10 Security Best Practice Guidelines

Educate yourself on these 10 security best practice guidelines for consumers (you) so that you can keep your data private and your job secure. These 10 guidelines are in no particular order.
1. Always use antivirus software on your personal devices: There are several free ones and multiple subscription services to keep your computer virus free. Download and use them. Don't turn them off because you think it makes your computer run slow. Leave them on and stay protected. Upgrade your device if you think the antivirus program slows it down.
2. Always use a device firewall: A personal or operating system firewall is an excellent line of defense against malicious software that attempts to connect out to its home server. You'll receive a warning when an attempt is made, and you can optionally block the communication. Blocking the communication won't remove the infection, but it will render it mostly harmless, especially if it is one of the many "logger" infections that grabs your data as you type it into websites or client software.
3. Keep your operating systems and software up to date: Yes, it's a pain to update your apps and operating systems up to date because doing so often requires a reboot. Your device will react slowly while the device updates, but it's for your own good. Take a tea break, watch an old episode of The IT Crowd or take a walk until your updates have finished.

4. Never download pirated or cracked software:This type of software almost always includes some type of malware. Plus, it's illegal to steal software, so there's that aspect of it. If you're using a corporate computer and you download pirated software onto it, you're jeopardizing your job because your company can get into big trouble for harboring pirated software.
5. Don't click on popup windows that tell you that your computer is infected with a virus: Antivirus software doesn't work that way. Those popups install malware onto your computer, with your permission. Sometimes it's a scam that requires you to pay money to have the software removed by the software originator. Don't fall for it. Don't pay them to remove it if you've done it. Look up online how to remove the malware yourself.
6. Be careful with email attachments: Not all email attachments are harmful, but unless you're expecting an attachment from someone you know, don't download or open it until you're sure it's OK to do so. If it's from someone you don't know, delete the email or identify it as spam. Do not download or open the attachment.
7. Don't use public wi-fi hotspots without using a VPN (secure) connection: This is always true if you're a corporate user. Do not connect to a public wi-fi unless you do so through a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your communications to and from the internet so that anyone who might be eavesdropping can't steal your information.
8. Use passwords on everything and be sure that they're strong passwords: Do not use the same password for everything. Do not use easy-to-guess passwords. Use strong passwords that are at least eight characters in length and include capitals, numbers, and alternate characters. Password protect everything: Devices, email, VPN, anything that you don't want shared with others. Be paranoid and change your passwords often.

9. Beware of what kind of information you share on social media sites: Everyone loves Facebook (not me) and you probably place photos on it, have conversations on it, play games on it and attach all kinds of other apps to it. And by doing so, you put your privacy at risk. There are companies that scan these sites and collect data on you. They collect data on you from public records sites, social media sites and from sites that deliver malicious payloads to your devices. Keep private information private. Never use social media sites at work. Doing so can compromise your company's data or defame their reputation.
10. Review your online accounts and credit report: You should review your bank accounts, auction accounts, and mobile phone accounts for signs of fraud or charges that you didn't make. There are companies that send text messages out to scam you into responding and then charge you for doing so. Don't fall for it. You should also check your credit report annually to combat any fraudulent additions. Entries are too easy to put onto your credit report and very hard to take off. Watch yours carefully and take steps to remove errors as soon as possible.

-Courtsy: ZdNet

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Network Troubleshooting (Basic)

If a computer is unable to connect to a network or see other computers on a network, it may be necessary to troubleshoot the network. A network may not work because of any of the below reasons.
  1. Network card not connected properly.
  2. Bad network card drivers or software settings.
  3. Firewall preventing computers from seeing each other.
  4. Connection related issues.
  5. Bad network hardware.

Because of the large variety of network configurations, operating systems, setup, etc... not all of the below information may apply to your network or operating system. If your computer is connected to a company or large network, or you are not the administrator of the network, it is recommended that if you are unable to resolve your issues after following the below recommendations that you contact the network administrator or company representative.

Note: If you are being prompted for a Network password and do not know the password, Computer Hope is unable to assist users with obtaining a new or finding out the old password.

Verify connections / LEDs

Verify that the network cable is properly connected to the back of the computer. In addition, when checking the connection of the network cable, ensure that the LEDs on the network are properly illuminated. For example, a network card with a solid green LED or light usually indicates that the card is either connected or receiving a signal. Note: generally, when the green light is flashing, this is an indication of data being sent or received.

If, however, the card does not have any lights or has orange or red lights, it is possible that either the card is bad, the card is not connected properly, or that the card is not receiving a signal from the network.

If you are on a small or local network and have the capability of checking a hub or switch, verify that the cables are properly connected and that the hub or switch has power.

Adapter resources

Ensure that if this is a new network card being installed into the computer that the card's resources are properly set and not conflicting with any hardware in the computer.

Users who are using Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or XP, verify that Device Manager has no conflicts or errors. Additional help and information about Device Manager and resources can be found on our Device Manager page.

Adapter functionality

Verify that the network card is capable of pinging or seeing itself by using the ping command. Windows / MS-DOS users ping the computer from a MS-DOS prompt. Unix / Linux variant users ping the computer from the shell.

To ping the card or the localhost, type either



ping localhost

This should show a listing of replies from the network card. If you receive an error or if the transmission failed, it is likely that either the network card is not physically installed into the computer correctly, or that the card is bad.


Verify that the correct protocols are installed on the computer. Most networks today will utilize TCP/IP, but may also utilize or require IPX/SPXand NetBEUI.
Additional information and help with installing and reinstalling a network protocol.

When the TCP/IP protocol is installed, unless a DNS server or other computer assigns the IPX address, the user must specify an IP address as well as a Subnet Mask. To do this, follow the below instructions.

Click Start / Settings / Control Panel

Double-click the Network icon

Within the configuration tab double-click the TCP/IP protocol icon. Note: Do not click on the PPP or Dial-Up adapter, click on the network card adapter.

In the TCP/IP properties click the IP address tab

Select the option to specify an IP address

Enter the IP address and Subnet Mask address, an example of such an address could be:

IP Address:
Subnet Mask:

When specifying these values, the computers on the network must all have the same Subnet Mask and have a different IP Address. For example, when using the above values on one computer you would want to use an IP address of on another computer and then specify the same Subnet Mask.


If your computer network utilizes a firewall, ensure that all ports required are open. If possible, close the firewall software program or disconnect the computer from the firewall to ensure it is not causing the problem.

Additional time

In some cases it may take a computer some additional time to detect or see the network. If after booting the computer you are unable to see the network, give the computer 2-3 minutes to detect the network. Windows users may also want to try pressing the F5 (refresh) key when in Network Neighborhood to refresh the network connections and possibly detect the network.

Additional troubleshooting

If after following or verifying the above recommendations you are still unable to connect or see the network, attempt one or more of the below recommendations.

If you have installed or are using TCP/IP as your protocol you can ping another computer's IP address to verify if the computer is able to send and receive data. To do this, Windows or MS-DOS users must be at a prompt and Linux / Unix variant users must open or be at a shell.

Once at the prompt assuming, that the address of the computer you wish to ping is, you would type:


If you receive a response back from this address (and it is a different computer), this demonstrates that the computer is communicating over the network. If you are still unable to connect or see the network, it is possible that other issues may be present.

Another method of determining network issues is to use the tracert command if you are a MS-DOS or Windows user or the traceroute command if you are a Linux / Unix variant user. To use this command you must be at the command prompt or shell.

Once at the prompt, assuming that the address is again, type:




This should begin listing the hops between the computer and network devices. When the connection fails, determine what device is causing the issue by reviewing the traceroute listing.

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10 best ways to keep hard drives from failling

Hardware prices have dropped considerably over the last decade, but it's irresponsible not to care for the hardware installed on machines. This is especially true for hard drives. Hard drives are precious commodities that hold the data employees use to do their jobs, so they should be given the best of care. Inevitably, those drives will die. But you can take steps to prevent a premature hard disk death. Let's examine 10 such steps to care for the health of your drives.

1: Run chkdsk
Hard disks are eventually going to contain errors. These errors can come in the shape of physical problems, software issues, partition table issues, and more. The Windows chkdsk program will attempt to handle any problems, such as bad sectors, lost clusters, cross-linked files, and/or directory errors. These errors can quickly lead to an unbootable drive, which will lead to downtime for the end user. The best way I have found to take advantage of chkdsk is to have it run at next boot with the command chkdsk X: /f where X is the drive you want to check. This command will inform you the disk is locked and will ask you if you want to run chkdsk the next time the system restarts. Select Y to allow this action.

2: Add a monitor Plenty of applications out there will monitor the health of your drives. These monitors offer a host of features that run the gamut. In my opinion, one of the best choices is the Acronis Drive Monitor, a free tool that will monitor everything from hard drive temperature to percentage of free space (and everything in between). ADM can be set up to send out email alerts if something is amiss on the drive being monitored. Getting these alerts is a simple way to remain proactive in the fight against drive failure.

3: Separate OS install from user data
With the Linux operating system, I almost always separate the user's home directories (~/) from the OS installation onto different drives. Doing this ensures the drive the OS is installed upon will enjoy less reading/writing because so much of the I/O will happen on the user's home drive. Doing this will easily extend the life of the drive the OS is installed on, as well as allow you to transfer the user data easily should an OS drive fail.

4: Be careful about the surrounding environment
Although this seems like it should go without saying, it often doesn't. On a daily basis, I see PCs stuck in tiny cabinets with zero circulation. Obviously, those machines always run hot, thus shortening the lifespan of the internal components. Instead of shoving those machines into tight, unventilated spaces, give them plenty of breathing room. If you must cram a machine into a tight space, at least give it ventilation and even add a fan to pull out that stale, warm air generated by the PC. There's a reason why so much time and money have gone into PC cooling and why we have things like liquid cooling and powerful cooling systems for data centers.

5: Watch out for static
Here's another issue that should go without saying. Static electricity is the enemy of computer components. When you handle them, make sure you ground yourself first. This is especially true in the winter months or in areas of drier air. If you seem to get shocked every time you touch something, that's a good sign that you must use extra caution when handling those drives. This also goes for where you set those drives down. I have actually witnessed users placing drives on stereo speakers, TVs, and other appliances/devices that can give off an electromagnetic wave. Granted, most of these appliances have magnets that are not strong enough to erase a drive. But it's a chance no one should take.

6: Defragment that drive
A fragmented drive is a drive being pushed to work harder than it should. All hard drives should be used in their most efficient states to avoid excess wear and tear. This includes defragmenting. To be on the safe side, set your PC(s) to automatically defrag on a weekly basis. This works to extend the life of your drive by keeping the file structure more compact, so the read heads are not moving as much or as often.

7: Go with a solid state drive
Solid state drives are, for all intents and purposes, just large flash drives, so they have no moving parts. Without moving parts, the life of the drive (as a whole) is naturally going to be longer than it would if the drive included read heads, platters, and bearings. Although these drives will cost more up front, they will save you money in the long run by offering a longer lifespan. That means less likelihood of drive failure, which will cause downtime as data is recovered and transferred.

8: Take advantage of power save
On nearly every OS, you can configure your hard drive to spin down after a given time. In some older iterations of operating systems, drives would spin 24/7--which would drastically reduce the lifespan of a drive. By default, Windows 7 uses the Balanced Power Savings plan, which will turn off the hard drive after 20 minutes of inactivity. Even if you change that by a few minutes, you are adding life to your hard drive. Just make sure you don't shrink that number to the point where your drive is going to sleep frequently throughout the day. If you are prone to take five- to 10-minute breaks often, consider lowering that time to no less than 15 minutes. When the drive goes to sleep, the drive is not spinning. When the drive is not spinning, entropy is not working on that drive as quickly.

9: Tighten those screws
Loose mounting screws (which secure the hard drive to the PC chassis) can cause excessive vibrations. Those vibrations can damage to the platters of a standard hard disk. If you hear vibrations coming from within your PC, open it and make sure the screws securing the drive to the mounting platform are tight. If they aren't, tighten them. Keeping your hardware nice and tight will help extend the life of that hardware.

10: Back up
Eventually, that drive will fail. No matter how careful you are, no matter how many steps you take to prevent failure, the drive will, in the end, die a painful death. If you have solid backups, at least the transition from one drive to another will be painless. And by using a backup solution such as Acronis Universal Restore, you can transfer a machine image from one piece of hardware to another piece of hardware with very little issue.

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Recover Delete Files or Folders on your Computer

Few times we accidentally delete files or folders from our computer and later find it very hard to recover. There are several file recovering softwares available today, but most of them are shareware. If you want to recover all your deleted files, you have to buy their software. And they also provide no guarantee that all your deleted files will get recovered. So, it’s better to find an another tool which will restore all your files yet free to download.

There is a file recovering tool called recuva. This can recover files form not only your computer hard disk but also from pen drive and memory cards. It uses 4 layer recovery steps like simple overwrite, DOD, NSA and Gutmann methode. This ensures a full data recovery of your lost data.

While using Recuva deleted files recovery tool, you can find few options like what sort of files you want to recover. You can recover image, documents, music, video or other files. You can also select to recover and restore all deleted files.

Tip: Never reboot your computer once your files are deleted. Suppose you deleted a file which was in D Drive. Now do not install Recuva or any other file recovering system on that D Drive. Install it on some other drive. The reason behind this is that the file remains in your hard disk drive even if you delete it permanently. You just can’t access it. But if you select a file to save on that drive or install a software on that drive, that might be saved over that deleted data and it will be impossible to recover totally erased data. So, better save the installation file on an another drive as well save it on another drive.

1) Download and install Recuva deleted file recovery tool
2) Double click on Recuva shortcut to launch it
3) Now select the file types you want to recover by clicking on it

4) Now select the drive location where Recuva should start scanning and recovering files.

Now Recuva will start it’s scan process and will show you a list of those deleted files. Check those files you want to recover.

Recuva will recover those files for you in next couple of minutes. It’s that much easy.

So, it’s indeed a helpful tool. If anytime you feel like helpless after permanently deleting a file, you can feel assured with Recuva. Here is the download link to Recuva.

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The First ever Web Browser with Sidebar from INDIA

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The Best Gaming CPUs for the Money: July 2010

This month we aren't seeing much in the way of new products, but processors previously announced in May and June have finally shown up at retail.

From AMD, the Athlon II X2 260, Athlon II X3 445, and Athlon II X4 640 are available to purchase. As we've recently put these three new models through some rigorous gaming testing versus their sub-$150 Intel counterparts. 

Of particular interest to readers of the Best Gaming CPUs For The Money articles, the Athlon II X3 445 has earned a place in our recommendations, as does the Phenom II X4 940 and 945. For that matter, Intel's Core i3-530 shows off its gaming prowess and ends up on the list. But the Core i3-540 isn't able to make its value as apparent, given a higher price tag, and has been stripped of its honorable mention status.

From the Intel camp, we have the Pentium E6700, Core i5-655K, and Core i7-875K now available to buy. The Pentium E6700 is another speed bump in the dual-core Pentium series of processors, boasting a 3.2 GHz clock rate, but little else of interest. We do see this being a viable upgrade for folks holding on to a slow single-core LGA 775 system who are looking for a cheap upgrade.

The Core i5-655K and Core i7-875K are another matter entirely. Essentially, these are Core i5-650 and Core i7-870 CPUs that have their multipliers unlocked. The K suffix is Intel's equivalent to AMD's Black Edition moniker, and these models allow overclockers to push their CPUs to the limit without stressing the rest of their system. The really interesting thing about these new CPUs is how Intel priced them. The Core i5-655K costs about $20 more than its Core i5-650 predecessor, but the Core i7-875K costs $250 less than we're used to paying for a Core i7-870. While it's true that the Core i7-870 was overpriced, it's a staggering move to add an overclocking feature and slash the price in one quick swoop. That's an un-Intel-like move, and we have to applaud it. The only people who aren't happy about this development are folks who recently purchased a Core i7-870. In any case, you can read our Intel Core i7-875K And Core i5-655K Battle Beyond 4 GHz review if you're interested in more information about these models.

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