3 tips for optimising Windows 10

Windows 10 might be the best OS that Microsoft has released to date, but even with its improvements, it can still sometimes be a little sluggish. Happily, there are much easier ways to get it back up to speed. There are a great many things that you can do to improve performance, but here we’ll focus on the three things that are the simplest to do while still being effective.

Uninstall the extras

No matter what brand of PC you buy, you have pre-installed programs that the manufacturer includes. Some of these might come in handy, but many are unnecessary and will consume valuable RAM. You can uninstall these by right-clicking on the Start button and choosing “Programs and Features” or by simply clicking Start and then choosing “all apps”. Once under the “all apps” menu, you can scroll through and find those programs you want to get rid of. When you find one, simply right-click and choose “uninstall”. It’s that easy to lighten your PC’s load.

Scale down your startups

In previous versions of Windows, managing your startup processes was a bit tough to do as it involved the msconfig program which wasn’t exactly easy to use. It took a bit of know-how to get into it and make the changes. Starting with Windows 8.1 and continuing in Windows 10, the startup management process has been made much more straightforward. All you have to do is open the Task Manager which can be done either by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC or by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting the Task Manager option in the menu. Once you’re in, switch over to the “Startup” tab. There you’ll be able to see all of the programs that currently load when Windows starts up. There are columns showing you startup impacts for every program. Simply right-click on an entry in order to change its status. This allows you to prevent unnecessary programs from starting when Windows does, which will help you speed things up a bit.

Clean out the clutter

Our third tip is one that may or may not affect you, but it’s important nonetheless. Sometimes, your PC can slow down simply because your hard drive is getting full, which in turn affects your Windows paging file. This can cause lag and sluggish performance, especially if you’re running a machine with 4GB or less of RAM. Windows 10 uses fewer resources than its predecessors, but it can still be a factor. To clean up your hard drive, go to the Start menu and type in “disk cleanup”. This will take you to a handy utility that will show you what junk files are cluttering up your hard drive and allow you to safely remove them.

These are just the basics, but these tips can definitely help you bring your Windows 10 up a notch in terms of performance. And if you need professional IT support to help you with the more technical stuff, get in touch with the friendly and knowledgeable team here at Rapid IT Support today.

3 simple fixes for common IT problems

Nothing is perfect – especially when it comes to computers, which can run into all kinds of problems day to day.

These can range from very serious issues like malware, viruses and hacking to the more common but still annoying issues like poor performance and faulty keyboards. The serious issues should be tacked with professional IT support and repair services. But sometimes the best fix is the simplest…

Dust it off

Sometimes a computer is running poorly or won’t function properly because, dust has built up on integral components causing overheating issues. By blowing compressed air into the machine – a  you can allow airflow to cool components more efficiently.

But even though this may fix the problem initially, there could be deeper problems with the machine, and if it continues to run poorly, pull your punches and get a professional to look at it.

Turn the computer on and off

Many computers are left on constantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even if the computer is resting with a screen saver, it’s still turned on, and even machines need to take a break.

If your computer is running slowly or doing funny things, reboot it or turn it off for a while. This will often solve the little issues you’re having, allowing the computer’s systems to reset themselves, install necessary updates or just take a rest.

Check your broadband connection

Slow running speed is one of the most common computer problems – but often it’s not the machine’s fault.

Even if you have full Wi-Fi signal or a strong connection, if a web page or web application is taking too long to load, check your router is working properly before you blame the computer.

Take the long-term view

Computers are vital to our day-to-day professional and private lives. We use them so often and so much that problems will inevitably arise. Small problems like slow running time can be alleviated with these simple solutions, but often the small things are signs of larger problems. That’s why it pays to have a professional IT service supporting you. In the long run, you need to be vigilant, so that when problems do come along, you have support in place to handle them.

Top 5 most damaging computer viruses

We all know that computer viruses can be damaging, and the worst of them can have numerous consequences. Here are the top five most damaging computer viruses and their effects.

(1) Stuxnet

You may have seen it on the news, or heard about it in passing, but this virus was widely feared in 2009 for its effects on the real world. As the lines between the physical and virtual become blurred, so do the effects of virtual attacks. Stuxnet worked by attacking the software of industrial systems. In practice, it was used to cause centrifuges in an Iranian uranium facility to spin out of control and self-destruct. The possible physical applications of this virtual virus is what made it top of this list.

(2) Agent.btz

By making its way onto thumb-drives, this virus installs software onto the target computer and steals data from its system. Its most notable target was, in fact, the Pentagon. When it was discovered on their systems in 2008 they prohibited the further use of thumb-drives and subsequently, the U.S. Cyber Command was created.

(3) Slammer

In 2003 this virus wreaked mayhem on various servers by releasing packets of disruptive data. The servers it attacked weren’t harmless, either; it brought 911 services down and even had an impact on the bank of America.

(4) PoisonIvy

PosionIvy is every computer user’s worst nightmare. Once installed, this piece of software enables the perpetrator to access all aspects of your system externally. It’s known, in the business, as a remote access trojan and the damage potential is endless. The hacker can use your webcam and audio recording devices, change passwords and easily access confidential information. This virus, too, has been used to launch damaging attacks in the professional sphere, hitting Western firms in 2005.

(5) Conficker virus

This computer worm emerged circa 2009. A remote access trojan itself, it attacked millions of machines. The interesting thing about the conficker virus though, was that it was never used for any malicious purpose. It was wide-spread and the damage potential was immense but luckily, nothing ever came of it.

Now that you can see the damaging potential of computer viruses, you can see how important virus removal services and IT support services are. With these sort of programs out there, why wait? Protect yourself today.

Can my Mac get a virus?

Apple products used to be regarded as virtually infallible, but as iPhones, iPads and Macbooks continue to grow in popularity, unscrupulous hackers have concocted new ways of infecting our beloved gadgets.

While, to some extent, it’s true that your Macbook is less likely to be infected by malware than a Windows device (due to its in-built malware detection capabilities), you should still be vigilant. Here are three tips on how to keep your Macbook safe from unscrupulous hackers.

1. Keep everything up-to-date

Software developers stop offering support for older products, leaving your system open to attack; that’s just the way it is. To ensure your system is always fully protected, check your Mac is automatically searching for, and installing, updates. To do this, go into ‘System Preferences’, open the ‘App Store’ tab and tick the ‘Automatically check for updates’ and ‘Install system data files and security updates’ boxes.

2. Download ClamXav

While Macs tend to be protected from the majority of the malware that affects its closest rival, your computer could still contain infected files that could decimate a Windows device. To protect Windows users, download the ClamXav app https://www.clamxav.com/download.html. This will scan your Mac and clean any files it identifies as posing a danger.

3. Invest in some anti-virus software

Despite the promises of Apple and the best intentions of its OS X developers, an operating system can never be completely 100% invulnerable to threats. Only two years ago, the Rootpipe issue [http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/former-nsa-staffer-finds-new-way-to-abuse-rootpipe-vulnerability-in-os-x/] was discovered, allowing an attacker with certain access to fully control a machine without the need for authentication. Modern hackers are also a lot subtler than their predecessors, and many instances of malware simply go undetected, as there are no noticeable symptoms, such as slower performance.

For peace of mind, it’s worth investing in reputable antivirus software, such as Avast & Kaspersky. Regularly perform scans and remember: don’t click on or download anything if you don’t know what it is!

If your business is in need of Apple Mac support, or you have any questions regarding computer virus removal, get in touch – we offer remote, 24/7 support.

Ten Ways to protect your computer from Spyware and Malware – Part Two

In our last blog, we discussed five ways to protect your computer from Malware and Spyware. This blog will continue and will present the five additional steps for protecting your computer from viruses.

Disable Autorun

A lot of viruses attach themselves to a USB drive and get installed automatically upon connecting to a computer. To avoid this, make sure that you disable the Windows Autorun feature. But this should be done according to Microsoft’s recommendation, as they differ with your operating system.

Avoid opening unknown Email Attachments

We frequently hear about avoiding unknown links or attachments in an email, sometimes computer users forget this and their systems become infected! We are not aware of the source of these links and attachments and clicking on them might just mean that we are compromising our computer’s security. Viruses in these links and attachments can corrupt Windows within minutes.

Smart Surfing

Browser plug-ins, link protections and automatic pop-up blockers help protect against phishing attacks, where an attempt is being made to steal your personal and financial information. You should never enter your personal or financial information on a website unless you have manually intended to go to the page. Instead of clicking on a link from your email, enter the URL in a web browser yourself. Going to the page through the link in your email may lead you to a fake or fraudulent website and all your information can be stolen.


There are many instances where we disable a firewall altogether. Such instances arise when we face problems in sharing printers, access network resources etc. However, what we are not aware of is that firewalls help to protect computers from a wide variety of viruses, malicious traffic, malwares etc. To protect your computer from a virus attack, it should be secured behind a firewall.

Looking for professional computer virus removal services? We, at Rapid IT Support, make sure that we protect your computer from all types of viruses! Click here for more information.

Is It Time to Upgrade Your PC?

Today, it is almost impossible to imagine a life without computers. With developments in the past few decades, they have become an integral part of homes as well as the business world.

Although computers offer innumerable advantages to both individuals and businesses, they can turn out to be a disaster if not managed properly. When computers are experiencing problems, your business may suffer from lost sales, unproductive employees, and missed opportunities. On the other hand, they may bring about extreme frustration and exasperation on a personal level.

In order to help you avoid system failures, here is a quick look at some of the most common signs indicating it’s time to replace your computer.

Your Computer is Working Too Slow

If you find that your programs are taking too long to load, are failing at opening files, or that the computer is making strange noises during operation, it might be a sign of problems in the hard disk. The problem may either result from wear and tear or due to a fault in the internal parts.

As soon as you notice these signs, assess the drive and back up your data just to be safe. Preferably, you should contact a professional computer support service to inspect your system, while protect the existing data.

You are Having Internet Issues

Poor internet performance that is not attributable to your ISP or router may be a sign of malware potentially using your bandwidth. Eventually, the problem may make internet browsing impossible, and even cause permanent damage to your computer.

Check the bandwidth usage through a bandwidth meter to see how your network is being used. If bandwidth is being consumed when you are not using your computer, your system is perhaps infected.

In order to fix the problem, contact a professional computer network support to remove malware and install an updated security system to keep your computer safe and protected from future threats.

You Are Running Out of Space

If your computer does not have enough space for additional software or is unable to accommodate your exceeding system demands, you simply need a new PC.

Whether it is your home PC or an office system, it is of no use managing a storage crisis on a daily basis, so it is better to think about your long term requirements and plan for the future.

With our help, you can get free assessment of your computer anytime during business hours. To request an assessment, contact us now!

[SOLVED] Windows 8.1 Black Screen

[SOLVED] Windows 8.1 black screen with cursor bug – black screen of death

Ah, Windows 8.1. Its been a bit of a hassle lately with issues of screen blinking and black screen of death. A lot of our clients have experienced this issue which disables their computers and displays the cursor in front of a black screen. Understandably people have got frustrated and stressed about losing their files. In this post we will explain the possible ways this bug is tripped and how you can repair it.

Why this issue occurs:

The information is limited, but most clients have explained that the computer finished an update and restarted. The Windows 8.1 Black Screen bug then presented itself on reboot, locking them out of their computer and their files. Other users claim that no update was applied, they just restarted their computers and the black screen problem appeared. Just like the flickering screen issue, we believe this issue to occur due to a driver or program conflict during startup. This can be caused either by an update or by possible failure of the hardware or software. Due to the random nature of the bug we can’t advise with absolute certainty what causes it. But, we can show you how to fix it.

How to fix the problem:

Ok, “the solution”. It’s not a straight forward fix. We have seen computers continue to fail after the repair; and some start to work as normal with no loss of files or programs. We will show you what steps to take sequentially with the final option of refreshing your computer if all else fails. We know refreshing  your computer will lose your programs, but your files, pictures and documents are. In this guide we show you 3 ways to solve the Windows 8.1 black screen with cursor bug:

  1. Changing your startup settings and repairing the faulty drivers.
  2. Performing a system restore to wind back changes to your system since update
  3. Refresh your computer.

How to put Windows 8.1 into recovery mode:

To begin, we need to put the computer into recovery mode. This can be quite difficult if you don’t have access to the operating system but it is possible. First of all if you’re working on a laptop, check the manufacturer’s website for instructions. Most laptops have a recovery partition stored on their hard drives and you can usually access this by pressing one of the F-Keys on your keyboard as the system boots up. Try F11 as this is the most common, however it does change per manufacturer so if it didn’t work for you, check your manual or the web. This method will also work with most modern desktop PC’s built from the large manufacturers.

If that didn’t work and you have a Windows 8.1 DVD lying around, pop it in and boot from the DVD. When the DVD loads you will be given an option to repair your computer from the main menu, select this and you will be placed into recovery mode.

If all else fails, the last resort is to force your computer to automatically diagnose boot issues. This a last effort attempt as we don’t recommend intentionally crashing your system on startup. However, for some this may be the only option. The method is simple. As the computer is booting, hold down the power button on your computer till the computer turns off (force shutdown). Then turn the computer on again and repeat until you see a message saying “diagnosing your PC”. After this prompt you will be placed into recovery mode.

Solution 1: Changing your startup settings and repairing the faulty drivers

Step 1: Once in recovery mode, select “troubleshoot”

Step 2: Select “advanced options”

Step 3: Select “startup settings”

 Step 4: Once at the startup options screen press F4 to place your computer into safe mode

Once in safe mode go to control panel -> system -> device manager  and open display devices. Then uninstall any video cards that are listed and restart the system. When the computer starts windows it will re-install the graphics cards drivers. From this point we recommend updating your video drivers from the manufacturer’s website; and restarting your computer again to complete the installation.

Solution 2: Perform a system restore to wind back changes to your system.

Follow the steps to get into recovery mode again. Then once in recovery mode..

Step 1: Select “troubleshoot”

Step 2: Select “advanced options”

Step 3: Select “System Restore”

Once you start the system restore select the date before the last crash happened. if you can’t see a date old enough, click on the check box to see older restores. Select the most appropriate restore point and complete the restore process. The computer will restart and login to windows normally. This repair may take some time, so stay calm if it looks paused. It’s doing the work in the background.

Solution 3: Refresh you computer to reset all settings

If all else fails then a system refresh should resolve your problem. When performing a system refresh 3rd party programs will be removed (Microsoft Office, MYOB, Skype etc). However, your files, documents, pictures and other personal data will stay on the PC. Warning: DO NOT PRESS SYSTEM RESET – if you do, your personal files will be deleted.

With that said, lets continue on and refresh your pc. As mentioned earlier, use the same steps to get into recovery mode. Then…

Step 1: Select “Troubleshoot”

Step 2: Select “advanced options”

Step 3: Select “refresh your PC”

When you press refresh your PC, you will be prompted with information about the refresh. You may also be prompted for an administrator password to continue. Once the refresh is completed you will be returned to your desktop as it was before the bug. This process will also take some time to complete.


That’s it, If you followed the steps your system will be restored back to operation. As a precaution, if you do succeed in logging back into your system go to the Microsoft Support website and download their update to prevent your system from crashing again. Follow the link bellow to download the update:


If the above steps didn’t resolve your issue, you may have a more serious bug and may need a full re-install of the system. If you haven’t backed up your system then you may need to organise a onsite technician to back up your data and reinstall. Good luck, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave us a message or chat with us with the chat system provided.

ALGORITHM: The Hacker Movie

Very interesting movie about hackers and the hidden exploits of our personal information by government agencies (Specifically America, however this could easily happen globally). Food for thought. We give it 3.5/5 stars.