Ed: Thanks to Graham once again for sending these tips and tricks in. If you have any info about software, websites, or hints about an operating system that you think members might benefit from, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The File Hippo site is useful and filters itself for malware but there are traps. Some options demand a donation. What happens at the end of a free trial? If there is a small initial payment there may be a clause in the fine print with the power to bill annually. A Google search for freeware can give good results, with a caution.
Some freeware sites try twisting your arm to purchase the “Pro” version. There seems to be little advantage and the help function may only be a FAQ. The other trap is bundleware that you do not need.
Select the slim or free version. You may not need the so called pro or enterprise version which has a hidden clause providing for an automatic update fee.
After opening, use the custom option so that the registry is untouched. The registry uses little space and some of the files are shared. Without using this, this program, or an equivalent, the main drive will become over loaded with junk and a burden on backups.
This is excellent for checking if your principal software is the latest version or needs updating.
This is rarely used but gives a reading which checks for any elevation. There is always a risk if a tower pc is on the floor. Internal dust can be removed with a small special vacuum or a compressed air aerosol.
In the options avoid touching the registry for the reasons given above. Using this program about once a week, or less, is probably often enough. A solid-state drive does not need to be defragmented.
This is rarely used but it is one way of checking what is under the bonnet so to speak.
This is wonderfully useful for downloading a video or a large program such as a game. The download function is spread over about 8 servers. If a program is lost it can be reopened if you have kept the listing.
This is a ready means of checking if drivers are up to date for printers and other components.
There is a wide selection of freeware available. Macrium (https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree) is one but it is slow and clunky and lacks some features.
Acronis True Image (https://www.acronis.com/en-au/personal/computer-backup/) is not free but it has many merit points. It appears to update itself. It can create boot media such as on to a memory stick or a RW DVD drive. It works well by backing up on to external drives to be stored away from the computer. The custom and full options work well. Incremental or scheduled options could be complicated.
Sometimes a pop up is part of a needed response. Ads often only last for a few seconds.
There is a freeware program (http://www.drivehealth.com/) to estimate disk life. An SSD has no moving parts. An external drive used just for a regular backup is not running 24/7.
This is a versatile and comprehensive subscription program. Some of the features are also available as freeware such as the McAfee site checker. There is no need to purchase a multi-user or enterprise version if you only need to protect one PC or laptop.
When you are browsing you see if a site has been checked or has a warning.
For good housekeeping, one can click on security and download updates regularly, and also do a cloud backup.
There is a quick scan feature to check for common prevalent malware. It has never found any. There is a full system scan available. It is very time consuming and has never found anything.
An absolutely unique free service to members that is one of the best reasons for anyone joining, even if you never use us “It’s there if you need it”. Access to iHelp is not just appreciated, but in many cases the sole reason for maintaining membership. The Kangaroo is not the only thing unique to Australia.
Some members ring us once a Year, others once a Week, there is no limit to how much support you can get. We are however not Gurus, but have lots of contacts and the full resources of the Club. Every member knows “something” about computers, therefore collectively we can solve any problem.
iHelp can be accessed by Phone, Email, Web form, or Live chat, most questions are resolved on the spot or within the day.
Our Website provides a comprehensive window into all MelbPC Services and includes many Q&A questions and answers, Website Search facilities, Club Contacts, and useful Web Links to recommended Products and Services.
We are available most days 10am to 3pm Weekdays, Holidays, Public Holidays, and often over the weekend. In fact the only day when you probably won’t get a response is Christmas day. Try us next time you have a computer problem!
For those interested or involved in giving support to members, we also maintain a public Microsoft Teams site. This includes iHelp, Home Visit, Yammer, SIG Leaders, or Office Volunteers who have some technical ability to help others. Members can add features and make private or group Phone calls, or Chat.