Remove Hidden Junk From Your PC

Remove Hidden Junk From Your PC

Computer Help

Unwanted clutter can swamp your hard drive and slow down your PC’s performance. I will show you how to keep your computer free of rubbish.

Think of your PC like a house: no matter how much space you have it will soon start to fill up with clutter, if you don’t keep on to of it. If you are not careful your computer will have files everywhere and no space for new stuff.

Even new PC’s can come pre-loaded with gigabytes worth of junk by the manufacturer, the hard drive will be stuffed with trials or utilities they think you want but none of us tend to use.

It’s not just the space junk files take up, having to much junk will also drastically slow your PC to.
I am going to show you how to clear out all the rubbish and speed up your PC, I have created regular maintenance tasks that you should do daily, weekly or monthly, even if you are getting a new PC. I have also picked some of the best free utilities that will help to make cleaning your PC easy.

Things To Do When You Get A New PC

You would think you don’t have to remove any junk from your brand new, factory-fresh PC, but that is not the case.

PC manufactures have very small profit margins and the way they get a little more profit is pre-loading your PC with trial versions of various applications, and they then take a cut if you go on to buy the full program. A good example of this is almost every new PC will come with a pre-installed 30-day trial of a paid for internet security suit, even though windows 8 now comes with its own built in antivirus protection and there are also some very good free alternatives.

Manufactures will sometimes install their own utilities on your brand new PC too. Own branded diagnostics tools are a common favorite, but all they tend to do is waste space if you never use them. Lenovo is a good example of this as they pre-install no fewer than six different utilities on their new PC, at least half of these are just a waste of space.

This so called ‘creapware’ does not only take hard disk space but it can some times double the time it takes for your PC to boot as it can have unnecessary programs to run at start up.

Uninstalling creapware

You can use the ‘Uninstall a program’ tool in the control panel of windows to uninstall programs you don’t want or need, but even on a new PC it’s not always easy to see what you do or don’t need and if a program is worth keeping. Slim Computer is a very handy and free utility that will scan your computer and identify any unwanted programs like, applications, browser tool bars and programs that run at startup.

Find out which programs you can remove using Slim Computer's Uninstaller Tool
Find out which programs you can remove using Slim Computer’s Uninstaller Tool

You can tell Slim Computer just how ruthless you want it to be when identifying unwanted programs, when you run it for the first time. Slim Computers best feature is how it uses community ratings into the uninstaller tool; this helps it know how useful installed programs are as the community provides feedback and reviews of the software and reasons to keep it, these are all stored on online so you can always get the most up today information on the programs unlike other uninstallers which use a pre-loaded database. The info is shown using a sliding scale where red is waste of space and green is good, to get additional information click on the “more info” button.

The other good feature of Slim Computer is when you have finished with it you can simply uninstall it or even better, click on settings and then choose Portable Version, which will then install Slim Computer on a USB Drive, so you can use it on all or your computers and it won’t take up any hard drive space.

Remove unnecessary apps

Manufactures have a habit of pre-loading your new windows 8 or 8.1 PC with apps as well. Removing them is easy if you don’t want them, open up the All Apps view in Windows 8.1 by clicking on the down arrow in the bottom left hand corner of the start screen (Windows 8 users will need to right click the Start Screen and select All Apps), then you simply right click on any unwanted App, and click Uninstall.

Delete old Windows Files

Open the Disk Cleanup tool to safely delete data from a previous Window OS Upgrade

Open the Disk Cleanup tool to safely delete data from a previous Window OS Upgrade

If you have ever upgraded Windows OS rather than buying a new brand new PC, somewhere on your hard drive you will find a large file called Windows.old, this would have all the data from your previous copy of Windows. If the upgrade went smoothly all of your old files and setting should have been copied over to the new copy of Windows so this means you can delete the file Windows.old (but I would still give it a few days just to make sure all if fine).
The best way to delete the Windows.old file is through the disk cleanup tool (Start, my computer, and right click on the :c drive and click properties, then disk cleanup), once it has done its checks make sure that ‘Previous Windows Installation’ box is ticked and click clean.

 

 Things To Do Every Day

There really is not that much maintenance that you need to bother with on a daily basis, its more ‘best practice’ than ‘absolutely essential’.

Clean you Desktop

The first thing I would recommend you do is clear the Desktop of any unnecessary files/folders before you turn off your computer. Try to think of the Desktop as a loading bay: were you would store all your temporary files till you decide where you are going to keep them. The Desktop should never be used as permanent storage area.
What tends to happen is people would use the desktop as a dumping ground for downloads and files taken off a USB stick and of cause shortcuts to programs, over time the desktop can look cluttered, with icons everywhere.

Try and get in the habit of clearing your Desktop at the end of each use, if files need to be kept on the Desktop keep them in a folder. Delete any shortcuts you don’t need. Windows XP has a Desktop Cleaning Wizard that will suggest items that can be removed, how ever in windows 7 and 8 this was moved to the System Maintenance tools.

Clean up your desktop by running the maintenance tasks troubleseshooter

Clean up your desktop by running the maintenance tasks troubleseshooter

The other simple task I would suggest is rebooting your PC, Many people simply leave their PC’s switched on for extended periods of time, or put their laptop into standby mode by simply shutting the lid. Doing this can lead to programs and processes accumulating in the background and this can slow down your PC, if you press Crtl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard, this will open up Task Manager, by clicking on the Performance tab you will be able to see which programs are hogging the most memory. By doing a Reboot this will stop all processes and programs running and give you back your lost memory. Get in to the habit of shutting down your PC when you don’t need to use it, as this will help clear out the temporary clutter it stores. It will also help stop the windows update asking you for a restart.

Things To Do Every Week

Sometimes your PC will get clogged up with thing you did not even know were there in the first place. You should always be careful at what is being installed when installing a new piece of software, epically if you have downloaded it, make sure there are no pre-ticked boxes as these will normally install other software on your PC. Apple is a good example of this as they are always trying to impose QuickTime Player or Safari when you download iTunes. Below I will show you how to identify and remove any unwanted applications.

Remove spyware

Sometimes the things that sneak on to your PC can be harder to remove. I am talking about things like spyware, which sit in the background and collect personal data, or adware, that will pop up annoying adverts at random intervals. Both of these will consume disk space and take system resources like ram, you should remove them as soon as possible. A good Anti-virus should guard you from both, so make sure that its scheduled to do a full scan at least once a week to help protect your self and find any unwanted guests. Trend Micro’s HouseCall  is a free browser based malware scanner that can help to root out spyware and unwanted web browser plug-ins, and it does not need to be installed on your PC. However this is not a replacement for a good antivirus program as they will always be monitoring your PC but is handy if you just want to double check your existing software or think it might of missed something.

Get rid of spyware, adware and other uninvited guests using Trend Micro HouseCal

Get rid of spyware, adware and other uninvited guests using Trend Micro HouseCall

Get rid of toolbars

Browser toolbars are another good example of junk software that companies can install without you knowing. A good example is Oracle’s Java as this will install the Ask toolbar on your browser and change the default search to Ask unless you specifically un-tick boxes when installing. Before you know it your browser can become cluttered with all sorts of unwanted buttons and menus you will probably never even use or even asked for.

You can delve into your browser’s settings and manually remove the toolbars but sometimes the menus are hidden away. Slim Computer can help you remove them, open Slim (you should have it installed on a USB if you followed my advice earlier), and click on the Browsers button on the left-hand side. Doing this will scan all the browsers installed on your PC and will reveal all toolbars, plugins and extensions that are installed on each of them and a rating on how useful each one is. To remove you simply tick the box alongside any thing you don’t want on your Browser and then click Remove Selected. Slim Computer will also tell you if your default search engine has changed and if it has will let you switch back to your default one.

Empty the Recycle Bin

The other thing I would recommend you do weekly is emptying the Recycle Bin. If you delete a file in windows it will just shift it to the Recycle Bin, where is tends to sit wasting as much space as it did before. You will have to manually empty the Recycle Bin to get back all the wasted space. To do this you right-click on the Recycle Bin and select ‘Empty Recycle Bin’ however if you don’t want to keep emptying the Recycle Bin you can tell windows it bypass the Recycle Bin, by right-clicking the Recycle Bin, then selecting Properties and then tick the option to ‘Remove Files Immediately’. I would not recommend this as there is no way to get anything back you might accidentally delete as you wont be able to restore it from the Recycle Bin.

Things To Do Every Month

Monthly is the right frequency to do a proper clear-out, so you should set aside a few minutes each month to clear out all the junk that your PC has accumulated over the past few weeks and get rid of any space-hogging applications that you don’t need or use anymore. The right software will help make this easier.

Delete hidden temporary files

Glary Utilities is a very useful tool and has recently been updated with a fresh new look, it can be used for clearing disk space and preventing programs from slowing your PC. You can buy the Pro version for around $29.95 (around £18), the Pro version includes automatic updates, technical support and a few other benefits. The free version is very handy to have to.

Clean your Registry, delete unnecessary updates, remove temporary files and much more with Glary's Utilities

Clean your Registry, delete unnecessary updates, remove temporary files and much more with Glary’s 1-Click Maintenance

The first thing you will want to do after it has installed is click on the 1-Click Maintenance tab and run the cleaner. This will search your PC for everything that hogs system resourses, and all manner of space fillers – like files you have downloaded over the internet and old windows updates and will offer to delete them for you. 1-Click Maintenance tool will also check your PC for things like Spyware as well as any other programs that are slowing down your PC on start up. You can review what it has found in each category by clicking Show Details – however I would advise that you un-tick the web browser cache in the Temporary Files Cleaner as this usually does not take up much space and will speed up your web browsing – Once you are happy click the Repair Problems button and let Glary Utilities wipe everything

Clean up your hard drive

Now its time to find out what is taking all of your hard drive space. Click on the little pie-chart icon at the bottom of ‘Glary Utilities’ on the main menu, this will then open the Disk Analyzer. Windows can be really bad at showing you what’s eating up your hard disk space, but Glarys Disk Analyzer will quickly identify the disk hogs. Click on the disk you want to scan this would normally be the C: drive, and click OK. Once it has done, you will be shown a breakdown of all the folders on your PC, they will be ranked in order of how much space they take in your PC.

Use Glary Disk Analyser to check which files and folders are taking the most space on your PC

Use Glary Disk Analyser to check which files and folders are taking the most space on your PC

In most cases, the Users folder – were you store all of your documents, photos and music will be at the top, if you double click on the folder it will then show you each individual user (that is if you have different users), this will allow you to see which user is using the most disk space. Double-click again and it will show you the type of files that are taking up the most space, doing this will help you find out what is taking all the space and delete any files or folders you know longer need or want, but you also need to remember to empty the Recycle Bin afterwards.

Identify programs you don’t need

Glary Utilities also has an excellent Uninstall Manger, and can be found by clicking on the Recycle Bin-like icon on the main menu. Its very similar to Windows’ own ‘Uninstall a program’, but Glary own version comes with couple of very handy filters on the left-hand side so you can easily identify Large Programs that are taking up the most space, the best feature is the Rarely Used Programs. To remove a program you no longer want, just click on it to highlight it and then click the Uninstall This Program button in the bottom right of the screen, but don’t get confused with the Remove Entry button at the top – all this will do is simply remove the item from the list, not your PC.

Use Glary Uninstall Manager to help you identify programs you rarely use and are taking up space on your hard drive

Use Glary Uninstall Manager to help you identify programs you rarely use and are taking up space on your hard drive

Find and remove duplicate files

Duplicate files can take up significant amounts of disk space. Glary has a duplicate file finder witch can be found in its Advanced Tools section, but its one of the only few tools that is unreliable and awkward to use. I would recommend Auslogic Duplicate File Finder witch is also free, it now also supports Windows 8.1 thanks to and update. During the installation you need to be careful and make sure you untick the options that will try and install other Auslogic products.

Find and removed duplicate files that are lurking on your hard drive using Auslogic;s free tool

Find and removed duplicate files that are lurking on your hard drive using Auslogic;s free tool

Once you have it installed you can then select which type of files you want to search for, what size to search for and were you would like to put the duplicated files – but don’t worry as no files will be deleted until you have had time to review them. Once the scan has finished, you can right-click on the file and the select Open to view it. Once you are happy the file is a true duplicate press the arrow and choose Select All Duplicates and simply press Delete, and all the duplicates will go to the Recycle Bin.

Clear out your downloads

The Downloads folder is were everything you have downloaded will normally end up. If you leave it to build up, it can easily contain gigabytes of unneeded files. Go through the folder and delete anything you are sure you won’t need anymore. This folder will often contain the installer for all the programs you have downloaded. It’s perfectly safe to delete these (they would normally have ‘setup’ or ‘exe’ at the end of the filename) if you have already installed the software.

Things You Should Never Do

Overzealous cleaning can sometime do more harm than never cleaning at all. This is a quick list of things you should never do:

DON’T MANUALLY REMOVE WINDOWS FILES

Many PC’s have been ruined by someone who has deleted a file or folder they did not recognize. If in doubt you should always leave it alone, you should never delete anything that is stored in the Windows folder on your hard drive, unless you are absolutely sure you know what it is. Clean-up tools like Glary Utilities will find and dispose of any unnecessary Windows files for you.

DON’T DELETE THE RECOVERY PARTITION

Hard drives will often contain what’s know as a recovery partition, this will usually have a separate drive letter and will be labeled ‘Recovery (D:)’. This can be as big as 10GB in size, you may be tempted to try and reclaim this space but don’t as this is your Windows installation DVD, you will need it if you ever have to re-install Windows

DON’T PAY FOR A DEDICATED REGISTRY CLEANER

There are loads of paid-for and free tools that are dedicated to cleaning the Windows Registry (your PC’s database of setting and configurations). Many of the general cleaning tools like Glary Utilities or CCleaner Free will include a Registry cleaner, so there should be no need to buy and download a separate one.

DON’T DELETE SYSTEM RESTORE POINTS

The System Restore is a feature that will allow you to return your PC to a previous state; this can be a very effective way of repairing a broken PC. Many ‘experts’ have suggested you can save space by deleting older Restore Points, but I would advise not doing this. System Restore only takes up a small amount of space and you can always restrict the amount of space it uses by pressing Windows+pause/Brake and then clicking System Protection in the window that has just popped up. The click on the Configure button and use the Max Usage slider to specify the amount of space you want to allow (2% should be fine but its up to you)

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Set Up An Airport Extreme Base Station/Time Capsule on Sky’s Fibre Broadband

Set Up An Airport Extreme Base Station/Time Capsule on Sky’s Fibre Broadband

If like me you are with sky but don’t want to use the white sky hub (Sagem) but instead you want to use Apples Airport Express Base Station or Time Capsule instead this is how to set it up and get it woking:-

Preparation (Requires original sky router still set up)

How to get username and password for Sky’s Hub SR101 (White)

1) Calculating your sky user-name and password

1.1) Go to Sky Broadband Password Calculator

1.2) Select “Sagem f@st”

1.3) enter the mac address from the sky routers status page (wan connection)

1.4) enter the sky routers default wireless key and click calculate

1.5) create the final key by adding the user-name and password together (user-name|password), you will end up with a key like 123456789012@skydsl|1234567890123456

=====================================================================================

Setting up Airport extreme Base Station/Time Capsule Using Air Port Utility 5.x

1.6) Get Airport Utility 5.6. There are 3 options to choose from depending on your OS

Windows
OSX Lion
OSX Mountain Lion – either follow the instructions or get the unpackaged version

airportutilbtsettings

Screen Shot How of Were to Enter Your Sky Information

1.7) open APU 5.6

1.8) click manual setup

1.9) click “Internet”. Select Ethernet for “Connect Using” Select Share a public IP address for “Connection Sharing”

2.0) click “TCP/IP”. Select Using DHCP for “Configure IPv4”

2.1) input your extracted username and password in the “DHCP Client ID” field in the format exampled above.

2.2) click “DHCP”. Select your preferred DHCP Beginning and Ending Address

2.3) click Update

After this the AEBS will reboot, leave it a minute and it should present you with an IP address and you will be connected

How to set up Air Port Base Station Using Air Port Utility 6.X

3) Connect your Airport Basestation to your Openreach Modem and your computer

3.1) open up Airport Utility and get in to the setting of the basestation

3.2) Under network select DHCP & NAT

3.3) Click on Bastation then edit, then go of file and export configuration file (I saved mine to desktop so it was easy to find)

3.4) open the configuration file your just saved using a Notepad (Windows) or Text edit (Mac)

3.5) Search for WADC CMD+F (Mac) or CTRL+F (Windows)

3.6) the search should sow the following:

Code: <Key>waDC</key>

<String></String>

3.7) in-between <String></String) put in the user name and password you got in the earlier step

so you should have something like:

Code:

<Key>waDC</Key>

<String>#############@skydsl | ##############</String>

3.8) Once you have done this save the changes you just made

3.9) go back the Airport Utility and the click import configuration file and select the one you just made changes to

3.10) Click Update

Give it a minute and the Airport Basestation should then connect to the inter and light should go Green you are then good to go

Please remember not to throw out your old Sky Router as you will still need to plug this back in if you ever have to ring up sky for broadband issues

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Stop The Government Spying On You

Stop The Government Spying On You

In recent news the government has announced plans to monitor what we do on line, so here are a few ways to make it harder for them to do so.

Use Encrypted versions of websites

The new version of Firefox 14 adds a feature (already in Chrome) that will automatically encrypt your Google searches by switching you to the HTTPS version. This will prevent third parties like you ISP, the government and Google itself from seeing what you are searching for. You can apply similar encryption by using the prefix https to web address. An easier way of doing this is to install an add-on that does the job for you, such as HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox or Google’s Chrome, using this add-on forces your browser to use a secure version of a website, if there is one, this way anything you do on line will be kept from prying eyes.

What’s the catch?

Encrypted sites are normally slower than standard versions. You will also have to ignore the browsers warning about installing HTTPS Everywhere, as its safer to use the add-on than it is not!

Browse the web anonymously using Tor

The secure-browsing tool Tor will keep location and private data concealed at all times. It does this by using software called ‘onion proxy’ to apply layers of encryption to your web connection, sending data through a network of virtual tunnels so servers can’t pinpoint you. This will let you visit sites and communicate without revealing who or were you are. The free Tor browser bundle includes a modified version of Firefox, which lets you turn on and off the encryption by clicking the Tor button. Tor is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

What’s the catch?

As with HTTPS Everywhere (bundled with Tor) the price you pay is speed. Also as soon as you log in to a website your identity will be exposed.

Stop The Government Spying On You

Stop The Government Spying On You

Scramble your social networking posts

The public nature of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ means that government snoops can view anything you say on them. Social networks are now a prime source of evidence for many court cases, and they can pass incriminating content to the police even if the defendant has deleted it. One way to keep your comments private is to use Scrambles. This plug-in encodes, or scrambles the text you post on social networks, this way only other Scramblers users can read it. Everyone else just sees a random mix of characters. You can even make posts expire and disappear.

What’s the catch?

If the government snoops also have Scrambles installed they can decode your post, especially as the add-on always preface them with (scrambles).

Use different browsers for different activities

Another way to stop the government spying on you through social network is to keep them separate from all you other Web browsing. Running two browsers side by side is unlikely to cause conflicts or slow your system down. If you are really paranoid, you could even run the social- networking browser in a sandboxing tool, such as Sandboxie. This isolates your ‘likes’, tweets and updates from the rest of your PC and vice versa.

What’s the catch?

Rather than just being able to click on a link on Facebook or Twitter, you will have to copy and past it to the no-social browser, which can be a hassle and easy to forget to do it.

Encrypt your online conversations

Because instant messaging tools involve ‘live’ interaction, rather than a static post or just downloading e-mails, you might think your conversations cant be monitored? Most IM services like AIM, Windows Live Messenger and Google talk encrypt your chat sessions, they also record them so you can then access the content whenever you (or the government) want to. Fortunately you can prevent this intrusion by adding another level of encryption. Switch to a ‘universal’ instant messenger such as Pidgin or Miranda IM, and install its Off-The-Record (OTR) plugin. This lets you chat normally but your provider won’t be able to see what you are saying. For Facebook chat, you can use Pidgin or install Abine’s free tool Facebook Encrypted Chat. To use it, just drag the bookmaker to your browser’s bookmark bar and click it whenever you want to talk to someone.

What’s the catch?

Both you and the person you are talking to have to have the encryption tool installed to keep your chat private.

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Installing wordpress with 1 & 1 Hosting

Installing wordpress with 1 & 1 Hosting

For those of you that are with 1&1 and not wanting to use the cut down version or want toe be able to used the HTML editor here is how to install the full version of WordPress. I had problems and found the help desk kept saying you could not do it but found it was not the case.

1&1 Control Pannel

1&1 Control Pannel

You will need to have the Linux hosting package to have access to MySQL. The first thing you need to do is set up a MySQL database. Log in to your 1&1 control panel, under the Domains and web space tab, click on MySQL Administration, and then click on New Database.

You will be prompted for a description for the database (it does not matter what you put here as its just for you so you know what the database is linked to) and click setup. 1 & 1 will then go a head and setup you database, this should only take a few minutes. If you click on overview you will see the status of you database, either setting up or ready. Once it is ready make a note of all the information and password used to set the database up with, as you will needed this.

Next you need to download WordPress if you have not already done so. Once downloaded unzip the files. The only file you need to do anything with before you upload everything is wp-config-sample. Find this file in the wordpress folder you have just unzipped, right click on it and open it with Deramweaver, Notepad, WordPad, or a TextEdit, here you will need to fill in you database details.

//**MySQL settings- You can this info from your
web host**//

/** The name of the database for WordPress */

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’)

/**MySQL database username*/

define(‘DB_USER’, ‘username_here’)

/** MySQL database password*/

define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password_here)

/**MySQL hostname*/

define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’)

With 1&1 you will need to change the ‘localhost’ to the actual host address.

Once all your details are in click on save as, then rename the file to wp-config.php.

All that’s left now is to upload the files to your server. (I would advise that you make sure only the log folder is on your server at this stage as it helps to stop the index file from corrupting) WordPress will automatically setup the needed table in your database. To upload the files you need FTP program like Filzilla, which is free. You will upload the WordPress files in to whatever directory you want WordPress in. I.E if You wanted WordPress to be your main site you would upload the files to the root directory (index/home/default/ etc…..) if you would like your blog to be part of your existing site you would need to create a directory in the root and upload the files to that directory.

Once you have uploaded the WordPress files. You’re ready to go to your website and set things up. To set WordPress up open your web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, safari, etc…..) and in the URL address type in your domain address and add /wp-admin/install.php in the address bar (example:www.yoursite.com/wp-adim/install.php) from here WordPress will lead you through the rest.

If you require more help please get in touch.

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