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Frequently Asked Questions - How to?

FAQs - How to?

We try to help members with common computing problems. If your problem is not listed her please contact a committee member and we will try to cover it.

There is a really good download that takes you through this step by step. It can be found at

This article is copied from Computer Active Magazine.

Restore points

Switch on system protection in Windows 10, schedule and delete restore points and create a desktop shortcut

Use system protection in W10

It's a mystery why Microsoft deactivated system protection - the automatic creation of system restore points - in Windows 10 (even if you upgraded from a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC that had it enabled). However, you can turn it back on quite easily. Click the Start button, type restore point then select 'Create a restore point'. Click the Configure button, then select Turn on system protection', move the Disk Space Usage slider to 2 per cent and click Apply (see screenshot below).



Create a System Restore Shortcut

You can set up your PC so that creating a new system restore is simply a matter of double-clicking a desktop shortcut. In Windows 10, right-click the desktop, select New, then Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut pop-up box that opens type cmd.exe /k "wmic.exe /Namespace:\\ root\default Path SystemRestore Call CreateRestorePoint "My Shortcut Restore Point", 100,7" (or copy and paste this from Click Next, then name it - we called ours 'System restore point'.

The shortcut will be added to your desktop. Right-click it, select Properties, then click Advanced. Tick the 'Run as administrator' box and click OK, then Apply. To change the shortcuts icon (optional), click the Change Icon button and type C:\Windows\System32\ imageres.dll. Press Enter, then pick your preferred icon - we selected an image of a PC. Finally, click OK, then Apply.

Now you can make a restore point whenever you want to by double-clicking the shortcut on your desktop. You can also pin the shortcut to your Start menu or taskbar by right-clicking the shortcut and choosing 'Pin to Start' or 'Pin to taskbar'.

Delete restore points

Having lots of system restore points that you no longer need can take up hard-drive space. You can't delete them using Window's System Restore menu, but you can using Restore Point Creator ( On the website click Download Restore Creator Installer, double-click the downloaded file then follow the instructions to install it. Open Restore Point Creator in your Start menu and you'll see a list of all your system restore points. To delete one, click it to highlight it, then click the Delete Selected Restore Point button (bottom right).

Schedule the creation of restore points

Restore Point Creator also lets you schedule the creation of restore points. Open the program, click System Restore Point Utilities (top left), then 'Schedule creation of System Restore Points' in the list. Click OK if you see a message about installing the program somewhere safe.

Next, choose a time interval (Daily, Weekly or Every) then choose a suitable time and day of the week (if applicable). Tick the three boxes in the Additional Task Preferences section to ensure the process runs without problems (for example, if your laptop tries to go into sleep mode). You may also want to click 'Set Custom Restore Point Name for Scheduled Restore Points' to name

scheduled restore points so you can identify them. Finally, click Save Task.

Find out what a system restore will do

To see exactly what will change before you commit to activating a restore point, open the System Protection menu (see first tip above), click System Restore, then Next. You'll see a list of every available restore point on your PC. To preview what will change if you use one, click the 'Scan for affected programs' button. After a few seconds you'll see two lists of programs. The top list shows everything that will be deleted, while the bottom list contains everything that will be restored.


You'll notice that many of the same programs and drivers will appear in both lists - this is because System Restore deletes certain flies before restoring them. If a program/driver is displayed in the top list, but not the bottom one, it will be deleted from your PC. Make a note of these so you can reinstall them if necessary.

Use Edge so that you can pin to Start 

Copy and Paste   into Edge’s address bar.

Click ‘More’ … then Pin to Start 



1. First of all right-click on the file which you want to pin to Start Screen and select "Create shortcut" option to create a shortcut of the file.

2. Now copy and paste following text in RUN dialog box and press Enter:

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\

It'll open the "Start Menu" folder in File Explorer which is used to store Start Screen shortcuts.

3. Now cut the file shortcut which you created in step 1 and paste it in "Start Menu" folder which you opened in step 2.

4. Now go to Start Screen and open the "All Apps" page.

5. Here you'll see the file shortcut which you created earlier. Right-click on the file shortcut and click on "Pin to Start" option.

That's it. It'll immediately pin the file shortcut to Start Screen.


NOTE: If the shortcut doesn't appear in "All Apps" screen, try to move the shortcut from "Start Menu" folder to "Start Menu\Programs" folder.

Computer Active did a good article on this subject and I have reproduced it so click here.

Backup your hard drive

    Please see the separate  'HowTo' that covers this. 

Use good Anti Virus software, if necessary pay for it.

    Free Anti Virus software can be very good but the free versions do not have all the facilities that the paid ones have 

Create a recovery disc/USB flash drive

    I recommend you buy a 1TB USB3 external hard drive. Your computer will need to be USB3 enabled and the cable joining the two will also have to be USB3. However USB3 is backwards compatible 

Use passwords that are long and strong, never use same password twice. Consider a password manager. I use Lastpass and can recommend it. 

Keep software and drivers up to date, get rid of unwanted programmes. Permit automatic updates 

Email: Does the email address you by name or quote a relevant number, if not beware.

When clicking on links make sure you are going where you think you are  going                                    

Don’t open an email attachment unless you are sure it is safe, if it unexpected check before opening.

Beware items apparently sent by well-known sites which request you to do something apparently trivial but which lead to a request for information.

NEVER give info unless YOU have initiated the dialogue. THOSE THAT ASK DON’T GET.

     For up to date info on email scams go to Action Fraud website. Also see


 Back up your hard drive.    

How to Back up your PC

The most important, most effective way of staying safe is to have a good system of backing up your PC. Therefore I recommend this regime. How often you do it depends on how much you use your computer.

1.Use an external hard drive and a Cloud service

A 1TB USB3 external hard drive will cost about £40, it will make the job of backing up simple and fast, do it regularly.

2.Do not leave the hard drive connected to your computer after back up

Microsoft in particular and some others would have you leave your external hard drive plugged into your computer so that it can create a continuous back up of all you do. This sounds like a good idea but DON’T do it, there are some serious infections that can attack any drive connected to the computer and in some circumstance can also attack the file in the cloud. Do your backup and unplug the drive, that way it will remain safe.

3.Periodically back up a system image, regularly back up files and folders.

How To? Note is being prepared.

4. Consider upgrading to USB 3, it is 10 times faster. But you will need to upgrade the computer and use a USB 3 drive and cable, USB 3 drives are backwards compatible.


If you are not sure whether your computer USB is USB2 or USB3 then look into the socket and if the plastic insert is black then it is USB2 and if it is blue the it is USB3

How to clean up a cluttered PC

This is not a quick fix, if you have a very cluttered PC then it will take some time.

Back up your hard drive:

This is easy with the right kit, you can buy a decent 1Tb Toshiba USB 3  external hard drive for £40 and it will take everything you throw at it

Run Windows Disc Clean up, include ‘Clean up System Files’.

First step is to use this Windows Accessory to clear off the main clutter. Tick the box for ‘Clean up System files’ and it will remove any old retained stuff for past upgrades

Run Anti Virus

Download, install and run – CcleanerMalwarebytesADW cleanerOutdateFighterDriverBooster 3 .

Be careful when downloading DriverBooster, you must carefully read each page and untick any offers of additional software. If you use Google Chrome I would suggest you also download a Chrome Extension Adblock which will remove most of the advertising and confusion from webpages.

Sort out ‘My Documents’:

•              Create Folders for all main subject areas i.e. Utilities

•              Create Sub Folders as appropriate i.e. Gas, Electricity, Telephone

•              Rename files appropriately i.e. a gas bill filed in the correct folder only needs a date as the file name.

•              Delete the stuff you really don’t need

Disable unnecessary Start ups.

You can use Ccleaner to do this.

Uninstall unwanted programmes.

Go to Control Panel > Programs and Features> click to highlight the unwanted programme and click uninstall.

Run CCleaner duplicate finder.

You could find there is a lot to do here, have a look but if you are not confident about the deletions then don’t  and don’t worry about it.

Remove unnecessary shortcuts from the desktop.

If the Desktop icon has a little curved arrow on the bottom left corner it a shortcut, deleting it will not delete the programme or file it refers to

Defrag (but nor SSDs).

Becoming less essential with the more recent additions of Widows which tend to defrag themselves as they go but for older PCs with smaller hard drives it could be beneficial. This can take a while, by which I mean – All night.

Back up your hard drive.


If something goes wrong and you need your back up you will not be wanting to do all the above again

Computer Active magazine uses SNIPCA links for convenience and safety but they must be used correctly. The links are short and guaranteed virus free. The golden rule is to always type the Snipca URL into your browser bar, without the 'https://'. Don't type it into Google or a search toolbar. Snipca URLs aren't websites themselves, which is why Google doesn't find them. Instead, they merely redirect you to the longer URL. For example, typing takes you straight to


We love free software, but installing it can feel like playing Russian roulette with our PCs. Free programs rarely venture out alone - they often come hand-in-hand with unwanted extra programs that take over your browser and refuse to uninstall without a fight.

In most cases you can opt out of this adware when you're installing the software. Simply select the Custom or Advanced option, decipher the small print next to any tick boxes, tick the ones that offer to install added extras (or untick them if they're ticked by default) and untick the ones that offer not to install added extras (or tick them if they're unticked by default), then repeat as necessary until you finally reach the end of the setup wizard. Did we say 'Simply'? We were baffled and exhausted just by writing that sentence.

What is adware?
Adware is not so much a thing as an action. Any toolbar can be adware if it inserts itself into your browser without being asked. For example, the Yahoo Toolbar is perfectly legitimate if you decide to install it yourself, either from the Yahoo website ( or as a browser extension. But if you suddenly find it cluttering your browser window for no apparent reason - and many people have - it definitely is adware.

We're not including manufacturer's software that comes pre installed on your PC or laptop in our definition. Those programs are annoying but legitimate, and they're relatively easy to uninstall or disable. Instead, we're talking about the potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that you inadvertently pick up when installing other software, with unwelcome effects on your browser and PC.

Adware is not quite the same as malware, but sometimes you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference. Invasive browser hijackers can track your online movements, slow down your PC and even regenerate when you try to delete them. We want to support free software, but not by being tricked into downloading things that compromise our security.

Over the next few pages we'll show you how to find and delete any adware that's already on your PC. We'll also look at the best free tools for keeping adware off your PC, and reveal some tricks for adware-proofing yourself forever. First, here's our rogues' gallery of adware that's currently at large - and may already be on your PC.


Ask Toolbar
When Google conquered the web, search sites like Ask ( had to find more creative ways to survive. So Ask created a browser-hijacking toolbar which, ironically, you never asked for. The Ask Toolbar is currently circulating with free programs including the browser plug-in Java with the full co-operation of Java's developer Oracle. Oracle's website includes a thinly veiled apology (www. and some confusing uninstall instructions. The only effective way to remove it, or any of the adware we feature here, is to use a specialist adware-removal tool like AdwCleaner. You can also sign a petition against Oracle's use of adware at www.

Yahoo Toolbar
Yahoo's PUP is bundled in installers for other Yahoo products and from other companies, including IObit (www.iobit. com). Yahoo and IObit are both reputable firms, but we don't approve of this collaborative toolbar-smuggling. Yahoo had to withdraw its toolbar from Chrome to meet Google's security rules, and an official 'Uninstall the Yahoo Toolbar' page was recently added to Yahoo's website (www.snipca. com/13691).

Conduit Search Protect
The Conduit browser extension hijacks some or all of your installed browsers so aggressively that it makes the Ask and Yahoo toolbars look shy and retiring. Once it's on your computer, it makes rootkit-level changes that drastically slow down your browsers, prevent other extensions working properly and replace your default search engine and homepage with an advert-strewn hijacker. Conduit may appear in your PC's list of installed programs under the name Search Protect or Smart Search, but if you try uninstalling it manually, it will just reappear when you restart your PC.

'Kyle and Stan' malvertising
Two characters from the US TV animated show South Park unwittingly gave their names to a network of malware-laced adverts that have appeared on scores of websites, including Amazon and YouTube, since May. According to a blog post from technology giant Cisco (www., this "malvertising" installs a different malicious file (including browser hijackers and spyware) on each of its victims' computers to avoid detection. To date, those victims run to millions.

Lpmxp pop-ups
This new addition to the adware canon litters your browser window with shopping pop-ups and coupons from unnamed online retailers. These pop-ups won't save you any money whatsoever and may track your online activity or contain malicious software. Lpmxp adware has been spotted in Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as in promotional spots on Google results pages. Similar adware pop-ups include Supra Savings and Key Coupons.

Funmoods, also known as Facemoods, is every bit as obnoxious as it sounds. This hijacker fills your screen with adverts, smiley faces and links to malicious sites. It's been found lurking in installers from download mirrors such as Cnet (www. hijackers still in circulation include Babylon Search, Optimizer Pro, and the Toolbar, whose founder recently bought the Russian equivalent of Facebook (www.snipca. com/13705) and is presumably not short of a bob or two.

'Add to Feedly' and Tweet This Page
Sometimes, good software can go bad. Google pulled these two once-legitimate Chrome extensions from the Web Store earlier this year after they were bought by spammers who used silent updates to turn them into adware overnight. "This is actually very common," warns Simon Edwards head of our security team at Dennis Technology Labs. "All sorts of software is bought and repurposed as adware or malware." To guard against silent changes to your installed extensions and apps, use the free online tool Paranoid Paul.


Delete dodgy browser extensions
What's the problem with having an unexpected new toolbar? It might come in handy, after all. Well, the first problem is the word 'unexpected'. If something can hijack your homepage today, it may do something far worse tomorrow. Secondly, toolbars and other browser extensions can access the internet when they want, which can make you and your PC vulnerable. To weed out unexpected extensions, use the free Browser Cleanup tool from antivirus company Avast. According to Avast, more than six million extensions that Browser Cleaner has been used to remove are made by Conduit. See more adware-by-numbers on this Avast infographic (great idea, horrible word):
Browser Cleanup is built into Avast Free Antivirus, but it's also available as a standalone product that won't conflict with the antivirus you're already using. Go to,
 click Shop Now, click Free at the top and click the right-hand download link. It's a portable tool, so it runs as soon as you double¬click the downloaded EXE and there's no setup wizard to worry about. 
Browser Cleanup's main window reveals at a glance whether any of your installed extensions (which Avast calls 'add-ons') are poorly rated by Avast, and lets you remove them with one click. We were confused by some of the ratings (it recommended removing our much-used Chrome extension Google Play Music, for example), and weren't convinced by Avast's explanation that any extension may be malware (www.snipca. com/13723). If you follow that logic, you may as well delete all of them. But we do like the way that Browser Cleanup gives us a quick, easy way to keep an eye on all our browsers (or, at least, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer).
Remember that the browser you're using right now may not be the browser that's been taken over by adware. One of the Computeractive team recently opened IE on his PC for the first time in months and found it hijacked by Babylon Search. He'd been using Chrome, oblivious to Babylon's presence elsewhere on his PC. "Adware anywhere on your computer is dangerous," warns Simon Edwards. "If it's attached itself to a browser that you're not using, it could be funnelling malware into your PC. Check all your installed browsers, not just the one you use."

Use Process Hacker to stop adware automatically
If you're seeing toolbars or pop-ups that don't appear in Browser Cleanup's list of extensions, take a closer look using Process Hacker
This pen-source tool  gives you a much closer look at what's going on in your browser and other active programs. On Process Hacker's default Processes tab, scroll down to 'explorer.exe' and look for your browser (for example, 'chrome, exe'). If it's running, you'll see a list of 'child' processes that stem from it. Most of these child processes are also called 'chrome.exe', and nearly all are yellow, which shows that they're safe. If Process Hacker detects adware or some other malicious activity, the corresponding process will turn red for a moment and then disappear, because Process Hacker has stopped and removed it automatically. 
To see all the processes that have been stopped, click Tools, Hidden Processes. If you don't have full administrator privileges on your computer, you'll need to right-click Process Hacker in your Start menu and click 'Run as administrator' before opening Hidden Processes. 
You can also check your browser's (and your other software's) active program files and Registry entries in Process Hacker. Right-click its main ('parent') process, click Properties then click Modules. If you spot anything that shares the name of adware you're trying to get rid of, make a note of it and type it into the free security website Should I Remove It ( This will give you a detailed insight into its uses and abuses, plus guidelines for removing it.

Remove adware that keeps coming back 
Stopping adware from running and even removing it from your browser are often not enough to get it off your computer. As soon as you restart your PC, it's back. This seems to be typical of Conduit, and may help to account for the number of times people have tried (and tried again) to remove it using Browser Cleanup. 
We had a similar experience with Optimizer Pro, which hijacked our PC after we failed to opt out properly when installing the (excellent) free program Freemake Video Downloader ( Neither 
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free (
CCleaner (
could find Optimizer's files, let alone remove them, and any attempts to uninstall it using 
Revo (
Geek Uninstaller (
ended in frustration when Optimizer re-hijacked all our browsers as soon as we restarted the PC. 
The only tool that worked was 
AdwCleaner (, 
a free portable program designed to remove adware and spyware and all its traces. Using it required a bit of patience and a few reboots, but it left our PC Optimizer-free, and we've seen no sign of it since. 
Download and run AdwCleaner, click Scan and select a tab. The default tab is Services (Windows processes); others include Folders, Shortcuts, Registry and Files, as well as IE, Firefox and Chrome. Click Clean and restart your PC to remove the listed files in your selected tab, then repeat the process until all tabs are clean. 
AdwCleaner automatically lists files that it believes to be malicious, and we removed all its listed files without losing anything important. Unfortunately there's no option to right-click a file to find out more about it, so jot down anything that you're not sure about and look it up on Should I Remove It before clicking Clean. For extra reassurance, save a system restore point before running the cleaner.

Delete adware that other security tools can't see
Like AdwCleaner, 
Junkware Removal Tool (
click Download Junkware Removal Tool Windows Portable) is a free, portable tool that specialises in sniffing out and killing adware - and it works. It cleans your PC automatically in one fell swoop, and is so thorough that it automatically saves a full Registry backup before removing anything. It's extremely powerful and we think it's best used as a backup to AdwCleaner rather than instead of it. 
Run Junkware Removal Tool via the Command Prompt after you've cleaned your PC with AdwCleaner, and it will remove any traces of adware that it finds its way into your Registry, startup items, browser settings and elsewhere on your PC. When the scan finishes, you'll see a text file listing everything that was removed from your PC. Check what it finds in the Should I Remove It website for a detailed insight into your unwanted former guests. 
There are a couple more free tools that we'd recommend running after AdwCleaner, to clear any remaining traces of adware or malware. First, use Trend Micro's bug-identifier 
Hijackfhis (
 to scan for unauthorised settings and file changes that aren't visible to most malware scanners, such as metadata embedded in files. Click the 'Get HijackThis' link to download the program from open source mirror site SourceForge. 
Finally, weed out rootkits with Malwarebytes' new 
Anti-Rootkit tool ( 
A rootkit is a particularly stealthy type of file that's designed to evade detection and get privileged access to your PC's inner workings. When you download the program EXE it asks you for an extraction location - this looks serious but has the same effect as clicking 'Extract all files' when downloading other portable programs. The first time you run Anti-Rootkit, you may see a pop-up saying 'Probable rootkit activity detected', with the option to remove the file 'AppInit_Dlls'. According to members of the Malwarebytes forum (, this file is best left alone. Click No to run the tool, Update to download its latest malware definitions, and Scan to find unwanted rootkits. The scan is very thorough and may take several minutes, depending on your PC's processor power.

Block all fake Download buttons
When we recommend programs to download, we often go to great pains to describe which Download button to press. We don't mean to patronise you with so much detail  - it's important, because real Download buttons are becoming increasingly hard to distinguish from fake ones. At best, fake Download buttons are plain old adverts, and clicking them will take you to a third-party commercial website. At worst, they're laced with malware that will download automatically to your PC. You can block all these fakes with the free browser extension 
AdBlock ( 
It also blocks banner ads, pop-ups and video adverts, including the ones that ruin YouTube videos. On the AdBlock page, click Get AdBlock Now, click the confirmation pop-up (‘Add' in Chrome, for example) then open a few web pages, including Google, YouTube and the Process Hacker download page (
If this is the first time you've used an ad-blocker, you will be amazed by the difference it makes, not just to the appearance of your web pages, but to the speed of your browser. 
To toggle between "before" and "after" views, click the AdBlock bookmarklet on your browser bar then click Pause AdBlock and reload the page. The adverts will be back until you click 'Unpause AdBlock'.

Be extra wary when using download mirrors
AdBlock automatically removes fake Download buttons and other adverts that festoon download mirror sites such as Cnet, Softpedia ( and FileHippo ( But the main problem with these sites is their installers, which often include nasty adware - and the software's creator may know nothing about it.
Cnet used to bundle the Babylon Search Toolbar in its installer for the security tool Nmap (, without the consent of Nmap's developer Gordon Lyon. When Lyon found out that his program was in a forced alliance with Babylon, he was furious. He forced Cnet to remove Babylon from all its installers and apologise to its users, but the damage was done. "The worst thing is that users will think we [Nmap Project] did this to them," he wrote in a blog post (www. Cnet still bundles adware in its installers.
Unfortunately, some programs can only be downloaded in this way. If we really like a program that's only available via a mirror, and there's no adware to avoid, we'll recommend it. But if there's a link to the developer's website, we'll give that instead, because developers are much less likely to bundle their products with adware.

Adware-proof your plug-ins
Plug-ins such as Java and Flash let your browser and other installed programs display video, PDFs and other material -which often contains adware. We've also seen that plug-ins can come bundled with PUPs (see Ask Toolbar, page 51).

The simplest way to make plug-ins adware-proof is to uninstall them. But if you like your plug-ins, set them as 'click to play' in your browser settings. In Chrome, open Settings, click 'Show advanced settings' and click 'Content settings'. Scroll down the window that opens and click 'Click to play' under 'Plug-ins'. Next time you visit a website containing plug-in content - such as a video - all you'll see is a grey box with a jigsaw piece in the middle. To watch the video, click the grey box. This may sound time-consuming, but it makes pages load much faster and provides valuable protection against malicious adverts. Adverts that rely on Java or Flash will, of course, be removed automatically if you're already using AdBlock. It's vital that you keep your plug-ins updated. This goes for all your installed software.  Software updates keep you patched against newly discovered malware and adware. Use the free tool 
Ninite (
to update your installed programs and plug-ins in one go.

Don't be caught out by silent updates
Not all software updates have your interests at heart. As the sorry tale of 'Add to Feedly' demonstrates, malicious developers can make changes behind your back, turning them into adware and even malware overnight. 
The free website Paranoid Paul ( tells you about silent updates. The website is still in beta  mode, and it currently focuses on web-based tools rather than installed software or extensions, but we love the idea and execution.
Click Privacy Watch and type the name of a web service you use, or click 'view all available' to browse the list of all 90 sites that Paul (yes, a real person) is tracking. Click a service, such as '', and you'll see a list of all its silent updates, including Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy. These are the changes that affect your rights, but web services don't publicise them. Click a document to add it to your 'Watch list'. Paranoid Paul will email you whenever there's a new update.
To persuade Paul to add more web services and software, click Contact and make your suggestion.

Run free software without installing it
Stop installing software, and you'll stop installing adware. That may seem like a drastic solution (and it's not entirely true -online adverts can download files to your PC without your knowledge), but it is the future of software. Portable programs and online-only tools all let you run software without installing it in Windows, and they're increasingly popular.
Portable programs, in particular, are becoming so prevalent that they may soon kill off installers for good. We've mentioned several portable programs in this feature, including AdwCleaner and Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit. Other tools, including Process Hacker and many of the toolbox-style programs made by Nirsoft (, are available in portable and installed versions - just take your pick when downloading. 
If we're ever given the choice, we go for the portable version. You still have to download the program EXE to your computer, but when you click it the program runs instantly. There's no setup wizard and no adware boxes to untick. 
The online directory 
PortableApps (
is a good source of information about portable programs, but make sure that you've got AdBlock installed and switched on when you visit the site.

Online tools, such as the free photo editor Pixlr ( and the online clock, also avoid the need to install anything. Again, use online tools in conjunction with AdBlock, and install the browser extension Web of Trust ( to warn you if any website contains adware.


Acknowledgements to Computer Active Magazine

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