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Keeping You Connected

March 2007  

AS Consulting's Monthly Newsletter

 
           

Must have downloads:
Refer to my downloads page to get these critical applications!

   


In this issue:


Be Prepared for the Daylight Savings Time "Bug"

Windows Vista

Clearing up unused icons

Do you have a bad driver in your home?

How to tell what is auto loading on your computer

Forget LoJack. The ultimate theft deterrent! 

  When was the last time you had your computer cleaned?

Call for an appointment!
(805) 968-6366


Ad-Aware Personal SE (version 1.06)

     
   

Windows Defender

    Be Prepared for the Daylight Savings Time "Bug"

Because this item was so important, I sent out as separate mailing to remind you of this important item. If you still have not gotten around to patching your computer, please read on...

In 2005, Congress passed a bill to extend Daylight Savings Time, to keep it brighter longer. This year Daylight Saving Time (DST) extends by approximately four weeks.  In compliance with this provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST dates in the United States and Canada will start three weeks earlier (2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday in March) and will end one week later (2:00 A.M. on the first Sunday in November).

What does this mean to you? If you have older software that is not aware of these changes, your times in various programs may be off by one hour. Examples of this would be that your calendar program alerts you to an appointment one hour earlier or later.  The media is hyping this as the "Year 2005 Bug", a takeoff on the big hoopla over the "Year 200 Bug".

Details of the updates for Microsoft Windows and affected Microsoft applications, how customers can acquire them and when they will be available can be found on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/dst_homeuser#howto

Be aware that Microsoft does not support Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME, They do lead you through how to manually update your DST settings.

Essentially, if you have a program that is date and time sensitive, you should spend some time verifying what the ramifications are and if the vendor has a patch. For Microsoft products, make sure that you either have automatic updates on, or visit Microsoft's website (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com).


  Is your computer getting slower?
 
Pop-Ups driving you crazy?
 Is it just acting weird?
You may be infected with spyware. Try one of the programs to the left, and if that does not work...

Please call me!

McAfee's Stinger, downloadable virus removable tool

   
Windows Vista

It is time to talk about Microsoft's newest OS, Windows Vista. There are so many magazines and websites dedicated to going in-depth into what is good or bad or so-so about Vista that I don't think we need to go over it again in this newsletter. Rather, I would like to hit on topics of importance to my clients.

Should you upgrade to Vista? I think the blanket answer to this question is "no". The more specific answer is that most systems are not powerful enough to run Vista. That does not mean that you can't install a Vista upgrade, but if you do, your results may not be a true "Vista Experience". So, how do you know if your system is up to "Vista snuff"? Download and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. A free tool by Microsoft. You can download it with the link below. After you install the program, it will scan your computer (be prepared to wait a long time, even on a fast machine) and then present you with a detailed list of what hardware needs to be replaced, what software needs to be updated, and what software is not compatible. Be prepared to lose a few trusted old friends. Programs like QuickBooks 2006 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 are not supported (newer version will work fine).

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/upgradeadvisor.mspx

Should you get a new machine with Vista already on it? I think the short answer to this is "yes". Aside from the fact that some of your existing programs may not work with Vista, I believe Vista is pretty fun OS. The Aero Graphical Interface takes a little getting used to, but is a lot sexier to look at.


Clearing up unused icons

Question: When I start my computer, I get a message that I have unused icons. It asks if I want them removed. I don't. Can I make this message go away?

Answer: This is one of many aggravating messages in Windows. I guess it is intended to help those who are utterly clueless. But I find it irritating.

It's easy to turn off. Right-click an empty area of the desktop. Click Properties and select the Desktop tab. Click Customize Desktop. Clear the box next to "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days." Click OK>>OK.

The Cleanup Wizard removes icons that aren't seeing much service. You'll be given a list of icons that are rarely or never used. You can deselect them if you want to keep them.

When you remove icons, the Cleanup Wizard creates a desktop folder. The old icons go there. So you remove a few icons from the desktop, then add a folder. Hmmmm.

Anyway, to restore an icon, double-click the folder. Drag the icon you want onto the desktop.

Personally, I'd just rather delete icons if I don't want them. I click the icon once, and press the Del key. But that's just me. Others may prefer the automated method.


This item reprinted with permission by Kim Komando
Copyright 2007 WestStar TalkRadio Network.
Subscribe to Kim Komando's free e-mail newsletters at: www.komando.com


  Is your existing system showing its age?
Don't forget, I build my own systems with the highest quality parts available.

If something does go wrong, you won't be speaking to someone in a foreign country, you'll be speaking directly to me!

Other Important Downloads:

Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.0

   

Norton Internet Security Add-On Pack

A number of my clients have called wondering why several key features of the newest version of Norton Internet Security (2007) have gone missing? For reasons known only to Symantec (they don't call and ask my opinion), they decided to leave out many features found in former versions of the program.  These features include: Norton AntiSpam, Norton Parental Control, Confidential Information Blocking and Ad Blocking. My guess is that they removed them and then had second thoughts. Because you can download the Norton Internet Security Add-on Pack for Windows XP, which contains all of these features. The cost? Free! If you have upgraded to the 2007 version, head on over to Symantec and download your copy.

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/custserv.nsf/docid/2006092616462646


 

If you have a wireless router, remember to enable security!
WEP is good, but WPA is way better.
Feel free to call for assistance.

     

Do you have a bad driver in your home?

Many computer problems can be traced to a faulty driver (a piece of software that helps your hardware communicate properly with your computer). An easy way I have found to discover if a bad driver is to blame, is to head over to driveragent.com. They have a utility that scans your computer and tells you which drivers need to be updated. (Bad news FireFox users, you'll have to fire up IE to use this tool.)

http://www.driveragent.com


 

Are you backing up?
These days, a good backup is a must!

 

If your web pages are not loading properly, you may need this download 

   

How to tell what is auto loading on your computer

Have you recently thought that your computer was running a little slower than it used to? You may have too many auto loading programs running in the background. Auto loading programs are programs which start every time you start your computer. These can be by-products of legitimate programs you have loaded (like QuickTime which is installed every time you install an Adobe product). Or they can be nefarious programs installed by spyware (adware) packages. The easiest way to see what programs are running in the background is to open MSCONFIG. (Start/Run/ msconfig). Caution: Fooling around with msconfig in the wrong way can cause you major problems! Once there, you want to click on the STARTUP tab. All of these programs are starting each time you start your computer. For the most part, every one of them is desired. But how do you know? Try going over to http://www.sysinfo.org. There, you can enter the name of the program you are interested in and find out whether you can safely disable it or not.


 

 

AS Consulting custom builds computers and servers to meet your needs.

Feel free to call for a free quote on an ASC computer system.

     

Forget LoJack. The ultimate theft deterrent!  

Click on the link to watch a commercial for the best theft deterrent made for your car.

Forget LoJack

   
 
     

AS Consulting is now offering email and website hosting. It is rather affordable and (best of all), I personally handle all of the problems associated with your site (i.e., email addresses, domain issues, etc.) click here for all the info: AS Consulting provided Webhosting

 

 

 

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If you know someone who would like to be placed on my mailing list, have them drop me a line as well.

 
The AS Consulting newsletter is brought to you by:
Andy Shapiro, Owner
AS Consulting
You can reach me at: P.O. Box 1728, Goleta, CA. 93116-1728, Voice: (805) 968-6366,
email: asc2@asconsulting.com, Web: www.asconsulting.com

 

See you next month!

 

 2006-2007 AS Consulting