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Question and Answer
Is there such a thing as a "tune-up" for Windows? I'm curious because my PC with Windows 7 recently started running terribly slow. Last week I got an error that I'm told was the "blue screen of death". And yesterday I got a strange virus message. Microsoft support suggests reloading Windows, but urged me to back up all my files. So now I am nervous that I may lose important data and photos on my hard drive. Can you suggest a solution that is safe that will prevent me from having to reinstall Windows 7?
– W. Schneider, Scranton, PA
Yes. TouchStoneSoftware recommends a great all-in-one program that is simple to use called Reimage. Reimage saves you time and hassle by safely repairing Windows errors automatically and eliminates the need to back up and re-install the operating system. First, run Reimage's free scan and within minutes the app will safely diagnose your PC for all sorts of nasty problems. Second, run the Reimage repair feature and within minutes Reimage safely repairs your damaged PC with technology that not only fixes your Windows Operating System, but also reverses the damage already done with an extensive database of replacement files. Reimage's patented technology actually reverses the damage done to your Windows operating system. And their results are 100% guaranteed. You can find it at

» Download Reimage
I have an expensive Dell notebook that I purchased 3 years ago. This computer has served me very well over this time. It's very reliable and hasn't given me any significant problems to speak of. With that being said, the notebook has become slower and slower over time. When I click to open a program or a document, I find myself waiting longer for them to open. Is this a sign that the computer is already on the way out?
– Nathan D., Grand Rapids, MI
It doesn't sound like you need to replace the notebook quite yet. Your best bet would be to defragment your hard drive. What we've seen is that over time your computer's hard drive gets more and more disorganized. Compare your hard drive to your house's garage. When you first move into the house, the garage is neat. The shelves and drawers are very organized and you know exactly where things are. Over time you forget to return things to their original location and you buy new things to add to the clutter. Eventually you just have to spend a Saturday morning cleaning the garage. With your hard drive, the data is stored in different places on the drive in an organized sequence. When you save files or add new programs, the data can be saved out of sequence, so your hard drive has to visit multiple locations on the drive to find and read the file. This process is what slows your computer down. Defragmenting the hard drive will put the data back into proper sequence.

We feel that the best program for this task is O&O Defrag 16. O&O Defrag works quietly in the background so that the defragmentation process does not disturb other tasks and has no negative performance impact on your system. You will notice faster system starts, programs will load faster, and new fragments will be prevented. Best of all, O&O Defrag is available as a free trial.

» Download O&O Defrag 16
When I first connected to the internet on my new computer, it asked me to setup a HomeGroup. What is a HomeGroup?
– James D., Hartford, CT
HomeGroup was one of the new features that Microsoft added to Windows 7, and it's also found in Windows 8. A HomeGroup is designed to simplify the process the sharing images, songs, movies, documents, and printers on your PC. When you first set up your network connection, you'll create a HomeGroup, which is a single place from which other Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers on your local network can access your files and share their files. Thus, you'll no longer need to search the network or double click a PC to remotely access the files, and you can view files from several Windows 7 computers at the same time. All of the shared content from all of your PC's can be found in the HomeGroup.

PC Performance Tip: Automatically Logging Into Windows 8

Here is a quick registry tweak to allow your PC to automatically login to Windows 8 without needing to stop and enter your login credentials.

  1. Open a Notepad Editor in Windows 8

  2. Type this into the notepad file:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

  3. Change Password to your password and DefaultUsername to your username

  4. Save the file with the extension .reg and select All files from dropdown

  5. Double-click on it to add the registry entry
Now when booting windows, it will automatically log you in.

Please Note: Before performing these tweaks, we recommend backing up your systems registry. To back up the Registry the easy way, simply open Control Panel, click System, and then click System protection on the left sidebar. Click the big Create button to have Windows walk you through the straightforward process of creating a System Restore Point — it's as easy as that.

» Download RegistryWizard Now! (New version now available)

Driver Tip: Why You Should Always Keep Drivers Up To Date

Drivers are simply a piece of software that allows higher level computer programs like Windows to interact with a hardware device. In other words, a driver allows Windows to recognize and work with the hardware in your computer. Windows itself incorporates some basic drivers for things like mice and keyboards but most drivers are created by the manufacturer of the specific hardware device.

Drivers are required for integral devices like graphics cards, sound cards, wireless adapters and network (wired/LAN) adapters but are also needed for external hardware like printers, webcams and scanners.

Updating a driver is often a useful first step in troubleshooting any hardware related issue in Windows. Also, driver updates are often released to fix an issue with how Windows works with a piece of hardware or to enable new features for it. Therefore, even if your hardware appears to be working fine now, we normally recommend updating drivers as a preemptive measure. This helps ensure that you don’t have issues in the future, especially if the date of your existing driver is already more than a year old.

BIOS Tip – Make Your PC Faster By Changing BIOS Settings

There are plenty of BIOS settings that you can adjust or disable in order to make your PC run faster. Here are just a couple.

Disable POST

In the old days, computers had to perform a rather lengthy power-on self test (POST). Some systems still do this, though it's no longer necessary. If your PC appears to run a memory check or something similar, head to the BIOS and look for an entry labeled 'power-on self test', 'startup diagnostic', or the like. If you find such an entry, disable it.

Alternatively, look for an option called 'Fast Boot' or 'Quick Boot'; enable it, and it will likely dispense with any startup testing and go straight to booting Windows.

Disable Unnecessary Hardware

Not every user needs things like on-board 1394 (aka FireWire) ports or PS/2 mouse ports. If your motherboard has hardware that you don't use, see whether the BIOS will let you disable it. Doing so might save you only a second or two of boot time, but those seconds add up.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

Tech Tip
Shutting Down Windows 8 with One Click
To shut down a Windows 8 PC, you have to bring up the Charms menu click on Settings, click on Power and then select Shut down. You can avoid this roundabout process by creating a shortcut for 'Shut down' and pinning it to the taskbar.

When you are in desktop mode, right click and from the menu select New shortcut. A window will open. In the location field, type shutdown /s /t 0. Enter a name for the shortcut.

You can call it 'Shutdown' or whatever else you choose. Select an icon for the new shortcut and save it.

Now you can click on this shortcut to shutdown the system. For easy access, drag the icon on to the taskbar to pin it there.

TouchStoneSoftware UndeletePlus RegistryWizard BIOSAgentPlus
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Quote of the Month
"Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life."

– Mark Zuckerberg

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
Sticky Moose
Do you want to get your friends' opinion on which band to listen to next? Which movie to watch next? You can now easily get the opinions of others through this site.

Useful Site
Save long web pages to read later, when you have time, on your computer, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle.

Stat of the Month

Worldwide Forecast of Video Surveillance HDD Revenue
(Millions of Units)

Top-5 Cellphone Handset OEMs in 2012
Source: IHS Research
June 2013

Vocab Test


Describes people who drive while sending text messages on their phones.

Browser Add-On


A free personalizable Internet radio service, featuring more than 600 hand-crafted music radio stations!

SmartPhone App


Great App to decide how to Split bills, tabs and rent with friends and roommates!

  Twitter Tip

Favoriting a tweet is a great way to increase followers and to capture the attention of influencers who are tweeting content that you like.

iPhone App



iOptimizer is the ultimate application for getting to know your iPhone, iPad or iPod better. iOptimizer monitors the performance of your device, so that you can configure it for optimal use. It will also help you find out everything about your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch both on the system and on the user level. iOptimizer is powerful, intuitive, and extremely easy to set up and use.

(New Version - May 2013)
  • iPad Support
  • Improved 'Activity' Section
  • Improved 'Processes' Section
  • Improved 'Battery' Section
  • Improved 'System' Information
  • Improved 'Network' Section
Best of all — It's FREE!

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