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Getting Along With Your Computer

The easy way

I confess it drives me a little crazy to watch someone scroll up and down through a zillion photos or files or programs looking for something. There are more efficient ways to find what you’re looking for. Here are two examples.

 

Sorting makes uninstalling programs easier

When I remove malicious software and unwanted programs from a computer, I use several utilities that find and disable most of the bad stuff. But once they’ve had a crack at the malware, I still have to check the list of installed programs to forensically uninstall the remaining bits. Several customers expressed amazement when they watched me sort the installed programs by date so I could more easily track down the usual suspects.

It’s very easy to sort your programs by Name (which is the way they usually appear), the date they were installed, the date they were last used, and more. You can do this in Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and even in Vista, the forgotten operating system.

  • First you need to open Control Panel. In Windows 7/Vista, click on Start | Control Panel. In Windows 8 or 8.1, press the Windows key and the X, then select Control Panel.
  • Click on Programs – Uninstall a program
  • Display the results in Detail view
  • Across the top of the list of programs, you’ll see column headers, including Name, Size, Installed on, and Publisher. (If you don’t see all those, just right click on any of the headers and choose what you want from the resulting list.)
  • If you choose “Installed On” you’ll get a calendar that will help get the results you want

I usually click on “Installed On” and then “Last week” or whatever is close to the time a customer started having problems. I also use “Publisher” column sort to look for programs from known malware purveyors like Conduit.

You can also use the “More…” choice to give you a column called “Last Used On” if you’re trying to uninstall things you don’t often use!

Once you’ve displayed the headers you want, click on any header to sort the results that way. If you click on that header again, it will sort your results “upside down.” For instance, if you’re looking for a program that starts with a W or a Z, click on Program twice, and you’ll get your results in reverse alphabetical order so you don’t have to scroll down.

 

Find stuff fast

Hard drives are huge in comparison to years ago. Now we can really load them up with lots of pictures, letters, videos, tunes, and what have you! Finding that one thing you need can be frustrating if your approach to doing that involves just scrolling up and down through dozens or hundreds of files and folders.

Windows includes a powerful search function. Just look at the top of any Explorer window in any modern version of Windows. Type your search term in there and see if Windows can find your file. You can change how Windows Search works to make it even more useful. Here’s how to do it in Windows 7: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/change-advanced-indexing-options.

There are many alternatives to the built in search. Not many of them do what they say they will. Two of the best I’ve found are Everything, available here: http://www.voidtools.com/, and Search My Files, here: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/search_my_files.html. Both tools are free and fast, and both offer a more robust search experience without having to go through all the indexing required by Windows native search. SearchMyFiles is an excellent tool for finding duplicate files.

Both tools work on Windows versions from XP to Windows 8. I have not tested Search My Files on Windows 8.1, but I have had no problems with Everything on 8.1

 

What tips do you have more making things a little easier? Email your tips to [email protected] and I’ll share them in the column.

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.





Two good things

People often ask me about good ways to create and share a slideshow. Here’s my recommendation for that, and a pointer to a useful Windows 8 app that aggregates your online calendars.

 

Create a slideshow without using PowerPoint

PowerPoint is the component of Microsoft Office designed to create a presentation of separate pages or slides. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. PowerPoint was launched in 1990 and has become more complicated and frustrating ever since.

If you work in the corporate world, you will encounter PowerPoint. At some time in your career you will either sit through endless presentations, or you will be called upon to create a presentation.

Good luck with that.

If, on the other hand, you are just a regular person who would like to assemble a slideshow of your vacation, family reunion, bike ride or some such event, PowerPoint might not be your best choice. Maybe you want to set this slideshow to music. Maybe you want to burn it to a CD or upload it to YouTube or Facebook. There are good alternatives to PowerPoint, and several of them are free.

My go-to program for creating slide shows is called Slideshow Creator. (Why can I never remember that name when someone asks me?) OK, well its full name is Free Bolide Slideshow Creator, and it’s available here: http://slideshow-creator.com/.

This thing just works. Essentially, you drag your photos into the program, arrange them the way you want, and add any transitions you want. Now you have a slideshow. It is incredibly easy to add music, and with two clicks you can tell Slideshow Creator to time your slides and transitions to come out even with the music. Once you’re satisfied with the result you can save it to a flash drive, burn it to a DVD, or upload it to Facebook, YouTube, GoogleDrive, Dropbox, etc.

This program, downloaded from the Free Bolide Slideshow Creator website, is free of viruses, malware, adware, and toolbars. It works beautifully on all versions of Windows from XP to 8.1.

An alternative to Free Bolide Slideshow Creator, also free, is DVD Slideshow GUI. This program comes highly recommended, but I have not tried it. It’s available here: http://download.videohelp.com/tin2tin/index.html. DVD Slideshow GUI offers many of the same features as Free Bolide Slideshow Creator and one more, which is the ability to include video clips in your slideshow. (There is a paid program from Bolide that will do that: http://movie-creator.com/.) It appears that the developer is no longer maintaining the DVD Slideshow GUI program, because the “instructional videos” no longer exist. That put me off a little. In contrast, the Free Bolide Slideshow Creator site has several helpful videos and all the links seem to work properly.


View and manage your online calendars from OneCalendar on Windows 8

If you are using Windows 8, there’s a useful app that will let you see your stuff from multiple online calendars all in one place. OneCalandar handles your Google Calendar, Windows Live, Outlook.com, Exchange, Office 365, and Facebook calendars very nicely. It offers Day, Week, Month, and Year views, and the ability to add, update and delete appointments on your calendars. Color-code your calendars to keep things straight.

OneCalendar is here: http://www.onecalendar.nl/#/onecalendar/overview. A link from that site will take you to the Windows Store where you can download and install it.

Adding your calendars to OneCalendar is very straightforward. Once you’ve set up your OneCalendar, you can add it as a Live Tile to your Start Screen. You can also choose to display in on your lock screen.

I had a question about OneCalendar, and sent an email to the developer. Within a day I had a clear, correct answer from half way around the world. So I like the support, too! OneCalendar is an excellent replacement for the very weak built-in calendar app in Windows 8.1.

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



Safe and secure

Hide your Facebook Friends list. Really. It’s a good idea. Also, don’t get sucked into the fake iTunes purchase scams. Stay safe and secure with these two simple tips.

 

How to hide your Facebook friends list

It’s easy to change your settings to hide your Facebook friends list. Why would you want to do this? Well, for one thing, it’s just polite. Of course, if we could rely on good manners and common sense we wouldn’t see people driving down the road drinking coffee, texting, and flicking cigarette ash out the window.

The main reason to hide your friends list is to protect your friends from trouble. Allowing your friends or the public to see who your “Friends” are isn’t a good idea. It’s a common occurrence for one friend to start spamming your other friends. And if your account is ever hacked, the hacker has access to your friends’ information. Lock it down.

  • Click on your picture in the top left corner of Facebook
  • Click on “Friends”
  • Click on the pencil icon
  • Click on Edit Privacy
  • In the “Friend List” section, click on the drop down arrow
  • Click on Only Me
  • Do the same in the “Following” section
  • Click on Close

You will still see all your friends, but others won’t. You can see what it looks like to others.

  • Back on your Timeline, click on the ellipsis next to “View Activity Log”
  • Click on View As
  • To see what your profile looks like to the Public, click on OK
  • Click on Friends. You should see “No friends to show.”
  • To see what your profile looks like to a friend, click on View as Specific Person
  • Type the name of a Friend
  • Click on Friends
  • You will only see your mutual Friends.

To learn more about how to protect yourself on Facebook, check out the Facecrooks website: http://facecrooks.com/.
 

Beware the iTunes purchase email scam

Lately my mailbox has been flooded with fake receipts from the iTunes store. This is pretty clever. The email states that I made a purchase and the amount of the purchase, and then states that if I want to dispute this, to click on a link that is supposed to take me to my iTunes account. Since I haven’t purchased “Frozen” from the iTunes store, I was tempted to click!

Don’t click on it!

If you click on that link you will be taken to a very good copy of the Apple login page. If you then use your iTunes login and password, you’ve given that information to crooks, making yourself vulnerable to credit card fraud and identity theft.

Apple, according their website, will never send you an email asking for your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, full credit card number or credit card CCV code. See this page for more: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201679.

If you receive an email like this, whether from Apple or anyone else, and you are concerned that maybe someone DID get hold of your credit card and make a purchase, login to the website the normal way, by browsing to it. Do not click on email links purporting to take you to a login page. Even if you’re dead certain the email and the link are legit, don’t just click it. Hover your cursor over the link and look in the lower left corner of the email. There you will see the ACTUAL link. Odds are it won’t lead to an actual Apple site!

The (real!) Apple site provides additional information about phishing and other suspicious emails: http://www.apple.com/legal/more-resources/phishing/. You can always check the Hoax-Slayer website regarding any suspicious email message you receive from anyone: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/.

Take good care!

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



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Fun and games

This week’s column is free from dire warnings and loaded with fun things. Relax and enjoy.

 

Grab YouTube videos and convert to mp3’s

Have you ever wanted to download a YouTube video? Have you ever wanted just the audio part of a YouTube video? Many websites and browser add-ons say they’ll do this. And maybe they will, but it’s likely you’ll also get a big dose of malicious software along with your file.

Long-time reader Ken recommended a site that is fast, efficient, and at this writing, free from malicious software. Check out convert2mp3.net (http://convert2mp3.net/) for an easy way to grab and/or convert those files. Find the video you want, copy the URL and paste it into the appropriate box on the website, then select the format. The site converts it for you and provides a link to the download. Works great.

I checked the site URL with Virustotal (https://www.virustotal.com/) and found no negative reports. I then converted and downloaded a file and checked the file with Avast! antivirus and Malwarebytes, again with no bad news.

In addition to YouTube, convert2mp3.net will grab files from DailyMotion, Vevo, and a German site called Clipfish. Be sure to check those files after you download them and before you open them, because things change all the time.

Many thanks, Ken!


What’s the difference?

When you need to find the difference between similar terms and objects, a visit to DifferenceBetween.net (http://www.differencebetween.net/) is in order. Enter the terms in question in the search box and navigate the results to the explanation you’re looking for. Searching on the difference between hard drive and RAM, leads to this article: http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/hardware-technology/difference-between-hard-drive-and-memory/.

Not sure what you’re looking for? Browse the site by category. Follow DifferenceBetween.net on Facebook, Twitter, subscribe via RSS or receive emails about differences. You’ll have a lot of trivial knowledge at your fingertips.


Rules of Thumb

Check the Rules of Thumb website (http://rulesofthumb.org/index.php) for more bar bet winning trivial information. The goal of this website is to gather every rule of thumb on earth into one gargantuan, easily searchable online reference database that will be accessible from anywhere in the world and continue to grow forever. Would you like to contribute your own rule of thumb? You can do that, too.

The site is organized by topic. Browsing through the Appliances section I found:

You can cook more dishes in a microwave oven that's deep and low than in one that's shallow and tall.

Is that true? Beats me. But this Rule of Thumb from the Bicycle section makes sense to me:

If the gear is too high, your legs will tire before your lungs. If the gear is too low, your lungs will tire first.

 

Bejeweled

If you’re still irritated with me for mentioning 2048 last year (http://rlis.com/columns/column454.htm), stop reading now because Bejeweled (http://bejeweled.popcap.com/html5/0.9.12.9490/html5/Bejeweled.html) is at least as addicting as 2048. The game has been around since 2001, so it might not be new to you, but it’s new to our household. The objective is to match brightly coloured jewels in rows of at least three, and to keep doing it as long as you can. You get bonus points along the way, and move up to the next level when you score enough points.

It’s hard to know whether it’s fun or just aggravating. Either way it’s hard to stop playing. You can play Bejeweled on your computer, your phone, your tablet, and now there’s a board game. Have fun!


Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

 

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



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About the author...

Cate Eales has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible and fun for over 20 years. She lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Sandy. Cate is a partner in Computer Care Kelowna, helping individuals and small businesses with virus, spyware and malware eradication; personal computer training and management; digital image management; music transfer; and website design, hosting and management.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions website at www.rlis.com.




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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