WHY WINDOWS SEEMS SLOW

Our favorite question-and-answer site, Quora.com, recently posted a message from David Seidman, a Microsoft employee, on the question of why Windows gets so slow after just a year of use. First off, he says, if you never install any software, except security updates, and leave lots of free disk space, it will never slow down. On the other hand, if you have lots of programs, you should run the “msconfig” utility to keep so many from loading at start up. In Windows 7, get to msconfig by clicking “start,” and “run” and typing “msconfig.” In Windows 8, get to the startup tab by right-clicking your taskbar and choosing “task manager.” Seidman says that Windows 8 runs many fewer services at […]

Read more

Share

A READER QUESTION

A reader wrote to tell us he loves Microsoft’s free anti-virus software, “Microsoft Security Essentials,” and has been using it for years. But it doesn’t come on his daughter-in-law’s Windows 8 machine; Windows 8 comes with “Microsoft Defender,” which is only part of Security Essentials. So we recommended switching to Avast, which is free from Avast.com.

Read more

Share

PLAY DEFENSE

Recently, a reader asked about the program “Driver Restore.” Absolutely do not download this one. Though keeping drivers up to date is important, this program and many like it will infect your computer.

Read more

Share

SECOND-HAND PHONES STILL HAVE STUFF

More than 80,000 used phones are for sale on eBay on any given day. The owners think they’ve wiped their personal data first. It turns out, they haven’t.

Read more

Share

KNOW YOUR COMPUTER AND KEEP IT CLEAN

“Belarc Advisor” is a free program that will analyze your computer and let you see all the information about hardware, software and security. Its detailed report lists everything: model numbers, serial numbers and software license keys for many installed programs. If your computer needs a security update, it will tell you that too.

Read more

Share

GOING AFTER PUP DOGS

Running a malware (bad stuff) program on our test computer picked up over 950 “PUP” files. “PUP,” is short for “Potentially Unwanted Programs.” This triggered the computer to go wild, filling out web addresses with bizarre characters and slowing everything to a crawl.

Read more

Share

ANTI-VIRUS UPDATE

We recently wrote about the free programs, Avast and Bitdefender, just days before the new Avast 2014 came out. The new version is free and instructs you to burn a boot-disk on a CD or DVD. After all, it’s all well and good to have anti-virus protection, but what if your computer won’t start at all? Then you better have a boot disk ready. If you Google “create boot disk,” you can get instructions to burn one to CD or flash drive, but it’s nice that Avast prompts you to do it.

Read more

Share

DEFENSIVE BATTLES

For a good free anti-virus, we’ve long recommended Avast. But PC Magazine recently gave their highest marks to another free program: BitDefender. Now along comes Ashampoo Anti-Virus 2014, which bundles BitDefender with a lot of other useful programs. It’s $40, and there’s a free trial download from the web site: Ashampoo.com.

Read more

Share

SHARING WI-FI SIGNALS

A pretty girl, very sweet looking, knocked on our door and said to Joy:”I have to get on the Internet. Can I use your password?” We didn’t know her and she wasn’t a neighbor, but she stood poised and ready with notebook and pen to take down our password.

Read more

Share

COMING CLEAN

We heard from a reader who said his PC is “as slow as a stalled car in a parking lot.” (There’s an image for you.) He said his anti-virus program is running well and it’s a relatively new computer. So what gives? Well, he could call AAA to get his car started but he probably wants to deal with his computer first. And his first problem there is he gets a lot of intrusive ads when browsing the web. That’ll slow you down.  Adblock Plus is a free program from AdblockPlus.org and it will take out almost all of those. His second problem is he never clears out his Internet history and other junk files. CCleaner, from We heard from […]

Read more

Share
In The Swim coupon