DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 27, 2015

Windows 10 build 10061 under the microscope: Can Microsoft hit its summer launch deadline? | ZDNet

The launch deadline for Windows 10 is approaching fast, perhaps only 90 days away. Yesterday’s release of Technical Preview Build 10061 deserves extra scrutiny. Does it inspire confidence in a solid upgrade this summer?

Source: Windows 10 build 10061 under the microscope: Can Microsoft hit its summer launch deadline? | ZDNet

March 31, 2015

What Should I Install?

I regularly receive questions concerning readers buying new computers.  They will usually ask what antivirus software they should install to keep everything protected.  I usually suggest one or two good antivirus applications.  Keep in mind I am only referencing Windows machines and, due to my frugal nature, free applications. 

Microsoft Windows logoIf you have a Windows 7 system, I recommend going to Microsoft.com and searching for "Microsoft Security Essentials."  Go to the download page, download it and install it.  It may already be on your new computer if the manufacturer made a deal with MS to preinstall it.  However, do not worry if it is, it will harm nothing to reinstall.

Windows Defender screenFor a Windows 8.1 (or 8 if you have not upgraded yet…which you should ASAP) you have "Windows Defender" already installed on your computer.  It comes automatically with all versions of W8.  It is an upgraded version of "Security Essentials" for W8.  These are both good antivirus apps and really all you need unless you go to disreputable places that may possibly be able to defeat them.  They are good in that they will be updated with Windows Update so you do not have to do anything additional to get them updated as you do with all other third party apps. 

Avast! logoSome people do not trust MS and want another antivirus software so I recommend, "Avast!"  If you choose to install Avast go to, "Avast.com" only.  The reason is, if you search for it online you may be directed to a disreputable site.  It may be listed as a free download but you may be getting something that could harm your system. 

One other major application I would install on all computers today is Malwarebytes (download the free version at Malwarebytes.org).  I mentioned it toward the end of last year but many people have asked about it, so I feel I need to remind you. 

Malwarebytes logoI personally had not installed Malwarebytes on my computer figuring my antivirus software took care of everything.  A year or more ago I noticed my system running slower than it should be and I found a toolbar installed on Internet Explorer I had not installed.  I had not noticed it before since I do not regularly use MSIE as my browser so I had no idea how long it was on my computer.  Anytime you have a toolbar on your browser that you know nothing about is not a good sign.  It most likely means that you have some malware running and you need to remove it…now!  So I knew my computer had been had. 

Malware is software inserted when you download something, either intentionally or not, that is designed to do damage or some sort to your system.  It can totally or partially disable your computer.

The first time you run Malwarebytes you may get tens to hundreds of files recognized.  Delete them all!  I would encourage you to run it on some sort of regular schedule.  A weekly, monthly or quarterly time frame is good depending on how much you are online.

I almost guarantee if you install and run this on your old computer you will find many malware items present.  

What Should I Install?

I regularly receive questions concerning readers buying new computers.  They will usually ask what antivirus software they should install to keep everything protected.  I usually suggest one or two good antivirus applications.  Keep in mind I am only referencing Windows machines and, due to my frugal nature, free applications. 

imageIf you have a Windows 7 system, I recommend going to Microsoft.com and searching for "Microsoft Security Essentials."  Go to the download page, download it and install it.  It may already be on your new computer if the manufacturer made a deal with MS to preinstall it.  However, do not worry if it is, it will harm nothing to reinstall.

Picture of Windows DefenderFor a Windows 8.1 (or 8 if you have not upgraded yet…which you should ASAP) you have "Windows Defender" already installed on your computer.  It comes automatically with all versions of W8.  It is an upgraded version of "Security Essentials" for W8.  These are both good antivirus apps and really all you need unless you go to disreputable places that may possibly be able to defeat them.  They are good in that they will be updated with Windows Update so you do not have to do anything additional to get them updated as you do with all other third party apps. 

imageSome people do not trust MS and want another antivirus software so I recommend, "Avast!"  If you choose to install Avast go to, "avast.com" only.  The reason is, if you search for it online you may be directed to a disreputable site.  It may be listed as a free download but you may be getting something that could harm your system. 

One other major application I would install on all computers today is Malwarebytes (download the free version at malwarebytes.org).  I mentioned it toward the end of last year but many people have asked about it, so I feel I need to remind you. 

imageI personally had not installed Malwarebytes on my computer figuring my antivirus software took care of everything.  A year or more ago I noticed my system running slower than it should be and I found a toolbar installed on Internet Explorer I had not installed.  I had not noticed it before since I do not regularly use MSIE as my browser so I had no idea how long it was on my computer.  Anytime you have a toolbar on your browser that you know nothing about is not a good sign.  It most likely means that you have some malware running and you need to remove it…now!  So I knew my computer had been had. 

Malware is software inserted when you download something, either intentionally or not, that is designed to do damage or some sort to your system.  It can totally or partially disable your computer.

The first time you run Malwarebytes you may get tens to hundreds of files recognized.  Delete them all!  I would encourage you to run it on some sort of regular schedule.  A weekly, monthly or quarterly time frame is good depending on how much you are online.

I almost guarantee if you install and run this on your old computer you will find many malware items present.  

March 17, 2015

"Hi, this is Ron from Windows"

I have a couple of scams to inform you of today that could cost you time, effort and lots of money.  One is computer related, the other financial. 

Many people have reported getting calls from someone saying something similar to, "Hello this is Ron (fill in any name) from Windows, we see that your computer is reporting errors and we need to help you." 

First red flag on this is that no one from "Windows" would contact you since there is no company named Windows.  Secondly, you would most likely think it was Microsoft; however, they would never call you out of the blue with a problem.  Unless it is due to some very unusual circumstances, Microsoft does not even have your phone number. 

If you continue with the call, as apparently many people have, they will help you. The problem is that their "help" is quite harmful.  I have read of some people being directed by the caller to install software on their computer in order to give them access to run a special update.  Never, ever let some stranger talk you into installing anything on your computer…on any occasion! 

That will give them access to your computer after they supposedly help you.  Then you will have problems with your computer and a different foreign voice will contact you in the future saying for $$$ they can fix this issue.  

Fraud image
The other issue being reported is they have installed a key logger program on your computer.  A key logger has the ability to record every keystroke you make and send it to someone else-without you knowing a thing.  This can include all of your user names and passwords.  You know what happens to your bank accounts after they get that info. 

Bottom-line is if you get a call from someone representing themselves as a person wanting to fix your computer, hang-up.  Then if you wish you can report them to "The Internet Crime Complaint Center" (IC3) at "ic3.gov/complaint."  The IC3 is co-sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

Next, you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS.  They inform you that you owe taxes and if you do not pay immediately you will be criminally prosecuted.  Usually they require the payment to be made through a prepaid debit card. 

You may laugh and think, "What knucklehead would do that since the IRS never cold calls anyone about anything."  But since October, 2013 more than 3,000 people fell for this scam and made the crooks $15.5 million.  The top five states taken so far, per Timothy Camus, deputy inspector general for investigations at the agency that oversees the IRS are: California ($3.84 million), New York ($1.35 million), Texas ($795,884), Florida ($760,000) and Virginia ($648,363).

If the IRS calls you, hang up.

February 16, 2015

2015-02-16 Show Notes

Here are the Monday morning links and podcast if you missed it live.

Have a great day and see you next time.

Tech News
Windows 10 is a free upgrade for all 7 and 8.1 users
Engadget.com

Wondering how much Windows 10 will set you back? In most cases, nothing. Microsoft has announced that the new operating system will be a free upgrade in the first year for everyone using Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1. The company sees Windows as a service rather than a product, Terry Myerson explains. Yes, Microsoft is partly following in Apple’s footsteps (OS X upgrades have been free since Maverick), but it’s hard to complain about getting a big update for free.


This sounds too good to be true and I’ve read where this is only for OEM (short for original equipment manufacturer, which is a misleading term for a company that has a special relationship with computer producers. OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company’s product under their own name and branding.) or for everyone.  Only time will tell for sure.
 
Worst passwords of 2014… …are just as awful as you can imagine

Please sit down. We need to have a talk. It seems some important points about computer safety and security have completely gone over the heads of a certain portion of the population. If you’re one of those people whose passwords look like "9$RxkU#55zx!%winning1," you can go ahead and leave. If your password looks like "1234567890" or "qwerty," it’s time to repent and change your ways.

    Here are the top 10 worst:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. qwerty
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234
  8. baseball
  9. dragon
  10. football

 
Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
WPS Office
VIEW ANY FILE TYPE
WPS Office can open almost any document including PDF, TXT and Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This means when you use WPS Office to open a document from email or your favorite cloud service, you can be sure it will look exactly the way it would on your PC.

CREATE AMAZING DOCUMENTS
WPS Office comes loaded with features similar to what you’d find on a PC office solution. This includes advanced text and paragraph formatting options as well as the ability to add and edit images, shapes, tables and charts directly into your presentation or document.

EASY FILE SHARING
With WPS Office you can share your files through email, Evernote and more. You can also share presentations with others over WIFI or directly to other DLNA compatible devices.

CONNECT TO YOUR CLOUD
Using WPS Office you can access and edit documents from your favorite cloud drive. When you are done editing, WPS Office will automatically save them back online.


Quad Core Android PC in a Keyboard Computer in a Keyboard
An entire Android computer in a keyboard?!

Hook up your monitor and a mouse, if needed, and you have a computer. $299 is a bit high but if you think you need one, wait a few months.


See you next month, listen online on WSVA, March 16, Monday from 9-10 am.  If you miss the live broadcast come back here and listen a little later in the day…or next depending on my workload.

Ron

January 27, 2015

SSD Drive or Not

I have been told by other geeks for a couple of years I need to get SSD (solid-state drive) for my computer.  A SSD is a storage device which uses integrated circuitry to store data on your computer.  In recent years they were called hard drives using electro-magnetic media to store your data.  You know the traditional platter-based hard drives like stacked floppy disks.

The “old” hard drives had to spin rapidly to search for and store data.   SSDs store data electronically, so these processes are much faster.

“Wow!” the geeks said, “They are so much better.”   However, the prices were always a bit out of range for me and I am not the type to fix something if it ain’t broke.

Therein lies my story.  My notebook was running perfectly and gave me no issues for several years.  Several months ago my hard drive went bye-bye.  It did not go quietly into the night but slowly started a downward spiral to death.  This was good – giving me a warning time to prepare.

Over the last couple of years prices on SSDs started way past the $200 mark for small sizes.  However, when I looked this time I found that price had come down and size had gone up.  Before Christmas I discovered a nice one on sale for $69.  It had a good name and reviews so I threw the hammer down and got one.  By-the-way, it really was on sale and not a gimmick.  A friend checked into getting one recently and it was around $120.

OK, I installed it, reinstalled windows and all of the other applications that I needed and guess what?  It was faster, much faster starting up.  I used to have to wait a couple of minutes after powering it on before being able to use my computer.  With the SSD I have figured it goes from off to on in approximately 25-30 seconds.  To me that is amazing.  Also, files open faster, close faster, save faster and the computer shuts down far more quickly.  Basically most everything on the computer works more rapidly.  Windows 7 and 8 run speedier on this drive too.

All around a great investment; however, I need to say more.

Speed is not the most valuable commodity to many of us.  Storage size may be.  My old “platter” drive and the new one both had/have 240GB of storage space.  This was enough for me to use so I was happy.

But I could have paid about the same price and gotten a 1TB internal drive of the “old” type.  It would have been slower but it would have given me approximately 4 times the amount of storage space.

Speed or space, what is most valuable to you?

January 20, 2015

Updating Your Apps

I know you are all running Windows Update on your PCs.  Well, let me back off a bit on that.  If you have Windows 7 or before you should be running it manually or setting it to run automatically.  Windows 8 on comes with the default for Windows Update to automatically run so you do not have to worry about it.  What it does is check for and install updates to Microsoft Windows and possibly Office (depending on your version and configuration).  That way you are always operating at greatest efficiency and more securely in Windows.

Five years ago someone wrote asking me for ways to make sure all of their non-Microsoft applications were running the latest versions.  I told you about, “Secunia PSI“.  This application scans many of your applications in the background and recommends when updates are available.  It does a pretty good job; however, in my opinion, it is a bit clunky and more difficult to use than one I discovered several months ago.  Search for the old article on DoubleClicks.info if you are interested.

The one I use now is called “FileHippo App Manager” and is smoother and easier to operate. There are a couple of things you should be aware of on the installation.  First is that when you go to the link above there are two green “Download” links.  Use the one in the upper right side of the page which says, “Download latest version.”  As it installs it will ask you some general questions.  I would uncheck, “Run at startup.”  Many programs want to do this but it will slow your computer down.

FileHippo Scan Screen

FileHippo Scan Screen

When it is complete double click the blue icon on your desktop for FileHippo.  A small box will pop up showing it is running.  After a few moments your browser will open with (I’m guessing here) a long list of applications needing updates.  You can click on them one at a time, download them and install their updates.  Once finished you may close your browser and the FileHippo box will still be on your screen.  Click the “X” in the upper right hand corner and it will close.

Sample screen from FileHippo App Manager

Sample screen from FileHippo App Manager

Not every program on your computer is checked by this program.  However, neither Secunia nor the others I have tested in the past get them all.  There are just too many programs for one app to catch every one.

Have fun updating some apps and look forward to getting the final, “Congratulations!  Your computer is up-to-date!” message from FileHippo App Manager.

January 6, 2015

2014 Sites in Review, Part 1

Welcome to the beginning of our fourteenth year together with the Double Click column.  Every January we review the sites that we visited in the previous year.  Today is no different.  So as always, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them using the "bit.ly" app so the links may not look quite right.  Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Thanks for reading the column and emailing me with your great questions.  I love writing it and hearing from you! 

  • Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and ABC – add ".com" to any of those to view TV shows, movies, video clips, etc.
  • Chromecast.com – this Google device allows you to broadcast anything from your Android, iPhone or Windows phones and computers to your TV.
  • Chromebook.com – Computers that run the Chrome OS (Google) and have everything you need in the Cloud. 
  • Google Drive/Docs,  – Google’s Office substitute and a good one it is, with this you may not need to purchase Microsoft Office.
  • McAfee – one of the many antivirus applications available for your computer’s protection.
  • Libre Office and Open Office – the two leaders in the free Microsoft Office replacements.  Both are good; however, fall short in some areas. 
  • Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, IxQuick and StartPage – add ".com" to any of these for search engines, the last three do not track your searches but the first three do.
  • Google Location History – this site will show you where you have been in the recent past on Google Maps. 
  • Copy, bit.ly/roncopy – free online cloud storage, use the link shown and get 20 GB instead of 15 at Copy.com.
  • Dropbox, bit.ly/use-DropBox, same as above; however, you get 2 GB, many people prefer this to all the other online storage options since it was one of the first.
  • Google Drive and OneDrive, (by Microsoft) – Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud storage sites both at 15GB free. 
  • OneNote, Microsoft’s great note taking application, free online.
  • MultCloud, put all of your cloud storage on one site (notice spelling, no "i").

Tune in next week for the last half of the sites we visited in 2014.

December 30, 2014

New Computer, Part 2

Last week I told you about Ninite.com for your new computer.  I received several emails asking what other applications I would install on a new Windows computer. 

My first "have to have" application is anti-virus software.  I suggest initially what probably comes free with your new computer. However, after the free six or twelve month trial ends, get a free app.  The one you get with your computer usually goes for a high annual fee.  Download only one of these first: AVG or Avast!. These are the two many other geeks and I use.  Search the sites for the free versions and only get them from those sites.  Viruses may be included in them when they are downloaded elsewhere.   

Do not install more than one antivirus app on your computer at a time or it could cause issues. 

Next, I have a new recommendation, Malwarebytes.  This will help your antivirus software keep you even safer.  The free version is good.  You need to remember to run it yourself every few days.  Malware stands for malicious software that may not destroy things but can really mess with your computer.  I almost guarantee if you install and run this on your old computer you will find you have hundreds of malware items present.  

Now, go to Speed Test and see what actual speeds you are getting from your internet service provider.  If you get less than you should call your provider and get their assistance to correct the issue.  The speed can vary from hour-to-hour but should be close most of the time. 

The next thing I suggest is something you used to have to pay a bundle for, Microsoft Office.  Not any longer.  For the average Office user you can create a new Outlook.com account or use your Hotmail.com account and use Office Online – for free.  There are several ways to get to your office apps but I suggest onedrive.live.com to set up or login to your office products. 

After typing like you did in your new free online Word application you notice that your typing could be improved if you used more than two fingers.  To work on your typing skills and speed take a look at Typing Web and practice.  You can improve your typing for free and maybe have some fun doing so.  

Finally, you should just have some fun.  If you like computer games login for free at Steam Powered.  An account is free as are some of the games; however, some may have a onetime cost or possibly a monthly fee.  I like the free, "Star Trek Online" where I am a commander of a Federation vessel. 

If you want to pay for a game, set up a PayPal account.  It is a very secure online payment system.  I have used it for years and have never had a problem.  I suggest anytime you tie your checking/savings account to anything online you create a separate account from your "home" account.  This is just in case there is ever a security hack.  They can only get a minimal amount of money and it will not affect paying your "real" bills.

Have a Happy 2015!

December 23, 2014

New Computer, Part 1

Several years ago, I wrote about an application for Windows users, called “Ninite,” (ninite.com). If you are getting a new computer for Christmas, birthday, whatever you need to use this application. It is currently available for both Windows and Linux computers.

If you visit the Ninite, you can choose programs you want installed on your computer. Download a file, run it and install your applications. This is especially useful if you get a new computer and know of several applications you want to install. The app keeps users from having to print out a list of all the programs currently on your computer and installing them one by one.

Obviously, not every known program is on the site, but the more useful and desired ones are there. At last count ( yes, I did count them) nearly 100 applications were listed. If one you want is missing, you can request it be added to the list.

To start, check off each application you would like to install from the site’s list. 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 — which asks you to download your new installation file.

Once you download the file, make sure you know where it is so you can easily find it later. I suggest always downloading to your desktop, so you know where it is and after you are done, delete it. Double click the file and the installation of all of the applications will begin. The applications will automatically be installed without asking you any installation questions. As Ninite runs, it shows you as it installs each application, so you can easily keep up with the progress.

Ninite installation window

Since I just received a new work computer and had to set it up, I learned one very interesting thing: The installs go much quicker using Ninite than individually. I installed 24 applications. I did not time the installation process, but my guess would be less than five minutes. If I had installed them individually, it would have run well over an hour.

Another interesting aspect of Ninite is that as the programs are installed, it gets the most recent version of each one. That way, you are update-to-date from the beginning.

Ninite Updater is for home users who want to support Ninite. It watches your apps for updates automatically for $9.99/year.

This is a great freeware application for setting up a new computer. There is also a pro version ( for business use with a monthly fee). It has some other features and more programs are available. I found that many are different versions of the same applications. Ninite is truly a great app to use second thing on your new Christmas computer. First is antivirus software

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: