Current Tip Of The Week:
Windows 8 has a great feature called “File History” which is very similar to the backup system I recommend and use for my customers who run Windows 7, Vista and XP. File History improves greatly on the Windows backup system by allowing user files to be backed up in a way that is straightforward, refreshingly intuitive and easy to recover. All you need is an external disk. Files are automatically copied across every hour or so. You can change the frequency of updates but the default settings are fine. Even Microsoft Outlook personal files are backed up when they aren’t in use - though I still like the added security of using an additional custom Outlook backup solution for those.
If you’re running Windows 8 and want to make sure your data is protected give me a call. I can supply and configure everything you need to ensure that a hard disk lost doesn’t mean that your data gets lost too.
I always stress to my customers the importance of having a reliable backup. Recently, one of my customers from Dunbar was unlucky enough to have her ageing laptop’s hard drive fail. The data was never backed up and the drive was so damaged by the broken heads that recovery was impossible - even for the specialised recovery service I use when my own methods fail.
Previously on “Tips of the Week”...
Emails, Viruses and Passwords:
Are your friends telling you they’re getting rogue emails sent from your email address? This isn’t a sure sign that your email has been infiltrated, but there’s a fair chance that at least one of the people on your address book has been.
Some viruses can extract email addresses from the infected computer’s address book. So, if one of your friends gets a virus then that virus can extract your email address. So even though the bogus emails seem to originate from you they’re actually coming from someone who had you on your address book.
From a virus point of view this is a good tactic. The virus will remain undetected because the owner of the computer that actually has it will not receive warnings from their friends. In most cases the only sign they’ll get is that their own PC is running slower and slower.
I can clean your PC and provide a comprehensive health check all for a very reasonable price.
Cheap Reliable Security:
Worried about losing all your data? Storing precious memories on your PC? I use a backup solution that’s incredibly simple and effective. For 65.00 I’ll supply, set up and test a backup solution that will make your memories and crucial files safe. Contact me on 07557353862 for more details.
Backing up to USB flash drives might seem like an easy option, but they’re volatile and its easy to lose all your data (in more ways than one). Good external hard drives are cheap these days and there are software solutions out there that can back up your files as you change them - so your data is always secure.
Nobody really cares about losing their “data” - until they realise that this word is a blanket term that covers photos, movies, music, documents and as many different precious things on your computer that you’re had time to put there.
There are very few performance enhancing, spyware removing, registry optimising, internet... er... speeding-up software utilities out there that actually do anything worthwhile. Most of them try to coax you into paying for an ongoing subscription, promising to repair issues with your PC that you never knew you had - and probably don’t have.
I recommend avoiding installing any performance enhancing software unless you’re sure of what you’re doing. If you find that your PC is already bugging you with constant warnings about viruses and security issues - sorry, but you’ve probably already been infected by a “rogue”. Give me a call and I’ll get rid of it for you - and speed your PC up in the process. I’ll also check your hardware and the security on your computer to make sure it is adequately protected and performing as it should.
Picassa by Google is a fantastic way of managing, sorting and searching through your PC’s photo library. It even uses facial recognition and can group photos according to who appears in them. Its pretty good at picking out faces from photos once you’ve given some names to the faces. And the cost? Nothing! Its free! Download from http://picasa.google.com/ and have as much fun as I did.
Currently Apple are having a bit of a nightmare. If you’re an iPad owner you might be having the same nightmare. Problems sending your email? It seems to be a global phenomenon. Until it resolves, I can help you use your iPad to get your email using another method...
Get a Router:
Are you still using an old BT Voyager modem for your broadband? Switch to a wireless hub without hassle by giving me a call. I’ll supply and install a high speed, high quality, secure broadband hub and then every PC, laptop, X Box and Playstation in the home will be happy...
Clean Up Clutter:
Laptops and PCs generally come with lots of mini programs that run unnecessarily every time the computer starts. Does your new HP laptop really need to visit the HP registration server every time its booted? Does the DVD player really need to load up every time its booted. Remove unnecessary startup items to save memory and speed up your startup time...
You can easily check your broadband speed by visiting www.speedtest.net. Your ISP might promise you 8 or 20Gb, but many different factors (which they don’t advertise) affect your “bandwidth” - the rate at which data from the internet can get to you. Speedtest is a good guide as to how fast your connection really is. You might be surprised to try it...
Bogus Support Calls:
Beware bogus callers. Scammers claiming to represent Microsoft have been making phone calls to people in the Gullane and East Linton area. The scammer claims that your PC has become infected with viruses and spyware. He kindly offers to log in to your PC remotely and repair the damage for you. Once you follow his instructions and hand him control of your PC he is free to install whatever he pleases - usually software that will allow him total control of your PC whenever you connect to the internet. Fortunately, the damage caused can be easily undone by my malware removal tools.
If you think that you might have fallen victim to someone using this scam, switch off your PC immediately and call me on 0755 735 3862.
When we moved to Dirleton in 2007 we needed a plumber, an electrician, a landscape gardner and a painter and decorater. It was hard work finding any of those online. In 2010 I still think the situation is largely the same. If you want your local business to get a low cost presense on the net, Contact Me and I’ll tell you what I can do to make sure your customers can find you.
Mobile Broadband Update:
Of all the providers out there, it seems that 3 is the best mobile broadband provider for this area. Though their coverage is not 100%, its better than any of the others. That being as it is, wifi coverage in Dirleton and beyond has grown considerably these past few years and I’m experimenting right now with BT Openzone / BT Fon and other wifi solutions to see if this is a viable solution for replacing mobile (dongle) broadband.
Windows XP and DVD Burning:
Microsoft Windows XP will not write to DVD by default? Confusing but true. In fact, this week alone I’ve spoken to three customers who thought this was a problem with their system.
You need to obtain a third party DVD burning solution to burn DVDs - even though you can write to CDs by dragging and dropping in the normal way.
I am more than happy to assist in installing and setting this up for anyone who wants to use their DVD writer for backing up files. And don’t worry about remembering how to do it after I’ve gone - I’ve written user instructions that are easy enough for anyone to understand (that’s one good thing about having worked as a technical author!).