Category Archives: Windows

Windows 10 Tweaks

There are a lot of nice things about Windows 10.  The interface is better than Win8 and the speed has improved at startup.  Here are several items you can tweak to make the new operating system more to your liking.

You can customize the start menu.  First, it is nice to have it back.  What is better is that you can make it your own by doing some simple things.  Add programs or files and even folders by right clicking them and selecting “Pin to Start.”  Once you see them on the menu you can group them or move them to any place on the menu.

Manage Updates better.  Although you can no longer turn them off, you manage them by clicking Start and then Settings.  Click Update and Security and select the windows update option.  Here you can tell the system to automatically update and restart or do so manually.

Control Panel is still here!  We all love the control panel because it puts everything in one place.  To access it just right click the start button and click Control Panel.

Windows Explorer is still here too!  Right click the start button and select File Explorer.  Even better, there is now Explorer in every explorer window to search the drive.  It is at the top right corner making it easy to access.

Alt Tab still operates allowing you to tab through the open windows.  However now there is now a task view just to the right of the search icon.  Click it and get a view of all the open windows.  Click the one you want.

iTunes playback devices

You cannot hear any sound when you play iTunes but can hear sound from your speakers through normal activity, (ie: beeps, install / uninstall sounds, etc).

The default sound device may need to be changed.  Right click on the speaker, (lower right corner of the screen), and open the volumn control mixer.  Play a tune in iTunes to see which device is playing, (look for the up and down bar movement).  Most likely the one playing the song is not your speakers but another device.  iTunes thinks that device is the default sound device.

Change the default sound device to the correct one and the issue is resolved.

Call Us.  We are here to help!  203-262-1869

Testing your Memory

Not your memory, the computers…

It is a good idea to periodically check your systems memory for problems, or to use this tool to diagnose an issue and either identify the ram as the culprit or to eliminate it.

Click Start, or Search, and type mdsched.exe.  You can choose from two options.  Restart the system now and check the memory or check the memory the next time you reboot the system.  We prefer to get the process started now.  Close all programs, backup your data and run the test.

Watch the program process the test and look for any issues that are found.  If there are no issues with the ram then it is likely not the culprit of any issues and can be considered good.  In that case, test other hardware or software.  If there are issues with the ram, change it out with new chips and run the test again.  Running the test again will verify the new ram is good and the slot ram is placed in is also good.

Call Us.  We are here to help!  203-262-1869

User Account Control

The User Account Control, (UAC), is incorporated into Windows Vista and above.  Its purpose is to inform the end user when a program makes changes that require administrator level permission.  There are four levels of access control you can choose from with the default setting being level three.

Level one is Never notify.  This is the setting that turns off UAC.  With the problems malware and viruses can cause, this is not the setting to use.  Unwanted programs can install without your knowledge and create significant issues with your system.

Level two is to notify the user when programs try to make changes to your computer, but does not notify you when the end user makes changes to Windows settings, unless a program outside of Windows is trying to make the changes.  This setting is better, if you pay very close attention to any nuance changes with your system.

Level three is the default setting and is like level two, only it represents a higher level of security.  This will notify you if any program outside of Windows tries to make changes.

Level four is the highest level of security and will notify the end user of any changes trying to be made to your computer that require Administrator permissions.

With security comes inconvenience.  The pop up that appears, (with the monitor dimming at certain levels), can seem annoying and add extra steps to the process of updating or installing software.  That annoyance should be considered a minor inconvenience compared to what could happen if your system becomes infected.

Call Us.  We are here to help!  203-262-1869

Stubborn Malware

When you are infected with Malware and your computer is interrupted with ads, unsolicited scans and other unwanted activity.  You run your scans, (SuperAntiSpyware, Ccleaner and MalwareBytes are all available at chapinbusiness.com), and have seemingly got rid of all infections.  However, when you click to go online you are still redirected to tikotin.com, or Searchonline.com, etc.  You have also removed all extensions and reset IE.  Why is the redirect occurring?

The malware has redirected the shortcut to IE, Chrome or another web browser.  To resolve this right click on the icon, select Properties and the look at the data in the Target line.  You will see the part of the line redirecting the user to another site.  Change that part of the line to the desired site.  Be sure to change only that part of the line that includes the www address.  Then delete everything after the entry.

Another method is to delete the shortcut altogether and recreate it by going to the programs home folder, find the executable, right click and then select Send to Desktop.

Try the shortcut again.

Pop Ups and Hijacking on a Mac?!

Yes it can happen.  Usually reserved for PC’s, pop up programs and hijacking can occur with a Mac too.  Typically this is caused by inadvertently downloading and installing a “Sister” program to an update or installation of downloaded software.  Extensions get installed within the browser, Safari or Chrome for example, that causes your online experience to become bogged down with scanning software, advertisements or being sent to another web site.

To resolve the issue, click on the Safari Menu and then Preferences.  Click the Extensions tab and choose the extension you want to uninstall.  Highlight that one and click Uninstall.  Next change the Home Page to the desired web site.  Go to the web site you want as your Home Page.  Click the word Safari, then click Preferences.  On the first page, click to make the current page your default.  Done.

In Chrome, click on the three bars in the upper right corner, then click on Settings.  Click the greyed out Extensions link on the left side of the screen.  Click the trash can to remove the associated extension.  Click on the setting link.  Click the third option under On Startup.  To change the Home Page, make sure you are at the site you want as the Home Page, click the blue link, Set Pages.  Click to use the current page button.  Done.

Print Spooler Issue

When you try to print something nothing prints and / or the error message pops up stating the Print Spooler Service has stopped working and needs to be restarted.

To restart the Print Spooler Service, go to the Control Panel and click Administrative Tools and then select Services.  Scroll to Print Spooler Service.  Right click that item and select Start.  Leave the window open.  Try to print again.

If the printing is successful, close all windows and continue to print.  If not, look back at the Print Spooler Service to see if it is Stopped.  If it is, then the service may continue to start and then stop until your printer issue is resolved.

There are a few steps to take to resolve this issue.  First, try to uninstall and reinstall the Printer and the software.  This action will allow to the computer to reinstall the device and drivers as if it were new to the system.  You should consider visiting the manufacturers website for the latest drivers.  If that fails, then try a system restore to the point in time when the printer worked as expected.  Click the Search tool and type System Restore to begin the process.  Close all windows prior to starting the restore.

Finally, if the above fails to resolve the issue, it may be time for a new printer.

 

 

Print Queue

When you go to print something, nothing happens.  Everything seems to process normally, but nothing prints as expected.  Why?

There are several reasons why this happens.  Besides the obvious ones, is the printer turned on? Or, is there an indicator light active on the printer?  One of the more common causes are items “stuck” in the print queue.

Many times people will try to print a document more than once thinking that the Print command did not work.  The result is another item is listed in the queue.  The queue may be populated with items that will not print because of an error and need to be removed.

To clear the queue go to the Control Panel, Devices and Printers and double click your Printer.  Then click the link indicating how many documents are in queue.  The queue opens.  Click on Printer in the upper left corner and select to Cancel All Documents.  The list disappears, except, maybe, for one item.

If the last item does not clear within a minute or two, it may be stuck.  You can restart the computer, which usually will clear the queue.  However, a faster way to clear the queue is to open the folder and delete the items manually.

First, turn off the Print Spooler Service.  Go to the Control Panel, Administrative Tools and then click on Services.  Scroll down to Print Spooler, right click and select Stop.  Leave this window open.  Next, go to the path:  C:\Windows\System32\Spool|PRINTERS and delete all the files.  NOTE:  This action will delete all files for shared printers and computers using it.  Close the Explorer and return to the Service window.  Right click the Print Spooler again and select Start.

Close the windows and try to print again.

Unwanted Programs trying to install

There are so many junk programs that get installed when you download an update or even a wanted program.  You then go to the Control Panel and delete them right away, however, a remnant is left on the system and the program you want to get rid of keeps trying to install itself.  You click out of the install window, but it keeps coming back, looking for the install files.

We downloaded microsoft’s Mr Fix, (google.com), that will scan your system for programs that are having trouble installed or uninstalling.  In this case, run the program and select the option to Uninstall a program.  Once it completes the scan, you will see a list of programs it can uninstall, forever.  Scroll through the list until you see the offending program.  Highlight it and click to uninstall.  After a few minutes the program may say it had problems doing so, but it will also indicate the issue is fixed.

Done.

Converting MAC to PC files

If you own a MAC and are converting your files to a PC format an easy way to convert them is to use a free Gmail account to perform the conversion. First, you need to have the files you wish to convert on an accessible media type, such as a thumb drive or an external device.   Next, either open your Gmail account or create one by going to gmail.com.

Once you are logged into the Gmail account, click on the Drive menu option at the top of the page.  Click the orange up arrow icon to upload your files.  Keep in mind you are limited to 5 GB’s, so make sure you only upload the most important data.  Once the upload is complete, click on My Drive to see the folders and files.  Click on the files you want to convert or open.  That will open another window.  Click on the menu option File and look for the Download as option.  There you will find the file types to save as.

You can convert your mac docs to a pc friendly format or the other way around.  If you need to download them to your new computer, you can do so.  Or, leave them on Gmail for safe storage and easy access from anywhere!