Marco Island Computer Tips

*Did you know you can get free internet service? FREE

   It's true, if you want free internet and you have a dial up modem give it a try.  There are many free internet providers out there that require you to have a banner across the top of your screen while you surf, such as the Netzero free access:   If you leave your internet on for 15 minutes while not being used they disconnect you; Also if you are on for more than 5 hours straight they will disconnect you.  Don't be concerned, get away from your computer for a while, give your eyes a break, they would probably be buggin out by then anyway.  Just reconnect when you want.  If Altavista doesn't impress you there are many free providers out there just type in free internet on your favorite search engine and voila.  Just check to see if they provide email service before you join.   Also see if they provide to your area code. 

The site I mentioned above has an email account included, that is, Hotmail, not Outlook Express.


*Don't want to miss a phone call while online? 

   Now you don't have to with modems that allow you to switch over to your second line if you have one.  I just saw one in a computer flyer the other day;  They run about $130 CDN.  Now if you don't have a double line or you don't want to go out and spend more money on your computer when you already have a modem try ICM (Internet Call Manager).  This service goes though your phone company and costs about $5 a month added to your phone bill.  It allows you to respond to the person calling with either "Will call you back" or "you call me back" which you can customize if you like.  Also, there is a voice mail service provided provided by ICM if you don't want to, or can't, reply to the caller.


*Trying to download a file but you lose your connection toward the end and have to start all over again. FREE

    We all know how frustrating that can be, waiting for so long, then having to start over.  Now you can download MYGETRIGHT, which is a program that solves that problem.  You can also tell your modem to disconnect and/or shutdown your computer when finished downloading.  If you become disconnected from the internet for some reason you can just hit resume and it will pick up where it left off when you're reconnected.  Just realize that for some dial up internet providers including, I believe, all free internet providers they will disconnect you after 15-20 minutes of no use.  This is the problem with downloading files longer than 20 minutes through MYGETRIGHT.  For some reason this is not considered using the internet and you will be cut off.  Thank God for resume.


*Looking for a virus scanner? FREE

    Try one of these two sites or  (go to the downloads section).


*Tired of changing search engines in order to find something? FREE

    Try Dog Pile!  This program searches like any other search engine but uses many search engines at one time coming up with the top results from all.  Saves time finding what your looking for.


*Want to know when your friends are online? FREE

    Sign on at ICQ: .  Makes it easier to talk to friends and/or send programs/files to them.  It also lets you know when they're online by changing the color of their name and making a knocking sound when they are coming online.  Go to their website to check it out.


*Nervous about someone getting into your computer while your online? FREE

    Why not get a firewall at:  .  Really I don't think it's very necessary to have one unless you are on high speed internet where you're always online.  But just to be on the safe side check out this site.  It takes a little getting use to using but it's relatively easy to use once do.


*Want to view pictures and maybe try and get them into a better focus? 

   Get ACDSEE3 which allows you to do just that.  It allows you to view pictures through a slide show type viewer.  It also allows you to zoom in and out and other features.  If you like to look at pictures this is the program for you.


*Ever wonder how and where to get the latest updates for Windows? FREE

    If you look in your start menu you should see something that says windows update.  Connect to the internet and click on this.  It will take you to Microsoft update page where it gives you choices on what you would like to update in your version of "Windows".  It never hurts to update anything on your computer especially if your having problems with errors, etc.


 *If your tired of filling out registrations... FREE

     One handy program that I really like is called Gator.  It fills out forms for you instead of having to fill out everything yourself.  You just click on "fill in" which appears in a little window on your screen and it fills out forms, names, passwords, etc. .


*Want to get music, videos or pictures? FREE 

    Try Napster where you can download  music for free.  Just type in the name of the song or artist and you will probably find the music you're looking for.  Just remember that MP3's take up a good amount of space on your computer so if you have a small capacity drive you may notice yourself losing drive space very quick.  Sign up at  .  Also there is another program I have just found out about called Scour Exchange.   Here you can download many different media types such as movies, music, pictures, etc.  Go to .   


*Want to have more options for listening to your MP3s? FREE

     Download Winamp which includes an equalizer and is easier on the eyes than Windows music player.  You can also download skins for your viewing pleasure.  .  I just downloaded a new music player the other day called Sonique from It seems to be a good music player; So try out both and see which one you prefer.


*Downloaded a document that your computer says it can't read? FREE

     You may need Acrobat Reader.  It will open many documents which resemble books such as service manuals.  So if you're having problems opening and/or reading a file, try it out, that just might be your problem. .


*Copy songs right from your music cd to your computer. FREE

    Download Realplayer with Realjukebox and you can do just that.  Realplayer as you probably already have seen plays clips and videos that are on the internetAs an option you can also download Realjukebox with the Realplayer.  They are two seperate programs and you can also download them individually if you already have one or the other.  Realjukebox (look for the free version) at .  For both at once go to: (look for the free version).

*Need a word processor but can't afford to pay for one? FREE

    If you don't have the money or just don't want to spend the money on a word processor try AbiWord.  This program is very similar to Microsoft Word except for the fact that this is completely free.  Just download it from


*Isn't it annoying downloading programs you already downloaded before? TIP

    Say you have a problem with your computer and for some reason or another you lose everything, so you have to download everything all over again.  Not me, I got an older hard-drive, 540MB, and connected it to my computer.  I store all the programs, still in compressed form, that I use on my computer on this drive.  Mind you, it is slower than a newer hard-drive but a lot quicker than downloading everything off the internet again using a 56k modem.  They are very cheap priced and quite easy to find in the classifieds or a local computer store.  Always remember to have a virus scanner installed on your main hard-drive if you are buying your second one second hand and also you should reformat your new drive before putting it to use.


*Don't like the default sounds on your computer? Change, or remove them. TIP

    Your default sounds are very easy to change.  Go into your control panel (start menu/settings/...)  and click on sounds.  Pick whatever sound you would like to change and hit browse.  Look throughout your computer for a sound you would prefer.  Once you have chosen the sound, click on preview to be sure it is the one you want;  Then hit apply.  If you don't want any windows sounds on your computer, or you want a specific set of sounds, click on schemes, choose, then hit apply.   


*Do you have table top computer speakers with their own volume control? TIP

    If so, than there's no need for the volume control in the system tray. To remove the volume control from the system tray, go into: Control Panel/Multimedia/Audio and uncheck the "show volume control on Taskbar" option and click OK. If for some reason you need to adjust this volume setting on your computer just go back into: Control Panel/Multimedia/Audio and click on the button that says Playback. This is where you will find the volume control.


*Always ending up with lots of windows open? TIP

    To just go through one window at a time, without opening all the windows in the process, just hold down CTRL each time you click on a folder. This closes the window you were just at but opens the next one you've chosen. If you need to go back, hit BACK toward the top of your screen the same as you would if you were surfing the net. Then again, say you left a lot of windows open, it's easy to close them all at once; Just hold down SHIFT and click the X on the last window you opened.


*Is your internet provider disconnecting you if your trying to download something that takes more than 15 min?  

    If your mail goes through Outlook Express, such as mine does, open it up and go into TOOLS, then OPTIONS. You should see in the category General, below where it says Send/Receive Messages, "Check for new messages every ( ) minutes. Put in there, say, 10 minutes. Now if you want to download something, and you know that you usually get disconnected doing so. Just open up Outlook Express, and leave it open, it will check for new mail every, whatever you specified. In essance, this will keep you connected to your server while you are downloading.



    Just what everyone hates; Those annoying popups. Now you don't have to see them anymore.  All you have to do is download and set up, a program called Proximitron It gives you the options of not allowing popups, animated gifs(pictures), and other great choices to help you enjoy your internet surfing. 

*Want to speed up your computer?TIP

    Right click on "My Computer" and go to "Properties".  Then click on "Performance", then "File System.  Make sure it is set at "Network Server" where it says role of this computer then click "ok".  If it asks you to restart your computer say no.   Then go to "Virtual Memory" and choose "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings".  From there put in "Min" (2 1/2 times your Ram in your computer).  Do the same with "Max".  Click "ok".   Then restart your computer.


*Does it seem your computer is getting slower and slower?TIP

    Go into "My Computer" then to whatever drive you have as your main drive, where "Windows" is installed , usually your "C:" drive.  Then go into your "Windows" folder where there are three folders you are looking for.  These folders are "Cookies", "Temporary Internet Files" and "Temp".  You may need to click "show me all files" if you cannot find these three folders.  Now go into each of these folders and delete  everything in them.  The only file you may have a problem with is the "Index" file in your "Cookies" folder.   I don't know what it's for but it cannot be deleted.  If this file is not in yours don't worry about it.  Now, if you like to look at web pages when you are offline,  In other words when you are not connected to the internet, and you choose the option "Workoffline" you can look at web pages which are stored in memory.   These are the "temporary internet  files" and I recommend not deleting them if you surf offline regularly, say if you have a Laptop.


*Open a file with an application that is different than it is associated with.TIP

    To open a file with a different program just hold down the "Shift" button while you right click the file.  This will open a dialog box which has the choice "Open With". 


*Do you keep forgetting the tips you've learned?TIP

      To make it easier on yourself, every time you learn something new, write it into a text file.  I know how annoying it can be to forget how to do something when you know you've done it before.  To make the text easily accessable I recommend it being on your desktop.  To create a new text file right click on your desktop, then go into "New" then click on "Text Document".  It would be a good idea to name it something like, "Tips".  Now every time you learn something just open the text and type it in.


*Do you have a high speed internet connection?TIP

        Every time you turn on or restart your computer does it ask for your passwork for the network.  Well there is a way to get around that.  Go into your "Start menu" then to "Settings / Control Panel", then click on "Network".  You will see a list of network components that are installed; eg: "Client for microsoft networks",  "Dial up adapter", etc.  Now scroll through to see if you have "Microsoft family logon", if not , click on the "Add" button.   There you will see 3 choices, click on "Client" and then "Add".   There you will see "Microsoft Family Logon" click on that and hit "OK".  Now look right below of where it says "Add", it says "Primary Network Logon".  You want to scroll to through to find where it says "Microsoft Family Logon" click on that and hit "OK".  It will now ask you to restart your computer and you should not receive popup asking for your network password anymore.  This is not recommended for those of you who connect to a network at  your office, say if you have a Laptop that you take to work every day.  There you would need to put in your password to connect to your company network. 


*See how your internet connection is compared to where it probably should be. Link

           Does it seem your internet connection is slow compared to what you expect it should be?   Or are you getting really good speeds for a dial up modem?  Check your connection speed at the following website.  Note: Click on the tools section on the left tool bar, then speed tests...


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