Triangle Compudocs Hints, Tips and Tricks

Things I think that may be of interest

Month: December, 2012

Have a safe and happy holiday season

Have a safe and happy holiday season with family and friends!

TCD Logo xMas

Triangle CompuDocs Holiday Logo


Remove browser plug-ins

Remove browser plug-ins

A browser plug-in expands Web browser’s functionality by doing things like installing specific toolbars, or adding buttons, links or useful functions (like pop-up blocking). Legitimate browser plug-ins are not only harmless, but also very handy — including the Google Toolbar, MSN Search Toolbar, Macromedia Flash or Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-ins.

But not all browser plug-ins are created equal.
Some plug-ins are malicious and will slow your system to a halt. Similar to spyware, adware and browser hijackers, they can be installed without explicit user consent and often do not provide any functional uninstall feature. Some malicious browser plug-ins even have integrated, innocent-looking toolbars that trick users into leaving parasites on their system.
They can, among other things:

• Change your browser’s default home and search pages to predetermined Web sites without your permission.
• Redirect your browser to a site whenever you type in an email address or perform an Internet search — for no obvious reason.
• Modify browser settings to add insecure resources to the trusted sites list.
• Degrade overall browser stability and performance.
• Offer no fully functional uninstall feature.

Malicious browser plug-ins affect mostly Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. (Though less prevalent threats are designed to compromise other popular browsers.)
How to remove a browser plug-in
Unfortunately, most browser plug-ins cannot be removed by antivirus software. To remove them, you will need to utilize special spyware removal tools. These products can scan the systems and detect and eliminate most privacy risks. Powerful spyware removers include real-time monitors that prevent the installation of known risks and unauthorized system modification.

Make sure your computer has adequate hard drive space

Once you have a better understanding of what virtual memory is — and you understand fragmentation and defragmenting a hard disk drive, you can tackle the issue of adequate hard drive space.

As we continue to use our computer and install all the latest and greatest software applications, create and save documents, take/download/modify images from our digital camera, as we rip and save our music files, and more, we continually eat up more and more of our storage capacity. If we get to the point that we have minimal free space (in large clusters) available (because we overlooked defragmenting our drive), or we just keep adding and adding more “stuff” to our computer because we can, we run the risk of hindering a system’s performance even more if we run up against extreme fragmentation, or worse yet, we start bumping up against our Virtual Memory allocation on our hard drive. (Typically, a hard drive with less than 20% free space will run slowly. “Cleaning” the hard drive by reducing the number of files may help improve performance.) If you see messages like “your system is running low on memory, try closing out some programs and trying again” its a good hint that you’re low on hard drive space. Some of the best ways to avoid this difficulty is to perform routine maintenance across your computer.

Delete programs you never use
• Windows XP. Start >> Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs (Look at the size and usage of the programs that populate the list, and carefully, choose which programs you no longer need). Also, many programs listed in Start, All Programs (list) will have an “uninstall” feature built into them. These are also beneficial at removing programs you no longer use.

• Windows Vista. The Add/Remove window is similarly located in Windows Vista, and again many programs come with an uninstall feature built into the program group associated with the Start menu.

Back up any data that you rarely access to an external media source (CD or DVD ROM)

• For both Windows XP and Vista the use of backups is a great necessity for virtually ALL computer users. You are only as safe as your latest backup. Also, moving less used files to an external media other than your hard disk drive will allow your machine to continue to perform with continued speed and agility.

Running Disk Cleanup to clear cache and other temporary files that reside on your computer.
Windows XP. Cleaning up unnecessary files in Windows XP (take your pick). You can start Disk Cleanup, by doing any of the following:

• Click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, type cleanmgr, and then click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup OR
• In Windows Explorer or My Computer, right-click the disk in which you want to free up space, click Properties, click the General tab, and then click Disk Cleanup.
Windows Vista. If you want to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster, use Disk Cleanup. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need.
• Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking System Tools, and then clicking Disk Cleanup.
• In the Disk Cleanup Options dialog box, choose whether you want to clean up your own files only or all of the files on the computer. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
• If the Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection dialog box appears, select the hard disk drive that you want to clean up, and then click OK.
• Click the Disk Cleanup tab, and then select the check boxes for the files you want to delete.
• When you finish selecting the files you want to delete, click OK, and then click Delete files to confirm the operation. Disk…

Beware of the quick fix.

Beware of the quick fix.

I see commercials all the time about cleaning up your pc or fixing viruses. Just download this software and BAM, your computer is fast again. Don’t believe it. They dont work. I have not even once come across a client who got good results from these websites. Nothing beats a technician tuning up your computer at your home. You know the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” It’s true. Call me instead.

Good sound and video at Go Realty Durham

Sound and Video at Go Realty Durham

Sound and Video at Go Realty Durham

That was a fun job.

Privacy group files complaint against app maker.

“Mobbles app takes unfair advantage of children’s developmental vulnerabilities, and even potentially threatens their personal safety”. Privacy group files complaint against kids’ mobile game maker

Santa Ditches Google For Microsoft

Kind of a big deal dont you think?

Virtual Memory and your hard disk drive

Virtual memory or “page file” is a location on your hard disk drive that is built to simulate DRAM. When you begin running low on physical DRAM, you computer automatically begins to move critical DRAM data to your page file. The page file is typically 1.5 times the amount of physical DRAM you have installed in your computer system (so if you have 2GB of DRAM installed in your system, your virtual memory settings would automatically be set to 3GB of space used on your hard disk drive, 4GB of main memory would utilize 6GB of hard disk drive space, etc. This space is reserved and cannot be utilized for any other purposes than virtual memory. You can modify your virtual memory as you see fit by following these instructions:

Windows XP
To manually change the size of virtual memory, follow these steps:

  • Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl in the Open box, and then press ENTER.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then under Performance click Settings.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then under Virtual memory click Change.
  • Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file that you want to change.
  • Under Paging file size for selected drive, click Custom size, type a new paging file size in megabytes (MB) in the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) box, and then click Set.
  • Click OK to close the dialog box and apply changes.
  • Note: After you change the size of the paging file, you may be prompted to restart Windows. If you are prompted to restart, the changes will not take effect until Windows is restarted.
  • For best results, it is highly recommended that you set/leave the paging file to 1.5 times your physical DRAM.

Windows Vista

Vista versions are set to automatically manage your Virtual Memory. To confirm or manually change these settings, follow these steps:

As an alternative to setting the AutomaticManagedPagefile property to False, follow these steps:

  • Click Start.
  • Click Control Panel, double-click System and Maintenance.
  • Click System.
  • Click Advanced system settings (note: you may be prompted for an administrator password, or confirmation, type the password, or provide confirmation).
  • In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
  • Under Performance, click Settings.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then click Change under Virtual memory.
  • Click to clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.
  • Click on Custom Size, fill in both the initial size and maximum size to 1.5 times the amount of physical DRAM you currently have installed.
  • Click Set, OK, and Apply.

Note: After you change the size of the paging file, you may be prompted to restart Windows. If you are prompted to restart, the changes will not take effect until Windows is restarted. For best results, it is highly recommended that you set/leave the paging file to Windows Vista’s recommended settings.

Thanks to once again for these detailed instructions

BIOS revisions and the motherboard

The BIOS is responsible for “waking up” the system and getting your hardware components talking to one another. It’s one of the most crucial parts of a motherboard. Sometimes when you add a different piece of hardware to the system it may require some settings to be adjusted in the BIOS to allow the new hardware to talk to the rest of the system. That means a BIOS upgrade can be used to improve compatibility and performance in general.
A motherboard manufacturer may release a new BIOS revision when they have found ways to improve the motherboard or add new features. Since each motherboard and BIOS is different, we recommend you contact the motherboard manufacturer for full instructions on performing the upgrade. The updates can normally be found on the manufacturer’s web site under their support section of “Drivers & Downloads”.

Apple users do not need to update their BIOS since their updates are completed at the same times as their firmware updates.

Thanks to for these detailed instructions.

Defrag your Hard Drive? Here’s how.

A “disk defrag” usually refers to the Microsoft Windows utility called Disk Defragmenter. It tackles an inherent problem in the way a hard disks store data. It only takes a few simple steps.

How to defrag your hard drive

Unless you are running one of the new, fast and silent SSDs (Solid State Drives) on the market today, your computer will eventually suffer performance loss because the data on your drive becomes fragmented. There is no reason to be alarmed, because this problem is very simple to fix. Hard disk drives by nature are “random”. By that, we mean that information is written to the first empty portion of the drive that the write-head can access. So, over the course of the drive’s life, it can become harder and harder for your drive to find all of the information or programs you are asking it to run in a timely manner. Knowing this, defragmenting your drive will keep it running efficiently and quickly rather than slow and begrudgingly.

Windows XP
Method 1: Use the Properties of your local disk
Click Start.
Open My Computer.
Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment and then click Properties.
On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.
Click Defragment.

Method 2: Use Computer Management MMC
Click Start.
Click Run.
Type Compmgmt.msc in the open field.
Click Disk Defragmenter.
Click the volume that you want to defragment and then click Defragment.

Method 3: Use Disk Defragmenter MMC.
Click Start.
Click Run.
Type Dfrg.msc in the open field.
Click the volume that you want to defragment and then click Defragment.

Windows Vista
Method 1: Manually run it.
Open Disk Defragmenter by clicking the Start button
Click All Programs
Click Accessories
Click System Tools
Then click Disk Defragmenter (note: you may be prompted for an administrator password, or confirmation, type the password, or provide confirmation)
Click Defragment Now (note: It may take several minutes or several hours to complete this task depending on the size of the drive, and the degree of fragmentation present)

Method 2: Windows Vista has a default auto defrag program. Just let it run.

Windows 7 or 8
Disk defragmenting is automatic and works very well in these newer operating systems.

Thanks to for excellent instructions.