Accidental Techie

Email Best Practices and Etiquette

(September 2014)

Featured Item - Fixnet-blueI’ve sent and received more emails than I care to count. I’m sure you have, too.  My career has put me in businesses big and small. But the one constant I’ve observed is that every business culture carries its own style of email communication.

With every job change I swore I would stand up and teach a class on email etiquette and best practices, only to figure out later that it was me who needed to adjust to the culture into which my new job had immersed me.

But, over the years I found myself making a mental list of things I did in emails that simply worked, and that others found useful as well.  Leveraging content from, along with some of my own thoughts, I want to share with you what I think helps to improve communications and email productivity within most business cultures.

How to manage your email and other important tips


Migrating from Windows XP

(April 2014)

Featured Item - Fixnet-blueOn April 8th of this year, Microsoft brought to an end over 12 years of support for the Windows XP operating system. This means you will no longer receive free updates or security patches through their update service.  We hear about computer applications reaching end-of-commercial life all of the time.  This announcement is significant.  According to NetMarkethare statistics ( over 27% of desktop computers are still running XP.

So what!

If you’re still running XP, I’m sure you have your reasons.  You don’t like change?  Me, neither. You probably heard that Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 are just too radically different. Maybe it costs too much in loss of productivity or funds.  Besides, Microsoft has had more than 12 years to patch the OS, so surely most vulnerabilities will have been found by now, right?

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Part 2: Common PC Problems that Slow Down Your Computer

(Missed Part 1? Read it first.)

Featured Item - Fixnet-blueIn our last article, we looked at how browser settings, add-ons, plug-ins, cache, and the browser history can slow down your browsing experience. But what about when your computer is running slowly and it has nothing to do with your browser or the Internet? It is now time to look at some common PC problems that can make your computer run slowly.

Here are some possible issues affecting PC performance:

  • Hard drive space, clutter, corruption, and fragmentation
  • System file corruption
  • Registry errors and bloat
  • Hardware drivers
  • Misbehaving programs
  • Malware (viruses, worms, Trojan horses, etc.)

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Top Ten Security Tips for Home PC Users

  1. Use “anti-virus software” and keep it up to date.
  2. Don’t open e-mails or attachments from unknown sources. Be suspicious of any unexpected e-mail attachments even if it appears to be from someone you know.
  3. Protect your computer from Internet intruders – use “firewalls.”
  4. Regularly download security updates and “patches” for operating systems and other software.
  5. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Mix upper case, lower case, numbers, or other characters not easy to find in a dictionary, and make sure they are at least eight characters long.
  6. Back-up your computer data on disks or CDs regularly.
  7. Don’t share access to your computers with strangers. Learn about file sharing risks.
  8. Disconnect from the Internet when not in use.
  9. Check your security on a regular basis. When you change your clocks for daylight-savings time, reevaluate your computer security.
  10. Make sure your family members and/or your employees know what to do if your computer becomes infected.

Source: Georgia Regents University, Augusta



Part 1: Common PC Problems that slow down your Computer

Digital Dust in Your Browser?

Did you know that your computer should run as fast now as it did the day you first turned it on? If it doesn’t, be sure to read the first of two blog installments on slow-running computers below.  If at any time you get stuck, call AFN’s Fix-Net Accidental Techie at(512) 777-1638!  Yep, it’s that easy.

But overtime your computer can collect, not just physical dust (causing hardware to degrade and make a system falter or shut down) but also “digital dust” – browser extras, fragmented files, out-of-date hardware or software – that can slow down your computer.

Over the next two articles I will share some symptoms of a slow running PC, common causes, and steps you can take to reduce the chances of your computer running like molasses. 

Most of the issues I’ll introduce to you concern a PC that will boot-up just fine, and then start running slowly after the operating system starts.

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