Software Selection for 08/15/2019 – IsMyHdOK 1.84

IsMyHdOK 1.84

Source: SoftwareOK.com

(Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Server 2000-2016, XP, Vista, x64/x32/x86)

IsMyHdOK is a small program but effective solution to easily check the Performance of a Windows Volume eg. Partition!

Key Features in HD Test Tool

◆ Benchmark Suitable for SSD and HD and other drives
◆ Arbitrary Test Time:
◆ Quick Test (~ 15 sec)
◆ Short Test (~ 30 sec)
◆ Long test (~ 60 sec)
◆ Very long test (~ 4 min)
◆ Screenshot after the Benchmark

Calculate The HDD / SSD / SHDD / SC / USB Speed!


Click Here For More Software

Software Selection for 07/29/2019 – NirLauncher 1.22.19

NirLauncher 1.22.19

Source: Major Geeks

NirLauncher is a suite of all the tools from NirSoft. Currently, it has over 200 tools wrapped into this one package. NirLauncher is a suite of tools that are intended to make your daily computer use easier. Tools include; password recovery, network monitors, the ability to view Web Browser info (like cookies and cache), to file search and more. [License: Freeware | Requires: Win 10 / 8 / 7 / Vista / XP | Size: 28.8 MB ]

Click Here For More Software

 

Software Selection for 07/28/2019 – Tweaking.com Windows Repair 4.5.3

Tweaking.com Windows Repair 4.5.3

Source:  Freewarefiles.com

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is a tool designed help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including; registry errors, file permissions, issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Updates, Windows Firewall and more. Malware and poorly installed programs can modify your default settings resulting in your machine working badly – or worse.

With Tweaking.com Windows Repair you can restore Windows original settings fixing many of these problems.

Screenshot for: Tweaking.com Windows Repair 4.5.3

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What’s On My PC – Software Selection for 07/28/2019

[UPDATE] Desktop Info v1.18.0

(Windows, Portable App)

Desktop Info displays system information on your desktop in a similar way to some other desktop information tools. Unlike others, this application looks like wallpaper but stays resident in memory and continues to update the display in real-time. Uses very little memory and nearly zero CPU. Perfect for quick identification and walk-by monitoring of production or test server farms. Everything is customizable including language.

Click Here For More Software

Quick Tip: Did you know that the Google Chrome browser has a built-in task manager?

Google Chrome has a built-in task manager that will help you troubleshoot what tabs and extensions are causing issues. From the task manager, you can kill or end those processes that may assist you in troubleshooting what may be the culprit. Very, very seldom have I had to use the task manager, but is good to know it is there when things start slowing down.

You can quickly get to the task manager in Google Chrome by hitting the “Shift+Esc” keys together on your keyboard. You can also get to the task manager by accessing Chrome’s menu by clicking on the three dots at the top right corner of the browser, then “more tools”, then “task manager”.

How to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode | Android Authority

If you’re trying to troubleshoot problems with your Windows 10 PC, one option is to enter Safe Mode. In Windows 10 Safe Mode you can safely uninstall troublesome programs, resolve driver issues, diagnose hardware conflicts, and more. But how to boot in Safe Mode is less obvious in Windows 10 than we’ve seen in older Windows releases. In this guide we’ll show you how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using version 1809 (October 2018 Update).

Windows 10 Safe Mode options

Source: How to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Latest Windows 10 Update Causing Freezes, Sluggish Performance | ExtremeTech

To summarize the article from “ExtremeTech” on this issue:

Microsoft has mucked something up again. The latest patch update (KB 4493470) released on Patch Tuesday, April 9, appears to have caused significant performance problems for multiple groups of users.

Some users are reporting freezes upon login, while others claim lengthy times to boot to desktop. It sounds as if either the same issue is causing both, or that some individuals may be rebooting before the desktop has loaded, thinking the machine is permanently frozen.

The issues seem linked to the use of antivirus products from specific manufacturers, including Avast, AVG, and Sophos, with Sophos coming in for particular problems.

Windows10PLAEN

Source: Latest Windows 10 Update Causing Freezes, Sluggish Performance – ExtremeTech

Windows 10: “We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure.”

Why were recently installed updates removed?

Windows 10 has the ability to detect when a Windows 10 update is not playing well and will automatically remove the update. When these updates are removed and fail to install, this is an indication of an incompatibility issue and may end up requiring troubleshooting on your part (or could actually be a bad update from Microsoft).

From what I understand, the update that was removed will not try to reinstall for 30 days. This window of time gives Microsoft and their partners the opportunity to fix the update if it is, in fact, a problem created on their end.

You can read more about this at the source link below.

Source: Why were recently installed updates removed?

ZDNet Recommendation: Bookmark The Windows 10 Version 1809 Update History Page

I do have to agree with ZDNet’s recommendation on bookmarking this page which is the support resource Microsoft created to improve transparency after the problems experienced in the rollout of version 1809. Version 1809 is the Windows 10 October 2018 release.

The Windows 10 version 1809 update history page alone has over one million page views and counting and if you are like me, somewhere along the line you have experienced an issue with a rogue update. Highly recommended for troubleshooters to bookmark this page, “Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 update history

Source: Microsoft: You really should bookmark this Windows 10 update history page | ZDNet

PingInfoView – Ping to multiple host names/IP addresses

One way to test the reachability of a host on the internet is to “ping” the IP address of the host or the hostname (i.e. http://www.google.com). When you perform a ping, it measures the round-trip time for the message to be echoed back to your computer.

A nice little utility, with a GUI, is PingInfoView by NirSoft. PingInfoView is a small utility that allows you to easily ping multiple host names and IP addresses, and watch the result in one table. It automatically pings to all hosts every number of seconds that you specify, and displays the number of successful and failed pings, as well as the average ping time. You can also save the ping result into text/html/xml file, or copy it to the clipboard.

Source: PingInfoView – Ping to multiple host names/IP addresses

Computech Windows Tweaker 1.0.0.0

If you are a computer tech, this utility (called Computech Windows Tweaker) may be of interest to you. Based on what I am seeing at the Major Geeks software download site, Computech Windows Tweaker is described as a “niche utility for anyone looking to hide or show drives, disable the Firewall, USB storage, UAC, Remote RPC, Security Center, Offline Files, and Action Center temporarily. It might also be able to re-enable these, especially after a virus or malware infection”. It appears (based on the version number) it is a relatively new app; which means, this will only get better as the development progresses. Also, I downloaded and found that this is a portable app.


SOURCE: Major Geeks – Computech Windows Tweaker 1.0.0.0

Windows Repair Toolbox (freeware) – Helps you repair a Windows system, by making the process faster, easier and uniform…

When you diagnose or repair a computer problem there are specific software tools that are readily available to help resolve those specific issues. Most techs will carry with them software tools on a stick (flash drive) to test, diagnose, fix, resolve malware issues, recover data, etc… You have to be knowledgeable of what software tools to download and where to download them from. This can be a problem when you are not familiar with these tools.

A solution that has really helped me is the Windows Repair Toolbox. The Windows Repair Toolbox is free software that has been set up to help you gather up (download) the software that you need and then serves as a dashboard to launch the software. For example, I am not in the business anymore of helping people with their PC’s at home; however, when Mom called with a malware infection, I used the Windows Repair Toolbox to download the software that I needed in order to resolve the problem.  I cannot say enough about how valuable this software is. As a matter of fact, I keep a copy of this software on each of my computers to perform regular maintenance…

The tools are categorized by their function, and the program will automatically download the correct version for the Windows edition in which you’re working. When you finish, simply uninstall the tool, and all downloaded software is also removed. Or you can choose the portable version of Windows Repair Toolbox, and just run it from a pen drive.

– Ability to select several tools to run successively in unattended mode, in order to perform malware removal, system cleaning and repair, and disk defragmentation. A email letting you know that the automatic repair is complete, and containing the logs, can be sent to you.

– Displays relevant information about the computer to be repaired: CPU temperature, name and % time; amount of RAM installed on the system and % of use; Disk model, capacity, rotation, SATA version, basic health check; amount of free space left in the system partition; Windows edition and install date; System boot time; and more.


SOURCE: Windows Repair Toolbox

Are you stuck trying to install the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?

Yesterday (October 17th) was the rollout date for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Instead of waiting for the update to rollout to my computer, I ended up forcing the install by using the Update Assistant on my laptop to test out the installation experience. In a nutshell, the installation stalled on me on two occasions and spit out an error code (for which I was unable to see what the error code was). In other words, I was stuck.  I ended up going to Google to research further and found this article, “Windows 10 Fall Creators Update common installation problems and fixes” at WindowsCentral.com that helped me punch through the install process. After running the Windows disk cleaning utility (right click start > run > type in: clnmgr > click on “OK”) to delete the temporary install files, I was then successful in completing the installation. In the end, the installation process (which was mostly unattended from my end) took hours.  I then moved to my 2nd computer (desktop) and decided to let the install run during the night. This morning when I checked the desktop, the install process had also failed. I will be working on this computer to narrow down the cause.

From my experience, with these major Windows 10 OS updates, expect problems…


SOURCE: WindowsCentral.com – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update common installation problems and fixes

 

Recent Windows Update Causing HP Computer Black Screen At Login (here’s a fix)

I had this happen on my Daughter’s NEW Hewlett Packard Notebook PC… If you have a HP computer, you may experience this issue. In our case we ended up doing a full reset of the computer… Below you will find a link for instructions to keep the “black screen” from occurring and preventing you from taking alternative action (such as a full reset). In our case, we learned of the fix after the fact. and my Daughter needed her notebook PC to be functional for her classes ASAP (therefore, we performed the full reset). After learning of the fix, I had her perform the steps necessary, as outlined in the source link below, to prevent the issue from occurring again. Reportedly this issue stems from a recent Windows update…

Windows 10 update causes HP login lag, here’s the fix


SOURCE: MSPOWERUSER.COM

 

TurnedOnTimesView is a simple tool that detects the time ranges that your computer was turned on…

TurnedOnTimesView is another tool from NirSoft that will provide you with the Startup Time, Shutdown Time, Duration, Shutdown Reason, Shutdown Type, Shutdown Process, and Shutdown Code of your computer. TurnedOnTimesView extracts this information from the event log on your computer. This information is useful in troubleshooting computer problems and can also be used to determine when and how long the kids have been on the computer after you have started it up.

This utility, a portable app, works on any version of Windows, starting from Windows 2000 and up to Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit systems).


SOURCE: NirSoft – TurnedOnTimesView

Kaspersky System Checker – A Portable Free Tool To Scan Your PC For A Range Of Problems

If you are experiencing issues with your PC, Kapersky System Checker may help you resolve the issue.  It is not designed to fix anything; but, is designed to give you a lead on what the problem could be… I look at this as another tool in the tech toolbox that may help you troubleshoot a range of problems such as:  malware, missing updates, poorly configured Windows or application settings, a shortage of hard drive space, and more.  Simply download and run. No install is necessary.


SOURCE: DownloadCrew – Kapersky System Checker 1.2.0.290

Geek Squeak #17-017: Here is a program for Microsoft Windows devices that displays the resource use of the computer on the Windows taskbar….

Just found a pretty neat Windows resource meter, called XMeters, over at ghacks.net. What makes this resource meter so different is that the hardware readings are displayed on the Windows taskbar, which keeps it in sight at all times and is not out of view when opening programs.

Image result for xmeters

XMeters is a handy system monitor for the Windows taskbar that provides you with important real-time hardware readings. It offers customization options to a degree, but could use a couple more (opening another program instead of Task Manager for instance, or colors to distinguish heavy resource use better)….

SOURCE: ghacks.net


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Which Recovery Option Should I Use When Experiencing Problems With Windows 10

Found the following information on the Microsoft Support site that may be helpful in deciding which recovery option you should use in the event you are troubleshooting and experiencing problems with Windows 10.

Problem: Your PC isn’t working well because of a recently installed app, driver, or update.

Solution: Restore from a system restore point

Problem: Your PC isn’t working well and you’re not sure why.

Solution: Reset your PC

Problem: You want to clear all your personal data off of your PC before you donate or recycle it.

Solution: Reset this PC > Remove everything > Remove files and clean this drive

Problem: Your PC won’t start. Or You tried to reset the PC, but encountered the error: There was a problem resetting your PC.

Solution 1: If you’ve previously created a USB recovery drive, use the recovery drive to restore or recover your PC

Solution 2: If you haven’t created a USB recovery drive, use installation media to restore your PC or Use installation media to reinstall Windows 10


GEEK SQUEAKS’ OF THE WEEK
(17-003)
 

Privacy Screen Guard & Filter (for Android) – Block people from peeping into your apps, notifications and private chats on a subway train, bus, mall, at work or school by using our privacy shade… READ MORE

 Privacy Screen Guard & Filter- screenshot

How to use Storage sense to free up space automatically on the Windows 10 Creators Update – Starting with the Creators Update, Windows 10 introduces Storage sense, a new feature that automatically monitors and free up storage space on your computer… READ MORE

Windows 7 Games For Windows 10 – Windows 7 Games For Windows 10 installs the broken (or missing) Windows 7 games for your Windows 10… READ MORE

Wise JetSearch – Free Local File Search Tool – A nice “go to” search tool replacement for Windows… READ MORE

Renogy E.Lumen Multi-Functional Solar Power & USB Rechargeable Flashlight – I have one of these… Awesome flashlight, for the price, that also serves as a multi-purpose emergency tool…  READ MORE


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An Option To Fix Google Assistant On Your Android Phone

Google Assistant is Google’s new artificial intelligence personal assistant that allows you to ask Google questions (or give commands) and engage in a two-way conversation with Google. I have been playing around with it and it is very cool. I especially like that I can do hand’s free texting using Google Assistant when driving or I can ask Google about my day or any question for that matter. To determine if it is on your phone, simply hold down the “Home” button on your phone and you should be greeted with the “Hi, How can I help?”. In my case, I was waiting patiently for the Google Assistant to download to my Android phone and when it finally did, I ran into an unusual problem. I decided to do a blog post on this describing the problem I ran into and how the problem was resolved.

Google Assistant

The problem I ran into (in short summary) is that after I had determined Google Assistant was on my phone, by checking the version numbers of the Google App, it simply was not working correctly. When I held down the home button nothing would happen. If I tapped the home button it took me to the old Google Now screen.  At the Google Now Screen when I went into the settings, I noticed that it was the settings for Google Assistant (and not for Google Now). At first I thought that my phone being a mid-ranged phone wouldn’t support all of the Google Assistant settings; therefore, I only was entitled to maybe a lite version of Google Assistance.

Finally, after suspecting there was a software (or app) conflict and after searching the internet for a solution (with no luck), I found the Google Search and Assistant Help ForumForum’s are great for troubleshooting problems. After searching and browsing the forum I was unable to find a solution that matched the problem I was experiencing; therefore, I had to join the forum and describe the problem with hope that someone may be able to help. Part of the problem, when describing an issue, is finding the right words. When it comes to computers, electronics, smartphones, etc…; they all have a language of their own.

In this instance, I described the problem as follows:

Why is it when I launch Google Assistant it appears to launch Google Now?

When I launch Google Assistant via the home button it appears to launch Google Now.  I am not seeing the Google Assistant launch screen “how can I help”…  I also noticed that some of the Google Assistant features work and some do not.  For example, if I say “OK Google” , “read me the news” (from my customized list), it takes me to Google Play and plays a song from “the news”...

Within 24 hours a “Community Specialist” in the forum (named Lucas) came back at me with some things to try:

Lucas – Community Specialist said:

Hi Ramblinrick,

Welcome to the Google Search and Assistant Help Forum!

Just to confirm, is your Google app updated to the latest version? To check, visit Play Store and go to the Google App page. If you see update button, try updating the app that may help resolve this issue.

If that doesn’t help, try to reset the app and then try to update again. To reset go to device Settings > Apps / Application manager > Google > Storage > Clear Cache and tap on Manage Space > Clear Data. This step will reset the app to factory condition and all the personalization and preferences will be reset to original.

Please let me know how that works.

Best,

Lucas

The solution:

I followed the instructions and found that by doing a reset of the app was the solution (Settings > Apps / Application manager > Google > Storage > Clear Cache and tap on Manage Space > Clear Data).  Google Assistant is now performing flawlessly and we are now having conversations with each other on a daily basis. A big thanks to Lucas, whoever and wherever you are, for your assistance.

Geek Squeaks (#2015-35) FEATURING — GEGeek NOW On Facebook — and MORE GREAT STUFF

GEGeek NOW On Facebook – The motherload of all tech sites, GEGeek, is now featuring their GEGeek Tech Toolkit on Facebook. The toolkit, available through donation at the main GEGeek web site, is a complete collection of over 400 tech related FREE programs and suites (all available from a menu launch utility). If you are an information technology professional the GEGeek website and the GEGeek Toolkit should automatically become part of your mindset. Mike and Jason at GEGeek have gone to great lengths to review, collect, and maintain the information (and toolkit) that is available. Jason recently joined Mike to assist in maintaining the motherload. I personally thank both of them (and I encourage you to do the same). After you donate to acquire the toolkit, you are then entitled to the upgrades (which occur on a regular basis).

GEGeek

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Online Games To Pass The Time Away – I regularly visit the USAToday web site to get my initial daily dose of news. Did you know that on the USAToday web site there is a link that will take to you a wide array of online games that they sponsor and maintain. Initially when you load the USAToday site, you will find a link a the top of the site for Crosswords. Click on that link and you will be taken to the Crossword puzzle page and on the page (at the top of the crosswords) you will find additional links for puzzle, arcade, strategy, brain, casino, and quiz type game challenges. Prior to playing any of the challenges or games, you will be required to set though a short in length advertisement…

USAToday Puzzles

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WordWeb Upgraded To Support Windows 10WordWeb has been a mainstay on my computer for years. It is a very useful and comprehensive one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows. It can be used to look up words from almost any program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. It includes pronunciations and usage examples, and has helpful spelling and sounds-like links. I especially like the one click lookup where you hold the CTRL key and right mouse click on a word to get the definition. WordWeb can also be installed as a portable app. You will be prompted for that option after you run the install file. Also, if you like WordWeb and use Google Chrome, be sure to download their WordCaptureX browser extension…  NOTE: WordWeb has been added to the What’s On My PC download page under the FREE Software swarm.

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Fix Specific Windows 10 Problems and Issues With This Utility – The Windows Club has a developed a utility called FixWin 10 for Windows 10, that is a portable freeware application that allows you to fix and repair Windows 10 problems, issues and annoyances. This new release of FixWin has an updated UI for Windows 10 and includes a new section to fix Windows 10 common problems and issues specifically.

FixWin 10 for Windows 10

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Digital Trends’ (brought to you by Drippler) Best Android Apps For Any Occasion This list of Android Apps is a pretty good list in my opinion and is a good starting point if you are looking for good reputable android apps (for any occasion). The list was originally posted on Digital Trends and it made Drippler (the Android app that features new tips, apps, features, updates, accessories and more)….

false

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Where To Look For Deals On Amazon – As the holiday shopping season approaches and we Countdown To Black Friday, many of us will be doing our shopping online. One of my favorite shopping sites is Amazon. For example, to look for bargains I will visit their Today’s Deals, their Outlet, or their Warehouse …  I have found items, using these three options, to get really good deals. If you want to visit the Earth’s Biggest Selection to get a full directory listing at Amazon, CLICK HERE

Countdown Black Friday

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A 5 Stars Windows Repair Utility

First statement I need to make here is that the Tweaking.com – Windows Repair utility, featured in this article, is for those who are computer techs and the geeks in the family. Second statement I need to make is that I cannot say enough about how good this utility is.

Tweaking.com - Windows Repair

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair has helped me personally make repairs to computers where the Windows operating system has become corrupted; whether it be from end user error, a malware infection or Windows just stopped playing nice. It has served me (just recently) in repairing a Windows Update issue (where Windows stopped playing nice), a Windows Service issue (caused by a Windows Update) and in repairing a winsock/dns issue that surfaced after removal of a malware infection from a PC. I always have an updated (portable) version of this utility available.

Word of advice – Follow the steps as exactly outlined with this utility and as always use the internet to research any clues you are seeing that may be the cause of the issue. This will ensure that you can pinpoint what option to select when attempting a repair. If not sure, run the utility in its’ entirety, but be patient as it goes to work.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including:

 Unhide Non System Files
 Repair problems with .lnk (Shortcuts)
 File Association
 WMI
 Windows Firewall
 Internet Explorer
 Windows Installer (MSI)
 Hosts File
 Policies Set By Infections
 Icons
 Winsock & DNS Cache
 Proxy Settings
 Windows Updates
 CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
 Reset Registry and File Permissions
 Register System Files
 Remove Temp Files
 and more… 

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A Swiss Army Knife Of Powerful Network Tools

As a blogger there are those times when you run into what I call “writer’s block” and everything shuts down. Today, I did come across, what appears to be a pretty nice suite of network tools called Essential NetTools that will hopefully get me back on track. This set of tools is primarily geared toward the network administrator.

Essential NetTools

Essential NetTools is a set of network scanning, security, and administrator tools useful in diagnosing networks and monitoring your computer’s network connections. It’s a Swiss Army knife for everyone interested in a powerful network tool kit for everyday use.

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Android Version of CPU-Z (popular system information tool)

I am sure many of the techie types out there have heard of CPU-Z, a system information tool that gathers information on the main devices and components of your computer (such as CPU, Motherboard, Memory, etc…). These types of tools are not only useful for identifying components, but are useful as troubleshooting tools as well.

Today, I noticed on Google Play (the Android Store) that there is an Android version of CPU-Z that is just as good as the PC version in identifying cpu, clock speeds, sensors, battery levels, screen resolution, and much more (for your smartphone or tablet)…

CPU-Z

Android version of the popular CPU identification tool for PC/Windows., CPU-Z is a free application that reports information about your device.

– SoC (System On Chip) name, architecture, clock speed for each core ;

– System information : device brand & model, screen resolution, RAM, storage.;

– Battery information : level, status, temperature ;

– Sensors.

Requirements :

– Android 2.2 and above (version 1.03 and +)

Geek Squeak – I Really Liked 404 Tech Support’s Post on “If everyone were taught troubleshooting…”

I really enjoyed reading the article by Jason Hamilton, at 404 Tech Support, on “If everyone were taught troubleshooting…”.  I think the reason it hit home with me is a recent computer issue I ran into, that literally took me a great while to solve, where numerous causes could have resulted in the effect. It was through the process of deduction, of each of the potential causes, that eventually led me to the obvious that literally was right before my eyes. I can also relate to the article from my past experience as an IT Manager and being in the hot seat.

404 Tech Support by Jason Hamilton
and his example of “cause and effect

If everyone were taught troubleshooting...

Sometimes the job in IT support can feel like you’re the only one that understands the simple concept of cause-and-effect. Sometimes the logical jumps can be made with the information provided by the client. Other times it requires discovering more information through observation or research while in more complicated cases it requires making a logic jump of 2-3 steps like a challenging Sudoku puzzle or thinking ahead in a game of ChessREAD MORE @ 404 Tech Support

Continue reading “Geek Squeak – I Really Liked 404 Tech Support’s Post on “If everyone were taught troubleshooting…””

How to Disable Specific Windows Updates So That They Will Not Be Installed

You probably are asking, “Why would I want to block a Windows Update?”.

I had numerous Windows Updates hit my PC yesterday and one of the updates would not install.  As a result, the computer ended up into a tailspin where every time I booted, the update appeared to be installing; then, it would fail; and, then uninstall itself.  After identifying what update it was, I needed a way to disable the update from installing, until a fix could be found.

What I found is that in Windows 7 and Windows 8 you can disable updates from installing by hiding them. Keep in mind, it is important to capture all updates; however, as in my case, there are those occasions where an update will break the machine.

To disable or hide the update I did some research and found that the web site Windows SevenForums has a very nice tutorial description (with graphics) on How to Hide or Restore Hidden Windows Updates in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

image

By following their tutorial, I was able to easily hide the update that was causing me the issue. Once I find a fix, I will unhide the update so that it can properly install. Thank you Windows SevenForum

How To Type the “Degree” Symbol From The Keyboard

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] How To Type the “Degree” Symbol From The Keyboard – I always like sharing personal experiences here on the blog to show that I don’t pull these things out of thin air. Recently I was generating a report where I was typing out weather conditions (such as outside temperature). As I continued doing this I would always type out the word “degree” for the temperature (i.e. 90 degrees). It was at that point I started wondering if there is a way to generate the degree symbol from the keyboard?

If you look at your keyboard you will not visually find the symbol or character reference for the “degree symbol.  What you have to do is use what is called “ALT CODES”…

If you hold down the Alt key and on the numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard, type 0176, or Alt+ 248, then when you release the Alt Key, a ° should be there.

If you are interested in learning some more ALT CODES, click on the ALT CODES REFERENCE SHEET below.

image

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Learn a byte at a time, at What’s On My PC, with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, how to, Android, Windows, you name it… Be sure to check out MORE GEEK SQUEAKS BELOW!

MORE GEEK SQUEAKS

[PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE] Envelope Printer – While I could have used MS Office Word and other 3rd party programs to print out envelopes, I wanted something that was far easier to use and that required a heck of a lot less mouse clicks to get the job done. The program remembers your settings, so once all ready to go you can open the program, open the address book, choose the address hit use this address and the click print. 4 mouse clicks and you are done… @Tweaking.com

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[CLOUD STORAGE] How to tie your cloud storage services together – How can you tie your cloud storage services together?   It’s actually easy if you use MultCloud.   MultCloud ties together all of the most popular cloud storage services so you can upload files to multiple sites through a single sign-on… @TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

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[COMPRESSION SOFTWARE] ZipGenius handles more than 20 types of compression formats – It allows you to browse CD/DVD-ROM ISO image files as if they were common archives. It is the best companion for your daily tasks and you can even use it through command line module in batch operations… @ZipGenius

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[PORTABLE APP] A simple and free start menu application that can be installed on USB sticks or local PCs – Portable Start Menu organizes your programs in a simple menu system and launches them via a tray icon. If you close Portable Start Menu on an USB-Stick, running applications can be closed automatically, too… @Portable Start Menu

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[COMPUTER HARDWARE] Cable Matters USB 3.0 to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station – swappable access to 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD, without having to mount the hard drive, or installing it in an enclosure. It provides a simple, fast, and cost effective solution for data recovery, drive imaging, and testing centers, or any environment that requires fast access to uninstalled/archived drives.. @Amazon

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[HOW TO – TROUBLESHOOT] When your computer won’t turn on – A lot of problems can keep a computer from booting Windows (or any other operating system). Fortunately, you can get a pretty good idea by noting how and when the PC fails. If you press the power button and nothing happens, you’ve got a very different problem than if the PC starts but Windows never loads. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities… @PCWorld

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[TECH NEWS] How the Internet of Things knows where gunfire happens – SST’s ShotSpotter pinpoints outdoor, urban gunshots for law enforcement agencies. Now it’s moving indoors with a service for schools… @c|net

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Windows Repair (All In One) – A GREAT Utility For The Tech Toolbox

imageWhen it comes to computers we can find ourselves getting into all sorts of situations where it is very difficult to assess and fix the problem.  For example, a couple of friends of mine recently ran into a situation where the windows updates service was broken on a computer they were working on and they had to resort to researching the matter on the internet in order to get a fix. The fix in this situation was not a fix that everyday computer user would want to attempt, due to edits to the registry being required.

I applaud my friends for finding the fix and making the fix work. As a result of this specific situation I started to explore around for an easier solution; and, just by chance happened across a utility called Windows Repair (All In One) , that not only will fix the Windows Update service, but a whole host of Windows OS based problems.

Windows Repair (All In One)

What I want you to keep in mind with this utility is that this utility is geared toward someone that has knowledge of the Windows operating system; however, if your back is against the wall and you know you are in deep doo doo, then what the heck, give the Windows Repair (All In One) a try.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair can do the following:

Reset Registry Permissions
Reset File Permissions
Register System Files
Repair WMI
Repair Windows Firewall
Repair Internet Explorer
Repair MDAC & MS Jet
Repair Hosts File
Remove Policies Set By Infections
Repair Icons
Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
Remove Temp Files
Repair Proxy Settings
Unhide Non System Files
Repair Windows Updates
Repair CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
and more…

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Glary Utilities Beta 3 – NEW Design, Faster Scanning Engine, Over 20 System Utility Tools

Today’s post is an announcement of sorts! I am an advocate (and user) of the popular Glary Utilites system optimization software.  As such, I recently received notice that version 3 of Glary Utilities is currently in beta and is available for download.

The beta is touting a new design with over 20 plus system utility tools to maintain your PC and according to their site, the scanning engine, designed to scan for issues, is over 800 percent faster.

Glary Utilities Beta

  • Provides a one-stop solution for PC performance optimization
  • Boost PC speed and fixes frustrating errors, crashes and freezes
  • Features one-click functionality and easy, automated options
  • Protects your privacy and makes your computer faster and cleaner

I have tried and tested numerous system maintenance and optimization tools and I always come back to Glary Utilities to keep my computers tuned up. Glary Utilities is also available as a portable app.

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Scan For The Wireless Networks In Your Close Proximity and Display Extensive Information About Them

If your computer has a wireless network adapter and wireless network card driver that works with the built-in wireless support of Windows Vista/7/8/2008, then you need to take a look at WifiInfoView. All modern notebook computers and many of today’s desktop computer meet these wireless specs.

WifiInfoView

WifiInfoView is a portable software application that will give you the ability to scan for the wireless networks in your close proximity and display extensive information about them. Information such as: Network Name (SSID), MAC Address, PHY Type (802.11g or 802.11n), RSSI, Signal Quality, Frequency, Channel Number, Maximum Speed, Company Name, Router Model and Router Name (Only for routers that provides this information), and more…

Best part is this software is FREE from the reputable utility site NirSoft and is an excellent addition to any tech’s toolbox…

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FREE Software To Monitor Your Broadband Usage

If you notice a slowdown in your broadband speed, then this could be a red flag to indicate that something may be going that is consuming your bandwidth. It could be software you installed that is making constant communication to the internet or worse yet it could be a rogue process or service that has installed itself on your computer, as a malware infection.

The software I present today is called Net Guard; and what Net Guard does is give you the ability to monitor your internet connection and broadband usage, to determine what the bandwidth hogs are.

Net Guard

Cucusoft Net Guard includes powerful Bandwidth monitor and Bandwidth meter to help you find who is wasting your bandwidth. As you know, sometime, you didn’t visit internet, but there are still some unknown software using your Broadband in your computer. Normally, you have no idea about them, don’t know who they are, how to monitor them, how to kill the useless program which is biting your bandwidth. Those unknown programs sometime even affect your normal Internet surfing speed a lot and you have to pay the Broadband Bill for them. Those unknown software sometime will make your Broadband Bill exceed its limit, you have to pay the extra fees.

Now, Cucusoft Net Guard can help you fix these problems. It can easily to monitor your broadband status, to find who are using your broadband, how much bandwidth they are using, and more details statistics available, you can make decision by yourself after checking the simple report, keep it or kill it. That means you can see and control who can use your Broadband, who cannot.

During the install of Net Guard you will reach a point where you will have to input an email address and a registration number will be sent to you.  Also, following the install of Net Guard you will find a handy floating bar that allows you to monitor (in real time) your upload and download consumption speeds. This toolbar can be turned “off”.  Overall, Net Guard is a nice utility (especially for FREE) and could be quite helpful in troubleshooting internet connectivity issues and speed; especially if you are tied to a bandwidth limit each month.

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iPAD – A Possible Solution For When You Cannot View The Contents Of Your Email

Yesterday, was a first with me that taught me that I need to be now thinking outside the box; the Windows OS box that is…  A friend of mine, in his 80’s, asked if I could help him with an email problem he was experiencing on his computer. What I was expecting was a computer sitting on or under his desk or a notebook computer, but what I found was that this well seasoned friend of mine was using an iPad.  I was like, hmm, hmm, and hmm… ; where do you turn this thing on at (just kidding). I actually had an iPad in my hands a few times, so I did at least know where the home button was located.

image

The problem he was facing was that the email client suddenly had stopped displaying the contents of any of his emails. The left side of the email client showed the email titles; however, when you finger tapped an actual email, it was no longer showing the content of the email on the right side of the window. After navigating around in the settings and confirming the settings were properly set, etc…, I came to the conclusion that this was a bug in the email app that was causing it to hang and wasn’t releasing itself from memory.

If you remember, several days back I posted the article All It Took Was Unplugging The Computer and Plugging It Back In as a potential fix to many computer problems. With this thinking in mind, I told my friend, “Let’s try this… We will completely shutdown the iPad, count to 10, then restart it”. What I soon learned is that he had never completely shutdown the iPad since he owned it.

Note: Folks, these tablets (iPads, Androids, etc…) are like giant smartphones and if you ever owned a smartphone (or cell phone) you soon learn that you need to completely power down the unit on occasions and reboot it.  What this does is refresh the operating system and releases any memory resident programs or issues that have been cached.

Sure enough, after restarting the iPad and it came back to life, I went back to the email client and voila’ problem solved.  My friend was back in business and could now read his email.

After praising my friend, who is in his 80’s, for knowing more about an iPad than I did, I went home and did some further research on this specific problem and found it is quite a common problem. As a result, to help other iPad owners, here are some of the solutions you can try if you are unable to view the contents of your email:

Solution #1:  Completely power down the iPad.  Hold in on the hold  button (which I called the power button) that is at the top right corner of the iPad. A red slider will appear.  Slide the slider to the right to power the iPad “off”.  Count to 10, then restart the iPad.

Solution #2: You can perform what is similar to ctrl+alt+del on your computer by holding both the sleep and home buttons together (for approximately 10 seconds) until you see the Apple Logo.  Ignore the red slider.  The iPad will reboot.

Solution #3:  Simply double click the home button, press and hold the mail icon and tap when the red dash appears to refresh or (kill) the app.

Again, I am not an iPad expert and these solutions may vary from generation to generation of iPad. Also, for anyone that is into computers and information technology, be aware that you now have the tablets on your plate to deal with.

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Use Google Chrome’s Task Manager To Get Details About Specific Running Processes

The browser I primarily use is Google Chrome. A feature in Chrome, that is little used and can be quite handy, is the built-in task manager. The Chrome Task Manager can provide you with details about the specific processes that are running (plus CPU, Network bandwidth being consumed, and a multitude of other options).

The easiest and quickest way I found to get to the task manager is simply right mouse click on Chrome’s tab bar (at the top of the screen) and select Task Manager.  You can also get to the Task manager by clicking on the wrenchtools menuon the browser toolbar, by selecting Tools and then Task Manager OR use the shortcut keys Shift+Esc.

Chrome's Task Manager

Chrome’s task manager is quite useful to determine what processes (i.e. tabs, extensions, etc.) is consuming the most memory and CPU cycles. This can be quite helpful when you suspect that there is an errant application or process running that is causing Chrome to misbehave.

To force a webpage or application to close in Google Chrome, select the webpage, then click End process. Sometimes multiple websites might share a single process, depending on how you opened them.

You can also right mouse click within the Task Manager Window to toggle on/off other options that may be helpful when troubleshooting.

Chrome's Task Manager

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A Straightforward System Information Utility

There are many great system information utilities out there that will give you a rundown on the specs of your computer or any computer that you may be working on (such as the hardware, software, and system configurations). What I have found is that many of these utilities often provide more information than what is really needed (such as useless memory addresses) and are easy to get lost in.

Today, I bring to you a system information utility, called System Spec, that is straightforward in its’ approach, easy to use, and can be carried around on your flash drive (self-contained portable app)

System Spec is a freeware system information utility that produces a specification of your system’s hardware and software. With System Spec you can see, save and print a complete spec of your PC. This standalone, system information utility can also perform various windows functions. Additional advanced info includes CPU, drives, applications, display, memory, networking, internet, CD / DVD drives and more.

System Spec

One of the things I like about System Spec is that the menus at the top of the program window serves as a launching point to many of the troubleshooting and maintenance applets on your computer such as the control panel, device manager, defrag, on screen keyboard, etc… A very nicely done utility and fast too…

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The Windows 7 Welcome Screen Suddenly Came Back To Life

I sometimes have those days where my brain shuts down and I have a difficult time coming up with content for the blog. Yesterday was no exception, until I turned on my computer (which is running Windows 7 Home Premium) and noticed that my computer booted to the Windows 7 Welcome Screen instead of the Windows Desktop.

The Windows 7 Welcome Screen is the screen you will typically see if you have your Windows sessions’ password protected or you have the computer set up for multi-users. What caused this change of events, I have not a clue; but, I had the computer originally configured to boot directly to the desktop (and bypass the Welcome Screen).

As I mentioned, I was brain dead and could not for the life of me find an option on the computer to disable the Welcome Screen. Not only that, a change occurred to my computer without my blessing that raised a red flag and caused me to run a malware scan (just to be on the safe side). After getting the scan off my plate, which came up clean, I went to work researching this matter (Sources: About.com PC Support, Leateds and SevenForums).

What I found is this; AND, if I am wrong, please feel free to correct me.  There is no option built into Windows 7 Home Premium to openly turn the Welcome Screen “off” or to bypass this. With Windows 7 Home Premium there is a fix and you will need to do this:

  1. Click on the “Start” button.
  2. Click on “Run”
  3. In the “Run” box, type netplWiz.exe and hit “Enter”
  4. You should now see the “User Accounts” box or applet (which, by the way, provides more advanced options to managing the accounts on your PC).

    image

  5. At the top section of the “User Accounts” box, uncheck the box next to “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer”.
  6. Click on “apply” and the “Automatically Log On” dialog box will appear. In my case, it automatically loaded my username and I left the password entry box and confirm password entry box blank.

    image

  7. Click “OK” and “OK” again and  you should be good to go…

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Seagate Backup Plus 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive

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When You Have To Go Nuclear and Restore The Settings On Your iPhone

Steve at Scoroncocolo sure catches my attention with some of the terminology he uses and his most recent article Reboot, Restore, Backup iPhone, is no exception. I especially liked the one section in his most recent article Restoring Your iPhone – The Nuclear Option. I don’t think I need to explain what he means by the term nuclear in this case.

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The gist of his article is to provide us with instruction on differentiating between “a reboot and a restore (going nuclear)” and how to backup the iPhone.

Steve always contacts me and says, “hey take a look at this article”…  His enthusiasm is what draws me in and I feel he shares the same passion for information technology that I do; AND, as a result of this enthusiasm he feels compelled to share that enthusiasm with us all.  That is what a true blogger is! I truly enjoy promoting sites like this.

Take the time and drop by his site and if you are an iPhone owner, make sure to bookmark and read Reboot, Restore Backup iPhone.

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Windows Repair (All In One) – A Tool for the Tech Toolbox

Have you every found yourself in a jam where you have cleaned a PC from one of those rogue malware infections (AKA: scareware) only to discover that the infection, and even the cleaning process itself, caused corruption to the Windows registry and files (that control Internet Explorer, Windows Update, Firewall, etc.). My most recent experience was exactly that. I cleaned the machine only to find that the Firewall had been corrupted.

If this has occurred to you and you ran out of options, visit Tweaking.com and download their Windows Repair (All In One). As a matter of fact if you are in the position of cleaning malware from PC’s on a frequent basis, I suggest you keep Windows Repair (All In One) in your tech toolbox.

Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including registry errors and file permissions as well as issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Update, Windows Firewall and more. Malware and installed programs can modify your default settings. With Tweaking.com – Windows Repair you can restore Windows original settings.

I do recommend that you have some knowledge of cleaning malware from a PC before using this program; AND, that you follow the 4-step process that is built into this program before you initiate the repair process (see video).

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair can do the following:

Reset Registry Permissions
Reset File Permissions
Register System Files
Repair WMI
Repair Windows Firewall
Repair Internet Explorer
Repair MDAC & MS Jet
Repair Hosts File
Remove Policies Set By Infections
Repair Icons
Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
Remove Temp Files
Repair Proxy Settings
Unhide Non System Files
Repair Windows Updates
Repair CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
and more…

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FREE Portable Software To Help Solve PC Problems

TTC Shelbyville recently served up a post titled Fix your computer with IOBit’s Toolbox Portable that caught my attention and caused me to explore further.

Being a geekster I am always looking for that ultimate tool that I can slap on my flash drive;  that will serve as my personal assistant for solving PC problems or maintaining my own PC. Oftentimes, I end up with so many utilities on my flash drive, that when I do need them it actually becomes a counterproductive situation. I keep telling myself, go back to my roots and use the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).  Trust me, it works.

If you are looking to reduce the payload of troubleshooting utilities on your flash drive and want to get back to the K.I.S.S. principle, then take a look at the IOBit Toolbox.

IObit Toolbox

Obit Toolbox is FREE portable software that system administrators and computer geeks will take along to solve PC problems anytime and anywhere. With more than 20 dedicated tools,IObit Toolbox allows you to display/diagnose PC information, enhance PC security, optimize PC performance and repair PC problems.

Folks, I was quite impressed with, not only the attractiveness of the interface (especially for a portable app), but was impressed with the actual selection and performance of the tools. There are more than 20 dedicated tools in this package and is a good application to have on any PC (or Flash Drive). The only negative I could come up with is that one of the tool selections is a prompt that takes you the IObit website to look at one of their Security apps called IObit Security 360. If you make that selection you will be directed to a site where you will be informed that IObit no longer is developing that application; otherwise the IOBit Toolbox is a great portable suite of troubleshooting, maintenance and optimization tools.

List of Tools Available in IOBit’s Toolbox:

Disk Cleaner: Analyzes unnecessary files in hard disk and cleans them up to enlarge available disk space.

Registry Cleaner: Registry Cleaner will clean up your registry database and free your system of unneeded ballast.

Privacy Sweeper: Erase your activity history and surfing traces.

Uninstaller: Helps you to uninstall programs in your computer.

File Shredder: File Shredder makes sure that no data thief can get his hands on your sensitive data.

Smart RAM: Monitors and Optimizes memory usage to increase available physical memory.

Registry Defrag: Registry Defrag determines how heavily fragmented the registry is and whether an optimization is necessary.

Internet Booster: Analyzes your internet and optimizes it.

Startup Manager: Optimize startups to accelerate your PC startup and improve your system performance.

WinFix: Analyzes your windows operation system and helps you to fix problems.

Disk Check: Disk Check performs analysis of your disks and their file systems.

Shortcut Fixer: Searches your system for non-effective shortcuts and references and fixes them.

Undelete: Undelete will restore deleted files after you have emptied the Recycle Bin.

IE Helper: Manages Internet Explorer add-ons, system context menu, and restores hijacked settings.

Process Manager: Manages running processes and displays the performance of your system.

Security Holes Scanner: Scans and fixes security holes automatically.

Cloned Files Scanner: Searches for cloned files in your system which may waste your disk space.

Empty Folder Scanner: Helps you to find empty folders in your computer and deletes them.

Disk Explorer: Analyzes your drives to show disk usage of your files and folders.

System Information: Collects and displays detail information of your system.

System Control: Helps you to change operation system settings.

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GEEK SQUEAKS’ (#59) – Power Supply Issues, Email Notifier, Video of the Day, Virtual Desktops and a Security Suite Uninstaller

imageDiagnosing power supply issues in your computer can be a real challenge. Any one of the symptoms reflected below can indicate power supply problem. (also see article Symptoms of a Failing Computer Power Supply). If you have no idea what a power supply is or where to purchase [CLICK HERE] .

  • Circuit breakers popping when the PC is turned on
  • System startup failures or lockups
  • Noticeable change in how long it takes for your PC to boot and shutdown
  • Spontaneous rebooting or intermittent lockups during normal operation (small brownouts)
  • Memory Errors
  • HDD and fan simultaneously failing to spin
  • HDD file system corruption
  • USB devices power issues
  • Overheating due to fan failure
  • Electric shocks that are felt when the case is touched
  • Smoke
  • BIOS beeping codes detected

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POP Peeper
A MUST HAVE email notifier that runs in your Windows task bar and alerts you when you have new email

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Video of the Day

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Netbook Freeware
5 Free Virtual Desktop Manager for Netbooks

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AV Uninstall Tools Pack: Completely Uninstall
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[DID YOU KNOW?] – The Easy Way to Boot Your Computer Into Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a troubleshooting tool that is built into Windows that when invoked, only the basic drivers needed to start Windows are installed. This is a lifesaver in the event a program install goes south or you are victim of malware.

Typically to get into Safe Mode you have to hold the F8 key as your computer starts before the Windows logo appears. If you see the Windows logo, then you will have to restart to try it again. It can be quite a frustrating endeavor to get into Safe Mode.

A surefire easy way to get into SafeMode is to do it right from Windows. Click on START, then RUN. In the Run dialog box type “msconfig” and press enter to start the MSCONFIG or System Configuration utility.  Click on the “BOOT” tab, and then click the checkbox next to SAFE BOOT and select MINIMAL.  If you need network connectivity you can click the checkbox next to “NETWORK”.  Click “Apply”, then “Ok”; then restart your PC into Safe Mode.

Once you are finished troubleshooting, return to the MSCONFIG or System Configuration utility and uncheck SAFE BOOT and MINIMAL, then restart to return your computer to normal operation.

Safe Mode

When your computer is in safe mode, you’ll see the words Safe Mode in the corners of the display. To exit safe mode, restart your computer and let Windows start normally.

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A Windows Media Center TV Screen Size Fix

Recently I cleaned the slate on my PC and performed a reinstall of my operating system (Windows 7 Home Premium). Following the installation, which went very well, I did experience a TV Screen Size issue, in the Windows Media Center, where the TV display aspect ratio was locked into the 4:3 (square display) mode and would not let me change it to the 16:9 (widescreen display) mode.

After researching this on the internet, I discovered that many people have experienced this issue; especially, with various HP computers with the NVidia video cards. What I discovered is that the fix, in most cases, is really an easy fix, but is not what you think it would be . Now, this may not work in all instances; however, I felt compelled to put the fix (that worked for me) out there in the event someone else is troubled by this problem.

A fix to this issue requires you to go into Windows Media Center, startup the TV and when the TV display is on your monitor screen, simply right mouse click in the middle of the display. After you right mouse click, you will see a blue band appear at the bottom of the screen. You can’t miss it.  On the right side of this band you will see a right and left arrow. Click on the right arrow and the band will change with various options available. When you see the option for Zoom, stop at that point. By default, it will be on Zoom 1. Give the other zoom levels a try. I found that Zoom Level 4 perfectly aligned my display to match the size of my widescreen display (16:9 ratio).

Windows Media Center

I know this fix may not be a fix for everyone who is experiencing this issue; however, in most cases by following these steps will fix the problem. The option to change the display is right under our noses; however, there is nothing readily visible to let you know this option is even there.

If you are wondering how I am watching TV on my computer, then check out this article Watch Cable TV on your Computer .

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Test and Analyze Your Internet Connection Speed

Is your internet service provider delivering the connection speed they promised? One method to verify the speed and to determine if you are consistently performing at the download and upload rate you are paying for is to use Speedtest.net.

Speedtest.net

Other featured testing and analysis services at Speedtest.net is Pingtest.net, Speed Wave and Net Index.  To use some of these services signing up for a free account is necessary.

Pingtest.net – To determine the quality of your broadband Internet connection. Streaming media, voice, video communications, and online gaming require more than just raw speed.

Speed Wave – An easy way to compare results with others. Create friendly competitions which will also gather useful statistics. Participants can earn special badges for achievements like fastest download or best latency performance.

Net Index – this index compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe. The value is the rolling mean throughput in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles.

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Humor: My Blackberry Is Not Working

What good is a tech blog without some humor mixed in. A relative of mine sent me this video, titled “My Blackberry Is Not Working”.  I figured, since I have done some articles on the Blackberry, plus I am the owner of one of these devices; this video may be helpful to others when their Blackberry is not working.

For the rest of you, if you do not know what a Blackberry is:

BlackBerry is a line of mobile e-mail and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) since 1999.[2]

BlackBerry functions as a personal digital assistant with address book, calendar, memopad and task list capabilities. It also functions as a portable media playerwith support for music and video playback and camera and video capabilities. BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive (push) Internet e-mail wherever mobile network service coverage is present, or through Wi-Fi connectivity. –

My Blackberry Is Not Working

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Story of the F11 Computer Fix

DiagnoseI recently was called upon by a friend, to help him fix a computer problem that he described as something that replicated a browser hijacker involving Internet Explorer. I really could not get much out of what was occurring without sitting down at the PC; besides, I hadn’t seen the guy for awhile and I thought, why not, let’s get dirty.

Typically, since my retirement from IT,  I shy away from home based computer problems due to the amount of time that is often involved with minimal payback. It literally can take hours to diagnose and clean a malware infection and worse case scenario is a complete OS reinstall; which oftentimes the end user does not have available the resources (or discs) to perform the reinstall. It literally can be a nightmare…

Armed with my latest arsenal of techie software and recovery utilities, I began working through the diagnostic process in my head, since it had been awhile.  I was even thinking, I have not done this for awhile, do I still have the touch? Anyone who knows me, knows when I do something, I go full tilt (and more) and attempt to be as prepared, as possible.

When I finally got behind the PC, which was a HP Notebook (Vista OS), I questioned my friend further, prior to firing up the notebook and learned that he had the PC for 2 years, performed routine maintenance (such as running a defrag utility, disk cleaner, and virus and malware scans). He was still leading me to believe that Internet Explorer had been hijacked, toolbars missing, new toolbars showing, etc…

You know, by questioning and listening to the end user, you can gain a lot on the computer knowledge level of the user, etc… In this case, his knowledge was just above the normal level (in my ratings scale) for the home based computer user, which was a good thing.  He was even naming the utilities he regularly used such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, SuperAntiSpyware, Microsoft Security Essentials, CCleaner, and Web of Trust; which, he said he learned of these utilities from reading the blog.  I was impressed that this was the same level of protection I was using on my PCs.

I did a test boot of the PC and to be honest it was probably the cleanest and fastest boot time for a home based PC, that was 2 years old, that I have experienced.  As a matter of fact, just based on what was initially occurring and seeing that the desktop was not a vast array of icons, like most PCs that are 2 years old,  I was starting to sense this was not a malware problem, but an end user problem.

In the event this was a malware attack or browser hijack, to be on the safe side, I shut down the PC and disconnected from the internet.  I rebooted, and again nice boot and load time. I opened Internet Explorer, and as soon as it opened, I knew exactly what was wrong.

The browser was set to full screen. The fix, hit the “F11” key and the browser toolbars, menus, etc… reappeared. My friend, was like, WOW! He asked, what caused that to happen? To be honest, he accidentally hit the key or one of his many cats did. I ended up giving him a lesson on how to use the F11 key to go from normal browser view to full screen view. He was very fascinated that you could do that.  As a matter of fact, to my readers, give it a try, when you are in your browser hit the “F11” key to toggle between normal view and full screen view (whether it be Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Opera).

I ended up checking my friend’s PC out and found it to be in great shape (firewall “on”, MS AutoUpdates “On”, Malware Scanners “On”, etc…) I never did have to use any of my techie utilities to burrow down into this notebook. Oh well, it was a good exercise anyway and besides I made a good friend happy.  Simple as this experience was, I thought, why not write about it… Just may be something in here that you may learn about.

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A Portable Tech Toolbox to Keep An Eye On

IObit, the developer of various computer system utilities, such as Advanced System Care and Smart Defrag, currently is developing a PORTABLE utility suite (called IObit Toolbox) that is specifically geared toward administrators and computer geeks alike.

This portable app currently consists of various tools for PC diagnosis, PC security, PC optimization, and PC repair that can be carried around on your flash drive (no installation is required).

The first matter to point out here is that IObit Toolbox is currently in the beta stage of testing, meaning it is publicly available for us to test out further and report any bugs. Secondly, any utility such as this, it is always good idea to have a backup of your registry. Otherwise, if you are like me, I love testing out apps. If IObit Toolbox plays its’ cards right, it just may have a future on my flash drive.

IObit Toolbox

IObit Toolbox is FREE portable software that system administrators and computer geeks will take along to solve PC problems anytime and anywhere. With more than 20 dedicated tools, IObit Toolbox allows you to display/diagnose PC information, enhance PC security, optimize PC performance and repairing PC problems. In a word, IObit Toolbox offers an easy way for PC admin to monitor and manage computers. It can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

More than 20 dedicated tools in one place

Completely portable, no installation required

Powerful and easy-to-use

Totally Free

Easy Customization

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