January computing tips from EagleTech Computer Service PDF Print
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Tuesday, 11 January 2011 07:05

 

 


Happy New Year From EagleTech Computer Service!
 

I always want these news letters to be much more than just advertising, so I've included what I hope will be really helpful tips for the new year.  As we come into a new year, I thought it might be helpful to pass along a few 'Beginning of the New Year' cleanup tips:
 

  • Clean out old temporary and registry files with either "Ccleaner" or "Glary Utilities."  If either of these programs want to give you a new update it is good to let them do it.
  • Update and run "Malwarebytes" in a full scan.
  • Update and run your Antivirus program in a full scan.
  • Check to see if Adobe Reader has a new update.
  • Defragment your hard drive with a disk defragmenting program.
  • If Microsoft Windows has been trying to give you security updates be sure to accept those.



Question: How much energy does it cost to keep a computer running all the time? What about an external hard drive? Is it better to keep a computer running all the time or turn it off at night? How much energy does it use, and what does it cost for cell phone chargers if they are always plugged in?


The home office is a prime area for hunting down energy wasters. Energy use for computers and other equipment varies by model. But, just as an example, if your computer uses 150 watts, and it’s on 24/7, it costs about $10.30 a month in electricity. That adds up to almost $125 a year. Even if you have it in “sleep” mode half the time, it can still cost about $85 a year in electricity.


It’s more energy efficient to turn off equipment when you’re finished working for the day. This includes your computer, monitor, printer and other peripherals. Today, computer experts agree that turning a computer off at night causes no harm and gives your computer a chance to fully cool down, plus it avoids the accumulation of dust on the internal parts which creates a blanket over all parts that hinders the dissipation of heat and heat is a major factor in your computer wearing out.


Also, set your computer to go to “sleep” after 15 minutes of inactivity. The sleep mode saves energy. Screen savers do not.



Another Question: Now how about that cell phone charger? It probably costs about $1 a year or more in energy. That’s not much, until you realize how many other energy “vampires” or “phantoms” you have lurking around your house. According to research from Cornell University, the average household has about 20 electrical devices that still draw energy even when they’re not in use. The average American household spends $100 a year to power devices when they’re off or on standby mode, according to ENERGY STAR.


It’s better to unplug the vampires when not in use, or plug them into a power strip that you can turn off with a flip of a switch.


By looking for ways to save energy in your home office, you not only keep more green in your wallet, but you also help build a greener world. Each little energy-efficiency step we all take adds up — it’s like working together to build a virtual power plant!



Question 3: Have you received an email seemingly from Microsoft's security team telling you to "Update your Windows"? Have you been sent a file called KB453396-ENU.zip and told to run it on your Windows computer?


Well, think twice before following the instructions.


Cybercriminals are up to their old tricks, spreading malware under the disguise of a critical security patch from Microsoft.


In the current example, they've spammed out an email containing a worm, which even quotes the real name of a senior member of Microsoft's security team - Steve Lipner - to try to fool you into believing it is genuine.

The emails have a subject line of "Update your Windows."


Of course, Mr Lipner has nothing to do with the emails and Microsoft never distributes security updates via email attachments. Nevertheless, there have been a series of attacks that have abused his name in the past.


With so much effort being taken by the cybercriminals to hoodwink unsuspecting computer users, though, you would have thought they would have not made an elementary mistake in their forged email header. The messages we've seen claim to come from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


That's right. "microsft" not "microsoft."


Final Security Question: Have you received an email saying your Gmail account is locked because someone has tampered with it, and you now need to reset your password by entering in your current password and providing a new one?  If you fall for this one you will lose your email address to a hacker and your ability to get into your email account.  Don't be fooled by this trickery!



General rules of email safety: Always open your web browser "Sandboxed" before you open your email program.  Never open a link in your email program until you've opened a Sandboxed web browser.  Never open an attachment in an email until you've first contacted the person who sent it to you and asked them if they intended to send it to you and if they are certain there is no virus connected to it.  If an email attachment is an Adobe PDF file be sure you have the newest update of Adobe Reader first.  Set your email program to not display graphic images when they arrive in your mailbox until you give each email permission to display those graphic images, and don't display them if you have any feeling that it just might be a spammed virus.


Small fee increase notice: The State of Oregon decided to add 6 cents on every gallon of gas, and this last year I drove $28,500 miles, plus increases in several areas of my business and I will need to make a small increase to my hourly residential fee from $23/hr to $26/hr, and my commercial business fee from $30/hr to $35/hr.  I apologize for this increase and I will do my best to add additional value in my services to you in this coming year to compensate for it.  I appreciate the opportunity to serve you and those you have referred to me.  Your referrals are a HUGE help to my business!  If you refer any clients to me and they use my services I very much want to compensate you for those referrals, so please let me know the names of those you've referred and I will be happy to provide you with a quarter of an hour of free service for each one who uses my services.



Final suggestion: Are your valuable files (pictures, music, documents, etc.) backed up on either an external hard drive or web service backup program like Carbonite or Mozy?  If you need help in setting up this important service I'd be happy to come out and assist.


If there are areas you'd like covered in these monthly newsletters that I've been missing I'd love to hear back from you with suggestions.
 


Best of success to you in all your computing.


I’m here to assist you when you need it.

 

Thanks so much!

Your Computer Technician
Tom Sparks
503-577-4201

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 30 April 2012 21:39