Top Tips & Tricks
To help you get more from your computer, or to solve basic problems, please browse our top tips and tricks.
Quick jump to: Technical and Maintenance - Backups - Email - Browsers - Internet - Microsoft
Technical and Maintenance tips
My pc has frozen / the program I am using is behaving oddly.
Close all programs switch the pc off and then switch it back on again. It’s amazing how many problems can be resolved by a simple reboot. Try pressing Ctrl, Alt and Delete buttons at the same time to bring up a box that allows you to end all tasks, otherwise, just switch it off with the on/off button.
I can't switch my pc off.
Try holding the power button until it turns off.
When I try to turn on my computer, nothing happens. The power light is not on.
Make certain that your computer power cord is snugly plugged in - both to the computer and to a power source. Check the rocker arm on the computer's power supply to ensure that it is in the "On" position. If you are using a surge protector or UPS, make certain that the device is on and that the status indicator light, if any, is green. Temporarily bypass the surge protector or UPS and connect the computer directly to a wall socket. If, after checking that you have power to the computer, you find that you still have no lights, your power supply is the likely culprit. If your computer has been exposed to a strong power surge, the surge may have damaged the power supply, components (motherboard, processor, modem, etc.) and peripherals (keyboard, mouse, printer, etc.) connected to the computer.
Why does my computer run so slowly?
One or more of the following may account for the slow performance:
Your hard disk is full or nearly full. If you have less than 10% free space you computer will slow down
Running several applications simultaneously with limited memory
Ad ware/Spy ware programs.
Running unnecessary programs.
How do I protect my pc from power surges.
We get quite a lot of power cuts and surges in these parts. We recommend that you use a surge protector or even better an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect your hardware.
How do I recover some disk space?
Reduce your Recycle Bin Size. The default size for the recycle bin is 10% of your drive space; which can be several gigabytes. To reduce the size the recycle bin takes up:
1. Right click on the recycle bin icon
2. Select ‘Properties’
3. Drag the slider to a lower percentage. We keep ours at 2%. You can check out how much space is taken up on each drive by clicking on the tab - ‘Space reserved’ is how much the recycle bin is using.
Where is the best place to keep my pc?
Anywhere you like, but keep it cool. Heat and computers don’t mix and a computer that’s kept cool will last longer than one left in a hot poorly ventilated area.
Laptop Charging Issues?
Did you know its not healthy for your laptop to be running on AC power all the time. From time to time you should run your laptop on battery power only to reduce the risk of your battery adapter and battery dying. If this does happen we can supply you with new batteries and adapters.
I bought a new game, but it won't play on my computer. Why won't it play?
All software, including games, has system requirements. These requirements are in many cases grossly understated, but provide a general guide of the operating system and hardware requirements for a particular piece of software. If the system requirements are Windows XP, 256 MB of system memory and a processor running at 2.0 GHz and you are running Windows XP® with 128 MB of system memory and a 1.0 GHz processor the software will not run on your machine. Always study the system requirements before purchasing a new piece of software.
What do Microsoft Genuine Advantage Notifications actually do?
Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage Notification and Microsoft Office Genuine Advantage Notification are updates which, when installed send notifications to Microsoft every time you start you computer without letting you know, which by definition makes it spyware. This constant sending of information to Microsoft is very unnecessary and wastes your internet so its recommended not to do these updates. If you have these installed and would like them removed we can do this for you quickly and efficiently.
The truth behind optimization software.
Optimization programs are things like Registry Booster 2009 & PC-Checkup which claim to clean your computer and make it run faster when really they are trojans, spyware and any other nasty software you can think of. If your computer has one installed it would be best to remove it and if it gives you trouble we will gladly remove it.
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How do I keep my data safe?
Back up everything often. The odds of your computer crashing with all of your vital documents and pictures seem to greatly increase the very moment you don’t have a backup. With the price of external hard drives now falling well within the reach of the average computer user, we highly recommend getting one and using it for regular backups. Alternatively, try online back up solutions. Backing up online is the safest way to protect your data so long as you choose a reliable partner. Acre pc have partnered with Datasafe, a local Tauranga company who have an impeccable record and hold data in multiple geographic locations. Find out more about backup options here.
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I cant open an email attachment?
Simply stated, you need a program to open a file. If you don't have the program on your computer to open a particular type of file, you will not be able to open and view it. To open a file with a .doc extension, you must have Microsoft® Word® or another powerful word processing application on your machine. To open a file with an extension of .PDF, you need Adobe® Acrobat Reader® or another program that can open PDF files. Ask the sender to save the attachment with an extension of .RTF or .txt. You can open files with these extensions with Notepad or Wordpad, both of which ship with all Windows® systems. If a Word® document is saved as an .RTF or .txt file, some formatting (paragraph style, indents, font type and size, etc.) may be lost.
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How do I customize my web browser toolbar?
You can customize your system web browser toolbar according to your need. There are many toolbar buttons you’ve probably never used. You can add some mostly used buttons for example "Paste" or "Print Preview" in your browser toolbar or remove with same option.
If you are using Internet Explorer then right click on the empty area of the toolbar and select the option "Customize". Here you will find a list of options in left and right panel, if you want to add any toolbar button then simply highlight it from the left panel and click on the "Add" button. But if you want to remove any toolbar button then first highlight it from the right panel and click on the "Remove" button.
How can I enlarge text on web pages?
You can enlarge the text on any web page. In windows hold Ctrl and press plus or minus on the keyboard (for bigger or smaller text)
How can I improve me search results on Google?
When you're searching for something using Google, put quotes around phrases that must be searched together. For example if you put quotes around "fruit trees", Google wont waste your time finding one set of web pages containing the word "trees" and another set containing the word "fruit".
How do I set multiple home pages?
To set more than one page to load when you open your web browser you can do the following:
This applies to web browsers installed on Windows computers.
Mozilla Firefox: Open all the pages you would like to open when Firefox starts in separate tabs, then on the top of your web browser click Tools then from the drop down menu select Options... Once that has opened up a new smaller windows, click the tab at the top that says General then under the Startup heading is a field where you can manually put in the web address of any home pages you want to set using a | to separate different pages e.g. www.google.co.nz|www.acrepc.co.nz etc or there is a button underneath that says Use Current Pages, which will set all the pages you have open to load when Firefox starts.
SeaMonkey: Open all the pages you would like to open when SeaMonkey starts in separate tabs, then on the top left of your web browser click Edit then from the drop down menu select Preferences... Once that has opened up a new smaller windows, select Browser from the menu on the left then under the Home Page heading are buttons that let you set the current page as the home page and the current tabs as the home page, or you can manually add web addresses to the field underneath the Home Page heading, which will then open those pages when SeaMonkey starts.
Opera: Unlike the other browsers you cannot do it the same way, alternatively you can create a new bookmarks folder by clicking the bookmarks tab on the top, then on the drop down menu click Manage Bookmarks... then on the top left click the small downward pointing arrow next to Add and click New Folder. The new folder will appear to the right and you then name it whatever you like, inside that folder you add the web sites you want to load when Opera starts, once you have done that you then go to Tools>Preferences... and next to the Home page text, in the field you type the folder name you gave to the one you want to load when Opera starts.
Google Chrome: Open all the pages you would like to open when Google Chrome starts in separate tabs, then near the top right of your web browser click the spanner then from the drop down menu select Options. Once that has opened up a new smaller windows, click the tab at the top that says Basics then under the On startup heading are buttons that allowing you to open your Home Page, open the pages you had open last when you closed the program or to open the following pages. If you select this option you then must click add on the right to add them manually or you can click the button which says Use current, which will set all the pages you have open to load when Google Chrome starts.
Safari: This cannot be done in Safari although you can use the following as a work-around. Create a new bookmarks folder on the bookmark menu by right clicking the bar and selecting New Folder. Then call the folder whatever you please, open all the pages you would like to use in separate tabs and then right click any one of the tabs and select Add Bookmark for These X Tabs... ,then from the drop down menu select the folder you created and save them to that folder. Now you can just click on the folder and select Open in Tabs.
Internet Explorer: Open all the pages you would like to open when Internet Explorer starts in separate tabs, then near the top right of your web browser click Tools then from the drop down menu select Internet Options. Once that has opened up a new smaller windows, click the tab at the top that says General then under the Home page heading is a field where you can manually put in the web address of any home pages you want to set using a new line to separate different pages or there is a button underneath that says Use current, which will set all the pages you have open to load when Internet Explorer starts.
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How can we be safe online?
You should never reveal your username or password to anyone who e-mails you and asks for it. This information is frequently asked for by an Internet scheme called “phishing.”
In a common phishing scam, you receive an e-mail that looks quite official. It usually appears to come from a bank or credit card company. A common title for these e-mails is “We need to verify your account information.” Another is “Please login to your account and verify your settings.” If you do click where instructed, you’ll end up on a site that appears to be the real one. If you fill in the username and password for of your on-line banking account, you can expect serious problems within twenty-four hours.
If you believe that a company or business that you do on-line business with really does require your information, then simply phone them. This way, you will know where you are sending your information, and what it will be used for.
Never reply to a SPAM email
SPAM emails will almost always invite you to unsubscribe from their mailing list, this is a way for them to confirm your email address is real, it will offer a link, or it will say something like 'Reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject', never do it.
How do I avoid spyware and viruses?
Avoiding spy ware and viruses is a must for good computer health and a decent computing experience. With spy ware and viruses, you’ll experience many problems ranging from simple annoyances (e.g. constant pop-up windows covering your desktop as you work) to destruction of or stealing important data.
There are some easy steps to follow which will help to reduce drastically the occurrences of these common problems.
Never click on Internet ads.
The rare exception to this would be is if it’s a well known, reputable company. But verify in your web browser’s status bar (typically on the bottom of the screen) that the link is actually going to take you to the correct web site. Avoid clicking links that go directly to IP addresses.
Never download Microsoft Word, Excel or Power Point files...
without having an anti virus scan done first. Many free email providers (Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.) will do this for you. But if you are using a mail client directly on your computer, ensure you have an anti-virus software installed first. Do not trust your friends’ statement of “I would never send you a virus. It’s fine.” It’s not that they would *intentionally* send you an infected file, it’s that they may have a virus or the file could have been infected before your friend received it.
Avoid illegal or questionable web sites.
Illegal music/video/software/pornographic web sites are notorious for spy ware and viruses. Plus, who can you complain to about your problem? These folks are not focused on good service. And any legit authority won’t help you fix your problems so that you can continue to steal or pirate illegal media.
Child Security in Chat Rooms.
Chat rooms have long been a favourite pass-time on the internet for kids, they can be great fun and they can make some great new friends online, the problem with chat rooms is they are generally anonymous so the person they are chatting to may not be who they say they are.
Unless you supervise your children whenever they are in a chat room then controlling who they chat too can be a problem, although, there are some general guidelines that your children can follow to make their online chatting safer:
Stay anonymous, they should use a nickname while online, and never reveal their real name.
Never tell anyone where they live, not even if they have been chatting to the person for years.
Never tell anyone what school they go to.
Never give out phone numbers.
Never agree to meet someone without a parent present, and ensure the person they are going to meet knows a parent will be accompanying them.
Tell an adult if anything strange happens or anything is said to them that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Introduce yourself in the chat room to their online friends, especially if your child wants to meet them.
Although these guidelines may seem fairly obvious, by ensuring that your children follow them they can help remove some of the dangers.
Is it hoax or is it true?
Before you believe everything you read on the internet, consider visiting the following sites to help determine whether or not the amazing story you just read is fictional or true.
Truth or Fiction
Check before clicking on internet ads.
Verify in your web browser's status bar (typically on the bottom of the screen) that the link is actually going to take you to the correct web site. Avoid0 clicking links that go directly to IP addresses.
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How do I use keyboard shortcuts in Windows?
Ctrl + C : Copy
Ctrl + X : Cut
Ctrl + V : Paste
Ctrl + Z : Undo
Ctrl + B : Bold
Ctrl + U : Underline
Ctrl + I : Italic
How can Microsoft Word help me more?
To find a word's synonym or antonym , simply highlight the word and hit Shift + F7. This will also provide a thesaurus.
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