Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lost my IE Toolbar

Had a good question this morning:

I seem to have lost the toolbar for Internet Explorer. I can't copy, paste, etc. like I used to. Would you be able to tell me how to restore it?

I believe you are referring to the Menu Bar. To make it appear just tap the Alt key on the keyboard and it will appear.

To put it back for all time, move the mouse up to the top of the browser window and right-click. Then click the line that says Menu bar. A check mark should appear indicating you have added it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Class Summary 11-20-2014

It was another open forum day with many questions. The first question had to do with all those icons on your desktop. One myth is that they take up a lot of room in your computer and slow it down. This is not true at all. Have all the icons on the desktop as you want. Although many icons do make a clutter and make it difficult to find the one you are looking for. Here are some thoughts. 
  • If you have an icon for it in the taskbar, remove the one on the desktop
  • If you have not used an icon for a long time, do you really need it?
  • Shortcut icons, the ones that have an arrow in the lower left of the icon, can be deleted without affecting the program they are a shortcut to. They are just pointers.
  • Use the desktop as a temporary storage area for files/folders you are working with. When the project is finished move them somewhere in My Documents or My Pictures. If you are always going to want easy access to that folder, move it and them create a shortcut to it on the desktop. Then if you delete the shortcut in error you still have the real data in place.
  • Create a folder on the desktop and move into it all the seldom used icons on the desktop. Then you can open that folder to access them. Or you can right-click on the taskbar and create a new toolbar of that folder. Then you can popup a list of the items in the folder from the taskbar.
Then I was asked what you can get rid of in the Startup Folder. I use either Glary or Ccleaner to access the startup folder. Look through the list and see if anything sticks out as a program you might not want to run. Disable it. When working on a slow computer, I run all the maintenance programs we talk about and disable all the items in startup. The ones that need to run seem to enable themselves. But if you do that, scan through the items and leave enabled the ones obvious to you, like your antivirus program for one.

Dropbox is an easy to use cloud storage. On your PC open and sign up for it. You do not have to install it on your PC, but it is alright to do so. If you do, you will have a folder in the navigation bar on your Windows explorer window. If you do not install it, simpy go to to view and access your files. If you have a tablet or a cell phone, you can install an app for DropBox and use the username and password you established with DropBox. Now you can set the app to auto upload any picture you take on your tablet or cell phone. Then when you get home your picture will already be in your DropBox folder in the cloud. If you installed it on your PC, then your pictures will auto download. 

We also looked at the new Amazon Cloud which, for Prime members, gives you unlimited storage space for your pictures.

If  you have Windows 8 or 8.1 it looks like Windows 10 will be a free download when released in 2015, Meanwhile, I use to give me the look and feel of Windows 7. Give it a try.

I reminded everyone that they need to have more than one browser on their PC in case their primary one has a problem. I use Google Chrome and also have FireFox installed. When  you install additional browsers they will ask you if you want to import your favorites and other things from your primary browser. Say yes and all those saved shortcuts/favorites will be copied to the new browser.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. See you at the club meeting on December 2nd and at the next class on December 4th.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Class Summary 11-13-2014

Had a number of good questions. Here is a summary of what I remember: 

One member asked what the bar on the left of the Windows Explorer is called and what the Downloads folder in that list is for. 

The bar is called the Navigation Pane and lists all the drives and folders associated with the user that is logged in. 

Downloads is the default folder that anything you save to your computer from the Internet is saved in. For example you get an email with an attached picture. When you choose to download it, it goes into your Downloads folder. When you go to a website and choose to get a program, it gets placed in your Downloads folder. 

This generated another good question. Can we delete what is in Downloads? Yes, however you might want to move your pictures and documents downloaded to other folders. That is why you downloaded them from the Internet or from emails. Programs you download and install are not needed again unless you want to save them for use later on another PC without having to download them again. I usually sort the detail list by date and remove any files older than xx months. 

Next we discussed the maintenance or tune-up programs we use to keep our PCs running well. 

First let me say that you need to have an anti-virus programs running all the time on a Windows based PC. Microsoft Windows 7 and later comes with Defender which seems to work well. That is what I am using on my PCs. Your Internet provider may give you a free copy of Norton or McAfee. Or you may download one of popular free ones from Ninite (more on that later). These include Avast, AVG, and Avira. DO NOT have more than one anti-virus running at the same time. Will not harm your PC but will cause it to run slower. And the maintenance programs do not interfere with your anti-virus programs. 

These are the programs I use and the frequency I run them (when I remember, hahaha). 

Glary Utilities          Daily
CCleaner                 Weekly 
Malware Bytes        Weekly Super 
AntiSpyware Weekly 

All but the CCleaner can be installed from CCleaner can be installed from 

Ninite is the safest site to install programs from. It checks to see if you have the program already installed and if so sees if you have the latest version. Then it updates your copy and if you do not have it already, it installs it. It never installs any additional programs or toolbars. The installer is placed in your Downloads folder so you can run it once a week to update your programs without having to return to their website to choose all the programs each time.

In addition to the above maintenance programs, here is a list of all I download using Ninite on my PCs:

We discussed the need to backup our PCs on a regular basis. And I am not talking about just backing up our important file like pictures, documents, banking info, tax stuff, etc. We have been using a free program called EaseUs Todo Backup to make an image our each computer to an external hard drive at least once a month. Then if the PC hard drive fails we can restore the drive to the day we made the image. The OS, all programs, and all our data come back from the image. For the files changed between images I use Mozy cloud backup. See last week’s summary for links to Mozy.

Another image backup program has emerged in the last month called Macrium Reflex and you might like it better than EaseUs. Both do the same job and neither one has caused any issues. They both work fine. The interfaces are different but the results are the same. Ron holds a class once a month on doing image backups.

One of our members suggested we take a look at another free program. This one is called Agent Ransack and it is used to search through your drives finding files with a number of different parameters quickly. It even searches inside your files for what you are look for. Give it a try. It works great!

We talked about the difference between Windows OS, Linux OS, and Apple OS. Windows and Apple are big companies as is Google. They all make a living on what they provide to us. Linux is the root name of many free, public domain operating systems. They are created and maintained by hundreds of programmers all across the globe. The same is true with the Firefox browser and many other programs.

I ran a copy of Lubuntu, one of the many Linux distributions out there, on my PC. You can download them and boot from the CD. It runs without touching your hard drive. If you like what you see you can then install it on the hard drive either as a second OS so you can use either Windows or Linux or you can replace your Windows OS with Linux. Lubuntu is a suggested replacement for XP. Install it with XP and you have the best of both worlds. Use Linux to access the Internet and XP to run all those old programs you can’t find for Windows 7 or 8. By the way, Windows programs do not run under Linux and Linux programs do not run in Windows. However there is a program for Linux that is supposed to allow you to run Windows programs under Linux. It is called Wine. With it you can install and run most Windows programs. Video at

Here is a great article on why Lubuntu is a great replacement for Windows XP:

Joe suggested we look at KHAN Academy. It is a full-fledged online school. And it is free. Just sign up and start learning. Tons of subjects.

A few of the members have tablets so we ended up talking about Kindle, the tablet from Amazon. Designed to read Kindle books, it does everything all the other tablets do. But if you have another tablet or even your PC, you can download the free Kindle book reader software, purchase books at Amazon, and even load your own documents into your Kindle account to be read on whatever device you have.

I receive an email daily from with lists of free or reduced pricing on Kindle books. When you sign up for free you check off the kind of books you want to know about. I have download hundreds of free books already.

Lastly we talked about how to check your Internet speed to be sure you are getting what you are paying for. I run and let it check my speed. It shows three results: ping, download speed, and upload speed.

Important to note that you should not click any of the links on the page except the BEGIN TEST green button in the middle of the laptop picture. Here are the results I just received:

Ping is how fast the signal took to go from my computer to the server and back. Download is the speed I receive data (I am paying for 3, so 3.35 is pretty good), and the upload speed that is always much lower than the download.

If you are not getting what you are paying for, call your provider and they will test your line and see what the reason is. If your speeds are good, then maybe your computer needs a tuneup!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Class Summary 11-6-2014

We talked about backing up your computer. You can easily backup files including your images or pictures to CD or DVD. However, the number of items you can save that way is limited to the size of the CD or DVD. CDs only store 700mb of data. DVDs store a few gigabytes, but that is not much when I comes to home much you have stored on your PC. If you want to know how much space your stuff takes on your hard disk drive open Windows Explorer (Win+E) and open the C: drive and then open the Users folder. Locate your folder (you username) and right-click. Then click Properties. In a few moments it will tell you how many file you have and what the total size is.

As you can see by my example, on this PC I need a 36.1 GB storage device to hold all that is associated with me. That is more than a few DVD discs. Even a reasonable sized flash drive or USB drive is too small to fit all the data. The best device for backing up your stuff is a portable hard drive and they can be had for less than $100 in sizes of 1-2 TB—more than enough for my 36.1 GB.
But, instead of just copying my folder to that new drive, I would rather create an image of the entire drive. That way, if the hard drive failed I would not only have all my data backed up. I would have an exact image of the entire drive including the OS and all the programs and key code I had installed on it. Hard drive crash? Get a new one and use the image backed up on the external drive to restore it.
I use EaseUS to make my images and have had to use them to restore a couple of times. The club has been experimenting with another one I just heard about and will have to try for myself. It is called Macrium. Download it at You can find EaseUS at

There also are many cloud backup services and storage available for you to use. I use Dropbox to store data and images. I also use Mozy to automatically backup file daily. There are class notes on using each of these. Sites like Windows Live, Google, Amazon and many others offer free storage and you can use them like an additional hard drive by dragging files to and from. Here are some links:

Backup in the Cloud; use code GFBU22
I was asked about using a password manager program. I do not use one and just keep an encrypted notepad file on my desktop. I use locknote as my notepad program to do that. Once created the only way in to view it is by knowing the password to get in. If I were to use a password manager I believe lastpass is a popular one to use. Here are some links:
Was asked how to create a shortcut of a file onto the desktop. Locate the file or icon and right-click, choose Create shortcut. Another method is to right drag the file to the desktop. Release the button and choose Create shortcut from the pop up option menu.
When you browse the Internet all the sites you visit are stored in history. When you begin to type an address in the browser address bar it uses that list to help you by filling in the letters you have yet to type. Sometimes this causes you to go where you did not want to go. You can remove the history in your browser easily by clicking on the tools button (gear in IE, 3 dashes in FF and Chrome) or Ctrl+H. You will see a list of all your history and be able to clear it. You can set your browser in Internet Options to clear after every session. If you have a need to secretly browse each browser has an incognito option. In Chrome it is Shift+Ctrl+N. Anything done in this window will not be saved unless you download files. They will be saved.
Then we talked about signing on to someone else’s computer to help them or to have them sign on to help us. Teamviewer is a popular one as is LogMeIn. I have found to be very useful. It is free to use and easy to navigate. Links:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Missing ZIP Extract Tools in Windows 8.1

Not sure why, but when in File Explorer I no longer have any options in the Compressed Folder Tools tab when opening a zipped folder. Have not found any solution in the Web either. So I downloaded and installed CAM UnZip 5 to do my unzipping. It work fine and is a free program.

To download it go to