Saturday, July 9, 2011



Today I'm going to briefly talk about a little website that you can use to track your ISP's (Internet Service Provider) performance and make sure they're delivering the product and speed they said they would when you paid for it.

The website is called

Its completely free of any spyware, or malware and doesn't need to install anything to your computer in order to run the quick test that it does.

Basically the way this works is you click the "Begin Test" button and will run a series of 3 tests.

The first will test your ping, the amount of time it takes for your computer to send information to a destination computer and for that computer to respond acknowledging that the information was received. The lower this number is to 0, the better.

The second test will determine your current download speed:

Typically ISP's offer a standard package between 2-5 MB/second, something midrange up to 10-15 MB/second, and finally a speed package which can go as high as 100 MB/second. This is where you're going to find out whether or not your ISP is living up to its promise.

The third test will determine your current upload speed:

Upload speed is important if you plan on doing live video streams or hosting a lot of large files. I'll talk about doing live video streams in another blog. The higher the number here the better.

After the tests have run you're able to share the results with the world via the link Speed Test provides you:

You can also compare your results to the rest of the world for both your download and upload speeds:

Then if you like you can compare your results to your Country and State/Province, and against other users within your ISP:

Finally, if you've run multiple speed tests it will keep your test history so that you can compare it against yourself:

In closing is a great tool that I find myself using almost everyday. Hopefully you'll find it useful as well!

- Maurice

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Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Increase Computer Speed


Hello everyone! My name is Maurice and in this blog entry I'm going to show you how to make windows start faster and increase computer speed.

First, I have a couple of questions I'd like you to ask yourself:

1. When you go to sleep at night, do you find yourself leaving your computer on because it takes too long to start up in the morning?

2. When you turn on your computer and and it opens to your desktop, does it take a while before you can actually open and get into a program?

3. When you're using your PC are your programs sluggish and or unresponsive?

4. When you're all done and you turn your PC off does it take forever to shut down?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're in the right place and I'm going to help you help your computer.

Now keep in mind, computers are not all created equal. If you have a very old and outdated machine, you're not going to see the performance that you would if you were using a newer model, however, there are tips and tricks I can give you to keep old faithful alive and healthy until you can upgrade.

That being said, let's maintain that PC.

How To Increase Computer Speed I

Section I - The Terminology

I understand that you all may not be completely computer savvy, so lets go over some common terms that I'll be using to describe the different parts of the PC. If you already know this stuff, feel free to skip ahead to Section II.

Hard Drive
- Your hard drive is where all of your programs and files are stored. Typically the size of your hard drive is measure in Megabytes or Gigabytes. The bigger the drive, the more programs and files you can keep on your PC.

System Registry - Your system registry is a database that stores settings for the software and sometimes hardware on your PC. If these registry entries go bad or become corrupt, you may experience crashes, and other nasty errors in Windows as well as slow system performance.

How To Increase Computer Speed II

Section II - Windows Tools

Typically Windows has the tools you're going to need to keep your PC running smoothly throughout its life cycle, however there may be a need to call in reinforcements that you might not know about, but may really need.

The tools that come with Windows that you'll need are as follows:

Disk Cleanup - This tool will calculate how much disk space you can free up on your hard drive by deleting downloaded files, temporary files no longer in use, garbage in your recycle bin and unnecessary Windows files.

I run this tool every night before I shut my machine down. Disk Cleanup is located in the System Tools folder. To access System Tools click Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools to locate it in Windows 7 and Vista. (If you need Windows XP help, shoot me an email.)

Disk Defragmenter - When data is saved to your hard drive what goes on behind the scenes would blow your mind. Without getting too deep, the hard drive saves information in different places on itself so that you will be able to access it almost instantly when you call for it. Disk Defragmenter makes sure that the data maintains its integrity after this process takes place, which is why it is critical to run it every so often.

Whenever I've done a lot of downloading, or deleting files and folders or moving things around, I like to run a disk defragmentation or defrag for short. Disk Defragmenter is located in the System Tools folder. You would click Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools to locate it in Windows 7 and Vista. (Again, if you need Windows XP help, shoot me an email.)

These two programs are paramount in maintaining your hard drive's performance.

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How To Increase Computer Speed III

Section III - Outside Help

The next two programs programs will A. Keep out the viruses and malware, and B. Keep your system registry clean. Both of these programs can be downloaded from the internet free of charge and have been proven to be free of any malicious spyware or viruses.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware ( - This is hands down the best free anti-virus software I've ever seen or used. There isn't much it can't clean if anything. Basically, you want to run a virus scan every so often. I usually do it after I download a lot of files, or if I go to a website I don't usually frequent. When you use this program is going to be up to you. Fairly simple to operate. Download it free from the link above, install it and run it.

Typically I do a full scan which will take some time, but its worth it to be sure you've scanned the entire computer. If any harmful files are found make sure to clean or quarantine them which is self explanatory within the program. (Feel free to contact me if you run into problems or have questions.)

Free Windows Registry Repair 2.5 ( - This is a neat program that will scan your registry for any errors and fix them immediately. I use this right after I defrag. I'm actually going to give you a link to a great Youtube tutorial that will show you exactly how to use this:

Basically you download and install the file, backup your registry, set the program to make a restore point in case anything goes wrong (which it shouldn't), run the scan and then fix any errors that come up.

These two programs will help keep your computer virus free and remove any traces of old uninstalled software or unused registry entries.

How To Increase Computer Speed IV

Section IV - Spring Cleaning

The final touches on making your PC run smoothly are fairly simple. The first is removing unwanted programs from your startup menu using another tool included in Windows called System Configuration. The second is something you'll want to do manually, but I'll get to that shortly.

System Configuration - You can locate this program quickly by clicking Start, then in the search box typing in "msconfig" without the quotes. When the window opens you will see a window with several tabs. You'll want to select the "Startup" tab. In this tab will be a number of programs that are installed on your computer and have taken it upon themselves to decide to run when you start your machine. Adobe products have a nasty reputation for doing this, so do Apple products such as iTunes and Quicktime. At this point all you really want checked are the essentials. For example, I have my sound card driver, mouse driver, USB driver and video card driver software checked. I don't need the video card software checked but its my preference to do so.

This step is a great trick you can use to make windows start faster.

Lastly, there are cosmetic things we can do just to feel better about the way our desktop looks. I'm a minimalist.

I run with wallpaper and my Recycle Bin. The bin would be gone if I could get rid of it, alas I cannot. This is obviously a matter of preference but I implore you to keep the clutter to a minimum if you can. :)

I hope this short guide is somewhat helpful for anyone who reads it. Again, feel free to email me with any questions and or comments or post them right here on the blog and I will get back to you quickly.

Until next time, keep that PC clean!

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