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.