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!

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