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Windows – To update or NOT to update

Windows-UpdateMicrosoft Windows updates are important to the reliability & security of your computers and should be part of any Windows users maintenance schedule.  Ignoring or turning off Windows updates without good reason can result in a flakey, outdated and possibly insecure system which will cost you over time.  Microsoft offers updates for free as part of their ongoing support to operating systems still within their support term.

Reasons why Windows Updates Are Important:

  1. Security

This is a main reason to install Windows Updates. Hackers are trying every day to crack Microsoft’s software. Security updates are released all the time to cover this. Once a flaw is found by Microsoft, there team is onto releasing these updates. Doing these updates will keep your computer safe most of the time.

  1. Bug Fixes

Installing bug fix updates will resolve issues regarding compatibility or issues that the developer had not found when programming the operating system. These updates make it easier to use programs and have them work in the correct way.

E.g. some software can freeze up as it may be coded wrong nothing could happen. They release bug fixes to fix these little issues so there program runs successfully.

  1. New Features

New features are released for programs all the time. Some features may not be relevant to the way you use the software but other may. They could make it quicker to do a certain task or even introduce new functionality completely.

  1. Efficiency

It is frustrating when your computer starts to run slowly or programs start to freeze. Microsoft release many updates that fix up issues with their software to make sure that you don’t ever have to have these issues. Installing these types of updates will also save you time! When your computer is running smoothly you won’t spend much time waiting to do tasks that should take only a few seconds to complete.

With all that said it is safe to say that many of the windows updates are important. Security is a big thing that these updates will fix that will allow you to be safe when using the computer.

Tips for successful update management

  • DO Expect updates to take an hour to install, that way you will never be disappointed by the time it takes to install the update
  • DON’T restart or turn off your computer during an update
  • DO backup your system regularly

Don’t have time to manage Windows Updates? Try our Managed Patch Service.

5 Common Reasons for a Slow Computer

Based on experience and current industry attention, reasons for a slow computer include:Slow computer concept.

1. Malware / Viruses

Nowadays Malware infection is the #1 reason for a slow computer.   Make sure your Antivirus is active and up-to-date.  Perform a full system antivirus scan.  Find out how to remove most Malware with our Easy Malware Removal guide

2. Excess CPU Usage or Memory Usage

Poorly written software can cause excess CPU/Memory usage & a CPU not suited to your needs will often result in excess CPU usage.  Open Resource Monitor in Microsoft Windows to evaluate the processes utilising most of your CPU/Memory resources.

3. Excess Disk Usage

Computers that have very little (usually less than 5GB) free disk space on their operating system drive will start to slow down.  Most hard drives nowadays have ample storage so this isn’t a very common problem anymore.  Make sure you have at least 5GB free disk space on your operating system disk.

4. Components Overheating

Faulty computer components can get hot.  Hot components are inefficient and don’t last as long.  How hot is too hot? Generally 70 Degrees is too hot for most components and something is wrong.  Use your BIOS or load CPU-Z/CoreTemp/GPU Temp applications in Windows to monitor temperatures.

5. Poor Internet Bandwidth

Internet bandwidth is basically the amount of data that can be uploaded or downloaded at once.  If your bandwidth is consumed you will have a slow internet experience, often a slow internet experience is interpreted as a slow computer – which it might not be.  Only one bandwidth direction has to be effected badly to slow the internet to a crawl.  Visit Speedtest.net to check your bandwidth.  Want to know what is using up all your bandwidth? – Contact Us for some troubleshooting.

CTRL + ALT + DELETE – Why you should restart your computer

Often computer problems can be fixed with a simple system restart.  But why should you restart your computer?

Often buggy or poorly written software can contribute to slow or troublesome computer activity.  With a fresh start – the operating system (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux etc) will load all the components necessary in an orderly fashion to give you an interface to interact with and connect you to functionality that will make your computer useful (ie network or internet access, screen output, mouse & keyboard functionality etc).  Programs will also be given the opportunity to start all over again.

Rebooting a computer willComputer Key Error Button

  1. Request to save all unsaved data (Usually timing out and closing without saving changes)
  2. Close all active processes & applications
  3. Clear Memory
  4. Install pending updates
  5. Process pending changes to the registry
  6. Complete software installations
  7. Turn the computer off momentarilly
  8. Turn the computer back on
  9. Perform system checks (POST)
  10. Load Operating System (Services & Processes)

It is recommended this be your first action prior to contacting your IT support team when you encounter a problem.  This will often be one of the first questions you are asked by your IT support team and could save you valuable costs in support fees.

Computers aren’t the only devices that benefit from a restart either.  ADSL Modems are another device that tend to need to be rebooted every few months, often due to poorly made hardware/software or changes made to the DSL network.

So next time your computer isn’t running properly, restart your computer once and see if it helps.  If you feel you reboot too often you should contact us for some professional  troubleshooting.

Warning!
Remember not to hold the power button in on your computer to restart it.
In Windows click StartRestart.  Or with most newer computer systems, simply press
the power button once, quickly and wait for your programs to close (Will not save unsaved data).

Creating a Web Browser Application in Chrome

Chrome-ApplicationGoogle chrome has a built in feature we find extremely useful.  The feature allows us to run websites so they operate more like applications. With more and more web apps replacing traditional file based programs stored and run from your computer, we can see this feature becoming obvious in future releases of Internet Explorer & Firefox (If they aren’t there already).

The application mode in Google Chrome strips the menu’s, tabs and other browser components from view.  Then it gives you the ability to place a shortcut directly to that website to your Windows taskbar or desktop.

This is how you do it…

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Optional: Navigate to the login page of your desired web app
  3. Click the Chrome Settings button up the top right (The 3 horizontal lines)
  4. Select Tools
  5. Select Create Application Shortcuts
  6. Select where you want to create the Application Shortcuts
    Create-Xero-Web-App

Now just open the shortcut from where you chose to save it and enjoy!

Useful Website – PrintablePaper.net

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Over 1300 printable types of lined paper, graph paper, forms!

Change Your Windows 8 Start Menu to Windows 7 Style

Windows LogoYou have just purchased a new Windows computer & started it up for the first time.  You setup your user account and you think “Wheres my desktop?”, “Where is my start menu?”.  Don’t Panic! Before you start to tell yourself you should have made the switch to an Apple Mac try this…

How to Change your Windows 8 Start Menu to Windows 7 Style

  1. Press the Start Button on your keyboard
  2. Click on the ‘Desktop’ tile
  3. Open Internet Explorer from your desktop icon.
  4. Once you have internet explorer open you need to navigate to the StartIsBack website…StartIs Back – http://www.startisback.com
  5. Download and Install StartIsBack

These tools require a small payment, but its a lot cheaper than rolling your system back to Windows 7 and you get to use a lot of new and exciting featured in Windows 8!

 

If StartIsBack doesn’t work for you, try Start8 by Stardock – http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/.  Also check out ModernMix if you purchase Start8.