What to Do Now That Windows XP Support Has Ended

Microsoft Windows XP logo

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft shut down support for their Windows XP operating system (OS).

This doesn’t mean that your home computer will “blue screen” and quit working; but it does mean that you have a decision to make if you’re currently running XP on your computer.

How does XP support ending affect me?

What the end of support means for you is, there will be no more “Windows Updates” for XP. This includes the security updates that protect you from viruses, spyware, or malware (malicious software), which puts you at risk for losing your personal information.

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Stream Video From Your Laptop to Your TV

Is your TV lacking IQ points? Are your friends streaming live events or laughing at the latest YouTube cat video on their TV, while yours sits and laughs at you?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to show you how to put some artificial intelligence into your TV so you can stream that Netflix show (or YouTube cat video.) We’ve got two options for making your TV smarter!

Option 1 – Laptop to TV via HDMI


If your laptop has an HDMI (High Definition Multi-Media Interface) output and you have a spare HDMI port on your TV, you’re in luck. All you need now is an HDMI cable. If you don’t have a spare lying around, the cheapest one you can find will work well. (You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these cables, trust us!)

Plug one end into the laptop and the other into the TV and link the two together.

Top Left: HDMI port in a laptop (3rd hole from the left.) Top Right: HDMI Cable. Bottom Left: Plug one end of the cable into an HDMI port on your TV. Bottom Right: Plug the other end into your laptop.
Top Left: HDMI port in a laptop (3rd hole from the left.) Top Right: HDMI Cable. Bottom Left: Plug one end of the cable into an HDMI port on your TV. Bottom Right: Plug the other end into your laptop.

Once you have your laptop and TV connected, select an empty area on your desktop and right click your mouse.  Select “display options” or “screen resolution” to get a window like the one below.

screen1b

Set the Multiple Display option to Extend These Displays and  click Apply.

On your TV select press the “source” button and select the HDMI input. You now should see your laptop screen extended to the TV.

NOTE – You also see options for connecting monitors and screen mirroring.  To ensure your TV shows the best picture do NOT use these options. Only use the extend desktop option.

Open up a program and drag it to your TV.   If you are watching YouTube or another media stream, check to see if you can go full screen by looking for a symbol like the one below. If you do have that option great: click it and enjoy your computer on the big screen.

screen2b

Option 2 – Chromecast


To make your TV really smart, consider looking into a small device from Google called Chromecast. This $35 device costs a fraction of a new smart TV and its capabilities are expanding every day.

Basically it plugs in to a spare HDMI port on your TV and you use your computer or mobile device as a remote control.  It allows some of the major services like Netflix and Pandora to play on your TV and will allow you to mirror your Chrome browser to it.

We’re looking at this device now and a more detailed step-by-step article on how to install and use this device is forthcoming. But for its price this device is amazing.

As always, if you’re stuck or have any questions, we’re just an email or phone call (1-888-863-3033) away!

Skype – The easy way to make international calls

Ever needed to make a call overseas but don’t have a quick (or inexpensive) way to do it?  Well in this article, we’ll walk you through installing Skype on your computer or phone, and give you a quick demo on how you can use it to call someone overseas (in this case, England — we have family there).

Download and Install Skype

On Your Computer

Let’s tackle the computer first. If you have speakers and a microphone, head to: http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-computer/.

There you’ll find links for the Windows, Linux, and Mac versions of Skype. Download your version and run the install.

On Your Mobile Phone or Tablet

If you have a mobile device like an iPad, iPhone, Android phone or tablet, click on the appropriate link below to go to the Apple or Google Play store and click “install” –

iPhonehttp://www.skype.com/go/getskype-iphone/

iPad – http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-ipad/

Android Devices (phones & tablets) – http://market.android.com/details?id=com.skype.raider

Once Skype has been downloaded and installed on your device, we’re ready to make a call!

Signing in to Skype

If you have a Microsoft (Hotmail, Outlook, etc.), Facebook, or a Skype account, you can use those to sign into Skype.

If you don’t have any of the above already, you’re given the option to create a new account when you start Skype up (on your computer or mobile device) for the first time. Creating a Skype account only requires your name, country, language, a Skype name and password. The other fields are not required and can be left blank.

Buying some credits

Making any call on Skype to another landline or cell phone requires credits. Fortunately for us, calls are cheap. Rates to places such as the UK from the US are 2.3c/min (cents per minute).

So before we make a call lets buy some credits. (Using a computer for this step, rather than a cell phone or tablet, is faster and easier.)

Now that you are logged in to Skype, go to the call screen. You should  see a screen similar to Figure 1.

Skype Call Screen
Figure 1 – Skype Call Screen

On this screen, you have the option to view your account or buy Skype credits.

Select Buy Skype Credit. You’ll be taken to the Skype Store where you will be able to buy credits (see Figure 2).

Buy Credits
Figure 2 – Buying Credits

Select Continue and enter your billing address. Finally you will be given an option to select a payment method. Choices include Visa, Mastercard and Paypal.

Once you complete the purchase your credits will be added to your account.

Making a Call

Now we are ready to make that inexpensive, international call.

From the call screen we were on previously (Figure 1), enter the phone number you wish to dial.

This number must be in international format.

In the Windows version, just select the flag for the country you wish to dial then enter 10 digit number. For example, let’s say we’re calling a British number. We’d select the British flag and enter the area code and the rest of the number. So, if the phone number we wanted to dial was 0871 xxx xxx, we’d simply select the UK flag and dial 871 xxx xxxx. (You only dial the “0” if you’re actually in England.)

 

 

 

 

Can the Spam – 5 Tips to Stop Email Spam

You've Got Mail!
Keep your inbox spam-free!

Whether it comes in a tin or in your email, Spam is just … yucky. Thankfully, we have some tips to help you combat Spam.

The email kind anyway.

You’re on your own with the Spam in a can.

Tip 1 – Keep Separate Lives

Everywhere you go, someone is asking you for your email address now: stores, doctors, teachers, news outlets. The list goes on.

The easiest way to separate the email wheat from the chaff is to keep separate email addresses. One for the “Important” people in your life and another that you hand out to places like department stores.

This will keep the coupons and special offers stores like to send out every day from burying the pictures of your nephew’s birthday party.

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Get Your Blog Up and Running in Less Than 5 Minutes

07-wp-install-smYou’ve registered the perfect domain name for your blog and your hosting is all set up. Now you’re ready to get your blog visible to the world.

Just follow the simple steps below to install WordPress on your own and you’ll be up and running in less than five minutes.

You’ll need to have these three things handy before you start:

  1. The “New Account Information” email sent to you by your hosting service
  2. Pen
  3. Paper

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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How to Register a Domain Name and Set up Hosting in 5 Simple Steps

You’ve got a great idea for a blog, online store or website. Now you just need a home for it.

That home consists of two parts:

  • – the domain name (your website address) and
  • hosting (where your site’s information is stored)

Setting up those two parts is easier than it may sound and whether you use ComputerGeeks2Go’s simple domain name registration and hosting service or another service, such as GoDaddy, the process is similar.

Are you ready? Because in five simple steps and five short minutes, you’ll have yourself a brand new home for your website!

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Want a Faster Computer? 5 Tips to Increase Your Computer Speed

Woman on her couch typing on a laptop.Winter’s over now, but your computer still wants to act like a hibernating bear; slow, sluggish, non-responsive.  Before you consider trading it in for a faster model, try these five things to increase its speed and save yourself some money.

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How to Remove Unwanted or Obsolete Programs from Your Computer

Uninstalling unused or obsolete programs from your computer is as simple as a couple of mouse clicks. Here, ComputerGeeks2Go walks you through the process step-by-step.

First, click on your Start button and open up your Control Panel. Now, Windows lets you view your Control Panel in a couple of ways: by list (Picture 1) or by category (Picture 2).

Picture 1: Your Control Panel in "List" View.
Picture 1: Your Control Panel in “List” View.

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How to Defragment Your Hard Drive

Computers are lazy machines. All they want to do is run programs; not file the data for those programs in an orderly manner. Instead, the computer scatters that data all over your hard drive.

When you defragment (or “Defrag” for short) your hard drive, you force your computer to gather all of those bits of data and store them in an orderly manner for easier access. Without having to hunt and peck for all of the files that make a program run, your computer itself runs a lot faster.

Here we walk you through this simple process step-by-step.

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Spring is Coming and We’re Celebrating with a Website Design and Hosting Sale!

Small Blue FlowersPunxsutawney Phil confirmed it; spring is coming! And we’re celebrating with a website design and hosting sale.

From now until June 21, 2013, all new websites are 25% off or you can sign up for any of our hosting packages and get 3 MONTHS FREE!

Call us now at 1-888-863-3033 or email us at sales@computergeeks2go.com to get started.

Photo Credit: Karen Bristow