Tag Archives: Patti’s Pathways

Patti’s Pathways has computer and health tips and solutions for daily life.

Securing Your Online Persona

I had coffee recently with a super fun group of ladies. The topic came up about personal information available on the internet when one mentioned she’d received an email from Facebook asking for her phone number. She ID’d it as a scam and deleted it. I believe it was probably a legit email, but it never hurts to be careful.

That discussion, and a request from a dear friend, warranted a blog about securing your online persona (a.k.a. choosing what people can see about you on the internet).

There are a loComputer Identity2t of articles dedicated to getting off the grid or becoming invisible on the internet. We’re not interested in going that far. People can know we’re on the internet, but if you’re like me, you want to control how much personal information leaks out. Me? I like to keep my public personal information to a minimum. My friends and family know how to contact me and that’s what’s important.

In case you were wondering, here’s why websites ask for our phone numbers.

Reason One: New website security these days includes what they call “two-step” verification. Step 1: you log in with your normal user ID and password, Step 2: a security program sends a code to your phone via text, voice, or mobile app. You enter the newly sent code to log on.

Do you have to do this every time? No. There is a box to check or a question telling the security program to stop flagging the computer where you just logged on and to allow logging on from that computer without the code in the future.

Reason Two: Websites, such as Twitter, are allowing log ins with only a telephone number. There’s no user ID or password. You get a security code texted to that phone number and use it to enter the website.

cell phoneReason Three: The website is using marketing apps. Advertising texts, including coupons, and voice mail marketing are part of this.

Reason Four: Websites where you transact business will ask for your phone number as well as your address. These websites usually have your info on a secure page (denoted by https:// at the beginning of the URL address).

Bank, broker, auction, and other financial or sales websites are different than social media websites like Facebook or Twitter. I don’t put my phone number on social websites; I don’t want to be that social. Facebook would like to be the next Amazon, and does offer advertising packages. But for the majority of Facebook users it’s still just another social media site. No hate mail please, Facebook lovers.

Whether you give out your phone number or not is up to you. I do on financial and sales sites because I want them knowing they can call me if there’s a problem. On social media sites, I do not. They have my email address; they can email me.

There is also the fact that typing my landline number into any search engine (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc)  will pull up my address. If you know my cell phone number, my name and address can be requested for a fee.

 Securing Your Online Information

Let’s talk about securing what personal information is floating out in cyberspace. The one we’ll tackle today is social media.

social mediaWe all love social media. There are so many wonderful things about it. It keeps us in touch with distant friends and relatives, and lets us know in real time what’s happening in people’s lives. We can view photos of loved ones we don’t see regularly, and follow businesses and events.

In my opinion, the best of all worlds is to be able to utilize social media while keeping my personal information safe.

I’ve included a few the largest social media sites in the U.S. below. Believe it or not, there are dozens of others in almost every country around the planet. If your favorite isn’t listed, I bet you’ll see a trend in the below examples and be able to find your way through your site.

Facebook Privacy

Not long ago, Facebook redesigned its site to make it very easy to tighten up your personal information and security.

Find the padlock in the top right corner of your Facebook page. 1) Left-click on padlock, and select 2) Privacy Checkup.
Facebook privacy checkup









The screens to update your information look like example screens, but they’re actually interactive so you can click and adjust your information.

First Step is “Your Posts”. Remember, Facebook Terms of Service allow that your intellectual property rights (pictures, videos, etc.) are “subject to your privacy and application settings”. So if you set your privacy to “public”, Facebook assumes you mean anyone and everyone.
fb checkup options

Second Step is setting “Your Apps”. These are sites you’ve logged onto with Facebook. Remember being asked by a website if you want to use Facebook to log on? This is where the sites you said yes to are listed.
Connect with FB

FYI: Being a paranoid individual, I rarely sign on with Facebook. Exceptions would be benign website like National Geographic, Washington Post, Fox News, etc. I’m okay with these sites knowing as much about me as Facebook.

Third Step is “Your Profile”. You can make this as secure or as public as you wish. I bet you didn’t know you had an individual Facebook email address, did you? Now you do.

Twitter Privacy

Adjusting Twitter privacy settings are pretty much like any standard website. You can tell people as much or as little as you’d like by what’s in your profile.

1) Go to the Me tab, 2) left-click the Account gear, then 3) Settings. Under Settings you will see how your information is presented on Twitter. 4) Edit profile will allow you to edit your information.
Twitter Settings


Pinterest Privacy

PInterest’s privacy settings are accessed in the upper right corner under your name. 1) Left-click the gear, then 2) left-click Account Settings. You don’t need to click “Edit Profile” because you can adjust that under Account Settings.

PInterest account settings

Youtube Privacy

Settings are in the top right corner by your picture. See a pattern here? Many, if not all, setting options are in the upper right corner of your browser window very close to where your picture is or would be if you uploaded one.

1) Left-click your picture, 2) left-click the Settings gear icon,





3) The left margin contains areas you might wish to adjust.
Yourtube privacy


Google+ Privacy

If you don’t know what Google+ is you might not have an accounGoogle+t. But, if you have Gmail for your email provider, you might have an account and don’t know it. To find it, in the top right of your email main page you’ll see your name with a + behind it. Left-click on that to get into Google+.

Google+ Privacy settings are…you guessed it, upper right corner by your picture.
1) Left-click the menu arrow beside the picture area, 2) click Privacy.
Google plus


If you hover over the Home area to the left, you’ll get more options. You can edit your profile here and access Settings at the bottom of the list.
Google plus Home

Don’t forget to update the Audence tab (1). This lets you determine who can see your Google+ stuff.  It’s under Settings.
Google plus privacy


I hope you now know a bit more about how much of yourpersonal information is accessable through websites.

There is  great government website that addresses these issues also: Guide to Keeping Your Social Media Accounts Secure 2015 .

Rest easy with your new social media piece of mind, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

Other security articles you might find interesting:

Facebook: LIttle Known Tips and Tricks Tip Six three-fourths of the way down the page also talks about public posts on Facebook.

Giving Out Credit Card Numbers

Microsoft Won’t Call You…EVER!

Creating the Safest Passwords

Spotting Hoax Emails

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.


Battling Influenza

I’ve been out fighting a form of Influenza. Don’t know which numbers and letters—N3H2, N1H1…A, B—but it was a hard-fought battle and I remained victorious.

Thankfuknight battle buglly it wasn’t a life or death struggle. I was blessed to not develop any bacterial infections. I’d like to think it’s because I’m a preventative kind of person, but it might just be dumb luck.

I know you’re asking why I didn’t get an annual flu shot. I did, but since I got mine in November it wore off before this beast attacked. FYI: flu shots are effective for ninety days only.

Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about influenza and flu shots. If you don’t care, skip down to the important stuff.

pink cat nurseAnnual Flu Vaccines: My take on these is they are a very good thing. I request the single-dose shots as they aren’t preserved with thimerasol, which is a form of mercury, like the multi-dose vials.

There’s a plethora of material saying thimerasol mercury is a different form of mercury, and won’t hurt people. I am not a chemist, but I do have common sense so when manufacturers have taken thimerasol out of contact solutions and children’s vaccines I have to ask, “Why if it’s safe?”

The CDC says thimerasol is removed under their better-safe-than-sorry policy. I think that’s wonderful. Especially since at times I feel there’s a certain amount of collateral damage acceptable in the U.S. regarding drugs marketed for human use. Right now I’d like to send a huge heartfelt thanks out to the CDC for their interest in pharmaceutical safety. Thanks, CDC!

For more information on thimerasol, check out FAQ’s About Thimerasol from the CDC website.

Other flu shot ingredients.

Aluminum salts. I never condone putting excess harmful chemicals in the body. While I won’t buy foods with aluminum in them as preservatives, I feel use in vaccines—which are a few doses given over a lifetime—is acceptable as vaccine benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Formaldehyde. This is a non-issue to me. Why? I’ve read when the serum is processed the formaldehyde is “cooked” out leaving hardly a trace. Even if this isn’t 100% accurate at least 21 of our most popular fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring formaldehyde. Actually, the coffee I’m drinking right now probably has more formaldehyde than the flu shot I had last fall.

Here’s a link for more information on vaccine ingredients: Vaccine Safety.

sick mouseThere are two prevalent types of influenzas affecting humans: A and B. Of the Influenza A, humans get N1H1 and N3H2. FYI: There are 18 different N’s and 11 different H’s—Influenza B is coded differently—but currently the other letter combinations affect only animals.

Annual flu shots include serum for three to four strains each year: N1H1, N3H2 of Influenza A, and one or two viruses from Influenza B. You can check out more about influenza viruses here.

My insurance company picks up all the cost of a flu shot. If it didn’t, I’d still pay the $30 cost out of my pocket. Only next year—after talking with a friend who happens to be a nurse—I’ll be getting mine in early to mid-December.

homeworkHomework: Research which months have the heaviest flu outbreaks in your area of the world and coordinate your flu shot for the 90 days covering it. No one can predict 100% perfectly, but you’ll have a good chance of being protected.

I also know you’re asking, “Did you go to the doctor?” No. Here’s why.

  • I didn’t really know it was the flu until almost forty-eight hours had passed. When you’re really sick you lose track of time.
  • I was dizzy the first forty-eight hours so probably shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle anyway.
  • It’s a viral infection which usually has to run its course.
  • flu germSitting around the doctor’s office can expose me to more viruses while I’m trying to fight off one already. Yes, my doctor’s office has masks to wear if you are sick, but I’m skeptical of their effectiveness. One study on masks shows that use of masks alone did not stop catching the flu, but masks use with hand washing did. Facemasks, Hand Hygiene, and Influenza.
  • The only thing the doctor can do for Influenza with no bacterial infections is to prescribe Tamiflu. Tamiflu has to be administered in the first two days of symptoms. Doctors can’t agree on whether Tamiflu works or not.

Now you’re asking, “So Patti, what do you do to recover from the flu?” You’re not? Sorry, I’m telling you anyway. It’s for your own good.

Let’s talk in the order of symptom severity.


I never run a high temp when I’m sick, even with influenza. No, I’m not lying; that’s just how my body responds.

I know people who run temps high enough I’d freak out, but they say it’s normal for them. And they live to tell about it repeatedly so it must be true.

Even with a low-grade temp if I’m sick enough I have chills. Last week I tried to let my body use the fever to fight off the virus, but after a few nights of no sleep because I felt so rotten, I broke down and cracked open the ibuprofen bottle. I slept better.


coughProbably the best cough remedy I’ve ever used was suggested by  a dear friend in India. Ginger root. Yep, it’s better than cough drops by a long shot. In India they chew straight ginger root. Being an American girl, and too much of a wuss to go for the hard stuff, I suck on crystallized/candied ginger.

honeyRemember your grandma saying to drink tea with honey when you’re sick? She was right. According to a government study, honey in tea before bed is more effective than over-the-counter cough suppressants. Click here to view the study.

A miscellaneous note on cough meds.

Suppressants stop the cough, but also don’t let you cough up mucus so it sits in your lungs where it can fester.

Expectorants loosen mucus and encourage coughing it up.

If I have a productive cough—coughing up mucus—I don’t take either. If I do use something, it’s usually only expectorants unless I’m in desperate need of sleep then I use a suppressant, but only at night and only for a short while.


Try chicken noodle soup. Yep, Grandma was right again.

Remember gargling chicken noodle soupwith salt water to heal throat abrasions from coughing? I agree; it’s nasty. I couldn’t do it this time around. It made me gag, and I had sore abdominal muscles from coughing so gagging was not a fun place to go. Here enters chicken noodle soup. Part of its magic is the salt in the broth. See where I’m going with this? I knew you would, you’re smart that way.

Plus hot chicken noodle soup breaks up mucus and has valuable nutrition you need when sick. I’ve included an easy recipe at the bottom. Yep, easy enough you can make it when you’re sick.

Menthol chest rub, like Vicks, works great for breaking up mucus caught in lungs. I swear by the stuff. I truly believe using this goes a long way to keeping pneumonia at bay. I also slather it on my throat if it’s sore and wrap a three- to four-inch-wide section of old t-shirt around it.lemon-lime soda

Try lemon-lime soda with ice. I hardly ever drink soda; I’m a water girl myself. But when you’re sick sometimes straight water just doesn’t do it. Not only does it not sit well on a stomach already filled with mucus drainage, it tastes blah. I drank at least six liters of diet lemon-lime soda when I was sick last week. It felt great on my sore throat and kept me hydrated.

Popsicle are good also because they have sugar for energy, cold for throat relief, and will help you stay hydrated.


When I have a serious cough, coconut oilnot only does my throat get scratchy, but so do the insides of my ears. Sometimes so badly I can’t sleep. A drop of coconut oil in each ear gives immediate relief. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal so it’s safe. I run hot water over the outside of the container to thin my coconut oil in the winter.


Sometimes my nose gets so dry it hurts. There is a sinus saline gel. It comes in a tube. I put a tiny squeeze on a cotton swab and circle the inside of each nostril. Two cotton swab ends, two nostrils. Funny how that worked out.

If your flu is over and you still have cold symptoms or just a cold, my pharmacist recommended this and it really helps to keep sinus infections away.

Sinus Infection Prevention.

Suck on Altoids (or other mints made with real oil of peppermint,  but not imitation peppermint). Use saline nose spray as recommended on bottle for as many days as you need. The mints and spray will keep your sinuses clear. I write my name on my saline with a marker and keep it handy, even just for a dry winter nose without a virus.

Now that we’ve talked about things you can do to stay out of the hospital if you get influenza, here’s a handy shopping list you can highlight and print off.

TIP: Find a shopping bag/cardboard box/something to store your “sick” supplies in after you buy them in October. Store the frozen items in the freezer; just sayin’. When you feel crappy with the flu, you’ll thank me for this tip. And if you’re blessed enough to not get sick, you can use the items that won’t keep until next time over the spring and summer.


  • Ibuprofen
  • crystalized/candied ginger
  • honey
  • tea (chamomile or passion flower encourage sleep)
  • menthol chest rub (our $1 store carries it)
  • lemon-lime soda
  • popsicles
  • coconut oil and ear dropper
  • saline sinus gel
  • saline sinus spray
  • Oil of Peppermint mints
  • Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients
    • powdered chicken base
    • 1-2 cans of chicken
    • 12 oz. bag of peas and carrots
    •  Amish/kluski noodles

Easy chicken noodle

I hope this helps you and your loved ones the next time they are attacked by the influenza bug.

Have a great week-end, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. On any health related blogs, I am merely giving advice that seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutrition, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.


Tax Time 2015

scrabble taxI’m recycling a past blog as the timing is right for it.

Remember there are a lot of telephone scams that sound legit. Be safe everyone.

Click this link to read all about it.

Scammers Posing as the IRS

Have a fantastic rest of the week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways.

Facebook: More Cool Features

After reviewing items for a previous Facebook blog, I realized there are more Facebook features people might appreciate. Today our feature presentation will be the Save option. Grab a bag of popcorn, dim the lights, sit back, and enjoy.

Patti's Pathways presents
Facebook’s Save Feature:

Did you know you can save posts on Facebook similar to bookmarking pages in an internet browser?

Here’s how.

First, a post has to have a direct link if you wish to save it.

Don’t all posts? Nope. Posts without a direct link don’t offer a Save option. Facebook says you can track down the original post and save from a different Facebook page. We’ll talk about this later.

How to Save A Facebook Post:

1) Click the dropdown menu in the right top of the post you wish to Save.

Using my last blog topic as an example, we’ll save “Setting Default Programs”.
Save post dropdown











Easy, right? Now you’re probably asking yourself, How do I find my new saved Facebook posts.

Retrieving Saved Posts

On your Facebook’s Home page, you have a left margin item named Saved. Here’s where all your favorite posts have been saved to view later.





When you click Saved, your saved posts will open in a new window. Facebook is nice and categorizes them for you.
Retrieve saves


When you don’t want a post any longer, you can delete it from your saved posts.

Deleting Saved Posts

1). Archive the post you wish to delete by clicking the ‘x’ in the upper right of the post on your saved posts list.
To archive Saved


2) Go to Archive
go to archive


3) Find the link you wish to delete, 4) Click the “…” .., 5) Delete.
Delete saved post


Finding an Original Facebook Post Link:

Remember earlier in the post I told you that you can only use the Save option if the link is in the post? Here’s how to find the original post link:

1) Right-click the time stamp and 2) left-click Copy Link Location.
Copy Link Location

3) Paste into your browser’s address bar, and go.

Earlier in this post I said “Facebook says” you can copy a link location because I followed one and never found any save options. I’m not certain if I could’ve followed the link farther back or if a Facebook user is just out of luck. Play around with it and see what you find. If you figure it out let me know in the comment section, I’d appreciate it.

While we’re discussing Facebook, did you know…

  • cell gpsFacebook mobile apps can be used like a GPS to track users.

This is bad if strangers wish to track your kids, but great if you do. For their sake, help them disable their Facebook mobile tracking: Settings>Messenger Location Services>Disable.

  • There’s at least one, possibly more, websites where you enter a Facebook user name and it will try to hack that Facebook account for you.

Horrible, isn’t it? I’m not going to post a name or link because these criminals don’t need the publicity.

Just be aware that idiots abound in this world. Don’t be scared to use Facebook, just do everything in your power to keep your passwords safe. If you’d like help, read my post Creating the Safest Passwords.

Facebook EULA statements you may or may not know.

According to Facebook’s EULA,

  • “You will not create more than one personal account.”

No clue what happens if they find out you have. I suppose they delete one.

  • “For content that is covered by intellectual property riFB logoghts, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”

I’ve updated this section as originally I neglected to mention the usage of your information by Facebook is subject to your privacy settings. Facebook won’t use your items publically if you have your privacy settings restricted. And yes, if you have your settings as public, they can use them for advertising since they are a for-profit corporate entity.

  • “When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).”

Your name and profile picture (as well as your cover photo, I believe), have always been public information regardless of your privacy settings.

And don’t forget the ever inclusive:

  • “We reserve all rights not expressly granted to you.”

For more information on EULA’s, read my post Making Sense of Terms of Service.)

Now that you’ve found another tool offered by Facebook, go ahead and save your favorite posts. Thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Setting Default Programs

Finally, we’re talking about setting default programs. Thanks for being so patient.

Every computer application has a designated program that opens it. Most of these are set to a default when you load or download the program.

What’s a computer application? A computer application is software that lets you perform a basic task (or sometimes not so basic).

Examples of computer applications are word processors, spread sheets, music players, PC e-book readers, calendars, even your web browser.

Setting Browser Defaults:

You’ve probably gotten a message at some time in your computing life like this:
default browser check

No, you won’t have pretty pink boxes. They’re where your browser name will appear.

We get this message because when we download/load new programs many times we also download commands to change our current default settings. We usually don’t know we’ve done this. Annoying, yes; malicious virus-ware, no.

FYI: your default browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) is different from your default search engine. For example, my browser is Firefox, but Google is my default search engine.

You want to reset your browser default? Great. Here’s how.

1) At the top-right of your browser window, click the menu bars  menu bars   in Chrome or Firefox, or the tools icon gear iconin Internet Explorer.

2) Select Options/Internet Options/Settings depending on your browser choice.

Here’s what you’ll see:


Under the General tab at the very top is where you make changes in Firefox. Click OK when you’re done.
Firefox default check





And no, I didn’t realize Firefox was not my default browser. That’s just how fast other programs can change your settings.


Chrome’s default browser update is at the very bottom of the Settings page.
Chrome browser default





Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer’s default settings are located under the Programs tab in Internet Options.
IE default browser set






3) If your browser isn’t your default browser, click where it says Make this my default.

You’re welcome to check the box in front of Always check to see…, but the notifications can get annoying fast. I checked the box and am about ready to uncheck it. I open Firefox when I want to surf the net so it’s my default browser by habit.


Now that we’ve warmed up on setting our default browser, we’ll advance to setting programs for your applications.

Setting Default Applications

Every application has a set default inside your OS.

FYI: Remember what an OS is? No? Check out last week’s blog: Finding and Setting Browser Downloads

In Windows 7 or 8, you’ll find your Default Program directory within your Control Panel.

FYI: Access your Control Panel from the Start menu in the lower-left corner of Windows 7, or by hovering over the top or bottom right of the Windows 8 screen to enable the Charms Bar, then choose Settings.

TIP: If you don’t like the new fangled look of the Control Panel, you can go back to the trusty alphabetically ordered list by changing the View by: details. I have mine set to Large icons.

In the Control Panel, click Default Programs.Control panel- default programs


Just look at all the choices you have to change default programs in your Windows OS. Remember, I have Windows 8 so your screen may look a bit different if you’re running Windows 7 or earlier.
default program screen

Here, you can not only set your default programs, but you can change associated file types, and set computer defaults. Go ahead. Open any one of these to look around.

Oh. You’re scared to? It’s okay. I’ll give you a tour first.

This is what you get when you click on Set your default programs.
Set your default Programs screen


If I click on a program listed, I’m shown the current defaults. Let’s use Paint as an example.

When I click Paint, I see this.
Paint default settings program screen

Notice under Paint’s description box it says “This program has 4 out of 14 defaults”?

If I want to know which defaults Paint is set to, I click Choose defaults for this program. This screen actually tells me how the other 10 defaults are set.
Paint Choose defaults


FYI: If I click Set this program as default instead of Choose defaults for this program (under the Set Default Programs window), everything will be reset to Paint as a default. In other words, all those boxes that aren’t checked will be checked.

WhaQuestiont? You looked back and don’t see a word processor program or spread sheet program listed in the Set Default Programs window? You’re right! That’s because they aren’t there.

To find these, we need to go to the list of all file associations. And when I say all, I mean ALL.

Here’s how.

Open (or Cancel back to) our Default Programs screen from the Control Panel.

This one:default program screen

Then click Set program access and computer defaults to find our file extensions or associations.

I’ve scrolled down to my .doc files so you can see they’re set to open with Word, and that’s what I want.
Set file associations


If I wanted to change which program a file extension/association uses to open, I would 1) click the extension to highlight it, 2) click Change program…, 3) Choose the program to set as default, then 4) Close.
Change file association screen


Congratulations! You’ve learned a lot today. How do I know? I can see the words and graphics floating out your ears. Now take a break, grab a cup of tea, and relax. You’re earned it.

Have a super rest of the week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Finding and Setting Browser Downloads

Today’s blog topic started as changing default programs. Then I realized saving images and files was intertwined with the topic, and that’s an entire lesson in itself.

So today’s blog has morphed into Finding and Setting Browser Downloads. In the next blog we’ll tackle changing our default programs in Windows.

Browser Downloads

Remember when  you Poofsaved a downloaded picture or file, and it mysteriously disappeared forever within the infinite folders associated with your OS? That’s because an OS has pre-determined areas to save your stuff.


OS is short for Operating System.aVenndiagram It’s different from your internet browser, but they work together when you download items.

Operating systems are what makes your computer work. Without them you’d have an expensive doorstop.

Have you heard the commercials for PC versus Mac?

Personal computer’s (PC) are usually preloaded with a form of the Windows OS. Mac’s are preloaded with Apple OS’s, like OS X Leopard, OS X Lion, or OS X Yosemite. There are also lesser known OS’s: Linux, Haiku, Sky, Morph, and others.

Every device that runs from a computer, no matter how small, has an OS.

fitness trackerYour cell phone probably runs Android OS, the iOS (Apple), or Windows Phone OS. Your fitness tracker usually lets you download your favorite OS so you can sync it with your computer, cell phone, etc. to track your fitness goals.


Where Do My Downloads Go?

You’ve probably already figured out by trial and error your browser’s default download location. In case you haven’t, follow along.

There are other browsers, but we’ll stick to the three most widely used: Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox. I use Firefox.

Locating Firefox Downloads:

While the download is processing, you’ll see a timer. After a download, the timer changes to a blue arrow. 1) Click the blue download arrow, 2) Right-click the item downloaded, and 3) Click Open Containing Folder.Firefox Downloads-containing folder


Locating Google Chrome Downloads:

Your download meter will show on the bottom-left of your browser window. To find where it saved 1) Click the menu bars, then 2) click Downloads.
Chrome download pic 1


A new download window will open. 3) Click Show in Folder.
Chrome download pic 2








Locating Internet Explorer Downloads:

1) Click the Settings gear in the upper right of your browser, 2) click View downloads.

IE Find Downloads

READER HELP NEEDED! I’ve messed around on IE, but can’t get saved pictures to show in Downloads like they do in Firefox or Chrome. I’ve gone to Internet Options> Advanced> Settings> Multimedia, and enabled Show Picture Download Placement and Show Pictures. Still nothing. I do have the latest version. Maybe that’s my trouble. Ha! If you know something I don’t, please tell me in the comment section. Thanks!



If you don’t like where your browser is sending your downloads, you can change it.


1) Click the top right menu bars, 2) Click Options,
Firefox change download locations pic 1

Under the General tab is your download location. You can set this as any folder you’d like. All your downloads will go there. If you want to select different locations for each download, check the radio button Always ask me where to save files. Click OK and you’re done.
Firefox change download locations pic 2



Google Chrome:

1) Click the menu bars in the top-right corner, 2) Select Settings.
Chrome Settings

3) Select Show advanced settings… option at the bottom of the window.
Advanced Setting Chrome









4) Scroll down to the Downloads area and work your magic. You can also tell Chrome to let you pick where each download goes.
Chrome change download location








Internet Explorer:

Redirecting where downloads save is much easier than finding the downloaded picture log in Internet Explorer. By the way, your pictures save in the Download folder in Windows. You can get there through the Start Menu or Charms Bar folder list.

To change where your downloads save in Internet Explorer, 1) click the Settings gear in the top-right of your browser window. then 2) View downloads.
IE Find Downloads








3)  Choose Options. In the pop-up window, tell IE where to send your downloads.
IE Change Download Location3









You’ve just customized your browser. You’re so good. Pat yourself on the back.

Now download some fun things and enjoy. And thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

 DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Faster Computing: Startup Programs

Since it’s still early in the year, we’re continuing our journey into making your computer run faster, smoother, and just happier in general.

Today we’re talking about the programs that load when you start your computer.sexy cowgirl

 Psst. Computer savvy people. This might bore you. Come back later, but… y’all come back now, ya’ hear?

There are a lot…a lot…of program downloads that stick a command to start their program when your computer boots. Why? Good question.

Many of the programs that start when your computer boots up are unnecessary. You already have designated default programs that open automatically to view photos, listen to music, read manuals, and more. We’ll talk more about setting default programs in another blog.

TERMINOLOGY: Boot, bootup or booting is a fancy word for starting a computer. Reboot means restarting a computer.

Remember when the tech people told you to reboot your computer to boot computercorrect a problem? Restarting a computer behaving badly and not playing nice will reload programs completely as well as the OS’s (Operating Systems like Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc.). Many times this fixes any command-line that hasn’t loaded quite right.

Computer programs have thousands of command-lines, and each command-line has to sync with one another for your programs to work perfectly. Sometimes command-lines don’t load correctly. Often this doesn’t cause a problem; a few times it does.

FYI: Don’t confuse a first-time program download and install with a reboot or reload of a program already saved to your computer’s hard drive. Two different creatures.

Why limit programs that load at startup?

Full boots take time because along with starting your OS, your computer usually starts many other programs as well.

Non-operating system programs booting at startup are normally iTunes (just in case you decide to listen to music), Adobe Reader (in case you want to open a program with Reader), Skype (in case someone wants to chat with you), and others. None of these are necessary, but some you definitely want to boot at startup, like your anti-virus and spyware/adware programs. That’s so our computers are protected continuously.

timeEach program booted at startup adds seconds, sometimes many, to your computer’s boot up time. What? You think a few seconds is no big deal. Um, take those seconds times thirty programs. You’re talking about taking minutes off your computing adventure.

Boot time might not be a problem if you remember to turn on your computer before you get that first cup of coffee. But many of us 1) aren’t that organized, or 2) don’t have patience to wait 3-5 minutes for a computer to boot. I fall into category two.

TIP: Computers don’t always need a full boot. That’s why we have “sleep” and “hibernate” options.

Why tweak startup programs?

Many programs tell your computer to run them, or keep them on standby in the background, when your computer starts up. This feature is designed into the commands downloaded with the program.

LagThere’s a couple of reasons you might wish to limit how many programs boot at startup. You already know about the time factor. There’s also added lag in computer response time when programs run in the background.

To stop the programs you don’t really need from starting at bootup, you must manually disable them. Enough idle chat. It’s time to learn.

Setting Your Startup Programs

The place where we adjust startup programs changed in Windows 8. In Windows 7 and before, we use the msconfig command. In Windows 8, we can still use this command, but we get a lovely message along with a link directing us to our Task Manager.

Windows 7 and Before:

1) Type msconfig into your Run area.

You remember the Run area. It looks like this on Windows 7 or before.
You find it by clicking the Start menu icon.Win 7 Run













windows key You can also get to a Run command area by depressing your Windows key + R (for Run). Remember the Windows key?  →

2) The msconfig command opens on the General tab. Click the Startup tab.

Your Startup will look like this except you’ll probably have many more programs. Yes, it could be a mess. This is a clean install of Windows 7.
Win 7 msconfig


Under the Startup Tab, click 3) Disable All. It’s okay, we’re going to re-enable our anti-virus, spyware battlers, etc. next.

Now 4) check the boxes of the programs you want to run at Startup. These should be your anti-virus, ad blockers, and anything you like to have open continuously.

Click 5) Apply, then 6) OK.

In Windows 8:

Go to Task Manager. You can get there from the link at msconfig, or you can depress all these keys at once: Alt+Ctrl+Del.

You think there are other ways to get to where we want to go? You’re right. At least another two or three, but today let’s just use one of the two I mentioned above.

Here’s what my Startup looks like in Windows 8. To change program startup I have two options.

Either 1) highlight the program I’m adjusting, then click the Enable or Disable button on the bottom right,


2) Right-click on the program name, then click Enable/Disable in the dropdown menu.

Task Mgr StartUp-Disable or Enable

Notice I leave some programs enabled because I want them available after start up, like Skype and my weather program.

 NOTE: If you don’t know what a command in Startup does, google it. See hkcmd module in mine above? This enable my hotkeys at startup. I use hotkeys so I leave them enabled. I might be able to still use them even if the command was disabled, but I don’t really feel like messing with it. Yes, if I disable something I need, I can simply come back here and re-enable it at any time.

In Windows 8, restarting your computer isn’t needed for the new settings to take effect.

In Windows 7? Honestly, I don’t remember. If you receive a prompt to restart your computer, you can restart it right way, or do what I’d do—wait until I need to shut down for some other reason. The system will remember my changes.

Put the extra minutes you’ve just found to good use. Have a great week, and thanks for following Patti’s Pathways 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

To Shred or Not to Shred

shredded paperWe’ve just started a new year. Now is a great time to sort and shred miscellaneous documents and bills you won’t need any longer.

The big question is what needs shredded versus what can be safely recycled?

Psst. Notice I said recycle and not pitch in the garbage bin. Learn from that. *wink* Recycling is easier than ever.


There’s a lot of things that you can simply recycle without the need to shred. Some of the most common are:

  • Any, and all, junk mail that aren’t credit card solicitations.
  • Miscellaneous charity soliticitations.
  • Old utility bills.
  • Receipts from your credit card with all but the last four digits X’d out.
  • The body of a letter.
  • All envelopes.

I tear off and shred the top one-third of letters and bills envelopesif it contains my name and address, particularly if it’s a notice from a financial or investment institute. I don’t want people sifting through my papers knowing where I have accounts. If it’s a standard letter, anyone can get that information from the phone book so I feel it’s not as necessary.

TIP: I don’t have a shred box at my desk, but I do haveshred box a To Shred folder and a recycle paper box. When my To Shred folder gets too full, it goes to the shredder, then usually to the recycle bin where it awaits Recycle Day.


  • Any portion of a financial statement containing your name, social security number, or account information.
  • Pre-filled credit card solicitations. You know the ones. You get these a couple of times a week.

FYI: Always write “Void” across any credit card application you’re mailing back to request removal from a mailing list.

  • Prescription receipts. Being the paranoid kind of person I am, I shred these. People don’t need to know what drugs my family or I have paid for or been prescribed. I’ve done this for years, and when HIPAA came out I felt vindicated.
  • Anything with your full credit card number.

When recycling shredded paper, check with your recycle center on how they’d like you to send it. Mine asks it be in a separate bag.

TIP: If you own a business, organize your own Recycle symbolRecycle Day. Have all department staff—essential staff can also pitch in until they’re required to answer the phone or help a customer—sort files. If you have too many documents for in-house shredding, there are reputable shredding services. Consult your Better Business Bureau and hire one.


I struggle with when to shred as much as what. The State of Washington’s Attorney General site has super info on why, what, and when to shred at What to Shred.

TIP: I have a printed copy of retention guidelines taped to the front of my To File folder, and another copy in the front of my filing cabinet.

Last Thoughts on Records:

If you’re interested in what to receive digitally in our paper-free computer society, here’s a great article at Kiplinger.com.

If you have questions about record retention for tax purposes, visit irs.gov and search recordkeeping.

I hope you’ve learned something new or gotten new ideas.

Have a great week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Food Additives and Preservatives

I’m straying far from my computer how-to genre this week. Bear with me. It’s for your own good. Yes, I do sound like your mother. But, it’s a new year, and a great time to think about your health.

1950's Family DinnerFifty years ago, there was no need to worry about what was in our food. Much of the food came from nearby farms or cities, plus not many  preservatives or additives were used.

Go into any grocery store today and find a package of your favorite food with less than three to five ingredients you can’t pronounce. Tough, isn’t it?

Never fear. Even though we’ve got a long way to go, things are getting better due to vigilant purchasers refusing to buy unhealthy foods for themselves and their families.

I’ve been researching food additives and preservatives for years. You’d be amazed at how food additives can affect our health. Sometimes in ways we can’t fathom. Check out my blog Tourette’s Syndrome and the Effect of Sweeteners.

TIP: If you or a family member has reactions that seem to be unexplainable (headaches, emotional and anger issues, attention problems, and more), research foods. Someone else has probably dealt with the same thing. If you can’t find anything helpful, it’s time to be your own detective by watching foods ingested two to six hours before the onset of symptoms.

I’ve been told my diligence in avoiding certain additives and preservatives is over-cautious, but I plan to live a long, productive life so over-cautious works for me.

In this blog, I’m only providing information. You’ll need to come to your own conclusions, and weigh how much effort you want to put into researching the food you buy.

food label readWhy do I care what’s in the foods I buy?

1) Many additives and preservatives used in the United States are  banned in Europe. Think about that one.

Why? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me since they have social medicine, their governments don’t want to pay for treatments of cancers caused by foods.

2) It is proven certain additives and preservatives adversely affect behavior in children. If these make such a difference in how children act, can they be healthy for the general public?

I’ve come to the determination you can’t stay away from every additive and preservative. Because they’re in nearly every food around us—I do shop my organic grocers often—it makes the most sense for me to focus on those suspected of causing cancer.

Researchers code additives and preservatives as H = hyperactivity, A = asthma, and C = cancer. We’re going to worry about the C’s today.

Yes, I’ve heard laboratory tests use concentrated dosages of a substance to incite cancer growth. Do I care? No. Why? Studies show the effect of the H (hyperactivity) and the A (asthma) on people in normal dosages. Can the C (cancer) be far behind?

cellI’ve also heard everyone has cancer cells in their bodies, some people just don’t battle them effectively. That’s not true. We all have damaged cells, not cancer cells. Our cells police themselves. If a cell is too damaged it will either repair or kill itself.

Jennifer Loros, Ph.D, a professor of biochemistry and genetics at Dartmouth medical school says, “Everyone has cells that have mutant proteins from DNA damage, but to say that that’s cancer would be alarmist.” She also says, “Cancer can occur when the normal checkpoints in the cell cycle are misregulated somehow and the [damaged] cell starts dividing.”

Today’s Computer Tip:  Aren’t you happy there’s one in this blog?

You can easily search the internet for additives and preservatives that trigger H (hyperactivity) and A‘s (asthma). Copy and paste a table list into a database program like MS Excel. Then you can sort your data. I sorted mine by “C”.

FYI: European labels note their preservatives using numbers so don’t be confused with this in your web searches. Most lists are sorted by number.
Europe rating

I’ve included a printable list for your wallet at the end of this blog with my recommendations, but here’s what I’ve found on additives and preservatives.

  • All added colors, except caramel and greens, have caused cancers in the laboratories.

I know. It’s nearly impossible to stay away from colorings. Just be aware that food producers are starting to use natural colorings, like turmeric. And there are some products you can buy  now without colorings; I’m specifically thinking of Gatorade’s line of clear drinks.

  • Be aware of the below C causing additives and preservatives and try to avoid them.

Aluminum, BHT/BHA, benzoic acid, biphenol/diphenol, camauba wax, carrageenan, chlorine/chlorine dioxide, cyclamic acid/cyclamate, formic acid, magnesium sulphate, orthophenyl phenol, polysorbate, polyxyl/polyxyethylene stearate, potassium acesulphame, potassium bromate, propyl gallate, insoluble polyvinylpyrrolidone (wine, beer, pharmaceuticals), saccharine, and talc.

  • Stay away from all polysorbates, (other sorbates are not C’s), nitrites, and nitrates. They’re all C’s.

NOTE: I found after this article was published potassium sorbate and calcium sorbate are preservatives which are H’s and A’s, but not C’s. However, all polysorbates are C’s. I’ve updated the wallet cheat sheet below.

  • Be aware that chewing gums use petroleum jelly, white mineral oil, and paraffin, which are C’s.

Notice I haven’t list MSG? Why?

NO MSGResearch is divided on MSG. It’s definitely an H and an A, but researchers are split on the C.

What do I do? I steer clear of MSG. If I purchase a product with it by mistake, I don’t freak. No one in my family gets headaches or other immediately hazardous reactions.

In the USA, food manufacturers hide MSG on labels due to the bad press it received.

  • MSG is currently hidden in lists as natural flavors, yeast extracts, hydrolyzed proteins, glutamic acid and caseinate.

Another giveaway are the flavor enhancers disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. In themselves, they aren’t dangerous, but they are almost always exclusively used with MSG since they themselves do nothing for flavor.

If a label says No MSG, it’s safe from MSG.

dairyOn a side note, I’m dairy intolerant so I carry a second list. Dairy intolerance is different from lactose intolerance. Lactose is specifically milk related; dairy is dairy related.

Hidden Food Label Dairy Ingredients:
*Casein/casinates * Hydrolysates *Lactalbumin/lactoglobulin/lactitol momhydrate *Nisin preparation * Nougat * Quark * Recaldent * Rennet * Simplesse * Whey *
May have milk: *Artificial flavorings * Caramel flavoring * High protein flour * rice cheese * soy cheese *

NOTE: If a label says Vegan or Dairy-free, it’s safe. If it says Non-dairy, it’s usually not. Non-dairy means no milk, but they frequently use dairy proteins as preservatives.

I’m blessed to not go into anaphylaxis. If I eat a bit of dairy, I get normal allergy symptoms: stuffy nose, watery eyes, headache, and itching of my nose plus other places people do not want to see me scratch. If I eat a lot of dairy, my muscles and joints ache as if I have a virus. Milk or dairy is poison to the body that can’t tolerate it.

I hope this post has given you information to make good food choices. Have a safe week, and thanks again for visiting Patti’s Pathways 😀

Wallet Cheat Sheet:
Note: If the back “Don’t cause cancer” says “other” in front, this means there’s at least one additive listed on the front with a similar name that does cause cancer.
additive cheat sheet





DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. On any health related blogs, I am merely giving advice that seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutrition, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.

New Year’s Computer Clean Up Resolution

happy New Year sunsetWelcome 2015 with a Faster, Cleaner, More Cooperative Computer

I don’t mean with a new computer, but if you got one for Christmas… Booya! to you. I’m talking about cleaning the crapware and extra programs from your good old ancient PC or laptop hard drive. It’ll run faster and better. Trust me. You’ll like it.

Between computer geeks I know and online gurus, I’ve got a few great suggestions for programs that take the work out of computer clean up.

Did I mention all of the programs use free software? If you’re impressed with the freebie, you can always upgrade to get more features. If you aren’t, it’s easy—and cheap—to remove and try something different.

tech money further cropDISCLAIMER: I have zero tech budget that isn’t from my own pocketbook. No software company has asked me to promote their programs.


First stop on our tour is our old friend Download.com. Remember it? No, Well, it’s your one-stop shopping headquarters for free and paid program downloads. Plus it offers editor and user reviews for all downloads. I find it super helpful to know what other people think of a product before I commit it to my hard drive, even free ones.

I’ll add direct links for most programs I’m suggesting, but download.com is a great place to find info about any program you want to check out.

Here’s a link to http://www.download.com, but for future reference when you search, it’ll look like this:Download (dot) com

NOTE ONE: the above link takes you to the Windows page. There are tabs across the top so you can search Mac, iOS, or Android applications as well.

NOTE TWO: It’s best to remove a program you don’t use or aren’t thrilled with rather than download a new one and leave them both on your harddrive. Some programs, like wayward children, don’t play well with others. I’ll tell you more about removing programs later in this blog.

ABOUT DOWNLOAD.COM: While it doesn’t covertly add extra programs you don’t want, it does have paid advertisers. Be aware of where your download is versus paid ad downloads.
Hijack This - Download


Beginner Computer Users and Beyond

Beginning computer users, this section is for you.

These programs do the work for you and you don’t have to worry that they’ll erase something they shouldn’t.

FYI: Some programs require a bit of software knowledge to use effectively (i.e. knowing which programs to keep thus not turning your computer into an expensive doorstop).

The “Beyond” in the title means these programs are equally useful for seasoned computer users, including programmers.

Must-Have Programs:

1) CCleanerCCleaner

CCleaner is a program by Piriform. It cleans unused and temporary files from your hard drive, cleans your browser history, and more. You can tweak it to clean, or not, any areas you wish.

I’ve used it for years and it’s never erased files necessary to run my computer. It’s not set to find those. Try it.

Download it here: CCleaner

Adv Sys care2) Advanced System Care

This is my current computer protection system. I say system because Advanced System Care does it all: anti-virus, system security, system optimization and clean up, even blocks malicious data stealing programs. It scans, repairs and optimizes. And that’s the free one. Upgrading to the Pro versions is very reasonable.

Get it here: Advanced System Care

malware bytes3) Malware Bytes

For removal of malicious and simply annoying programs infiltrating your computer, this is it. The free version won’t protect your computer from attack, but it’s great for removing Trojans and other hurtful viruses or adware.

Download it here: Malware Bytes

The above group of programs will clean and secure your computer causing it to run faster and safer. It’s well worth the effort.

NOTE: If you leave a cleaning program set to clear your browser cookies, it will most likely also remove your saved passwords and I.D.’s, unless a specific option is chosen to leave these alone.  But…i t’s not always a bad thing to clean I.D.’s out of your computer’s memory banks.

FYI: I never save passwords unless I don’t care if the site gets hacked.

fancy computer setupIntermediate Computer Users and Beyond

There are really good programs out there that take a bit of knowledge, patience (to research what to get rid of), or both to use. HiJack This is one of these.

1) Hijack This

This program is owned by Trend Micro, and can nose out viruses and Trojans with the best of them. Like Malware Bytes, it’s a removal tool.

With Hijack This, you’ll need to know your programs. It will remove indescriminantly… which is bad if it deletes programs needed to run your computer.

You can find it here: Hijack This

NOTE FOR BEGINNERS: You can use these types of programs, but don’t let them blanket delete anything. They’re set to scan everything, and don’t descriminate between harmful and helpful programs.

TIP: If you don’t know what something installed on your computer does, err on the side of caution and leave it alone. A google search will usually tell you about a program, file, registry entry, etc. you’re thinking of deleting, and if you should or not.

quarantined files copyMost removal tools allow you to quarantine files and this is super.

Why? Sometimes viruses disguise themselves as system files. When you quarantine a file, it’s not removed from your computer. Rather it’s stuck away in “file jail”. If you find your computer runs fine with it in jail, it was a virus and not a system file so it’s safe to permanently empty your quarantine folder.

Other Programs I’ve Used:

Windows Defender: Don’t forget about this one. It’s a nice little protective program that comes with your copy of Windows and is enabled by default.

Avast Anti-Virus: I really liked Avast when I used it. I’m not using it currently. It can be set to detect threats, but a few things sneak in anyway.

AVG Anti-Virus: For detection and removal it’s not as good as Malware Bytes, but it’s great at protecting against spyware.

Ad-Aware Anti-Virus: (by Lavasoft): I liked Ad-Aware. It didn’t find as many problems as Malware Bytes, but it did a good job.

Spybot Malware Remover:  I haven’t found anything with Spybot that Malware Bytes did’t detect, but it’s a great little program.

Comodo Anti-Virus: I wasn’t as psyched about Comodo as some techies because it evolves like artificial intelligence as it learns your computing habits. You tell it which sites and programs you want to allow each time you visit a site or install a program.

Part of my problem was when I tried Comodo I had Windows Vista as an OS. Each time I reinstalled Vista (which was often), I had to start over training Comodo. It got old fast. But you might like it. If you don’t, it’s easily removed.

Anvi Ad-Blocker: I’m currently using this. As far as I can tell, It works very well. If you wish to try it, you can find it here: Anvi Ad-Blocker

TIP: I love the notification area (that’s its name) at the bottom right of my Windows Desktop. I house all my mainentance and cleanup icons there plus a lot more.
Notification Area

BrrrrAnd yeah, that’s the actual temperature outside where I live… in Fahrenheit.

And no, I don’t live in Alaska, but sometimes the lower forty-eight are colder.

Now that we’ve talked about programs to add to your cleaning arsenal, let’s talk about removing programs you don’t want to free up memory.

Removing Unwanted Programs

Removing programs is done through your Control Panel. Remember how to access that? No? Here’s a refresher then.

 In Windows 7 and before, 1) open the start menu in the corner of your taskbar. 2) click Control Panel.
Windows 7 Control Panel

In Windows 8 and 8.1, 1) go to Settings at the bottom of your Charms Bar (hover over the top or bottom right corners of your screen to open it), and 2) Choose Control Panel.
Control Panel

In Windows 10, no clue. What? You didn’t know there was a Windows 10. Find out more about it at Welcome Windows 10!

3) In Control Panel, you have a plethora — yes, a plethora — of choices. Find the one labeled 4) Programs and Features and click on it.

Oops, don’t see it? You’re in Catagory View. Change the view to Large Icons so you have an alphabetical listing. So much easier.

Under Programs and Features, you’ll see all the individual programs you can or want to uninstall. Find any programs you currently aren’t using or don’t want, and uninstall.

TIP: If you aren’t sure what a program does, google it. I recently uninstalled my weather app — yep, the same one that says it’s 3 degrees Fahrenheit outside — by mistake. It was no biggy, but it’ll save time if you know what programs run your features.


These can be done in any order. Remember defrag and full scans take awhile, while cleaning old unused shortcuts, browser history and things with CCleaner takes less time.

1) Run CCleaner and remove the extra junk it finds.

2) Scan and enable protections with Advanced System Care.

3) Run Malware Bytes and remove extra malware it locates.

4) Uninstall from Programs and Features unused or unwanted programs.

5) Lastly, it’s time to defragment your hard drive memory.

Knowing how hard drives use memory will help you understand why defragging a hard drive speeds up your computer.

From Spotting Extra Annoying Programs:

How Hard Drive Memory is Used

Imagine your computer hard drive as a piece of graph paper. There are squares across plus up and down where we save data. The top left square gets the first item saved. We’ll pretend each square stores a byte of data.Mona Lisa

First, I save a word processing document worth ten squares (bytes). Now I’ve found a picture of the Mona Lisa I like so I’m saving it. Mona’s cost in space is five squares. So far I’ve saved fifteen squares of total data.

Oh, I forgot. I need to edit down my document; it’s too long. I erase two squares of data and re-save. I now have two open squares between my document and Mona on my hard drive.

Now I create a spreadsheet worth seven squares. Data saves in all open squares first. This means two squares of spreadsheet data are saved between my document and Mona while the last five of the seven squares save behind Mona.

This happens over and over as we save items to our hard drives. Computers slow down when we ask them to piece together an item spread out over many squares.

Defragging Your Hard Drive

In Windows 7 or before, open the Disk Defragmenter by choosing Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

In Windows 8, the name’s been changed to Optimize Drives.
defrag win 8

FYI: Obit (Advanced System Care) has a Smart Defrag program that does the same thing.

Happy New year snowAfter you’ve tried the things I’ve suggested above, you should be pleased with how well your computer works.

Have a Happy New Year’s and a very productive 2015. And thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.