Tips & Tricks

Our quest is to help educate people about technology, so they can have fun safely and become more productive in their work. This section is a free resource designed to provide you with the latest information about possible threats to your system, along with helpful tips on improving your computing experience. Be sure to check in regularly for our latest Rent-A-Geek tips and tricks!


Geek Tip of the Month

Security Warning for Windows XP and Windows 2000 Users!

Microsoft has released three new updates specifically for Windows XP and Windows 2000 users. These updates address newly discovered security flaws which could expose your computer to malicious programs, spyware or pornography dialers. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you run Windows Updates to ensure maximum protection. If you are running Windows XP and have not yet installed Service Pack 2 (which installs critical updates automatically), now is the time to do it!


A Glossary of Rent-A-Geek Tips and Tricks

What is Spyware?

Spyware is a term for software that, when installed on your computer collects and delivers your personal information to its owner, or parent company. Some malicious types of spyware may “hijack” your Internet connection and redirect your web-surfing through their servers. When the spyware is removed from your computer, your Internet connection will abruptly stop. Most spyware sneaks onto your computer sight unseen, by piggy-backing on free Internet downloads, like “smileys”, music file-sharing, game cheats, and others.

We highly recommend that you use Ad-Aware and Spybot to regularly scan and clean your computer of intrusive spyware. Be sure to click on the “update” button provided with these tools to ensure you catch all new spyware downloads.

Microsoft has released a beta (test) version of its Windows AntiSpyware tool. The Rent-A-Geek Team is currently testing its usefulness and effectiveness. It should be noted that Trojan virus authors have already targeted the Microsoft tool, disabling it on un-patched systems and stealing personal information at the same time.

The Rent-A-Geek Team employs a suite of ten tools for performing system cleanups, several which have been written specifically by our experts and are not available anywhere else. Be sure to call us to schedule a thorough system clean up.
Some computer users may find Ad-Aware and Spybot sufficient in keeping their systems tidy. For more information and education on the use of these tools, schedule your personal on-site appointment today!

Email Hoaxes

Some people receive email messages from friends or strangers purporting to warn of circulating viruses or worms. Please be wary of messages like these: most often, they are “hoaxes”.

Virus hoaxes are designed to entice recipients to forward the email message to everyone they know. In fact, this should be your first red flag. Credible sources would not encourage you to take such action.

A hoax may even appear to originate from a credible source, such as a large computer company or a known friend or business associate. You should be suspicious of any message that asks you to check for particular files on your computer, or that recommend you forward the message to others. Never, ever open a file attachment that you do not recognize, or do not know its contents, even if it appears to be sent from someone you know.

Remember: always check with your virus protection software supplier before responding or acting on any virus email warning messages you receive. When in doubt, please give us a call.

Boot Your Browser! Free Browser Alternative

Tired of browser hijacks, pop-ups, spyware and endless security patches required for Internet Explorer? Well, there is an alternative. A free browser is now available that is faster, safer and even more useful. Mozilla’s FireFox Version 1.0 has received excellent reviews since it was launched.

The FireFox browser integrates a built in pop-up blocker (like the latest version of Windows XP Service Pack 2), uses less computer memory, and allows multiple pages to be viewed in the same window. Our Rent-A-Geek experts have tested this browser and we recommend it for users of Windows 95 on up to Windows XP. A free download is available at

Rent-A-Geek Tip: Check out the Ctrl-T function for adding more web pages inside the same window. This is USEFUL STUFF!