Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Computer Tips [ Is Your Web Browser Secure? + Amazing Google Database + Google Earth Gets Even Cooler ] 02/12/09

Computer No, this isn't Steve. You can tell because Steve never wears a suit :-)

Quick Tips

Vista Auto-Defrag

Are you a Windows Vista user? If so, have you run a defrag on your system lately? As you may remember, awhile back, I told you how to run a defrag with the Vista operating system and at that time, I failed to mention anything about the automatic defrag feature. So, I figured today would be as good a time as any to do so. As a Vista user, you may have run into a few of the functions that Microsoft has controlled for you, including the auto-defrag. I don't know about you, but I want my control back. Keep reading to find out how you can get it!

By default, the disk defrag feature in Vista is set up to defrag your system approximately every four times you restart your computer. It just starts on its own, no matter what you're working on or what you're doing on your computer at the time. As you can imagine, that slows your computer down quite a bit, let alone how annoying it becomes! So, if you'd like to speed your system back up by turning the auto-defrag feature off, here's how you can do it.

First, double click on the Computer icon on your desktop. Once there, right click on your C: drive and choose Properties. Next, hit the Tools tab and then select the option that says "Defragment Now." (I know that may sound like the opposite of what you should be doing, but stick with me. It will all work out in the end!) Lastly, uncheck the box that says "Run on a schedule." That will stop all the scheduled defrags from running and from here on out, you can run the defrag whenever it's convenient for you. Just don't forget to do it every now and then!

~ Erin

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You can't stop now! There's so much more to read about. Keep going to learn how you can test your Web browser for security strength, find out how you can easily get your MS Excel cells into MS Word and learn how you can start using Google Knol today. Also, be sure to check out this week's awesome download thanks to Gary and of course, don't miss out on Amanda's Cool Site of the Day!


The Program Every PC User Has Always Wanted!

Finally! An Easy Way To Upgrade To A New PC!

Amazing New System Lets You Automatically Transfer:

All Your Files & Folders
Your E-mail Messages
Your E-mail Accounts, Contacts & Settings
Your Internet Settings
User Accounts
Windows And Program Settings

Point-And-Click >>> Automatic & Easy!

Just Connect The Cable, Run The Software And Sit Back!

WOW! This Will Blow You Away!


Q: What's the worst thing about getting a new computer? 

A: Getting all your Files, Windows Settings, User Accounts, Internet Settings, and E-mail Messages, Email Settings, and Contacts over to the new computer! What an amazing hassle - that alone is enough to make you want to NOT get a new computer, ya know?

Well, we have a brilliant solution for you! We just got a mind-blowing deal on IOGear's SmartLink USB 2.0 Transfer Cable! Think of it as an automatic way to get your stuff from XP or Vista to a new Vista machine! (Sorry, it doesn't go XP to XP - only XP to Vista, or Vista to Vista).

How's it work? Super simple! Let's say you're transferring from an XP computer to your shiny new Vista powerhouse machine. First, just install the included software on XP (if you're going Vista to Vista, no software to install at all). OK, now, plug one end of the included cable into your old computer and the other end into your new one. A screen will automatically pop up on each computer so you can start the process! That's it! From there, just follow along the little Wizard (and even that only has a few easy steps)!

The really great thing about this is all the stuff it can transfer - and how absolutely automatic the whole process is! It can automatically transfer ALL your settings, all the files in your "default" locations like MyDocuments, MyPhotos, MyVideos and MyMusic folders, it can automatically transfer e-mail messages (avoiding a huge to do-it-yourself hassle), all your contacts, all your user accounts, all your Internet Explorer settings, and MORE!

PLUS - If you don't like the auto feature, you can completely customize WHAT you want transferred in a few easy steps! So if you keep stuff all over the place, just tell it what files and folders to transfer - just a few mouse clicks and REALLY simple! You can use this to transfer just 1 folder and nothing else OR you can transfer every file and folder on your HD, along with any settings you want to keep! Just check the stuff you want, uncheck what you don't! It's all up to you - and it's all EASY!

Oh, and the special cable that comes with this is USB 2.0 - so the transfer speed is mind-blowingly quick! Your new computer will have all your stuff on it before you know it! I just got a laptop with Vista on it, so I used this to transfer all my info over from my XP computer. Kind of figured it'd be a LONG project, but in the time it took me to have dinner, it was over! Saved me HOURS of frustrating file copying - not to mention resetting all my settings! I love it!

Oh, and you are absolutely gonna LOVE how this transfers all your settings, contact and e-mail messages! You know how it is - over time, you've set up your old computer just the way YOU like it. All your contacts, all your e-mail settings, all your internet settings, all those user accounts - you get everything how you want it, then get a new computer and have to start over. Not with this! No hunting around for e-mail passwords, no trying to remember lost e-mail address, no trying to retype all your contact info (emails addresses, phone, etc), no futile attempts to import all those old - but still important - e-mails, even most of your application settings transfer - it's absolutely amazing! AWESOME!

I've never seen a faster, easier way to get your data and settings from one computer to another!

 If you're EVER, in your lifetime, going to buy another computer, you've just gotta grab this! You'll love the time it saves - and all the hard-to-get settings it transfers!

Your price? Just $16.97 and US shipping is FREE! For that kind of money, it's crazy not to buy this! Seriously, why spend hours and hours trying to transfer all your files and info over? Go the automatic route - you'll love it!

PS - Don't miss out! This is an outstanding idea - and an outstanding deal! Your time is worth a lot, why waste a day or two setting up a new computer, getting your files to it, looking up ways to get all your settings transferred when you can do it in no time with this? Grab it today - you'll be glad you did!


"My Computer Crashed And I Lost Everything!"

"All My Photos Are Gone! All My Work Documents! I Feel Just Sick!"

Don't Let It Happen To YOU!!

Amazing Program Makes Backups Easier Than Ever!

Finally! Affordable Software That Makes Backups Backups SIMPLE!

Outstanding System Makes It FAST Too!

Automatically Takes Care Of Everything!

Ya know, we hear it from people all the time, "I'm so upset - my computer crashed and I lost all of my stuff! My photos are gone! My work documents are history! Everything is trashed - I wish I would have backed up!"

Here in the digital age, backing up isn't just important - it's absolutely CRITICAL! Truth is, most of us just don't do it enough - And sadly, I include myself in that category. It's just such a hassle to remember to backup, ya know?

Well, I found a gem of a little program for you! It's called PC Backup and you're absolutely gonna LOVE this! It makes backing up effortless! Really! Just set it up and let it work in the background!

How's it work? Couldn't be easier! Just tell it what files or folders you want to backup. For most people, just having it backup your My Documents folder is probably all you need, but you can add whatever you like! Keep just one file backed up, keep selected files backed up, or keep every file on your system backed up! It's easy, only takes a minute!

Next, tell it where to backup to. I personally use an external hard drive, but a large memory card, flash drive, or even a separate internal hard drive will work. All depends on how much data you have to backup.

Finally, have it do the first backup. That's it! You're already an expert! Nothin' to it!

Oh, and talk about automatic backups! WOW! THAT'S the reason I LOVE this software! For your future backups, you can have it set to run when Windows starts and then run an automatic backup every so often. I have mine set for every hour, but you can have it do backups every minute, every 3 hours, once a day, once a week - Whatever!

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking- Having it backup all the time would make the poor computer work constantly, but it doesn't! Why? This can do Incremental Backups! That means that when it goes to do a backup, it ONLY backs up new or changed files! Saves IMMENSE amounts of time! My favorite feature!!!!!

Here's an example! Say you have 100 files in a folder and between backups you change one file and add another. Rather than recopying ALL the files, it simply adds the new file and updates the changed ones - two files written, 99 left alone! Smart eh? Instead of several minutes (or hours, depending on your file sizes / numbers), this is done in seconds! See why I love this one?

PLUS this backups up the full files - it doesn't "hide" them in some kind of weird compressed archive that you HAVE to use the program to open - all your files are completely usable in your backup location! Why is this important? Think about this - What happens if your computer crashes and you can't find the disk for your backup software to reinstall it?? With software that uses a special "only-works-with-our-backup-software" kind of file, you MUST use that backup software to retrieve your files! Yikes! With this, you'll still have your files - all 100% usable and ready to go!

I tell ya, this is the way backup programs SHOULD be! Easy to use, working in the background, and not taking up any resources! PERFECT! I don't know why this hasn't been done before! It's just GREAT!!!!

Your cost? Just $10.97 and US shipping is FREE! Spectacular deal on what's possibly the easiest, most elegant backup solution I've come across! Take a look:

PS - It's not a matter of IF you're going to need a backup, it's WHEN (and we both know that's true!) This is an affordable, easy to use program that does the job without the hassle! Set it up once, and compute in blissful confidence that YOU are one of the few who are backing up! Isn't it worth $10.97 to make sure your files are safe? (Trust me, it will be worth 20X that amount to you if you don't backup and your data is lost !!!)

Computers 101

Is there any way I can check my Web browser for security? I'm just interested in knowing where it stands. Thanks for any advice you can give me!

That's an excellent question and I commend you for asking! Most of us use a Web browser on a daily basis and if you think about it, all of our security is wrapped up in it. I mean, we use our browser to do all sorts of things, like shop online, play games, sign up for contests, create profiles, read newsletters and so on and so forth. No matter what we're doing, our personal information is making its way onto the Web. These days, we do it without even thinking. We give out our e-mail address to sign up for a daily newsletter, we type in our credit card number to win an eBay auction, we give out our age for a profile on MySpace, etc., etc.

All of those things are so common to do in this day and age, but we seldom stop and think about the risks we're taking by doing so. And since all of that is done through our Web browser, it's pertinent to know how secure it really is. If you recall, awhile back, we ran a download for a program called Scanit (you can read the original article here if you'd like). Well, since then, the Scanit company has updated their browser security test and that's exactly what I'm going to tell you all about today!

If you've used Scanit before, you're definitely going to want to check out the update, because it's ten times better than before! Or, if you've never tested your browser, there will never be a better time to start. Scanit's new browser security test comes with a brand new testing engine, including 12 "never before seen" tests. The new tests will check for vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and even in Flash and QuickTime.

To get to the testing area, go to this Web site. When you get there, look toward the bottom and you'll see some information about your browser. Listed there will be your browser's name, the version you're using and the operating system you have. For example, mine said MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer), version 7.0 and Windows XP. Yours may be different, depending on what all you use. Below that, you can choose what you would like the test to check for. You can choose between "Only test for bugs specific to my type of browser," "Run all available tests" or "Choose individual tests." Click the one you want and then hit the Start the Test link.

For mine, I chose "Run all available tests," but do what you want. If all else fails, you can always go back and do another test if the one you choose doesn't do exactly what you expected. Once you start the test, you'll get a Caution! message. It's just there to let you know that the test will try to crash your browser and that you should close out any other browser windows you have open at the time. You can only test one browser at a time, so if you want to test more than one, just do them separately. Once you read through the message, click OK to continue on with the test.

The Scanit program will then go through all 12 of the new tests. It takes a little while to go through them all, so just be patient. You may want to go grab another cup of coffee while you're waiting! Now, if your browser crashes during the test, just close it down and go right back to the Scanit Web site. It will then ask you if your browser crashed. Click Yes. You'll see a few of your results, but just click on the Continue the Test link to finish it out.

The test will then finish and you'll be given your results. Everything next to a green checkmark means it's in good condition, while everything with a red X means there's a vulnerability. If you have any vulnerabilities, don't panic! Keep scrolling down and you'll see a detailed explanation of the problem. Scanit gives you a description and some recommendations on what you can do to fix it. The Scanit test will give you the information you need to know about what's affecting your Web browser from being completely secure, along with what you can do to take care of the problem right away. It doesn't get any better than that!

Give this security test a try today and see how your Web browser measures up when it comes to safety!

~ Erin

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MS Office

Excel Cells to Word with Usable Results

Have you ever tried to copy and paste cells from MS Excel to MS Word?

What happened?

I bet you went to Excel, highlighted the cells, copied the cells, went to Word, pasted the cells and poof, there they were!

Sounds great, doesn't it?

Yes, and it can be, but if you're using Word and Excel 97, there are some slight problems.

You might notice that you can't seem to easily move the cells.

Oops! No handles to grab means no easy moving.

In addition, if you're looking to make the whole thing bigger, you're going to have to go through a bit more trouble. With no handles, there's no easy click and drag option to change the size.

One more thing: for those of you who like to embed the cells into your text with text wrapping, you're out of luck there too.

Now, if you're using a newer version of Excel and Word, things aren't as bad!

You can move the table using the four way arrow that appears in the upper left hand corner when you click on the cells. Plus, there's a resizing box in the lower right hand corner.

I even found that you can wrap text around them.

But I also found that the resizing wasn't what I had in mind.

When I used the resizing box, the whole thing got bigger, but it just didn't look "pleasing" to me. The text stayed the same small size and everything seemed spread apart.

That's not really the effect I was going for. When I resize, I want the whole thing to scale larger or smaller. I don't want to have to do a lot of reformatting to get the end result.

I'm a "grab the resize box, drag and drop" sort of girl. I have no patience for all the rest!

So, what's the solution?

I mean, I love to use Excel to create my tables and then take them to Word. (After all, it's already broken into a grid, so I don't have to draw one).

Well, one idea is to copy in Excel and then use the Edit menu (Home tab on the ribbon for 2007), Paste Special choice in Word.

In the Paste Special window, you should then select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object as the type and click OK.

Voila! Your Excel data in Word is formatted in a way that allows for easy resizing and text wrapping.

I should also mention that the data can be edited from Word. Simply double click on the data and it will convert it to an Excel worksheet for editing.

It's just one more way to have the best of both worlds!

~ April

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More Cool Stuff

Awesome Stereo Earbud Headset!

Give-Away Price Too!

Save $$Hundreds$$ In Long Distance!

You've Gotta Grab One Of These!

These headset mics are soooo cool! OK, let's face it - at one time or another, you're gonna need a headset microphone. It could be to:

  • Record a message to send to a friend via e-mail
  • Have a voice conversation over an instant messenger
  • To use with voice recognition software
  • To record a message to web site visitors
  • For use with online gaming
  • Or a dozen other uses

Trouble is, about the time you need a microphone, you just don't have one :-( Well, that's where this deal comes in!

Check this out:

My wife and I are using a set with Yahoo Instant Messenger. Instead of calling back and forth on the phone, we just pop on the headset and call via the instant messenger! The sound quality is as good as what you get on the phone (and better than most cell phone conversations)! If you make a lot of long distance calls, you could use this trick to save hundreds of dollars a year in long distance! And that's only one use for these headsets! 

Here's the really great thing - your cost is just $5.97 (and that includes FREE shipping in the US)! Don't miss out, check 'em out here:

Become A XP Genius!!

Learn The Ins and Outs Of XP in No Time

Amazing Presentations Make Learning Fast AND Fun!

Just $5.97 - Today ONLY!!

Are you a Windows XP user? Want to learn how to run it better? Faster? With less headaches? Do you want to learn about all the great features and take full advantage of them?

Then I have a must have program for you.

It's called Learning Windows XP and it's just fantastic. I was surprised at all the tricks I picked up during testing.

This software uses multimedia presentations to show you exactly how everything works. You can scroll through topics in order, or jump to a topic index and select the exact presentation you want to see.

And the presentations are absolutely fantastic. By using audio and video, they teach you exactly how to do just about anything you'd ever need to do in Windows. Every step is shown on a sample screen within the program. It's like having Bill Gates sitting down and showing you - step by step - how to operate Windows! Every mouse move, every click is shown. No guesswork required!

As for topics, it covers it all! Some of the more popular are CD burning, performance, remote desktop, remote use, security, using the built in firewall, troubleshooting, automatic updates, running older software, networking, digital music, user switching, file transfers, offline viewing, working with files and folders, reliability, safe mode, search companion, file encryption, taskbar, windows messenger, and tons more:

Using and Customizing the Desktop
The Basics of File Management
New Internet Explorer 6 Basics
In Home Networking and Internet Connection Sharing 
Web Publishing, Scanner and Camera Wizard Walk Through  
My Music and My Pictures Step-by-Step  
Take advantage of the new Windows Engine
Tips for Customizing and Personalizing Windows XP  


If you're running Windows XP, this is simply a must have program. Even if you've been using XP for awhile like I have, you'll be surprised how much you may have missed (I was)!

Your price on this today only is only $5.97 and US shipping is free! And yes, it has our 60 day satisfaction guarantee - if you're not happy, return it for a refund. Nothing to lose, but lots to gain! Here's the link:

PS - Considering how expensive computers and operating systems are, isn't it worth $5.97 to be able to make the most of your XP eXPerience? Give it a try, you'll be glad you did :-) The price will increase to $9.97 on Friday so don't wait to order!!!

What Drivers Do

Okay, so you know a lot of the hardware you use with your computer requires drivers, right? But do you fully understand what those drivers do? I mean, what purpose do they actually serve? Why are they needed to make your computer hardware work properly? Well, those are all great questions and if you read through the tip we're featuring on our homepage today, you'll get all the answers. That's right, all your driver questions are answered right in the tip. All you have to do is go check it out!

Wildlife Photos

So, tell me, how many of you like to explore the wild outdoors? And do you love to see the animals that live out there? There are so many different and interesting wild animals, it's hard not to be intrigued by them! Now, before I go exploring, I like to look at pictures of the animals just to see what some of them actually look like and that's when the cool site on our homepage today comes in handy! It's called Wildlife Photos and it contains some of the most beautiful pictures you'll ever see. Trust me, you don't want to miss it!

Here's the link you need: Enjoy!

Tip of the Day

Google Knol

According to Google, a knol is "a unit of knowledge, an authoritative article about a specific topic." The Google Knol service just reached 100,000 articles and it's finally being recognized as a potential competitor to Wikipedia. If you'd like to learn more, here’s how you can get started reading and contributing to Google Knol!

Reading It

Reading a Knol is simple! All you have to do is point your Web browser to and search for whatever you'd like to read about. The search is powered by Google, so you know it’s good!

As you can see, there are a lot of Knols (774) about Barack Obama, ranging from his foreign policies to buying cheap Obama memorabilia. Knols can be written by anyone, so the content varies quite a bit.

Writing Your Own Knol

To write a Knol of your own, go to again and click on Write a Knol.

Sign in to your Google account (if you don't have one, you'll need to sign up first).

Click on the Write a Knol button again. You’ll then see the basic structure for writing a Knol. You can choose your license as well, which I think is great! Pick from three Creative Commons licenses (saying that people can use it, but with conditions) or All Rights Reserved (only under limited circumstances can people use it).

Happy Knolling, my friends!

~ Brandon Zubek

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Today's Feature

Google Earth 5

It seems like not that long ago, I was telling you about the release of Google Earth 4. Well, lucky for you, Google has been on top of their game and they just released the next version, Google Earth 5. The new Beta version has some really cool new features you just have to check out!

If you've used Google Earth before, you probably already know about many of the features, such as being able to look up anywhere on the planet and see awesome aerial satellite photos. Well, version 5 even introduces something you've never seen before! With Google Earth 5, you can go below the ocean and explore the sea floor. How cool is that?!

Other than looking into the ocean, you can also look into the past. With the new version of Google Earth, you can click on the clock icon and see how places looked in the past and how they have changed over time. That feature is awesome for looking at progress while something was being built, such as a stadium or sky scraper.

If you think you might like all of the new features, you can check out Google Earth 5 for yourself right here. Enjoy!

~ Gary

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Amanda's Coolsite


Welcome to VerbaLearn, a Web site devoted to helping you learn vocabulary! I would start by watching the VerbaLearn demo. To do so, just click on the image of the video or hit the Play button.

I love the demo video, because it walks you through every step of the process for using the site. You’ll learn how to create study lists, how to download them to your computer, how to turn them into podcasts and so much more!

This site could be so helpful to students preparing for the SAT, ACT, a college entrance exam or any other standardized test.

To sign up, just click on the Start Now button. You can select which test you’d like to study. The options are: SAT, ACT, GRE and General Vocabulary. Once you’ve made your selection, click Continue. Now, you can start building your first word list. While you're doing that, it will suggest that you should save your progress and you can do so by clicking Continue. That will lead you to the registration form. Fill out all the fields and then head on over to the e-mail address you provided to click on the confirmation link.

The confirmation link will bring you back to the Web site, where you'll then set up other features. You’re going to select why you’re using the site and you’ll then have to select how large of a study list you’d like and how long of a pause you’d like between words for the audio study list you can download.

The next step is to finish building your word list. You’ll do that by continuing the one you left before. It will also review words you’ve already gone over as if you're doing flashcards. I love that!

I hope that if you can’t personally use this site, you pass it on to someone who can. The more people, students in particular, who have access to this study tool, the better. Check it out today!

~ Amanda

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Send it to Amanda at


New Titles and Offers


Monthly Wallpaper

February Wallpaper

Here's February's wallpaper. It's all free, so enjoy!

Snowy Deer

This girl was in a group I managed to slip into. It was snowing pretty good and she was curious about me and got within eight feet for this close-up! If this isn't a February shot, I don't know what is!


I shot this just last month in the Valley of Fire State Park, just about an hour from Las Vegas. We were going to another spot just down the road, but couldn't resist stopping for this shot. Timing on one like this is really tough, so dumb luck came to my rescue.

Summer Stream

Here's one that's a little different. It was shot in the Smokies last summer, but instead of giving you the straight shot, I added a soft-focus/dreamy effect to it. I hope you enjoy it!

All can be found here:





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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.