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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, February 22, 2015

In this Issue:
Special Feature: How to Test Your PC for the New "Superfish" Security Vulnerability
Special Feature: Your Mac Computer - Getting started with OS X- Applications and Windows
Special Feature: iPad Basics: Getting to Know the iPad
Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Defrag
Websites of Interest: February is Black History Month; Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling; The Oscars


Special Feature: How to Test Your PC for the New "Superfish" Security Vulnerability

By Thorin Klosowski of lifehacker.com

Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in a piece of adware called Superfish that makes your computer vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. Superfish ships preloaded on many Lenovo computers, but can also be installed on any machine.

What Superfish Is

Superfish is basically your run-of-the-mill adware software, but with some big security holes. Lenovo pre-installed it on some computers sold between October 2014 and December 2014, but any Windows computer can be infected. At its core, Superfish is meant to place advertisements in your web browser. The problem is that the software also intercepts encrypted traffic, which opens up your computer to man-in-the-middle attacks (which work similar to the Heartbleed security bug from last year).

Here's what's going on and how to test if you're infected.



Special Feature: Your Mac Computer - Getting started with OS X- Applications and Windows

From gcflearnfree.org

Whether you're new to computers or just new to OS X, it's important to learn the basics of using your computer. If it all seems a little overwhelming right now, don't worry! We'll take you through it step by step and show you some of the most fundamental things you'll need to know.

Working with Applications and Windows

An application—also known as a program—is a type of software that allows you to complete tasks on your computer. OS X comes with many applications you can use. For example, if you want to browse the Internet, you can use Safari, the built-in web browser for OS X. One of the easiest ways to open an application is by clicking its icon on the Dock.

Use this link to learn about Applications and Windows and watch an informative video:

In our next newsletter: Shutting Down Your Computer


Special Feature: iPad Basics: Getting to Know the iPad

From gcflearnfree.org

Once you have an iPad, your next step should be learning about the physical features of the device and the accessories that come with it. This includes learning about the different buttons and ports and how to turn the device on and off.

Use this link to learn to learn more:

In our next newsletter: Charging the battery and care and protection


Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Defrag

As your Windows computer ages, its speed can decrease. You will notice an increase in response time when you give commands to open programs, files or folders, use the Internet and other tasks. There are several things you can do to speed up your computer.

In our ongoing series, Speed Up a Slow Computer, we will present articles discussing some of the steps you can take to speed up your slow computer.

Important: Before making any changes to your system, always create a Restore Point. If anything goes wrong with the changes you make, this will allow you to revert back to a point when the computer was operating correctly. Please visit our Newsletter Archives to read our article, All About Restore Points:

Speed Up a Slow Computer – Defrag

When a file is stored on your hard disk, it's often split into separate fragments. Fragmentation occurs naturally when you use a disk frequently: creating, deleting, and modifying files. At some point, the operating system needs to store parts of a file in noncontiguous places on the disk. You can't see the fragments, and you can't stop this fragmenting from occurring, but it can slow down the speed at which data is accessed because the disk drive must search through different parts of the disk to put together a single file.

However, you can defrag your system. This is the term used for reorganizing the data on your Hard Disk into a more logical sequence, which means taking all those scattered fragments of files and piecing them back together where they belong. This helps free more hard drive space and makes the accessing of files a speedier process; your Hard Disk will work quicker and more efficiently.

To defrag the drive, open My Computer, Computer, or This PC (depending on your version of Windows), right-click the c: drive icon, and choose Properties. Click the Tools tab, and click Defragment Now.

This will probably be a lengthy process, depending on the size of your hard drive and number of files.


Question: Defrag Does Not Work

I am trying to defragment my computer. When I open Disk Defragmenter and do an analysis, it tells me I should defrag but every time I try, it stops on 2%. What am I doing wrong?

You are not doing anything wrong. It is possible that some program is running in the background which is causing defrag to terminate. Try this:

Turn your computer off and back on again. Before the computer completely restarts, right after the first beep, press the F8 key (on the top row of the keyboard). You should then see a list of startup options.

If the computer goes to the desktop without showing the startup option, you did not press the F8 key at the right time. This is a tricky process; the key has to be pressed at exactly the right time. Turn the computer off and then restart. As soon as the computer begins to start, keep tapping the f8 key until the Startup Options appear.

Select Safe Mode.

Start Disk Defragmenter again. It should run all the way through this time. After it is complete, shut the computer down and start it again. It will come back in normal mode.

When Windows starts in safe mode, it opens a minimum of auto start programs and drivers. Any programs that are causing your defrag to cease working may not be running in safe mode.

In our next edition, Disable Indexing Services.


Websites of Interest:

February is Black History Month

This website celebrates Black History Month with biographies, reference links, a civil rights timeline, and much more.

Little-Known Black History Figures Who Made a Big Change

Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

The Oscars
Nominations, predictions, winners, and red carpet fashion at 87th Academy Awards.