Our main concern here at JumpstartMyPC.com has always been helping PC users get the most out of their computer, but today, just 1 day before Halloween, we thought we might change our focus slightly. Experts have predicted an outbreak in your area, but this is not the kind of virus that can be fought off with the likes of avast! or AVG anti-virus software. No, this is much more serious. See the video below for details.
Archive for October, 2009
Ever been to “that guy’s house?” You know, the guy who collects everything and never throws any of it out. If you have, you probably remember that it was hard to maneuver through the house and you got that feeling of claustrophobia from all of the clutter and disorganization. You really wanted to get out as quickly as possible without making it apparent that you were uncomfortable and in need of some fresh air.
Over years of computer ownership, your computer can become “that guy’s house.” You install program after program, thinking things like “I’ll use this all the time” and “I just need it for this one little project.” You might have thought about going back to remove those old programs, but did you ever really get around to it? Probably not. Unfortunately, you are draining the resources of your computer and the more junk you build up, the harder it is for the programs you DO use to move around.
Much of this article is a repost of a blog that we featured on September 10th, titled Save and access your files in a flash, without a flash drive. Recently, I have had the privilege of introducing Dropbox to several clients of JumpstartMyPC.com who were very happy with the features and how easy it was to use the product.
A few years ago, Flash drives (also known as Jump or USB drives) become very popular. At first, they were a bit pricey and you were lucky to get a 2GB drive for under a hundred dollars. As the popularity grew and the manufacturing price dropped, so did the price of these drives. They are now so inexpensive and plentiful you can find them in a bowl by the register, right next to the gum and “extra change” dish. These drives are great, but they have their limitations. Lack of security, damage, loss, limited space…. Well, there is a new sheriff in town, and its name is Dropbox.
A shocking title for the article, but I really wanted to get your attention. It’s for your own good.
Microsoft recently launched the free Security Essentials package for Windows. Much like avast! Home Edition (our favorite) or AVG Free, the software package aims at providing anti-virus and anti-spyware protection for the home PC user for FREE! Apparently, they were also doing a little research about the users that installed the software and what was found on the PCs it was installed on.
According to an interview with Amy Barzdukas (general manager, Internet Explorer and consumer security at Microsoft) “well over 30% of people who are downloading it are requiring a fair amount of cleaning.” In the full article One-Third of Security Essentials users infected : Microsoft (found on itwire.com), Amy notes the details of their findings, but that 30% quote was enough to grab my attention and I hope it will do the same for you.
Personal Computers became very popular and “affordable” during the 90’s. They were capable of gaming, word processing and surfing the world wide web. Unfortunately, cost was still a major factor and most PCs were very limited on hard drive space and processing power. Compare the PC’s of 1995 to today and you’ll find more storage space on your average jump drive and more processing power on your cell phone.
A recent trend in computing has made use of the low cost of storage space and the power of today’s computers. Portable applications are becoming popular and readily available. These are small, bite-sized versions of programs that can be easily saved and launched from a portable storage device like a jump or flash drive. These portable applications can be used to save you:
- Space – portable applications often take up much less space, but are equally effective. If you have an older PC with a small hard drive, use a jump drive to store these applications for everyday use.
- Processing Power – these applications only run when you launch them, unlike some programs that run from the system tray and are always eating up resources in the background.
- Money – (our favorite) all of the portable applications we have tested so far are FREE.
- Headaches – store your passwords, favorite web sites and personal documents for easy access, no matter where you are.
“Windows 7 is here and it’s not going to have any of the problems that Vista had.” That’s the quote from “PC” in the newest series of Apple commercials aimed at cutting Microsoft and Windows off at the knees. Starting yesterday, at least 3 new commercials started running regularly over the airwaves. These new spots are witty, clever and dead on when it comes to calling out the issues that consumers have (or will have) had with upgrading their PC to the latest version of Windows. I am a PC fan, but I still love these commercials and laugh every time they nail another Windows issue.
Normally on the release day of a highly anticipated new movie, game or album, I would find myself 30 people back in a line outside of a “big box” store. Somehow, the level of excitement is elevated by the fact that I’m sharing the last few moments of life without the new media amongst a group of people with the same interest. We’d talk about how we had read magazine articles and found information on the internet that said this or that. Then, the doors open and we poor into the store for our bounty.
That excitement is not there for me today, as I will be waiting on snail-mail (US Postal Service) to bring me my hard copy of Windows 7 on disk, as part of the FREE upgrade program that I have talked about so much. My patience is a small price to pay for that FREE $125 enhancement. Instead of getting my copy this morning and spending the rest of the day tinkering and testing, I will be preparing for when the disk does arrive. As promised in yesterday’s article, I have been testing a piece of backup software and I now bring you the results.
It is the last day of the Vista era and, even though many of us will still be using XP and Vista in some capacity, tomorrow marks a new dawn for computing. Before you can make the dash to the next generation, there are some things you are going to need to do. For those of you who will NOT be making the change, don’t change the channel just yet. You will benefit from today’s topic as well, backups!
Yes, backups! You have more than likely heard the term at your office before, but have you considered it for your home computer? There are a million reasons why you should back up your data, but very few people actually do it. Just think, what happens if there is a natural disaster, your computer is stolen, your hardware crashes or you accidentally hit delete in the wrong area? Chances are, you have already experienced one of these events and lost precious data, yet you still aren’t regularly backing up your system. In the ultimate “pot calling the kettle black” I am still not backing up my laptop either, but today that is going to change.
One of the main reasons that I upgraded to new PCs over the years was hard drive space. My first computer held less than a CD of information. The next one, less than a DVD. So on and so on. Until recently, it really wasn’t affordable to add more hard drive space or storage to a computer. Within the last 2 years, the price of this storage has dropped like a lead balloon. Now I can keep every song, TV show and movie I ever dreamed of and I would like to continue to add more. There is one major hurdle to this thought process however. How do I take it all with me?
Mobility has become one of the key factors in most every tech/gadget purchase we make. Smaller, lighter, faster, easier…. These are all the buzzwords that surround a truly cool gadget and they all apply to hard drive space as well. Sure, I can run out and buy a 1TB external hard drive for under $100. The problem is that I have to lug it around with my laptop if I want all of my music, photos, movies, etc. As part of our ongoing “celebration” of the Windows 7 release on Thursday, today’s topic is for those who really do NOT plan on upgrading.
Windows 7 week is upon us. That’s right, the Vista apology (which also serves as an operating system) that has been promised for well over a year now is going to be delivered on Thursday (10-22-2009). To “celebrate” the release of this new-and-improved operating system, the articles this week will focus on Windows and we will offer our opinions on upgrading/buying a new PC with Windows 7 already installed.
While most individuals will not run out and purchase an upgrade or make the decision to buy a new PC just because the new version of Windows is out, you might find yourself shopping at an opportune time. We’ve already highlighted the fact that you might be eligible to get a $30 or FREE copy of Windows 7 in our article Windows 7 for $30 or FREE – Do You Qualify. There are amazing deals on laptops and desktops everywhere and it seems that retailers are clearing out their “old” Vista PCs to make way for the “new” Windows 7 PCs. The irony here is that the hardware is almost identical.