Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth

And Keep More For Yourself.

Tip of the day: If you are in a house with multiple computers, and you want to restrict “the amount of Internet” those other machines use, you can use settings (aka “options”) in your router and give yourself #1 priority.

Today’s topic comes QoS from a question from a (younger) fella who lives with roommates, and they all “share” his connection.

Which is fine with him except for when their online activity slows down his surfing or online gaming.
So he wanted to know how to make sure he got “first dibs”. (Though I confess, he called it “more bandwidth”.)

You can think of today’s tip as a “tweak for better Internet speed”, if you’d like, though you’d be — technically– incorrect.

1) Open your browser and access the router’s Control Panel.

(See the first section, here: https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/protecting-your-network-use-your-router-for-access-control-repost/)

2) Find the Advanced Settings tab for “QoS”.
[note:
refer to your make/model router’s documentation for the exact steps/menu choices — these are often listed on the side of your router’s control panel, or can be found on the manufacturer’s website.] (On a Linksys, that is under “Applications and Gaming”)

3) Give your PC’s MAC Address a rating of “Highest”
(To get the MAC, open a command prompt and enter “ipconfig /all”.)

* You might want to set other machines to “low”.

4) Save and exit.

That’s it, your done. Now your data packets will go first, and any other Internet user will have to wait for your request to finish.

[note: there are some other priority tweaks you can make here too. Click on the image to see large version, and note my arrows. And you can further “block” access by time, type, keywords, etc. My How To is here.]

[UPDATE: reader discussion of this topic has prompted me to write a further article. See, Restricting Roommates Internet Use – Continued.]

Today’s free download: EncryptOnClick is a very simple to use program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, encrypting files, hardware, how to, routers, routers and WAPs, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Run your defrag tool for a faster machine*

I am continuously surprised at how many PC users have let a year or more pass since their last defrag, or never have defragged at all. “Why is my machine slower than it used to be?” That is a very common question. It is a question with no single, or simple answer. Yet there is a single and simple step you can take which will improve the speed at which your machine reads and writes data, and which, if done regularly, will keep it at near the speed it had when it was new–it’s called “defragging” (short for defragmentation). Defragmentation remedies file fragmentation, which occurs, invisibly to you, over the course of time.

Tip of the day: It is commonly suggested that you run a defrag at least once a month. I recommend that you schedule your defrags to run automatically using Windows Scheduled Tasks tool. Set it and forget it, as the old saying goes. Here are the steps to do it:

1) Start>Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance and then click Scheduled Tasks.
2) Double-click Add Scheduled Task to open the Scheduled Task Wizard, and then click Next.
3) Follow the wizard to set a schedule for when to run the defragmentation program (I recommend running it late at night, as it can take a while to complete), and be sure to supply a password for the account on which you want the task to run, and mark the checkbox “wake the computer to perform this task.”
4) Check the box for Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish. On the Run line, add the drive letter for the drive to be defragged. For example, %SystemRoot%\System32\Defrag.exe c:

(This example is for XP, but you can do it in earlier–all the way back to Win 95–versions as well)

Another thing you can do is get rid of the files on your hard drive that you no longer need: such as emptying your Recycle bin and deleting your temp files (a quick, safe, and simple way is Windows Disk Clean Up tool) and there are some nice applications to automate and/or simplify this for you, such as today’s free link. Also, use Add/Remove Programs to remove applications you no longer use. Go to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs and wait for the list to “populate”. Click on those programs you are certain you have no more use for and click on the Remove button.

Today’s free link: CCleaner CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused and temporary files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.

* Yes folks, I have posted this article before. I remind you that you should run defrag once a month at the minimum.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

jaanix post to jaanix

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April 30, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Get a boost from your thumb drive

Thumb drives are amazing. They’re fast, they’re small, they make great keychain fobs, and they’re affordable. I have seen 8GB thumb drives for as little as $30, and 16GB’s for $50*.
That’s right– sixteen billion bytes. (The hard drive on my P-II [still running] is 4.3GB’s.)

Yes, thumb drives are all those things, and they’re practical too. By purchasing a U3 drive, or downloading the Portable Apps suite, you can easily convert your thumb drive to a “computer on a stick” and run your applications from it (as opposed to the host computer). This can be particularly useful when traveling, as you can carry your bookmarks, contacts, and documents with you.. and you won’t leave histories and ‘tracks’ that someone can read later.

In this article, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/how-to-install-a-program-on-your-thumb-drive/, I tell you the steps for installing (pretty much) any program onto your thumb drive. By doing so, you can load your favorite, and most useful programs onto your computer-on-a-stick.. allowing you to carry a computer on your keychain (sort of).
I recommend loading a antivirus, and a couple of anti-spyware onto your thumb drives, and — since thumb drives are small and “losable”– using encryption to render the drive unreadable without knowing the password.

In another article, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/06/28/put-your-thumb-drive-to-work/, I describe how to make a thumb drive “bootable”, and how you can load it up with diagnostic and repair programs; thus turning it into a recovery tool, and portable repair kit-on-a-stick. (This is for the more geek-inclined, but there is some good information there even if you aren’t skilled in computer repair.)

But even if you aren’t interested in using a “computer on a stick”, Vista users can still get some extra mileage out of your drive that you might not be aware of…
Tip of the day: Improve Vista’s performance with ReadyBoost. Loyal readers of this series will already know that 1) Vista is a resource hog, and 2) the best way to improve Vista’s performance is to give it lots of RAM. Well, the flash memory in your thumb drive may be fast enough for Vista to use as additional RAM (this is determined by the make/model of your thumb drive. Typically, the discount, or generic drives are not fast enough).

When you plug in a thumb drive, a small window opens which provides a list of options of what you want to do with this device– one of the options is “speed up my system”. Select this, and another window opens; click “Use this device”. If your thumb drive is capable of ReadyBoost, you’ll see a slider which allows you to allocate how much of your drive’s room you want to give over to the Vista OS– accepting the default is fine.
That’s it. You’re done. Pretty painless way to add RAM, eh? (cheap, too.)

Today’s free link: today’s free link is a repeat, but it is simply the best way to encrypt your volumes (drives), files and/or folders — such as your thumb drive. Download the free TrueCrypt, and make sure a lost thumb drive won’t be a minor disaster.

* As a testiment to Moore’s Law, just two weeks after posting this, I have seen the prices go down $20!

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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April 11, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, performance, tech, thumb drives, tweaks, USB storage devices, Vista, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments