Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Very Basic Beginning to PC System Admininstration - Just Enough to SYA - Save Your Ass - Maybe

Take Charge of Your Machine!

It's Not So Hard!
He Knows What He is Doing

I (Working Computers) will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Library on 
April 24, 2019 from 7 PM to around 8:30 PM
to discuss Windows System Admin with the tools that come with the Operating System, mainly:

Windows Settings

The Windows Control Panel

"Settings" is the latest collection of tools, which is gradually taking over from the Control Panel and overlaps and duplicates some of the Control Panel functionality. It is easily accessible from the Windows Start Menu in the Lower Left Hand Corner of the screen as the Gear Icon. From it you can access 13 different categories of hardware and hardware connection, 

Which are:

System - display, sound, notifications, and power
Devices - Bluetooth, Printers, Mouse
Phone - Link your Android, iPhone
Network and Internet - WiFi, Ethernet, various settings
Apps - Uninstall, defaults, optional features
Accounts - Your Accounts, email, sync, work, family
Time and Language -  Speech, Region, Date
Gaming - I don't care
Ease of Access - Narrator, Magnifier, High Contrast
Cortana - Cortana Language, Permissions, Notifications
Privacy - Location, Camera, App Access to Camera
Update and Security - Windows Update, recovery, backup

Most Windows users already know something about the Control Panel, and some of the admin tools located there, but haven't walked through the roster of utilities and may not understand what they are for. Next Wednesday, Apr. 24,  we are going to fix some of that with a talk through the most (to me) useful. They fall into 2 Groups -- those that Control The OS Software and those that Control Hardware and Both.

They are:

Administrative Tools
Device Manager
Devices and Printers
File Explorer Options
Indexing Options
Network and Sharing Center
Programs and Features
Taskbar and Navigation
User Accounts

I have deliberately left out other items which may be useful from time to time but which are either accessed less frequently, less critically, or handled with other applications.

We will be discussing Adding Hard Disks, Setting Up Disk Backups,  and Customizing the Taskbar and working with User Accounts as well as other stuff people want to talk about.

In the Meantime, what is the Single and Most Important thing you can do to preserve your Windows License and OS install on your computer?

Answer: Make a Bootable Recovery USB Drive.


Most Easily -- Plug a 32GB or larger USB flash drive into a USB port, and then go to the Cortana Search Window and type "Recovery Drive", Click on "Create a Recovery Drive" which will start Recovery Media Creator and check the Box for "Back up system files to the recovery drive. Then wait for the box showing available drives to appear and select your USB drive as a target. That's it.
This drive will become a bootable, recovery drive, capable of restoring your Win 10 license, system files, and a bootable OS.  It may even be able to repair damaged boot loader for your old system drive. It won't restore your data. Backup your stuff!

What is another easy and important thing you can do for an oddly behaving computer?

Repair the OS or system files.

Open a Command Window.

As an Administrator, open an Admin Command or Powershell Windows by hitting the Win(Flag) Key and X key together and select Windows Command or Powershell Admin.

In the open Window type"

sfc /scannow

This command will find and fix corrupted OS files

Then type:

dism  /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Finally type:

chkdsk /f /r

Note that you can target a specific drive by using the drive letter, as in:

chkdsk c: /f /r

Note also that, if you do so, the machine will  execute the command on reboot only.

We will be happy to discuss problems that you have with your individual machines, if they are fairly brief, and we will have a discussion period at the end. Feel free to bring your laptop.

Do give Kim Christian at the Kinnelon Library to sign up at 973 838 1321 and/or email her at

Thanks, and hope to see you there !


Photo Credits to:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Internet Security for the Windows Home and Small Business User -- Talk at the Kinnelon Library, Wed. Sept. 26, 2018 at 7 PM

This is Your Laptop on Drugs, er, Fire

OK -- so your PC won't burn up if it gets infected but you may wish it had, especially if you run into Ransomware, or Hacked Accounts and eMail.

What should you do???

Well, first, even before installing Internet Security, you SHOULD BE  BACKED UP. The last best chance you have in case of a hopelessly compromised machine is a Complete Restore!!! Preferably, to a Bootable Backup! 

Then you should install Internet Security, TWICE. See Below:

We will not cover McAfee LiveSafe, as we did last year, even though it is a good program and is FREE for those of us with Cable Internet but we will cover Windows Defender because it is both free and already installed with Windows, and it tests and works well, and is less annoying and interruptive, and also we will talk about MalwareBytes Free and Premium, because dual belt and suspenders protection is a good idea with Security Software. FYI Windows Defender  automatically activates when another Security Program is not present, and deactivates when it senses one is present -- except for MalwareBytes.

Why should you have MalwareBytes at all? Because it catches bad stuff differently from other Security Software, especially the worst stuff like RansomWare. Its Real Time  protection is behavior based and simply does a better job at catching the bad stuff.

All of the Editor's Choices are fine. Especially if you have MalwareBytes as well. By the way, MalwareBytes is the only program that will happily coexist with others!

We will also discuss the part that Bootable Backups can play in not only disaster recovery such as drive failure, but also in recovering from catastrophic infection. It is nice to have an uninfected backup of your system disk when your system disk IS INFECTED!

And I will demo a Bootable Backup.

As usual, we will take questions and deal with issues at the end of the talk.

See you there!


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Buying a New Computer Now -- What Should I Buy? -- Talk at The Kinnelon Library Wed. May 23, 2018 @ 7 PM

In The Market for a New Computer???

High End Computer -- Possibly Too Expensive

I get asked about what new computers are good choices to buy a lot, and I do have choices to recommend. And I have reasons for my choices. Most people, when looking for a new machine give too much weight to the initial purchase price, forgetting that over the life of the machine, there are other costs that can drive the total price a lot higher. Such as upgrades and repair.

The first thing to remember is that the Most Expensive Thing about a New Computer will be ... Replacing it. The longer your machine lasts, the cheaper it gets! 

It used to be that a computer might die before it became too slow or old to use, and a desktop or laptop at 7 years old or older running Windows XP was common. That's an old computer from a hardware standpoint and likely to fail. These days the burden placed on a new machine is getting heavier so rapidly, that, unless you buy a moderately powerful computer, it is likely to be unuseable for websurfing, online purchasing or many common programs and services long before it is even 5 years old

Buy the most powerful computer you can afford -- the difference in price may only be a few hundred dollars, but that will translate into a much longer and more useful lifespan, as well as a machine that waits for you, instead of you waiting for it.

Buy Computers with Core i7 or Core i5 Intel CPUs, instead of Core i3 or lesser processors -- they are more powerful  and that makes a difference. Buy a computer with at least 8 GB of RAM or more, expandable to 32 GB or more (RAM is and will be cheap), and with at least a 1 TB Hard Drive

One Desktop Computer I like and recommend is the Dell Vostro Desktop seen below:

Dell Vostro with Core i5 6 Core 8 GB 1 TB New $540

Specs: Core i5-8400 4.0 GHz Hex-core CPU, 8GB RAM, 1TB SATA III HDD, Wireless-N, Bluetooth, Intel UHD graphics, 1-year warranty, and Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS

This computer is discounted now by Dell and is shown by ExtremeTech,for $539.00, or as I like to call it, $540. No discount code is needed.

Do get on a the PC Magazine, TechBargains, and ExtremeTech mailing Lists for up to date notice of good deals. Do check Dell and HP for re-furbished Grade A machines with full warranty. Do check on Amazon for computers and monitors sold by Amazon with damaged boxing.

I got my beautiful new 32" 4k Samsung 1 millisecond response time, HDR10 monitor for over a $100 off just by checking to see "Other Sellers" and choosing one with a "Damaged Box". Same warranty, same equipment.

Don't buy a monitor by checking a box on the Dell or HP webpage -- those prices are too high. Check out the Tech Bargains websites.

I will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Library on this and other computers that I like this Thursday, May 23 at 7 PM. I will cover the following topics:

What Computers Should You Buy Now?
 Tablets, Laptops, and Desktops
How Much Should You Pay and Where Should You Buy Them
What Computers Will Last the Longest Time
What Do You Need if You Just Want to Surf the Web and Do Email?

And, as usual we will have Question and Answer: Ask Your Questions, Bring in Your Laptop or Device for advice.

All of you Kinnelon and North Jersey people, and everybody else, are welcome to come.

Call the Kinnelon Library at 973 838 1321 and reserve a spot.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Computer Talk Tonight, Wed. Apr 25 2018, at the Kinnelon Public Library Has Been Postponed

Those of you planning to attend the Ted Talks Computers talk at KPL, note that it is not happening, and will be rescheduled.

Sorry for any inconvenience.



Saturday, January 20, 2018

Talk at the Kinnelon Library Wednesday, Jan 24@ 7 PM on Computer Disaster Recovery -- Quick and Complete -- How to Do It!

Taking Care of Your Computer: Disaster Recovery
No Matter How You Got There!
I will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Public Library, Wednesday, Jan 24, at 7 PM, which is the first of such talks this year, roughly a month apart, and this month it will be on the subject of Disaster Recovery!
  • From Lightning Strikes to Hardware Failure, What to Do
  • How to Plan for the Worst
  • What Steps to Take in Advance
  • How to Restore Your Working Environment
  • How to Protect Your Data
  • How to Be Up and Running again Quickly, even in Minutes
  • Real World Examples that Have Happened to Me! Lightning ... !
This is the Kinnelon Library's description of the talk:

"Computer Class-Wednesday, January 24 at 7:00 pm-Ted Whittemore of Kinnelon Computers returns to the Kinnelon library with his monthly computer classes

This month he (that's me) will be talking about System Maintenance and Recovery for Win 7 thru Win 10, with the emphasis on Win 10, including Updates, Backup and License Restoration. Be the Boss, learn how to take care of your computer and tell it what to do and avoid Surprises! Bring a fully-charged laptop, if you have one. To register, or for more information, call 973-838-1321 or click on Adult Program Registration."

Plus -- As Always -- Ask Your Questions about Your Computer and Computer Related Problems, such as:

1) Is my machine too old? When do I need a new machine?

2) How can I "pin" that program to my Taskbar, and what is a "Gadget?"

3) Why does my computer ... ?

4) If you have a laptop with a problem, bring it along and we'll take a quick look.

5) Questions and on-the-spot diagnosis will be limited by the time available!!!

All of you Kinnelon and North Jersey people, and everybody else, are welcome to come.

Call the Kinnelon Library at 973 838 1321 and reserve a spot.

See you there!


PS: This talk pertains to PCs running Windows 10, 8, and 7

Photo Credits:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Email for PCs, MACs, Tablets, and Phones -- Talk at the Kinnelon Library Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 7PM

Email, Email and more Email
How to Do It Right for Desktops, Laptops and Portable Devices

I will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Public Library, this Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 7 PM, on the subject of Email -- how to use Mail Clients and Webmail, what the Security Problems with Each Are, and How to Have All of Your Email at Your Fingertips on All of Your Devices, All of the Time.
  • How to Setup POP and IMAP, and What They Are and Why You Should Care
  • How To Sync All of Your Mail with Your Desktops, Laptops, and Phones
  • How to Set Up a Mail Client 
  • How to Make Sure Your Security Program Takes Care of Your Mail
  • Why your eMail Provider Makes a Difference


Plus -- As Always -- Ask Your Questions about Your Computer and Computer Related Problems, such as:

1) Is my machine too old? When do I need a new machine?

2) How can I "pin" that program to my Taskbar, and what is a "Gadget?"

3) Why does my computer ... ?

4) If you have a laptop with a problem, bring it along and we'll take a quick look.

5) Questions and on-the-spot diagnosis will be limited by the time available!!!

All of you Kinnelon and North Jersey people, and everybody else, are welcome to come.

Call the Kinnelon Library at 973 838 1321 and reserve a spot.

See you there!


PS: This talk pertains to PCs running Windows, Tablets and Phones

Photo Credits:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Update On Bootable Backups for Windows: Answers and Info on Software and Hardware

To Boot or Not to Boot, That is the Question

OK, Which Offers Better Protection?
Bootable Backups

So here are some of the links and and references for software and hardware referred to in the talk at the Kinnelon Library earlier this month:

Backup Software:

From Future Systems: Casper 10 and Casper Secure Drive Backup

From NTI: NTI Backup Now EZ 5.1

Remember that the NTI Software also comes with the Toshiba Canvio Connect II Series of USB 3 External Drives available in 1 to 3 TB capacities -- so you get the software at no additional charge for the cost of the drive, and includes image (bootable) backup. archival (file) backup, and social media backup, but not secure (encrypted) backup

Both can be automated to the schedule of your choice.

Below are some choices for a complete external backup system, such as the Toshiba Canvio II, or separate drive docks and drives for desktops with 3.5" drives and laptops with 2.5" drives. They can be mixed and matched if you like.

If the images ARE TOO SMALL to READ, just click on the link in RED below the picture.

Available at Amazon
Click Here
Laptop Drive -- Seagate High Performance

Desktop Drive -- WD 5 TB High Performance

External USB 3.0 Drive Dock for 3.5" Desktop Drive

External USB 3.0 Drive Case for 2.5" Laptop Drive

Once you have installed the Cloning Software above you can make an exact copy of your Boot Drive -- your C: drive -- and test your ability to boot from it. Reboot your computer and press the function key for your make of PC per the helpful link below as the machine starts to reboot.

Following is a link for common boot menu function keys per PC Maker for laptops and desktop computers so that you can boot your machine from the image backup on system drive failure or for testing:

Good Luck!

Next talk at the Kinnelon Library will happen at 7:00 PM March 29, 2017. See you!

1) What Are They? Hint: You Can Boot Your Computer From Them When Your Drive Fails!

2) Why You Need Them: Duh!

3) How to Make Them

4) Where and How to Buy Backup Drives and Drive Cases.

5) Why You Should Buy Your Own Drive and Case and not a Pre-Packaged External Drive

6) How to Get Up and Running after a System Drive Failure in Just a Few Minutes.

We will also talk about infection eradication strategies and what you need to have on hand to deal with surprises -- time permitting.

See you there!


PS: This talk pertains to PCs running Windows 10, 8, and 7

Photo Credits:


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