Here’s an easy way to remember ‘cryptic’ passwords

Here’s an example of a complex password that’s easy to remember:


It uses a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation and is fairly long.  But what makes it easy to remember?

Easy – Use a sentence!

I listen 2 Tech Solutions Radio every Sunday @ 1

Simple as that.  An easy to remember sentence, but use only the first letter of each word (Uppercase letter with each proper noun, symbols or numbers like @ for at and 2 for to…)

So come up with your own complex, but easy to remember password and replace your current, easy to crack one that 90% of you are using (you know who you are!)

Remember, good passwords should have ALL of the following:

lowercase letter(s)
uppercase letter(s)
the longer the better, but at least 8 characters long

What to do with your Windows XP machine once you buy a new one.

So you’ve been putting off upgrading your beloved Windows XP computer for a long time now.  But with support ending for Windows XP, it’s time to upgrade.  But…your old machine still runs fine, so it’s a shame to just toss it away.  Here are a couple ideas for what you can do with that old machine to keep it alive and useful:

Give it a Linux makeover

For a long time, I have made the suggestion that you could, and maybe should, have a separate ‘secure’ machine for sensitive transacting on the web.  Why not use your old machine for this useful purpose?  After you’ve transferred all of your data off of the old machine, you can download one of the free versions of the Linux operating system.  Ubuntu ( and Linux Mint ( are my two favorites.  They are relatively VERY secure and don’t be afraid – they are not difficult to use.  I hate to say you don’t have to worry about viruses (there is malicious software for basically all operating systems), but you basically don’t have to worry much about getting a virus infection when running Linux – especially when using it for limited purposes (banking, etc).  You can even download a “Live CD” and run the operating system from a CD and not even have to install it on your hard drive.


If you have multiple users and storage needs in your household/network, FreeNAS ( will turn your old PC into a “Network Attached Storage” device.  It will allow you to use your old PC as a file sharing device or even as a central location to store backups of all of your computers.  It’s powerful, free and you can access your files from multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with little or no configuration.

Tech Solutions Radio 10.20.13

You can find Podcasts of the 4 most recent Tech Solutions Radio shows on the WCBM Podcast Page or older ones on our Podcast Page.

Tech Solutions Radio 10/20/13 show topics:

Apple announcement day Tue 10/22, new iPads & MacBooks, OS X Mavericks, Delete Windows update files to regain hard disk space, Fake Chrome & Adobe Flash updates, Adobe hacked, 3 million accounts compromised, Windows 8.1 Update released this past week, Windows 7 still available, Toshiba selling Windows 7 for 99% of business sales, power hum from aftermarket laptop adapter, YouTube ads…

Recover lots of Hard Drive space by deleting old Windows Update files

Microsoft recently released an update for Windows 7 SP1 that allows us to remove old Windows Update files that we no longer need or want.  Windows routinely saves a lot of files that will allow us to uninstall some of the Windows updates.  But, except in the rare case that you find a problem that was caused by one of the Updates, it is very rare that you would have a reason to remove the Update(s).

This update is actually a plug-in for the Disk Cleanup utility already installed on your computer (Start -All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Cleanup).  Run it and you could get back may Gigabytes of space on your hard drive.

For the download link, if it’s not already installed on your computer by the normal Windows Update process, or for more information, click the link below:

If you are really running low on hard drive space (did you know that a full or almost full hard drive can cause significant speed decreases and possibly errors with Windows?), you could have one of our technicians at Discount Computer Service CLONE (make an exact copy) your drive to a new, faster, bigger one.  You’d get more space, speed and keep all of your programs and data!

For an often HUGE speed increase, ask us about cloning your drive to a new SOLID STATE Hard drive!

Google can use your name and photo alongside online ads

That’s right, Google’s new terms of service, going into effect 11/11/13, by default will opt you in for allowing them to use your name and photo alongside an online ad if you have commented, followed or given a +1 to a product.  You could see your face and comment in those one-line reviews below an ad or listing.

The less scary news about that is that they say that your endorsements will only be visible to those that would generally have access to your comments anyway.  Google says they will allow you to opt out of this by un-selecting the ‘Shared Endorsements’ option in your Google Plus settings.  I have put a link below that will take you directly to this setting and give you more information about this new feature.

In case you’re like the 99.99% of us who don’t actually read those ‘terms of service’ agreements, the new TOS also reminds us to not use its services while driving (thank you to Google’s legal department for this friendly addition) and to not give out your passwords (seriously?).


I received an interesting email from Phyllis:

“I’m hearing good things about this browser, Disconnect, but wondered if you recommend it over the others?”

Hi Phyllis,

If we’re talking about the same thing, I don’t believe ‘Disconnect’ is an alternate browser, but rather an ‘extension’ for your current browser that can add speed and privacy.

I don’t have much experience with it, but it is very well rated and I wouldn’t hesitate to use  or recommend it (you can find more info about the free Disconnect add-on at their website:

Another very good privacy/ad blocking extension I really love is “AdBlock Plus”, you can download and get more info at:

As for browsers, I definitely recommend the ‘alternate’ browsers (vs Microsoft’s Internet Explorer), especially for older computers.  My favorite is Google’s Chrome browser.

Best Regards,


Tech Solutions Radio 10.6.13

You can find Podcasts of the 4 most recent Tech Solutions Radio shows on the WCBM Podcast Page or older ones on our Podcast Page.

Tech Solutions Radio 10/6/13 show topics:

cannot un-mute YouTube videos, Microsoft patch Tuesday’s 10th anniversary, Windows 8.1 update coming Oct 18th, Microsoft is no longer going to offer Windows ‘Upgrade’ software,  Google Chrome’s new ‘Search by Image’ function, uPnP, forwarding ports on router to DVR, finding your lost smartphone, memory problem, VGA to DVI?…

Youtube mute issue

Here’s a temporary workaround for the Youtube / no sound issue:

First,  try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies, and/or try this:

The mute will keep coming back for each video you watch, but you can get your sound back each time by pausing the video, right clicking the little X by the speaker symbol and then clicking the speaker symbol itself.  Then start the video again.

Youtube has acknowledged this ‘bug’ and should have it fixed soon.

Will running Windows XP within Windows 7 protect it?

(this is a follow-up question from a listener regarding the discontinuation of updates for Windows XP in 2014)

Q – I read your article about running XP in Windows 8 which raises and interesting point; can XP be easily run on a Windows 7 machine as well?  If it can, then would the Windows 7 security updates protect it?

A – Yes.  You can definitely run a ‘virtual’ Windows XP machine within Windows 7.  There’s even an ‘XP Mode’ from Microsoft that integrates into Windows 7 Professional that allows older XP programs to run almost seamlessly in the Windows 7 environment, but behind the scenes is running ‘virtually’ in Windows XP.

While running Windows XP as a ‘virtual’ machine within Windows 7 would provide some protection, it would be limited IF you are planning on running any programs that interact with the Internet.  One of the main problems with the lack of updates is that if some malicious code is presented from a website, a newer operating system and/or browser may be patched to protect against this malicious code doing any damage, but Windows XP may be defenseless.  I would highly recommend using a newer, patched version of Windows for any email, web browsing, etc. and using a ‘virtual’ Windows XP machine solely for running older, but important applications that won’t run on the newer Windows versions.

If you do plan on using a Windows XP computer after the 2014 ‘sunset’, it will be vitally important to use a 3rd party browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, NOT Internet Explorer) and to engage the use of a good 3rd party firewall.  I plan on going into further detail about this in a future post.