4 ways to speed up your PC

Whether you use your computer for leisure activites like email and web browsing or you are a hard core power user, we’ve all been frustrated by a slow computer. But before you throw your computer out the window follow these four easy steps to reclaim your speed.

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Disabling Startup Options

Have you ever noticed programs starting up when your computer does that really don’t need to? There is a tool within Windows called MSCONFIG that can prevent those programs from starting when your computer does.

Click Start Menu > Run or press Windows Key (you know the one between the CRTL and ALT key) + R. (Hot tip – learn keyboard shortcuts!)
Go to the Startup Tab
Uncheck all the programs you wish to disable from starting up
Make sure to reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

(WARNING: Apply common sense and only disable items you know you don’t need. It isn’t removing the program from the computer, just stopping it from starting when the computer does. If you turn off something you aren’t meant to it could have dire consequences.)

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Add/Remove Programs

Having an excessive amount of bloatware installed on your computer can drastically slow down the performance of your machine. HAVE NO FEAR ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS IS HERE!!!!!!

Launch Control Panel
Select Add/Remove Programs (NOTE: it can take a few minutes for all the programs to populate)
Search through all the programs and uninstall anything that looks a bit fishy (NOTE: Certain progams will require a restart to complete the uninstall process)
Read the blog post Sneaky Software for more details

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Remove those unwanted files

CCleaner scans your computer for temporary files not needed by the system and sends them to the proverbial trash can.

Download CCleaner from this link.
Once downloaded select the categories on the left hand side you wish to scan.
Click on the “Analyze” button,  CCleaner will then scan the catergories selected at the start.
Once CCleaner has finished analysing, click the “Run Cleaner” button, the program will then remove all the files found in the previous step.

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Scan your Hard drive with Seatools

One of the worst case scenarios for your computer running slow is that your hard drive is about to die, so it pays to make sure that isn’t the case.
Seatools has a range of tests designed to check your hard drive for varying issues.
Follow these simple steps to check your hard drive.

Download Seatools from this link.
Once download and installed, check the box on the left hand side of the hard drive you want to test (you will probably only have one).
Above the hard drive selection box  is a dropdown menu “Basic Tests”.
Run each test: SMART, Short Drive Self Test, Drive Information,  Short Generic and Long Generic. (NOTE Each test runs at varying lengths).

If any of the tests fail, immediately back up your data and seek to replace the hard drive.

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Hopefully some, if not all of the steps above have helped you reclaim some of your lost performance. Or if you would just like to leave it to an expert you can always bring your computer into our office.

Boosting your WiFi signal

Now we all know the farther from the modem/router you get, the worse the signal is. But when you can’t move your room closer to the router or the router closer to your room, what do you do? Well, with this little modification you could boost your WiFi signal, so let’s jump into it!

Firstly, make sure your router is away from the cordless phone and microwave. Microwaves and cordless phones also use a frequency similar to your router, which can cause disruption for your devices.

Time to get crafty now and grab yourself an aluminum can, scissors and a stanley knife. Then…

  1. Make sure you have a Pintrest account so you can show off your DIY skills.
  2. First of all you want to drink that delicious beverage and then wash it out so you don’t have a army of ants in three days.
  3. Use your stanley knife to cut around the bottom brim of the can (please use parental supervision and/or outsource this job to a suitably coordinated adult).
  4. Using scissors cut down the opposite side you drink from (cheat and look below if this doesn’t make sense).
  5. Now grab your stanley knife again and cut evenly around the top of the can starting from where you cut with the scissors, but don’t cut the mouthpiece off the can (again, cheat below).
  6. Safely put the can’s mouthpiece over the antenna and face the can in the direction you would like to broadcast to.

As you can see from the picture below your router should now look like this.

CR&T Can

*TIP* If you get some blu-tack and stick it around the mouth hole it will help you position the can a lot easier.

Now you are done. Soak up that WiFi goodness. There is still a chance that your WiFi signal will still leave something to be desired, and in that case the only solution is…

moar powa

Complicated physics will tell you that the more power you put through an antenna, the stronger the signal. Business grade access points will provide stronger signal farther than consumer equipment.

We can advise you on a suitable access point for your needs. Give us a call on 02 6884 5922 or email team@crt.net.au.

How an IT Professional browses the web

Being an IT Professional and general purpose nerd means I waste spend a lot of time aimlessly browsing the internet furiously finding answers on the internet. So here are a few things I use to save time.

First of all, get away from Internet Explorer. You’ll need to in order to install the extensions I’m about to introduce anyways. Chrome and Firefox are my preference, and between the two my recommendation would be to pick the interface you like best (just make sure you don’t get any Sneaky Software with it). I personally use Firefox.


Tree Style Tab – I get interrupted pleasantly surprised by phone calls and emails constantly. To keep things orderly, I use Tree Style Tab to group tabs together to be able to move between ideas or themes quickly. It does take up screen real estate though so a high resolution helps.

Flashblock – Loads a placeholder instead of the actual flash content. That way I get to decide what is and isn’t loaded.

Ghostery – Shows what entities are tracking your activity, potentially over multiple websites. And of course it will let you block them as well.

Adblock / uBlock – Some people might gasp at the idea of blocking ads. That’s why the website is free after all! I bet those people also explode with righteous indignation when you change the tv channel in the ad break, and they smack the Photo News out of your hands when you are skimming for people you know because you aren’t giving the ads the requisite attention. I bet those people are also great fun at parties. You can whitelist websites you want to support, which is a nice thing to do.

NoScript – Prevents websites from running scripting, unless you allow them to. Translation – websites load faster, and safer.

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So there you go, how to browse like an IT Professional (well, this IT “Professional” at least). A word of warning though! This will make some websites load completely wrong. Though by whitelisting the right website in the right extension you will get back to how the creator intended the site to look. You will also use more system resources running these extensions. I think it is a small price to pay though. Trying to save money on hardware at the cost of performance is truly a false economy, but that is a conversation for another day 😉

If you try it out, I’d love to hear how you go. Leave a comment or flick me an email at davidg@crt.net.au.

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Sneaky Software

You have just installed that new brilliant program that is working so amazing that you are over the moon.

BUT!!! Why has your homepage on your internet browser changed? What is this other program on your computer that you are seeing and have no memory of installing it. Today you will read about the little sneaky software found within installers and If you are like most computer users you often don’t read all those terms of use and sub menus, all you do is just keep clicking that next button. But tucked away in that installer there is a sneaky little page that has that software you have installed.

I’ve attached a picture to this post for you to see an example from the program CDBurnerXP. Majority of these sneaky programs are not the greatest to have on your computer due to most of them being harmful to your computer and possibly sharing information from your computer all across the internet and also slowing your computer down

Adware CR&T

The easiest way to prevent these type of programs from getting on your computer is by taking the time and reading what you really accepting or clicking next to.

If this post has helped you don’t forget to share it with a friend,