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How to Backup Computer files to disc or external drive

Computer technology is a wonderful thing until the day that you lose all your files and you do not have a back up. You might think that this scenario may never happen to you, but it only takes your PC to overheat or a Trojan to stop normal functioning of your machine to totally destroy sometimes years of files and documents. Thankfully learning how to backup computer files to disc or external drive is easy, even for the computer novice.

As much as you may take your computer granted, you need to be vigilant with your important documents, as you just never know when the day you go to turn your laptop on and nothing happens will arise. If however you periodically back up your system, either onto CDs, DVDs or and external USB memory port, then if the day arises when your PC fails you, you will not have lost all your important data.

These days an external hard drive that plugs into your PC via an external USB port is by far the most popular way of backing up your files, CDs being rather impractical as apart from the expensive versions they cannot be rewritten and you will also need multiple discs in order to store all your files. DVDs are a good alternative if you do not own a backup drive, although they can become misplaced or even scratched.

To back up computer files to an external drive or discs is actually remarkably easy and whether you have Windows or Mac running on your machine, it takes only minutes to get started. Firstly make sure you have enough discs to make the back up or preferably an external drive of twice the memory capacity you have stored in files on your PC.

As soon as you plug in an external drive to your PC via a USB port, your machine will recognise the external drive. Your PC will actually ask you if you wish to use the drive you have plugged in to back up your files and data; if you are not asked this question, simply type backup into the dialog box and select back up and restore.

If you manually chose the drive to where you will make the back up, then you can select either your external drive “E”, or alternatively “D” for DVDs or CDs. After selecting the appropriate drive, simply hit next. Do not change any of the default settings when you are prompted, and simply move onto the next screen.

Your PC will guide you through all the stages of creating your backup and it really could not be any easier. Each screen will give you step by step instructions that will allow even the total novice to complete the task with no foreseeable problems or hiccups. If you are happy with how your PC is performing, resist the temptation to tweak the default setting for Windows or Mac; it is totally unnecessary.

Once you are guided through to the last screen, you simply need to hit the button for saving settings and create backup. Windows will make its first backup of your drive, and can be programmed to periodically make new backups also. During the backup process it is important that you do not turn your machine off, and best that you do touch or use your PC until it is finished.

If you are tuning your PC on Mac or Linux, then the process for backup is remarkably similar and just as easy to complete. Once again, when you plug in your external drive you will generally be asked if you wish to use it to make a back up; if not, simply type in backup and restore and manually chose the drive and follow the step by step instructions given.

If you lose files in the future, retrieving them from your backup could not be any simpler; just type backup and restore in the dialog box and click on “restore my files”. Having a back up of all your important files is crucial, not just for businesses but for all home PCs; it is not until you lose your files that you realize just how many you had stored on your machine. Learning how to backup computer files really is that easy, so you never have an excuse to lose a file ever again.

17 Ways to Speedup Windows 7

Windows 7 is specially engineered for speed. It is built to be fast. Faster than any of its preceding Windows Operating Systems. While it may be faster than Windows Vista by a good sized margin, many users remain unsatisfied by the speed of Windows 7. Even with a fully updated hardware installation of Windows 7 you could still be longing for more speed. We aim to make your Windows 7 system run faster than you could remember it ever being.

If you are looking for a little extra speed and a performance, please follow through this guide to get Windows 7 to turbo speed! This guide can really get you the performance and speed up to where you want it.

First, you should be aware of the minimum requirements needed to operate on Windows 7:

1.) 1GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)

2.) 16GB of available disk space

3.) 1GB of main memory total

4.) A DVD – R/W drive

5.) Support for DX9 graphics with 128MB of memory

Actually, the DX9 graphics card is not necessity because it is more for appearance features rather than performance features.

Let’s get straight into the guide so you can speed up that Windows 7 computer!

1.  Disable Any Unneeded Visual Effects

  • To begin, right-click on the Computer icon on your Desktop and select “Properties” from the menu that appears
  • Select “Advanced System Settings” from the left pane to view the System Properties Window
  • Click the “Advanced” tab along the top of that window, then click “Settings” listed under “Performance”. Select “Custom:” options from there.
  • In that window uncheck all the options and make sure that only the last 4 options are checked.

– Optionally you could only leave the last choices checked

  • Lastly, log off of your system and log back in for changes to take effect

Turning off the aero effects in Windows 7 is a good start but you get even better results when you turn off many of the other unwanted visual effects.

2.  Turn off the User Account Control (UAC) Feature

  • Open the Control Panel and select “User Accounts and Family Safety” then “User Account”.
  • Select the User Account Control Settings link
  • Simply click-and-drag the slider until it reaches “Never Notify”
  • Click “OK” and restart your computer for changes to take effect

The UAC feature in Windows 7 is found annoying by many users especially those that are daily users of their computer.

3.  Disable Search Indexing Feature

  • Right-click the Computer icon on your Desktop and select “Manage” from the menu that appears
  • Select “Services and Applications” from the Computer Management Window and click “Services”
  • You will then see a list of services available – locate the Windows Search on that screen
  • Right-click “Windows Search” from that list and click “Properties”
  • The Windows Search Properties window will appear
  • Select “Disabled” from the drop-down menu for Startup Type
  • Click “Apply” and “OK”

Now the startup feature for Search Indexing in Windows 7 has been disabled.

The Windows 7 Search Indexing feature was created so that the computer would keep records of the files that have previously been searched so items can be located quicker the next time you search them. This feature is really only useful if search for things very frequently and need them searched as fast as possible on your system after repeatedly requesting a search on that item.

If you only occasionally perform a system search for files, downloads, etc. then the Search Index Feature, especially when selected to run at system startup can eat away at memory and system resources without you even knowing it’s running.

If you would like to disable the Search Indexing Feature all together in Windows 7 you can by setting the Search Indexing Service to “Manual”. That is along with following the above steps under Disable Search Indexing Feature.

4.  Disable Unwanted Services

A lot of the features and services offered with Windows 7 operating systems are not necessary for everyday use. There are some; however, that are necessary and not safe to be turned off or disabled. But things like the Print Spooler are only needed when printed a document or picture. This is something that you can safely turn off on a regular basis and then turn on when going to print something. Below are 10 more things in Windows 7 that you can safely disable.

  • Secondary Logon
  • Windows Error Reporting Service
  • Desktop Window Session Manager (leave on if you want aero effects)
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  • Distributing Link Tracking Client
  • Offline Files
  • Diagnostic Policy Service
  • Protected Storage
  • IP Helper
  • Application Experience

Without these always running you can really improve the speed on your Windows 7 system.

5.  Set Up the Ready Boost Service

  • You will need a USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive that is Ready Boost compatible in order to configure the Ready Boost feature.
  • After inserting the  USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive open it by going to Computer and right-click it and select “Ready Boost” from the options
  • Check the “Use this Device” checkbox.
  • You can choose how much space on your  USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive you would like used as RAM

Windows 7 offers the Ready Boost feature so that you can use your  USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive as extra RAM. This one step improves the speed and performance by a good margin.

6.  Disable the Sidebar

  • Right-click on the sidebar and click “Properties” from the menu
  • When the Properties window appears uncheck the box that says “Start Sidebar when Windows Starts”

Now the sidebar will not appear when you start your computer or log in to Windows. Disabling this feature will not only make your computer run faster in general but it will get you to a fast startup.

7.  Turn off the Thumbnail Preview Feature

  • Open your Computer and select the “Organize” drop-down menu to select “Folder and Search Options”
  • In the Files and Folders section select the View tab and check the box showing “Always Show Icons, Never Thumbnails”.

Displaying thumbnails of folders rather than icons can take up more space and time than just icons. So turning off the thumbnail preview option saves you both!

8.  Disable the Aero Theme

  • Right-click any space on your Desktop and select “Personalize” from the menu that appears
  • Open the Window Color tab
  • Uncheck the box that says “Enable Transparency” and then select “Open Classic Appearance Properties for More Options”
  • A new window will appear, select a Standard or Basic them from it. (Standard Windows 7 theme is a good choice)

If you are looking for aesthetics rather than performance you can keep the aero user interface. While it obviously adds luster to the appearance of things it also takes up a lot of space on the graphics and video cards. You can check this out yourself by viewing its memory consumption when aero theme is both on and off to see the difference.

9.  Disable Aero Peek and Aero Snap

  • Go to your Control Panel of Windows 7 and double-click the “Ease of Access Center” icon.
  • Select “Make It Easier to Focus on Tasks” listed near the bottom
  • Uncheck the box that says “Prevent Windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”
  • Right-click on the Windows 7 taskbar and click “Properties” from the menu that appears
  • Lastly, uncheck the box that says “User Aero Peek to Preview the Desktop”

Windows 7 has these new features designed to do things you already did in XP and Vista just in new ways. Aero Snap allows you to Maximize, Minimize and Resize your windows simply by dragging-and-dropping at screen corners.

Aero Peek is pretty much the same as the “Show Desktop” icon from Windows XP and Windows Vista. It hides all of your windows to show a clean desktop and icons.

10.  Disable Password Protection

Users that set up passwords to access their account in Windows 7 spend a few seconds every time they start up or log in to enter that password. If you are the only person who uses your computer my opinion is that you don’t really need this feature. I opt for getting on my account quickly. When I previously had a password set and someone wanted on my computer I would just give out the password anyway so it was completely useless and took extra time to log in every day.

11.  Disable Unwanted Startup Items

  • Open the Windows button and type “msconfig” in the Run option of the start menu and press Enter
  • This opens the System Configuration Utility window
  • Select the Startup tab and uncheck all items that you do not need to run automatically when the computer starts up

This can drastically improve startup time and even running time if you have had a lot of things running when your computer starts. This often happens automatically when several things have been downloaded and installed onto your computer.

12.  Change your Power Plan to Maximum Performance

  • Open your Control Panel and double-click the “Power Options” icon
  • Scroll down to see the Show Additional Plans option and select “High Performance” power plan to activate it.
  • Further tweaking can be done to this by selecting the Advanced Settings

13.  Turn off Unwanted Windows 7 Features

  • Open your Control Panel and select “Programs and Features”
  • Select the “Turn Windows features On or Off” from the left panel
  • Uncheck all of the features that you do not use
  • Restart your computer for the changes to take effect

There are several features that Windows 7 offers that many users don’t need or use often so by disabling them you are making more room for running time on things you do use frequently.

14.  Disable the Screen Saver and Wallpaper

  • Right-click any blank space on your Desktop and select “Personalize” from the menu that appears
  • Select the Screen Saver link
  • From the Screen Saver drop-down menu select “None” then select “Apply” then “OK”
  • Next click “Desktop Background”
  • From the Location drop-down menu select “Solid Colors” pick a color and click “OK”

It takes up memory to display wallpaper and screen savers and more memory means faster computer.

15.  Disable Unwanted System Sounds

  • Open the Start Menu and type “mmsys.cpl” in the Run option
  • Locate the Sounds tab
  • Under “Sound Schemes” then choose “No Sounds”, click “Apply”, click “OK”
  • Optionally, you can keep some of your favorite sounds turned on and select which sounds to disable, but keep in mind that sounds played during startup, shutdown, logon, etc. take away from performance that could be utilized better elsewhere

16.  Tweak your Registry

We have a couple of articles in our PC 911 blog that have a lot of information on how you can tweak your registry to improve the speed of your computer!

17.  Software to help Speed Up Windows 7

There are several software programs out there that you can use to maintain a nice, healthy system. Programs that update your hardware, programs that clear bugs, programs that clean registries and programs that remove potentially harmful information against you. Some of my favorites are listed below.

Performing all of these tasks will get your Windows 7 computer running noticeably quicker! Feel free to share more tips to speed up your system in the comments below!

Windows 8 release date

Windows 8 rumors are flying around now and the buzz about Windows 8 is full of hype. There are rumors of a release date in late 2011 and early 2012.  My opinion is that it will be released around Feb 2012.  There have been a couple of sneak peeks at the new operating system and it seems to be less targeted to just PC’s with an obvious tablet inspired interface.

Windows 8 TilesThere are tiles as shown above scattered throughout Windows 8 and you can quickly launch apps from the new tiled start screen.  You can easily multitask, or switch between different apps and the tiles and live notifications. You can quickly resize tiles and there seems to be a new app store to easily download free or low priced apps.

As always I will be late to adapt to the new operating system. I skipped Vista altogether and reluctantly upgraded to Windows 7 when I had to buy a new tower.  From the first day I loved it and eagerly trashed my dated Windows XP despite my claims that I would just stick with XP for years.

It seems to lean towards touchscreen monitors which I don’t care for personally.  I find touchscreens to be more of a vanity than useful. Maybe I am just old school preferring a mouse to make my way around.

Stay tuned for more articles on the upcoming Windows 8 and the Windows 8 release date.

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7 solutions for common PC problems

You know the kind I’m talking about: they’re not life threatening to your PC, but at the same time they are infuriating in that they are a constant source of bother and wasted time, leading you to loss of focus, lost productivity and a generally sour frame of mind. Here are seven ways to make your computing life ever so much easier, and they’re easy fixes as well!

The Dang Things Starts Up SO Slow! – I’m sure you’ve experienced this one, if you owned a computer for any length of time. You’re sitting there, and sitting there, and sitting there, and finally it crawls open, all the while leaving you wondering about the magic of computers! More than likely the problem lies in the amount of programs demanding access at the moment you start up Many times when you’ve downloaded new software or computer programs, they automatically are set to open at the startup of your PC.

You can restore your computer to a totally like new state but keep all your programs and information on it just like it is with Reimage Software. We highly recommend you try it out. You have not downloaded anything like it before, we promise. You will be able to tell instantly as you watch it work that this is the most technologically advanced repair software ever. If you have ever used a registry cleaner and wondered if it really helped you really need to try this out!

In fact there are also a bunch of programs that your computer wants to open that aren’t really necessary. You can delete and limit the number of these resource hogging programs and get your startup much more vibrant by clicking Start, Run and type in msconfig, and this will display all the programs that are set to open at startup. You can then uncheck the ones you don’t want.

Make sure you do this one by one with a notepad nearby, as many of these programs are necessary to run your computer, and if you make a boo boo you’ll be able to go back and recheck it.

You Don’t Like The View – You sit at your computer for hours, and there’s just something about the way it looks. Not a problem; we can change this! Start by right-clicking on the desktop, then click Properties in XP, or Personalize in Vista, and then Settings, and you’ll be presented with many ways in which you can change the screen properties. I mean, if you have to look at it all day you may as well like what you’re looking at.

Your Printer Has Gone Haywire – It just won’t stop printing out either old print jobs or ones that were not cleared from the queue. First try turning off the printer and see if this doesn’t do the trick, and if that doesn’t work, go to your printers menu in the Start menu and delete anything you see let there, assuming of course you no longer want it to print. If this doesn’t solve your problem, then you may be forced to download and reinstall drivers for your particular printer.

My Videos Are Now Mute Or Invisible – If the videos are now playing without sound or even worse, without picture or both, then it may well be that the codecs are out of date. There are several places where you can get free updates. DO a search for K-Lite Codec Pack for a nice easy fix. Also, before you go to that length, check and see that you didn’t accidentally hit your keyboard’s mute button! (Speaking from experience!)

You Accidentally Broke A Key Off Your Keyboard – Okay, I won’t ask how this happened, or just what you were so angry at that you slammed your fist down onto it, but you need to know this can be an easy fix. If you happen to have an old keyboard lying around, it’s possible to salvage a good key with an intact key mechanism that you can swap out for the damaged one.

If you are unsure how to do this, do a search for “keycap replacement”, and you should find some good help. It’s fairly simple. If the entire keyboard needs replacing, you’re still in luck: keyboards are some of the cheapest things to replace on your PC. If it’s your laptop that needs a new keyboard, try eBay for good replacement keyboards for laptops, and search out instructions for this as well.

Your Wi-Fi is Now Slow-Fi – Another trial of your so far interminable patience, assuming that you are not a victim of a general network outage, you more than likely have come up against some rather stiff interference. Sometimes your phones router, (If you have one installed , as I do) can be the culprit, sending confusion into your otherwise well designed network. (As it did mine!) Make sure you have the connections in the proper order, as per manufacturers instructions, and you should have no further problem.

Interference can also come from the likes of a microwave oven, cordless phone, or many other types of electronic devices. You may end up having to change the channel to one less populated on your router by taking a peek into your routers config page, and try another channel, most commonly either channel 1, 6, or 11.

You Keep Getting Messages About Your Memory – And no, I’m not talking about YOUR memory, as that is beyond the scope of this article. However the memory on your machine is something you can take steps to improve. If you find yourself constantly getting system messages regarding your system’s memory capacity, or your computer is unusually slow, you may want to look into this. It may be a bad section of RAM, or you may simply need more. Run a memory test; there are several free ones available, and see if boosting your memory might not clear things up and speed it along quite nicely.

While most of these annoying problems won’t necessarily sink your ship, they are a bothersome interference in your computing experience, and you don’t have to put up with them. This list is by no means comprehensive, and you may have demons of your own that bug you to no end, and you have my sympathy. (I find new ones everyday!) These fixes, along with sound general maintenance should keep you from tearing out your hair every time you sit down to use your computer!

CyberDefender Review

Due to all the complaints we have received and forwarded to Cyberdefender without a response we have decided to recommend everyone try our suggestions above instead.

The article below will stay on the site for reference.

“CyberDefender Early Alert Center analyzes threats and calculates the risk levels of suspicious files and processes that may contain harmful spyware and viruses or may be phishing sites. This expert system tests and ranks threats on a Universal Severity Scale™, and updates the CyberDefender threat database automatically.”

The above sentence was taken directly from the CyberDefender website. I wanted to use this sentence as a guideline for testing and reporting any faults or positives in the Cyberdefender program.

Interface

First I would like to state that it’s nice a company that produces protection software finally figured out it’s easier to browse and figure out a program when you have access to everything on a single layout interface.

The main interface gives easy access to monitor the status of each protection type. From spyware to scam or phishing protection addressing settings and options is fantastically easy.

Each subcategory is easily viewable and accessed.

Performance

The best thing I can document is the ease of use. Not just the overall ease of use, but how many of you have tried to scan your computer with your current protection software while still retaining the use of the pc? “Sluggish at best” comes to mind right?

Out of the box the greatest piece of design built into CyberDefender is the low impact on resources during scanning and active monitoring. I would enjoy meeting their design team just to congratulate them and shake their hands on this fact.

This isn’t your typical protection suite. Even with all proactive monitoring in use (spam, phishing, spyware, and virus) as well as performing a full system virus scan I noted my CPU load was not over 40%. I am noting the hardware configuration of the laptop that was used to test the functionality below.

Item Value

OS Name Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium

Version 6.0.6000 Build 6000

System Type X86-based PC

Processor Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2400 @ 1.83GHz, 1833 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)

Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = “6.0.6000.16386”

Time Zone Central Standard Time

Total Physical Memory 2,549.82 MB

Available Physical Memory 1.24 GB

Total Virtual Memory 5.17 GB

Available Virtual Memory 3.77 GB

Page File Space 2.78 GB

Protection Available

Just insure you have a complete understanding of the available security and protection I want to list the available features other than virus scanning

  1. Early Spam Protection: The spam protection integrates with your current email client to provide an incoming and outgoing email scanner which provides a more complete security suite.

  2. Early Spy Protection: Active monitoring and protection from spyware and adware software types.

  3. Early Scam: Protects against phishing scams which are used to collect your data.

Additional Security Features

While CyberDefender not only supplies you with virus protection, but as well offers spam, spyware and phishing protection there are a couple of features which I would like to list that you might want to know about.

Early Monitor includes the following features not previously listed.

  1. CyberDefender monitors the Windows update site for patches and updates to the Windows operating system.

  2. It also monitors your firewall status and protection to insure you have the right protection.

  3. Easily access and maintain control of cookies on you systems.

  4. Password protection:CyberDefender shows you the passwords saved by Windows which can be accessed by others. Take control and remove the saved passwords, don’ allow windows to save such information.

Additional Features

Aside from comparing performance, cost and overall effectiveness of CyberDefender against it’s competitors one thing you can note about the software that no other competitor offers is 24/7 PHONE AND EMAIL ANTI-MALWARE SUPPORT.

 Cyberdefender apparently charges several hundred dollars per year for computer support and access to their main program which is supposed to keep your pc running smoothly but we hear very different stories from consumers.

Considering my experience with the CyberDefender software I would have to agree with their statements concerning the performance and effectiveness of the program. I would even go as far as having to state that I would consider CyberDefender to not only be a valuable piece of software, but a required piece of software in the fight against virus, spam, phishing and spyware infections.