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Is your Internet Slow ?
  • Most people do not get the internet speeds that were promised to them by their providers.  Two speeds are important, the internet speed coming to your house, and the speed of WiFi within your house.  You can run a test to determine both of these.
  • Several accurate speed testers are available:
  • The Download Speed is by far the most crucial number as MOST of our activities involve downloading.
  • All newer WIFI routers are "dual-band" routers.   The higher band is faster than the lower band so always connect to the higher band on your WIFI hot spot finder.   Most newer computers and phones can connect to either band.   Older computers may only be able to connect to the lower band.
  • Your WiFi speed will vary SIGNIFICANTLY depending on many factors including:
    • Whether you are connected to your high or low band of our dual band router.
    • Your distance from your WiFi router, 10 feet, 20 feet, or 40 feet
    • Obstacles between you and your WiFi router.
    • The processing speed of your computer, phone, or tablet.
    • The number of devices streaming from the same router.
  • To test the internet speed coming to your house:  Connect an ethernet cable directly from your computer to your internet modem.  Disable WiFi on your computer.  (You might also need to restart your computer.)  Go to www.speedtest.net and then press the "BEGIN TEST" button.  Record the Download speed and Upload speed in Mbps (millions of bits per second).
  • To test the internet WiFi speed within your house:  Remove any ethernet cable between your computer and your internet modem.  Enable WiFi on your computer.  Go to www.speedtest.net and then press the "BEGIN TEST" button.  Record the Download speed and Upload speed in Mbps (millions of bits per second).
  • You may need to run the speed test at different times during the day.  Many internet services are on shared lines causing your speed at different times of the day to be affected by heavy usage by your neighbors.
  • Many WiFi routers (even WiFi routers rented to you by your internet provider) only give your devices a fraction of the internet speed coming to your house.   A dual-band WiFi router is often required to provide your WiFi devices with nearly the same internet speeds as a hard-wired ethernet cable.  You may also need a dual-band WiFi router if multiple devices and people are typically using the internet simultaneously within your house.
  • Your internet provider may allow you to simply swap out your router for a dual-band router.
  • Alternatively, you can eliminate the cost of renting your equipment by purchasing both an internet modem and a dual-band router.  Be sure to ask your internet provider what internet modems will be acceptable before purchasing your internet modem.
Connecting to WiFi
  • When trying to connect to WiFi at
    the airport, restaurant, hotel, or coffee shop, remember that:
    • You often need to close and re-open your browser and click on the user agreement before WiFi will work.  If the agreement doesn't pop up, type in the company's web site like www.wendys.com if you are at a Wendy's.
    • If wifi is password protected, then check if there is an open access "guest" network.  If not, then you need to ask a representative at the business for the wifi password.
Free Desktop Backgrounds for your PC Browsers Home Page Microsoft Office Home Use Program
  • Many larger companies subscribe to the Microsoft Office Home Use program which allows you to purchase and install Microsoft Office at home for about $20. Check with the benefits coordinator at your company. See www.Microsofthup.com
Microsoft Office Compatible Online Anytime/Anywhere Hoax or not?
  • To find out whether a shocking spam story is true or just a big lie, go to www.snopes.com
Reporting a Scam or Fraud Attempt Drop Box
  • If you forget your thumbdrive, use DropBox to save / transfer up to 2.5 GB of data for free. www.dropbox.com
Interesting Web Sites
  • Go to StumbleUpon.com. Press "Start Stumbling". Repeatedly press "Stumble".
PDF Files
  • To display PDF files on your computer, go to www.adobe.com and download and install Adobe Reader
Portable Applications
  • Run your favorite applications and tools from a thumbdrive without leaving any personal data or settings behind. http://portableapps.com
To play videos on your computer
  • To enable your Windows-compatible computer to display 99% of the videos available on the Internet, go to www.free-codecs.com. Under "Codec Packs" choose "K-Lite Codec Pack". Press "Download" label. Choose Standard Edition for your operating system. Download and install.
Online Computer Backup Service
To use personal pictures as a slide show screen saver
  1. Ensure that you have two or more pictures in a folder on your computer. You can upload pictures from a digital camera or scanner, or copy them from the Internet or an e-mail attachment.
  2. Open Display in Control Panel.
  3. On the Screen Saver tab, under Screen saver, click My Pictures Slideshow in the list.
  4. Click Settings to specify the folder containing your pictures, define picture size, and set other options.

Notes

  1. To open Display, click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
  2. My Pictures Slideshow scrolls through all the pictures in the folder.
  3. After you specify a screen saver, it will automatically start when your computer is idle for the number of minutes specified in Wait.
  4. Click Preview to see how the selected screen saver will appear on your monitor. Move your mouse or press a key to end the preview.
Customize your desktop's background
  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Appearance and Themes.
  3. Under Pick a task, click Change the desktop background.
  4. On the Desktop tab, do one or more of the following:
  5. In the Color box, select a color.
  6. In the Background list, click a background picture. In the Position list, click Center, Tile, or Stretch to define how your picture will be displayed.
  7. Click Browse to search for a background picture in other folders or on other drives. You can use files with the following extensions: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .dib, .png, or .htm. In the Position list, click Center, Tile, or Stretch to define how your picture will be displayed, and then click OK or Apply.
  8. If you want to use a picture on your hard disk as a background, double-click on the picture to open it in picture viewer, then right click on it and select "Set as Desktop Background".
  9. If you want to use a picture from a Web site, on the site, right-click the image, and then click Set as Desktop Background.
  10. To see a colored background you must select none from the Background drop-down menu. Also, if you choose an .htm document as your background picture, the Position options are unavailable; instead, the .htm document automatically stretches to fill the entire background.
Computer Broken
  • To completely restart your computer, hold the power button down for 10 seconds. Then release. Then press it again to restart the computer.
  • When restarting your computer, you may need to disconnect all USB devices.
  • Select "Start > Control Panel". Select "Backup and Restore Center". Select "Repair Windows Using System Restore". Restore computer to a time when the problem did not exist.
  • Laptop screen goes black. Fold the laptop lid closed and then re-open it.
Computer Slow
  • Internet Explorer Slow. Select "Tools > Internet Options > Delete...". Delete everything except passwords.
  • Mozilla Firefox slow. Select "Tools > Clear Recent History...". Delete everything.
  • Browser slow. Remove Spyware.
  • Select "Start" then enter "Perfmon" and press Enter.
Don't click on links in emails from unknown senders
  • Do not click on any links in emails from unknown senders.  A very dirty trick by hackers is to put malware links in the "unsubscribe" link of a fake advertisement email that they send to you.
  • Before clicking on any link, move your pointer over the link and hover over it to see the target address to determine if it will be safe to click on the link.  Don't click on any link if it is in any way suspicious (tracking, php, etc...), or if you notice by hovering that all the links in the email are going to the same place.
  • Read more about malicious emails here.
Virus Protection and Information
  • It is essential to protect your computer and your data from viruses.  Always have active virus protection software on your computer, such as:
  • To find out whether a computer virus is dangerous or just a big hoax or to find out how to get rid of a virus, go to http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/ default.asp?cid=9043
  • Don't keep free "preview" versions of virus protection software on your computer that scan for and show you threats but don't actually fix anything.  These provide no benefit and just slow down your computer.
Spyware: How to get rid of Spyware, Malware, and Popupware
  • Download and run Adaware.  Goto www.lavasoft.com and click "download FREE". Install and run Adaware.  Adaware will be stored in the C:\Program Files\Lavasoft directory.  Be sure to press the "check for updates" link. (Note: If you ever get error 1814, reset your settings to defaults.)
  • Select "Start > Control Panel > System > Windows Updates" and make sure your operating system is up-to-date. This will help defend against spyware and viruses.
  • Download and run Spybot Search and Destroy (Free version) Goto www.pcworld.com or www.download.com and download Spybot Search and Destroy.  Install and run Spybot.  Be sure to press the "search for updates" button.
  • Download and run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware.  Goto www.malwarebytes.org.
  • Download and run AdwCleaner (Free!) from www.download.com.  Close all windows and click the "AdwCleaner" icon. Perform scan and clean.
  • Download and run Junkware Removal Tool (Free!) from www.download.com.  Once Junkware Removal Tool has finished downloading, double-click on the JRT.exe icon.  If asked, allow it to run. Junkware Removal Tool will now start, and at the Command Prompt.
  • Press Start.  Type "msconfig" and press enter.  Select the "Startup" tab and uncheck any item you don't want to run.
  • Press Start.  Type "regedit" and press enter.  It is possible to delete offending keys, but should only be done after careful research on the internet and only by those who very skilled with computers.
If your browser is completely compromised by malware, you can reset it as follows:
  • To reset firefox to its default state:
    1. From the Firefox menu, select Help, select "Troubleshooting Information" or type about:support in the address bar.
    2. To continue, click "Reset Firefox" in the confirmation window that opens.
    3. Firefox will close and be reset. When it's done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click "Finish" and Firefox will open.
  • To reset Internet Explorer to its default state:
    1. Close all Internet Explorer and Explorer windows that are currently open.
    2. Start Internet Explorer.
    3. On the Tools menu, tap or click Internet options. If you don't see the Tools menu, press Alt.
    4. In the Internet Options window, tap or click the Advanced tab.
    5. Tap or click Reset.
    6. In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, tap or click Reset.
    7. click OK.
    8. Exit and then start Internet Explorer.
  • For software to block those annoying popups, go to www.pcworld.com and download Pop-Up Stopper v3.1.101 (Free)
  • For a free personal firewall to protect you from spyware, get ZoneAlarm.
Other Helpful hints



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