Restart device. Always first step with these devices.😀
Remove unused and unknown apps.
iPhone/iPad: Settings > Storage.
Android: Settings > Application Manager. You can also clear cache in recovery mode to correct some problems.
Ensure proper/safe browser is being used. Recommend Google Chrome (cross platform sync). Safari is fine as well. If privacy is a concern, then Firefox is always an option, but you will likely still need to use Chrome/Safari on some sites.
Drive errors. Symptoms: hangs, slow, not starting.
Over heating. Symptoms: Slows down when system busy.
Errors logged in Windows Event Viewer or Mac Console.
Startup programs. Ensure only required programs are running. Remove factory installed trial software and bloatware.
Home Page and Search Engine changes. Reset to defaults or user choice.
Browser Extensions. One of the more popular ways of infecting computers is with internet browser extensions. Those little icons at the top of your window. Unless actively used, we disable all browser extensions and setup Adblock Plus and Bitdefender Trafficlight.
When it comes to tuning up a computer or cleaning it of viruses, we have 1 basic rule. If we don't recognize it, we treat it like a virus. We will check with you to see if you recognize the program (😀I guess we haven't seen everything). If you don't recognize it, we disable
We only delete known viruses/malware. Anything else we don't recognize, we disable so it can be restored if it causes an issue.
it from starting.
Blow out dust
Anything with a fan is subject to overheating. If it gets clogged with dust, it can overheat, slow down performance and damage the machine.
Laptops, blow out the vents every 6 months.
Tower/Desktop computers, every few years. Take the side off and blow out all fans.
If you see dust, do it more often.
Unplug the computer and press the power button a couple of times. There is a risk of moisture and shock.
Use an Air Duster (Canned air). Don't shake or tilt the can. Use short bursts. 🤣 Do not use it with your cat in your lap.
Vacuums don't have enough pressure to get at the fans and there is the risk of static shock.
Don't use an Air Compressor. If you do, be careful of the amount of pressure and let the machine sit for at least 20 minutes for any moisture to evaporate. Oil from the compressor can also be blown into the machine.
Delete temporary files and caches.
Manually and with the use of CCleaner. Can also be used to permanently delete history, caches and user data. Recommend disabling real-time monitoring.
Never empty the recycle bin!
Unless you are extremely low on disk space or want to hide your tracks, never empty the recycle bin.
The recycle bin protects you in the event of accidental deletion. This happens to everyone at some time or another. It takes a percentage of your hard drive that can be adjusted if needed. When it fills up, it will start deleting old data automatically.
If you empty the recycle bin, you've just lost your best chance of recovering that document or photo you accidentally deleted last month.
Desktop, Start Menu and Taskbar.
Desktop, Dock and Finder Sidebar.
Home Screen, Browser favorites.
Remove unused icons.
Pin Internet Browser, Email, Office, Malware Scanner and user icons.
Pin Favorites to Browser. I.e. Webmail, Facebook, Youtube...
Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Powerpoint, Databases
Internet Explorer is obsolete. While still supported, it is no longer developed and should not be used. There is still the odd web site and game that requires Internet Explorer. Create an icon on the desktop pointing to IE with the link to the site.
Ad blockers - 1st line of defence.
Ad Blockers have been said to deprive sites of revenue. Without advertising, a lot of "free" content would not be available on the internet.
However, advertisments are annoying, spread viruses, slow down and otherwise interfere with your internet.
Malvertising. Malicious actors can use advertising to spread viruses on otherwise legitimate sites. Do a simple search for companies "spread malware" and you will find many examples of this. Google, Sony, Forbes, MSN, just to name a few...
Pop up advertising that covers content such as employed on Youtube are especially annoying.
Targeting Children and Behavioural Advertising are also a concern. Advertising quite often has no way of opting out and it can track you or your childrens browsing habits to display questionable "personalized" advertising.
Caution: Ad blockers can interfere with some websites. When on that site, click the adblocker (usually top right) and disable it for that site. If a site demands I disable the blocker, I find an alternative site if possible.
Phone and tablet ad blockers typically require a different browser or VPN system to block app advertising. Generally if you start seeing advertising on your device, remove any apps you recently installed and find alternatives.
Phishing is when sites appear to be something they are not (ie. Bogus emails from banks, shippers, paypal, etc.). Phishing filters protect you on the internet, but they can also slow you down (they examine each website). Most internet browsers and Ad blockers now block malicious sites. As such I only use a phishing filter when people have a habit of going to questionable sites.😀 The one I currently recommend is Bitdefender Trafficlight.
Transfer and syncronize email, contacts and calendar between computers, phones and tablets.
Support for Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, Windows Live Mail, iPhone/iPad, Android and many more email clients.
Transfer or syncronize your contacts between computers, phones and tablets. Never lose them again.
Lose your computer or device and all your email and contacts are still on the cloud.
Cloud, internet and web are all the same thing.
Just like desktop email programs (Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, Outlook, Outlook Express...), Gmail and Outlook will allow you to connect multiple email addresses.
Sasktel and Shaw email addresses are tied to your Internet account. Makes it hard if you want to switch internet providers. Recommend moving to Gmail or Outlook.
Long the realm of email programs, have taken on a life of their own with smart phone and tablet integration. We can convert contacts between pretty much any system and setup automatic syncronization across all your devices. CardDAV, Outlook, Apple/iCloud, Google Contacts and Linux.
Run the Virus Scanner at least once a month or if the machine does anything strange.
Stick to the free version. It doesn't run in the background and interfere with performance or other programs. Click "I don't need real time protection" and "ok" when it asks.
Works on Windows and Mac computers as well as newer Phone and Tablet devices. Does not work on some older Macs, phones and tablets.
Deactivate Free Trial. Stay with the Free version. I do encourage purchasing a license too support the company, but don't install it. We have seen many machines slowed down by the paid version. Never Pay For Anything. Except us.😃
In our experience, no one Anti-Virus catches everything. By running a seperate scanner, it forces your regular anti-virus to scan the files at the same time. Thereby catching a lot more viruses than an Anti-Virus program alone.
AntiVirus programs protect you by constantly monitoring your device. As such you gain security at the sacrifice of performance. We recommend using the Anti-Virus program that comes into your computer or device. They tend to have the least impact on performance and fewer issues than paid or other programs.
Windows 10 includes "Windows Security" (formerly Windows Defender, Microsoft Security Essentials). Windows 7 and 8.x can still use Avast, but should take advantage of the Free Windows 10 upgrade. The security in Windows 10 1803 or later is far superior to any others i've seen (on Windows machines). If you really need to keep Windows 7 or lower, don't use it for searching the internet, email or social media (facebook, etc).
Mac OSX/macOS: Gatekeeper has proven to be a solid Anti-Virus. The operating system is hardened against attack and the App Store also contribute to iMac, MacBook security. That plus the fact that they have never been as big of an attack vector as Windows.
* - Due to their design of keeping the core secure and by default only allowing apps to be installed from the store, Phones and Tablets are typically more secure against viruses than their Windows (and to some extent Mac) counterparts. Of course since you carry your phone with you, there are other risks and malicious apps have been known to sneak into the store on both Apple and Android devices. Also, if you jailbreak your device, all bets are off.😀
We can help you find, recover and organize your Documents, Pictures and other data.
All computers use files and folders to organize data. Windows, Macs, Phones, Tablets, Media boxes, etc all work on this principal. Even Watches, VR and the like all work on this principal of files and folders.
C:\ or /.
This is the main folder from which everything else resides.
Your Boot HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive).
It is never a good idea to put anything in the root folder.
C:\Users or /Users is the only folder you are interested in here. This is where your data is stored. The other folders here are for the operating system and should not be touched.
Users contains a folder for each user i.e. /Users/Mike and /Users/Jeff (some devices only allow 1 user). This is where you store your documents, photos, music, etc.
Desktop. This is the main folder you see when you start your device. Keep icons (files) that you use frequently here.
Downloads. Files, email attachments, etc downloaded to your computer/device.
Documents. Word Processing, Spreadsheets, etc. go here.
Music. For your music...
Pictures. Um, for your pictures. hehe.
USB and additional drives are assigned a letter under Windows (i.e. D: is typically your CD/DVD drive, E:, F:, etc.). Under Unix like systems (Linux, Apple), external drives can generally be found under /Volumes.
iPhones/iPads/Android/Cameras/MP3 Players are just another drive. Use Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to access. With Apple devices, make sure you disable automatic sync in iTunes before connecting (Preferences > Devices).
Use Windows File Explorer, Mac Finder or install a File Manager on your phone/tablet, to create and manage your files and folders.
Backup, Recovery, Transfer and Organize.
Apple iPhone/iPad/AppleTV Mac/Macbook
Android Phone/Tablet/Media box
Support for a wide range of programs. iTunes/Apple Music, VLC, gMusicBrowser, Windows Media Player, Google Music, etc...
Backup, Restore and Transfer Photos and Pictures.
Support for Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, Backblaze, etc.
Currently recommend Google Photos for their unlimited storage and cross platform support. Set all your devices to backup to Google Photos and then organize them from there in 1 place.
Accounting and Financial Software.
Support for Quickbooks, Sage (Simply Accounting), Qwicken, custom spreadsheets, etc.
Multi-user, Networking, Backup, Recovery, Transfer and Troubleshooting. Decades worth of experience with many accounting, tax and finance programs.
Quick shout out to StudioTax. Free tax software for Canadians.
Facebook game troubleshooting. One of the more prevelant problems is Facebook games. We recommend the Facebook Game Room to avoid most issues. Whatever it takes, we can get that game running for you.😀