The Sunday Post #81: Christmas Tech Support

As we head into the final 2 weeks of 2009 and getting ready for what is shaping up to be a much better 2010, we are all bound to see family members and friends. These people have computers and probably use you as their own personal help desk. You know what that means?

Holiday Computer Updates

Since you are going to be there anyway, now would be a great time to check the computers of your users for updates, security issues and other crazy things that they usually bug you about during the year. Here is a quick list of those things that you can do quickly to save them, and you, headaches for the new year.


  • Put them on OpenDNS. You could use GoogleDNS, but I still prefer OpenDNS for the safety factor and I think, at least for me, it’s faster. Those addresses are:
  • Run Windows update. If they are on XP, make sure you get Service Pack 3 and Internet Explorer v8
  • Run a full adware/virus scan with Malwarebytes. It’s free, takes about 20 minutes and will remove just about anything that is bad on their systems
  • Check the status of their AntiVirus. Make sure it’s still working and up-to-date. If it’s not a current version, uninstall it and install AVG Free.
  • Go into Add/Remove programs. Uninstall Realplayer, MusicMatch and anything else that is no longer relevant and probably not used
  • If you are feeling brave, clean up their startup. Check All Users –> Start Menu –>Start Up and delete anything there that isn’t needed.
  • Continue with the startup clean up. Open the registry (Start->Run->regedit) and navigate to HKEY Local Machine ->Software ->Microsoft ->Windows ->Current Version ->Run. Delete anything there that doesn’t need to be running when the computer starts.
  • You could install FireFox, Chrome or Safari. Make sure to set it as the default browser. There was a zero day problem with IE8 last week, so it’s still not safe.
  • **Updated**. If you are sending a PC to the UK, make sure to hit the voltage switch on the power supply to avoid any explosions or fuse blowing.


  • Restart the computer

No matter what, make this the year you really bug your users about backing up. Anymore, external hard drives are so cheap, there is no excuse. Get one and install Crash Plan (Free, Win/Mac/Linux) and set it up.

Start to finish, this should take you about an hour. It’s also going to make your users computer experience better, faster and safer. Not only that, but it will save you from **those phone calls** later in the year. They will be forever grateful.

Published by Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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  1. You forgot: if you are sending a computer from the US to the UK, don’t forget to switch the voltage over. My Dad says if you don’t it makes quite a loud bang 🙁

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