Category Archives: Tech Tips

Speed up your Internet, Change DNS Servers

I found a way to increase internet speed by simply changing your DNS servers in the adapter settings. I went from a 12.6 mps. download speed to a 36.4 mps. in just a few steps!

First, test your download speed ‘Before’ http://speedtest.charter.com/

Open the Network and Sharing Center

dns1

Open the Network and Sharing Center (either by Control Panel or right click the connection icon in the lower right task bar and select “Open Network and Sharing Center”) then, click the connection type near the upper right, ((mine says “Wi-Fi (dads-belkin)”)).

Click Properties 

dns2

click the Properties button.

TCP/IPv4 

dns3

Hi-light the “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click Properties

Manually change DNS servers

dns4

Most likely your DNS servers are set to “Obtain DNS server address automatically” (by default) my browser wasn’t loading pages fully and all kinds of stuff, that’s when I found this trick. Click the “Use the following DNS server address:” and type in the numbers shown above: 208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220, then click “OK” no need to restart your computer.

This address is for “OpenDNS”, a company owned by Cisco, there are others, including Google 8.8.8.8 , 8.8.4.4 but the OpenDNS was the fastest I could find.

now, check your speed again http://speedtest.charter.com/

 

 

 

Cuttlebug V2 Repair

Recently my wife’s brand new Cuttlebug V2 embosser lost an internal gear and quit working. After searching the internet, she discovered it is a known problem. The manufacture was awesome, they sent her a new one for free and let her keep the old one. We decided to repair it and keep it as a backup in case the newer one breaks after the warranty is expired.

As with most cases found searching the internet, a gear, washer and screw falls out the bottom. On ours the washer was missing. I went to the hardware store and got a basic #6 flat washer.

cuttlebug-001

This repair is for the newer model Cuttlebug only. If you have the older version, this link might be of help. Also, this is posted as a reference to this repair only. I do not know any thing else about the CuttleBug or repairs, it is my wifes CuttleBug.

1.) take a small screwdriver and carefully pry off the lighter colored end panel, starting at the bottom. (Hint: unfold the handle and turn it to the side, it will steady the machine as you work)

cuttlebug-002

 

2.) unscrew the 6 screws

cuttlebug-003

 

3.) Gently lift the oblong/egg shaped side slightly and gently push to one side to expose the gears.

cuttlebug-004

 

4.) Slip on the gear and washer that fell out and replace the screw. You’ll need an Allen wrench.

cuttlebug-005

 

5.) Here’s the gear replaced with screw tightened.

cuttlebug-006

 

6.)  put back together in reverse of the above, 6 screws and careful snapping the side panel back on, start with the top (small end) and work your way down.

 

 

Desktop Pop-up Reminder for Win XP, 7

A little trick I learned to add a pop up reminder on your Desktop on Windows XP. If you use Windows 7, see below

Windows Xp

  1. Open ‘Notepad’ and create your note and save it to where ever you want but remember where you save it.
  2. Now go to Add Scheduled Task (Start>Control Panel>Scheduled Tasks>click ‘Add Scheduled Task’) click ‘Next’, (it might take a few seconds to open next page)
  3. Click ‘Browse’, find your note you created and double click it, choose your schedule, daily, once etc., click ‘Next’,
  4. Choose time and date you want it to pop-up, click ‘Next’
  5. Leave the user name alone (it should be on the correct user already) put in your password you use to log on (leave blank if your computer is not set up with a password) click ‘Next’
  6. Click ‘Finish’ or if you’re on a laptop check “Open advanced properties for this task when I click finish” then click ‘Finish’
  7. Click the ‘Settings’ tab, un-check the two battery options in Power Management section at bottom, click ‘Apply’ then ‘Ok’

Probably old news and most people have Windows 7 by now so follow these instructions for Windows 7. Totally different procedure but the little pop-up you get is cool

Windows 7

Follow this link to learn how to create a pop-up reminder on your Desktop if you have Window 7

Free Virus removal Forum

I recently picked up a nasty little virus cruising the Internet on my NetBook. I was using FireFox so I was surprised. It was what is called “Scare Ware” or “Fake-AV”. It presented itself as a virus protection program scanning my system, a ‘fake’ Windows Security Shield with a balloon pop-up, “Your system is infected, click here to fix”. And that makes the fake AV program window show it’s ugly head, “scanning” your system,… a few virus names show in a “Found” menu and a “Click Here to Clean” button appears. (I later learned that if this happens again, don’t touch anything and power-off. Best way at this point is to just press and hold the power button till it powers off)

When the button is pressed it takes you to a page to “Purchase” the virus scan program to be able to continue. Of course it’s fake, it’s not the virus scan program I have installed you say to yourself. I tried to close it, I tried to use my real virus scanner, I tried “Task Manager” to stop it, no other browsers would open, only the one you were using when you contracted it. Everything kept pointing to “Purchase”

I shut down and restarted in “Safe-Mode” (restart: after the screen goes black, start tapping your F8 key repeatedly until a screen appears, Arrow up/down to select “Safe Mode”, press Enter) I used my Spybot S&D to remove the initial programs and stuff associated with it. After that I did virus scans and used a few other programs designed to remove Malware but all came up empty after Spybot S&D removed what it found.

None of my browsers worked. I basically had to go through the Network setup wizard and establish a network connection again. Then I had to go to Internet Settings (Windows XP…. Control Panel>Internet Options>Connections-tab>Setup, follow the wizard) That got my browsers to at least work, but none would bring up a web page. I did a System Restore back to a few days before the incident. (Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore) That got me back online, but things were still not right….

I went to my un-infected Desktop PC and went online and changed all my passwords anywhere I had important business because after doing a search around Google, Microsoft had a page explaining what this virus was and does, It first tries to fool you to buy the product, then it steals your passwords, looking for FTP servers to put itself on to spread further. I didn’t want to take any chances so I changed everything important.

I did a search for help and whenever I clicked a search result, it would take me someplace other than where I wanted to go. But not on everything, luckily, important places like MSN support, Google support, some fix-it sites, etc… worked fine. So I now had  Hijacked /redirect search results. I did manage to find a great place that basically does the same thing a Tech place would do if you took it down there and paid who knows how much money to have it cleaned.

I went to TechSpot.com where I found other people who had my same problem. It is a several step-procedure, customized to your particular malware/problem. Here is a link to my forum/post and what I had to do to clean my system. If you need help, don’t follow my procedure, every one is different and the scripts they create are catered to only my PC.  Follow the “8 step” procedure before posting (sticky post at top of page) It is all volunteer work, these fellows do this on their own time so be patient, it takes a while, Mine took about a week.  You might swear you are being ignored but everyone does get helped.

Missing icons in Taskbar

You may have found this blog searching for an answer to why your taskbar icons disappear occasionally after a startup. Usually the speaker icon and a few others as well.  I read that this is a known Windows XP problem that may have to do with UPnP and that it also happens most when you don’t have the “Hide inactive icons” unchecked in the taskbar settings… (right click taskbar, click properties, uncheck last box at bottom)

For UPnP (Universal Plug and Play), simply go to “My Network Places”  and click “Hide icons for networked UPnP devices” in the left pane. Don’t ask me why but it worked for me.

hide-upnp

  I also tried another workaround called the “Diez workaround” that calls  for changing the UPnP and SSDP service itself. Go to Administrative Tools / Services (Control Panel/ Administrative Tools/ Services) and find “SSDP Discovery Service”, double click, change from “Manual” to “Automatic”. Same for UPnP “Universal Plug and Play Divice Host”

upnp

ssdp

 Please read the website I found here, it is more extensive as I’m not a computer geek, I just like to pass on helpful tips.