For most people regular maintenance on their PC is far from their mind. So we've put together 4 quick tips that can help speed up your Windows 10 PC. We hope to followup with some additional tips in the future including some more advanced guides.

 

Change Computer Settings to Best Performance

You can change the visual effects of your computer so it doesn't have to spend as much resources on rendering and animating windows. To do this:

1. Go to File Explorer – Click the folder on your task bar at the bottom of your desktop. You can also type in "File Explorer" in the search menu.

File Explorer Open

2. Right click on This PC on the left side of the window.

Right Click on PC

3. On the upper left side of the screen, left click on Advanced System Settings.

Advanced System Settings

4. In the popup window check to make sure the Advanced Tab is selected and click the Settings button under Performance.

Performance Settings

5. Choose between the Options listed under the Visual Effects Tab.  You can Adjust for best appearance, Adjust for best performance, or Customize the changes yourself by selecting what you want to disable in the box below the Custom bullet. If you have an older or slower PC, we recommend choosing Adjust for best performance.

Performance Options

Disable Startup Programs

You might have issues when you first turn on your computer.  You sit and type in your login information and it takes forever for you to be able to do anything on your desktop. You might have more than a couple of programs that are starting up that you don't necessarily need right away. The more programs that run at startup, the longer it will take for your PC to fully boot. To check this:

1. On your keyboard, press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys – this will bring up a menu.

2. Click on Task Manager.

3. At the top of the window you will see Tabs.  Click on the one that says Startup.

Task Manager Startup

4. After you have clicked on startup, you will see a list of programs that begin to run when your computer starts.  These can be disabled by selecting them and clicking the Disable button on the bottom of the screen. Try disabling items that have Medium to High impact.

Task Manager Startup

Note: If you make a mistake you can always click the button again to enable the program again.

Run Disk Cleanup

When you are done with clearing up the startup programs, you can try running disk cleanup next. Having a full hard drive could cause your computer to work harder to locate programs and files.  Let us clear out a little space so you can ease the burden on you computer and recover some disk space.

1. Click on the Start Menu, scroll down and select and click Windows Administrative Tools, then click on Disk Cleanup.

Open Disk Cleanup

2. If you have more than one drive, you may be prompted to choose which one to cleanup. Choose the C: drive if prompted. You will then be prompted with a box where you can select what types of files you would like to delete. Click on all options except for Downloads, unless you are OK with Disk Cleanup deleting all files in your Downloads folder. Clicking on any of the options will also give you a brief description of the contents. When you are satisfied with your selections, you can click OK at the bottom of the Dialog Box and you will get a prompt that will ask if you are sure you want to delete the files. When you are ready you then click on Delete Files.

Disk Cleanup

3. (Optional) If you would like to recover even more space, you can click on the Clean up system files button at the bottom of the Disk Cleanup box and you will get another box with more options including Windows Update Cleanup, Windows Upgrade Log Files, and more.

 

Remove Adware & Bloatware

Sometimes a PC is slowed because of unwanted software. When installing a program, a software vendor may sneak in bloatware or adware which can cause the computer to slow down or cause problems with the operating system. Malwarebytes can be a useful tool in finding and removing such software. It's free for personal use too! You can download Malwarebytes here.

1. Proceed to download and install Malwarebytes.

2. When prompted to Buy Now, Activate License, or Maybe Later, choose Maybe Later and then Get Started. If you want the premium version of Malwarebytes, you can choose to Buy Now if you prefer. The primary difference between the Premium and Non-Premium version is the Premium can run automatic updates, scans and removals for you. The free version requires you to start a scan manually. You will also be given a free 14-Day trial of the software if this is the first time you are installing it.

3. Click Scan on the Malwarebytes home screen.

Malwarebytes Start Scan

4. Depending on the speed of your PC, the scan can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Once the scan has completed, you will see the Threat Scan Results. Choose to Quarantine any items Malwarebytes finds. You me be prompted to restart your PC to finish the quarantine process.

Malwarebytes Scan Results

These four procedures discussed are fast and an easy way to speed up your computer. They are simple and safe enough for anyone to complete them without any major consequences. So, when you feel like your computer is slowing down, take a look at these four procedures to speed it up and get you going again! Feeling intimidated by these steps? We also perform computer repair in our office. Most repairs are completed within 1-3 days!

Scareware is a form of malware that generates browser pop-ups that resemble Windows or OS X system messages, claiming to be software such as antivirus, antispyware, registry cleaner, driver updater, etc. The system messages report fictitious problems such as infected files or missing driver updates intended to scare users into purchasing useless software or installing malicious software onto their devices.

An example of a fictitious alert in the form of a browser pop up recommending known software from an unknown source such as Adobe Flash Player from newsoftready.uploadsoftstohavetoday.online shown below:

 

Scareware can also present itself as an intense series of browser pop ups and alarms that scare you into thinking your device is infected. The pop up or system alert may give you a number to call suggesting the alert is from the FBI or Microsoft. The intent is to get you to call and get your permission to login to your computer.

STOP RIGHT HERE! If you encounter a suspicious system alert or pop-up, close your browser by clicking CTRL+ALT+DELETE (Windows) or COMMAND+OPTION+ESC (Mac), then end the process, or turn OFF your device.

In the event that you have called the number from the scareware, your phone number may have been compromised. If you give the fake technical support permission to login to your device, your device and data have been compromised. After receiving access to your device, the agent is able to further install malicious software and viruses, change your system setting to prevent internet access, and steal your data or lock you out of your own system. The next step the fake technical support agent will take is to scare you into paying them to clean your computer or unlock your data.

If you have been victimized by scareware, your device and data may have been compromised. Please contact Pennyrile Technologies at 931.771.1149. If you have given any financial information, we recommend contacting your financial institution to alert them.

Why you should secure your wireless network

In today’s connected world, it’s important to make sure your home wireless network is secured from threats. An unsecured wireless network is an open invitation for anyone to access your network, computers, and personal information. Hackers and identity thieves are increasingly targeting unsecured networks to gain access to passwords, banking information, credit cards, and data. When you leave your home, do you leave the door unlocked? Probably not, and leaving your wireless network unsecured is no different.

 

How to secure your network

Before we start, there are a couple of things we need to do. Make sure your router is plugged in and powered on. We recommend connecting your desktop or laptop directly into the router while we make these changes. Connect an Ethernet cable from your computer to one of the Ethernet ports on the router. On most home routers there are 4 LAN ports available and labeled 1-4. Do not plug into the WAN port which should be labeled and color coded differently.

We will need to log onto the router to secure your wireless network. We need to know the IP address to do this though. By default, most routers have an IP address of 192.168.1.1. You can check the documentation for your router to be sure, or by opening a command prompt and checking your local gateway. For the latter, go to Start and type "cmd" and hit enter. The command prompt will open. Type in "ipconfig" and hit enter. You will see an IP address listed for the default gateway. This is your router’s address.

Log in to your router. Open up your browser and type in the IP address of the router. You will then be prompted to enter the username and password. If you are unable to locate the documentation that came with the router, you can find the default username and password of your router here. Change the administrator username and password. Make sure to create a strong password to prevent unwanted access to the administrative settings.Change the SSID (Service Set Identifier) of the router. The SSID is the name you give your home network. Always change the default SSID! By default, wireless routers will broadcast your network name (SSID) and anyone with a wireless device can connect within seconds to an insecure network.Enable WPA2 wireless security. Of the wireless encryption methods available today, WPA2 provides the best method of data security. WPA2 uses an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security algorithm to secure wireless home networks. Every wireless device since 2006 has been required to support WPA2 to be considered Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™

WEP – Wired Equivalency Protocol is an early security standard for wireless devices that uses a static (fixed) key and encryption algorithm to secure data. WEP is no longer recommended for home network security due to weaknesses in the algorithm that can be cracked in under 3 minutes.

WPA – WiFi Protected Access is an improvement of WEP as a temporary solution to wireless security that uses Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) that generates a new key for each packet of data transmitted.Create a strong security passphrase. Disable guest access if enabled by default.Save your settings. Wait until the router power cycles to disconnect your computer.You are now ready to connect your wireless devices. Locate your home network (SSID) on your wireless device and enter the passphrase you set earlier.

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