Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why is my computer running so slow?



I just wanted to make a short simple list of things you could do to improve the performance of your computer, hope you find it useful!

As you all know computers tend to get slower as time passes by, and the problem could one or more issues that may be slowing your PC down. Well there are some things you could do to optimize your computer and have it running a lot better, below you will find some simple techniques you could do to increase your computer performance.

1. - System Configuration Utility

The easiest way to access this feature is to click on “start menu” and then type msconfig on the search bar. You will get a screen that looks like this:

msconfig

So what happens is that every time a new program gets installed on your computer, that particular program loads in the background every time you start your PC, therefore you got a lot of programs trying to load one after the other making your computer run slower. Just uncheck the programs you don’t want to start, make sure you don’t uncheck any Microsoft program because you may have some problems later on. This one step makes a big noticeable difference in the speed of your computer.

2. - Disk Defragmenter

This is another tool that is very useful, especially if you still got some of the old hard drives with smaller capacity. As data gets written all over the drive over time its makes it harder and harder for the hard drive to find the data is looking for; making your computer run slower. This is not the case with newer hard drives, because they have a bigger storage capacity.
One way you can get to this tool is to go to start menu\all programs\accessories\system tools\disk defragmenter. Now depending on the size of the hard drive and how fragmented it is, it could take up to an hour or more to run.
Now I recommend you run this tool no more then twice a year, because it is very stressful to the hard drive and you don’t want to overtax it too much especially if you have an old hard drive, if you have windows vista or windows 7 this is already scheduled to run on a regular basis. 

3.- Virus and Spyware Removal

Another issue that could make your computer run slow; so it is a good idea to make sure your computer is not infected with viruses or spyware, because they can dramatically slow the performance of your computer. It is recommended you you have active protection, there is a couple of great free antimalware programs.
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Troubleshoot Internet Connection Problems





Internet Connection ProblemsThe causes for this problem could be many and to troubleshoot internet connection problems it is important to have a guide or methodology in diagnosing the issue,  so that you can fix internet connection problems in the shortest amount of time, so I decided to put together a step by step guide on how to approach this problem. It is important to know that internet connectivity issues may be software or hardware related.

Step 1: When you troubleshoot internet connection problems, the first thing you should check is if your modem and router are online and check the lights to make sure they are, this step is often overlooked and sometimes all you have to do is power cycle the modem and router and you are back online.

Step 2: If they are offline, just unplug them from the power and wait a few minutes, then plug the modem first and let it get online, once the modem is online then plug the router, it has to done in this order, because it takes the modem longer to get online and if the router gets online first it will assign itself it’s own IP address and you won’t be able to connect to the internet. 

Step 3: If your modem and router are online, the next thing to check would be the cables themselves and make sure everything is connected properly and that there is no damage to the cables, I like to do this first, because it doesn’t take much time and it could very well be the problem. Also if you have a laptop make sure the switch for the wireless is on. It is important to check for simple things first, because you can do it quickly and do it just before you start playing with all the settings, it might save you a lot of time.

Step 4: Open up your browser and check if you can get online, if you can’t connect; try connecting a different computer and see if it works. If you can get online with the other computer that means that modem and router are working fine and the problem is with your computer. Also try a different browser like firefox or chrome and see if you can get online that way. If you do, that means that you have a browser problem. Now if you have an internet security suite or antivirus installed, sometimes they turn off your internet connection for whatever reason, so it’s a good idea to check the settings and make sure your internet is not being halted by those programs.

Step 5: Troubleshoot internet connection in Internet Explorer by resetting all settings to default, that usually fixes the problem, just open Internet Explorer go to Tools\Internet Options\Advance and click on reset. Once you do this, all your add-ons will be gone so you’ll have to reinstall them, but your internet should be working now.

Step 6: If this fails, check if you are getting an IP address, just go to Start Menu and on the search bar type cmd, that will bring the command line and type ipconfig/all and see if you’re getting an IP address, if you do then do a loopback ping test to see if your network card is working properly on the command line type ping localhost If this checks out ok, next thing you could do is to check your DNS service, in the command line type ping 4.2.2.2 this is a well known DNS server on the web. If you get a reply back, that means your problem may be that your DNS service is down.

Step 7: If you have a problem with DNS, make sure your network card is set up to DHCP so that it can connect to the proper DNS servers, you can access this feature on control panel\network connections and double click on the network adapter icon, then click on properties and highlight where it says Internet protocol (TCP/IP) and hit properties and make sure the Obtain an IP address automatically is selected.

Step 8: Try uninstalling the network card driver and reinstall an updated version if possible, also you can try uninstalling your browser and reinstalling it, that could also fix your problem.

Tip for windows XP:  One last thing you could do to troubleshoot internet connection problems is to use a free software called Winsockxpfix, this tool works only on Windows XP, this is something you could do first if you like, because it doesn’t take long to run and I had great success with it in the past.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Wont’t Install




A couple of days ago I had a computer given to me to do some clean up of malware, I ran all of my basic malware removal tools and the computer was running great after I did all the cleaning. I then decided to do all the windows updates, because this computer was so far behind that it didn’t even have service pack 1, so I went to the start menu and on the search bar I typed windows update and it download several updates and the computer restarted , after that, I checked again for more updates and then it showed that service pack 1 was available, so click on install and it started downloading and installing, less than a minute into the installation it told me that it had installed successfully, I knew it didn’t, because usually installing service packs takes a long time and I was right it didn’t install, so I tried a couple more times and I got the same problem.

Solution:

So after doing some research I found a different way to install service pack 1, if for some reason you have the same problem all you have to do is go to the Microsoft website download page  and manually download the service pack , once you have download it, double click on the file and it will install without any problems and I don’t know why doing it through the windows update  on the search bar won’t work, I guess that’s why a lot of  people didn’t like vista, because it was always giving them problems.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Best Free Antivirus Programs




These are some of the best free antivirus programs you can download:


I had tested them all and without any doubt they are equal or sometimes better than any other paid antivirus on the market today.

1. - Best Free Antivirus Programs / Avast



Truly my number 1 when it comes to best free antivirus software, Avast has come a long way since the beginning, now with a better user friendly interface. One unique feature that I really like about Avast is the boot time scanner which allows you to do a comprehensive scan of your drive before windows loads up, this is very important, because many viruses and spyware can’t be detected while the computer is running windows.



2. -Best Free Antivirus Programs / Avira Antivir



Another great free antivirus; Avira antivir is among the best for several reason, offering protection against Viruses, Worms, Trojan, Rootkits, Spyware and phishing, a very complete antivirus solution with a small footprint on memory.

Avira antivirus

3. -Best Free Antivirus Programs / AVG antivirus




AVG is one of the first antivirus to be offered for free, for personal use. It includes all the features that can expect from a complete antivirus program. It also includes the new LinkScanner® Active Surf-Shield which is constantly checking for threats while you’re surfing on the web. This is a very easy antivirus to download and install, and with almost 80 million users, it has become one of the most reliable antimalware protection there is.

These best free antivirus programs can be downloaded completely free for personal use!




AVG antivirus





Friday, December 7, 2012

Window Updates



If you are a computer repair technician, a great tool to have in your toolbox for doing offline window updates is WSUS, There are many times when you are in a situation where the internet speed is not the best that it could be and you need to download and install window updates; depending on your client’s connection that could take a long time to download and install, that’s where WSUS come in handy.

WSUS: is a small utility that allows to download all updates for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2003, Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 and stores it locally so you can have it on the go on your flash drive, Just choose the updates you want to download and the different options, click on start and it will start downloading the updates you chose this may take a while depending on the options you selected.

To download it just do a Google search for 'wsus offline update'; get the latest version and unzip the file. This will truly save you a lot of time whenever you do your window updates.




Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ninite- Install Multiple Programs Unattended Without Toolbars



I wanted to share with you a very cool website I came across several months ago, where you can install many different programs without you being at your computer doing each installation individually. I think many of you downloaded and installed many different programs and in the middle of the installation it asks you if you want to install the yahoo bar, the ask bar or something else, which it’s a little annoying, I found out about this great site where you can have an uninterrupted installation of several program without all the extra stuff that sometimes comes with the program.

The site is Ninite just do a Google search for it and its free for personal use; this is great especially if you are one of those people who like to do a fresh install once a year, just to keep your computer always running at peak performance. It really saves you a lot of time and it has all those programs that we all love. All you do is decide which programs you want to install by checking the box to the left, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on get installer. 

Once you downloaded the installer, open it up and all the programs will begin installing one by one without any input from the user and the best part it will install them without any of the extra stuff.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fix Youtube Problems on Ipod Touch



A couple of days ago I was presented with a very particular problem and I say particular because of the solution. My cousin has an Ipod touch, which she has had for a while now, with no problems at all, but for the last couple of days she was complaining about not being able to watch videos on youtube, she said this is being going on for days now, but she said that everything else worked fine including safari. So she gave it to me so that I can check it out for her, the first thing I did was to check if the wireless icon for the wi-fi connection was showing on the screen and it did, so I opened up safari and it was working fine I was able to load web pages, so I went back to youtube and the message I got was “cannot connect to youtube” I was thinking to myself that’s strange, how could this be, safari was working fine, but still I wasn’t able to load any videos on youtube.

-What I did to fix the problem:    

One of the first things I did was to go to settings and just trying to figure out what the problem was, I tried one thing after another and nothing seems to fix the problem, everything on the settings looked good, so I was starting to get a little frustrated because I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. So I decided to take it home with me and do a little more research about it. I went online and after doing some more research I came across a youtube video showing how to solve this problem, when I saw the solution I couldn’t believe it, because it didn’t make any sense at all, basically all I had to do was to set the time and date correctly and that fixed it, now why that is I don’t know. When I was going over the settings it didn’t occur to me that could be the problem. Now there might be many cases where you can’t load any videos on youtube, because the Ipod itself is not connected to the internet, so it wouldn’t be able to load safari either.

-If everything else fails:

If setting the time and date correctly doesn’t work for you, probably the only thing left would be to do a reinstall, but before you do this, make sure you have a back up of any important documents you might want to keep.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

External Hard Drive Recovery



There is nothing worst than loosing all of your important files, because your computer won’t boot into windows and it seems that there is no way to get your files back. For a lot of people this would be devastating, knowing that all of your pictures, music and important documents are gone.
Well, we can always do an external hard drive recovery to get all your files back, provided there is nothing mechanically wrong with the drive. One of the reasons your computer won’t boot into windows is because the boot sector of the hard drive got damaged, most likely you got some corrupted or missing files.

External Hard Drive Recovery - Ways to Retrieve your Data:



One of the ways I like to tackle this problem is to use what they call a “live cd” for this I recommend using a Linux distribution, one of my favorites is knoppix 5.0 which is free open source, just go online and do a search for knoppix, download the iso image and burn it to a cd or dvd, then restart your computer and change the boot order to dvd, the key you press to access this menu varies depending on your computer make and model. You press this key the moment the bios menu shows up on the screen.
Once your computer loads into knoppix you will see all the drives attached to the computer, to retrieve the data you can either use a flash memory or an external hard drive. Just copy and paste from one drive to another. There are a lot of cases where this technique won’t work because the problem itself it’s not a software problem, but a hardware problem; now if this is the case the only way to get your data back is to send it to a hard drive data recovery facility which I might say it’s not cheap.

External Hard Drive Recovery - Alternative Option:


This method is similar, but requires a little bit more work and knowledge, let's say that  for some reason not only the hard drive, but also the computer itself is not working, in this case using a live cd to recover your files will not work. What I like to do when I encounter this problem is to use a docking station for hard drives, some people like to call it a toaster because it kind of look like one. Just remove the hard drive from the nonworking computer, insert it into the docking station and connect it to a working system, hopefully your computer will see the drive and you'll be able to transfer all your files from one drive to another.
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