This is my site for links to Genuine Free Stuff as well as some useful advice. I use most of these programs regularly. It's good gear. It's all worth having.

** April 2014. Major revamp and update for relevance happening, especially now that support for Windows XP has ended, and now that we all are addicted to our Android phones. A lot of old stuff is going.

This post in particular started this whole website...

I have been building and using computers since about the Ice Age, from DOS 3 through to Windows 7.
I have been mucking about with mobile phones for quite some time, using Symbian S60 and then Android.

Press F8 at boot to start in safe mode - Windows XP and 7
To see the details of you computer, download, install and run 'Speccy' - shows Operating System, Firewall, Anti-virus and hardware.
If you think you have a virus, start here 'Free Online Virus Scan'. Try any or all, and be patient.

April 6, 2014

Basic Computer Maintenance. April 2014. Windows XP and Windows 7

Right then, this stuff is important for basic computer maintenance.
It's all easy. It's all one click stuff. Read it. Do it.

Clean up your hard drive with CCleaner.
Download and install and use CCleaner. That's the link to download it from FileHippo.
http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner

This is my post on using setting up a computer with free software, including CCleaner.
This is my post on how to use CCleaner to clean and remove browser files.

I use it daily or weekly to clean out my browsing history and to clean out my junk before I backup my computer NOW !
I also use it to check my Registry.
I also use it to uninstall all those tool bars that sneak in to my web browsers, and other programs I no longer want or need.

Check and clean up your boot with Quick Startup.
Use Quick Startup from Glarysoft to see what's running and what you might want to turn off.
http://www.glarysoft.com/quick-startup/

This is my post on Quick StartUp so you can see what it looks like.
I can browse my Start Up menu, delete or add items as appropriate.
I can add programs such Process Explorer to the boot menu to see what programs are running.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx

De-fragment your hard drive.
Use plain old Windows Defrag or Defraggler, once every 6 months or even per year.

See my post on How to defrag your hard drive.
Run CCleaner first to clean out all your rubbish, then defrag your hard drive.

Over time as your load up new programs and delete others, your files will become sprawling and bloated. You computer will start storing large file over many areas, not just in the one spot.

De-fragmenting a hard drive puts all these files in the one spot and makes it much quicker to load and find files. It's good basic maintenance.

Back up your hard drive.
I have devoted a big post to this topic. Please read Back up your computer NOW !
This most basic way is to copy all the stuff in 'My Documents' to USB sticks.
The next easiest way is to buy one of those 'WD My Passports' and just plug it in. It's a one button backup and it's cheap enough and very easy.

Keep your anti-virus program up to date.
See this post for a free anti-virus program - Free Anti-Virus programs.
If you're not sure which one, go for free Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus.
Download and install and make sure you check for updates every day. EVERY DAY.

Keep your Microsoft Windows Updates turned ON and up to date.
Make sure you have your Windows Updates turned ON.
Check by clicking on Start Button-Control Panel-Security Center and make sure Automatic Updates is ON.

If you have had these switched off, then you are missing all Microsoft's security updates, program updates, Malicious Software Removal Tool updates, and so on.

File extensions - know what they are
Here are some of the more common file extension and what they mean.
Internet:
* htm/html - Hyper Text Markup (language)

MS Windows program files:
* .accdp - Microsoft Access File
* .doc - MS Word document '97-2003 version
* .docx -MS Word document - 2004 and later versions
* .dot - MS Word Template - '97-2003 version
* .dotx - MS Word Template - 2004 and later
* .pps - Microsoft Powerpoint Show
* .ppt - Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation
* .pub - MS Publisher file
* .rtf - MS Wordpad file
* .txt - Notepad file
* .xls - MS Excel - '97-2003 version
* .xlsx -MS Excel - 2004 and later

Movie files:
* .avi - Audio Video Interleave
* .flv - Flash Video File
* .mpeg/mpg - Moving Picture Experts Group
* .mp4 - MPEG-4 Video File
* .mov - Quicktime movie Format
* .swf - Macromedia Flash file

Picture/graphics files:
* .bmp - bitmap
* .cpt - Corel Photo Paint
* .gif - Graphics Interchange Format
* .jpg - Joint Photographic Experts Group
* .png - portable Network Graphics
* .psd - Adobe Photo Shop
* .tif - Tagged Image File format

Sound files:
* .mid - Musical Instrument Digital Interface MIDI-sequention Sound
* .mp3 - MPEG Audio Stream Layer 3
* .wav - Waveform Audio

Vector Graphics files:
* .ai - Adobe Illustrator
* .cdr - Corel Draw
* .eps - Encapsulated Postscript
* .pdf - Portable Document Format

Other files:
* .bat - batch job files
* .exe - Executable file / program file
* .pdf -Portable Document Format - Opens with Acrobat Reader
* .zip - compressed/archive file
* .ttf - True Type Font file

Pretty Basic. Cheers, Si.
Checked April 2014 for link and relevance. Still valid for Windows XP and Windows 7
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