The following computer tips have been published over the years in West Hawaii Today as a service to the community, in the monthly Chamber of Commerce section. We include them here as a group, even though by now some will be obvious or out-of-date. You might find something useful!

Chee’s Tip #1: Constant metallic clicking sounds that are not normal or your computer going into Scandisk when you start up in Windows for no good reason (like an improper shutdown) are signs of impending hard drive failure?

Chee’s Tip #2: An anti-virus program must be updated with new "definition" files even though you just purchased it and installed it right out of the box. Definition files are what tell the anti-virus how to look for new viruses. Hundreds of new viruses are created daily.

Chee’s Tip #3: “Unsubscribing” to spam emails may actually put you on yet another list. What you have done is to confirm to the spammers that their email is reaching you! If you've never heard of the company or person sending you the email, don't unsubscribe. Ignore!

Chee’s Tip #4: After upgrading to Outlook Express 6 you may not be able to open attachments (other than pictures) even if they are safe. Go to Tools - Options - Click the Security tab. Uncheck "Do not allow attachments to be saved..." Be sure you have up-to-date virus protection first.

Chee’s Tip #5: Beware of Internet "pop-up" windows that warn you are "not optimized, your connection is too slow, etc..." Just close the window or you may install something unwanted due to these junk pop-ups. These add-ons eat valuable computer resources and may be spyware!

Chee’s Tip #6: All icons next to the time display (lower right on monitor) are running and take up valuable space in your computer's RAM memory. Unnecessary ones can really slow you down. Pause mouse over each icon and see what they are. Call us for a tune-up if you can't turn them off.

Chee’s Tip #7: You should keep a log of everything you install or errors you get from your computer. Make a column for Date, What (was installed or happened), and Where (did the error occur). This could help you (or us) solve your strange PC problems. Be sure to include details of errors.

Chee’s Tip #8: You should always keep your data (Quickbooks, My Documents, Address Book, etc.) backed up in case the system needs to be “restored.” You can also install a second hard drive to act as a fast back up device, as well as to provide additional storage. The point is, always back up your data!

Chee’s Tip #9: To cut down spam, give your personal email address to friends only. Set up a Yahoo or Hotmail account (free) to use for online purchases or memberships. If already out of control, change your address and only inform those you want to hear from of the change.

Chee’s Tip #10: When emailing digital photos use a pixel screen size no larger than 800x600. Resize with editing software or use the camera’s built-in sizing. Your friends on dial-up will appreciate this. Save a high-res version for printing. We can show you how.

Chee’s Tip #11: If you have your own domain name, use that domain’s email address (like Your domain's email will travel with you so your email won't change if your ISP or web hosting does. Your web host should help with this. If not, call us.

Chee’s Tip #12: Be suspicious of any email claiming to be from EBay, PayPal, AOL, etc. that asks you to verify account info (SS#, CC#). If the link doesn't take you to a secure site, do not submit any personal information before contacting them directly. This is a growing scam.

Chee’s Tip #13: Once a month delete temp files and cookies from your internet browser; scan your disk for errors, run defrag and check for spy/adware. This simple maintenance will help keep your PC running smoothly.

Chee’s Tip #14: Some pop-up stoppers can prevent websites, such as banking and real estate sites, from functioning properly. To remedy this, you can exit the pop-up program or add the desired website to the list of “acceptable” sites.

Chee’s Tip #15: Your scanner can do more than just scan photos. It can protect you. Use it to make copies of important documents and archive those scanned documents on a CD. Then store this CD in a safe place, like a safety deposit box.

Chee’s Tip #16: Are you often out of the office and need instant access to notes that can be stored on a computer? Consider getting a Pocket PC. It can synch with your PC and let you take notes on-the-go.

Chee’s Tip #17: An active Antivirus program can prevent a successful Windows Service Pack update. Disable the antivirus program temporarily before installation of these upgrades. Never trust email notification of MS updates. Do your Critical Security Windows updates now!

Chee’s Tip #18: A USB external hard drive may be the least painful way to back up your data. They will work on Windows 98-2000-ME-XP systems. Never backed up before? What?Waiting for an unrecoverable hard drive crash? Don't delay, we'll show you what and how!

Chee’s Tip #19: If your printer stops printing suddenly for no good reason, try powering off your computer and printer. Then unplug the power plugs for one minute and replug them. Turn on your printer first, then the computer. It may print now. If not, call us. We can help.

Chee’s Tip #20: Another advantage of using a router for high-speed Internet, other than sharing one connection, is that it makes an excellent hardware firewall, your first (and best) line of defense against hackers. But remember, firewalls do not stop all spyware or viruses!

Chee’s Tip #21: Due to a rash of reported problems with Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft has released a temporary “blocker” program that will prevent SP2 from being installed on your system. You may also decide to avoid SP2 in the future.

Chee’s Tip #22: You have spyware when you get pop-up ads and your browser isn’t running. Or pop-ups that address you by name or a homepage that has changed to something “undesirable” and can't be changed back. Call us to remove this menace to your sanity.

Chee’s Tip #23: Beware of any website that begins with a number like They are most likely to be scams. Banks and legitimate websites will not use IP addresses (numbers) as the main part of their domain address.

Chee’s Tip #24: Spy/Ad-ware continues to be the #1 cause of slow and malfunctioning computers and Internet problems. You should scan your PC for these pests as often as you scan for viruses. Use legitimate spyware detecting programs only.

Chee’s Tip #25: Instead of hooking up your digital camera to you PC with a cable, get a memory card reader. Just take the card from the camera and insert it into the reader. It's more convenient and doesn’t waste the camera’s battery power.

Chee’s Tip #26: Keep all the CDs that came with your new computer, and keep them safe! It will speed up the process of restoring your drive should disaster happen. Restore CDs can only be purchased from your manufacturer and some no longer provide replacements.

Chee’s Tip #27: Most spyware (or adware) sneaks onto your computer via Internet Explorer or Netscape. Minimize exposure to these pests by switching to another browser like Mozilla Firefox. It’s FREE. We have been testing this browser and found it to be the best. Firefox also includes
a pop-up stopper and many web security controls.

Chee’s Tip #28: You can “capture” the active window or screen in Windows by pressing the Alt key, and while holding it down, press Prt Scr key and then release both keys simultaneously. Open your word processing program and paste (Edit-Paste) it into a blank page. This feature is
available in all Windows operating systems. Remember, computers should make life easier.

Chee’s Tip #29: A USB flash memory drive may be the solution to fast and portable backup or transport of your most vital data. Just plug in a 512 MB or 1 GB memory "key,” copy and paste files to it and off you go. Windows XP, ME or 2000 will recognize the drive without special drivers.

Chee’sTip #30: Most spyware comes through the Internet Explorer browser. Get Yahoo's Spyware Toolbar free at to stop pop-ups and spyware from sneaking into your PC. If you are already infested with spyware then try a good spyware remover like Spy Sweeper.

Chee’s Tip #31: Leaving an inkjet printer idle for even a week or two can clog the nozzles. To avoid this, print at least once a week. Some printers run maintenance on startup, so you can keep the nozzles clear by turning your printer on and off once a week. Check your manual.

Chee’s Tip #32: To keep spyware from installing on your PC without your consent, you can set up a "Limited User" account in WinXP or Win2000 to prevent any install when logged in to this account. Use it to do email or internet surfing. Also great for your kids if they share your computer.

Chee’s Tip #33: If something attacks your PC, like spyware, try System Restore (Control Panel - System) to an earlier date to see if it will "fix" the problem (in ME or XP). Reinstall anything added after the restore date. It will not erase data you saved, just be "blind" to new programs and hardware.

Chee’s Tip #34: All icons you see in the lower right corner of your desktop are programs that are running in the “background.” Don't assume you need them. They may be eating up your resources for no reason (like AOL if you don't use AOL). Call us. We'll optimize your system to the max.

Chee’s Tip #35: Make file extensions visible by going to My Documents - Tools - Options - View and uncheck "Hide File Extensions...". Some viruses disguise themselves by adding a bogus file extension to the filename. This will help alert you to a possibly malicious .exe file.

Chee’s Tip #36: Backing up your data need not be a pain and should be done regularly. Many bettern options exist to automate this task than the free Microsoft Backup, including making an image of your entire drive. Call or email for the details and solutions.

Chee’s Tip #37: When installing a new USB device (such as a printer), the software often needs to be installed first, before connecting the device into the USB port of your PC. If done in reverse, sometimes the device will not install properly. Read the instructions!

Chee’s Tip #38: Using Norton Internet Security 2005-2006? Certain recent system updates auto-installed on your computer may be causing strange problems besides a system slow down. Contact us for help if you suspect something is wrong. Not all systems are adversely affected.

Chee’s Tip #39: Because of our "open-air" lifestyle here in Hawaii, your laptop may need a thorough internal clean-up. Built-up dust collected over the processor and fan inside of your laptop may cause a dangerous heat build-up. Overheating is a serious problems for your laptop.

Chee’s Tip #40: If you've created a Word document and one or two lines spill over onto the next page, use the Shrink to Fit feature to get everything on one page. Go to File then Print Preview. Click the Shrink to Fit button. (Hover your mouse over the buttons to see which one it is).

Chee’s Tip #41: Beware of pop-up windows online that claim you have spyware or viruses and want you to click a button. Do you see the name of your antivirus or security in that window? If not, press Alt + F4 key combo to close the window without clicking a button. Spyware is no fun at all.

Chee’s Tip #42: Do not let mail accumulate in the Deleted Items folder in your Outlook or Outlook Express email program. Right-click on the "Deleted Items" folder and select "Empty Deleted Items Folder". Too many undeleted items may prevent sending or receiving mail without notice.

Chee’s Tip #43: Need a free, easy to use photo editor? Download Picasa 2 at It's an excellent, user-friendly photo manager. High-speed internet is recommended for download. On a phone dial-up? We can do it for you here and install it for you!

Chee’s Tip #44: If using a laptop, at least apply a user password to prevent data from being accessed if stolen. Many identity thefts are the result of stolen laptops that have no security. Consider using password protection software that encrypts the personal information you enter.

Chee’s Tip #45: Don’t want to print the whole page? In almost any program, including the Internet, you can print selected portions of a page by highlighting the desired section with the mouse, then in the Print window, checking the Selection box before pressing the OK button. Easy!

Chee’s Tip #46: Never defragmented your drive? Doing so may speed up your computer. Click Start, Programs (or All Programs), Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter, Defragment. However, don't defrag if you suspect your drive might be failing. Call us instead.

Chee’s Tip #47: If you are using AVG Antivirus Personal (free) Edition, you will need to install the new version 7.5 by Jan 15, 2007. It’s painless.. When you get the AVG message to update, choose “free version” and follow the prompts . Be sure to choose the "repair" option during install.

Chee’s Tip #48: Cleaning up your internet temporary files will create smoother web surfing. Open Internet Explorer, Tools menu at top - Internet Options - click Delete Files button and click OK. It may take a while if you have lots of temporary files to clean up.

Chee’s Tip #49: Before upgrading to Windows Vista, check for compatibility of hardware, software and printer you are using. There's a hardware compatibility list at: the “premium experience" you need 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and suitable graphics.

Chee’s Tip #50: Sometimes power glitches can cause problems for your computer. Try this (with PC off).
Disconnect the power cable from the back of the problem computer and the power source on BOTH ends for 1 minute. Then plug it all back in. If this doesn't help, then call us.

Chee’s Tip #51: USB external hard drives sometimes stop communicating with the PC. Power the drive off, unplug the USB from the PC for 30 seconds then power it back on. Then reconnect the USB cable. Backups to the external drive will fail if the PC doesn't "see" the drive anymore.

Chee’s Tip #52: Lost your PC wireless connection? Open your wireless manager and look for the wireless sites showing in your area. If others show but not your own, unplug your router for 30 seconds, plug it back in, then try again. If this doesn’t fix the problem, give us a call.

Chee’s Tip #53: Before passing on that "helpful" or "shocking news" email sent to you from a well-meaning friend, check the story’s validity first at It’s likely a rumor or hoax your friend is unaware of. Don't perpetuate these emails and be a spammer yourself.

Chee’s Tip #54: Beware of links in email that link to numbers (IP addresses) instead of domain names (websites). These blind links are a good way to get your computer infested with spyware and viruses. Honest businesses always tell you who they are. Delete all suspicious email.

Chee’s Tip #55: Has your PC been slower lately? Could be: spy/adware, clogged up fan/processor, your antivirus protection running amok, low drive space or an unruly new program. Sometimes it is beyond you or your anti-spyware software to fix this problem. Call us if you need help.

Chee’s Tip #56: Expired antivirus software? Just because it's not working doesn't mean you don't need to
uninstall it. To prevent the old software from causing problems when you install the new, you must first properly uninstall it. Sometimes this does not go smoothly. Stuck? Call us.

\Chee’s Tip #57: Your PC's storage drive (hard drive) holds all your information, such as accounting, emails,
documents, pictures, addresses, etc. and is the most vital part of your PC. You don’t want to lose it. There are cost-effective ways to backup your data. Call us to help you do it quick.

Chee’s Tip #58: You should never have more than one antivirus, spyware remover, firewall or secuity suite installedat the same time. If you are already getting swarms of pop-up ads, then installing another product may not help and may make matters worse. Call us for professional help.

Chee’s Tip #59: Don't want to switch to Vista on a new PC (good for you!)? You can still get XP Pro if you order as a small business (Dell business class). XP Service Pack 3 is due to be released and will be a good update for XP users. Call us, we'll help you move your stuff to your new PC.

Chee’s Tip #60: For transporting important data from one computer to another, or backing up that data, try using a USB Flash Drive (sometimes called a Memory Key). They are easy to use, are inexpensive, fit in a pocket, have no moving parts and can hold several GB of data.

Chee’s Tip #61: The surest way to get a spyware infection is to click on a bogus pop-up. If you are on a site anda notice pops up warning you about viruses or spyware, look to see if it’s being sent by your realantivirus (a legit warning will include name of sender). If not, by clicking on it, you’ve been had.

Chee’s Tip #62: Your highspeed Internet goes down. Is it your computer, router or the service? Check provider’s
modem box. The power light and DSL or cable light should be steady, not blinking. There should
normally be two lights steady and one flashing. Not sure? Power off/on the unit and see if that helps.

Chee’s Tip #63: If you are using the free AVG anti-virus 7.5, starting 5/31/08 you will need to upgrade to the new FREE version 8.0. When AVG notifies you of the upgrade, read carefully and be sure to choose the FREE version. This new AVG 8.0. has been improved and now contains anti-spyware as well as anti-virus protection.

Chee’s Tip #64: Many new computers no longer come with Recovery CD’s, but instead have the Recovery Console as a separate partition on the hard drive. The manufacturer willnormally instruct you to make a copy of this immediately. Do it, because if yourhard drive fails it will be inaccessible and you will have to purchase disks to repair.

Chee’s Tip #65
: If your PC won't turn on, try this: Disconnect all USB devices (except keyboard and mouse) and unplug the power cable from both ends (PC & wall jack). Plug powerback into a different jack and power on without the USB’s in. Does it boot now? Try this before calling us. It might just save a trip to the shop or a visit to your office.

Chee’s Tip #66: Do you leave your laptop plugged into the power all the time instead of using the battery? Let your laptop run off the battery (until low) often. Leaving a laptop plugged in all the time will shorten the battery’s life. If you do not intend to use the battery for an extended period, remove it.

Chee’s Tip #67: Don't be taken in by fake "Windows Security warning" pop-ups when on the Internet. Microsoft never provides a link for you to download antivirussoftware. Close the window by doing a Ctrl+Alt+Delete, choose the icon that looks like Internet Explorer "e" in Applications tab and click End Task.

Chee’s Tip #68: Keeping your laptop cool will extend your computer’s life. A USB powered cooling pad can draw heat away from the system and keep the underside of your laptop from being blocked and provide a hard surface beneath the laptop. If you like to work on your laptop at places other than a desk, getting a cooling pad is a must.

Chee’s Tip #69: You might notice that some electronic and computer problems disappear when you turn the unit off then back on, but are you having trouble turning the power off on the PC. Do that by pressing and holding down on the PC power button until all activity stops (sometimes as long as 10-15 seconds). Call us if that does not fix the problem.

Chee’s Tip #70: A "Blue Screen of Death" is a blue error screen with white letters that will require restarting your computer. You should not ignore these warnings. If it does not do itagain after a restart, then it's okay to continue, but if it returns soon after, you should let us investigate. It could be a problem with RAM, a failing hard drive or worse.

Chee’s Tip #71: When lightning threatens, don’t just unplug the power to your computer, unplug the network cable from the cable modem or DSL modem and the phone line to your fax machine. If lightning hits your house line, it could pass the current through all that connects to the modems. Call our office if you have a problem or a question.

Chee’s Tip #72: Emptying your deleted mail in Outlook or Outlook Express regularly is an important part of keeping your email working properly. Simply RIGHT click on the Deleted Itemsfolder and select Empty Deleted Items. A buildup of trash can cause your email program to slow down or stop working altogether. Call us if you have any questions.

Chee’s Tip #73: AVG Free Edition Antivirus is updating from 8.0 to 8.5. If you have AVG 8.0 installed and received a message regarding an upgrade to 8.5, go ahead and update it.The Free Basic protection is sufficient for most people. If you download it yourself from their website, choose the "Repair" install during the installation step.

Chee’s Tip #74: When doing any software updates, be on the lookout for sneaky installations of 3rd party toolbars coming in by way of check box options which are already checkedas “default.” Pay attention and uncheck the extra "stuff" you don't want or need. Unneeded toolbars are the most common reason for browser opening problems.

Chee’s Tip #75: f you’ve been checking your Hotmail account using Outlook Express (OE) but have begun having trouble getting your Hotmail, you may have to use Windows Live Mail. It’s a free download from Microsoft replacing OE (on XP), Windows Mail (on Vista).Hotmail no longer supports OE. Consider yourself lucky if it still works. Troubles? Call us!

Chee’s Tip #76: If you have recently purchased a new laptop with Vista, check whether you have a 32-bit or a 64-bit Operating System. Many Vista compatible programs/drivers (including registry cleaners) may not be compatible with 64-bit Vista. Right-clickover Computer from the Start orb, choose Properties. Look at System Type to verify.

Chee’s Tip #77: Setting a fax to auto-answer on a single phone line can be tricky. Be sure to set the number of rings on the Fax to be less than the number to answer on the phone  answer service/machine. Otherwise the answer machine will pick up before your fax receives the calls. It may be more complex in your office. Call us if you need help.

Chee’s Tip #78
: Facebook & Twitter are great ways to keep in touch with friends but be careful about “apps" you install. Sending flowers, hugs, IQ tests and games can open you up to privacy exposure. These apps allow your profile info to be seen by others who use these apps. Give little real personal info in the profile of any social networking site.

Chee’s Tip #79: Email scams are at an all time high. Remember that the IRS, FedEx, banks, credit cards, Social Security, etc., never send attachments. Beware of links in email, too. The plan is to shock you into acting immediately. These emails can contain viruses that change several times a day making them difficult for AV programs to detect.

Chee’s Tip #80: We have another scam alert this month. Beware emails asking you to reset your Facebook password. The attachment in this email will load a very malicious piece of malware that is known for identity theft. And as with all social networking sites, be aware that anything you post can be seen by anyone in the world. Be safe and smart.

Chee’s Tip #81: Many people use AVG 8.5 Free antivirus. Starting Dec 1, AVG upgraded to 9.0 and is no longer supporting the 8.5 version. AVG Free Basic 9.0 version is now available. Get your download directly at Keep looking for the word "Basic" and make sure it is also free. Don’t surf without AV! Call us if you need more help.

Chee’s Tip #82: You don't have to be afraid of using Facebook. Just set up the privacy settings. Log into FB, up at the top, Settings-Privacy Settings and go through each of the controls available. There are lots of controls you can set. We can also guide you in safely using Facebook or other social networking for family connection and business.

Chee’s Tip #83: You can close an active window (the one in the front) without clicking on any button in that window by simply holding down the "Alt" key and pressing the F4 key (on top row) on the keyboard, and then releasing both keys. This is useful to know when you get a pesky (or dangerous) pop-up selling some bogus software while surfing the Net.

Chee’s Tip #84: Worried about privacy in your Facebook (FB) account? Here is a tip to keep your personal information private. Do not accept any "apps," like games, hugs, drinks, etc. All those cute little animal farms, pets, kisses, hugs are "apps" that connect you to a larger network of people who also use them and can see what your friends see.

Chee’s Tip #85: If you have your email on your website, then you are a target for not only junk mail but new email scams in which someone is supposedly filing a law suit of some kind against you. These are on the rise. Do not click on the link in the email that claims you can read the lawsuit details. Remember, legal notices do not come in an email!

Chee’s Tip #86: If you use Outlook for email there’s a good reason to upgrade to Outlook 2007. Older versions have a limit to the Outlook Personal Folder (PST file) size and can cause problems when it gets close to that limit. Outlook 2007 has triple the size limitation. PST files contain everything, including all email attachments and contacts, etc.

Chee’s Tip #87: A battery backup unit (UPS) is the best protection for your computer ($100 & up). Some may even be power regulators/line conditioners. 2nd best is a good surge protector with a high "joules" (over 1000) rating ($25-35). They’re less expensive but select one with an equipment warranty on it. All protectors have a lifespan. Replace the old ones.