PC Buyer Beware! is a comprehensive PC guide covering desktop and laptop/notebook PCs that provides the knowledge required to make sensible buying, building, upgrading, networking, broadband, recovering, repairing and computer-security decisions, helping users to solve hardware and software problems - PC Problems & Solutions - via articles and questions and answers (Q&As) grouped in categories. The quickest way to find the solutions to a particular computer problem is to enter a short and accurate description of it, such as pc freezes or program freezes, both of them very common problems, in the Search pcbuyerbeware.co.uk feature provided at the top of each page. A list of pages containing those or your own keywords will be presented.
You can access the main sections of this website by making use of the navigation bar provided on the left side of each page, or specific information by entering a suitable search query in the site-search box.
All of the major components have their own section devoted to them, such as hard disk drives, graphics cards, processors, motherboards, monitors, networking equipment, etc. There are separate sections devoted to computer security, software and all of the versions of Windows currently in use - XP, Vista and Windows 7.
Essential information on using Windows 8 and upgrading to Win8 from Windows 7, Vista and XP -
Windows 8 problems: How to diagnose and fix problems with Win8 -
Windows 8 was made available worldwide on 26 October 2012. The run up to its release was several years long and the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8, which can be used on a tablet or on a PC equipped with a touchscreen, is very marked, so there is no shortage of free and paid-for, in-depth, written guides and videos available on how to use it. For that reason, I will only be putting pages on this website that provide the news, essential how-to-use and upgrading information and deal with the methods of repair/recovery and problems with Windows 8.
The first major update is called Windows 8.1, which is set to be made available from the Windows Store on October 17, 2013, free of charge to the users who already have Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. The Store can be accessed from the Start screen in Windows 8. It can be purchased over the counter as a packaged product that installs the full new version from October 18. Windows 8.1 provides new features and changes that Microsoft has been asked by users to implement, such as a Start button, which, unfortunately, is not the full kind of Start button that provides access to the installed apps and programs that previous versions of Windows provide.
I adapted to it and was able to find the information I needed fairly easily. It seems to me that if you can use previous versions of Windows reasonably well you should be able to find your way around Win8 fairly easily and if you can't find something, the web has the information that covers every possible aspect. Unfortunately, people don't like marked changes in the way that anything works and, in my opinion, a negative attitude to Win8 proves this.
Visit our Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pcbuyerbeware.co.uk - to read informative items going back in time that no longer appear on this page.
November 30, 2013. - Use the following link to read about Tesco's Hudl 7-inch tablet and the purchaser reviews to find out what the machine's specifications are. Most of the 800+ purchaser reviews are very positive about it.
Hudl 7" 16GB Wi-Fi Android Tablet - Black -
Click on the link below to go to the information on tablet PCs on this website:
November 27, 2013. -
Google hit with privacy complaints in 14 E.U. countries -
"Complaints call for Data Protection Authorities to immediately suspend changes to Google terms of service."
"One of the problems with Google's changes is that when users signed up for a Google+ account they were not informed that in order to use other Google services in the future, their data would be used for commercial purposes outside the Google+ environment, Davies wrote, adding that this violates the principle of purpose limitation."
Read the article on this here:
'Neverquest' trojan threatens online banking users -
November 26, 2013. - In Windows 8.0 the available settings were spread between the PC Settings feature that is accessed from the Start screen and the usual Control Panel that can be accessed from the Start screen just by typing the words control panel and then clicking on the boxed link that is provided. In windows 8.1 it is possible to access most of the Windows settings from the PC Settings options. Of course, this should have been the case in Windows 8.0, but was not for some unknown reason.
Microsoft has also given the options and commands within PC settings more user-friendly names and arranged them in a layout that is much easier to use. For example, there is now an Update and Recovery heading, which includes Windows Update and the Refresh and Remove (Reset) options. As was the case in Windows 8.0, the Refresh option refreshes Windows while keeping the files and settings intact and the Remove (Reset) removes Windows and allows it to be clean-installed.
The image below shows what the new PC Settings options are.
The following article provides detailed information on the new PC Settings. ‘PC settings’ gets major makeover in Win8.1 -
November 18, 2013. - Expert Reviews is the website of the Computer Shopper (UK) magazine. Its annual awards have been announced at a recent event, covering complete devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs) and components, such as storage devices, graphics cards, and services, such as website hosts and home-entertainment services. Links to the reviews that were contenders and the winners are provided on the following webpage:
The Expert Reviews Awards 2013 - Winners revealed -
November 16, 2013. - The PC Settings screen, which is accessed via the Start screen in Windows 8.0 and 8.1 has been changed significantly in 8.1 compared to what it was in 8.0.
‘PC settings’ gets major makeover in Win8.1 -
November 11, 2013. - Last night I downloaded and installed the Windows 8.1 upgrade on a desktop PC that uses an AMD Socket 939 Athlon X2 dual-core processor dating from 2005. (Windows 8.0 and 8.1 Pro works beautifully on my 8-year-old PC that has only 1GB of RAM memory.) The processor is on the list of those that cannot be used to install the 64-bit versions of Win8.1 and Win8.1 Pro because it doesn't have a required 64-bit instruction set. Note that there are no processor issues if the 32-bit versions are installed.
I had to update Win8 completely by using Windows Update in the Control Panel fully, which I had to run twice before the 8.1 upgrade appeared in the Windows Store, which is accessed by clicking its tile on the Win8 Start screen.
I only use Microsoft's Security Essentials malware scanner and Trusteer Rapport, which protects mainly banking but also any other websites you choose to be given protection from hacker attacks. I uninstalled Trusteer because it was using plenty of processor cycles and RAM memory as shown in the Windows Task Manager, but I left Security Essentials alone. It did not cause any issues with the installation.
The download of Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit is 2.7GB (Windows 8.1 64 bit is 3.6GB), which was relatively quick over a relatively slow 6 megabit/sec broadband connection, but the installation was a laborious process that rebooted the system several times. It checks compatibility and then goes through several procedures that took about two hours, including the download.
When 8.1 was fully installed without experiencing any issues, it didn't appear to be much different from 8.0. There was one noticeable difference on the Start screen, which now has a downward pointing arrow under the tiles on the far left side of the screen, which, when clicked, shows all of the programs, apps, tools, accessories and much else, such as online news that was provided by Win8, that are installed or can be accessed online.
Click the following link to read the information on Windows 8.0 and 8.1 on this website:
November 8, 2013. - The upgrade for both OEM (versions supplied with brand-name computers) and retail or downloaded versions of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro can currently only be obtained from the Windows Store, which is accessed by clicking its tile on the Win8 Start screen.
Note well that before the 8.1 upgrade even appears in the Windows Store, Win8 must have been updated sufficiently, so run Windows Update in the Control Panel if you can't find the update in the Store.
Microsoft recommends that all system scanners should be disabled before installing the upgrade. McAfee Antivirus has prevented users from installing it.
Therefore, it's advisable to uninstall all of the scanners that actively monitor the system in real time and reinstall them after the upgrade has been installed. It's best to be offline if your scanners are uninstalled. These include antivirus scanners, such as McAfee Antivirus and AVG scanners, Security Essentials, CCleaner, Malwarebytes, TuneUp, etc.
Note well that some computers that use early AMD processors cannot install the 64-bit versions of Win8.1 and Win8.1 Pro, but there are no issues if the user is installing the 32-bit versions. The following page provides information on this:
Microsoft confirms some older AMD processors do not support Windows 8.1 -
Moreover, your data folders must be on the C: drive or you will be presented with the message: "Sorry, it looks like this PC can't run Widows 8.1."
The following article deals with upgrading to Win8.1 without having to use a Microsoft account (Hotmail, Outlook, etc.) and other issues, the most important of which have been mentioned in this article.
Moving up to Windows 8.1 without an MS account -
November 7, 2013. - A recent article on computerworld.com was about five relatively unknown or little-used web browsers, comparing their use of RAM memory and speed to the major browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.
A lightweight browser called Midori was recommended by the writer of the article, so I downloaded it from the Softonic.com website and installed it.
The installation setup asked me to choose between the recommended standard installation or the custom installation.
I always choose the custom installation in order to be able to see what is being installed. There was an enabled option to install the RealPlayer, which I never install because it always causes problems and I just don't trust it. I disabled it, but the installation setup started installing it anyhow, so I cancelled the installation. After Midori was installed, all that came up was a semi-maximised window with a Duck Duck Go search box, so I uninstalled it.
Then I used Malwarebytes malware scanner to run a quick scan and it found that Midori had installed about 10 files that it designated as malware, so I removed them, making a note of where they were located.
I was using Windows XP Professional and the files were in the Program Files\SweetM and Program Files\i.beta.com folders, so I used Windows Explorer to locate those folders and deleted them. The Midori folder was also intact, so I deleted it.
As with the Adobe Flash Player and the CCleaner cleaning tool, which can install the Google Chrome web browser by default unless you disable the option, the Midori browser installs the nuisance RealPlayer by default, in my case, even after I had disabled the default option to do so.
Therefore, it is imperative that you watch what goes on when you are installing free software, because most of it now installs software that most knowledgeable users would avoid installing.
Visit the following page on the PC Buyer Beware! website for detailed information on computer-related security:
November 1, 2013. - Plenty of free software is now installing all kinds of additional software that you probably would choose not to install yourself along with the software that you want to install or update. You therefore have to take care to read everything if you want to make sure that you only download and install what you want to. Moreover, sometimes, as I have just discovered, the downloading and installation of unwanted software can go ahead even if you have removed a default option to install it.
I have just tried to update the Adobe Flash Player on a laptop PC running Windows 7, having been informed that it required updating if I wanted to continue using a particular website.
I opened the Flash Player in the Control Panel and used the option to check for an update on the adobe.com website. There was an update available, so I chose to install it, making sure that the option to install Google Chrome as the default web browser and the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer was disabled. But the download window showed the progress of all three being downloaded, so I stopped the download and restarted the update procedure, this time choosing to save the update file instead of run it. This time only the Flash Player downloaded and installed.
This kind of unprincipled sneaky practice from Google to install its browser and toolbar via Adobe and also other software developers, such as the CCleaner, is unacceptable as far as I am concerned. The CCleaner is now offering to install the Google Chrome web browser and to use a new feature that manages cookies intelligently - that is, leaves Google's cookies during a cleaning. I elected not to use this, because, clearly, the CCleaner deletes Google's cookies that it uses to track us on the web by default, so it is paying CCleaner to provide an option for users to keep them and the tracking active. Most users aren't aware of what cookies do, so won't know what Google's intention is and will probably elect to use intelligent cookie management because it uses the word intelligent in its name.
We are now living in an age in which ethical behaviour is practiced by the very few instead being required for every person and business. In my opinion, Google is at the forefront of being responsible for inculcating this base attitude that is degrading society.
Visit the following page on this website for detailed information on computer-related security:
October 26, 2013. - CryptoLocker is a virus that, because of the way in which it delivers an infection, probably won't be detected by any of the free or paid-for malware scanners. When it has infected a computer, it encrypts its files so that they can't be read or used and then asks for a ransom to be paid to have the encryption removed. If you don't pay up, which is advisable even though some users hit by this scam have done so and have got access to their files back, the only way to recover the system is to restore a backup or system image, which is why you should always create a backup or system image on a regular basis. Read about CryptoLocker in the following article.
CryptoLocker: A particularly pernicious virus [October 2013] -
Click the following link to read the information on the various methods of creating restorable backups and system images on this website:
October 24, 2013. - MediaShare Wireless Portable Streaming Device made by Verbatim costs $70. It's a 4.3-ounce device that has no onboard storage because it just streams media using its built-in Wi-Fi. It streams data by connecting to an external hard drive, flash drive, camera and other data-storage devices via its single USB 2.0 port. Apps for Apple iOS and Google Android devices perform the file management and streaming.
MediaShare Wireless Portable Streaming Device -
Wireless external hard disk drives that use Wi-Fi have been available for several years. Seagate's Wireless Plus is a 1TB external hard disk drive priced at $175 and weighing only 9 ounces that provides a USB 3.0 port and integrated Wi-Fi. Load it with data files - movies, images, ebooks, etc, and stream them to tablets, smartphones, Wi-Fi-equipped computers and TVs without having to use a power adapter or attached PC. Its reported battery life is 10 hours. -
October 14, 2013. - Windows 8.1 is to be made available as a free upgrade download from the Windows Store on October 17 and as a packaged product from online and street stores on October 18. The Store can be accessed from its tile on the Start screen in Windows 8. There are plenty of reviews of Windows 8.1 available on the web. Here is a good one:
Problem: I searched the web for Microsoft Defender for my new HP Windows 8 PC, which I presume is anti-malware software that prevents all of the different kinds of infections from viruses to spyware. When I entered the search term Microsoft Defender I was prompted for the search called "Download Microsoft Defender" that provided quite a few sites. Unfortunately, I clicked the first one on the list, which, stupidly, as I found out later was not a Microsoft site. I paid the price for my carelessness by getting a really bad malware infection that has crippled the computer, rendering it useless.
Answer: To read the answer to this problem on the PC Buyer Beware! website, click the following link:
Problem: Whenever I user the Mozilla Firefox web browser, using it to visit ordinary websites, it keeps uploading data at a rate of approximately 3KB per second. Not much to be sure, but what is it and where is it going?
To read the answer click the following link that goes directly to this problem on this website.
Problem: In the Windows 8 Task Manager, svchost.exe is being shown as using around 135MB of RAM memory itself, which seems excessive to me. A huge 12GB of memory is installed in a Windows 8 64-bit system and it is causing 90% or more of it to be used, which is completely out of order. I have to restart the computer in order to get back to normal, but the problem returns as soon as I go online. Do you have any idea what's going on here and how it can be put right?
Click the following link to read the solution on this website:
The hardware and software problems dealt with on this website are in the order of their popularity. When applicable, the order will change to match the popularity recorded by this website's web logs in the previous month.
Click a relevant link below to visit the information it describes
Visit the Build Your Own PC pages of this website for information on how to build a desktop PC and solve self-build problems and visit the other sections, such as the Processors pages - which provides information on the brand-leading Intel Core family of processors - and the Video/Graphics, Sound, Motherboards and Monitors pages for more problem-solving information, all of which can be accessed via the menu items and jump menu on the orange navigation bar, or via the site search engine at the top of each of the main pages. When you know how to build a PC, you'll also know how to go about diagnosing problems and fixing one.
Click here! to go to the page on this site that deals with Windows 7, Microsoft's replacement for Windows Vista.
Click here! to go to the page on this site that deals with Windows Vista, Microsoft's replacement for Windows XP.
For PC security information visit the main Security section of this website, or make use of the site search engine at the top of each of the main pages to search for references to specific information on topics such as how best to keep secure on the web, security software, hardware and software firewalls, identity theft, privacy issues, how to hide form Google, phishing scams, viruses, malware, spyware, how to implement spyware removal and the different types of backups, etc.
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