3 Ways to Protect Sensitive Data on Storage Devices

With the growing possibility that deleted files can be recovered from your PC especially if it is passed on to someone else, there’s a growing threat that someone can gain access to sensitive information and blackmail you with it.

That said, here are 3 ways by which you can protect sensitive data from just about any storage device:

#1: About Drives

If you use mechanical drives, then it is possible to recover data from these older forms of storage. In order for you to prevent this from happening, you will have to overwrite the drive with something else. This applies to external solid state drives such as USBs and SD cards and so on and so forth too. External drives have a feature called TRIM which ensures that all memory cells are deleted permanently.

#2: Use Windows 8

Prior to Windows 8, people had to use third party software to delete files permanently from one’s hard drive. However, now a feature has been added makes this task easier while also installing your operating system as well.

The feature is “Reset your PC feature in Windows 8 or 8.1” where you can “fully clean the drive” and have your operating system as a result.

#3: Use encryption for your files

No matter whether deleted or current, encrypting them means protecting all types of files. Software such as TrueCrypt or the BitLocker feature where the former can encrypt entire drives or even create encrypted containers too. Of course, in order to access these files, you will have to enter an encryption passphrase without which, the data still on your PC will appear as gibberish.

Using Windows 8 App Remover to Get Rid of Unnecessary Apps

Getting rid of bloatware has become a common task to perform especially for those using Windows. Thanks to the presence of bloatware, people have had no choice but to turn to third-party programs in order to get rid of it automatically.

All this has gotten worse in Windows 8 with a number of Metro apps being installed and difficult to remove. Of course, the only option is to go through each of these apps and uninstall them one by one.

But that would take a lot of time, now wouldn’t it?

This brings us to the Windows 8 App Remover which will, with a single click, removes a number of applications at the same time and much like the PC Decrapifier.

Think about it: even if pre-installed apps are less problematic as opposed to the others, it’s still better to get rid of both for more than one reason.

Not only does this reduce clutter in the All Apps view but it also saves on space as well as unnecessary updates from the Windows Store. Most of all, it helps you to organize the Start screen.

For this, you have to download Windows App Remover from Sourceforge and install it just as you would for any other desktop program. It isn’t available for Windows RT tablets yet.

After you install the app, make sure you pick the right version of Windows that you are using. After this, click ‘List Apps’ as well as ‘Remove Apps’. Finally, select ‘Yes’ to the Warning message.

And we’re done removing all the unnecessary apps….

3 Programs to Solve Wifi Issues

Despite the technology surrounding network management software and routers, connecting to Wi-Fi has become easier than ever.

However, there’s no doubt that there still aren’t issues involved with Wi-fi such such as poor signals,  slow speeds and a lack of hotspots and so on and so forth.

That said, here are 2 programs that can help you with these common Wi-fi issues:

#1: Speed Test

A poor internet connection might occur for a number of reasons but one major one includes your ISP offering less-than-advertised broadband speeds. For this, use Speedtest.net by Ookla that helps you test the speeds quicker.

You can collect a lot of data by using this app: what kind of speeds you get at various times of the day or even if that slow Netflix streaming speed is the problem or not.

This app isn’t just available via the web. There are Android, Windows Phone and iOS versions too that can help you test speeds too.

#2: MyPublicWifi

While there are a number of reasons why only one device can connect to the internet, there are a number of apps that can fix this problem sooner. One such app is Connectify that comes in both the free and paid forms.

Yet another more effective app involves MyPublicWifi which is free and very simple to use. All you have to do is run the application by right-clicking on the desktop shortcut while selecting ‘Run as administrator’. Also, make sure you change the password to a stronger one because the default version is weak.

2 Built-in Features in Windows That Can Improve Productivity

Productivity can always be maximized, no matter much space you might have. For example, even if one has two monitors, there’s always the desire to get one more.

And since there are only so many monitors you can get, thanks to monetary constraints, there are other ways to maximize the space that is already at your disposal.

That said, here are 2 features that can help you do so, and are already built into Windows:

#1: Modern snap

The newest way to share desktop space in Windows 8 is Snap. This version is very different from the Windows 7 desktop snap which will let you display two modern apps or the desktop and a modern app simultaneously.

This version has improved dramatically in Windows 8.1 due to new sizing options since it first appeared in Windows 8.

All you have to do is move your pointer to the lower right corner of your screen to where the Start button is. Don’t click but move your cursor upward so that a sidebar open with all your current apps are displayed.

#2: Windows 7-Style Desktop Snap

Modern Snap might be useful if you want a number of apps open while you work but it won’t work if you want to view two desktop apps simultaneously. For this, you’ll have to use the desktop version of Snap.

Now let’s suppose you want both Google Chrome and Microsoft Word open on desktop. All you have to do is open Word and tap the Windows key + the left arrow so as to resize the program to take up the left half of your screen. For Chrome, all you have to do is tap Windows key + right arrow so as to move the browser to the right end of your screen.

4 Windows Features That Can Be Replaced with Free (and better) Alternatives

There’s no doubt that Windows has a number of built-in features that are great and a number of them that aren’t up to the mark.

Thankfully, there are a number of free alternatives that can be used to replace the ones that aren’t so great.

So, here is a list of 4 Windows features that can replaced with better ones:

#1: Search

While Search in Windows 8 is fast and well-integrated with the Start Screen. Unfortunately, it can’t find documents or executables. Which means that you will have to look for these files using File Explorer search. Instead, try using a search utility called “Everything”.

#2: File Transfer

One of the simplest things that you can do in Windows 7 is carry out file transfers. However, it’s just as frustrating too because they take like forever. So instead of wasting an afternoon transferring files, try using a utility such as TeraCopy which will move your files faster and will avoid failed transfers too.

#3: Screenshots

By pressing Win-PrtScn, one can easily get a screenshot in Windows 8. However, what must you do if you need a number of screenshots in the process?

Truth be told, there are a number of options that are available to help you with this simple task. But most experts recommend Greenshot that allows you to do a number of things with the screenshots taken.

#4: Notepad

If there’s a reason why people use Notepad, it is for its simplicity. Doesn’t it make sense to use Word if you wanted something more complex. In other words, more features? This is where Notepad++ comes in. Some of these include spell check, edit a number of files at once as well as a customizable user interface.

What You Should Do If You Like To Continue Using Windows XP

Almost every expert in the world of technology agrees: we all need to stop using Windows XP.

However, taking this advice might be easier said than done. Maybe your business uses a particular application that can run only on Windows XP. Maybe you can’t afford a new PC along with your old one not being powerful enough to take an upgrade.

So, if you find yourself in any of these situations, it’s better to heed the warning since once these updates stop, your data will more vulnerable than ever.

If you still can’t give it up, then try the old-fashioned method of disconnecting it from the internet as a standalone workstation and buy another PC or tablet for your email and browsing needs.

If that still doesn’t work for you, then it’s time to consider these other steps as well. Some of these steps include:

#1: A full security suite

A simple antivirus connection will not be enough. Instead, you will have to get an entire internet security suite which includes a firewall and exploit protection. Kapersky Internet Security is an ideal option.

#2: Firefox or Chrome are your best options

An outdated browser is just asking for trouble and an open door for malware. Any version of Internet Explorer that runs on Windows XP is really outdated. However, both Firefox and Google Chrome will still run on your system protected.

#3: Protect your browser

For additional security, scripts can deliver malware onto your system if left unprotected. For this, the right browser add-ins can stop them. You can customize the add-ins and make exceptions. So, when using Firefox, make sure you install only NoScript Security Suite and Chrome, use NotScripts.

What You Need to Know About “Should I Remove it?”

Most people will agree that trying out new apps might be fun. However, the consequences of using one that clogs your PC quickly can hardly be considered as fun as well.

And which is why a number of people have no other option but to go through one’s list of apps so as to remove them and therefore free your computer up.

Yet there’s a caveat: the Windows built-in application, known as Control Panel, does not give you enough information that can tell you what a program does.

Thankfully, there’s also another option known as “Should I Remove it?” (which we will SIRT henceforth) that does provide you a bit more information but will not overwhelm the user much like PC utilities do.

When you run it, it will not only display a simple list of every application run on your PC but will give you a rating of 5 stars or less that will indicate whether other users liked the program or not. It will also give you the percentage of users that uninstalled the program as well.

As for an app’s installation, you can do it directly from SIRT with the extra feature of scheduling SIRT to review your list of apps regularly.

However, there is one issue with this application: it directs you to ShouldIRemoveIt.com to display detailed information about an app instead of doing this from the desktop program.

If you don’t mind that, you’ll find that SIRT is definitely a user-friendly program to use.

How IT Companies in Los Angeles Can Help Solve Crimes

It was finals week, December of 2013. Students at Harvard were just getting started with their exams when something quite unexpected happened. Meanwhile, student Eldo Kim was logging into the school network via a browser he thought was obscuring his location. It was campus IT, in cooperation with police, who ultimately compared time stamps of the emails to police with time stamps of anonymous browsers.

IT infrastructure is increasingly becoming an integral part of solving crime. How companies deal with cyber security will only improve as more industries enter the digital age.

Network Monitoring

Hospitals in Irvine are adapting to changes in the health care laws. That means more patient information is going to the cloud, and these medical facilities are not equipped to deal with data breaches. There are also problems with staff training. Part of the solution is computer support in Irvine to help deal with the flood of new issues. That support also includes network monitoring that will help these businesses detect and react to data leaks faster.

The reality is that security comes down to how quickly you can detect someone is trying to breach your system. Antivirus programs attempt to shield us from these attacks, but sustained attacks will collapse most systems. Monitoring helps detect these breaches as they happen, and emergency response teams can assess the risk and deal with the problem.

Risk Management

Risk management means assessing a company’s likelihood of being attacked, and knowing what the business stands to lose. IT companies in Los Angeles that offer hardware and software consulting base their careers off of making recommendations on the best solutions. These businesses look at the size of the customer base, analyze the access points needed, and craft a system that caters to different “levels” of user.

Emergency Support

Emergency support comes into play when there is a breach in the early hours of the morning, or late in the evening. Companies can maintain staff in-house, and many do. Paying that staff overtime to remain on-call is expensive, so around the clock response is usually outsourced to a firm better equipped to deal with it.

Data Management

In-house teams tend to work with a business’ data sets and create the applications needed to work with that data. They manage the customer and business side of the application, and are better equipped to respond to technical issues that may occur on-site. A combination of these services helps relegate the cost of IT, and keep data manageable as the business scales.


This guest post is brought to you by Cal Net Technology Group, a firm of Los Angeles computer consultants specializing in data management and emergency response. Cal Net offers on-site training for employees, as well as a risk assessment for businesses concerned with digital security.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About These Mysterious Files

If you’re scared of files that start with a “~$” and for good reason, the first thing that you need to know is that there is no reason for you to be scared when you see this file.

That’s probably because you haven’t created the file yet and it still appears in your Documents folder.

In most cases, besides the strange punctuation, the file name looks familiar but can be opened with a common application. However, when you try to open it, an error message is obtained causing the confusion as to what this file might be.

So, if you’ve wondered what this file really is, it’s really a temporary file and which has been created by Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. This is why, in most cases, the file goes away as soon as you close the file that you have just opened.

These temporary files have almost the same name except for the “~$” that replaces the first two letters of the file. For example, if the file that you have created is StackOverflow.docx, then its temporary file would look like ~$ackOverflow.docx.

As for opening these files, you can’t because they’re not normal .docx or .pptx files.

There are other times when you’ll see one of these temporary files without actually opening a document and this is because a file in either Powerpoint or Word did not close correctly due to a Windows crash.

Actually, you’re not supposed to see these files because they’re meant to be hidden and which means that someone has set up Windows to display these files. All you have to do is hide or display hidden files in the View tab which is located in the Folder Options dialog box.

3 Ways to Keep Your Data Secure

Let’s face it: data security is not easy whether this pertains to mobiles, tablets, smartphones or even laptops.

It shouldn’t be surprising that these devices are goldmines of personal information to thieves and which is why they are popular as well.

So, keeping this in mind, here are 3 ways you can protect your data:

#1: Encrypt everything

One of the easiest ways to protect your data is to make use of the in-built hardware encryption on your Android or iOS device. If enabled, you can be sure that without a passcode, noone will be able to read anything on your mobile. While iPhone and iPad users will be pleased to note that their data is already encrypted, Android users will have to go through a lengthy but easy process to encrypt their data.

#2: Watch out for malware

Android, unlike Apple, is far more vulnerable to malware since Google does not check apps before they go live on Google Play. It’s for this reason that malware creators has begun to offer free device wallpapers as well as games so as to infect one’s device. For this, make sure you check what’s on offer by Lookout, Avast and Kapersky in the form of antivirus and security apps to help secure your phone.

#3: Protect your data from border agents

Border agents are allowed to confiscate any devices you are are carrying and even copy its contents. Since these checks are done to prevent terrorism, there’s nothing that you can do to avoid them. However, instead of allowing them to download sensitive information, you can actually leave your hard drive behind and instead boot your system with an SD card or a USB.