By Nerino Petro at 21 March, 2012, 4:05 pm
Everyone likes useful websites and tools and we like free and open source tools that work even better. However, many websites and utilities that claim to be helpful are actually full of malware, viruses, rootkits and other little computer nasty's that will make your computer life a living hell. So how do you know what tools and websites are safe? Turn to trusted resources such as this blog or blogs by folks like Jim Calloway, Reidt Trautz, Courtney Kennady or the blogs the rest of my fellow Practice Management Advisors ("PMAs"). You will find a consolidated feed of all PMA blogs on this page at the Stae Bar of Wisconsin. You can also use and websites such as www.pcworld.com, www.cnet.com, www.howtogeek.com, makeuseof.com and many others. Today, I've got a couple of websites to help you keep your ISP honest as well as a few utilities for backing up or working with FTP sites.
You pay your ISP every month for a certain amount of bandwidth, but how do you know if you are actually receiving what you pay for? Two sites that can help you keep your ISP honest are Speedtest.net and DSL Reports.com. You can also get to DSL Reports by going to Broadband Reports Speedtest allows you to check the upload and download speeds of your internet connection as well as recording this information for later comparison or well as gathering statistics that others can share. You can also run a pingtest to check the quality of your connection. DSL Reports has been around for a number of years and includes a number of speed testing tools. You will find the speed test under the Tools menu along with tests for line quality, Tweak Test and more. They also report on and review ISPs, and have user forums. I’ve used the site for years for speed testing, but I will say though that Speedtest is more visually appealing.
If you have been hit by malware, be sure to point download and run the free version of Malwarebytes. This free tool (and the paid version as well), have been a "go to" tool for computer technicians for years.
If your browser still gets redirected after running Malwarebytes, you may have a rootkit hiding on the system. One of the worst out there right now is TDSS. If you think that this might be the problem, try Kaspersky’s free TDSSKiller. Read about it at http://bit.ly/GLZwlO
Backup is not an option, it's a necessity. There are a number of terrific commercial products available like Rebit and Acronics True Image Home and Windows 7 even comes with its own free backup software. However, if you want an alternative to the free Windows 7 backup there are some free options available. While they may not be not as full featured as the commercial products, they have a huge following of users that prefer a free resource. If you're looking for a free alternative to Windows 7 built-in backup for home, check out EaseUS ToDo Backup Free 4.0 or if you prefer a disk cloning solution check out the FOSS Clonezilla