Monthly Archives: March 2015

Clean Inside of a Computer

Cleaning the inside provides many benefits.

Cleaning the inside provides many benefits.

Why Clean the Inside of a Computer

Without proper cleaning, computers can overheat and operate faulty. Depending on the environment your computer is in, cleaning should be done every three to six months. A computer on the floor, needs cleaning more often than one that is not. With no pets, and no smoking, cleaning can be less often. Smoking will leave a very sticky residue inside the PC. The debris that gets in the case, will stick to it. If possible, do not smoke near your computer.

To prepare to clean your PC, turn off and unplug it. Remove any cables or plugs that are attached, including the power cable. Move the computer to an area that is convenient, and well-lit. Some people use a dust mask, but this is optional. The tools you need are screw drivers, clean cloth, small paintbrush, and a can of compressed air. Never use a vacuum inside of your PC.

Unscrew the side panel, and slide it off. Take out any hardware that is easy to remove, video card, RAM, or hard drive. Do not remove the CPU, unless completely necessary.

Using Compressed Air

Use your can of compressed air, on the outside vents, ports, and fan filters. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the outside of the case.

Use the can of air to spray each piece of hardware taken out, to remove dust. Hold the handle of the paintbrush in the fan blade, if the video card has one. This will prevent the air from moving the fan while blowing it.

Now that the hardware is cleaned off, use you can of air to blow the RAM slots. Move the trigger down the whole slot. Move the can to the power supply, and CPU fan. You can use the handle of the brush on this fan also. If you want, use a cotton ball on the fan blades, as well. Blow off any surface within the case, including the heat sink. Take the paintbrush, and dislodge any dust that is stuck. Use the can of air again, where the dust was lodged. Use the paintbrush and sweep off all the surfaces. The bottom of the case, will most likely be the most dusty. Blow out the dust on the bottom. You can also use a damp cloth, to get any dust that is stuck.

Replace the hardware that you removed. Make sure everything is in the right spot, and are secure. Slide the side panel back on, and screw it in. Put it back where it was. Plug all cables and cords back in.

Your computer should look like new now. The cleaning will help it run smoother, and cooler. You might want to mark your calendar, when the cleaning was done. Regular maintenance is essential for having your computer longer.

 

10 Tips to Use Public Wi-Fi Safely

Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi means that you have to protect yourself.

Using Public Wi-Fi

Using public Wi-Fi in places like a coffee shop, airports, libraries, you need to take steps to secure your information. With public Wi-Fi, you are sharing the network with other people. People that your sharing the network with, can steal your information. Here are several tips to help keep you safe online.

Tips for Public Wi-Fi Connections

  1. Turn sharing off, when not at home. If using a Windows PC, open Control Panel > Network and Internet > Home Group > Advanced Settings. While in the advanced settings, you can turn off sharing in each option. You want to turn network discovery off, also. With Mac, System Preferences > Sharing, the boxes should not be checked.
  2. Enable your firewall. Windows OS, Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall. Mac, System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Firewall. Turn the firewall on, if not already. This will help monitor connections going in and out from your computer.
  3. Have strong passwords. A long mix of numbers and letters, using upper and lowercase, make strong passwords. Using a weak password, opens you up as an easy target. Use a different password for each account.
  4. Use a virtual private network (VPN). You have the security as though the network you are on is private. This is done by your activity being routed through a separate, private secure network. There are free and paid VPN’s. This is the most secure way to stay protected.
  5. If possible, use SSL and HTTPS. When just HTTP is used to exchange text over a network, it is plain text. All information sent and received is encrypted when enabling SSL, or using HTTPS. Some sites automatically use it. Look in the address bar, for an ‘s’ for secure, after the ‘http’. Look each time the page changes, some sites use it on the sign in page only.
  6. Check name of network. If you are not sure of the name of the network, ask a person that works there. Many do not use the name of their business.  This is a common way hackers trick you to sign into the wrong network by making a network with an enticing or similar name.
  7. When not in use, turn Wi-Fi off. When using Mac, click icon on menu bar, the option AirPort needs to be checked off. Windows, click the icon on your task bar off.  When WiFi is on, your computer might automatically connect to an available network.
  8. Keep anti-virus software running. Keep up-to-date, and on to prevent viruses, or registry file modification.
  9. Have MAC address access restricted. Some people might say restricting this does not give real protection, but it does. Best to use all precautions.
  10. Two-factor authentication do when possible. You will receive a code on your phone or e-mail, for most sites. Use this and your password.

You can never be 100% safe when using public Wi-Fi. Try not to use sites that contain your financial information while on any public network. Either use the your phones 3G or 4G, or wait until you are on a private network. Remember, check out how to create a strong, secure password or find out when you should change your passwords for additional protection. Your home’s Wi-Fi connection is usually secured.

10 Ways to Improve Google Search

Improve your Google search with tips.

Improve your Google search

Improve Your Search Through Google

With the amount of information available on the internet, using Google search engine is a way to find it faster. Most of us do several searches on Google everyday. There are ways to make your search results better. With the use of a few tips, the information you seek is easily found.

Ways to Improve Your Search

Use Specific Words

Use words that are specific, and unique. When doing a search for the words purple horse, you might think there would not be many. There was almost 95 million results. To get a smaller amount returned, try to use words that would be unique to the subject.

Try the Asterisk symbol

If performing a search and you can not remember a word, Google can help. Use the asterisk (*) within the phrase you are searching, for the missing word. Ex: when a man * a woman. Google will show you results for, when a man loves a woman.

Exclude Irrelevant Words

Using the minus (-) sign, can remove some results that are not wanted. If used prior to a website name, or word, the results will exclude them from the results. This is great if you are looking for something that has dual meanings or is very general.

Put Quotes Around It

Quotation marks used with a phrase, or word, will show results that have the exact words, and the exact order you entered. Use only this when you want the exact phrase or word, or else several results will be excluded from the results.

Get Site Specific

If you want information from a specific website, use site:. An example, you can get all the results of the word basketball used on the abc website. Ex: basketball site:abc.com

Searching for Numbers

If searching in a range that is numeric, use two dots between the two numbers. Some of the stuff this is used for is measurements, dates, and prices. Ex: Superbowl 2010..2015

Speak to Google

Searching is easier than ever, Google search by using your voice. In the search box when using Chrome, there is a microphone you can click. After you click the microphone, say what you want to search for.

Advanced Search

Use advanced search to refine your search. Next to the search box there is a button that will show you options, click advanced search. This will give you several choices to help narrow your results. Some of them are the language, country, date, along with other choices.

Skip the Shift Button

Do not waste time by using capitalization. Google does not distinguish between lower or uppercase letters.

Use Operators to Focus

Using OR between two words will show results for either of the words. If the OR is not used, the results that are most relevant to what you entered, will be placed first.

Using these tips to narrow your search, will give you results that matter. They also will make your searches more effective which saves you time. When entering a broad range of search terms, the results may not be very helpful. The Internet browser that you use doesn’t effect your search, but find which brower suits you the best.

 

 

Solid State Drive Advantages

Hard drives provide a lot of use for your computer.

SSDs provide the power and backing you’re looking for.

 

SSD Technology is Now

With technology moving forward, this means that our hardware will also move in the same direction. Instead of choosing to have a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), that is mechanical, people can now choose a solid state drive (SSD), or both in their computer. There are advantages that a SSD has over a HDD, while performing the same job.

Advantages of Solid State Drives

One advantage in a solid state drive is that the parts do not move, unlike in traditional ones. This gives it more reliability. With parts that move, HDD usually fail, and get worn out faster due to more usage. Without parts moving, there is no shock or vibration damage. The regular hard drive can not operate on temperatures as high as the SSD, also because parts moving. The heat that is generated will be less, and therefore the lifespan is increased.

 Solid State Drive Speed

The rates solid state drives read and write data, is at an increased speed. Accessing data from the HDD, can take approximately 100 times more time, than with the SSD. This helps when booting your system up or down, due to the solid state able to almost instantaneously read the data, because being stored on flash memory chips. Because traditional drives being mechanical, boot time is increased. The HDD takes more time for applications to open, and the performance is not as fast as an SDD. The power that is used to do this, is less than with HDD. Less power being used, will increase your laptops battery life.

There is almost no noise, so you will not have to hear it while watching a movie. With all the components in your computer, a HDD is the loudest, with the parts moving to read and write the data.

Small Form Factor

When you need space in your case, an SDD gives you more with the small size. There is more space available for other components. Even though the size is smaller, that does not interfere with capacity. They are available in the same capacity size as all the other hard drives. The weight is less, giving you a lighter laptop or desktop computer, to move or lift.

Solid state is cost efficient for businesses when it comes to the long run. They last longer, energy usage is less,  and with productivity being greater.

Some people choose to use an SSD for their operating system, and other programs that are important, and use an HDD for the storage of music, pictures, and other stuff that does not require the speed.

Overall a solid state drive beats out the traditional hard disk drive on noise, heat, speed, size, power and ruggedness. They can be placed into an existing computer, or purchased within a computer that you purchase and use.

Understanding the Cloud

 

Upload and keep your files in one place safely.

Upload and keep your files in one place safely.

The Cloud Data Center

Where is the cloud?  The cloud is located in the data center. The place where super-computer servers store your information is connected to the internet. The information, is then recorded at the data center for retrieval with any device that is connected to the internet. The data center will either let you gain access and change the data, or send the data back to you. This is an advantage when wanting to access data from a different device than it originated. Some people might store documents that are not finished for work, or school from their home computer, and retrieve it from work, school, anywhere that has internet, to finish at a later time.

Computer Data Storage Options

During time your data that you store on the hard drive of your computer, or on CD, DVD, or USB thumb drives, but there is another option that will give you vast amounts of storage space. This is called cloud, even though it sounds weather related, it is not. This is a storage system that uses a third party to maintain it. With the cloud, you send through the internet, data that would normally take space on your hard drive or another device used for storage, to a database that a third party maintains. Some are free, while others charge based on the amount of storage you are renting, or a flat fee.

The best part, when you think all is lost, it is actually all on the cloud…

Examples of the Cloud

Some examples of the cloud, that most are familiar with, but did not even realize they are, is Facebook, MySpace, and providers of web based e-mails. With Facebook and MySpace, the users can upload pictures to their site and post them. With the web e-mails, for instance, Yahoo!, and Gmail, they can also be accessed anywhere there is internet. All of the messages you receive are not stored on the device you are on, but on the web e-mails server.

Some of the best services for cloud storage are names that you probably see, but are not sure what they do. Like Google Drive for instance. They offer the user 15GB of storage space, when you link your Google account or make a new one. If you  have a Gmail account, you probably have Google Drive and might not realize it. Another one is by Microsoft called OneDrive, giving 15 GB free also. This has Office integrated into it.

How Safe is Cloud Storage?

While it is convenient to store all your data with cloud, there is questions of security and reliability. There is encryption, a process of authentication, as well as other security features, but any data stored anywhere, including your own PC can be stolen. There are redundancy techniques in place by most services, but there is no guarantee your data will not be lost with a system crash.

When looking for different cloud services available, check the reviews online for each. Reputations are something that can make or break a cloud data center, which makes security and reliability, a top priority.

Recovering My Data

Losing all of your data can be bad.. here is what to do..

Losing all of your data is bad.

When You Think Your Data is Lost

Nobody wants to lose all their data they have saved on the computer, and try to recover it. There are several reasons behind lost data, some can be worse than others. The problem can be with the hard drive itself, while other reasons can consist of a virus, formatting without backing up your files beforehand, to name just a few reasons for losing all your data. When all your data is lost, this is not always permanent, some or all files can be recovered most of the time. The hard drive still holds all the data on it somewhere.

Backing Up Your Data

Backing up your data is an important task that is simple to do. It can save you lots of headaches later. Data can be backed up on a disk, the cloud, an external hard drive (the best option) , or a separate partition on the hard drive. Using the hard drive is less desirable, due to failures that can happen, or viruses. The viruses can reach the data on the separate partition holding your data. Frequently make and keep back ups of your data. Check the data from time to time to keep it up to date.

How to Recover Lost Files

Most important thing to do when all of your data is lost, is not to create new any files, copy any files, or do anything on that hard drive, including reformatting it. Everything you do will overwrite the data that is lost, because the fact of it still existing on the hard drive, even if you can not see it or access it. There is some software that can be used to recover the data that was lost, some can be costly and others can be free. When going that route for recovery, the software usually does not recover all the data. Do your homework when selecting which one to use. Read reviews to find out what others have to say about that software. Look online to see if there are tutorials to help walk you through the process.

If the hard drive is damaged physically, or the sounds it is making are not usual, turn it off to protect it from further damage, thus making data recovery more unlikely. Getting the data back when the drive is damaged, will also depend on what type of damage it sustained. With a failure called , head crash, the magnetic material on the platter (which stores the data) is scraped away, then the data is lost permanently. In rare cases, some data may be recovered from the platters that were not damaged.

The best chance for data recovery is choosing a professional. For professional file restoration service, at reasonable rates, IQ Computer Services could help with data recovery service you need, for your home or business.

New WiFi Standard 802.11ac Perks

 

New Wifi standards means faster Internet wirelessly.

New Wifi standards means faster Internet wirelessly.

Newest WiFi Technology

802.11ac is raising the bar when it come to WiFi, by making it better in range, speed, and reliability. This is to answer the demands for more data, more devices, and more users. There was a 78% jump in sales for tablets in one year, and users for smartphones hit one billion, and traffic on the internet was used for video content for more than half of the usage. More people than ever are using wireless technology and freeing themselves from using a device that is wired to one spot. This is where the new WiFi standard 802.11ac comes in to play. Days of signals not being strong for your WiFi are gone.

Latest WiFi Standards

The latest in standards for wireless technology in the 802.11 family, is ac. This being WiFi’s fifth generation, coming after the 802.11n standard, has a tremendous leap with six times more power efficiency and speed of three times faster at 2.4 GHz and the lesser-used 5 GHz. This is on top of the great increase in the reliability, with the increase in bandwidth of four times than its forerunner, with channels that use 160 MHz. This is a needed factor for enabling the bandwidth that is used for the voice applications, and the mobile video that is intensive today. The 802.11ac also provides the transfer of data more efficiently, which extends the life of the battery. The standard can also manage content transmitting, that is heavy in its data, for more devices. The video that is in high-definition included, which is great for the majority of the consumers in today’s market.

The standard 802.11ac operates in the 5 GHz band.  This protocol gives smaller amount of dead spots, data rates are faster, more capacity of up to eight times, and the coverage is broader. The 802.11n, only had a band of 2.4 GHz. This gave them fourteen channels, and because of issues with interference, only three are used in the area of North America. Compare that to the 802.11ac with twenty-four channels, that do not overlap, and each with the capability of being used in a system that is single wireless. With the speed as fast as it is, the devices leave the channel quicker, thus leaving room for the other devices to receive data and transmit it.

A piece of good news for people is the backwards and forward capability. The number of devices already operating on WiFi is huge, this is a benefit that they will be able to connect to any of the 802.11 protocols. With all the improvements with the functioning and performance, this will have several benefits for businesses, consumers, and the service providers alike. Learn how to set up a basic wi-fi connection at home.

What is Networking?

 

Networks make connectivity much easier.

Networks make connectivity much easier.

Networking in Computer Technology

In computer technology networking is when there are at least two computers linked together for sharing resources and data. There are many benefits to networking in homes, schools, governments, and business. These include efficiency, money, convenience, and time saving,  just a few of them. With mixing computer software, and the computer hardware the network is able to be built. Networking plays a huge part in technology today.

What Can You Do With Networking?

You can do many exciting things by networking computers.  For example your can share photos, files, documents, and music. To do this you would use one computer to store these items, on a second computer that is connected to the same network, you will be able to access these items. Several computers that are connected to a network can also share faxes, scanners, or even printers, that are hooked up to one of the computers. For instance, if you find a web page you would like to print out on one computer, but it is not connected to a printer directly, as long as a printer is directly connected to a different computer on the network, you can print that page from the computer you are on, by accessing the printer through the use of the network.

Remember – All computers are vulnerable to viruses, especially when open to connectivity with other computers. Run the necessary virus scans, and programs to reduce the chances of having any or all of the computers infected.

Hardware Used in Networking

There are several different pieces of hardware that are used together to create a network. What hardware, and how much depends on what type of network you are building. Prior to the creation, the network should be planned out, to make sure you have everything you need prior, and that it can be done within the place you are using. The network can be wired, or wireless depending on the hardware used.

Small Office Network Setup

Two or more computers, a printer, a fax, and scanner, are some of the stuff that might be needed for a small office network. With this in the office, each of these items will be able to be accessed from one of the computers. This saves money by not needing several printers, scanners, or faxes. The time is saved, by being able to stay at just the one computer that is being used by that person. If information is needed that is stored on a co-workers computer for business, they will be able to retrieve it right from their desk.

Network Professionals and Non-Professionals

Many networks can be created by non professionals, but when a large one is needed, professionals are required. Larger computer networks usually need a router, hub, and ethernet network cables in addition to the computers being networked together. A home network can be done relatively easily, and finished within a few minutes, also is inexpensive. Now everybody in the home can enjoy all the accessories that were purchased for the computers, with one needing one of each.

Networking provides an easier way for professionals, non professionals, family and friends and many other people to share information easily. With the use of networking, many projects can be completed, people can stay close together and professionals can transfer important files where they need them to go.

 

Setting Up WiFi at Home

 

WiFi technology is helping to break the normalcy of wires.

WiFi technology is breaking the norm of wires.

Wireless Brings You Versatility

In this day and age there is no need to sit at a desk to go on the internet. Wireless connections makes is possible to access the internet from just about anywhere in your home. Instead of wires being used to connect your devices, a signal is used. Any device that is capable of being receiving a wireless signal can use it. A WiFi network can be set up in your home with ease.

Establishing Wi-Fi Connection

To establish the WiFi in your home, you will need to have an Internet modem. These are usually given at the time your internet is installed. Some modems come with the ability to already connect to the Internet being wireless, these are called gateways. If the one you have in your home is not wireless capable already, a wireless router will be needed, along with two Ethernet cables. Wireless routers come with different options to them, one is how far the signal will go. These can be purchased at any electronic, or computer store.

Ethernet Cables

Connect straight to the source.

Connect straight to the source.

With one of the Ethernet cables, connect the modem to the router. There will be a port that will say WAN/WLAN, on the back side of the router, this is where to connect the cable. Check and make sure the router is turned on. Next using the other Ethernet cable, connect the router to a computer. This is not always needed, but can be done to setup the router prior to connecting any of the devices that are wireless.

Connecting is easy.

Connecting is easy.

Basic Wireless Setup

Some wireless routers will come with a compact disc, with software to install on the computer. Insert the disc into the computer, and install the software. Next for the wireless network, you have to choose a name for it. The security that you want is chosen also, and for the most secure, choose WPA2. Next, input a password, and go to the next step. The router should pick up the internet connection settings automatically.

If the router had no disc to install software, open up a browser window, and type the address that the documentation that came with the router states. The documentation should also state what password and username to input. PortForward.com will give you the login information for your router as well.

Secure Your Wireless Network

Now you will put in your settings. Pick a name for your network SSID, remember that this can be seen and is not private. Don’t use your address, phone number or name.  Now input a password that will be needed to connect to the WiFi. Be sure to choose a strong password to avoid strangers connecting to it.

Having a wireless router provides you the connectivity and versatility you want from the Internet. Surf the web, talk to friends, share pictures, listen to music and do reports; you can do them all wherever you are in the home. With a home WiFi network, you’re giving yourself freedom from the boring desk.