Articles & Reviews

Speed up Google Chrome – make it faster.

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If Google Chrome seems a little sluggish you can speed it up. Try this. In the top right hand corner of the web browser is it’s menu (Three vertical dots). Click this and choose ‘Settings’. Once there scroll down to ‘Advanced Settings’ and under ‘System’ turn off ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’. Restart Chrome to effect the change. See the image below.

Speed up Google Chrome

 

Also in settings you can go to the ‘extensions’ menu and disable or remove any extensions you don’t need.

How to reinstall your McAfee, Norton or AVG internet security software

If you find you need to reinstall your security software from McAfee, Norton or AVG then the links below should help. It should be no more difficult than logging into your account on line and then downloading a fresh copy of your current package. If you find you have no allocated devices left, just remove the device in your online account that is the same device you are going to reinstall on.

Norton account login – Click here

McAfee account login – Click here

AVG account login – Click here

 

How to easily save an email or any document as a PDF and at No Cost

You may have project files in a folder and want to add associated emails to them or you may want to save an important email as a document for archive or distribution. Do you have an older word processor that does not support exporting or saving as a PDF? There is a simple solution :

Cute PDF Writer

This is a free download that once installed creates a virtual printer. All one needs to do is simply choose to print the email or document and choose ‘cute pdf’ from the list of printers, the software will then produce a pdf version of your email or document that you can save or distribute wherever you like.

Click the button below for more info.

Extend your wireless broadband easily with the help of Netgear

Running out of range? Can’t get WiFi in the top bedroom?

There are several options but one that I have tried and tested in the last few years are Netgear Universal range extenders. Setting up really is as simple as pushing a button. Most broadband routers or Hubs as BT calls them have a button called WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) and getting connected is easy.

You start by plugging in your Netgear range extender about halfway in the direction of where you want to extend it – directly into a mains socket for best results, switch it on and leave it for a minute so it can fully start up. Next go to your broadband router and press and hold the WPS button for a few seconds, let go and you should see the WiFi or WPS light flashing. Now press the WPS button on the Netgear extender for a few seconds and wait for a minute or two.

That’s it. All being well you should find that your network is now extended and you have much improved WiFi connectivity. Check out the video below and also check it out on Amazon. The full range is here

 

 

End of support for Windows Vista – What are my upgrade options?

As Windows Vista is now officially out of extended support anyone who still uses it is faced with the question – do I upgrade or replace?

I have been asked by some if upgrading from Vista to Windows 10 would be an option. To answer this, in short -No, it’s not an option. For one thing there is no natural upgrade path to Windows 10 from Vista so even if your hardware were to be compatible it would mean backing up your files and doing a clean install. Apart from this one would require a new Windows 10 licence and almost certainly a memory upgrade and if you don’t do it yourself then the technician time would make it uneconomical. There is however an option to upgrade to Windows 7 (on extended support until January 14th 2020) providing your computer is up to the job, a full examination would be required.

Windows Vista computers are getting elderly now – an upgrade to Windows 7 is rarely recommended. 

New hardware – better machine – better experience

There is no doubt that a new computer with the right specifications would be far more preferable. Windows 10 may perform sprightly on a low end tablet or mobile phone with only 1 or 2Gb of memory but in a normal computer it is a different thing. I have previously written a laptop buying guide on my old blog click here and although it’s a bit old now the information in it still broadly applies. Most off the shelf laptops and PC’s now come with 8Gb memory as standard and this is fine but 16Gb is preferable, the guide on the link I have just mentioned mentions about a check one can make to get a memory upgrade at the same time although it’s from a separate source so would require installation which is easy enough.

It is reasonable to budget loosely between one and two hundred pounds for an upgrade to Windows 7 depending on any required new hardware and including a licence whereas a new PC or laptop will cost you around £400 plus.

For an informal chat about your computer just get in touch with Michaela on 01404 45855 or via my contact form.

HP printers and why I recommend them

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See the range of HP wireless printers via this link on Amazon

I often get asked  which printer I would recommend. In most cases for the home I always  recommend the HP brand. While there are several reasons, two of them stand out.

HP’s wireless printers come with Apple’s air print technology built in, quite simply this means that one can print directly from a tablet be it Android or Apple. Furthermore the HP Eprint app and the HP All in one app gives full access to all functions from a tablet. It’s an absolute boon to be able to scan a document or picture from your tablet or phone – and change paper / print size, even when someone else is using the home computer, one can scan and print from a tablet wirelessly, easily.

The second is HP’s Instant Ink service. People are often amazed when I setup a new HP printer for them and realise that while signing up for the Instant Ink service they actually get three or five months free trial, meaning, apart from the cost of paper, free ink for that period.

Case Study:

Since late 2014 I have owned a HP5640 Envy all in one printer and since I first set it up I have subscribed to HP’s Instant Ink service at £1.99 per month. At this level one gets 50 pages per month, if you don’t print 50 pages then those that you don’t use are rolled over to the next month and if you use more then it’s not a problem, you simply get charged a little  more, in my case I was charged £1.00 – below is an extract of an email to me from HP informing me of this:

Dear 

We’re happy to see you’ve been using the HP Instant Ink service – and getting the most out of it.

We wanted to let you know that as of 19 August, 2016, you have 9 pages left on your monthly plan. But don’t worry, if you print more than 9 pages before the end of the day on your billing cycle end date of 01.09.2016, you can continue printing with sets of 15 additional pages for just £1.00 per set. You’re still saving up to 70% on ink,1compared with buying standard cartridges at the store.

In fact, we designed HP Instant Ink to make sure you can print all the pages you need and keep saving money. The more you print, the more you save.

If you expect you’ll need a different number of pages each month, you can easily view your usage and change your plan at anytime.5 Simply visit hpinstantink.co.uk and sign in with your HP Connected username and password.

Thank you for being an HP Instant Ink customer.

So what happens if one has a faulty cartridge? This happened in February 2017, I carried out the instructions the printer gave me for removing and refitting the said cartridge but this made no difference. Eventually I wrote down the error message from the printer and via the HP support website I started a web chat. The HP support assistant was very helpful and wasted no time in expediting a new cartridge to me. I have found the service to be brilliant and quite frankly having the printer talk to HP via my broadband and replacement ink cartridges being posted to me before my printer runs out of ink is fabulous, I’m not dashing out of the house to buy ink or suddenly stuck, unable to print because the shops are closed and I’m saving on my ink costs.

Once set up everybody in the home can use it’s functions even if they don’t use the main computer and in fact you don’t need to even have a main computer. There are models to suit different needs too. The HP Envy range is great for printing photographs as well as everyday printing but if you simply want to knock out the good old black and white stuff then the Deskjet range will do the job and you can pick these up for under £40 with wireless and Instant Ink features built in. I should mention too that if you really don’t want to enrol in the Instant Ink program then there is absolutely no obligation.

Setting Up

With our fast internet speeds today it can be a good idea to use the online setup feature that the installation disk offers, however, I have often found to just go with the disk based installation to be better especially in low broadband speed areas.

You can see the range of HP wireless printers via this link on Amazon

Lenovo A10-70 Tab2

 

Amazon Link : http://amzn.to/2o3B3IJ

The Lenovo Tab2 is a great all round Android tablet. You get a great 10.1″ screen, long battery life and stereo speakers that make it easy to watch a film on or listen to music. Thanks to the screen size and a good on screen keyboard typing is a pleasant experience too.

The one I own has happily upgraded to Android 6 and also I recommend purchasing a genuine cover at the same time.

Fastmail – A very fast and ad-free email experience

Business or personal email, there are great options for both.

I don’t just recommend this email service, I actually use it and have done for the last 4 years.

When it comes to email some of us prefer an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird while the rest of us prefer webmail. With Fastmail you can have both. Fastmail has a very quick, easy to navigate interface where you can easily create and organise folders and if you are a dropbox user then it can integrate with that too allowing easy upload of dropbox files from right in your emails. In short you get a slick and uncluttered email experience. Calendar and domain integration is also available. Check out the video below.

 

 

Fastmail – Click here to visit the website