I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?

Need help to upgrade from Windows 7 to the latest Windows 10? Local Computer Help can assist. Simply call 1300 883 831 to book in a time to get up to date.

Microsoft Windows 7 – launched in 2009 – came to the end of its supported life on Tuesday. Despite Microsoft’s repeated warnings to Windows 7 users, there may still be a couple of hundred million users, many of them in businesses. What should people do next?

To begin with, Windows 7 will not stop working, it will just stop receiving security updates. Users will therefore be more vulnerable to malware attacks, particularly from “ransomware”. We saw how dangerous that can be when WannaCry took over unpatched PCs in the NHS and other places. It was so bad that Microsoft released a patch for XP, even though it was out of support.

There are reasons to be fearful, because of the way the malware industry works.

On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases security patches that should be installed automatically by Windows Update. The malware industry analyses these patches to find the holes, and then looks for ways to exploit them. A lot of the code in Windows 10 goes back to Windows 7 and earlier versions. As a result, some of the security holes in Windows 10 will also be present in Windows 7, but they won’t be patched.

Malware writers don’t normally target out-of-date operating systems, because they don’t usually have many users. In this case, as with XP, there could be millions of relatively easy targets.

The British government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told the BBC: “We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts.” That’s good advice.

You can read more about this topic with the full article at The Guardian.

Top 5 FREE Antivirus Software in 2020

There are so many choices with antivirus software on the market – which one do you choose?! Here’s a great article from Robert Bateman at Safety Detectives reviewing some of your best, and free, choices for antivirus in 2020.

Need more help? Local Computer Help can assist with choosing the right free or paid antivirus for your needs.

Some free antiviruses out there are actually malware designed to steal your private information. This is especially true for Windows because with so many users around the world, it’s the most popular target for viruses and other dangerous malware. That’s why it’s important that you don’t fall victim to one of these common scams and only download legitimate programs with a history of high-quality performance.

But with cybercrime rates on the rise, there are only a few free Windows antivirus applications available which actually offer decent PC protection. I’ve tested over 80 antivirus solutions to bring you a handful of free Windows antiviruses that are better than the rest.

While there is no such thing as a “free antivirus” with zero limitations, these 5 brands each offer a free plan which will help protect your PC. They are often pretty basic, but many are worth trying, and some are much better than Windows Defender — the default protection included with Windows.

Here’s a summary of best free Windows antiviruses for 2020:

  1. Avira: Overall #1 free antivirus for Windows for most users in 2020. Great technology which provides reliable antivirus and anti-malware protection.
  2. Panda: Exceptional antivirus technology, there are some nice extra features, and it comes with a free VPN!
  3. Sophos: The best free plan for families. Great interface with parental controls (up to 3 devices).
  4. AVG: Decent antivirus protection with a safe browsing extension.
  5. Avast: Comes with many extra features. But it has a lot of ads.

Are you Steam Powered? Free and paid PC gaming.

No, we aren’t being paid to write this article. We just want to share with you this great platform to get gaming online!

Need a new gaming PC or upgrades to your existing one? Local Computer Help can assist with a custom gaming rig built.

Steam is the ultimate destination for playing, discussing, and creating games.

Looking for something to do while social distancing and following all pandemic guidelines? Look no further than Steam. Steam offers a great range of free to play games along with premium paid PC gaming titles at your fingertips. Check it out here >

Join the Community

Meet new people, join groups, form clans, chat in-game and more! With over 100 million potential friends (or enemies), the fun never stops.

Experience Steam Hardware

We created the Steam Controller and the VR technologies that power the HTC Vive to making gaming on the PC even better.

Release your Game

Steamworks is the set of tools and services that help game developers and publishers get the most out of distributing games on Steam.

Features

We are constantly working to bring new updates and features to Steam, such as: Steam Chat Talk with friends or groups via text or voice without leaving Steam. Videos, Tweets, GIFs and more are supported; use wisely. Game Hubs Everything about your game, all in one place. Join discussions, upload content, and be the first to know about new updates. Steam Broadcast Stream your gameplay live with the click of a button, and share your game with friends or the rest of the community. Steam Workshop Create, discover, and download player-created mods and cosmetics for nearly 1,000 supported games. Available on Mobile Access Steam anywhere from your iOS or Android device with the Steam mobile app. Early Access to Games Discover, play, and get involved with games as they evolve. Be the first to see what’s coming and become part of the process. Learn More

Multilingual

Creating a global community is important to us, that’s why our client supports 28 languages and counting.

Purchases Made Easy

Our storefront supports 100+ payment methods across over 35 currencies, giving you the flexibility to pay how you want.

Controller Support

Steam encourages developers to include controller support in their games including PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo controllers.

And so much more…

Earn achievements, read reviews, explore custom recommendations, and more.

Curved vs Flat Monitors

What are the benefits of a curved monitor? Check out this great little article to learn more.

Curved monitors are relatively new technology, but they are quickly overtaking flat monitors among discerning users. Why make the upgrade? There are a number of benefits to curved monitors unique to their design, including reduced eyes strain and better field of view.

Do you remember comparing the difference between CRT and LCD monitors?

Well, that’s in the past! Today, those shopping for monitors must decide between curved monitors and flat monitors

Do you know which is best for your needs?

If you don’t, then let’s take a step back.

Long story short, curved monitors are the new flat! At least that’s what it seems like based on the number of curved monitor options entering the market for applications spanning from gaming to work, and even to general entertainment.

With a curved monitor, your eyes are immediately drawn to their flowing curved screen and sleek look – but how do they perform? Below, we’ve set out to compare curved monitors and flat-screen monitors to find out for ourselves. What are the benefits of curved monitors? What are the benefits of flat monitors? Read on below to see our list of curved monitor advantages and full breakdown between curved monitors and flat monitors. Moreover, we will provide some info regarding the ultrawide variants of curved and flat monitors.

Curved vs. Flat Monitors Compared

Curved Monitors Are Immersive

In the world of viewable media, immersion is a golden standard to work towards. If a product can make you forget, so to speak, that you’re staring at a screen, then you’re much more likely to enjoy the experience.

To create this sense of immersion, products must be engineered in a way that replicates real life. The monitor technology specifically used in this case is called ocular perception. This is something everyone learns from an early age.

We see the world in three dimensions – length, width, and height. If our collective reality was based only in two dimensions, then everything would appear to be flat. This is where the battle of curved vs. flat monitors come into play.

Curved monitors take advantage of all three dimensions. Further, they expand on peripheral vision. In contrast, flat monitors, which live up to their namesake and don’t require the use of peripheral vision, offer a weaker immersive experience. 

Curved monitor benefit #1:

  • A more immersive experience

Curved Monitors Eliminate Distortion

Imagine how annoying it is when you experience a blurry picture. Next, consider how you feel when that blurriness is not due to a poor internet connection, but instead a hardware issue. In another example, consider how when you enlarge a video or picture, the quality ends up suffering a fair amount of distortion, particularly at the edges.

When it comes to the debate between curved vs. flat monitors, the situations above are almost exclusively associated with flat monitors. Although examples of distortion can occur on screens of any size, they become more prevalent as monitor size increases. Less distortion is one of the advantages of curved monitors over flat monitors as distortion issues are minimized on curved monitors.

There is a simple explanation for this.

The difference between curved and flat screen distortion comes down to the physics of light projection. Put simply, flat screens blast their images in a straight line, both at the viewers and past their sides. Curved screens, on the other hand, take advantage of their shape, and aim everything at the viewer, thus limiting distortion. 

Curved monitor benefit #2:

  • Less distortion on a curved monitor

Curved Monitors Are More Comfortable for Your Eyes

The same physics that limit curved-screen distortion also make their use more comfortable. Essentially, the curvature of the monitors allows our eyes to take in everything at once, without strain.

This comes in opposition to flat screens, which, depending on the size, may cause eyestrain if the screen exceeds a viewer’s natural field of view. The ability to take in a scene without strain is something that occurs naturally in everyday life.

By being able to take in the entirety of a curved screen, even at its largest sizes, your eyes will take advantage of that natural feeling to remain comfortable. All in all, when considering curved vs. flat monitors, bear in mind that your eyes will be able to do their job more comfortably when viewing the former.

Curved monitor benefit #3:

  • Curved monitors are comfortable for your eyes

Curved Monitors Cover a Wider Field of View

When researching curved vs. flat monitors, it’s common for the specs of curved screens to correlate greater immersion with superior field of view. Frankly, this is true for the same reasons that curved screens are also more comfortable than their flat counterparts.

Since a curved screen directs light from all angles towards the viewer’s eye, the idea is that you will be able to take everything in without much ocular exertion. Therefore, if your eyes are more easily covering a larger field of view, as compared to flat screens, then curved monitors will thus feel larger

An additional benefit of a wider field of view is that it also attributes to your perceived level of immersion.

Curved monitor benefit #4:

  • Curved monitors offer a larger perceived field of view.
Curved vs. flat monitors FOV

Things That Will Take Some Getting Used to with Curved Monitors

Nothing is ever 100% perfect; there’s always a catch. Although that certainly goes for claims that appear too good to be true, it, unfortunately, goes for curved screens as well

Thankfully, the drawbacks of curved screens are very minor and will probably not be sending any buyers running for the hills to purchase flat screens instead. 

Wall mounting

First and foremost, as a result of its eponymous shape, curved screens face difficulty when it comes to wall mounting. Unlike flat screens, which are typically flush with the adjacent wall, curved screens require specific mounts and positioning in order to be mounted.

Broadly speaking, curved screens necessitate a situation where they are kept from being too close to the wall. Although they don’t resolve the fact curved screens will jut out, tilt & swivel brackets and adjustable arm mounts are great options to overcome the hurdle of mounting in general.

The good news here that this is mostly a superficial issue and has no impact on performance. 

Glare

Due to the geometry involved in its curvature, a curved screen will regrettably be prone to glare, when viewed at certain angles. As compared to a flat screen, which projects light at a single uniform angle, curved screens will do so at a countless number.

With that in mind, while it is easy to keep light sources away from a single angle, it may become nigh impossible when dealing with many.

The best way to mitigate this issue is to place the screen away from as many light sources as possible. Or, simply using your monitor with most lights turned off.

5 TIPS on how to get your computer running FASTER for FREE!

I’m sure we’ve all encountered a computer that is frustratingly slow and it drives us to our wits end. Here are the top 5 tips to consider to try before you a) throw it out the window or b) give your local computer technician a call for help.

Perhaps B should come before A!

1. ‘Control+ALT+Delete’ and check out your task manager. Consider what unnecessary programs are consuming resources and potentially slowing down your computer by viewing the ‘processes’, ‘performance’ and ‘start up’ tabs. You can disable any programs you may not need at launch by simply right clicking on it.

2. Clean up your registry with a great piece of free software called CCleaner – https://www.ccleaner.com/
You can download this light weight program, install it and use it to clear up all unwanted and old registry entries no longer required. Simply select the ‘registry’ tab and ‘scan for issues’ and follow the prompts.

3. Don’t have any anti-malware software on your computer? It’s time to grab a free copy of Malwarebytes (which we highly recommend – the premium paid version does even more) and run a scan of your computer to clean up any ‘nasty’ malware and files that shouldn’t be there. Download it here – https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/

4. Check your computer’s operating system and software is up to date. Depending on the operating system you are running here are some simple guides to check you are up to date.
Update Windows 8.1
Update Windows 10
Update your Mac O/S

5. Tried all that and you’re computer is still running slow? If you’re running Windows 10 perhaps it’s time to take it back to factory state – just like you got it out of the box – with the inbuilt and easy to use Windows Reset feature. Ensure you back up all your files first and note all software you will need installed once completed and click here for the steps to complete a Windows Reset.

This was previously sent out to all our Local Computer Help members as part of our mailing list – https://mailchi.mp/localcomputerhelp/5-tips-to-make-your-computer-run-faster-for-free

Don’t miss out on great helpful articles like this by subscribing to our mailing list in the footer of our website!

How to sit at your computer

Sounds basic right? But I’m probably doing it wrong as I write this article!

Here’s some great tips on how to stay safe and healthy while using your computer.

We see too many workplace injuries that could be avoided. And prevention is better than cure. Here is a four-step checklist that you can carry out at your workstation, to make sure you’re comfortable, safe and productive at the office.

STEP 1: Your Chair

  • Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
  • Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.
  • Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes.
  • Adjust the armrests (if fitted) so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.

STEP 2: Your Keyboard

An articulating keyboard tray can provide optimal positioning of input devices. However, it should accommodate the mouse, enable leg clearance, and have an adjustable height and tilt mechanism. The tray should not push you too far away from other work materials, such as your telephone.

  • Pull up close to your keyboard.
  • Position the keyboard directly in front of your body.
  • Determine what section of the keyboard you use most frequently, and readjust the keyboard so that section is centred with your body.
  • Adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and your wrists and hands are straight.
  • The tilt of your keyboard is dependent upon your sitting position. Use the keyboard tray mechanism, or keyboard feet, to adjust the tilt. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you at a negative angle. If you are reclined, a slight positive tilt will help maintain a straight wrist position.
  • Wristrests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wristrest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wristrest while typing is not recommended. Avoid using excessively wide wristrests, or wristrests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.
  • Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard. Placing it on a slightly inclined surface, or using it on a mousebridge placed over the 10-keypad, can help to bring it closer.

If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height, the height of your chair, or use a seat cushion to get into a comfortable position. Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle.

STEP 3: Screen, Document, and Telephone

Incorrect positioning of the screen and source documents can result in awkward postures. Adjust the screen and source documents so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position.

  • Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard.
  • Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3” above seated eye level. (If you wear bifocals, lower the screen to a comfortable reading level.)
  • Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screenand then adjust the distance for your vision.
  • Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen.Position source documents directly in front of you, between the screen and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the screen.
    • Place screen at right angles to windows
    • Adjust curtains or blinds as needed
    • Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights
    • Other techniques to reduce glare include use of optical glass glare filters, light filters, or secondary task lights
  • Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
  • Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.

STEP 4: Pauses and Breaks

Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body.

  • Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
  • Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.
  • Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
  • Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.
Correct sitting at desk posture ergonomics advices for office workers: how to sit at desk when using a computer and how to use a stand up workstation