Monday, March 14, 2011


I know most people are already familiar with this, but I can't afford not talking about it. CCleaner is one of the best programs I have found to clean up junk windows leaves around (Pretty much everything from Piriform is amazing) If you have an old system that's been used for awhile, this will do wonders. I'm going to include an article from WikiHow about how to use it. I am very familiar with it though, so if you have questions, leave me a comment.


  1. Open CCleaner. Download Here
  2. Go to the Cleaner tab and you will be confronted by a very confusing lineup of checkboxes.
  3. To make this brief, below is my recommended setup:
  4. Under internet explorer check temporary internet files, cookies, and last download location. Most users don't really need this stuff. keep history and bookmarks unchecked, history is a maybe, but you don't want to lose bookmarked sites. You can normally leave Windows Explorer, System, and Advanced alone.
  5. Run CCleaner and it will start deleting files.
  6. afterward it will present you with a list of the files deleted, you really don't need to go through it as it will be several pages long.
  7. The registry cleaner is recommended for slightly more advanced users. Use it after uninstalling programs as they will often leave behind incorrect registry entries.
  8. If you decide to run Registry cleaner then review the items detected and always back up the registry (I keep a folder aside for this)
  9. The Tools tab lets you uninstall programs and set startup programs. Why do you need this if Windows has all of these features? Especially with Vista Home Ed. The windows defender software explorer( startup programs) doesn't pick up some entries (however software explorer is easier to use).
  10. Using CCleaner to uninstall programs and then check for leftover registry entries takes less time.
  11. Under Options you can determine how CCleaner cleans your files. I leave this alone.


  • You might want to check the Recycle bin because CCleaner auto empties it.
  • Make sure you aren't deleting needed files, press analyze before clean and backup the registry.
  • Check the Applications tab under Clean as Firefox users might need to uncheck some of the options to prevent deleting history.


  • Be careful when deleting files, you could really screw up your computer.
  • Vista computers really (badword) with compatibility, but it seems to work on Home Premium (cause I have it) Just make sure you don't install too many programs at once.

That's it for now, If you have questions or any suggestions, leave me a comment!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Maximize the Speed of Your Internet Connection

Slow internet speeds are a drag. Even a speedy computer can be vulnerable to horrible speed test results. To maximize your internet speed and the overall browsing experience, you need to consider the following:

  1. Check to see if faster internet connections are in your area. Fiber optic and cable internet tend to be faster than DSL and Dial-Up.
  2. Do some basic maintenance on your PC. Run Disk Defrag, a scan disk, a virus scan, a malware scan, and clear your recycle bin. An unusually slow Internet connection experience is often the only sign that your computer is infected with viruses or other malware. Delete old files and temporary files. Never allow the free space on your C: drive to be less than 10% of the total size or twice the installed RAM (which ever is larger). A well maintained PC will operate much better than a PC that has never had any maintenance. Google or your local computer repair store should be able to help you with this if you don't know how or you can use any good system cleaner and PC optimizer tool for free such as freeware Ccleaner or Wise Registry Cleaner and Wise Disk Cleaner or purchase something.
  3. Reset Your Home Network. Sometimes restarting (or unplugging and replugging the electric power on) your home network or your router -- if you have one -- will drastically increase the speed of your connection.
  4. Check your home network equipment in general. If you have multiple computers sharing a connection, make sure all the computers are physically connected to a router or switch, and not just to a hub. Hubs are "dumb", low-level equipment, while routers are capable of prioritizing and directing traffic effectively.
  5. Optimize your cache or temporary Internet files. These files improve your Internet connection performance by not downloading the same file over and over. When a web site puts their logo graphic on every page your computer only downloads a new one when it changes.
    • Caution: If you delete the temporary files (graphics and such), they must be downloaded again when you go to that site. If you disable the cache (loaded software, data), then it must be downloaded every time you view the page that uses it. This can be fixed by opening Internet Explorer, clicking on "Tools" at the top and choosing "Internet Options". On the General tab, click the "Settings" button next to Temporary Internet Files. Set a check mark for newer versions to handle downloading new versions "Automatically". Set the amount of disk space to use to 2% of your total harddisk size or 512 MB, which ever is smaller. On Firefox, click "Tools" then "Options," and go to the privacy tab. Then click on the Cache tab within this to set it to automatic.
  6. If you are using a Wireless router, make sure it doesn't conflict with a cordless phone or wireless camera. Wireless routers come in three varieties; 802.11 b, g, and n (2.4Ghz) or 802.11 a (5.8Ghz) If you are using a 2.4Ghz Cordless phone and 2.4Ghz Wireless router then your Internet connection speed will slow while you use the cordless phone. The same is true of wireless security cameras. Check on your phone and camera, if it's 900Mhz then it's fine. If it says 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz then it could be the cause of your slow connection speed while they're in use.
  7. Call your Internet service provider (ISP). Sometimes you just have bad service. They can usually tell if your connection is substandard without having a technician come to your home. Just be nice and ask.
  8. Upgrade your computer. If your computer is slow, it doesn't matter how fast your Internet connection is, the whole thing will just seem slow. You can only access the Internet as fast as your PC will allow you to.
  9. Upgrade your router/firewall equipment. Specifically, look into any speed specifications (many older routers are not capable of transmitting to/from the internet faster than 10 Mbps, even though the local ports transmit in 100 Mbps). Also, older routers may be underpowered, so that even though the theoretical speed is 10 Mbps, the processor on the router is too weak to reach maximum speed.
  10. Upgrade your router firmware. Check the manufacturer's web site for firmware downloads for your router. Compare this with your version, and upgrade if necessary. Most routers have web interfaces for managing this, check for any labels on your router specifying default adress, username and password.
  11. Replace your old cable modem. Any solid-state electronics will degrade over time due to accumulated heat damage. Your broadband modem will have a harder and harder time 'concentrating' on maintaining a good connection as it gets older (signal to noise ratios will go down, and the number of resend requests for the same packet will go up). An after-market cable modem as opposed to a cable-company modem will frequently offer a better connection.
  12. Often your connection speed is slow because other programs are using it. To test if other programs, such as anti-virus and other updates, are accessing the Internet without your knowing, Click Start, Click Run. Type "cmd" (without quotes). Type "netstat -b 5 > activity.txt". After a minute or so, hold down Ctrl and press C. This has created a file with a list of all programs using your Internet connection. Type activity.txt to open the file and view the program list.
  13. Try pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete simultaneously and open up the Task Manager. Go to the process menu and close those processes that may be stealing your valuable bandwidth. (NOTE: Closing processes with unknown filenames may cause known programs to not function properly). There is a column with the User Name, and if that is "System", you'd better leave it alone until you stop using the program that needs it. But if the User is your own login name, then it is not crucial to the operating system, but may be needed by other programs, however you may experiment. Often the system will not allow closing of -- or will reopen -- needed system programs.
  14. After you have tried some of this try your connection again and see if it's running any faster. If it is better you may need to close those extras each time you restart your system until you set the startup list to not open them anymore.
  15. Check to see somebody else is using the internet on your home network. If somebody is downloading a lot of media from the internet, such as watching video or downloading large files, the host computer is using a lot of bandwidth and the other computers are using the remaining bandwidth.
  16. If you are using satelite internet, your internet connection might be altered because of wind (vibrations) and electrical activity in/among clouds, heavy snow, or rain and lightning, static, or other electrical interference.
I know this one was longer and a little bit more technical than the previous post, but this particular topic requires it. You don't need to look at all these steps, just whichever ones you think are crippling your bandwidth. Anyway, that's it for now. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Passive Protection

Have you applied any passive protection on your computer? If not, you should do so as soon as possible. It's one of the most important things I look at when setting up a clients PC. While there is real-time protection like Norton Antivirus (which bogs down the computer by using up resources such as CPU power and memory), there is also passive protection which does not impact you PC's performance. It plugs in the security holes and tells the computer not to do various things which are guaranteed to give you a virus. I am going to list 3 different types of software I recommend which are all free. I hate spending money, and I'm sure you do too. If there's a free alternative, you bet I'm all over it.

The first is Spybot Search and Destroy. You can download it here on CNET. After installing and grabbing the updates, hit the immunize tab and then hit the immunize button on the top. This will help protect your computer from installing future spyware from websites and connecting to malicious websites. Here's a screenshot of what it normally looks like.

The second is Spyware Blaster. You can download it here on CNET. After installing and grabbing the updates, go ahead and hit "Enable All Protection" under the Protection Status tab. This will tell whatever browsers you have installed which sites not to go to. Here's a screenshot of what it should look like after you applied protection:

Lastly, there is Advanced SystemCare. You can download it here on CNET. While there are a lot of great optimizations this program can do, I will stick with it's passive protection features. Once installed, click the diagnose system button and have the program scan your machine for Security Defense. Once scanned, have the program apply the necessary fixes. This will help prevent spyware from being installed. I encourage you to look at the other things within this program as it is one of the easiest and most functional tools I've come across.

By doing these steps, you have highly increased the security on your PC without sacrificing computer performance. In fact, it isn't uncommon to notice a small increase of performance after applying these settings. If you have any questions, or some suggestions for future topics, leave a comment!


My name is Andrew and I've been working with computers for quite some time. I was fascinated with them as a child and took my first job with IT. As a desktop analyst, I was always finding new information, in the form of procedures, tips, and software, and was always eager to share what I have learned. The first thing I can tell you is that in the computer world, experience is half of the battle. The other half is being in the right place at the right time. There is too much information to take in all at once, and while sometimes you stumble across useless tips, other times you find priceless information which will make your life unimaginably easier. My goal is to write a blog to show what software and what procedures can be done to improve you're computer needs. I want to make this accessible to the non-techies out there who may just be looking for a quick fix for a particular issue. So welcome to the blog and I look forward to posted the many things I will undoubtedly unfold as time moves on