Monthly Archives: May 2015

Ways to Boost Your Gaming PC

The performance of your PC matters.

The performance of your PC matters.

 

Boost the Performance of Your Gaming PC

Having a gaming PC sometimes requires a little work to get the best performance. You can get the best from your hardware, with a few steps. No need to have any tech experience, these are very simple to follow. In no time at all, your gaming PC will have boosted performance.

Driver Update for GPU

First thing to get the boost you are looking for, update GPU drivers. Doing this can give a boost in speed instantly. Graphic cards have regular updates for performance improvement. As new games are released, the more demanding they are on your graphic card. There have been some games that failed to play, until updates of graphic drivers were ready. Majority of times, you will be notified there is an upgrade available. You should also keep an eye out on AMD’s and Nvidia’s driver page, to ensure you have the latest.

Stop Background Applications That are Not Necessary

When you are gaming, you want as much system resources possible, dedicated to the game. Applications running in the background tend to slow computer performance. While all applications should not be disabled, there are some that can. You can choose to get an add-on for instance, Game Booster which disables what is not needed automatically. If there are applications you want left running, you can tell this program to ignore them.

You can also disable apps on your own without an add-on, if preferred. Open your task manager and select start up, uncheck each application that is uncritical. Beware if using this method, you may uncheck an application that is needed by your operating system. Game Booster knows which applications are safe to disable. If you believe an application is related to any hardware, or Windows, do not disable it.

Optimize Your Settings

AMD and Nvidia provide software that will optimize your game. Through much research they have learned scalable game presets, and hardware configuration that is distinct. This allows users to easily tailor settings in their game, with a slider using AMD Gaming Evolved or Nvidia GeForce Experience. This slider targets visual quality and performance. Some games have presets of their own, if you are not sure what settings to use.

Make sure you’re doing the necessary maintenance!

Hardware Upgrade if Still Not Boosted

If you have done everything suggested and not noticing a game boost, it may mean it is time for hardware upgrade. At some point you will have to update your hardware, in order to game on the PC. Games are starting to need more RAM in order to run, this is your cheapest upgrade. If you GPU is several years old, you want to upgrade that, as well. If you are confused what RAM or graphic card your PC can handle, contact a computer technician for assistance.

You can get the most out of the computer that you have, including high tech gaming. You just have to ensure you’re PC is ready and willing to handle it when the time comes.

Free Up Space on Hard Drive or SSD

Free up space on your hard drive.

Free up space on your hard drive.

 

Space is Essential for a Computer

Even with the large amount of space we have on our hard drives, they tend to fill up quickly. There are options of upgraded disk space by replacing your hard drive, or using an external drive. Before we resort to those measures, you can free up space on your current hard drive or SSD.

Run Disk Cleanup

Using Windows 8, right-click on the screens bottom left corner. Now select control panel. Find on the bottom, Administrative Tools, and select Free up disk space. If you have two or more drives, Dick Cleanup will ask you to select which drive you want cleaned. Disk Cleanup now scans how much space on your disk drive you can save. After scan is complete, a dialog box will appear showing how much space you can save at the top of the box. The choices for cleanup include recycle bin, temporary internet files, offline webpages, and more. Now select Clean up system files, toward the bottom of the dialog box. Everything that is selected will now be cleaned.

Uninstall Application No Longer Wanted

Again, open control panel. Under Programs, select uninstall programs. Check all the programs, and select uninstall on ones that you no longer need or use. Before doing this, make sure you know what each program controls before uninstalling.

Remove Window Store Apps Not Needed or Wanted 

Windows 8 comes with many Window store apps already installed, and you can download many, as well. Some people do not use many of these apps, or they no longer want them. These can be deleted. Pointing your mouse upward from right hand lower corner, or swipe inward from the right of screen, select settings. Now select Change PC settings, PC and devices, Disk space, then App sizes. This will give you a list of store apps installed. Select each one you want removed, and hit uninstall. Keep in mind, this only uninstalls them from the user account. You can empty your recycle bin on this page, as well.

Clean Browser Cache

No matter what browser you use, cleaning their cache can free up space. Most times temporary files at approximately one gig, are saved. You should do this occasionally, or when space is desperately needed.

Copy Music, Photos, Videos

If there is music, photos, or videos on your PC that you want to keep, consider copying them to DVD, USB Drive, or an external storage. This can free up plenty of needed space.

External Drives

If you still need room after following these steps, external drives can give a lot of space easily. These come in several types, and sizes. Very simple to use and install.

There are many ways to clean up space, or even get more space on the PC that you’re using. Which you choose to go with depends on the needs and wants you have, and which you feel is the best choice to go with. All of them have pros and cons when it comes to additional storage space for your PC.

Extend Storage with an External Hard Drive

External hard drive can provide additional storage solutions.

External hard drive can provide additional storage solutions.

Get the Storage Space You Need

With the many things we download to our computers, space gets used up quickly. As you look at your hard drive and notice space is running out, there are choices to make. Should you replace your entire hard drive with a bigger one, or use cloud storage? Or there is another choice, an external hard drive. As with most things, there are pros and cons.

Benefits of External Hard Drives

There are numerous benefits with using external hard drives. There is basically an unlimited amount of storage, with being able to add another external drive each time more space is needed. Expanding is with external rather than internal drive, is quick and simple. Majority of times just plug and play. There are rare times that there will be an issue with compatibility, or driver. Another benefit is cost. Compared to using cloud storage, which has an ongoing cost, these drives are generally work out cheaper over time.

Three Cons with External Hard Drives

There are basically only three cons with their use. 0ne, their appearance of clutter may be an issue with some people. There are more cords and one more thing to add to your equipment. Another issue is with ports. After plugging in your keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals, will there be space to plug in the eternal hard drive. There is the option of using a hub, but then there will be another device and cords to be dealt with. The last issue, is when using a laptop rather than desktop PC. You have the choice of carrying it with you, or not have access to that data while on the run.

The Right External Drive for You

There are different types of external hard drives to choose from. The first type, USB drive. Also, the most popular. If you only need small amount of storage, thumb drives are a nice solution. There are also large capacity USB external drives available. You will want to see whether your USB is 2.0, or 3.0. Your device will work either way due to backwards compatibility, but without using 3.0 port with 3.0 device there will be great performance loss.

Thunderbolt and FireWire, are your other choices for connection of an external drive. FireWire uses smaller amount of resources while being more reliable and faster than USB, as well. A newer technology is Thunderbolt, combining functionality of DisplayPort and PCE Express with high transfer speeds. Both of these have better performance, at a higher cost than USB.

With any one of these connections, you can use a traditional hard drive or solid state drive (SSD). The SSD is more reliable but also more costly. Additionally, they are not sold in massive sizes like the traditional hard drives are. Either choice can supply you with the extra storage needed.

 

Choosing an Online Backup Service

Backing up your data is an important part of computer maintenance.

Backing up your data is an important part of computer maintenance.

Backing Up Is an Important Aspect

Having an online backup service is a wise choice. This ensures your data is saved, and will not get lost in cases of hard drive failures, or other disasters to your data. Choosing which service to use may seem difficult, perhaps impossible. While there are many services out there, none are perfect. Which service to choose depends on what your needs are, and what these services offer.

If you are searching for a service to back up your data, you already are wise enough to know having an external hard drive is not enough. Damage can happen to your internal and external hard drives. Without the use of saving your data off site, it will all be lost. Prior to choosing which provider to use, there are a few questions to ask yourself.

How Much Storage is Needed

With the main reason you pay for this backup service, is your data is stored on servers owned by the company. You basically are paying rent to occupy space, in the same way you would for an apartment. So, first thing to do is find out how much space you will need to occupy. Check sizes of folders that music, photos, and other documents are placed. Another way to see how much space you need, see how much space is in use on the hard drive.

Features That are Needed by You

What do you need and want the online backup service to provide? Some questions to ask yourself include: Will you be sharing files with family or friends? Would you want synchronization of files? What amount of time would you want older versions of files retained? Many companies provide features that are similar, but with small differences. Several different companies should be compared to make sure you get all the features needed.

How Much are You Willing to Pay

How much online backup services charge per month/year should play a role in your decision, as well. There are services that provide small amount of storage free. When wanting to store everything from your computer or multiple computers, paid services are most likely needed. These prices usually range from $50 a year to $150. Some services offer an unlimited amount of storage, but be sure to check for any hitch. They might only allow protection for one computer. Some providers offer free trials for you to test. Use a trial if offered, to see if their service is what you want. Just try backup of few files to get a feel of their service.

Decide on What Plan to Use 

After you do what is suggested, pick the online backup service that you feel satisfied with. Remember, majority of these services do not offer money back guarantees, so be sure before your final decision. You can then feel confident knowing you’ve went through the steps to find out which is truly the best for you, and the needs that you have.

 

Remedies for Common Computer Problems

The BSOD is a scary thing to come across.

Many common problems can be fixed easily.

Fix Common Computer Problems

Computers are used on a daily basis at work and at home. The majority of the time things run smoothly, however, eventually errors will occur. Some of these errors may bring your PC usage to an abrupt halt. Knowing what the problems are and how to fix them, can be tough. Here are remedies for some of the most common problems, associated with the computer.

 Unable to Install Application

Probably the most simple of the computer problems, having issues with an applications installation. One likely the cause is insufficient space on the hard drive. This is a fast and easy fix. Look at all the folders and files on your hard drive, remove any that are not used anymore or unwanted. These include temporary or duplicate files.

DLL File Missing

Dynamic Link Library or DLL files, retains information about how to execute certain functions of the operating system. At times, DLL files become damaged, or the computer will lose them. If the PC is unable to read the DLL file needed, it will not know how to react with certain situations. If an error message is received each time you try to perform a certain action, there may be a damaged or missing DLL file. If this is the problem, they can be downloaded back onto the computer.

Blue Screen of Death

People usually have tendency to panic, when they see the STOP Error, otherwise known as BSoD. With common computer problems, this is the scariest. However, you may just need to reboot to remedy this situation. There are several reasons why this error occurs. Some of them include damaged DLL files, hardware failure, driver issues, software problems, and more. The way to fix this, depends on the issue causing this error. The white text which appears on the screen, provide codes that may help you figure out and repair your PC problem.

Slow Running Applications

There is a variety of reasons applications may be running slow. Few of the reasons could possibly be your operating system, or hard drive. Check to see if there are updates missing with your OS, and install them. If the reason is the hard drive not having enough space, remove unnecessary files and optimize the drive.

Use Software for System Repair

If these remedies do not work, software for system repair may be of help. This software is able to fix issues with operating systems. Damaged or missing DLL files, can be replaced. When using software for system repair, space that may be needed will be freed up. This allows for the PC to run faster, and gives room for other applications to be installed.

If you use all of these remedies and find that none of them work, or you’re unsure of what needs to be done then please speak with us here. Not only can we walk you through the process, but we are able to fix the computer if needed.

Secure Your Internet Browser

Your Internet browser can leave you vulnerable.

Your Internet browser can leave you vulnerable

Secure Your Favorite Browser

Today, we browse the web on a daily basis. When downloading a web browser to your computer, they are not set with optimal security settings. This can lead to a number of problems with the computer. Some of these problems include spyware, information stolen, and an attacker controlling your computer. Although, no browser can be guaranteed from compromise, there are some security measures you can take.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome has shown it is strong, and one of the most secure browsers today. In Chrome there is a cache of settings for your privacy. You can customize these easily with managing permissions, to your desired needs. Content settings give you several options to protect you against rogue websites. There are some third-party extensions that can be helpful. AdBlock Plus, blocks malware domains, tracking, and pop ups. This extension has an option for configuration. Another extension recommended is Disconnect. This reduces exposure you have to malware, browsing activity, and tracking your search. Requests for tracking will be blocked.

Firefox

Firefox is one of the safest browsers to choose from, because their open source code. There are several options within the browser for configuration, for your security and privacy. One of the options given is, stopping Java from running without your consent. This reduces how vulnerable you are to compromised websites. Firefox has an option to use the Forget button, which will quietly and quickly clear all browsing data stored from your previous version.

Safari

Safari has many options available to them, ensuring a safe environment for browsing. One security feature is a program for anti-phishing. If Safari does not recognize pages it is trying to navigate to, it will be stopped. This browser is compatible with some of the same third party extensions as Google Chrome, for instance AdBlock Plus. DuckDuckGo search engine icon can be used on the hot-bar. This search engine offers secure searching, by not tracking the user.

Internet Explorer

Unfortunately, between these four browsers, Internet Explorer is the least secure. This browser has many holes, and because of the popularity many hackers are always looking for ways to hack into it. If using this browser, there are way to help keep you secure. Security Zone, on Internet Explorer should be ran at all times in the highest range. These setting are configured to manage everything including ActiveX controls. Make sure that permission needs to be granted before any Java programs, ActiveX controls, or certificates launch.

Look at All Options for Your Security

No matter what browser you choose to use, always check security and privacy settings to ensure your safety while using the internet. Research any extensions you wish to download, and be sure they are from reputable sites. You can then sit back and enjoy the benefits that come from having a secured connection, browser and computer.

 

Life Without a Computer, How Difficult?

Computers are used everywhere, each and every day.

Computers are used everywhere, each and every day.

Computers in Our Every Day Lives

Computers have become a part of our everyday life. We have come to depend on them for many aspects including professional, educational, socializing, and so much more. Majority of things in our life have been made by or run by computers. Imagining how life would be without computers in this day and age, is almost impossible. Know how to treat your computer, as well.

Professional Reasons Making Life Easier

The majority of jobs use computers in one way or another. One job that uses computers and has an impact worldwide, is the banking sector. Banking transactions are completed in seconds between countries with the use of computers. Your personal banking needs can be handled on the computer. People have their pay deposited directly, pay bills, and transfer money from their banks website. There is almost no need to carry cash anymore, with the use of debit cards. Debit machines at stores and banks, use computers.

Used as Tools for Education

Computers are used as a tool with education. Children are presented with learning how to use a computer, as soon as they start school. Many already have some knowledge how to operate them. Research is completed with ease, rather than going through tons of books in the library. Students write essays on the computer, and sometimes have the option of e-mailing completed work to their teacher. When wanting extra help about a particular subject, there is software available they can practice with. Some education is done completely on the computer, with virtual campuses.

Personal Benefits Computers Provide

Use of computers help us stay in touch with family and friends, in a more personal way. This makes it easier, living far from close family and friends. Video chatting gives the feeling they are there with you. Pictures can be sent instantly using computers. Facebook and Twitter gives a platform that people can use to interact with people around the world, in real-time. Meeting new people through their use is easy, as well.

Medical Ways to make Life Easier

Many medical advancements have been made, thanks to computers. Treatments and therapies can be performed with computers, giving our lives more quality. Tests can be completed faster and simpler, thus helping treatment to begin earlier. Our medical records are stored on computers, making it easy to send them to specialists, if needed. They make taking care of your health easier.

Managing Our Life

Computers make managing our life easy, in many ways. Shopping, banking, researching, communicating can all be done easily with their use. Time, money and energy are all saved with the use of them. With the many things going on in life these days, we need all the time we can save.

Computers help to make things easier, and if you think back years from now; they didn’t have them. What would you have been doing, where would you have been? Life without computers now seems weird to think that they once were not an everyday part of our lives before.

 

How to Extend the Life of Your Computer

Maintenance for your computer is important.

Maintenance for your computer is important.

Computers are Essential – Make Yours Last

Your computer is an investment you worked hard for. As with any investment, you want to get the most out of it. This requires a little work on your part, to keep the computer running for years. Here are some steps you can take, ensuring a longer life of your investment.

Power Supply

Protect your computer’s power supply with a surge protector. These are an inexpensive purchase, that can save you money. Surge protectors should be changed every couple of years, due to them wearing out. If you are unable to use one, unplug your computer during any power outages or storms.

Remove the Plug 

If using a laptop, do not leave it plugged in at all times. Remove the battery when fully charged and are able to use A/C power. Constant heat can place stress on the battery, when there is no feature available for battery saving.

Shut the Computer Down

Desktop computers should not be shut down several times a day. They should not be left running at all times, either. Constant heating up and cooling down, will shorten the life of components. It is suggested to find a balance between them. This is usually every couple of days.

Hard Surfaces Never Blocking Vents

Laptops should be used on a hard surface, so the air vent will remain unobstructed. Laptops generate a lot of heat, and when used on soft surfaces they are unable to vent properly. This includes you lap, it is considered soft while also generating more heat. Vents on desktops and laptops need to be blown out on a regular basis. Air that moves into these vents, bring dust with it. When wanting to extend the life of the computer, internal components need to stay cool. Dust collected inside will clog fans, and form a layer on top of components preventing proper cooling. Never use a vacuum.

Keep Them Out in the Open

Although, desktop computers placed inside enclosed cabinets looks nice, it can shorten its life. Computer need go air-flow for cooling, they will be unable to inside the cabinet. Laptops need to breathe also, which is why there are feet to let the air reach underneath.

Smoking and Snacking

Do not smoke, drink or eat near your computer. This can not be stressed enough when using laptops. If a drink accidentally is spilled on it, expect to have a fried motherboard. Smoke from cigarettes leave a nasty sticky residue on internal components causing damage to them. Dust will stick to this residue, making it difficult to remove.
Keep your anti-virus and malware software up to date, and run regular scans. You want to have both of these programs installed on your computer.

Following these steps can help to extend the life of your computer, in addition to making it run smoother. Enjoy being able to use your computer without the problems that might come along with it.