Tips and Tricks


The Internet Browser is the program you use to look at website and webpages. There are a variety of browsers available, the most common is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but alternatives include Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.

A relatively recent addition to many people’s internet browser, is a toolbar at the top of their Internet Browser. It may be related to your Anti-Virus program, or it may be related to Google or Yahoo, or it might even be from your supermarket!

They may claim to make your internet life easier, or quicker, or they may not claim anything, and just secretly trick you into installing them anyway with a hidden tick box in a program you’re installing!

Does the top of your internet browser look like this?

Very often, when I’m called out to a slow running PC, I notice a stack of toolbars at the top of their screen, and in my opinion, they serve no useful purpose at all, other than displaying their makers’ name and logo at the top of your screen whenever you use the internet.

This is great for their brand awareness but very bad for the performance of your internet browser! Not to mention, each one also uses up a very useful centimeter at the top of your screen, and if you had 6 or 8 as I’ve seen on some computers, they take up about half of your screen, leaving a narrow window for you to actually view the webpage that you’re trying to look at!

If you look at the top of your internet browser, and notice that you have a stack of these pests, you should try uninstalling them from the Control Panel, or if that sounds too frightening, and your computer feels like it’s wading through treacle, then please give me a call and have a friendly chat!

If you have any questions, please call me anytime.

Advice and Smiles are always FREE!


This is actually a VIRUS! Convincing, isn't it?

This is a tricky subject, because if I’m not careful this subject is going to get unbearably technical, and I’m going to become the worst sort of nerd in no time at all!

There are lots of different names thrown around nowadays, such as Spyware, Trojan, Malware, as well as Virus. My best answer is don’t bother trying to understand them. You can ask any number of Geeks or Nerds and no-one is quite sure where the lines of difference lie. They’re all bad, and it doesn’t really matter what the difference is anyway!

By far the most common one at the moment, is one that pops up a very convincing Anti-Virus window in the middle of your screen saying something like WARNING! WE’VE DETECTED 4,367 VIRUSES ON YOUR COMPUTER! CLICK HERE TO REMOVE THEM!

It’s all very convincing, but if you click, it’ll take you to a page where you have to pay them $80+ to download their removal software. Don’t even bother, it’s a scam and the problem will come back in a month or so. You’re already infected, even if you had Antivirus installed, so the only thing I can advise you to do is to give me a call and I can remove it for you manually.

While we’re on the subject of scams, There’s another scam specifically targetting pensioners at the moment. You’ll get a phone call from a polite young man saying something along the lines of: “Hello, I’m from Microsoft, we can see you have a problem with your computer, would you like me to fix it for you?”

Of course they know nothing about you, and will try and get your credit card number off you. My best advice is to hang up or at least say “no thanks”.


So you’ve given up on your old computer, and decided to go for a beautiful, all-singing and dancing new PC!

My first bit of advice is to go to a big computer chain shop, and have a look at the variety of computers they have there. (I’d advise leaving your credt card at home at this point) get a feel for what you like, and what you’re not bothered about, and to discover exactly what the difference is beween all those computers on display!

There are only a few specifications that are actually relevant to a normal user .It’s a difficult thing to explain in a few words here, but if your computer is around 6 years old, then the cheapest computer money can buy today will probably be around 10 times faster than your old one, and you still will be able to play the mega reel games. Don’t let a pushy salesman persuade you to “upgrade” further and for more money! If you use your computer for emailing, surfing the Internet, and family photos, then the cheapest new computer you can find wil be plenty powerful enough for you. It must have at least 2GB of RAM memory, and a minimum of 320GB hard disk. If you’re a bit of an expert at photography, or a film maker like me, or have another specialist requirement, it would be best to call me for a free chat about what you need.

Fortunately computers come ready assembled nowadays!

Another golden tip is to buy something that’s on offer – Last season’s computers will sometimes have up to £100 off, and if a brand new computer’s already 10 times faster than your old one, why not save £100 and buy one only 9 times faster!

When your new flashy toy arrives, you might want some help to unbox and set it up, or to transfer everything from the old computer to the new computer, so please feel free to give me a call if you’d like some help!

If you’re using an older computer, say over 3 years old and running Windows XP, you might have noticed it’s not running as fast as it used to. Maybe you turn it on in the morning, and you’ve got enough time to make breakfast and have a cup of tea before it’s finished starting up!

This is the magical RAM memory!

Don’t despair! There is hope! Very often, the solution is much easier than you’d think. It’s usually down to something called RAM memory. A lot of people confuse memory with Hard Disk space, but the two are completely different.

What’s the difference, and why does memory affect the performance so much?

Imagine a Library – Think of your Hard Disk drive as the number of books in the library. RAM memory is the number of books you can carry at once. If you can only carry one book at a time, you have to keep going in and out, in and out, carrying one book at a time. Think how much faster it would be if you could grab all 10 books at a time!

A few years ago, when your computer was new, memory was very expensive, perhaps 4-5 times the price it is now! So to fit lots of memory then to your computer would have added £100-£200 to the purchase price! Nowadays, memory is cheap and you can completely change your computer’s performance just by adding more memory. A typical upgrade should cost around £50-£60, fitted, and you’ll instantly notice the difference! (As long as lack of memory was the problem to begin with!)

It’s a very quick job to fit memory, and my favourite part is the difference you see to your startup time. People are always happy after I’ve visited!

If you have any questions, please call me on 01689 862825

Advice and Smiles are always FREE!

I’ve been fixing computers for more than 15 years, and computers have become a lot more reliable in that time. There are only two components that commonly fail now – The Power Supply Unit (PSU) and the Hard Disk Drive (HDD). However, there is a big difference between the two failures.

The PSU failing is not a big deal – a replacement is around £20 – £40, plus around half an hour’s labour. The HDD is also fairly cheap to replace, but the contents on your hard disk drive are usually PRICELESS!

Ask yourself this question – if my computer was hit by a bomb right now, what would happen to all my family photos, all my financial records, and all my letters and emails that I’ve collected over the past years?

Do you do backups? You may think it won’t happen to me!… However, I can tell you that every month I’ll have at least one client call me up from the Farnborough/Orpington area with a dead Hard Disk Drive and NO BACKUP!

It’s truly heartbreaking to hear them describe the irreplaceable photos of their newborn baby or their late mother that have been lost. Sometimes things can be done to recover files, but brace yourself, some companies can charge £hundreds for data recovery and there can be no guarantees of success!

What can you do? Buy a backup drive. You can buy little backup drives that are a little bigger than an Iphone, and will store absolutely everything on them. Expect to pay around £50-£60 and make sure you get one that comes with free backup software too. Fitting is literally a single USB wire, as it gets its power from your computer, and the software should install itself.  And the best thing is that your memories and records are safe.

If you have any questions, please call me on 01689 862825

Advice and Smiles are always FREE!