DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 19, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 3

The last two weeks we looked at some of the ways you need to physically clean your computer for spring or any other time of the year.

Today we will clean your computer’s software.

First, make sure that you are regularly checking your Operating Systems upgrades, i.e. HaWindows 7, 8.1, etc.  Yes, you may have it set to automatically run updates; however, you need to make sure you have the latest every now and then.  Check your update settings by going to Start and typing, "Windows Update," then clicking the "Change Settings."  Check the appropriate choices.  They will make sense to you.  If not, Google for a description.  Mine is set to check for important updates, but let me choose to download and install, give me recommended updates and finally, give me updates for other MS updates.  I am comfortable with those choices but you may not be. Change them and nothing will hurt you, unless you never update.

Windows Update

The funny thing is there is no choice to download and install optional updates.  To get all offered updates for your devices, occasionally check Windows Update for all available updates, including optional updates. I always install those too; however, that is your choice.  This is why you should manually run Windows Updates monthly.  I also suggest you do this after the second week of the month due to, "Patch Tuesday."  Patch Tuesday occurs on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month in North America.  This is when Microsoft sends out all of the items for download to your system for updates.  Wait until after that time and you will get them all.

All of your other software is harder to update but you should take a stab at it on occasion.  You could check most every application you have on your computer by opening the app, going to "Help" then either "Check for Updates" or "About" which is where they are usually found.  Then run the recommended update.

There are also several applications you can get to check your other applications’ updates.  However, none of them are perfect.  I regularly compare several of the main ones and usually get varying results.

  • FileHippo App Manager (filehippo.com) – the one I use most often and is quick and easy. Use the "Download our free app manager" link only.Kaspersky Software Updater (kaspersky.com/free-tools) – good and can be set to run on a schedule of your choosing.
  • Secunia PSI (secunia.com/psi) – I have used this the longest, if you run the scan manually it takes a good while. It also appears to search more apps than the others.
  • SUMo (kcsoftwares.com) – finds many apps; however is the hardest to use of all I have tested.
  • Update Notifier (cleansofts.org) – a simple one but still finds many. Check settings to not get beta updates. 

I ran all of these as well as a couple of others today.  I got varying results and none of them match.  So I guess you could run all of them for better coverage.  I alternate between FileHippo (quick and thorough) and Secunia (slow but very thorough) but they both find apps the other one misses…go figure.

FileHippo

Secunia-PSI

May 13, 2015

How to Conceal a USB Flash Drive in Everyday Items « Null Byte

Filed under: Funnies,Tech Info — Ron @ 3:17 pm

 

 

Interesting way to hide all of your super Secret Agent files.

 

USB Eraser

USB Eraser

USB Chap Stick

USB Chap Stick

 

 

 

 

Source: How to Conceal a USB Flash Drive in Everyday Items « Null Byte

May 12, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 2

Last week we started looking at spring cleaning your PC.  We will continue this week with monitors, notebooks and tablets.

Get a soft lint-free cloth.  Use a microfiber cloth like you could use to clean you glasses and maybe some Isopropyl alcohol. 

Do not get any abrasive cleaners, glass cleaners (including none of the blue glass cleaners), no online monitor cleaners no matter how good the price, dish detergent, (well maybe but more on that later) no water, or paper towels. 

Shiny new monitorFirst, and very significantly, disconnect ALL cables/wires, especially the power cable from your monitor.  Electrical shocks are not good for you or the computer!

Use your compressed air can mentioned last week and blow all of the grit and dust off of every part of your monitor.  Now use the microfiber cloth and clean the "glass" part first.  Wipe it well but lightly if there is something stuck to it or something that will not easily go away.  You can do the same with the exterior monitors of your notebook and/or tablet including the glass and Smart TV. 

If you have a spot or an area where you have a smear of something try this.  Get warm water and very lightly moisten one of your microfiber cloths.  You will need a dry one later to dry the surfaces.  Use the slightly moistened cloth and see if that takes care of it.  After it is clean use your dry microfiber to dry it all up.  It should not be a dripping mess with water running down the monitor, if so you could damage the monitor or notebook.  Be sure it is just moist, not wet. Do not spray the water on the monitor either.

But what if you have some real dirt buildup on the monitor, say something the warm moist cloth could not remove?  This calls for a nonabrasive dish detergent.  Dawn and Joy are often recommended.  Fill a cereal bowl with warm water.  Put in one drop of detergent and only one drop, not a squeeze.  Mix it together, slightly moisten the microfiber with the mixture and clean again.  Once you are done, rinse out the cloth very well with clean warm water and get all of the soap out.  Wring it out thoroughly and get as much water out of the clean cloth as possible.  Remember always moist never wet.  Use this cleaned cloth to wipe the gadget down to remove all soap.  Finally use your dry microfiber to buff off the monitor, tablet or Smart TV.  This last step should get rid of any dry swipe marks. 

Your last resort on a bad spot is Isopropyl alcohol.  Very lightly wipe and then dry with microfiber as before.

If you think you see me in a coffee shop using a napkin to clean my notebook…that is most definitely not me! 

May 5, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 1

I realized several weeks ago that I had never provided you with a Spring Cleaning plan for your computer.  So guess what?  Today we start cleaning your system for better performance.

The first thing you want to do is to unplug your computer.  This includes the power, speakers, keyboard, printer, thumb drive, wireless mouse connectors and anything else plugged into your system.  Get a can of compressed air or three.  The following information is for desktop computers.  For notebooks you can perform pretty much the same steps but DO NOT take it apart unless you are a pro or daring.

Take your keyboard, turn it upside down and give it a good shake to dislodge stubborn food particles.  (Yes, I know you eat and drink over your keyboard.)  If you have a long, thin brush, use it between the keys. Whether you have a brush or not use the compressed air to blow everything out as much as possible.  Just use compressed air for the notebook keyboards.

Dirt on KeyboardSome people remove the keys and wash them.  Although I have never done this, you may try if you wish. Pry them up carefully (DO NOT do this on a notebook!).  After they are removed you may wash them anyway you deem feasible even using a nonabrasive soap and warm water.  Make sure they are thoroughly rinsed and dried before putting them back…in the correct order of course.

For the mouse you may just use a damp cloth and wipe it down, drying thoroughly again before using.  If you have an old "ball" mouse, go buy a new laser mouse for $15.   

Look around the sides and back of your desktop for thumb screws or regular screws.  Usually there are two, which when unscrewed allow you to slide the side off of your computer.  Unscrew them and remove the side.  If you have questions search online for how to open your computer for cleaning by make and model. 

For this step take your computer outside of your house.  Make absolutely sure you discharge all static electricity before touching anything on the inside of the computer.  A static "pop" inside your computer could be a costly mistake.  I still recommend keeping touching to a minimum.  Although, barring static electricity, you can touch anything in there lightly without damage. 

Dirty ComputerIf you have not done this before you may find a tremendous amount of dust, pet fur, hair, etc. in your computer.  (Check the DoubleClicks.info site for photos.)  It needs to be cleaned out very well.  Dirt causes overheating by blocking vents and sticking to components which makes everything thing run hot and slow and causes repairs.  Get out your can(s) of air and blow as much of this dirt out as you can.  Get every bit of it out it will help significantly.

For notebooks, just use compressed air anywhere you can reach, even in the vents.  In a notebook blow in the intake vents and it will come out the other vents.  If you cannot determine which is which search online for your notebook’s make and model. This is not as thorough as taking it apart but it is much safer and is better than nothing. 

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