Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

October 2015
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October already, where does the time go? I want to thank everybody who came by my booth at Medfield Day - it was a really lovely day, and I enjoyed talking to all of you.

This month's issue is all about saving you some money - either with free software or services, or by extending the life of your current system with a worthwhile upgrade. PC or Mac users, there's something in here for everybody, so I hope you find something that works for you!

FYI, I will be taking a vacation in the middle of October, from the 14th to the 21st. As always I can be reached via cell or email to answer questions and handle emergencies.

Julie Marto 

508-333-8176 (cell)

P.S. If you drop off a system with me for a flat rate service, ask about a Windows 10 upgrade - if I think it's a good idea for your system I'll upgrade it at no additional charge!
Don't pay for what should be free!

Every day I go into your homes and find you paying for things that should be free. Here's a list of the most common things you might not need to pay for.
  • AOL - the number one program people pay for unnecessarily,  AOL has been free for years, but you have to "change your AOL MyBenefits plan" to cancel your payments, and they don't make the process obvious or easy. The ONLY reason you should be paying for AOL is if you are still using dial-up internet somewhere (for example, at your vacation home), but I haven't seen a client who uses dial-up for years. If you are still paying for AOL, please click here to begin the steps to change your price plan - you will need to know your master log in and password, and have the answer to your security question. If you need help, this one is worth having me over for a home visit!
  • Norton Antivirus for Comcast customers - Or, really, ANY paid anti-virus program for Comcast customers. I highly recommend Norton Antivirus as a virus protection program, but am often surprised to find Comcast customers with a separate paid subscription for it. Comcast includes Norton for up to 7 home computers with every account. If you are a Comcast customer, and you are paying for Norton, you have a few steps to follow. First log in to your Norton account and make sure that you are not on an "auto-renewal" plan. Then go to Programs and Features and uninstall your current version of Norton. Finally, go to this link and download and install the free version of Norton provided by Comcast.
  • A subscription to Microsoft Office - if you are upgrading your computer and you have a current license for Microsoft Office 2007 or newer, you don't need to buy a new version - I can just install your older version onto your new system. Alternatively, there are two good free Office alternatives, LibreOffice and OpenOffice, that you can download and install. A subscription to Microsoft Office is a great deal if you have multiple users sharing it, especially if you use Microsoft Outlook, but if you are just one non-power user there are a lot of cheaper alternatives!
Speed up your slow system with an SSD upgrade!

It's bound to happen - one day you have a bright, shiny, fast new computer, and then a few years down the road you realize that it's somehow gotten slower than molasses. I do a lot of cleaning, tweaking, and optimizing to try to bring new life to older systems, but lately I have upgraded a few with SSD's and been amazed at the performance boost. 

An SSD is a replacement for the mechanical hard drive - the main storage device in your computer. A mechanical hard drive works much like a record player, with platters spinning and an arm moving to physically read and write data. An SSD (Solid State Drive) is purely electronic - no moving parts - and as such is much faster and more reliable than a mechanical drive. SSD's are also lighter and use less power than mechanical drives, contributing to longer battery life on a laptop. 

Until recently prices for SSD's were so high as to make this type of upgrade cost prohibitive. However, I have recently seen sales prices of $70.00 for a 240GB drive, and $150 for a 500GB drive. As the increased speed of an SSD upgrade is truly remarkable, I would highly recommend investigating this upgrade as an alternative to replacing a 3-5 year old system. This is a particularly good option for an older  MacBook Pro. Each case is unique, so if you are interested in pursuing this option give me a call and we can discuss the age of your system, the current specs, and whether this is a practical route for you to follow.  
More Free Stuff!

Classic Windows Games - Do you miss the free games you enjoyed in Windows XP, Vista and 7? For whatever reason, Microsoft removed them in Windows 8, and now wants you to install an advertising supported app to play solitaire. Well, don't worry - I have pulled the old free games from Windows XP and stored them on my website! Simply follow this link and click on Windows XP Games.zip to download the folder to your desktop. Extract the files, and you will be back playing Hearts, Solitaire, Minesweeper,  Freecell or Spider Solitaire in no time! 

Free Unopened HP Printer SuppliesWhen people replace their printers they often have extra supplies they've purchased for their old printers and can no longer use. I've collected a small stockpile of supplies given to me during printer upgrades, and would love to find them a good home. This stuff is pretty specific, so check your own printer supplies, and if they match items on this list give me a call! 


  • 2 HP 901XL Black Cartridges
  • 1 HP 901 Black Cartridge
  • 1 HP 96 Black Cartridge
  • 1 HP 97 Color Cartridge
  • 1 HP 15A Laserjet Print Cartridge