DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

December 29, 2015

New Computer Suggestions

Now that Christmas is over and you have a new Windows 10 computer, what should you do?

I suggest the first thing you do out of the box is run a windows update.  It may be running a second after you boot up the computer; however, check to make sure.

Windows KeyIt is quite easy to run an update.  You can click the start menu button (or press the Windows key) and type, "windows update." Next, click the "Check for updates" link.  It has a gear icon to identify the correct link.  Yes, there are other ways to get to that point; however, this is the easiest way.

 

Now, if it is there, click the "Check for Updates" box.  If it is not showing, it means that the system is already running an update.  Then you can relax and go back to what you were doing.

Check for Updates screenshot

I do have one word of advice.  I just experienced the update titled, "Windows 10 Version 1511."  This was a very large update and you may get it with a new computer or your existing Windows 10 computer if you have not already.  This one will take possibly an hour or more to complete.  Once it completed on my system it told me that several applications had been removed by Microsoft as they are not needed. 

Now wait just a minute, MS!  This is my computer and you need to calm down a bit.  I hope they stop this foolishness…soon.  The main one it removed is one of the ones I use regularly, the CCleaner utility.  After researching a bit I found that many people have been bothered by this.  To correct it you must reinstall the applications removed.  Then it will be fine until possibly the next update.

Next, as I have advised you in the past, be cautious of the "free" antivirus that came with your computer.  No, nothing is bad about the software at all but you need to be aware that "free" may not really be free.

Your antivirus software is probably excellent; however, you only get somewhere from a month to 90 days or so before it expires.  At that time you will get notices to renew your license. This means you have to pay to keep it active.  You would be surprised at the number of emails I get where people ignore those warnings and let their antivirus expire.  Then they email me with all sorts of problems, i.e., viruses running loose on their systems. 

I personally uninstall the "free" antivirus and get a free one that does not expire and leave me exposed.  However, you may want to keep your freebie until the point it notifies you of its expiration.  At that point either pay their fees or uninstall it and get a real free antivirus application.

Personally, I don’t advise paying because I hate giving money for things I can get free.  Currently I am using the Avast! Software but there are others out there that are also good.

June 4, 2013

Soluto

Your computer continues to start up slower than you remember it doing when you bought it.  You may have already run Disk Cleanup, Error-checking and Defragmentation but things still frustrate you about its operation.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have some "anti-frustration" software on your side?

Well, there is!  Soluto has been available for several years and I was fortunate enough to have gotten in at the beginning.  And yes, as if you had to ask; it is free. 

Soluto simply monitors your computer’s start up boot sequence and suggests ways to speed it up.  It also comes with a few other neat features.  Your computer may already run pretty fast as mine did but as you will see below it still sped my computer up.  Some people have reported going from more than seven to less than two minutes to boot their computers

After the Soluto install is complete (which can take five or ten minutes depending on your internet connection and computer speed) a browser window will open that says, "The PCs info is on its way…"  This indicates that the application is just about finished installing and it is gathering info about your computer.  When that is done the browser will display information about your computer, including any applications you have that need to be updated.  I suggest that you should always install the latest apps when you can.  It will give you a better program and more security.  You can choose to install all of those programs at once or individually.  I just installed Soluto on a relatively new computer and it found four applications needing updates.  How cool is that? 

imageIt will also give you information about Apps that have "frustrated you" by messing up even if you did not realize they had, information about your internet browser, your antivirus and windows updates and it will list out a lot of helpful info about your hardware.    

The part I like best is what Soluto does after you reboot your computer.  I suggest you do this when Soluto "tells" you to after your recommended installations are finished.

Once rebooted the software will give you a graphic of all the programs that start in the background, some of which you may have no idea are even there.  They are then rated as to those you cannot remove from the boot, those you may not want to remove from the boot sequence and the "no-brainers" which should be removed.  It gives you details on each program so that you can decide what to do.  It even gives you the percentage of other users who choose to get the program out of the boot process.

On my notebook it advised me that it took 2:40 to complete the start up with 82 programs starting.  The number one, no-brainer it suggested removing was Snagit (techsmith.com).  When I hover over the advice window it tells me what Snagit does and that I could choose to either delay or pause it.  If delayed, the program will start up after everything else is finished starting on your computer.  If paused, a program will only start when I manually start the program. 

I ended up removing all but one of the "no-brainers" and several others that were suggested.  My computer now boots in 1:53 minutes with only 67 applications running.

If your computer hangs up or frustrates you while Soluto is running you can right click on its icon and choose, "My PC just frustrated me."  It will then see if it can figure out what bugged you, look for a fix and send that info to the Soluto database to be used to help others.

Soluto is always improving and coming up with new ways to make your computer life easier. 

After you have rebooted a few times you may want to hide the Soluto graphics from showing on your desktop.  If so, right click on the Soluto select Advanced, Show Readiness Monitor, Never Show.

July 31, 2012

Got Software To Install? Try Ninite

In a column last year, I mentioned in passing an application that has come to my attention (through my own research and a few emails from readers). Today, we will take a look at a delightful little program named, “Ninite,” found online at ninite.com.
 
This is a freeware offering from the developer and, of course, the developer is also offering a pro version for a fee. I would not worry too much about the pro version, which appears to be geared toward users who have multiple computers to take care of, which usually isn’t the case for individuals like you and me.
 
SNAGHTML3a45b7If you go over to the Ninite, you can choose programs you want installed on your computer. This is especially useful if you get a new computer and know of several applications that you want to install. This will keep you from having to print out a list of all the programs currently on your computer.
 
Not all of the world’s programs are on the site, but the ones you hear about most often are available. At last count (and, yes, I really did count them) there were 91 applications listed.
 
If you want one that is not on the site, you are out of luck …  this time. However, you can ask for the missing app to be added to the list and it may be there next time you visit.
 
imageTo get your combined installation file, check off each application that you would like to install. After you have finished selecting the proper applications, click the “Get Installer” button. The next screen will ask if you want to share your experience online (Facebook or Twitter) or sign up for their newsletter. After that, you get a popup (depending on your computer’s settings) that asks you to download your new file.
 
Once you download the file (one single, executable file) make sure you know where it is so you can easily find it later. Double click the file and the installs will begin. The applications will automatically be installed onto your new computer. Ninite includes an installation list and, as it installs, shows you each application so you can easily keep up with the progress.
 
Since I just received a new work computer and had to set it up, I learned one thing that was very interesting: The installs go much quicker using Ninite than they do individually. I installed 24 of the 91 available applications. I did not time the installation process, but the “feels like” index was basically … really fast (yeah, a high-end computer engineering term).
 
When I wrote about Ninite in days-gone-by, I mentioned something that I did not like about it at that time. When I ran the installation file, it would install some applications in an older version than the one I was using and I could get on each individual program’s homepage.
 
I would now like to tell you, “Not so any longer.” I got the most recent versions of every application I chose and they installed smoothly and with absolutely no problems.
 
Ninite is truly a great app and I highly recommend it if you need something like this!

December 20, 2011

Christmas Geek Tips

This will be the last you hear from me in the DNR until 2012 so I thought I would give you some Christmas geek tips and sites to tide you over through the holidays.

First, I figure a few of my readers are getting new computers for Christmas.  Yes, from your emails I realize some of you wanted a column about picking new computers.  I only do those every couple of years so you will have to wait on that.  However, I do have a couple of suggestions on applications you should use on your new computer.

What exactly does Decrapifier do?Before you go anywhere online with your new computer MAKE SURE you have an antivirus application working.  After your new computer is online go to pcdecrapifier.com to download Decrapifier.  Geeks call the free apps that come preinstalled on a new computer "Crapware" since most of it is junk and unnecessary.  I will not list them here but there are many.  I even suggest removing the free antivirus app that comes preloaded and getting one those you can get for free.  Most likely the free antivirus software is free for a short period of time.  Then you have to purchase it to keep it going.

Decrapifier scans your system and suggests software you can remove which you most likely do not need.  You can choose which ones to get rid of and keep the ones you like.  Just follow the directions and you will be fine.

After you remove the programs you may never use it is time to install all of your favorites.  You know the apps I am talking about.  For example the applications I always want on my computer are Firefox as my browser, Thunderbird for email, Skype, iTunes, VLC, Microsoft Security Essentials and several others.  I count these as my personal default applications.

imageIf you go over to the Ninite site at ninite.com you can choose programs you want installed on your computer.  Now not all of the programs in the world are on the site, but the major ones you hear about and use are available.  If you want one that is not on the site you are out-of-luck this time.  However, you can ask for the missing app to be added to the list and it may be there next time you visit.  Once your list is complete click the, "Get Installer" link, download it and run it.  The applications will automatically be installed on your new computer.

I have run Ninite several times over the past few years and it works very well.  However, the last time I ran it; one application could not be installed.  So for that one, I had to go to the application’s site and install it there as I did in the "old" days.

OK, I know this is the Christmas column so I cannot leave without giving you the link to Norad so you can follow Santa on his flight later this week.  Surf to the Norad Santa Tracker at noradsanta.org and follow the man.

June 21, 2011

Open to the World, Part 2

Last week we started looking at securing your home network.  Today we will finish our walk-through.  There are other settings for your router I have not mentioned but with instructions in hand you can experiment.  Just be very careful and (maybe) check with a geek friend first.

In review:

  1. Open your browser and go to either http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.1.1.
  2. Enter your router’s username and password.
  3. Change your password to something difficult.
  4. Rename your network/SSID.
  5. Encrypt your network to WPA-PSK or WPA2.

Let’s pick up where we left off.  Do not use the old settings of WEP or WPA since they can be cracked in minutes by hackers.  If your router doesn’t have the WPA-PSK or WPA2 try to upgrade your router’s firmware (there should be a menu item for that) or buy a new one.  I would recommend a purchase because you can get good and more modern ones for less than $50.

Finally, set a difficult password from eight to 63 characters. Make it tough by using upper-case characters, lower-case characters, numbers and/or symbols.  Do not forget it since you will need it sometime in the future, like when you get a new computer.  Check my past columns on creating good passwords for help with this.

All you have left to do is to save the settings and close your browser.  This will most likely kick you off of your network so you will need to reconfigure your computer with the new router info.

Reconfiguring your router is easy to do in Windows 7.  Look for the wireless icon in the lower right area of your taskbar.  This is the notification area.  Right-click the icon and select Connect to a Network.  You will see your network name (SSID) which you previously set up.  It should appear in a list of available networks. You may even see your neighbors’ networks, but come on, be nice.  Select your network from the list.  Choose the connect link, enter your password and in a few seconds you should be online.

With a Vista machine, use START then Connect To. Now choose your network name (SSID) and click Connect.  Proceed as above.

XP is the last one we will look at since it is a little more difficult.  Go to Start again, then to  Control Panel and double-click Network Connections. Right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon and select Properties.  Now go to the Wireless Networks tab.  Look for your SSID in the Preferred networks.  Click it and choose Properties.  Now, find the Network Authentication setting and select WPA-PSK or WPA2.  Under Data Encryption, select AES. The Network Key is the password you set for your network, so enter it here. Make sure the option This Key Is Provided For Me Automatically is not checked. Then click OK.

Your computer should reconnect to the network. This process will have to be repeated for every wireless computer—the good news is that you should only have to do it once.

January 5, 2010

2009 Links in Review, Part 1

This is the first Double Click column of 2010!  It is hard for me to believe but this is the beginning of the ninth year I have had the honor and pleasure of writing Double Click for all of my readers.  I am happy to continue as long as you like.  Please shoot me an email occasionally to let me know!  As usual…for my first column of the year and at the request of many emails I received, we will look at all of the Internet sites I mentioned last year.  So sit back and get your fingers ready.  By-the-way, if you are a clicker you can go to the DoubleClicks.info site and read the column the day it is published in the paper and actually click the links.

Here they are in their order of their appearance with short descriptions if needed.

Next week we will visit part 2 of last year’s links.

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: