Great Tech Video

For a quick video with some awesome tech advice, try below.

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How your search engine is giving your computer viruses

We have talked about malware and adware before on this site, but just in case…

If you are not familiar with what adware and malware are, it is usually software that attaches itself to other software you are downloading. This parasitical software then does a myriad of things such as creating pop ups and displaying the greatest and latest magic miracle pills (or whatever) to you whether you are online or offline. Some of these are benign, but most are malicious hence the name Malware.

And some are just downright vicious.

These are absolutely awful viruses whose sole intention is to steal your personal information. This is done in a few tricky ways, and for the person who is unfamiliar with the ways of the internet, they could get hijacked by this secretive virus. The first clue that something is wrong is your Google browser. When you open up to do a search on the search engine, instead of the normal Google search, you might have a browser that says something like My Web Search or a very strange rebranding of Google.

Look at your URL address bar; make sure it is actually that you are on and not some weird replicated site. These sites work by looking at the things you are searching, grabbing at passwords and other information so the virus can dig deeper into infecting your computer system. Really nasty stuff!

One other tricky thing these viruses do is that they will often hide themselves when you search for them. When you type into Google the name of the virus infecting you, since you are using the virus rebranded search engine, you will get fake search results talking positively about the fake search engine. Or they just censor out anything negative said about their search.

This makes it extra tricky to realize what is going on with your computer!

However, if you start running a real time antivirus utility, you can usually stay pretty safe from this kind of thing. If you are reading this and having an, “Oh no!” moment where you realize that your web browser has been infected with this tricky virus, there is still hope so no worries!

If your browser is already hijacked, then install Malwarebytes to remove the intruder. Do this by first uninstalling the infected web browser. From there reinstall that web browser and run your antivirus program in conjunction with Malwarebytes. This should remove the web browser virus and return your search engine back to your normal search engine of choice without the weird rebranding and without stealing anymore of your personal information or infecting your system even further.

If this still does not work and you are still experiencing issues with this virus, then I would suggest calling out a professional. They might know a trick or two to remove the virus completely and to make sure there is absolutely no trace of it left on your computer causing more harm and destruction. Usually, this should not be required as the tools above will typically get rid of this particularly nasty bug.


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Why has my computer become a continuous pop-up ad?

You are being inundated with pop up ads. It is bad enough you have to listen to TV commercials between your favorite programming or hear the radio ads between awesome songs on your Pandora stream. Yet now, your computer has become a far too active digital billboard for random products – and the billboard seems to follow you no matter what you do.

So you go ahead and close your browser, sick to death of the ads and decide to “quit the internet” for a while. Then… something odd happens.

You start getting pop up ads even when you are not online!

What is going on here? Welcome to the zany, wild world of Adware. Adware usually comes attached to other software you have downloaded and serves to… well, to serve you pop up ads in a really annoying fashion. There is benign adware out there, but most adware has a more affectionate term for it – malware.

And it can be a real pain to get rid of it!

Be careful downloading any kind of system utility tools telling you it can get rid of the malware. Typically, these utility tools are just even more nefarious malware programs and will just make the whole problem spiral down a very steep slope of annoyance. You can spot these fake utility tools a lot of the times by the names they give themselves – PC Speed Up, PC Speed Pro, PC Speedifier etc.

Most of these programs do not work. Some will, but it is better to go with 3rd party very reputable antivirus software instead.

A trustworthy antivirus program you can use a free version of is MalwareBytes. You can run a full scan and see if there is any malware affecting your computer. The good thing here is that the antivirus will actually remove malware software that you accidentally installed on your computer. You will want to make sure that you do not have two antivirus programs running at the same time. Two antivirus programs can often conflict with each other when ran parallel, so shut that one off and scan with MalwareBytes. You can always use your old antivirus (as long as it too is a reputable one) to do an extra scan.

One other strategy that can help you is to search for the product that the pop up ads are advertising. Using the right search query, you can sometimes find forums of people who have also fallen victim to these malicious adware schemes. These are helpful, because they will often talk about how they were able to get the adware off their computer for good.

If worse comes to worse, do a hard factory reset of your computer. Before you do that, make sure to back up all your personal files to an external hard drive or something like Dropbox. When you do a factory reset, it will literally destroy almost any kind of malware on your computer. As a bonus, your computer will probably start running a lot faster to boot!

Is Your Computer Constantly Restarting?

Especially if you are having issues with the speed of your computer. This can be really aggravating because:


  1. It takes forever to restart your computer over and over again.
  2. Random restarting can cause you to lose data or for whatever you were working on to become lost forever. Which is really, really, really annoying!

So what do you do if your computer IS restarting on its own?

Well… I will be the first to tell you that it is going to be hard to diagnose a hardware issue. Luckily, it might not be a hardware issue of any kind. Check to make sure you do not have any Windows automatic updates going on in the background on your machine. A lot of the times these programs will cause your rig to shut down on you when they complete their update so the system can start anew with the right updated software version.

After you go the Windows updaters all taken care of, start working on your critical system drivers. You know things like your motherboard, network card drivers and graphics cards. All of these are incredibly critical and important for your computer to run smoothly and properly. You know, where It doesn’t make you crash and lose that huge Great American novel you have been writing (Swirling yourself into depression and robbing the world of your potential words!).

What is happening here if it is still happening?

Well, it could be something as simple as a virus (or complex depending on what kind of virus your computer has). Overheating can be an issue too. You want to make sure your computer is well ventilated. If it is overheating, it is likely you will be able to feel it getting extremely hot. This is especially true for laptops.  And of course, keep your video card updated as this could be the issue all along as to why your computer is constantly restarting on itself.

When you are running a lot of intensive resource using programs like videos games, your computer might start making a bunch of weird noises.  If this is the case, you might have to open up your computer to an internal cleaning. Modern computers have safeguards to help prevent damage from dirt accumulation inside the system. Usually these safeguards will cause chronic restarting. In order to clean the PC, you will need a few different tools.

The best tools for the job are canned air, a small vacuum that you can navigate in the tight corners of your computer’s guts, and a small paintbrush that you can use as a kind of mini duster. You can use these tools to get through all the little nooks and crannies that are endless with internal computer parts. Spray the canned air to remove hair, dust and dirt, and then vacuum it up with your mobile vacuum.

If your computer is still restarting constantly after a thorough cleaning, call in an expert to see what is happening.

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How to Download Stuff Faster

Being able to download effectively and efficiently is like a modern day must have skill set. Seriously. When was the last time you actually bought a physical game for your computer or a piece of software that you could not buy directly and download over the internet? Probably a while.

If downloads were going lighting speed but now are moving sluggish at best, well you might be having some connectivity issues. A lot of people think this means their computers are slow and they will go through that entire process of trying to speed up their computer when instead it is an actual broadband issue.

The first tool of the trade here to help you out is a website called It will allow you to run tests where you can gauges just how fast your upload and download speeds are. An invaluable and awesome tool for this task.  When the speed test is done (it should be pretty dang quick itself), you should have some numbers work with. You want to have at least 50 percent of your internet provider’s advertised speeds.

You will also want to make sure that your ping (it will tell you on the speed test) is below 100 milliseconds.

Next, if everything looks good on the speed test, you want to double check that you did not leave any kind of downloading programs open. This is useful because if you are doing a lot of torrent downloading programs, a lot of the times these programs will minimize but you will not be able to find them in your actual task bar. Rather when torrent downloading programs minimize they usually end up in the system tray. This is really easy to forget, and I have seen entire data plans get charged into the hundreds because someone forgot they were torrenting or seeding something. It can significantly slow down your network.

There are a few other things you can attempt if this does not work and if you are still having trouble with your downloading speeds. Look for any kind of updates for your network cards. Typically, most network cards do not have updates but hey why not? You might be able to find an update where you can get a newer driver and that could help you increase your download speeds fairly significantly.

You can reset the router and modem – and this might be the easiest thing to with any kind of connection problems you are having that may have shown up on the speed test you took. Most routers and modems have a pretty easy to use reset button.

If all else fails, call your actual internet service provider. They can make sure that the problem is actually on your end versus some kind of system wide issue. Also, they can reset the “master connection” in your house for you allowing refreshing your entire broadband system that can increase your download speed dramatically.

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What to Do if Your Computer is Too Slow

One of the most frustrating things about operating your computer is when it starts slowing down. You go from browsing multiple tabs (and browsers), playing some Pandora in the background while also writing out a new paper (perhaps your greatest novel ever? The next great American novel?), and suddenly your computer is a freezing block of ice with no hope in sight that it is going to thaw at any time soon.

If you have a Mac, you will be greeted by the ever dreadful bright and happy rotating balloon blip. It will rotate forever. Heck, it might not stop until eternity ends.

Alright, pass the drama… how do we actually going about fixing your computer if it is running too slow?

Well, first let us make sure that the computer is the problem. If you are having issues where videos seem to take forever to buffer, or websites are loading really slowly, it could just be your broadband connection. A good way to see if that is happening is to open up a second computer and plug that into your WIFI. Visit the same websites and play the same videos. Are you noticing some kind of difference?

If there is a significant difference, then it is potentially your computer machine rather than just broadband internet connection.

What do you do with a slowed computer?

First things first, check to see if your hard drive is maxed out. A computer needs room to create files while it is running. Running anything at its maximum (including storage) is going to create performance issues as it creates files while still trying to retain the other files you have saved to it.

If you are on a PC, you can also use Microsoft’s System Configuration tool. Basically what this tool does is allow you to select which applications you allow and disallow to startup when you first turn on your computer. When your PC gets older, this can be a major hemorrhage of time that can seriously lengthen how long it will take before you can use your PC.

When it comes to selecting which kind of programs you can kill (or processes for that matter) when you open up the Microsoft System Configuration tool, is by checking out their manufacturer. You will want to avoid shutting down or eliminating any kind of program where the manufacturer is the Microsoft Corporation.  All the other stuff is typically safe to go and will not hurt your machine in anyway, and will help speed up the loading time of your machine.

However, if you are not familiar with what a certain process is or what a certain program is, do not kill it! Do not delete it! First, do some digging around. It is always a good idea to error the side of caution and safety. You do not want to turn your computer from slow to totally unworkable because you are not quite sure what you are doing with it.

So take these tips and put them towards a useful application! Make that computer go from slow to squirrel fast!

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