A More Secure User

9 09 2009

Windows has been called many names and many of them not so great.  Part of the reason Mac OS X and Linux are said to be more secure is because by default, they put you in a restricted user account for everyday work.  You could do this in Windows as well, and you will see it is much more secure this way.

Windows users tend to run their accounts in administrator mode, meaning they have full access to everything.  This makes it easier to do work at first, until you get into trouble by a virus installing itself or some other unwanted piece of software being installed.  Then you need to clean out your system and run anti-virus and anti-spyware along with other tools to help you remove unwanted software.  If you were running in regular user mode, like in Mac OS and Linux, then there is a less likely chance of this happening.

To run as a regular user, you just have to remove your account from the local PC’s Windows Administrators group.  Once removed, you will not be able to install many applications nor run many system related software such as chkdsk or defrag. You might even find it to be a bit awkward at first, since you are used to running things without hindrance in windows.

We recommend most Windows users do this, this cuts down on virus or spyware installing itself, since your account does not have the privilege to run such software.  To install or run system related software, it is easy enough to use the command line runas /user:administrator command.  This one little line can save you many hours of fraustration caused by a virus infection.

We hope this post has convinced you to use your computer in a safer manner and to save you and your company money and time.  If you would like to know more or would like help making your computers more secure, you can contact us at Pixel Perfect Group LLC, or check the Contact page above.

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Tune Up Your PC

8 09 2009
Clean up of your temporary files, start up files, and registry
Defrag your PC
Check Windows updates
Review software that may be slowing down your PC
Review your anti-spyware and anti-virus definitionsIs

Is your computer taking longer and longer to boot?  Does logging into your windows pc take minutes or what seems to be enough time for a coffee break?  If you are experiencing this problem, then you are in need of a quick PC tuneup.

Depending on the capabilities of your pc, this should take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to complete.  Much of this can be done in separate times.  You can greatly enhance your pc experience by using the following guidelines to speed up your pc.

  • Make sure your physical memory is up to spec.  We recommend a minimum of 1GB for most multitasking purposes.
  • Check your free disk space.  Low free disk space can slow down a pc.
  • Clean up of your temporary files, start up files, and registry
  • Run Chkdsk, eliminate future disk issues by checking the status of your disk drive.
  • Defrag your PC
  • Check Windows updates
  • Minimize startup items.  Reviewing the software you are running that may be slowing down your PC and removing them can speed up your pc greatly.
  • Review your anti-spyware and anti-virus definitions.  Virus and spyware can slow down your pc to a crawl.

Performing all of the above steps will speed up your pc greatly.  You may even find that you don’t need to purchase a new PC.  I recently tuned up the OS on my pc and the boot time went from over 2 minutes down to less than one minute.   I did this by loading only applications I needed and removing anything I did not need.

If you would like help with your computer, you can contact us at Pixel Perfect Group LLC, or just check the Contact page above.





Where’s My Sound?

4 09 2009

I’ve often had to help someone figure out why their computer does not play music or produce any sound from the speakers. Often times, it could be a bad software driver and sometimes it could be other newly installed software that is interfering with the sound system. Then there are the obvious reasons, that most people forget or don’t bother to look at.

Is it plugged in?

Many times I have come across a computer with no sound, only to find that the speakers were never plugged in! Sometimes it is because it was plugged into the wrong jack. Other times it could be due to someone pulling it out by accident. Whatever the case, checking to make sure your speakers are plugged into the audio out jack should be the first thing you want to check.

Does it have power?

The second most likely culprit is power. Sometimes the speakers may have blown due to electrical problems. Other times, someone may have unplugged the ac outlet to plug something else in temporarily. You can check for the power

Yes, I know these are very simple and elementary issues. However, they are issues that are often overlooked in the field of IT, by the customers and sometimes even by technicians. So next time, before calling the IT guy, save yourself and your company some time and money, check the above two items before hitting the IT 911 line.

Once you get past these basic issues, you can fiddle with the software settings and volume controls for the OS and the applications.

Can you think of other items are often overlooked? Have you had to deal with basic issues like this as an IT guy?  If you would like help with your computer, you can contact us at Pixel Perfect Group, or just check the Contact page above.





Pixel Perfect Group Software Pack

3 09 2009

If you just spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new pc but are not happy with the software that came with it, my guess is you do not want to spend more money on software that you are not sure about.

Look no further!  Our recommendations here today will save you hundreds of dollars, if you were to buy them from a leading vendor such as Microsoft.

OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 is the equivalent of Microsoft Office 2003.  So save your hundreds and get a Free Office suite for your machine.

Avira Antivir Antivirus is a very thorough and computer resource light application.  It will keep your machine safe from virus and other malware.  Scan your system on a weekly basis.

VLC is an open source multimedia player that plays virtually anything, including DVDs.  If Windows Media player doesn’t play your media file, this will most likely play it.

Mozilla’s Thunderbird is the answer to the email application you have been waiting for.  Chances are, you are already using Mozilla Firefox for your web browser.  If you are not, you may want to try that.

This list is a good start to your software needs for your new or used pc.  If you would like help with your computer, you can contact us at Pixel Perfect Group, or just check the Contact page above.