Articles tagged: bestof

Does My Computer Need a Memory Upgrade?

A memory upgrade can be an easy, inexpensive way to improve system performance, but how do you know if an upgrade is called for?

Could the Microsoft Servers Be Infected?

It’s tempting to blame the mail service for account hacks and vulnerabilities, but in fact that’s rarely the case. Much more likely is that hackers gained access to individual accounts through more traditional means.

Are Automatic Updates a Good Thing?

Unless you’re willing to pay a lot of attention on a very regular basis, automatic updates are an important part of keeping your machine safe.

How Do I Secure a Hard Drive Before Sending It in for Repair?

When sending your computer out for repair, you’re handing over everything on it, including your data. Options to secure a hard drive are limited.

How Should I Erase My HDD Before Giving It Away?

Erasing your hard drive before you give it away is important. Exactly how thorough an erase you need depends on your data and level of paranoia.

Why Do I Get a Black Screen on My Computer After a While?

A black screen is most commonly caused by a screen saver, but there are other possibilities.

How Do I Connect My Desktop to Open Wi-Fi Nearby?

Wi-Fi hotspots make for a convenient connection. To connect, you need proximity, a little hardware, and most important, permission.

Why Shouldn’t I Use the “Report Spam” or “Junk” Button?

The “Report Spam” and “Junk” buttons serve an important function in the war against spam. However, used improperly they can do more harm than good.

Can I Use a Charger With the Same Voltage but Different Amperage Rating?

Chargers and power supplies come in a wide variety of configurations. Choosing the right one is important. I’ll look at a few of the parameters.

Finding the Owner of an IP Address

While you can’t find the specific owner of an IP address, there are a few tools to see what IP-related information you can get.

My External HDD Shows Not Formatted — But It Has All My Data!

Occasionally, when moving a drive to another machine it’ll show up as unformatted. I’ll look at some possible causes and actions to take.

How Do I Remove Malware that Blocks Downloads

Some malware goes to great lengths to prevent you from downloading, running, or applying a fix. I’ll tell you what steps to take.

Can I Get a Virus By Looking at an Email?

It used to be that simply viewing a malformed email could allow a virus to spread. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case with modern mail programs.

How Do Cookies Work, and How Do I Delete Them?

Deleting cookies is an easy task. Whether it’s necessary or not is another matter.

Do I Need a Firewall for My Home Network?

A firewall is a critical component of keeping your machine safe on the internet. There are two basic types, but which is right for you?

Can Someone Install Something on My Computer When It’s Not Logged In?

If your computer is not physically secure, someone could install something even if you’re not logged in.

Are Free Email Services Worth It?

Free email services and accounts are convenient and ubiquitous, and can be used safely, if and only if you take responsibility for that safety.

BoxCryptor: Secure Your Data in the Cloud

Many online cloud storage providers encrypt your data — which means they can decrypt it themselves. BoxCryptor is a great solution to ensure that your online data remains private, regardless of how it’s stored.

What is POP? Or POP3? And what about IMAP and SMTP?

POP, POP3, and SMTP are all acronyms used in configuring email. We’ll look at what they mean and how they relate.

Why Don’t Anti-malware Tools Work Better?

It’s possible to get malware, even with anti-malware tools installed. Why the heck is that true?

So Just Why Are Manhole Covers Round?

Manhole covers? Really? Interviewing for technical positions can be tricky, but it can also be fun, if you know what interviewers are looking for.

Why Can’t We Use https for Everything?

HTTPS provides validation and encryption, two important pieces of security. Using it for everything is possible but costly, and issues would remain.

Internet Safety: 7 Steps to Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet

Internet safety is difficult, yet critical. Here are seven key steps to keep your computer safe on the internet.

How Do I Become a Computer Programmer?

Being a computer programmer can be a fun and rewarding profession. Here’s my take on what it takes to get there; some aspects are obvious, and others are not.

Why Am I Getting a “Delivery Status Notification (Delay)” on an Email I Sent?

Delays happen for many reasons; it’s the nature of the email infrastructure. If you get a “Delivery Status Notification (Delay)”, your options are limited.

What’s the Difference Between a MAC Address and an IP Address?

A MAC address and your IP address are both key components to networking, but they serve different purposes, and are visible in very different ways.

Is MAC Address Filtering a Viable Wireless Security Option?

MAC address filtering is a technique that theoretically prevents unauthorized computers from accessing your network. I’ll explain why the theory fails.

What Is Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, and Is It Legit?

Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have a bad reputation because of the content they’re often used to download. But the technology is quite legal and useful for legitimate purposes.

Should I Get a Dual-Core or a Quad-core Processor?

Processors are generally available with what are called “multiple cores”. We’ll look at what that means, and how you might select which is right for you.

What’s the difference between i3, i5, and i7 processors?

Intel’s Core i3, i5, and i7 processors present a headache-inducing combination of characteristics. I’ll look at what matters and then dig a little deeper.

Is an Online Backup Service a Good Idea?

Backing up data using an online backup service can seem to be an effective solution, and it can be an important part of an overall strategy, but there are important limits and considerations.

Emails Opened? Is There a Reliable Way to Tell?

It’s very common to want confirmation that an email has been opened, delivered, or read. In the age of spam, it’s simply not possible with any accuracy.

I’ve Had My Credit Card Compromised Three Times; How Do I Prevent This From Happening Again?

There are some practices to help you avoid having your credit card compromised; but most card theft is typically out of our control.

How Do I Monitor Network Activity on My Windows Machine?

Windows 7 and 8 have a useful utility to monitor network activity. You can use it to find out a lot about what your computer is doing online.

Why Does My Computer Blue Screen?

There are many reasons your computer could get the “blue screen of death”. I’ll review some things you can look into to help determine the cause.

How Does Flushing a DNS Cache Help Resolve Some Issues, and While You’re at It, What’s DNS?

DNS transforms domain names into IP addresses. A DNS cache remembers DNS information… but sometimes it needs to forget.

What’s the Difference Between “Save” and “Run” When Downloading?

You can Run a download or you can Save it, or you can even Save and Run it. I’ll review what Run and Save each really mean.

Why Is an Email Address Sometimes in Angle Brackets?

Computers use email addresses to route email. Angle brackets are used when a more human-readable name is also included.

How Do I Route My Email through Gmail?

Gmail can be used to handle email for almost any email address. I’ll show you how to route your email through Gmail, and why it’s worth considering.

What is IMAP? And How Can it Help Me Manage My Email?

IMAP is a protocol that your email program may use to access your email. Among other features, it makes dealing with email on multiple devices much easier.

How Does Blocking Pictures in an Email Protect My Privacy?

Email programs commonly block remote images. I’ll look at why, and how spammers and others use remote images for good and evil.

Where Do Downloads Go?

Downloading a file from the internet is easy – typically just a click or two. But knowing and controlling where downloads go takes a little more effort.

Why Won’t My Program use More than 25% of the CPU?

Multi-core processors add an additional layer of complexity to software design. Occasionally that can manifest as only 25% of the CPU being used.

How Do I Create a New Machine Image?

When you get a new machine, creating a new machine image backup as soon as you can is a convenient way to reinstall should you ever need to.

What Kind of Computer Should I Get?

A new computer is a major purchase and knowing what kind to get isn’t easy. I’ll review some of the important things to think about when deciding, starting with the type of device you’ll want.

Internet Explorer crashes, how do I fix it?

IExplore.exe, aka Internet Explorer or ‘IE’, can crash, but it’s not always its fault. We’ll look at some of the things that can cause IExplore.exe to crash, and steps you can take.

What Do I Do When Windows Explorer Crashes?

Windows Explorer is the workhorse behind the Windows user interface. In many ways it *is* Windows. I’ll cover what to look for when it crashes.

How Do I Make an Outlook PST File Smaller?

The the Outlook PST file or Personal STorage file can easily grow to an extreme size. Here’s a 4-step plan to managing that size and getting it back under control.

Three Reasons Programs Use All Available Memory in Your Computer

Programs typically don’t use all available memory unless they either need it, or they have a problem.

What Are Tracking Cookies, and Should They Concern Me?

Cookies are placed on your machine by websites — often more websites than you realize. We’ll review cookies and how third parties can use them.