Free PC Image Backup Applications

I received an email from a listener, Larry:  “what is a good free program that makes a backup image of ones drive?” Image backups are GREAT!  They take an entire snapshot of your hard drive and copy that to a storage device.  In the event of a major failure (think – your hard drive dies), you would “re-image” the computer to a new hard drive and EVERYTHING would be back – Windows, Programs, Data, configuration, etc.  GREAT!  There are many programs that allow you to make an image of your hard drive.  This is one of the categories where my favorites are commercial (not free, … Continue reading

YES! Now you really should have an Antivirus App on your MAC! Yes, the Apple Mac CAN get infected!

For many years I have heard people say “Macs can’t get viruses” (or some variation).  That wasn’t true then and DEFINITELY is not true now.  As MacBooks and iMacs get more popular, they are becoming a tempting target for the cyber crooks. Although we have had customers bringing in virus infected Macs to Discount Computer Service for many years now, we recently have seen a significant spike of infected Macs.  Yes, now more than ever, just like PCs, a Mac can get popups, website re-directions and other nasty virus effects of malicious software. Oh, did I mention the Flashback trojan … Continue reading

Before you buy that iPhone or iPad – Check it’s Activation Lock Status!

The good news is that Apple’s relatively new Activation Lock feature is deterring criminals from stealing iPhones, iPads, etc.  This feature lets you ‘Find’ your device if it gets lost or stolen and lock it or wipe it out.  A locked or wiped phone cannot be re-activated by the next person unless it is first unlocked by the owner. If you’re buying a second hand iPhone, iPad or iPod touch (any recent iOS device), be sure to check it’s Activation Lock status BEFORE you buy it!  Simply type in the serial number (printed on the device) into the website below. … Continue reading

Let Me Google That For You!

I love researching (aka ‘Googling’) things and answering questions.  Sometimes though I know someone is perfectly capable of Googling something for themselves.  If you want to give someone the answer, along with a subtle hint that they could easily have done it themselves… “Let Me Google That For You” to the rescue. First, you go to the Let Me Google That For You (LMGTFY) website.  You type in the ‘question’.  Then, when you click the Search button, LMGTFY will give you a special web link that you can send to the other person. When the other person clicks on the link, … Continue reading

What are my favorite Antivirus programs? (and why!)

I received this email from a listener, Scott: Dan  –  I was wondering what is your favorite Antivirus for 2015, and what do think about programs like iolo System Mechanic Professional?       Thank you.      Scott Unfortunately, when you ask most ‘computer geeks’ what their favorite Antivirus program is, you’ll usually get the name of some popular or free Antivirus application.  More interesting, to me at least, is if you ask them WHY (I LOVE to ask WHY!) – you get either a strange look or something like “Well, I’ve had it on my computer for a few … Continue reading

Tech Solutions Radio moving to Fridays 6-7p on WCBM!

For the last several years, I have loved sharing my Sunday afternoons with the WCBM audience and talking about tech.  I have some great listeners and have loved talking to each and every caller.  I am happy to announce that Tech Solutions Radio will be moving to a new day and time in the WCBM lineup.  Effective February 27, 2015, Tech Solutions Radio will now be broadcast live every Friday from 6p-7p eastern time.   I truly hope all of the weekend listeners can join me at our new day and time.  I thank you for all of your great calls … Continue reading

How to format an SD Card properly

Has your SD Card suddenly lost it’s capacity?  Have you unsuccessfully tried to format your SD card in Windows?  Formatting your SD Card with standard formatting utilities may not result in optimum performance of the card.  You should use the “SD Formatter Tool” to properly format the card and/or get the full capacity back if your card has been corrupted.  Here’s a link to this free software: https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/ You’ll also find a link to an SDXC card driver.  If you plug in a new, eXtended capacity card into the SD Card slot of some computers, it may not recognize it … Continue reading

Get Google Earth Pro for Free (it’s really cool and used to be $399/yr)!

Google Earth Pro, which formerly required a $399/yr subscription, has now been opened up to the masses.  It has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world.  Pretty cool and now FREE. You can find more info here: https://www.google.com/work/mapsearth/products/earthpro.html The download  here: http://www.google.com/intl/en/earth/download/gep/agree.html Just use the free license code of “GEPFREE”  (no quotes).   Enjoy!  

Make your web pages Print Friendly

When you have a web page to print, you don’t want to print ALL of the headers, footers, banner ads and other ‘stuff’ on the page.  You just want to print the main article you are reading.  Here’s a great web browser add-on that pulls out the main article on the web page, makes it reading friendly (enlarges the fonts, etc.) and allows you to print just what you want.  You can remove images and any text you don’t want to print with just a click! This is a FREE program with more info and download links here: Print Friendly  … Continue reading

Block access to dangerous websites

One way to help stay away from websites that may have malicious content is to use a different DNS (Domain Name System) provider.  By default, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will have you use their DNS Servers, but you can choose your own.  Some DNS providers will make your Internet go faster and/or block known malicious websites.  One of these DNS providers is OpenDNS.  It’s a free service and all you need to do is manually change your DNS settings to use their servers.  You would set your DNS servers to:  208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220.  You can find more info at … Continue reading

One of my new favorite applications! Keep unwanted programs out of your PC.

Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) seem to be plaguing installations everywhere.  When you run the installer for many free applications and updates you download from the Internet, all too often they are bundled with unrelated adware that sometimes is borderline malicious.  Have you ever installed a program, then afterwards discovered that your browser’s homepage has changed and there are a LOT more ads in your webpages? I was thrilled when I heard about this great program that can help keep these pesky PUPs from infesting your computer! Let me introduce you to one of my new best friends …… Unchecky! When … Continue reading

Is your GMail account one of the 5 million compromised?

This past week, we found out that there was a list of about 5 Million GMail accounts and passwords released by a hacker group. The good news is that it probably was NOT a hack of Google.  You can check if your GMail account was one of them here: https://isleaked.com/en If your account has been compromised, a couple things you can do are: 1 – Change your password right away! 2 – Enable 2-factor authentication!