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Archive for the Tips & Tricks Category

How to remove Microsoft Official Support Scare Ware (Scam Virus) in 10 seconds

Don’t use your ISP’s Email Address

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Typically with BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Aol, Virgin Media and most other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) you’ll get a free email addresses with your account. It’s good of these ISP’s to provide this, but the problem arises when you switch to a new broadband provider.  In most cases you’ll lose your email address and most likely any historic emails that are saved on their servers.

Many people will then create a new email address provided by the new ISP then go through the arduous task of getting in touch with all their contacts to inform them of the new address, assuming of course they downloaded their contact list from the old email account.

Since ISP offers change all the time, the chances are you’ll switch providers a number of times during the course of your life and each time having to go through the same process.

Use gmail or Hotmail

This is why we recommend you don’t use your ISP’s free email address. Instead, use a trusted independent email service such as gmail or Hotmail.  You’ll typically have this account for life and nothing will change if you switch to a new broadband provider.

With Gmail, you can even register a cheap domain name, i.e. yourfamilyname.com and attach it to your account so you can then use a more personal email address such as yourname@yourfamilyname.com and give one to each person in your family.

All your emails and contacts will remain in one place forever.

 

Windows 8, Two Keys That Will Change Your Life!

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Windows 8 sucks.. Yep, it does but we have a super quick tip that will bring balance to the force and make your life much easier.

Microsoft it seems has spent a great deal of time developing a user interface designed to get you lost at every turn. Whether you’re just looking for a simple setting that was dead easy to find in Windows 7, or trying to get back to your desktop from one of the screen engulfing tiles, Windows 8 will send you on an interstellar journey no matter what you’re trying to do.

When this happens, and you’re lost, just hit

win+e

No matter how lost you are in Windows 8, this key combo will take you directly to your familiar desktop and open up your file explorer.

Now wasn’t that easy?

If this helped, leave a comment 🙂

Disable annoying startup programs easily for free.

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If your PC or Laptop takes a long time to start up, chances are there’s a heap of unnecessary programs loading at the same time.

Many programs you install set themselves to run when you boot your computer, then sit running in the background hogging valuable system resources as you try to go about your business. Over time, this list of programs can become extensive making for painfully slow startup times and a slow computer in general.

You’ll find there’s plenty ‘paid for’ software out there advertising the ability to disable these programs, but many folks don’t know that Windows has this feature built in.

Simply hold down the windows key plus the R key :

windows_plus_r

 

When the small text box appears, type msconfig

This will open System Configuration. Click the ‘Startup’ tab and this will show you all these crafty programs that are set to load when you start your computer.

msconfig

Go ahead and click the ‘disable all’ button, then re-check important programs such as your antivirus etc.  If you’re not sure what to uncheck, give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise you over the phone for free!

Now click apply and reboot your computer. It should now startup faster and you should notice an overall speed improvement when you’re using it.

If this helped you, leave a comment by clicking the link at the bottom of this article.

How to boot your laptop in under 10 seconds

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If your laptop never leaves home, then the time it takes to start up when you switch it on isn’t that much of a problem. If however, like me, you constantly use your laptop when your out and about, having to wait a few minutes before it boots is a real pain. Leaving it in standby or sleep mode helps but quickly runs the battery down.

Upgrading your existing standard hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD) will not only boost your start up times significantly, but will also make applications and programs load much faster as well.

Check out the demonstration of us booting our macbook with an SSD drive.

The trade-off here is that SSD’s are more expensive when it comes to capacity (how much stuff you can store). For example, a 120GB SSD will cost roughly the same as a 1TB Traditional Hard Drive. That’s a huge difference in terms of storage space, but if you’re a mobile laptop user, it’s probably not going to be an issue. Most people keep their big data on the home PC. The performance boost bonus is well worth the trade-off.

Screenshot 2015-03-02 14.32.51

Speaking of desktop computers, they also work great with SSD’s. One tip is to use an 120gb or 240gb SSD for your operating system and programmes, then use a standard large capacity hard drive, either internal or external for your big data, home movies, photos, documents etc.

So, what do you need to install an SDD into your existing laptop?

Keep in mind you’re going to be starting from scratch. Here’s a breakdown of what’s required.

  1. Backup existing files to a USB flash drive or an external drive.
  2. Remove existing hard drive (Technical).
  3. Install new SDD (Technical).
  4. Re-install operating system. Windows / OSX etc. (Technical & need windows installation disk).
  5. Re-install drivers for your laptop. (Technical, usually downloadable from manufacturers website if you don’t have the disk).
  6. Activate Windows using the product key (usually on the base of your laptop).

If you live locally in Fife, we can do it for you, all for our flat fee plus the price of the hard drive.

Get the most out of the cloud for free.

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Many of our customers are using some aspects of the the cloud without realising it. We’d like to explain why it’s so awesome and show you how you can get more out of it for free, or as close to free as possible. To do so  I’ll simply give you an example of how *I* use the cloud for both home and business, and why it doesn’t matter which computer I use to access everything I need.

Email :

My business and personal email is hosted on the google platform, also known as gmail.  I’ve not used outlook, or any other installable program to access my emails in over 5 years and I can’t understand why some people still do.  I access, and more importantly ‘organise’ my email via a web browser and the advantage here is that no matter which computer I am using, my email is always exactly the same.  Browser technology makes it possible to do anything in gmail that I can do in outlook or mac mail etc and there’s absolutely no configuration required.

Another advantage of using a cloud based email system is my emails are never stored on my PC. If my computer dies or is lost / stolen, my emails are safe. If I buy a new PC, I don’t have to go through the laborious process of transferring my emails over, something we’re still frequently asked to do for our customers.

Links

For home : www.gmail.com

For Business :  http://bit.ly/gmail4bizz

Contacts :

My contacts of which I have thousands, both business and personal are all stored in my google account. I can access them from any web browser, tablet or smartphone.  If I add a new contact to my phone, it syncs automatically and invisibly with my gmail contact list. If I get a new phone, I simply add my google account and within seconds all my contacts are available to view and edit.

Links:

https://support.google.com/a/answer/1628008?hl=en

Calendar :

The calendar I use to run my life and business is also attached to my google account. I also share a google calendar with the family so any personal events are visible to us all.  My family can add events which instantly appear on all our phones and devices.  Great for ensuring we don’t book events over each other.

Links :

https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/2465776?hl=en&ref_topic=3417969

Files & Documents :

All my business and personal files, documents and graphics etc are stored in the cloud using livedrive’s briefcase. When I save a document, the changes are synchronised with the online version of the document. If I add a new document to my livedrive folder on my computer, it is automatically uploaded to my cloud account and instantly available on any other computer I have the briefcase installed on. If I need access to a file on a public computer, I can log into my livedrive account via a web browser and download the file.  Dropbox and googledrive are also excellent free services for accessing your files from multiple computers.

Photos :

There’s many free services out there that allow you to upload your photos. I personally use Amazon Cloud Drive as it comes as part of my amazon prime membership and the process of uploading us automatic. If I didn’t already have a paid account, I’d use free google picasa. All of these services have two benefits. One, you can view your photos from any computer / device as well as share them with friends etc. Two, the fact they are stored online as well as on your computer means they are backed up.

Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/clouddrive/

http://picasa.google.co.uk/

Music :

My entire music collection lives in the cloud via free google play music. By installing their music manager, it automatically uploads all my music (up to 20K songs) and adds any new music I add to my music folder. This means all my music is backed up, but it also allows me to stream it from anywhere via a web browser.  By using the google app on my android smartphone, I can either stream my music directly or chose to download it to my SD card so I can play it offline.

Links
https://play.google.com/about/music/unlock/

Backup :

For a measly £2.50 per month, every photo and video I’ve ever taken is backed up to my livedrive account. It’s completely unlimited in terms of how much stuff I can store online so I don’t worry about how large my videos are, they just get uploaded whenever I add new ones.  My documents are also backed up via the briefcase so I never have to worry about losing my precious family pics or vids should my main computer die.  I have complete peace of mind.

Links

http://theitfolk.com/homeuser/product/unlimited-cloud-backup

Notes & Scribbles

I use free evernote to keep all my notes, ideas and lists under one roof. I can access them via my phone, computer, tablet and if I create a note on one, it’s instantly available on the others. I use voice memo feature all the time on my phone which I later access from my PC.   I also use free google keep for fast note taking, i.e. taking down details from customers when I’m on the phone. Like other google services, you can access it from any PC so long as you log into your google account.

Links
keep.google.com

evernote.com

Games :

As an avid PC gamer, I use Steam to purchase and manage all my games. I can’t remember the last time I went into a shop and bought a box copy of a game. These days with super fast internet there’s no need. With steam, every game I buy is accessible via the steam client and I can download and install my games quickly and easily.  I don’t have to worry about keeping my discs safe. If I buy a new PC I simply install the steam client and re-download the game.

Links
http://store.steampowered.com/

Security :

Obviously having all your ‘stuff’ online does come with certain security risks.  All the services we’ve highlighted above have top notch security and encryption but like any online service, making sure you have a long and complex password is essential. Never give your password to another person, and never store things in your cloud account that could be harmful to you should it end up in the wrong hands. As usual, use your common sense or give us a call for some free advice.

Automation :

The key feature of all the services we use above, is automation. I don’t have to do anything manually as it all happens in the background from data backup to contact synchronisation. If you have to do anything manually, the chances are you’ll forget.

So there you have it. These are the services that allow me to work from anywhere without being tied down to a single PC. Try these out and see how they change your life for the better.

If you have any questions, give us a shout, or if you know of a great free cloud service we’ve missed, let us know and we’ll check it out and possibly add it to our free services section.

Avoid ebay / Amazon for Laptop Adaptors / Chargers

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When your OEM original manufacture laptop adaptor dies, many people turn to ebay for a cheap replacement.  £7.99 sounds like an amazing price for this HP adaptor, particularly when HP are charging £49.99 for a genuine replacement.

Unfortunately these cheap adaptors are of very poor quality, most likely made in China and certainly not BSI tested.  At best they will not last long, at worst they can damage your laptop, burst into flames or worse.  Our advice is to avoid them at all costs! Even if the seller claims their chargers are genuine, there’s a high risk that it’s a good looking fake. Avoid!

That said, we think the prices the manufacturers charge for their genuine chargers are over inflated, so what should you do? Pay their silly prices?  Certainly not…

Here at the IT folk, we use a Trust Primo 70W Universal Notebook Power Adapter. Trust are a well known brand and their universal chargers are BSI compliant and of high quality.  Coming with a full range of interchangeable connecting jacks they are compatible with all laptops.

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Even better, you don’t need to wait for delivery. Simply walk into any large ASDA store and pick one up off the shelve for just £28.50

So don’t risk a fake, or pay over the top prices for a genuine charger, get a Trust Primo 70W Universal Notebook Power Adapter.

If the above link has expired, you can order the same item from amazon.

 

Address & Opening Hours For Dunfermline Computer Repair Based in Fife.

01383 410 360
   
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The IT Folk
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