I Use CCleaner, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, And Bitdefender Antivirus Free To Keep My PC Safe (and Clean)

April 4, 2016

… and, MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-014)

I have been involved with computers for nearly 30 years. I have never installed any “paid” antivirus software products and have solely relied on common sense and the FREE products that are available (and suitable for computers in the home). I have never had a virus on any of my home based computers. As you noticed, I mentioned “common sense” as one of the factors, which may be easier said than done. I do believe that you have to develop that sixth sense (or gut feeling) in knowing when you are entering potentially dangerous territory. On the software side I currently use three products to help keep my computers (at home) safe and clean.

CCleaner – Without a doubt, CCleaner is the number one optimization tool that not only cleans your computer, but also aids in keeping your computer safe. There is a FREE version and a paid version. I have always gotten along just fine with the free version.

Laptop showing the CCleaner interface - 1 billion downloads

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Detects and removes malware on an infected computer with industry-leading anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-rootkit tech. Scans for the newest and most dangerous threats. Safely removes malware. One thing to point out at the start is that the FREE version of Malwarebytes is only a scanning utility and does not provide real-time protection. You can get the real-time protection by purchasing the commercial version of their software. Don’t let this deter you from downloading the FREE version. I use the FREE version and make a habit to manually download the updates and perform routine scans of my computer. If I was going to purchase protection for my computer, I would definitely go with the “paid” version of this software (so that it runs continuously in the background, stopping infections before they happen. Scans automatically and halts attempted attacks).

Malwarebytyes Anti-Malware

Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition – What I like about Bitdefender is that it is “smart and silent”. Once you install the FREE version, you will have to register with an email address; then, after that you will not even know it is on your computer. Bitdefender has a great reputation and has been well reviewed. As a reminder, when installing antivirus software; always remove (uninstall) any other antivirus software you have installed on your computer.

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MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

A NEW Tool For The Tech Toolbox – Saw this on betaNews, “Investigate your PC’s RAM use with ATM“… This tool, called ATM performs an in-depth, low-level look at your PC’s system memory use. If you are a troubleshooter, ATM may be right up your alley. Being an old dumb PC Tech, this one was definitely above my level of comprehension (which isn’t much these days)…

ATM

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Easily Control Automatic and Unwanted Windows 7 & 8.1 Upgrading to Windows 10 – Here is a “How To”  @ Tech-for Everyone on using a utility called Never 10 that will disable the Windows 10 Upgrade (wiith just one click). Many folks are sticking to or reverting back to earlier versions of Windows due to the privacy concerns in Windows 10.

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Windows 10 Secret Apps View Basket

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REFURBISHED
(GREAT RATINGS)

HP Desktop Core 2 Duo 3.00GHZ 4GB 1TB DVD Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit , WIFI ,19″ LCD

HP Desktop Core 2 Duo 3.00GHZ 4GB 1TB DVD Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit , WIFI ,19" LCD

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Geek Squeaks (#2016-02) FEATURING — Great Reference Book On Upgrading And Repairing PCs — and MORE GREAT STUFF

January 11, 2016

Great Reference Book On Upgrading And Repairing PCs – If you are contemplating a career as an IT Professional or you are an IT Professional, you may want to consider purchasing the 22nd Edition of Scott Mueller’s Upgrading and Repairing PCs. Get “practical answers about PC processors, mother-boards, buses, BIOSes, memory, SSD and HDD storage, video, audio, networks, Internet connectivity, power, and much more. You’ll find the industry’s best coverage of diagnostics, testing, and repair—plus cutting-edge discussions of improving PC performance via overclocking and other techniques.”.  Also, be sure to check out Scott Mueller’s online Upgrading and Repairing Forum.

Upgrading and Repairing PCs

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Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart – Since I started out today’s post with a book on upgrading and repairing PCs, I thought I would throw in this Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart that you may find of interest. There is also a book on this as well — CLICK HERE .

 Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart

Boot Failure Flowchart

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Use Disk Space Organizing Software To Keep Your Computer Clutter Free – Using disk space organizing software can help you keep your computer from turning into a junkyard by visually showing you what files and folders (and where) are consuming hard drive space.  To help me in this situation I use the portable app called GetFolderSize. There is also a full install version if you are not into the portable apps. GetFolderSize works as a disk analyzer that lets you see a folder tree where you can easily locate files and folders that you have “lost” and cannot even search for because you have forgotten what you named them! I have added GetFolderSize to the Downloads Page, listed under the portable apps swarm.

GetFolderSize

GetFolderSize

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Fast Free File Shredder – Another portable app that landed in my lap is OW Shredder. This portable app is an advanced security tool which allows you to completely erase secret data with all drive traces from your hard drives by overwriting it. Individual files, free disk space and entire volumes can by erased. I have also added this portable app to the Downloads Page

OW Shredder

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Turn An Android Device Into A Home Video Monitoring System – If you have a tablet or an old Android phone lying around, you can put it to good use and turn it into a video surveillance camera by using the Android app called AtHomeCamera. This app is worth a try before you go out an buy and expensive setup. All platforms are supported, including Windows PC、Mac、iPhone、iPad、iPod, Android phone, Android tablet and Smart TV. Used together with AtHome Video Streamer, you are able to keep an eye on your home when you are outside, and receive alerts right away in case of any incident!

AtHomeCamera

 AtHome Camera - Home Security- screenshot

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HWiNFO Upgraded To V5.0 (FREE System Info Tool)

July 15, 2015

HWiNFO, in a nutshell, is a FREE System Info Tool (or system profiler) that will tell you just about everything you would ever want to know about your computer’s configuration. Little to no footprint (if installed) and is available as a portable app. Once the information about your computer is retrieved by HwiNFO you can export (or save) the information in various report formats (such as Text, HTML, or XML). A good tool for the tech toolbox…

HWiNFO

Features

  • comprehensive hardware information of your computer
  • system health monitoring (Thermal, Voltage, Fan, Power)
  • table, Logfile, Graph, Tray, Gadget, LG LCD reporting
  • text, CSV, XML, HTML, MHTML report formats
  • frequent updates
  • available as SDK (custom client)
  • 3rd party add-ons (Rainmeter plug-in, Samurize plug-in, Sidebar Gadget to display any sensor value, LCDHost plug-in, Mini WebServer, RivaTuner/MSI Afterburner/EVGA Precision On-Screen Display, HWiNFOMonitor Sidebar Gadget including graphs, bars, etc.)

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A 5 Stars Windows Repair Utility

April 23, 2015

First statement I need to make here is that the Tweaking.com – Windows Repair utility, featured in this article, is for those who are computer techs and the geeks in the family. Second statement I need to make is that I cannot say enough about how good this utility is.

Tweaking.com - Windows Repair

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair has helped me personally make repairs to computers where the Windows operating system has become corrupted; whether it be from end user error, a malware infection or Windows just stopped playing nice. It has served me (just recently) in repairing a Windows Update issue (where Windows stopped playing nice), a Windows Service issue (caused by a Windows Update) and in repairing a winsock/dns issue that surfaced after removal of a malware infection from a PC. I always have an updated (portable) version of this utility available.

Word of advice – Follow the steps as exactly outlined with this utility and as always use the internet to research any clues you are seeing that may be the cause of the issue. This will ensure that you can pinpoint what option to select when attempting a repair. If not sure, run the utility in its’ entirety, but be patient as it goes to work.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including:

 Unhide Non System Files
 Repair problems with .lnk (Shortcuts)
 File Association
 WMI
 Windows Firewall
 Internet Explorer
 Windows Installer (MSI)
 Hosts File
 Policies Set By Infections
 Icons
 Winsock & DNS Cache
 Proxy Settings
 Windows Updates
 CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
 Reset Registry and File Permissions
 Register System Files
 Remove Temp Files
 and more… 

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Three Must Have Diagnostic Tools by Windows Sysinternals

March 11, 2015

Windows Sysinternals is host to numerous advanced system utilities and technical information that is available (for FREE) to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications. There are three of their utilities that I consider as “must have” utilities; and, the beauty of these three is that you can run them live from Sysinternals.

BgInfo – Displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop’s background, such as the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more. You can edit any field as well as the font and background colors, and can place it in your startup folder so that it runs every boot, or even configure it to display as the background for the logon screen. By default when you first run BgInfo it will display more than what is actually being shown in the screenshot and is very useful in getting good baseline visual information about any Windows based computer you may be troubleshooting.

BGinfo

Autoruns – Shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and when you start various built-in Windows applications like Internet Explorer, Explorer and media players. These programs and drivers include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. Autoruns reports Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond other autostart utilities.

Autoruns

Process Explorer – Shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded AND isuseful for tracking down DLL-version problems or handle leaks, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.

 Process Explorer

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A Swiss Army Knife Of Powerful Network Tools

March 3, 2015

As a blogger there are those times when you run into what I call “writer’s block” and everything shuts down. Today, I did come across, what appears to be a pretty nice suite of network tools called Essential NetTools that will hopefully get me back on track. This set of tools is primarily geared toward the network administrator.

Essential NetTools

Essential NetTools is a set of network scanning, security, and administrator tools useful in diagnosing networks and monitoring your computer’s network connections. It’s a Swiss Army knife for everyone interested in a powerful network tool kit for everyday use.

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Use CompTIA Troubleshooting Theory To Troubleshoot Computer Problems

February 3, 2015

What is the CompTIA Troubleshooting Theory? The theory consists of six systematic steps that you follow to effectively identify a computer problem. It is important that you stick to the steps in the order as listed.

By following these steps you eliminate jumping around and wasting hours on a problem. You may find that once you have exhausted all avenues, to the best of your abilities (and knowledge), that it is time to take the problem to another person (or higher technical level) for possible resolution.

It is best practices to always maintain a document trail of your findings so that in the future you are better prepared to effectively deal with future problems.

The six CompTIA Troubleshooting (Theory) Steps are:

  1. Identify the problem – Question the user and identify user changes to computer and perform backups before making changes.
  2. Establish a theory of probable cause – Question the obvious.
  3. Test the theory to determine cause – Once the theory is confirmed, determine the next steps to resolve problem. If the theory is not confirmed, establish a new theory or escalate.
  4. Act – Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution.
  5. Test and prevent – Verify full system functionality and, if applicable, implement preventative measures.
  6. Report – Document findings, actions, and outcomes.

Here is a nice video on the Explanation of Troubleshooting Theory:

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