15 Must Have Windows Programs

When it comes to anything (especially computers), I’m a very efficient guy. I need to maximize my time so I can get things done faster and more efficiently. For example, I run a lean mean machine and probably spend 4+ hours tweaking and slimming down my computer after a fresh install of Windows. It may sound silly but I’d rather just have a vanilla install of XP or Vista.

It’s rather annoying that computers like Dell and other big brands always give you extra junk which I never use. There is talk that Dell will soon offer a slimmed down version of XP or Vista without the AOL sign-up links or other stuff nobody really uses.

So here’s a list of 15 programs I can’t live without and immediately download after a fresh install (which I do once a year) . Continue reading 15 Must Have Windows Programs

5 Steps to Speed Up Your PC

In continuing with my previous post, here’s a list of 5 quick ways you can turn your machine’s speed up a notch:

  1. Turn off all uneeded windows servicesBlackviper.com is a great site that lists all the Windows services and tells you what’s needed. Disabling several of the default services will free up your memory and also speed up your computer. Fair warning: Be careful when playing with your services since disabling certain ones can cripple your computer. Blackviper however, gives you great detail so as long as you follow his list, you’ll be fine.
  2. Check “startup” folder – This folder is what Windows loads and is usually a bunch of junk (i.e. MS Office Fast Find, Acrobat, etc). Removing these from your startup folder doesn’t mean they won’t run, it just might take a little longer to load if you ever use them. Compukiss.com has a nice article on this.
  3. Choose “Advanced or Custom” installation – Most software you install almost always adds a bunch of bloatware or creates shortcuts, new home pages, etc which I can’t stand. If I wanted to make Yahoo my home page after I install Yahoo IM I’d do it on my own.
  4. Unclutter your “Start –> Programs Menu” – Whenever you install a new program, it creates a new folder in your programs folder. That’s great but what happens once you’ve got many many programs installed? Your programs menu becomes a mess and you’ve got to scroll to find anything. Here’s my secret: I create a “Misc” folder and drag all program folders I rarely ever use like Nod32, Yahoo IM, etc and plop them in there. That way you keep your main programs folder clean and still have all folders!
  5. Tidy up the Taskbar – I’m not a fan of the XP default Start Menu so I make several changes including the following:
  • Turn on the Classic Start Menu – cleaner look and easier usability
  • Uncheck “Group similar taskbar buttons” – I don’t like how XP stacks my windows into one item.

How to Get Discounts With Online Purchases

The Internet is a wonderful tool and I love saving money while purchasing things online. The beauty about it is in order to save money or find coupons you don’t have to cut them out of your Sunday paper or print them out from specific websites. Nowadays all you need to do is type in a promo code when you’re checking out on that website and your discount is applied.

Any time I make a purchase online let it be from sites like Amazon.com, 1-800-flowers.com, myfax.com, or one of the many others I almost always save money. When I order flowers online, I never pay full price. I always find a coupon for 10% off or free shipping at a minimum. I can’t tell you how many times this method has saved me a little bit of money each time I purchase something online. Now it may not seem like much, but if you shop online as often as I do, the savings add up quickly. Continue reading How to Get Discounts With Online Purchases

Yahoo IM Old Version Solution

Sometimes upgrading a software program to a newer version can be a good thing. It addresses bugs, security holes, adds new features, etc. Other times, your computer may not be compatible with the new version, the new version is bloated, or all the options you liked are no longer available. When the latter of the two is true, I use a web site called OldVersion.com.

For example, I recently had to reinstall Yahoo IM and really hate their latest 8.1 version. It comes with ads at the bottom (ads are actually pre 8.1) which blink, rotate, and drive you crazy and also seems to run much slower on my machine. So instead of installing YIM bloatware 8.1, I went on over to 0ldversion.com and downloaded YIM version 7.0. 

OldVersion.com currently offers 1910 versions of 152 programs and continues to grow. It’s a great resource so I don’t need to keep an archive of all my previous program versions.

How To Transfer A Domain

I’ve recently had to transfer a number of my web sites to new web hosting providers because my traffic continues to go up. It’s a good problem to have but it’s also a pain to deal with. My latest domain move is a real estate blog which currently runs along with 5 other web sites under one account with Bluehost. The time has come to migrate my Real Estate Investing Blog to a new provider and I’ve chosen Host Monster.

So here the steps I had to take to transfer a domain to a brand-new hosting provider. This list serves as they high-level guideline and may vary depending on the current web hosting company and/or blogging, database you are using. Continue reading How To Transfer A Domain

Additional Card Cage Fan Needed – Dell 8400 Solution

Alert! Additional card cage fan needed for PCI Express card over 75 watts. — That’s probably the message many of you have seen and hopefully I can help remedy it for you. The main reason I am blogging this is to help save others the frustration I went through to troubleshoot, research, order, and install this darn card cage fan.

So I purchased my Dell Dimension 8400 a while ago and decided to upgrade the video card to a GeForce 6800. After doing so, I started getting that message everytime I booted up. I’d have to hit F1 to continue which was annoying. So after some trolling through Dell’s support site, I finally discovered my problem wasn’t unique. In order to satisfy my machine, I needed to purchase an auxilary blower fan.

Dell 8400 additional card cage fan

Ok….so to the right is a picture of the fan which obviously doesn’t have much to it. You’ll need to call Dell Spare Parts (800-372-3355) and purchase this part number:
H3840 Auxilary Blower Fan for an 8400 PCIe video card. I actually picked one up from eBay for under $9.00 + shipping so I’d recommend that route. I think Dell charges $20 or something. Continue reading Additional Card Cage Fan Needed – Dell 8400 Solution