Secure data deletion and erasure

Today, organisations need to manage many different types of devices, including hard drives, SSDs, servers, tape backups, mobile devices, memory cards, and virtual environments. It’s now more important than ever to manage every bit of data securely and comply with regulations, especially at the end of the data life cycle.

When data erasure operations are not completed or properly carried out, sensitive and confidential files may be left behind on devices. Your business could be put at risk of a data breach or theft when intellectual property, private documents, emails, financial information, employee records and other critical information are not securely wiped from storage media.

Having the correct processes in place will not only protect your business from potential data breaches, but will also ensure compliance with international and local standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We can help you securely erase data from any media type and ensure your business processes are compliant. Contact us today for a free quotation

The Windows 10 Hidden Game Bar

Using the Windows key-G command, you can pull up the new and improved Game Bar. This lets you switch your Windows PC into gaming mode which pools system resources to the game and turns off notifications and lets you record and broadcast your gaming. It also has added panels for controlling your audio.

You can also search for the Game Bar in the Windows 10 Start Menu to configure custom keyboard shortcuts for turning your audio on and off and a whole lot more, while you are gaming.

What to do if you cannot access your PC’s Hard Drive?

If Windows fails to load and you cannot even access your hard drive, try booting from a DOS-bootable USB drive, that you should have already created, to establish whether or not the drive is actually working properly.

If this works, you should be able to view the contents of your hard drive and even reinstall your Windows Operating system if necessary.

If your PC will still not boot, then the problem can only be one of three things:

1. The Hard Drive itself is faulty and needs changing (try changing to a fast SSD https://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/ssdinstall.html).

2. The Hard Drive’s cable is damaged or wrongly connected.

3. The PC’s BIOS is incorrectly configured (by far the least likely problem).

You will need to check these three things yourself. Alternatively, engage the services of a PC repair technician to undertake the work for you.

Pesky Windows Sound Problems

CreativeInspire T3300 SpeakerSystem

There could be a number of reasons for a lack of sound from your Windows PC.

First make sure you’ve plugged your speakers into your PC, have turned the speakers on and have turned up the volume. And make sure you actually have a soundcard installed – either a separate card in a PCI slot or an integrated feature of your PC’s motherboard.

If there is still no sound issuing from your computer try checking that the soundcard actually exists.

To find out a whole lot more about Windows Sound Problems and how to sort them out see the full article https://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/soundproblems.html

Should you clear caches and temp files from Windows 10?

Windows 10, stores large amounts of cache to make your system faster and more responsive compared to previous versions. This is very efficient if you have tons of free storage and free ram to work with, or a high performance CPU.

Unless you have a considerable amount of free memory, you will eventually run into problems that will slow down your PC, cause it to lag and maybe even hang if you load it with lot of tasks.

Its best to use Windows 10’s own tools to clear caches and temp files.

Type Cleanmgr into the Windows 10 search box and choose the Disk Clean-up App.

Manually Select the various hard drives you have installed e.g. C:, D: etc. one by one and click OK. Now click on Clean Up System Files at the bottom of the window.

Click on OK once Windows 10 has calculated the amount of storage to be cleaned up.

Delete files in the Temporary Folder

If you have recently done a lot of editing or something that generates large temporary files, here’s how to manually conduct a clean-up.

Click on the Start icon and type the following command  %temp%  in the Windows 10 search box, and then hit the Enter key.

This %temp% command will open the folder that Windows has set up as the Temporary folder. The files and folders in this Temporary folder were needed by Windows at some point but are no longer useful. So, everything in this Temporary folder is safe to delete.

However, if you try to delete all the folders and files at once (or even individually), you may receive a pop-up message saying that folder or file is in use. You can close the program mentioned in the pop-up and then delete it, or you can just cancel it and see how many you can delete.

So these simple steps can help you remove nearly all of the Temporary files from your computer. And this can help to keep your Windows PC running smoothly.

Problems with your PC’s DVD Drive not reading your disc

Problems with your PC's DVD Drive not reading your disc

If you insert a DVD disc into your computers DVD drive and the light showing the disc is being read stubbornly stays on, that is probably as far as you will get, and the disc itself will not be read or actioned.

The simplest explanation for a problem like this is that your DVD disc just needs cleaning. Also make sure that the disc is not scratched or damaged in any way.

If the problem continues try cleaning your DVD-ROM Drive. Its best to blow out any dust using a compressed air can. Alternatively, use a CD cleaning kit, which should work just as well.

If the problem still persists you may need to replace your DVD-ROM Drive.

Should you Defrag your PC’s Hard Drive?

As long as your running Windows 7 or later the built-in Disk Defragmenter utility runs automatically at scheduled times, usually once per week. This happens by default, so chances are pretty good your PC’s hard drive is already defragged. And by most accounts, the utility compares favourably with third-party alternatives, so don’t spend money on another defragmenter utility unless you have very specific reasons for doing so.

The automatic Disk Defragmenter utility runs whenever you PC is idle but you do not have to leave your computer on overnight. If it isn’t able to run at 1 a.m., it will try again later.

You should never defragment a solid-state drive (SSD). Doing so can shorten its potential lifespan.

By the way, if you have an external hard drive, one that’s not always connected to your PC, it may not get the chance to benefit from Windows’ scheduled defragging. Therefore, you should run Disk Defragmenter on it manually every month or so.

Should you update your Windows 10 PC Drivers?

A graphics card driver or sound card driver update might improve your PC’s overall performance, especially if there was some sort of problem with the driver you’re currently using.

You could of course go to the website for every component within your PC and download each driver manually. For example, to find the details for your graphics card, head to the manufacturer’s website and find the relevant download.

Keeping your drivers updated does have benefits. You might find your sound card can be updated to support the latest audio standards or the manufacturer has found a bug to improve performance.

You could easily buy or find a trial version of a driver updater, especially if you’ve recently bought your PC. For example, the AVG Driver Updater is a fairly decent product to use during its free trial. There is also a full review of updaters at the Techraider website – https://www.techradar.com/uk/best/best-driver-update-software

And also a full review of the 11 best and free Driver Updater tools from Lifewire – https://www.lifewire.com/free-driver-updater-tools-2619206

Five ways to make your Windows PC run faster

Windows 10 Lock Screen

1. Install a Solid State Drive (SSD)

The very best way to improve your computers performance is to upgrade your hard drives to SSD’s. And now that SSDs have fallen so much in price it’s definitely the best upgrade you can do to improve your PC’s responsiveness.

Even if you cannot afford to have all your storage upgraded to SSD, moving your Operating System and Applications to an SSD can result in huge performance boosts.

2. Fit more PC Memory (RAM)

RAM always used to be at the top of the list of PC add-ons, but now the cost of doing this has got too expensive. In any case most new Windows computers come with about 2GB or even 4GB of RAM, and upgrading from 4GB to 8GB or more is nowhere near as impressive as upgrading from 1GB to 2GB. In fact, the more RAM you have the less of a performance boost it generally gives.

However, for anything above 4GB of total system RAM, a 64-bit operating system is required.

If you’re thinking of upgrading beyond 4GB then bear in mind that what you get out of the upgrade will depend on the quality of the rest of the hardware on your PC. There’s no point maxing out the RAM on a cheap PC because you’ll just encounter a bottleneck somewhere else.

if you still want to add more memory and also check what memory upgrades you may be able to make, visit Crucial’s website and let Crucial scan your computer.

3. Reinstall Windows

This is a free way to boost performance by getting rid of all the junk that’s accumulated on a system. Just make sure that you have backups of your data and copies of all the applications you regularly use.

And there’s even better news for those of you running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 – Microsoft have made this easy for you by including settings that will refresh your system.

4. Remove Bloatware and Programs you do not need

It is surprising just how much bloatware and useless free trial programs can be on a new computer direct from a manufacturer. Rather than try to remove this manually try some of these removal tools.

PC Decrapifier is one of the best tools to remove unneeded programs from brand-new and used PCs – https://download.cnet.com/PC-Decrapifier/3000-2096_4-10636481.html

For systems that have adware on them these two tools are very useful.

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner – https://www.malwarebytes.com/adwcleaner/
Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool for PC – https://bitdefender-adware-removal-tool-for-pc.en.softonic.com/

5. Manage Power Settings

Have you ever noticed that your laptop is faster when it’s connected to a charger than it is when it’s running off the battery? That’s because Windows manages the performance to give you better battery life. However, if you would rather have the extra performance and are not worried about how long your battery will last, then you can tweak them.

You can manage your systems power plan settings by using Power Options in Control Panel. To find these settings in Windows 10 type Power Options in the search box which takes you to the Power & Sleep screen. Now click Additional Power Settings. There you will normally find three power options:

(a) Balanced (recommended)

(b) High performance

(c) Power saver

You can place your PC’s cursor over the different power settings to see a pop-up description of what the setting is for. Once you decide what power setting you need just select it.

So, that is just five ways you can make you Windows PC feel more responsive.

How to use System Restore in Safe Mode

Windows 10 RestoreAs explained in our last email System Restore can take Windows 10 back to a point before any problems start to cause your PC to misbehave and will still leave all your precious documents intact.

However, sometimes, things like a faulty driver or a buggy program can prevent System Restore from working properly. In cases like these, it’s best to try Windows Safe Mode, which runs just a barebones version of the Windows operating system to strip out anything that might cause a problem.

To enter Safe Mode Click Start, then type Change advanced startup options and click the top result. From the settings window that appears, click “Restart now” under the Advanced startup heading.

When your PC restarts, click Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, then System Restore. You should then be able to run System Restore as normal.