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#11902 - 09/25/11 11:39 AM General Computer Tips
Dianne E. Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 2789
Loc: United States
In this economy who needs to buy a new laptop if not necessary. I ran across this article and I was doing all the wrong things, ie. using Windex to clean my screen and even though I have a laptop stand to sit on the bed I was rarely using it and instead just leaving my laptop on the bed. I bought a new laptop with larger screen and full keyboard for under $370.00. The place all the computer people shop is Tiger Direct They really move the merchandise so if you see a deal snap it up because it might not be there the next day. Soon XP is being outdated and only Windows 7 will be the standard platform and supported with security updates etc.

Buy a bottle of compressed air and blow the dust out of your fan and heat sink once a month. Laptop heat sinks are very fine and get cloaked with dust easily. Open the case and get rid of all the dirt, dust, lint, Cheetos remains and whatever else might have accumulated in there.

If you can't figure out how to open the case, call the manufacturer. Most help desks will be more than happy to tell you how to open the case for maintenance, even if your warranty or support plan is up.

Also make sure to use static-neutral compressed air. The most popular brand is probably Dust-Off.

Unless you have an Apple laptop with its MagSafe magnetic connector, you need to be gentle when plugging in your computer. If excessive force is applied to the jack, the solder joints connecting the jack to the motherboard can crack. The points of contact can quickly overheat, further damaging the motherboard and the jack. In some cases the motherboard can even catch fire.

So don't apply too much force, don't use a cheap after-market charger (only an original charger), and if you notice that the jack is loose, bring it to a repair place ASAP. The more you use a laptop with a loose jack, the looser it becomes and the more you risk destroying both the charger and the motherboard.

You no longer have to buy computer security but can download for free from Free Security That plus using Firefox will keep your computer more secure.
Get those Windows Updates! Once a week Microsoft releases updates to its operating system, and often those fixes are critical to your security. In Windows 7, simply click on "Start," type in "Windows Update" and click on the first result to be taken to the Windows Updater.

Mac users should also update regularly, especially in light of the recent bugs in Lion OS X.
There are millions of viruses, malware, spyware and other really nasty bugs designed solely to harm your system. Fortunately, there are plenty of free anti-virus programs recommended by our New York-area repair shops, including:

- Microsoft Essentials. ("It's light, free, updated on a regular basis and just works," according to one of our repairmen.)
- Malwarebytes, a program for all the malware that's flying around.
- Spybot, for spyware protection. Free download Spye bot freeware
Many times when I was downloading something a box that was already checked was to add McCaffee security, I always uncheck because it can cause problems with already using Microsoft security, according to Spybot: McAffee and Micro Trends might also be considered Spyware, implemented in ways that can effect your system security
- Avast.
- AVG Free. free download

After you download you need to go to your download section to click to activate the program and then be able to check if you have spyware or any unwanted viruses.

Even if your laptop is a Mac, you should have one of these anti-virus programs.

Drain the laptop's battery all the way occasionally. Most manufacturers recommend using the computer until the battery is drained completely at least once a month. Don't keep the laptop charged all the time, as this can reduce battery life in the long run.

When dust dirties your screen, don't grab for chemical cleaners like Windex. The chemicals in those cleaning solutions can destroy the thin protective layer on your screen and damage the display over time.

Instead, take two tissues, one with a touch of H2O and one dry. Wipe your screen with the wet one and then the dry one, to clean completely and soak up any water drops on the screen. Even better, use only approved LCD cleaners to keep your screen shiny, new and scratch-free.

No liquids near your laptop! It's that simple. Don't drink by your computer, don't eat by your computer, don't keep your goldfish bowl by your computer. Even if you've never spilled anything before in your life, it's just a matter of time, and the spill could seriously fry your electronics.

Download CCleaner for Mac and PC. Every second you spend on your computer doing even simple things, the computer is working hard. That means it can get clogged with temporary files, history, cookies, etc. You can clean the computer and the registry with this very useful tool.

CCleaner is free and incredibly easy to use, and you can download it here. We've heard suggestions to use it as often as every day, but you should be fine with every week or two. CCleaner download free

Avoid overheating at all times. The lower the temperature of your laptop, the longer it will live. All of the repair shops we spoke with reiterated the importance of keeping the laptop's temperature low and agreed that overheating was a huge cause of laptop failure. Even a cheap $20 laptop cooling pad can help extend the life of your device.

If you can avoid using a laptop that's lying on a bed or sofa, then please do. When you put your laptop on soft material, you block the ventilation holes in the bottom and the laptop can't suck in air for cooling.

Make sure that your laptop sits on a hard surface such as a table or computer mat and that there is space between the bottom of the computer and the surface so that air can travel under the computer. If you must use your laptop in bed, prop it on a big hardcover book or a lap desk. I bought mine at Amazon for around $14. Check Ebay also.

I read somewhere and can't remember the % of bacteria a keyboard collects but as I recall it is a landmine of infections, when I vacuum I use the brush attachment for my keyboard to remove any hair etc. from the keys and frequently wipe down the keyboard and mouse with anti bacterial wipes. A dirty keyboard can cause many things like the flu and colds that are there and if you touch your face while typing the odds are you will get sick.

It's tempting to just pick up your laptop and move from place to place with it, but this might not be such a good idea. Computer hard drives contain high-speed spinning motors. Shake them the wrong way and they could have a "head crash," a total wipeout that you don't want. Power down before you move around to be extra careful

Listening to tunes in the bathroom while showering? Not the greatest idea. High humidity causes condensation buildup in electronic devices, and temperatures above 98 degrees can really stress out the cooling system. Couple the two, and your device just might be dead the next time you step out of the tub.

Edited by Dianne E. (10/02/11 10:41 AM)
Edit Reason: additonal comment

#12471 - 12/21/11 11:09 AM Re: General Computer Tips [Re: Dianne E.]
minere Offline

Registered: 12/21/11
Posts: 1
Oh! you are generous for detail info about general computer.

#12598 - 01/26/12 08:26 PM Re: General Computer Tips [Re: minere]
Dianne E. Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 2789
Loc: United States
Google is announcing new privacy rules. I love Google for searching but use Firefox and some of their ad ons because I don't like being tracked, no particular reason I just don't, I don't like pop up ads etc. Before changing to Firefox it used to make me nuts when I would look for example at door knobs and every time I turned around there were ads for them popping up. I would never use Google for email because it ties into so many other things that I don't care to share. Maybe I am just lazy but having a bunch of email accounts has never appealed to me. If I was so inclined I would never link them all together like Google encourages you to do.

If you change to Firefox you will be surprised what the little thing at the top (Ghostery) shows when you visit sites how many things that are being collected. It is major business to track you and use your information, none of it interests me. To me it is like being a free research source for companies to make money off of, it is none of their business if I want to buy door knobs and keep hounding me.

Google's new privacy policies

#12637 - 01/29/12 10:42 PM Re: General Computer Tips [Re: Dianne E.]
blueheron Offline

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 84
Someone clued me in to a secure, private search engine:

I use it on Firefox. It works well, but it doesn't come up with suggestions like google does.

#12638 - 01/30/12 01:32 PM Re: General Computer Tips [Re: blueheron]
Dianne E. Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 2789
Loc: United States
I have it on my Firefox icon to browse privately although I don't usually use it because Ghostery blocks them. I LOVE Firefox, don't know how it escaped me all these years. I have the add on Ghostery that shows as a tiny blue thing at the top of my screen, am always amazed at how many sites want to capture my information. AND what I really like is that it has a built in spell checker, we don't have one with the software we use for our forum and it spell checks wherever I type in something. I LOVE that feature that comes with it automatically. Personally capturing your information is big business and I refuse to participate.

I just received this annual email from them about their commitment to protect your privacy:

You are receiving this email as part of our yearly outreach for International Data Privacy Day. Your privacy is important to us and we'd like to share how we work to protect it.

At Mozilla, we try to give you as much control and collect as little information about you as possible. We are guided by six core privacy principles that help remind us that your interests come first and that we exist to stand up for you in a world where choice and control are too often at risk.

1. No Surprises
Sure, most of us like surprises, but not when it comes to what's happening with our data. At Mozilla, we only use and share information about you for your benefit and as spelled out in our notices. What you get for your birthday should be a surprise. What we do with your data shouldn't be.

2. Real Choices
In the beginning, the Web was simple - connected, open, safe. But as it grew, users faced new challenges, including a lack of choice. At Mozilla, we strive to give you options and make your choices clear.
For example, we use Web analytics to help make our sites more useful, but if you don't want your session visit information on our websites to be collected and analyzed, you can use our opt-out mechanisms:

Opt Out Link

3. Sensible Settings
Some of us like to adjust settings, but others don't. At Mozilla, we strive to make it easy for you by establishing default settings that balance safety and user experience. For those who want more, you can adjust those settings and there are also plenty of add-ons that you can use to get even more control over your online experience, interactions and information:

Interactions Link

4. Limited Data
Many people don't realize how much information is collected about them by websites and then used as a business asset. We do and we think it's wrong. We believe the Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold. At Mozilla, we collect and retain the least amount of information necessary and we always try to put information in non-personally identifying forms when we can.

5. User Control
At Mozilla, an important part of our mission is to help people understand and control their personal information. For example, Mozilla Firefox offers a Do Not Track feature that when enabled tells advertising networks and other websites and applications that you want to opt-out of tracking for purposes like behavioral advertising:

Opt Out for tracking link

Also, you can always change your email communication preferences by clicking on the unsubscribe links at the bottom of each email you receive from us.

6. Trusted Third Parties
It takes a lot of work to bring you our many websites, products and services, but Mozilla can't take all the credit. We work with a number of third party service providers who understand our commitment to privacy and are under a written agreement to honor it. We don't take chances with your data and we don't let others take chances with it either.

In short, privacy is an important part of who we are and your privacy really matters to us. Privacy protection is well grounded in Mozilla's principle-over-profit mission to build an Internet where the individual is respected and has choices. We approach privacy from the perspective of putting you in control and we advocate for your ability to shape the future of the Web. We are different by design because we answer to no one but you.

You can review Mozilla's privacy policy at any time by visiting:

Mozilla's privacy information