What is SMTP server?

SMTP: (pronounced as separate letters) short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a protocol for sending e-mail messages between servers. Most e-mail systems that send mail over the Internet use SMTP to send messages from one server to another; the messages can then be retrieved with an e-mail client using either POP or IMAP. In addition, SMTP is generally used to send messages from a mail client to a mail server. This is why you need to specify both the POP or IMAP server and the SMTP server when you configure your e-mail application.

What is SMTP server

What does SMTP mean to you?

You would probably most likely encounter it when setting up your hosted email on your local email client (such as Outlook or Eudora).

SMTP is also referred to as “outgoing email” by most of the email programs (clients). If you host your own domain and email service, and need to know what your specific SMTP is, you must ask your hosting service provider.

If you use public email services, such as Yahoo, there is no need for you to know your SMTP .

Sometimes you need to ask your ISP (internet service provider) for SMTP information – for example, if you use AT&T, or  for your mobile phone service, or Optimum Online for your home internet connection, you may have to confirm your SMTP (outgoing) settings with them, first.

What is a POP server?

POP (Short for Post Office Protocol) is a protocol used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server. Most e-mail applications (sometimes called an e-mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).

What is a POP server

There are two versions of POP. The first, called POP2, became a standard in the mid-80’s and requires SMTP to send messages. The newer version, POP3, can be used with or without SMTP.

POP: Short for point of presence, an access point to the Internet. ISPs have typically multiple POPs. A point of presence is a physical location, either part of the facilities of a telecommunications provider that the ISP rents or a separate location from the telecommunications provider, that houses servers, routers, ATM switches and digital/analog call aggregators.

What does POP mean to you?

You would probably most likely encounter it when setting up your hosted email on your local email client (such as Outlook or Eudora).

POP3 is also referred to as “incoming email” by most of the clients. If you host your own domain and email service, and need to know what your specific POP3 is, you must ask your hosting service provider.

If you use public email services, such as Gmail, there is no need for you to know your POP3.

How to Manage Email Storage on the Server in Microsoft Outlook 2010

If you use the webmail, or connect to your server via IMAP setting, you are not storing the email in your mail client – you are working with mail directly on the server. So once you delete the email there, it is gone. But if you are using a POP3 setting, your setup is different.

From time to time, my clients ask me why they hit the storage limit for their mail, even if they keep  cleaning out their Outlook mailbox.

The answer is simple – you need to address the mail storage limit on the mail SERVER, not your personal computer, and I bet you have “Leave a copy of messages on the server” enabled.

Imagine that your mail server is the post office, and your mailbox is your Outlook. Now picture this: your email comes to the post office, and is being stored there. A postal worker makes a copy of every piece of mail, leaves a copy at the post office, and delivers the original your mailbox at your home. You may be taking out your bills and junk mail out of your mailbox every day, cleaning it out, to make room for more mail to come in the next day. But if you do not instruct the postal worker to remove the unwanted copies from the post office, they will just keep piling up there, until the post office runs out of room, and is no longer able to receive any new mail. And you will be standing next to your empty mailbox wondering what happened to your mail!

So it’s kind of the same scenario of how your email is being processed between a server and a computer:

  • Mail server receives the email.
  • Your email client (such as Outlook) connects to the server, and if its a POP3 connection, downloads the message to your personal computer.
  • Mail server keeps a copy.
  • YYou maintain your inbox on your personal computer by either keeping, archiving or deleting the message …but what about the server email maintenance?

You may have access to your server mail via webmail, and can decide if you want to delete some of the older and unwanted emails. Sometimes it becomes a tedious task, especially if you receive a large volume of emails.

What you should do is to make a proper setup for your Microsoft Outlook to manage the email storage on the server. When you delete email from the server, it does not remove email messages from your Outlook, if they were already downloaded.

I know some people are worried and feel attached to their email – no pun intended in regards to the “attachments”, and prefer to keep copies “just in case”.

A much better practice would be to compromise on the certain number of days that you may want to keep the email on the server – I have 14 days set for my preferences, but you may want to choose 5, or 30 – just remember to pick a reasonable number that works for the general flow and volume of emails coming your way. In addition, it is wise to Archive your mail  in the outlook to make sure your inbox does not get overstuffed.

4 Steps to Setup Your Email Storage Preferences in Outlook

Here are some screenshots for the Microsoft Outlook (part of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010, version 14) mail storage setup.

Step 1: File > Info > Account Settings > Choose Account settings from Additional Drop down

How to Manage Email Storage on the Server in Microsoft Outlook 2010

Step 2. Change Account > More Settings

Change Account  More Settings

Step 3.

 

Step 4. Advanced > Delivery > Check “Leave a copy of messages on the server”> Choose X number of days.

outlook_delete_emails_4.gif

If you choose not to store mail on the server, it will download everything straight to your Outlook inbox, and you can manage them all on your personal computer instead. If this is your preferred option, just un-check the Delivery option altogether.

outlook_delete_emails_4a.gif

 

Several Tips On How To Boost your Wi-Fi

One of the most beneficial things you can do to boost your Wi-Fi, of course, is consider upgrading your wireless standard to Wireless N, if you haven’t yet. But if for any reason it is not an option for you, or if you want to prolong your older Wi-Fi box’s life, these 9 tips can help you out.

Several Tips On How To Boost your Wi-Fi

  • Place your Wi-Fi router near the center of the house on a high shelf, as far as possible from your neighbor’s Wi-Fi router, and make sure to use a channel different from your neighbor’s.
  • Keep router away from cordless phones and microwaves, which operate on the same frequency, unless your cordless phones is specifically  Wi-Fi friendly if it uses other then  2.4 Ghz frequency
  • Keep items that interfere with radio reception as far as possible from your router antennas – items such as power cords, cable and computer wires. Actually, the computer case itself can be a significant barrier to the Wi-Fi signal. It would help if you position the case so it doesn’t come between the router antenna and a network card.
  • To increase the effective range, you can install an aftermarket antenna on your Wi-Fi equipment. However, because radio antennas only help concentrate and direct signals, the range of a Wi-Fi device is ultimately limited by the power of its radio transmitter rather than its antenna. For these reasons, signal boosting of a Wi-Fi network is sometimes necessary, normally accomplished by adding repeater devices that amplify and relay signals at intermediate points between network connections.
  • If you live or work on a single floor, consider adding an  external antenna that uses higher dBi (decibels relative to an isotropic reference) called “high gain”.  It may provide increased reception signal and performance. Since a higher dBi increases the signal horizontally, but decreases vertically; you may need to use a Wi-Fi amplifier to boost your signal, if you want to cover multiple floors.
  • Omnidirectional antennas are designed to work with signals in any directions, but their gain measured in any given direction is lower than directional antennas that focus in one direction only. If your building has  some tight, hard-to-reach corners and you do not need 360° coverage, consider a  Directional antenna.
  • Install a third-party firmware on your router. If your router supports it, third-party firmware, such as DD-WRT, can allow your to increase the power going to the antenna’s.
  • WiFi repeater can be used to boost the signal between the router and your device. Take it a step further: install the open-source DD-WRT firmware on your old router, and make it into a repeater for your new one.
  • Reflectors can also be of benefit, with tuned placement of the reflector. Anything that looks like a parabolic reflector can be used, and should be placed behind the receiving device or antenna to achieve a significant increases in signal strength. This trick also works with cell phones!

Fix for a Flash Player Crashing When Exiting a Browser Page

Let me start by saying, this is not the only solution, as there may be different causes for this problem. In this post, I am talking about a specific issue:

Why do I have a “Flash Crash”? Because RealPlayer download button is enabled.

I’ve been banging my head against the wall recently with a mystery issue: my Flash Player kept crashing. I would go on re-installing flash, only to find out that it would crash again – sometimes within minutes of the reinstall. In addition, these crashes kept “freezing” my Firefox. Extremely annoying, as you can imagine.

I Googled this issue and found various ideas on what to do. Sadly, most of them still recommended reinstalling Flash and hope for the best. Then, when updating my IE browser at home and responding to simultaneous request to upgrade my Flash I saw it – the message straight from Adobe that explained it all:  Adobe Flash Player crashes when exiting a page that has SWF file content and the RealPlayer “browser download button” feature is enabled.

Fix for a Flash Player Crashing When Exiting a Browser Page

This crash could be the result of installing and enabling a RealPlayer browser download button. The RealPlayer browser download button feature changes the way Flash Player interacts with the browser, and is not a supported configuration for Flash Player. So, simply put, there is a clash between RealPlayer and Flash Player. I will not go into an argument as to why I have to be forced to do so (I would think the big boys should learn to play together), but since I never used that button anyway, and I have all kinds of other players to use for my media files, I chose to sacrifice the RealPlayer’s download button in my browser.

I followed the link in the Adobe pop-up window, and here it is:

A Solution:

Remove RealPlayer or disable the RealPlayer browser download button in your browser’s add-on preferences.

Here is a step-by-step on how you disable this RealPlayer Browser Download button:

Firefox

  1. Choose Tools > Add-ons.
  2. In the Add-ons window, select “Real Player Browser Record Plugin.”
  3. Select either Disable (or Uninstall).
  4. Close, then reopen your browser.

Internet Explorer

  1. Choose Tools > Manage Add-ons.
  2. Choose Enable or Disable Add-ons.
  3. In the Add-ons window, select “Real Player Download and Record Plugin for Internet Explorer” (which I find to be an odd title – can Internet explorer add-ons window control other browsers? I should look into that.)
  4. Click Disable in the settings area at the bottom of the window.
  5. Close and then reopen the browser for this change to take effect.


Extra tip from my experience:
It is important to check for this when upgrading to a new browser: I don’t think it keeps this setting automatically. I recently upgraded one of my browsers; the upgrade required a restart of my computer. Upon restart, Adobe informed be that a new version of Flash player is available. Once that install was complete, I had to go back to my freshly upgraded browser and disable the Real Player plugin to make sure my Flash performs. When upgrading, just double check.

I hope this helps you out!

Spring Cleaning tips for your PC and Computer Network

Folks, here is a quick and very informal list of what you can do to spring-clean our PC and computer network.

When doing any major changes or upgrades to your computer, always consider using professional help, and start with a good backup.

Spring Cleaning tips for your PC and Computer Network

Backup files

Back them up again if you have to. Nowadays you don’t need to be explained why you need to backup files – backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are on top of every business owner’s to-do list. Just do it.

Clean out old and unused programs

Chances are you have programs you don’t use, but they still take up disc space and impact your system’s performance. Spring cleaning is the time  to decide what you use and what you don’t. In Windows, go to the Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs.  Select programs you haven’t used in a year or more, and those you are not planning on using altogether,  to be removed. On Macs you can open LaunchPad, then drag and drop the icons of your unused and underused programs into the trash. It’ll do the rest.  Purging your old and unused programs will improve your computer’s performance speed.

Clean the system’s registry

Your system probably keeps a lot of temporary Internet files, cookies, and browsing histories over the periods of time, and their accumulation may be among reasons why your computer keeps freezing. There are several tools you can use to clear out old registry entries, empty trash and delete temporary and unnecessary files – it will help speeding up your computer’s performance.

Defrag your hard drive

If you have never done a defragment (a defrag, as this process is commonly refered to it)  and worried about doing so by yourself – call your tech support for assistance. If you feel that you can take it on, defrag your drive. It would organize the contents of your computer to store files into the smallest number of contiguous regions (fragments). It would also attempt to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmentation utilities try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence.  In Windows 8 you’ll find this by searching defrag under Files, on older Windows systems go to Program Files>Accessories>System Tools. Performing a defragment may takes a long time, perhaps even several hours, so your system will be unavailable for use during a defrag. A good idea is to run it while you are busy doing other things not involving your PC.

Make sure all program are up-to-date

Your operating system and all software programs have to updated to the latest versions available, as these updates include the latest security patches. Updates should be on your list of top priorities when it comes to your PC and computer network. Older versions are at higher risk of being compromised by malicious hack attacks. On Windows, navigate to  Start>Control Panel>All Programs>Windows Update. The system will guide you through the rest when updates need to be installed on your computer. If in doubt, click on Check for updates link to confirm your system does or does not need updates. On iOS systems, click on the App Store>Updates  at the top of the window.

Perform a deep and full system security scan to remove any harmful files. Just to be safe, scan any external backup drives and attached mass storage devices, too.

Look into security

If are not using a full security suite, consider one: check out 2013 top 10 anti-virus security suites reviews.  then run a deep and full system scan to remove any malicious files. Just to be safe, scan any external backup drives too.

Change your passwords

This should be obvious. Make them new, fresh – and change them not just on your PC, but in other places, too.

And give your PC some love!

Your system gets dirty over time. To clean your equipment, first, make sure everything is powered off. Wipe off your monitor with a damp cloth, shake out and/or spray your keyboard out with compressed air, and scrub the keyboard with a damp, mildly soapy solution to clean off the oils from your hands, coffee stains (you know who you are!) crumbs, dust and so on.

Top 10 Computer Virus Symptoms – Checklist

Computer virus symptoms are a not cast in stone, but rather a moving target. Just like with the human viral conditions, they evolve through generations – which in computer technology terms may mean weeks or even days. Some symptoms may not necessarily mean an infection – for example, if you are sneezing, you do not necessarily have a flu, it may be just an allergy – which means different cause, and different treatment methods. Same with computers – if your system seems to be slower than usual, it may be a symptom of a virus, but it may also be a symptom of “program overload” – when you have too many programs running at once, and it crashes  your computer system’s performance.

With that in mind, let’s go over some of the most common symptoms that can alert you to the potential virus within your computer system, or even your computer network, presented here in no particular order.

Top 10 Computer Virus Symptoms – Checklist

1. Hardware Troubles – It’s Alive!

If sudden sounds of the CD-ROM tray opening completely out if its own will give you the heebie jeebies, I don’t blame you! If your hardware – computer, printer, etc. – started acting up on its own, without you requesting any action by means of keyboard or mouse, you are likely having a virus in your computer system. When you work on the computer, especially if you are performing some actions by using programs,your hard drive is expected to be making some noises.

If you are not doing anything, and your computer seems to be putting in extra effort and looks like it is communicating with 8th dimension completely by itself, consider an emergency antivirus scan.

2. No Response – Is Anyone Home?

We’ve all been there: working away, and then BAM – nothing happens! You can’t move your mouse, the keyboard does zilch, you go into panic mode “ouch, did I save that document I was writing for the past 2 hours?”…. (Now, in the voice of “desperate housewives narrator: “Yes. We all had the frozen iceberg for a computer before”). Lockup alone may not necessarily mean you have a virus – it could also be a symptom of a desperate need for a cleanup (we will be going over it in another article) – but if it presents itself in array of other symptoms, be on a lookout for a virus.

3. Slow Performance – Are We There yet?

If you notice that certain actions take much longer then usual, you should be concerned. As in the previous paragraphs – you must account for specifics of certain files and programs when making a judgment of the slow performance: one PDF document may take much longer time to open simply because it is of a much larger size, and it will not be indicative of the computer virus. However, keep in mind that some viruses can reproduce and multiply your files and overcrowd disk space, overloading disk usage. In another example, when you are browsing your documents folders and you notice that it takes – unusually – longer to browse from one folder to another, or if it takes more and more time to open the same program, you should be on a lookout for other computer virus symptoms.

4. Slow Startup – Easy doesn’t.

Another important symptom of a computer virus is a slow startup. Do not confuse it with wishful thinking. As a collective, we are impatient beings. Did you ever catch yourself pushing an elevator button, mumbling to yourself, “It must be the slowest elevator ever”? My point exactly! When considering the startup process – think of the typical (however slow you may feel it is) to the actual startup time. Does it seem to be much slower then usual? Does it seem to just sit there, and not even a blink or a squeak happens?

If it takes way too long, then it may be a symptom of a viral infection in your computer.

5. Crashing – Crash and Burn, Baby!

When your computer crashes spontaneously, be careful. After computer restarts, you may notice it does not seem to run normally. If it self-restarts frequently, every few minutes – beware of a virus. This symptom alone may indicate that your system is infected. If your computer crashed, best course of action – Do Not Resuscitate and call your IT support company.

6. Missing files – Gone With the Wind…

When you notice that applications on your computer do not work correctly, you may also notice some of your files are missing. That includes different types of files. Some may be the files that you created, such as images or documents you had saved on your drive. You may physically notice absence of those when you actually look for them and can’t seem to find them anywhere. As a result of computer virus infection your computer may also be missing system files. As a user, you may not know what they are and may not notice they are gone, however, if you are trying to use certain applications (browser, email client, document editor, etc.) sometimes those application will refuse to run properly and pop up a warning for you that “critical file is missing” – usually accompanied by the name of the file that is MIA – alerting you to a loss of some files.

7. Disks or Disk Drives Are Not Accessible – Who Ate My Porridge?

If you are loosing the network connection – or worse yet cannot connect to the USB drive you just plugged in, or you go to My Computer and only see one drive instead of your usual X number of drives, you may be in trouble. If you cannot connect to all, some of the drives or cannot access your CD-ROM, it may be one of the symptoms indicating your computer is infected.

8. Extra Files – Who Sat In My Chair?

You may visually notice extra pop ups and extra programs that seem to be running on your computer, especially on startup. You may notice (if you check for it) that your disk space suddenly quadrupled in size without you making 200 copies of your vacation photos folder on your C: drive.

9. Printer Issues – Is This Thing On?

If you cannot get your documents to print correctly, or cannot print at all, you may be dealing with a virus. First, rule out your printer not being turned on. Next, ensure it is connected to your network and is not offline. If it turned on and it is online (connected to your network), and you still have problems with printer, your computer system may have a virus and may affect not just your drive, but you network, as well.

10. Unusual Error Messages – Did You See That?

This may include gibberish messages, messages you hadn’t seem before, undesired ad messages and such. Special attention must be paid to messages that disguise themselves as anti-virus warning messages. They are designed to trick you into thinking that you are at risk, and must take action to protect your computer system. Sometimes that is how the virus introduces itself into the system, and sometimes it may already be in your system, and that is how it takes over it, making your more and more vulnerable, and doing further damage to your computer. Again, when you are in doubt, it is best to call professional computer support company.

[tweetthis]Top 10 Computer Virus Symptoms Checklist: from hardware troubles to unusual messages. #pcvirus #malware [/tweetthis]

In Conclusion

Remember, when your computer demonstrates symptoms of the computer virus, it is usually too late: you can just hope that damage that was done to your computer or the whole network is not irreversible.

So, here is what you can do to keep your computer system safe from viruses:

  • Have a legitimate antivirus program installed on your system.
  • Remember to renew your antivirus software on time – if it isn’t renewed, its not active.
  • Make sure you are always up-to-date with latest virus definitions – if it is not up-to-date, it is useless.
  • Ensure that your antivirus updates are running automatically – or as a minimum, make sure you install antivirus program updates as frequently as you can to make sure that your system has a defense line against most recent viruses, too.

Computer software, including antivirus programs, comes in such various shapes and forms, and are sized to fit different needs in terms of size and budget. If you are not sure about what you need or if you feel your network system has been compromised and your organization needs help with computer virus issues – consult with your trusted IT support adviser first.

Computer Keeps Hanging? Here are 10 common causes.

So, your computer is running slow or  just keeps  hanging there? There are several things to be aware of when looking for reasons as to why your computer slows or freezes.

Computer Keeps Hanging Here are 10 common causes

Before you look for any specific fixes for your computer troubles, consider age of your computer. If  your system is older than five years come to terms that it is likely the age of the computer that is causing it to be slow, and it may not be worth it to worry about “fixing” it. Computers evolve at an exponential rate, and new software and core updates for programs increase their minimum requirements for the computer systems. Older, non-compatible computers may not be able to catch up… Not to be funny… Not every grandpa is meant to outperform in a marathon, even if they try to stay in shape. If your computer is very old, we suggest retiring it, purchasing a new computer or just realize it is going to run slow even if slightly improved.

Reasons for potential causes of computer slowness and freezing

  1. Your computer does not nave enough of free hard drive space
  2. Your PC requires a memory upgrade
  3. Your computer has been running for a long time without a reboot
  4. Computer’s hard drive corrupted or fragmented
  5. Too many applications running at the same time
  6. Your computer is infected with a virus or malicious program (malware)
  7. Fatal or not, hardware conflicts and outdated drivers
  8. Your version of Windows (or other platform you may be using) or other software is out of date.
  9. Computer or processor is overheating
  10. Hardware Failure

11 Reasons for PC issues and tips on how to Fix Slow Computer

How often do you feel frustrated with your computer acting up, being slow, freezing up? This list does not cover all the reasons, but when it comes to personal computers it should give you a head start on understanding what causes slow performance – specifically for Windows-based machines. You should get some useful tips (and we’ll use a common-sense approach when discussing them.)

11 Reasons for PC issues and tips on how to Fix Slow Computer

Reason #1: Your computer was running for a long time without a reboot.

What is a Boot? What’s a Reboot? Is it the same process as a Start and Restart? There are lots of explanations, definitions, and plain nonsense. Some are great valid technical definitions hard to digest for someone not involved in IT. I’ll give you the super easy answers.

First of all, Boot and Reboot is the same as Start and Restart. Just more “technically inclined” of a phrase.

What it means to you, the User:

Boot/Start is when you turn your computer ON after it was off for a while.
Reboot/Restart is when your computer was already on, and you are manually choosing to reboot it again.

  • Cold Reboot/Cold Restart is when you just plain push the Power button until computer turns completely off.
  • Warm Reboot/Warm Restart is when you manually navigate to the Restart option from your taskbar.

What it means to your Computer:

Boot/Start process loads an operating system and starts the initial processes, from the powered-off state.

Reboot/Restart process is usually required after activities that affect functionality: installing, uninstalling, implementing Windows updates, etc. make changes to the PC’s registry and after reboot Windows runs the PC with the new registry entries. ( This is not necessarily the same as a Reset, in which case the BIOS data may not be reloaded.)

So, what’s the deal with slow computers?

It comes down to organizational skills and discipline. Consider this: very few of the software installations and updates do not require a restart, while others do – and often (Adobe, in particular, drives me a bit crazy with their updates.) Some of the changes require a force restart, while others just “request” a restart now versus a restart later. And let’s be honest, sometimes users like you and me brush it off because we are eager beavers – we have things to do, emails to send and want to save some time now, meaning to restart the computer later… And sometimes that “later” takes place A LOT later. In the meanwhile, there is some unfinished business going on within the PC, especially when multiple updates, patches, and ignored restart requests are being mounted on top of each other.

We have to remember that all of the activities mentioned earlier (installing, uninstalling, etc.) will benefit from a Reboot/Restart. It will make the PC to clear the cache, clear RAM (Random-Access Memory, a form of computer data storage your PC needs to operate properly), and force a new registry read, “tuning” your computer up a bit.

Practical Advice: Remember not to arbitrarily shut your computer off from the power source. Use cold reboot only if all else fails – improper shutdown is the main cause of disc corruption, and should not be commonly used. Perform a Warm Reboot – Go to Start > Turn Off your Computer > Restart. If you want to be super-sure, go to Start > Turn Off your Computer > Turn Off, and Boot computer manually after a reasonable period of time – 10-20 seconds.

Reason #2: Not Enough of Free Hard Drive Space

Free hard drive space is simply the amount of space on the hard drive that can be written to and thatisn’t in use. While free space is used to stores files and data, it also functions to allow swap file space and virtual memory required for the programs to operate, for example, while creating temporary files.

Practical Advice: Verify that there is at least 20% of free hard drive space, and increase, when possible.

Reason #3: Hard drive corrupted or fragmented

There are several causes for the hard drive to get corrupted. the most obvious being an improper shutdown. Many of us don’t take care of this fact and wonder what could go wrong with an improper shutdown. But the truth is that most of the time, the sole reason for corrupted hard drives continues to be a sudden switching off the power supply of the computer. Again, consider the situation, that you are having problems with one of your hard disks and there are chances that it is corrupted. Maybe the reason is a computer virus, but scanning a corrupted drive, can only further complicate the process of recovering the data later. Avoid scanning a corrupted computer hard drive. Let’s get into a little more detail. When we format our hard disk for the first time, we select one of the file allocation systems, FAT or NTFS. Of course, if you are using Linux, then you will be using ext1, ext2, ext3, etc. Let us consider that while formatting your hard disk, you had selected the FAT 32 format. The FAT (File Allocation Table) is nothing but a database that stores the respective address of each file in your system. A corrupted disk drive may simply mean that the FAT in your system has got corrupted and the computer processor is thus unable to access the files that you want.

Practical Advice: Diagnose and repair your hard drive. (Note, do not do it yourself if you are not familiar with the process described below. Ask a professional IT Tech to assist).

  • Run ScanDisk or something equivalent to verify there is nothing physically wrong with the computer hard drive.
  • Run Defrag to help ensure that data is arranged in the best possible order.

Reason #4: Too Many Background programs

Remove or disable any startup programs that automatically start each time the computer boots. If you have a security utility, malware and spyware protection program or an antivirus scanner on the computer, set it up not to scan your computer in the background. Often when these programs begin to scan the computer it can decrease the overall performance of your computer.

Practical Advice: To see what programs are running in the background and how much memory and CPU they are using open Task Manager. Establish a schedule to run your security and other programs that require scanning of your hard drive when you have the lowest activity on the computer.

Reason #5: Your computer is Infected with a Virus or Malware

If you suspect your PC has been infected , you need to scan your PC. Today, spyware and other malware are a big cause of many computer problems including a slow computer. Even if an antivirus scanner is installed on the computer we recommend running a malware scan on the computer.

Practical Advice: Try the free or trial versions of antivirus to scan your computer for malware.

Reason #6: Hardware conflicts and outdated drivers

hardware conflict occurs when two devices try to use the same resource, such as an IRQ or memory address, producing an error. For example, if a hardware device in the computer shares the same IO port as another device that would result in a hardware conflict. In modern day hardware conflicts are less common because by using plug-n-play (PnP) manages each of the hardware devices installed in the computer for the user.

Practical Advice: Use your computer’s Device Manager to verify that your computer has no hardware conflicts and to troubleshoot, if necessary. If any exist resolve these issues as they could be the cause of your problem:

Step 1. Open the Device Manager, select System from the top of the list, and click Properties.

Step 2. From list of resources, you should be able to determine which ones are being used by which devices, and if there is a conflict, which devices are causing it. When you pinpoint the conflict , refer to the specific device’s manual for information on changing configuration to troubleshoot the conflict. If that resolves a problem, there is no need to go to next step, otherwise:

Step 3. Remove or disconnect all non-vital devices, such as sound card or CD-ROM from your computer, except for the one that isn’t working. If the device still doesn’t work, in may be plain broken or in the conflict is with a vital piece of hardware, for example, a motherboard.

Step 4. If problem is not resolved, it can also be a driver problem. If the driver is flawed or outdated it can interfere with computer communicating with a specific piece of hardware. In this case you may want to contact your computer/device manufacturer for a most recent drivers – most are available for a free download. Even when your older driver is not flawed, a newer driver can improve overall device performance.

If the problem seems to have been fixed, start adding devices one-by-one. Hopefully problem will not reappear; if it does, reconfigure that device so that the conflict is eliminated, as in step 2 above.

Reason #7: Your version of Windows (or any other platform you may be using) or other software is out of date.

  • Make sure you have all the latest Windows updates installed in the computer.
  • If you are on the Internet when your computer is slow also make sure all browser plugins are up-to-date.

Practical Advice: Link for Windows users – more information about Windows Update

Reason #8: Computer or processor is overheating

The processor is one of the most energy-intensive and literally hottest components. The electrical current constantly passing through the circuits of a CPU creates heat. ( The temperature of your CPU depends on the model and its usage.) Make sure your computer and processor are not overheating. Excessive heat can cause a significant decrease in computer performance some processors will even lower the speed of the processor automatically to help compensate for the heat related issues. The optimal temperature range of a CPU generally resides between 70 and 90 degrees Celsius in modern processors. The smaller the computer, the higher the temperature. Without a fan, some computers may suffer irreparable damage. Make sure your computer’s fan is not flawed, you can also add more fans in addition to your regular power-supply fan.

Practical Advice: Most motherboard manufacturers include CPU temperature-monitoring software. If you are not sure if you have one, contact your computer manufacturer.

Another reason for overheating on your computer, which can also cause a computer to overheat. Make sure your computer case is clean and fans are not obstructed.

Practical Advice: Use common sense when cleaning your computer

  1. Turn computer off before cleaning
  2. Never apply liquid or solvent liquid onto any computer component. If a spray is needed, spray the liquid onto a cloth and then use that cloth to gently rub down the component.
  3. Use a vacuum to get rid of dirt and dust around the computer on the outside case.
  4. Do not use a vacuum to clean inside of your computer. Vacuum generates static electricity. It can damage the internal components of your computer. You may also get hit by “static” charge from a generated back voltage. Instead, we recommend using compressed air.
  5. When cleaning fans be careful when spraying compressed air into a fan, especially the smaller fans within a portable computer or laptop. Hold the fan to prevent it from spinning.
  6. Watch out for turns, knobs, wires and plugs. Try not to touch or adjust them.

Reason #9: Your PC requires a Memory upgrade

If you’ve had your computer for more than one year it’s likely your computer is not meeting the memory requirements for today. Today, we suggest at a minimum the computer have 1GB of memory.

To determine an amount of available system resources, including memory, and performance/usage, open the Task Manager. In the Processes tab, you will be able to see what programs are using what resources. In the Performance tab, you will have can see an overall picture of all the system resources.

Practical Advice: Find out how much memory you have, then check your computer manufacturer’s website to determine whether there are open memory slots on the motherboard. Compare your current memory with the maximum. From here, you can:

  1. Add new memory in open slots, if you have them or;
  2. Replace the existing memory with new, greater capacity models.

Reason #10: Old computer

If your computer is older than 3 years come to terms that it is likely the age of the computer that is causing it to be slow. Computers progress at an alarming rate as new programs and updates for programs come out their minimum requirements increase and will cause older computers to slow down. If your computer is older than five years we suggest purchasing a new computer or just realize it is going to run slow because it is old.

Practical Advice: Buy a new computer – but consult with IT professional about buying a new PC BEFORE heading to the store.

Reason #11: Hardware Failure

Finally, if your computer continues to be slow after going over each of the above recommendations it’s possible that your computer is experiencing a more serious hardware related issue such as a failing component in the computer. This could be a failing or bad hard drive, CPU, RAM. In this case, it may be best and more cost effective to simply buy a new computer.

What is “LAN”?

As Wikipedia defines it, a local area network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and devices in a limited geographical area such as home, school, computer laboratory, office building, or closely positioned group of buildings. Each computer or device on the network is a node.

What is “LAN”

Current wired LANs are typically based on Ethernet technology; new standards also provide a way to create a wired LAN using existing wires (coaxial cables, phone lines and power lines).

The defining characteristics of LANs, in contrast to WANs (Wide Area Networks), include their higher data transfer rates, smaller geographic range, and no need for leased telecommunication lines. Current Ethernet or other IEEE 802.3 LAN technologies operate at speeds up to 10 Gbit per second data transfer rate. IEEE has projects investigating the standardization of 40 and 100 Gbit/s.

LANs can be connected to Wide area network by using routers.