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November « 2009 « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC

What are Toolbars and are They Good or Bad?

Toolbars are usually attached atop your browser (IE, Firefox etc). You see them when you open your browser. They come with a search box for easy searching and other links. There are legitimate toolbars and malicious toolbars.

The legitimate ones are designed to make your surfing experience easier and more pleasant. They have search boxes for searches, links to email or other shortcuts that you may want to use. Some include built in Pop-up Blockers. Many antivirus software makers all have them, McAfee, Norton, AVG.

As far as Security goes, the Toolbars will not overly enhance your security. Your Antivirus software and Antispyware programs do the job of protecting your system. Most browsers already come with Pop-up Blockers. If you use Verizon or Comcast and enjoy their toolbar, those are safe as well but don't install other toolbars then. There is no need to clutter up your browser with meaningless toolbars and there are plenty of them out there to do it. From Facebook apps toolbars to Weather toolbars, there is no shortage of them on the Internet.

There are also Virus/Infections that disguise themselves as helpful toolbars. Shopping Deal Toolbars are a common one. Remember once a virus gets into your system it can open up all sorts of other doors for more infections to come creeping into your PC wreaking havoc along he way. Hotbar is another common infection. Virus and Infection designers have taken advantage of legitimate toolbars just as they have done with legitimate Security software and made these infections appear as helpful or legitimate. If you don't' recognize the name don't install it. If it looks suspicious don't install it. If you are still not sure you can always Google it and see what other people think or have discovered about it.

If you need to remove or uninstall toolbars the process can be easy, provided it is not malicious software. Most toolbars can be uninstalled via Add/remove Programs (XP) Programs and Features (Vista & 7). Locate the toolbar in the program list and uninstall. They can also usually be disabled via Internet Explorer. Simply click on Tools, then Toolbars and you can un-check the ones you don't want to show on your page.

The only Toolbars you should be using are either Google Toolbar, Yahoo Toolbar, or other popular industry leaders. Again most of these toolbars are of a personal preference if you want to use them. I prefer the Internet to be lean and mean. If you do use Toolbars just be very careful about the ones you choose to install. Personally I don't find them overly helpful with the exception of the Google toolbar.

If you do use toolbars, just be sure that it is a legitimate toolbar. I do not recommend installing Toolbars other than the main ones I described above. (Google, Yahoo) Use others at your own risk. Having one toolbar or two is fine but anything over that is excessive and will only slow down your internet surfing.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week



A Few Tips Before You Begin Online Shopping

As the holiday season approaches many people have resorted to doing their holiday shopping online. Forget the lines at stores, forget the crowded parking lots, forget all the traffic and chaos that ensues. Do your shopping online this holiday season and save your money and sanity. Online shopping is easier than ever. It is also more secure than ever. However before you do any online shopping it is a good idea to make sure your PC is infection free.

There are multiple infections on the Internet that will look to steal your credit card information, personal information, passwords etc. These programs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some will mask themselves as legitimate Anti-virus programs that require payment to remove supposed infections. Others can be more stealthy and steal your information without you even realizing anything is wrong with the PC. Some may try to get personal information from you for a contest.

Is it safe to do your shopping online even with all of these potential infections out there? Yes it is. Online shopping has grown more secure as more and more companies have offered it over the last few years. Just about every company has an online website for shopping. The sites themselves are very secure and use the latest encryption technology available to keep your data safe.

With this being said, there are few steps you can take to ensure your online shopping experience goes smooth. First off is to make sure your PC is clean and infection free. Run your scans with your Security Software (Anti-virus and Anti-spyware protection) to make sure your PC is clean. Even if your PC is not showing any signs of infection, it will not hurt it to run the scans and give you assurances before you begin your online shopping extravaganza. If you regularly run your scans or have them automated you should be fine and need not run any scans. Again it will not harm your PC to run the scans so don't be afraid.

Some of the suspicious signs that your PC might be infected can found in a post from last week's blog.


If you suspect your PC is infected then get the infection taken care of before you begin doing any online shopping. It doesn't take long for an infection to grab your information but as long as you are clean to begin with you should have no problems or issues shopping online. You can usually get just as good deals online as you can from the store. Take advantage of this convenience today but make sure your PC is clean and ready for a safe holiday shopping season.

Thanks for reading and a Happy Thanksgiving to all.



What are some of the sign that my PC might be infected?

Signs that your PC may be infected can come in all sorts of different ways. Some are very easy to detect and others will not be as easily noticed. I will cover the most common symptoms today. Today's blog will be shorter than usual as it will be easier to list the symptoms.

  • lots of pop-up windows when you open a browser session
  • Random error messages
  • Running an anti-virus scan, it says you have issues but doesn€™t fix them
  • Certain websites on your computer cannot be accessed or viewed
  • The homepage keeps changing to something else
  • Warnings about infections from unfamiliar sources
  • Web pages change by themselves
  • Windows Updates fails and will not work
  • Lots of error messages on Start up
  • Your existing Anti-virus software no longer updates automatically

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is a good chance your PC has contracted an infection. Viruses/Infections come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are just nuisances, while others can be outright devastating. As soon as you become suspicious that your PC has been compromised, you should immediately utilize your Security Software to scan your PC for infections. Small infections can usually be taken care of by your Security Software. If not then you need to call in a professional.

The longer you wait to try to get rid of the infection the worse it usually gets. Once one virus/infection is in your machine it can and will open it up to other infections over time. What starts out as just an annoying pop up can lead to personal data being stolen or complete data loss on your PC. If you are suspicious take swift action. It can make all the difference for an easy fix as opposed to a long fix or even a problem that can't be fixed.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week



Should I turn off my PC at the end of the day/night?

This is a debate that has been going on for quite some time. Mostly I would say it is a matter of personal preference as to whether or not you want to shut it down.

Most computers will shutdown on their own and go into Sleep or a Hibernate mode to conserve power if you don't use them for a while. This can be set to any time you wish, usually around 30 minutes or so is the default. You can also set it to never go to sleep or hibernate. I use this option as sometimes I may be away from the PC but I don't want it to shutdown as something I could be doing may not like being interrupted by Sleep mode.

When there is no activity for a determined amount of time the PC will simply go to sleep/hibernate. When you wiggle the mouse or press a key on the keyboard the PC will wake up and bring you back to where you last left off. This is convenient as it saves the time of having your PC boot up and go through it's motions. This can be up to 5 minutes on some machines. Newer machines start up pretty quick but as you add more and more stuff to your PC, the start up time can take longer and longer. It also saves on electricity by not having the PC run all the time. Monitors do this quite frequently to save energy, but it is different from your PC going to sleep or hibernate. Your monitor is just shutting off, while the PC actually will go through a process and save your data and open windows. This requires a minimal amount of electricity

There are sometimes issues when PC's go to sleep and don't want to wake up. You then have to usually hold in the power button to shut the machine off completely and then restart it. If this doesn't work then you should unplug the power to the PC and wait a few minutes. Try to plug it back in and use the Power button to see if that fixes the problem.

There are some positives to shutting down your PC every night. It gives your PC a chance to reset and reconfigure things. Similar to sleeping, when you wake up you are feeling refreshed and re-energized. A fresh reboot also ensures that any Windows Updates that require a restart will be applied or any other additional configurations (hardware related) can be correctly configured. When the computer restarts it goes through it's motions of checking everything and making sure things are working properly. It checks all devices, hardware, and then goes into Windows, loads up your start up programs and finally your icons.

For me personally, I shut down my PC at the end of the day/night. It is simply a personal preference. I was taught that PC's like to be rebooted and I stick by it. From time to time I have let my PC go into Sleep mode with no problems and have no issues with people who want to do it. Again it s just a matter of personal preference. In my opinion it is healthier for the PC to be shutdown at the end of the day or night, but if you miss a night, it is certainly nothing to worry about. If the computer needs a restart due to updates etc., it will usually continually prompt you until the machine is restarted.

If you are one of those people who does not shutdown their PC at the end of the day/night, you should at least Restart it once a week (a clean Reboot) just to refresh everything and apply any updates that require a restart. If you have recently cleaned any infections off of your PC, then you can rest assured that your machine will be prompted for a reboot by your Security Software to successfully flush out any remnants of the infection that could still be there. Shutting down your PC is a choice that each person has to make but if you do it or don't do it, your PC will most likely be fine. Technology has advanced enough that this topic is really no longer an issue.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.



What is a Netbook computer and why would I want one?

A Netbook computer is a usually very small laptop computer with limited power and devices, that connects to the Internet and allows you surf the web. They are cheap price wise, ranging anywhere from $250 and up. They don't come with CD/DVD drives built in because they are designed for their size, price, and browsing the Web plain and simple.

With the advent of downloading things such as music, videos, pictures etc, all being able to be done on the Internet now, manufactures are finding that not everyone may need a CD drive or a DVD burner. Netbook computer reflect this by not having a CD/DVD drive on them. Again their purpose is for the Internet, and basic PC functions, storage of pics, music, video.

If you only use your computer, for downloading music, working with pictures, surfing the internet, using email, a Netbook computer may be just the thing for you. Just be aware that is has limitations as to what it can do. If you like to burn CD's or DVD's or play games or watch DVD's on your Laptop then you should NOT buy a Netbook Computer. Depending on what you use a computer for and want to use it for in the future will dictate what kind of PC you should buy.

Netbook computers are another example of bridging the gap between the PC and the phone. Iphone's are an excellent example of this on the Phone side. Both of these devices and their technological trends are heading towards each other and it should be exciting to see what happens in the next couple of years with this.

For me personally, I would not get a Netbook as I use my PC to watch DVD's, Burn CD's, and for work purposes I need a higher end machine with more storage and power. However for someone such as a grandparent who only uses the PC for email and pictures of the grand kids or to look for recipes, a Netbook is the perfect way to spend a few dollars and get a new PC that will exactly fit your specific needs.

Pro's and Con's starting with the Pro's

1. Price $$$
2. Size
3. Internet Access
4. Lightweight
5. Regular Operating System such as Windows 7 or Vista
6. Portable

And now the Con's

1. No CD/DVD drives (no watching DVD's or listening to CD's)
2. Underpowered as opposed to regular Laptops or Desktop PC's
3. No playing of games that require a CD/DVD drive or require a high end video card.
4. Possibility of having to upgrade some component of it in the future if the need arises.

Before considering whether or not to purchase a Netbook, always ask yourself this question. What do I want to use my PC for now, and what might I want to use it for in the future? By answering this question you can easily make the decision about whether or not a Netbook is the right purchase for you. Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.


Filed under: CD, DVD, Iphone, Laptop, Netbook, PC, price No Comments

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