Steven Woodhouse

Steven Woodhouse

swoodhouse

Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.


If you’re in the market for a new machine, you may have noticed that Windows 8 will soon be available. But is it better than Windows 7? Is it worth upgrading to Windows 8? Here is a brief overview of some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Windows 8 looks and feels entirely different to previous versions of Windows. It is highly optimised for touchscreen devices, like smartphones and tablets. For instance, if you’re used to the Start Menu, then you may be surprised to know that it’s no longer there in Windows 8! Replacing it is a collection of “tiles”, which let you view live information from certain applications without directly running the applications. This is now called the “Start Screen”.

Advantages
1. Boot speed – Claims of up to 55% quicker boot times than Windows 7.
2. Better battery life on laptops.
3. Windows 8 provides better integration with Microsoft’s online services. You will be able to log in using a Microsoft Account which can allow various settings to be synchronised between multiple computers.
4. Microsoft Security Essentials is integrated with Windows 8, providing greater security from viruses and malware.

Disadvantages
1. Windows 8 no longer allows native playback of DVDs, although this can be achieved via third-party software. This does however mean that the cost of a Windows 8 license is cheaper than a Windows 7 license. You can still download and install free software such as VLC Player to play DVDs.
2. The new layout may be difficult for some people to get used to.

In summary, Windows 8 is a big change from previous versions. It’s geared much more towards tablet devices and touchscreen input. Corporate environments may well be sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future, but as a home user, you may benefit from the integrated online services, improved boot speed, better security and better battery life.

For further information and Windows 8 previews, visit the official Microsoft website.

Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.

— Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions Ltd, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.


One of the most common questions I’m asked is “Why is my computer running slow?” With some simple advice, you can rule out and fix the most common problems yourself.

Old Hardware

As software progresses and advances, it gets more complex and so requires more processing power and memory to run. You can use Task Manager (press CTRL-ALT-DEL on your keyboard together and select Task Manager) to find out how much RAM your machine currently has available. If you are using all of your RAM, it will result in a significant slowdown. If this is the case, it may be time to add additional RAM, or look at a replacement machine if it’s over five years old.

Anti-Virus Software

Some anti-virus programs can significantly slow down your machine, as they generally install many additional components that you simply don’t need. I always recommend Microsoft Security Essentials, as it’s a Microsoft product to protect Microsoft software. It has minimal impact on the speed of your machine, and best of all, it’s free! If you plan to change your anti-virus software, remember to uninstall the previous one first.

Spyware

The most common reason for a slow machine is spyware. Symptoms include unwanted popup messages, website redirections to other unwanted websites and frequent web browser crashes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then there is free software that can help. Malwarebytes AntiMalware can remove the majority of spyware. A full scan can take several hours, but you can leave it running. When the scan is complete, it will tell you if any infections have been found and will remove them, pending a reboot.

Rootkits

A rootkit is a malicious piece of software specifically designed to hide the existence of itself and other malware. If you find that spyware keeps returning even after you’ve removed it, a rootkit may be the cause. Fortunately, Kaspersky offer a free tool that can detect and remove rootkits. A rootkit scan with this tool only takes a few minutes, so I would highly recommend you run this tool before a spyware scan.

Pinpointing the exact cause of a slow machine can be difficult, but by following the suggestions above, you will be able to fix the most common problems.

Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.

— Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.


You want your children to be safe don’t you? You make sure they wear their seatbelt in the car, they look both ways before crossing the road, and that they don’t talk to strangers. These safety precautions protect your children in practical ways.

In the electronic world of the internet, many dangers lay in wait, but with the right safety precautions in place, you can be confident that you are doing your best to protect your loved ones from electronic threats.

OpenDNS Family Shield is a free, simple to set up piece of software, which will protect every device that connects to your home broadband connection, from mobile phones to laptops. It instantly blocks access to adult websites, provides anti-fraud and phishing protection and could help make your internet faster and more reliable. What more could you want?

Other software and security measures can be easily bypassed, but with OpenDNS, the protection is provided right at the gateway to your Internet connection.

OpenDNS works by simply altering your DNS server settings on your home router. You don’t need to install any additional software or drivers for it to work. The website provides you with easy to follow instructions on how to make the change to your router, so you don’t need to be an IT professional to understand it.

Social media sites are another source of danger on the internet. Predators and other undesirables use these sites to groom young children, so make sure you’re aware of whom your children are speaking to on these sites. You may even decide to block access completely to these types of websites until they reach a more mature age. This can be easily achieved with software like OpenDNS.

If you suspect that a paedophile may be grooming or trying to befriend your child, or your child is being stalked or harassed, contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) or your local police.

Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.

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