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Patching, posting, scamming, repairing

Update or “patch” many Windows programs at one time with Patch My PC. Windows checks for its own updates but not all software will do the same unless you are actually using that program. And, most of us postpone such updates anyway. If you use Patch My PC, you can have it check for needed updates for over 100 commonly used programs. Go to www.patchmypc.net and click on the Free Tools menu to find the installer.

“To Post or Not to Post” is a humorous decision tool from onlineclasses.org that can help you figure out the wisdom of posting on any particular social media site. Look under their Resources section at the top to find this and many other decision and information graphics.

Scams are all over, including on Facebook. Here are some common ones that might even tempt the most suspicious of us. They include: see who has viewed your Facebook profile; enable new or hidden Facebook features with additional software; get free giveaways or amazingly deep discounts on new products; or see shocking pictures or videos that you must install some software to view. Be careful if you have to install additional software just to see that latest juicy bit of scandal.

Repairing your Windows Registry is one of those decisions that challenges many people and is often over sold as a fix to speed up your PC. The Windows Registry is a common location to store many bits of information used by Windows, programs, settings, etc., and Microsoft has tried to make sure that it remains trouble-free with multiple copies and built-in methods to resolve conflicts. Nearly all computer slowdowns are more likely due to insufficient hard drive space or disk fragmentation, not enough RAM for the number of running programs, bloatware or adware running in web browsers, and not quitting out of software you aren’t currently using. If you want to clean up your Registry of orphaned entries, then CCleaner (the free version works fine) from www.piriform.net, has a good tool for cleaning your Registry, along with its other tools for cleaning out many temporary files and disabling programs from automatically starting up.

I have talked about using password managers, like lastpass or 1password, to store complex and different passwords for all those websites requiring logins. To secure that password manager you also need another strong password that you don’t have to write down and yet that you can remember. Rules include, make it long, use characters other than just lower case letters, use only part of a word rather than any entire word, and use memory triggers that only you would know of. And, think of making up fake answers for those obligatory password recovery questions. One exception to the rule of not telling anyone your master password would be to keep a copy of that password in your safe, in case your estate needs access to your online accounts.