Web and Computer Security

Well, if that would have been said to me by my father when I was 2 years of age, I would have understood. But when today, my own computer tells me that when I am 34, I wonder why I spent $1500 on my computer hardware and software just to enjoy the (un-realized) benefits of this great and revolutionary information technology?

Today’s cyberspace is hazardous. None of today’s PC users can claim that they never had a computer virus issue or a PC security breach. Now, if you count today’s number of PC users worldwide, they will soon be 1 billion by 2010 according to analysts. When I see all the computer viruses, infections, trojans, and what not around me, and compare it with the 1 billion innocent computer users around the world, I simply feel sorry not only for those billion users but for myself too. But again, as a common user myself, I must admit it was not all doomsday for the whole industry since 1987 when I started to use computers. So, as a responsible member of this great IT revolution, I must share some of the best tips and tricks that I learned to use to make the minimum room for productivity on my computer.

Please note this is a tutorial for someone who has basic know-how of computer usage. For those who are newbies, I would recommend asking a local expert’s help before trying anything out mentioned in this tutorial. In that case, make room for payment from deep pocket. For your own convenience, print this tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

Whenever my computer is infected, I act on any of the following options;

1. FORMAT HARD DISK: I back up all of my data on a CD-Writer if it is still accessible. And then format the whole hard disk drive and re-install each and every application.

2. USE SOFTWARE: I exhaust all anti-virus and other software options. This is usually my first priority as compared to formatting the whole computer hard disk drives.

Now, let me explain both options in detail;

PRE-REQUISITES: Make sure you have a CD-Drive (Writer), empty writable CDs, Windows OS CD (bootable) that contains files such as Format.exe, Scandisk.exe, FDisk.exe, and Attrib.exe files. Microsoft Office CD, Anti-Virus CD, GoldenHawk CD Writing Software in DOS (copy2cd.exe and cdtools.exe), Serial Numbers of your License, Driver CDs of Motherboard, VGA, Network, Sound and Modem devices. Optionally, download (using http://www.download.com or http://www.tucows.com) these software from any Internet Café when your own computer is inaccessible and save it on a CD so that you can use it anytime for security purposes;

Golden Hawk DOS based CD Writing Software

HTech Fireman Windows based CD Writing Software

Driver Genius Pro

Partition Magic

AVG AntiVirus

SpywareBlaster & SpywareGuard

Spybot Search & Destroy

Ad-Aware

IE-SpyAd

ZoneAlarm

HiJackThis & CWShredder

I have intentionally avoided mention of many commercially good and more friendly software’s mention here as I wanted everything to do FREE without any additional costs apart from the usual OS licenses. For your own convenience, you can research Google or Yahoo search engines find further information about such commercial software and their availability / pricing.

1. FORMAT HARD DISK

I know it is painful and surgical type of solution, but sometimes, it is the ONLY solution left after exhausting all of our efforts to revive our computer machine after a virus attack. Follow this procedure;

Booting Up: Try booting your computer normally first and see if you can login easily. If you can’t or your computer hangs up, try holding F8 key when starting Windows and you will get the Safe Mode. Even if you don’t get the Safe Mode, don’t worry.

Power up your computer and press DEL key or F2 key to login your CMOS. In CMOS, go to Boot Preferences and make CD Drive as boot drive as your first boot drive and change the hard disk drive as the second boot drive. If you don’t see your CD Drive in the boot-up options, your CD Drive is not properly installed. Check the connectors or ask your CD Drive provider for instructions to install the CD Drive. Now, when your CD Drive is ready, insert your Windows OS CD in the CD Drive and restart your computer machine. When prompted, select the option “Boot from CD with CD Option”. When you get the prompt, Notice the CD Drive letter that was allocated to your CD Drive when it installed the CD Driver. It is usually D: drive or the last drive letter depending on the number of your partitions. Note it down as it is the actual drive letter where you will have to type a DOS command like d:

You should now be able to run all software utilities such as Format, Scandisk, FDisk or Windows Installation Setup.exe files. Right now, simply make sure they exist by typing a DOS command dir at the CD drive letter. If you don’t find it with this simple directory command, use dir/s filename to search the file. For example, to search fdisk.exe file, type dir/s fdisk.exe.

BACKING UP YOUR DATA: Before formatting your hard disk drive, please make sure you have proper back up of your critical data files such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc files on a CD or any other media for backup that you have access to. In this tutorial, we assume you have a CD-Writer installed for taking backups on Writeable CDs. Their capacity is usually 700MB or less. Here, you should seriously consider using Zipping software like WinZip or WinRAR.

VIA WINDOWS: If you can luckily login to your Windows OS, you should run the CD-Writer software such as HTech Fireman to back up all of your data on an empty CD. If you don’t know how to do it, read their user manual for detailed instruction set. If you can’t access your Windows OS, read on.

VIA DOS: Some of the files that you wish to make back-up, may be hidden. To un-hide them, use attrib *.* +r +s +h.

Now, use the software from Golden Hawk file named as copy2cd.exe to backup your data files or directories on a writeable CD. Before using this command, make sure you are in an appropriate path on the computer such as E:/ where the actual file copy2cd.exe file resides;

Copy2cd c:data*.* f:

Here we assumed that f: is a CD Writer drive. Now, repeat the same for all of your files to back up. When finished, run cdtools.exe command i.e. cdtools f: to finish by selecting option “Disc Finalization”.

If you can’t back up your data using the above-mentioned procedure, either ask an outside expert’s help personally or via internet. If all fails, forget your data forever and carry on installing a new OS as mentioned in this tutorial.

Backing up Your Drivers: An interesting tool to mentioned here is a software that automatically backs up all of your drivers of CD, modem, sound card, vga, usb, printer or just about anything that is currently installed on your system. But this software works only in an operational windows OS, and not in DOS. It is a good and time-saving practice to keep a backup of all of your drivers on a CD by using such a software. Its name is Driver Genius Pro and it is commercial software, not a freeware.

USING FDISK: You may skip this option and go straight to Formatting Hard Disk option, if you wish to use other useful partitions that may contain your data. Before going ahead with this option, Make sure there is no useful data left on your computer to be backed up. This option will delete all of the computer partitions and create new ones.

i) Boot up your computer using Windows OS CD.

ii) Run this command
fdisk

iii) Press option 3 to delete all current partitions.

iv) To create a new partition, select option 1 and select Y to answer the maximum size question by the program.

v) Next, select option 2

vi) Press Esc key to quit and restart your computer to

See the URL [http://www.compguystechweb.com/troubleshooting/fdisk/fdisk_scr.html] for detailed instructions alongwith screenshots. Now, that you have created the primary partition, you can continue to format the newly created partition. There is a very user-friendly but commercial software called Partition Magic by PowerQuest to manage your partitions easily after installation of Windows.

FORMATTING HARD DISK: Now that you have created new partitions, It is time to format them so that you can start installing Windows. This is how you make your C: drive usable by your Windows OS for installation. Boot up your computer with Windows CD and type format c: command at the prompt. When prompted for maximum size, press, YES. After complete processing you will be presented with the successful report about the formatting of the C: drive. Select your new drive name and press ENTER to finish.

INSTALLING WINDOWS: Microsoft has made it very easy for a newbie to install a completely new OS on a newly formatted partition. It is all wizard based and you simply have to click NEXT each time whenever asked a question. Boot up your computer from the Windows CD and select Start with CD Option. When on DOS prompt, change to the CD Drive that it just created which is usually d: if you have only one partition C. Now type command setup.exe to start the windows installation process.

During installation, make sure you properly name your PC as per your preferences and select your regions and Time zone. When finished, the computer will re-boot and during next re-boot it may ask some drivers of your Sound Card, VGA, Network, or other devices attached. Provide the requisite driver CDs and locate the paths of the appropriate drivers. If you are not sure, leave it like that and press NEXT to ignore. When your windows installation is complete, you can install Microsoft Office, setup internet connection and start using it as normally as you would. Please make sure you install all the security software such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, adware, and other software as mentioned in the next section.

2. USE SOFTWARE

Installing Anti-Virus: Download free AVG Antivirus software and install it. Make sure you get its free key from their website by registering. This software is not auto-updated for critical viruses and for an auto-update version, you will have to pay. If you wish to pay, we would recommend world’s most popular brands Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micros instead. No matter what Anti-Virus software you install, make sure you enable its Auto-Protect feature for automatic protection of your computer’s resources and in-coming or out-going emails from any virus attack. Some software even allow you to setup silent detection and destruction without any disturbance to your work. Further, they are auto-updated via internet at the regular interval that you setup. Hence, you can rest assured that whenever a security threat is spread all over the world, your software will automatically download the requisite updated version and install its defense on your computer.

BROWSER SECURITY: To setup your browser (Internet Explorer on Windows) for maximum security against the usual threats, follow this procedure;

i) Start up your browser

ii) Go to IE > Tools > Windows Update > Product Updates, and selected Security Updates to be automatically updated. Microsoft releases patches and security patches from time to time to make sure your system’s security is up-to-date.

iii) Now, go to Internet Options/Security/Internet, press ‘default level’, then OK. Now press “Custom Level.” In the ActiveX section, set the first two options (“Download signed and unsigned ActiveX controls) to ‘prompt’, and ‘Initialize and Script ActiveX controls not marked as safe” to ‘disable’. Now you will be asked whether you want ActiveX objects to be executed and whether you want software to be installed. Sites that you know for sure are above suspicion can be moved to the Trusted Zone in Internet Option/security.

If you use another browser such as Firefox or Netscape, see their documentation on how to securely set it up against any such internet threats.

Installing Anti-Spyware: Spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers are some of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today. By simply browsing to a web page, your computer may become a victim. You can install SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard to effectively guard your computer from such internet threats.

It includes Fast Real-Time Scanning engine for known spyware and heuristic/generic detection capabilities to catch new / mutated spyware and Download Protection along with Browser Hijacking Protection in real-time.

Simply download the software (free) from their website and install it on your system. Make sure you download its latest update too or enable its Auto-Update feature to be updated automatically in the background. Now, when you are ready, run the software to check the spyware on your computer. When spyware are found, it reports accordingly. Press “select all”, then press option “kill all checked”. Although it won’t protect you from 100% spyware, But it is a very important extra layer of protection.

Next, install another software that is called Spybot Search & Destroy. It works exactly like SpywareBlaster, but it never hurts to have a double layer of spyware detection alongwith Spybot R&D.

Installing Anti-Adware: Adware is a common term used to describe potentially dangerous websites and scripts that do data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components. There is a very good software called Ad-Aware available to scan and remove such nuisances from your system.

To start using it, simply visit Lavasoft USA website and download its free non-commercial version of Ad-Aware Personal Edition. Run its setup program and install it. When prompted, ask it to scan your computer. If there are any adware found, it is detected and removed automatically by Ad-Aware. Run this software on a weekly or daily basis, if possible to keep your system clean.

In addition to the Ad-Aware, Internet Explorer comes with a very handy tool that allows you to block specific sites that may carry well-known advertisers, marketers, crapware pushers to the Restricted sites Zone. If you had to input 50000+ of such sites manually yourself, it would takes years. Luckily, there is a software that does it all automatically and it is called IE-SPYAD. Once you merge this list of sites and domains into the Registry, the web sites for these companies will not be able to use cookies, ActiveX controls, Java applets, or scripting to compromise your privacy or your PC while you surf the Net. Nor will they be able to use your browser to push unwanted pop-ups, cookies, or auto-installing programs on your PC. It is not an ad blocker. It will stop top unwanted crapware from being installed behind your back via “drive-by-downloads”; prevent the hijacking of your home page.

This Restricted sites list is based in part on info from: discussions in the SpywareInfo Forums and other forums that specialize in crapware removal major crapware reference sites: doxdesk, cexx.org, Kephyr.com, PestPatrol and SpywareGuide.

To start using it, simply download it from their website and run its install.bat file. Make sure you run its update as well soon after its installation.

INSTALLING FIREWALL: A firewall software acts as a defense shield against hackers, intruders, and blocks access attempts to your computer. ZoneAlarm is a professional firewall software that works in a stealth mode automatically and makes your computer invisible to anyone on the Internet.

Download it from ZoneLabs website and run its setup for installation. I recommend you use its Express Settings which automatically configures your most commonly used software like browser, chat messengers, ftp software to access internet, while blocks every other internet traffic in real-time. If any software or service tries to upload or download any data, it pops up an alert whereby you can allow or disallow such internet traffic.

Computer Slow Down: It is very common to see many complaining about their computer slow-down. The fastest and easiest cure is using Windows’ built-in Defragmenter utitlity that you can find in Startà Programs à Accessories à System Utitlities à Disk Defragmantor and run thorough defragmantation. It will take a while before it ends.

If your system’s performance does not improve after running defragmantation utility, consider scanning your computer via a software utility called HiJackThis which you can download and install on your system. Use this tool carefully as it is intended for advanced users only. HijackThis is a tool, that lists all installed browser add-on, buttons, startup items and allows you to inspect, and optionally remove selected items. The program can create a backup of your original settings and also ignore selected items. Additional features include a simple list of all startup items, default start page, online updates and more.

CWShredder is a utility for removing CoolWebSearch (aka CoolWwwSearch, YouFindAll, White-Pages.ws and a dozen other names). This tool will find and destroy all traces of the CoolWebSearch (CWS) hijacker on your system including redirections, IE slowdowns, start page changes, un-authorized addition of sites in IE Trusted Zone, and blocking access to IE options or setup.

Download CWShredder from their official website only as there is a similar named virus/trojan on the loose at various websites which you may accidentally download and install, hence become more infected than being cured instead. When it is installed successfully, run the software to scan your local machine. Select the fix button & it will get rid of everything related to CoolWebSearch. Close ALL other programs & windows, including IE, before running CWShredder. Reboot after doing this.

I know there is still a lot left, but as I wanted to keep this tutorial as brief as possible, hence I covered only the critical elements here. I am sure you will have fewer breakdowns (if not ZERO0 and more productive hours on your computer. I would recommend you to setup all the software’s auto update and auto-check options to free your time for more productive things than just playing hide and seek with spywares, adwares or viruses. Happy and safe computing!

This article is submitted by Kashif Raza [http://www.networkingtutorials.net]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kashif_Raza/3271

 

Guide to Choosing a Computer System for Your Child

Before going further into choosing computers for children, I believe that you would like to know the answer to the following question:

Why do children need computers?

The easiest answer for this one is: “A child needs a computer so that he can play computer games”. Everybody agrees. Nevertheless, let’s not just limit on the short term use of the computer… Let’s analyze a little the world we live in and see what can acomputer do for children.

Computers are starting to have more and more importance in our daily life. Almost everywhere you go, you find computers. At office or at home, a computer is almost indispensable.

Not knowing to use a computer, you find many difficulties. Moreover, things will not get easier in the future, because the world is getting more and more computerized. That is why your child should get accustomed and work with computers from an early age. If your child does this, it will be much easier for him to adapt to the ever-changing technology.

Educational products are nowadays released mostly on computer CD’s.

More and more educational products for children are now released in the form of programs and electronic encyclopedias and can only be viewed with a computer, somehow forcing you to buy a computer for your child. Unlike the traditional learning methods, learning with a computer has the advantage of interactivity. Children love to learn with computers, because they can control the way they learn and what they learn.

Of course, a child will use a computer mainly to play computer games. At first, the computer will be for your child like a more expensive toy. The computer will be his favorite toy. Your child will play computer games the entire day. However, after a while, the child will settle down and start exploring the other sides of the computer.

At first, the only thing I was doing at my computer was playing. Then, as time passed, I started being interested in how computers work, the internet, 3D modeling and so on. Now I can say that I know a lot about computers.

The disadvantage of computers as toys is that it is a lot more expensive than other toys for children, but on the long term, the money you spend will come back multiplied many times in the form of knowledge for your child. That is why I do believe that a computer is a very good investment on the long run for you and your child.

Which computers for children to buy?

Since the main use of the computer for your child will be to play games, you should choose a fast system on which modern games will run smooth. Also, because modern computer games use lot’s of space, a high capacity hard drive is recommended. The computer you choose for your child should be equipped with a DVD, because DVD’s are starting to replace CD’s as main data transport medium.

Now that you have chosen a computer system for your child, all you need is a monitor. You can choose from two types of computer monitors: CRT and LCD. LCD monitors are the ones you usually find in a office. They are flat and do not produce radiations. However, they are not recommended for the purpose your child will use it, because of the slow reaction time. CRT computer monitors are bigger and cheaper. They are more indicated for children who like to play computer games a lot.

Read the whole article located at http://www.child-toys-guide.com/computers-for-children.shtml

Eugen Lisov is the creator of http://www.Child-Toys-Guide.com , a site that helps parents worldwide to choose the best toys for their children. Please feel free to browse my site; it will only help you when choosing toys for your child.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Eugen_Lisov/1845

 

Update Your Computer System With Bad Credit Computer Financing

The moment I placed myself in front of the computer screen a whole new world beckoned me to join it. And years of strolling have proved incompetent to get me acquainted with the full panorama of computers. You have always wanted one in your home. But something is stopping you. Bad credit? Do I hear bad credit? You think bad credit can stop you from getting your computer financed. Which world are you living in? You certainly need a computer. Computer financing for bad credit can enable you to get your very own home computer, lab tops, desk top or any other computer requirement.

Credit can be marred at any stage due to a number of reasons. Late payments, inflating debts, bankruptcy, county court judgments, arrears, any court case – all can result in impaired credit. Jaundiced credit report can falter you probability for getting computer financing. Yet the odds are not that diffuse for bad credit computer financing. First of all realize that computer financing for bad credit is not a Gordian knot. Any person with bad credit can find a loan including the one for computer financing. Envision your own position before you make a loan application for bad credit computer financing.

Bad credit has some obvious disadvantages that cannot be ignored. Bad credit is synonymous with greater rate of interest. You can’t escape increasing rate of interest for bad credit computer financing. What you can do is shop for a comparative lower rate of interest. First make your own stand clear with respect to bad credit loan. Before you make your claim as a bad credit loan applicant, check out your credit status. This will canonize your computer financing for bad credit with little or no impediment.

Very few people actually understand the meaning of the terms credit report and credit score. These are integral to bad credit loans inclusive of computer financing. A credit report contains a list of any credit cards you may hold, loans you may have taken out, how much your monthly payments are and any actions taken against you for any unpaid bills you may have accumulated over the years. Before providing you with finance for your computer, the loan lender will probably check your credit activities, to rule out any bad credit details. Credit score will be extracted out of your credit report. Your credit score is not good, that you already know. Otherwise you would not have been reading this article. Knowing your credit score will facilitate the prevention of abuse at the hands of the loan lender. He might take advantage of your ignorance and charge you higher rate than valid in context to bad credit computer financing. Forewarned is forearmed. You have heard that.

Now hear this, it really works.

Another term that directly connects with bad credit is no credit. ‘No credit computer financing’ is not similar to ‘bad credit computer financing’. Bad credit computer financing entails that at least you have installed credit through a bank account or credit card company. In the no credit specimen, no credit you have never owned a credit card or ever inaugurated a bank account. This is altogether an entirely different struggle. Some argue that it is better to have no credit instead of bad credit while contemplating computer financing. But the fact is, in order to establish yourself as a reliable borrower you at least need to have credit. And this can’t be done unless you establish a credit.

The facilities that come with bad credit computer financing are a conscientious recompense. The loan lenders are increasingly being innovative with bad credit computer financing products. Computer financing for bad credit permits you to purchase a computer instrument that comes with a full 2-year replacement warranty on parts and service. Also, all machines come with 1-year toll-free tech support. The loan lenders have notebooks and desktops, so that you can choose the machine you want. AMD powered machines that provide the latest processing speeds are also available as bad credit computer financing options. You can avail the latest software programmes through bad credit computer financing. Bad credit computer financing can release new possibilities for students. Computers are indispensable in relation to education.

All said and done – I must tell you that even the loan lenders realize that sometimes things go wrong and can lead to bad credit situation. Financial setbacks can undoubtedly affect your life unexpectedly. Therefore the essence of finding a bad credit computer financing is finding a loan lender that is ready to work for you. Bad credit computer financing can get you not only a powerful highly sophisticated computer system. Not only that the added ascendancy is the building up of positive payment history.
Your computer has waited in vain for retirement. But what could you do, you yourself were groping due to bad credit. This time oblige him with a well deserved annulment of services. And compliment your own specialization with state of the art computer system. This season reboot your computer system with bad credit computer financing.

Amanda Thompson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from CPIT and has completed her master’s in Business Administration from IGNOU. She is as cautious about her finances as any person reading this is. She is working as financial consultant for chanceforloans.co.uk ,To find a Personal loans,Debt consolidation,Bad credit loans,home equity loans at cheap rates that best suits your needs visit [http://www.chanceforloans.co.uk]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Amanda_Thompson/4755

 

Do You Feel Used by Computers?

Do You Feel Used by Computers?

A look at second-user computer equipment.

Let’s dispense with the myths first. I’m NOT talking about the sort of second-hand computers you get from some high street junk shops, or the sort you can buy from free ads newspapers. These are the types that get used computers a bad reputation since there are many dodgy deals to be had!

I’m talking about a different breed altogether, the sort of used computers you’d be proud to own and feel safe buying because they have proper and lengthy warranties on each and every one of them and have been extensively tested and approved.

The criterion is quite strict. Sure, there are any number of companies out there who offer used computers at low prices. Very few offer 12-month warranties however and many of them disappear just as quickly as they arrived leaving you with a problem. All computers, no matter which category they fit in, or what you call them, should be high quality, guaranteed, fully working computers from a reputable supplier.

So, let’s put all the computers into two categories, I’m going to call them ‘used’ and ‘unused’ computers.

1. Used Computers

Second-hand, second user and used computers are what you would expect in that they have had a previous owner. Many of the computers have been returned to the company from which they were bought in the first place. This is ideal as the company has the appropriate expertise and spares already in place to correct any faults they find.

There are a number of reasons why computers are returned:

– businesses, colleges, individuals etc upgrade their computer equipment for the latest model

– the equipment was leased over a set period and the lease expires (so the equipment is returned)

– the computer gets a fault that can’t be fixed quickly so it is swapped permanently out for a new one

– the customer changes their mind just after purchasing

As you can appreciate, ‘used computer’ can mean anything from ‘barely used’ to ‘a couple of years old’. However, once returned the computers go through a rigorous check procedure, have their hard disks cleared or changed, have new keyboards, mice and cables if worn and new cases if they have noticeable damage. If there are any faulty components, such as sound card, video card, floppy drive etc, these are always replaced. These computers are often referred to as ex-lease, open-box, returns, refurbished, reclaimed, remanufactured, rebuilt, recycled, recertified or reconditioned computers. Phew!

At worst, the used computers, as sold on to you, have minor blemishes, scratches, dents or wear. This is always just cosmetic and does not affect either the performance or value of the computers in any way. What you receive is a fully-working computer, the same working condition as new, but at a price well below that of new. You can often pick up recent high-specification models second-hand and save hundreds of pounds. Of course there are lots of bargains to be had whatever model or type you decide to purchase but note you will sometimes find it difficult to get anything as stock can go very quickly some weeks.

2. Unused Computers

The other main categories of computers are the overstock, surplus, liquidated, superceded, discontinued, open box or end-of-line stock. These are all basically the same in that they are all UNUSED computers. So these are not what you would really classify as second-hand, ie they have not personally been owned and used by any business, college, individual etc. They will often be in their original packaging.

The reasons why these computers come on to the market are because:

– a manufacturer has brought out new models and wants to get rid of the ‘old’ superceded stock in his warehouse

– a store wants to raise some urgently needed cash and sell his unsold stock

– a factory or store becomes bankrupt and the computer stock is sold

In most of these cases, the stock gets sold to specialist dealers who buy in bulk and who then sell it on to the public, businesses etc. They then either provide a new warranty themselves for the equipment, or ensure there is a full warranty from the original manufacturer. You’ll often find Toshiba, HP, Compaq and other brand name computers offered with a 12-month warranty from the original manufacturer. Note that sometimes suppliers refer to open box as meaning refurbished – they will usually state in the description what they mean.

So that’s it. Two main categories of computers, quite different from each other but both offering great deals on branded equipment. Either way you will save money and still get a peace-of-mind guarantee on your computer purchase.

One last point. Make sure you check what you are getting for your money. Sometimes the computer may come without Windows installed or without a monitor. Don’t assume – check. This will ensure you are happy with your savings AND your purchase.

The author is an experienced computer user, having worked in IT management for a number of years. Now heavily involved in the purchase, use and distribution of thousands of computers at http://www.1st-4-used-computers.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Lee_Walder/7233

 

5 Sure-Fire Tips for Buying a New Computer

So you’re thinking of buying a new computer…

Where do you start? There are so many brands and models of computers available, and it can all be a little overwhelming when you start to look around.

How do you decide what type of computer you need? And perhaps more importantly, how do you decide what the best value is?

I have sold computers professionally for almost 20 years, and there are certain “tricks of the trade” that most computer stores and salespeople use. Knowing these secrets can make your decision easier and will help you buy the right computer for your needs.

1. Buy What You Need, Maybe a Little More

One of the most important things you can do when buying a new computer is make a list of the things that you will be using it for. There are so many different models – with different capabilities – that you can easily buy more, or less, than you really need if you don’t.

If this is your first computer, this can be a little tougher. Until you’ve used a computer, it’s hard to know exactly what you might want to do with it beyond the obvious, like connecting to the internet.

Regardless, you should think about some of the things you might want to do. Some possibilities include:

  • Connect to the internet
  • Play games
  • Digital photography
  • Digital video
  • Type documents
  • Accounting
  • Design websites
  • Programming
  • Digital scrapbooking
  • Geneology

Some of these things need more power than others. For example, connecting to the internet really doesn’t need a lot of power. Even the most basic computer available will probably work just fine.

Digital video and many games need a lot more power. If you don’t get a fast enough computer with enough memory, you’ll be disappointed with the performance.

Knowing what you’re going to be using your computer for will help your salesperson, whether they’re on the phone, the internet or standing in front of you, recommend the best system for your needs.

As a general rule you’re always better off buying more power than you need rather than less, but buying too much can be a waste of money.

2. Warranty Considerations

Computer warranties are one of the most confusing and obscure parts of your purchase. Most manufacturers have cut back on their customer service to the point where poor service has become a given.

The three most common options are onsite, carry-in or manufacturer’s depot service.

Onsite service can be helpful, but think about whether you want to have to be available for a technician to come and diagnose your computer, and possibly have to come back with parts at another time.

Carry in service is a good option, but find out whether the service center is factory authorized for warranty repairs, as well as whether the technicians are all certified.

Shipping your computer to a factory service center can take a long time – sometimes a number of weeks. It also creates risk that your computer will be damaged or even lost in shipping. In some cases, the manufacturer will even replace your computer with another unit and ship it back to you, rather than repairing it. This can result in your losing any information that was on your system and having to reload all your software.

Another aspect of the warranty to find out about is technical support. Find out if the computer manufacturer offers a toll-free phone number and what the quality of service is like.

The better computer salespeople will be honest about this and tell you if a company’s service leaves something to be desired. You can also do some research on the internet – most of the computer magazines like PC Magazine and PC World have annual customer service comparisons that rate the larger computer companies.

Always find out how the warranty is handled before making your decision. Even if it doesn’t influence your choice, knowing what to expect if something does go wrong will save some nasty surprises down the road.

3. Can You Negotiate the Price Down?

A computer is a relatively large investment – anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Many computer buyers expect that there is a significant amount of “wiggle room” on the price.

The reality is that most computer hardware – the physical pieces like the computer, monitor and printer – is sold at very low profit margins. Often, computer systems are even sold at or below the dealer cost. When you’re buying a computer, it never hurts to ask for a better deal, but don’t be surprised if you only get a few dollars off, if anything.

Over the close to 20 years I’ve sold computers, I watched the profit margins go from over 40% to less than 5%. It’s almost embarrassing to offer a $20 discount on a $2500 computer system, but that could mean the difference between making and losing money on the sale.

What you can do to get the best price is to do some comparison shopping. Most computer stores offer price-matching guarantees, so if you find your computer for less at another store, most dealers will match or beat that price, even if it means they lose money.

4. How Do Computer Stores Make Any Money?

You might be wondering how these computer stores make any money if they’re selling computer for so little profit.

Their money is made on add-on items. The highest profit areas in most computer stores are cables and “consumable” products such as printer ink and paper.

Printer ink is a huge money-maker for most computer stores (even more so for the printer manufacturers). Why is this? Once you’ve bought a printer, you’re going to have to replace your ink at some point, and continue to replace it as it runs out.

Most chain computer stores and office supply stores that carry a large selection of ink cartridges make more from ink than they do from the computers themselves.

Cables also have huge markups. A cable that costs the store $2-3 will often sell for $20-30. That’s ten times their cost!

If you’re buying a new computer, you will likely need to buy some cables. Some items – printers, for example – don’t often include the cables needed to hook them up.

Many printers also come with “starter” ink cartridges that are only half-full. You might also want to pick up some extra ink cartridges.

This is where you should be able to negotiate a better price. Don’t expect the salesperson to throw them in for nothing, but they should be willing to offer you a better price. After all, if you’re happy with their service, you’ll probably continue to buy your ink, paper and other products from that store in the future.

5. What Software is Included?

The last secret of buying a new computer has to do with the software that is included. Most new computer systems include quite a few programs and sometimes the value of the software can be quite high.

Something to watch out for when looking at the included software is “trial versions” or “limited editions”.

Many programs that are preloaded are either crippled versions that don’t have all the features of the full program, or trial versions that will only run for a certain amount of time before they expire.

Computer are often sold with trial versions of the following types of software:

  • antivirus
  • firewall
  • MS Office or other office suites
  • Accounting – both business and personal

The computer manufacturers generally don’t make it easy to tell whether the software on their systems are trial versions or limited versions. This is a question that you should specifically ask if you can’t find the answer in their promotional information.

If you’re buying a new computer with trial versions of the software, keep in mind that you will need to pay to continue using it after the trial period is over. This is an added cost that you need to consider as part of your overall budget.

These five “secrets” of buying a new computer are fairly common sense, but they are not always made clear up front. Knowing what to ask will help you in two ways. First, you can be sure you are getting the right computer for your needs.

Second, if the salesperson or company that you’re dealing with explains these things to you without being asked, you’ll know you’re dealing with someone who is honest and upfront.

Knowing you can trust the people you’re dealing with is an invaluable feature of your new computer system.

John Lenaghan offers easy-to-understand advice at the Computer Help Squad website. Sign up for our newsletter and receive your free report “5 Critical Steps to Protecting Your Computer on the Internet”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Lenaghan/9076

 

Massage in Bucharest

Recognize it! You’re busy! And so must be! That’s what life is like! But you want more than that, you want to do more for yourself and massage can help. Because massage makes more than a simple relaxation of the mind and body. It keeps your body in shape and gives you enough energy to make you enjoy a longer life better than you do it today.

Massage releases stress. At the moment, stress is a universal evil. Every time you are late, every time you avoid a car in traffic, every time you have trouble working, stress is doing his job. Each time adrenaline increases heart rate and cortisone levels and organs respond to the measure. You will be in a state of nerves and constant agitation.
When there is no release of stress, serious problems such as an upset stomach, hypertension, sleep disturbances, chest pain, or existing illness may worsen.

Some of the changes that may occur are: Anxiety, lack of concentration, depression, permanent fatigue, muscle or bone pain, sexual dysfunction, excessive sleep or insomnia

All these stress-related problems can be diminished and some can be totally eliminated by massage. The researchers concluded that a massage session can lower heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase endorphin production. The massage also releases serotonin and dopamine and the result is a general relaxation, both physical and mental.
Our body care must be at the top of the priorities.
By adding the massage to your routine you will look much better and you will be much healthier and relaxed. Massage can improve your vitality and mood. Massage can prepare for a long and beautiful life.

Our masseuses personalize each massage session according to the needs of the individual.
Our massage parlors offer a variety of relaxation styles and techniques to help you. Apart from relaxing, massage can be a powerful ally in reducing pain, increasing energy levels, improving mental and physical performance

We recommend : HotAngels , VipZone , JadePalace , ThaiPassion

After a massage session, you will see how the mental prospects are enriched, the body allows easier handling, better pressure resistance, relaxation and mental alertness, calm and creative thinking.
When you have the impression or force yourself to stay straight, your body is not actually aligned properly. Not only does the posture look bad, but it forces some of the muscles to go muddy all day, while others become weaker. After a long time, the incorrect position may cause other drops. For example, internal organs press on what affects digestion, breathing ability is also diminished, which means that much less blood and oxygen reaches the brain and hence all sorts of other complications.

Massage allows you to return your body to the track. Allowing the body to make healthy and accurate movements is one of the greatest benefits of massage. Massage can relax and restore muscles injured by bad posture, allowing the body to position itself in a natural, painless position.
Apart from posture, there is also anxiety. One of the signs of anxiety and stress can also be heavy breathing. When the body begins to breathe too little and deeply instead of breathing at a natural rithm, it is impossible for one to relax. One reason may also be that the chest muscles and the abdomen get tightened and the air gets harder.

Massage plays an important role in learning the body how to relax and how to improve breathing. Respiratory problems such as allergies, sinuses, asthma or bronchitis are a group of conditions that can benefit from massage. In fact, massage can have a positive impact on respiratory function.

Many of the muscles in the front and back of the upper part of the body are breathing accessory. When these muscles are tight and shorten they can block normal breathing and interrupt effective breathing natural rithm. Massage techniques for stretching and relaxing these muscles improves breathing function and breathability. Massage leads to an opening of the chest as well as structural alignment and nerve dilatation that are required for optimal pulmonary function. A good way to treat respiratory problems with massage is the taping made in Swedish massage. When done on the back, along with vibrations, it can detach the mucus from the lungs and can clean the airways for better later function.

Massage not only relaxes muscles, but helps people become aware of daily stress levels. Once the body recognizes what really means relaxation, the mind can rest easily relax before the stress becomes cornice and harmful. This will help you enjoy a balanced life. Massage controls breathing, allows the mind to re-create relaxation before the occurrence of chronic and harmful stress and increases the level of energy.