Category Archives: Software

New to Mac OS? You Have Questions, We Have Answers

A lot of we know and work with are new to the Mac platform. There are several reasons why they switch: They are tired of the problems they’re having with Windows PCs; they have an iPhone or another Apple device that they’re happy with; and they have friends, family or other trusted people who tell them about their own experience. They also have a lot of questions. Here are some of the basics we cover with them.

What Is Defragmentation?

If you’ve been using a computer for a while, you’ve probably heard talk of “defragmentation.” Maybe you’ve even run a defragmentation utility. But what does defragmentation really do? Is your computer really fragmented? It doesn’t look like it’s in pieces…The truth is, you almost assuredly don’t need to defragment anymore. Here’s what the situation is. When a computer stores files on its hard drive, it says “This file goes here and this file goes here and this file goes here.” Hard drives are magnetic, and therefore each bit of your data has a physical location on your hard drive. The computer keeps track of where each bit of each file is, or else you couldn’t use your computer. But as you use your computer, you delete and add new files. Say you delete five paragraphs of...

Replace Windows XP for Cheap

Microsoft’s support for Windows XP has officially ended.  Those systems still running XP are vulnerable to hackers accessing data or being turned into a bot-net to spread viruses and malware.  Maintaining an up-to-date anti-virus software isn’t enough to keep a system running XP secure.  It’s time to ditch XP once and for all.  Luckily, there are reasonably-priced options so that you can replace your XP relic without needing a second mortgage. “Do I have to switch to Windows 8.1?  I hear it’s a big change from XP.” It’s true that Windows XP users will feel more at home with Windows 7 than with Windows 8 which has some distinct and noticeable differences in appearance and navigation from earlier versions of Windows.  You don’t have to migrate to Windows 8.1 if you’d prefer to stick with a more...

Before You Upgrade to Windows 8, Prepare your PC

Windows 8 officially hit the market on Friday, October 26th. I haven’t waivered in my recommendation that you use caution when considering upgrading to such a drastically different Operating System, but if you’re eager to join the ranks of early adopters, here are some tips to smooth your transition to the next generation of Windows.

First, make sure your computer is compatible with and able to support Windows 8. It actually doesn’t require many resources to run (one of its benefits – its streamlined nature helps it to boot up and run fast), so if your system was built in the last six years or so you’re probably good to go. The minimum requirements are: 1 GHz or faster processor,...

Computer Tune Up for 2013

Resolve to Regular Computer Tune Up This Year

New Year’s morning – you wake up and within a few hours you’ve broken half the resolutions you’ve set for the year. “I’ll start tomorrow,” you swear. You log on the computer, go directly to Facebook (another resolution down) and start to browse. Just like you, another year passes and your computer gets a little bit slower. If only there were some way to make sure it went to the gym and ate more healthily. According to a study performed by Crucial.com, 4 out of 5 computer users would like to change something about their computer. The top 5 changes they’d make: faster startup, faster programs, more reliability, longer battery life, and more storage space. While your computer can’t make these changes on its own, unlike you, there are...

3 Myths About Your Slow Computer

“My computer is running so slow!” – said everyone who’s ever owned a computer. It’s true: your computer never quite runs as fast as the day that you bought it. While a large part of that is simply your perception of it, it’s true that computers tend to slow down over time. That being said, there are a lot of misconceptions on why exactly this happens. Here are few of the common ones that you may have heard. Myth 1: You need to pay for an antivirus program. When peoples’ computers start running slowly, many assume that it’s because they have a virus. At this point, they will often buy an anti-virus program, or even a second. However, the problem can usually not be solved at this point by these methods. The way to keep safe is first...

Simple & Easy Computer Maintenance

Do It Yourself Computer Maintenance

You may think computer maintenance is only for the Nerds among us, but there are many easy things you can do to speed up your PC without investing a lot of time or money. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, performing some basic computer maintenance can ensure your system stays in top form. First, the easiest tip: shut down and restart your computer regularly so that it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. Next, ensure automatic update is turned on, both for your Operating System updates as well as your anti-malware programs. If you don’t have an up-to-date anti-virus program on your PC, Windows users can download the newest version of Microsoft Security Essentials for free. Make sure you take the time to run a full scan. Uninstall unused...

Browser Extensions and Add-Ons

When you first pulled your cell phone out of the box, you probably spent the next few hours making it uniquely yours. From selecting ring tones to choosing a photo or theme wallpaper, or downloading apps to make your Smartphone more productive or fun, the customization transformed it from “a phone” to “your phone.” You can tailor your Web surfing experience in a similar way with browser extensions and add-ons. Most are free and they allow you to personalize the look, functionality and features of Firefox, ChromeInternet Explorer, Safari or Opera. As the originator of browser add-ons, Mozilla reports that more than 85% of Firefox users have installed add-ons. Yet if you’ve never explored customizing your browsing, you aren’t alone – I was surprised to...

Video Editing For Beginners

 Video Editing: How to

Ours is a video generation. We grew up with parents shooting camcorder footage of every birthday and graduation, and most of us have hours of movie footage without any cohesive organization or engaging content. Any novice with a video camera can benefit from editing. If you’ve ever forced your friends and family to suffer through six minutes of boring for two seconds of awesome, I’m talking to you. Before you post that cell phone video to YouTube, a little polish with a free editing program can make your friends actually want to click on your Facebook links. While Adobe Premier is widely held to be the most comprehensive video editing software available, I’m hesitant to suggest a pricey application to learn a new skill. Luckily, there are some great free or...

Windows 8 Upgrade Questions

As we near the brink of massive Operating System overhaul (i.e., the release of Windows 8), readers want to know what to do to prepare and if they should upgrade. Here are some tips to save time, money and headaches.

My family PC is on its last leg. Should I wait to replace it until Windows 8 is released?

Maybe, but probably not for the reason you think. If you are planning to replace your dying PC with a laptop, it’s a good idea to see what the release of Windows 8 brings to the hardware arena. Windows 8 is designed to work best on a touchscreen device like a tablet. Manufacturers are working to take advantage of this by integrating touchscreen capability into laptop-tablet hybrids that will offer the traditional laptop benefits of keyboards and ports for...