Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tips to keep your passwords secret

Treat your passwords with as much care as you treat the information that they protect.
Use strong passwords to log on to your computer and to any site—including social networking sites—where you enter your credit card number, or any financial or personal information.
  1. Never provide your password in an email or in response to an email request.
    • Internet "phishing" scams use fraudulent email messages to entice you to reveal your user names and passwords, steal your identity, and more.
  2. Do not type passwords on computers that you do not control, such as those in Internet cafes, computer labs, kiosk systems, and airport lounges.
    • Cyber criminals can purchase keystroke logging devices that gather information typed on public computers, including passwords.

Create strong passwords

Strong passwords are important protections to help you have safer online transactions.

Keys to password strength: length and complexity

An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers.
  • Whenever possible, use at least 14 characters or more.
  • The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better.
  • Use the entire keyboard, not just the letters and characters you use or see most often.

Create a strong password you can remember

There are many ways to create a long, complex password. Here is one way that may make remembering it easier:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Save time with quick computer shortcuts

Driving around your desktop

To...Use this shortcut
Select a file/folder/icon
Type the first letter of the file. If you have several files starting with the same letter, continue hitting the letter key until your cursor lands on the file or folder you want.
Search for a file/folder
Rename a file/folder
Select the file/folder, click F2, and then re-type the name
Find out when the file or folder was created, by whom, and how big it is
Select the file, right-click, and then clickProperties
Display the Start menu
Ctrl + Esc
Create a shortcut on your desktop to your favorite file/folder
Drag the file/folder icon to your desktop
Scroll between open items
Alt + Tab, then hold down Alt while clicking Tab to reach the desired file or program

Simple ways to Speed Up Windows XP

1. Disable Indexing Services
Indexing Services is a small little program that uses large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer endlessly loud and noisy. This system process indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer. It does this so that when you do a search for something on your computer, it will search faster by scanning the index lists. If you don’t search your computer often, or even if you do search often, this system service is completely unnecessary. To disable do the following:
  • Go to Start
  • Click Settings
  • Click Control Panel
  • Double-click Add/Remove Programs
  • Click the Add/Remove Window Components
  • Uncheck the Indexing services
  • Click Next

Keyboard shortcuts for Windows XP

Windows system key combinations

  • F1: Help
  • CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu
  • ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs
  • ALT+F4: Quit program
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently
  • Windows Logo+L: Lock the computer (without using CTRL+ALT+DELETE)

Windows program key combinations
  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • CTRL+Z: Undo
  • CTRL+B: Bold
  • CTRL+U: Underline
  • CTRL+I: Italic

Optimize your computer's performance - in Windows XP

Windows XP has a rich user interface with menus that slide into view, shadows that create three-dimensional effects, and rounded corners that soften the appearance of windows. If you have an older computer, these visual effects may noticeably slow down it's performance. For example, dialog boxes and menus might not open smoothly. To help improve the performance of your computer, you can disable some or all visual effects. When you disable visual effects, you change only the graphical elements on your desktop; you can still do everything you've always done with your computer—only faster.

How to disable specific visual effects

To control which visual effects Windows XP uses
Click Start, right-click My Computer, and click Properties.
My Computer menu with Properties selected

Configure Windows XP power management

If you’re a portable computer user, you probably know the frustration of running out of battery power before you run out of work. But power management isn’t just for stretching battery life on portable computers. Configuring power management can reduce electrical usage on your desktop computer and lower your electric bill.

To configure power management in Microsoft Windows XP
Log on to your computer as an administrator. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
Start menu with Control Panel selected

Maintenance tasks that improve performance - in Windows XP

If your computer seems slower than it used to be, it probably is. Over time, computers get slower because files become disorganized and resources are consumed by unnecessary software. Fortunately, Microsoft Windows XP includes tools to clean up your computer and restore its performance. The five steps in this article will walk you through the use of these tools to tune up your computer.
Before you do anything, back up your computer. Some of the steps in this article can cause pre-existing but hidden problems to surface, which may keep your computer from starting. A backup allows you to restore your important files in the unlikely event that something does go wrong.

1. Remove unused programs

First, remove programs you don't use anymore. Programs take up space on your computer, and some run in the background without your knowledge. Removing programs you don't use can help restore your computer's performance.

2. Install and run antispyware software

Most programs can be removed using the Add or Remove Programs function accessible from Control Panel, but spyware programs are more stubborn. Windows Defender (a free download from Microsoft) or another antispyware program can detect and remove these programs. You should always have an antispyware program installed, because spyware might install itself on your computer without your knowledge. After you install the antispyware program, run it to detect and remove any unwanted programs.

Organize your notification area - in Windows XP

The notification area is the collection of small icons near your system clock, in the bottom-right corner of your screen. After you've used your computer for a few months, the notification area can become cluttered with icons for different programs you may have installed. Each icon takes up space on your Microsoft Windows XP taskbar, which leaves less room for your program buttons.
Fortunately, you can free up space in the notification area by hiding icons that you don't use very often.
To organize your notification area
Right-click the system clock, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
System clock shortcut menu with Properties selected

Save energy by putting your monitor to sleep - in Windows XP

You can save electricity and reduce your impact on the environment by activating your monitor’s sleep feature in Microsoft Windows XP. Activating sleep settings on just one computer may prevent considerable CO2 emissions each year. Letting your monitor sleep allows it to go into a low-power mode when you’re not using it. To wake your monitor, you simply touch your mouse or keyboard.

To set Windows XP to automatically turn your monitor off when your computer isn’t being used
Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.
Desktop shortcut menu with Properties selected

Speed up menu display - For Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP uses many visual effects to provide a rich, friendly interface. One of these settings allows menus to fade into view when you open them. This visual effect is so smooth that you may never have noticed it; however, the effect does cause menus to take a little longer to appear.
On a fast computer, this shouldn't be an issue. But on a computer that isn’t responding as quickly as you'd like, you can make menus display faster.
To speed up menu display
Click Start. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
My Computer shortcut menu with Properties selected

Use keyboard shortcuts - For Windows XP

The mouse, one of the greatest advances in computing history, provides you with an intuitive point-and-click method for using your computer. Depending on the type of work you're doing, however, sometimes using a mouse actually slows you down. If you are a good typist, taking your hands away from the keyboard to move the mouse can use up a few seconds. Over the course of a full day, you could save several minutes by using keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse.
You can use your keyboard instead of your mouse to do these three tasks:
Start a program
Navigate menus
Minimize, maximize, and close windows

Start a program using a keyboard shortcut

The Start menu is great for finding programs, but its multiple levels of folders can be time consuming to navigate. If there is a program you start frequently, you should set a keyboard shortcut for it so that you can start the program without taking your hands off the keyboard.
To set a keyboard shortcut to start a program
Click the Start menu, and then click All Programs. Right-click the program that you want to start with a keyboard shortcut, and then click Properties.

Shortcut menu for a program with Properties selected