Category Archives: Windows Tips

Topic of the Week: Breaking the Browser’s Back Button

Have you ever found yourself clicking your browser’s Back button (you know, that left-pointing arrow up in the top left corner of the screen when you’re on the web) . . . but nothing happens? Hmmm. And now that you look at it, the button appears gray—as if it was turned off somehow. Hmmm. And the only way you seem to be able to move away from the webpage you’re looking at is to actually close the page down, right?

When you use the web, you typically bounce from page to page, site to site, by clicking on links. Links are how we jump about and navigate the web. We’ll go to Site X, then Site Y, then Site Z, but then maybe we’ll hit our Back button because we want to go back to site Y.

People find themselves in broken-back-button situations when they click links that, unbeknownst to them, force-open up the next page in a totally new window or tab. This means we’ll click a link on Site Y, but instead of our page quickly changing to Site Z, a totally different window (or tab) opens up with Site Z — with Site Y remaining open in the old window we looking at just a moment before. So we now have two windows (or tabs) open at the same time. Because Site Z is the first site to open up in the fresh new window, the Back button has nowhere to take you, which is why the Back button will look grayed out and won’t respond when clicked. The only way to get back to Site Y now (IF you’ve been able to figure out what happened) is to close down the Site Z window and return to the original site Y window.

Now WHY would a website consciously cause such confusion? Why would a webmaster knowingly “break” his site visitors’ back buttons by having links open up in separate tabs or windows? A variety of reasons exist; many of them are a bit dubious.  After building websites for ten years, though, I can tell you that one of the most frequent client requests I’ve received over and over again is. . . “Can you make it so that when people click links on my website, they open up in new windows? Because if they don’t like that link and they close it, then they’ll be back at my website again. It just keeps people from leaving my website.”

My “actually-if-people-want-to-leave-your-website-they’ll-leave-your-website-and-don’t-forget-that-people-are-accustomed-to-being-able-to-use-their-back-buttons” explanation never meets with much enthusiasm; the request almost always stands: “Make links open in new windows so people stay on my site.”  If this seems a little bit backwards or confusing to you, you’re not alone.

The “people-will-stay-on-my-website-if-I-open-links-in-new-windows” assumption has broken and will continue to “break” the Back button in my browser, your browser, and the browsers of others for a long time to come. And so the next time you arrive on a new page and find you can’t use your Back button, just close the page in order to return to the one you were on previously. And smile because, unlike so many others, you actually know what just happened. . . and possibly even why.  :)

Public Computer Privacy Warning – Learn How To Protect Your Privacy While Using Public Computers

While it’s possible to improve your computer privacy on your home computer, as well as, to a degree, in the office, by deleting cookies, removing temporary internet files, making sure to clear history regularly, and installing software for example privacy software, anti virus and firewall, there are times when you can’t be sure.

Utilizing a public computer, whether it is in an internet café, library, school, or other public place, holds its own set of dangers, and puts your internet privacy, and computer privacy, at risk.

Here are some tips and hints to ensure that your computer privacy remains intact, and also you don’t be a victim of computer crime, or internet fraud:

– Never leave the computer unattended when logged in a sensitive site. It appears obvious, but it does happen. People log into an online shopping or banking site, and then leave, if only for a few minutes. All of the time it requires for somebody with under honest intentions!

– Don’t save passwords or login information. Most sites these days allow the option of saving login and password information, which, if you work with your own computer, may be a wise decision. However, when using a public computer, leading to somebody who has been watching you, logging in to people sites, and taking advantage of your details for his or her own purposes.

– Remove all traces. Clear cookies, remove temporary internet files and delete history. Before you decide to get on sites requiring passwords and login names, disable the auto save function for passwords and login names. Make sure to delete MS Sharepoint documents, if using a corporate site to see and use sensitive documents. Go to My Documents, and clear the Sharepoint folder.

– If there is any doubt whatsoever in your thoughts concerning the safety from the computer you are using, avoid entering any sensitive information. By doing so, you make sure that even when key logging software has been installed on the computer you’re using, it won’t be associated with a use.
– Be watchful for individuals looking over your shoulder! Hi-tech it is not, but it is certainly easy, and effective, of these criminals to merely watch, over your shoulder, as you log in to sites. They then have access to your passwords and usernames, and may use them as they wish.

– Change usernames as well as passwords regularly. In so doing, you make sure that even though you happen to be observed, or your data recorded, through the time the criminals under consideration attempt to use your data, hopefully you’ll have changed it.

Computer privacy, and internet privacy, is a big deal, and while you might already have an evidence eraser program at home or the office, public computers are a whole other ballgame! Take appropriate steps to safeguard yourself – you won’t be sorry!

Remember, even if you have to use a public computer, it is still your responsibility to protect yourself online and off. Attempt to choose reputable internet cafes or other areas to use public computers, and remember these tips, and you should be fine.

Hope that helps.

How to Restore Your Computer with the Windows Restore Feature

It has happened to all of us, you start-up your computer only to find that the operating system isn’t working properly or the new program you installed has caused all sorts of system problems and this is the last thing you want to deal with. These problems are inevitable and even the best computer technicians run into an error from time to time and have to restore their system. Knowing how to restore your computer correctly will get you back up and running in no time at all.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this tutorial, its important to understand that not all computer glitches are created equal. For instance, a slow or sluggish system probably does not need a full restore to fix, a simple and free computer clean up utility will probably fix your problems. On the other hand, how do you know if you do in fact need to restore the computer to an earlier state? If you have tried running an antivirus program and a spyware cleaner, you have used one of our recommended free registry cleaner programs and you still don’t see any improvements you essentially have two options. Your first option is to take the computer to a repair shop and your second option is to just restore the system to a point when it was running well and forget all of this ever happened.

Assuming that you don’t want to shell out the money to have your computer repaired, let’s get on with how to restore your computer and get it working like new.

How to Restore Your Computer with the Windows Restore Feature

Before performing any restoration, it is very important to backup all of your files and programs to an external hard drive. When you restore Windows you will lose any and all data that was created or installed after the date that you are restoring back to, which means that if you do not back up your settings and files, they will be lost. Once you have everything backed up you can then proceed with the tutorial. You can pick up external hard drives online for fairly cheap at online stores like Newegg.com.

Every version of the Windows operating system is different, however they all have the a Windows restoration feature that will allow you to restore your system to an earlier date. You should be able to go to “Start -> Control Panel -> System and Security” to find the link that say something like “Restore your computer to an earlier time”. If you are unable to find the restore utility, simply System Restore into the Windows search bar and it should come up in the listings. Once you are in the restore utility, follow the prompts to restore your system.It will ask you what date you would like to restore your system back to, make sure to choose a date far enough back to get rid of any problems you have been experiencing. If you are not sure when the problems began, simply restore the system back to the earliest restore point just to be safe.

After the system has been restored, your computer will reboot and you should notice the changes.

Restoring Your Computer Back to Factory Settings

These days, most computers do not ship with the windows installation disk. Instead, many manufacturers will ship the computer with their recovery solution or a separate recovery partition. If you have the Windows installation disk you can put the disk in the drive and follow the prompts to reinstall your Windows operating system. Again, make sure that all of your files and data has been backed up to an external hard drive, reinstalling Windows will completely reformat your hard drive to a “new” state, which means all of your stuff will be removed.

If you do not have the Windows installation disk, you will need to use your computers recovery feature. You should be able to run this program from inside your computer, unless you are unable to get into Windows at all. If you can access your Windows operating system and use your computer, click on the Start button at the lower left hand side of your screen and search your system for “recovery”. The recovery program is often named your computer brand plus recovery. So look for something like Gateway Recovery or similar. Launch the program and again follow the prompts to restore your system.

A Few Things To Try To Fix Your Computer Before Calling The Repair Guy

Having a broken and or slow computer is one of the last things that you want. If you’re like me and you spend on average of 12-16 hours per day on your precious machine then its even more important that you get things running smoothly. I like to think of myself as a man of the people and thus want to present you with a variety of online computer repairs ideas that you can take to the bank, literally. I have been using these sorts of things for some time now and I think that you’ll find they work very well for even the most bizarre cases.

The first thing that you should do (if you’re a Windows user) is the disk cleanup/disk defragmenter. These tools are going to enable you reduce the amount of junk that is currently cluttering up your hard drive and in the case of the defragmenter its going to literally defragment files and folders to make them easier and faster to access. For mac users you are going to want to run whats known as the “Repair Disk Permissions”. This can be found in the utilities folder on every Mac, unless of course you’ve moved it, and I would bet that most of you didn’t even know it existed so I don’t think it’ll be missing.

Once you’ve run those types of tools the next step is to ensure that your computer is free from viruses, spyware, malware, and ad-ware. Sheesh, thats a lot of wares! The easiest way that I’ve found to do this sort of thing is to purchase a top of the line product known as StopZilla. This product has been producing results for people for quite a while now and that is the main reason that we’ve endorsed it time and time again on this website.

Before you do anything that we’ve mentioned however it is vital that you back up your computer to ensure that if something goes wrong you’ll still have all of your files safe and sound. We use and recommend that you do this sort of thing using My PC Backup which allows you to join the program for free. This service is currently only available to PC users but Mac users can sign up for a mailing list on their website to be notified when the My Mac Backup becomes available.

Be advised that you could take your computer to a repair service such as the Geek Squad or something similar and have this done but they are going to charge you an arm and a leg (almost literally). Its best to do this sort of thing yourself which enables you to both save money and gain knowledge in the process.

For both of the aforementioned products we have worked out a special price discount for readers of this website and to receive that discount all you have to do is click on one of the links above.

If you have taken all of the steps that we’ve mentioned and are still having issues please do not hesitate for a second to contact us or leave a comment below. Our goal is to have everyone running a lightning fast computer with the least amount of headaches possible and we’ll go to great lengths to make that happen.

What You’ll Need For A Full Windows Media Center Set Up

Were you aware that you can record TV shows on your XP/Vista/Windows 7 computer (assuming you have a version that includes Media Center)?  You might have this piece of software on your Windows PC and not even know it!  With Windows Media Center, you can do a host of multimedia functions: track your favorite athlete’s statistics (Windows 7), get access to your Netflix account and watch movies, play games, watch internet TV, view all your photos on your PC (and any other PCs networked together in your house or business), watch LIVE TV on your PC, as mentioned earlier: RECORD TV shows just like a DVR in High Def (and not pay a penny per month like your DVR you’re renting!), play music from any PC networked in your home or business, burn CDs and DVDs, watch DVD movies (the Media Center software acts as the DVD player software), and more.  It’s a powerful tool that many people just don’t use or know how to set up.

Are you tired of running out of storage space on your DVR box?  I frequently hear complaints about having to delete recorded TV shows just to make room for more (in a very short time too… as most DVRs have no where near the storage capacity of modern day hard drives or SSD drives).

Are you tired of paying $10-$20 (or more) per month for that DVR?  Hear us loud and clear: using Windows Media Center, you can say bye bye to that DVR and never pay that fee again!  Never!  Setting up Media Center, after our costs and the costs of any parts you may need to buy, should pay for itself in about 5-8 months, depending on the parts you’ll need (see below).

Can your DVR send your recorded programs to other TVs in the house?  Some can, some can’t.  Using Windows Media Center, you can set it up on your desktop and then network it to other computers in your house so that you can watch your recorded shows in other areas!  Same goes for all your  pictures, music, etc.

How you say?!  That’s where we come in.

We now offer Media Center Setup Service.  We’ll come in (or review on the phone or by email) and check your current configuration (computer, network, software, Internet SService Provider) and let you know if you can run Media Center based on your current set up.  If changes need to be made, we’ll let you know if you can still run Media Center based on the changes that need to be made.

In general, you’ll want to check the following (we are more than happy to do this for you as well):

  1. You need a cable TV service (FiOS, for example)
  2. We prefer if you have Comcast or Verizon as your Cable Service Provider, but we will attempt it with other cable companies
  3. We prefer that you have a Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer, but will attempt it with Windows XP Media Center Edition
  4. You really should have more than 2GB memory installed in your PC
  5. You’ll need a TV tuner card/USB device installed (please allow us to assist with this purchase)
  6. You’ll need to make sure you have a version of Windows that has Media Center built in (check your computer by clicking your Start button and typing Media Center into the search field, if you have Vista or Windows 7)
  7. For viewing your recorded shows, you’ll need a computer monitor, LCD screen (laptop) or a TV with a VGA, DVi or HDMI connection depending on your video card (we can assist with this determination).  Most, if not all, LCD TV’s have one or more of these connections.  It just matters what your computer’s video card supports (most have a VGA connection).

Again, if you’re unsure of any of the above, please contact us and we will help you determine what you have.  If you lack an item above, we can always let you know the cost of upgrading.  Most of the items above will be included in modern computers (the last 5 years).