How to Speed Up Your Computer
Computers are constantly evolving. In a world where technological innovations are moving faster than ever before, your computer’s speed should be no exception. The days of dial-up, and even low-speed Wi-Fi, are largely antiquated and gone. With these advancements in connectivity and hardware, your computer should always run super quickly... right? Unfortunately, we both know that that’s not always the case. Computer manufacturers rarely prioritize speed over everything else, and because of that, we so often find ourselves in the multi-generations old issue of screaming at your computer because it won’t even Google something quickly let alone download a file. Luckily, we have some tips on how you can speed your computer up and stop dealing with those spinning beach balls and blue rings.
Let’s start with some things you can do that are totally free and won’t pose any cost to you: Firstly we recommend deleting unnecessary files from your main hard drive. Whether it be a solid state or a hard disk drive, your computer may be performing slowly due to the clutter of unneeded files. Scanning your computer for viruses also helps, as removing those viruses could and likely will speed up your computer. Also, if you have a lot of programs open at the same time, this can really slow down your computer, so try keeping your opened programs to a minimum, and see if you notice any difference. This is especially likely to be a culprit if you use particularly taxing programs such as video editors. Keeping your operating system up to date can help as well, because using a computer on an outdated foundation will likely cause various performance issues. It’s also very important to never download a program that promises to speed your computer up for you unless you know for certain that it’s legitimate. There are services such as the anti-virus Bitdefender that comes with a package for performance optimization. Choosing a less than reputable program for this, however, could give you viruses or malware.
If those free, less involved options don’t work for you, you may need to go a bit further in how you improve your speed. Namely, your computer’s hardware might need to be upgraded. The number one hardware upgrade that we recommend is from a regular hard drive to a solid-state drive, or SSD. This will make your computer so much faster with loading and opening programs, assets, and any other files you end up storing on that drive. Our second recommendation is to install larger amounts of RAM into your computer. RAM is also commonly referred to as your computer’s memory. Upgrading memory basically makes the computer a better multitasker so that having multiple programs open won’t be such an issue. Of course, sometimes even a hardware upgrade can’t solve an issue if your computer is too old or too beat up. If your goal is to pump some more life into a decade old computer, we recommend having a professional look at first to let you know if it would be a waste of your money.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here at Nice Guy Technology. And, if you’re a business owner, there’s no reason that IT should be yet another responsibility for you. Please give us a call, we want to know how we can help make your life a little bit easier.
What exactly are the cookies and cache and what do they do? Well, when you visit certain websites, they’ll create what’s called a cookie. Unfortunately, not the baked treat cookie. Although that would be awesome. Rather, these cookies are files that save your browsing information so that things can run and load faster. The cache is pretty similar. It keeps pieces of and parts of the different pages you visit in its memory so that it can load faster the next time you visit those pages.
The problem is that cookies and the cache can do exactly the opposite of what they’re supposed to by clogging up your browser, especially if the data is older. This is why clearing them could help speed things up or fix problems you might be having with the site. Here’s how you can clear the cache and cookies:
I’ll be showing you how to do this first with Chrome, and secondly using Firefox. Other browsers should work quite similarly. In Chrome, first click the “more” button in the top right corner. It looks like 3 dots stacked on top of each other. Then go down here and hover the mouse over “more tools.” Mouse over here and click on the “clear browsing data” button. It’ll open up the settings tab here, and if you want to preserve your browser and download history, you can go to the advanced section here and uncheck everything except for “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files.” Then click clear data at the bottom right of the popup, and you’re done!
On Firefox, you’ll want to click on the “gear icon” in the top right corner. This takes you to a menu that has several different tabs on the side. Click the Privacy and Security tab and scroll down until you see “Cookies and site data.” From here you will have the options for clearing data, managing data, and managing permissions as well as a box that can be checked that allows Firefox to delete the cookies and site data when Firefox is closed. To clear the cookies and cached images, just click “clear data,” then on the next menu, click “clear.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us here, at Nice Guy Technology! We’re here to help.
Spring Cleaning the Nice Guy Way
We’re in the middle of Spring now, and despite the world being turned upside down, I think that the Spring-cleaning mindset is just as important as ever. In fact, more important than it ever has been! We’re all a little, or a lot, stir crazy, and setting some goals for yourself while in quarantine can do nothing but help. That’s why I’d like to give you some ideas for Spring-cleaning your tech.
I know that we’re probably nowhere near the first people to recommend physically cleaning your technology right now, but that’s because it really is a good idea to get those germ-infested screens nice and pristine! First of all, we recommend using canned air to get all that dust and debris out of the interior of your computers and keyboards. Dust accumulates in these areas much faster than you’d think, and with enough buildup and time, can and likely will do damage to your devices. To clean the grime off of screens and the outside of your tech devices, you can either use a solution made for that, or use a glass cleaning solution as long as it doesn’t have ammonia. You’ll also want to use a microfiber cloth to avoid being too rough.
Your hardware isn’t the only thing that needs attention, the software side of things should get a touch up as well. Check to see if your device needs software updates, or if your applications need updated. Also, one of the most important things you can do to ensure lasting security for your data is to back everything up! Systems, devices, and files all need backed up, and only then can you be sure that no matter what happens to your device, you’ll be able to find everything you otherwise would have lost. You’ll also want to delete all of the applications you no longer use. We’ve all downloaded applications that we wanted to use a year ago and haven’t touched since, but they unnecessarily take up space and can slow your computer down. Dormant apps could even pose a security risk depending on how secure they are to begin with!
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment on this video or reach out to us here, at Nice Guy Technology! We’re here to help.
If you’re like me, you’re opening up the same few internet tabs every time you get on your computer. This is especially likely if you’re working from home right now, since you’d be using certain websites over and over again for your job. To make things just that much easier, I want to show you how you can set your web browser to automatically open certain pages when you get on.
I use Chrome, so that’s what we’ll be using here, but most other browsers are going to have really similar instructions. The first thing you want to do after opening the browser is click on the “more” button located in the top right corner, it looks like 3 dots stacked on top of each other. Near the bottom here you can find the “settings” button, and that’s where we want to go. Scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find a section called “On Startup.” If you click on “Open a specific page or set of pages” you’ll see the option to add a new page or use your current pages. One way to set this up is to go ahead and open every tab that you want to open automatically from now on. Then if you click on “Use current pages,” it will include every tab that’s open aside from the settings one that you’re currently using. You could also click on “Add a new page” where you’ll need to put in a URL. Do this by going to a page: Nice Guy Technology’s “News & Updates” for instance! – random example – and copy that URL. Then all you have to do is paste it back into settings, and voila: Everything you want is there right off the bat.
This can seem like a small thing, but by saving you a few seconds every time you go online, it really adds up quickly. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment on this video or reach out to us here, at Nice Guy Technology! We’re here to help.
How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers
Getting new computers for your business is exciting, but what happens to the old ones? Depending on the age, some people sell them, others throw them out. That’s the easy part. The problem is the sensitive data on them. There are passwords, account numbers, license keys, customer details, medical information, tax returns, browser history… the works! Each computer, whether laptop, tablet or desktop, contains a treasure trove of sensitive information that cybercriminals would love to get their hands on.
Unfortunately, hitting delete on your files doesn’t actually make them disappear, nor does waving a strong magnet over the drive. These mistakes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years.
Most businesses are unaware that specialized data cleanup is necessary, others think calling someone to collect the computers will cover all the bases. A 2016 experiment proved just how dangerous the situation can be when they bought 200 used hard drives and found 67% held unwiped, unencrypted sensitive data, including sales projection spreadsheets, CRM records, and product inventories. Frighteningly, they didn’t need any special hacking skills to get this data, it was all right there and helpfully labelled. It’s also not surprising that with simple data recovery tools, people have also been able to access British NHS medical records and missile data, all waiting patiently on a discarded hard drive.
Why hitting delete doesn’t help
Data on a hard drive works like a book with an index page. Every time data is written, it pops a quick entry into the index so when you need it again, it knows where to look. The index is used for files you create as well as system files you can’t even see. Sensible, right? Except if you delete a file it’s more like changing the index to say nothing is on page 10 and you can write something else there when you’re ready. But if you manually flip to page 10, you’ll find the information is still there - the file still exists until it’s been written over - it’s the index reference that got deleted.
Wiping data before disposal
There are software tools you can get to do it yourself, as well as dedicated security firms, but your best option is to choose an IT business you know and trust. With that in mind, a methodical approach is required to ensure not a single drive is left untreated. You don’t want to leave data behind, or even clues that a motivated person could extrapolate any private information from. The approach might include using checklists to maintain security, or dedicated processes to guide each step in decommissioning. Careful records should also be kept, including who signs off on completion of the retirement, and where the computers are sent afterwards. A proper inventory and auditing process may slow the rollout of the new computers slightly, but it’s always better than having your old data come back to haunt you.
We can migrate any needed data, back up the information to your server or external drive, then wipe or destroy the hard drives for you. We can assess the age of your old computers and either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction of computer recyclers. Plus, the quicker you dispose of your old computers, the easier the process will be. Recyclers will be able to send less of your equipment to landfill, and you’ll be less likely to forget how valuable the drive contents are.
Upgrading your business computers should be a happy time for you and your employees, so with a little forward planning, you’ll be able to keep everyone smiling and all your data secure.
Need help with your old business hardware? Call us today at 614-233-1648!
Spam's new flavor - iOS Calendar
Just when we thought spam could only be found in emails and on grocery store shelves, it hits us in the calendar! It's super annoying but harmless enough.
Apple is working on a fix but as of today it hasn't yet been pushed out. In the meantime, if you've gotten some suspiciously strange calendar notifications, we've got a quick video showing you how to get rid of them.
If you have the kind of Spam that you picked up at the grocery store, there's not much we can do to help. ;)
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