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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Optimizing your System with Disk Cleanup

Windows has several built-in tools that can help keep your system running smoothly. One of these tools called Disk Cleanup can remove extraneous files quickly from your computer. To start Disk Cleanup, follow these steps:

1. Go to Start » Accessories » System Tools » Disk Cleanup. Or go to Start, then type in Disk Cleanup in the search bar.

2. In the Disk Cleanup window, select the Files to Delete. Click OK.
The program will ask if you want to permanently delete the files. Click OK to begin the process. Take caution when choosing what files to delete – you cannot recover the information once removed.

There are other features of Disk Cleanup such as removing programs and system restore. The Programs and Features option links to the Control Panel where you can unnecessary software. The System Restore and Shadow Copies option removes any extra backup copies to save only the most recent. For more information, go to Microsoft Support »

Microsoft Support. Delete files using Disk Cleanup. http://bit.ly/4ge7Dl
Microsoft Support. Disk Cleanup for Windows XP. http://bit.ly/1qBdrW

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to: Install Add-ons to Internet Explorer

It’s easy to customize Internet Explorer by using Add-ons to enhance your browser’s functionality. Microsoft provides a library of options for IE from blogging to finance to shopping. To install an Add-on to Internet Explorer, follow these steps:

1. Go to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Gallery and select an Add-on from the site.

2. Download the file and follow the on-screen instructions. Some Add-ons may require you to restart your browser after installation.

3. In IE, select Tools -> Manage Add-ons. This menu provides detailed information about each extension.If you need to disable an Add-on, click on the Name, then select the Disable button in the bottom right-side of the menu box.

The Manage Add-on menu also has some other useful functions. Accelerators are a new feature of IE that can give you quick access to common menu items by simply selecting a word on a web page.

The InPrivate Filtering option helps to regulate unauthorized tracking of your browsing activities. You can activate InPrivate Filtering using the Safety menu on the Command Bar.

For more information on Internet Explorer Add-ons, go to Microsoft Support »

Internet Explorer Add-in Gallery
Internet Explorer Add-ons FAQs
Internet Explorer 8 Features

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tour of ESET CyberSecurity for Mac

One of the advantages of owning a Mac is not having to worry about malware as much as our PC counterparts. Since Mac has grown in popularity over the past few years, Macs are becoming a bigger target for cyber-threats. Just a couple of weeks ago, the “Boonan” trojan was discovered; it disguised itself as a Java applet and would hijack the user’s system account then take control of the machine. To combat this problem, there have been a very limited number of anti-virus options available for Mac, but now, ESET has launched a Mac version of their well-known ESET NOD32 software.

Cybersecurity for Mac looks and operates very similarly to the PC version of ESET’s product. The installation process is very easy with ESET’s wizard. If you purchase the boxed software, you simply load the CD and follow the instructions. For the downloaded version, you are required to pre-register. The program does require you enter an Activation Key or pre-set username or password before accessing the software.

ESET’s install wizard offers two options for setup: typical or custom. By default, typical is recommended for new users. There is also a feature to auto-detect potentially unwanted applications. Once installation is complete, and the system is rebooted, ESET is ready to start running.  The program interface provides the same functions as other versions of ESET: Scan, Update, Setup, Help and Protection Status. The first step is always to scan your computer for any existing malware. This process can take up to 30 minutes depending on the number of files stored on your system.

The Update menu tracks ESET’s software updates; it displays the signature database version and when the software license expires. Protection status follows software updates for your entire OS such as security patches. This menu also shows similar data as the Upadate screen for virus signature database version and license expiration.  For the Setup menu, ESET has a software disable function, and the Help & Support menu offers comprehensive information about navigating the program’s interface.

As the newest option for virus protection, ESET’s CyberSecurity is a good solution for Mac users. The unobtrusive interface is easy to maneuver, and works well with Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard. For more information on system requirements, go to ESET CyberSecurity for Mac page »

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Change your Screen Saver in Windows 7

Windows includes several different options for screen savers within the OS. You also have the choice to download and install a custom screen saver as an alternative to the default options. To change or modify the screen saver settings, you can access the control panel in two ways:

1. Click on the Start button. Select Control Panel. In the search box, type in “screen saver”.  In the results list, choose “Change screen saver”.

2. Click on the Start button. Select Control Panel. Find the Personalization icon. In the menu, choose the Screen Saver option at the bottom.

The Screen Saver Settings window has basic functions to customize the system’s default screen savers. If you click “Settings” to the right of the currently selected screen saver, you can adjust the features if they are available. To install a third-party screen saver, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

IMPORTANT: Use only screen savers from legitimate sources. These programs commonly carry viruses, adware and other malware that can affect your system.


CNET: Free & Shareware Screen Savers

Microsoft Support

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is Windows Task Manager?

The Windows Task Manager is an important utility that can help you monitor and repair application issues with your OS. This program shows you what software is currently running on your system in addition to system processes and performance measurement. To optimize your computer, the Windows Task Manager is key to evaluating how well (or not so well) your computer is operating.

There are three methods for starting Windows Task Manager:

1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE at the same time. In the new window, click Task Manager.


3. Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the menu.

After the Task Manager is booted, you have access to several different views of your system’s activities.  In the first tab for Applications, the Task Manager lists all programs currently running on the computer. If you have an application that crashes or won’t respond, you can quit the app without shutting down the entire system by selecting “End Task” from the menu. 

Under the Processes menu, the Task Manager shows the processes active on your computer.  This is not the same as services; processes show what programs are running under the user’s account, but services shows all programs running on the computer.  When you are troubleshooting performance issues, these menus are helpful in identifying unnecessary active applications or even locate malware on your machine. If you find a process that you don’t recognize, you can check it against a list of known valid processes at Uniblue’s Windows Process Library. To end a process, click on the item within the process list and click on the “End Process” button.  IMPORTANT: When disabling a process, it may affect core functions of your computer, so proceed with caution!

The remaining tabs on the Task Manager are for Performance, Networking and Users. The Performance tab displays a graphical view of the CPU and Memory usage on your machine. The Networking tab performs a similar function but for your network connections. The Users tab lists all active users on your machine, and you can disconnect or logoff other users from this window.

Windows Task Manager is a critical tool for keeping your system operating smoothly and can be useful for identifying viruses or other malware. For more tips on how to troubleshoot system issues with Windows Task Manager, go to Microsoft Support »


Uniblue Windows Process Library

Microsoft Windows Task Manager

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to Customize Internet Explorer Appearance

Microsoft Internet Explorer has several features to customize the appearance and improve the browser’s layout. Here are some basic commands to modify the default settings in IE:

Add/Delete Toolbars
1. Scroll to the menu bar at the top of the browser.
2. Right-click to reveal the Toolbar menu options.
3. Select which Toolbars to show or hide within the menu.

Adjust Text Size
There are two methods for adjusting the text size in IE. The first example is using the View option on the Menu toolbar. The second is to use the Command Bar.

Using Menu toolbar:
1. Click on View.
2. Select Text Size.
3. In the menu, choose which text size that you prefer: Largest to Smallest.

Using Command Bar:
1. Click on Page.
2. Select Text Size.
3. Choose value from Largest to Smallest.

Similar to adjusting text, the Zoom feature can be changed under the View menu or Command Bar.

For View option:
1.  In Menu toolbar, click View.
2. Select Zoom.
3. Choose a Zoom size option. IE offers preset Zoom sizes or customized Zoom.

For Command Bar:
1. Click on Page.
2. Select Zoom.
3. Choose a Zoom option.

Resize IE’s Icons
1. Right-click on the menu bar.
2. Scroll to Customize.
3. Select Use Large Icons.

For more tips on customization, go to Microsoft Support: http://bit.ly/Revq6

Monday, November 15, 2010

32 or 64-bit?

A common question that we get here at Tech Support is: how can I tell if my computer is 32 or 64-bit? To find out what type of system that you have is easy. Go to My Computer on your Desktop. Right-click on the icon and select Properties. Under the System component list, look for the System type. The menu should state whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit Operating System. An alternate way to get to this menu is to go to Control Panel -> System. The information that is listed is the same.

Once you know what type of system that you have, it is critically important when selecting the type of software to install. Many manufacturers offer both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of their programs, so before you buy, you need to have this information handy. You cannot run a 64-bit program on a 32-bit computer, because the system lacks the processor speed and memory. But, you may be able to run a 32-bit program on a 64-bit machine depending on the manufacturer's specifications.  For more on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, go to Microsoft Support: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/32-bit-64-bit-faq.aspx

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Use the Phishing Filter in IE

It is that time of year where many of us will rely on online shopping to help us through the holidays. Before you click the checkout button, you should be aware of some new features in IE that can help you have a safer shopping experience online. With the launch of Internet Explorer version 7, Microsoft introduced a new feature that blocks phishing sites from your browser. Phishing is a type of malware in which criminals use a fake website in order to collect your personal information. The new IE phishing filter evaluates each web site against a database of known malware sites to let you know if it is valid or not. For more information on malware prevention, watch Tech Support's video on Internet Security: http://youtu.be/yfp7Ajzky9E

Or to modify the Phishing Filter feature in IE, click here for instructions: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930168