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Computer Basics

Recommended Troubleshooting and Free Tech Support Sites

A collection of the best computer support and tech support sites, major computer vendor support pages, podcasts and broadcasts, free eBooks and troubleshooting flowcharts, and other resources for adventurous do-it-yourselfer's and PC enthusiasts. Continue reading

Use Password Savvy to make hard-to-hack passwords that are easy to remember

These days, in order to have strong password protection, you have to mix capital letters with lower-case letters, throw in a handful of random numbers, and sprinkle some punctuation around. I typically sit down with a piece of paper and write down a few random words, but words that I will remember, and then make some modifications and substitutions, until I have a strong password.

It’s easy enough, just write down some words, or even a phrase: “My name is James O’Brien

Then string them together: mynameisjameso’brien

From here, I like to substitute some letters… Continue reading

Recommended Programs: CCleaner

This guide explains how to download and use CCleaner to clean out junk files and manage the performance and stability of Windows-based computers. CCleaner is a great program for cleaning out junk files on Windows-based computers. If all CCleaner did was clean out junk files, I would still recommend it, but CCleaner does much more than just delete your temporary internet files and dump your system cache. CCleaner also has an excellent registry scanner, a great disk and free space wiper, and a host of other valuable utilities to help you keep your computer tuned and running well. Continue reading

Debunking some common computer myths

There are some common myths that may influence your online security practices. Knowing the truth will allow you to make better decisions about how to protect yourself.

How are these myths established?

There is no one cause for these myths. They may have been formed because of a lack of information, an assumption, knowledge of a specific case that was then generalized, or some other source. As with any myth, they are passed from one individual to another, usually because they seem legitimate enough to be true.

Why is it important to know the truth?

While believing… Continue reading

Adding the Home button to Google Chrome Toolbar

For some reason known only to Google, the Google Chrome web browser does not show the Home button in the toolbar by default. It you want to put it back, here’s how:


1)    Open Google Chrome browser.
2)    Click on the Customize button in the upper right side of the toolbar and then select Options.

3)    Now in the Basic settings tab check Show Home button on toolbar checkbox.

Recommended Free Programs for home and small office users

The following programs are recommended for home, home office or small office users. I selected these programs based on recommendations and reviews from my industry peers and my own personal experience, and research based on user rating and complaints. The programs in this list have excellent user satisfaction ratings and are well known and respected.

 Antivirus and Malware Protection

 AVG 2011 Antivirus (Free Edition)  – The free edition of AVG Antivirus offers good virus protection for most general use computers. AVG Antivirus automatically updates its virus signatures daily, and runs quietly in the… Continue reading

Common Windows Run Line Commands

I have compiled a list of useful commonly used run-line commands for Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7. These commands are used from the Run line (Start/Run).  Using run-line commands is often a quicker way of accessing a program or a Windows service, instead of clicking through a series of screens and options to get where you want to go.

Function Command (Run from Start/Run) Description
Accessibility access.cpl Windows Accessibility Control Panel
Hardware Wizard hdwwiz.cpl Hardware Installation Wizard
Add/Remove Programs appwiz.cpl Adding or removing programs or Windows components
Administrative Tools certmgr.msc Windows Administrative… Continue reading

Free Online Virus Scanners

It is a painful and irrefutable fact of computer technology that no antivirus software can protect your computer from 100% of all viruses or malware. It happens from time to time, that a virus does get past your currently installed antivirus program. When this happens, your installed antivirus software might not be able to remove it.

That’s where an online antivirus solution comes in handy. They are always up to date with the latest virus databases, and they are quite affective at removing most known viruses. Using an online virus scanner is like getting a second opinion… Continue reading

History of the Microsoft Windows Desktop

I thought it would be fun to put together a historical collection of Microsoft’s operating system desktops; to give a perspective of just how far the PC desktop environment has evolved since Microsoft entered into the market and essentially took over the world’s share of the PC market. I am starting back when  Windows was in its infancy, to the early days of Microsoft DOS, and moving forward in time to the future to Microsoft’s Windows 8. Most of Microsoft’s operating systems have been a big success, and have changed the way the world… Continue reading

Recommended Website: Send Private Info That Self-Destructs

From time to time, I find it necessary to send sensitive information such as passwords to clients via e-mail. The problem with sending sensitive information through e-mail is most of the time, the recipient is not set up to handle encrypted e-mail. Fortunately, there is an easy solution that lets you send private info that self-destructs after the recipient accesses the information.

Simple To Use – Click the blue button. Paste something private. We’ll encrypt it and give you a unique URL that you can share

Encrypted – Your data is encrypted from you to us, and… Continue reading

Checking a hard drive for errors in Windows Vista and Windows 7

Typical problems that affect hard drives, such as corrupt files, bad sectors, can be detected and often resolved by using a built-in windows utility called CHKDSK (for check Disk). CHKDSK scans a hard drive for errors and attempts to repair them, or move any data in a bad sector to a safer location, and then flags the bad sectors to prevent future data from being stored there.

To run CHKDSK, do the following:

  1. Go to Start>> Computer
  2. Right click the hard disk that you would like to test.
  3. Select Properties
  4. Select the Tools tab
  5. Click the Check… Continue reading

Windows 7: Defragmenting your hard drive

Disk Defragmenter provides you with various options and will also display when the last time the Disk Defragmenter was run and if it is scheduled to run again in the near future. We'll cover the scheduling options later in this article, but for right now, we will focus on analyzing and defragmenting a hard disk. Continue reading

7 Steps to Make Computers Accessible for the Elderly



Let me introduce this post by saying that it is primarily aimed at young people. After all it’s you guys who will be called for help. And it’s in your best interest to help your relatives and show them ways to keep in touch with you through ways other than the occasional family meeting.

Computers are definitely not just a toy for the young generation. In fact, computers are a lot more useful for people who have problems with mobility and keeping in touch with the world in the first place.

At the same time, people… Continue reading

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