Tech Talk #42 – January 7, 2017

Congratulations! By now you’ve got your new computer set up and working just the way you want it. Here are few things you might not have done yet, but should:

 

Secure your computer

Make sure you’ve got your computer protected with a good antivirus solution. Windows 10 ships with Microsoft’s antivirus program called Windows Defender. Combined with the free MalwareBytes, Defender is a good choice for most people.

 

Your computer may have come with a trial version of McAfee installed, so Windows Defender is turned off. If you like McAfee and plan to subscribe once the freebie runs out, make sure to ‘sign up’ with McAfee. If you’re not going to keep McAfee, uninstall it and Windows Defender will automatically start protecting your computer, no need to go out and install anything. The paid version of MalwareBytes is worthwhile and recommended. You can get MalwareBytes here: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/

 

Do your updates

I know, I know. It’s brand new computer. But it probably sat in a warehouse or on a ship and then another warehouse for a few months, so it’s going to need updates. Doesn’t even matter if your new computer is a Mac or a PC, make sure you do all the updates available for your device. Most of the updates are security-related and yes, they are important. Will they take a while? Sure, but you can still do other things until the updates finish and you need to reboot.

 

Clean out the extra software

Whoever made your computer probably included some (or a lot) of software you don’t need or want. The best way to get rid of it all is to run PCDecrapifier. You’ll get a list of things most people get rid of, and you can uninstall it all with one click. You can get it here: https://www.pcdecrapifier.com/

 

Set up your backups

Now would be a good time to do a complete backup of your computer, while it’s still minty-fresh. If you have a good internet connection, it’s hard to beat Carbonite or Mozy online backups. If your internet is not very fast or reliable, get an external hard drive and go to Start > Update and Security > Backup and choose the Go to Backup and Restore option.

 

 

Windows 10 settings

Most of our devices are connected to somebody’s cloud these days. Windows 10 is coded to run on everything from very expensive gaming computers to smartphones. If left to the default mobile device friendly settings, there are privacy and tracking issues with Windows 10. Since your new computer is not a smartphone, we have different expectations of privacy. These are the settings I recommend to protect privacy and remove some annoying features of Windows 10:

  1. Go to Start > Settings > System
  • Notifications & actions – turn off Get notifications and Get Tips, Tricks
  • Power & sleep – Set your computer to Never sleep when plugged in
  • Tablet mode – Under When I sign in select Use desktop mode. Under When this device automatically switches select Don’t ask me and don’t switch. If you’ve got a 2in1 laptop that also works as a tablet, don’t change anything here.
  1. At the top of the page click Home (with the gear symbol)
  • Go to Network & internet and click on WiFi. Turn off Connect to suggested… and turn off Paid WiFi…
  1. At the top of the page click Home (with the gear symbol)
  • Click on Personalization > Themes.
  • Click Desktop icon settings and check the boxes for Computer and User’s Files click OK.
  • Click Start and turn off Occasionally show suggestions… and Show recently added apps
  1. At the top of the page click Home (with the gear symbol)
  • Click Accounts > Sign-in options and under Require sign-in change the drop down to Never
  1. At the top of the page click Home (with the gear symbol)
  • Click Privacy. There are lots of categories and choices here, but we’re going to turn them all off with the following exceptions:
    • o Leave the Smart Screen Filter enabled under General
    • o If you’re using the Windows 10 Mail app, leave Calendar, Contacts, and Email enabled
    • o If you’re using Skype or Google Hangouts, leave Camera and Microphone enabled
    • o Under Feedback and diagnostics, change the Diagnostics and Usage Data to Basic
  • If you’re not using the Mail app or doing any video calling, just turn everything off except the Smart Screen Filter.
  • Windows Updates can change these settings, so it’s a good idea to check these and reset them every once in a while.

 

 

Geeky thought for this issue

We can only insert a USB connector one way, and there are only two choices. So why does it take three tries to insert one correctly?

 

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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