Ira Wilsker's archive

One of the popular categories of PC software is the type that can perform comprehensive system analysis and repair, probably leading to improved system performance. There are quite a few of these utilities available, both as freeware and as paid commercial products. Many of these utilities have previously been reviewed in this column with comments from readers indicating a general high level of satisfaction with most of them.

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An old tradition on Thanksgiving morning in my extended family has been to gather around a fat newspaper loaded with Black Friday ads and plot and conspire about where and when to go to get the bargains. It is only relatively recent history that stores started Black Friday at a minute after midnight or at four in the morning; prior to these insane opening times, most major stores opened at seven or eight a.m., a more civilized time to commence the fray.

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There are several excellent “all in one” Windows system cleaners available. These system cleaners might be able to improve system performance by cleaning the hard drive, managing the startup, tweaking internal Windows settings, cleaning and optimizing the registry, improving Internet speeds, and performing a host of other system maintenance functions.

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Cyber security is a concern and a necessity at all levels. Computers and networks operated by governments, businesses, academia and other associations and agencies have been prime targets of cyber attack, but the number and rate of attacks on privately owned personal computers and smart devices has become explosively endemic.

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Every fall, industry releases its new “year” of models; we see new cars, new appliances — and new security software. Many (but not all) PC, Mac and smart device security software publishers typically allow the user of a 2012 version to upgrade to the 2013 version, often at no charge, for the balance of the original license period.

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