Once upon a time if you wanted to update a computer program you had to wait until you got the Floppy Disk with the new program on it. Then you would install the new version, and replace the old version altogether. This worked at the time, and this is how you would get new features and bug fixes for the programs you use. Things are different today. [Read more…]
You’re busy. You need a PC that can keep up with you. At Y-Not Tech Services we understand that and want to help you speed up your Windows 10 laptop or desktop. If your computer is running slower than you expect, here are Five tips to get it back up to speed.
Number 1: Remove Unused Programs
Extra programs and applications on your computer take up valuable computer resources. Chances are there are a lot of programs that you aren’t using. To get rid of them, follow these steps:
- Open Your Start Menu and type “Remove Programs” then click on “Add or Remove Programs”
- In the list of Programs go through and click on the ones you want to get rid of.
- Click Uninstall.
- Follow the steps presented in the uninstall wizard.
Some of the steps in number 4 will be different for different programs – it’s best to read these wizards to make sure you are uninstalling them properly. Some programs don’t want to get removed and will try to trick you in this process so stay diligent! Some programs will also take you to a website after uninstall to try to sell you another program or ask for a survey – you don’t need to do the survey, just close the browser window and move on.
Number 2: Limit Programs that Launch on Startup
Windows allows programs to launch as soon as the system starts up. This has well-meaning intentions: It allows programs to be there when you need them, security updates can also be delivered faster if the program is always running, but this has a very negative impact on the speed of your computer. With a bunch of programs running at startup, your system’s resources are quickly consumed by applications you aren’t even actively using! Let’s have a look at what programs are running at startup on your Windows 10 PC.
Press CTRL+Alt+Delete – Click on Task Manager – Head to the Startup Tab
Here you’ll see all the programs that are running at startup and you can disable them by clicking on the program and then clicking the Disable button in the bottom right corner of the window. Personally, I only leave the programs that I want available at a moments notice enabled. For me, this includes some syncing programs so my files are always available on all my devices and a few others that I open as soon as I start my computer anyway.
A word of warning: If you don’t recognize a program in this list you might want to leave it enabled as it might be an integral part of your computer and cause unexpected problems if you disable it. At the same time, it might be adware or malware so you might want to research it or bring it to a qualified technician.
Number 3: Prevent Apps from Running in the Background
Similar to Programs running on Startup, they can also run in the background. This allows features to be available at all times, but can also cause major slowdowns on your PC. To check what programs are allowed to run in the background of your Windows 10 computer:
Open the Start Menu – Click on the Settings Cog (above Power) – Click Privacy – Scroll Down and Click Background Apps
I use the same criteria here as for startup programs – if I don’t need the program available all the time I disable it.
Number 4: Tidy Your Drive
A full hard drive can drastically reduce the performance of your Windows 10 PC. Luckily Microsoft has made it pretty easy to free up space. Storage Sense is built into Windows 10 and will help you purge non-essential files. To find Storage Sense follow these steps:
Open Start Menu – Click the Settings Cog – Click System – Click Storage – Under Storage Sense Click ‘Free Up Space Now’
Here you can choose what to get rid of. Depending on how you use your computer, this can free up a lot of space – I just cleaned 10 GB from my laptop using Storage Sense. Let me know in the comments how much you were able to free up on your own computer.
Number 5: Switch to a Solid State Drive
This is the most drastic item on the list, but also the one with the biggest possible speed payoff. Switching from a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to a Solid State Drive (SSD) will breathe new life into your computer. See the benefits of switching below:
Y-Not Tech Services can install your new SSD and transfer your files from your old HDD so you can use your Windows 10 computer faster than ever before.
A slow computer is frustrating and your time is too valuable to waste it waiting on your PC to catch up to you. If you follow these 5 steps, your work or play will be turbocharged! Y-Not Tech Services offers a tune-up service that includes numbers one through 4 above and an SSD upgrade service to take care of number five so if you need assistance speeding up your Windows 10 laptop or desktop you can contact us using the form below or call at 403-915-8574.
Just like your car needs regular oil changes and other routine maintenance your computer requires certain things be taken care of regularly. If you don’t do regular maintenance on your car you’ll notice a drop in its performance and if you continue to neglect it you’ll end up with bigger (often expensive) problems. The same is true of your computer! Regular maintenance keeps it running well and can help avoid calls to a technician. Last month we looked at doing some spring cleaning on our computers. Today I’ll share a maintenance checklist that you can do monthly to help keep your PC running great. I’ll break it down into two sections: Hardware and Software.
- Make sure your laptop, desktop tower, Monitor, Printer, and other equipment is plugged into a Surge Protector
- Wipe down the mouse, keyboard, bevels of the monitor and outer surfaces of tower or laptop
- Use screen cleaner on LCD screens
- Check Wire connections between all devices – make sure they are secure and no kinks in cables
- Look for vents in your Tower or laptop and ensure they aren’t blocked
- Blow out or vacuum inside your Tower or Laptop – be careful of sensitive components inside and consider doing this outdoors if it hasn’t been done recently
- Check that all fans are free of debris and moving freely
- Be sure you have a good Anti-Virus Installed
- Ensure your anti-virus is up to date and performing scans at least once a week.
- In Windows turn on System Restore
- Perform a backup on your important files
- Free Up Hard Drive Space. In Windows 10 use storage sense as detailed here. For Mac OSX use Optimized Storage. Details from Apple can be found here.
- Declutter: Remove unused shortcuts on your desktop and Organize or empty your Downloads folder
- Remove Programs you don’t use
This checklist can help keep your computer running well, but even if you follow it you might come across problems. If you do, you can contact Y-Not Tech Services for assistance using the form below or by calling 403-915-8574.
You’re not alone! Most people use the exact same password everywhere – home, work, Gmail, Facebook… even for banking. Considering how many passwords we’re expected to remember and use on a daily basis, password exhaustion is a very real thing. It’s no wonder that when yet another prompt for a password appears, users enter easily guessed combinations like ‘abcd’, ‘qwerty’ or ‘password’. [Read more…]
Repairing Your Computer Quicker for Less
Have you started to notice your computer’s issues, flaws, and problems growing more severe and more frequent recently? These issues can irritate you daily, stop you from doing critical tasks, and even put your data in danger. It may be time to book in your computer for a brief service check or repair to get back on track.
When booking your PC in for a service, you can help your technician get straight to the root of the problem. A few simple notes are all it takes. Many people drop off their computers with, at best, a brief and vague description of the problem they experience.
Technicians have a wide range of diagnostic tools and years of experience to bring an aging computer back to health. Even with tools and knowledge, without a clear description of the problem, troubleshooting is far more time consuming and that means more expensive. The best physicians in the world couldn’t diagnose a medical condition without a clear explanation of the patient’s symptoms.
With just a few simple steps, you can save time and money while ensuring you get your computer back with every problem fixed.
Take Note of the Problem Every Time It Happens
Some computer problems only crop up every once in a while. A machine might freeze suddenly, or shut down unexpectedly. Intermittent issues like these can be frustrating and seemingly impossible to solve, but they may not be entirely random as we dig deeper.
When these events happen, you can help to resolve your issues by jotting down what you were doing and the applications running at the time they happen. Information about what you clicked on last, or settings you recently changed can reveal unexpected links to the computer’s behavior.
Detailed notes help technicians to reproduce the problem and see the crash or error for themselves. This can lead to faster fixes, more lasting solutions, and less time spent diagnosing issues in the dark. Simple notes scribbled down on a piece of paper or smartphone app can save you a surprising amount of money.
Keep an Eye on the Environment as Well as the Computer
It’s not just things within the computer we need to take note of. External factors can play a large role in how a computer operates. Hot and humid days have been known to limit cooling on devices already suffering from heat issues.
Even changing the time of day can raise different computer related issues. There have been occasions where users have reported problems connecting to the internet around lunchtime every day. A seemingly strange coincidence with no apparent cause, until technicians dig a little deeper.
Wi-Fi, which relies on radio waves to send and receive data, uses a frequency of 2.4ghz to communicate with devices. By coincidence, the same frequency is used in concentrated form inside of a microwave to heat food and beverages.
Microwaves, particularly when poorly positioned, or faulty, can cause Wi-Fi issues that disrupt communications every time they are used. Problems that come and go, seemingly randomly, have such a strange link to the computer’s environment that they can be very difficult to diagnose.
Take the Right Hardware at the Right Time
Bringing your computer in for repair, whatever the issue, is as simple as picking up the box itself. We don’t need the peripherals such as the mouse, screen, or keyboard unless those are the things causing the issue. Bringing in a laptop is as simple as carrying it to us, along with the charger.
If you have concerns about how to safely transport your computer, give us a call first and we can advise you what to bring and how best to pack it.
When deciding when to come in, sooner is always better than later. Computer issues often get worse over time. Vents gather more and more dust, fans run slower and slower. Heat issues in particular drastically lower the lifespan of a machine as time goes on.
A machine that gets less and less stable over time puts your programs and your critical data at risk. Updates applied over a shaky foundation can cause any number of software issues. With data, there’s often zero warning before it’s gone.
Can you afford to delay?
Give us a call at (403) 915-8574 to book an appointment and give your computer a clean bill of health.
Don’t Fall for Webcam Blackmail
Many users have reported recent scam messages from individuals claiming to have intercepted their username and password. These messages often state they have been watching your screen activity and webcam while you have been unaware. They often claim to have recordings of you in compromising situations.
Typically, attackers threaten to send footage to your contacts, colleagues, or social media channels. Demanding payment in Bitcoin, malicious hackers blackmail their victims to keep confidential data private. [Read more…]
5 Signs Your Computer is Crying Out for Repair
It’s pretty obvious when your computer is already broken, but how do you know when it’s about to break? Even before it falls into a heap and refuses to turn on, or flashes big messages about how your files are now encrypted, you’ll be given multiple hints that something is wrong. Here are the common signs your computer needs repair, sooner rather than later. [Read more…]
Almost every day I hear about another person becoming the victim of fraud or a scam of some sort. Whether it’s Bank Fraud or Ransomware there are many risks out there. I hate seeing friends, family or clients fall victim. I’ve written a Basic Guide to Internet Security in the past, and over the next 2 weeks, I am happy to provide further advice to avoid scams and fraud. Let’s get right to the tips.
If It Sounds Too Good to Be True. . .
Chances are it is. [Read more…]
We’ve all seen and heard recommendations for password security.
“Use numbers and letters.”
“Make sure it has both upper case and lower case letters.”
“Add in symbols to make it more secure.”
“Minimum of 8 characters.”
“Don’t use the same password on more than one site.”
“When you change your password, make it completely unique and different from the last one.”