Welcome to the Hints, Tips section of our website.
Periodically we will post helpful information to help you and your computer
function better. This section will also contain a log of
useful information such as products to avoid. If you would like to contribute,
please email your tips
by Shelby Meyer
Last updated 03/25/2009
Avoid and Why
Kazaa, LimeWire, Morpheus,
WinMX, Ares, BearShare, File Voom, Flickr, MP3 Suite, MP3 Rocket,
Snappy Music, Shareaza &
other P2P music sharing software are
- Theses software packages disable security on your computer and can
literally expose your files to anyone on the Internet. This
leads to poor performance, viruses, Trojans, and identity theft. In addition, the Recording Industry of America
has been taking legal action against the worst offenders for
illegal swapping of MP3 files. Worst of all, these
programs open up your PC to the world. Hackers know this and
therefore take advantage of it. Any computer with these
programs installed is a PRIME target for spyware, malware and
viruses. These programs have NO redeeming value.
Weatherbug and similar live weather programs - This program will help slow your internet
connection (especially if you have dial-up). It has to continuously check the web to pull
the temperature. Its also a great way to obtain more
pop-up ads and spam.
by Shelby Meyer
Last updated 06/29/2008
Computers are available in just
about any price range. Midrange desktops would be in the
$700-$900 range and midrange notebooks in the $1000 range. The
higher end units can reach up to $5k. Choosing the right computer
depends entirely on what you want to do with it. If your
looking for better graphics, video or gaming you need to be in the
mid to high end range.
Buy the best computer you can afford. - By getting the
best you can afford, you will have a machine that will not
be as obsolete as quickly. However all machines become
obsolete eventually. If you buy a low end budget PC,
you can expect to replace it in as little as 1-2 years time;
as opposed to getting as much as 3-4 years of life from a
More is always better. - Get as much CPU speed RAM, and
hard-drive space as you can. You won't regret it.
Its always cheaper to spend a little more up front than to
add it later.
Buy what you really want. - If you want a CD
burner, buy a computer with a CD burner. It will cost
more to add one in later. This advice applies to pretty much
Get at least a 1 year manufacturer warranty. -
Many of the lesser known, no-name clone brands only have a 30-90
day warranty. Some have no warranty at all!
Stick with a brand name computer! - Many local computer
stores will custom build a computer for you. This has several
down sides. The first is a very short warranty (if any at
all). The second is that the components of the machine haven't
been tested together. YOU will be testing it after you buy it.
A name brand machine will go through a lot of testing before it is
sold to the public.
Memory is cheap! - Don't think
of getting less than 512 meg on an XP
computer or les than 1 Gig on a Vista computer. Many Vista
users are even going with 2 Gig and even 4 Gig! You can't have too much memory!
This is never the place to skimp!
Consumer machines may be purchased with as much as a 750g
drive. 160 gig has become the new standard size for
business class machines. (Business users store data on networks and
therefore can use a smaller drive in the desktops which will
save a company money). If you collect MP3
music or do a lot with digital photography you will want a
larger drive. Hard-drive technology is getting better,
faster and cheaper all the time!
Intel Celeron - Celeron is another word for "Stripped Down
Pentium". A 2.4 Celeron is NOT the same as a 2.4
Pentium 4. Its MUCH slower. A Celeron is not
recommended for applications that do heavy math and video
rendering such as AutoCAD, PhotoShop and practically any game.
Monitor Not Included
- Monitors are rarely included because everyone has
different preferences. Some people want 17", 19", 20", or
22" in either flat or square screen formats. Therefore the
monitor is sold separate from the computer. The price of
the monitor depends on what size you get and whether it
analog or digital. Any computer that has a monitor
included as a package deal tends to be a lower end system.
Video - The video capability of the
computer can determine how fast your screen draws. The simple
integrated video systems are designed for not much more than simple
word processing and spreadsheets. They are NOT intended for
graphics, video or gaming. Integrated video is typically found
in the low end systems. A better choice is a computer with a
video slot. You can always upgrade to a faster video
card later if the original card doesn't meet your needs. Good
gaming video cards often sell separately for $200-$300.
Never purchase a machine from a discount chain - Manufacturers make special versions of the
computers with lesser components to meet the discount chains
price point (such as Wal-Mart). The old axiom still applies. You
get what you pay for! For example: A
manufacturer may cut costs by $20 using a 5200 RPM hard-drive
instead of a 7200 rpm drive. This will slow the machine by as
much as 30-40%! These machines are almost always
skimp on memory and are Celeron units.
Do you have a network? - If the answer
is YES; you want a computer with Windows 10 Pro. The operating system is intended for network usage.
Windows 10 home has the vital networking components
stripped out. Many small business owners will make the mistake
of buy a computer with a home version (because they save about $90)
and then later realize that they need a $200 operating system
upgrade to move up to the business version that includes networking.
by Shelby Meyer
Spyware and Adware and Pop-ups
Spyware and Adware is unavoidable - Everyone's PC
will eventually get a certain amount of these unwanted
programs. Spyware/adware are programs put on
your computer by various companies that are targeting you
for advertising. Some spyware is used to gather
personal information and in extreme cases identity theft.
It's important that you keep your clean your PC of
spyware/adware. Most pop-up ads are in fact generated
by spyware/adware. Running a pop-up blocker only
treats the symptom and doesn't get to the source of the
problem. By removing the spyware/adware you can
eliminate 90% of the pop-ups. I recommend using at
least one of the following products. In fact, I use
them all. At this time, there is no single program
that will catch or remove everything.
Norton AntiVirus (includes antispyware)
McAfee AntiVirus (includes antispyware)
Spybot Search and Destroy
BEWARE #1 - There are many FAKE ant-virus and anti-spyware programs
which are actually spyware. Stick to software you know and
trust such as the ones listed above.
BEWARE #1 - AVG antivirus is free. However it misses a LOT
of stuff. You get what you pay for! I don't recommend it
but its better than nothing at all.
If you need help with spyware or virus removal, please
contact us or
by Shelby Meyer
Last updated 09/18/2019
Speed up your
These are some simple things that anyone can do to help their
machine run better.
Periodically do a disk cleanup. Start/Programs/Accessories/System
Tools/Disk cleanup. Check all the boxes EXCEPT "Compress
old files" and click Ok.
Empty the TEMP folder - Many software applications
will create temporary files in the C:\Windows\TEMP folder.
Periodically it is a good idea to delete everything in this
folder. Computers can be very slow if you have
hundreds or even thousands of files in this folder.
The Windows Disk cleanup doesn't do a good job of getting
everything in this folder.
Defragment regularly Using the defragmenters
built into the different versions of Windows to optimize
They have a schedule system so you don't even have
to remember to defragment.
There is no perfect defragmentation schedule that will fit
everyone. Rule of thumb is that the more you use a computer
the more you should defragment.
Cleanup your startup folder. A large number
of programs will place a program in your startup folder.
Everything in the folder will be run when the computer is rebooted.
The more items in the startup folder the slower your boot time
Remove old software and unnecessary software.
Every PC gradually accumulates at least some software 'clutter'.
The 'cleaner' the machine the faster it will run.
Remove any old applications and games that you no longer use
Remove slow software. Anything that runs in
the background will slow you down. Some software is especially
notorious. See the section "Software to Avoid and Why".