Author Archive for CSH – Page 6

Speed up your computer with an SSD drive

SSD drive

Old age creeps up – even if you’re a computer. Eventually, booting up takes so long you not only have time to make a cup of coffee, you could have run out to the local café for the good stuff.

This is the stage where many people throw their hands in the air and start wishing for a new computer. Except your computer isn’t broken and doesn’t need replacing, it’s just….slow.

Time-wasting, focus-losing, frustratingly slow.

Like any machine, computers have parts that wear out – particularly if they have moving parts that are in near-constant use, such as hard drives.

The hard drive is the #1 cause of speed bottlenecks in most computers. Traditional hard drives are made up of a stack of round magnetic platters, spinning at up to 7200rpm, while read/write heads on mechanical arms whizz back and forth.

Eventually, the platters take longer to spin up, unable to reach full throttle, and the mechanical arm becomes sluggish. Which leaves you waiting. And waiting…

SSD’s Can Give Aging Computers A New Lease on Life

The new era of hard drives is here with Solid State Drives – and they have no moving parts. They’re actually a lot like your USB stick that continually takes a beating but still performs perfectly.

Making a simple upgrade to SSD can knock minutes (an eternity) off boot time, as well as streamlining regular computer operations. Some of the benefits are that they’re: –

• Cool – Don’t generate heat, which means other components also run more efficiently
• Durable – No moving parts to wear out
• Compact – A little larger and thicker than a credit card
• Long-lasting – buy a good quality SSD drive and it will last
• Lightning fast – Data is accessed almost instantly
• Suitable for all systems– laptop, desktop and even netbook

Upgrading your tired hard drive to a super-fast SSD can be done within one day.

We can supply and install an SSD for you, as well as clone your existing hard drive to it (Windows, programs and data). A full 12 month parts and labour warranty is included.

Or if you would like a new SSD with a fresh Windows installation (optimum speed boost), we can do that instead.

Book your SSD upgrade today (someone else can watch the kettle boil tomorrow).

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How can I tell if my computer is infected?

Virus infection

One of the common questions we are asked, is how to tell if a computer is infected? Some computer viruses are getting ‘clever’ by deliberately making themselves as stealthy as possible, so that they can do their work without you ever knowing.

Luckily, most of them can still be spotted, if you know where to look or what to look for – especially if there is a combination of symptoms.

Computer is running slow?

The general rule is that computers tend to get a bit slower over time just in normal use, so you need to be careful here. The more that computers are used and the older the technology in them, the more likely it is that the computer will take a little longer to do things than when it was new.

If however, your computer gets slower in a short period of time, that is a possible indication that something is amiss.

Where has my search engine gone?!

You switch your computer on, you want to do an internet search and suddenly Google, Bing or whatever search engine you normally use, is no longer there.

Although some people can inadvertently change the search engine in their internet browser, the majority of cases we see are that the search has been changed without your permission. This is classic computer malware behaviour (malicious software).

Unfortunately in many cases it isn’t a simple task to get rid of them by changing the setting back to what it should be, because they tend to reinsert themselves.

Pop-ups, pop-ups and more pop-ups!

If you are getting pop-up windows appearing, particularly advert-style ones, then again this is a classic symptom that you may be infected.

These annoying windows can appear even though you may have switched off pop-up windows in your internet browser and are usually scam-type infections, trying to convince you to spend money on computer programs and the like.

New icons on your desktop

Quite often we see icons on customer desktops that the customer has no recollection installing – particularly for so-called optimisation or driver update programs.

Many free downloads contain links to other software that is downloaded at the same time and whilst this extra software may not be classed as a virus in itself, they are classed as ‘Potentially Unwanted Programs’ and are automatically removed when professional technicians disinfect a computer. They were installed without your express permission, are hoaxes or simply don’t really do what they say that they do.

If you suspect that your computer is infected, give us a call on 01455 209505 and we can check your computer for you.

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Google Calendar in Windows 10

Windows 10 logo

Windows 10 has a built-in Calendar app which you can use to schedule appointments and reminders, but if you are a Google Calendar user, you can still use that service with your Windows 10 computer.

To integrate your Google Calendar with Windows 10, open the Windows 10 Calendar app by clicking on the Start button and selecting Calendar from the list on the left or the tiles to the right. When open, on the left-hand side is a cog icon – click that icon to open the Calendar app settings menu.

When open, click on ‘Accounts’ on the right-hand side and then ‘Add account’. Select Google from the drop down list, just sign in with your Google details and the Google Calendar will synch with your Windows 10 built-in Calendar, allowing you to use both.

You may find that the synch times between the two may not be as quick as, say, your smartphone to Google, but you can still use your Windows 10 computer with your Google Calendar, rather than be stuck with the built-in Calendar.

You can also use other Calendars, for example iCloud too.

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Too many toolbars

Popular internet browsers

A ‘Toolbar’ is an extra piece of software which inserts itself into the top of an internet browser and looks a part of it.

These toolbars can add search functions, links to various programs, online services and much more. They are easily available, usually free and are made to sound as though they are things that you cannot do without.

The thing is, you can do without them and we recommend that you avoid them if possible – even if they are from well-known companies.

There are a number of reasons for this. One is that every time you start up your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc.)  the toolbar will also load and install itself into the browser. This can not only slow the loading of the browser in the first place but can also slow down the loading of websites, as some toolbars monitor the content of each web page and that information needs to be processed in the background- which slows things down.

This monitoring is another reason to avoid them – usually deep down in the terms and conditions (that no-one reads) is a clause that says that you give the toolbar permission to track what you are doing on the internet and send this information to a third party, either for adverts or something else.

Another practical reason to avoid them is that some are just badly designed and written. They can interfere with legitimate uses of your internet browsers and can even stop them functioning at all in some cases.

In extreme cases, we have seen multiple toolbars in customer internet browsers and this can not only slow the browser down, but also the computer itself.

When you can bookmark your favourite sites, you may want to look at your toolbars, to see if you really need them.

 

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Laptop care

Laptop care when using

When repairing Laptop computers we find that there are a number of problems that crop up regularly, so we want to highlight the most common to help you protect your laptop (as well as Tablets and Netbooks).

Handle with care

When picking up your laptop (especially when it’s in a laptop case or bag) be careful how much pressure you apply to the lid when picking it up using its edge. Inside the lid are a number of electrical items which can cause problems if damaged, as well as the thin screen itself, and too much pressure can cause damage inside the lid.

Similarly, be careful where you leave the laptop, as we have had to replace many laptop screens because the laptop had been inadvertently sat on or stood on!

Needless to say, dropping laptops does happen – unfortunately you may find that you have intermittent problems afterwards due to stress damage inside the laptop, even when you cannot see damage externally. So if you have had an accident with your laptop, keep an eye on how it performs for a while afterwards.

Watch for heat and dust

Heat and Dust are enemies of computers, particularly laptops, so you should avoid placing a laptop on any soft surface which blocks the ventilation holes underneath and/or at the sides. Despite all the marketing photos, this includes quilts, sheets, cushions or anything else that can cover the ventilation grilles.

Also, all computers attract dust and you would be surprised at how quickly dust can build up inside a laptop – if it builds up too much it can cause overheating so just have a look every now and then.

Keep the power on!

Finally, when Windows Updates are installing, make sure that your laptop is plugged into the mains power – you do not want the battery running out during the update process as this can seriously affect your computer.

Similarly, do not close the lid unless your laptop is specifically set up to stay switched on, when the lid is closed.

If you need help with a damaged laptop, give us a call on 01455 209505 or use our Contact form.

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How To Protect Your Children While They’re Online

Secure your children when on the internet

Waking early to sneak in a couple hours of Minecraft, Roblox, YouTube or Xbox…grabbing their ‘educational’ iPad and Facetiming a friend…sending emails and texts…the world is their oyster.

Not just the younger children, but teenagers too.

To be honest, as an adult, we really have no idea what’s cool or what they’ve been introduced to at school. All we know is that they’re going to using their devices and we won’t be able to watch them every second of the day. Plus of course, no matter how many Cyber-Safety talks they’ve had, how many times they can parrot the rules back, they’re children and they don’t always stop to think.

• They don’t realize certain search terms might not be such a great idea
• They trust they are messaging other children
• And they would rather not limit themselves to 2 hours per day

Protect your Children with Parental Control Software

A Parental Control Software (PCS) package is essentially an internet filter for children. It takes all the inappropriate things online and blocks your child from accessing them, seeing them or even knowing they exist.

Adults can override and disable the software easily, so their own experience is unchanged and unmonitored.

As an added bonus, Parental Control Software can also be used to put time limits on internet usage, or even log all online activity. While you may not feel the need to review the logs on a daily basis, they can be vital in identifying cyber bullying, sexting, or inappropriate relationships.

The best time to install Parental Control Software is now, before your children become comfortable with unrestricted access, and before they see things they shouldn’t.

Give us a call to set your computer up with Parental Control Software today.

 

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