Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

Protecting Yourself from Keystroke Loggers by Kelly Lynn

A keystroke logger or keylogger is a device whose job it is to record every keypress on the keyboard of your computer. It could either take the form of software that gets installed on your computer or dedicated hardware that connects to it. Keyloggers can record not only what is typed into documents, but into website address bars, username/password fields and credit card fields, as well.. Keylogger software is usually placed on computers through stealth -- it either arrives as an unwanted piece of software delivered by malware, or as spyware installed by someone with access - a suspicious spouse or employer, a protective parent or a corporate spy. In specific cases, such as ones where employers like to keep tabs on employees at work, surreptitiously installing keylogger software may … Continue reading

Finding Out What the Windows Zip Utility Can't Do, and Learning About Wi-Fi Sense by Kelly Lynn

Opening large .zip files in Windows If you are happy with the new 4 TB hard drive in your computer and believe that it's adequate for anything you could ever need, you might find that Windows disagrees. In at least one common Windows task, you could find that the operating system asks for a little more space -- 2 or 3 exabytes. Since an EB is 1 million TB, you could find it hard to help the problem. Windows usually comes up with ridiculous demands for space when attempting to open very large zip files -- ones containing a couple of dozen gigabytes' worth of files. The problem lies in the stock Windows Compressed Folders program, a product that is severely limited, and is meant for small, everyday jobs, rather … Continue reading

Does Your Router Have a Guest Mode? by Kelly Lynn

When friends or guests visit and need access to your Wi-Fi network, the usual way is to simply offer them your Wi-Fi passphrase. If you don't feel right about handing your passphrase around, though, you could think of getting a router with a Guest mode that lets you put your guests on their own separate Wi-Fi network. With Guest mode you get to make sure that visitors have no access to your network. Your computers and files are safe from exposure and any malware on gut devices don't make the jump to your network. Often, though, router manufacturers do a poor job implementing the idea. Belkin and Linksys are two examples. How Guest mode goes wrong on some routers   The problem is an obvious one -- there Guest modes … Continue reading

Does Your Computer’s Hard Disk Seemed Awfully Busy When You Aren't Doing Anything? by Kelly Lynn

When you step away from your computer for a while, you're likely to notice upon coming back that the hard disk light is extremely busy. While you may dismiss it the first time, it may worry you when you notice such busy disk activity on a regular basis. Many computer users worry that it could be a virus that's using their computer behind their backs. While it's always a good idea to run an antivirus scan to check these concerns out, it's important to know that a busy hard disk when you're doing nothing is normal -- it's simply the way modern operating systems are designed. Operating systems do wait until they aren't in active use   Windows  runs a number of routine housekeeping tasks to maintain smooth running. Since … Continue reading

Here’s How You Use Task Scheduler to Automate Window Tasks by Kelly Lynn

Windows lets you use Task Scheduler to time any program to automatically run when you want it to. Task Scheduler has other uses, though; many Windows utilities use it to schedule important system tasks to run at set times or at regular intervals. Disk defragmentation is one example of an automatable system task. While it was the user who had to remember to set up the defragmentation utility once a week or so back when Windows XP was current, today, modern versions of Windows completely automate it. They use Task Scheduler to make it happen. It's also possible to use Task Scheduler to customize system tasks. For instance, if you'd like Windows to create system restore points more often than usual to make sure that you always have a recent … Continue reading

Using the Security Features Present on Microsoft Office by Kelly Lynn

If you use Microsoft Word to create important business documents, you may want to lock up access with a password to make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands. To do this, you need to click on File -  Save as - Tools (Tools is at the bottom of the dialog box, right next to Save), and General Options. You can type in different passwords both to open the document and to modify it under File sharing options. You do get access your document as long as you have the password. What happens, though, if you lose the password? It could be a document that your business depends on. The general feeling tends to be that password-protected documents are lost forever. It's a reasonable idea -- Word uses high-strength … Continue reading

Wi-Fi Direct: What It is and What It Does by Kelly Lynn

Chromecast is a popular device that's seen as on the cutting edge of digital home entertainment today. Yet, it comes with an annoying shortcoming -- if you need to stream movies, YouTube or anything else from your phone or computer to your Chromecast-equipped television, the entire stream needs to go through your Wi-Fi router. It doesn't matter if you are right in front of your television with your smartphone in your hand -- the signal needs to get to your television through the router that's far away in another room. Often, if the Wi-Fi signal from your router isn't particularly strong, you'll have trouble getting anything done. If you've ever experienced such a scenario, you've probably wondered why your Wi-Fi can't be more like Bluetooth, and offer direct connections. This … Continue reading

Opening Office Files Safely by Kelly Lynn

Opening Office Files Safely Microsoft Word allows different ways in which to access documents. Depending on the situation, you can choose to open one in the normal mode that allows editing, for example, or allow nothing greater than read-only access. This can be useful when you need to distribute a document, making sure that no one makes changes. It's simple enough to do this. The easy way In Windows, go to the folder that contains the document that you wish to turn read-only, right-click on the file, and go to Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, you simply need to go to the Security tab, click on Edit, and click on the check boxes that offer restrictions for various activities. This simple approach, though, isn't particularly meaningful. Anyone who … Continue reading

What to Do When You See the Get Windows 10 Item in Your System Tray? by Kelly Lynn

Microsoft has begun advertising Windows 10 prior to release on July 29. While you can get the operating system on a new computer bought after that date, the company is also beginning to push the other route to obtaining it -- upgrading as an existing user. Unlike the way it's been with previous versions, Microsoft doesn't expect to sell these upgrades. Users with existing copies of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 don't pay for their new OS; for anyone who upgrades within the first year, Windows 10 is free. There's a reason why Microsoft is giving up potential sales worth billions: it gets to rationalize the Windows user base by clearing up the version hodgepodge in existence now. It no longer needs to offer support for multiple operating systems. The … Continue reading

Do You Realize That Auto-Sync on Cloud Backup Solutions Has a Huge Flaw? by Kelly Lynn

Automatic synchronization is one of the most important reasons why you would choose to use an online backup service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Whatever important files you may have, auto-synced cloud backup solutions can help you maintain up-to-date copies in safekeeping. When you lose a file or see it damaged by malware, you can rest assured that your online cloud backup will have a copy. Unfortunately, this may not always work out as you expect. The problem is that auto-sync synchronizes your cloud backup to whatever state your computer is in, good or bad. If you accidentally delete a file, your cloud backup copy will delete it, too. If you accidentally delete an important part of a document, the backup will do the same thing. It's the same story … Continue reading