Welcome to Tips & Guides

Some simple tips, tricks and guides to get you through your everyday computer stuff. Guides are marked GUIDE and TIPS are marked...you guessed it, TIPS

SPAM ATTACK - Guide

Staying safe online (and offline) isn't just about avoiding viruses, malware & scams. You also need to protect yourself against those hordes of spam that get fired at you. Whilst they are legal they can be quite intimidating, even its just the sheer quantity!

Most of this Spam comes in the form of calls, emails, and texts and more and more everyday are from charities! They have been widely criticized for especially preying on the elderly.

As a response to this the FPS or Fundraising Preference Service has been launched to help you block charities from contacting you. They have upto 28 days to remove you from their lists.

To sign up goto: public.fundraisingpreference.org.uk.

Click START or START ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE ELSE.

Click Select on the next page then choose the forms of marketing you would like to block

Next enter your details and wait to receive a six character code ;validation code; by text or email. Once this arrives copy and paste it into the box that appears on the FPS website, then click Submit

You'll finally receive a confirmation email with a longer code.

Quote this code to the FPS if the blocked charity contacts you after 28days!

GIVE YOUR AGEING PC A BOOST - Guide/Tip

One of our common annoyances these days is how slow are PC is. To be fair the PC was probably adequate or better when you first got it but by the very nature of how we work with PC's demands are always increasing hence the PC seems slower. We cant always or even want to go out and buy a another PC, so, here are some simple fixes to help:

To make it boot faster press the windows key then type MSCONFIG, press enter. then click the start up tab that opens. If you are using Windows 10 click the Open Task manager link.

IF you ar eusing Windows 7 or 8, you'll se a list of items that start up with your PC. Untick those you don't want at startup and then Apply. In Windows 10 these items appear as a list without tick boxes. Just right click on the items you don't want at start up, and click disable.

You can safely disable browsers media players, games stuff and office suite. Keep away from your antivirus and anything else your not sure about.

There is something else you can do to speed things up, by disabling windows default animations and effects which ca slow your PC's performance. Press the Windows key and type in SYSDM.CPL, press enter. Click on the advance tab when the window opens the click on the Settings button in the performance section. In the window that opens you'll see that the first option is selected, with all the other boxes in the section below pre ticked, these include Fades, Animations and Shadows. Select "Adjust for Best Performance" and all those boxes will be cleared.

Click Apply then Ok twice

See Screenshot

RECORD A PC PROBLEM AND SEND THE DETAILS TO A HELPER - Tip

I love this one, a little ditty I discovered recently. Did you know that if you have Windows 7 ( not sure about other systems) you have a tool at your finger tips to help you record it and send it to a IT chum! Its called Problem Steps Recorder which is a built in tool to that can be used to record a problem as it happens.

Once activated it takes screen shots everytime you open a new window or a new section within a program. You can also add comments to your screen shots if you need to describe a problem in more detail. Once you stop it, it saves all your screenshots in a zip file so you can send it over to your little IT helper.

To use the tool, press the windows key then type in PSR, then press enter. Click Start Record, then use your PC as you normally would. The program will then take screen shots of everything you. At any point you can click Add Comment. When you've finished recording the issues, click Stop Recording click save at the top left. Now its ready to attach to an email and send out to your little helper!

 

Here;s a great little tool to help you quickly check out any of those photos you have that are in black and white, they maybe really old ones scanned in or, photos which were already taken in black & white.

Its done through a website called Colorize. You sign up for a free account which gives you something like 5000 credits a month. Each credit equates to the number of seconds it takes the program to colour your picture. It usually takes about 10-30 seconds, depends on picture size.

so the 5000 credits should be enough for most peoples average needs.

Once you've sorted your account click the upload button and upload the pic you've chosen from you PC, then click colourize it. The results are not always perfect but generally speaking it does a good job of breathing life into old photos.

It can be a good idea to give the pic a further tweak using something like Google photos (www.photos.google.com) also free.

Click symbol or title to goto tool page

Here's a scary fact, more hacks are happening this year than at any other time in the history of computing, or the internet. Question, does it affect you or me? Best answer, most probably yes!!!! Shopping accounts, email accounts, your financial information, your profile information via social media. Two weeks ago form the point of writing this tip the biggest reported breach of information and hack took place. Get this... it involved the email breach of some 711 MILLION records. To get that into some sort of  perspective its equivalent to an email address for every man one and child in Europe! Now, here's the crunch question, do you think I'm just trying to make a point to get you to read my website and my blog? Well your reading it anyway ;-)   So here's the reality check, here's a tool to see if you've been compromised. It's a page that also has the total number of accounts hacked ever, and, the biggest data breaches recorded. Goto the link, put in you email address, and it will tell you if your account has been compromised... good luck (click the symbol or title)

Here's a scary fact, (again) - nearly  7 million web connected devices were taken over by botnets in 2016. That's a crazy amount! This is according to research by Symantec a security and antivirus firm, (guys who make Norton Antivirus)

Firstly, what the hell is a botnet you might be asking. Its basically a whole bunch of devices which are taken over by malware (dodgey programs accidentally downloaded to you computer OR other device), and then used all together to carry out attacks on the internet. Sound far fetched? Not really. As mentioned above 1 or 3 devices have already been used in this way, basically becoming zombie like devices to be used in these attacks. The attacks usually take the form of DDoS attacks, which are a kind of attack which are designed to swamped the target website or server with too much data, and the target site packs up and stops working. The only sign you might have is that you PC or device begins to run very slowly as its processing power is been drained away to be used in this botnet.

They reckon that the UK is the 11th worst affected country in the world, with Russia being number 1. Unsurprisingly London is the worst UK city with the most Botnets. Next worst aren't all Cities, some are towns. These include: Maidstone, Slough, Hatfield and Maidenhead. The thing is hackers are starting to target devices that aren't even computers. these devices include: home routers, webcams, digital video cameras and even baby monitors!

So how are your devices infected? Basically like any other malware where you are tricked into clicking links in emails which then download the viruses.

So, what are the signs that your computer is partly zombified and part of a botnet?

  • It will run alot slower even if you aren't running any programs on it

  • Emails may appear in your sent folder that you never sent

  • you might experience a sudden loss of hard-drive storage space

What can you do?

  • Do a check using your antivirus (don't tell me you don't have any!!!)

  • If you know how check in your task manager see if anything running looks a little dodgey,like unfamiliar programs

  • to keep other devices safe always change the default password from when it was first installed

  • Always install firmware updates

Good luck

For further information you can go to:

https://uk.norton.com/tools/bots/index.html

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