Do I need to update my broadband connection?

October 24th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Internet | No Comments »

I have just had a new computer delivered, to change over from this one, do I just unplug all the leads and replace them, and do I have to do anything about my broadband connection ? I am a 77 year old silver surfer so I apologise if you think this is a simple question.

When it comes to technology there’s no such thing as a simple question.

Most broadband connections use a router – a little box that connects to the Internet through the telephone (ADSL) or cable TV connection. The router deals with all the Internet connection details and the computer connects to the router.

If that’s the set up you have, then all you’ll need to to is take the network cable connecting the old computer and plug it into the new system. If you have a wireless router then you’ll need to find the password you’re using.

Some Internet connections plug straight into the computer though a dongle, a little USB device that handles the connection. If you have one of these, you’ll need an installation disk, password and will probably have to speak to the ISP’s support desk.

One thing to watch when you do connect the new computer is that you may have a lot of updates to do for the system. Allow a few hours for all the important security patches to download and install, particularly on Windows computers.

As far as power and other connections go, you probably can swap them straight away although if you have an older printer you may find there will be no connection for it.

McAfee security center keeps asking to renew

September 16th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Spyware, Virus, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP | No Comments »

Hi, I have McAfee Security installed on my computer and it is now asking me to buy a new version. Should I do this?

We’re not great fans of the McAfee computer security and anti virus products and for most Windows users there’s plenty of free options. We recommend you don’t upgrade and instead replace it with one of the free online security problems.

First, you’ll need to download the McAfee Removal tool and the free antivirus you want to replace it with. Generally Microsoft Security Essentials is the easiest of the options. We look at them at our Which Free Antivirus is Best post.

Then, once you’ve downloaded the removal tool and the replacement anti virus, disconnect from the Internet and uninstall the McAfee products by going to Add/Remove Programs and uninstalling all the listed McAfee products.

Once you’ve uninstalled the programs (you may have to reboot a few times), run the McAfee Removal Tool you downloaded earlier.

Having run the removal tool, and possibly been asked to reboot again, you can then install the new antivirus by running the program you downloaded earlier.

Reconnect to the Internet and let the anti virus progam update and scan your computer before surfing the net and downloading email.

Without McAfee on your system, you should find it running far quicker and more reliably.

How do I remove names from my Skype screen?

September 14th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in software | No Comments »

I have had guests using my PC…their names now appear whenever I use Skype. How do I clear their names from the log in box?

Skype has a habit of leaving a list of the most recent calls and messages you’ve had on the service. Removing them is easy as you just have to right click the contact and click close.

If it’s a scammer, you might want to block them from future calls.

Keep in mind that when you allow people to use your computer, you give them access to your address books, accounts and the ability to use any credits you may have on services like Skype. So set up a new, limited access, Windows account for guests to use as we show in our Creating a New Windows User post.

I cannot install Windows XP Service Pack 3

September 13th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Windows XP | No Comments »

I have a Compaq Presario SR1000 Sr1420AN about 7 years old with Windows XP.I have tried to load Service pack 3 on several occassions but it corrupts & I have to go back to a restore point.Could you please advise if you are aware of why this is happening?

There’s a number of reasons this could be happening, the three most likely are some running software – such as an anti-virus – blocking the installation, a damaged hard drive or insufficient free space on the disk.

Freeing up space on your drive is the easiest to solve problem by following our Cleaning Your Computer instructions. This will also get rid of anything in the temporary files that may be blocking the installation.

Next is checking your hard drive for problems, we cover this in our Checking A Disk For Errors post. If you do find there are serious problems with your hard drive, you may have to replace it.

Finally, it may be an antivirus or other program blocking the service pack’s installation. If you use the Windows MSCONFIG tool, you can turn off everything that starts with the computer. Take a note though of what you do turn off.

How to stop Windows Automatic Updates from happening without permission

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, software, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP | No Comments »

My Windows computer keeps installing updates that take a lot of time to install which can be irritating when I’m at a client’s site. How can I stop this from happening?

Updating your computer, whether you have a Windows or Mac computer, is very important as new security bugs are found all the time. Unfortunately Microsoft’s automatic update function can be intrusive.

It isn’t a good idea to totally disable the Windows Update service as those updates and patches are important, but you can change the settings so they are downloaded but not installed until you choose to do so.

Microsoft’s Knowledge Base describes how to change the Windows Update Settings, we recommend the download updates but let me choose when to install themoption.

wiping data from a Mac computer

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Apple, security | No Comments »

I’m getting rid of an old Apple Mac system, how do I make sure no-one can read my private information on it?

The most valuable thing on a computer is the data, so it’s important to wipe any system before disposing of it.

If you have an OS X or OS 9 system disk, you can completely wipe and “zero” the disk to make it extremely difficult for someone to recover any data from the old computer. Apple have detailed instructions on this at their How To Zero All Data On A Disk page.

Warning! Before following Apple’s instructions, make sure you have backed up all important and valuable data.

Removing MacKeeper alerts

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Apple, security, software | No Comments »

Warnings keep popping up on my computer screen saying my system may need cleaning up. How do I get rid of these messages?

These messages are known as  malware – software designed for malicious reasons – which has been the bane of Windows computer users for years and unfortunately this curse has spread to the world of Apple computers with MacKeeper, and other variants like MacProtector and MacSecurity, appearing on people’s Macs.

In almost every case, these warnings are a scam and the programs don’t actually do anything once you’ve purchased them. So we’d recommend getting rid of the messages.

Removing Mackeeper is relatively easy and Apple has released a security patch to fix it on OSX systems. Details and download are available at the Apple Support website.

Windows Live Mail Junk folders not working

August 8th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, spam, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP | No Comments »

Since upgrading to Windows Live Essentials 2011, no spam is going into my Junk Mail folder. How can I stop the rubbish appearing in my inbox.

One of the delights of having a decent junk mail filter is you never see the dozens of pointless emails that arrive in your inbox each day. So when an update damages your spam filter it’s a real irritation.

The repair for this is actually quite straightforward, go to the Control Panel and select Programs in Windows 7 or Vista or Add/Remove Programs in Windows XP , click on Live Mail Essentials 2011 and select Uninstall/Change.

In the wizard that then starts select Repair all Windows Live Essentials Programs, the repair may take some hours and require a working Internet connection.

Once it’s finished, you’ll be asked to reboot the computer and the problem should be fixed after the restart.

How do I transfer email contacts to my iPad or iPhone

August 8th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Apple, email, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP | No Comments »

How do I import contacts from Mozilla Thunderbird email program into my iPad?

The process for importing contacts from any email or contact management program into an iPad, iPhone or iPod is a three step process.

First, export the  contacts from the older program into a Comma Separated Values file, in Thunderbird click Tools, Export and choose to save the exported file into a location you’ll remember. Make sure to choose the File Type as Comma Separated Value (CSV)

Then, open iTunes and select Info. In Windows tick Sync Contacts and choose Windows Address Book. On Apple systems choose Info and tick Sync Contacts.

For Apple Systems, open the Address Book application and select File, then Import and import the CSV file.

On Windows Systems open the Windows Address Book by clicking Start then Run and typing either wab (Windows XP and earlier) or clicking the Windows Orb and typing Address Book into the find box.

Once in the Windows Address Book, click File, then Import and select Other Address Book, then choose Text file (Comma Separated Values) and import the CSV file you previously saved.

Having imported the contacts, synch the iPad, iPhone or iPad and the contacts should be imported.

The iPad forums and Apple’s support website have more detailed information on how to transfer data between the applications and devices.

Recovering Outlook Express emails

July 20th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, Outlook Express | No Comments »

Yesterday afternoon, I went back to my Outlook Express inbox to check an email from a few days ago and everything prior to that morning, right back to 22 July 2010 (1 years worth) had vanished. Other folders, including deleted, were still there.

Do you think they are still on the computer somewhere, and if so, how do I retrieve them.

The emails are almost certainly there, Outlook Express though is notorious for damaged folders losing email.

Recovering them is a fiddly task, first find the Outlook Express Data store as we describe in Fixing a Damaged Outlook Express Inbox.

Close Outlook Express and copy the folder that contains all the Outlook Express files to somewhere in My Documents.

Then re-open Outlook Express and import the mailboxes as we describe in the Recovering old outlook express messages and address book post. Make sure you have ticked the box reading “do not import duplicates” or you’ll double up the other folders.