What are spyware and viruses anyway?

What is spyware?

Spyware is software that someone puts on your computer that watches what you do and sends this information to some third party.

Spyware gets on our computers as we travel the internet by visiting web pages that put it in your computer, by e-mail, by Trojan horse style viruses, and a number of other sources. Some spyware is harmless–for instance if you search for banking information online, the banner ads on the places you visit will start to be financial ads. If you search for sporting goods, you will begin to see different ads oriented to the outdoors. This is the advertisers on the internet at work. In most cases these types of spyware do not interfere with your use of your computer...


What are “Drivers” on your computer?

Do you know what computer drivers are; what they do?

Do you understand why you should keep computer drivers up to date? Don’t be alarmed if you don’t know. Plenty of people are still adapting to having computers at all, let alone understanding everything that makes them tick.

It’s the 21st century and computers have become as commonplace as transistor radios were during the 1950’s. Unfortunately, today’s computers are a good deal more complex than the transistor radios of yesteryear. The intricacies of keeping up the maintenance on today’s computers can get pretty confusing pretty quickly.

But while there is plenty of computer terminology that the average computer user will never need to know, being familiar with your computer driver, what it does, and why you should keep ...


Royalty free graphics for your websites

If you are working on web sites there is something you absolutely MUST have: Graphics. You will need an assortment of graphics that you have rights to publish. If you just go grab an image from somewhere on the net, the owner of the rights for the image can sue you. (and will if you are making any money)

You will need two distinct types of graphics: general graphics, and header graphics. General on page graphics are pictures of varying sizes for use on a web age, but the header graphic is generally a large rectangular image at the top of a web page. There is a set of headers in the list to the left.

This package is excellent for your other publications such as PDF’s, e-Books, and as regular clip art.


Should I wipe and reload my computer?

How exactly should you go about deciding what to do to your computer in order to fix it?

The answer depends on exactly what your computer is doing. This page will help you decide what to do.

I have this information elsewhere on this site, but I will repeat it here:

Generally speaking, only 2 things that can be wrong with your computer:

1. There is a hardware problem.
In this case, the failing piece of hardware will have to be replaced.

2. Windows is infected and unstable.
Spy-ware and viruses can often damage Windows so badly that your computer will run very poorly and you may not even be able to get on the Internet. In this case Windows or the damaged software will have to be repaired or reloaded.

Repair Windows or Wipe and reload?

Let’s take these one at a time

Hardware problem: ...


How to recover data from a so-called bad hard drive

Recovering data from a bad hard drive can
be simple, but don’t count on it.

All computer hard drives will fail. This is why they are only warranted for a couple of years. When hard drives fail the data on them is usually still there, but cannot be pulled off the drive for some reason. I will try to explain how to go about recovering data from a hard drive in these situations.

While this is a simplified version of how to recover data from a failed hard drive just to help you understand what is involved. it is NOT a definitive procedure for recovering data.

One of the ways that a hard drive can fail is for Windows to fail to boot, thereby trapping your information in such a way that you cannot get to it...


What does a hard drive actually do?

The hard drive actually has
3 main functions in a computer

The purpose of the hard drive is to hold for long term storage both the software that runs your computer, called the Operating System, and the software that allows you to do stuff with your computer are called Applications. Windows is an operating system, MS Word is an application.

When your computer boots up, it looks in a a specific place on the hard drive, called the boot sector, to find out what kind of computer it is. It then reads the code in the bootstrap and boots into Windows, Unix, Mac OS, OS2, Linux, FreeBSD, BEOS, or whatever operating system is loaded.

So the first function of the hard drive is to store the actual code that runs the computer’s functions.

The second function of the hard drive is to store Applications a...



April 27, 2012

Our Commitment To Privacy

This Privacy Policy is designed to assist you in understanding how we collect and use your personal information in connection with our advertising, content, e-commerce, promotional and service programs and other business activities (the “Program”) and to assist you in making informed decisions when using our site and our products and services and the sites of our advertisers.

What Information We Collect

When you visit our site we may collect two types of information: (a) personal information you actively choose to disclose and (b) information about you that is collected automatically by our servers or obtained from third parties in a way not visible to you.

(a) Information you actively choose to provide...


Use your phone to create passive income

There is a new company that is starting in the mobile advertising space. They are building up their pool of consumers, and when they go live, they will send out coupon offers and such to customers on their phones. At first, these ads will probably be generic ads for various products, but as time goes by, and the concept is proven, mainstream advertisers will jump on board. Though not there yet, this has the potential to be a sort of traveling Groupon thing that sends you up to 5 deals a day, based on where you are. The goal here is to send you a advertisement/coupon/deal/offer for a nearby businesses while you are out shopping, so you will visit businesses you might not normally visit. All you have to do is receive (not read) up to 5 messages a day (you choose how many)...


Use this procedure to wipe and reload Windows on your computer

Make sure that the only hard drive you have attached to your computer is the one you want to install Windows on. Remove all other hard drives, flash drives, and USB drives. Take your Windows disc and put it in the CD ROM, and reboot your computer. Your computer should boot to the CD (If it doesn’t, you may have to go into a boot menu and tell it to boot to the CD) and give you a message that says “To boot from CD press any key”. When you see this message, tap the space bar, and Windows Setup will start. You will know because a blue screen will pop up labeled “Windows Setup”. There will be a bunch of writing flashing across the bottom of the screen, but eventually you will wind up at a decision screen...


Consider these points before you wipe and reload Windows

This page is for anyone who has decided to wipe out their hard drive, and start over. There are a ton of things to consider when deciding if you should do this. THIS page, however will simply cover the considerations and procedure you will need to use in order to reformat your hard drive and reload your copy of Windows.

If you are not sure that you wish to do this, I urge you to visit my “What should I do?” page to help you make an informed decision.

The things that you need to consider before wiping out your system are listed below:

You will lose anything that you do not make a copy of. To learn how to back up your computer, go to the Backup Center.

You will have to reload all the software that you have added to your computer since you got it...


How to use event viewer

Event viewer is a small tool that Microsoft has built into Windows to keep a running log of the things that Windows does. Windows records these “Events” and stores the information in a log file. They were even kind enough to sort the hardware events from the software events for us

There are many ways to open Event Viewer I normally just click on the Start Button, go to “Run”, and type “eventvwr” in the box (without the quotes).
See “How to open Event Viewer”

You could also go STARTCONTROL PANEL

When Event Viewer opens up, you will see that the window is split into two sections. Just like in “My Computer”, you click on an item in the left pane, and the contents are displayed in the right pane.

The two sections we are interested in are “Applicat...


How to speed up your computer

Put in as much RAM memory as you can afford

Nothing will speed up your computer as quickly as adding more memory.

Make sure you have at least 10% of your hard drive capacity as free space.

When Windows works it is constantly moving things around. It uses empty space on your hard drive to store things temporarily as it works. If you run low on available hard drive space, Windows will have to move things around more slowly because it does not have as much room as it needs. This is referred to as disk space overhead, and if your hard drive fills up, you run out of overhead, and your computer will stop.

If you have enough disk space, set your virtual memory to twice the size of your physical memory.

If you have 4 GB of memory set your virtual memory minimum and maximum both to 8 GB.



How to open event viewer in Windows

Event Viewer is a tool that displays detailed information about significant events on your computer. Event Viewer can be helpful when troubleshooting problems and errors with Windows and other programs.

This tutorial will show you the basics about how to open and use Event Viewer to read the information in event logs in Windows 7.

Event logs are special files that record significant events on your computer, such as when a user logs on to the computer or when a program encounters an error. Whenever these types of events occur, Windows records the event in an event log that you can read by using Event Viewer. Advanced users might find the details in event logs helpful when troubleshooting problems with Windows and other programs.

Event Viewer tracks information in several different logs.



Easy and free way to download videos from websites

Sometimes you see a video online that you would like to have a copy of. Perhaps it is a training video or a program you wish to watch. As you know, I am stupid, cheap and lazy all rolled into one, so I wanted a cheap and easy way to do this. I found it and share it with you here.

Also in the video it states that this does not work with Forefox, but it does work with the newer version of Firefox most of the time now.


How to really delete and erase files on your PC

During use, all computers tend to accumulate a vast number of junk files. These are log files, back up files made during software updates, Temporary internet files, files in your recycle bin and others. These junk files can be deleted and you will free up wasted disk space. Occasionally you may wish to sell or give away an old computer.

When you go to get rid of a computer or a hard drive though, you are stuck with a simple but serious problem. How do you remove your personal information before you get rid of it? Formatting a hard drive does not write over the data on the hard drive. I make a good bit of money recovering data from “accidentally” reformatted hard drives.

Many people will live in infamy forever on the internet simply because they thought they had deleted or erased a mov...


Build your own webaite in HTML or WordPress

How to build a web site

If you are interested in getting a website built, you want it for a specific reason. If you know anything about Stupid Damn Computer, you know I believe in helping you learn to how to build a website yourself for free. The truth is building a website does take some knowledge, but making a small site for yourself or a small business is not to difficult for most people.

There are things that you have to come to terms with, to make money from your website, you need your own domain name and hosting. No one is going to take you seriously online if you make a free website.

If you would like to have me build you a free website check the left column of this page

When you pick your hosting company, don’t go with the cheapest you can find, believe me, get someone well know...


How to backup your computer

60% of businesses that have a catastrophic data loss go out of business within 6 months.

IF you have a small business that makes over $3000 per month, you NEED to have both an onsite server and have it backed up EVERY NIGHT to an offsite location. Your business depends on it.

It seems that everyone who owns a computer knows that they should back up their data. But can you name anyone who actually does back up their computer? If you do not back up your data, you are a simple thunderstorm away from loosing it all. Losing all the information on a home computer is bad enough. Loosing the data on a small business computer can destroy your business. It is a fact that EVERY hard drive will fail, eventually.

You have your computer set just how you want it...


Free Website Graphics

Free website graphics from Stupid Damn Computer.
Free for personal use on any website you build or sell!!


Dear Online Marketer,

Like you, I have been bitten by the online marketing bug and am doing everything I can to change my life and make a living online. I’ve had to learn a lot of things along the way and one thing I had to learn the hard way was how to design a web page. I’m still no expert, but now I am able to put together a website good enough to get my point across and hopefully sell my products! One thing I didn’t have when I first started out was a resource of images that would make my websites really POP! With the dawn of the “Web 2...


Free computer repair software

AVG free version

AVG has been around for a decade or so, and their current product will take care of your computer with ease. I use this software myself, and load it on my customers computers for home use. It is easy to install, update, and use, and does a terrific job of keeping your computer clean. I do recommend that you buy the full version of the software for more complete protection, but you can certainly use the free version for as long as you want. The retail version is just much more robust about avoiding the infections in the first place.

Malwarebytes Antimalware (Free)
Malwarebytes Antimalware (Retail)

Malwarebytes Antimalware is quickly becoming the defacto spy ware scanner for techs in the business...


Al I ask in return for my free computer repair help

BACK UP your computer before you do anything I suggest on this site. Back up your entire computer. Make copies of all your music, video, and pictures, even if you have to burn them all to CD’s. Backing up your computer is the single most important thing a computer owner can do to protect their data. If you do not know how to do this, please see my backup center on this site. Click Here to go to the Backup Center

Throughout this site I will refer to various pieces of software for you to download and use. On my Recommended Software page I have various links to software that I recommend. In some cases there are links for both retail and free versions. This software is the same I use in my everyday work...


Fix your computer for 40 bucks by someone you can trust

I have made an effort to provide you with enough general information this site to guide you through some of the problems you may have with your Windows computers. These computers can have technical issues that this site cannot cover.
Keeping your computer running right takes more than a few steps, (see the “Speed Up your Computer” page for a few)

The truth is many people do not want to learn how to clean out or speed up their computer, they just want or need it running like it is supposed to, preferably NOW.

The problem up til now is that there was not a 1 stop solution to keeping you computer cleaned out, and optimized to enhance security, privacy, and performance.

But the ever relentless march of technology has solved this issue for the most part and a couple of affordable solutions now...


Fix your PC yourself with this cleanout procedure

This procedure is primarily for Windows XP, I have used it with Vista and 7, and have had no problems.
I have not extensively tested it in Vista and 7.

In other words,

If you have Windows VISTA, you will need to run these programs in “Elevated” mode. To do this right click on the icon and select the “Run as Administrator” option

Before you do anything I suggest in this site
How to back up your computer

You will need the following software for this procedure. You can download them all at one time and save them to your computer, or download them as you go along, and just run them instead of saving them. Either way install all four programs, and update the ones that can be updated.

Click on the link to download:

SpyBot Search and Destroy

Malwarebytes An...


How to contact Stupid Damn Computer.com

Pretty much everything on this site is my fault. I am a professional computer service technician in Houston TX with 37 years experience in the Technology business. I know that computer repair can be expensive. But if you take a few basic precautions to protect our computer you can avoid almost all of these costs.


What do do if your computer runs slow but you can still access the Internet

This procedure is primarily for Windows 2000 and XP, I have used it with Vista, and have had no problems, but I have not extensively tested it in Vista. In other words, BACK UP YOUR DATA.

You will need the following software for this procedure. You can download them all at one time and save them to your computer, or download them as you go along, and just run them instead of saving them. Either way install all four programs, and update the ones that can be updated.

You need the following software, click on the link to download:

SpyBot Search and Destroy

Malwarebytes Antimalware (Free)
Malwarebytes Antimalware (Retail)

AVG free version


RIGHT click on the “MY Computer” Icon and go to “Properties”
Select the “System Restore” Tab, and turn off System Restore...


What to do if your computer runs slow and you cannot get on the Internet

You cannot clean your computer without the proper software. Since you cannot get online, you will have to download the software to clean your computer on someone else’s computer. You can download the software and burn it to a CD/DVD or use a USB drive.

Try this before you do anything else, download this repair utility: It will often fix Windows so that you can get online. Be sure to reboot when it tells you to.

You will need the following software for this procedure. You will need to download them and copy them to a disk or USB drive, in order to load them on the infected computer. Your goal is to clean out enough junk to allow the computer to get on the internet...


Start here to troubleshoot your computer

If you have a pretty good Idea what you want to try to do, use the quick links or troubleshooting links to the left to go directly to that page.

Take a look at the listings below to start trouble shooting your computer. In each case, the page you go to will have a description at the top defining a particular problem. Read these descriptions carefully, and choose the closest description to the problem you are having with your computer. For instance, you may choose “My computer does not do anything” because when you turn on your computer you hear it running but get nothing on the monitor screen. Actually, “My computer does not do anything” page applies when you do not hear any noises, not when you hear the fans run.

All software mentioned is available on the Recommended Software page, ...


What to do if you turn your computer on and nothing happens

Start here if your computer does not do anything. This means that you do not even hear a fan running, no beeps, no noises, no flashing lights, nothing.

Check to see that the power cord is properly plugged into the computer and wall socket and that the socket has power. It is possible that your computer was moved, and the cord dislodged, or you might have thrown a breaker or fuse.

Loose memory or expansion cards will sometimes be the culprit. Open the case and reseat all the memory, and expansion cards. Simply push down slightly and briefly on them and try to reboot again.
Start here if your computer does not do anything. This means that you do not even hear a fan running, no beeps, no noises, no flashing lights, nothing.
You may have a bad power supply...


Chuckle train

Global Outlook Spend an hour or so with Eugene Kaspersky and you come out thinking the world looks slightly more sinister.

One of the most-famous cyber-security gurus, thanks to his company’s famed work analysing the Stuxnet computer virus, the Russian founder of Kaspersky Lab has a better insight than most into how vulnerable our everyday lives are to the threat of hackers.

Stuxnet, the computerised worm that damaged Iran’s nuclear programme, is the best known, perhaps, but Mr Kaspersky reels off a host of other recent attacks on everyday infrastructure orchestrated by baddies around the world.

He tells of how Latin American drug cartels knocked out the IT running Antwerp’s shipping port so they could unload cocaine-filled containers untroubled by customs officials; how Russian mobsters h...


Chuckle scenery

NASA announced today that its Curiosity Rover has found an unambiguous message from God written on tablets in a Martian cave.

According to an official press release two giant stone slabs the size of small elephants were located deep inside a cavern abutting Aeolis Mons, a large mountain.

Upon one tablet is a copy of the Ten Commandments and the text of John 3:16 written in 12 languages – including English, Spanish, Chinese, Basque and Hebrew. On the other tablet is a simple message in English reading “I am real.”

According to top scientists who have studied the discovery extensively, these findings may have definitively established Christianity as the one true religion.

“This is amazing,” says Syms Covington, an Australian researcher working for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program...


The Daily Chuckle

Harlan Collins follows in the footsteps of his illustrious journalist father, Tom Collins, who in 1948 created Today’s Chuckle, featured daily in newspapers nationwide. Harlan continues the tradition, contributing daily to this feature that’s nearing its 70th birthday. Collins’ book, “Today’s Chuckle: 2,500 Great One-Liners for Every Occasion,” collects some of the one-line observations that helped Today’s Chuckle become the most widely syndicated front-page feature in the world.

Collins is well known as a musician, composer and arranger. He has composed and arranged music for “Sesame Street,” “This is Spinal Tap,” “Highlander,” “One Tough Cop,” and other television shows and films...


Backup Solutions for Small Businesses

Online backup solutions are essential for business owners. But what exactly do online backup services entail, and how can you find the best option for offsite data backup?

Your files are vulnerable; though not only in the way you might think. It doesn’t matter how many security features you have in place to protect your own and your businesses information, if you do not actively and regularly backup your system, all your files are at risk. One of the biggest threats to the integrity of your business’s files is the loss of your documents due to a system crash; power failure; a malfunctioning hard drive; malicious computer viruses; human error or any other event that could corrupt or damage your documents. Off site data backup is a critical component of your business data backup plan.



Web Page Maker web site editing software

For now, I am going to cover the least expensive “What you see is what you get” or WYSIWYG editor that I have found. Though simple, it is powerful and easy to use. Stupid Damn Computer is the very first web site I built and I did it with Web Page Maker.

To learn how to use Web Page Maker, read the lower section below:

You can download a free trial of Web Page Maker here:
Web Page Maker Free Trial

If you wish to purchase Web Page Maker for $49.00, you can do so here:
Buy Web Page Maker

If you need to understand a little more about how web sites work in general, go here:
How Web Sites Work

Another one of my stupid sites, www.sldebo.com, has a free information site for small business owners who are thinking about having a web site built for their business...


What to do if your computer boots but Windows does not load

Start here if your computer does boot and you see a stream of white letters scroll across the screen for a few seconds. the keyboard lights up if you press num lock, and the light on your monitor turns green, but for whatever reason it fails to go into Windows. You may get hung up on a blank screen, have the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), or have the desktop show but with no icons.

Simplest solution: Restore from your last good backup point. You do have your system backed up, don’t you?

If you do not have your system backed up recently or at all you can try these suggestions.

As with most things with a computer, this problem can be caused by either a hardware or software. However, my experience is these are mostly software errors...


What to do if your computer boots, but you get a blank screen

Start here if your computer does try to boot, and you hear noise, such as a fan running, maybe even a beep, or a clicking sound, but you do not see anything on the monitor.

If you turn your computer on and it immediately turns itself off, you probably have a bad CPU fan. More than likely it has a cooling problem. Check for dust in the fan, or a fan failure.

If you get ANY beeps the problem is probably not the processor.

If the little light beside the power on button on your monitor changes from yellow to green when your computer starts to boot, the problem is probably not the monitor or video.

Start here if your computer does try to boot, and you hear noise, such as a fan running, maybe even a beep, or a clicking sound, but you do not see anything on the monitor.
If you get one continu...

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