Computer tips--- In computer Useful Software to Clean and Speed Up

There is a multi-billion dollar business built around selling PC and Mac cleaning software. They come in all shapes, sizes and prices and tout the necessity to clean, tune, and fix your computer so that it runs smoothly and efficiently. I’ve even written about many of these programs myself on Help Desk Geek and Learn fb Tips.

But do you really need all that software? Are there any real gains or is it just a bunch of fluff? Well the answer is, it depends. Sometimes a third-party program can provide a valuable service if you know how to use it. However, I have found that most of the utilities recommended on the Internet are full of options and settings that can end up harming your computer more than helping. Not only that, but many big name sites 
like PC World have lots of articles on tools to “clean” your computer which are absolutely horrible.

When you talk about cleaning up a computer, whether it be a Mac or a PC, it could refer to any number of things. Let’s break down what each of those categories are and see if it makes sense to use them or not.

Registry Cleaners Four years back, I wrote a typical 10 best registry cleaners and basically doled out a list of popular and semi-popular registry cleaners without really explaining anything. What does a registry cleaner actually do? Well, it basically (and theoretically) is supposed to remove unused or old entries, thereby “speeding” up your computer.

Even if you remove only those entries that are not needed, the performance impact is minimal. If you try to do a search for actual performance tests done before and after using a registry cleaner, you’ll find that there are very few actual tests and in the actual tests, there is basically zero difference in performance.

So that’s point one. The second issue is that a lot of registry cleaners will clean out the wrong entries. The only one that I have used and continue to use is CCleaner. It’s one that will not break your system. There is really not another one I can vouch for completely.

At the end of the day, registry cleaners can break your computer, offer no real increase in performance and waste your time. If you want to speed up your computer, read my articles on how to speed up Windows 7 
and speed up Windows 8. Also, uninstall useless programs on your system.That does a lot more in terms of performance than cleaning your registry.

File Cleaners

File cleaners are tools that will do their best to remove junk or unused files on your computer. This includes temporary files, cookies, Windows hot-fixes, cache files, history files, log files, clipboard data, etc, etc. In my view, there are only two decent programs for this that you would ever need: CCleaner and PC Decrapifier.

CCleaner does a great job of cleaning out files that you may no longer need. Again, I’ve never really saved a significant amount of space from using the tool, but if you really want to be super neat and tidy, that’s all you need. On average, I save about 1 GB in space when I run it every few months. Not going to give you back half your hard drive and with hard drives being so large today, it’s not really a big deal if you never do it.

PC Decrapifier is a program that helps you uninstall crap software that comes with new PCs you buy from Dell, HP, etc. I personally recommend just doing a clean install first and then using your computer. Here’s my guide on doing a clean install of Windows 7 and a clean install of Windows 8.


If you install a lot of software on your PC, you can easily uninstall it yourself. However, there is a whole category of software to help you uninstall programs. Is this necessary? Kind of. I personally try not to install anything on my main PC that I won’t be using every day. If I want to try something or my kids want a game to play, etc, I use a secondary machine and install all the junk. That machine then gets wiped every few months and starts all over again. I also use a virtual machine and load other software there.If you don’t have a second PC or don’t know how virtual PCs work, you might have software on your system that you don’t want anymore. Most software will have uninstallers to properly remove all the files, but a lot of times they leave stuff behind. On top of that, some programs simply do not come with uninstallers, which is really annoying.

In those cases, I only suggest Revo Uninstaller. It’s been around for a long time and does the best job. It’s not free, so I would only spend the money if you have a lot of programs that didn’t come with proper uninstallers. Otherwise, you can uninstall them and then run CCleaner to clean out any old or unused entries from those programs.

Also, like with most of these tools, it comes with some other utilities that you really don’t need. However, it’s still ok in my book for some users as uninstalling programs is not necessarily a smooth experience in Windows.

Startup Cleaners

Startup cleaners are the really useless programs if you ask me. Windows has built-in tools to see all the startup programs on your system and there is really no need to see the startup drivers, DLLs, etc, etc that some of these programs tout. Beyond simple programs, it really makes no difference unless you’re a tech geek.

A lot of the programs claim they will give you descriptions and details on each of the programs and while this may be true, you really don’t need a program for that info. Just read my article on how to change startup programs in Windows (and startup programs in Windows 8, since it’s in a new location), then do a Google search on any startup item you’re not sure about!

I definitely do not recommend installing a startup cleaner as it’s something that can be done by the user with a little bit of time and research. Now can disabling startup programs make a difference? Yes! Startup programs can really slow down your PC, so it is a good idea to disable any you think you won’t need. Again, it’s like the registry because if you disable the wrong item, your computer may not work properly. Just do a little Googling before you disable something and you’ll be fine.

Duplicate File Finders

Another set of tools are geared towards removing duplicate files. I would have to say that this can be useful. I’ve had a lot of occasions where I copied the same photos or videos off my camera and then had a bunch of extra space being used because of that. A duplicate file finder can save your some disk space if you have a lot of photos, videos, or music that might be duplicated.

For photos, I’ve used Picasa to find duplicates because it looks at the actual picture to make sure it’s a duplicate, rather than just the file name. For videos and music, there are a lot of programs out there and I suggest you just Google it. Make sure you run the EXE file through VirusTotal before you install it. I would only download a tool that finds just duplicates rather than those all-in-tools that do X, Y, Z, etc.

Also, make sure you don’t buy anything. There are a lot of great free programs that can find duplicates, so don’t get suckered into purchasing something just to remove duplicates.Browser/History Cleaners
Unless you can’t type and search in Google, you really do no need browser and history cleaners. I mean it’s a fairly easy thing to do. 

Don’t get tricked into thinking that the program can securely wipe or completely delete or any other useless hype they give you. You can delete your history just fine and make sure it can’t be recovered.Most people end up buying this software because they have some shady browsing they need to hide and they get scared that someone will find it unless they use one of these tools that claim only their program can really delete your browsing history. Complete BS. Here are some previous article I wrote on the topic:

Delete Browsing History in FirefoxClear Google Search History How to Remove and Delete CookiesBasically, you want to delete your browsing history using the browser and clear the cache. That’s it. You don’t need any fancy tool to do that. No one has ever been able to recover my history. I even tried to recovery my own history to see if this was good enough and it was.

Internet Speed Boosters

Internet speed boosters are another useless category of software you should never install. These programs are more likely to break your Internet connection or slow it down more than speed anything up. You want a faster Internet connection? Get a faster wireless router, clear up interference on your wireless network, and boost your Wifi signal.

There are some occasions where changing some TCP or network settings can speed up file write/read performance over the network, but that is usually for LAN traffic and not your Internet connection. Call your ISP and increase your download speed, but don’t install a speed booster!


As you can see from above, I don’t recommend installing too many so-called optimizers and tune-up utilities for your PC. There are a few good programs out there, but the majority suck. Try to do as much as you can by yourself and then only use trusted programs like the ones I mentioned above. What are your thoughts about clean up utilities? Do you use any? Let us know in the comments. Enjoy!

"Computer tips--- In computer Useful Software to Clean and Speed Up"

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windows tips---Your computer Hosts File in Windows and How Can You Use It.

The hosts file in Windows is like an address book for your computer. It is loaded into memory (cache) when Windows starts and associates host names, such as with IP addresses, such as for Google. The IP address is like the telephone number for that site. 

However, so we don’t have to remember a string of numbers for every site we want to visit, we enter easy-to-remember host names.Because the computer uses IP addresses to find sites, it needs to translate the host name for a site into an IP address. If the IP address for a site is in your hosts file associated with a host name, your computer can use that to “call” the site when you enter the host name in your browser’s address bar. If not, your computer must contact a DNS (domain name server) computer on the Internet for the IP address before it can contact the site.

Initially, there are no host name/IP address associations in the hosts file. Examples of the format and layout of the IP addresses and host names are listed in the comments in the file.

If you add host names and their associated IP addresses into the hosts file for sites you visit often, access to those sites becomes faster. Your computer doesn’t have to query DNS servers on the Internet to get the IP addresses for those sites. If there are any sites that don’t have a domain name, you can enter the site’s IP address in your hosts file with a custom domain name which can serve as a “shortcut” to the site.

So how can you use a HOSTS file in Windows? Well, websites can collect various types of information about you as you surf the web. The hosts file can help block sites from tracking you, as well as block ads, banners, third-party cookies, and other annoying parts of web pages.Each computer has a host address of its own, known as the “localhost” address. The IP address for localhost is This can be used to block sites serving ads or objectionable content by entering a site’s host name in the hosts file and associating it with the localhost IP address. That refers the host name to your own computer, which then thinks it found the site and displayed it already, even though that site was never actually contacted.

For example, DoubleClick is an ad server that, in some cases, will quietly try to open a separate connection on the current webpage and record your activity on that page as well as follow you to other sites you visit. Adding the following entry to your hosts file, prevents DoubleClick from ever serving you any ads or tracking your activity.

NOTE: The entries in the hosts file allow you only to block entire sites. Therefore, if you are viewing a site, any ads that are served to you by that site, cannot be blocked with the hosts file without blocking the whole site.

Another advantage of blocking ads, banners, hit counters, and other annoying webpage elements is that it can also speed up your browsing experience. You don’t have to wait for all those webpage elements to load before viewing the page.

You can set up the hosts file yourself to block websites or you can download a hosts file that is already filled out with common sites you may want to block. The following image shows a ready-made hosts file created by the MVPS site.

NOTE: You cannot use wildcards for the host names in the hosts file. For example, * will not work.

If you decide to edit the hosts file yourself, it is located in the following directory for Windows 7, Vista, and XP. The file does not have an extension, but it is a standard text (.txt) file. An easy way to open it is to open Notepad, or other text editor, first and then open the hosts file from within the editor program.


NOTE: If you choose to download and use a ready-made hosts file, be sure to make a backup copy of the original hosts file, in case you want to use that again. The easiest way to do that is to add an extension to the original hosts file, such as .mvp (for the site from which you downloaded the file) before copying the new hosts file to the directory listed above.

The hosts file is an easy way to restrict undesirable websites from accessing your computer and tracking your web activity without using third-party software and to speed up your browsing experience for sites you visit often.

"windows tips---Your computer Hosts File in Windows and How Can You Use It."

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Computer tips--- 10 awesome Google Chrome default browser Extensions You Should Install

Google Chrome is my default browser and has been so for more than a year. I use Firefox also because it has some great add-ons that still can’t be beat. However, a lot of plugins that used to only work on 

Firefox also now work with Chrome, which is great.In this post, I’m going to mention 10 plugins that I find to significantly enhance my browsing experience when using Chrome. I’m sure you have you have your own favorites, so let us know what they are in the comments.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is an awesome extension that will encrypt your web connection to thousands of web sites while you browse. It’s absolutely essential if you regularly browse the web from non-secure locations 
like hotels, airports, Wi-Fi hotspots, etc. It’s also fine to use all the time as it helps prevent identity theft by protecting your online privacy. Since it uses HTTPS to connect to sites, you might run into some problems where some sites break and don’t load properly. If you run into that problem a lot, then you can just enable the plugin when you are traveling or using an insecure network connection.


Privacyfix is a great plugin for those who want to know who’s tracking them online and what they can do to prevent it. It’ll give you reports for Facebook, Google and other websites you visit and tell you what’s being tracked and what’s not. What’s cool is that it even shows you how much money they make off of you with your current settings. Definitely a highly recommended extension that helps you understand privacy on the web a little better.

Drag and Drop Search

Drag and Drop Search enhances an already nice feature of Google Chrome. By default, if you select some text in Chrome and then right-click, you’ll see an option to perform a search on that text. This extension extends that by allowing you to drop the text into search zones, each of which can be customized by you. For example, you can have a zone for Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, etc that will perform the search on that site. The plugin also has a feature whereby you can drag and drop links into a zone that is linked to, so you can easily shorten links by just dragging and dropping.


SwiftPreview is a cool plugin that I love when it works. It’s been a little flaky on some sites, but overall I would still recommend it. The developers seem to update it fairly often so whatever issues it has will hopefully be resolved. Basically, it lets you preview links on many sites like Reddit, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. This is really useful since a lot of times I just want to see a picture and move on. Saves me time at the end of the day.

Speed Dial 2

Speed Dial 2 is one of the best extensions for replacing the new tab page in Google Chrome. It’s got all kinds of customization options and works like a champ. You can also sync it across all your instances of Chrome for a small one-time fee. The only current downside I see is that it gets rid of the Other Devices option that was on the original new tag page. However, I’m sure they’ll be adding that in since a lot of people have complained about it. Still a great plugin.

KeyRocket for Gmail

KeyRocket for Gmail is one of those plugins I didn’t even know I needed until I installed it! I love keyboard shortcuts, but for whatever reason, I can’t remember them for a lot of sites like Gmail. Maybe it’s time or not visiting the page often enough. Either way, it would still be nice to use them when I am on that page. KeyRocket for Gmail is an awesome extension that will recommend keyboard shortcuts to you while you do stuff in Gmail. So let’s say you type an email and then click Send. KeyRocket will notify you that you could have pressed a keyboard shortcut instead to send them email. Sweet! Great way to learn shortcuts for Gmail. Wish they had an extension for other sites too. is a pretty interesting plugin for those who hate looking at pictures of their friends babies on Facebook. It basically replaces baby pictures that have certain keywords associated with them with pictures of cats or other interesting stuff. You can even choose your own picture RSS feed if you want. The extension also lets you add your own keywords so if you want to block pictures of food people keep posting, you can do that too! The plugin is complicated, so it doesn’t always work. Worked fine for me, but your mileage may vary. If it works, it’s pretty darn cool.

Hover Zoom

Similar to SwiftPreview, Hover Zoom is awesome for pictures. It will let you hover your mouse over an image and see the enlarged full-size picture without having to click on it. Again, works with all the major sites like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Flickr, etc. One doesn’t really think they need a plugin like this until they install it and realize how much time they waste clicking on thumbnails! Highly recommended!

AdBlock Plus

I’m not a huge advocate of blocking ads and I don’t myself because my living depends on people seeing the ads on my site. However, since I’m listing “awesome” plugins and this is a post for the readers, not mentioning AdBlock Plus would not be fair. It’s one of the most popular extensions for Chrome and once you use it, you’ll see why. Ads are instantly gone and it does a pretty amazing job. Great for sites with tons of ads, but remember lots of people depend on ads for their living!

Google Dictionary

It’s sad, but there are a lot of words I don’t know when I read articles from New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Google Dictionary is a great extension that lets me quickly look up a word and hear how it is pronounced. Also it works with quite a few different languages, so if you read Spanish, Russian, French, German, etc websites, you’ll really love this plugin.

Let me know what you think of the list! I know there are many more extensions out there, but I’ve never really seen anyone using more than 5 to 10 extensions at any one time. Enjoy!

"Computer tips--- 10 awesome Google Chrome default browser Extensions You Should Install"

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