Read Our Best 10 Westchester Help Desk Interview Questions

Read Our Best 10 Westchester Help Desk Interview Questions As an IT company operating in Westchester County NY and in the tri state area, we often need to hire computer technicians for the role of help desk. During the interview process, we ask technical questions to assess the knowledge of the candidates and try to evaluate a response that makes most of the sense for us. In the IT world usually one question can have multiple answers, because an IT problem can be solved in different ways. A large number of users in Westchester and in the US face daily issues with their computers.  These issues affect productivity so companies want toensure that their IT systems run smoothly that’s why they need desktop support and help desk professionals. 1- WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK AS DESKTOP SUPPORT SPECIALIST? A good answer would be I loved filming computer problems since I was a child I remember opening my childhood computer and toys to look at what’s going on inside them and I tried to understand how they worked I think desktop support provides me an opportunity to refine my problem-solving skills in the area of IT. 2- PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF A TICKET THAT YOU SOLVED AND THE STEPS YOU TOOK TO SOLVE IT. This is a very common question in desktop support and helpdesk interviews. Try to be genuine and give a real-life example of the ticket you’ve resolved atany point in your career the interviewer wants to know your problem-solving approach and your communication skills. If you’ve never solved an IT ticket before you can familiarize yourself with a few common computer problems and their solutions before going into the interview you can use one of these solutions before going into the interview. For example, try to describe how you helped turned on a computer tha won’t boot up, how you troubleshooted screens that had no piocture even if the pc was turned on, etc etc. 3- WHAT IS ACTIVE DIRECTORY? Active directory is a service by Microsoft that is used to manage, organize and run networks Active Directory makes it easier for system administrators to find and use information related to all the users and objects in a network. An example would be using Active Directory to assign new policies to a specific group of users, restricting access to a printer for a specific user or removing users from a network Active Directory consists of different objects like forests domains contacts group sites and printers. 4- WHAT IS BLUE SCREEN OF DEAT AND HOW YOU FIX IT? The blue screen of death is a critical error that occurs when operating systems cannot function and it crashes mostly. BSOD problems are related to Hardware kernel or drivers. BSOD errors often show an error code or stop code which we can use to find out the cause of the problem. To solve thisproblem I will first restart the computer; if the computer restarts successfully I will update all drivers; if the problem persists I will disconnect all unnecessary hardware. To rule out the external causes I will also boot the computer in safe mode to see if the problem occurs in this basic state as well other fixes I can try include checking the hard disk for bad sectors. 5- A USER COMPLAINS THAT THE SYSTEM IS VERY SLOW. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO FIX IT? The reason behind a slow computer is usually a lack of sufficient memory. I will start by removing temporary files from the Windows folder; I will also with the users permission delete any unused files and programs that are taking up significant space on the hard disk. I will also run hard drive defragmentation tools to optimize space on the hard disk. If the user is facing slow performance while using the Internet I will delete a cache from the browser as a last resort I’ll explore the possibility of upgrading the hard disk to SSD in Ram or installing a more powerful processor as a ultimate resource. 6- WHAT WOULD A COMPUTER TECH SUPPORT  DO IF A USER HAS HARD TIME PRINTING? I will open the add printer wizard in Windows and select the required printer from the list of available printers. I will use the admin network wireless or Bluetooth printer option if we are operating in a networked environment. I will also install and update printer drivers if necessary if the user’s computer normally fails to detect their network printer I will enable network discovery and file and printer sharing options in the network and sharingcenter in Windows control control panel. 7- WHAT IS A LOGICAL DRIVE? A logical drive is a virtual storage unit that exists on a physical hard drive but acts as an independent storage drive. The purpose of a logical drive is to optimize storage performance by making contiguous storage units allowing them to interact optimally without intervening with irrelevant or unrelated physical units. Logical drives add abstraction and storage making it easier for the operating system to read from memory. 8- HOW DOES A VPN WORK? A VPN tunnels a private network over a public network with extra encryption to connect users to the private networks resources.A VPN masks the original IP address identity and location of the originator of a web request providing more security to a user who tries to access resources from a public open network. 9- WHAT HAPPENS BEHIND THE SCENES WHEN A USER TYPES GOOGLE.COM When a user enters and presses enter, the browser checks the cache of the browser operating system router and ISP for the DNS record to find the corresponding IP address of WWW typed in. If the IP address of Google is not found in these caches, the ISPs DNS server will initiate a request to other DNS servers on the internet to find the IP address of When my browser receives the appropriate IP address it establishes a connection usually a TCP

Read Our Best 10 Westchester Help Desk Interview Questions Read More »

Let’s Find Out What Caused Computers to be Slow in Westchester NY

Let’s Find Out What Caused Computers to be Slow in Westchester NY Between 2021 and 2022 Sandanotech has been collecting statistical data about computer hardware and software issues encountered by its Westchester clients. The stats provided below she lights about user habits, company hardware procurements and computer maintenance. Given that the range of clients we have is a mix, it is important to highlight that some of the companies decided to join our managed services, but some of them, because of budget constraint, prefer to use our services on request. On the other hand, those who have joined our services, are more careful in avoiding downtime and have newer hardware and software. Those who call our IT support services on request, have experienced more downtime because of older hardware and randomness in applying patches and updates. Our Westchester IT Support Provides Computer Services   To Workstations Running Windows 10 and Windows 11 To Workstations Running Intel Core I5 and AMD Processors To Computers that are usually no more than 5 years old. To Pcs that have SSD but also Mechanical hard drives Let Sandanotech Know if you Need Tech Support When users call for tech support and report that the computer is slow, they usually don’t describe the reasons why their machine is acting their way.  Slowness can depend on software problems or ageing hardware. In this scenario, we have though to lay down what we have discovered in the computers of our clients and how we were able to implement a decent solution to correct the issue. COMPUTERS WITH MECHANICAL HARDWARE -HDD For machines running on mechanical hard drives, we usually recommend to do first a disk error checkup and disk defragmentation. Once those tasks have been completed, the computer’s speed can be incremented by running Windows updates and by removing unnecessary software. IDENTIFYING WHAT CAUSES SLOWNESS Not all the programs were created equal. For example, Outlook and Chrome take up a lot of resources. In the system resources after having hit task manager, find what program takes most resources and maybe propose the user to use the cloud version of it. One example could be if Excel keeps crashing, a user may want to use the onlinbe version of it on OWA. REMOVE MALWARE Constantly scanning for viruses can keep system clean, remove infections and prevent the computer from getting clogged with files and programs users do not need. OPTIMIZING STARTUP PROGRAMS The startup program is crucial in discovering what resources are taken when the computer starts up. For example, Microsoft Teams and One Drive can be turned off and free up resources. CLEARING BROWSER CACHE Keeping browsers such as Chrome up to date allows a faster Internet experience. Also clearing the browsing history will result in a safer behavior as browser does not have to store passwords and cookies. Keep also browser extesnions at a minimum so that the browser won’t slow down or crash. HARDWARE UPGRADES If a desktop runs Windows 10 or, even worse, Windows 11, with only  8GB of RAM, I recommend to upgrade the ram at least to 16 GB. That way, multitasking will become easier and several high-intensity programs such as Chrome will run better and faster. On the hard drive side, we have already specified that it’s much better to have a ssd or NVME hard drive rather than a mechanical hard drive. The HDD can be easily cloned to an SSD resulting in 30 per cent more read and write speed. UPDATE THE WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 10 has 2 more years of support left as of this writing and many companies are already upgrading their computers to Windows 11. Upgrading the OS right now does not make the computer faster, and honestly it can translate in a bad user expericence because many of our clients in Westchester still don’t like Windows 11, Better to run a fully patched Windows 10 than a Windows 11 system on a 5 years old machine. That would complicate things even further.

Let’s Find Out What Caused Computers to be Slow in Westchester NY Read More »

Common Computer Issues on the User’s Side in Westchester

Common Computer Issues on the User’s Side in Westchester There is nothing more frustrating than starting your day in the office and your computer is acting up. You have deadlines, you have to answer emails but your pc does not seem to cooperate. We have been called very often in Westchester county to assist users early in the morning because their machines had issues that they were not able to resolve with a single reboot. What is even more frustrating is that not always computer problems can be resolved with a remote session, but company employees have to wait for a tech to come over to solve the problems. What Sandanotech Tech Support Recommends Is to hire an IT firm that conducts computer business locally so that computer support in person may not be late when problems arise. Let us Know if you Need IT Support A typical day in the office begins with employees arriving to the headquarters and trying to login into their Windows account. A typical office has workstations running Windows 10 or 11 and users’ accounts are managed by one or two Activer Directory servers. The common issues that office suers are experiencing can be described as follows: User Cannot Login into their Workstation That issue has usually to do with users not rememberiung their login password and in that case a Windows system administrator can create a temporary new password for the user. After having input the temporary password, users can create a new password that would have to comply with the lenght and complexity required by the company’s password policy. User Reports that the Computer is Turned Off In this case, a tech would first try to turn on the computer and see if the monitors as well power up. If the computer turns on, users may be forced to go past Bit Locker and then login. Another attempt can be if the tech support in place can try to unplug the power cord, keep pressed the power button for 15 seconds to discharge extra power and try to reboot the machine. If all fails, the computer technician should see if there are Bios errors or if the system does not load. It happened to us that we had to replace computers quickly for a client in new Rochelle because after the Bios post, the system would not load because of corrupted files. User Cannot Print Solving printing issues seems easy but in reality it’s a very tricky troubleshooting task. First you may want to check if user has tried to print multiple times and his/her print queue is full with print jobs. Clear all the print jobs, reboot the pc and see if the printer is set as default printer in the Windows control panel and if the printer drivers are properly installed. If you have a Windows server that manages print jobs through a Group Policy Object, you may want to check that as well and eventually reboot the server if users cannot print. User Has No Internet Troubleshooting Internet in a small office is not the same as trying to understand why you don’t have Internet at home. A small business office may have several routers, switches and firewalls, and IT technicians have to deal with each individual appliance to see what’s going on. Usually tech support in Westchester login into the GUI of those appliances by typing their IP address. If one of those appliances does not let you login, you may want to focus on that as a temporary single point of failure. User Has not Received an Attachment from another User Usually the issue occurs when a user sends a pdf or a large excel file to another user via email. As the sender is not aware of the attachment size limitation, the receiver will never get the file. In this case, although Microsoft One Drive and Google Drive are 7 years old, users still don’t seem to realize that it will be better to use cloud service to send attachments. As a matter of fact a cloud provider will send to the receiver a link to download the file from a cloud server and not the physical file. User Cannot Login into their VOIP Phones Nowadays tech support in Westchester needs to be able to troubleshoot VOIP phones as part of their core competencies. Users usually forget their extension number so it would be a good idea if computer people keep a copy of the company phones’ directory and guide user to the phone login process. If a new user is onboarded or terminated we recommend to outsource the phone systems to a cloud phone company who can create, reassign and delete users’ numbers in a more orderly fashion. Computer Monitors are Turned Off Monitors are usually not turned off but they are isle. I would check the connection, restart the computer and see if the picture comes up. If the picture does not showe up I would check the input source in the monitor itself, which can be DVI, VGA or HDMI. If all those fail I would eventually replace the monitor cable with a new one. Computer Running Slow If the computer runs slow, there are serveral things to check before taking action. Check the hardware first: as we have seen some of our Westchester clients buying computers with Intel Core i3 processor, there won’t be that much to do because that machine was born to be slow. If, on the other hand, the computer or laptop has a Intel Core I5 or Core I7, tech support may want to uninstall unused programs, turn off software and services from the startup menu that are not needed such as Xbox, run Windows updates, browser updates and Microsoft Office updates. A good way to free up some storage is to cleanup the download folder and to empty the recycle bin.  

Common Computer Issues on the User’s Side in Westchester Read More »

7 Free Windows Productivity Tools you May Want to Consider

7 Free Windows Productivity Tools you May Want to Consider Using the computer the way most of us does it does not take into account that there are many productivity tools that can enhance our daily lives and make us more productive. Some tools that I will describe in this article help better understand some hidden computer features you may not want to tamper with; others can take our tasks to a new level and make us look like computer professionals.Productivity is the most important aspect of our digital life. There are many different types of software that can be used to help increase productivity. Windows has a few that are free, and they have some great features as well as being easy to use. Here are some free tools you may want to consider while working with mouse, programs, and files: 1- FILE LOCKSMITH File Locksmith is part of Microsoft Power Toys and it can be downloaded for free from here. When you delete a file accidentally or not, Windows can tell you if the file is in use by another program. But if the file or folder is in use by a set of programs it may not tell you that it’s in use. File locksmith tells you if a folder is in use by a program so that you can determine if it’s worth deleting it or not. The most useful feature of this program is the one that shows up after right clicking “ What’s using this file”. You can also select an entire directory or folder, and it will scan all files and subfolders in that one, and tell you which ones are being used by what programs. So you can see for each process, it has an End Task option. It also says like the process ID, the user, and it will also show you other files being used by that program, like if you selected the directory with multiple files in there, maybe multiple of them are being used by one program. What’s also nice is this tool will tell you if a System account is using a file. 2- TEXT EXTRACTOR Text Extractor is a useful if you ever need to copy some text that you can’t highlight and select for some reason. If the text it’s in a picture, or if it’s part of a UI element in Windows you can highlight the text in it and Text extractor will copy the text to the clapboard. With this, you can just use the shortcut and then click and drag over whatever text you want. Text Extractor will use optical character recognition to extract the text and put it onto the clipboard. It may struggle when the font is really small or if it’s a highly compressed image but it’s works ninety per cent of the times. 3- AWAKE As the name implies, Awake keeps the computer awake, that is from going to sleep. What basically the program does is that it changes the power plan of your computer. Instead of going to make changes in the control panel or in the settings of your computer, Awake takes care of making those changes for you with few clicks. It also can keep awake the screen of your computer which is a task that is different from idling the screen. The utility may come handy when for example you run a server or you have tasks that require the computer running 24/7, such as backups or file transfer and synchronizations. 4- COLOR PICKER Similarly to Text Extractor, Color Picker can be enabled by using the shortcut Win+Shift+C. Those three keys will show you a little box next to your mouse and cursor. With your mouse and cursor, you can hover the image and the program will show you the color beneath the cursor with its hex properties. Once you find a color you like, you can simply click and it will bring up the bigger color editor. On the right, there’s this little color bar. At the center is the color that you picked, and then on the left and right, it’ll show a couple shades lighter and darker. If you right click after the selection of the color you are focusing on, you can export the list to a text file. 5- FILE EXPLORER ADDONS This program gathers multiple other programs under its name. The addons provide the ability to see previews and thumbnails of more file types than default. For example, if there are several different source code files actually that can be previewed, PDF, geometric code, and other extension files can be previewed by toggling the button “On”. 6- HOSTS FILE EDITOR The hosts file is a text file with notations related to the way your computer talks to the network. It requires you to know networking before changing the parameters of that file. If you’re not familiar with the host file, it basically lets you manually enter DNS entries for your computer, which means it will link an IP address to a domain or a host. And this tool simply gives you an easier GUI to be able to manipulate the host file, because normally you just open it with like notepad or something. Thanks to the utility, you can add an entry to the file, and you can enter the IP address and its host. You can also toggle it on and off, which will simply add a comment symbol to either comment it out or not, depending on whether that entry is enabled. Be cautious before modifying this file and learn more about DNS in general from my article here. 7- MOUSE UTILITIES Like the File Explorer addons, Mouse Utilities is a set of tools that enhance the productivity of your mouse cursor. The utilities include Find My Mouse, Mouse Highlighter, and Mouse Pointer Crosshairs. In Find My Mouse, you can set the shortcut to a few different things, either to press the control key twice

7 Free Windows Productivity Tools you May Want to Consider Read More »

How to Make Windows 10 Run Faster

How to Make Windows 10 Run Faster Under the generic statement,” My computer is slow, can you make it run faster?”, there are several assessments a computer technician has to make. Usually, clients do not describe what is slow for them, but they just explain their frustrations as users. In a business environment, tech support does not spend a lot of time asking users what’s wrong with their computers because IT has already an inventory of all the programs that are installed, and they know the age of the machine they are dealing with. In a small business or home environment, however, things are different and IT consultants do not support the business network with the same frequency of a larger corporate network. The main distinctions that I would like to make in this introduction is the following: 1- REMOVE IRRELEVANT STARTUP PROGRAMS One of the issues that makes computers run slow is the length of time when it boots up. Therefore, one of the first things to do is to offload the booting process of the computer. Go to the taskbar and right click. Select Task Manager. When the task manager window opens, hit More Details at the bottom of that window. A larger task manager window will show a list of the running programs. Head over to the Startup tab. The Start up tab will display the programs that boot up as soon as the computer is turned on. To disable a program from the startup,, select the program and click disable at the bottom right of the window. Reboot eh computer for the changes to take effect. 2- REMOVE PROGRAMS THAT YOU DON’T NEED NOR USE There are programs such as Microsoft teams or Skype that runs at the startup but that some users do not use at all. In the age of Zoom, not many users are using Teams. If you don’t use teams and Skype, remove those programs because these resources begin working when the computer is turned on. Keep only the programs you need and use on a daily basis. There are two ways to uninstall unneeded programs on Windows 10: A) From the control panel by going to the search bar and typing “Control panel”. Once the windows shows up, you just select the program you don’t want and click Uninstall.B) Left click the start menu and the list of all the programs running on your computer comes up. Right click on the program you don’t need anymore and click Uninstall. 3- DISABLE SERVICES THAT YOUR COMPUTER DOES NOT NEED Manipulating the services on a Windows machine requires a little bit of knowledge and research because we don’t want to disable Microsoft services that the computer may need. To disable services at the startup, go to the search bar menu at the bottom left and type “msconfig” and hit enter. As soon as the System Configuration window opens, you need to go to the Services tab, and you will see a list of services running in your machine. Be careful before disabling because the list mixes up Windows services with other services and we don’t want to accidentally disable a service that the computer needs. Head down at the bottom left of the of the System Configuration window and tick “ Hide all Microsoft Services”. By checking that feature, you will be prevented from disabling Microsoft services and damaging your system. Getting back to the now filtered list, a service that for example, I would disable is the Google Chrome Update Service. Reboot the computer. A better way to disable a service is to go to the Services tab and change the service from Automatic to Manual. By changing the service from Automatic to Manual, you will tell the computer not to start the service at the startup but only to start when it’s needed. 4- SCAN YOUR COMPUTER FOR VIRUSES Another reason why the computer may run slow is because of a virus. Viruses are programs that take many resources from your computer besides the implicit danger that they can steal users’ data. You can use any type of antivirus you are comfortable with but please do not run an expired antivirus. An expired antivirus can slow down your computer like having a virus and can expose your computer to malware. I personally prefer to run scans with Windows Defender because since the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft has really boosted Windows defense by creating Windows Defender. In addition to Windows Defender I recommend a light antimalware program, Malware Bytes which can protect your computer from ransomware and your browser with the Malware Bytes Browser Guard plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. To run a scan with Windows Defender, go down with your mouse to the bottom right corner and find the shield icon. After you have found the Virus and Threat Protection select Full Scan and let the utility scan for infections on your computer. If a virus is found, follow the instructions on how to remove it and after you have rebooted the computer, the computer may run faster (depending on the virus, though). 5- RUN WINDOWS UPDATES Gone are the times in which Windows 7 updates were making more harm than good. I still remember when in 2015, computers became slower rather than faster with updates installed on Windows 7. As Microsoft is emulating Apple systems with its interface similar to the IOS, Windows will gain extra speed if it is updated frequently. Similarly to Apple updates that are meant to remove system files and replace them with newer files that can make the computer slightly faster, Windows updates will overwrite the existing files with newer files that can give more speed to your machine. As a general rule, on Windows the updates will get downloaded and installed automatically, but if you want to run them manually, just type “Updates” in the search bar at the bottom left of the desktop and the Windows update window will

How to Make Windows 10 Run Faster Read More »

What to do When Your Computer Reaches 100 % Disk Usage

What to do When Your Computer Reaches 100 % Disk Usage What does it mean when your computer displays 100 % disk usage? How did we get to that point and what are the next steps to avoid data corruption?If you use your computer on a daily basis, chances are that sooner or later you will see the dreaded ‘low disk space’ alert on Windows. This alert is easily one of the most annoying and frustrating things you can see when using a computer.Unfortunately, due to the amount of multimedia content we store on our computers these days, it is almost inevitable that at some point your Windows system will become almost full with all those images, videos, and audio files. The good news is that with a little bit of tweaking and maintenance, you can prevent this from happening again in the future. In this article, I will take you through simple ways to reduce the disk usage on your Windows system. 1- DISABLE CONNECTED USER EXPERIENCE AND TELEMETRY SERVICE To disable some key services, click on your start menu and type in services and open the services app. From here the first service you are going to look for is the connected user experience and telemetry. Scroll down and here it is right here so you can click on that to change it from automatic to disabled. Push the stop button and then hit apply. By disabling this service, you are not only freeing disk usage but also avoiding Microsoft from tracking your activity. 2- DISABLE SYSTEM MAIN SERVICE Similarly to connected user experience, another service that is worth disabling is the Sys Main Properties. After having reached out to the services applet, you may want to configure the startup type to “Disabled”. What essentially System Main does to your computer is that it preloads applications into memory when the computer boots up. At the moment of booting up the machine, Windows tries to guess which programs you are going to use and it loads those programs in the background so that when you click on them it appears as if they’re loading faster: in few words Sys Main acts as a system cache that learns from user habits and prioritize the display of the programs user adopts more frequently. There is no downside in disabling this Windows service. 3- DISABLE WINDOWS SEARCH Without leaving the Services applet, another service that can be disabled is the Windows Search. Once you have disabled the service, click on “Stop” and then “Apply”, and “OK”, otherwise the computer will not remember your preferences. The search service typically uses most of your hard drive resources. However, I would not disable this service because not having the Windows Search functionality means not being able to search for files and folders in your computer. Better maybe to think about disabling this service or the computer usability can be drastically reduced. Another cons of disabling this service is that it will disable the Windows built-in backup utility, also known as File History. Therefore, I don’t think that there is a major utility in disabling the Windows Search service. 4- CHANGE THE POWER PLAN TO HIGH PERFORMANCE Changing the power plan on your Windows 10 machine will not have a huge impact on the disk usage but it will increase the performance of your machine at the expenses of its power. On a desktop computer this tweak is recommended but on a laptop you may want to think whether is more important for you to save battery power or have a slightly faster computer. To change the power plan you may want to reach an empty area of the desktop and right click anywhere on the desktop. Go down to display settings and then from display settings you want to click on power and sleep and then from there you want to scroll down until you see additional power settings. Once we open the utility, you will see that usually it is set by default to “Balanced”. From balanced you will change it to high performance. Click on it to create a new power plan that will be a high-performance plan under a new name that you are going to give. 5- RUN WINDOWS UPDATES Sometimes running Windows Updates will solve software glitches and may solve the 100 % disk usage issues. To run Windows Updates you can just type on the Windows search bar “Updates” and the “Check for Updates” utility will come up. Click on it and let all the updates go through. Reboot your computer and check if you still have the 100 % Disk Usage alerting your computer. If Windows recommends running also optional updates, please go ahead and let those updates be installed. Reboot the computer and run a check up again. 6- UPGRADE TO AN SSD INTERNAL HARD DRIVE If you have recently upgraded your operating system from Windows 7 to Windows 10 or from Windows 8 to Windows 10, it is time to check if your computer has still a spinning drive (HDD). If your machine still runs on a spinning drive, your computer will run slower because Windows 10 presumes you are running a machine with an SSD. The fact of not having an SSD when running Windows 10 can bring to the 100% Disk Usage issue. This is the most relevant of all the tasks listed in this article because in most of the cases it solves the problem of the disk usage. Windows 10 was conceived with the new reading and writing speeds issued by faster SSDs. Manufacturers should stop releasing computers with spinning disks also because users do not know when a computer comes with a spinning disk or a Solid State Drive. Consumers are lured by a cheap computer and they often make the mistake of buying a computer with a spinning disk or with a Pentium or Intel Core I3 processors. BOTTOM LINE One hundred per cent disk usage does not mean

What to do When Your Computer Reaches 100 % Disk Usage Read More »

Should I Remove the Crapware from my PC or Laptop?

Should I Remove the Crapware from my PC or Laptop? Every time we get a new computer, besides being excited for having purchased a new device, we begin using it immediately without being aware of the software that already comes with it. Users usually do not go beyond transferring files from the old machine or from a previous backup and do not care of the programs that have been preinstalled by the computer manufacturer. But, do you know what will happen to the new computer after few weeks? Annoying messages begin popping up prompting to subscribe to Mac Afee, Microsoft Office, and other software.This article will try to answer the question whether the preinstalled software should be removed or not and if yes, what type of products should be used to do the job. 1- BULK CRAP UNINSTALLER Bulk Crap Uninstaller is a free program that is very easy to use. After you have finished the installation, the software interface lists all the programs that should be removed in alphabetical order. More advanced users can also tick a box that will display system components. Bulk Crap Uninstaller will also show a tag with “No Remove” to let users know that it is recommended not to remove the programs that display the “No Remove” tag. After having uninstalled the program from the computer, the software will continue to deep clean your machine from leftovers, which are located in the registry. The software will select which registry entries will be deleted as leftovers and with the click of a button the leftovers are gone. 2- BLOATBOX Bloatbox is another free program that you can download from GitHub. After downloading the zip file, you can run the program as administrator by right clicking with your mouse. The program has a nice little interface where you can clearly see all the apps that are listed on the left-hand side. The apps listed on the left are all Microsoft apps that Bloatbox will uninstall. If you don’t know which ones you want to remove or add you may not be aware of everything that’s listed for removal. On the right-hand side, when you select the apps under the tab “Remove Apps” that feature will automatically remove pre-installed Microsoft applications that are commonly not used so you can go ahead and click on yes to remove them. After the programs have been removed, Bloatbox will prompt user about the programs that have been successfully removed. An advanced feature of the software is for PowerShell users. Below the menu Apps and Features, there is a link called “Optional Features” that will allow users to remove the leftovers from the registry using PowerShell. After having removed the unnecessary programs, the software will prompt user to reboot the system. The new desktop that shows up after cleaning will display three icons that can be manually dragged into the recycle bin. 3- WINDOWS 10 DEBLOATER Similarly to Bloatbox, the Windows 10 Debloat tool can be downloaded from Github. Once the zip file has been downloaded, open the zipped file drag the folder onto your desktop with the folder on your desktop double click on the folder and navigate down to the Windows 10 Debloater GUI. We first need to think about which options we’re going to use. Starting off with Cortana, if you don’t want this in the Windows search at the bottom left, you have two options, enable or disable. Other Windows features that can be enabled or disabled are Edge PDF and Dark Theme. On the lower part of the interface, Windows 10 Debloater has another section called “Other Changes Fixes” which includes the uninstallation of One Drive and the disabling of Telemetry and Tasks. The software allows users also to unpin tiles from the start menu, but I would not recommend disabling the telemetry feature as it can create issues to your computer. Removing bloatware reg keys is also a more advanced option which you may wish to experiment around with again, although I would back up the registry first. If you decide to go the route of removing the bloatware registry keys, you can revert the changes by using the restore point that you can setup at the beginning of the session. The customize block list is a feature that is strictly related to the Windows programs users would like to remove. If you wish to keep any of these items, scroll down go through this list and start unchecking the items in which you wish to keep. For the most part most people don’t like having any of these installed. If you’re not entirely confident what a certain app is leave it alone entirely as you could run into instability in your operating system. All in all, you may also consider removing manually the programs that come with the new computer after having considered the following: The Bottom Line Removing unneeded programs from your computer is part of good house keeping but if you are not a computer savvy person you may run into issues for having uninstalled programs that are really needed to make your Windows computer work. I would just get rid of Xbox, antivirus and some other programs after having conducted a research on what actually these programs can do for you. Therefore, proceed with caution!

Should I Remove the Crapware from my PC or Laptop? Read More »

9 Cool Features to Use in Windows 10

9 Cool Features to Use in Windows 10 Once computers and laptops are configured to our liking, we use to approach them routinely. After the login page, we do boring stuff, such as opening outlook to check our emails. We fire up the browser to check our bank account, we print pages, we use Word for writing and Excel to fill out spreadsheets.A few days ago, a friend of mine in Westchester asked me if I would show him if Windows 10 has hidden features that would make the user experience more interesting and productive in some ways. After researching across several resources, I came up with some cool features that I will describe below: and everyone running Windows 10 should take advantage of them: 1- WINDOWS CLOCK If you want to add more than one clock to the actual Windows 10 interface, you can do that by going into settings, time, and language. There you will see all the settings for your clock. You can add clock for different times zones if you are interested in other areas of the world and if you have to check the time zone before jumping into a Zoom meeting. Adding a new time zone is useful if, for example, you work as IT professional and you have to remote into computers. The second clock will be added as a secondary clock and will be visible under the primary clock. You can see the second clock after hovering on the primary clock at the bottom right or by clicking on it. In total, you can add two more clocks to the primary one. 2- STEPS RECORDER Head down to the search box and type “steps recorder”. You can use this Windows 10 feature If you have a problem your computer and you want to try to show someone what is wrong with it. As computer troubleshooting errors can be clues for the help desk, users can show the error code that’s coming up. You can push “record” and every time you click the screen, it will record those instances. While you are recording, on the right there is a button where you can add comments. Don’t panic if the screen becomes blurry because that is a prompt to select an area where you can focus the recording on. After you stop recording, you are prompted with another window highlighting the recorded steps. You can also save the recording to a zip file. Once you extract the zip file, you can open the .MHT file with Internet Explorer. Don’t use Microsoft Edge to open the file because it will not work. 3- GOD MODE God Mode is a cool feature that converts an empty folder in your desktop to the control panel and much more. After having enabled God Mode, users will be able to see connected devices, updates, programs, folder structure and everything will be gathered in a convenient list.Right-click on a free space on the desktop. Click on “New” and “Folder”.Enter the folder name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}.The God Mode folder will now appear on the desktop with all the control panel functions. 4- REPLACE COMMAND PROMPT WITH POWERSHELL If you are an advanced user and prefer to use Power Shell, there is a simple way to replace the Command Prompt with PowerShell. In the search box of Windows 10 located at the bottom left, you can type “Taskbar Settings”. Once the taskbar interface shows up you can turn on the “Replace Command Prompt with Windows Power Shell in the Menu”. The slider button is very simple to toggle, and it does not require advanced knowledge. 5- EMOJI With a simple stroke, it is possible to save same time when adding Emojis to our work. Let’s say we are working on a Word document or on a Power Point presentation and we need to add some Emoji, we can simply type the following: Which is the Windows button + the period sign. 6- NEARBY SHARING If you’re familiar with Apple’s airdrop, Microsoft now has a similar feature called nearby sharingthat will let you share content with other Windows 10 computers connected to your network. To enable Nearby Sharing, go to the search box and type “Share”. Click on “Shared Experience settings”. When you select share in Microsoft Word and many other programs including photos, you should see nearby computers. 7- BUILT-IN CALCULATOR Many of us are already familiar with the built-in calculator, but the Windows10 calculator can do the extra mile for its users. When we open it up, we see it that it works in standard mode, but if we click on the three lines on the top left of it, a wide arrange of new features comes up. The calculator can become a scientific calculator that can calculate logarithms. It can be also used by a programmer as it has program functions and, at the bottom, it can also convert currency, temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa, time (hours, seconds, milliseconds etc.) and speed (km to miles and vice versa). 8- TIME DIFFERENCE This Windows 10 feature is helpful when you want to see the time difference between different areas of the world. In the search tab at the bottom left, you can type “Alarm” and when the Alarms and Clock app shows up, click on it. Go to the clock tab. The tab will show primarily your location, but if you click at the bottom right on the + plus sign, you can add a location and it will calculate the time difference between your current location and the new location. If you have friends, family or business and you have to speak to them, that is a good reminder to you of the time zone that people live in. 9- STORAGE SENSE Storage Sense is a nice feature to have especially if we have a computer or a laptop with a smaller hard drive. The feature can also automate the process of getting rid of worthless junk on

9 Cool Features to Use in Windows 10 Read More »

Did you Accidentally Delete Files on Windows? Here’s How to Recover Them

Did you Accidentally Delete Files on Windows? Here’s How to Recover Them There is nothing more frustrating that seeing our files gone. When we are working on something and hit accidentally the delete button on the keyboard, we pause for a second to understand why this happened.There is no reason to be sad because when it comes to deleted files, they aren’t actually deleted from your machine; they’re really just hidden from view in order to be overwritten by the PC later on down the line. One of the simplest ways to get your files back is to check the recycle bin and this method is a lot more effective if you have just deleted your files. A lot of people don’t often check the recycle bin but most times you can find what you’re looking for if you just check the trash. Double click on the recycle bin to open it and go ahead and look through all the files that are there to see if the ones that you’re looking for are able to be recovered. Then go ahead and right-click on the files that you want to restore and choose restore. The restore button will move back the file to its original location. You can also drag the files out of the recycle bin and drop it on a new location where they will be stored. Use a data recovery software such as Disk Drill. It’s a powerful all-in-one software suite that not only recovers files but also protects files and disks from danger in the first place. A great feature of this software is that you can recover up to 500 Megabytes of data for free before being prompted to pay for a license. Usually, half terabyte is more than enough for documents photos. One important caveat is that you may want to download and install Disk Drill to a different drive than the one you’re trying to recover the data from so if you’re trying to recover files from your C Drive for example it’s really recommended you download and install the program to an external drive. Once you have launched Disk Drill the interface will show the drives that are connected. On the left, different panels display features such as the data recovery as well as the drive backup and data protection. To recover the missing files, start the scan itself and select the disk or partition where the files were in the first place from the list presented and then click on the search for lost data button to initiate the search. Once the scan is finished you can review the files within the file structure. If you’re looking for photos just select photos, and the software will help you to sort through all the different picture files. Put a checkmark next to the files you want to recover and choose a save location, possibly a flash drive or another external hard drive. Use a file recovery file like Recuva. Download the free version of Recuva from here. Install the software on an external hard drive like suggested for Disk Drill. Time and the installation of the software to an external hard drive can lead to successful recovery, whereas hesitation and installing recovery software in the same hard drive where we need to recover the data from can lead to no results, as software will overwrite the data we are looking for. If you use – and I hope that you are doing so – the built-in Windows backup utility, File History, it will be enough to browse to the external hard drive that contains your files previously backed up via File History and you can manage to recover the files you have accidentally deleted by using the version history feature. Contrary to Disk Drill and Recuva, there is no software that needs to be installed and you can recover the files back to your C drive, as there are no overwriting issues with File History. However, the only caveat is that you need to have set up the back up of your computer earlier than the accidental loss of your files. File History looks similar to its MAC counterpart Time Machine, because it offers the possibility to browse to the different version history each file and folder have. You can use the app Windows File Recovery that you can download from the Microsoft Store. The application works with the command prompt, but its use should not be intimidating.Type winfr and the letter of the drive where you try to get the files from. For example, if the source disk is C and you are trying to recover all .docx files in C, you will type the following syntax in the command prompt: Winfr C: D: /n *.docxWhere C is the source disk and D the destination disk, possibly an external hard drive that will contain the word files we are trying to recover. However, if working with the command prompt is not your forte, the developers of Winfrgui have created the interface that interacts with the terminal. You can download and install Winfrgui from here and install it on your computer without incurring in the overwriting issues described in Recuva and Diskdrill. All Disk Drill, Recuva and Winfrgui are free and can recover accidentally deleted data from internal hard drives, external hard drives and flash drive as well. The main difference between the built-in Windows tools and the third-party recovery software is that the Windows tools do not require to be installed to an external hard drive like Recuva and Disk Drill.

Did you Accidentally Delete Files on Windows? Here’s How to Recover Them Read More »

7 Productivity Tools to Supercharge your New Windows 11 Computer

7 Productivity Tools to Supercharge your New Windows 11 Computer Once you get a new computer that satisfies your productivity needs and has enough storage space, I think that you may want to consider to install the productivity software I will be recommending in this article. The tools I am proposing are free and can help you complete tasks in a shorter amount of time. One important consideration, though: operating systems are open ecosystems, in that they can be enriched with productivity software, app and other utilities to accomplish things in a professional and clean way. Once you have installed all the required updates in your Windows 11, you may want to pick up some of the best productivity tools for your new computer. But first, let’s describe what thiese pieces of software are able to do: 1- ANYDESK Anydesk is a remote support software that can be used by IT professionals and private users as well. It is supported both on Windows and Macs and it’s very easy to use. Once both the local computer and the remote computer have Anydesk installed, the remote computer user will read the 9 numbers that show up on Anydesk and the local user on the other end will remote in. The software comes with very cool features such as the chance to use unattended access, text chats and the possibility of having multiple sessions by opening new browser tabs. The file transfer feature of Any Desk makes this product a great tool for those who need to access resources remotely. 2- FILEZILLA Filezilla is a tools that moves files and folders between computers by using a protocol called File Transfer Protocol. FTP is used to move files between computers, between servers and between servers and computers. Another popular use of the program is when webmasters upload files from their computers to their web hosting account. For example, if you have stored on your computer WordPress files that need to be uploaded to your domain, you can do that with Filezilla. Its interface is split in right and left side. On the left interface you will see the files and folders stored locally in your computer and after you have filled out the remote server information on 4 boxes on the top, the remote server files will show up on the right of the Filezilla’s interface. 3- GOOGLE CHROME Chrome is the default browser used by Google and Googlers and I have included it in this article because it is a non-Microsoft product. As users are not fully used to Microsft Edge, Chrome is easy to use for its speed, font clarity and the popular bookmarks tab that still atttracts thousands of users every day. The 2021 browser market share shown in the picture above still shows the strong Chrome trend. If you start using Chrome for a period of time, it will store safely the passwords you have used to login into browsers and you will also have a chance to retrieve those passwords if you don’t remember them anymore. Also, Chrome and Gmail are very well linked together because all the settings will be stored in your Google account , including your emails, your browsing preferences and other sensitive data. The Chrome webstore is also a great marketplace to pickup Chrome extensions you like to use. Pinterest and Malware bytes browser guard are the most popular Chrome extensions I generally use almost on a daily basis. 4- NINITE Ninite saves you a lot of time when you have a new computer and you need to install software. Ninite allows you to install software all at once. If you go to, you can select the apps you want to install in your computer and the software will download the packages for you. The apps range from browser, to documents, security and media. With Ninite, you don’t need to go to each individual site to download the app again, because Ninite will do the bulk of the download for you. 5- VLC VLC is a free and open source media player that can solve several annoying problems presented by the Windows DVD default player. When Windows 10 and 11 players cannot read dvd because they don’t have the updated Codec package installed, VLC will solve the problem by reading all video and sound files with no issues. One of the cool features of VLC is also the chance to rip DVD to mp4 files so that you can convert physical DVDs into Mp4 or AVI files. If you decide to use VLC as default media player you have to adjust the settings of your pc which are by default all using built-in Microsoft products. Go to the search bar at the bottom left of your screen and type “Default Apps”. There you can change the music player and the video player to VLC. 6-LIBRE OFFICE Libre Office is a great alternative to Microsoft Office and it is free. The software is made by Oracle and is very popular among the people who do not want to spend the money on Microsoft Office or students who have budget constraints. One of the main difference with Microsoft Office is that Libre Office does not come with an email program included in the suite. Use the browser to read your emails or you can download Thunderbird from Mozilla if you need to download and read your emails on your computer. On the other hand, one of the main downsides of Libre Office is that it does not a have a web version available like its counterpart from Microsoft. As Microsoft has expanded its range of cloud features with One Drive, Libre Office does not support data syncrhonization like One Drive. Therefore, you can still work locally on your computer with Libre Office but you may want to backup frequently your machine to the cloud or to an external hard drive to avoid losing your files. Another setting you want to tweak on Libre Office before

7 Productivity Tools to Supercharge your New Windows 11 Computer Read More »