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In Plain Enqlish 



Vol. 22 Iss. 



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What To 
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ower Surge Hits Your PC p.67 

lows For Business 



^<~ess Your PC Remotely p.32 

DIY Project 

Create A Brochure p.35 



Browser Security 

Internet Explorer 9 p.38 



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Volume 22 . July 2011 . Issue 7 



PC Maintenance 



44 PC Maintenance 

An Ounce Of Prevention 

46 Defeating The Dirt 

Keep Your Computer Clean 
In Any Environment 




50 Cool Your System 

Install Case Fans 

54 System Utilities 

Maintenance Tools For Windows 



News & Notes 



Windows Central 



4 Go Green With Athena Power 

8 Technology News & Notes 

14 News From The Help Desk 

18 Small Business Resources 

19 Small Business Development Centers 



30 Windows News, Views & Tips 

32 Windows For Business 

Access Your PC Remotely 



Reviews 

20 Tech Diaries 

Our Smart Computing columnists spent 
some quality time with a notebook 
from MSI and a hard drive alignment tool 
from Paragon. 

22 Roundup: Online Backup & Storage 
Services 




26 Hardware & Software 

26 Wintec FileMate Light 

27 SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner 

28 Corel PDF Fusion 

29 Nero Burning ROM 

29 Micro Logic Info Select 10 



Customer Service 

(For questions about your 
subscription or to place an 
order or change an address.) 
customer-service@ 
smartcomputing.com 
(800) 733-3809 
FAX: (402) 479-2193 

To make a payment 
Smart Computing 

P.O. Box 85673 
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380 

General inquiries 
Smart Computing 

P.O. Box 82545 
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380 

Authorization For Reprints 

(800) 247-4880 

Hours 

Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CST) 
Online Customer Service 
& Subscription Center 
www.smartcomputing.com 

Product Coverage Inquiries 

products@smartcomputing.com 
(800) 247-4880 
131 West Grand Drive 
Lincoln, NE 68521 

Reader Feedback 

editor@smartcomputing.com 



Copyright 201 1 by Sandhills Publishing 
Company. Smart Computing is a registered 
trademark of Sandhills Publishing Company. 
All rights reserved. Reproduction of material 
appearing in Smart Computing is strictly 
prohibited without written permission. Printed 
in the U.S.A. GST# 123482788RT0001 Smart 
Computing USPS 005-665 (ISSN 1093-4170) 
is published monthly for $29 per year by 
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Grand Drive, P.O. Box 82545, Lincoln, NE 
68501. Subscriber Services: (800) 424-7900. 
Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, NE. 
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 
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Athena Power has always known the importance of using 
power efficiently. And since it was established in 2004, 
Athena has built PSUs (power supply units) for compa- 
nies in almost every computer-based industry Now, Athena 
is determined to bring high-efficiency PSUs to small busi- 
nesses in order to help them save money as well as go green. 

True Green Power 

Athena Powers biggest goal is to make sure all of its power 
supplies are as efficient as possible. To reach that goal, the 
company instituted its "True Green Power" slogan and man- 
ufacturing strategy, which focuses on providing high-power, 
highly efficient, and environmentally friendly PSUs. 

Athena Power uses many different types of technologies 
in its products to help improve efficiency. And many of its 
PSUs are 80PLUS certified, which means that they must op- 
erate at an efficiency of 80% or better. 80PLUS-certified PSUs 
use less power to run your computer so you can save money 



on electricity without sacrificing performance. The Athena 
350W FlexATX is an example of an 80PLUS-certified PSU 
that is designed for portable and compact computers. 

Athena Products For Your Small Business 

The APOLLO 550 Plus and HERCULES 550 are two of 
Athena Power s PSUs that are designed with small businesses 
in mind. Both are 550W PSUs that will work great with high- 
er-end PCs. The APOLLO 550 Plus is great for companies 
that want to custom build their computers to be as powerful 
and efficient as possible. And the HERCULES 550 works as 
a power supply replacement for multiple computer brands, 
such as Dell, HP, and IBM. 

Athena Power doesn't just make PSUs, though. The Slim 
ITX a-BOX Chassis is a mini-ITX case that you can custom- 
ize with any compatible components. It's highly compact 
and portable, so you can take it with you wherever you need 
to work. I 



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Computers & Electronics 

35 DIY Project 

Create A Brochure 

38 Browser Security 

Internet Explorer 9 



Mac Corner 



Personal Technology 



41 A Slice Of Apple 

The Mac App Store, Revisited 

42 Fresh Fruit 

Great Business Apps For iPad/iPhone/iPod 



64 Ovation 

This month, we feature these products: 

• Nero Kwik Media 

• XFX Triple Display Monitor Stand 



66 Readers' Tips 




Tech Support 



67 What To Do When 

A Power Surge Hits Your PC 

69 How To Install 

An External Drive 

72 Solve Problems 

With Internet 
Browsers 



75 Software Updates 

76 Q&A 

79 Tales From The Trenches 

Up In The Air 



Editor's Note 




60 Quick Tips 

78 OpenOffice.org 3 

Create Presentations With Style 






PC maintenance is at the heart of Smart Computing. Each issue 
is chock-full of tips that help you keep your system humming. 
Some tips show you how to prevent problems; others show 
you how to solve them. And still others point you to hard- 
ware, software, and online services that improve your PC's 
performance and capabilities. All of this advice is delivered in 
our popular, plain-English style, so you're not wasting time de- 
ciphering techie jargon. 

Given the importance of computer maintenance, we're taking 
an in-depth look at tricks and tools that every user can put 
to use. We show you how to clean your system, keep it cool, 
and keep it safe. We also give you a peek at the latest system 
utilities. If you haven't given your PC (and Windows) a good 
cleaning lately, here's your excuse. Enjoy, and we'll see you next 
month with more great tips. 




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Technology News & Notes 



Compiled by Christian Perry 



DESKTOPS & LAPTOPS (PCS) 



Samsung Chromebook: 
Google's OS Vision Realized 



When Google announced its Chrome 
operating system two years ago, it 
hinted that this sleek new OS would be 
appearing on laptops and other mobile 
devices designed specifically for it. That 
day has finally arrived, as Samsung and 
Google are launching the markets first 
Chromebook. 

The concept of the Series 5 Chrome- 
book (www.samsung.com) borrows 
heavily from Google's Chrome browser — 
particularly in the areas of speed, secu- 
rity, and simplicity. These netbooks boot 
in less than 10 seconds, resume instantly 
from sleep mode, and are designed to get 
you quickly to the Web. In fact, the over- 
all approach to the Chrome OS — and the 
Chromebook — revolves around the Web, 
so users will find a netbook here that's op- 
timized primarily for the Web. 

Given the heavy Google integration, 
the Chromebook delivers quick access 
to Google-managed resources such as 
Google Apps, Google Maps, Picasa, 
YouTube, Gmail, and others. Chrome- 
book users can also use the Chrome 
Web Store to access many more apps, 
themes, and other resources. If you're 
already using Google services, you're 
likely storing documents and other 
files in the cloud, and that trend is 
also found in the Chromebook, which 
stores your apps, documents, favorites, 
and settings in the cloud. 

That storage isn't just about basic 
online backup — if you lose or break 
your Chromebook, your replacement 
Chromebook can access your entire 
profile online to fully restore your 









l\ 




Samsung's Chromebook takes advantage of the simplicity, security, and speed inherent in Google's sleek 
Chrome operating system that's focused primarily on the Web. 



original settings and files. According 
to Google, the Chrome OS also has 
been designed from the ground up to 
defend against malware and viruses, so 
Chromebook users will find a variety 
of defense layers on these systems such 
as sandboxing (putting certain applica- 
tions and files in a protected area) and 
data encryption. 

On the hardware side, the Chrome- 
book includes relatively typical net- 
book fare, including an Intel Atom 
N570 processor, a 16GB SSD (solid- 
state drive), 2GB of DDR3 (double-da- 
ta-rate 3) memory, a 12.1 -inch display 



with 1,280 x 800 resolution, integrated 
graphics, and 802.11b/g/n wireless 
networking. There's also an oversized 
multitouch trackpad, full-sized key- 
board, high- definition Web cam, two 
USB ports, and support for removable 
media cards. The included battery pro- 
vides up to 8.5 hours of battery life. 

Two models of the Samsung Series 
5 Chromebook are available, includ- 
ing the standard Wi-Fi model ($429) 
and the 3G model ($499). The 3G 
model uses the Verizon Wireless ser- 
vice. Both models are set to launch in 
mid-June. I 



8 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



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The Agility 3 and Solid 3 SSDs from OCZ include 
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Technology News & Notes 



PRINTERS & PERIPHERALS 



Prosumer Printer Aims For Market Sweet Spot 



Finding the right photo printer for your business can be a 
tricky endeavor when consumer models are too basic for 
your needs and high-end printers are just too expensive. If 
this describes your situation, a prosumer model, such as Ep- 
son's Stylus Photo R2000 inkjet printer ($499.99; www.epson 
.com), could fill the bill. 

The Stylus Photo R2000 uses Epson's UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 
eight-color pigment ink set to create gallery-quality archival prints 
that resist water, smudges, and fading. The printer's red and orange 
inks help to create natural skin tones, and an enhanced gloss op- 
timizer provides a uniform gloss finish on photos. Also onboard 



is AccuPhoto HG Image Technology, created in tandem with the 
Rochester Institute of Technology's Munsell Color Science Labo- 
ratory. This technology pinpoints ink droplet placement to maxi- 
mize color gamut, provide smooth transitions and gradations, and 
ensure consistent color under varied lighting conditions. 

On the connectivity side, the R2000 includes integrated 
802.1 In Wi-Fi networking along with an Ethernet connection 
and USB 2.0. Larger-capacity ink cartridges (as compared to 
Epson's previous model) provide up to 50% more prints. The 
printer also includes a top-loading, high-capacity auto-sheet 
feeder and rear single-sheet feeder for fine art paper. I 




Epson's Stylus Photo R2000 
aims for the prosumer market 
with a printer that delivers 
high-quality photo prints 
that rival those of high-end 
printers without carrying a 
high-end price tag. 



CPUs, CHIPS & CARDS 



Tablet Chip Packs Performance, Multimedia Features 



Tablets might not boast the same benchmark-busting perfor- 
mance as desktop PCs or even laptops, but advancements 
continue to help narrow the gap between these somewhat 
distant relatives. In fact, companies such as ZiiLABS 
(www.ziilabs.com) are showing that tablet technol 
ogy can certainly hold its own among that of 
more traditionally powerful computers. 
The ZiiLABS ZMS-20 processor is de- 
signed for Android 3.0-based tablets 
and includes the company's StemCell 
media processing array, which features 
a low-energy SIMD (single instruction 
multiple data) architecture and 32-bit floating 
processing cores. The ZMS-20 supports playback 
of H.264 video at 30 frames per second, high-defi- 
nition and low-latency videoconferencing, HDR (high 




dynamic range) image processing, 200MHz pixel clock image 
processing, and Adobe Flash 10 acceleration. 

Quadruple independent video controllers on the ZMS- 
20 support 24-bit displays and cameras, while the 
processor's Dynamic Power Management and In- 
stantaneous On technologies combine to ex- 
tend battery life in tablets. Other integrated 
technologies include 256-bit AES (Ad- 
vanced Encryption Standard) and 
Xtreme Fidelity X-Fi audio effects. I 



ZiiLABS ups the tablet processor ante with the ZMS-20, a 
chip designed for Android 3.0 tablets that supports a wide 
range of high-performance multimedia functions and includes 
battery-saving technologies. 



10 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 




Since 1979, Sandhills Publishing has produced publications covering technology beginning with 

the introduction of Processor. Over the years, the company has developed a complete line of computing 

publications, encompassing Smart Computing, PC Today, Computer Power User, and First Glimpse. 

Our plain-English approach has served audiences well for 30 years, ensuring they receive 

accurate and unbiased technology information to meet their needs. 




CPU^ 

COMPUTER POWER USER '"".'~ 


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R^ISirHM.A.RK 

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Sandhills Publishing* 
www.sandhills.com 



Technology News & Notes 



DIGITAL MISCELLANEA 



Tiny USB Drive Doesn't Skimp On Storage 



Portable flash drive manufacturers occa- 
sionally boast that their products can fit 
on a keychain, but in reality, a typical USB 
drive is far too bulky to fit comfortably 
on even the gaudiest of keychains. A new 
"traveling disk" from PQI (www.pqigroup 
.com) isn't one of those typical drives. 

PQI's Intelligent Drive U819V (price 
not yet announced at press time) measures 
just 3 centimeters in length but still offers 
capacities up to 32GB and uses the USB 
3.0 interface. PQI claims this is the light- 
est, thinnest, shortest, and overall smallest 
USB 3.0 drive, and the company might be 
right, as we haven't seen a smaller model. 

Special encasement technology has been 
applied to the drive to defeat transmission 
overheating issues, and the company also 
says it solved data reading problems caused 
by high-frequency noise. The U819V in- 
cludes an LED that flickers when data is 
being read, and a unique rubber piece can 
be used to hold the drive's cap. This drive 
is available in both ivory white and mid- 
night black. I 





pqi 



USB 
3.0 



30 
R2B 



The miniscule PQI Intelligent Drive U819V measures 
just 3 centimeters in length, includes a USB 3.0 
interface, and offers capacities up to 32GB. 





PROBLEM-SOLVER: TROUBLESHOOTING THE NEWS 



My PC is slow booting up and 
shutting down. 

If you're using a conventional hard 
drive (not a solid-state drive), make 
sure you defragment the drive weekly 
to keep it running as efficiently as pos- 
sible. You can also examine the files 
that automatically start when Win- 
dows starts and disable any that you 
don't need. Click Start, type msconfig 
in the Search Programs And Files field, 
and press ENTER. Choose the Startup 
tab and click to deselect any programs 
that don't need to be running when 
Windows starts. If you're not sure what 
a particular program does, don't dis- 
able it until you research it further. 
My new graphics card isn't 
displaying any video. 

If you've tested your PC's RAM and 
discover it's running fine and without 



errors, check with your motherboard 
manufacturer's Web site for a BIOS 
(Basic Input/Output System) update 
for your motherboard. If there is an 
updated version, download and install 
it according to the manufacturer's in- 
structions. If there isn't an update, try 
clearing your CMOS (complementary 
metal-oxide semiconductor) and re- 
turning your BIOS to optimal default 
settings (check your motherboard's 
manual for instructions if you haven't 
previously performed these steps). 
My mouse doesn't work when 
I turn on my PC. 

Try using a different USB port to 
rule out a problem with the origi- 
nal port. If you're using a USB hub, 
try connecting the mouse directly 
to the PC. If the mouse then works, 
there could be a problem with the 



hub's ports or the cable that con- 
nects it to the PC. If this is a corded 
mouse, there may be a problem with 
the cable. Try moving the cable to a 
different position and rebooting. If it 
works after this process, you'll need 
to replace the cable (if possible) or 
replace the mouse. 
I want to add another SATA hard 
drive to my PC, but I'm out of ports. 
If you want to add a SATA device 
but you're already using all of your 
motherboard's SATA ports, you can 
add a PCI-E (Peripheral Component 
Interconnect Express) SATA controller 
card that will give you a couple of addi- 
tional ports. The prices can vary wildly 
for these cards, but the less-expensive 
cards (around $25) are suitable for 
most PCs used in SOHOs (small and 
home offices) and small businesses. 



12 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



MOBILE TECHNOLOGY 







Motorola Unveils Smartphones For Business Users 

In recent years, the smartphone mar- 
ket has been dominated by consumer- 
oriented models that tout heavy social 
integration and multimedia capabilities. 
Although these smartphones can still be 
useful in business environments, it's be- 
come increasingly difficult to find smart- 
phones designed specifically for business 
use. That is, difficult but not impossible. 

Sprint and Motorola Mobility recent- 
ly announced two business-targeted 
smartphones that blend security, pro- 
ductivity, and international roaming to 
meet the needs of today's profession- 
als. The rollout includes the Motorola 
XPRT ($129 with two-year agreement; 
www.sprint.com) and the Motorola 
Titanium (price and availability to 
be announced). 

The XPRT is built on the Android 2.2 
platform and includes a full QWERTY 
keyboard, 1GHz processor, pinch-to- 
zoom touchscreen, and a 3.1 -inch dis- 
play. Helping to secure the XPRT are 
a bevy of security functions, includ- 
ing the ability to remotely enable pin 
or password locks, password recovery, 
256-bit AES encryption, and data wipe 
capability both on the smartphone and 
the device's Secure Digital card. 

Along with integrated Wi-Fi, the XPRT 
has 3G Mobile Hotspot capability that 
lets users simultaneously connect up to 
five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The phone 
also has a "worldmode" for interna- 
tional roaming service that's available in 
more than 200 countries. Included email 




The Motorola XPRT (left) and Titanium (right) target the business segment with various security, 
productivity, and international roaming features. The Titanium also features a rugged build that meets 
military specifications and includes push-to-talk technology. 



covers both the corporate side (Microsoft 
Exchange ActiveSync) and personal side 
(POP and IMAP), while users will also 
have access to Google mobile services 
such as Google Maps with Navigation, 
Google Talk, Gmail, and YouTube. The 
XPRT also has a 5MP (megapixel) cam- 
era with camcorder and dual LED flash, a 
microSD slot (a 2GB card is included), 
and Bluetooth 2.1. 

The Motorola Titanium is a push-to- 
talk Android smartphone that is certified 
to military specifications for dust, shock, 



vibration, low pressure, solar radiation, 
and high and low temperatures. This 
smartphone also supports Nextel Di- 
rect Connect Services, including Direct 
Connect, Group Connect, International 
Direct Connect, DirectSend, Group Mes- 
saging, and NextMail. Like the XPRT, the 
Titanium has a 3. 1 -inch display and a full 
QWERTY keyboard, along with stereo 
Bluetooth and GPS (global positioning 
system) navigation. Both models provide 
access to Android Market for applica- 
tions, widgets, and games. I 



DU LY QUOTED 



'While for some this is not without relationship costs, the majority 

of mobile workers are highly responsive and ready to be 

engaged outside of traditional office hours." 

— Steven Wastie, senior vice president of marketing and product management at iPass, 

comments on the results of an iPass report that revealed 38% of mobile workers 

wake up to check their smartphones during the night, while 3% check email 

in the morning before getting dressed or eating breakfast. 

Source: iPass 



Smart Computing / July 2011 13 



Technology News & Notes 



News From The Help Desk 

Our Most Common Tech Calls 



Compiled by Rod Scher 



QThe Ribbon in Outlook 2010 has disappeared, and I al- 
ways have to click one of the tabs in order to see it. How 
can I make the Ribbon show by default? 

A In Outlook 2010, you can collapse the Ribbon in 
two different places: at the main Inbox screen and 
also on the message display screen. When the Ribbon is 
minimized, Outlook looks as if it's defaulting to the File 
tab when it opens. (It's really not; it just looks that way in 
the absence of the Ribbon.) You need to expand the Rib- 
bon in both places. To do so, open Outlook, right-click 
the Home tab, and deselect the Minimize Ribbon option. 
Close and restart Outlook. Select and open an email mes- 
sage. Right-click the Message tab and deselect Minimize 
Ribbon here, also. 



_j | y * -> 

Messac 



Customize Quick Access Toolbar... 
Show Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon 
C u sto rn ize the**^ b o n . . . 
n/J Minimize the RibboTp 



© You replied to th 
From: Colleei 

To: Rq^S( 

Cc: 
Subject: RE>kjP OfficeJet Pro 8500A PWe-AII-in-One 



Hi Rod, 



If Outlook's Ribbon is absent, it may be because you have checked the Minimize 
The Ribbon option. 

Qln Windows 7 Home Premium Edition, I get an error 
message when trying to run a backup: "Backup encoun- 
tered a problem while backing up file <file name>. The system 
cannot find the path specified. (0x80070003)." 

A Interestingly, in spite of this message, the backup 
itself usually does work— except that one or more 
files may have been skipped. Sometimes the cause turns 
out to be bad clusters, indicating a possible impending 
drive failure: Time to replace the drive. But first, run 
Windows' Check Disk utility. Click Start and Computer. 
Right-click the drive in question and select Properties. 
Click the Tools tab; under Error-Checking, click Check 
Now. Select the Automatically Fix File System Errors 
checkbox and then click Start. Very often, this utility can 
repair the drive to the point where the system backup 



Hard Disk Drives (1) 
OSDisk (CO 



Jl 



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Check disk options 

•f Automatically fix file system errors 

Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors 



:heckthe drive for ei 




Windows' Check Disk utility can find and work around bad sectors on your hard 
drive, but only up to a point; if your drive's condition continues to deteriorate, 
you may need a new drive. 

will once again work. But keep an eye on that drive; at the 
first opportunity, replace it. 

Another possible cause of this sort of backup problem 
has to do with the location of your Windows 7 Libraries. 
If you move a Library file, the backup utility may not 
know where it now resides, thus causing an error when 
the utility attempts to back up that file. You can usu- 
ally correct this by using Windows Explorer to navigate 
to the Library, which seems to reset the pointers to the 
moved file. 

QMy computer keeps displaying the BSOD (Blue Screen 
Of Death), along with a cryptic error message that 
includes references such as "0x0000004e," "0x0000009f," 
"0x0000007f," and others. 

A You can look up the specific meanings of each of 
those messages, but most of the time, you don't 
need to. It's enough to know that a BSOD is normally 
caused by one of three things: a driver or software con- 
flict, bad memory, or a bad CPU. To investigate software 
as a cause, consider any applications or drivers you may 
have recently installed. If possible, uninstall them and 



14 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



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see if the problem is resolved. If so, and if you uninstalled 
multiple apps or drivers, then reinstall them one at a time 
to determine which one causes the problem. 

Memory is easy enough to test: Just swap RAM in and 
out until you've determined which memory stick (if any) 
is causing the problem. But don't forget that these days, 
video cards also contain significant amounts of memory, 
so it's best if you can also swap out the video card, just to 
be sure. 

A bad CPU is the least likely cause, but it has been known 
to happen. (Again, this is unlikely. Generally, if the CPU is 
bad, the system will refuse to boot at all.) Unless you're a true 
geek, you may want to refer testing and replacing the CPU to 
a qualified professional. 

QAII of a sudden, I can't find any of my files — every folder, 
the Start menu, the Desktop itself — they're all empty. 
Instead, all I see is a WindowsRepair window. 

A You've been scammed. Somewhere along the line 
you clicked a "free virus scan" (or similar) link, 
which then downloaded this Trojan. The window that the 
WindowsRepair malware displays looks like a legitimate 
system message warning you of an infection. And in fact, 
there is an infection — but it's the so-called anti-malware 
app that's the culprit, holding your system hostage until 
you pay up, at which point it may or may not restore your 
files. (They're still there, by the way; they've just been 
hidden from you.) 




Although it looks legitimate, WindowsRepair is a scam that attempts to extort 
money from you in order to "repair" your system and "restore" your files. 

There are several utilities that can clear up this sort of 
infection, including some that we recommend frequent- 
ly, such as the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (free; www 
.kaspersky.com) and Malwarebytes Anti- Malware (free; 
www.malwarebytes.org). Special-purpose anti-malware 
apps such as RKill, TDSSKiller, ComboFix, and Unhide 



.exe can also help remove this infection, but these can 
be complicated and (potentially) dangerous to use. If 
the first two utilities don't take care of it, and if you're 
in doubt about your ability to deal with the more com- 
plex tools, take your computer to a professional to have 
the infection removed. Afterward, be very careful about 
clicking links displayed by such offers. And keep in mind 
that no legitimate anti-malware application offers to fix 
your problem if you "buy now." 



Q 



I used to have a menu bar in Mozilla Firefox, but it 
seems to have disappeared. 



A Right-click where the menu bar should be and click 
the Menu Bar option. This is also the place you can 
go to control your views of the Navigation Toolbar and 
Bookmarks Toolbar. I 




If you've "lost" your Menu Bar (or other toolbar) in Firefox, simply right-click 
under the Address Bar to make it reappear. 



FEATURE PACKAGE TOPICS 



Each Smart Computing issue includes tips, reviews, and 
information about a variety of topics. However, each issue 
also has a featured group of articles about a selected topic. 
Below is a list of the Feature Packages from the previous 
year. As a Smart Computing subscriber, you have access to 
all of our archived articles at www.smartcomputing.com. 



June 


2010 


TroubleshootYour Network 


July 


2010 


Give Windows A Tune-Up 


August 


2010 


Recover Lost Files 


September 


2010 


First Aid For Your Gadgets 


October 


2010 


Do More With Your Network 


November 


2010 


41 Windows Tips & Tricks 


December 


2010 


Search Engine Optimization 


January 


2011 


Solve Printer Problems 


February 


2011 


Social Networking &Your Business 



Backup For Home & Office 
Solve Software Errors 
Update Your Web Site 
Small & Home Office Security 



16 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



When a computer breaks down, everyone looks to you for the solution. 

That's why you look to Smart Computing. Each issue is packed with troubleshooting information that will 
help you spot the source of the problem and get your system humming again. Our plain-English tutorials 
and large, clear pictures give you the confidence and the knowledge you need when repairing an ailing PC. 
And once your computer is running again, Smart Computing's software and hardware maintenance tips will 
help you keep it that way. Plus, you'll find info on all the new products you'll need for your home and office. 



c •*•-•-•-* -W1I *. * 


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■HrotectYour Network 

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Solve Software 

Get Your Business Apps Back On Track 



Smartl 



Computing 



BACKUP. 



Never miss 
an issue again! 

A $29 subscription 
to Smart Computing 
includes 12 print issues 
and access to the 
online Digital Edition 
for a year. 

ANOTHER PLUS: You can access 
past issues online. Benefit from the 
years of tech support advice archived 
on our Web site. 

Call (800) 733-3809 to subscribe! 



Smart 



Computing 

■ In Plain Enalish ** 



In Plain English 



www.smartcomputing.com 




Small Business Resources 



The Web has a trove of resources for SOHOs (small and home offices) and 
small businesses— if you know where to look. Find an association that can 
help you meet your goals; get information from the government about 
loans, grants, and taxes; and stay up-to-date with the best small business 
newsletters and blogs. If you have a pressing question, pose it on a forum to 
see what your peers have to say. 



SCORE 

www.score.org 
(800) 634-0245 
(703) 487-3612 
1175 Herndon Pkwy 
STE 900 
Herndon, VA 20170 




Associations 
& Support 

Better Business Bureau 

www.bbb.org 

(703) 276-0100 

4200 Wilson Blvd. 

STE 800 

Arlington, VA 22203-1838 

Main Street Alliance 

(MSA) 

mainstreetalliance.org 

info@mainstreetalliance 

.org 

(603)831-1835 

3518 S.Edmunds St. 

Seattle, WA 98118 

National Federation of 
Independent Businesses 
(NFIB) 

www.nfib.com 
(800) 634-2669 
(615) 872-5800 
53 Century Blvd. 
STE 250 
Nashville, TN 37214 

National Small Business 
Association (NSBA) 

nsba.biz 

(202) 293-8830 

1156 15th St., STE 1100 

Washington, DC 20005 



Small Business 
Development Centers 
Network (SBDCNET) 

www.sbdcnet.org 
(800) 689-1912 
501 W Durango Blvd. 
San Antonio, TX 78207 




The Entrepreneurial 
Mind 

www.drjerTcornwall.com 




Blogs 



Signal vs. Noise 

37signals.com/svn/posts 

Small Business Search 
Marketing 

wwwsmallbusinesssem 



Small Biz Bee 

smallbizbee.com 

Small Business Trends 

smallbiztrends.com 

The Small Business Blog 

www.sme-blog.com 




Forums 



Small Business 

Administration 

Community 

www.sba.gov/community 

The Small Business 
Community Forums 

wwwsmallbusiness 
forums.org 

Small Business 
Ideas Forum 

wwwsmallbusinessbrief 
.com/forum 

The Young Entrepreneur 

wwwyoungentrepreneur 
.com/forum 




Government 

Grants.gov 

House Committee On 
Small Business 

smallbusiness.house.gov 

Small Business and Self- 
Employed Tax Center 

www.irs.gov/businesses 
/small 

Small Business Adminis- 
tration (SBA) 
sba.gov 

U.S. Copyright Office 

copyright.gov 

U.S. Department of Labor 

dol.gov 

U.S. Senate Committee 
on Small Business & 
Entrepreneurship 

sbc.senate.gov 



18 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



SMALL BUSINESS 

Development 

Centers 

Assistance For Entrepreneurs 



Haven't the foggiest idea how to har- 
ness your entrepreneurial spirit, 
pull yourself anywhere using 
bootstraps, or think in or out of a box? 
Starting and running your own business 
is tough, but fortunately for prospec- 
tive and current small business owners, 
SBDCs (Small Business Development 
Centers; asbdc-us.org) dispense with the 
cliche and offer training, counseling, and 
other assistance to help you craft your vi- 
sion into a real- world success. 

Run A Small Business 

Pooling resources from federal, state, 
and local governments, as well as the 
private sector and the educational com- 
munity, The Association of Small Busi- 
ness Development Centers is truly a 
joint venture with a vested interest in 
fostering small business growth. For an 
overview of what the SBDC can offer 
you and your small business, visit bit.ly 
/dKYe2a. The SBA (Small Business Ad- 
ministration; www.sba.gov) is partnered 
with SBDCs. 

Help On Your Turf 

You may be surprised to learn that 
there's probably an SBDC branch near- 
by; there are locations in all 50 states, in 
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 
and even in the U.S. territories. There 
are 63 nationwide Lead Small Business 
Development Centers coordinating 
program services for every sub -center 
and satellite location in each state. Cen- 
ters are made up of directors, full-time 




staff members, and various part-time 
staff and volunteers. 

The best way to contact your nearest 
SBDC is to visit the Association of Small 
Business Development Centers' Web site 
(asbdc-us.org), input your ZIP code into 
the Find Your Nearest Small Business De- 
velopment Center text box, and then click 
Go. The results page will highlight Lead 
Centers but rank centers in order of those 
closest to your location. Often, SBDCs 
partner with universities and colleges, and 



Frequent Question 

If you're like many other people starting 
a small business, funding is at the top 
of your mind. A common question that 
entrepreneurs have for SBDCs is: "Am I 
eligble for grant money?" 

The answer depends on the nature of 
your business. Grants.gov (www.grants 
.gov) will give you a clear picture of 
your options before your visit to a Small 
Business Development Center. 



tend to be found on campuses across the 
country. On the search results page, you'll 
also find a link to the local office's Web 
page, email address, phone number, a fax 
number if available, and address. 

The Closest Thing To A Free Lunch 

The services offered may vary by loca- 
tion, but all SBDCs offer many services 
free of charge. Some typical services you 



can expect from your nearest SBDC 
include help with financial, marketing, 
production, organization, engineer- 
ing, and technical problems and access 
to feasibility studies that can flesh out a 
fledgling business plan. Some SBDCs 
also offer affordable training seminars 
to help with various aspects of running 
a business. You can also rest assured 
that your business with the SBDC will re- 
main confidential. 

Women's Business Centers 

The SBA offers WBCs (Women's 
Business Centers), which directly serve 
female entrepreneurs through nearly 
100 educational centers nationwide. This 
organization strives to assist women in 
overcoming the hurdles they face in 
today's business environment by offer- 
ing business management training and 
technical assistance to all women, with 
a special emphasis on economically or 
socially disadvantaged women. The ser- 
vices and training programs are also 
commonly offered in multiple languages 
to enable those who speak English as 
a second language or are still learn- 
ing English. To find your nearest WBC, 
visit bit.ly/hs3st2. 

Small Business, Big Payoff 

Small business owners know that 
achieving success is about taking risks, 
innovating, and making tough deci- 
sions day in and day out. Thanks to 
the services offered at the SBA, SBDCs, 
and WBCs, you're not on your own. I 



Smart Computing / July 2011 19 



MSI GT680R 

Reinvent Your 
Mobile Experience 



Andrew Leibman 



Send your comments to 
andrew@smartcomputing.com 




MSI GT680R 

$1,499.99 (online) 

MSI 

(626) 913-0828 

us.msi.com 



A notebook packed with the latest tech- 
nologies, such as the MSI GT680R, can run 
circles around, long-jump past, and throw 
one of those really heavy balls much farther 
than a notebook from just a couple years ago, 
metaphorically speaking. This is what a mod- 
ern notebook should be. 

Seeing Is Believing 

The MSI GT680R is a 7.7-pound midsized 
notebook with a 15.6-inch glossy display that 
supports a true HD (high-definition) resolution 
of 1,920 x 1,080. MSI s display is also LED (light- 
emitting diode) 
backlit, which 
makes it con- 
siderably easier 
to view in bright 
conditions than 
the traditionally 
backlit LCDs. 

Guts Check 

MSI used the 
Intel HM67 
chipset and the 
2 GHz Intel Core 
i7-2630QM processor for 
the GT680Rs foundation. With 
Intel's Turbo Boost 2.0 technology, the pro- 
cessor can throttle up to 2.9GHz when run- 
ning applications that don't fully utilize all four 
cores. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M handles 
the graphical duties on the GT680R, such as 
gaming, rendering, and video playback. Sys- 
tem memory consists of four 2GB DDR3-1333 
modules, for a total of 8GB of RAM. MSI in- 
stalled a pair of 500GB hard drives in a RAID 
(redundant array of independent disks) con- 
figuration, which lets the system boot quickly 
and instantly load programs, and lets you have 
access to 1TB (terabyte) of storage. The Super- 
Multi DVD drive lets the GT680R read and 
write CDs and DVDs. 



Ports, Comms & Interfaces 

MSI paid special attention to the GT680R's 
communication capabilities. There's a mic and 
720p Web cam built into the top edge of the 
screen bezel for accessory-free video chat. A 
Gigabit Ethernet port on the back of the unit 
provides 10/100/1000 Ethernet connectivity and 
integrated Bluetooth, and 802.1 lb/g/n radios let 
you connect to other devices, your home net- 
work, and public and private hotspots. 

The right side of the GT680R features 
four analog audio jacks for 5.1 surround 
output, a USB 2.0 port, and the optical 
drive. The back edge has an HDMI (High- 
Definition Multimedia Interface) output, 
eSATA (external Serial Advanced Technol- 
ogy Attachment) port, VGA (Video Graph- 
ics Array) output, and a security slot. The 
left side includes another USB 2.0 port, two 
USB 3.0 ports, and a 7-in-l card reader. 

Unexpected Extras 

The GT680R's lid features three banks of 
orange LEDs and a backlit MSI logo. Another 
two banks of LEDs line the front edge of the 
notebook. You can set the lights to pulse slowly 
when in sleep or standby, blink in response to 
audio output, or simply remain on or off us- 
ing MSI's light display utility. Three more LED 
indicators set off the touchpad and mouse but- 
tons to ease computing in the dark. 

One of our favorite features is the GT680R's 
speaker system, which MSI designed with in- 
put from the audio experts at Dynaudio. In 
our experience, the sound system was supe- 
rior to that of most other notebooks we've 
tested, reproducing music and game and 
movie soundtracks with impressively deep 
bass, dynamic mids, and crisp highs. 

MSI also makes interfacing with the note- 
book fun; several touch- sensitive quick-launch 
keys above the keyboard let you enable and dis- 
able a programmable hot key, Turbo Drive En- 
gine overclocking settings, more aggressive fan 
settings, the LEDs, and more. 

The Total Mobile Package 

The GT680R is a well-designed notebook 
with several unique features you won't find on 
other notebooks out there. We recommend 
this notebook for users who travel occasionally 
but don't want to compromise on their mobile 
experiences just because they're away from an 
outlet for a few hours at a time. I 



20 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Straighten Up Your Drive 

Paragon Alignment 
Tool 3.0 



Marty Sems 



Send your comments to marty@ 
smartcomputing.com 



If you're still running an older OS such as 
Windows XP in your business, you have 
your reasons. Then again, you may never- 
theless want the benefits of newer storage 
devices, such as speedy SSDs (solid-state 
drives) or spacious AFDs (Advanced Format 
Drives) with 4KB sectors. Newer versions 



i J. Alignment Tool 



Please select partitions to align: 



6 □ 4s^ Disk 0, model Patriot Zephyr 128GB SSD ATA Device, 119. 2 GB 
□ £^ Local Dtefc (C:), NTFS, 119. 2 G8 
9 ^J^ Disk 1, model IC25N04Q ATCS05-0 USB Device, 37. 2 GB 
J k Local Disk <p:),MTFS, 37.2 GB 

6" □ ^^ Disk 2 r model THROTTLE USB Device, IS GB 
Throttle (E:), MTFS, 15 GB 





<Back j|flj^ partitions] | Cancel 



«i"».w y*^ 



1 



Paragon Alignment Tool 3.0 

$29.95 

Paragon Software 

(888) 347-5462 

www.paragon-software.com 



of Windows have better support for these, 
but you can still use them with WinXP and 
other OSes. With caveats. 

One of the issues an old OS can have with 
an SSD or AFD is slow performance. Put 
simply, Windows' formatting process starts 
writing at a logical address on the drive that 
doesn't quite jibe with the physical units of 
storage the device uses. 

This issue isn't new, but it didn't affect 
most mainstream users until SSDs and AFDs 
appeared. Install an SSD under WinXP or 
earlier, or an AFD under Windows Vista or 



earlier, and you'll probably have misaligned 
clusters of data that will slow down reads 
and writes (Win7 doesn't have this problem). 
Even worse, misalignment causes an SSD to 
make extra writes to its memory cells, aging 
the drive before its time. 

To counteract this, some drive manufac- 
turers offer free downloads of software to re- 
align data on their drives. That's all well and 
good for those brands of drives, but if you're 
running a small business, you're probably re- 
sponsible for a variety of computers with all 
sorts of drives and OSes. 

Paragon Alignment Tool 3.0 is a utility 
that can realign any brand of hard drive or 
SSD. It even works on RAIDs (redundant 
array of independent disks) and virtual 
machines. Paragon 
claims that PAT 3.0 
can unlock up to 
300% better perfor- 
mance from a mis- 
aligned drive. 

The software lets 
you pick from a hand- 
ful of options regard- 
ing how fast it will run 
vs. how diligently it 
will work to preserve 
your data. The default 
settings seem to strike 
a balance between 
performance and rea- 
sonable caution. Para- 
gon provides a utility 
with which you can 
make a recovery CD 
before you start the 
process. (If you use 
encryption, be sure to 
decrypt your data be- 
fore you run PAT 3.0.) 

It's worth mentioning that Paragon 
Hard Disk Manager 2011 Suite ($49.95), 
the company's full-featured consumer 
utility suite, also realigns hard drive and 
SSD data properly. This PAT 3.0-like 
function occurs automatically anytime 
you resize, move, or otherwise manipulate 
a drive partition with the Suite. Of course, 
the Suite's new PC migration, disaster re- 
covery, and other state-of-the-art tools 
make it more than worth the extra $20 to 
your budding business. I 



L v* Norhoptimally aligned 
partition. 

M y* Partition that cannot be 
aligned. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 21 



Roundup: Online Backup & Storage Services 

A Smorgasbord Of Options 



The Internet has always been an amaz- 
ing tool for facilitating communication, 
disseminating information, and more, 
but in recent years the power of online 
resources has exploded, and the areas of 
backup and storage are no exception. 

Simply put, having online backup and 
storage means that you manually or auto- 
matically upload data to a service in the 
cloud, which stores the data for you un- 
til you need it. When you want to access 
your data, you can do so through a desk- 
top client, mobile client, or the service 
providers Web site, depending on what 
types of access a given provider offers. 

Most services require a subscription 
(free or paid) of some kind, where you are 
allotted a certain amount of storage — say, 
100GB, for example. In other cases, you 
pay according to how much data you 
store. The costs for these services vary 
widely according to the type of service of- 
fered and the specific needs of each user. 

For example, if you're just looking 
for a few gigabytes of storage, a free ac- 
count with Box.net gives you 5GB; but 
if you need a substantial amount of on- 
line space, you may need to opt for the 
$15 per user per month plan that offers 
500GB. Further, if you have a larger 
company or have very data-heavy 
needs, Amazons Simple Storage Ser- 
vice (S3) offers monthly billing per gi- 
gabyte, so you only pay for what you're 
using throughout a given month. And 
if all you're looking for is some online 
document management, and storage 
isn't much of a concern, a free Zoho 
Docs account will suffice. 

It's worth noting the difference 
between online storage and online 
backup. Although they're often used 
interchangeably, "online backup" and 
"online storage" are not exactly the 
same thing. Online storage is just 
that — space online where you can 
stash data. Once you upload data to 



amazon 

web services- 



sign in to the AWS Management Console p: Create ar AV/S Account ■•■ English 
Search: AWS Product Information v £> 



Products a series ^ i Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) 



Amazon S3 

Amazon S3 Overview 

■ FAQs 
Pricing 

■ Amazon S3 SLA 

Developer Resources 

■ Getting Started Guide 

- : :■ >-?:e~-e -; :;■;:> 
Documentation 
Release Notes 
i. Sample Code & Libraries 
-eve ope " ";:,::. ; 

■ Articles & TUta r ■? -:■ 
t: Community Forum 



Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale 
computing easier for developers. 

Amazon S3 provides a simple web £=;■ :~ ":=■":- : = : "c can be used to 
store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on 
the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, 
reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run 
its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize 
benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers. 



I Sign Up H 



in S3 u) 



This page contains the following categories of information. Click to jump down: 

Amazon S3 Functionality . Common Use Cases 

Protecting Your Data Resources 

, Pricing Amazon S3 Design Requirements 

I Getting Started with Amazon S3 4 Intended Usage and Restrictions 

Transferring Large Amounts of Data 



Not a Developer? 



Amazon S3 Functionality 

Amazon S3 is intentionally built with a minimal feature set. 

Write, read, and delete objects containing from 1 byte to 5 terabytes of data each. The number of 
objects you can store is unlimited. 

Each object is stored in a bucket and retrieved via a unique, developer-assigned key. 
A bucket can be stored in one of several Regions. You can choose a Region to optimize for latency, 
minimize costs, or address regulatory requirements. Amazon S3 is currently available in the US Standard, 
EU (Ireland), US West (Northern California), Asia Pacific (Singapore), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Regions. 
The US Standard Region automatically routes requests to facilities in Northern Virginia or the Pacific 
Northwest using network maps. 

Objects stored in a Region never leave the Region unless you transfer them out. For example, objects 
stored in the EU (Ireland) Region never leave the EU. 



Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) 

the site, you can typically access your 
data via the online (or even desktop) 
interface much as you would with the 
folders and files on your computer. It's 
sort of like having an extra hard drive 
up in the cloud, which is a huge ne- 
cessity if you need to store more data 
than your hard drive (s) can hold. For 
example, if you're the type that shoots 
lots of photos and video of your grow- 
ing family, you may find that you have 
hundreds of gigabytes of precious 
data that you need to both back up 



BUYING TIP 



and store somewhere other than your 
computer. Likewise, if your business 
generates a lot of data, such as product 
photos, media-intensive presentations 
for clients, or training videos, not only 
will you need to back up that data, but 
you'll also likely need a place to store 
all of it beyond what your computer 
hard drive can handle. 

Online backup, technically speak- 
ing, is a way to back up your data to an 
online third party, and although that 
could indeed mean uploading files to 



There are pricing models for virtually every usage case, from individuals to 
massive enterprises. Consider which option is the best for your company given 
the price; and don't forget to call about enterprise options if you have a larger 
office or heavier data needs, as you may find an even better deal. 



22 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.conn 



online storage so you have a backup 
of particular files or folders, it can also 
refer to a service that simply backs up 
your computer's hard drive. Just as you 
can set up automatic backups from your 
computer to an external hard drive, so 
you can set backups from your com- 
puter to an online backup service. Plus, 
if you ever need to restore any files, you 
can do so from the backup. 

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) 

Amazon's cloud services offerings 
are legion; in fact, they're so numer- 
ous and vast that many cloud service 
providers use Amazon's cloud ser- 
vices to run their products. But Ama- 
zon's S3 (Simple Storage Service; aws 
.amazon.com/s3) is a stripped-down 
service designed to let users store es- 
sentially an unlimited amount of data 
(the service scales up to 5PB, or pet- 
abytes — that's 5,000TB, or terabytes) 
and access the files whenever and 
wherever they need to. 

Amazon S3 users pay only for the 
data they store, from $0.14 per GB 
for up to 1TB to $0,055 per GB for up 
to 5PB. (There are additional, nomi- 
nal fees for using and transferring the 
files.) Thus, users can scale their stor- 
age needs up or down as needed. 

Amazon S3 is for companies that need 
to handle a high volume of data but don't 
want to deal with all the cost and respon- 
sibility of managing that data in-house. 



BUYING 



Don't buy more than you need. If all you need is simple storage, go that route with 
the service you sign up with; on the other hand, if you also need backup, syncing, 
and file sharing capabilities, you'll need a different service. 



t Jump to folder 

All Files and Folders 

Files and Folders 



One exceptional feature of Amazon 
S3 is the ability to choose the geographi- 
cal region where your data is housed, be 
it the U.S., EU, or Asia Pacific. Amazon 
guarantees 99.999999999% durability 
(yes, that many 9s) and 99.99% avail- 
ability, so you can have some peace of 
mind that your data is safe and available. 

With File Versioning, you can track 
every version of your files, so you al- 
ways have a previous copy to roll back 
to if needed. You can access and man- 
age your data through the Web -based 
AWS Management Console. 

Box.net 

Box.net (www.box.net) is certainly a 
great option for individuals looking for 
some inexpensive online storage, but it's 
even better for businesses. In addition to 
the simple, low-cost pricing structure — 
5GB free, 500GB per user per month for 
$15 each, as well as enterprise pricing — 
the service includes a number of power- 
ful tools that enhance workflow among 
users and ensure security. 

One administrator can manage all the 
users associated with a single account, and 
all users can upload files and folders and 



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The Box app for iPad and iPhone lets you 
save files to your device, so you can 
access them even without a Wi-Fi or 3G 
connection. Download the app 



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Box.net 



invite other users to view, edit, and collab- 
orate on documents. Users can track revi- 
sions on documents, assign tasks, and so 
on — essentially, a "lite" version of project 
management software that can be a boon 
to small offices or small teams working 
within a larger office. Box.net integrates 
with business software such as Google 
Apps, Salesforce, and more; you can also 
integrate Box.net into your own apps 
with Box.net's APIs (application program 
interfaces). 

Box.net's interface looks and feels 
like the same folder environment you're 
used to on a desktop, so navigating your 
data is easy. You can also use the Box.net 
desktop client to sync files and folders, 
and it allows you to work with your Box 
.net account right from your desktop 
instead of having to visit the Web site. 
Box.net uses 256-bit SSL (Secure Sock- 
ets Layer) file encryption for file trans- 
fers, so you can be assured your data 
is secure as it zips through cyberspace, 
and the firewall, authentication, log- 
ging of user actions, usage audits, access 
controls at the application level, and en- 
cryption on the storage cloud itself also 
ensure strong security. 

Mobile access to Box.net — a neces- 
sity for today's business user — is plat- 
form-agnostic. Although there are iOS 
and Android apps available, there's also 
a mobile site (m.box.net) that any mo- 
bile browser can access, and Box.net 
can also be embedded in any number 
of mobile apps to boot. 

Carbonite Pro 

Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) pro- 
vides online backup in the truest sense 
of the term in that it's not an online 
space you use as a cloud-based hard 
drive, but a program that creates back- 
ups of your data so you have a duplicate 
copy of everything on your system in 
the cloud. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 23 



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n your backup, organized just as they 

Double-click on a folder to view its contents. Right-click on any file or folder to view restore options. 
To remove a file or folder from your backup, right-click on it and select "Don't back this up". 
View files pending backup (0 files) 



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Carbonite 
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Once you install the Carbonite soft- 
ware on your computer and configure 
your backups, the program backs up 
your computer s data to Carbonite's on- 
line servers. There are several options 
for configuring backups; for example, 
you can opt to back up only certain files 
and folders or back up your entire hard 
drive. It's a set-it-and-forget situation: 
Once you configure your backups, 
Carbonite will automatically and con- 
tinuously back up your data. The pro- 
gram runs quietly in the background, 
so you'll never even notice it's working. 
However, it's also quite simple to man- 
ually add files to or remove them from 
the backup job. 

Carbonite doesn't back up operating 
systems or applications, but it does back 
up virtually everything else, including 
documents, music, photos and video, 
email, and more. You'll also need a com- 
puter running Windows XP/Vista/7 or 
Mac OS X 10.5/10.6. 

You can access, browse, open, or save 
your files via your online Carbonite ac- 
count. Additionally, mobile access is 
available via the iOS, Android, and 
BlackBerry platforms; with mobile ac- 
cess, users can view and email most files, 
including PDF (Portable Document For- 
mat) files, images, and documents. 

Restoring files in the event of file 
corruption or accidental deletion is 
quite easy — you just open the Car- 
bonite software, select Restore Files, 
and browse for the items you wish to 



restore (or restore everything you've 
backed up in one fell swoop). 

Your files enjoy SSL encryption when 
transmitted, as well as 128-bit Blowfish 
encryption when they're stored. Not 
even Carbonite personnel can access 
your files. 

You can opt for an individual Carbo- 
nite plan for $59 per year and unlimit- 
ed backup space. With a Carbonite Pro 
plan, which is designed for businesses, 
you pay for the data your whole com- 
pany uses as opposed to a per-user or 



per-computer fee. Carbonite Pro plans 
start at $10 a month for up to 20GB 
and go up to $250 per month for 300 
to 499GB. 

Dropbox 

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) is an 
online storage service with a clean, sim- 
ple interface. It's designed to work best 
when you use the free desktop client, 
which functions just like a small drive 
on your computer. 

You can add any files or folders to 
the desktop client that you wish, and 
they'll be automatically synced to your 
online Dropbox account. You can add 
desktop clients to as many computers 
as you wish; for example, if you have a 
notebook at work and a desktop com- 
puter at home, you can download the 
desktop client for both. Dropbox is also 
available on mobile devices, and you 
can add clients for your account to iOS, 
Android, and BlackBerry devices. 

Any time you make a change to a 
file or folder, whether you create a new 
folder online, edit a file from a desktop 
client folder, or add a file or folder to ei- 
ther one, the changes are synced across 
all of your computers and online. Thus, 



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Most online backup and storage services offer a free trial or a free account with 
a limited amount of storage (usually between 2GB and 5GB). Try out as many 
different services as possible to determine which fits your needs best. 



24 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Docs 

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whether you access your Dropbox ac- 
count online, on one of your comput- 
ers, or via a mobile device, the files and 
folders all stay in perfect sync. 

To share files, you can invite others to 
a folder so they can view or edit the con- 
tents. This is handy for collaboration on 
certain documents, certainly, but it also 
allows you to share photo galleries with 
others. There's a Public folder in every 
Dropbox account, and you can let anyone 
see those files just by sending out a link. 

Your work is saved for up to a month, 
so you can undo changes and even un- 
delete files during that time. Dropbox 
encrypts your data with 256 AES (Ad- 
vanced Encryption Standard), and all 
transmissions are protected by SSL. 

You can get a 2GB Dropbox account 
free, 50GB for $9.99 per month, or 
100GB for $19.99 per month. 



Zoho Docs 

Zoho Docs (www.zoho.com) presents a 
different spin on the idea of online storage. 
Instead of providing a certain amount of 
storage space or backing up data, it essen- 
tially offers an online office suite and proj- 
ect management environment where you 
can create as many files as you want within 
the program (such as word processing 
documents, spreadsheets, and presenta- 
tions) and also upload certain files that ei- 
ther you want to keep a backup of or that 
are pertinent to a specific project. 

Zoho Docs organizes all of your files 
into a familiar folder tree, so it's easy to 
navigate. The program tracks your file 
changes over time, so you can see previous 
versions if you need to "roll back" an item. 

Because it's just part of a much 
broader set of programs and tools, 



Zoho Docs is designed for real-time 
collaboration and sharing. You can 
create and manage Groups, so you 
can share files and folders with only 
certain people. For example, you may 
create a group for your family and an- 
other for your project team. You can 
also share files with a specific party or 
two. And with online workspaces, you 
can create a space where a team can 
collaborate on a project remotely — 
you can even chat live with the proj- 
ect's contributors. 

You get 1GB of storage space free 
(which is ample space for office docu- 
ments) along with one workspace, and if 
you have multiple users, you can spring 
for an extra 10 or 20 workspaces for $3 
or $5 per month, respectively. I 

bySeth Colaner 



f ONLINE BACKUP & STORAGE SERVICES AT A GLANCE 






Product Name 


Price 


Company 


Contact Info 


URL 


Notable Features 


Amazon Simple 
Storage Service (S3) 


$0.14 per GB 

(1TB per month) to 

$0,055 per GB 

(over 5PB per month) 


Amazon Web Services 


Web site contact form 


aws.amazon.com/s3 


Virtually infinitely scalable 


Box.net 


Free (5GB) to 

$15 peruser 

per month (500GB)* 


Box.net 


(877) 729-4269 


www.box.net 


Designed to make 
collaboration and 
sharing simple 


Carbonite Pro 


$10 per month 
(20GB) to $250 
per month 
(300GB to 499GB) 


Carbonite 


(877) 665-4466 


www.carbonite.com 


Works quietly behind the 
scenes on your computer 


Dropbox 


Free (2GB) to $19.99 
per month (100GB) 


Dropbox 


Web site contact form 


www.dropbox.com 


Clients provide easy syncing 
across computers and 
mobile devices 


Zoho Docs 


Free (1GB plus one 
workspace) to $5 
(1GB plus 20 
workspaces) 


Zoho Corporation 


(888) 900-9646 


docs.zoho.com/jsp/index.jsp 


Incorporates into an entire 
online office and project 
management suite 


*Call for enterprise p 

v 


ricing 













Smart Computing / July 2011 25 



Wintec FileMate Light 

Steady Performance 
At A Seductive Price 



$279 | Wintec 
(866)989-4683 I www.wintecind.com 



I 



n about as much time as it takes to es- 
tablish a Wi-Fi connection and sign in 
to a Google account, Wintecs FileMate 
Light tablet can have you within online 
reach of search, email, contact, calendar, 
ebook, video, photo, document, map, chat, 
instant message, and other functionality. 
Add in direct access to the ever-growing 
number of apps available in the Android 
Market and the FileMate Light ultimately 
becomes a solidly performing comple- 
ment to a desktop PC and/or notebook. A 
bonus: It is priced aggressively to sell. 

Specifications 

The tablets alluring price is partially 
due to sacrifices in power, speed, and abil- 
ity you'll live with, primarily in the tablets 
Qualcomm 600MHz MSM7227 processor 
and 512MB of RAM. Despite the middle- 
of-the-road components, as well as no 
HDMI-out port, 3G data calling, and front- 
facing camera to easily make video calls, 
the tablet provides a healthy supply of de- 
sirable features and versatility. 

Beyond built-in Wi-Fi (802.1 lb/g) 
and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, the File- 
Mate Light offers a 
3.15MP digital camera 
with 5X digital zoom 
and video recording 
ability, microphone, 
Dolby-enhanced stereo 
speakers, and FM radio 
for entertainment pur- 
poses. For productivity- 
minded tasks, there's 
a read-only version of 
DataViz Docs To Go, 
Adobe Reader, enterprise exchange sup- 
port, and widgets to make online Skype 
and Google Talk calls. The 8GB of storage 
included comes externally on a microSD 
card, which you can swap out for up to a 



The tablet has a camera (at the back 
of the device) and supports Skype and 
GoogleTalk calls. 



32GB card. The remov- 
able Li-Ion battery in- 
cluded offers 8.5 hours 
rated life and lasted just 
over five hours in my 
use when continually 
playing back video. 

Design 

Design-wise, the 
FileMate Light mea- 
sures 7.6 x 4.3 x 
0.5 inches (HxWxD)— 
just narrow enough to 
comfortably hold in 
one hand when in Por- 
trait mode. Weighing 0.85 pound, how- 
ever, the tablet's heft starts to reveal itself 
soon enough in your arms. Positively, the 
piano-black bezel surrounding the tablet's 
7-inch resistive touchscreen (800 x 480) 
feels very solid and durable, as does the 
silver-tinged metal covering the backside. 
The only physical buttons onboard rest on 
the left to control power and volume. The 
only ports are a micro-USB at the bottom 
and headphone jack at the top. 

All navigation 
and control of the 
FileMate Light 
occurs via taps 
and swipes on 
the impressively 
responsive touch- 
screen, as well as 
via the QWERTY 
virtual keyboard 
and touch-based 
Home, Menu, 
and Back buttons on the bezel's front bot- 
tom. Overall, Froyo-based smartphone 
owners should pick up the ins and outs of 
the FileMate Light with little trouble. Oth- 
er users should also have few problems 





Searching the Internet, checking email, or opening a 
map is as easy as tapping the FileMate Light's screen. 



jumping in and getting 
started thanks to the tab- 
let's slick Google integra- 
tion and simplified user 
interface. 

Wintec aids that ease 
of use by putting instant 
access to a task manager 
on the home screen. The 
tablet also has Facebook 
and Twitter; Android 
Market; and music, vid- 
eo, and photo files. Ac- 
cess to other apps, pro- 
grams, and settings are 
one click of the Menu 
button away. So, for example, upon log- 
ging in to a Google account, the tablet 
seamlessly pulls in your online, Picasa- 
stored photos and makes them acces- 
sible via the tablet's Gallery icon. The 
same integration is true of Gmail and 
Talk contacts, among others. 

Performance 

In practical usage, the FileMate Light 
shows its power and speed limitations by 
slowly loading Web pages, transitioning 
between photos, and displaying photos in 
full focus. The display itself does lack some 
sharpness and color vibrancy in video and 
photo playback, but audio playback is sur- 
prisingly full-bodied and rich considering 
the typical nature of tablet speakers. Else- 
where, Skype and Google Talk sessions 
transpired without hiccups. 

Wintec worked with Korea-based SK 
Networks on the FileMate Light, which 
marks Wintecs first foray into the tablet 
space. Though this initial effort lacks some 
oomph, for the price it's a solid debut and 
good sign of tablets to come. I 

by Blaine Flamic 



26 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



SlimCleaner 

Community-Powered 
PC Maintenance 



Free | SlimWare Utilities | info@slimwareutilities.com 
(228)447-3175 | www.slimwareutilities.com 

Systems Supported 
tjy Windows 2000 1 XP | Vista 1 7 



SlimCleaner is a colorful, informative, 
and well- executed cleaner utility 
that just about everyone will find help- 
ful. Its various components — Cleaner, 
Optimize, Uninstaller, Shredder, and 
Hijack Log — all help you maintain 
optimal system operation. The final 
option, Windows Tools, gives you one- 
click access to the various performance 
utilities that come with Windows. 

Unlike some system enhancers that 
take an "all-or-nothing" approach to 
tweaking, SlimCleaner makes it easy 
for you to take the helm, providing use- 
ful decision-making information. To do 
this, it uses an enormous, up-to-date da- 
tabase of user reviews and comments to 
provide feedback on files, programs, pro- 
cesses, and other system elements. 

Up-To-Speed 

Getting started with SlimCleaner is 
a breeze. The program installs quickly, 
and the interface is easy to navigate. 
When you open it, you'll see a pane 
with component icons on your left and 
a list of related options (depending on 
the selected component) on the right. 

Cleaner, the first tool, is selected by 
default. This module helps remove un- 
needed, potentially performance-draining 
files from your PC. Click the big analyze 
button to run a scan right away, or click 
the various tabs — Windows, Applications, 
and Browsers — to customize the scan and 
cleaning process. (The AutoClean option 
can automatically remove junk files.) 

SlimCleaner takes an intuitive ap- 
proach to the options it presents. During 
installation, it reads the OS, programs, 
and other software on your PC. It then 
compares them to its database to de- 
termine which may need tweaking. It 
presents the results under the Windows 



urn o;.-*; >.* c-v 



(Windows pro- 
cesses, files, etc.), 
Applications (in- 
stalled programs), 
and Browsers tabs. 
For Windows 

and Browsers, it 
lists specific items 
such as Recycle 
Bin and Cookies. 
For Applications, 
the programs are 
the options, with 
SlimCleaner scru- 
tinizing program- 
related files. 

Prior to scan- 
ning, you can re- 
move or add any 
listed programs, 

Windows sections, etc. Optionally, you 
can accept SlimCleaner s default recom- 
mendations for the scan and then ex- 
clude files on an item-by-item basis. 

More Goodies 

Optimize and Uninstaller work in 
similar fashion but do not require a 
scan. Instead, you see a list of applica- 
tions and processes you can prevent 
running at startup or automatically — 
or that you want to delete altogether. 
Similarly, Hijack Log helps you evalu- 
ate utilities, toolbars, and other helper 
objects for possible removal. 

For all three options, listed items 
receive a community rating of green 
(Good) through orange (Optional) to red 
(Unwanted) or are shown as unrated. (A 
slider bar lets you narrow the universe of 
items to only those with specific ratings.) 
Clicking the rating or the More Info but- 
ton will connect you to the community 
for more feedback. 



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Key Features: Nifty (and swift) PC cleaning suite utilizes user-community 
input to educate you about the items you might remove or keep. 



The fourth component, Shredder, 
permanently eradicates files you target 
with a choice of four overwrite options 
ranging from quick (one pass) to Gutt- 
man (35 passes; unrecoverable). 

You can schedule scans, set specific 
paths to clean (and exclude newer files 
that might be needed), and more. Fi- 
nally, SlimCleaner notifies you of files 
users consider dangerous and helps you 
scan them with SlimCleaner's cloud vi- 
rus scan (or, in advanced mode, a secu- 
rity tool you provide). 

However, the company is adamant 
SlimCleaner is not a malware remov- 
al product and urges users to employ 
their own anti-malware products. 

If you are one of those folks who 
loves sharing your opinions, you can 
even join the SlimWare community 
and become a rated participant in its 
system. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



Smart Computing / July 2011 27 



Corel PDF Fusion 

PDF Creation At A Low Price 



$69.99 | Corel 
(877)582-6735 | www.corel.com 

Systems Supported 
tjy Windows XP | Vista 1 7 



In a landscape where Acrobat challeng- 
ers are popping up like flies on a sum- 
mer day, we thought it might be difficult 
for another one to surprise us. Corel 
PDF Fusion did. Where most PDF- 
maker utilities have a limited feature set 
compared to Adobes signature product, 
this great program is a contender. 

It offers some of the most advanced 
PDF handling features we've seen, paired 
with ease-of-viewing and operating 
perks that make it downright enjoyable 
to use. If you are a small/home business 
owner or consumer who has never used 
a full-fledged PDF handler— or if you 
have access only to limited creation fea- 
tures—you owe it to yourself to give the 
30-day free trial a test drive. 

Bird's Eye View 

PDF Fusion offers three viewing 
modes, and we loved all of them. Flick 
view lets you flick through the pages 
(iPhone style) with your mouse (or fin- 
ger on a touchscreen). Assembly view 
lets you drag and drop one or more 
documents into its workspace and then 
drag and copy pages from one file to 
another — or move them from one point 
in a document to another. You can even 
drag one or more pages from a file to an 
open spot on the Assembly view work- 
space, copying the pages to create a new 
file. Assembly also lets you perform 
page-level edits, such as rotate and crop. 

Page view shows you a single page at 
a time— it's the mode you use for most 
edits. With it, you can search, redact or 
edit (correct) text, place bookmarks, 
add comments and hyperlinks, secure 
the document, and more. (The com- 
menting feature is only available on 
PDF format files.) 

There isn't two -page view mode. 
However, a great trade-off is Presenta- 
tion mode, which gives you a fullscreen 
view of the pages and lets you click 



| \ Corel PDF Fusion 



Edit View Document Advanced Windows Help 




Key Features: Feature-packed PDF creator, viewer, and editor offers everything you need at an affordable price. 



through them as you would a Power- 
Point presentation. 

When you open PDF Fusion, it asks 
you to select a view, but you can click 
among them easily using icons on the 
interface. Overall, the interface is well- 
marked and easy to navigate, with a 
helpful icon bar of options on the right. 
In Page view, a button bar also pops up 
whenever you select text. 

Reach Out 

PDF Fusion's file support covers the 
five standard productivity categories- 
word processor, spreadsheet, presen- 
tation, bitmap (photo), and vector (il- 
lustration). Within these categories, it 
supports nearly every program or file 
variation (100 file formats, total), in- 
cluding some specialized formats such 
as AutoCAD. In our tests, files opened 
cleanly, and PDFs created in other pro- 
grams opened with notes intact. 



You can save edited files as PDFs or 
word processing files (WordPerfect and 
Word formats). The Save As interface 
is also where you adjust file output. In 
PDF, you can adjust file quality, font 
embedding, security, and other options. 
You can also export files to DOC (Word 
format; keeping your choice of format- 
ting) or PNG (a graphics format). 

We've saved two final but significant 
bonuses for last. PDF Fusion includes 
Corel PDF Converter, a batch-conver- 
sion utility (you can also batch-convert 
inside PDF Fusion). Finally, the pro- 
gram's Free Text feature lets you cre- 
ate boxes of text that can be formatted. 
These white boxes can be flattened dur- 
ing PDF save. That makes them blend 
seamlessly (no box edges) with the 
page, letting you replace large blocks of 
text easily. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



28 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Nero Burning ROM 



$49.99 | Nero 
(818)956-7551 I www.nero.com 



Hiqh-Powered Media Burning * 



Systems Supported 
Windows XP I Vista 1 7 



Nero Burning ROM has been a main- 
stay on the burning scene for years, 
for good reason. It burns to disc — 
quickly and with excellent results — 
audio, video, data, or a mixture of file 
types stored on your hard drive or cop- 
ied from another disc. 

Nero offers numerous options for 
burning discs, as well, including single 
or multisession (add more data later), 
disc spanning (when data won't fit on 
one disc), write speed, security and 
verification, and other settings. You can 
even burn to multiple write drives (if 
you have them), making multiple cop- 
ies simultaneously. 

For those not interested in media 
burning mechanics, Burning ROM in- 
cludes Nero Express, a tool that auto- 
mates burning to disc from another disc 



Key Features: Optical media 
burning tool provides award- 
winning quality, encryption 
features, and enhanced 
readability, even after damage. 



or a disc image, as well as 
copying entire disc imag- 
es to your hard drive. You 
select from more than a 
dozen options, from Data 
CD to AVCHD DVD to 
Blu-ray Disc. 

Burning ROM can also copy discs 
from one optical drive to another, 
create imaged copies on your hard 
drive for later use, and rip tracks to 
your computer for playback— letting 
you choose the genre from a list of 
choices. (This option appears under 



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Extras.) Burning ROM doesn't offer 
editing features, but it does have a 
nifty Cover Designer utility. Mostly, 
it is a top-notch tool that does what it 
does very well. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



Info Select 10 



Comprehensive 
Data Organization 



At first glance, Info Select 10 resembles 
an email client— specifically Out- 
look. In fact, it does offer email capabili- 
ties, and it asks whether you want it to 
become your default email client. (We 
recommend you not do this until you 
test the product and decide to keep it.) 

However, Info Select is a lot more 
than just a message solution. With it, 
you can store— and do— all sorts of in- 
teresting things. For example, you can 
write notes, establish calendars, create 
templates, and more. Best of all, per- 
haps, is the way Info Select organizes 
these items. Unlike Outlook, which sep- 
arates various data sources into panes, 
Info Select organizes it all in a running 



$249.95 | Micro Logic 
201-962-7510 | www.miclog.com 



Systems Supported 
tjfj Windows XP | Vista 1 7 



Key Features: Expansive data organizer 

that helps pull together the various 

flotsam and jetsam of your 

workplace (or life) for easy reference. 

hierarchy similar to what you see 
in Windows Explorer. 

Info Select structures informa- 
tion by Topics, and you can cre- 
ate new ones at any time. You can 
also move items up and down in the 
hierarchy with a quick drag and drop. 
On the Selector tab, you can create 
new folders and filter items to include 
by type. Other features include a Tick- 
ler Bar to remind you of important 
tasks, extensive search and filtering 



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capabilities, forms, reports, a custom- 
izable quick-access toolbar, and a field- 
driven database feature. Check out the 
free trial of Info Select 10 to see if it's 
right for you. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



Smart Computing / July 2011 29 



Windows Central © 



News, Views & Tips 



Windows 



Com 



Microsoft CEO Steve 
Ballmer and Skype CEO 
Tony Bates announced 

Microsoft's purchase 
of Skype. 




MICROSOFT NEWS 
Microsoft Buys Skype 

In a surprise deal, Microsoft has agreed to purchase 
Internet communications provider Skype for $8.5 bil- 
lion. Skype will become a new business division within 
Microsoft, with Skype CEO Tony Bates as its president, 
reporting to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. 

"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by mil- 
lions of people around the world," said Ballmer. "To- 
gether we will create the future of real-time communi- 
cations so people can easily stay connected to family, 
friends, clients, and colleagues anywhere in the world." 

Microsoft plans to integrate Skype into the compa- 
ny's myriad consumer and business products, includ- 
ing Windows and Windows Phone devices, the Xbox 
game console and its Kinect motion-based controller, 
Outlook, Lync, Messenger, and Hotmail. The compa- 
ny also pledges to "continue to invest in and support 
Skype clients on non-Microsoft clients." 

Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to 
close before the end of the year. 

Microsoft & RIM Enter Into Bing Search Partnership 

Microsoft and RIM have entered into an agreement 
to make Bing the preferred browser search provider 
and the default application for search and mapping 
on BlackBerry devices. The agreement covers new 



TM 



oing 



BlackBerry smartphones, as well as the PlayBook, 
RIM's recently released tablet computer. 

Existing BlackBerry owners who want to use Bing 
can download a free Bing app to their devices via 
BlackBerry App World. 

WINDOWS TIPS 

Correct Gmail Display Problems With IE9 

If you're a Gmail user who has recently upgraded to 
Internet Explorer 9, you may have experienced a situa- 
tion in which Gmail pages appear as a scrambled mess, 
with buttons and other page elements out of place. This 
is caused by IE9 automatically displaying Google sites 
in Compatibility View. (Compatibility View is usually 
a helpful feature that lets sites designed for older ver- 
sions of IE appear correctly in IE9.) 

Fortunately, there's an easy fix. Right-click the gear 
icon in the upper- right corner of IE and then select Com- 
mand Bar. From the Tools menu that appears, choose 
Compatibility View Settings. Highlightgoogle.com in the 



Windows Central Q 




Websites You've Added To Compatibility View list and 
then click Remove. (Hint: You can also summon the 
Tools menu to make this change without having to un- 
hide and then rehide IE9's Command Bar; just press 
ALT from within IE9 to bring up the old-style menus, 
such as File, Edit, etc.). 

Search The Internet From The Windows 7 Start Menu 

If you'd like a way to conduct an Internet search 
without having to open a browser window first, you 
can configure Win7 to let you search the Internet right 
from the Start menu. 

To enable this in Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, 
run the Group Policy Editor. From the Start menu, type 
group policy and then run Edit Group Policy from the 
results. On the left side of the window, find User Configu- 
ration, expand the Administrative Templates folder, and 
then click Start Menu And Taskbar. Double-click the Add 
Search Internet Link To Start Menu option on the right. 
Change the setting to Enabled and then click OK. 

Now, when you type a search term into the Start 
menu, just below the customary See More Results link, 
you'll see a new Search The Internet option. Click it (or 
select it via the keyboard by pressing the Up arrow key 
three times and pressing ENTER), and your default 
browser will open to a search of your specified term 
using your default search engine. I 

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Internet searches directly from the Start menu. 



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The forthcoming 
update to Windows 
Phone 7 will include 
support for email 
conversation views. 



WINDOWS NEWS 
Windows Phone 7.5 Features Unveiled 

Microsoft has revealed several produc- 
tivity-related features the company says 
will appear in the next version of Windows 
Phone 7— code-named Mango and tenta- 
tively to be called Windows Phone 7.5— 
which is due for release later this year. 

Among the new features are an email 
conversation view, which allows a message 
and any replies to be viewed as a continu- 
ous thread; the option to pin email folders 
to the start screen for easier access; and 
the ability to search remote email servers 
to find older messages that are no longer 
stored on the phone. 

In addition, the next version of Win- 
dows Phone 7 will add support for complex alphanumeric 
device passwords (currently only a 4-digit PIN is allowed), 
provide the ability to connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks, 
and allow users to save Office documents to the SkyDrive 
or Office 365 online services. 

Report: Newer Versions Of Windows Are Safer 

Microsoft's most recent Security Intelligence Report 
points out that the more recent your version of Windows, 
the more secure it is. 

Client 

According to the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, 

■*■ newer versions of Windows are less susceptible 

to attack than older ones, and 64-bit versions are 

more secure than 32-bit. This chart shows the 

average quarterly infection rate by operating 

system and service pack in 2010. 



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3! 



SP2 SP3 

Windows XP 



SP1 SP2 

Windows Vista 



RTM 
Windows 7 



According to the report, Windows 7 had a malware in- 
fection rate of 3.8 per 1,000 computers in 2010, compared 
to 7.5 for Windows Vista SP2 and 15.9 for Windows XP 
SP3. Those figures refer to 32-bit versions of Windows; Mi- 
crosoft also found that 64-bit versions of Vista and Win7 
had lower infection rates than their 32-bit counterparts. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 




Windows Central © 



Windows For 
Business 

Access Your PC Remotely 



System Properties 



t's the nature of small businesses that owners of- 
ten need to work while they are not in the office. 
For some, it's a matter of needing files and pro- 
grams at home. For others, it's important to have 
access to office documents while on the road. 

Millions of office workers and business owners find 
a solution in remote desktop tools, which provide ac- 
cess to the resources of one (host) PC from another 
(client) PC, generally using the Internet as the conduit 
for connection. One of these, Microsoft's RDC (Re- 
mote Desktop Connection), became more powerful 
and easier to use with the release of Windows 7. 

In this article, we'll detail what RDC can do for you and 
show you how to use it. We'll also help you determine if 
shortcomings with your current environment might not 
make it a practical solution. If this is the case, we'll point 

you to a best-of- 
breed, third-party 
remote tool, Go- 
ToMyPC (see the 
"Go To It" sidebar). 



Computer Name | Hardware | Advanced | System Protection Remote 

Remote Assistance 

■J Alow Remote Assistance connections to this computer 

V'/riat happens when I eriabfe Remote Assistance ? 



Remote Desktop 

dick an option, and then specify who can connect, if needed. 

Don I allow connections to this computer 

a Aflow connections from computers running any version of 
Remote Desktop jess secure) 

Alow connections only from computers running Remote 
Desktop with Network Level Authentication (more secure) 



, 



Road Rules 

RDC works with 
a number of Win- 
dows versions, and 
it also works with 
newer Macs. How- 
ever, it works most 
elegantly with spe- 
cific configurations 
and not at all with- 
in certain param- 
eters. As you'll see, 
it's more about your 
setup — rather than 
the tool itself— that 
might make RDC 
a bad candidate for 

your needs. 

To act as a host computer for RDC, a PC must be 

running a business edition of Windows XP/Vista/7. 



] | Appty 



In supported versions of Windows 
(shown is Windows 7 Ultimate), it's 
easy to turn on Remote Desktop. 



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These are Windows XP Professional; Windows Vista 
Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise; and Windows 7 
Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise. (Server ver- 
sions of Windows can also act as hosts, but that's 
beyond the scope of this article.) 

Home versions of WinXP/Vista/7 and any earlier 
versions of Windows can act only as clients (the PC 
accessing the data remotely) for RDC. We use Win7 in 
our examples here. 

Setting up RDC for truly remote (over-the-Internet 
rather than inside your network) access requires spe- 
cial router (and possibly firewall) configuration. It's not 
rocket science, but it does require some technical apti- 
tude. It also leaves your PC more open to penetration, 
so if you are not running stringent security software, 
consider another option. 

However, if your primary need for RDC is in- 
network convenience — for example, to control 
your home office PC on a laptop from the comfort 
of your couch or patio, or to remotely control an- 
other PC on your office network, the process is a 
breeze and works beautifully. (We'll tell you which 
steps you can skip below.) 

RDC Benefits & Compromises 

With RDC running, the remote interface literally 
replicates that of your host PC (at least initially), even 
down to the Start button and System Tray. You can 



Windows Central Q 



then use it exactly as if you were on the host itself, run- 
ning installed programs, opening and editing files, ac- 
cessing USB drives and printers, and more. 

You can also copy or cut files from a host drive, 
minimize Remote Desktop (at which time your client 
interface reappears, and the host interface becomes 
an icon at the bottom of your screen), and paste the 
files to your client drives. 

On the downside, when you are running the host 
PC remotely, no one can access that PC. This is true 
even if someone is using a different user profile. 

Getting Access 

In order to use RDC, the host must have an 
always-on (not dial-up or other on-demand) Internet 
connection, and it must be left up and running with 
Hibernation/Sleep disabled (to check this in Win7, 
click Start, click Control Panel, click Hardware And 
Sound, and select Power Options). You must also have 
administrative access to the host computer. 

To set up RDC, follow these steps. The process takes 
less than an hour. If you will be traveling, complete 
a connection from a nearby location, such as your 
home or a local coffee shop, before you depart. This 
will let you troubleshoot any problems that arise — or 
opt for a different solution. 

Enable RDC on the host. On the host PC, click the 
Start button, right-click Computer, and select Proper- 
ties. In the left pane, click Remote Settings. If prompted, 
provide an administrator password to proceed. When 
the System Properties display opens, under the Remote 
tab, select one of two options: Select Allow Connections 
From Computers Running Any 
Version Of Remote Desktop if 
you will connect via newer Macs 
or older versions of Windows. 
Or, choose Allow Connections 
Only From Computers Running 
Remote Desktop With Network 
Level Authentication if you will 
only connect from other Win- 
dows Vista or Win7 PCs. This 
option is much more secure (for 
both machines) and requires 
fewer remote PC resources. 

Enable access by the client 
PC. From within the System 
Properties window, click Select 
Users. In the Remote Desktop 
Users window, click Add and 
then click Advanced in the 
Select Users window. On the 
right side of the Select Users 
window, click Find Now. Scroll 




%., Remote Desktop Connection 

JL Remote Desktop 
W><< Connection 



General | Display Local Resources Program? | Experience J Advanced 



Remote audio 
f?| Configure remote audio settings. 



Keyboard 



t _gettMfc»_ J| 

Apply Windows key combinations: 
[Only when using the full screen 



Example: ALT+TAB 

Local devices and resources 

, Choose the devices and resources that you want to use in 
&V$\ your remote session. 

71 Printers vl Clipboard 



m Options 



On the remote PC, you can customize your RDC sessions, 
including printer and Clipboard access and audio settings. 



environment, a great alternative is GoToMyPC ($9.95 per 
month for one PC with multiple PC packages available; www 
.gotomypc.com). GoToMyPC supports most versions of Win- 
dows as host and client PCs, and it supports the Apple iPad 
and other mobile devices as clients. 

To use GoToMyPC, you install an applet on the host PC in 
advance, and you must leave the PC up and running. There are 
no special configurations to handle, other than an access code 
you create on the host PC and then use with your username 
and password to connect. 

GoToMyPC provides essentially the same functionality as 
Remote Desktop, but with some notable differences. First, the host 
PC can be used by someone locally while a remote GoToMyPC 
session is occurring (the remote user will see whatever the host is 
doing, but both can edit files and perform other operations). 

In addition, the host PC window on GoToMyPC does not 
take over the entire display, but it appears inside a window on 
the remote PC's Desktop. This makes it easy to toggle back and 
forth between the two displays or drag and drop files from the 
host to the Desktop of the remote PC. 

GoToMyPC provides a free 30-day trial to see if it is right for you. 



down and click the name of the host PC profile you 
want to access. To access all profiles, click Everyone. 
Click OK at each display to accept the change. (If you 
are using Remote Desktop within your own network, 
skip to the "Get Connected" 
section of this article.) 

Edit firewall settings. If 
you're using Windows Fire- 
wall, click Start, type Windows 
Firewall in the Search box, and 
click Windows Firewall in the 
results. On the left side, click 
Allow A Program Or Fea- 
ture Through Windows Fire- 
wall. Remote Desktop should 
already be selected for the 
Home/Work (Private) option. 
Selecting Public lets you con- 
nect through networks marked 
as Public (open Wi-Fi), but it 
is far less secure. If you are us- 
ing a different firewall, check 
the users guide about allow- 
ing firewall exceptions. Some 
firewalls will negotiate Remote 
Desktop settings automatically. 



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Help 



Windows Central © 




rliriftnwMnntP'; 



r 



3 a I g I % 



Remote Desktop 

replicates the host 

interface on your 

remote machine, right 

down to the Start menu 

and System Tray icons. 



Set your router to 
allow incoming con- 
nections. From Con- 
trol Panel, click Net- 
work And Internet 
and Network And 

Sharing Center. Under Connections, click either Wire- 
less Network Connection or Local Area Connection 
(you will only see one option). Click Details and write 
down the string of numbers (the IP [Internet Protocol] 
address) next to IPv4 Address. 

Open your Web browser and type the internal IP ad- 
dress of your router into the Address Bar. (It should be 
192.168.0.1, 192.169.1.1, or 192.168.2.1.) Press ENTER. 
If none of these addresses works, check the underside of 
your router or refer to your users guide. 

When your router's configuration display 
opens, provide the administrator name and 
password. (You may not need one. If you have 
one but forgot it, refer to your router's users 
guide for help resetting it.) Look for an option 
to turn on port forwarding or port mapping 
(this may be under an Advanced tab or other 
nested option). 

Enter port number 3389 (the default port of 
Remote Desktop), the IP address (the number 
you wrote down earlier in this step), and, if 
required, the PC name of the host and the ap- 
plication name (Remote Desktop). If prompted, 
reboot your router. 

Get Connected 

If you are connecting over the Internet, visit 
www.find-ip-address.org (or other IP lookup 
site; you can search for others) to search for 
your router's public IP address. Write it down. 
From the client PC, click Start and type Remote 
in the Search box. Click Remote Desktop Connec- 
tion. In the Computer field, provide the IP address 
of your host PC. 

If you are connecting inside your network, provide 
the Workgroup name of your host PC instead. (Open 
Network And Sharing Center on the host to see the 
name.) If asked, provide the name of the profile you are 
accessing. (If you do not see this option, click Options 
to expand the display.) 



-i 



If you have not already 
done so, click Options to 
expand the display. Use the 
various tabs to tweak your 
settings, such as display 
colors, local resources, and 
other options. Click Con- 
nect. You'll be prompted 
to enter credentials (these 
match those used to log in 
at your host PC). Provide 
them, click OK, and wait 
for your host PC to appear 
on your screen. 

Up & Running... Or Not 

If the connection succeeds, the interface of your re- 
mote PC will literally duplicate that of the host, exclud- 
ing adjustments for differences such as monitor size 
and resolution. If Remote Desktop fails to load, your 
Internet service provider may be using dynamic IP ad- 
dresses, which means they can change each time your 
host PC connects to the Internet. Contact your ISP. 




GoToMyPC replicates the host interface in a separate window, which you can maximize 
or reduce in size (as shown) to display only portions of the host PCs Desktop. 



A second problem is that some point along the path to 
your host PC, incoming connections to port 3389 (a fre- 
quent target of hackers) are being blocked. You can change 
your router's listening port as described earlier (not a bad 
idea for security), but you must also change the default 
listening port in Windows. For assistance, search support 
.microsoft.com for article ID 306759. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



Computers & Electronics 




DIY Project: 



Create A Brochure 



Implementing a branding strategy 
for your small business requires re- 
sourcefulness. And while you may 
be thinking, "I already have a Web site, 
Twitter profile, Facebook page, and 
online ad campaign," you don't want 
to overlook the concisely informative 
business brochure. 

A well-designed marketing bro- 
chure will send more than a static 
"we're-promoting-a-company" mes- 
sage — it will engage readers and pro- 
vide a call to action. Did you know 
that you can use an online template 
and printing service to help you 




establish credibility for your busi- 
ness and kick-start a direct mail 
campaign that puts advertising ma- 
terials in the hands of current and 
potential clients? 

No one says you have to start from 
scratch, and that's why we'll be walking 
you through how to use HP's Creative 
Studio for Business (bit.ly/hCqiwR). By 
selecting, editing, and printing materials 
using HP's service, you can create bro- 
chures (and associated marketing con- 
tent) that don't bust your budget or lack 
your constructive input. Before we jump 
into the nuts and bolts of the project, we 
want to offer some begin- 
ning best-practice tips. 

Plan Of Action 

Because you're read- 
ing this article, you may 
have already determined 
your business purpose for 
creating a brochure. The 
decisions you make at the 
beginning greatly influ- 
ence the type of brochure 
you end up with. Here 
are a few questions you 
and your marketing team 

The HP Creative Studio for 
Business service includes plenty 
of brochure templates for a 
broad range of industries. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 35 



Computers & Electronics 



Choose a Brochure Design 

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If you've created an account through Marketsplash by HP, you have 
access to a large volume of brochure templates. 



should answer right away: What is the 
primary reason you want to distribute 
the brochure? How will a brochure 
increase your exposure? What makes 
your business/service/product unique, 
and why would someone want to read 
about it in a brochure? How can you 
personalize your brochure material so 
that it explains the ways you can meet 
the individual needs of each client? 

To compile appropriate messag- 
ing that encourages readers to keep 
turning the brochure pages, consider 
what the readers see first and how 
they might become engaged in what 
your business is trying to achieve. 
Traditionally, a brochure mockup 
combines images or illustrations, 
headlines, buzzwords, and text in 
various formats, such as infograph- 
ics, captions, and creative copy. Your 
layout should introduce an unspoken 
conversation with the reader. 

Thanks to services such as HP's 
Creative Studio for Business, you can 
tailor your budget based on cost of a 
template (whether it's free to print, 



customizable, or available 
through a third-party ven- 
dor), ink, and paper (if 
you need the latter two 
office supplies). 

HP Creative Studio 
For Business 

At the HP Creative 
Studio for Business site, 
you can begin your bro- 
chure creation by brows- 
ing the five pages of kits. 
To narrow your options 
by price, click any of the 
three Filter By buttons. 
For instance, selecting 
the box next to Free, 
Print In-House will re- 
veal several free tem- 
plate options. When you 
check the box next to Pay 
For Templates, you'll see 
templates that are either 
available as a free trial or 

for purchase. 

Before you launch into 
any project, prepare your images and 
copy (and check the grammar) so you're 
not making last-minute decisions about 
which graphics better represent your 
company or how a particular phrase 
could make your 
business sound 
impersonal. 

Next, we'll tell 
you what you can 
create, modify, and 
print using the 
HP Creative Stu- 
dio service. 

Marketsplash. 
If you own an HP 
printer, you al- 
ready have access 
(by way of regis- 
tration) to HP's 
collection of mar- 
keting products. It 
includes business 

cards, brochures, flyers, newsletters, and 
other professional materials. If you're reg- 
istered, click Free For HP Printer Owners. 
Then, click Brochures under Choose A 



Product to browse designs. The templates 
are conveniently organized by industry, 
which you can click individually or search 
in the keyword finder. For instance, 
you can review templates designed for a 
dental practice, a landscaping business, 
an animal-related service, or an interna- 
tional company. Or, more specifically, say 
you want to design a brochure for your 
construction business. The Construction 
category features seven templates; upon 
selection, click Design Online. The tem- 
plate will open in a new tab and ask for an 
optional Quick Text Entry — this contact 
form will insert info in other templates 
that have matching fields for contact in- 
formation (you can click No Thanks to 
skip this prompt). From here, you can edit 
the brochure using the design interface, 
inserting your own graphics, typing (or 
copying and pasting) new text, and add- 
ing your company logos. Instructional 
bubbles appear every time you click a dif- 
ferent field. 

Word document brochures. Among 
the free-to-print templates that are cus- 
tomizable Microsoft Word documents, 
the majority include a large selection of 
marketing materials, one of which is the 
tri-fold brochure. To locate the brochure, 
click the "Business Identity Kit" that 
matches your needs. You can simply click 



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StockLayouts supplies six of the Pay For templates in the HP Creative Studio for Business. 



the Word icon to open the document or 
download the entire template pack as a 
zipped file. To add your own text and 
graphics, click the in-document fields to 



36 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Computers & Electronics 



Here is an example of one of 

the free, tri-fold Microsoft 

Word templates. 



type or copy and paste 
content. The dummy 
text in the template in- 
structs you about the 
type of phrasing to in- 
sert and the placement 
of logos, contact infor- 
mation, and headlines. 
If a brochure is just a 
jumping-off point for 
a larger branding cam- 
paign, you can also 
add a flyer, newsletter, or postcards (and 
more), which are part of many of the in- 
dividual Business Identity Kits. 

DIY templates. If you're interested 
in investing more hours and dollars in 
the final product, you can pay for sug- 
gested programs or a professionally 



designed brochure 
template. You can 
access six spe- 
cialized template 
packages for the 
following indus- 
tries: medical re- 
search, insurance 
services, marketing 
services, technol- 
ogy services, finan- 
cial services, and 
academic tutoring. 
Click any of these 
"Pay For" thumb- 
nails, and the HP 
Creative Studio will take you to a new 
Web page at StockLayouts where you can 
purchase and download a template in 
multiple file formats. StockLayouts tem- 
plates will print on your personal printer, 
or you can take them to a commer- 
cial printer. 



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Logoworks by HP. When you check 
the box next to Custom Designs in the 
HP Creative Studio, click the thumbnail 
for Professionally Designed Brochures. 
Logoworks by HP, a brochure designing 
service, will open in a new tab. Logoworks 
assigns professional designers to create 
one of several brochure packages, provide 
you with an estimate, and create a com- 
pletely unique brochure that is uploaded 
to Logoworks.com for your use. Consult 
the Logoworks pricing sheet to find out if 
your budget allows for a custom project. 

Get Printing 

The brochure may seem antiquated 
in a world that revolves around social 
media, but longtime business owners 
will tell you that a brochure is an ef- 
fective tool. Roll up your sleeves and 
tell your story. I 

by Joanna Clay 



Print Cards 



If a brochure is a way for your business to make a great 
first impression, cards and stationary can be your way to 
say that you appreciate your 
clientele, celebrate employee 
personal events, and highlight 
special occasions. On HP's sister 
design site, the Creative Studio 
for Home (bit.ly/3u6V8E), 
you can download and print 
greeting cards, invitations, 
thank-you cards, and more. In 
addition, you can also make 
recipe cards, letters, stationary, 
and postcards. Keep in mind 
that every card and stationary 
option may require down- 
loading a program, editing a 
template, or using a third-party 
site. To maintain our business 
objectives, though, we'll walk 

you through the steps to create a paper announcement and 
photo postcard. 

Start by clicking the Project Types menu and selecting Cards 
& Stationary. Click the Announcement thumbnail. Next, click 
the image above We're Moving 5x7 Announcement— this is one 



Want to create cards and stationary in a few minutes? Check out 
the templates at HP's Creative Studio for Home. 



template you could print in your home office free. In the tern- 
plate, you will click in the text boxes to add location information 

and personal messaging. Now 
you can select Preview And 
Print. Click the Print It! button 
and read HP's step-by-step 
instructions to help you adjust 
the print settings and print a 
test page before you complete 
the project. 

To make a photo postcard, 
click the Postcards thumbnail 
(in the Cards & Stationary 
section) and then click the 
image above Snapfish Post- 
cards. You will be redirected 
to the Snapfish Web site. 
Click the Create Postcards 
button and sign up for a new 
account (if you don't already 
have one). Follow the prompts to upload your photo, modify 
your preferences, and place an order. Snapfish lets you add a 
personalized font and color on the back; this is where you will 
type a message, the recipient name, and addresses. Postcards 
are available in 4.25- x 6-inch or 5- x 7-inch dimensions. 



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Smart Computing / July 2011 37 



Computers & Electronics 



Browser Security: 
Internet Explorer 9 



Defend Yourself Online 




People intent on stealing your per- 
sonal information or installing ma- 
licious software on your computer 
often use your Web browser as a main 
vector of attack, so it is important to lock 
the browser down. As threats have be- 
come more sophisticated and attackers 
have developed new methods of deliv- 
ery, Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web 
browser has evolved to deal with them, 
and IE9 (Internet Explorer 9) comes with 
a range of tools to help you keep your 
personal information and PC safe. Set 
them up properly to avoid being the vic- 
tim of the next big scam. 

ActiveX Filtering 

IE9 is a core piece of software for 
browsing the Web, but there are many 
kinds of files, such as Adobe Flash videos, 
that it cannot natively handle. To display 



those files in a browser window, extra 
programs called plug-ins are used, and 
ActiveX is the interface those programs 
use to communicate with IE9. 

Malware programmers can target their 
wares to exploit vulnerabilities in both 
ActiveX and popular plug-ins, providing 
them with extra avenues of attack. 

In the past, you could turn off ActiveX, 
but that prevented you from seeing a lot 
of Web content from legitimate sources. 
IE9 improves on this by adding an Ac- 
tiveX Filtering feature. This turns off 
ActiveX content on all sites but lets you 
selectively enable it on a site-by-site basis. 

To enable Active X Filtering, click the 
gear icon in the upper-right corner, click 
Safety, and click ActiveX Filtering. When 
you go to a site such as YouTube (www 
.youtube.com), you'll notice that no vid- 
eos play, as they use ActiveX. To enable 



ActiveX on sites like this, click the circle 
with the slash through it that appears in 
the Address Bar and click Turn Off Ac- 
tiveX Filtering. You'll need to do this at 
every site where you want to enable it. If 
you ever want to activate it again at a par- 
ticular site, navigate to the site, click the 
circle with the slash through it, and click 
Turn On ActiveX Filtering. 

To reset it so all sites are blocked, 
click the gear icon, click Safety, and 
click Delete Browsing History. Select 
the ActiveX Filtering And Tracking 
Protection Data box and click Delete. 

Tracking Protection 

You may already know about cookies, 
which are bits of information that Web 
sites leave on your computer to store in- 
formation about you. In many cases, 
cookies are useful, as they let a site store 
things such as login information, shop- 
ping cart items, and preference settings 
that wouldn't be possible without cookies. 
Unfortunately, there are many advertising 
networks that track your browsing habits 



Delete Browning History 



T^T 



Li Preserve Favorites website data 

Keep coc^: =;- and tenparary Internet files that enable your favorite 
websites to retain preferences and display faster. 

Temporary Internet files 

Copies of , .\ebp*ges. ■-■sges, and media that are saved for faster 
viewing. 

□ Cookies 

Files stored on your compute'- by .ess :es tn save preferences 
such as login information. 

D History 

List of websites you have visited. 

1 I Download History 

List of files .::•.. have cc-.-.nloaded. 

□ Form data 

Saved information that you have typed into forms. 



Saved passwords that are automatically tilled in v:hen you sign in 
to a website you've previously visited. 

F71 ActiveX Filtering and Tracking Protection data 

A list of websites ex: - cei ^o" f tering, and data used by Tracking 
Protection to detect where websites might be automatically sharing 
details about your visit. 



About deleting browsirc h :■;:■"■ 



1C 



Turn on ActiveX Filtering to disable this potential 
avenue of attack, except at sites you trust. 



across multiple Web sites, compiling a de- 
tailed personal profile over time that most 
people would rather not provide. 

Tracking Protection in IE9 lets you 
use free TPLs (Tracking Protection Lists) 



38 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Computers & Electronics 



maintained by third parties that prevent 
these ad networks from snooping as you 
browse. To set it up, click the gear icon, 
click Safety, and click Tracking Protec- 
tion. Click Get A Tracking Protection 
List Online and choose one of the avail- 
able lists by clicking Add. (NOTE: If you 



The SmartScreen Filter now includes a 
new Application Reputation feature that 
keeps track of what software downloads 
are legitimate vs. those that are not. When 
you download software that is known to 
be reputable, IE9 provides fewer (or no) 
warning messages during the download 



View and manage your Internet Explorer add-ons 



Add -en Type: 



(^t Toolbar: and Extension: 



P> Search Provider: 
53 Accelerators 
^Tracking Protection 



| Currently lo 



Adobe Systems, Incorporated 

Adobe PDF 

Adobe PDF Link Helper 

Adobe PDF Conversion Toolbar. 

SmartSelect Class 
Agile Web Solutions Inc 

'. : ?:.' : : 
Microsoft Corporation 

Window: Live ID Sign-in Helper 

Messenger Companion Helper 

Office Document Cache Handle 



Publisher 



- ::: x : ;:ems. Incorpc... 
Adobe System: '. - :: : : 

-::::■;:= J- y.i ■'." '. " :■: : : 
Adobe System:.. Incorpc, 



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■ : :;:': ■". : : : ?: : ' 

Microsoft Corporatior 



Disabled 
Disabled 
Disabled 



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9/22/2010 8:04 PM 9.4.0.195 

9/22/2010 6:09 PM 9.4.0.195 

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Enabled 
Enabled 
Enabled 



3 -27-2011 10:45 -M 1.0.5.177 

9/21/2010 3:08 PM 7.250.4225.0 

11/10/2010 1 :07 AM 15.4,3508.1.,, 

2 23 2010 2:20 -M 14.0,4750.0 



Select an add-on to modify status or view details. 



IE9's plug-ins, toolbars, and other extensions all provide malware 
programmers with opportunities to exploit IE9 and Windows. 



have another Web browser set as your de- 
fault, the link will open in it instead. If this 
is the case, copy and paste that link back 
into IE9.) Click Add List; you can con- 
tinue adding as many lists as you wish. 
If you ever want to remove a list, click 
the gear icon, click Safety, click Tracking 
Protection, and click the name of the list. 
Click Remove if you want to delete it or 
Disable if you want to turn it off while 
retaining the option of easily switching it 
back on later. 

SmartScreen Filter 

Phishing attacks are increasingly com- 
mon and successful. In these, thieves 
pose as reputable companies or services 
and trick people into visiting a legiti- 
mate-looking Web site or downloading 
legitimate-looking software. In reality, 
the site is designed to extract personal in- 
formation, or the software is designed to 
install malware on the victims computer. 
IE9 s SmartScreen Filter checks to make 
sure links are legitimate and helps you 
head off phishing attacks. 



process. More warnings appear if the 
software has a poor reputation. 

To turn this feature on, click the 
gear icon, click Safety, and click Turn 
On SmartScreen Filter. Click OK if you 
agree to let IE9 send non-personal in- 
formation about the sites you visit for 
evaluation. It will now warn you if you 



visit a suspected phishing attack site. 
If you ever get suspicious and want to 
check a site manually, click the gear 
icon, click Safety, and click Check This 
Website. Read the message that appears 
and click OK if you agree to send the 
link to Microsoft for evaluation. 

If Microsoft doesn't recognize the site 
as being malicious but you know it is, 
click the gear icon, click Safety, and click 
Report Unsafe Website. This opens a new 
browser window that lets you detail what 
type of problem you suspect so that Mi- 
crosoft can check the site and potentially 
add it to the SmartScreen Filter, warning 
other users who visit it. 

InPrivate Browsing 

Every so often, you have to venture 
into a part of the Internet you're unsure 
of. Before you click that link, consider 
starting an InPrivate Browsing session. 
InPrivate Browsing opens a separate 
browser window, and anything you 
do within that window is not stored 
on your PC — no cookies, no tempo- 
rary files such as page graphics, and 
no browsing history. All toolbars and 
extensions are also disabled while you 
browse in this window, making it much 
harder for the Web sites you visit to ex- 
ploit a security hole. 

To start one of these sessions, click 
the gear icon, click Safety, and click In- 
Private Browsing. You'll know you have 
the right window selected when you 



Report a website 



e by letting us know whether 



JS/windows7/SmartScreen- Filter- frequently- asked- questions 

□ I think this is a phishing website 

Phishing websites impersonate trustworthy websites for the purpose of obtaining your personal c 
financial information. This information is often used for identity theft. 



□ I think this website contains 

Malicious software or malware 
risk or privacy risk. The term rr 
illegal,, viral., fraudulent, or mali 



nalicious software 

software which is deceptive about ; _~:: jna :. and e. ; =^:,.."- 
licious software or malware refers to programs that demonstrate 
ous behavior. For example, viruses, ■.vorms. and Trojan horses are 



Language used on the website: 



Type the characters you see in the picture 



-r^H&m 






Z --- ; : :-i e 



You can actively 
participate in the 
SmartScreen Filter 
by reporting rogue 
Web sites. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 39 



Computers & Electronics 



Manage Add -ens 








Ua-I 


View and manage your Internet Exp : orer add-ons 










Add-on Types 

jjjjt Toolbars and Extensions 

f) Search Provider: 

Accelerators 


Name 




Status 


Address 




Your Personalized List 




Disabled 




► 


^Tracking Protection 












^ Get a Tracking D retention List online,.. 

Learn mere about Tracking Protection 






1. 




Close | 









Add a Tracking Protection 
list to prevent third 
parties from monitoring 
your browsing habits. 



see an InPrivate label to the left of the 
Address Bar. Do your browsing, and 
when you're done, close the window to 
end the session. 

Configure The Security Panel 

In addition to the bigger features dis- 
cussed in this article, IE9 has a Security 
settings menu with dozens of options. To 
access it, click the gear icon, click Internet 



Internet Options 



»U» -I 



| General | Security [privacy Content Connections Program s^ Advanced] 



% % s 

Internet Local intranet Trusted sites 


Restricted 
sites 






^^P except those listed in trusted and 


Sites 





restricted zones. 



lie:..." :.■ eve "c- :- s io- = 
Allowed leves for :-■:- zo-e: Medium to High 



- Appropriate for most websites 

- Prompts before sow-- c-sd -c potentially unsafe 
content 

- Unsigned ActiveX :o"-;-o s •:. "ot be downloaded 



z"rj s = ■-.:=:■=■: ■::= 'en. :es -estarting Internet Explorer) 



Custom level... ] ( Default level 



• 



Cancel J 



Under the Security tab in Internet Options, the 
default slider settings for each zone work best for 
most people. 

Options, and select the Security tab. 

The main panel is divided into four 
zones: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted 
Sites, and Restricted Sites. Click one of 
those entries and then move the Security 



Level For This Zone slider to the level 
you want. 

For the Internet zone, Medium-High 
is the default and works well. High is 
recommended if you are visiting sites 
you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable 
with but is overkill for general brows- 
ing, as it will disable many things that 
legitimate sites rely on to deliver con- 
tent. Medium is not recommended, as 
it disables too many safeguards. 

The Local Intranet zone pertains to 
sites found on your corporate intranet. 
The default Medium-Low setting is rec- 
ommended, as it does not warn you 
when you're downloading files from the 
intranet (which presumably are trustwor- 
thy). Higher settings will likely annoy you 
with more prompts and warnings, while 
the Low setting disables all safeguards 
and is recommended only for computer 
experts. You can also click the Sites button 
here to determine what IE9 considers to 
be part of your intranet. 

The Trusted Sites zone is fine set to 
its Medium default setting, but if you 
only add sites to this list that you tru- 
ly trust, Medium-Low does the same 
thing with fewer annoying prompts. 
Low is never recommended. 

Finally, the Restricted Sites zone tells 
IE9 how to deal with sites you don't 
trust and have added to the Restricted 
Sites list (you do this by clicking the 
Sites button and clicking Add after 
navigating to the site, or by clicking 
Sites and entering an address manually 
before clicking Add). Always leave this 



zone set to High for maximum protec- 
tion from these known threats. 

All of the zones have a Custom Level 
button that brings up a menu of indi- 
vidual settings. We recommend you 
not mess with these unless you've read 
a troubleshooting article that recom- 
mends making a specific adjustment. 
There is also an Enable Protected 
Mode checkbox that should always be 
checked for the Internet, Intranet, and 
Restricted Sites zones. Protected Mode 
is a critical security component that de- 
tects when a site tries to install or run 
malicious software on your computer. 

Patch It Up 

IE9 is updated regularly, so make sure 
you apply the latest patches to plug any 
security holes Microsoft may have dis- 
covered since you installed the program. 
This is done via Windows Update, which 
you access by clicking Start, clicking All 
Programs, and clicking Windows Up- 
date. Click Check For Updates and apply 
all Important updates listed for IE9. 1 

by Tracy Baker 



New & Noteworthy 

Internet Explorer 9 doesn't just im- 
prove on security; check out these 
other nice new features, as well. 

Compatibility View. IE9 is designed 
to properly render sites that use the 
latest Internet standards, but if an older 
site looks wonky, click the icon that 
looks like a ripped page in the Address 
Bar. This enables Compatibility View to 
render the page properly. 

Address Bar searching. Forget about 
going to a search site. Just type your 
search term in the Address Bar and IE9 
performs the search automatically. 

Pinned sites. Just as you can pin 
applications to the Windows 7 toolbar, 
IE9 lets you pin sites to it as well. In the 
Address Bar, click and drag the icon to 
the left of the URL and drop it on the 
toolbar. Once pinned, you can launch 
the site by clicking its toolbar icon. 



40 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Mac Corner (§ 



A Slice Of Apple 



The Mac App Store, Revisited 



by Seth Colaner 




A few months ago, I wrote about the launch of the Mac 
App Store, the desktop answer to the iTunes 
App Store. Now that the Mac 
App Store has had a bit of 
time to season, lets 
revisit the topic to 
see how it's working, 
how it's being used, 
and dig in a little deeper 
to some of the features. 

Handy Features 

If you want to remember which 
apps you bought and when, you can 
just click the Purchased button in the 
Mac App Store to see your purchasing 
history (which includes free apps). You can 
see which app you bought, the purchase date, 
and the current status of the installation. 

If you need to open a certain file, but your Mac 
can't find the right program to open a file with that 
extension, you can opt to have your computer search the 
Mac App Store for a program that can open it. 

Another amazing feature is that once you buy an app from 
the Mac App Store, you can install it free on any and all of 
your other Macs. This is the beauty of having an App Store 
account; the system knows that no matter what computer 
you're using, if that machine is 
tied to your account, you should 
be able to access the applications 
you've purchased. This feature 
also lets you re-download an app 
if you deleted it and want it back. 




The Pricing Game 

One of the aspects of the Mac 
App Store that is deeply compelling 
is how developers are using it to 
promote and sell their applications. 
Anyone who's used the iTunes App 
Store knows that there's a constant 
stream of free "lite" apps (designed 
to give you a taste of a paid applica- 
tion before you commit to buying 
it), occasional sales, and other means of playing the price game. 

Indeed, in the Mac App Store, you'll find lite versions 
of apps, which is a nice feature. However, you'll also find scription, it would be most welcome. I 



The Mac App Store provides a simple, streamlined way 
to discover and install applications on your Mac. 



some incredible deals. If you 
compare the prices of a 
^m^ random sampling of 
1 a few dozen applica- 
tions, you'll find that 
for the most part, they 
cost the same in the 
Mac App Store as they 
do from the developer's Web 
site. However, periodically, 
apps in the Store will be 
deeply discounted. After ca- 
sually browsing the selections, 
I found a number of applications 
discounted anywhere from a few bucks 
off to 50% or more off. 
You can sometimes find a $15 app for $8, a $19 
for $15, or (in one case) a $50 app for a measly $10. 
Some of those deals require a double-take. Even a half-off 
deal on a $4 app is a nice bargain. 

A Wish List 

Don't get me wrong: The Mac App Store really is fantas- 
tic. It provides an unprecedented (unless you're a Linux 
user) streamlined, convenient way to find or discover, ac- 
quire, and install applications. However, there are a few 
tweaks that I'd personally love to see the Cupertino crew 
add to the program to make it 
just that much better. 

One is the ability to easily de- 
lete an app. For all the beautiful 
simplicity of installing one, you 
still have to open Finder and drag 
an app to the Trash to get rid of 
it. I know — that's not exactly diffi- 
cult, taking all of two mouse clicks 
and a drag — but still, it would be 
nice to be able to do that under 
the Purchased tab in the Mac App 
Store instead. 

Another wish I have is to be 

able to see a brief preview of what 

each app does without having to 

click the icon. Whether that's a 

quick sentence beneath the apps icon or a handy pop-up 

when you mouse over the icon (like Netflix does) with a de- 



Smart Computing / July 2011 41 



Mac Corner 



Fresh Fruit 



Great Business Apps For Your iPad/iPod/iPhone 

by Rod Scher 




There's no shortage of 

impressive applications — 

some of them free — for 

Apple's popular family of 

mobile devices, and many 

of them are perfect for the 

home office worker or 

entrepreneur. Here are our 

favorite business-related 

mobile apps for the month. 

(Unless otherwise indicated, 

see the Apple App Store 

to purchase these.) 



Splashtop Remote Desktop 

Splashtop Remote Desktop ($2.99) 
is a convenient way to use your iPad to 
access your desktop computer, and it re- 
ally works. Depending on the speed of 
the wireless network over which its used, 




running Windows apps via the iPad is 
practically flawless and almost lag-free. 
Using Splashtop Remote is simple: Pur- 
chase and download the iPad app from 
Apples App Store, then download and 
install the free Windows desktop ap- 
plication. Your iPad can almost always 
automatically locate your desktop ma- 
chine and begin displaying the Windows 
machines output on your tablet. (If the 
Splashtop Remote iPad app can't locate 
the Windows machine, you can manually 
enter its specs and connect the two that 
way.) Whether you're editing a Microsoft 
Word document or viewing a PowerPoint 
or Flash presentation, using Splashtop Re- 
mote Desktop for the iPad is almost like 
having Windows on your iPad. 

Office 2 HD 



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If you use Microsoft Office in your busi- 
ness (and who doesn't?), here's a slick way 
to view, edit, and create Office-compatible 
DOC and XLS documents on the iPad. 
(The company says that the ability to edit 
PPT files is coming, and will be included 
in a free upgrade.) The app will read, 
write, and format Word 97-2010 docs, 
and Excel 97-2003 files, including tables. 
Office 2 HD ($7.99) integrates with various 
remote storage options, including Google 
Docs and DropBox, and because it can list 
and display most types of files, it makes 
a handy general-purpose file viewer, too. 
The app lets you copy and paste from one 
document to another (or even from one 
application to another), offers landscape 
and portrait views, and can be mounted as 



42 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Mac Corner «t 



a drive within Windows Explorer, making 
file transfers a breeze. 



Notes Plus iPad 




When you first saw an iPad, you 
thought to yourself, "Hey, I could take 
notes on that thing! Maybe use a sty- 
lus, maybe just my fingertip. I'll bet 
I could doodle, sketch, type, all that 
work-and-fun kind of stuff!" And 
with Notes Plus ($5.99), you'd be right. 
This is a very cool note-taking app that 
works exactly as you think it should: 
Use a stylus to take notes or sketch out 
ideas, switch among multiple pen sizes 
and colors, and move and reflow text 
whenever and wherever you want. The 
app even auto-detects shapes so you 
can make perfect stars, circles, trian- 
gles, and more. When you're finished, 
export your note as a JPG or PDF file, 
and then email it or save it to the iPad. 
Slick. Simple. (NOTE: Not just any sty- 
lus will work with an iPad. You need a 
"capacitive" stylus; the iPad screen will 
not recognize a plain foam-tip stylus.) 

Triplt 



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Business travel just got a lot more con- 
venient, and keeping track of your travel 
plans just got a lot simpler. Triplt (free), 



Noteworthy App Of The Month 



Phone I Pod touch 



Project Quote Estimate 

If you're a contractor, construction manager, or landscapes this could be the 
best $5 you ever spend. You can use Project Quote Estimate ($4.99) to gener- 
ate professional-looking PDF-based quotes and invoices and email them directly 
to clients or supervisors— or to anyone who happens to be in your Contacts list. 
You can also save quotes and use completed ones 
as templates for similar jobs. This version includes 
several helpful tools (19 of them, in fact), includ- 
ing measurement converters, an in-app general 
calculator, and special calculators for estimating 
costs of drywall, asphalt, tile, lumber, and more. 
The latest revision adds the ability to add optional 
labor costs for different estimators, and also lets 
you store commonly used items for reuse. It's not 
a full-blown project management or contractor 
estimating system, but it's very useful, eminently 
portable, and definitely affordable. If you're a small 
contractor of almost any sort, you'll love Project 
Quote Estimate. 



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previously available only on the iPhone/ 
iPod touch, is now available on the iPad. 
The app allows you to access all of your 
trip reservations (air, hotel, entertain- 
ment, and more) on your Apple (or An- 
droid or BlackBerry) mobile device. The 
new release includes a mapping feature, 
GPS-enabled driving directions, airport 
information, seat assignments, alternate 
flights, open seats, and terminal infor- 
mation. Triplt provides individual maps 
for each leg of a trip, and a "master map" 
on which is displayed the entire trip. The 
mobile version of Triplt works in con- 
junction with the Triplt Web site (tripit 
.com), and your travel info can be synced 
between the site and your mobile device. 
The free version of the app includes (rela- 
tively unobtrusive) ads, but a $3.99 ad- 
free version is also available. 

Analytics App 



iPhone I iPod touch 



If you have a small business — even 
a very small business — you almost cer- 
tainly have a Web site. And if you have 
a Web site, you may have discovered 
that Google Analytics is one of the best 
ways to collect useful data about who is 



Overview Reports 

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Even! Tracking Overview > 
* Goals Overview 
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using that Web site, how, and how of- 
ten. (After all, your site is a virtual front 
door that opens into your company's 
main office; you need to know who's 
using that door, what interests them 
when they stop by, and how long they 
spend visiting.) Now there's a tool that 
lets you use your iPad to access your 
Google Analytics data. Analytics App 
($5.99) uses your free Google Analytics 
account to display 55 reports, multiple 
metrics, and a dashboard overview of 
your Web traffic on your iPad. With 
Analytics App, you can display info 
about visitor loyalty, frequency, depth 
of visit, referring sites, and more. You 
can certainly use Google's Web site to 
check your site analytics, but using 
your iPhone or iPad is often faster and 
more convenient, especially if you hap- 
pen to be on the road. I 



Smart Computing / July 2011 43 






ook up "an ounce of prevention is worth a 
pound of cure" in the American Heritage 
Dictionary of Idioms and you'll find this 
apt description: It is easier to forestall a 
disaster than to deal with it. Truer words 
have never been written where it pertains 
to a PC's health. Simply put, if you consis- 
tently see to the well-being of a computer, 
chances are good it will show its apprecia- 
tion by humming along quite nicely for 
years. Neglect regular maintenance, how- 
ever, and it's a near certainty that at some 
point something will 
go wrong, includ- 
ing something that 
could very well re- 
sult in a time-con- 
suming pain in the 
bank account. 

Ultimately, for all the benefits, conve- 
nience, and productivity that today's com- 
puters afford, they're nothing more than 



machines. Like any machine, the better 
care you provide a computer, the fewer 
problems you'll likely encounter. It's 
much easier to, say, clean dust from the 
inside of a PC chassis periodically than 
it is to replace a motherboard, video 
card, hard drive, or other component 
that malfunctions due to a layer of dust 
causing heat to build up and overwork 
components. The good news concerning 
most PC maintenance chores is that they 
don't have to occupy lots of free time or 
require an in-depth knowledge of how a 
PC works. 

The payoff to diligently applying proper 
cleaning techniques, ensuring properly 
cooling inside the system, learning to use 
various system utilities, and shoring up 
security is you'll typically avoid a good 
many computer-related headaches that 
can otherwise result in downtime, having 
to replace parts, risking data being stolen 



■ 



44 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 



46 Defeating The Dirt 

50 Cool Your System 

54 System Utilities 

58 Security Basics 





Maintenance 

An Ounce Of Prevention 



A 



Whether you're in charge 
of maintaining one or 1 00 
PCs, physically cleaning a 
system from time to time 
is imperative. 



or lost, and more. On the fol- 
lowing pages, we explain how 
to go about establishing a good 
PC-maintenance regimen. 

Let The Cleansing Begin 

Whether you're in charge of 
maintaining one or 100 PCs, physi- 
cally cleaning a system from time to 
time is imperative. This is particularly 
true for mechanics, carpenters, artists, 
and others who work in environments 
where dirt and dust is commonplace. 




In "Defeating The Dirt: Keep Your 
Computer Clean In Any Environ- 
ment" (page 46), we detail prod- 
ucts and procedures for correctly 
cleaning a PC's insides that will ward 
off component damage. We also 
explain how to properly clean the 
grit and grime that accumulates ex- 
ternally, including on the keyboard 
and monitor. 

Another important but sometimes 
overlooked aspect of PC maintenance 
is establishing good internal cooling. 
Failure to do so can cause excessive heat 
to accumulate, thus sending the proces- 
sor, hard drive, and other components 
into overtime and ultimately leading 
to system errors and failures. In "Cool 
Your System: Install Case Fans" (page 
50), we walk you through the steps 
of installing a fan inside a PC's case 
to promote better cooling, explain 



the importance of establishing good air- 
flow, and show how using fan control- 
lers can provide extra cooling when it's 
needed most. 

As important as physically cleaning a 
PC is, equally important is regularly ad- 
dressing non-physical components. Win- 
dows provides numerous system utilities 
that help clean up, rearrange, and back 
up data; keep programs up-to-date; and 
more. Scores of third-party utilities are 
also available for these tasks and others, 
including optimizing system settings, re- 
moving duplicate and temporary files, 
and updating drivers. In "System Utilities: 
Maintenance Tools For Windows" (page 
54), we detail such programs. Lastly, in 
"Security Basics: Check Your Defenses" 
(page 58), we detail the fine art of imple- 
menting strong security measures, includ- 
ing keeping security software current and 
checking that it's operating as advertised. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 45 




DEFEATING 



The Dirt 



Keep Your Computer Clean In Any Environment 




Dust and dirt are the bitter en- 
emies of electronics, and 
they can be found ev- 
erywhere — homes, of- 
fices, etc. Keeping your 
computers clean and 
germ- and dirt-free is 
a constant concern. 
However, if you have 
a small business, your 
computers may be 
living in an environ- 
ment where particulate 
matter and grime may 
be even more prominent, 
creating special problems for 
keeping your computers clean. 
Computers in even the tidiest of- 
fices accumulate their fair share of 
gunk, but there are other environments 
where dirty conditions are a fact of life. 
For example, if you run a woodwork- 
ing shop, a vehicle repair shop, or a 
warehouse that is frequently (if briefly) 
open to outside elements, the stuff on 
your keyboard, mouse, monitor, and 
computer can accumulate much faster. 
Wood dust, grease from the guts of 
a vehicle, and more conspire to dirty 
up any computer. Of course, any place 
where you work with your hands and 
then need to use a computer will have 
similar grime issues. Additionally, a 



workplace employing workstations that 
are used by multiple people is exposed 
to the germs and grime of many differ- 
ent sets of fingers. 

Keeping your computer and its as- 
sociated equipment clean is not simply 
about keeping things tidy. Keyboards 
and mice are infamous for the amount 
of germs crawling over them and if 
you're a small operation, you simply 
can't afford for even a couple of em- 
ployees to miss work due to illness, not 
to mention yourself. 



A can of Dust-Off Jr 

DPSJB from Falcon 

Safety Products is an 

indispensable tool for 

cleaning a PC. 




■ 



46 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 



Further, dust and dirt can inhibit 
the effectiveness of your computing 
devices. (Ever had a large crumb stuck 
underneath a keyboard key? It's mad- 
dening!) Even worse, the buildup of 
gunk can prevent your computer from 
cooling itself effectively, which leads to 
overheating and failed components. It's 
only a matter of time before a dirty 
computer gives out. 

Fortunately, there are some 
basic tools, techniques, and 
practices you can use to stay 
ahead of these problems. 

The Tools 

In the computing 
world, things change at a 
blazing-fast rate. A couple of years 
in "technology time" is like a decade in the 
real world. Five years is an epoch. How- 
ever, the tools and techniques for cleaning 
computers haven't changed much at all for 
a long time. Even better, those tools are 
inexpensive, widely available, and easy to 
use. (Refreshing, isn't it?) 

One of the best weapons against dirt 
and dust is a can of compressed air, as it 
can blast away crumbs and crud with just 
a few puffs of air. A can of Dust-Off }r DP- 
SJB from Falcon Safety Products ($6.99; 
www.dust-off.com) will do the trick. 

A few lint-free cloths are use- 
ful for wiping everything from 
screens to keyboards to eyeglasses, 
and they're an indispensible addi- 
tion to your cleaning arsenal, such as 
the Rubbermaid Microfiber Clean- 
ing Cloth ($5.99 per 2-pack; www 
.rubbermaid.com). An ample supply of 
cotton swabs-on-a-stick is also going to 
be quite handy. 

You also need a flathead screwdriver 
or similar instrument, and for those tee- 
ny tiny crevices, some toothpicks will do. 

Although moisture is usually an 
even greater threat to electronics than 
dust, in this case there are a couple of 
exceptions. Isopropyl alcohol — simple 
rubbing alcohol, not ethanol or any 
other type of alcohol — will, when ap- 
plied sparingly, kill all those nasty 
germs without damaging your comput- 
er or peripherals. Also, a screen clean- 
er spray can help you get rid of any 



stubborn spots of grease on your 
screen. However, it's important to get 
cleaner that is specifically designed for 
screens, especially if you have an LCD 
monitor, as most spray cleaners can 
damage LCD screens. 

Finally, it's a good idea to have an an- 
tistatic wrist strap on any time you're 
working inside of a computer, such as the 
Ultra U12-40690 ($12.99; www. 
ultraproducts.com). The 
wrist strap will 
prevent any static 




O Microfiber cloths 
like the Rubbermaid 
Microfiber Cleaning Cloth 
will help clean everything from 
components to screens. 



The Ultra U12-40690 
antistatic wrist strap 
prevents compo- 
nents from being 
damaged by static 
electricity generated 
by your body. Q 



n 





U-- ii mt^ 



© The PixelClean Deluxe LCD Screen 
Cleaning Kit has everything you need to 
clean a screen, including sprays, wipes, 
and microfiber cloths. 



electricity your body generates from zap- 
ping the computer's components. Even a 
small amount of static electricity can ruin 
some computer parts. At the very least, 
be sure you touch a metal part of the out- 
side of the case before you reach in. 

Although it may seem logical to use 
a vacuum cleaner and an attachment to 



suck up any loose particles, resist the 
temptation to do so. Vacuum cleaners 
generate lots of static electricity. In a 
pinch, you can vacuum your desktop 
keyboard if it's disconnected from your 
computer, but otherwise just skip it. 

Getting Down & Dirty 

When you've amassed your arsenal 
of tools, it's time to get cracking on the 
cleaning job. Step one is to power off your 
computer via either the power button or 
by clicking Start and then Shutdown. 
Once the computer is off, switch off the 
power supply and disconnect it from the 
computer. (For more on cleaning moni- 
tors and keyboards, see the "Clean Your 
Monitor" and "Clean Your Keyboard" 
sidebars.) 

Depending on the environ- 
ment and how dirty the 
computer is, you may 
want to take the thing 
outside to clean it. For 
example, if you're in a 
small room, all the dust 
you blow out of the case 
will just resettle, and you 
won't have accomplished 
much. If the weather's 
nice, you could take it out- 
side. Otherwise, move it to a 
larger area where the dust will float 
away instead of remaining trapped in your 
office. Either way, be sure to unplug your 
PC (and any other devices you plan to 
clean) before you start the job. 

Remove one side of the computer case. 
Every case is different, but generally, there 
will be a couple of screws along the edge of 
the case. Often, these will be thumb screws 
that you can undo by hand, but you may 
need to use a screwdriver to remove them. 
Once the screws are out (don't lose these), 
take off the side of the case. Again, every 
case is different, but usually you'll need 
to slide it just a tad toward the back of the 
case before it pops off. 

When you look inside the case, you'll 
see all the guts of the machine, including 
several fans. The fans are likely to have 
collected lots of dust, and these are items 
you'll want to clean. Use a lint-free cloth 
to gently wipe off each fan blade, being 
sure not to press too hard and break one. 




Smart Computing / July 2011 47 



PC Maintenance 



Computer fans collect 

plenty of dust, as they 

actively pull air from 

inside the case, but they 

clean up easily with a 

microfiber cloth. 




Also, don't spin the fans — you can dam- 
age them that way, too. 

If you notice that dust has collected on 
any other components, wipe those off, 
as well, again being careful not to apply 
so much pressure that you could break 
something. This may also be a good time 
to use the compressed air. Being careful to 
hold the can level — not upside down or 
tilted, as this can cause moisture to spray 
out with the air — give a few quick blasts to 
any problem areas. 

Every computer case has vents, too. 
You'll sometimes find these on all sides 
of a case — top, bottom, back, front, and 



sides. These vents trap lots of dust, and 
they should be cleaned as thoroughly as 
possible. Computers generate a surprising 
amount of heat when they're running. If 
the vents are clogged, they reduce airflow 
and the computer's fans can't sufficiently 
cool down the components, which can 
become damaged if they overheat. 

Depending on the type of vents (some 
are slotted and some are fabric or metal 
grills, for example), you should give a 
few puffs of compressed air to blow out 
most of the dust or use a cotton swab or 
lint-free cloth to wipe between slots. If 
they are grills, you may be able to remove 



them and rinse them out; just be abso- 
lutely sure they are completely dry before 
reinstalling them in the computer case. 

Also note that the back of a PC can 
sometimes be the dirtiest, as this is the 
area that is closest to a wall where lots of 
dirt accumulates. You may need to give 
the back a good rubdown with a cloth, or 
a cloth moistened with a bit of isopropyl 
alcohol. In fact, the whole exterior of the 
case may need a good wiping down. 

When you're done wiping down the 
PC, slide the side of the case back on and 
reattach the screws. Voila — you have a 
clean machine. I 



Clean Your Monitor 

Although computer moni- 
tors don't get touched 
very often, they still attract 
quite a bit of dust. The static 
electricity generated by them is 
a magnet for airborne particles. 
Over time, dust accumulates 
and effectively dims the screen; 
worst case, you just can't stand 
to look at a filthy screen any- 
more and have to act. Further, 
in work environments where 
there's more floating in the air 
and sticking to the fingers of 
employees than a typical office, 
that gunk builds up even faster. 



And in some cases, such as 
a workshop that uses touch- 
screens to set up, execute, or 
record tasks, worker's hands will 
deposit all manner of grease 
and dirt. 

Most monitors are pretty 
easy to clean. If there's merely 
some dusty buildup, a thorough 
wiping with a lint-free cloth 
should do the trick. However, for 
more heavy-duty jobs, such as 
removing grease or dried drops 
of soda (how does it even get 
on there?), you may need some 
bigger guns, so to speak. 



A screen 
cleaner, de- 
signed expressly 
for the purpose 
of cleaning the 
type of screen 
you have, such 
as an LCD, will 
handle almost 
any task. The PixelCle~. 
Deluxe LCD Screen Clec 
ing Kit ($19.95; www. 
pixelclean.com) has sprays, 
wipes, and microfiber cloths 
all specially designed for 
screens. Spray a small amount 



of cleaner on a lint-free cloth 
and gently but firmly wipe the 
screen. (This works for note- 
book screens, too.) 



■ 



48 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 




Dust often collects in a computer's vents, and it's important to blast it clear 
with compressed air (blowing from the inside out, of course). 




For harder-to-reach spaces around your computer's components that may 
have some stuck-on dirt, a cotton swab can be a big help. 




To clean your keyboard, it's easiest to just pop off the keys one at a time with 
a flathead screwdriver so you can blow away crumbs and wipe out grime. 



Clean Your 
Keyboard 





1 aptop keyboards and desktop 

keyboards present very different 
challenges when the time comes for a 
spring cleaning. A desktop keyboard 
is a relatively inexpensive peripheral; if 
you ruin or destroy it, you can replace it 
for very little money. The keyboard of a 
laptop, by contrast, rests above all the 
vital components of the computer — the 
motherboard, memory, storage devices, 
and so on. A coffee spill on a desktop 
keyboard presents a sticky mess that 
may require a new keyboard; the same 
on a notebook means you're probably 
buying a new notebook. 

With that in mind, the process 
for cleaning any keyboard is, for the 
most part, the same. For a desktop 
keyboard, simply disconnect it from 
the computer. For a laptop keyboard, 
make sure the laptop is turned off and 
unplugged from its power source. 

Using the flathead screwdriver, gen- 
tly pop a few keys off of the keyboard 
at a time. Be careful that you don't send 
one flying. (You might not be able to 
find it again.) And although you may 
think you know where all the keys go, 
don't lose track of where each key fits on 
the keyboard. When you start removing 
the SHIFT, ENTER, CTRL, TAB, ALT, and 
other keys, it's easy to completely forget 
where they go. 

With some keys off, give a few well- 
placed blasts of compressed air. Use 
the cotton swabs to dig down between 
those hard-to-reach spaces and wipe 
out any excess dirt and grime. For those 
especially tight spots or on gook that 
stubbornly refuses to budge, use a 
toothpick to loosen it up before you try 
to wipe it or blast it with air. 

Repeat as necessary, replacing keys 
before you remove others. At some 
point, whether it's when keys are off 
or when they're all back on, wipe the 
whole keyboard down with a cloth 
moistened with a bit of isopropyl rub- 
bing alcohol to kill those germs. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 49 






Cool You 



SYSTEM 

Install Case Fans 




ne of the familiar sounds of your 
small or home office is the 
gentle hum of PC case 
fans. They're critical to 
the operation of most 
full-featured business 
computers, so it's for- 
tunate that they don't 
cost much. 

Nor are fans hard 
to install in most, ah, 
cases. In the next few 
pages, we'll tell you how 
to mount cooling fans 
in a new computer you're 
building, or to replace a fail- 
ing or noisy unit in an existing 
desktop PC. First, though, we'll 
tell you why fans are so important. 

Play It Cool 

PCs generate heat. Their mi- 
croprocessors are mostly to 
blame, but other components 
do their part, too. Common 
heat sources in a computer 
include the chipset (CPU 
support chips), the graph- 
ics adapter, power regulation 
circuits on the motherboard 
and in the power supply, and 
sometimes the RAM and 
hard drive. A few low-power 



A case fan is so essential, yet so 
inexpensive. This is the Enermax MAGMA 
UCMA12 ($14; www.ecomastertek.com). 




and mobile systems can get by without 
cooling fans, but that's not the case for 
the vast majority of laptops, desktops, 
and other traditional computers. 

If heat is allowed to build up in a 
system, it increases the resistance in 
the electronic circuits. This cuts their 
efficiency, drawing more power and 
emitting more heat. At some point, if 
thermal or electrical protective mea- 
sures don't shut down the PC, some- 
thing will burn out. 

Before that happens, of course, you'll 
probably see software errors, reboots, 
blue screens, or OS hangs. If your PC 
always runs fine for a minute or two af- 
ter a cold start, but it becomes unstable 
after that, overheating may be to blame. 
Quite often, this means that either 
there's too much dust in your computer 
or one of its fans has stopped working. 




■ 



50 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 



Tech Specs 

Computer fans come in different 
sizes to fit the fan mounts in various 
cases. They're sold by the approximate 
metric diameter of their blades, such 
as 92mm (about 3.6 inches) or 120mm 
(4.7 inches). Measure the diameter of 
the grille or fan opening you want to 
use, and then buy a fan closest to that 
measurement. (Note that the fans 
square shroud assembly will be a little 
larger than the blades' diameter.) 

The amount of air a fan can move is 
expressed in cfm (cubic feet per min- 
ute) at a particular number of rpm (rev- 
olutions per minute), such as 43cfm 
at 2,500rpm. The faster a fan spins its 
blades, the more air it can push, and 
the more heat it can remove from a PC. 

The trouble with little fans, such as 
80mm (3.1 inches) and smaller, is the fact 
that they have to run at a relatively high 
speed in order to move a helpful amount 
of air. In a somewhat extreme example, 

The faster a fan spins its 
blades, the more air it can 
push, and the more heat it 
can remove from a PC. 



we found a 60mm fan that 
can blow 56.5cfm, although 
it has to spin at 8,000rpm to 
do it. This can be a problem 
because high fan speeds create 
more noise — an objectionably loud 
56dBA (decibels adjusted for the hu- 
man ear) in this case. Making the situ- 
ation worse is the fact that small fans 
tend to sound whiny when driven hard. 

Thus, for a given amount of airflow, 
it's better to have a big fan turning 
slowly than a small fan spinning fast. 
If your business desktop's case doesn't 
support 92mm or larger blowers (and 
preferably 120mm or even 140mm), 
consider buying an aftermarket chassis 
with bigger fan mounts. 

Speaking of noise, even fans of the 
same size and rotational speed can vary in 
acoustic ratings. One factor that can make 



Case fans get their power 

from small headers on 

the motherboard or 

4-pin Molex connectors 

from the power supply. 




Here's a 4-pin 
power header 
that supports 
both PWM and 
regular case fans. 
Its CHA_FAN 
label stands for 
chassis fan. 




one fan quieter than another 
is the type of bearing used in 
its motor. For instance, bear- 
ings that run on oil or magnets 
S may be quieter than traditional 
sleeve or ball bearings. The 
shape of a fan's blades can also have a ma- 
jor effect on noise output, as can notches 
or bumps along the edges or tips. 

Speed Control 

Some fans come with switches, 
knobs, or other controls that let you 
manually set them to the speed of 
your choice. The type of control- 
ler might behoove you to mount it 
somewhere. For example, if your 
fan has a control cable with a 
bracket and a speed knob at the 
end of it, screw the bracket into 
an unused expansion slot in the 
rear of the PC. If there's no room, or 
if the control module is a small switch 
with no bracket, use zip ties or adhesive 
Velcro to secure it out of the way. 

Even better in our book is a moth- 
erboard's automatic fan speed control 



feature. Many boards can run case fans 
slowly and almost silently when the 
temperature in the case is low, but can 
also kick them into high gear when it's 
necessary to evacuate hot air in a hurry. 

One common automatic thermal con- 
trol scheme is to vary the fans' voltage 
levels to adjust their speeds. This type of 
regulation, termed DC (direct current), 
works with all types of case fans. 

Some fans support another speed 
regulation method called PWM (pulse 
width modulation). PWM usually al- 
lows for slower rotational speeds than 
DC, which lets a fan run more quietly. 
PWM fans typically have four wires in 
their power cables instead of two or 
three. You'll need to plug this kind of 
fan into a four-pin fan header on your 
motherboard in order to get the benefit 
of PWM. (The fan should still work on 
a three -pin header, but only with DC 
speed regulation.) 

Location 

If your PC is a horizontal model — 
meaning you can set a monitor on it- 




Smart Computing / July 2011 51 



PC Maintenance 



you'll probably have few choices about 
where to place new case fans. Typically, 
there will be provisions for one front 
intake blower and one or two rear ex- 
haust fans near the opposite corner of 
the case. For an example of 
the latter, some horizontal 
cases have fan mounts for a 
pair of small- diameter (60 
or 80mm) exhausts above 
the motherboard's I/O port 
area. Along with the mod- 
est output from the power 
supply's fan, this is the 
sum total of many business 
computers' ventilation po- 
tential. 

Tower cases are another 
matter. Most have room 
for bigger fans, and more 
of them. Third-party com- 
puter chassis are especially 
likely to give you a variety of 
precut fan mounts. If your 
aftermarket case doesn't 
come with fans preinstalled, 
the question then becomes 
where to put two or more fans for maxi- 
mum cooling effect. 

Years back, we did some empirical 
testing to gauge the effectiveness of 
fans in different locations in a typical 
tower case. The most important spots 



for fans, according to the temperatures 
of components inside the PC, were the 
lower front and upper rear of the case. 
Top -mounted (blowhole) fans 
proved the least useful in our tests. That 




These squat fasteners are easy to recognize as fan screws. They carve 
threads into the mounting holes of a fan's plastic shroud assembly. 



said, fans in the side panel can help, es- 
pecially if they're large in diameter. The 
side panel's advantage is its sheer size: 
You can mount a very big fan there, one 
that can cool scads of devices at very 
low rpm (and thus low noise). One 



Fan Controllers 

" fan controller is an 
accessory that lets 
you adjust the speed of one 
or more case fans. Turn a 
knob or press a button, and 
you can balance a blower 
between high airflow and 
quiet operation. And if the 
controller is accessible from 
the outside of the case, you 
can crank up the cooling 
when you're running a tax- 
ing application. 

Some aftermarket con- 
trollers are small modules 
you install inside the PC 
case. This type connects 



caveat: If your computer has a discrete 
video card instead of integrated graph- 
ics, you should mount the fan so that 
it's lower in the case than the card or at 
least level with it. A side fan above the 
card actually raised graph- 
ics processor temperatures 
in our tests. 

Even if all your case fans 
are the same size, you may 
not want them all to have 
the same airflow ratings. 
Most PC builders like a 
little positive overpressure 
from their fan setups. This 
means that the intake fans 
push a wee bit more air (a 
higher total cfm) than the 
exhaust blowers, includ- 
ing the power supply fan. 
The excess air pressure in 
the case is intended to seep 
out through all the ven- 
tilation holes and seams, 
such as around the optical 
^^^^_ drives and rear I/O ports, 
so that dust doesn't come 
in through those channels. 

Consider a computer with negative 
overpressure from exhaust fans more 
powerful than the intakes. It would 
have a slight vacuum inside its case, 
resulting in little deltas of dust every- 
where there's a crack or crevice. Dust 
ingress leads to higher component 
temperatures and the need for more 
frequent cleaning. It's better to avoid 



inline between a single fan 
and its power source. You 
can fasten it to the case 
with double-sided tape or 
use a zip tie to bundle" 
with other cables. 

Other fan control- 
lers are panels that you 
install in one of your 
computer's unused 
drive bays. This type 
may support up to 
fourcasefans.lt might 
also bring with it some 
handy, extra features 
such as USB ports or 
memory card slots. 




r„ssim \ - 



02** 



If you'd like to take control of your system's 
aircooling, look into buying a fan controller. 
Zalman's ZM-MFC3 ($69.99; www.zalman.com) 
also reports component temperatures. 



■ 



52 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 



As long as you have room 

to work, fans are easy 

to install. Simply screw 

them into place and plug 

in their power cords. 




Third-party 
cases often 
have outstand- 
ing ventilation 
features, such as 
mounting holes 
for large fans. This 
one has a foam 
filter for its front 
air intake. 



this situation by installing fans with 
higher cfm ratings in the intake ports. 

Installation 

Once you've bought your new or 
replacement fan, shut down your PC 
and remove its power cord. Next, open 
its case. To keep static electricity from 
zapping something inside your com- 
puter, either wear an antistatic wrist 
strap or frequently touch a metal por- 
tion of the case as you work. 

If you're replacing a dead or noisy 
fan, disconnect its power cable and re- 
move its four screws or push-pins. Take 
the old fan out of the case. 

Next, temporarily hold your new 
fan in place with your fingers. Check 
to make sure that there will be enough 
clearance between the fan and nearby 
objects, such as the front panel of the 
case, when the PC is reassembled. 



Look at the new fan's shroud assem- 
bly; there should be some embossed 
arrows to show you the direction of 
airflow and blade rotation. You'll want 
to mount a front or side fan so that it 
blows inward, and a rear or top fan ex- 
pelling air outward. 

It will be easier to secure the new fan 
in place if you first cut threads into its 




Depending on your motherboard's BIOS, you might 
be able to set your case fans to maintain certain 
speeds or temperatures. 




mounting holes. Lay the fan flat on your 
desk. Make sure that the side facing up 
is the side you plan to bolt to the com- 
puter case. Temporarily install the fan's 
fat, self-tapping screws in each corner of 
its square shroud assembly. (You can buy 
some at a computer shop if need be.) 

Back all the screws out, put the fan 
back into the PC case, and then bolt it 
into place on the fan mount. Finally, 
connect its power cable to the mother- 
board or power supply. 

Speed Control Redux 

To set fan speed with a manual con- 
trol, turn on your PC. Increase the ro- 
tational speed until the noise becomes 
noticeable or bothersome, and then re- 
duce it to a level you can live with. 

In order to use your motherboard's 
automatic fan speed control, you may 
need to enable it in the computer's BIOS 
(basic input/output system) Setup. To en- 
ter Setup, reboot your PC. Quickly press 
the indicated key, such as DELETE or Fl, 
when the startup process briefly tells you 
to. Find the fan speed control setting(s) 
and set them to automatic. (Most moth- 
erboards support automatic control of 
the CPU fan, too, using features such as 
AMD's Cool'N'Quiet. You should down- 
load and install the latest version of the 
corresponding software from the sup- 
port section of the motherboard manu- 
facturer's site.) 

Depending on the BIOS, you might 
also find a setting to turn on PWM for 
compatible fans. If you mistakenly en- 
able PWM for a fan that doesn't support 
it, you'll soon find this out because it will 
constantly run at full speed after your PC 
restarts. Save your changes and exit Setup. 

A Breath Of Fresh Air 

Now that you've completed your fan 
installation, your computer should be 
able to breathe a little easier. If there's a 
rattling noise from the new unit, turn off 
your PC and check for stray cables touch- 
ing the fan blades. You might also have 
to loosen or tighten the fan's mounting 
screws a little. If all else fails, consider 
replacing the fan with a different model 
or installing an anti-vibration gasket be- 
tween the fan and the case. I 



Smart Computing / July 2011 53 







SYSTEM 



Utilities 



Maintenance Tools For Windows 




s we use our computer, the appli- 
cations and files we add slow the 
system down so that the PC no 
longer operates as fast as it did 
when we first got it. System 
utility software is designed to 
automatically clean up the 
clutter in our PCs to help 
them operate efficiently 
There's also some util- 
ity programs built into 
Windows that you can 
manually run to get 
the system back in- 
to shape. Here, we'll 
examine the key util- 
ity features of Win- 
dows, as well as 
system utility software you can invest 
in that will automate many of the Win- 
dows cleanup processes. 

Fine Tuning With Windows 

Because there are a variety of Win- 
dows utilities, we'll list each one indi- 
vidually to help you check each task off 
the cleanup list. 

Disk Defragmenter 

When your computer accesses a 
program, it must find the necessary 
data on your hard drive to open the ap- 
plication and perform tasks. Windows 



organizes the files by placing them in a 
series of continuous blocks. But as you 
install new applications and delete files, 
gaps form in the blocks of files, result- 
ing in the overall slower operation of 
the computer. Windows features a Disk 
Defragmenter tool that reorganizes 
the files to remove the gaps that slow 
things down. 

To run Disk Defragmenter in Win- 
dows 7, click the Start button, select All 
Programs, choose Accessories, select 



Windows features a 
Disk Defragmenter tool 
that reorganizes the 
files to remove the gaps 
that slow things down. 



System Tools, and click 
Disk Defragmenter. Un- 
der Current Stats, choose 
the drive that holds your 
operating system (typically 
C:) and select Analyze Disk. 
Disk Defragment will examine 
the drive and tell you if it needs 
to be defragmented. If so, click the 





2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 



In the Disk Cleanup tab, it will 
tell you how much space you can 
free up on your computer, and 
you can choose which files you 
want to have the utility remove. 




Defragment Disk button to clean 
up the drive in question. It may 
take anywhere from minutes to 
hours for Disk Defragmenter 
to finish, depending on the 
size of your drive and the 
amount of files on it. 

Disk Cleanup 

A computer can also run slow if the 
internal hard drive is too full, because it 
doesn't have many places to store the in- 
formation it needs to keep. Disk Cleanup 
is a utility that removes files from areas 
where unnecessary files tend to pile up, 
such as the Recycle Bin, Temporary Files, 
and Downloaded Program Files. You can 
also use Disk Cleanup to remove applica- 
tions that you no longer use, as well as old 
System Restore points and Shadow Cop- 
ies. To run Disk Cleanup, click the Start 
button and select All Programs, Acces- 
sories, System Tools, and Disk Cleanup. 

In the Disk Cleanup tab, it will tell you 
how much space you can free up on your 
computer, and you can choose which 
files you want to have the utility remove. 
Click OK and Disk Cleanup will remove 
the files. Click the More Options tab and 
you can remove applications, system re- 
stores, and shadow copies. If you select 
the Clean Up button under Programs 
And Features, Microsoft will bring up the 
Uninstall Or Change A Program dialog 
box. Just select an application and click 
Uninstall to remove it. To remove all but 
the most recent restore points and shad- 
ow copies of documents, click the Clean 
Up button under System Restore And 
Shadow Copies. 

Error Checking 

After a few years of use, a hard drive 
may develop bad sectors, which means 



the sectors may be 
physically damaged. 
Windows includes an 
Error Checking util- 
ity to discover the 
bad sectors, so that 
the system knows 
to avoid them. To 
run Error Checking, 
^ click the Start button, 
select Computer, and 
right- click the hard drive you want 
to check for bad sectors. Click Prop- 
erties, select the Tools tab, and click 
Check Now under Error-Checking. In 
the pop-up window, check the boxes 
next to Automatically Fix File System 
Errors and Scan For And Attempt 
Recovery Of Bad Sectors. Click Start 
and Windows will indicate that it can't 
check the disk while it's in use. Select 
Schedule Disk Check to run it the next 
time the computer reboots. Depending 
on the size and amount of data stored 
on your hard drive, the scan may take 
some time. On our system, it took an 



After a few years of 
use, a hard drive may 
develop bad sectors, 
which means the 
sectors may be 
physically damaged. 



hour and a half. When it's 
done, it will tell you if there 
are any bad sectors and if it 
fixed any errors. 

Third-Party Utilities 

Although the utilities Micro- 
soft builds into Windows do a 
decent job of fixing problems that 
can slow your computer, third-party 
utilities often include other features 
and automate the cleanup process so 
you no longer need to manually per- 
form the tasks. We'll check out some of 
the top options. 



jj' AUSLOcics 

BOOSTSPEED' 

18 to******,**.' 





© Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 

$49.95 (one year; up to three PCs) 
www.auslogics.com 



Auslogics BoostSpeed 5: BoostSpeed is 
an application that examines your com- 
puter's Registry and hard drive for errors 
and fragmentation, as well as removes 
junk files, such as from applications that 
are no longer installed. The program's 
1 -Click Scan performs a variety of tests 
that indicate the critical issues Boost- 
Speed has found. For example, our test 
system found a number of errors in the 
Registry that it fixed. As you might guess 
from the name, the goal is to speed up 
your computer, and we found that many 
of the tools indicated how much faster 
we could expect the system to run after 
the changes were made. 

The Advanced Tools section of 
BoostSpeed features a number of main- 
tenance areas that provide you with in- 
dividual tools for speeding up the PC. 
For instance, the Disk Maintenance 
section offers Cleanup, Defragment, 
and Repair Discs tools, while the Speed 
Up Internet section includes both Au- 
tomatic and Manual Optimization op- 
tions. We used the Explore Disks tool 
to scan the drive of our choice and find 
out which files take up the most space 
on the hard drive, which made it easy 
to free up space. Overall, the applica- 
tion felt snappy, and we like that Boost- 
Speed informed us of the benefits of 
making the changes. 




Smart Computing / July 2011 55 



PC Maintenance 



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$49.99 (one year; up to three PCs) 
www.symantec.com 



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i YEAR SUBSCRIPTION' I UPTO 



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$39.99 (one year; up to three PCs) 
www.pctools.com 



lolo System Mechanic 10: System Me- 
chanic 10 is a system utility suite that 
automates the task of improving sys- 
tem performance. Just some of the ar- 
eas it works on are Windows startup, 
the Registry, system clutter, your Inter- 
net connection, hard drives, and sys- 
tem memory There are more than 50 
performance-enhancing features that 
are designed to improve on nine com- 
mon causes of PC slowdowns. Despite 
all the features, System Mechanic 10 is 
easy to use because the diagnostic tests 
are automated. 

One of the most helpful features was 
the Program Accelerator, which im- 
proves the zippiness of applications by 
placing the programs files together on 
the hard drive. We also like the Startup 
Optimizer, which helps you to remove 
unneeded programs that run when you 
first boot up. There is a wealth of utili- 
ties to clean up the Registry, including a 
Registry Tuner (which finds and repairs 
errors) and Total Registry Revitalizer 
(which compacts, defragments and backs 
up your Windows Registry). A PC Health 
Status Gadget provided us with a quick 
way to monitor the overall health status 
of our computer. System Mechanic 10 is 
a comprehensive system utility suite that 
helps you to take the guesswork out of 
improving performance and stability We 



also like that System Mechanic 10 is valid 
on all the PCs in your household or office. 

Norton Utilities 15: Norton Utilities is a 
collection of tools that helps to keep your 
PC error-free and operating at maximum 
efficiency There's a Speed Disk tool that 
will defragment the data on your hard 
drive and reorganize it, so that files can 
load faster. The rearrangement of files 
will also help to free up space on the hard 
drive. Norton Utilities also offers a Disk 
Doctor tool that will scan the hard drive 
and tell you if there are any physical prob- 
lems, as well as repair the errors that could 
cause system crashes. 

A Service Manager and Startup Man- 
ager allow you to improve the startup time 
of the PC and let you turn off unneces- 
sary programs and services running in 
the background. To get rid of the junk files 
on your computer, there's a Disk Cleaner 
program that removes browser histories, 
temporary files, cookies, and other extras. 
Similar to other software in our roundup, 
Norton Utilities offers a wealth of tools 
for cleaning the Windows Registry. The 
list includes a Registry Cleaner, Regis- 
try Defragmenter, and Registry Monitor. 
We like the Registry Monitor, because it 
alerts you when a program attempts to 
make a change, which will help prevent 
the takeover of a virus. Those interested 
in a backup utility may want to invest in 



Norton Utilities Premier, which is an edi- 
tion that includes one year of Norton's 
Online Backup service. 

PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011: Per- 
formance Toolkit 2011 features tools to 
speed up your PC, optimize performance, 
and protect your privacy. Forward and 
Backward buttons at the top of the appli- 
cation let you jump through the Optimize, 
Maintain, Recover, and Options sections. 
The optimization options include a Reg- 
istry tool that can analyze, rebuild, and 
compact the Windows Registry, which 
can result in faster boot-up and more 
available memory. Other optimization 
tools include a way to monitor system us- 
age, as well as a way to disable unneces- 
sary programs that run at startup. Under 
Maintenance, we ran PC Tools DISK De- 
frag and found it to be very thorough. 

We also liked the Performance Tool- 
kit's File Recover tool, which is designed 
to help you recover lost files. File Re- 
cover identifies the contents of deleted 
files on your hard drive, and it can even 
help to recover files that are partially 
overwritten. The recovery feature is 
ideal if you've accidentally deleted per- 
sonal files, such as a digital photo or 
Word document. The Recover section 
also includes a tool to securely delete 
files, so the erased content would be 
unrecoverable. To avoid any problems, 



■ 



56 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 




© PC Tools Registry Mechanic 2011 
$29.99 (one year; up to three PCs) 
www.pctools.com 



Performance Toolkit 2011 sets up a 
System Restore point before repairs are 
made. All in all, Performance Toolkit 
features a variety of powerful fine-tun- 
ing features and an interface that makes 
it easy to operate the software. 

PC Tools Registry Mechanic 2011: PC 
Tools Registry Mechanic 2011 includes 
many of the features found in Perfor- 
mance Toolkit 2011, minus the Disk 
Defragmenter and File Recover features. 
Its ideal for those who are concerned pri- 
marily about the health of a computers 
Registry and people who want to tweak 
system settings for optimal performance. 
For Registry maintenance, there's a Reg- 
istry Defragmenter (which helps to allow 
programs to open faster and increase 
system memory) and Registry Cleaner 
(which removes junk that can cause is- 
sues with existing programs). 

To improve system speed, the Service 
Manager tool will help you to deter- 
mine which Windows services can be 
turned off, and a System Optimizer tool 
will fine-tune Windows' system to get it 
running most efficiently. Similar to the 
Performance Toolkit 201 1, there are For- 
ward and Backward buttons you can se- 
lect to move between the tools. We found 
that Registry Mechanic worked quickly, 
and we liked that PC Tools explains why 
each action will help your computer. 





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Results 






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SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner: Slim- 
Cleaner is PC maintenance repair soft- 
ware with a twist: The program provides 
built-in, real-time access to its commu- 
nity of users. If you've ever asked yourself 
"Would it hurt the computer if I deleted 
that file?," finding out is now as easy as 
asking SlimCleaner's sea of users. You 
can also take advantage of user ratings 
for the software on your PC. SlimCleaner 
includes a scanner that identifies unnec- 
essary files so you can free up hard drive 
space. We like that SlimCleaner also 
includes a Shredder utility so you can re- 
move those unwanted files securely. Oth- 
er included tools are a diagnostic utility 
and a malware remover. (The remover 
is not intended to replace your existing 
security software.) You can manage all 
of these tools (and set SlimWare to auto- 
matically clean unnecessary files) from a 
single interface. 

Uniblue PowerSuite 2011: PowerSuite is 
a program that combines three Uniblue 
products: RegistryBooster, SpeedUp- 
MyPC, and DriverScanner. The Reg- 
istryBooster app scans the Windows 
Registry for system-related errors, prob- 
lems specific to a Windows account, 
and errors created by third-party appli- 
cations. Before any changes are made, 
PowerSuite backs up your registry, so 
that any unwanted changes can be easily 
fixed. You can also defragment the Regis- 
try to speed up Windows startup. 

The SpeedUpMyPC application is 
designed to optimize the system re- 
sources and tweak Windows for maxi- 
mum speed. For example, when we ran 
SpeedUpMyPC, it found a number of 



© SlimWare Utilities 
SlimCleaner 
Free 
www.slimcleaner.com 



unnecessary services 
that were running (ser- 
vices that it could shut 
down). SpeedUpMyPC 
also features tools to 
quicken application start- 
up and the load times of 
thumbnails in Windows 
Explorer. The DriverScanner applica- 
tion scans your computer for the current 
drivers in use and compares those to its 
database of current hardware drivers. If 
DriverScanner detects that one of the 
drivers is out of date, you can update it 
in one click. By ensuring your hardware 
is always using the newest driver, you 
can improve system performance and fix 




O Uniblue PowerSuite 2011 

$119.90 (one year; up to three PCs) 
www.uniblue.com 



possible bugs. 

PowerSuite's grouping of utility soft- 
ware is a simple way to improve the 
efficiency and reliability of your com- 
puter. It doesn't offer a defragmentation 
utility, but that isn't much of a concern 
for those happy with the Disk Defrag- 
menter built into Windows. I 




Smart Computing / July 2011 57 







urit y 



BASICS 

Check Your Defenses 





ast month's feature package went in- 
depth with security best practices for 
your small or home business. That 
said, we can't stay true to this issue's 
PC maintenance theme without at least 
touching on small and home office se- 
curity once again. 

Say You, Say Me 

As communication has shifted to 
new modes, companies have followed 
suit. For instance, your team prob- 
ably uses social 
networking sites to 
stay in touch with 
customers, mobile 
devices to tap into 
company resources, 
and so on. 

Of course, any new vector of com- 
munication attracts attention from 
malware purveyors and data thieves. 
Consider a security suite such as Trend 
Micro Titanium Maximum Security 
($55.95; www.trendmicro.com) to pro- 
tect the resources necessary to do busi- 
ness these days. 

"Our research has found that over 
92% of threats come from the Inter- 
net," says Trend Micro product man- 
ager Brook Stein. "We are seeing an 
increase in the number of attacks on 
social networking sites. In particular, 
socially engineered attacks whereby a 
user's account is hacked and a (link) to 
a malicious site is posted. 



"Titanium stops these threats 
as well as many others before they 
reach the desktop with our innova- 
tive Web Threat Protection," which 
vets URLs against Trend Micro's da- 
tabase, Stein says. 

Whether you're a sole proprietor or 
you're running a shop with 10 other 
people, chances are good that mobile 
devices play a huge role in your busi- 
ness. Stein says that Trend Micro can 
"protect your company's data-centric, 
Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices . . . 
against viruses, SMS text message spam 
and other malware attacks, preventing 
data theft and service disruptions that 
drain employee productivity." 

DLP (data loss prevention) is an- 
other technology built into Titanium 
Maximum Security. "Loss of private 
company data can have devastat- 
ing effects on a small business," Stein 
says. "Titanium's Data Theft Preven- 
tion helps ensure your private data 
stays private. Key words you enter in 
the database are prevented from being 
transmitted over the Internet without 
your authorization, making it harder 
for thieves to steal your data." 

Such protection can extend to com- 
pany and customer data even if a laptop 
is physically lost or taken, Stein says. 
"The Remote File Lock feature in the 




Open the Main Console 



Scan Now 



Checkfor Program Updates 
V P rotecti on Ag a i n st Vi ru ses Si Spywa re 
Trend Micro Account 
Check Subscription 




a 

I 



Right-click Trend Micro's red icon in the Notification 
Area for options such as Check For Program Updates. 



Trend Micro Vault protects your data 
in the event your PC is stolen. Data is 
stored in the password-protected vault. 
If you report your PC stolen (simply 



■ 



58 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PC Maintenance 




• ;:iti stopped in the past month 



Viruses ASpyware 
Web Threats 



stopped 
stopped 



► System Tuner 




Set ud now 








► Parental Controls 


EfHlHSf^B 


Set ud now 


[*■ Subscription 


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Expires on 6/15/2011 



•• .TREND 



Titanium Maximum Security can run scans of at-risk areas, 
particular folders and files, or everything on your drive(s). 




log in to your online account to do so), 
the Vault can be remotely sealed up so 
that thieves cannot access your data, 
even if they know the password. If the 
PC is recovered, the vault can be un- 
locked to regain access." 

As for end-of-life PCs destined for 
donation or recycling, Titaniums Se- 
cure Erase utility can guarantee that 
no sensitive data leaves the company 




Simply hover your 
mouse pointer 
over the Trend 
Micro icon to 
verify that your PC 
is protected. 



intact. Let's look at ways to do some ba- 
sic tasks in the suite. 

Update Your Protection 

Like most modern AV suites, Trend 
Micro Titanium Maximum Security 
automatically updates itself. Still, you 
can update it manually, too. In the 
Notification Area (System Tray), click 
the arrow icon. Right- click the Trend 
Micro icon and select Check For Pro- 
gram Updates. 

Run A Scan 

Titanium Maximum Security will 
occasionally run malware scans on its 
own. To initiate one yourself, right- 
click Trend Micro's icon in the Notifi- 
cation Area and choose Scan Now. A 



Quick Scan will home in on parts 
of your drive(s) likely to carry malware. 
For more control over Titanium's 
level of disk scrutiny, double -click its 
icon on the Desktop to launch its user 
interface. Another method is to right- 
click its Notification Area icon and 
pick Open The Main Console. 

You can click the Scan button to ini- 
tiate a Quick Scan, or you can click the 
arrow next to it to open Scan 
Options. Here you can opt to 
run a Quick Scan if you're in 
a hurry, a Full Scan if you're 
worried, or a Custom Scan. 

A Custom Scan lets you 

choose the specific folders you 

^^_ want Trend Micro to check. 

This lets you limit the scope 

of the virus scan to particular areas of 

your system. 

There's another way to scan selec- 
tively, such as when you've download- 
ed a file and you want to make sure it's 
alright to open. Right-click the file (or 
its entire folder) and select Scan For Se- 
curity Threats. 

As for setting Titanium Maximum 
Security to scan for viruses at a regular 
time, you can schedule a Full Scan from 
the main console. Click the Settings 
icon. Near the bottom, the checkbox 
marked Conduct A Scheduled Scan Of 
The Computer should be enabled by 
default; if not, click it. Now set a day 
and time for a weekly scan of your PC, 
during which you'll have to leave your 
system on and running. If you want 



Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 
comes with a remote file locking anti-theft 
feature, smartphone protection, data 
shredding, and more. 



Trend Micro to scour your drive 
every day, choose Day from the 
bottom of the drop -down menu 
with the days of the week in it. 

How To Know You're 
Protected 

Finally, you've got to know 
when your security software is 
working, and when it isn't. Hover 
your mouse pointer over the Trend 
Micro icon in the Notification Area. If 
Titanium Maximum Security is on the 
job, a Protected tool tip should appear. I 



Security Suites 

It's generally easier to buy, install, 
and maintain a suite of security 
applications than a handful of dis- 
parate programs. For instance, Trend 
Micro Titanium Maximum Security 
comes with anti-spam controls and 
a Firewall Booster that strengthens 
Windows' built-in firewall, along with 
the expected antivirus and antispy- 
ware provisions. 

Apps in a suite all come from the 
same vendor, which can correct con- 
flicts in advance so the programs can 
work together without any problems. 
Also, security modules can share 
information with each other for even 
better protection. 

"An integrated suite is built to work 
harmoniously, providing layers of 
protection that cannot be easily repli- 
cated by purchasing security solutions 
a la carte," says Trend Micro product 
manager Brook Stein. "Deploying 
multiple solutions can cause conflicts 
with this operation resulting in slow 
performance or frustrating crashes. 
The entire suite is thoroughly tested 
before being released to produce 
the highest quality product and user 
experience possible." 




Smart Computing / July 2011 59 



Quick Studies 



Quick Tips 



SECRETS FOR SUCCEEDING IN COMMON TASKS 



By Stephen J. Bigelow 



Expansion Card 



Question: Can installing an expan- 
sion card improperly prevent the PC 
from starting up again? Why? What 
can I do about it? 

Answer: Its possible. Start with 
a simple sanity check. You certainly 
turned off the power supply and 
unplugged the PC before installing 
the expansion card, so make sure that 
the PC is plugged in once again. If the 



□ Media Player 



power supply has a master switch on 
the rear of the chassis, be sure that's 
in the On position. 

If the system still fails to initialize, 
the expansion card might be sitting in 
the expansion slot unevenly. This can 
allow some metal fingers to contact 
adjacent connection points and "short 
circuit" the power supply or other key 
system signals. Unplug the PC once 
again, remove the expansion card, 

reconnect the power cord, 



and try booting the system. If it starts 
up, you know the expansion card was 
causing the trouble. 

At this point, you can power down 
the system normally, unplug it again, 
and then reinsert the expansion card 
carefully so that it sits evenly and 
completely in the expansion slot. The 
bolt or plastic retainer clip should en- 
gage fully to hold the expansion card 
in place. Plug the PC in and power 
the system on again. 



Question: I started using Rhapsody, but 
now the Rhapsody software wants to play my 
MP3 library rather than my original player. 
How can I stop Rhapsody from being the 
default MP3 player? 

Answer: New media player applications 
have an annoying habit of making themselves 
the default player for various media types. 
Rhapsody is no different, but even if you ac- 
cidentally make the Rhapsody client a default 
player for MP3 and other file types, it's easy to 
turn the tables. 

Launch the Rhapsody client, select Tools, 
choose Preferences, and click Media Types. 
You'll see a list of checkboxes citing all of 
the media types that Rhapsody can support. 
Un-checktheMP3 
box (and any other file 
types that you want 
Rhapsody to keep its 
paws off) and click OK 
to save your changes. 
Now Rhapsody should 
not try to play MP3 
files by default. 



Eliminating unwanted 

file types will prevent the 

Rhapsody client from starting 

unexpectedly. 



General 
My Library 
Watched Fold ers 

Connection 

CD Importing & Playback 

CD Burning 

Devices 

Rhapsody Setver(UPnP) 



Media Types 

> f id like 

nMP3(.mp3) 

Real Audio (m .rax) 

□ AAC(.m4a) 
Windows Media (.wrno) 

□ WAVfilesf.wav) 
nCD(.cda) 



Help 



■ Hard Drive 

Question: Is it really worth installing a second hard drive in my 
PC? I'm putting a lot of pictures and music on it, but I'm not sure 
when I should consider another drive. 

Answer: For desktop PCs, a second internal hard drive may be 
a great choice. You can economically purchase a 1 terabyte (TB) 
Serial ATA (SATA) drive, but installing an internal drive requires 
a small amount of technical savvy — you need to mount the drive 
in the PC chassis, connect power and signal cabling, and then 
perhaps even format the new drive once the system is rebooted. 
The internal hard drive will come with all the instructions that 
you need to accomplish the task, but some confidence with the 
innards of a PC will help. 

Laptop (and many desktop) PC users opt for external USB hard 
drives instead. They're just about as spacious as internal drives, but 

they connect much more simply, and 
typically don't need formatting. 

Deciding just "when" to add that 
storage is an uncertain proposition. 
You should ideally know how much 
content you're adding each month, 
and how much free space remains 
on the drive — then it's a simple mat- 
ter to figure how long it will take to 
exhaust the available space. If you're 
not good at tracking those kinds of 
details, there's no harm in buying 
the new hard drive and installing it 
now, before you run out of space. 



uaj 



II 



60 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Quick Studies 



QUICK TIPS: SECRETS FOR SUCCEEDING IN COMMON TASKS 



Microsoft Word 



Word 2010 provides a 
variety of formats for 
automatic document 
pagination. 



Question: How can I paginate 
my Word 2010 documents auto- 
matically? 

Answer: Automatic pagination is 
a handy tool in Word (especially for 
long or formal documents) and Word 2010 provides a 
simple tool to support it. Load or create your document, 
click the Insert tab, click the Page Number tool button, 
choose the orientation/location of the page number 
(such as Top of Page, Bottom of Page, Page Margins, 
or Current Position), and then pick the format for the 
page number. This will paginate the document. Word 
will continue adding page numbers automatically as the 
document grows. 



■ Hard Drive 

Question: Should I bother com- 
pressing the contents of my hard 
drive to increase its available space? 
Does it reduce drive performance? 

Answer: Compression is an inter- 
esting technology that first became 
popular when hard drives were 
in the 100 to 200 megabyte (MB) 
range. Windows and applications 
were growing much faster than hard 
drive capacity, and compression 
was a way to wring more space out 
of the drive without buying more 
expensive drives. Today the situa- 
tion has changed completely, and 
2TB hard drives can be purchased 
for less than $200. There is so much cheap storage space 
available that compression is rarely (if ever) needed 
anymore. 

If you do choose to invoke the disk compression avail- 
able on Windows 7, it may take several hours to perform 



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Question: I hear some static in my right PC analog headphone. How can I 
tell if it's the headphones or the jack or the sound card? 

Answer: This type of annoying issue can occur with analog headphones or 
analog speakers. The simplest way to troubleshoot this type of problem is to 
simply try another set of headphones or speakers. If the sound clears up, the 
original audio output device is bad. If the problem persists, the jack is prob- 
ably dirty or damaged. If you're using a sound card, try replacing the sound 
card. If the audio circuit is part of the motherboard, you can install a sound 
card and run from that, or switch to a USB headset instead. 



L 



the initial compression, and there may be a small perfor- 
mance hit as the hard drive reads and writes thereafter. 
However, the performance hit should be negligible— you 
won't even notice it unless you're running benchmarks or 
other disk- intensive programs. 




■ Transfer Photos 

Question: I don't have a cable to adapt my digital 
camera to my PC. How can I view those pictures on 
my laptop? 

Answer: Many laptop models include one or more 
slots for memory cards such as Compact Flash (CF) 
or Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) cards. If the 



laptop includes a memory card slot that matches the 
card type used in your camera, it's a simple matter to 
insert the card from the camera into the laptop and 
read images directly. 

If your laptop does not have a suitable memory card 
slot onboard, purchase a card reader that supports various 
memory card formats. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 61 



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Personal Technology 



Ovat 



1^^ IA Each month, the Smart Computing staff gets to work with all kinds of new computing and 
^J I consumer electronics products. Here are some of the most exciting products to cross our desks. 



Compiled by Joshua Culick 



Triple Display Monitor Stand 

$379.99 | XFX | www.xfxforce.com 

As large as today's monitors are, many 
of us find that a second (or even third) 
monitor is essential to a produc- 
tive work day. That said, those extra 
displays take up precious desk space. 
Also, you lose a certain amount of 
mobility by standing them together. 
Raising or lowering your monitors, for 
example, means adjusting all screens 
individually. Swinging them to the 
left or right (so your colleague can see 
your screen) isn't an option. 

The XFX Triple Display Monitor Stand 
makes your three-screen setup as easy 
to manage as a single display. The 
device, which supports up to three 24- 
inch monitors, can be adjusted so that 




the 
moni- 
tors are at 

the height and angle that you 
prefer. The arms articulate to ac- 
commodate various monitor body 
types. I like the base of 
the stand, which 
has special 
cable routing 
clips. It also 
has a com- 
partment for the included Allen 
wrenches. Those wrenches mean 
you can adjust the stand without 
any additional tools. Two USB ports 
and audio ports on the base are the 
icing on this cake. 



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^ 



Kwik Media 

Free | Nero | kwikmedia.nero.com 

Nero Kwik Media is a program that lets you man- 
age, edit, and share your data, photos, music, and 
videos. Chances are, you already have programs 
that handle some of these tasks. For example, you 
may have a music management program and a 
photo editor. What makes Kwik Media stand out is 
that it creates a single location for performing all of 
the tasks that your separate programs handle now. 
That's a big deal if you're tired of keeping multiple 
programs up-to-date. 

Kwik Media is free, though you can add more func- 
tionality with for-purchase apps. Nero Kwik Blu-ray, 
for example, lets you burn home videos to BDs (Blu- 
ray Discs). Kwik Move It lets you move data (includ- 



ing songs and videos) to your other devices, including your mobile phones. The software is worth a look. 



64 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



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Personal Technology 



Readers'Tips 



Have you come across 
a fast, easy way to 
solve a computing 
problem? We'd love 
to hear about it! If you 
have a great tip you'd 
like to share with 
Smart Computing's 
readers, just email it 
to us at readerstips@ 
smartcomputing.com. 
Please include your 
first name, last name, 
and address so that 
we can give you credit 
if we print the tip. Try 
to limit your tip to 
200 words or fewer. 
Not all tips received 
will be printed, and 
tips will be edited for 
length and clarity. 



Compiled by Nathan Lake 



Short & Simple Tips 
To Make Things Easier 



Reclaim Space After Installing Windows SP1 

After you install Windows SP1 (Service Pack 
1), you are left with around 530MB of extra 
files in the 32-bit edition and 960MB of ad- 
ditional files in the 64-bit edition. You can re- 
move the files to get back the extra space, but 
I would like to note that deleting the files will 
prevent you from uninstalling the SP1 update. 

If you're happy with the SP1 update, click the 
Start button and type Disk Cleanup into the 
Search box. Right-click Disk Cleanup and 
select Run As Administrator. When the Disk 
Cleanup utility finishes loading, arrow down 
to Service Pack Backup Files and make sure a 
check is placed in the checkbox. Click OK to 
remove the excess files. 

Keith B., Melbourne, Fla. 




Lost In Desktop Land 

I prefer to put my downloaded programs, 
shortcuts, pictures, music, and created 
files on the Desktop for quick access. 
And, as a result, the Desktop has be- 
come a mish-mash of various icons, 
folders, shortcuts, and files that made 
it hard to find new downloads. To fix 
my organization problem, before I 
download or create a new file I make 
sure to have an open space in the left- 
most column of icons on the Desktop. 
The next time I download the new 
items to the Desktop, it will look 
for the first blank area it can find in 
the leftmost columns. Now, I always 
know where the newest Desktop files 
are on my computer's screen. 

Bill C, Winter Park, Fla. 



Paper Jams & Paper Feeding Problems 

Printer paper always seems to have some curl 
to it, and depending on your printer, the curl 
can make a big difference in how well the pa- 
per feeds through your printer. To discover the 
curl in your paper, hold a stack of paper in your 
hand on the short edge (8.5-inch) and let the 
stack droop down. Look at the other 8.5-inch 
edge. Does the paper curl smoothly down or do 
the ends curl up? Printers that feed the paper 
down will work best with paper that naturally 
curls down. Models that feed the paper up will 
work best with paper that curls up. 

Robert C, Currituck, N.C. 



USB Laptop Light 

I often use my laptop in the dark, but I cannot 
see the keys because my laptop doesn't have a 
backlit keyboard. I purchased an LED light (it 
cost me $3) that connects to one of the laptop's 
USB ports. The little LED is perfect for illumi- 
nating the keyboard. 

David P., Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada 



Less Mess 

In my home office, I found a handy way to 
remedy the mess of cables and wires running 
from my computer to the peripherals. I took 
a section of old garden hose and snaked the 
wires through it — creating small openings 
in the hose next to the area where each cable 
would need to exit. Now when I walk into my 
home office, I don't have to disentangle wires 
from my feet, which helps reduce the chance 
of pulling one loose. It's also easy to track 
which cables run to which devices. 

Roy D., Kissimmee, Fla. 



66 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



What To Do When 

A Power 
Surge Hits 
Your PC 



It wasn't that big of a storm. You figured 
everything would be fine. After reset- 
ting the alarm clock and oven display, 
you didn't give the computer a second 
thought — until now. The printer is still 
on, the router downstairs is blinking away 
happily, but your PC won't boot up. You 
try several times, panic welling, but can't 
get it going. What's wrong? There are sev- 
eral possible answers, but most stem from 
the simple fact that you plugged that com- 
puter directly into the wall, bypassing the 
opportunity for both surge protection and 
uninterruptible power. 

Power Protection 101 

Before we start figuring out the prob- 
lem and how to address it, let's get some 
terminology straight. Surges and spikes 
have very precise technical definitions. 
For our purposes, though, we'll include 
surges with the moderate to strong 
fluctuations that commonly afflict our 
electrical system. Short-term "surges" in 
power usually result from devices pow- 
ering up and down, or from variations 
in power grid conditions. Spikes, on 
the other hand, are massive and sudden 
floods of power that can overwhelm the 
entire infrastructure (or at least a local- 
ized segment of it). Spikes are usually 
caused by nearby electromagnetic dis- 
turbances, including lightning strikes. 
The difference is important as you clarify 
your needs. All good surge protectors 
guard against small to moderate surges. 
Nothing will protect against a direct hit 
by lightning. Where your needs fall in 




between those extremes de- 
pends on your budget and the 
value of your equipment and 
the data on it. 

A UPS (uninterruptible 
power supply) provides a cush- 
ion against a complete loss of 
power. We all know it's a bad 
idea to turn off a computer 
abruptly without allowing it to 
go through its proper shutdown 
process. A power outage, by 
definition, will shut everything 
off in an instant. If you're in 
the middle of something, even 
a basic UPS can give you a few 
crucial minutes for saving and 
shutting down. More advanced 
models work with specialized 
software and your PC to facili- 
tate a graceful shutdown even 
when you aren't around. 

So how do you know what 
to look for? In surge protectors, 
more joules and a lower clamp- 
ing voltage are better. Also, a 
fuse or auto-disconnect pro- 
vide better protection from spikes. Most 
UPS models also act as surge protectors, 
so you'll want to start with similar specs. 
Additionally, make sure a UPS provides 



n 



Basic surge protectors, such as the Belkin 
BV106000-08R ($19.99; www.belkin.com), block 
moderate surges for up to six inexpensive devices. 



enough wattage to support 
your system and enough time 
for you to bring it down. 






After The Fact 

Before assuming the worst 
about your PC, check to make 
sure other devices in the 
same room or on the same 
outlet are working. If your 
computer shows no signs 
of life whatsoever — noth- 
ing on-screen, no lights, no 
fans — then your power sup- 
ply is probably ruined. With 
luck, the power supply blew 
first before the surge dam- 
aged any other components. 
You can replace the power 
supply pretty cheaply and 
easily, but you won't know 
for sure if other damage lurks 
beneath until afterward. If 
the power supply fan whirs to life (and/ 
or case fans, too) but the machine emits 
an odd series of beeps, strange messages 
on-screen, or nothing beyond the fans, 



Smart Computing / July 2011 67 



Tech Support 




The CyberPower CP1000PFCLCD uninterruptible power 
supply ($169.95; www.cyberpowersystems.com) 
provides up to nine minutes of power in an outage, 
allowing time to shut the system down gracefully. 

your motherboard is the most likely vic- 
tim. On the other hand, if everything 
starts up normally for the first few sec- 
onds but then hangs when it's time for 
the OS to load (again, you may or may 
not see an error message from the BIOS 
[Basic Input/Output System]), the hard 
drive is probably fried. It's also possible 
that one (or all) of these devices might 
be damaged but not destroyed, which 




Power protection doesn't have 

to be bulky. Portable models, such as 

the Belkin BZ103050-TVL ($24.99), protect equipment wherever you go. 



would result in unreliable performance 
or seemingly random crashes, rather 
than an inability to launch. 

Recovery from this kind of situation 
primarily involves hoping fervently that 
your backups are up-to-date and then re- 
placing damaged hardware. You did have 
automatic backups running regularly, 
stored on an external or network drive, 
didn't you? And you checked them peri- 
odically to make sure they were running 
successfully, right? If so, start by checking 
backups (from another machine or loca- 
tion) and make sure they're intact. If they 
are, you have a lot less to worry about: A 
hard drive is much easier to replace than 
a year's worth of proposals and emails. 

As you follow the troubleshooting 
steps outlined above and identify affected 



hardware, add each component to your 
shopping list. If you suspect that multiple 
components have been damaged, you can 
replace them one at a time starting with 
the power supply, testing in between each 
to determine what can stay. In a best-case 
scenario, you'll be able to start up and use 
the hard drive long enough to extract any 
data that wasn't already backed up. Al- 
ternatively, especially if your backups are 
current, it may be just as cost-effective 
(and quicker) to replace the entire sys- 
tem. That's not a pleasant pill to swallow, 
but it can serve as a useful reminder of 
the important role played by surge protec- 
tors and uninterruptible power supplies. 
They're an investment worth making. I 

by Gregory Anderson 



Changing The Guard 

Even with a high-quality surge protector or UPS in 
place ; you won't be totally immune from damage 
and costs associated with electrical vagaries. Surge 
protectors expend themselves to protect your more 
valuable equipment, placing themselves in front of 
your system and taking the brunt of the impact. This 
means, however, that once they've done so, they've 
now sustained damage and need to be replaced. After 
any major event, check the unit to see if it feels unusu- 
ally warm or provides unreliable power. Devices with 
indicator lights should continue to display normally; 
otherwise, they should be replaced. 

When it's time, give these devices a well-deserved pat 
on the back while dropping them off at an electronics 
recycling center. But don't hold on too long out of mis- 
guided thriftiness or denial— a worn out surge protector 
or UPS isn't any more useful than none at all. 




The CyberPower 1090 ($39.95) has outlets for 10 devices plus phone, network, and 
video connections. 



68 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



How To Install 



An External Hard Drive 




Your computer may not be 
out of storage room yet — but 
in today's multimedia- rich busi- 
ness world, it will be soon if you don't 
add more capacity Of course, for most 
systems, you can add more storage in- 
ternally, but this requires system down- 
time to perform the upgrade, and, if 
there's no available drive bay for a new 
drive, then the main drive must be up- 
graded, which entails more additional 
work for migrating data and applica- 
tions. Recently, cloud-based storage 
services have grown popular, but the 
comparatively slow speeds of Internet 
connections, even on broadband, make 
moving large amounts of data in a short 
amount of time impossible. The easiest 
and often most time-efficient approach 
is to add local, external storage to your 
system. There are many ways to do this, 
but the first consideration is what port 
you'll be using. 

Port Options 

USB 2.0. Far and away the most com- 
mon external storage interface, USB 2.0 
specifies a maximum speed of 480Mbps 



(megabits per sec- 
ond), or 60MBps 
(megabytes per second). 
That's the interface's raw data 
rate. In the real world, after figuring in 
various system overhead factors, it's very 
difficult to achieve sustained transfer 
rates above 35MBps. If you're looking to 
move hundreds of gigabytes of data, the 
job will literally take hours over USB 2.0. 
On the other hand, you'll be able to plug 
in the drive virtually anywhere. 

USB 3.0. The recent SuperSpeed stan- 
dard supports a raw data rate of 5Gbps 
(gigabits per second), or 625MBps. Real- 
world performance tops out around half 
of this level. The bad news is that, as of 
this writing, the majority of PCs and 



storage devices do not support USB 3.0. 
The good news is that most PCs can be 
retrofitted with USB 3.0 support, and 
USB 3.0 ports are backward-compatible 
with USB 2.0 drives. So if you've already 
invested in USB 2.0 devices, they will 
still work fine in new systems with USB 
3.0 ports. You can visually distinguish 
USB 3.0 ports from USB 2.0 by their col- 
oring. The plastic inside the port will 
be blue for 3.0 and black for 2.0. 
FireWire. At one time, 
Fire Wire 400 (also called 
IEEE 1394b, the offi- 
cial umbrella speci- 
fication for various 
FireWire incarna- 
tions) was the dar- 
ling of high-speed 
external storage. The 
400Mbps port is still widely 
supported, and you'll occasion- 
ally even see FireWire 800 (800Mbps) 
in action, even though the 800 variant 
uses a different cable connector. With 
the advent of eSATA (external Serial 
Advanced Technology Attachment), 
though, and especially now with USB 
3.0 gaining prominence, FireWire ap- 
pears to be on the decline. 

eSATA. The current 3Gbps iteration 
of the SATA interface now shipping 
on essentially all mainstream desktop 
hard drives (the 6Gbps version is just 
now hitting high-end drives) also has 
a 3Gbps external version called eSATA. 
Until perhaps 2010, when it appeared 
very likely that USB 3.0 would become 
the industry's favorite external desktop 
storage interface, eSATA was steadily 



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Super Talent is among the first USB 3.0 flash drive 
manufacturers, and our in-house testing confirms 
that the company's Express RAM Cache series drives 
are some of the fastest options available today. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 69 



Tech Support 




External drive enclosures built for 3.5-inch hard drives can hold drives 

with up to 3TB capacities. Some larger enclosures will fit two drives, totaling 6TB. 



gaining popularity. You can still find 
it supported on many external drives 
and motherboards. 

The Easy Upgrade 

If you're in a hurry and just want the 
fastest, most convenient upgrade, you 
don't have to look much further than 
your nearest external, out-of-the-box 
USB drive. Most times, this will mean 
a USB hard drive, but we should point 
out that this may not always be the best 
product for a given situation. Most of 
the new USB 3.0 flash drives now com- 
ing onto the market will outperform 
their hard drive equivalents. Yes, they 
cost more than hard drives, and their 
capacities generally top out at 64GB or 
128GB. But if you're on a job site and 
data transfer minutes count, then the 
USB 3.0 flash option should definitely 
be considered. As with every other 
USB device available now, you should 
only have to plug the drive into any 
Windows Vista or Windows 7 system 
to have it work properly. If the system 
doesn't support USB 3.0, the drive will 
function as a USB 2.0 device. 

The same "upgrade" process holds 
true for any external USB (or Fire Wire or 
eSATA, if your system supports it) hard 
drive. Merely plug it in, wait a few seconds 
for the operating system to recognize the 
drive and set it up, and then start using it. 



Now, if you want the capacity of an 
external hard drive and both the speed 
and forward-looking compatibility of 
USB 3.0, but your system doesn't have 
any USB 3.0 ports, there are add-on op- 
tions. You can find a USB 3.0 upgrade 
card that installs into an open PCI Ex- 
press xl (or higher) motherboard slot. 
These cards usually offer two ports. 
Installation takes less than 10 minutes. 
The process essentially boils down to 
turning everything off, removing the 
PC's side panel, installing the card in a 
PCI-E slot, putting the side panel back 



on, powering up the system, and quickly 
installing drivers from the included CD. 

The DIY Alternative 

The upside of off-the-shelf USB drives 
is their utter convenience. However, many 
businesses have now upgraded systems 
so often that they have at least a few bare 
hard drives sitting idle. The easiest thing 
to do in this case is add on a docking port, 
such as Thermaltake's BlacX Duet ($59.99; 
www.thermaltakeusa.com). The latest ver- 
sions of this product will accept two SATA 
drives in either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch form 
factor. You simply plug the drives into 
BlacX's slots, and the dock tethers back to 
the PC by USB 3.0 connection. The drives 
show up in Windows as new volumes, just 
like any other USB drive. The drawback to 
a dock, of course, is that it's inconvenient 
for transporting, even from desk to desk. 
For users who have a few (or more) bare 
drives lying about, this is a good way to 
keep old investments alive and running, 
but we don't recommend it for port- 
able purposes. 

The best way to put old internal 
drives back into service is with an en- 
closure, which is generally an empty 
plastic or metal shell containing a 
storage controller mounted to an in- 
ternal circuit board featuring at least 
one interface port, such as USB 3.0. 
(This may also be a way to save a few 




Mounting the drive to the enclosure 

tray is literally the hardest part of a DIY external storage 

upgrade. If you can turn a screwdriver, you can upgrade your storage. 



70 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



dollars if you can find good deals on 
the standalone drive and enclosure 
rather than paying for a finished USB 
retail product.) You mount an internal 
drive within the shell, seal it up, and 
proceed to use it like any other external 
drive. Let's examine the process with a 
couple of enclosures provided by Zal- 
man (www.zalman.com) and Western 
Digital (www.wdc.com) drives. 

First, let's go for big capacity with Zal- 
man's ZM-HE350 U3 ($69.99) enclosure, 
which we selected for its USB 3.0 sup- 
port, and WD's 2TB Caviar Green drive 
($109.99; estimated retail price), which 
we selected for its capacity, low noise, and 
reduced energy consumption. There are 
two screws in the back of the enclosure 
to remove. With this done, the drive tray 
easily slides out. Mounted on the tray, 
you'll see an internal SATA connector. 
This should mesh effortlessly with the 
SATA interface on the hard drive. Push 
the two interfaces together so they fit 
snugly and then secure the drive to the 
enclosure tray/circuit board. In our Zal- 
man example, four screws secure the 
drive to the tray. 

Once the drive is mounted, slide the 
tray back into the enclosure and replace 
the outer screws. When we worked 
with this Zalman unit, we noticed that 
the tray tended to stick in the shell's 
internal grooves a little snugly. If you 
encounter a situation such as this, do 
not force the tray. Gently wiggle it back 
out and try again. Bending the product 
could warp or crack the enclosure and/ 
or break wires in the circuit board. Af- 
ter a couple of tries, our tray did slide 
smoothly back into the enclosure. 

If you need external storage that's 
more pocket-sized, you'll want an enclo- 
sure that fits a 2.5-inch drive. (These now 
range up to 1TB capacities.) Our Zal- 
man ZM-VE200 ($49.99) supports both 
eSATA and USB 2.0 (both cables in- 
cluded), plus it offers an LCD read-out 
and job dial allowing users to navigate 
through stored ISO images; this allows 
the drive to serve as a virtual optical drive 
loaded with CDs and DVDs. (This could 
be very handy if installing software to a 
mobile or offsite workforce.) 



r 



Getting more than one interface in a 2.5-inch enclosure is uncommon, but Zalman's VE200 enclosure 
features both eSATA and USB 2.0. Here, you can also see the SATA data and power ports on our WD 
Scorpio Blue drive, which will plug into the VE200's circuit board. 




With the VE200, releasing the white 
locking tab allows the circuit board to 
slide out. You merely plug your 2. 5 -inch 
drive, such as the 750GB WD Scorpio 
Blue ($89.99; estimated retail price), 
into the boards edge-mounted SATA 
connector, push the drive and card back 
into the enclosure, secure the drive with 
two screws hidden under rubber strips 
on the case's sides, and put the locking 
tab back into place. Note that these en- 
closures will also work with 2.5-inch 



SSDs (solid-state drives), but for 
these higher-performance units, you 
definitely want eSATA or USB 3.0 ex- 
ternal connections. 

Don't let a lack of experience with 
upgrading dissuade you from adding ex- 
ternal storage for your data needs. The 
process is quick, affordable, and can make 
a big difference in keeping your business's 
information safe and productive. I 

by William Van Winkle 




The SATA interface has no pins to bend, and the internal data and power connections appear together 
in one block, eliminating the need for multiple cables. With the VE200's circuit board, drive installation 
amounts to little more than pushing the two SATA connectors together. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 71 



Tech Support 



Solve Problems With 

Internet Browsers 




As the standard gateway to the Web, 
browsers have become a mainstay 
in our everyday lives. But when 
problems emerge with browsers, that 
gateway can quickly turn into a bumpy 
road that prevents us from reaping the 
many benefits of the Web. Because 
browsers and Web sites themselves are 
constantly updated with new features, 
it's impossible to expect these pro- 
grams to run flawlessly at all times, but 
the good news is that some basic trou- 
bleshooting will generally get you back 
on track when problems do emerge. 

Problem: Firefox crashes as soon as 
you open it. 

Solution: Whether you can open 
Firefox in Safe Mode (a process that is 
unrelated to Windows Safe Mode) can 
help identify the cause of this problem. 
If Firefox has crashed but is still open, 






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If a recently installed extension is causing Firefox 
to crash as soon as you open it, use the Add-ons 
utility to disable or uninstall the extension. 

click File and click Exit. Next, click the 
Windows Start button, type firefox -safe- 
mode in the Search Programs And Files 



field, and press ENTER. If Firefox opens, 
the crash was likely due to a malfunction- 
ing theme or extension. If you recently in- 
stalled a theme or extension, click Tools, 
click Add-ons, and click either the Exten- 
sions or Themes tab. Select the recently 
installed theme or extension and click Dis- 
able to disable it or Uninstall to completely 
remove it. Click Close, exit Firefox, and 
restart in normal mode. If the problem 
persists, there could be a problem with an- 
other theme or extension, so try disabling 
or uninstalling themes or extensions one 
at a time until you find the culprit. 

If Firefox does not open in Safe Mode, 
your PC might be infected with mal- 
ware that's preventing the browser from 
operating. Update both your antivirus 
and antispyware programs (or a single 
program if you're using an anti-malware 
suite) with the latest definitions and run a 
full scan on your PC. If any infections are 
identified, use the security program(s) to 
remove them and try again 
to open Firefox. Note that 
Mozilla has also docu- 
mented that older versions 
of Google Desktop Search 
can cause Firefox crashes, 
so if you're using this util- 
ity, make sure you're using 
the latest version. 

Problem: Web sites in 
Firefox don't look right. 

Solution: Most regular 
Web users know precisely 
how their favorite sites 
should look, so when col- 
ors or fonts on a page appear off-kilter, 
or if images or animations don't appear 
at all, these problems will stick out like a 
sore thumb. One of the most common 
causes of appearance issues stems from 
page styles being inadvertently disabled. 
To make sure page styles for the page 



I Find Updates ] [ Close 



72 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



you're viewing are indeed enabled, click 
View, select Page Style, and click Basic 
Page Style. 

Outdated page versions can also 
cause problems, particularly when a 
Web site updates its code but Firefox is 
still referring to older code it has stored 
in its cache. To ensure Firefox is using 
completely new page code for the sites 
you visit, click Tools, click Options, se- 
lect the Advanced tab, select the Net- 
work tab, click Clear Now, and click 
OK. Another possible cause of site ap- 
pearance problems is blocked scripts — 
if JavaScript is disabled, for instance, 
Firefox might not display certain fea- 
tures on a site. To check the status of 
JavaScript, click Tools, click Options, 
click the Content panel, and make sure 
the box is selected beside Enable Java- 
Script. If it isn't, select it and click OK. 

Problem: You can no longer log in to 
a Web site with your username and 
password in Firefox. 



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Login problems can occur in Firefox if the browser 
isn't configured to accept cookies from third-party 
sites, so make sure this option is selected in the 
Options window. 

Solution: Assuming your login cre- 
dentials are correct, there are several 
potential Firefox-related causes to this 
problem. If the site's cookies are being 
blocked, you likely won't be able to log 
in, so first make sure Firefox is accepting 
cookies in general. Click Tools, click Op- 
tions, select the Privacy panel, and click 
Use Customer Settings For History in 
the Firefox Will drop -down menu. Also, 



make sure that Accept Cookies From 
Sites and Accept Third-party Cookies are 
both selected. Next, click the Exceptions 
button and make sure the site in question 
isn't listed here. If it is, select it, click Re- 
move Site, and click Close. 

If you're still unable to log in, try clear- 
ing the site's history. Click History, click 
Show All History, and type the name of 
the Web site (for example, "Google") in 
the Search History field at the top right. 
Press ENTER. Locate the site in question 
in the results, right-click the entry, and 
click Forget About This Site. Close the 
Library window. You can also try clearing 
all your cookies and the Firefox cache, but 
note that you will have to re-enter certain 
saved information on some sites after do- 
ing so. Click Tools, click Clear Recent His- 
tory, click the Details button, select the 
Cookies and Cache checkboxes, and click 
Clear Now. 

Problem: Web sites open very slowly 
in Internet Explorer. 

Solution: Pinpointing the exact rea- 
son for sluggish performance in In- 
ternet Explorer is tough, especially if 
you're a heavy IE user. However, like 



reinstalling Windows, resetting IE to its 
original settings can help clear corrup- 
tion that can impact performance. This 
reset procedure will ditch saved cook- 
ies, form data, cache data, and other 
data, but it won't delete your Favorites. 
To perform the reset, completely close 
IE and reopen it. Next, click Tools (if 
you don't see the Tools menu, right- 
click an empty space at the top of the 
browser and select Menu Bar). Click 
Internet Options, select the Advanced 
tab, and click the Reset button. Select 
Delete Personal Settings and click the 
Reset button. When the process com- 
pletes, click Close and then click OK. 

Problem: Pages on a Web site don't 
appear correctly (or at all) in Internet 
Explorer 9. 

Solution: When Web site developers 
are slow to update their sites for com- 
patibility with new browser versions, 
you might have trouble viewing certain 
pages. However, this problem can usu- 
ally be solved in IE9 through the use of 
its Compatibility View tool. By using 
this tool, you can instruct IE9 to ren- 
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Are pages not appearing correctly in Internet Explorer 9? Try clicking the Compatibility View button, which 
will render the page as if you were using an earlier version of the browser. 



Smart Computing / July 2011 73 



Tech Support 









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Crashes in Chrome are often 
solved by simply restarting 
the browser, but persistent 
problems may be tied to 
conflicting software 
or malware. Check the 
aboutconflicts page 
for potential culprits. 



version. When you encounter a Web 
site that doesn't look right or doesn't 
even load in IE9, click the Compatibil- 
ity View button, which appears in the 
Address Bar and looks like a page that 
has been torn in half. IE9 will automat- 
ically switch to the compatibility mode 
and will remember your setting the 
next time you visit the site. To return 
to the standard IE9 rendering, click the 
button again. 

Problem: Google Chrome crashes 
and this message appears: "Whoa! 
Google Chrome has crashed." 

Solution: The most common so- 
lution to Chrome crashes is to sim- 
ply restart the browser. Like other 
modern browsers, Chrome attempts 
to save your current session, so you 
should be able to continue your 
work. If the crashes persist, check 
for conflicting software installed on 
your PC by typing about:conflicts 
in the Chrome Address Bar and 
pressing ENTER. Conflicting soft- 
ware — and even malware — will be 
highlighted in the results, so if any 
highlighted entries appear, either 
update or remove the offending soft- 
ware on your PC or use your secu- 
rity software to remove the malware. 

If you're still encountering crashes, 
your browser user profile could be 
corrupted. To create a new user pro- 
file, exit Chrome, click the Windows 
Start button, and type the following 
in the Search Programs And Files 



field: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\ 
Chrome\User DataV Press ENTER. In 
the window that appears, right-click 
the Default folder, click Rename, type 
Backup Default, and press ENTER. 



. . . it's wise to 

always use the 

most current 

version of your 

browser. All 

browsers include 



options for 
updating. 



Open Chrome to automatically cre- 
ate a new Default folder. If this solves 
the crash problems, you can copy your 
bookmarks to your new profile by 
copying the Bookmarks.bak file from 
the Backup Default folder and pasting 
it into the new Default folder. 

Problem: A Chrome plug-in crashes 
and displays an error message. 

Solution: If a Chrome plug-in 
crashes, you might have trouble view- 
ing or using the features on a Web 
page. In some cases, the faulty plug-in 
will restart on its own, so wait a few 
moments to see if it does. Another 
possible solution is to simply reload 
the page, but if it had a problem with a 
plug-in the first time around, chances 
are it'll have a problem again. If the 
plug-in doesn't reload or reloading the 
page doesn't prevent the page from be- 
ing unresponsive or closing, you can 
manually close the plug-in. Click the 
Wrench icon in the upper-right cor- 
ner of the browser, select Tools, and 
click Task Manager. Using the infor- 
mation provided by the error message 
(which should indicate which plug- in 
has crashed), select the plug-in shown 
in the Chrome Task Manager and click 
End Process. Close the Task Manager. 

Stay Current 

Browser developers constantly up- 
date their software to improve compat- 
ibility with Web pages and fix known 
bugs and other issues. As such, it's wise 
to always use the most current version 
of your browser. All browsers include 
options for updating. For example, you 
can click Help and click Check For Up- 
dates in Firefox or click Tools and click 
Windows Update in IE. When updates 
are available for Google Chrome, a small 
green arrow will appear on the Wrench 
icon in the browser. Some browsers au- 
tomatically notify you with a pop -up 
when a new version is available, and it's 
always a good idea to implement the up- 
date as soon as possible to avoid crashes 
and even security problems. I 

by Christian Perry 



74 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



SOFTWARE UPDATES 



When it comes to protecting your software, installing the latest updates is one of the most 

important steps you can take. Software updates fix bugs, plug security holes, and sometimes 

even add new features. Here are the updates you should know about this month. 

Compiled by Heidi V. Anderson 



Mozilla Firefox 4.0.1 

UPDATE: The latest update to the 
Mozilla Firefox browser doesn't 
arrive with the same fanfare as its 
predecessor Firefox 4, which was 
packed with new features, but that 
doesn't make it any less vital. Firefox 
4.0.1 contains two critical security 
patches and nearly 60 other security 
and stability fixes, including resolu- 
tions to problems with PDF (Portable 
Document Format) files loading 
into the browser window and Adobe 
Flash not working as expected. 
INSTALLATION: If you aren't 
prompted to perform an automatic up- 
date, head to www.mozilla.com. Find 
and click the Firefox 4 Free Download 
button. The browser will open a new 
page that tells you your download will 
begin automatically. When the file 
download appears, click the Save File 
button to save the file to your hard 
drive. To complete the installation pro- 
cess, follow the download instructions. 

WinZip15.5 

UPDATE: WinZip 15.5 offers 10 
notable enhancements compared to 
the prior version. These include a new 
algorithm for faster compression, ad- 
ditional Desktop gadget features, and 
user interface improvements. 
INSTALLATION: WinZip users who 
have purchased an Upgrade Assur- 
ance or Software Maintenance plan 
may download the software free. Go to 
www.winzip.com/upgrade.htm, click 
the Download WinZip 15.5 link, and 
follow the instructions. Registered 
users without these plans may enter 




Welcome to Yahoo! Messenger 

Your friends are just an instant away! Click the "Next" button belo\ 
installation process. 

Yahoo! Messenger* (required) 

|y| Create a Desktop shortcut 
|V] Create a Quick Launch shortcut 

[•! Yahoo! Toolbar 



■/ Yahoo! BrowserPlus™ 

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Yahoo! Search Protection* to alert me of any attempts to change it. 



Yahoo! Messenger .■.ill be installed in the follow 
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an email address and click the Submit 
Request button for a 50% discount 
off new license prices. New users may 
go to www.winzip.com/downwz.htm, 
click the Buy WinZip Now! button, 
and follow the installation instructions. 

Yahoo! Messenger 11 (Beta) 

UPDATE: Available as a beta release for 
Windows, Yahoo! Messenger 11 intro- 
duces several features: social games such 
as Mafia Wars and FishVille, the ability to 
chat with Facebook friends from within 
Messenger, always-on chats, and mobile 
chats via Internet-enabled devices. 
INSTALLATION: Go to messenger.ya 
hoo.com/beta/win and click the Down- 
load Now button. In the dialog box, 
click the Save File button to save the file 
to your hard drive. When the file has 
finished downloading, double-click the 
executable and click Run. If prompted, 
click Yes to allow the file to run. 

Messenger offers two installation pro- 
cesses, Typical Install and Custom Install. 
In both methods, you have the option 



Yahoo! Messenger 11 's Custom Install option 
lets you bypass adding the Yahoo! Toolbar to 
your Web browser. 



to choose whether to make Yahoo! 
your browser s default search engine 
and to install the Yahoo! BrowserPlus 
add-on. Typical Install automatically 
installs the Yahoo! Toolbar; you can 
opt to not use the Yahoo! Toolbar by 
selecting Custom Install and uncheck- 
ing the Yahoo! Toolbar checkbox. 

Microsoft PowerPoint 

UPDATE: This security update for Mi- 
crosoft PowerPoint 2002, 2003, and 2007, 
as well as Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 
and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, re- 
solves a vulnerability that enabled remote 
code execution and allowed attackers to 
gain unauthorized user rights. 
INSTALLATION: This update is 
installed automatically via Windows 
automatic updating, but you can also 
install it manually. Point your browser 
to www.microsoft.com/downloads. In 
the search box, type security update 
powerpoint and press ENTER. Click 
the Released column twice to sort by 
date with the most recent updates listed 
first. Locate the update titled Security 
Update For Microsoft PowerPoint or 
Security Update For Microsoft Office 
PowerPoint followed by the appropriate 
version number. Click the link. 

On the page that appears, click the 
Download button. When the dialog 
box appears, click the Save File button 
to save the executable file to your hard 
drive. Then, double-click it to begin 
installing the update. I 



Smart Computing / July 2011 75 



Tech Support 




Need help with your hardware or software? Looking for simple 
explanations on technical subjects? Send us your questions! 

Get straight answers to your technical questions from Smart Computing. Send your questions, 
along with a phone and/or fax number, so we can call you if necessary, to: Smart Computing Q&A, 
P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, NE 68501, or email us at q&a@smartcomputing.com. Please include all 
version numbers for the software about which you're inquiring, operating system information, and 
any relevant information about your system. (Volume prohibits individual replies.) 



Hardware 




Utilities 




Online 



m 



I have a small three-person office with a shared 
laser printer. Recently, we've been having 
problems printing because the printer's toner 
cartridges are being reported as low or out; 
however, we rarely print in color, doing most 
of our printing in black and white. I don't want 
to replace the three color cartridges because 
they're not even close to empty, even though 
the printer is reporting them as out. 

A We re not sure how your specific printer 
model calculates toner consumption, but 
we have seen similar problems with many laser 
printers. For many printers, there's a fix that 
will help if your yellow, cyan, and magenta 



cartridges do have toner remaining. 

Sometimes, a printer will stop printing 
when a toner cartridge is determined by 
the usage algorithm to be "out." This can 
happen when there's still plenty of toner 
in the cartridge, leading to replacing the 
cartridge prematurely. 

To override this default setting, you'll 
need to use your printer's control panel to 
access the system's setup. Refer to the users 
manual that came with your specific printer. 
After you've changed this setting, you'll want 
to keep an eye on the print quality because 
your printer will now print copies until it's 
completely out of toner. I 



I have a large number of files to compare for 
my small company. Is there any way to do this 
effectively without opening both documents 
side by side? 



A 



One utility that is Windows-compatible 
is Compare it! 4 from Grig Software 



($29; www.grigsoft.com). We like Compare 
it! because unlike some of the free tools 
available, it can compare Word documents, 
Excel files, and PDF (Portable Document 
Format) files. If all you need to compare are 
text files, WinDiff is a free tool also available 
from Grig Software. I 



Our small company is spread out across the 
United States, and we routinely share docu- 
ments amongst each other. We do this by email- 
ing files back and forth, and as the company 
has grown, this has become less convenient. A 
friend said we should sign up for an FTP (File 
Transfer Protocol) server, but I'm worried that 
our users are a bit too novice for something 
such as that. Are there any other options? 

A An FTP server would work fine, but there 
are more user- friendly solutions that 
might be a better fit. The two we recommend 



are either a hosted server that uses Microsoft's 
SharePoint software (sharepoint.microsoft.com) 
or Dropbox (www.dropbox.com). SharePoint 
integrates well with Microsoft Office, allowing 
you to share files while retaining prior versions 
in case someone makes edits that need to be 
reversed. You should be able to find a hosting 
company that will provide this service starting 
at approximately $20 per month, depending on 
the storage requirements your company has. 

Our recommendation is to try out Dropbox 
first. Dropbox offers 2GB of storage free and 
will give you a chance to try out file sharing 



76 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



Utilities 




without any financial commitment. Dropbox 
works with both Windows and Macs and also 
has clients that run on many smartphones. 

With Dropbox, there's no client required to 
upload and download files. You can install a 



small application and specify a folder to syn- 
chronize; any changes to those files are seen by 
everyone who is granted access. Dropbox also 
has an "undo" feature that gives you the ability 
to roll back changes to a file if needed. I 



A nearby city has replaced its community 
computers and put the old ones up for sale. 
My son bought one. Now and then, the 
computer asks for a password for the systems 
administrator. We do not know how to reply. 
The computer has Windows XP Professional 
installed. How can we change the password? 

A If the computer came with the WinXP 
installation discs, there are two options 
we recommend: reinstalling Windows and any 
applications you want or simply using the Re- 
pair feature on the Windows installation CD to 
reset the administrator password. The second 
option sounds like the simplest solution, but 
the first might be a wiser choice. First, there's 
no way of telling if there is any malware 
installed on the computer your son purchased 
from the city. If they were publicly accessible 
computers (from a library or community 
center, for instance), there's no telling all of the 
viruses and malware that might infest them. In 
addition, a clean install will perform far better 
than a system that's been in use for years on 
end. As a Windows computer ages, its Registry 
(where it keeps track of programs and other 
miscellaneous details) becomes inefficient. 
Over time, hard drives also become fragment- 
ed, scattering files across their disk platters in- 
stead of keeping them optimally organized. So 
our recommendation for whenever you receive 
a used computer is to do a fresh reinstall of its 
operating system and then immediately apply 
any patches that Microsoft has released for the 
version of Windows that you install. 

However, if you don't have the time to rein- 
stall Windows and your applications, you can 
use the Repair feature on the installation CD 
to reset any passwords on your computer. 

First, place your WinXP CD in your CD- 
ROM drive and start your computer. It should 
begin to boot up from the installation CD. If 
it doesn't, you'll need to consult your manual 



to see how to configure your computer's BIOS 
(Basic Input/Output System) to boot from the 
CD before booting from the hard drive. 

As your computer boots, watch for a message 
stating "Press any key to boot from cd." When 
you see this message, press any key on your key- 
board. Next, you'll see a screen that will tell you 
that the Setup program is inspecting your system 
and loading various files needed for installation. 

After the Setup program has finished 
evaluating your system and loading files, you'll 
reach the Welcome To Setup screen. Press 
ENTER to set up Windows now. A moment 
later you should see a licensing agreement 
displayed. Press F8 to accept the license. 

The next Setup screen gives you the option 
to do a Repair installation. Use the arrow keys 
to select your WinXP installation; most com- 
puters will have only one, and it will already be 
selected. Press R to begin the Repair process. 

The Setup process will scan your hard 
drive and copy some additional files. Don't be 
alarmed if this takes a few minutes. When it is 
complete, your system will automatically re- 
boot. When your computer reboots, don't press 
any keys; simply let the installation process pro- 
ceed until you see Installing Devices displayed. 
When you see this, press SHIFT-F10. This will 
open a command console (DOS prompt). 

At the command console, type nusrmgr 
.cpl and press ENTER. This will launch a util- 
ity in the Control Panel where you can reset 
the password to any account on your com- 
puter. Select the Administrator account and set 
the password to one of your choosing. If there 
are any other accounts that you're locked out 
of, change those passwords, as well. 

When you're done modifying passwords, 
close the Account window and the command 
console. Continue with the Repair installation 
and provide the Product Key when prompted. 
Once the Repair installation is complete, you'll 
have full access to the computer. I 



Smart Computing / July 2011 77 



Quick Studies 



OpenOffice.org 3 

Create Presentations With Style 



Office Suite 

Beginner 

How-To 



Long gone are the days of using a felt board or 
a slideshow to give a sales presentation to po- 
tential customers or clients. These methods have 
evolved with technology, and OpenOffice.org's 
Impress software can help you create multimedia 
presentations for showcasing your company and 
its products. 

Launch OpenOffice.org and select Presenta- 
tion to start Impress. The Presentation Wizard 
window appears. You can choose to begin with 
an empty presentation, select a template, or open 
an existing presentation. You can also opt to ig- 
nore the wizard and start from scratch to work 
on your own. 

Use The Wizard 

If you select Empty Presentation, the wiz- 
ard asks you to choose from among the 25 slide 
background designs. A preview appears with 
each selection so you can see what the designs 
and colors look like. The next step prompts you 
to select a transition — how and how fast your 
slides move from one to the next during the pre- 
sentation. Again, a preview shows what you've 




OpenOffice.org's Impress software lets your company easily 
create multimedia presentations. 

selected. Once you've made these basic deci- 
sions, Impress lets you begin adding text, graph- 
ics, photos, slides, and special effects. 

The template option gives you more guidance 
and helps you really get started with your pre- 
sentation by filling in more slides. Select Intro- 
ducing A New Product or Recommendation Of 
A Strategy. The second wizard screen invites you 



to choose a design, and the third step asks you 
to decide about transitions. The fourth screen 
directs you to fill in blanks describing the basic 
ideas you want to communicate. The fifth step 
involves choosing the slides that will be a part 
of your presentation. Click Create and you are 
ready to edit, add to, or delete what the wizard 
has prepared. The prefilled text provides prompts 
telling you what information might be appropri- 
ate for a particular slide. 

Make It Yours 

Impress offers a wide variety of options to 
spice up your presentation and really make it fit 
your company's needs. 

From the Layouts panel on the right side, se- 
lect a layout that appeals to you and works for 
the information you want to communicate. Each 
screen could utilize the same layout, or you could 
change the layouts to add variety. 

The Insert tab, located on the top toolbar, lets 
you add a variety of features to your presentation, 
including more slides, page numbers, dates, hyper- 
links, animated images, tables, movies, sounds, 
and charts. 

From the Format tab, choose Character to 
choose a font, color, typeface (such as regular, 
italic, or bold), and a type size. Also under the 
Format tab, you can choose to add bullets or a 
numbered list. The Text Animation tool (under 
Format and Text) lets you have a little fun with 
your presentation's text. You can set the text on 
any of the slides to blink and scroll. 

A full complement of drawing tools helps you 
add some creative elements to your presentation. 
Located at the bottom of the screen, the drawing 
tools include the option to add rectangles, ovals, 
and lines; draw a variety of shapes; and add sym- 
bols, flowcharts, and callout boxes. 

The Fontwork Gallery, also found along the 
bottom of the screen, provides an opportunity to 
add some dimension to your lettering in different 
styles, colors, and shapes. 

From the basic to the complex, OpenOffice.org's 
Impress software provides an array of tools to help 
you create a multimedia presentation that makes 
your company look professional. I 

by Kim Quade 



78 July 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



Tales From The Trenches 



Up In The Air 



by Gregory Anderson 



Wireless networking isn't always as simple as it 
sounds. The challenge used to be technology. Most 
people didn't have the technical expertise that small 
office networking required, nor the budget to hire someone 
who did. That's no longer much of a barrier, as both ease-of- 
use improvements and cost reductions brought wireless net- 
working into the mainstream. Reliability issues and security 
concerns, however, are still real 
problems for businesses. I've seen 
a few simple tricks that can help. 

Reliability is the easier of the two 
issues to address. First, don't cheap 
out on the hardware or other com- 
ponents. I can attest that it's all too 
easy to be penny-wise and pound- 
foolish. The most expensive model 
on the market isn't always the best, 
but you shouldn't get network gear 
from the dollar store either. I actu- 
ally tried that once. It didn't work 
out. Also, account for positioning 
and building materials. A central 
location without interference will 
provide a stronger signal and great- 
er range than an out-of-the-way 
nook bounded by a brick wall and 
a wiring closet. Finally, keep your 
firmware and software up-to-date. 
Make a point to check once a month 
or so and install each new version. 

The two simplest and most ef- 
fective things you can do for security are to use encryption 
and hide your network name (also called SSID). Adding en- 
cryption requires anyone accessing your network to enter a 
passcode. You can also turn off "SSID broadcasting," which 
means that the average snoop has to know and enter your 
network name in order to even try and connect. If you've 
ever done a search for networks using a computer or smart- 
phone, you've seen a list of nearby wireless networks. When 
you hide your network, you won't show up on those search- 
es. These two methods make it more likely that only people 
to whom you grant access can use your network and Inter- 
net connection. They're also sufficiently secure for almost 
any small business or home office operation. Sophisticated 
and dedicated miscreants can break most consumer-grade 
security methods, but the people with those skills have big- 
ger fish to fry than you and me. 




If the value of wireless for you comes from providing 
easy access to networked resources or the Web, you can 
still protect yourself from easy abuse. For one, you don't 
have to offer service when you're not otherwise open 
for business. We used to live near a cafe providing free 
wireless Internet access to customers. It was a great perk 
when working over a bagel and coffee. But they probably 
didn't realize they were subsidiz- 
ing half their neighbors' Internet 
access by leaving the network 
open 24x7. A simple admin set- 
ting, or a timely flip of the power 
switch each day, could have lim- 
ited their service (and their ex- 
posure) to times when it actually 
provided value. 

You can get even more sophisti- 
cated by setting up two networks, 
or separating the parts of your 
network, into one public area with 
Internet access and then a second, 
more secure, portion that you use 
for file and print sharing or other in- 
ternal purposes. Setting this up can 
be as easy as buying a second router, 
connected to the first as its WAN, 
with more restrictive settings. 

Finally, it's fair to ask: "Why 
bother?" Far be it for me to ques- 
tion the value of technology (or of 
writing about it), but you ought to 
subject technology to the same harsh cost-benefit scrutiny 
you reserve for all decisions. And don't limit your consider- 
ations to the financial: I've seen large companies with plenty 
of resources hold out for years against Wi-Fi due to security 
concerns and the sensitivity of their data. But if your busi- 
ness can take advantage of added mobility and flexibility, 
provide visitors or customers with a valuable service, or help 
enable other technologies by running a wireless network, 
then it's an effort worth making. I 




Smart Computing / July 2011 79 



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