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Cliff's Corner -
From time to time, you will have problems with your computer. You can count on it, because it's just the nature of the beast. The suggestions on this page can help solve most computer issues, and more importantly, you will learn how to avoid causing these problems yourself.

Fix Your Slow Computer
If your computer has slowed down, it's usually an easy fix. Try these suggestions first. If this doesn't help, then your problem may be malware. More about that later.
1)  For slow internet, unplug your modem for a minute, then replug. The modem will reset and the get a refresh signal from your cable provider. If you have a separate router, unplug that as well. Sometimes this is all it takes to speed things up significantly.

2)  Upgrade to at least 4GB of memory to speed up software loading and music/video streaming. For heavy streaming (like movies), 8GB of memory will give you optimal performance.
3)  To avoid memory clutter, turn off your computer every night. If you leave it on overnight, then reboot in the morning. This clears Windows memory and your computer will run smoother.
4)  Visit this website for more ways to speed up your computer.

Fix Malware Issues
If the above suggestions don't help, your computer might be infected with malware (same as virus). It's critical to get rid of malware quickly before it causes further damage or steals your private information. Here are some things you can do.
1)  Open your Antivirus (AV) software and run a full system scan to find and remove malware (see below if you don't have AV software).

2)  If the above doesn't work, use System Restore (see below) to roll your computer back to an earlier date.
3)  Some malware can resist virtually all attempts at removal, even by disabling your AV software and/or Windows System Restore. If this happens to you, and you're not computer savvy, take your computer to a repair shop to fix it for you.

Fix Problems with Window's Time Machine
Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP all have a nice feature called System Restore. From time to time, Windows automatically creates snapshots (restore points) of your current Windows registry state, so you will have multiple restore points to choose from when attempting a system restore. Here's what to do:
1)  Learn how to use System Restore for your version of Windows.
2)  Choose a restore point dated earlier than when your problem started. System Restore can take from 5 to 30 minutes, depending upon your system, so be patient. DO NOT turn off your computer or try to use it during the restore operation. After the restore, if the problem isn't fixed, restore again to an even earlier date. System Restore will solve your problem 95% of the time (as mentioned earlier, sophisticated malware can disable System Restore).
3)  System Restore does not affect your personal files such as documents, emails or photos, but any software installed after the restore date will need to be reinstalled as the restore process will have removed them.

Prevention is the Key to Security
1)  Be sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer. Windows 10/8 come with Windows Defender already installed. For Windows 7/Vista/XP, do a search and download the free Microsoft Security Essentials. Both Defender and Essentials provide adequate protection for most users. For even better protection, opt for subscription-based software like Norton Security, WebRoot, McAfee, etc. They do a much better job of removing malware if you become infected.
2)  Always update to the latest version of your web browser (Edge, Explorer, Chrome, Foxfire, etc). Newer versions always have improved built-in security.
3)  While surfing the internet, DON'T click on popups, even if it says you have a virus and asks if you want to remove it (it may even say Microsoft Security in the popup box). Don't click on ANYTHING in the popup box (not yes, not no, not even the red X to close the popup box). Any of these actions can download malware to your computer. Instead, click on the red X in the far upper right hand corner of your browser to close it. Then restart your browser to continue surfing.
4)  DON'T visit unsafe web sites. They can infect your computer with "drive-by" malware, even if you don't click on anything at the site. Stay with better known mainstream web sites that tend to be more trustworthy.
5)  DON'T open or click on risky email attachments or links. This is the #1 way that computers become infected. It is safe to open emails from friends with documents or photos that they created. It is NOT safe to open emails forwarded around the internet, even if from friends. No matter how tempting, just delete them.
6)  Malware can also affect smart phones and tablets. Search the internet to learn how to keep your specific device secure.

Is it Time to Upgrade Windows?
PCs running Windows 10 were the only Windows computers protected from the 2017 WannaCry ransomware that hit 200,000+ computers in 150+ countries. Ransomware alone is reason enough to upgrade now. Most Windows 7 and 8 computers can be upgraded to Windows 10. Windows 98/XP/Vista cannot be upgraded. If you're running one of these old versions, it's time for new computer with Windows 10 pre-installed.

Practice Safe Computing
All you need do to maintain a happy relationship with your computer is just be careful where you surf and what you click on. It's as simple as that.

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