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How to keep Vista running smoothly

I’ve noticed that Vista is the most problematic of operating systems to come out of Microsoft in a long time.   It had a lot of bad press, and when it shipped, it shipped on poor hardware.  Things have gotten better in the few years that it’s been out, and I don’t think it deserves the rap it has received, though  I’m not a huge fan of it myself.

First things first: stopping turning it off mid-shutdown.  Sure, if it goes on for hours at a time, go ahead and pull the plug, but, if it doesn’t boot afterwards, follow these steps:

Defragment the hard drive – the built in defragment tool isn’t that great.  This “How to Defrag in Windows Vista” is a good article instructing you on using the Vista defrag tool to its limit, but I like another tool better.  It used to be known as JKDefrag, now known as “MyDefrag” , and is one of the best available Windows defragmentation programs available today, and it’s free.   Many technicians use it, and employ it in some scripting tool or another.

Apply all the Windows updates you are missing. This may have been what caused the machine to not shut down in the first place.  However, not having these updates can cause you even more problems.  Personally, if at first you don’t succeed, try again, but slowly.  By this, I mean use Microsoft update to download and install one at a time.  After each installation, reboot the computer, and attempt the next installation.

Another tool to run is “CCleaner”, another free utility designed to optimize and clean your system.  It deletes your temporary files, removes old and unused Registry entries (which can bog down your system), and problematic third party applications.

There’s a lot more that can help you keep your computer running smoothly, sometimes better than new.  I’ll be sharing additional tips soon. Thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated.

Veteran Web Hosting – Manderso Consulting’s Web Host

Manderso Consulting is now hosted by Veteran Web Hosting, a small hosting company, catering to everyone.  I chose this host based on the owner, Daniel Hand, who also runs the Association of Computer Business Owners, and because I knew I could trust his plans and support.  Moving my wordpress blog to his site was easy, and he’s quick to offer support if the need comes up. Anyone who needs web hosting services should use Veteran Web Hosting.

Add your WordPress blog to Google searches

This post on this blog totally saved my bacon.  I”ve been screwing with verifying my blog with the Google Webmaster tools for longer than I”d like to admit, and had it working at one point, then lost it.  Now it’s logged for posterity.

To clarify the post: Login to the dashboard of your site, click appearance, and click edit, and select header.php.  I added the meta tag from google directly underneath the head profile… tag.  Google saw it, and is pleased, finally.

(Hopefully)What to do if you get hacked

My personal Facebook profile got hacked tonight, and while that was weird, the after-affects are very frustrating.  The Facebook account is suspended, pending an investigation (very dramatic!).  I”m also changing a bunch of passwords on other accounts. A friend of mine suggested using PassPack.com, which bills itself as an online password manager, tags and a password generator, plus additional features.  I”ve been using1Password for the last few years, and until now, had been using it to store the passwords that I generated.  Though now of course, I’m using it to create the passwords. By the way, I noticed that the account was hacked by logging into it and having a few chat windows pop up.  They were talking about the old scam of “I’m trapped in London without cash, I was just mugged and need you to send cash. I’m waiting to hear what Facebook has to say, but I’m open to suggestions as to how this happened.

How easy is it to get spyware? Very!

I spoke with a client the other day, who had purchased himself a new laptop about a week prior.  He asked me for antivirus/antispyware advice, as he had gotten a scare from malware. A note about this individual; he’s very detail oriented.  He went to get a replacement background for his desktop and hit a website that offered backgrounds, and apparently extras.  His antivirus (this particular software I’m not a fan of, but I have to say it did a good job) screamed that he had downloaded some malware, and to click such and such button to remove it.  This antivirus software was unable to remove it, and he was in a quandry.  He did some investigating and downloaded MalwareBytes, which removed the yucky. After hearing the story, I urged him to purchase the full suite of software, which will also monitor the workstation in the background while he”s working, and upgrade to another antivirus software. The reason I bring this up, is to illustrate how easy it is to get something nasty on your machine.  Something so simple as downloading a wallpaper from a questionable site, by an individual who pays a lot of attention, but didn’t know what to look for, also put his machine (and his wallet) at great risk. By the way, I get my wallpapers from DeviantArt, Flickr, and VladStudio.Here”s a good site for help on keeping your computer safe @ GeeksToGo

Ooma Setup

I opened the box, read the directions (gasp), it says to go to http://ooma.com/activate to activate the telo.  I do so, and go through the prompts and select a new telephone number.  I choose a number with a location close enough to me, and sign up for the 3 months of free premiere service. I plug-in to network (behind the router) plug-in to phone, power on.  Lights come on, and the Ooma logo flashes red for about 1 minute, enough to freak me out.  Then I read in the directions that it’s supposed to do this as it’s booting.  Sure enough, it changes to blue after a minute.  All the lights stay on for about 5 minutes, presumably to allow the ooma to update it’s firmware. Funny enough, when you take the phone off the hook (assuming you’ve plugged it into the Telo), it will give you a little song (I suppose the Ooma theme?), and a dial tone.  You can dial all you want, but the line never wakes up to start ringing. The lights finally go off, and bottom row is scrolling.  The ooma light is flashing red, and lights 1 and 2 come on.  Then the rest of the lights come on (this is a reboot, I assume) And the first call is a success.  The other end heard me very well, said the signal broke up maybe 2 times (during a three minute call), but not enough that he couldn’t understand me.  About 30 minutes after the initial call, there was a call to the Ooma from Ooma, but I missed it.  Then I picked up the line, and pushed the button for voicemail, and it gave me the welcome message from Ooma.  Very nice of them, and it sounded great. Now to figure out how long to test this before porting my land line.  Also, need to find out whether it will work with my current alarm system.