Vista or XP?

Since Microsoft introduced Windows about two years ago, numerous people have been complaining about this new operating system. I was one of them. Many drivers were not available, it was a hassle to install a two year old HP printer.
Sometimes ‘something happened’, and Windows would tell you for hours that it was ‘looking for a solution’.

Not funny.

Even the task manager did not allow advanced users to simply shut down the machine and restart.
Things have changed.
Now, after  SP1, I have not seen a single hang up or crash of this operating system on several machines.
Pretty amazing. I myself enjoy the Home Premium Edition, record shows from TV and have the commercials automatically removed!
I enjoy the Aero interface, and I am wondering why people complain about the slow machine with Vista.
Of course a new operating system always requires more hardware. But in return we get more stability and a more flashy interface for those people who need something to play with.

Even Vista Basic on a dual core processor offers decent speed and everything you need.
I have never been a friend of operating system upgrades. I usually recommend installing fresh, especially after a few years of usage. Also here I keep it this way: if you buy a new computer, consider Vista.
It’s far better than in the Mac commercial.

If in doubt, call me.

Help! I moved my task bar!

One of the most common mysteries on Windows computers is the unintended moving of the task bar.

xpstart2Usually it happens by mistake, and the task bar ends up on the sides or on of the top of the screen. Getting it back into the normal position is actually pretty easy:
put your mouse pointer on one of the spots highlighted on our image (if it ended up vertically, these points will be below the start-button), hold down the left mouse key and pull the task bar back to its normal position. Release the mouse key — done.

Note that the task bar can only be moved when it is unlocked.

Windows start buttonSo if your task bar ended up in the wrong place, it was certainly unlocked. To lock it again, just right click on an empty place on your task bar and check mark look the task bar.
Now you will not see all the quick launch buttons, but you certainly will not misplace it again.

Crash or freeze – now what?

With the stability of Windows XP, computer crashes have become pretty rare. I haven’t seen a crashed Vista machine so far. Still, when something happens, there are a few things you should know:

If your computer freezes and does not respond anymore, press the power button for a few seconds until the system switches off. Disadvantage: when your computer is shut down like this, some files often become corrupted.
Although we think that a restart does all that needs to be done, it is better to run and error checking or check disk [CHKDSK] .

Frequent crashes can even damage your hard drive.

check-disk1To do that, go to ‘My Computer’, right-click on your local drive C, and on the opening context menu go to Properties and open it.
On the opening box click on the second tab called ‘Tools’, and press on Error-checking, Check Now. It will open another box with two check marks to be set. Once you click Start, Windows will ask you if you would like to schedule a disk check. You just confirm this, close all the windows and restart the computer. It will restart in a non-Windows mode with white letters on a blue screen (in Vista on a black screen), checking all details of your hard drive in five steps. This might take an hour or even longer, depending on the speed of your system and the size of your hard drives.

It makes sure that all files over your system in best shape. It increases the stability of your computer.

You only need to do this after crash or abrupt shut down.

Which Antivirus?

Which Anti Virus shall I use?

The choice of your Anti Virus program has become more and more easy. Basic free offers like AVG free Anti Virus already do a decent job.
Still there are threats out there, often to be found on download sites that illegally offer music and software. Get the free AVG virus protection at

Those years when Anti Virus meant nothing else than Norton seem to be over. Norton’s reputation has suffered in the last years immensely, since their Anti Virus products were proven to slow down client’s computers. When we tested the new 2009 version of Norton Internet Security we were very happy to notice that this is not happening anymore. Configuring of the home network was easy, but excluding special programs from being blocked by the  firewall is still challenging. A big plus is that the user is not being bothered with pop-ups by the program.

Another familiar name in the  Anti Virus business seems not that advanced. When we installed a brand new Dell Vostro 200  for a client, the preinstalled McAfee security suite bombarded us with questions like whether or not to grant the Firefox browser or Outlook Express access to the Internet.  On the other hand, there was no way to add programs like Outlook  to the ‘allowed’ list manually.

Come on, guys. You can do better… Imagine that non-savvy, non-geek user trying to send an email or setting up the computer and getting this message.

The Panda Security Suite turned out to be a nother user-friendly product. The interface is clean and clear, advanced configuration simple.

Virus removal

Virus removal can be a tricky thing, most Trojan horses and viruses keep on reinstalling themselves and can often only be removed by the use of another computer. If you try it yourself, backup your files before you start. Many people have messed up their Windows installation and had to reinstall everything later.

Best: Call 928-300-7116 for Virus Removal

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