Thursday, November 7, 2013


From Yash's Blog, link below:

Here is a list of useful shortcuts for Windows 8 & 8.1, (better than the one I published in November 2012) :

Windows key: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
Windows key + C: Access the charms bar
Windows key + Tab: Access the Modern Desktop Taskbar
Windows key + I: Access the Settings charm
Windows key + H: Access the Share charm
Windows key + K: Access the Devices charm
Windows key + Q: Access the Apps Search screen
Windows key + F: Access the Files Search screen
Windows key + W: Access the Settings Search screen
Windows key + P: Access the Second Screen bar
Windows key + Z: Brings up the App Bar when you have a Modern Desktop App running
Windows key + X: Access the Windows Tools Menu
Windows key + O: Lock screen orientation
Windows key + . : Move the screen split to the right
Windows key + Shift + . : Move the screen split to the left
Windows key + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications
Windows key + Shift + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications in reverse order
Windows key + PrtScn: Takes a screenshot of the screen and automatically saves it in the Pictures folder as Screenshot
Windows key + Enter: Launch Narrator
Windows key + E: Open Computer
Windows key + R: Open the Run dialog box
Windows key + U: Open Ease of Access Center
Windows key + Ctrl + F: Open Find Computers dialog box
Windows key + Pause/Break: Open the System page
Windows key + 1..10: Launch a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Shift + 1..10: Launch a new instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Ctrl + 1..10: Access the last active instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Alt + 1..10: Access the Jump List of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + B: Select the first item in the Notification Area and then use the arrow keys to cycle through the items Press Enter to open the selected item
Windows key + Ctrl + B: Access the program that is displaying a message in the Notification Area
Windows key + T: Cycle through the items on the Taskbar
Windows key + M: Minimize all windows
Windows key + Shift + M: Restore all minimized windows
Windows key + D: Show/Hide Desktop (minimize/restore all windows)
Windows key + L: Lock computer
Windows key + Up Arrow: Maximize current window
Windows key + Down Arrow: Minimize/restore current window
Windows key + Home: Minimize all but the current window
Windows key + Left Arrow: Tile window on the left side of the screen
Windows key + Right Arrow: Tile window on the right side of the screen
Windows key + Shift + Up Arrow: Extend current window from the top to the bottom of the screen
Windows key + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Move the current window from one monitor to the next
Windows key + F1: Launch Windows Help and Support

PageUp: Scroll forward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
PageDown: Scroll backward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
Esc: Close a charm
Ctrl + Esc: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Activate the Semantic Zoom on the Modern Desktop screen

Alt: Display a hidden Menu Bar
Alt + D: Select the Address Bar
Alt + P: Display the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer
Alt + Tab: Cycle forward through open windows
Alt + Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through open windows
Alt + F: Close the current window Open the Shut Down Windows dialog box from the Desktop
Alt + Spacebar: Access the Shortcut menu for current window
Alt + Esc: Cycle between open programs in the order that they were opened
Alt + F4: Close Application
Alt + Enter: Open the Properties dialog box of the selected item
Alt + PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the active Window and place it in the clipboard
Alt + Up Arrow: Move up one folder level in Windows Explorer (Like the Up Arrow in XP)
Alt + Left Arrow: Display the previous folder

Alt + Right Arrow: Display the next folder

Shift + Insert: CD/DVD Load CD/DVD without triggering Autoplay or Autorun
Shift + Delete: Permanently delete the item (rather than sending it to the Recycle Bin)
Shift + F6: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
Shift + F10: Access the context menu for the selected item
Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
Shift + Click: Select a consecutive group of items
Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program
Shift + Right-click on a Taskbar button: Access the context menu for the selected item
Ctrl + A: Select all items
Ctrl + C: Copy the selected item
Ctrl + X: Cut the selected item
Ctrl + V: Paste the selected item
Ctrl + D: Delete selected item
Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
Ctrl + N: Open a new window in Windows Explorer
Ctrl + W: Close current window in Windows Explorer
Ctrl + E: Select the Search box in the upper right corner of a window
Ctrl + Shift + N: Create new folder
Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open the Windows Task Manager
Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Use arrow keys to cycle through open windows
Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Access the Windows Security screen
Ctrl + Click: Select multiple individual items
Ctrl + Click and drag an item: Copies that item in the same folder
Ctrl + Shift + Click and drag an item: Creates a shortcut for that item in the same folder
Ctrl + Tab: Move forward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move backward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program as an Administrator
Ctrl + Click on a grouped Taskbar button: Cycle through the instances of a program in the group
F1: Display Help
F2: Rename a file
F3: Open Search
F4: Display the Address Bar list
F5: Refresh display
F6: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
F7: Display command history in a Command Prompt
F10: Display hidden Menu Bar
F11: Toggle full screen display
Tab: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the entire screen and place it in the clipboard
Home: Move to the top of the active window
End: Move to the bottom of the active window
Delete: Delete the selected item
Backspace: Display the previous folder in Windows Explorer Move up one folder level in Open or Save dialog box
Esc: Close a dialog box
Num Lock Enabled + Plus (+): Display the contents of the selected folder
Num Lock Enabled + Minus (-): Collapse the selected folder
Num Lock Enabled + Asterisk (*): Expand all subfolders under the selected folder
Press Shift 5 times Turn StickyKeys on or off
Hold down right Shift for 8 seconds Turn FilterKeys on or off
Hold down Num Lock for 5 seconds Turn ToggleKeys on or off

Good stuff, thanks for the info Yash's Blog !

I know my readers will enjoy and look for other good info by clicking the link shown above.

George Freire


Friday, October 25, 2013


Hi all,

I have been talking about Windows 8 and the much waited final upgrade version of Windows 8.1, which was made available last week, October 17, 2013.

With due respect here is a summary of a very useful  article from
" Kim Komando's Breaking Newsletter":

Predictably, some of the options you'll love in 8.1 aren't turned on out of the box. You have to know where to look.
Let's start with updating from Windows 8; it isn't hard. From the Windows 8 Start screen, open the Windows Store. It will let you know Windows 8.1 is available.
It's a large update, so it will take a while to download. Fortunately, you can keep using your computer in the meantime. Once the update finishes downloading, you'll receive further instructions.

While no one is reporting any problems, I still suggest backing up your information before you start. You never know what glitches might happen.

Once Windows 8.1 is installed, the first thing you'll see is a demo with helpful hints for using Windows 8.1. Yes, Microsoft finally included instructions. You can go through the tutorial right away. If you want to save it for later, or have more questions, open the Help + Tips app in the Start screen. Next, you can start customizing. One of the first things you'll notice is that 8.1 still boots to the Start screen instead of the Desktop.

From the Start screen, click the Desktop app icon, or click the Start button in the lower left screen corner, to bring up the Desktop. Then right-click on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and choose Properties.

Go to the Navigation tab and check the "When I sign in or close all apps on the screen, go to the desktop instead of Start" option. Now the computer will boot to the Desktop. That will make it feel more like the Windows you know.

I would also select "Show my desktop background on Start." This syncs your Desktop and Start screen backgrounds. It doesn't sound like much, but it actually helps everything make more sense. You'll see what I mean when you turn it on.

You can also turn off some of the corner hot points for accessing recent apps and the Charms menu. This makes it harder to hit them accidentally with a mouse.

Earlier I mentioned that the Start button is back, sort of. While it's right where it used to be, it just doesn't do what you'd expect. By default, clicking on it brings up the Windows 8 Start screen instead of the older-style Start menu.

If you really want the old-style Windows Start menu, you'll need a third-party option like Start8 or Classic Shell.

(To install Classic Shell you can check our post dated December 16, 2012).

However, for now, right-click on the Start button and select Properties. From there, click the Navigation tab and choose "shows the Apps view automatically when I go to Start."

Now when you click on the Start button, you'll see every app or program on the computer. You can sort them in alphabetical order or by most used.
Apps view also lets you change default programs or uninstall programs. This saves you from going through Windows 8's usual uninstall process, which is confusing.

Of course, Windows 8.1 isn't just about fixing old features. There are some nice new features as well. One new change you're sure to like is the updated Lock Screen. You can decorate your Lock Screen with any picture on your computer or from SkyDrive.

You can even turn them into picture passwords, which let you draw on an image to unlock your computer. Microsoft says it's easier and safer than a traditional password.

Microsoft has updated every built-in app, so they're much nicer to use. You'll want to go check them out if you weren't impressed the first time around.

App multitasking is a bit nicer. Instead of allowing just two apps side-by-side, you can have up to four. Plus, you get to choose how much of the screen each app takes up.

There are still some quirks, of course. Apps load in the Start screen, not the Desktop, making it hard to tell how to get out of them. However, Windows 8.1 is still much better overall than Windows 8. Hopefully, Microsoft continues that trend with the next updates and the upcoming Windows 9. Want to ditch computers in favor of a tablet? It's possible. Just be sure you have all the information you need first.

Here is the link to get the whole of this article plus more good stuff:

Thanks Kim, we all appreciate your Web Site.

George Freire

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I got this from a friend,
This is mind boggling!
This is done so well, it is definitely worth the time to watch and see what goes on behind the scenes.
Absolutely Amazing.

HOW THE INTERNET WORKS: click the link or "copy/paste to your browser".

George Freire

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Windows 8.1 digital download will be released October 17, full retail launch October 18

For all Windows 8 users:

Remember what I  mentioned to you in our post of July 30, 2013? :

"Windows 8 has been here for over eight months and whether you love it of hate it, if you buy a new computer you are stuck, therefore try to make the best of the situation.

I have received many comments and complaints concerning Windows 8, from people I help with computer problems. Most of these point out that it is difficult to all of a sudden, navigate from years of XP, Vista and the much loved Windows 7 to an almost unrecognizable and frustrating computing experience.

This is not exactly fair, because Windows 8, (once you get into it), is in my opinion, quite an exciting transition.

Sure enough, Microsoft may have gone a little too far and may have miscalculated how frustrating some of the changes may have been. "Where is the start button ?", "I have quite a problem navigating around this crazy system", "How do I turn off the computer ?" "How do I create a repair disk and a mirror image of my system ?" These are all serious problems for those who all of a sudden get introduced to Windows 8 in their new computer.

Microsoft has also listened and fortunately has released a much improved Windows 8.1 preview pack, (just a beta format), that anybody can download and play with. The formal release of Windows 8.1 will be officially available later this Fall.

Many improvements that make using Windows 8 more palatable have been created, including a start button, not quite as useful and adaptable as our old friend we all were used to... But more about Windows 8.1 in a later post, "...

I downloaded the Windows 8.1 preview pack a couple of months ago and have been checking and experimenting all the new improvements offered  with this upgrade. Frankly I like it a lot better than the original version.

Those of you who have Windows 8 in your computers, will be able to free download  the new upgrade Windows 8.1 pretty soon. Here is the latest news as published by PCWorld a few weeks ago by Mr. Brad Chacos:

"A day after rampant rumors hinted at an October release date for the impending Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft has gone ahead and let the cat out of the bag: Windows 8.1 will roll out to users via the Windows Store at 7 A.M. Eastern time on October 17.

Microsoft's blog lists the technical release date as October 18, with the digital floodgates opening at midnight New Zealand time. Indeed, beyond its early Windows Store availability, The Verge reports that Windows 8.1's full-blown retail launch—boxed discs, new hardware, etc.—will be on October 18. Microsoft's manufacturing partners are expected to receive the final RTM version of Windows 8.1 by the end of August, giving them time to prepare for the launch.

While Windows 8.1 won't win over desktop diehards who loathe the new-look modern UI with a deep and utter hatred, the update is a true lesson in course correction and will do a lot to smooth over Windows 8's roughest edges. Windows 8.1 is chock-full of new features, new apps, new highlights, and yes, even new (and awesome!) secrets. And hey, even reluctant Windows 8 upgraders will find plenty to like. The switch between the dueling modern and desktop interfaces is no longer quite so jarring, and Windows 8.1 will even let you boot directly to the desktop.

Not too shabby for an update that's coming out just shy of Windows 8's one-year anniversary on October 26. Microsoft's also tossing business users a bone, with R2 versions of Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 R2, and the latest update to Windows Intune being released at the same time as Windows 8.1.

Intrigued? Incredulous? Impatient? Just plain interested? Microsoft's already offering a preview version of the Windows 8.1 update for those daring souls who don't mind delving deep into unfinished software. Check out PCWorld's guide to installing the Windows 8.1 preview to give all the new features a whirl today".

There you have it, all you have to do is wait until October 17, 2013.

George Freire

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Windows 8 Helpful Hints

Windows 8 has been here for over eight months and whether you love it of hate it, if you buy a new computer you are stuck, therefore try to make the best of the situation.

I have received many comments and complaints concerning Windows 8, from people I help with computer problems. Most of these  point out that it is difficult to all of a sudden, navigate from years of XP, Vista and the much loved Windows 7 to an almost unrecognizable and frustrating computing experience.

This is not exactly fair, because Windows 8, (once you get into it), is in my opinion, quite an exciting transition.

Sure enough, Microsoft may have gone a little too far and may have miscalculated how frustrating some of the changes may have been. "Where is the start button ?", "I have quite a problem navigating around this crazy system", "How do I turn off the computer ?" "How do I create a repair disk and a mirror image of my system ?" These are all serious problems for those who all of a sudden get introduced to Windows 8 in their new computer.

 Microsoft has also listened and fortunately has released a much improved Windows 8.1 preview pack, (just a beta format), that anybody can download and play with. The formal release of Windows 8.1 will be officially available later this Fall.

Many  improvements that make using Windows 8 more palatable have been created, including a start button, not quite as useful and adaptable as our old friend we all were used to... But more about Windows 8.1 in a later post, maybe after I come back from Florida where I am going for a few days visiting one of my daughters who lives in the Orlando area.

For now I just want to touch on a very important subject:

"How to create a Repair Disk and a mirror image of your hard drive"

In Windows 8 a repair disk is now called a "Recovery Drive".

A "Recovery Drive" will allow you to boot your system and easily access a number of recovery and troubleshooting tools that you can use to repair your  Windows 8 system in case of need.

Windows 8 allows you to create a Recovery Drive using a USB flash memory stick, (this feature was not available in Windows 7). A Recovery Drive has more capabilities than the "old" Repair Disk, among them being able to backup an OEM recovery partition. However you can also create a Recovery Drive on a DVD-R disk using the old System Repair Disk user interface. (More about this later).

The contents of the Recovery Drive will require about 256MB of space. For that you can use a 1 GB USB flash memory stick. If your hard drive includes the OEM recovery partition and most likely it does, you will need a larger capacity flash memory stick of least a 16GB. (In my case, because I already had installed quite a few applications, I had to use a 32 GB USB flash memory stick.

Before we go into details, check some of the useful Windows 8 short cuts, which I referred to in a post dated 11/24/2012 "Windows 8 Hot Keys"

Here is what you have to do to create a Recovery Drive in a USB flash memory stick:

- Use the Hot Key function [Windows] + W keystroke; this will take you to the  "access the Search Settings page".

-Type "Recovery Drive" in the text box, and click "Create a recovery drive" in the box under SETTINGS.

- If a "User Account Control" box appears, click "yes". This will take you to the first screen in the Recovery Drive wizard dialog box. (If your computer came with an OEM recovery partition, the Copy the recovery partition check box will be enabled). Click "Next".

-Another dialog box opens. It shows the selection of USB drives, (which should include the one you have plugged in. Example: "H:\ (USB Flash Drive)". Click "Next".

-Another dialog box opens showing:

 "Create the Recovery Drive"

"Everything on the drive will be deleted. If you have any personal files on this drive, make sure you have backed up the files."

-Click "Create"

-Windows 8 will format the drive and will start copying files to the drive. A new box will open showing the the process running. If you are creating a basic Recovery Disk, the process will be done in no time flat, however if  a recovery partition is included it will take an hour or two...

-Upon completion of the process, Windows 8  opens to show its contents.

-Close the Recovery Drive wizard by clicking the Finish button, unplug your Flash Drive and keep it safe !!!

Have fun.

George Freire



It seems that a lot of people, (including me), have experienced this problem:

Either by accident or on purpose, you turn your Windows 8 display to "high contrast" mode. You want to go back to normal display mode and follow the instructions in the PC settings for turning the high contrast mode "on/off". You select "off" click "apply" and... nothing happens!

You try it a couple more times, even reboot the computer and again nothing happens, the display is still on high contrast mode...

This happened to me and after pulling my hair several times I finally found a solution to this frustrating situation. Do this and you'll be done with it:

-In windows 8 "start" screen, click the "desk top" rectangular icon. Now you  are in the regular desk top screen that looks just like Windows 7.

-Right click anywhere in the desk top screen; a small dialog box opens.

-Click on the last item of the dialog box: "Personalize".

-The "Personalization" screen opens; on the "Windows Default Themes (3)" section, (bottom left), click the first theme which has a little flower.

That's it ! high contrast mode is turned off and you return your display to normal. Easy isn't it ?

Hope you enjoy this tip.

George Freire

Friday, July 19, 2013

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder Great Utility And It Is Free

Here is a great utility which will allow you to eliminate duplicate files and save lots of space in your hard drives. Frequent use of your computer will inevitably lead to accumulation of duplicate files especially if you do a lot of downloading of music, applications, video and document files from the Internet.

Unnecessary duplicate files may use a considerable amount of hard disk space and also make your computer run slower. "AUSLOGICS DUPLICATE FILE FINDER" is free and will help you find and delete all duplicate files in your computer.

Here is a synopsis of what the provider of this utility has to say about its operation and use:

Sort and organize your media collections
Media files collections, such as music, video, images and photos, often become the primary source of identical files. If you have a music collection of several hundreds or even thousands mp3-files, you may want to sort them by deleting identical tracks.
With Auslogics Duplicate File Finder you can organize your media files and increase free disk space needed to enlarge your collection.

Find duplicate files by content
Auslogics Duplicate File Finder has the MD5 search engine which allows the program to search for duplicate files by content, regardless of other match criteria. It would be helpful, for example, when two identical mp3 tracks or video files have different names.

Readers of my Blog can download this Utility Application by clicking the following link:

Try it and you'll see just like I did after using it for the first time, how useful it can be.

Let me know if you like it, and tell your friends about it.

George Freire

Monday, July 15, 2013


      A good friend just sent me this email. I am posting it so that you readers of this blog may take the appropriate steps to protect your computer:

                            VERY URGENT!!! PLEASE CIRCULATE to your friends, family and contacts. In the coming days, DO NOT open any message with an attachment called: BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE , regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus that opens an Olympics torch that burns the whole hard disk C of your computer. This virus comes from a known person who you have in your list. Directions: You should send this message to all of your contacts. It is better to receive this e-mail 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. If you receive a message called BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE even if sent by a friend, do not open, and shut down your machine immediately. It is the worst virus announced by CNN. This new virus has been discovered recently it has been classified by Microsoft as the virus most destructive ever. This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee. There is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero
Sector of the hard disk, where vital information function is stored. SP
Verified by

George Freire

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I hope you readers will enjoy this funny parody and have a good laugh today.
It was sent to me by a good friend:

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of Dorothy.

And Dot Com was a comely woman, Large of breast, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.

And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads
and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known.

He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."

"YAHOO," said Abraham.

And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began.

And that's the truth. (
Sorry Algore)

Monday, May 27, 2013

PC Repair: File missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system

Today I'm going to discuss a problem that unfortunately occurs in many computers, (especially those belonging to people who do not take proper care in the upkeep of their machines).  Take my oldest daughter for example:

A few days ago she called me to say that her computer, (which I built a couple of years ago), had crashed. Every time she tried to boot it up she was getting a message "windows\system32\config\system is corrupted or missing". She tried to restart he computer in safe mode and got the same message.

This can happen to any computer when the the main hard drive where Widows is installed, fails whether because of a bad or corrupted sector where he boot files are stored or by corrupted files in the registry. In such case the computer will not boot even in safe mode and most of the time will not respond even if you select the choice "last time the computer operated well". Generally speaking these two problems are  mostly the cause for the crash.

If you have the original Windows disk that installed the OS in your computer it its relatively simple to repair the problem:

-Go to your BIOS and make sure that your DVD drive is selected as the boot priority.
-Insert your Windows disk, start the computer again and select "repair my computer or a similar message", let it run and in most cases the problem will be solved.

HOWEVER this only works if you have the original Windows disk or if you were smart enough to create a repair disk in the first place along with an image of your hard drive created in an external drive.

Of course, my daughter could not find the Windows disk I had given her when I built the computer, nor did she know where the repair disk was. ( I had also created and given her that disk).

If  your situation is similar to my daughter's, you are in trouble friend. What can you do ? call Microsoft and get a new disk? (costs money and takes time), you might be able to get personal assistance (costs a lot of money), or if you are a little handy with the innards of your computer, you might be able to resolve the problem.

In order to make this repair you must have access to another computer, yours or a friend's.

Here is what I did:

-Opened the computer and pulled out the hard drive. (make sure all power is disconnected and be careful with the power wires and SATA or PATA connection wires between the HD and computer.

-Now open the other computer, (yours or your friend's if he allows you, he might even be able to help !) and install your damaged HD in an available slot, connect the power and SATA wires.

-Close the computer and boot.

-After the computer is operating, click "start/computer".

-Your damaged HD, (if it is not completely shot...) will show in the explorer window, possibly as driver D or some other letter.

-Click on it and it will open showing all the folders and files it contains. HERE I SUGGEST THAT BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, COPY ALL YOUR IMPORTANT FILES AND FOLDERS TO A HI CAPACITY FLASH DRIVE OR AN EXTERNAL DRIVE !! This is important because if everything else fails, you have recovered all your important files.

-Now that you have saved all your important files, we will try to repair your damaged HD:

Right click the drive letter and select the last choice in the window that opens: "properties"

Select the tab "Tools" and under "error checking" click the tab "check now".

A small window opens with 2 choice boxes: "automatically fix file system errors" and "scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors".

The first box is normally already checked. Click the "start" tab on the bottom of the window.

Let the system run, it may take a while. When it  finishes running check the second box "scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" and then click the start tab again. Let it run.

When it  finishes running you are done. The damaged HD should now be repaired. !!!

Stop your friend's computer, open it, pull your HD out, re-install it in your computer, restart your computer and VOILA you should be back in business.

Just one word of advice, it is possible that when you restart your computer a message saying that "the computer had not been properly shut down" will show up. In that case either select "start computer normally" or "last time computer was operating well".

I understand these steps can be a little scary for some of you. Hey, do it you'll learn a lot and will be very proud of your new "tech" capabilities just learned.


George Freire

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I receive many emails from the Kim Komando Website, always with great tips, suggestions and answers to many questions posed by their extensive number of visitors to the Website.

In this email, Kim discusses the fact that Windows XP "life" will be terminated by Microsoft by April 8, 2014. What will this mean to the  millions of computers world wide that still operate on this version of Windows ?

What she says about this situation is quite interesting.

Since I am sure that many of you readers of this blog still use Windows XP, I suggest that you visit Kim Komando Website at the following link:

Best to you all,

George Freire

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Dear followers of this Blog, we have a set up that tells us where all of you are coming from as well as the most read posts on a weekly, monthly and all time basis.

I thought that it would be interesting to let you know the people and the countries that on a normal basis follow us:


How about the 10 most read posts? Here they are in order of most read and dates of publication:


There are many more posts widely read, but the 10 posts above amount to an overall page views of
almost 6,000.

We are getting now an average of about 100 visits per week, but the interesting thing is that 55% of all weekly visits are new viewers, the balance being return visits.

Keep coming back if you enjoy the Blog and please your comments would be very much appreciated.

George Freire

Friday, April 5, 2013


Dear readers, this jewel small piece of free software, requires no installation and all you have to do is click the icon it places in your desktop.

It will look in your computer for product keys which are necessary for installation of many programs and of course, the most important one of them all, the Windows Product Key. As you know, Windows requires a unique long product key for installation and re-installation if you ever need to do it. The same applies to many other programs.

These product keys are all unique and normally a very very long series of digits and letters, impossible to remember, unless you write them down and keep them in a safe place. If Murphy's law is correct, sooner or later you forget where this list of important product keys is located or you simply will lose it.

Enter Enchanted Keyfinder: it will track all your  product keys for all the programs in your computer.

It  retrieves the product keys from your registry and shows them in an open window all categorized per programs that require these keys.

The program is easy to download and after the download all you have to do is extract it to your computer. No installation is required. It places an icon in your desk top and to run the program, just click the icon.

To download, just click the following link:

I have it now in my computer and it is great. It shows me all the product keys, programs serial #'s and other pertinent information.

The program open window has two columns. The column on the left shows all the programs that have product keys. If you click each program one by one, the respective product key and other information will immediately show on the right column.

If you click "file" in the tool bar, you can then select "print" or "save as" so that you can have a printed record of all the programs keys or save them under documents.

I hope you'll enjoy this useful little gem of software.

George Freire

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Remove IE10 and Get Back to IE9 on Windows 7

Microsoft has recently released a Windows 7 release preview for IE 10 and somehow it will install in your computer just by magic ??

I say this because several days ago I turned my laptop on and when I clicked the IE icon, there I was with IE 10 release preview in my screen.

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine whom I occasionally help with computer problems, called me for help with problems he had in opening certain files in a Web program from the State government he uses in his business.

I told him to bring the computer to my office. In the process of trying to find out the reason why he could not open those files he works with almost on a daily basis, I discovered that he had  IE 10 release preview in his windows 7 computer, instead of IE 9.

I have heard that more and more people are actually reporting bugs that lead to sluggish performance caused apparently by IE 10 Windows 7 release preview, so I checked, (going to "Help/About Internet Explorer") and sure enough that was the version he had in his computer.

I asked him why had he installed this  upgrade version, he looked at me and said "what is that?  I never did such a thing !!

I immediately thought that his problem was caused by IE 10, because he had never experienced such a thing when he had IE 9.

I decided to remove IE 10 and go back to IE 9 in his computer and guess what? he opened those files without any problem after the change back to IE 9.

For you readers who may suddenly have had  problems with your browser, first check if you are running IE 10:

Click "Help", go down to "About Internet Explorer", click on it and a window opens and tells you which version of IE you are running.

If it is IE 10, go back to good old IE 9. I'll tell you how to do it:

Click  the “Start” button  and type “Programs and Features” in the search box. Click on the “View installed updates” in the left pane of the menu.

Go over to the “Uninstall an update” screen and scroll down to the “Microsoft Windows” section. Then select "Internet Explorer 10" and click “Uninstall.”

It will take several minutes until the uninstall process comes to an end, so avoid stopping or cancelling this process. A reboot of the computer will be necessary to complete the removal of IE 10 and restore IE9.

That's it, do not worry because as I said above, once you reboot the computer after uninstallation of IE 10, IE 9 is automatically restored.

I hope this may help some of you guys and girls.

George Freire

Friday, March 8, 2013

A 'Microsoft' email you should avoid at all costs

Received from "THE KIM KOMANDO SHOW" is a very important message that I will describe herewith:

By now, you're no stranger to phishing emails. These are scam emails that look like they're from legitimate companies or people. However, they're really from hackers trying to trick you into opening a malicious attachment or visiting a malicious website.
An email making the rounds today is no exception. This one, which has the subject line "Security," claims to be from the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, which is a real division of Microsoft. The email even includes the real Microsoft and Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit logos.

The body of the email tells you that you need to validate your email address with the Digital Crimes Unit to receive the latest security updates from Microsoft. To do this, so it says, you have to download and run the email attachment called
Of course, if you do download and run the attachment, you're installing a virus on your system. This will open up your computer to hacker control and other malware. So, don't do it!
The rules to avoid being tricked by email like this are simple:
• Don't click on links or download attachments in email from people you don't know.
• Don't click on links or download attachments in email from people you DO know if it looks fishy (or phishy in this case). It's best to verify with the person who sent it.
In this case, Microsoft performs all updates through Windows Update. It will never send you an attachment to download and install.
• Don't click on links in Facebook that look out of character for the person posting them - or that promise something out of character for Facebook.
• Don't click on links or download attachments in email from companies, even ones you do business with. Visit the company's site manually or give them a call.
• Don't visit shady websites. Especially don't give them personal information or download files from them.

Also, be sure you're computer security is ready to handle any threat. Click here to learn the simple steps you should take to ward off hackers.
Don't forget that there are real security threats out there. Adobe Flash, for example, just got an important update you must to install.

 Then there's the serious ongoing security saga with Java. Click here to learn more and how you can keep your computer safe.

To visit the Kim Komando Web Site go to:

George Freire

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

From PCWorld: Anatomy of a PC Crash, 7 scenarios and how to avoid them

I received an e-mail from PCWorld, (I get them all the time), which addresses one of the most frustrating and annoying problems that can happen to you when working with your computer:

First there's a little stutter. Next a program hangs, and a funny noise creeps from your machine. Then that familiar blue screen slaps you in the face. Your computer just crashed, and all you can do is sit in the awkward silence of a restart, and hope it wasn't fatal.
There are many possible causes for these hellish episodes, and it's important to be educated on the whys and hows of PC crashes to prevent them in the future. After all, the next crash could be your PC's last. Following is a rundown of seven common causes and solutions.

Click the following link or copy/paste to your browser. You will be told how this happens, what may cause the problem and how to correct  it:

You'll find it interesting to say the least.

George Freire

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Useful Posts From 2011 Brought Back to Life

I was reviewing some of the best  posts (in my opinion) published in the past couple of years and came across the following series : HOW TO KEEP YOUR COMPUTER IN TOP SHAPE, which I think are well worth replublishing, so here goes:


Hi you all,

As you may have noticed I have been very slow in publishing new posts lately. I apologize to all of you but especially to those who are frequent visitors.

No escuses except perhaps, this is still summer, you get somewhat lazy and sometimes not being able to think or find good stuff that will keep you interested and ready to come back at a later time.

This week I just finished building the best computer I ever built... just think: I put together a machine that among other things has a six core 3.7 MHz AMD Phenon 1100T processor, a top of the line ASUS mother board SABERTOOTH 990 FX, AME+, 16 GB high speed RAM memory, a Sapphire Radeon 6770 GDDR5 graphics card, 750 watt power supply and 2 hard drives each 1000 GB SATA 6 units and of course a computer case with a superior cooling system that will last forever.

This is quite a machine and the best part is that the mother board will be capable to handle any future super processors that AMD still has on the drawing board. This means that I will be able to keep this computer up to date just by upgrading when new and better stuff comes up.

I know you are already asking, "how much did you spend in this machine, George, is it worth it?" It cost me a shade below $900.00, but please note that I am using my old monitor, keyboard and mouse. I have seen computers that are not even close in quality and capability advertised in computer magazines for well over $2,000.00.

I intend to keep this computer for a long long time, therefore I intend to keep very good care of it, the same way I always have taken care of my other past computers.

This really is the main subject of this post: " HOW TO KEEP YOUR COMPUTER IN TOP SHAPE "

You can check the archives of this blog and you will find an endless number of posts that address this subject; that can be time consuming, however well worth it.

I'll try to explain the best I can, how I do it myself and save you some time. It is not hard but it requires some patience a a little dedication at first, however once you start the process it will become easier and easier and above all prevent many headaches in the future.

Of course many of you already follow many of the procedures I'm about to tell you and that is great. However, hardly a week goes by that I don't get calls from friends and other people asking for help because their computer froze, died, can't run some software etc.

This is all for today. I will get you all the details throughout the rest of the week, I promise. This way you'll have to come back to read the blog and find out about what I do about maintenance, virus protection, free and paid software and utilities I use, how to create a complete image of your hard drive, how to set up an automated back up system etc. etc.

See you soon,

George Freire


As promised, here we are again on the subject of my last post.

First let's outline most of the disrupting situations that can get the good operation of ANY computer totally out of control, not necessarily by order of importance:

-Virus, phishing, spam and pop-up attacks.
-Fragmentation of drives.
-Registry disruptions.
-Software installation gone wrong.
-Program deleting errors.
-Remnant files, temporary files, trash files left on the hard drive.
-Poor cooling of main components especially the CPU, hard drive, RAM memory package
and GPU unit.
-Poor back up of your computer hard drive where all your important files are located.
-Accumulation of internet downloaded and browsing history files.
-Not updating Windows and other software programs on a regular basis.
-Not making sure that all your program drivers are the latest available.

The above are for sure the main causes of most computer problems, computer slowdowns and worse of all, computer failure and loss of all your valuable files.

All of you will be able to prevent most of the above situations from happening. You must prepare yourselves with a proper maintenance routine and of course install good reliable, (not necessarily expensive and some free), utility programs.

This is where I can help you by describing what I do to protect my computers which, ( knock on wood), have been operating trouble free for many years, save some exceptions now and then which can be easily resolved.

For now, just read the above list of possible problems and think hard: how many have I come across and what have I done to fix them?

It is late in the afternoon, time for dinner. We will continue tomorrow.

George Freire

Hi again,

Before reading this post, please review the two previous posts of September 26 and 27.

Let's start with the most important subject of security: protection against viruses, spam, phishing and other disrupting attacks all computers are subject to.

Most of you I am sure, have some kind of protection through an antivirus, anti spyware and other similar programs. The problem is that many of you, (I know because I come across it all the time when friends call me for help), do not keep or forget to keep these programs updated on a regular basis, or forget to pay the annual fees that many of these programs require.

Those of you who have Windows 7 are in better shape than those who have earlier versions of Windows, because this version has quite a lot of built in safety programs such as a much better firewall , spyware and popup blockers. Also, both Internet Explorer 8 and 9, come with good malware and phishing built in protection. Regardless of all this, you still will require a good anti virus program.

If you just bought a new computer or you are planning to buy one, most likely it comes with some form of anti virus program, such as Norton or other similar programs already installed. HOWEVER, such programs are try-outs that will expire normally within 90 days at which time you must sign up and pay the annual fee, otherwise the program will stop working.

Here is my advice:

I myself use in my 3 computers my favorite security program NORTON 360. The license fee is about $69.00/year but you can use the program in as many as 3 computers, so you can install this program in two other computers owned my family members, friends etc. and share the cost with them...

NORTON 360 is a very complete program because it includes many exceptional features other than just virus protection such as security protection for web browsing and email, identity protection, computer back up protection, PC tune up including disk optimization, files clean up, registry clean up, diagnostic report, start up manager improvement and many more other useful features.

There are a few other programs that are excellent and free to use. My favorites are :

-Microsoft Security Essentials anti virus utility.

-Avira AntiVir Personal Free Antivirus.

Avira free version is one of the best available and will take care of most daily problems confronting computers that browse the Internet, however they also have the premium version, ($29.00 fee/year), which is very much on top of the class.

You can find all the details for the above mentioned programs by checking the following links:

Enough for today. I think I have given you plenty of info for you to browse the above, download the programs and start giving your computer the best protection available today.

This week-end we'll explore other subjects such as drives fragmentation, registry optimization and how to back up your hard drive in such a way, that you will be able to recover all your installed software, (including the operating system), and all your files, should your hard drive fail or die from old age.

See you soon.

George Freire


Hi again,

For those who did not read our last three posts of September, please read them before you read this post.

Today let's talk about drives fragmentation, registry disruptions and how to uninstall programs no longer used, but still using a lot of space in your hard drive.

Because hard drives capacities have greatly increased in the last couple of years and storage is now relatively inexpensive, most computers now come with 1GB hard drives. High capacity hard drives even if somewhat fragmented, do not cause great problems and do not really need to be defragmented every few days as it is the norm with smaller capacity drives, 250 GB to 500GB and the like.

HOWEVER, it is always advisable to defragment your hard drives, (less frequently for larger ones and more frequently for smaller ones). All version of Windows for the last 10 years have a defragmentation program, (control panel/system and security/administrative tools/defragment your hard drive), but this program takes forever to defragment the whole drive, so if you want to use it, schedule it for a time you are not using your computer, such as late evening.

I don't use this Windows program. There are several defragmentation programs available on the market some you have to pay for, others are totally free. My favorite, (which is free to download), does an excellent job and can be scheduled to operate whenever the computer is not being used. Since it operates continuously, the end result is that your hard drive is always in a very low status of fragmentation. To download and install this program, "Smart Defrag 2", click on the following link and follow the instructions:

Registry disruptions possibly cause the most problems in your computer. Some registry files can be corrupted, half empty, no longer in use etc.. This happens because when you install just about any program or download stuff from the Internet, registry files related to such programs or downloads are created in the Widows registry. When you uninstall a program using Window Uninstaller, some files related to that program, most of the time remain in the Windows registry. These registry files can accumulate and after a while you have a big mess, that causes considerable slowdowns in the operation of your computer.

There are two ways to get rid of such files: use an uninstaller program that leaves no file remnants in the registry and use another program that cleans the registry.

I use a wonderful free uninstaller program that when started, opens a window which includes and shows every program and other software that are installed in your computer! Is also great just to show you all the software you have in your hard drive, (new, old, stuff you haven't used in ages etc.etc.).

All you have to do is click on the icon of the program you want to uninstall, select the uninstall button, click and presto, uninstalling starts immediately. At the end of the uninstallation, this program shows you all the remnant files left over in the registry and gives you the choice to delete them. Here you have to be careful, because only the files shown in bold are safe to delete. This little jewel of a program is called "REVO UNINSTALLER". It can be downloaded free by clicking the fol.lowing link:

Registry cleaning programs are in most cases included in utility software programs designed for good computer maintenance such as "Registry Mechanic", "Ashampoo Win Optimizer", "Advanced System Care" and others, but these are my favorites.

You may download these and test them free, (Google the titles and you'll be directed to the Web sites where you can do it), however in order to take full advantage of their capabilities you must buy the full premium program. You really do not need to have them all; download the free trial versions, try them and then decide which one you like the best and buy it. Cost for these is normally less than $20.00 but really well worth it.

This is it for today. Soon I'll discuss the other subjects of interest such as drivers updates, back up your computer, keep your computer booting as short as possible AND OTHER SUBJECTS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO DISCUSS. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS POST YOUR QUESTIONS.

See you soon,

George Freire


Hi again,


First things first: in order to have a complete and safe back up of your hard drive, it is obvious that doing the back up in a separate folder in your hard drive is not the way to go; why? if your hard drive fails, there goes your back up too.

So, what should you do?

Get an external hard drive or another internal hard drive that you can install in your computer. The first option is by far the best because all you have to do is connect it to your computer via an USB terminal.

The second option, with due respect, can be a little difficult for those who are not very familiar with the computer internal components.

External drives are not expensive anymore. You can buy a 500 GB external drive for less then $100.00, (they used to cost #200.00/$300.00 in the past), and it is an absolute must to have.

How to do a complete back up? it is not that difficult. If you have Windows 7, it is really quite easy.

Click Start, go to control panel/ system security/backup and restore.

This will open a window, "Backup or Restore your Files". There you will be able to set up a schedule for regularly back up you files, (I am nor going into details, just read the instructions), but before you do that I strongly recommend that you create a system repair disk and a system image of your hard drive. All you have to do is click each title on the left column of the window and follow instructions.

A system image is an exact copy of a drive. By default, a system image includes the drives required for Windows to run. It also includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or computer ever stops working. When you restore your computer from a system image, it's a complete restoration—you can't choose individual items to restore, and all of your current programs, system settings, and files are replaced with the contents of the system image.

Although this type of backup includes your personal files, we recommend that you back up your files regularly using Windows Backup so that you can restore individual files and folders as needed. When you set up Windows Backup, you can let Windows choose what to back up, which will include a system image, or you can select the items that you want to back up and whether you want to include a system image.

If your computer contains several drives or partitions, you can create a system image that includes all of them by following the steps in Back up your programs, system settings, and files.

There is a very good free utility that does all this, perhaps more efficiently : Macrium Reflect Free Edition. You can download this very good program by clicking the following link:

I think I have given you plenty to work with for the week-end. Of course I am talking to those of you who do not yet have taken care of your computer back up procedures. I hope most of you have already done it if so great.

See you soon.

George Freire


Today I'll discuss another issue that is also important for a good computer management and safety:

-How to keep track of drivers for all your computer components and peripherals:

Drivers can get outdated in a hurry. If this happens you have a choice: go to the Webpage of your component or peripheral manufacturer and download the latest drive available for the product. This can be somewhat time consuming, therefore I am going to let you know about a free utility that will help you out: Double Driver 4.1

PCWorld describes the Double Driver utility as follows:

One of the main reasons why you would want to collect installed drivers is if you don’t have the Driver CD that came with the computer or they are unavailable online. This comes in quite handy if you purchase a computer and want to backup the initial set of drivers. It can be quite difficulty for example to find drivers for hardware installed in a notebook if the operating system has to be setup again. Luckily Double Driver can now lend you a hand with that and save you a lot of time.

Double Driver is a very simple and useful tool which not only allows you to view all the drivers installed on your system but also allows you to backup, restore, save and print all chosen drivers.

Double Driver analyzes your system and lists the most important driver details such as version, date, provider, etc. All drivers that are found can easily be backed up the application and easily restored at a later point in one go.

Double Driver is freeware. Feel free to use and give this program to anyone you know. Your donation or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

To download this utility go to:

See you again soon


I hope the above republished posts will be very very useful to you all.


George Freire

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Turn your flash drive into a portable PC survival kit

I got this from PCWorld and I think some of  you will take advantage and create your own flash drive portable survival kit.

 All the web apps in the world won’t help you when your PC breaks down or falls prey to a particularly nasty piece of malware and refuses connect to the Internet. A properly loaded USB drive, on the other hand, can be a machine saver. And when your grandma calls with a dire PC emergency, you'll be glad to have an always-ready "ninja drive" to slip into your pocket as you run out the door.

This can be very very useful indeed.

As soon as I finished reading this article, I immediately created my own flash drive survival kit.
You don't have to load all the applications shown, just select those that you think will be of help to you and go. The following link will take you to the web page. Just click or copy paste to your browser:


George Freire