Tech Talk #21 – Mar 19, 2016

For Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, Microsoft Security Essentials was all you needed to protect yourself from that old-fashioned threat, viruses.

 

For Windows 8 and 8.1, I started recommending the free versions of AVG or Avast as they were doing a better job of protection from viruses than Security Essentials because Microsoft seemed to be concentrating more on its corporate anti-virus efforts.

 

But these days I find both the AVG and Avast free editions have become too annoying – always trying to get me to upgrade to a paid version. I’m tired of the popups trying to get me buy unnecessary browser additions, and upgraded features of questionable utility. I know no one can give away something of value without somebody, somewhere, paying for it, but it all drove me to look for a better solution.

 

I’m currently running and recommending the free version of Avira. In recent tests by AV-Comparatives, it came in fourth place overall but first place in free AV applications. Avira excelled in real world protection, file detection, overall performance, and malware removal.

 

Free Avira also offers:

  • Real-time scanning to detect threats on files as you use them
  • Full system scans on demand
  • Firewall settings can be managed directly in Avira
  • Full event logging to help analyze threats

 

It’s quiet and gets the job done.

 

To get Avira, Google “Avira free” and select the result that goes to the avira.com domain. Check out Avira’s page and if you like what you see, click that download button – but don’t run that download just yet. First, uninstall your current antivirus, reboot your computer and then install Avira from your downloads folder.

 

Oh, and don’t install the Avira browser extension. You don’t need it.

 

Remember – these days viruses aren’t the biggest the problem we have when we wander around in that great big Internet thing. It’s malware offered to us by con-artists, tricksters, and thieves. The best protection against these scoundrels is good browsing habits. Don’t download applications from sites you don’t trust, learn how to spot scams, and don’t click on everything you see.

 

 

Disable background apps (Windows 10)

In Windows 10, the apps that Windows 10 came with are called Windows Universal Apps and most of them run in the background – yes, even if you haven’t launched them or even know what they are. Apps like Phone Companion, XBOX, or Flipboard. When you do launch these apps, they seem to load faster because they’re already running. Turning off these background apps can make your computer run faster.

 

It’s pretty easy to see who these guys are and turn them off. Click on the Start button, choose Settings, Privacy, and down at the bottom there you’ll find Background Apps. Now you can turn off any apps you don’t want running in the background.

 

 

Google Easter Eggs

Over the years, Google has added many Easter Eggs (hidden programs or features) to its products and services to entertain and amuse users.

Here are a few:

  1. Go to Google.com and type askew into the search bar
  2. Go to Google.com and type do a barrel roll into the search bar
  3. Go to https://www.google.com/teapot and pour the tea out

 

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at greg@tech-hachapi.com.                                                                                                                             

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