Friday, June 5, 2015

How can I keep my computer from getting infected? Pacific NW Computers' PC Security Tips


1. Make sure you regularly run MANUAL scans with your installed security software!
Security Programs We Recommend (Or Have Installed):
  • Avast Antivirus, BitDefender Free, Microsoft Security Essentials
  • MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
  • Spybot Search & Destroy
  • CCleaner
*For direct download links to the software listed above, visit "Pacific NorthWest Computers' Links and Recommended Software" page on our Blog Link below!
http://pnwcomputers.blogspot.com/2013/06/pnw-computers-links-and-recommended.html

Basic/General Scanning Procedure:

  • Before running any scans with any of the installed security software, be sure to FULLY update the software FIRST.
  • After updating the security software, perform the deepest and most thorough scan that the software is capable of. This is usually labeled as a FULL or COMPLETE scan.
  • DELETE or QUARANTINE any and all of the security software’s findings.
  • Make sure you DON’T download and install any scanner/security software that solicits you to download and install its software. These scanners are blacklisted because of their questionable reputation.

2. Make sure your Windows is ALWAYS up to date!

  • An unpatched Windows is vulnerable and even with the “best” Antivirus installed; malware will find its way through.
    So visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ to download and install the latest updates.
  • Be sure to download and install all CRITICAL and SOFTWARE updates! You also may have to do several “passes” of Windows updates before all the available updates/patches are actually installed.
  • Verify that your version of Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 has the most recent service pack installed. If this is not currently installed on your system, the Windows Update website will recognize this vulnerability and request you to download and install any available Service Packs and other needed updats.

3. Stay away from questionable sites.

  • This is one of the main causes why a computer gets infected. Visiting cracksites/warezsites – and other questionable/illegal sites is ALWAYS a risk. Even a single click on the site can be responsible for installing a huge amount of malware. Don’t think: “I have a good Antivirus and Firewall installed, they will protect me” – because that’s not true… there is no “Magic Bullet”. Before you know it, your Antivirus and Firewall may already be disabled because malware already found its way on your system.


4. Be careful with email attachments!

  • Malware spreads via email as well, especially email attachments. The most common ones are emails telling you that your computer is infected and that you can find the removal tool in the attachment, emails telling you that your password has changed and can find it in the attachment, emails with product codes in the attachment from software that you purchased (which you didn’t), emails with attachments that are so called “Security Updates”, etc. etc.
  • Don’t trust any emails like the ones listed above. Don’t even attempt to preview/open them and delete them immediately instead! It may also happen you receive an email from someone you know, but with a questionable attachment present and strange content in the e-mail’s message. In this case, this person – or someone else who has your address book in his/her address book – is infected with malware (worm/spambot) and sends these emails without being aware of it.
  • Don’t click links in emails from someone you don’t know, because these links can redirect you to sites where malware gets downloaded and installed.

5. When surfing the internet…

  • Use Google Chrome or the FireFox web browser as your MAIN internet browser. These browsers does not use ActiveX controllers or BHO’s (these are programs that are a standard feature’s of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and are “exploited” vulnerabilities that hackers use to infect computers). If a specific website (such as a financial institution website) may require Internet Explorer to be used in order for you to view their site, then use Internet Explorer. But for that specific website ONLY!
  • Don’t click on links inside pop-ups. ALWAYS close the windows via the "X" for the window vs. clicking "Cancel" or any other 'escapes' in the pop-up.
  • Download software off of the internet from websites you know and trust. A lot of free software comes bundled with other software, including malware.
  • Be careful when you are viewing videos online. Especially when you get a pop-up asking you to download a “Codec” to be able to watch the video. By default, your media player should already have the necessary codec installed to watch online videos. In the case that you’re prompted to install an additional codec while trying to watch a move online (or downloaded), it is most likely a false alert and this so-called codec may install malware.
  • Don’t install plug-ins (ActiveX) if you’re not certain what it is or why it is you need it. (Unless you are attempting to perform Windows/Microsoft Updates).
  • Glubble is a great FireFox add-on if you want to manage the sites your kids are allowed to see.

6. Watch what you download!

  • If you want to install certain software, always go to the developer’s site to download the software. Then you can be sure you’re downloading and installing the right software. Be aware of the fact that certain software (especially freeware) may contain/come bundled with extra software including spyware and/or adware. So only install when you’re sure they are OK.
  • The use of Torrent sites, Game Patches and Mods, Emulators; really anything "Free" is always a risk. Unless the download/host site is a reputable site, you can never be sure what you are exactly downloading. A file you are looking to download or have downloaded isn’t always what it’s made out to be.

If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Jon Pienkowski
Pacific NorthWest Computers
www.pnwcomputers.com
360-624-7379

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PNW Computers' Favorite Mac Apps

PNW Computers' Favorite FREE Mac Apps


VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Titanium Software ~ OnyX
OnyX is a multifunction utility for OS X which you can use to verify the start up disk and the structure of its system files, to run miscellaneous tasks of cleaning and system maintenance, to configure some hidden parameters of many of Apple’s applications, and more.

Titanium Software ~ Maintenance
Maintenance is a system maintenance and cleaning utility for OS X which you can use to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance: repair permissions, run periodic scripts, rebuild the databases, delete Application, Font and System cache, and more.

Derlien Software ~ Disk Inventory X
Disk Inventory X is a disk usage utility for Mac OS X 10.3 (and later). It shows the sizes of files and folders in a special graphical way called "treemaps".
If you've ever wondered where all your disk space has gone, Disk Inventory X will help you to answer this question.

smcFanControl
smcFanControl is MUST HAVE for keeping your Mac running cool. smcFanControl lets the user set the minimum speed of the built in fans; so you can increase your minimum fan speed to make your Intel Mac run cooler. However in order not to damage your machines smcFanControl doesn't let you set a minimum speed to a value below Apple's defaults.

ClamXav
ClamXav is a free malware scanner for Mac OS X. It uses the very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end and has the ability to detect both Windows and Mac threats.
ClamXav can be setup up as passive or active: scan only the files you tell it to or your entire hard drive, whichever you prefer; you can also choose to activate Sentry to monitor your hard drive and scan new files as they arrive.

CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Mac. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small fast download.

FreeMacSoft ~ AppCleaner
AppCleaner is a small application which allows you to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps.
Installing an application distributes many files throughout your System using space of your Hard Drive unnecessarily.
AppCleaner finds all these small files and safely deletes them.
Simply drop an application onto the AppCleaner window. It will find for the related files and you can delete them by clicking the delete button.

With coconutBattery you are always aware of your current battery health. It shows you live information about the battery in your Mac and iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) including:
  • Age of your Mac, iOS device and battery
  • How often the battery was charged
  • Your battery health (capacity in relation to the original capacity your battery had when it left the factory) and much more...
gfxCardStatus
gfxCardStatus is an unobtrusive menu bar app for OS X that allows MacBook Pro users to see which apps are affecting their battery life by using the more power-hungry graphics.

The Unarchiver is a much more capable replacement for "Archive Utility.app", the built-in archive unpacker program on Mac OS X. The Unarchiver is designed to handle many more formats than Archive Utility, and to better fit in with the design of the Finder. It can also handle file names in foreign character sets, created with non-English versions of other operating systems. I personally find it useful for opening Japanese archives, but it should handle many other languages just as well.

Monolingual is a program for removing unnecessary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least OS X 10.10 (Yosemite).

Hanynet ~ NoobProof (or WaterRoof) Firewall Software
NoobProof is a very easy tool. When you start it the first time you have a service list and you can choose to "allow" or "deny" connections to those services. So you have only to decide which service to allow, and then check "Activate NoobProof". You can also add selective "allow" and "deny", and you can delete or add new custom services in service list.
WaterRoof is a very complex and powerful tool, which allows you to configure almost every aspect and option of "ipfw". And more, you can list/manage active connections or network files, do graphics log analysis, configure your mac as a router with bandwidth management with tasteful rules and tons of other options. You need a good knowledge of "what a firewall is", and you should also have at least a basic ipfw knowledge.

TeamViewer - QuickSupport Remote Access Software
*What PNW Computers uses for remote support!
TeamViewer is the All-In-One Software for Remote Support and Online Meetings.
Remote control any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds or use TeamViewer for online meetings. 

If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Jon Pienkowski
Pacific NorthWest Computers
www.pnwcomputers.com
360-624-7379

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Microsoft Internet Explorer Vulnerability ~ Fact and Opinion


As you have most likely heard, Microsoft is scrambling to fix a major bug which allows hackers to exploit flaws in Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. The company has also confirmed it will not issue a fix for web browsers running on Windows XP after it formally ended support for the 13 year old operating system back on April 8th.

The vulnerability was discovered by cyber security software maker FireEye Inc. which stated the flaw is a ‘zero-day’ threat. This means the first attacks were made on the vulnerability before Microsoft was aware of it. FireEye also revealed a sophisticated hacker group has already been exploiting the flaw in a campaign dubbed ‘Operation Clandestine Fox’, which targets US military and financial institutions.

FireEye spokesman Vitor De Souza declined to name the hackers or potential victims as the investigation is ongoing, only telling Reuters: “It’s unclear what the motives of this attack group are at this point. It appears to be broad-spectrum intel gathering.”

For its part Microsoft has confirmed the existence of the flaw in an official post: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/2963983

Now, Internet Explorer has always been a vulnerable browser and has exploits created/identified against it everyday. This is why for YEARS I have pushed my customers to use an alternative Web Browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. As previously mentioned, both of those web browsers are safer to use than Internet Explorer and are both immune from the recently identified exploit!

What makes this recent vulnerability stand out from the others, and why this particular vulnerability is making all the headlines, is that the problem is pretty widespread; affecting 1 in 4 Windows based computers and ALL Windows XP systems.

A Temporary Fix
While Microsoft rushes to fix the bug, FireEye gave concerned users two workarounds .
  1. Use another web browser other than Internet Explorer
  2. Disable Adobe Flash. “The attack will not work without Adobe Flash,” it said. “Disabling the Flash plugin within IE will prevent the exploit from functioning.”
*Adobe has released a new patch/update for their Flash Player! Allow the Flash Player to update or manually download and install the latest version here: http://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/downloads.html

No Hope For Windows XP
Microsoft has confirmed that no fix will be rolled out for Windows XP because support has officially ended and there are no plans to make an exception. It states:

“An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, which can steal your personal information.”

The company’s advice to Windows XP users has remained the same for some time: upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 or buy a new PC. It has also repeatedly sent a pop-up dialog box to reachable Windows XP machines with the following end of support notification.

For users unsure whether their existing XP PCs can support Windows 8, Microsoft offers a software tool called ‘Windows Upgrade Assistant’ which can be downloaded here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=321548

If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Jon Pienkowski
Pacific NorthWest Computers
www.pnwcomputers.com
360-624-7379

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Online Data Backup Solutions


Pacific NorthWest Computers is a reseller for several different online backup providers and recently partnered with BackSync. BackSync Backup is a secure online backup and recovery solution with unlimited retention, centralized management and industry leading features. Small to Medium Business who are looking for Enterprise class backup at a fraction of the price. We don’t waste your time by offering consumer grade products re-branded with a “Pro” label.

BackSync Backup Features:
  • Exchange 2000 thru 2010 - Database, Mailbox and Mail item level restore 
  • Synthetic Full Backup - Exchange Database and regular file backups 
  • VMware ESX/ESXi – Guest level backup of licensed servers 
  • Microsoft SQL 2000 thru 2008 
  • SharePoint - 2003 thru 2010 and WSS 
  • MySQL Server 
  • Oracle Databases 
  • Active Directory and System State 
  • Open File Backup 
  • Normal Flat File Backup- Select disks, folders and files 
  • Network Drive Backup – Agent-less backups of other computers 
  • NAS (Network Attached Storage) Backup 
  • Outlook PST files 
  • Windows Registry 
  • Native Clients for Windows, OS X and Linux 
  • Backup to Local Disk, NAS, File Share or Online 
  • Unlimited file retention 

BackSync Backup Security
  • Encryption – Up to 448 bit strong encryption. 
  • Transmission – Backups are transmitted via a secured encrypted (SSL) link to the backup server. 
  • High Availability – All data is stored on high availability RAID storage networks with the ability to replicate around the world. 
  • Data Center- Backup servers are located in secured SAS70 Type-II data centers that are staffed and monitor 24x7x365. These facilities have redundant cooling, power and Internet. 

BackSync Backup is Simple!
  • Automated – Backup jobs can be scheduled from every minute to once a year or continuous as the files change. 
  • Continuous Data Protection (CDP) – Live monitoring and backup of files and folders for continuous data protection. (Great for laptops and mobile workers). 
  • Retention - Retain data on a per backup job basis up to 10 years for both live and deleted files. 
  • Consolidation – Backup as many computers as you want under a single account for easy management. 
  • Rapid Restore – Restores are performed quickly from the client. Larger restores can be done in in the data center and delivered or shipped directly to you. 
  • Easy to Manage – All backup clients and servers can be managed from a web browser. 
  • Seeding – Large initial backups can be quickly seeded with a USB drive into the data center. 
  • Reporting – Each client maintains detailed reports on every backup with the option to send notifications. 


If you are looking for a standard/non-commercial data backup services, here are some of our top picks!

  • Backblaze.com provides unlimited and inexpensive data storage solutions; starting at $5 a month.
  • If you went with a business package, from Carbonite you would have the easiest access to your data as well; you could access data from any type of device. You could also use it like an online file storage/access portal as well! Unlike some of the other online data backup providers, Carbonite does provide backup services for iphones and ipads!
    play.google.com/store/apps/details
    www.carbonite.com/online-backup/pricing-plans
  • SOS's Online Backup plans aren't the cheapest but it's hard to compare apples to apples in this industry. For example, SOS's continuous data backup feature, which backs up a new version of a file the instant it's changed, is a killer feature that I haven't seen elsewhere!

There are other "alternative" solutions such as NAS Drives (Network Accessible Storage Drive) and other alternative services like Google Drive, DropBox, SkyDrive, Etc. But we will get into those later :)

Let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Jon Pienkowski
Pacific NorthWest Computers
www.pnwcomputers.com
360-624-7379

New Virus Alert: CryptoLocker!


A New Virus Has Surfaced ~ CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker is a new, nasty piece of malicious software that is infecting computers around the world; encrypting important files and demanding a ransom to unlock them. If you get hit with this virus you risk having your personal data encrypted and lost for good!

This sophisticated malware is delivered the old-fashioned way – an executable file hidden inside an attachment that looks like an ordinary ZIP file or PDF. One small business reports being compromised after clicking on an email attachment that was designed to look like a shipping invoice from the U.S. Postal Service.

The CryptoLocker virus can be removed from an infected system, but unfortunately at this time there is no way to retrieve the private key that can be used to decrypt your files without paying the ransom. Brute forcing the decryption key is not realistic due to the length of time required to break the key. Also any decryption tools that have been released by various companies will not work with this infection. The only method you have of restoring your files is from a backup or Shadow Volume Copies if you have System Restore enabled. Newer variants of CryptoLocker attempt to delete the Shadow Copies, but it is not always successful.

Preventive Measures:
  1. BACKUP ALL OF YOUR DATA ASAP! That’s the only way to reduce the risk of losing your files forever. Also, to avoid getting your backup's encrypted your backup device should be disconnected from your computer until the next time you need to access it or run a backup. 
  2. Download and install a free utility called 'Crypto Prevent'. Crypto Prevent is a small utility that changes a few settings in your computer to help prevent the CryptoLocker infection from happening in the first place! Its not a golden bullet however, so having current data backups is your ulitimate defense. You can downloading the Crypto Prevent utility directly from the link below!
http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/cryptoprevent/

If you need any assistance we can setup a visit to help secure and backup your computer for you!

Let us know if you have any questions or issues!

Jon Pienkowski
Pacific NorthWest Computers
www.pnwcomputers.com
360-624-7379

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Browser Redirect Virus Fix! Search Conduit, DefaultTab, MyWay Web Search, Etc.





The majority of computers coming in with virus infections all have the browser hi-jacks, and other browser related malware infections. A browser hijacker is something installs onto a computer system and attaches to an internet browser in order to change internet browser settings; such as the home page and default search engine. This causes the now infected internet browsers to start up using their search bar or their search engine OR even just redirect you to where they want you to go. This type of infection can generate browser pop-up’s while you’re surfing the internet, slow the computer's overall performance as well as lead to further and more severe virus and infection issues!

As with a vast MAJORITY of BHO's (browser helper objects such as tool bars) most use unethical practices and are utilized by ethical and unethical third-parties, including cyber criminals and scam artists, in an effort to generate revenue through sites tied they are working for/partnered with as well as other third-party domains and advertising based search services.

Products and software associated with the browser redirection infections:
  • Activeris AntiMalware
  • Ado System Protect
  • AnyProtect
  • Any Send
  • AssetsManager
  • Babylon Toolbar
  • BFlix Toolbar and TheBFlix
  • BlockandSurf
  • Boost Shopping
  • Browser Guard
  • Browser Protector
  • BrowserRedirector
  • Bubble Sound
  • Chromium (Dregal)
  • CinemaPlus vX.X
  • Conduit
  • Consumer Input Firefox Extension
  • Coupoon (two 'oo')
  • CrossBrowse
  • DefaultTab
  • Delta Toolbar
  • Dregal (Chromium)
  • Driver Pro
  • Driver Restore
  • Driver Updater (No Publisher/Specifics)
  • File Type Assistant
  • FLV Runner Toolbar
  • Free Ride Games Player
  • Games Desktop vX.X
  • GeniusBox
  • HashBrat
  • IdleCrawler
  • IE Web Protect
  • IE Web Protect Plus
  • Linkey
  • Linksicle
  • MapsGalaxy Toolbar (and other random/various related 'MapGalaxy' products)
  • MediaPlayerEnhance
  • MixiDJ  
  • Mobogenie
  • MyPC Backup
  • MyWayWeb Search Toolbar
  • NewPlayer
  • Optimizer Pro vx.x
  • OneSoftPerDay
  • Pasta Leads
  • PC Fix Speed vx.x.x
  • Plus-HD-x.x
  • PC Optimizer Pro
  • PC Pro Cleaner
  • Powerful Browse
  • QuickRef
  • Remote Desktop Access (No Publisher/Specifics)
  • Search Conduit
  • Search Protect
  • Search Results LLC
  • Shop To win
  • Shopper Pro
  • Shoperz
  • SmartWeb
  • Software Updater (No Publisher/Specifics)
  • Software Version Updater (No Publisher/Specifics)
  • Special Savings
  • Unico Browser
  • Wajam
  • Web Companion
  • WebProtector
  • Web Protect for Windows
  • WiseCare 365
  • Yontoo
  • Yontoo Layers
  • YTDownloader

Removal Process:
1st Step
Uninstall all programs listed above through "Programs and Features" aka "Add/Remove Programs" found through your computer's control panel.

2nd Step
Download and install MalwareByte’s Antimalware and Spybot Search and Destroy (1.6.2) to use in conjunction with your antivirus to run full virus scans on your computer! Remove (or at lease quarantine) anything that the programs identify!
*If you don't have a current anti-virus we recommend one of the following AntiVirus titles; Microsoft Security EssentialsAvast! Antivirus or Bitdefender Free.

3rd Step
In all of your web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc) you want to examine all installed add-on's and extensions. Remove anything that is related to the software programs listed above. Additionally you can use ADWCleaner and JRT to get even further "under the hood" to make sure all of your web browsers are clean from Adware and Browser Hi-Jack software.

4th Step (EXTRA)
Download and run TDSKiller from Kaspersky Labs to check your systems for any types of rootkit infections.


For direct download links to the software listed above, visit "Pacific NorthWest Computers' Links and Recommended Software" page on our Blog Link below!
http://pnwcomputers.blogspot.com/2013/06/pnw-computers-links-and-recommended.html

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Clean up a Slow Performing Computer ~PLUS~ a few Mac tips too ;)


Many think that when a computer starts performing poorly that it's time to buy a new computer. Does your desktop or laptop often hang on the hour glass or swirling circle for several minutes at a time? Does "Not Responding" sound familiar to you? Is it slow to load files or applications, and does it take a long time to boot? Even if you're extremely careful about how you use your computer and never download questionable material, over time it is inevitable that your system will accumulate unwanted registry entries, errors, clutter and debris. Here's how to clean your computer up and get it running faster again!

Steps To Take:
  1. Update your antivirus software and run a full scan. Antivirus software helps protect you from viruses and other suspect files that can spread by simply opening email. It performs regular system checks and detects when foreign files are trying to infiltrate your computer. Click the link below for a list of the security software that Pacific Northwest Computers' recommends and use:

    **Do not use Registry Optimizers or so called Clean Reg Tools.!! 
    Most of these cause more harm than good in the future with your PC!!!

  2. Clear up some space on the hard drive. Deleting unnecessary files that your computer stores is an easy and simple way to free up memory and improve overall performance. To do this, access Disk Cleanup in Windows and delete Temporary Files on a Mac.



    *For Windows XP, Windows 7, and Vista: Click Start, click All Programs, clickAccessories, click System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup. If several drives are available, you might be prompted to specify which drive you want to clean.

    *For Mac: Go to Applications, click Utilities, and click Command Prompt. In the Command Prompt, type in "sudo rm -fr /tmp/*" and hit Enter. The temporary files that have been left behind on your computer will now be cleared.
  3. Uninstall useless programs or programs you rarely use. These can include games or media files that you or your children never use, as well as programs that have become redundant or obsolete.

  4. When uninstalling programs be sure you don't need them! Some programs are needed for the operation of the computer. So if you are unsure about a program then leave it alone or do a quick search on Google to see if you can find out whether it's good or bad.
  5. For Windows: Follow the Start Menu to Settings and then to Control Panel. From this screen click on Add/remove programs or Uninstall a program and uninstall programs that are no longer needed.

    *When uninstalling programs, be sure you don't need them before removing! Some programs are needed for the operation of the computer. So if you are unsure about a program then leave it alone or do a quick search on Google to see if you can find out whether it might be good or bad.

    *For Mac: Kill unwanted or redundant programs by dropping the program files into the Recycle Bin.
  6. Remember to empty your Recycle Bin after deleting these files because they are still on the hard drive and taking up space; just right click the icon and navigate to “Empty Bin.”
  7. Download and install and run spyware removing programs like Spybot Search and Destroy. Spyware is a kind of malicious software installed on computers that tracks certain information without the user's knowledge. For both privacy implications and the health of your computer, it's best to delete spyware and other "malware."

    *You can download Spybot and other security software for your computer for free by using this link:

  8. Defragment your hard drive. Fragmentation basically is when your computer's files get disorganized, hurting your computer's ability to lay data out sequentially. Defragmentation is the correction to this process.

    *For Windows: click on My Computer, then click Properties, then click the "Tool's" tab. From this tab just click on the Defragment button and then run the program. You can set it up so that your computer automatically defragments at set intervals.

    *Besides the Windows Defragmentation utility, we recommend MyDefrag (formerly JKDefrag). MyDefrag is a disk defragmenter and optimizer for Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista/2008/X64 computers. It's very easy to use, fast, low overhead, with several optimization strategies, and can handle floppies, USB disks, memory sticks, and anything else that looks like a disk to Windows!
    *For Mac: Mac operating systems rarely, if ever, need to have their disk space defragmented.

  9. Check your RAM. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. These are the computer's memory chips. If there are not enough of them or they are not very large in size, you computer will use your hard disk to store intermediate results. But this is a much slower process. The computer will appear busy and will also be slow to write and read things from the hard disk. You can hear it, and the LED on the computer itself will light up and just stay on. Right click on the My Computer icon, then select properties, then read what is said on the 'General' tab. For Windows XP it should be 1GB or more and 2GB's or more for Windows 7 or 8. Anything less then those numbers and that might be the problem.

    *If RAM is the real problem, your computer will be slow whenever you start a new application. If your computer is only slow when you turn on your computer or reboot, it is more likely that it is some other problem.

    *Before you rush out to get some additional RAM in a computer shop, make sure you know exactly what type fits in with your computer, and convince yourself that there are still empty slots (inside your computer) that can be used to put the RAM in. For most people it is best to make a computer repair shop responsible for all this; you can give us a call and you can bring your system if you need help!!

Tips!
  • Never install software that you don't intend to use regularly.
  • Be careful about what you install; most free downloads from certain sites can come with some form of spyware/malware/grayware or possibly a virus.
  • Make an effort to defrag your computer weekly.
  • To insure safe broadband internet browsing install a firewall program (Microsoft has one built in with XP) or buy an external firewall router.
  • Always preform a spyware scan and virus scan weekly if you do minimal file/program downloads. If you do many downloads weekly, then the suggested performance is daily.

!!!Warnings!!!
  • When uninstalling programs be sure you don't need them; some programs are needed for the operation of the computer.
  • When using the spyware removal program, be sure to go over the directions thoroughly. Since this program makes changes to the registry you can actually make the computer perform worse than before. If you are not an avid computer user, just clean the detected items that appear in red, or consult a friend who knows about computers.