Monthly Archives: August 2013

Secure Your Laptop Files From Theft

Theft is something all people should learn to guard against. Given the right circumstances anyone could take what rightfully belongs to you. There are many ways to help protect the files on your laptop if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

Bitlocker is a full disk encryption feature in  the Ultimate and Enterprise versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. It’s also available in Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 8. Bitlocker will encrypt entire disks making them almost impossible to be read without some form of authentication whether you  choose a USB key, password authentication, pin number, or a combination of the three. This would go along with password protecting your hard drive so that it is inaccessible without your password. If you choose not to password your entire drive, you can put a password on specific files or folders. There is also the option to encrypt just certain files and folders so that they can only be accessed by the computer which encrypted them. This is mostly used on external hard drives for privacy.

The best way to detour a thief is to show that the laptop will be more trouble than it is worth. You can accomplish this through many types of physical security. Most of the before mentioned tips rely on passwords. It is very important that you know how to create a strong memorable password because most protection assume that you will already have the know how on this subject.

 

How To Create Strong Passwords

stong password

Create a Strong Password

A password you use on your computer is no different from locking the doors to your home. You want to know your home and everything in it are protected. The same idea goes for your computer. Passwords protect your digital life. Many people use password that can easily be guessed, figured out, or bypassed entirely. You wouldn’t leave for work in the morning leaving your front door wide open, so why wouldn’t you want the best possible password to protect your digital home. This article will teach you how to create a strong memorable password that is much more reliable than your dogs’ name.

Password Strength

A password should not be so complex that you will can’t remember it. A password should also be complex enough to make it difficult to be hacked. Finding this happy medium is the key. The right password is of course different for everyone due to the fact that some people can remember more complex things than others. Just try to remember to always include some basics into your password. The basic password should be at least eight characters. To ensure a high enough complexity always try to use lower case, upper case, and numbers. Including special characters such as a number or dollar sign strengthen your password.

 Pass Phrases

Pass phrases are a great innovative way to derive a password. For example say you have a dog named Sam that you walk at 6 pm everyday. Your pass phrase could be Everyday I Walk Sam At Six. With this pass phrase you can use the first letter of each word (making sure to use capital letters as well), a symbol for at and the number six. This gives you EiwS@6  which is a perfectly short easy password to use and quite secure. Now for the password hint you wouldn’t want to put your pass phrase exactly but instead a simple reminder of your pass phrase will do the job. So for our example you may use what time do I walk my dog. This will remind you of the pass phrase and still doesn’t give enough information to figure out the password. After creating a Windows password always create a Windows Password Reset Disk. Doing so will ensure that if your password is forgotten you will have much less aggravation in accessing your system.

 

Video Card Failure

The video card in your computer is a very important component. It controls everything you are able to see on your screen. Most laptops have on board graphics which means it can’t be upgraded or fixed without replacing the motherboard. However some newer high performance laptops do have upgradeable  video cards but the cards can be rather expensive. When dealing with desktop computers the price is affordable and it generally can always be fixed.

gaming video card

Performance Video Card

Symptoms

Bad or failing video cards can produce a range of symptoms. Some of these symptoms are not limited to the video card always being the cause. A blue screen , black screen or white screen can be caused by graphics card failure. If your computer crashes when trying to play videos or you notice a very low refresh rate these can also indicate a failing video card. If the refresh rate start to decay it will seem like the screen in freezing or as if it jumps around a lot. The display can also flicker on and off.

Fixing your Video Card

The best thing to do is to keep up with the preventative maintenance of your system. This means clean your system of dust and other particles that may bog down the cooling system. Make sure your computer has proper ventilation. Letting a graphics card over heat is a big cause of them failing.

It’s a good idea to shut down your computer every night if you aren’t using it.  Fixing the video card in your laptop can be a daunting task. Where as with a desktop the task can be a somewhat easier. The problem comes with trouble shooting the issue and narrowing down the fact that it is actually your video card and not just drivers or something else. To alleviate the headache of  video card troubles or any other issues contact IQ Computer Services for any of your computer repair needs.

Should I install Windows Updates

settings windows updates

Windows Update Settings

Your computer is worth more than you may think. With all the information that people put on their computer such as saved passwords, email accounts and other sensitive information a person with bad intentions could consider your computer to be priceless. When you choose not to install the security updates from Microsoft it leaves known loop holes open in your system that can be exploited. Most updates are created to fix or prevent issues within your computer. On the other hand there have been issues during and after updating. These problem are not normally caused by the updates themselves but by programs or drivers on your computer system. To avoid these issues you should know what you are updating and why you are updating it.

Setting up Windows Updates

  1. Select Start
  2. Click Control Panel 
  3. Select Windows Update
  4. (Left hand side ) Select Change Settings
  5. choose the option ” Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
  6. Click OK

This setup will allow you to see the updates offered by Microsoft but will not download or install them. Allowing you to pick and choose what to install and what you may need to look into before installing. Before installing updates you should make a backup of your system or at least create a restore point to default back to if something should go wrong during the updating process. Should you have any problems while updating  your computer  visit IQ Computer Services for assistance.