How to delete programs you no longer need

Microsoft have written another great artical about personal computer maintenance. I would highly recommend reading this one and following the instructions.  I see so many customers who have oodles of miscellaneous programs that are not used or needed that just slows their systems down.

Do a clean sweep

Like many mothers, Andrea Grace will sit down at her PC to check email, only to find that her kids—Jason, 8, and Rachel, 10—have installed some new programs. “Between those CD-ROM games found in cereal boxes and downloaded Neopets, there are now icons all over the place,” says Grace. “And of course they don’t play half the games. If I ran out of space (on my PC), I wouldn’t know how to delete them,” she admits.

Grace isn’t alone—it’s easy to fill space on a PC’s hard disk with games and other programs we no longer need. In fact, some technology analysts believe that we use less than 10 percent of the programs installed on our computers.

The following instructions describes how to safely—and easily—remove old or unused programs and files from your Windows-based computer.

If you are looking for information on how to eliminate all of the personal files from your computer—before you resell it for example—the directions in our article, Protect and purge your personal files, are sure to help. If you want to make sure that your computer is clean in the “free of viruses and malicious software” sense of the word, the tools available in this guide on the Microsoft Security website are a great place to start.

Decide which programs to purge

The first step is to decide which programs you no longer need. You may want to keep only the programs you use regularly. For example, has it been a year since your child touched that action game? Chances are you still have the original CDs anyway (if you want to reinstall it later), so perhaps it’s time to wipe it off the hard disk.

If you don’t know the purpose of a program that’s on your hard drive, you can always use your favorite search engine (for example, Bing) to see what it is. For example, if you don’t plan to buy a camcorder, remove any preinstalled video-editing software that may have come bundled on your PC.

If it helps, make a list of programs you want to keep and others you can do away with or store on disk.


Delete unused programs, starting from the Start menu

While deleting programs is easy, many novice computer users believe they can be removed by simply deleting the program’s icon from the desktop. This method doesn’t work because the icon is only a shortcut to the real program, which consists of many files.

You can uninstall programs from your computer by using one of two methods, both located on the Start menu.

Uninstall from the All Programs list

Click the Start menu, and then click All Programs (or Program Files), to see a list of programs installed on your computer. Programs installed as part of a program group are identified by a folder icon in the list. When you click the program group, you will usually see an option that enables you to remove or uninstall the program. Click this option, and follow the onscreen wizard to safely remove the program from your PC. You may be asked to restart your computer. Only click to restart after you save any files that are open.

Uninstall from Control Panel

Some programs don’t give you the option to uninstall them from a program group. No problem. In these cases, here’s what you do.

  1. On the Start menu, click Control Panel, and then under Programs, do the following:
    • Windows 7 and Windows Vista users: Click Uninstall a Program.
    • Windows XP users: Click Add or Remove Programs.

    It may take a few seconds for this page to open, but when it appears, you’ll see a long alphabetical list of installed programs.

  2. When you see the name of a program you no longer want on your hard disk, click it, and then do the following:
    • Windows 7 and Windows Vista users: Click Uninstall.
    • Windows XP users: Click the tab to the right of the program, which says Remove or Change/Remove.
  3. Follow the prompts. A progress bar shows you how long it will take to safely remove the program. When it’s finished, you will see the list again.

Go through the list, but leave those programs that you are unsure of. And don’t remove a program group if you use one of the programs. For example, if you use Microsoft Word, so don’t uninstall Microsoft Office because Word is part of it.

When you uninstall a program, you may also get a message that says that uninstalling the program may remove a file that is shared by another program. To be safe, keep these suggested files on your PC (they shouldn’t take up much room on your hard disk, anyway). When you uninstall a game, the program may ask if you want to keep saved game files (that is, a bookmark of your progress). If you think that you will reinstall and play this game again, you can choose to keep these files.

Quick tip:
Your PC automatically creates restore points while you use your computer. That way, if you accidentally delete a program that you want to keep, you can restore your PC back to an earlier time to get the program back. To restore, on the Start menu, click All Programs (or Program Files), click Accessories, and then click System Tools. Click System Restore, and the program will guide you through the steps.


Deleting files

This article focuses on uninstalling entire programs, but it’s even easier to delete individual files. If your musical tastes have changed since you went through that country-and-western stage, you can easily delete downloaded MP3 files, or at least burn them to a CD to free space on your PC.

Once you’re inside (My) Computer or Windows Explorer, simply highlight the files that you no longer want on your hard disk and press the DELETE key, or right-click the file name, and select Delete. This will send all your unwanted files to the Recycle Bin for safekeeping—until you’re sure that you no longer want them. To free space on your computer, you’ll need to empty the Recycle Bin periodically. To empty the Recycle Bin, right-click the icon on your desktop, and click Empty Recycle Bin.

Quick tips:
If you’ve downloaded a .zip or .exe file from the Web, and then installed the program on your hard disk, you can delete the original file.

And here’s a final tip for keeping your computer lean. If you want to free even more room on your hard disk, get rid of the temporary files that your computer amasses over time. Go to Computer (or My Computer) or Windows Explorer, and right-click the letter associated with your hard disk (usually C:). Click Properties, and then click Disk Cleanup. For more information, read Optimize your computer for peak performance.

http://www.microsoft.com/athome/setup/cleansweep.aspx

11 tips for social networking safety

Microsoft has done a great job with this writeup about social networking safety. Its targeted at home users and should be read by all.

11 tips for social networking safety

Social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live Spaces are services people can use to connect with others to share information like photos, videos, and personal messages.

As the popularity of these social sites grows, so do the risks of using them. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals follow the traffic.

Read these tips to help protect yourself when you use social networks.

  1. Use caution when you click links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social website. Treat links in messages on these sites as you would links in email messages. (For more information, see Approach links in email with caution and Click Fraud: Cybercriminals want you to ‘like’ it.)
  2. Know what you’ve posted about yourself. A common way that hackers break into financial or other accounts is by clicking the “Forgot your password?” link on the account login page. To break into your account, they search for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, home town, high school class, or mother’s middle name. If the site allows, make up your own password questions, and don’t draw them from material anyone could find with a quick search. For more information, see:
  3. Don’t trust that a message is really from who it says it’s from. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they’re from your friends, but aren’t. If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, use an alternate method to contact your friend to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks. For more information, see Scammers exploit Facebook friendships.
  4. To avoid giving away email addresses of your friends, do not allow social networking services to scan your email address book. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your email address and password to find out if your contacts are on the network. The site might use this information to send email messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone you’ve ever sent an email message to with that email address. Social networking sites should explain that they’re going to do this, but some do not.
  5. Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to your site through email or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen. For more tips about how to avoid phishing scams, see How to reduce the risk of online fraud.
  6. Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.
  7. Choose your social network carefully. Evaluate the site that you plan to use and make sure you understand the privacy policy. Find out if the site monitors content that people post. You will be providing personal information to this website, so use the same criteria that you would to select a site where you enter your credit card.
  8. Assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to a computer.
  9. Be careful about installing extras on your site. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the web. For more information, see Before you download files, help protect your computer.
  10. Think twice before you use social networking sites at work. For more information, see Be careful with social networking sites, especially at work.
  11. Talk to your kids about social networking. If you’re a parent of children who use social networking sites, see How to help your kids use social websites more safely.

Free online safety brochures
These downloadable brochures tell you how to help prevent and correct privacy and online safety issues related to social networking.

http://www.microsoft.com/protect/parents/social/socialnet.aspx

Microsoft Training

Its been a long time since a post was made.

I have been training hard to formalise my IT skills.
During the last 8 months i have been training and completing Microsoft Exams. Below is a snippet of my transcript.

?Microsoft Certification Status

Systems Administrator Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Microsoft Certified IT Professional Enterprise Support Technician
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist Microsoft Windows Vista: Configuration
Professional MCP 2.0 — Certified Professional

Microsoft Certification Exams Completed Successfully

70-291 Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-622 Pro: Microsoft Desktop Support – ENTERPRISE
70-620 TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client
70-290 Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
70-270 Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

I really enjoyed the study and would highly encourage anyone in the IT field to get certified for their current occupation or to gain a new job/promotion.

To read more about Microsoft Certifications please visit http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/default.aspx

No Internet Connection – WinSock XP Fix

WinSock XP Fix offers a last resort if your Internet connectivity has been corrupted due to invalid or removed registry entries. It can often cure the problem of lost connections after the removal of Adware components or improper uninstall of firewall applications or other tools that modify the XP network and Winsock settings. If you encounter connection problems after removing network related software, Adware or after registry clean-up; and all other ways fail, then give WinSock XP Fix a try. It can create a registry backup of your current settings, so it is fairly safe to use. We actually tested it on a test machine that was having a Winsock problem due to some Adware removal, and after running the utility and rebooting, the connectivity was restored.

Download it here: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/winsockxpfix.html

Honestly, this utility has stopped me from going grey over the years due to hours of troubleshooting network connection issues.

Forget Your Windows XP/VISTA Password????

This is a utility to reset the password of any user that has a valid (local) account on your system.

  • You do not need to know the old password to set a new one.
  • It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot off a floppy disk or CD.
  • The boot disk includes stuff to access NTFS and FAT/FAT32 partitions.
  • Will detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts!
  • It is also an almost fully functional registry editor!
  • And the best part? It’s FREE.

    Check it out: http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/

    Rocktown

    I have recently updated the Rocktown website. Vince was a pleasure to deal with and very helpful on what he wanted from his website.

    Below are some of the comments i got from Vince about the service i provided him.

    Have you had any positive feedback from the new design from your staff, family or customers??? If so please elaborate what you have heard.
    “Yes the staff think it looks much better, more modern.”

    How would you rate my communication and ability to understand your ideas and implement them into the website?
    “Yes, good. Everything went as we wanted, your reaction was quick.”

    Please check out the website and if you ever need anything music related give Rocktown a call.

    www.rocktown.com.au

    rocktown

    Hard Drive Bulk Order

    Doing a hard drive order again after great successes with the last one. Prices a little bit cheaper this month.

    WD 320Gb SATA2 HDD 16Mb cache $120
    WD 500Gb SATA2 HDD 16Mb cache $140
    WD 750Gb SATA2 HDD 16Mb cache $250
    WD 1Tb SATA2 HDD 16Mb cache $360

     

    All New with full Manufacturers Warranty

    All orders must be in by Tuesday (20th) evening, hard drives should arrive early the following week.

    Thanks.

    Default Router Password Database

    Plenty of times I have been stuck on a job where I cannot remember the default password for a particular router. Recently I have discovered this site and its a absolute godsend that I want to share it with everyone.

    www.routerpasswords.com

    February Special – Monitors

    Samsung 740B 17″ TFT 8ms LCD

    Specs

    $310

    Viewsonic VA1912WB 19″ TFT LCD

    Specs

    $330

    Viewsonic VA2226W 22″ TFT LCD

    Specs

    $370

    Back To School Specials

    Lenovo Desktop PC

    Intel Core Duo 2140 1.6GHz CPU
    2GB DDR2 667
    160GB Western Digital SATA HDD
    Onboard Graphics
    Lenovo DVDRW-DL, LAN, 6 x USB Ports
    Microsoft Vista Premium O/S
    Lenovo 19” LCD
    Lenovo Keyboard and Mouse
    Lenovo Desktop Speakers
    FREE 2Gb Kingston USB2 Flash Drive

    $950

    lenovo

    ASUS A8SC

    Intel Core™ 2 Duo Processor T7300(2.0 GHz)
    Intel PRO/Wireless 802.11a/b/g 10/100 Bluetooth
    nVidia GeForce Go8400M (128MB VRAM)
    Display 14”WXGA ColourShine
    120GB 5400rpm Harddisk SATA
    1GB DDR2 667MHz
    Super Multi DVD +/-RW
    Vista Business OS
    FREE 2Gb Kingston USB2 Flash Drive

    $1500

    asus

    Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Acedemic Edition

    Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Outlook

    $285

     

     

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