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Computer Education Online

Along with the opportunities provided by different online courses, it is easier for a large number of people to continue to pursue the education they desire. Online courses can be opted for to get a formal education or to pursue a hobby. A person can learn how to paint with watercolors or master a foreign language online. Almost all skills and trades can be learned with the help of online courses.

There are people who think that an online education is not the same as traditional education. However, this is no longer the case. In fact, many public and private universities offer online education courses and degree programs, in addition to the many other strictly online universities. Online computer courses offer many varied subjects for a student to consider. It is easy to find colleges, universities and businesses that offer degrees or specific courses online.

Computer training is one of the most popular online educations offered. People can obtain a degree in computer programming or any other computer associated degrees. Research indicates that many employers and businesses now look for graduates who have enrolled for online courses and degree programs.

Computer education online is meant for people who already have a degree and simply wish to update their knowledge and skill with the help of an online education course. The possibilities are almost never-ending.

There are many advantages to pursuing a degree or training online. People can study at their own speed and at any time. A degree at a traditional university or college may take 2 or 4 years. It is advisable to be sure that the online university is accredited and that the online credits will be recognized in a chosen industry.

The Dreaded Computer Virus

For those of us who have had a computer virus or spyware appear on their computer out of nowhere, you know that it is not one of the most pleasant experiences. Well, if it makes you feel any better – it happens to the best of us. Some of the symptoms you will see if your computer has been infected are:

  • Your computer slows down to a crawl
  • Your computer acts like it is possessed – it starts sending out hundreds of emails on its own to people you do not know
  • You get a call from your IP provider that your computer is spamming the internet.
  • You are getting hundreds of popup ads appearing on your screen for no reason
  • Your computer crashes
  • Files are missing from your computer – and you can’t blame your spouse, your kids or your dog
  • Your computer is running just great until someone sends you an email attachment that you open and now your computer is acting crazy

Electronic mail (e-mail) is the principal way of exchanging information across the Internet and within networks. You can think of your system’s e-mail functionality as being provided by mail servers (IP providers) and mail clients (your computer). When a mail server delivers the mail that you compose or forward on, it also stores the mail in your account until you collect it. A mail client is associated with a particular user. It enables the user to work with mail – for example, by sending, retrieving, and composing messages, and by reading received mail.

There are several hazards inherent in the use of e-mail:

  • denial-of-service attacks
  • illegitimate access to the mail server
  • message interception
  • spreading malicious code

Most malicious code that infects computers and networks does so through the medium of e-mail. In order to help safeguard your computer from the hazards of e-mail, you should follow best practice at all times, especially when it concerns:

  • attachments
  • suspect subject lines
  • being alert for viruses
  • mail-client configuration

The first place to start is with Anti-Virus Software. Avoid using any anti-virus software that is free from a web site you are not familiar with. Just because it is free, does not mean it is good for you or your computer. One important option you want from your anti-virus software is the automatic update feature. Each time you start your computer, it will automatically check to see if there has been an update to your anti-virus software and will it will perform the update. If you are running your computer with an anti-virus software that does not update, your computer will not be protected against the latest viruses. Some of the more common anti-virus software include Norton, McAfee, Computer Associates, Kaspersky and Bit Defender. Most Anti-Virus Software will have annual fees.

When you have an Anti-Virus software installed on your computer, scanning may begin at any time, when something triggers it from your computer. Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks. It is generally best to read your anti-virus software documentation to decide which security setting is best for you. If you are not sure which one to use, most times the default setting will be acceptable, or you may wish to have an authorized computer repair person setup your Anti-Virus Software.

One of the security decisions you need to make is to decide whether to permit e-mail attachments. Prohibiting them can greatly improve the security of your computer. If you do not prohibit email attachments, you should at least delete any emails with attached files – especially if you do not know the sender. You also should also avoid opening any email with an attached file that is quite large.

Popup Windows

Popup windows can be both useful and an annoyance. On most desktop computers there are usually at least one and in many cases multiple popup blockers running simultaneously. Built into your Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari browser is a popup blocker. You can turn it on or off, or even allow temporary access to view a single website’s popup window. To enable or disable the popup blocker, you will find it in your browser’s top tool bar. The popup blocker is found under the “Tools” menu with Internet Explorer, where you can change the settings. With Firefox, you can turn on the popup blocker in the Tools > Options > Content tab. It is best practice to have your popup blocker on and if you want to view a website’s popup window, you can list the URL of that website as a trusted site. You will also find if you are running a Google, Yahoo or MSN toolbar, there are additional popup blockers running under each of those toolbars.

Spyware

In addition to running an Anti-Virus software on your computer it is highly recommended to run Anti-Spyware software in addition. Many anti-virus bundles today also include anti-spyware. More computers today are infected from Spyware than viruses and anyone who has had this experience knows what a nightmare it can be. If you suspect your computer already has a virus or you have spyware running on your system, it is highly recommended to take the computer to a reputable computer repair person. In most cases installing Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software after your computer has been infected, will do little to correct the problem.

If you are looking for more technical information regarding the dreaded Computer Virus or Spyware and about their removal, should look at A+ books or CD-ROMs which are available online or at a local bookstore.

Computing Education Grants Program for the 21st Century

The National Science Foundation, more commonly known as the NSF, is a United States federal government agency that’s essentially responsible for pursuing and financially supporting fundamental research and education in all of the non-medical fields of science and engineering.

The grants and initiatives of the NSF are all aimed towards the achievement of its overall agency mission which is “to promote the progression of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.”

In line with this mission, the National Science Foundation has recently established the Computing Education Grants Program for the 21st Century (CE21), whereby the agency primarily intends to make a robust computing research community, as well as a computationally competent 21st century workforce, and in the end a computationally empowered people.

The NSF believes that there are three reason why the community has not yet achieved computational competence, first being that there is an underproduction of degrees that are important to the computing and computing-associated work-force, second would be the ever pressing concern referring to the under-representation of various segments of the population, and finally, the sheer absence of a presence of computing in K-12 levels.

The modern-day era has brought information technology and computing to a whole new level in areas such as business expansion, scientific advances, and national security. Because of this, the country has seen a staggering growth in information technology-related jobs. Unfortunately, not that many Americans have managed to capitalize on this opportunity mainly because of their complete lack of skills and knowledge in the area of computing.

As the clamor for the computing workforce continues to swoop, the NSF wishes to address this concern by making certain that ladies, people with incapacities, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and indigenous races, and students in K-12 levels are well exposed to better computing-related opportunities.

As a response, the Computing Education Grants Program for the 21st Century will fund studies that will concentrate on methods and ideas that will provide students with rigorous educational curricula that essentially contains sufficient computational ideas and skills.

A funding amount of $13,000,000 is about to be provided for by the National Science Foundation to support this objective.

The affiliations and institutions who will be deemed eligible to submit an application under the Computing Education Grants Program for the 21st Century are the following:

a) Schools and Colleges – Universities and two and four-year colleges (including community colleges) which are licensed in, and having a campus that’s located in the United States, acting for their faculty members.

b) Non-profit, non-academic affiliations such as Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar associations in the United States which are connected with educational or research activities

c) State and Local Governments such as State educational offices or organizations and local school districts.

Computer Education Online

Along with the opportunities provided by different online courses, it is easier for a large number of people to continue to pursue the education they desire. Online courses can be opted for to get a formal education or to pursue a hobby. A person can learn how to paint with watercolors or master a foreign language online. Almost all skills and trades can be learned with the help of online courses.

There are people who think that an online education is not the same as traditional education. However, this is no longer the case. In fact, many public and private universities offer online education courses and degree programs, in addition to the many other strictly online universities. Online computer courses offer many varied subjects for a student to consider. It is easy to find colleges, universities and businesses that offer degrees or specific courses online.

Computer training is one of the most popular online educations offered. People can obtain a degree in computer programming or any other computer associated degrees. Research indicates that many employers and businesses now look for graduates who have enrolled for online courses and degree programs.

Computer education online is meant for people who already have a degree and simply wish to update their knowledge and skill with the help of an online education course. The possibilities are almost never-ending.

There are many advantages to pursuing a degree or training online. People can study at their own speed and at any time. A degree at a traditional university or college may take 2 or 4 years. It is advisable to be sure that the online university is accredited and that the online credits will be recognized in a chosen industry.

 

Types Of Computer Crimes

With the advancements in technology, criminals have found new ways and means of committing crimes. One such method is to use computers and other related devices with a criminal objective.

There are different types of computer crimes and multiple ways to categorize them. One can divide computer crimes based on who has committed or divide crimes based on the motivations or can divide these crimes based on how they are perpetrated.

Mention below are few important types of cyber crimes based on the role of computers in a crime.

1. Computers are incidental to other crimes: This category of crime does not require the use of computer for committing the crime. However, usage of computer while committing a crime increases the efficiency of the crime making it difficult to identify and detect. In this type of crimes, computers help the crime to occur faster and also permit processing of greater amounts of information within a shortest possible period of time. Some examples of such crimes include money laundering, unlawful banking transactions, processing and distribution of pornographic information and encrypting or erasing data files and criminal records.

2. Computers associated with prevalence of crimes: This category of crimes is committed simply due to the presence of computers. These types of crimes are occurring as a result of modern advancements of technology and widespread use of computers. Some examples include software piracy, copyright violation of computer programs, manufacturing counterfeit computer equipment and other peripherals such as modems and hard disks and selling of original computer equipment, peripherals and programs at far reduced prices in a black market.

10 Health Problems Caused by Computer Use and How to Win Them

If you might spend more than 6 hours per day sitting in front of a computer either for work or pleasure, then it is a high time to self-educate on relevant health-related problems and solutions to be taken.

Regular computer use could be the source of significant health depression due to:

    • Prolonged sitting position which causes strain in muscles, nerves and blood vessels;
    • Poor posture triggering bone and organ displacements as well as bad blood flow;
    • Inappropriate working conditions and environment, including inappropriately adjusted computer/chair/table position, a flickering screen glare and poor eating habits affecting our metabolic reactions and relevant health dysfunctions;
  • Lack of face-to-face human interaction inclining oneself to cyber addiction, depression as well as psychosomatic reactions.

Fortunately, preventive measures as well as an initial treatment of all the health issues caused by a computer use could be taken on a daily basis, including easy-to-do office exercises.

Health Issues Caused by Computer Use

A sedentary way of life spent in front of a computer screen causes many health problems. The welcome news is that anyone could perform preventive measures to get rid of the symptoms and avoid the diseases caused by prolonged sitting and computer screen glare. Let’s begin by learning all the risks:

1. Neck, Shoulder and Back Pain

These are common problems occurring due to sedentary way of life. If to investigate the background causes of neck, shoulder and back pain (sometimes even leg pain) of white-collars, poor muscle tone, sandwiched nerves, and poor blood circulation are the most widely spread ones. For example, weak spine muscles could lead to vertebral displacements, which in turn might clench nerves or blood vessels causing terrible back pain and other health issues.

2. Computer Vision Syndrome

CVS or Digital Eye Strain is not one specific eye problem. This health problem encompasses a whole range of eye strain and pain issues experienced by computer users: double vision, irritated red eyes, wet or dry eyes, etc. The symptoms mentioned could be caused by poor lighting, a digital screen glare, improper viewing distances, poor seating posture, uncorrected vision problems, a combination of the factors (American Optometric Association [AOA], n.d.).

3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, USA, gives the following description: carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist (NINDS Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Information Page, 2016).

Namely, a painful progressive condition caused by the compression of a key nerve in a wrist is another health issue caused by prolonged computer use, data-entry personnel being at a great risk of acquiring it.

4. Repetitive Strain Injury

RSI is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body: forearms and elbows, wrists and hands, neck and shoulders (National Health Service [NHS], 2016).

5. Metabolic Disorders

Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic physician and New York Times bestselling author, suggests that prolonged sitting is linked to weight gain and associated biochemical changes, such as alterations in hormones, metabolic dysfunction, leptin dysfunction, and inflammation – all of which could promote cancer (Mercola, 2015).

A simple example of a relevant metabolic disorder could be explained by the following logical chain: prolonged sitting causes mushy abdominal muscles, these in turn lead to varied stomach problems triggering obesity, which prevents from proper breathing and triggers other issues.

6. Heart Diseases

Sedentary lifestyle with its lack of physical activity depresses our muscles. Weak muscles burn less fat. Relevantly, blood flows more sluggishly, allowing fat acids to clog easily the heart vessels. When our body’s need for oxygen transmitted with blood is not being met, apart from minor problems (e.g. occasional arrhythmia), lethal consequences might happen (heart attack and stroke).

7. Brain Blood Circulation Loss

Our brain metabolism might dysfunction due to sedentary way of life. The brain of a healthy individual receives 15% of cardiac blood output and uses 20% of total body oxygen and 25% of total body glucose (Zauner, & Muizelaar, 1997). Accordingly, blood pressure loss across cerebral circulation possibly triggered by heart diseases or other reasons of bad blood flow leads to neurotransmitters’ dysfunction, which are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body. This imbalance can also cause headaches, affect sleep and mood, as well as cause adverse health problems.

8. Leg Degeneration

Legs might also suffer from prolonged sitting. Varicose veins and blood clots could be caused by poor blood circulation in legs. Moreover, weak bones and even hip problems could be the results of poor motion and sedentary habits. All these affect our overall sustaining power and might lead to often fractures when falling.

9. Cyber Addiction

This is a psychological disorder connected with the computer use addiction. Our cognitive abilities decrease, if every single activity is performed through the Internet: shopping, banking, socializing, etc. What is more, cyber addicted people experience a decrease in concentration and focus when doing work off the computer, which makes it very uncomfortable and even dangerous for the society they interact in.

10. Depression

Mental stresses and constant work overloads lead to depressions of the office staff. When the deadline for a project is close, it gets hard to take a break from computer work routine, which involves mental stress. If no preventive measures for improving one’s spirit condition are taken, the rising depression might also cause physical harm.

Ways to Relieve the Symptoms and Prevent the Diseases

It is never late to start caring about yourself! Whether you are an office employee or just use your PC on a daily basis for education or pleasure for prolonged time, the below mentioned ways of preventing computer use problems might be very handy:

1. Back, Neck and Shoulders Strain and Pain Minimization

To minimize pain and strain in your back, neck and shoulders after prolonged sitting, the following measures are required:

  • Repeated physical exercises,
  • Properly adjusted working environment,
  • Proper seating posture,
  • Regular breaks.

UCLA Spine Center highlights that “No matter how comfortable you are at your desk, prolonged, static posture is not good for your back. Try to remember to stand, stretch and walk at least a minute or two every half hour… ” (Ergonomics for Prolonged Sitting, n.d.).

2. Overcome Computer Vision Syndrome

It’s not so difficult to arrange appropriate working conditions to prevent CVS. According to already mentioned American Optometric Association, the actions to be taken are:

  • distribute light with a desk lamp;
  • put a monitor glare filter,
  • position your monitor appropriately – slightly below eye level, about 20 to 28 inches away from the face;
  • you shouldn’t strain your eyes to see the screen;
  • look away from the screen every 20 min (American Optometric Association [AOA], n.d.).

3. Prevent / Decrease Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

The initial treatment of CTS, according to American National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, generally involves resting the affected hand and wrist (NINDS Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Information Page, 2016). Repeated but light exercises might help as preventive measures. For example, a compressed key nerve in your wrist could be prevented by circular wrist movements performed on repeated occasions during a working day.

4. Decrease Repetitive Strain Injury

It is a fact that an inappropriate posture or prolonged activities performed in an awkward position increase the risk of acquiring a strain in muscles or nerves. The first step in preventing the strain injury (which might be pre-diagnosed based on the repetitive pain in muscles or tendons) is to identify and modify the task or activity that is causing the symptoms (National Health Service [NHS], 2016). Breaks from same type activities also help (e.g.walking to your colleague’s desk instead of sending a message), as well as seating position posture improvement.

5. Improve Metabolism

Our metabolic ability is the basis for digestion, immunity and overall physical strengths. To improve three main purposes of metabolism – the conversion of food to energy to run cellular processes, the conversion of food to building materials for proteins/lipids/nucleic acids, and the elimination of intracellular wastes – it is advisable by doctors to follow five easy rules when working in-office:

  • Performing easy physical exercises on a regular basis,
  • Regular healthy food eating,
  • Regular water or tea drinking,
  • Fresh air breathing,
  • Working in a comfortably adjusted environment, including good posture facilities.

6. Heart Stresses Avoidance

It has been estimated that 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education, as highlighted by American Heart Association (Heart Disease Statistics at a Glance, n.d.). Cardiovascular therapy includes healthy and regular eating, balanced physical activity and regular oxygen intake, as well as avoidance of tobacco and extreme heat or cold temperatures, limited alcohol intake, and mental health maintenance. Considering office employees, occasional meditation, regular tea breaks combined with stairs instead of elevator / fruit instead of cigarette choices might serve as a relevant therapy.

7. Brain Normal Blood Circulation Maintenance

Our brain controls all physical, chemical and mental functions of our bodies. That is why, any brain metabolism risks should be minimized right in advance. As cited by National Center for Biotechnology Information, the importance of auto-regulation of cerebral blood flow that is ensured by constant blood supply and water homeostasis (Cipolla, 2009). To support these processes, one should maintain blood pressure and strengthen blood vessels by balanced physical activities, proper healthy food diet and fresh air oxygenation.

8. Leg Power Generation

Not to let our leg muscles to degenerate, regular physical activities should be performed on a daily basis. In one of the Forbes journal articles, it is mentioned that eight hours of sitting in an office plus sedentary evening recreation like watching TV – is a recipe for ruin. A survey performed by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that nearly 50% of adults in the U.S. admit they do not engage in the suggested 30 minutes, five days a week of moderate physical activity or the suggested 20 minutes, three times a week of vigorous activity (How much physical activity do adults need, n.d).

9. Winning Cyber Addiction

The first step to win the cyber addiction is to get aware of how much time is really being spent on computer distractive activities like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Computer monitoring software that tracks the Internet and software use might get very handy in analyzing one’s computer use habits. When the data is received, there should be applied some way outs of the addiction. Among others, simple face-to-face human interaction cures the case, as well as fresh air walks and paper publications reading.

10. Overcome Depression

Psychologists suggest the low mood state might affect physical body functions, depressed people experiencing: appetite loss or overeating, concentrating or remembering problems, insomnia or excessive sleeping, fatigue, digestive problems, reduced energy level and many others. To prevent both physical and mental health stresses, – mental therapy, meditation, and spiritual exercises could be performed. Individual approach is advisable here: listen to your favorite music, watch or read humorous stuff, or even perform yoga exercises as a short break to your working routine!

Examples of Easy Office Remedies

Why don’t some people invest even minimal efforts in preventing computer use and sedentary lifestyle health problems? The answer is quite clear: we’re human beings who are sometimes lazy or even unmindful about regular exercises, and… sometimes too stressed to care about ourselves.

Here are some examples of these simple exercises suitable for offices, – developed to maintain and improve your health while working with a computer:

1. Easy physical exercises:

Example 1 – According to physicians, the right posture cures 70% of health problems caused by long sitting. The rule “90-90-90 degrees of body posture while sitting in front of a computer” is the key to a healthy body!

Example 2 – To cure down back problems: sit upright, grasp the left knee, lift left leg off the floor, bend forward (curling the back), bring your nose toward the knee. Repeat 3 – 5 times. Repeat with right leg.

2. Mental Stress Minimization:

Example 1 – Relaxing (or meditating) just three times per day, five minutes each time, will significantly harmonize your inner state. All you need, is to simply sit down comfortably and relax observing calming pictures of nature.

Example 2 – Release stress and generate some energy with a quick-seated dance when no one is looking while having a few minutes break of listening to your favorite music!

3. Natural Advice for Computer Use Harm Decrease:

Example 1 – When sitting for a long time in front of a computer, muscles burn less fat and blood flows sluggishly, allowing fat acids to more easily clog the heart. Allow fresh air into the room to provide your body with oxygen.

Example 2 – Decrease in concentration and focus when doing hourly work on a computer is treated by a short walk to your canteen for a cup of green tea or an apple.

If one does not care about preventing sedentary life problems OR s/he simply forgets to perform regular physical or mental exercises to overcome health issues, it may affect the overall quality of life. This might include enumerated health problems, consequent relationships issues and low work performance abilities (decreased productivity and increased number of professional errors caused by physical fatigue and health stresses). That is why, to live a full life, do not forget to take care about yourselves!

Computer Voice Mail – How Does it Work?

Voice Mail

A method for establishing voice communications between a computer user and an agent, the computer user being associated with a user computer and a telephone number of a telephone associated with the computer user, the method comprising the steps of establishing a computer data base accessible by the user computer, prompting the computer user to enter a call request in the computer database, transmitting the call request from the computer data base to a telephone switching system; and automatically establishing voice communications between the agent and the computer user by the telephone switching system in response to the call request.

The method wherein the step of transmitting the call request comprises the step of transmitting the call from the computer data base over the Internet. Transmitting the call request from the computer data base over the Internet further comprises the steps of:packeting the call request; and transmitting it by e-mail. Establishing a computer data base accessible by the computer user further establishes a Web page and wherein the step of prompting the computer user to enter a call request in the computer data base further comprises the step of displaying a “call me” button when the computer user accesses the Web page.

User

The telephone switching system includes a telephone computer automatically dialing the telephone number of the telephone associated with the computer user receiving the call request at a telephone computer associated with the agent; and dialing the telephone number by the telephone computer based on the call request. The method further comprising the steps of:detecting when the computer user answers the computer telephone; and connecting the agent to the answered computer telephone. The automatically dialing telephone number of the telephone associated with the computer user comprises the steps of:sending a dial request command from a telephone computer to an automatic call distributor associated with the agent in response to the call request received from the computer data base.

The steps of receiving the call request comprises the step of prompting the computer user to enter the telephone number of the telephone associated with the computer user. Establishing a computer data base accessible by the computer user further establishes a Web page and wherein the step of prompting the computer user to enter a call request in the computer data base further comprises the step of displaying a “call me” button when the computer user accesses the Web page.

Computer Performance – 7 Ways to Speed Up Windows Computers

Are you sick and tired of it taking forever to open a website, file or program? Did your computer seem to run a lot faster when you first got it? If your answers to these 2 questions were yes, then please read on. In this article I am going to give you tips to speed up your computer. They can all be done today, even if you are new to computers. The 7 steps that I am going to share with you are so easy, believe me you can do it! These are techniques that computer technicians in several different support organizations do and some charge a lot of money for their walking you through these processes. You are going to get them today at no charge. Are you ready? Then let’s begin!

Step 1: Scandisk

You should run scandisk at least once a month. This will make sure that your computer can read all of the information on your disk. How will this speed up my computer? I’m glad you asked! You see your computer has in it’s hard drive what the technicians call redundancy. What I mean is if your computer is trying to read a file and the data isn’t read correctly from the disk, the computer tries to read that information again and again a set number of times. This results in slower loading times. When scandisk is ran regularly this keeps your disk free of these storage errors and thus enables the computer to get the information it needs from the disk as fast as possible. Scandisk should be run before the next step each and every time.

I know you’re asking, how do I run scandisk. It’s simple. Find that icon on your desktop or in your start menu labeled ‘My Computer’. In there you will see a listing of all the drives in your computer. Right click on the drive you want to scan and go to properties. There, you will have a tools tab. Click on it. You will see a button that says check for errors. This is scandisk or also called checkdisk on different versions of windows. There are 2 different modes, Standard or Thorough. Standard checks and makes sure that all the bits and pieces of your files are in the spot on the disk where it thinks they should be. In other words, it checks for filing errors. Thorough does a standard check as well as it tests each spot on the disk where the drive can write something and makes sure that what it writes, it reads back the same thing. If it doesn’t read the same information back, it marks that spot as bad so that it is not used. This keeps down that redundancy thing we spoke of earlier. Wasn’t that easy? Now, on to Step 2.

Step 2: Defrag

Defrag should be run once a week if you use your computer more than 14 hours a week. This equates to about 2 hours a day. Most people who actively use their computer will fall into this category. Defrag, whose real name is disk defragmenter, is your best friend for speed. You see when your computer writes something to the disk; it starts the disk to turning and drops bits of the data you want to write wherever there is a hole. It then tells the filing system where it placed that piece. So your file could be literally broken into 20 pieces! Your disk takes longer to load the file because it has to jump around to different spots to gather the pieces together when it needs it. Defrag takes care of this by gathering the pieces all together and writing them back to the disk in one piece. This way when you need the information, it’s all right there. To run defrag it’s the same as where we went for scandisk. You go to ‘My Computer’ and you right click on the drive you want to run defrag on and go to properties. There go to the tools tab. Click the Defragment button. Wow this is getting easier by the minute! On to step 3.

Step 3: Background Programs

Background programs really slow down your computer’s performance. They accomplish this by using up your computer’s resources. Resources are the combined power of your processor (brain), memory, and disk space. These 3 are the equivalent to horsepower. This is where you will gain a lot of your speed back as well. If you look at an area of your screen right now, I can show you a fraction of some of these that you never thought of. The area I want you to look at is called your system tray. It is located next to your clock, which is opposite your start menu. If your start menu is on the left side, then the clock is on the right. Next to the clock you will see these little icons or pictures. These are programs that run on your computer whenever it boots. Guess what, these are background programs. They are there to help load things you need faster. If you are following this guide you really don’t need most of them. Do you?

Here’s how you get rid of them and most of the others that you can’t even see as well. Sorry folks who are on Windows 2000, this step won’t work for you. If you read to the end I will give you a bonus that will make up for it, I promise. Ok, for the rest of you, click on start. Click on run. Type msconfig. Click ok. You should get a system configuration utility. Be very careful here and follow my instructions exactly. Click on the startup tab at the top. You will have a list of all the programs that run when your computer boots or starts. If you look down the list there will be some names that are familiar to you. When you see those names I want you to think: “Do I really need this program running all the time?” If the answer is no, uncheck the box. For example, some of you may have heard of RealPlayer. There’s a smart start icon associated with it. You really don’t need real player running when you are only going to be playing FreeCell now do you? 🙂 On to step 4.

Step 4: Temporary Files

Temporary files hold up space on your disk. These files are most of the time useless. Temporary files are just that; files that were temporarily created by a program or installer. They are supposed to be deleted when not needed any longer, but a lot of programs do a poor job of cleaning them up. Helping them out will get you more speed for your horsepower. For example: let’s take temporary internet files. When you go to a website every element of that website’s decorations are stored in a temp file on your computer. Your computer does this to help supposedly. It’s supposed to help by when you visit the same site again; the elements of the website will already be on your computer and therefore don’t have to be downloaded again. This in theory should speed up your surfing right? Wrong! Here’s what really goes down. For every element of the website, your computer reads every temp file to see if it matches. Every single file in your temporary internet files folder! To get a grasp of this here’s what I want you to do. Open internet explorer. Go to the tools menu and click on internet options. Click the settings button. Then click the view files button. Do you see what I mean? Every file! Now…Close the temporary internet files window. Click OK on the settings window. Do you see that button next to settings on the internet options window? It’s labeled delete files. Click it. Check delete all offline content. Click ok. When the hourglass is gone, you are all clean! This should be done once a month. This will keep your whole computer running smoothly. The secret lies in Internet Explorer. It’s integrated so much into windows, when it has a problem, windows has a problem. What I am saying is when you opened my computer in steps 1 and 2. You were using internet explorer. Ok. Nuff said. On to step 5!

Step 5: Antivirus

Good Antivirus software is an absolute must! There are several choices to choose from. Some cost money and some don’t. Viruses hide on your computer and wreak havoc. If you don’t have antivirus software on your computer, you will never know they are there. They sit and hide out until their appointed time and then interfere with your computer. Viruses are programs written by people with too much time on their hands and not enough morals. They sit and think of ways to make your day bad. Some viruses will sit on your computer and do nothing but open up connections to other servers all over the internet. What does that do? It slows your computer down drastically! Nuff said. Your choices are to get paid antivirus software like Norton, Mcafee, or Computer Associates. If you don’t have the cash to spare then you can go to your favorite search engine like Yahoo or Google and enter in ‘free antivirus download’ and get a list of all kinds of scanners. Some is far better than none. Some of the best free software that I have found are AVG, Avast!, and ClamWin. If you have a fear of installing software, never fear. There are also free online virus scanners. Again, you go to your favorite search engine and type in ‘free online virus scan’ and you will get plenty of results. Beware though, with these scanners you run the risk of getting infected still. The reason is you have to go to the site and scan the computer yourself, preferably once a week. In that time a virus could have already infected your machine. Antivirus software that you install on the computer checks every file, every time it’s used thus drastically decreasing the chances of infection. It’s like a flu shot. Some of the good online virus scanners are Norton, Panda, and BitDefender. Now, on to step 6.

Step 6: Recycle Bin

It is very important to keep your recycle bin empty. What I mean is this, you don’t want to have hundreds of files sitting in your recycle bin that you deleted 6 months ago. They are taking up valuable space. Windows uses your drive as memory to run programs. When you run out of physical memory, it uses what’s called a page or swap file and stores it there. These recycle bin files are taking up space that windows could be using for memory. Every bit of memory you can get adds to your horsepower. So for God’s sake, please keep your recycle bin tidy. Get rid of things that you are sure you won’t need again. When you go to delete something, and you are absolutely sure you won’t need it again, you can hold down the shift key and press the delete key to permanently delete it without sending it to the recycle bin. And now, last but not least, step 7.

Step 7: Adware and Spyware

I like to call these small time viruses. The industry calls them parasites. Norton calls them extended threats. Do you get my drift? What is adware and spyware you may ask? They are actually quite similar. I’ll start first by explaining the ways that you can get them on your computer. Let’s say you download a ‘free’ program to run on your computer that you think is pretty neat. If you are like most of us, you don’t take the time to read the license agreement. If you did, you would find a line similar to: by installing this product you agree to install xyz product which will be used to send marketing information to the makers of the software. Do you see how they get you? One of the other ways you can get it is by going to some random website. It doesn’t matter what it is, but they have this script that runs as the page is loading and it installs the adware and/or spyware on your computer. The last way that I will discuss here is through a virus. There are viruses out there whose sole job is to download adware, spyware, keyloggers, and other malicious software on to your computer. These things really slow your computer down. Here’s how they work.

Adware and spyware install on your computer and watch what you do, where you surf, you know what you are interested in. They then open a connection to a server and report your activities. They are very good at what they do! Where adware and spyware differ is spyware does nothing but report your activities. Adware on the other hand reports your activities and the server it reports to in turn sends it an ad to display on your computer. Now, just like there are antivirus programs out there, there are now very good antispyware and antiadware programs on the market. Noadware, Spybot, and Adaware are a few of the good ones.

In conclusion there are 7 major ways to speed up your computer with simple maintenance and preventative measures. Run scandisk, defrag, get rid of excess background programs, delete temporary files, get some antivirus software, and also get a good adware and spyware remover utility. I hope you have found this information useful. I hope that I have helped someone here with this information and I pray that you will check out some other very useful information at

I love you all. God bless you!

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