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Help Me, Fred!

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(Updated July 2013)

Here are some links to various PC support forums, FAQs, forums, and other computer-related resources for those who wish to access some troubleshooting tips on their own.
All have been visited by me, or otherwise used or recommended by me.  It's possible, but unlikely, the links may go dead -- if so, please let me know by email.

www.filehippo.com

File Hippo is THE best collection of freeware, conveniently sorted by categories.  They maintain direct links to the updated versions of each program.  Go there first for any good freeware.  In fact, go to File Hippo before trying the other links below -- you just may be able to get almost everything from one site!

www.ccleaner.com
Crap Cleaner does exactly what it says - it gets rid of the crap that tends to build up over time.  The left over stuff (old removed program bits and pieces, bad/missing registry entries, etc.) slows down your computer.  Flush out that crap!

I'm listing a couple anti-spyware packages below.  No one single package can do it all, I don't care what they tell you.  For those who want the simplest, smallest, FREE package of protection, I highly recommend using Window's built-in "Windows Firewall" along with an optional Microsoft Security Essentials, which is also FREE.  The ones listed below are my "go-to" programs I tend to install on systems I work on, especially if infected with malware.  All are free, although some might have an optional premium version with more features (although I never go for the premium versions).  I DO recommend donating $10-20 to those free tools which you use and are happy using -- it's just good karma!

www.safer-networking.org

Home of Spy-Bot Search & Destroy, an excellent anti-spyware tool.  Can be set for scheduled scans and updates.
www.superantispyware.com Another anti-spyware package (duh!) that seems to pick up things the others leave behind.
www.malwarebytes.org Still another anti-spyware. Again, this catches things others leave behind.

MS Malicious Software Removal Tool 

This tool looks for, and removes, specific malware.  It is updated twice a month.  This link MIGHT be broken, as MS changes things on their website all the time.  If the link at the left IS broken, just go directly to support.microsoft.com and find the tool from that page.


Here are some GREAT websites, forums, and FAQ sections that I highly recommend, in no particular order of preference:
www.theeldergeek.com
I learned a LOT from this guy!
www.kellys-korner.com
Chock FULL of helpful tips, FAQs, tweaks, etc.!
www.techsupportalert.com
A guy named Gizmo has put together the most awesome collection of freeware, all categorized, tested and reviewed!

Certainly there are hundreds more. If you have a favorite collection of helpful sites or programs, especially freeware, just drop me a line.  I'll check it out and add them to my listings above.

By the way, Google is your best friend!  Just learn to "Google" with specific words and phrases.  Trying to search with the words "My computer won't work" is no good, but "XP Dell Inspiron laptop constantly reboots" is so much better!

Stay tuned!
- - fred