Category Archives: Computers

Windows 10 Default Settings Issue

Microsoft has responded to Windows 10 users’ privacy fears by insisting that it does not scan emails, messages or files for advertising purposes.

When Windows 10 launched some users complained that Microsoft had compromised their privacy due to its default settings.

It was later revealed that even when all data collection settings were turned off Windows 10 still sent identifiable data to Microsoft.

Now Microsoft has moved to clarify the types of data it collects. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Windows and Devices said: “

No matter what privacy options you choose, neither Windows 10 nor any other Microsoft software scans the content of your email or other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you.”

Myerson explained that Windows 10 collects two types of data. The first is designed to help Microsoft and third-parties identify bugs or problems in software – items such as crash logs, system information and other diagnostic data.

“This doesn’t include any of your content or files,” says Myerson. “And we take several steps to avoid collecting any information that directly identifies you, such as your name, email address or account ID.”

Behavioral data for Cortana and personalization

Windows 10 also collects information on user habits in the name of personalization. Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana collects the most, but it and other settings that remember preferences such as favorite sports teams and commonly typed words can be disabled.

This type of personalization and behavioral data is commonly used by other platforms for digital assistants and other machine learning processes that adjust to the user, such as Google Now, Siri and autocorrect software for keyboards.

However, when all personalization features were turned off Windows 10 was found to send personally identifiable data associated with Microsoft’s OneDrive and an unknown content delivery network.

Microsoft has been under fire from privacy advocates with some describing Windows 10 as the most invasive Windows yet. It has also seen issues with compulsory automatic updates, and has been seen to download itself onto user machines without permission, but is considered to be the best Windows version yet.

What Is A PC Driver?

Your computer contains all kinds of hardware, such as disk drives, DVD/CD-ROM drives, network adapters, and sound and video cards, as well as external devices, such as printers, keyboards, monitors, and USB drives. When you install an operating system (OS), such as Windows or Linux, that OS needs to be able to talk to the hardware in your computer to display items, play sounds and videos, and write data to and read data from an external drive, as well as other tasks.

That’s where drivers come in. A driver is a small piece of software that acts as a translator between a device and the OS and programs that use the device. The driver tells the OS, and installed software programs, how to talk to the hardware in your computer. For example, when you buy a printer, it usually comes with a driver on a CD (or, in recent years, a URL for download the latest driver software from the internet) that tells the OS how to print information on each page. Without the driver, the printer will not know how to interpret the data sent to it, if the data even makes it to the printer.

NOTE: Many drivers such as keyboard drivers and mouse drivers are already installed with the OS when you buy a computer.

The drivers installed in your system to talk to the devices are managed using the Device Manager. To access the Device Manager in Windows 7, enter “device manager” (without the quotes) in the Search box on the Start menu. Click on the Device Manager link under Control Panel.

All your hardware device categories, such as Display adapters, DVD/CD-ROM drives, and Mice and other pointing devices, are listed and the specific devices are listed below each heading.

If you are having trouble with a device, it’s helpful to know the version of the driver currently installed in your system. You may need to email this information to the manufacturer, or tell them over the phone. It’s also helpful if you are trying to find a solution yourself on the internet on various sites and forums.

  • To find out the version of a driver, right-click on the driver in the Device Manager and select Properties from the popup menu.

On the Properties dialog box, click the Driver tab. The Driver Provider, Date, Version, and Signer are listed. You can find out more information about the driver using the Driver Details button. Notice that you can also update the driver from this tab, disable the driver, uninstall the driver, and even roll back the driver software to the previously installed version, in case an update caused a problem with the device.

 

What Is Network Transfer Speed?

I recently bought a NAS (network attached storage) device from Synology, connected it up to my network and started transferring files. The first thing I noticed was how slow the network transfer speed was. I was copying over some large video files and it was taking forever! I decided to check the transfer speed between my NAS and PC to see the rate the transfer.

I downloaded a program called LAN Speed Test, which had gotten some excellent reviews, and tried it out. Sure enough, my transfer speed was less than 1 MB/s! Note that is megabytes per second, not megabits per second. I’ll go into more detail on Mbps vs MBps and all that fun stuff. After doing some research, I figured out what I was doing wrong and eventually got the transfer rate up to a super speedy 40 MB/s! Technically, you can only get that speed if you’re using gigabit ethernet. I’ll explain more about that below too.

LAN Data Rate Units

First, let’s get the numbers clear. There is standard 100 Mbps ethernet, which is what most people have at home. 100 Mbps is 100 megabits per second. That is translated into 12.5 megabytes per second (MBps or MB/s). It’s much easier to convert to MBs since that is something we are all familiar with rather than bits. This means that if you don’t have a gigabit router and gigabit network card on your computers or NAS, the maximum speed you’ll be able to transfer a file across your home network is 12.5 MBps.

Also, in the real world, it’s impossible to actually get that theoretical maximum. You’ll probably end up somewhere around 4 to 8 MBps. If you are getting something really low like 1 MBps or less, there are reasons for that which I will mention below. Note that even if your computer has a gigabit ethernet card, you won’t get that higher transfer speed unless all the devices that the data is being transmitted through support gigabit.

If you have a gigabit ethernet card on your computer, your router or switch is gigabit and the receiving device also has a gigabit ethernet card, your max transfer speed jumps to a whopping 1000 Mbps or 125 MBps. Again, you won’t get that theoretical speed, but you should be getting anywhere from 30 to 60 MBps depending on the type of files you are transferring and your network setup. Let’s go into more details about that.

Transfer Speed Depends on What?

So as we mentioned above, network transfer speed depends on the type of ethernet you have on your network, but that’s not the only factor. There are several other factors that determine your final transfer speed between two devices.

Hard Drive Speed

One major limiting factor is the hard drive speed. If you have a computer with a 5400 RPM, your transfer rate will be a lot slower than if you have two SSD drives in a RAID 0 configurations! How so? Well, it depends. I’ve heard of some friends getting close to 100 MB/s using some pretty insane setups. On my network, even with gigabit ethernet, I only get around 40 MB/s. One of those reasons is because I have slower hard drives.

 

 

Reinstall Windows Media For Free

Sooner or later, you’ll need to repair, refresh, or reinstall Windows — a task that will require your original Windows installation/setup files.

But most new PCs no longer come with classic Windows setup discs; the vital recovery files are typically stored on the hard drive — where they are vulnerable to loss or damage.

Some PC manufacturers include a small utility on their new machines that lets you create setup/installation discs. But these factory images often put back the adware, co-marketed software, branded tools, and other crapware that originally came with the systems.

Fortunately, there’s now a better option. Because of changes in the way Microsoft distributes Windows setup files, all Windows 8 and Windows 7 users — and some Vista users — can now download copies of the full, free, official, 100 percent legitimate Windows install/setup files.

These “virgin” Windows setups are free of OEM add-on software. Moreover, their installation files can be burned to DVDs or copied to flash drives, which can then be used to repair or refresh a Windows system — or, if needed, do a total, from-scratch reinstall of Windows on an empty hard drive.

Windows setup medium doesn’t replace making regular backup images of your system — it is, however, a vital component of your PC-maintenance toolkit.

Microsoft’s new source for Windows ISOs

IT professionals can acquire ISOs via a pricey (around U.S. $700 and up) MSDN subscription, which includes downloads for Windows and other MS software such as Office and Windows Server. And in the past, everyone else could download Windows ISO images via a relatively low-cost TechNet subscription or from online services such as Digital River. Anyone with a legitimate Windows product key could use these ISOs to create a full, complete Windows setup.

But in late 2013, Microsoft shut down its TechNet subscription service; then, last month, it pulled its ISOs from Digital River.

So, what’s a Windows user to do? This article will show you where and how to obtain full, legitimate setup files for Vista, Win7, and Win8.

First requirement: A valid product key

None of the download methods I’ll discuss lets you upgrade from, say, Win7 Home editions to Win7 Pro — or create a bootleg copy of a Windows edition. In some cases, you’ll be required to enter the key before the download step even begins. (Losing product keys can be costly; always keep them in a safe place.)

So before you do anything, find and make note of your current Windows product key. You’ll usually find it on a sticker affixed to the PC, or on the original installation medium (or its packaging), or on ordering info or the receipt.

If you’ve lost records of the key, or if you have one of the newer Win8 PCs that store the product key in the BIOS (not the Registry, as do previous Windows versions), you can use a key-finder tool to dig it out.

 

 

What Is Host File?

The hosts file in Windows is like an address book for your computer. It is loaded into memory (cache) when Windows starts and associates host names, such as www.google.com with IP addresses, such as 74.125.224.72 for Google. The IP address is like the telephone number for that site. However, so we don’t have to remember a string of numbers for every site we want to visit, we enter easy-to-remember host names.

Because the computer uses IP addresses to find sites, it needs to translate the host name for a site into an IP address. If the IP address for a site is in your hosts file associated with a host name, your computer can use that to “call” the site when you enter the host name in your browser’s address bar. If not, your computer must contact a DNS (domain name server) computer on the Internet for the IP address before it can contact the site.

Initially, there are no host name/IP address associations in the hosts file. Examples of the format and layout of the IP addresses and host names are listed in the comments in the file.

If you add host names and their associated IP addresses into the hosts file for sites you visit often, access to those sites becomes faster. Your computer doesn’t have to query DNS servers on the Internet to get the IP addresses for those sites. If there are any sites that don’t have a domain name, you can enter the site’s IP address in your hosts file with a custom domain name which can serve as a “shortcut” to the site.

So how can you use a HOSTS file in Windows? Well, websites can collect various types of information about you as you surf the web. The hosts file can help block sites from tracking you, as well as block ads, banners, third-party cookies, and other annoying parts of web pages.

Each computer has a host address of its own, known as the “localhost” address. The IP address for localhost is 127.0.0.1. This can be used to block sites serving ads or objectionable content by entering a site’s host name in the hosts file and associating it with the localhost IP address. That refers the host name to your own computer, which then thinks it found the site and displayed it already, even though that site was never actually contacted.

 

What Is Windows MAC Address

Do you need to figure out what your MAC address is? I’ll explain how to do that in this article!

So what do you need to do to get your MAC address? It’s pretty simple actually! Let’s start off with getting a PC MAC address:

  • Click on Start and then click Run. In the text box, type in CMD. Click OK.
  • In the DOS window (the black box), type in the following without the quotes: “ipconfig/all” and press Enter.

You’ll notice a lot of stuff that might not make sense! Basically, this command gives you all the information for any network card in your system including the wired (Ethernet) network adapter, bluetooth adapter, any virtual adapters and the wireless adapter. So you’ll have to look under the specific heading you need because each adapter will have it’s own MAC address.

The MAC address is usually the last item in the list for each adapter and it’s called Physical Address. You’ll see a set of pairs of numbers separated by colons, i.e. 09:F2:96:3E…etc. This is your MAC address for that particular adapter.

You can then use the MAC address in your router settings if you are setting up MAC address filtering, which allows you to specify only certain devices that can connect to your WiFi network. Note that every device connected to your network has a MAC address including smartphones, printers, etc.

OS X Mac Address

If you have an Apple computer like a Macbook or Mac Mini, you can get your Mac address following the steps below.

  • Open System Preferences and click on Network.
  • Click on the connection that you want the MAC address for and then click on theAdvanced button at the bottom right.
  • Then click on the Hardware tab and you’ll see MAC Address written right at the top.

 

X Yosemite 10.10.3

Finally, Apple unveiled its latest operating system version 10.10.3 for Mac computers which is called X Yosemite operating system. And as far as the computer industry is concern, this operating system has a lot more to offer and is quite a pretty huge one compared to other operating system versions. The big revelation is just in perfect timing for Apple’s 12-inch Macbook.

For starters, the X Yosemite version 10.10.3 operating system features a new photo app that replaces the clunky and old iPhone at the same time, enables you to browse images by location and time in numerous new views. Storing photos to your iCloud library with original resolution and format is also possible with this latest version and you can also access all of them iCloud.com using any kind of Apple device.

It’s not a consolation to present Lightroom users and former Aperture user for this matter, but its Photo app introduces some consumer-level, and indigenous tweaking for images based on the slider adjustments similar to iOS 8.2 as well.

This newest desktop also Look Up Spotlight suggestions, improved connection reliability for Bluetooth, and Safari privacy and stability updates. There are numerous listed fixes for widely known problems included in the Yosemite OS as well. Wireless stability fixes are good example for this. Aside from that, Apple Yosemite version 10.10.3 also performs the following:

  • Enhances compatibility with Wi-Fi network environment
  • Enhances Wi-Fi connectivity and performance in several usage scenarios

There are plenty of reports surrounding the Internet today regarding user’s complaints on the Wi-Fi stability and performance of most Apple devices using both Yosemite versions 10.10.1 and 10.10.2 that includes unspecified Wi-Fi fix.

However, the version 10.10.3 of X Yosemite operating system also repairs a specific problem that makes Mac computers unable to response during start-up, and has few enterprise-level upgrades as well.

If you want to upgrade to this latest operating system version, you can use the Updates option from the App Store of your Macs to gain access to the latest OS X version, along with some other software upgrades available. You may also visit Apple’s Support Downloads to get copy of the installer needed. But be sure to have a backup for the operating system so that in case something wrong happens on the process, you can always start again by restoring its previous OS version. Mac computers tend to slow down just like any other Windows machine out there, that’s why it is very important to clean and install updates sometime in order to avoid problems that could harm your system and also your computer device.

 

Phone Call Scam Modus

Phone call scam is very popular today as many computer users become new victims every day. But one thing that you should be worried about is the gradual increase in the number of victims for this type of scam. So it’s best to know how these scammers work and how their mode of operation is in order to gain more awareness and become more vigilant. Here are just some of the phone call scammer’s “modus operandi”:

Wield Drama Of Phone Scammers

Scammers often have various kinds of modus operandi to trick their victims. Each of them has its own drama and style of scamming ordinary computer users. After talking to the user over the phone and telling them that virus is present inside their system, the scammer will then suggest helping you eliminate the said virus. They will offer you system scan to track down and eliminate the harmful viruses in exchange of a specific amount of money for the repair service rendered. Usually, the repair service fee is quite cheaper than the actual payment on most on-site computer repair shop. Thinking that they saved a lot from the repair fee, the innocent computer user would now accept the deal. The caller will then ask to gain remote access on the user’s system, or if not, they would instruct the user to do a couple of steps to complete the procedure.

The truth about this drama is that Windows operating system has its own built-in program that can be used to scan the entire system, eliminate viruses and other malicious software, repair system errors, and fix any problem inside. All of this are for free and is already included the moment you first purchase the operating system. So you are paying the scammers with huge amount of money for software services which are supposedly free of charge.

Windows Processes

Tech support scammers sometimes make use of various Windows processes on their scamming operations. There are instances wherein the scammers will instruct their victim to execute DOS commands to show the unique ID of the user’s computer system. They will then let them verify that it was the correct system that was infected by a dangerous virus. They will then instruct the PC user to check if the unique ID matches with the one that shows up in front of their screen. What you didn’t know is that you are already exposing your entire system to the scammers unknowingly, providing the scammers with great chance to steal any of the user’s personal information like bank accounts, credit card number, account password and usernames, and many others for their own use.

 

A Click To Keep You Safe

Every day we are peppered with the television advertisements stating that one click loads a software program that tests your slow computer for viruses and spyware. It then speeds it up by removing them. These tests are free, but the removal and speed up is not. The true question is how effective is this virus removal?

It is possible for a computer program downloaded from the Internet to detect viruses and spyware. Internet downloads to detect and/or remove viruses have been provided by Trend Micro, Panda Software, and others for years. These to me are 2nd Opinion Virus Scans. If you primary virus/spyware scanning software Symantec, McAfee, AVG, Avast or others seems not to work, then using an Internet virus scanner that has the latest virus signatures is an effective way to check for and to catch virus and spyware escapees.

One definite fact illustrated to me every day is that no one virus detection and removal program detects and removes all viruses. You can run one program, then another and several more, only to find that the last program still detects and removes some viruses or spyware. Each program has its own plan of attack on how to do the best job. However, some viruses and spyware are always missed. So the $50 or $139 question is can one click PC repair programs catch enough viruses and spyware for your computer to be fully repaired. It is likely that the computer is repaired for that day, but probably not for that year.

Viruses and spyware tend to party in your computer. They invite all their virus and spyware friends into your computer for a giant beer keg party. Over time the computer in-perceptively slows down until it needs to be repaired. Once a virus and spyware has made its home in your computer it builds defences against detection and removal.

The first virus that prevented removal I encountered was the log-in to Windows and then Windows immediately logs you out removal prevention virus. It is like a log-in then log-out revolving door. Since you cannot log-in to Windows, you are unable to remove the virus or spyware. This trick is easy to repair. The trick has now all but disappeared only to be replaced by others like the virus that blocks EXE files from running. When EXE files are blocked, the error messages Windows displays are highly misleading lies. They are like politicians lying to their constituents to get re-elected rather than telling them the hard truth. Not only can you never trust a politician but you also can never trust a Windows error message. How does one click Internet virus removal software protect you from or fix this? One click Internet virus removal software could run because they are mostly Java and ActiveX scripts and not EXE files.

Windows corruption can easily be caused by simple changes to the Windows Registry (the primary control mechanism in Windows for Windows and all other programs). Such changes can cause severe dementia to Windows. Other configuration changes can block Internet access or prevent your computer from going to specific sites.

Some viruses are root kits that load into a computer’s memory at the start of the initial boot up process. Some root kits install themselves in the Master Boot Record (MBR). The MBR is the first information that is read from the disk drive when the computer is turned on. Can a one click Internet computer repair program detect this? It is possible. Can a one click Internet computer program repair this?

 

Tips To Get Windows Installation Media For Free

Sooner or later, you’ll need to repair, refresh, or reinstall Windows — a task that will require your original Windows installation/setup files.

But most new PCs no longer come with classic Windows setup discs; the vital recovery files are typically stored on the hard drive — where they are vulnerable to loss or damage.

Some PC manufacturers include a small utility on their new machines that lets you create setup/installation discs. But these factory images often put back the adware, co-marketed software, branded tools, and other crapware that originally came with the systems.

Fortunately, there’s now a better option. Because of changes in the way Microsoft distributes Windows setup files, all Windows 8 and Windows 7 users — and some Vista users — can now download copies of the full, free, official, 100 percent legitimate Windows install/setup files.

These “virgin” Windows setups are free of OEM add-on software. Moreover, their installation files can be burned to DVDs or copied to flash drives, which can then be used to repair or refresh a Windows system — or, if needed, do a total, from-scratch reinstall of Windows on an empty hard drive.

Windows setup medium doesn’t replace making regular backup images of your system — it is, however, a vital component of your PC-maintenance toolkit.

Microsoft’s new source for Windows ISOs

IT professionals can acquire ISOs via a pricey (around U.S. $700 and up) MSDN subscription, which includes downloads for Windows and other MS software such as Office and Windows Server. And in the past, everyone else could download Windows ISO images via a relatively low-cost TechNet subscription or from online services such as Digital River. Anyone with a legitimate Windows product key could use these ISOs to create a full, complete Windows setup.

But in late 2013, Microsoft shut down its TechNet subscription service; then, last month, it pulled its ISOs from Digital River.

So, what’s a Windows user to do? This article will show you where and how to obtain full, legitimate setup files for Vista, Win7, and Win8.

First requirement: A valid product key

None of the download methods I’ll discuss lets you upgrade from, say, Win7 Home editions to Win7 Pro — or create a bootleg copy of a Windows edition. In some cases, you’ll be required to enter the key before the download step even begins. (Losing product keys can be costly; always keep them in a safe place.)

So before you do anything, find and make note of your current Windows product key. You’ll usually find it on a sticker affixed to the PC, or on the original installation medium (or its packaging), or on ordering info or the receipt.

If you’ve lost records of the key, or if you have one of the newer Win8 PCs that store the product key in the BIOS (not the Registry, as do previous Windows versions), you can use a key-finder tool to dig it out.