With the summer months coming to an end, and the kids preparing for the school year, it is often easy to forget about the family PC. With months of summer playing wreaking havoc on the system, you might find your self overwhelmed on how you will keep the system up to snuff to survive the school year. Luckily Tech 2U is here today to go over the best ways to get your PC ready for back to school.
Before we begin, we have to establish the status of your PC. If your PC is running slow, long startup times, programs you didn’t install, or any errors you don’t understand, than your PC needs a thorough cleaning. We will be going over software solutions today, but if your PC has visible dust in or on it, check out our post about cleaning your hardware here: https://tech2u.com/april2015/wp-admin/post.php?post=5608&action=edit . A clean PC is a happy PC!
One of the best things you can do to get your PC ready for back to school is to run anti-malware and virus software. We highly recommend Webroot Anti-Malware. Webroot identifies harmful software by looking at its actions, not historical behavior or file names. This gives it the power to identify threats that it has never seen before. Webroot is the fastest and most reliable anti-malware out there at this time, and it can even restore OS files that get encrypted by ransomware. Tech 2U can sell you a copy of Webroot Anti-Malware through the comfort of your house by visiting our remote support page here: https://www.tech2u.com/computer-repair-remote-service/
Cleaning up the malware on your system is a great start, but malware can leave permanent damage on your PC if you have had infections before. CCleaner is a great program that will clean up the remnants that malware can leave on your computer. By cleaning up invalid shortcuts, repairing registry entries, and making it easy to free up space, CCleaner is a must have to keep your PC fast and clean. The best part of CCleaner is that it is amazing software, and is free to use indefinitely! CCleaner is very easy to use, but we recommend caution when it asks you if you want to delete your cookies, as cookies can hold your saved password in your web browser. If you don’t mind putting in your passwords again, then go ahead and delete them. If not, leave the cookies intact.
If cleaning up your system from malware still hasn’t helped, it might be time to start over with your software. A backup – format – reinstall is the perfect way to get your PC back to its fast and clean self if it is too far gone. The idea is that you backup any data you have on the PC now, format the hard drive to its original state, and then reinstall your operating system to get a fresh start with your hardware. There is a great tutorial found here: http://lifehacker.com/5983652/how-to-do-a-clean-install-of-windows-without-losing-your-files-settings-and-tweaks that will help you in a full reformat situation.
Now that your PC is healthy and clean, it is time to protect your kids from any threats that the internet opens up. Parental control software is the perfect solution to give parents the peace of mind that there children are safe using the computer without supervision. Net Nanny is parental control software aimed at the PC and mobile markets. Net Nanny hosts a plethora of features including: time management, social media monitoring, remote admin, internet filters, and even the ability to block pornography.
Net Nanny’s features are undeniably powerful and the software is cheap at $39.99 a device, or even cheaper if you buy a family plan. TeenSafe is a very similar product but is focused on mobile phones. Kids are getting cell phones at an earlier and earlier age these days, and there is almost nothing set in place natively on cell phones that help your kids stay safe. TeenSafe gives you the ability to view texts, view calls, see there phone location, view Instagram data, and even see a list of all installed applications. TeenSafe is free to try out for 1 week, and goes to $14.95 a month after that which can be cancelled at anytime.
App of the Week:
Scanbot 5 is a great scanning app that lets you scan any document you have (receipts, invoices, notes, business cards) into a digital PDF or JPG format. With the pro version of the app, you can search scanned text, add any annotations or signature you need, and even lock access to the files with a fingerprint or pass-code. There is a free version and a pro version for $4.99 and the app works on iOS, Android, and Amazon apps.
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Interviewer: For the carefree months of having the kids at home, wreaking havoc on the family PC, has it no where ready for homework assignments and research projects once more, have no fear, Mr. Wisby from Tech2U is here to share how to get your computer ready for back to school. For some people it’s August 11th, August 15th, others right around Labor Day, so it’s not too soon for us to be addressing this very important subject matter. So what’s the first thing people should do?
Mike Wisby: So you probably noticed, if you let your kids play with the computer all summer, it’s slow down a bit, you’re getting those warnings popping up, and maybe you’ve got tons of toolbars… the little things which ask you to search things at the top of your browser?
Mike Wisby: That’s not a good sign. You might try to tackle that and get your computer working back the way it was before summer.
Interviewer: Okay, so all that said, should they just go out and close out all the windows, or how does that generally work? What would you say, what is it that’s keeping this from not running as quickly as it should?
Mike Wisby: So what you would do is you run anti malware on your machine. So we always like using Webroot SecureAnywhere, is the software that we use. What it does is that identifies malware by action and not any historical behaviors like other malware software does, it searches a database. This actually looks, proactively, at what’s going on in your machine. You might think it’s running slow and you see the pop ups coming up, but this software will actually tell you what’s wrong with it.
Interviewer: So what do you do with the malware if you determine that it is doing damage to your system?
Mike Wisby: So this Webroot would actually handle it. It will report it, and get your machine fixed again, by running the software check and making sure that all your programs are working the way it should be. It can even restore files that have been encrypted by ransomware. Maybe you’ve heard of ransomware, where these criminals get in and actually encrypt your files and hold you hostage, and charge you money to get them back.
Interviewer: What’s worse, malware or ransomware?
Mike Wisby: It’s kind of the same. Ransomware is pretty bad, but malware can lead to ransomware, because what it does is like a progression. It will get someone access to the machine that shouldn’t have access, and then they’re in and they can start encrypting files. That’s pretty bad.
Interviewer: You, computer guys, live in kind of a dark world, don’t you? It’s sinister at times.
Mike Wisby: It’s a dark side and a light side with everything.
Interviewer: Okay, we’ll stay on the lights side then.
Mike Wisby: We have a light side, and then we tackle the dark side, we’re trying to get those guys.
Interviewer: At a cost? I mean, obviously, you’re here to help people, but if there’s problems at home, call Tech2U.
Mike Wisby: Absolutely. Call us, we will install a Webroot for you, but there’s other things we can do, like speeding up your machine. If you even don’t have malware, we can use CCleaner, which is a product that we love, and that’s actually free, you can download that yourself, and check that out. That will get rid of all the invalid shortcuts on your machine, get your browser up to date and things like that.
Interviewer: So with school coming up as we mentioned, any last tips besides that?
Mike Wisby: Yes, absolutely. So do everything that we just said, so get the malware taken care, get your computer sped up, but if it’s still running slow, we can do something called a backup, a format, and reinstall. I would recommend a professional do that, but you can look at online tutorials for that, if you need to.
Also get control of your to your kids’ usage on the computer. You can use Parental Control software. The example I have is Net Nanny and teensafe.com for mobile devices. So that will actually limit what your kids can do online, perhaps restrict the hours that they can browse online, and get rid of all that shady websites.
Interviewer: The shady websites? Okay, so you do live in a sinister world? App of the week.
Mike Wisby: App the week this week is Scanbot 5. Now it’s the 5th version of Scanbot, and what it does is it lets you scan documents, and you can search the text that’s in those documents. That’s available in the Pro version, which is $5 for iOS or
Android. You can also get it on Amazon devices. There is a free version which will just let you scan your documents, and save them as contacts, like meeting notes, business cards, invoices, things like that. And it’s all designed just to make your life a little bit easier because we do collect a lot of paperwork and documents with all these different things and bills that come in.
Interviewer: Scanbot 5, way better than Scanbot 4.
Mike Wisby: Exactly.
Interviewer: And our new and improved, Mike Wisby from Tech2U. Always good to have you here, Mike.
Mike Wisby: Thank you.
Interviewer: So the pride of London, Mike Wisby. Amy, over to you.
Amy: I’m surprised you didn’t say Pokemon GO as the app of the week. I’d love to hear your advice on that.
Interviewer: Don’t get us started.
Amy: He’s like, “No.”
Mike Wisby: I could talk for days about Pokemon GO.
Amy: I’m sure you and everybody else, the rest of the world, could.