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Computer Help

The best damn tech support community on EARTH.

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Free technical support for computer users

Looking for help without the sarcastic attitude? You've found computerhelp, a friendly community of newbies and experts here to offer you advice, support, suggestions, and tips on everything you'd ever need for your computer and technology needs.

We have individuals from every background, from the Novice PC user to the Network Administrator. Join the community that's been around longer, with more experience: computerhelp.

Please include this basic information in your posts for help or support: (original version courtesy of ruisseau!)


Operating System, Version and Service Pack: (Examples: Windows 95, Windows XP SP2, Mac OS X 10.4.11, Ubuntu Linux 8.04). To check on Windows, right-click on My Computer and select Properties. (If there is no My Computer icon, go to Start, locate the Control Panel, and choose System. You may need to switch to "Classic Mode".) On a Mac, click on the Apple in the upper left hand corner and choose About This Mac.

Web Browser and Version: (Examples: Internet Explorer 7, FireFox 3.0.1, Safari 3.1.2). You can find this by selecting Help at the top of your browser, then About.

Your level of experience (we simplify or explain instructions based on how you answer): (Beginner, Intermediate, Seasoned, Expert, God)

When did the problem start? Has it been going on constantly since then?

Any steps you've taken to troubleshoot?

If you are receiving an error message, please include the entire text of the message. (If you have an error log, please post it under a LJ-Cut):
Also, please remember to TAG your posts.
[LJ FAQ: How do I add tags?]

If you did something to your computer and it screwed it up, it is very possible that a System Restore (XP/Vista) or Time Machine backup (OS X 10.5 "Leopard") can repair the problem. Instructions for doing a System Restore are here (along with a thorough FAQ on System Restore). All the information you could want on Time Machine can be found in Apple's Knowledgebase.

computerhelp Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What application opens file type .XXX?

A: Try searching this database of File Extensions for your answer.

Q: Is there a better browser than Internet Explorer?

A: Internet Explorer is the bundled web browser provided by the Microsoft Windows operating system. As the owner of this community, I strongly urge you to reconsider your browsing application. A more suitable choice for enhanced security, privacy, and stability, is Mozilla Firefox. Check out mozilla for further information. Internet Explorer is still required to manually apply Windows Updates, however, so ensure you are using Internet Explorer version 7 or higher.

Q: My computer seems to be infected with a virus. How can I remove it?

First, you should do a full virus scan on your computer. If you don't have any virus protection currently, please see the next question for how to proceed. If any virus-related problems still exist, turn off System Restore and run your anti-virus program from Safe Mode (turn off the computer, turn it back on, and start tapping F8 until you get a startup menu that lists Safe Mode, then select it). If this still fails to correct the problem, proceed with the instructions for removing spyware. Don't forget to re-enable System Restore when you're done!

Q: My computer does not have antivirus protection. What should I do?

Any Windows-based computer, whether or not it is connected to the Internet, should have a quality antivirus program running at all times to maintain data security. Mac and Linux users should use anti-virus if they are on a Windows network or frequently receive files from Windows users. Frequent updates are necessary to ensure you are protected. We recommend the following software. Choose the program that best fits your needs. All of these programs have free and premium versions - the free versions will scan your system and accurately report any infections.

  • Avast Antivirus HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Grisoft AVG
  • Antivir Antivirus
  • Kaspersky Antivirus (no free version, only trials)

    We do not suggest using Norton Antivirus unless you already have it installed on your computer (and even then we recommend uninstalling it in favor of one of the above programs). Also, do not use multiple antivirus programs on the same computer, as they often conflict. If you need a second opinion, Trend Micro HouseCall offers an online scan you can try.

    Q: My computer seems to be running slower than I remember. What can I do? (OR)
    Q: I think my computer is infected with spyware. What can I do to remove it?

    A: Many free programs exist to assist in removing malware of various forms, however there are also many that claim to do so but are actually malware themselves. Stick to the following well-known programs for automatic scanning of your system.

  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Spybot Search & Destroy
  • Lavasoft AdAware Personal
  • SpywareBlaster (Works like antivirus for spyware)
  • Webroot Spy Sweeper (Commercial)

    Some otherwise legitimate programs use malware to support itself (through advertising revenue). They many not work properly if these components are removed. If you have questions about these programs, please feel free to ask.

    If you are still having malware-related problems, or if the primary issue is a slower computer, run HijackThis and post a log to the community. Follow these steps:
    1. Download the latest version of CCleaner and run the program with its default options. For a slower computer this may be enough. However, if any problems remain, continue with the remaining steps.

    2. Download HijackThis from TrendMicro. The executable version is easiest to use.

    3. Run the program. Click the button to scan your system and save a logfile.

    4. Don't do anything on the next screen yet (we'll tell you what to do there). A notepad will open with the log. Copy and Paste that log (Control+A to select it all, Control+C to copy it, and in your post window press Control+V to paste it). Make sure the log is under an LJ-Cut!. The mods will remove any log posts that aren't.

    5. Members will give you a list of items to remove. Uncheck these items in HijackThis, click the "Fix Checked" button, then reboot. Report back if you are still having problems.
    REMEMBER! Google is your friend. You can get solutions for many common problems simply by doing a search on the nature of your problem or an error message you receive. This will save you time and energy (But we don't poke people too hard if you don't!).

    This community is owned and operated by cjkline83.
    Co-Moderation provided by: unforeseenfury, & ravenshrinkery.

    [ eMail | AIM: gguy2 (Add Buddy) ]

    Feel free to post in computer_help or tech_support as well. We're also on Dreamwidth! - http://computerhelp.dreamwidth.org - check this link for info and invite codes. Techs looking to take a break from the daily grind and curmudgeon around the virtual watercooler can visit techsupport (regular users should avoid this community!).

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