Tips for the average person
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July 2006 - Issue #13
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Software Tip - Speed Startup

        I had it all timed out. We would get to my father-in-law's house twenty minutes before the eBay auction was to close. I would turn on his computer, log in to eBay, and cast the winning bid.
        Right on time, I ran into his house, turned on the computer, and waited ... and waited ... and waited. Windows started but many slow programs automatically running at startup brought everything to a standstill. I couldn't even get the web browser to start. Twenty minutes later I was finally able to get online. I rushed to eBay and logged in, but the auction had closed.
        The thing that messed me up was not an old, slow computer (his computer is quite new and fast), a corrupted or bloated registry, or a dirty drive (he uses his son-in-law's RegVac and A1Click). What messed me up was too many programs set to run at startup, many of which hogged the resources and didn't allow anything else to happen (like, allowing me to get on the internet) until they were finished.
        Whether your computer is as bad as my father-in-law's or not, startup may still be a major problem. Viruses and spyware are often started by startup. All of those hidden processes running in the background are also started by startup. See those icons on the Taskbar next to the time? Most of them were put there by startup. Each hidden process, no matter how small, takes a chunck out of your computer's speed and resources leaving you with a slower, weaker computer.
        The number of programs, spyware, and viruses out there which abuse startup grows everyday. When you purchase a computer or install software, it is no telling how many startup demons come with it. That is why I wrote Speed Startup, a program to give you the upper hand over startup items.
        When you click on the Scan button in Speed Startup, it searches through 44 common and hidden startup locations. That is almost three times more than Microsoft's MSConfig checks. Many of these are hidden locations used by viruses and spyware.
        After an item is found, it is compared to a database of over twelve thousand common startup items. This database is updated regularly on the internet. Speed Startup uses this to explain what each item does, where it hides, and how dangerous it is. These items are ranked in five color coded ranks: Good, Your Choice, Not Required, Bad, and Not Found.
        When the scan is finished, you are given a summary and breakdown of the startup items with easy one click options for solving your startup problems. Or you can go to the Details section and get a complete rundown on each item.
        For the startup items that you want to run at startup, Speed Startup has a Lineup which runs each item one after the other. This alleviates the bottle neck that usually occurs when Windows tries to start everything at once.
        When programs try to secretly add themselves to startup, Speed Startup warns you and lets you decide what to do. It even locks out annoying programs.
        My father-in-law's computer has a new program on it, Speed Startup. After I put it on and ran it, his startup problems were solved. He commented later that he had never really wanted all of those icons on the taskbar but he didn't know how to get rid of them. Now they are gone, thanks, to Speed Startup.
        Startup YOUR way with Speed Startup. To download a free trial of Speed Startup go to For more information and/or to purchase Speed Startup go to

Website of Interest - YouTube

        It took a few extra hours to write this article because I sort of got distracted at YouTube. Did I say distracted? No, really, I was doing research. I watched one video, then another, then another, and, well, anyway, you get the picture.
        YouTube is a free website that is loaded with hundreds of thousands of videos. It is located at Each day they show around 30 million clips to millions of people. Of the video websites out there (iFilm, MetaCafe, and iTunes Video Store), YouTube is the most popular.
        YouTube was founded in February, 2005 by three early employees of PayPal. Ten months later, with the help of millions of investment dollars and the coincidence that they happened to host a video that everyone on the internet wanted to see (the popular Lazy Sunday clip from a Saturday Night Live broadcast), YouTube became the most popular video website. Later NBC Universal asked YouTube to remove the Lazy Sunday clip and several other copyrighted NBC video clips from their website which they did.
        Even though YouTube does not allow the posting of copyrighted clips, they often end up on YouTube because the 35,000 daily uploads are not screened. They stay on the website until the copyright holders make formal requests to remove them.
        The videos on this site are uploaded by its members, so you will find just about anything, including taped television segments (there is a ten minute limit), video clips circulating the internet, vacation videos, and amateur productions. I only looked at the most popular videos, so I am not sure what resides in the nether parts of YouTube. Let me warn you that the amateur productions can be a waste of time, but don't let that deter you from trying out YouTube because there are still plenty of good videos to watch. Some of my favorites were the space shuttle lift-off, airshow crashes, and tsunami footage.
        So whether you are looking for a certain video, wanting to share your blockbuster video production with the world, or just wanting something to do, YouTube is the place to go.

Computer Parts - The Computer Case

        Put your plain looking desktop computer up next to a real nice looking one and do you know what the main difference is? That's right, the case. But even though a nice looking case will impress people, it does more than just sit around looking pretty. Whether you have a plain or nice looking case, there are a few things that you need to know about it.
        One thing that you will probably have to figure out sooner or later is how to open it up. Some cases open differently. First, look on the back of your computer along the edge for some screws. These screws may hold on side panels or an upside down U shaped panel that covers the sides and top. Removing the screws will allow you to take off the cover. Other cases have the screws on the front of the computer. To get access to these screws, you must first remove the front panel by pressing a hidden latch. The cover is there to give easy access to the inside of your computer, so if you look hard enough, you should be able to figure out how to remove it.
        Not only does a cover hide what is on the inside, but with the help of the power supply fan (and sometimes a few more fans), it provides an air current which runs from one end of the case to the other cooling the inside. For this reason be sure to put the cover back on after you work on the computer. With it off, the air current only flows around the fan and leaves parts further away uncooled. Keeping it off may not immediately fry your computer but it may cause some parts of the computer to run hotter and fail sooner.
        Most of what this article says about computer cases applies only to desktop computers. Laptops are different. The term, "computer case", when used with a laptop can also mean a bag or briefcase that the laptop is carried in. That aside, compared with a desktop computer, the case of a laptop is much harder to remove, is not interchangable with other models, and instead of having one cover, has several smaller panels that give access to individual parts (for example, one panel gives access to the hard drive, another to the RAM memory, and another to the battery).
        The basic parts of a desktop computer case are the cover, the frame, the on/off switch, and the power supply. Some cases come with extra fans, lights, USB ports, and more.
        You can easily upgrade the look of your computer by purchasing a nicer case. You can also purchase a bigger case if you are running out of places to put drives. When you purcahse a new case, be sure that your motherboard will fit in it and that the power supply is big enough. Though it may be tempting to install the new case yourself, I would suggest that you have someone with experience do it. Getting it all to work again can be one big headache and one wrong move can fry the whole thing (I speak from experience).
        Whether you want to keep your computer cool, make it pretty, give it more room, or just have a box to hide all of the innards in, the computer case can do it for you.

Tech Tip - The F Keys

        Along the top of your keyboard is a row of keys numbered F1 to F10 or F12. Even though you may never use them, they do have function. In fact, the F stands for Function and they are called Function keys. Below is a list of what each key does. After the list is a trick that you can use Function keys for.
        Most of the items on the list below apply only to Windows and Windows' programs, especially Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.
        Some programs have their own set of functions that they have assigned to the Function keys. You can find these in the menu of the program. The menu items which are assigned a function key have the corresponding function key designated after the item name. If you press that function key, you can perform that function without using the menu or buttons. The program's help or manual should also tell which functions are assinged to the function keys.
        You might want to try each one of these as you read through them.

Function Keys for Windows
  • F1 - Opens Help for the currently displayed program (this does not work on all programs).
  • Windows Logo key and F1 - Opens Windows' Help.
  • F2 - Highlights the name of a selected object for renaming in Windows Explorer, desktop, and some other Windows' programs. First, you need to select an item that can be renamed (like, a file or shortcut). After pressing F2, you can then type what you want to rename the object to.
  • F3 - Brings up Search in Windows Explorer.
  • F4 - Drops down the Address bar in Internet Explorer showing your previous locations. This allows you to scroll down and select one.
  • Alt and F4 - Closes the currently displayed program.
  • F5 - Refreshes the view in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer (in other words, it looks at the source again and reloads the contents), and other programs. In MailWasher it checks the mail (which I guess would be a kind of refresh).
  • F6 - moves the cursor around the structure of a program. Pressing it may cycle you from window to window or from place to place within the program. In Windows Explorer it moves you from the left pane to the right pane and back. This is similar to what the Tab key does.
  • Alt and F6 - Switches between multiple windows in the same program (for example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed, ALT+F6 switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad window).
  • F7 - does not have any functionality in Windows. It may be used in individual programs.
  • F8 - accesses Safe Mode if pressed at the right time while the computer is starting. Safe Mode is a trouble-shooting mode, which will start the computer with minimal drivers.
  • F9 - does not have any functionality in Windows. It may be used in individual programs.
  • F10 - Changes the focus to and from the menu. Pressing the Alt key will also do this. Once the focus is on the menu items, you can use the arrow keys to navigate to an item and the Enter key to select it.
  • Shift and F10 - brings up the popup menu in Windows Explorer much like right clicking on an item does.
  • F11 - Switches between regular screen mode and full screen mode. Full screen mode is like a maximized screen but with more screen space and less toolbar controls.
  • F12 - does not have any functionality in Windows. It may be used in individual programs.
        You may have noticed that some of the Function keys are not used (F7, F9, F12) in Windows. That doesn't mean that they can't be used. There are two ways to use the unused F keys.

        The best and easiest way to use these keys is to get our program, Design Your Keys. Design Your Keys quickly lets you customize the F keys and many other keys to do what you want them to do (for example, go to websites, hibernate the computer, see System Properties, and etc.). Get more information at Free 30 day trial. Download Design Your Keys at

        The second way to use the unused F keys or any other key combination is to reconfigure a shortcut. This can only be used on shortcuts. Here are instructions for doing that.
  1. Locate the shortcut of that program. The Start menu is a good place to find shortcuts (every icon in the Start menu is a shortcut). If the program doesn’t have a shortcut, create one.
  2. Right click on the shortcut and select the Properties item from the popup menu.
  3. The Properties dialog will open. Go to the Shortcut tab.
  4. Put the curser in the Shortcut key textbox and press the Function key or key combination (like Alt + Ctrl + 2) which you want to use to start the program.
  5. The Function key name or key combination name will appear in the box.
  6. Click on the Apply button (or the OK button) and close the dialog.
        After you have done this, whenever you press that Function key or key combination, that program will start. Please note that if you use a Function key or key combination that is already used by Windows or other programs, it will no longer work in Windows or the other programs as it used to and will instead start your program.
        To disable this, follow the above instructions but press Backspace or Delete in the Shortcut key textbox.
        The Function keys are there to make your life easier. Now you can start using them.

eScams - Online Auctions

        Online auctions, like eBay, are great places to find deals and purchase items that you cannot purchase anywhere else, but if you are not careful, you can also get ripped off. Some people have been swindled out of thousands of dollars at online auctions.
        My losses have not been that drastic, but I have had losses. For example, once I purchased an electric motor for my car's window. I could have bought it at the local auto parts store but it was cheaper online. I spent half a day installing it and it only worked once. I wrote the seller. He told me to return it to him and he would replace it. So I took the motor back out and sent it back. When the second motor arrived, I put it in and it worked...for about a month. I ended up at the local auto parts store, where I paid full price for a motor that is still working two years later.
        Another time I purchased an expensive used tripod. When it arrived, one part was broken and another was missing. After writing back and forth to the seller and providing pictures, he refunded part of my money to me and sent a replacement part. It still does not work good enough for me to use.
        Yet another incident happened recently when I purchased a brand new, in the box, laptop computer from an auction. When it arrived, it was in the box, but it was not brand new. It was remanufactured and resold. When I had a problem with it, I found out that the warranty only applied to the original owner. The seller did replace the bad part and so it all worked out, but I had expected a brand new computer.
        These experiences marred my otherwise wonderful experience with online auctions and taught me to take certain precautions before making that first bid.
        The two main types of fraud for online auctions are misrepresentation of the product and non-delivery. You can protect yourself from these by doing the following:
  • Fully read the product description. Sometimes the product description will state certain exceptions that may apply to you. Also remember that it is just as important what a description does not say. Don't assume anything and be suspicious of usual ingredients not listed.
  • Always check the Feedback of the Seller before you bid on the item. Feedback is where other buyers can tell of their experience with the seller. Bad feedback can be a tip off to a bad seller. Be sure to read the actual comments and not just look at the rankings. If the seller has bad feedback or no feedback, it would be smart to rethink whether you want to bid on the item or not.
  • Pay only with PayPal. PayPal has some great advantages. One of those is their return policy. If the item was misrepresented and you returned it or you did not receive the item, PayPal will give all of your money back. The seller does not have much say about it.
  • Do not wait too long before trying to resolve the problem. Both PayPal and eBay have a limit in how long after the sell you can file a complaint. It is not very long.
        Apart from the above suggestions, here are some warnings from the FBI:

        FBI Warnings - Consumers are strongly cautioned against entering into Internet transactions with subjects exhibiting the following behavior:
  • The seller posts the auction as if he resides in the United States, then responds to victims with a congratulatory email stating he is outside the United States for business reasons, family emergency, etc. Similarly, beware of sellers who post the auction under one name, and ask for the funds to be transferred to another individual.
  • The subject requests funds to be wired directly to him/her via Western Union, MoneyGram, or bank-to-bank wire transfer. By using these services, the money is virtually unrecoverable with no recourse for the victim.
  • Sellers acting as authorized dealers or factory representatives in countries where that company has no such dealers should be avoided.
  • Buyers who ask for the purchase to be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country should be avoided.
  • Be suspect of any credit card purchases where the address of the card holder does not match the shipping address. Always receive the card holder's authorization before shipping any products.
        Yes, there is fraud on online auctions, but if you take the above precautions the benefits will greatly outweigh any loss you experience.

Featured Discussions

Where is Quick Launch?

Find this on our board at

  • - I have lost my Quick Launch on the Taskbar. I don't know how to get it back.

  • dlwolff0 - Right click on an empty space on the toolbar. The context menu will have toolbars at the top. Check quick launch.
            With 98SE, you may have to reboot for it to show up. It's been a while since I ran 98

    spyware removal

    Find this on our board at

  • kwkominek - I have read that it takes several spyware removal programs to completely clean your machine. currently i use AdAware. is there another one that you can recommend. Ray, do you have a spyware removal program?

  • Ray - The best defense against spyware is not to open attachments and not to go to websites that would put spyware on your computer.
            Each new spyware that comes out puts itself in a different place on your computer. A spyware cleaner must keep up with all of these which is almost an impossibility. I do not have the time or resources to do so and so we have no plans to produce a spyware removal program.
            I personally do not use a spyware cleaner. I choose instead to avoid spyware. I have used a few spyware cleaner programs in the past but apart from finding a lot of "spyware" and removing them, I am not sure if they actually did any good. My computer didn't run any better or faster (I did not have a problem with it in the first place) and the same spyware was found and removed over and over again by these programs.

    Automate e-mail address writing

    Find this on our board at

  • billrobb - Is there an easier way to write and rewrite our e-mail addresses rather than always spelling them out. i.e. to automate writing one's e-mail address?

  • dlwolff0 - What email program are you using? Most of them have the capability to do this built into the program.

  • billrobb - It is not about sending e-mails, it is more about (sorry that I asked the wrong question) something like Google auto-fill but filling in more than e-mail and name and credit card numbers.

  • dlwolff0 - There are a great number of programs that will complete forms automatically. Just enter "autocomplete" in a search engine and you should get links to a lot of their web sites.

  • pipdev - also, if you use Opera as a browser, you have not only autocomplete options, but also lots of personal info available on a right click.

  • Ray - In Outlook Express if you have the email address in your contacts list, you just have to type the first letter or two in the To slot and it will autocomplete it.

    mouse problem

    Find this on our board at

  • John Burke - When I boot my computer everything is fine, but after it is on for a while the mouse gets so slow that you wonder if it is working. The only way I can make it beter is to re-boot the computer. I am running the latest version of regVac, A1 PC Cleaner,and the latest fersion of eTrust EZ armor whitch has anti-spam, anti-virus, spyware, and a firewall. I bought a new mouse, reinstalled the software and nothing short of re-booting it works. It has been doing this for about three months. Any help you could give would be greatly appriciated.

  • dlwolff0 - What kind of mouse are you using?
    PS2 or USB connection?
    Wired or wireless?
    Optical or not?

  • John Burke - Microsoft

  • Ray - I would think that a new mouse would have worked.
            You might try using a different kind of mouse (borrow one from a friend) and see if that works.
            If none of that works, I would think that the problem was on the motherboard.

  • dlwolff0 - Apparently this is not uncommon. See this article, assuming you are using WinXP. There are also solutions for Win2K and Win98. Hopefully this will solve the problem.

    Questions on our Discussion Board

  • USB 2.0 Flash / Key Drive driver
  • Yahoo icon disappeared
  • Yahoo and Internet Security
  • Link to IE doesn't work!
  • copying data to cd
  • Backing up the Registry
  • Verify error with WinRescue XP
  • Incorporating graphics in RTF text
  • Printer on a network
  • Live update for Norton
  • Making UK English the default in Word
  • SATA harddrives
  • how to add a program to startup
  • Wireless Routers and Phones
  • Backing up all of Hard Drive with WinRescueXP
  • Mailwasher wants OE password
  • MS Disk Cleanup not working
  • right click menu options
  • Cannot remove program
  • Saving Downloaded Software
  • IE "Cannot find Server" msg attempting to log in
  • VISTA, the new OS in 2007!
  • Disappearing toolbar icons
  • Routers
  • automatic fill-ins
  • Lost Folder in Outlook Express

    Thanks for reading,
    Ray Geide

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