an extra hard drive or an even external drive (both extremely valid and good options), we’ll be discussing Cloud back solutions such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Minus, SkyDrive and SugarSync…all of which have a free version that will work for a lot of people but if you need more they also offer paid subscriptions.

 

Some of the pros of going with a cloud backup solution are:

 

1.  Your backups are off-site (imagine if a power surge fried your PC and your external hard drives)

 

2.  The companies that provide these backup services are going to have backups of your backups (it is there job to have a 99.999% percent uptime)

 

3.  The mere convenience is amazing, you could potentially access your files from any computer or phone at any time…very nice feature to have especially if you’re just wanting someone to see a picture or see a home movie real quick when you’re out on the town.

 

For ease of reading and because I’m more familiar with Dropbox we’ll focus on it for this article. Drop box has made the hesitation of backup a non-relevant point, you simply sign up and install their software to your desktop. Other than some organization it’s really that easy.

 

What happens is Dropbox installs a folder that you can access either from the task bar (bottom right of the screen, it will be a little blue box) or by going through Windows Explorer. To take it a step further you could create a shortcut link on your desktop that will take you directly inside that folder.

 

Now once inside you will see a couple premade folders, public, photos and maybe some others. The first time you setup Dropbox it will take you through some tutorials just to help make you more comfortable with their layout, and as far as I remember they also try and help you import all your current pictures and movies. Any file placed in the public folder has a public link associated with it, you simply copy the link and email it to anyone you want to have access to that particular file (note: this does not give them access to your other files or your PC, only to the file you have designated to give them permission to)

 

After you start saving all your photos/videos to the Dropbox picture folder, or whatever folder structure you design, it’s no different than saving everything to the pictures folder in your My Documents. So after everything gets setup and running you won’t have to do anything different, other than the aforementioned folder structuring, and if you ever have another failure you won’t be quite as worried that you have lost all your files.

 

It does need to be pointed out just for clarity, these are not system backups. They are simply a way to backup the most important files on your system, it’s never fun to reinstall all your programs and get your computer set back up to the way you had it running. But it’s still a lot easier than losing all your important documents, pictures, and videos that can’t be recreated or recaptured.

 

Until next time,backup

 

-Cory

Network Administrator….and avid Dropbox user….

09
Oct 12

With all the “surfing” that everyone does these days it’s very easy, and very common, to forget that our computer is a machine and like most machines they need a tune-up every once in a while. “Oh, I don’t know enough about computers…..what if I break it…it’s running fine”, sound familiar? Most people don’t realize that your PC can slow down very very gradually over time, usually this happens over such a long stretch of time that we don’t realize that our PC might actually be running half as fast as it did when we first started using it.

 

So, the bad news is that you do need to clean your PC every once in a while….the good news is that its very easy….. Were you worried for a second? 🙂

 

We could go really in-depth with multiple things to optimize and change but we want something simple, easy, and “one click and it’s done”. What I am going to recommend unfortunately will be more than 1 click…it will be about 3 (give or take, we do always have to tell windows about 5-6 times that we are sure we want to do something…YAY security). Ok, all you really need to do is run these 2 programs. (click on name to download)

 

1.Malewarebytes

2.CCleaner

 

After these programs are installed (be careful that when you install these programs that it doesn’t install a “google toolbar” or some other trial or advertised program) we will start with running Malewarebytes. Running the “quick scan” should be more than sufficient for our needs, after it finishes running you will click on “show results” and then “remove selected” which will clear out any possible maleware issues. It might say it needs to restart after the cleaning which is fine.

 

Next we will run CCleaner ( remember to keep an eye out for installing additional toolbars and software…we don’t need them). There are 2 steps for cleaning with this program:

 

 1. Click “run cleaner” under the Cleaner tab (should start up in this view), also you can click “analyze” first if you’re worried that it might clean something you want to keep. In my experience though the software is very intelligent and only cleans what needs to be cleaned.

 

 2. Now click on the “registry” tab located on the left side of the box, click “scan for issues”, then “fix selected”…do a backup if you would like ( I never do and have never had an issue) then select “fix all selected issues” and we’re done.

 

After everything is installed you will only have to do the following the next time you want to clean:

 

1. Malwarebytes

                a. quick scan

                b. show results, then remove selected

 

2. CCleaner

                a. run cleaner

                b. scan for issues, then fix selected

                c. fix all selected issues

 

Ok, ok I know, its 5-6 clicks….still better than a very slow computer I think. I would recommend doing this 1-3 times a year.

 

Cheers

 

Cory Maples

20
Jun 12

The World Is Going WirelessIf you live your life as simple as possible, work, eat, sleep and repeat, never keeping up with the news or passing fads I would still bet that you are “connected” every minute of every day. Everyone from kids ( yes, young kids) to Grandparents are jacked in and connected to the world at all times thanks mainly to wireless communications. Walking down the street, through a store, and (dangerously) even while you’re driving you’ll see people on their phones , tablets, laptops, or other wireless device. Even in the homes now there is a good chance that your phone and television are connected through a wireless router. The more aware you can become of this building trend you can better prepare yourself for the future, with higher end wireless routers and multiple ISP’s on the market, doing a little research can go a long way toward keeping you happy and connected.

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