The questions below are probably the most frequently asked questions, or at least the ones that are answerable under the FAQ tab.
Another common question is "Why can't I connect to my friend's wireless network?" But that question is too dependent on different variables, that it can't be answered here. I'll give a little hint to what the answer is 90% of the time- TURN ON THE WIRELESS SWITCH!
- Where can I get solid reliable security software for free?
- Where can I find more free software from a reliable source?
- Why is my computer so much slower than when it was new?
- Why is my computer so slow EVEN though its brand new? (Plus Skype
- I permanently erased some files that I need, is it possible to get them back?
- What can I do to optimize my laptop battery life?
- What is the difference between ISPs here in Israel?
- Are surge protectors important, and other SP info.
See below for the answers to these common questions.
Q: Where can I get reliable security software for
A: For the basic web user, there is alot of free software
available that is sufficient for your security needs. Besides with many low end
computers, even with 512 MB of RAM Norton and McAfee are too much for the
system. Personally I havent had any luck with McAfee and wouldnt use it even
For anti-virus we used to always recommend AVG Free which was
from the best basic anti-virus around, although the interface is confusing and
is unneccessarily complicated. To download go to AVG. The free
version doesnt let you change the scanning options much, as opposed to the Pro
Recently though, we have found AVG 8.5 to be causing alot of hang ups
and serious slows downs, even on decent computers. We have switched to Avast free for now. You must
register to use it free for 14 months. Make sure to run scans weekly as the
free version doesnt have a scheduler. You can run quick scans by sceduling
through Task Scheduler in Windows but its a pain.
Update Jan 2010: This past week a few computers running Avast have
BSODed from it, be aware and dont be alarmed if the computer crashes again and
For a firewall, ZoneAlarm is very good. With ZoneAlarm the free version is
not just slightly less configurable, it is deliberately annoying for the first
few weeks. You have to manually set up rules for things like Internet Explorer,
Outlook Express and all such programs that a paid for version will be
preconfigured to allow. To download go to ZoneAlarm. A note is necessary,
there are many incompatibilities with ZoneAlarm, and any other firewall
software out there, so check for known compatibility issues before installing.
A bad firewall install will many times require a full reinstall ofthe OS, more
than other software as TCP IP gets corrupted and is almost impossible to
All anti-virus software are very invasive, as they
must have access to all the kishkes of the computer all the time, this makes
them very intensive and intrusive. The real problem is with conflicts, both
Norton and Zone Alarm have known conflicts with other programs, and McAfee is a
massive resource hog, so always pay attention after installing such software to
new problems or oddities that may arise. Making a restore point is a good idea,
but from my experience usually worthless with serious OS
You may also want to try SiteAdvisor from McAfee,
which has feedback on many sites, and it will generally warn you if a site has
security issues. But, sometimes it pays to read the report before assuming a
site is bad just from McAfee, I have found real mistakes in their ratings.
Download McAfee SiteAdvisor. Yahoo store
members are all too familier with this problem.
If you want security software with all the bells and whistles, use one of
the links below to buy a full internet security suite.
Q: Where can I find more free software from a
fellow friends at protonic.com, where I was a technician, have compiled a list of useful free
software HERE. I dont take
responsibility for anything there, but if its recommended by Protonic its got
something going for it. www.download.com also has loads of software of every type and pupose, but a lot
of it is just buggy junky software that will slow down your
Q: Why is my computer so much slower than
when it was new?
A: The registry is a central
database that stores all information required to make your operating system,
hardware, and software work according to your requirements. Soon after a clean
install, the registry of your operating system is fresh, compact, and free from
any unwanted information. However, as you continue to work on your computer,
information keeps getting added to the registry causing it to grow in size. In
due course, a large amount of unwanted information gets accumulated in the
registry causing registry bloating. The biggest cause of this are frequent
program installing/uninstalling, from random surfing, and from general
adding/deleting/moving files. This causes the computer to have to scan through
much more junk to access program data.
There are different configuration changes that can be
made to delay this inevitable registry bloating, but at some point all
computers need to be fixed over, or even reinstalled from the ground
Q: Why is my computer so slow EVEN though it is
A: There are a few reasons for this.
Some computers come preloaded with pop-up ads and trial versions that clutter
your computer, and run every time you start up the computer, these can be
cleaned out to run smoother and faster. This is much less true with Dell
business computers and Lenovo Thinkpads. Computer manufacturers make a lot of
money off these ads and trials, the software cpompanies make money from the
subscriptions from the people that actually buy someunnecessary software, and
technicians make money cleaning it out. The average consumer will also spend
more on the computer so it should run faster, not knowing that the computer is
not the problem. So all in all this bloatware is a good thing for the economy,
and is'nt going away too fast.
Another reason is that the Windows OS was designed
for every individual that walked the fast of earth. Needless to say every
individual has different needs. The average fellow needs very little running on
his computer to get through the day, but he also wouldnt know how to do
anything new if he needed to, so Microsoft configures Windows to run all
unneccessary services just in case you may need it. This slows down the
computer considerabaly, even a new one, and may cause it to freeze on day one,
making you think you bought a defective computer. This is not so easily fixed
up by yourself, but a technician can configure your computer to utilize its
hardware for what's necessary.
We generally always believed that for the average user, you dont need a
high end computer. This is still true as a rule, but there are exceptions. For
big Skype users we recommend using a dual core CPU. Skype is a very buggy
program that will jam alomost any single core CPU when it can. They keep
updating it but millions of users have random unexplainable problems with
Skype. We keep having people bring in computer s for tune ups, when in the end
it runs out to be Skype jamming the CPU, or the Skype extra Manager tripping
Internet Explorer and less frequently Skype video (even when disabled)
illegally accessing the video driver, causing BSODs.
To save yourself later heartache, follow these tips. Upon installing Skype
pick "Options" and deselect Skype Extras Manager, this is very important.
Because of the faulty programming in Skype, even its disabled later it
continues to run and make problems, so not installing is the only real way to
stop it from running. Also if you wont be using video try not to install any
extra video plug-ins.
Secondly after installing go to Tools>Options>Advanced and deselect
Use port 80 and 443. These ports are used by some apps specifically and will
jam them when Skype grabs them first.
Thirdly, under the advanced options check the port number used and make an
exception for it in whichever firewall you are using. You may want to check it
with a port checker to make sure it being let through your router as its
supposed to be, and not blocked by a hardware router somewhere up the line. The
best way to do this is to go to http://portforward.com/help/portcheck.htm and
follow the instructions there.
Q: I permanently erased some files that I need, is it possible to get them
A: The first thing you should do after losing files is
shutdown. Every moment of continued computer use makes it more likely to be
permanently lost. How much is recoverable depends on what happened since they
were deleted. If you did a reformat than it is much more difficult to restore
the files. It's not impossible, the FBI does it all the time, but harder and
more expensive. If you used the computer a lot, its also possible to be
permanently lost, as the computer continuously writes temporary files on your
hard drive during normal usage. These temporary files can overwrite your
deleted files, making them much more difficult, if not impossible to recover.
We can do basic recovery, but for advanced recovery you may need a
professional recovery service. The hard drive is opened up in lab sterile
environment and recovered directly. This is also very expensive, ranging up to
$10,000. So you must always decide how valuable your files are.
Prevention is the best medicine, any important files should be backed up
elsewhere. We have a stack of dead hard drives here, and keep having people
lose all their info.
Q: What is the difference between ISPs here in Israel?
A: The main difference are the different packages available,
which keep changing so we cant give any advice on that now. There are other
points to consider, depending on your needs.
Firstly, for the basic, or casual user we highly recommend using RIMON, which
although its not perfect, has filtering at the source. This is the best type of
filtering to use, a server based filter as opposed to a client-software based
filter. Client based filters are usually easily by-passed. A very popular
software used is Safe Eyes. I have totally eradicated Safe Eyes without a trace
in less than 25 minutes.
This inherent difference leads to a problem though. By filtering access at
the source, this means the internet is going through another proxy before
reaching you. This leads to minute gaps in connectivity. To the average user
there is no difference. Even for downloading any problems should be overcome by
using a download manager. The problem is for business users. We have found that
Netvision and Rimon do not have stable connections for Citrix (remote server)
and for Yahoo Small Business web editing. As of August 2012 we have been using Rimon with any issues, SIP phones keeps getting blocked on and off. RDP kept getting blocked, certificate errors. Hours have been spent with them to no avail, but overall it works much better than when they opened up. So for the averager user it will probably work well.
Mosesnet and Bezeq are seeemingly stable. Other providers we cant comment on
as we havent tried them. Through the first half of 2012 Bezeq has been ahving major issues and many people called me to ask what is wrong with their computer. After waiting months for the new NGN network to deploy with the new undersea cable it was as bad as before so we arent recommending Bezeq anymore. 012 has good lines, but tech support is hard to get ahold of.
Q: Are surge protectors important, and other SP info.
A: Surge protectors are very important, and this can not be
over emphasized. At best they may save you $35 for a new adapter, at worst they
save you hundreds on a new motherboard and huge hassles. And no, you cant get a
$5 one from the US and use it here, only Israeli ones work and they cost a bit,
ranging from 75NIS for a double to 90 for a triple, or for a Waisbord Popeye 140NIS. Use it for all sensitive
electronic peripherals also, like hard drives printers etc. Anything with a PCB
(Printed Circuit Board, the green electronic board) in it is susceptible to
Or dont get a surge protector and give us lots of extra