- My computer was fast when I bought it, and now it seems slow. Why does this happen?
- What can I do to make my computer faster?
- What do I need to do to protect myself from Viruses?
- What kind of preventative maintenance should I do on my computer?
- What can I do with my old computers, laptops and cell phones?
- I want to donate my computer, how do I erase all my personal info and files?
- How can I avoid using too much bandwidth on my data plan?
- What are three ways that I can improve my productivity using my computer?
- How can I control how my how my employees use the Internet?
- I have a good antivirus software, is it possible that I can still have a virus?
- How do I reduce spam?
- Which Internet browser is the best?
Reason 1: Windows and other Updates are constantly coming to your computer, from the day it was purchased. These updates are necessary because they provide bug fixes and patches to make your computer more secure and more reliable. However, these patches and updates sometimes affect the performance of the computer in a negative way.
Reason 2: You have probably installed additional programs and device drivers onto your computer over time. Sometimes these programs run agents in the background to help them function properly, but sometimes these agents affect performance.
Reason 3: As more and more program and data files get installed on your computer, your hard disk drive may become more and more fragmented. Defragmenting your hard drive and deleting temporary files will help reduce disk access bottlenecks that may be affecting your computer.
You can make your computer faster in some cases by upgrading or adding RAM. Adding or replacing RAM can improve performance in two ways:
- Adding RAM can reduce the number of times per second a computer will write data to the hard disk. Because writing data to the hard disk is an incredibly slow process compared to writing the same information to RAM; making a change to the amount of available RAM will significantly increase performance of your computer. Note: if you are using 32 bit versions of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, the most RAM you can put into your computer is 4 Gb. However, the 64 bit versions of these Operating systems can handle more than 4 Gb of RAM. Please be sure to test if your computer motherboard is designed to support the RAM you intend to purchase.
- If your motherboard supports faster RAM than the RAM you have installed, replacing the RAM with faster RAM will also make a difference.
Other ways to improve performance on your computer:
- Defragment your hard drive
- Maintain at least 10% free disk space on your computer at all times
- Remove Temporary Internet Files, and browsing history
- Archive or delete old email from Microsoft Outlook
- Don’t run multiple Antivirus solutions on the same computer
- Don’t run multiple Desktop Search programs on your computer
- Don’t run any toolbars in your browser windows
- Install only basic printer drivers especially when dealing with HP printers.
- Remove or disable not-required utilities that have been provided by your hardware vendor.
- Another way improve performance of your computer is to defragment your hard drive. If you are using Microsoft Outlook, try to delete temporary files, cookies and browsing history. Maintain at least 10% of your hard drive space. Be very careful if you decide a registry cleaner on your computer. Some times this tools cause more problem than they fix.
There are a number of free antivirus solutions available today, however we don’t recommend free solutions as the paid-for counterparts are generally more automatic and in many cases more reliable.
We recommend solutions Antivirus and AntiMalware solutions provided by:
- Norton & Symantec
- G Data
Other ways to avoid viruses:
- Don’t click links in email or on blog posts unless you are sure you know where the link goes
- Don’t connect any USB thumb drive to your computer that you’ve found or been given by a stranger
- Turn off “boot from external devices” in your computer bios
- Don’t visit sites not recommended by your AV program
While computers increasingly have the ability to do self maintenance, you should always:
- Ensure your computer and your applications are up to date, to prevent malicious attacks on your computer from succeeding.
- Back up your data regularly, use programs that won’t depend on you to remember. Check your backups regularly, and if you are a business, then attempt a full restore to alternate equipment on a regular basis.
- Defragment your hard disks
- Keep your computer physically clean by blowing out dust
- Make sure computer fans are running properly and are not blocked by obstacles that prevent air flow
- Do not use your laptop on your lap, it will overheat.
- Use a Uninterruptable Power Supply to power your equipment
- Replace your computer BEFORE it fails, especially if you keep important data on your hard drive (guideline – every 3-4 years, never more than 5 years)
- Only download applications from trusted sites.
- Create a password for logging into your computer. Don’t share your password with others.
- Always uninstall toolbars and add-ons from your browsers
Old computers and cell phones can be donated to local charities, like the Salvation Army or can be dropped off at recycling centres that seem to be popping up everywhere. However, before donating your used computer or cell phone, be sure to wipe your hard disk to ensure that none of your personal information falls into the wrong hands. Foundation BTS provides secure data elimination services, and will recycle your equipment on you would prefer our assistance.
Here are a few links for recycling your computer or cell phone in either Alberta or Ontario (areas where Foundation BTS currently operates)
You have a few options:
- Remove the hard drive and keep it for future use, just in case
- Download a wipe utility like this one and wipe your drives http://www.dban.org
- Have Foundation BTS securely wipe and / or destroy your hard drives, we can donate the wiped equipment to the charity of your choice.
If you are using an Android device then 3G Watchdog is a great tool for monitoring your bandwidth. If you are using an iOS device then check out Data Usage, it also can help you keep your data usage under control.
- Consider working with two monitors instead of just one. Studies have confirmed that people using multiple monitors who multitask are significantly more productive than those using a single monitor
- Stop living in your inbox. People today rely on email to communicate, and that is fine. However if you receive an email every 2 minutes and you stop what you are doing to check it, then you are interrupting your own productivity constantly at the request of others. Unless your job is to respond to emails, you should dedicate scheduled times to look at your email, and schedule separate “do not disturb” times when you can be dedicate to your daily to dos.
- Start using your outlook Calander and a task list to help you organize your day. If you work from a checklist you will find that you accomplish more.
Internet usage can be controlled using either software installed on individual computers or by using commercial level firewalls that prevent people from visiting either categories of websites such as “adult” or “gambling” or specific sites such as “facebook” or “tumblr”.
Foundation BTS believes that restricting employees from social media sites today is directly parallel to not letting people use the telephone for personal calls in the 1970’s. Back in the 1970’s employers allowed staff to use the phone if it was necessary, to check up on kids, to book a dental appointment. Today Facebook, Google+ and similar social media sites are used similarly to check up on the kids. If an employer unreasonably blocks access to these sites, it can be bad for morale and can potentially cause employee turnover. However, if employees are going overboard and abusing their access to this type of media, we can help you track this type of abuse.
Yes, even if you have a highly recommended antivirus software installed on your computer, there is a good chance you can still get a virus on your computer. No antivirus software is perfect, and some new viruses will slip past any of them before the AV companies can update theirs software to protect your computer properly. However, by that time, it may be too late.
The best thing you can do when you get a virus is take your computer to a specialist who will have all the tools to help remove the malicious software, or worst case safely reinstall windows and your applications.
If you are receiving a lot of spam, this means that your email address has been harvested somehow by agencies that will not stop sending your email on every topic from Cialis to Viagra.
Fortunately, anti spam solutions are available and some of them work extremely well.
Foundation BTS can help you configure an Anti Spam Service for your organization, or you could consider moving your email hosting to a provider that provides strong Anti Spam protection. In either case, you should give us a call.
The most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. At Foundation BTS we use all of these Browsers depending on the tools we are using or the sites we are visiting. For example, we have a remote support software that works best on Internet Explorer. Gmail and Google Apps clearly work best on Chrome and there are plug-ins for Mozilla Firefox that make it the browser of choice for certain requirements.
In summary, all the browsers are pretty good, and how good they are changes from update to update. Additionally, if your business uses a business application that is designed for a particular browser then your feeling about what is best will be different than ours.