Clean It Up: Easy Ways to Extend the Life of Your PC

Like your body, your house, and your car, your PC needs regular cleaning to keep it running smoothly. There might be dust bunnies choking its fans, junk files clogging the hard drive, maybe even stealth viruses slowing down the entire system. Fortunately, with a little maintenance of your hardware and software alike, you can restore your PC to its former trouble-free glory, and perhaps even squeeze a few extra years out of it.

Clean out the dust

 

Computers generate a lot of heat. Fans help dissipate all that heat, which would otherwise shorten the life of internal components and even cause system crashes. Unfortunately, as time goes by, those fans suck in a lot of dust and pet hair, which accumulates to the point where components don’t cool properly and the fans themselves get clogged–sometimes to the point of failure.

That’s why it’s essential to blow the dust out of your PC, and do so on a regular basis (at least every six months). If you have a desktop PC, turn the system off, remove the side panel, then use a can of compressed air to blow out all the dust. (You may want to do this outside.) Hit the fan blades with short bursts as well, making sure to get all the fans inside the system (including those inside the power supply and on your video card). Pay special attention to any heat sinks you see; they usually reside on the motherboard on your video card.

Laptops require a bit more surgery. After turning it off, remove the battery and unplug the AC adapter. Now flip the laptop over and look for an access panel that’s in close proximity to any air vent on an outer edge of the laptop. (Some laptops have multiple panels, others may have a single, very large one.)

Using a small screwdriver, unscrew that panel and remove it. You should see a fan somewhere underneath. Now it’s time to blow out the dust with your can of compressed air (again, outside may be preferable). Hit the blades, the areas around the fan, the air vents, and anywhere else you see dust within the laptop’s guts.

After you’ve blown out all the dust, replace the access panel and battery, then power up the system. It should run quieter and cooler than it did before, and the added bonus is your components will last longer.

Clean out the junk

 

Every spring you clear out all the stuff that’s cluttering up your house, right? Your computer can get similarly cluttered with so-called “junk” files, which accumulate over time. These are temporary and/or superfluous files produced by Windows and various programs, and the more of them that pile up, the slower your PC will run.

Fortunately, a PC “spring cleaning” doesn’t require a mop, a broom, or even a trashcan. (Well, maybe a virtual one.) All you need is a utility designed to find and remove all that accumulated junk.

One popular option: Piriform’s CCleaner (which was originally known as “Crap Cleaner,” which should give you some idea as to its function). This free program, available for both Windows and Mac, scours your computer and Web browser for temporary files, form histories, and other potentially unnecessary stuff. On Windows machines it will also clean the Registry of old and unused entries. Run CCleaner every few months to keep your computer, well, clean!

Defrag your hard drive–if you have to

There’s another kind of “junk” that can accumulate on your PC: Tiny file fragments that get scattered across your hard drive over time. Years ago, it was important to run some sort of defragmentation utility (colloquially known as a “defragger”) to put your drive’s house in order, so to speak.

Today, things are a bit different. If your PC has Windows XP and a relatively small hard drive (320 gigabytes or less), a monthly defrag is still a good idea. You can do this using Windows’ built-in defragger: Open My Computer, right-click the icon for your hard drive, then click Properties. Switch to the Tools tab, click Defragment Now, then click Defragment to begin.

Newer PCs with larger hard drives don’t really need this kind of manual attention, especially considering that Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 all have automated defraggers that run at scheduled times. That said, many users swear by pro-level utilities like Diskeeper, which promise to do a faster and more effective job than Windows’ own tools.

One caveat: If your PC has a solid-state drive (SSD), don’t defrag it. Doing so can actually shorten its lifespan, and the nature of SSD technology is such that there’s no benefit from defragging anyway.

Wipe the hard drive

If you really want to “clean” your PC, consider a radical step: wipe the hard drive and reinstall Windows. That’s the kind of project that can consume an afternoon, if not an entire weekend, but the end result is a computer that’s literally like new—and probably good for another couple years of duty (assuming the hardware is still ship-shape).

The broad strokes of this process look like this: You make a list of everything important on your PC (programs, documents, photos, bookmarks, address books, and so on), then use a backup tool to offload all the data to an external hard drive. (The programs can be reinstalled from discs and/or downloads, so there’s no need to preserve them.)

Next, you use whatever system-restoration discs came with your PC. (If it didn’t come with any, contact your manufacturer about creating or obtaining a set.) This will erase the hard drive and reload Windows (along with any software supplied by the manufacturer). When that’s done, you simply reinstall your programs, then restore your data.

There are countless tutorials online that provide step-by-step instructions for this procedure, and it’s a good idea to review the entire process before beginning, just so you don’t encounter any unwelcome surprises. Again, this can be a somewhat scary exercise, but when the work is done, you’ll love the snappy, like-new performance of your squeaky-clean PC.

Cloud Storage Compared: Choosing the Right Online Storage

Online, or “cloud” storage has replaced the floppy disk as a way to share files, and it’s also a handy way to back up files and sync them with your various computers and mobile devices. Here’s a look at the various cloud storage services and what they have to offer. Read on to compare services and find the best storage solution for your needs.

Dropbox

One of the biggest names in online storage is Dropbox. Offering free, Pro, and Team accounts, Dropbox starts at 2GB (free) and goes up to 1TB (Team). Pro accounts offer 100GB of storage for just under $10 per month. But few people have to settle for the minimum storage; you can easily earn free storage by completing tasks such as going through the getting started guide, connecting your Twitter or Facebook account to Dropbox, inviting friends, and using Dropbox’s camera upload feature on your phone.

Box

Box (formerly Box.net) offers free and paid accounts. Free accounts come with 5GB of storage. Sign into Box through one of the current promotional devices to receive a free upgrade of storage space — up to 50GB. File uploads for the free account are limited to just 250MB, which increases to 1GB if you switch to a paid account. For $10 a month you get 25MB of storage, and $20 a month gets you 50GB of storage. Business and Enterprise accounts are available as well.

Cubby

Cubby is a storage service offered by LogMeIn. Free accounts start with 5GB of space, and you can earn up to 25GB of free storage. With each successful referral, 1GB of space will be added to the user’s account. Paid accounts start at just $7 a month for 100GB of free storage. There are no file upload limitations.

SkyDrive

SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service. It originally launched with 25GB of free storage, but new users get a more modest 7GB. There’s no way to earn free storage. To increase your limit, you can subscribe for as little as $10 per year, upping your account by 20GB. Twenty-five dollars a year will get you 50GB, while $50/year gets you another 100GB. SkyDrive has Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, and Android apps available to keep your files in sync.

SugarSync

SugarSync offers both free and paid accounts; the free account comes with 5GB of storage. You can earn up to 32GB of free space by referring friends and coworkers to the service. Standard paid accounts start at $7.49 per month for 60GB of storage, $10/month for 100GB and 250GB for $25/month. There are also larger storage allotment plans, as well as business plans available.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon offers its own storage service called Cloud Drive. Cloud Drive allows you to store any file type — except for music. A free account earns you 5GB of storage, with no way to increase the free file storage allotment. Paid accounts range from $10 per year for an additional 20GB, to $500/year for 1000GB.

Google Drive

Google Docs was rebranded as Google Drive some time back, and offers users 5GB of free file storage. In order to upgrade from the 5GB free plan, you’re looking at $2.49/month for 25GB or $4.99/month for 100GB. There’s no file size limit for uploading content, as long as your account has the room. You can access your Drive account, and even edit some types of documents, directly from Android and iOS mobile apps. Of course, there are Mac and Windows apps as well.

iCloud

Apple’s cloud storage service is called iCloud. iOS and OS X users get 5GB of free storage, with no options to expand on it unless you pay. An additional 20GB will cost $40 a year, and an extra 50GB is $100/year. iCloud will back up your iOS device(s) automatically, store documents and settings for apps, and keep items in sync between iOS and OS X. There aren’t standalone apps for iCloud, unless you’re a Windows user, as this is an integrated service in recent Apple products.

Fake Antivirus Software – How To Avoid Downloading It?

If you’ve recently been the victim of fake antivirus software, then you know the frustration of trying to remove it from your computer. The reality is you’re not alone – millions of PC users are duped into installing this rogue software. And some unwittingly download it after visiting a dodgy website.

There’re many different forms of fake antivirus programs of course. Some are Trojans that spy on your PC activity and report back to their authors. And others are designed to push adverts to your computer and get you to purchase whatever they’re selling.

Their main goal however is to make you part with your money and they’ve designed numerous ways of doing this.

The most common fake antivirus scam is it purports to run a full scan of your PC. And without fail the rogue program displays a warning message saying your PC is infected with viruses; and that the only way to remove these threats is by paying for the full version.

Contrary to what many believe, you can spot fake antivirus software and avoid being a victim again.

How to avoid fake software

1. Genuine Antivirus Software

If you’ve suffered fake antivirus infection before, it’s likely you didn’t have genuine software to begin with. Without antivirus software, then there’s a strong possibility you’ll get it again. And that’s especially true if you continue downloading music, software and attachments online. And that also applies to visiting sites that host malware and questionable content.

To prevent Round 2 from happening, then download reputable security software that includes antivirus, antispyware, anti-spam and firewall software. If you’re not sure where to begin, then we recommend you read reviews on the leading antivirus software programs.

2. Free Software

Beware of free antivirus programs! The reality is there’re very few reputable security software programs that supply free antivirus software. And the one’s that do usually do it as a marketing strategy to get you to purchase their full antivirus software programs. These free programs are good of course and will provide basic protection for your PC.

Fake antivirus programs on the other hand, pretend to be all free and claim to remove all threats on your PC. But the truth is they’re rogue programs and their job is to spread Trojans and steal your personal details and money.

3. Dodgy Websites

Most malware threats and fake software programs are spread when people visit dangerous websites like porn and illegal sites. Unfortunately, many of these sites are listed in Google and other search engines. And despite the fight that search engines are waging against these sites, they don’t seem to be abating.

There are some major steps you can take to avoid visiting these sites. The first and most important one is to have antivirus software that includes URL Advisor and anti-phishing tools. BitDefender Internet Security is one such security product; with the best features and tools to protect you from these sites and fake antivirus software programs. With this software, you’ll know instantly if a site is safe or dangerous. And if you accidentally click on it, you’ll get a pop-up message warning you not to proceed.

Fake antivirus software is created by cyber criminals who want to steal your money. They are sophisticated programs and you need the best security software to stop them.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6660452

Remove Norton Antivirus – Find Out How To Permanently Delete Norton

If you’re finding it difficult to permanently remove Norton antivirus from your computer system then continue to read. Nortons’ software is designed to become your internet protection service and protect from known internet hazards. The software usually contains an antivirus tool, Adware remover, firewall amongst many others.

Norton is definitely one of the most well-known internet protection providers available. However it’s not liked by all as it can be considered difficult to use and/or maintain. One problem that has been evident in my research of the product is many customers are being frustrated by the constant pop-ups, even when browsing safe websites. Furthermore the software is large and is known to slow down performance speeds upon smaller systems. The software also makes it very time consuming to remove fully, hence why this article has been put together. Follow the steps below to completely remove the program from your system.

Delete Norton Antivirus

Norton has many files and folders that come with it upon installation, especially if the program was preinstalled upon purchase. Thus the program can be removed using the Windows add/remove software, but this will only remove the program itself and the immediate programs surrounding it. Other files or folders may not be and could be left on your system, slowing it down. If you would like to know n exactly how to remove it permanently and completely follow the steps below:

  1. Firstly make sure that Norton Antivirus is not running. To do this press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, select Task Manager and then locate the Processes area.
  2. Scroll down the list and locate Norton and single click. Click End Processes.
  3. Find the Start button, and then navigate to the Control Panel.
  4. Click the Uninstall a program icon. If you are using XP or a lower OS then this will be labelled Add/Remove Programs.
  5. Scroll to Norton Antivirus and click the Uninstall button.
  6. The wizard should explain everything clearly, but just make sure you click remove all.
  7. Follow the on screen instructions.
  8. Repeat this process from step 5 onwards for any other Norton software that you are aware is installed on your system.
  9. Restart your computer system.

Ok, the above method works perfectly fine if you know exactly what you’re removing. However if you are unaware of all the traces fo the software on your computer the above process will not work fully. This is most evident inside your Windows registry. However do not attempt to remove these files manually unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Doing so could lead to computer malfunction and corruption. In this case you should opt for a 3rd party solution (such as the Perfect Uninstaller for example) and worst case scenario hire professional help.

Using A Software Alternative To Remove Norton Antivirus

Using the process above can be tricky for certain people and time consuming for others. Mistakes made can be costly to your system so your best option is to opt for a software alternative. There are many available on the web, be sensible and do your research and you’ll come across a number of highly respectable pieces of software. Removing unwanted programs fully at the click of a button!

Norton Technical Support and the Reasons for Its Popularity

As Norton antivirus is one of the most trusted antivirus softwares and is used by millions across the world. That is the reason why Norton technical support has also gained a lot of significance over the years. There are a lot of people who live under the misconception that technical support for Norton is nothing but sheer wastage of money. They do not think that anyone could ever require any form of help while using Norton software. But that is far from the truth. There are several problems that users can face while they use this software.

For instance, while installing Norton antivirus, the user might witness problems like inability to install the software, hanging of PC right after installation, other programs malfunctioning post installation, computer booting and rebooting on its own and so on and so forth. Such issues usually arise from configuration problems, compatibility issues and incorrect installation. During such times, if the user does not have a good idea about how the PC and its various software work, he/she will not be able to sort out the problem. So, for all those people who are not familiar with the inner workings of a computer, the Norton tech support is a boon in disguise.

These services are offered by several companies in the United States of America as well as the United Kingdom, whereby they have under their employment, competent as well as technical support engineers who are experts in resolving any problem related to Norton antivirus. The customers will be able to call them at any point in time and tell them about the problems they are facing with their software. The Norton technical support experts can be contacted through the toll free numbers that are displayed on the official websites of the companies. These companies can be found out by searching online and use of keywords such as Norton technical support, Norton antivirus tech support, and Norton antivirus technological support will result in the display of a list of companies which offer such services.

The callers however need a stable internet connection as well as a telephone line to facilitate the resolution of the problem. The services are chargeable but the amount that is charged is quite cost effective as compared to calling a technician to personally reach the site and look after the problem. Moreover, it takes more time for a technician to get to the site and get on with the repairs which results in a lot of wastage of time.

Getting the Best Antivirus Software – Secure Your Online Presence

Nowadays, only the best antivirus software products are able to detect all threats that are known, identify any potential risks quickly, and remove all malware that might have already been picked up by your computer. They are also able to block malware that might make attempts to get into your computer or laptops using various methods like chat, email, P2P file sharing, external devices, network connections, disks and websites. Most importantly, they should be able to do this in the background, without devouring all of your computer resources that are needed for other things.

Every year, the same antivirus and security products tend to offer the best, but there is always room for change. Here are the best products from current ones that are on the market.

Best Products

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Norton Antivirus and Webroot Secure Anywhere Antivirus programs are considered best for technological publications and testing facilities. Webroot and Norton are tied for the top spot in the malware removal test, but Bitdefender is not much far behind as well.

As soon as you have installed your protection and cleaned up any threats that already exist, your antivirus will then spend the majority of the time fending off any new attacks. Some products are better at preventing a problem in rooting out malware that has been in your system for a long time. Webroot seems to always score better in blocking new problems.

The best antivirus software must be constantly evolving in order to combat creative shape-shifting malware. In fact, computer viruses are at a pandemic stage. The first nine months of 2011, one software company processed 19.9 million new specimens of malware and still there are computer users who do not use antivirus software. They think that if they are careful where they click, their computer will not be infected, but this is no longer the case.

Many consumers use more than one real-time antivirus program, but that uses too many system resources, often causing conflicts and can even in some cases reduce your protection.

Best Free Programs

The very best antivirus software that is available free is “Avast! Free Antivirus”, as evident from many recent studies. Avast has been improving steadily in rates of detection over the last several years, so now it rates up there with the best. It also has real-time capabilities including email, web, IM, P2P, network shields, boot-time scanning, and a behavior blocker. The newest version 6 also has features including site rating plugins, malware script protection and other situations. This is a FREE program and it does not use up all your resources as well.

Another best antivirus software for free is MS Security Essentials by Microsoft, which has high rates of detection, predominantly for rootkits. It is even more remarkable in having very few “false positives”; doesn’t use many resources and is also good at removing any malware that already exist. It needs very little interaction and it updates and removes threats automatically. Moreover, it doesn’t have any registration, ignoring advertisement or nag screens. It is best to note here that MS Security Essentials needs an authentic copy of Windows to be installed.

What are the predictions for 2013?

Threats to our computer systems and networks are predicted to get more sophisticated in 2013, as hackers become better at what they do, so it is going to be necessary more than ever to have the best antivirus software that you can afford. You may also have a look at the free software that is on the market, if your finances are not in a good shape lately. Lack of money is no longer a reason for not protecting your computer and personal information.

Norton Technical Support and the Reasons for Its Popularity

As Norton antivirus is one of the most trusted antivirus softwares and is used by millions across the world. That is the reason why Norton technical support has also gained a lot of significance over the years. There are a lot of people who live under the misconception that technical support for Norton is nothing but sheer wastage of money. They do not think that anyone could ever require any form of help while using Norton software. But that is far from the truth. There are several problems that users can face while they use this software.

For instance, while installing Norton antivirus, the user might witness problems like inability to install the software, hanging of PC right after installation, other programs malfunctioning post installation, computer booting and rebooting on its own and so on and so forth. Such issues usually arise from configuration problems, compatibility issues and incorrect installation. During such times, if the user does not have a good idea about how the PC and its various software work, he/she will not be able to sort out the problem. So, for all those people who are not familiar with the inner workings of a computer, the Norton tech support is a boon in disguise.

These services are offered by several companies in the United States of America as well as the United Kingdom, whereby they have under their employment, competent as well as technical support engineers who are experts in resolving any problem related to Norton antivirus. The customers will be able to call them at any point in time and tell them about the problems they are facing with their software. The Norton technical support experts can be contacted through the toll free numbers that are displayed on the official websites of the companies. These companies can be found out by searching online and use of keywords such as Norton technical support, Norton antivirus tech support, and Norton antivirus technological support will result in the display of a list of companies which offer such services.

The callers however need a stable internet connection as well as a telephone line to facilitate the resolution of the problem. The services are chargeable but the amount that is charged is quite cost effective as compared to calling a technician to personally reach the site and look after the problem. Moreover, it takes more time for a technician to get to the site and get on with the repairs which results in a lot of wastage of time.