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4 Components To Protect Your Windows PC

Modern day criminals know that the internet is where the money is and which is where they spend their time. Which means that us honest people have to be twice as careful.

It should be obvious that protecting your information online is far more complex than keeping your bag close or even locking your door.

Here are 4 important components of protecting your Windows PC:

1: Antivirus

Make sure whenever Windows in running, it should run an up-to-date antivirus program. This program will run in the background and block not only viruses but all types of malware too. You can find the best option by looking up AVTest.

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This is recommended because even the best antivirus program can miss an attack from time to time. So, it’s best advised to scan your PC with another program that will scan only when you tell it to. Use Malwarebytes Anti-malware.

3: Firewall

Much like an antivirus, this program will also run in the background at all times too. Yet its function is to control the traffic between the internet and your PC. Of course, Windows offers a decent firewall but you have to ensure that it has been turned on. For this, type ‘firewall’ while selecting Windows Firewall in Control Panel. Also, in the left pane, turn Windows on or off.

4: Updates

Ensure that Windows 7 or 8 stays updated. So, look for or launch Windows Update. Now, click Change settings in the left pane. If Install Windows automatically (recommended) isn’t selected, then ensure it is turned on. For Windows 10, search for windows updates while selecting Windows Updates. Now scroll down to the bottom of the window and select Advanced options. Now, make sure Automatic (recommended).

3 Tips to Upgrade to Windows 10 Seamlessly

It won’t be long before Windows 7 or 8.1 users will be able receive a free upgrade of the latest Windows 10.

Of course, if you’ve already made a reservation, your turn will come to download the new operating system at no cost whatsoever.

Just in case you’re wondering, there’s a lot to love about Windows 10 since there’s not only an interface revamp but also under-the-hood tweaks that are worth upgrading for.

Still, it’s best to take precautions before you do so in order to ensure a seamless transition between the two.

Here are 3 tips that will help you do so quite easily:

1: Backup Your Data

Before you upgrade, get a local backup done if your data is already uploaded to OneDrive or another cloud service. Of course, it’s good to have three copies: offsite and local backup and one backup on your system.

2: Acquaint Yourself With Windows 10

Those who begin using Windows 10 will see that there are a lot of features that resemble Windows 7. Of course, one familiar one is the Start screen. However, there are new ones such as Task View, the Edge browser, the Cortana personal assistant, modern Office, windowed modern UI apps. Last but not the least, Windows Hello, if you’ve got the right hardware.

3: Learn the Shortcuts

At first glance, the new shortcuts on Windows 10 isn’t very different from Windows 7. A number of them are still the same with one example being Windows key + E to open File Explorer. However, there are a few new additions such closing new virtual desktops, snapping with Windows 10 Quadrants while also working with Task View. There are also new trackpad gestures that have also been added that are very similar to what you would find on a Mac.

What You Need to Know About Windows and Data Backup

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Cloud-based data backup is excellent for the advantages that it offers: not only is it easy and automatic but it also cannot be destroyed by either natural or manmade disasters.

That said, backing up your data might be good but this isn’t that effective if you want to backup Windows. This is for the simple reason that backing up your data involves copying the files that you wish to save but when it comes to saving Windows safely involves cloning or creating an image of your drive.

For that matter, system backup is not as important as data backup for the simple reason that you can always reinstall Windows and the applications that you use. Of course, this cannot be done with photos, documents and spreadsheets.

This is why you should backup your data daily while doing an image backup at least two or three times a year.

As for the disasters that can make you glad that you have data backup, the first of the lot is accidents where you can lose files. Whether you emptied the Recycle Bin before realizing that you deleted the wrong file or folder or you overwrote a project that is important, having local or online backup can save you the hassle that comes with such incidents.

There are other situations where Windows crashes and the only way you can use your system is by reinstalling the operating system. Of course, it goes without saying that you will lose all the data as a result. This is where a Windows image or backup can really help you. Once you restored your operating system, you can use the data backup to restore your files.

Finally, in the case of a flood or fire, an online backup will be better than a local one. Of course, the image backup won’t matter but at the very least, you’ll still have all your important data. You can always install your favorite applications when you pick up a new PC.

How to Speed Up Your Windows PC Boot Time

One of the biggest problems with Windows has always been how long it takes to start it up in older PCs.

In a few cases, this might occur due to a hardware problem such as a faulty hard disk but in most cases, it is all those pesky programs trying to start when booting up.

This, in turn, occurs because of the installation of a number of apps on your system that want to be included in your PC’s startup routine.

Of course, some of them are important such as the PC’s antivirus. However, there are others such as Google Hangouts or Google Now alerts that don’t need to start until much later.

Of course, getting rid of these programs was difficult before Windows 8.1, thanks to a simple addition that has been made recently.

For this, all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+Del on your system. Select Task Manager with your mouse. When you’re back on desktop, with the Task Manager open, look for the Startup tab.

Click on the tab and you will see programs that are most likely to turn on when you start your computer. Now look for the Startup Impact column within this tab, and if the program is statused ‘High’, then you will want to disable it so as to speed up your computer at startup.

Before you go about disabling programs from startup, remember that you will have to do manually run it once you have started your system.

One last thing: be careful not to disable a program from the PC manufacturer or the component maker or even critical programs such as the anti-virus.

What You Need to Know About Free Software

It’s a known fact that free products come with strings and which is why it is good for one to be very skeptical.

However, there are times when you can get free software with no hassle if you listen carefully to recommendations.

What this also means is that you can get your hands on some good software without breaking the law as a result.

This is for the simple reason that some companies or programmers themselves would like to have you use their software for free.

In most cases, this free version is a lighter version compared to the pro version that it offers for a sum of money. In other words, the software has lesser features and is usually for marketing purposes.

Once their product gets around, the pro version is offered and which will have the features that the free version doesn’t have.

In a number of cases, you only receive tech support with the paid version and in others, you can only use the free version for home use and nothing more. If you are a business, you have to buy the pro version.

Of course, free software comes with another hazard and that are known as potentially unwanted programs – malware that is offered through advertising. So, it’s in your best interests to always opt for the custom installation instead of the default installation. This will help you to avoid the installation of any malware that you don’t need.

Finally, there are a few options of free software that displays ads in the program, and which is no doubt, better than the other type of programs described above.

3 Simple Ways to Move Data from Windows XP to a New PC

With support ending for Windows XP as we know it, the only options that you might have include upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 or even Linux. This also means that you might have to move your data, which might seem like a real headache.

Actually, nothing can be further from the truth. That said, here are 4 ways to transfer data from Windows XP to a new PC:

#1: Cloud-based Storage

If you don’t want to spend any money on storage, then you can opt for cloud-based storage that is free of cost. Since there are a number of providers, you can put together almost 50 to 100 GB for all your data that you will have to upload. Of course, if you don’t have the patience of dealing with a number of accounts, you can pay a bit to get extra storage on a couple of these accounts.

#2: Flash drive or external hard drive

This is the simplest (and most common) method which doesn’t require you to download any software or even run through a particular set of steps to move data either. Plug your external hard drive or flash drive into your system and then transfer files.

And while you won’t have to spend much to get external hard or flash drives, the only thing that you will have to deal with is manually selecting files and transferring them in the process. For this, copy files from “C:/Documents and Settings”.

#3: Windows Easy Transfer Tool

Both Windows 7 and 8 offer a free tool that allows users to download both files as well as user accounts and settings to their new PC. While this tool is present by default in the aforementioned operating systems, you will have to download this for Windows XP.

Utilize the experience of an IT solutions provider

Time is money, and every single waking hour is an opportunity to make the most of your time and make it big. In this day and age of fast paced e-commerce, every second counts. Delays, offline hours, and system downtimes all cost money, and it doesn’t just cost you, the business owner, but it also puts a toll on your client and your client’s customers. Be smart about computer system and datacenter management by choosing to hire the help of a professional IT consulting firm to help do the dirty work for you.

Maximize your IT budget by hiring performance computer services long beach. With the experience and expertise of an IT consulting Los Angeles firm you can be sure that your company’s internet backbone and other computer services stay online all the time, with maximum throughput, performance, and reliability. Not only will a full service IT firm help you manage the systems in your company, but they will also find ways to optimize your company’s computer systems to ensure that maximum quality of service is met, always. Optimize your business’ computer networking framework and make the most out of every moment in the day to boost productivity and customer satisfaction. Choose only an experienced IT consulting orange county firm to help you with managing your business.

Work smart, not hard, with the help of experienced IT consulting Orange County and make the most out of your every single IT dollar. Break performance boundaries without breaking the bank with an experienced IT solutions provider.

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Article submitted by Calnet Technology Group, providers of quality IT consulting and orange county IT support.

Windows 7 and Netbooks – 6 Steps to Harmony

With Netbooks spreading like a wildly contagious infection all over the world, it will be only a matter of time before users want to get Windows 7 for their machines. The latest operating system from Microsoft has revealed itself to be surprisingly kind on resources and works quite well on low spec machines. Installing it on a NetBook is fairly straightforward but you should make sure that a few things are in order.

1. Windows 7 has an excellent driver database but they are not always the best drivers. On a normal laptop or PC you can be not-too-bothered about this, but with a low powered NetBook you need all the performance you can get. Even if Device Manager reports everything as “ok”, you should still download the latest drivers for your devices from the manufacturer’s site.

2. Manufacturers like ASUS have excellent power management software that comes with their devices. After a new operating system install, it is advisable to download this software again as it will manage your power consumption better.

3. Netbooks are about performance, so get rid of Aero and other graphical marvels. In the long run you will be happier due to the extended battery life.

4. Free up screen space by installing practical apps, like Chrome for browsing. Unlike Firefox it is not menu heavy, therefore you get more viewing space. You should also auto-hide the taskbar to gain a few more pixels. In this manner, try choosing software that will consume less screen space in terms of menus and sidebars and so on.

5. Squeezing your battery to last longer is always a running battle and one thing that can help you is MSCONFIG. Using this, turn off any processes and services that you don’t need. Do this with caution; just because you do not know what a process does, that does not mean that you should turn it off. Look online for guides on how to do this.

6. If you do have the budget, consider some hardware upgrades like memory and efficient hard disks. The memory will help Windows and the HD will use less power.

Opera 10.5 – Regaining Lost Glory

The Opera browser was the darling of the internet… some time ago. Since its glory days when it introduced tabbed browsing and other innovations, the browser has fallen from grace badly. Google’s Chrome browser, Apple’s Safari and even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have left it in the dust a long time ago. A while back, Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner said “We consider it a bug, internally, that Opera isn’t the fastest”, and it seems that it wasn’t all talk.

Opera 10.5 has arrived and been noted. Thanks to the Carakan engine, Opera is the fastest in executing JavaScript on Windows based PC’s. Throw in the Vega graphics library and Chrome has a formidable sparring partner. Apart from that Opera has many good features.

Unite mini server-in-a-browser – Enables you to turn you computer into a mini server accessible by you anywhere via an internet connection.
Turbo – Enhanced caching that allows for a better browsing experience with slow connections

Link – Allows synchronization between computers and devices as well as the synchronization of Speed Dial, bookmarks, custom searches, history and notes are some of the notable features of Link.

Torrents – Opera has its own built in BitTorrent support

Future support – The browser already supports HTML5 and CSS3, which means that the transition for users will be fairly seamless.

Opera has also thrown in features which we have grown to expect from browsers like Private browsing mode, Phishing protection and an RSS reader. It is also designed with Windows 7 in mind, therefore it functions well with the operating system’s new features quite well. With a host of other features, Opera finally seems to have caught up and even overtaken the browser race. The response from the competition should be extremely interesting to watch.

The Windows 7 Search Feature

Once people got over their fear of what Windows 7 held in store for them, they soon discovered that the operating system was actually (and surprisingly) very good. Windows 7 has turned out to be fast and efficient, with most of its applications etc in the ‘right place’. In short, Microsoft has finally turned out a decent operating system after Windows 3.1 and Windows 98.

One of the better features in Windows 7 is the Search feature. You can activate search in two ways.

1. Click the Start Menu and type in the search bar that appears at the bottom of the menu. This Search function can find applications on the start menu as well as files in attached storage devices. This is useful if you are lazy to go through the whole menu and find the application you need to launch. If it is a file you are searching for, then the main explorer search window will be launched after it fails to find your search criteria in the start menu.

2. By launching Windows Explorer, you can activate a more localized and filtered search. You will notice a search bar at the top right hand corner of the window. You can enter your search criteria here. You will also notice that it shows a few quick filters that you can apply to refine your search. Once the search results start coming in, you will notice the results have your search criteria highlighted.

The user friendliness of the search function and its thoroughness really make this feature a winner for Windows 7 .

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