The Clearance Sale – inQuo’s Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter Volume 16

Our first annual inQuo clearance sale.  What are we clearing out?  All the computer tips, tricks and idea’s that don’t necessarily warrant a full article, but are still pretty cool.

Change the Battery
Your wireless keyboard and mouse give you the freedom to lean back in your chair, and type comfortably without being hunched over your desk.  It is surprising how many calls we receive for problems with keyboards and mice, to find out that the batteries were getting low.

A Re-Boot is a Fix-All
Yeah, we know, you are sick of hearing it, but really, re-booting a computer can clear up many weird things that may be happening.  And yes, Mac users, this applies to you.  Just make sure that you are shutting the computer down all the way, not just logging off.

Many people wonder if it is necessary to turn off a computer every night.  Most newer computers are efficient at saving energy, and hibernating when not in use.  Shutting down once or twice a week is sufficient, unless you are not using the computer very often.

Windows Updates
We have all seen the little pop-up reminder in the bottom corner of our screen telling us that “Updates are Ready to Install“.  How do we know that those updates are real?

  • To be sure, ignore that pop-up and follow these instructions.  Click START–ALL PROGRAMS and look for WINDOWS UPDATE or MICROSOFT UPDATE.  Let the Updater search for and list the updates.  Install any critical updates, and any of the other updates that apply to you (Like Internet Explorer, Windows Live Messenger, etc.)

Virtual Memory Errors
If you receive an error stating that your “Virtual Memory is Low“, this can usually be resolved by rebooting the computer.  If the problem persists after a reboot, there could be virus/spyware issues on your computer.

Installing Free Software
The old adage “Nothing is Free” applies to many of the free computer software programs available for download on the internet.  Many of these programs are bundled with other software.  When installing these free programs, try to use the “Custom Installation” option.  Read over all of the options carefully and unselect anything you don’t want installed, like extra internet toolbars, or additional software and advertisements.

Screen Savers
First off, many people confuse the picture that is set as their desktop background as the screen saver.  The screen saver is a program that will run after a certain amount of time when a computer is not in use.  Screen savers can display animations, picture slideshows, or just a blank screen.

  • Do today’s computers and LCD monitors need a screen saver? Originally, the screen saver was created to eliminate “burn in“.  When the same screen was displayed for too many hours, older monitors would have that image burned into it.  Newer LCD monitors are designed to eliminate burn in.  Many also have power-save modes and will darken the screen automatically.

Dust in the Wind
Ok, how many of you now have that Kansas song in your head?  You’re welcome!  Your computer can attract tons of dust with all those fans and vents.  Even notebook computers do this.  We suggest that you purchase a can of compressed air and, while the computer is turned off, blow the air in every opening in your computer, including the fans in the back, the USB ports, etc.  Try to do this every 3-6 months.

  • If you are comfortable doing so, remove the side (or top) cover of your desktop computer and blow out all the dust inside.

To Upgrade, or Not to Upgrade
So the advertising gurus said that you should upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7.  What do the computer gurus think?

  • If your computer is working good now, why change it?  Microsoft will continue offering security updates for Windows XP and Vista for some time, and a new OS will probably need a hardware upgrade to boot.
  • Software development can only go so far when it comes to testing.  We usually recommend waiting until the first round of updates, or the first service pack, has been released.
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