To help you get the best out of your PC and keep abreast with technology, AJV Computing offer valuable tips and advice. Just click on the topic that interests you. This page is updated regularly – so keep checking back for the latest information.
SSD - Solid State Drives
We can upgrade your PC or Laptop with a new SSD. This is a hard drive with no moving parts using non-volatile flash memory in place of a physical hard disk to improve speed, reliability and durability.
An SSD in place of your existing hard drive can transform your computer and make it a pleasure to use again. They are particularly useful in laptops as they have no moving parts so are very hard to damage if your laptop is moved or dropped while switched on.
All PCs and Laptops now come with Windows 10. It has been out since 2015 and has had several major updates since then.
You can upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10. If you are still using Windows 8 you have to upgrade to 8.1 first.
If upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 check on the manufacturers website to see if your PC or laptop is compatible. Of course you don't have to upgrade if you are happy with your current system. Both Windows 7 and 8 are supported for a while yet, here is a link to the Microsoft lifecycle page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/lifecycle The extended support date is the important one.
If you miss the old-style Start Menu install the excellent Classic Shell. This will give it a more familiar look similar to how it was in Windows 7 and is also completely free.
The upgrade process takes approximately 1.5 hours. If you are unsure contact us and we will be happy to do the upgrade for you.
Replace or Upgrade?
With any operating system upgrade a clean install is generally the best way to go. ie. backing up all required data and settings, then wiping the hard drive and installing the new operating system. Upgrading nowadays is easier and more reliable however, best to backup your data before taking the plunge! We can do the upgrade for you. We also custom-build PCs to your own specifications. Contact us for a quote.
Wireless Networking & Homeplugs
Own more than one computer and want to share files or share a broadband connection? Own a laptop or tablet that you would like to use around the house or in the garden? Wireless & Homeplug technology is cheap, fast and reliable. We can provide the equipment and set up the wireless network for you. If you have a large house or thick walls you can use the mains wiring as a network using Homeplugs, we can also supply and set this up for you. Some Homeplugs also have wireless built-in so you can extend your wireless network even further.
Confused by all those micro-filters they sent you or not sure how to setup the router? Give us a call and we’ll install it for you. We’ll also make sure your PC is protected against viruses and has a firewall installed.
Prevention is better than cure! Today, more than ever, it’s vital to have anti-virus software on your computer(s). Every day new viruses are released - usually attacking Microsoft products running on PCs and Servers. Contrary to popular belief Macs can also be infected!
Firefox by Mozilla is our recommended web browser. It's free and secure. Get it here. Useful free add-ons are available for it which can block adverts and videos from displaying - check out AdBlock Plus and Flashblock.
Some ‘don’ts’ : Be careful when you download programs from the Internet as these may contain viruses. And remember not to open e-mails with attachments from people you have never heard of - no matter how tempting it may be! Just hit the delete button.
Email hacking is rife, especially with global email services such as Hotmail and Yahoo. Ensure you use strong passwords for all of your online and email services. A good password should be fairly long with a mixture of uppercase & lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Also use different ones rather than the same password for every website.
Firewalls - Safe surfing!
If you use the Internet, a firewall is essential. This is a piece of hardware or software that acts as a barrier between you and everyone else on the ‘net. It acts to block ports that dubious individuals or companies could otherwise use to gain access to your computer. A software firewall can also block malware on your computer from accessing the internet without your knowledge.
We recommend ESET Smart Security which gives you a powerful firewall with anti-virus and anti-malware.
Broadband users may already have a firewall on their broadband router. If you only have a broadband modem you could upgrade to a router with a firewall. It is still a very good idea to install a software firewall as well.
For businesses, an advanced hardware firewall is the best option as it protects your whole network at point of entry.
Malware (including Spyware & Adware)
Malware is a generic term for any program that installs itself onto your computer without your knowledge.
Ever had your browser continually sending you to a web page you've never heard of? If so you're probably infected with hijackware - software that installs itself and hijacks your web browser, forcing you to a certain web page.
Spyware installs itself with software that you download. It transmits personally identifiable information from your computer without your knowledge. Adware is similar to spyware, but does not transmit personally identifiable information. Both monitor you to deliver advertisements tailored to your habits. Cookies are usually benign and are used to track your surfing habits. They are stored by your web browser whilst surfing.
Various scam anti-virus programs are commonplace which try to force you into paying for them by continuously popping up and claiming you are infected with many viruses.
Malware is a complete pain and can cost you time and money. Fortunately, there are ways to remove it. A good anti-virus product such as ESET should be able to remove it. However, malware is getting cleverer all the time and sometimes is very hard to remove. Contact us for this removal service.
We also provide a PC Healthcheck service. Click here for details.
Unfortunately your hard drive can fail at any time so the most important thing you can do is to backup your data regularly. You really don't want to lose those precious documents and digital photos do you?
Save yourself time, heartache and money by using one of the backup methods described below. The one best suited to your needs depends on the amount of data you have.
USB Flash drive
The modern alternative to the floppy disk. They start at 2gb and go up to 256gb and beyond. Quite cheap to buy, an 8gb drive costs less than £5. They are fast to use and reliable. If you are doing important backups on them keep a couple for safety should one fail or get lost!
CD & DVD
You can burn up to 700 mb onto a CD or 4.7 gb onto a DVD. Dual-sided DVDs can store up to 8.5 gb of data but you will need a dual-layer DVD writer. Ideal for backing up digital photos, music and video files.
External hard drives
The recommended backup solution for the home user. Available products hold anything from 160GB to 4TB of data. Some drives come with backup software included. Contact us for a one-click backup solution to backup all of your important data with a mouse-click!
Tape drives – ideal for business users
The conventional backup method is the tape drive. There are various formats available such as DAT and DLT. If you opt for a tape drive you will need dedicated backup software such as Symantec Backup Exec which can be scheduled to backup at regular intervals.
On-Line or Cloud backup
Various products are available such as Carbonite and SecurStore which allow you to securely backup your files on their servers. Dropbox can be used to synchronise your local files with an online backup as can Microsoft Onedrive.
Please contact AJV Computing for supply and installation of any of the above.
This advice page was last updated 30th May 2018.
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