Monday, 31 August 2015

Change Privacy Options in Windows 10

When I first installed Windows 10, I was sure to deselect some of the options during the installation process, but upon checking later I found there were many more things I would like to turn off.
I'm not totally sure if all the choices I have made are the right choices, I will find out as time goes on.
If at some point something states it can't do something because something is turned off then I will go back into the settings to turn that option on again.
For now though these options are working fine for me.
These are just my choices, obviously you can make your own choices, but I feel you would probably end up with roughly the same choices that I have made.

To get started click the Start button, then click Settings.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Install CDBurnerXP without the OpenCandy installer

Everybody loves free software, in fact everybody loves anything that's free, and let's face it, there isn't much in life that is free.
So when a good piece of software comes along that is free, you will want it right?
This leaves somebody out there, sitting for hours on end, programming a program, and that person will need to make a living somehow.

They could just program in their spare time for fun, knowing that people will get enjoyment from what they do.
They could try to make money from it, which in turn will make them even keener to produce something that people really want to keep using.
or
They could try to make a living from writing the program, which really could make it the most amazing thing that you want to keep using.

How do they then make money, if everybody wants the software for free?
They could have ads on their site, but this would only make them money when people return to their site to get the latest version.
They could plaster the actual program with ads, so you see them as you are using the program. This would get extremely irritating.
or
They could bundle another software item in with their program, such as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). This would allow them to get paid by the other software creator

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Restoring to a saved System Restore point

As is stated in the Delete System Restore points and Shadow Copies and the Manually create a System Restore point posts, System Restore plays a vital role in enabling you to return your computer to a previous moment in time.
This tutorial will run through the procedure that is required to restore your computer to an earlier moment in time.
To start the procedure of restoring your computer to a previously saved System Restore point, click the Start button, go to All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then finally click System Restore. You will now have the window below showing.
On this window click the Next button.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Manually create a System Restore point

As is stated in the Delete System Restore points and Shadow Copies post, System Restore plays a vital role in enabling you to return your computer to a previous moment in time. You might therefore want to create manual System Restore points from time to time.
For instance, if you have been badly infected and spent ages getting your computer clean again, then its a good idea to create a new restore point, which you can name so as you will know it was the one that you created on a clean computer. You could then delete all but the last restore point, knowing that the only one you have left is the clean one, and therefore you won't restore your computer back to a bad one.
To start the procedure of creating a manual Restore point, click the Start button, go to All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then finally click System Restore.

Delete System Restore points and Shadow Copies

Assuming System Restore is enabled on your computer, which hopefully it is, as it plays a vital role in enabling you to return your computer to a previous moment in time, in the event of your computer becoming problematic, then your computer could have numerous Restore points and shadow copies taking up much needed hard disk space.
System Restore points are created by the operating system automatically on a daily basis by default, when updating Windows, when installing some third party software and when installing new device drivers.
You can also create new restore points yourself if you wish.
Shadow Copies are snapshots of a system and will include previous versions of files. Shadow Copies are included within saved Restore Points. Shadow Copies can only be created on computers with the newer NTFS file system, not on older FAT32 systems.
You can take control and remove older versions of your Restore Points and Shadow Copies if you like, but you can't remove the latest one. The latest one is always left intact to aid you in restoring your computer to a working condition again if the time arises.

Ford M Serial Radio Code Generator

Do you have an M serial ford radio and you don't know the 4 digit code for it?
(The serial number can be found on the label, on the top or bottom of the radio and will start with an M if it is an M serial one)

I have one. It came pre-fitted in my current car, but I had no documentation with it, and when faced with needing a new clutch, which would of meant the battery would have to be disconnected, I was then faced with paying Ford £25 to find out my code.
So I did what seemed natural and turned to Google.
I found this neat little program called Ford M Serial Radio Code Generator, and thought it's worth a try, so I downloaded it from the link below:

Saturday, 27 June 2015

How to use the Snipping Tool

If you have ever tried to get a screenshot of a right click context menu or something similar without capturing the whole screen by clicking Alt+PrtScn on your keyboard (your keyboard might have a different abbreviation than I just put here on it's Printscreen key), and every time you try, the thing you was trying to get a screenshot of disappears, then you need to use the Snipping Tool that is included in versions of Windows from Vista onwards.
Follow this comprehensive, step by step guide, to learn how to acheive this.

This is my desktop before I started to carry out this procedure.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Installing Lame for Audacity

So you are quite happily working in Audacity, editing a file, and then you get to the stage where you have to export the file as an audio file and you are aiming to export it as an MP3. Then all of a sudden you get told that you need Lame installed to be able to do this.
Lame is not installed in audacity by default due to legal issues,which you can read about here...
http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/lame_legal_issues.html
Here I will walk you through the procedure, and this tutorial will run through the stages as if I was editing a file and didn't have Lame already installed.
You will only need to install Lame once, you will not have to carry out this procedure every time you want to export an audio file as an MP3.
Here I have an audio file that is ready to be exported.

Installing Audacity

Installing Audacity is pretty much the same as installing any other program so I am not going to run through every step of the installation. There are other tutorials on here that relate to installing programs. Type installing into the search box if you want to find one.
How Audacity differs though, is, just as you think you are finished and you are prompted to launch the program, you will get another box appear, asking if you want to install two plug-ins (.ddl files), as you will see from the screenshots below.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Using online service Jotti to scan a file for malware

If you have downloaded something or received a file from another source and you are unsure as to whether it is safe (with regards to containing malware) or not, then you could scan it with every anti-malware program that you have installed on your computer, such as AdwCleaner, Avast, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware or SUPERAntiSpyware.
You could also go a stage further and upload it to an online service that uses multiple anti-malware programs.
One such online service is Jotti, and is possibly the best known and most recommended one. Uploading files to Jotti, also helps anti-virus program creators improve their detection accuracy, as the files are sent by Jotti to the creators.

Start by opening up your web browser and visit http://virusscan.jotti.org

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Removing a section of audio using Audacity

Open an audio file that needs an unwanted portion removed, such as the silence at the start of a track.
It might help you to see the Opening a file in Audacity by right clicking the file tutorial at this stage.
Once you have your audio file open as below...

Exporting files as audio files in Audacity

When you have finished editing an audio file with Audacity, you will need to export it back to an audio file, so that you can then use is on devices as you wish.
To export an Audacity project back to an audio format, Click File in the top left hand corner,then in the drop down menu, click Export Audio.

Saving files as project files in Audacity

When you have finished editing an audio file with Audacity, it's a good idea to save it as a project file, as well as exporting it back to an audio file. That way if you decide to make even further changes, you can carry on from where you left off.
To save an audio file you have edited using Audacity, Click File in the top left hand corner, then in the drop down menu, click Save Project As.

Reducing unwanted audio noise with Audacity

Open an audio file that needs unwanted audio noise reduced.
It might help you to see the Opening a file in Audacity by right clicking the file tutorial at this stage.
Once you have your audio file open as below, click the zoom button, which can be found just below the word Analyze in this image.

Opening a file in Audacity by right clicking the file

If you have an audio file that you want to make adjustments to in audacity, and assuming you have audacity installed, right click the file and in the context menu that appears move down to Open with and then move across to and click Audacity.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Using Speccy to discover more about your computer

Whilst most computer users won't be interested about what's inside their computers, they just want it to do what they need to do and that's it, others will find the information that Speccy reveals extremely useful.
A lot of the information that Speccy reveals can be found by digging through Windows itself, but having it all easily accessible from one small program makes life a lot easier.
You don't even need to install Speccy, it has a standalone version too, so it's just a case of downloading it, unzipping it, opening the unzipped folder and double clicking the icon to run it.
There will be two versions in the folder, one is just called Speccy, the other is called Speccy64, if you are not sure what one to use then try them both. One is for if you have a 32-bit computer, the other is for if you have a 64-bit computer. As you can see from the first screenshot in this tutorial I have a 32-bit computer, so I had to run the version that was just called Speccy.
Take a look at the screenshots below and you will see a small portion of what information becomes available to you. As you can see the program windows in some sections have scroll bars which are right near the top of the window, so a lot more information is available than is shown here when you scroll down through the screens.

Adjusting Power Options

Other than shutting down a computer when you have finished using it, there are two more options that will often be available to you and these are to put it to sleep or to hibernate it.
If you are likely to find yourself getting on and off your computer regularly, then the best option for you is probably to put it to sleep. This in effect means it is still running to a certain extent, it just won't appear to be. Your work and settings will be put into memory and the computer will draw a certain amount of power to keep them there.
Resuming from sleep should take just seconds as opposed to maybe a few minutes to start a computer from being turned off and you can carry on working from where you left off.
Hibernation is mainly intended for laptops that may be left running on battery power, so it will actually save your settings and work onto the hard disk and then the computer will shut down. Thus saving your battery for when you really need it.
Resuming from hibernation will be a much more lengthy process than resuming from sleep, pretty much like turning the computer on from being shut down, but you can carry on working from where you left off just as you can if you make it go to sleep.
Shutting down the computer is the best option if you plan on not using it for quite a while, you will need to make sure you save any changes to any work that you are have in progress though as the computer will not resume and allow you to carry on working like sleep or hibernate do.
It is easy to set your computer up so that it behaves exactly as you require by adjusting a few settings, as will be explained here.

Changing Windows Update settings

Keeping Windows updated is a vital step in trying to keep your computer running at its best, as well as keeping it more secure than a computer that isn't updated.
Flaws are found in operating systems regularly, and providing the operating system that you are using is still supported by Microsoft, then the operating system will have patches made for you to install to fix these flaws.
How you choose to install these is equally as important.
You could set Windows to install them as and when they become available, this is ideal if you prefer a les hands on approach.
You could choose to have them download to your computer automatically for you to install when you are ready. Just make sure you install them at the earliest possible chance. Lastly you could be notified that there are updates available, and you download and install them at a time that suits you best. This method will normally be taken by those that prefer a hands on approach.
Whatever method you choose, depending on your needs, it is vital that they get installed, so this tutorial will run through the various options.

Windows Update

If you have your computer set to notify you when Windows Updates are available, then every so often (at least once a month), you will get a Windows Update icon in the notification area, as can be seen in the image below (the furthest left icon).

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Uninstalling fonts

Out of the hundreds of fonts installed on your computer you will probably have a big selection that you won't like and won't ever wish to use. It's pointless leaving these installed on the computer as they take up space and will also slow down programs that have to load fonts when they are opened up to use.
Use FontList to see what ones you would like to uninstall.
You might wish to view my Checking what fonts you have on your computer tutorial for this.
Start the uninstallation process by opening your start menu from the start button.

Installing new fonts

Installing fonts is unfortunately not as straight forward as just double clicking a downloaded file, it needs a few more steps than that, but it's something that anybody and everybody can do with relative ease.
Here I have a zipped up folder containing some fonts that I wish to have on my computer.

Downloading new fonts from Google Fonts

Whenever I need a new font for something and one of the hundreds already installed on my computer are not what I am wanting, then I head over to the Google Fonts website.
This is by far the easiest way to browse for new fonts using some sample text.
Head over to the Google Fonts homepage to see what takes your fancy.

Checking what fonts you have on your computer

Computers come with a vast selection of fonts preinstalled for your convenience, and as time goes on new programs will add even more fonts, so when the time comes for you to need to use one you will ideally want an easy way to view what they look like in use to help you make a selection.
This is where a neat little program called FontList comes in handy. Head on over to the FontList homepage to download and install it.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Understanding Blogs

There was a time when I found blogs kind of hard to understand and navigate and if I was Googling for information on something and a blog came up in the results, I would overlook it and keep Googling until I found a website that had the information I was looking for.
Why did I find them so confusing?
It seemed there were too many links to click to find information and I felt I might miss good information by looking in the wrong places. People tend to be Googling for information when they are in the process of trying to do something, and being able to find what they want quickly and efficiently was the key to their success.
Blogs are actually a lot easier to navigate than they might first seem though, and the links are basically just duplicating each other but using a different format.
Read on for a brief overview of a blog layout and obviously I will use this blog as the example.
If you arrive at this blog and the homepage is the first page you see then your view will be as can be seen below.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Switch Control Panel Views - Windows 7

You can choose from three different Control Panel views when using Windows 7.
The first one is called Category View and looks like the image below.
Whilst having everything arranged like this could be nice, it could also lead to you finding what you want to find, taking longer.

Switch Control Panel Views - Vista

You can choose from a couple of different Control Panel views when using Windows Vista.
The first one is called Control Panel Home and looks like the image below.
Whilst having everything arranged like this could be nice, it could also lead to you finding what you want to find, taking longer.

Adjusting Performance Options

You can make some adjustments to the visual effects and behaviour of certain aspects of your computer by adjusting performance related options.
On a new, fairly powerful computer you could use an option that lets Windows choose what's best for your computer.
On a powerful computer you could choose a setting that sets everything for best appearance.
On a slow and sluggish computer you could go for a setting that sets everything for best performance, but makes everything appear like it did in the late 1990's.
Lastly, you could fine tune the options to suit your own taste and that will not have a detrimental effect on your computer.
Start by opening the Control Panel from the start menu and then click System (assuming you have View by: Small/Large icons selected in the top right hand corner of the control panel).

Friday, 5 June 2015

CCleaner - Restore Backup

If you find things not working as they should be after running the Registry section of CCleaner, then something might of been deleted that shouldn't of, (although it's highly unlikely that CCleaner would delete anything that it shouldn't), you can simply restore the last backup, assuming you create a backup when you run the Registry cleaner.
To restore the backup, navigate to the folder on your computer where you have set CCleaner to save the backup to.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Get Windows 10 Upgrade Icon in the Notification Area

Turning on my computer today revealed an unusual icon in the notification area. So I hovered over it to see a Get Windows 10 message pop up.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Avast Updating

Avast does update its definitions itself, but if you want to manually check for definition updates then you can by following this tutorial.
Start Avast by clicking the icon in the notification tray by the clock.
Once it's open, click Settings in the left hand menu.

Turn Off Avast Sounds

If you have ever been startled by Avast talking to you, or it irritates you then now might be a good time to turn off Avast sounds.
Start Avast by clicking the icon in the notification tray by the clock.
Once it's open, click Settings in the left hand menu.

Changing a wireless network channel

After creating my Testing for WiFi interference tutorial, I decided it would be a good time to change my wireless network channel as too many other local networks were on the same channel as my own network.
To start the process I typed 192.168.0.1 into my browser to get to my router settings.
(You might want to check out the Router Login details page to see a few samples of router login pages and details).
Once on the first page in the router settings I need to enter my password (you may have to enter both a username and password).

Testing for WiFi interference

When you use WiFI to connect to your router, you will be fighting for bandwidth with surrounding properties, so it's a good idea to see what channel your router is transmitting on compared to others nearby you.
To do this you will need a small standalone program called WiFiChannelMonitor, but to use WiFiChannelMonitor you also need a small Microsoft program installed called Microsoft Network Monitor.
Start off by downloading and installing Microsoft Network Monitor
and then download WiFiChannelMonitor.
WiFiChannelMonitor doesn't need to be installed, as stated above it's a standalone program, you just need to unzip the folder containing the file.
(See my Uncompressing Files/Folders with 7-Zip tutorial if you need help with this.)

Test your internet speed with Speedtest.net

If you ever wonder whether you are getting the right kind of internet speeds that you are paying for then carry out a speed test on Speedtest.net.
Start by going to Speedtest.net

Uncompressing Files/Folders with 7-Zip

To uncompress (unzip) a folder allows you to access the files that are within it.
Here we see a folder that is compressed, we know it's compressed because it has a zip running down it.

Compressing Files/Folders with 7-Zip

Sometimes you might have a folder full of files that you want to transfer to somewhere else, maybe by means of emailing them, putting them on a disk or memory stick, uploading them to a cloud service or whatever.
When this is the case it's best to compress them (zip them up). This basically turns it into one big file that is smaller (in most cases) and easier to transfer.
Here I have a folder containing photos and a video that I am going to zip up.

Google Account - Activity Information

Google makes it easy to keep a check on recent activity on your account
You can easily do this by following this quick tutorial.
When you are in your Gmail inbox, scroll down to the bottom and on the right hand side you will see a line that says Last account activity, and underneath that there is a Details link. Click Details...

Google Account New Sign In Warning Email

If you ever get an email saying there is new sign in activity on your Google account, then don't be alarmed, it is most probably something you have initiated yourself.
It could also be that your account has been hacked by someone guessing your password, but hopefully that is not the case and you are using really strong passwords everywhere online.
This is what the warning email looks like.
Just over halfway down you will see a link that says Review your recently used devices now. Click that link...

Avast Essential Update

Sometimes, more than likely when you first turn your computer on, you will be presented with a window pop up like this.
If you do then it's wise to carry out this update before starting other things on your computer.
Click the left hand Update button to install the latest free version of Avast.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Turn User Account Control (UAC) Off

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not to turn this off in the past, so it is at your discretion whether you do or not.
If you decide you do want to turn it off then Start by opening the Control Panel from the Start menu.
Once in the Control Panel, double click the User Accounts icon.

Make the mouse pointer snap to buttons automatically

One of the first things I always change when I get on a computer for the first time is to make the mouse pointer automatically snap to what is called an active button in a dialog box.
What this means is that if you click something and a box appears with maybe an OK and a Cancel button, the pointer will automatically jump to the selected one which would most likely be the OK button.
This only saves you a small amount of time and hand/arm movement per action, but over a long period of use it could have quite a significant effect.

Change the Desktop Wallpaper

Here we will start with my desktop wallpaper that is a picture of some fish.

Turn Windows Defender Off

Windows Defender is a security program that Microsoft decided to include in Windows from Vista onwards and is available as a download for XP. Unfortunately it doesn't do a very good job of securing Windows so it is highly recommended that you turn it off.
Open Windows Defender from the Start menu and when it is open click the Tools link at the top.

Test your passwords

Test your passwords using an online service such as How Secure Is My Password?
Click here to go to How Secure Is My Password?
You will now be on the site as can be seen below.
Type a password into the box where it says Enter Password.

Using KeePass Password Safe

Start KeePass from the Start menu or desktop icon.
You will now be at this screen, and here you can click File...

What do websites know about me?

Websites collect all manor of information from its visitors, it's not a dubious practice, it can aid in the future development of the site.
Knowing the operating systems, browsers, languages, geographical locations and so on of visitors, it makes it easier to allow for instances that were not previously catered for when designing, building and putting content on to a site.

It also plays a part in policing sites. With so much information collected and retained for a certain length of time, it is fairly easy for authorities to act on instances of maliciousness.
For instance if you have ever seen the news where a supposedly anonymous Twitter user would tweet nasty things to a celebrity and then a few days later you might hear that the Twitter user was arrested, it would of been because Twitter passed all the data that they have on to the authorities, the auththorities then contacted the Twitter users ISP, and the ISP then reveals to the authorities which of their customers the data relates to.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Stop SUPERAntiSpyware from running at startup

To stop SUPERAntiSpyware from running at startup perform the following steps.
Open SUPERAntiSpyware from the start menu or its desktop icon.
When the program opens click the System Tools button.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

End the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware free trial

To end the trial version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware open the program from the Start menu or using the desktop icon.
You will now be at the main program window.
Click End Free Trial next to Real-Time Protection.

Router Login Details

Virgin Superhub Login Screen
To access the Virgin Superhub login screen, open your internet browser and type 192.168.0.1
You will now be at the screen below.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

SUPERAntiSpyware Scan

Start SUPERAntiSpyware from the start menu or the desktop icon.
The version in this tutorial is the free trial of the professional version.
Click the Scan This Computer button.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scan

Start Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the start menu or the desktop icon.
The version in this tutorial is the free trial of the premium version. It's also a new install, hence the big section along the top stating that a scan has never been run.
Usually you would click the big blue Scan button at the bottom or the Scan button at the top to get to the scan section.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Avast Scan

Start Avast from the start menu or desktop icon.
You will now have the main program window open.

Manually Check for Windows Updates

At times you may wish to manually check for Windows updates.
Start by opening Windows Update from the start menu.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Changing the Internet Explorer homepage

Open Internet Explorer by clicking the desktop icon or start menu link.
You will now have a high definition photo taking up the whole screen.

Changing the Internet Explorer download location

Open Internet Explorer by clicking the desktop icon or start menu link.
You will now be at your homepage.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Customize the Taskbar Toolbars

To Customize the Taskbar Toolbars, right click the taskbar, then click properties and then click the Toolbars tab.
You will now see a box appear as below.

Customize the Notification Area

To Customize the Notification Area, right click the taskbar, then click properties and then click the Notification Area tab.
You will now have the box showing as below.

Customize the Start Menu

To Customize the Start Menu, right click the taskbar, then click properties and then click the Start Menu tab.
You will now have the box showing as below.

Customize the Taskbar

To Customize the Taskbar (the taskbar is the bar that runs along the bottom of the screen with the start button and clock on it), right click the taskbar and then click properties.
You will now see a box appear as below.