Archive for Tech Tip

Boost Your Privacy Folks!

Change Your Search Engine

It’s no secret that search engine providers like Google, Bing, and Yahoo track and record your search queries and either sell that data, or build a profile on you for the purpose of displaying targeted ads on your computer screen.

If you want to beef up your online privacy, you can remove these search engines from your web browser (i recommend Firefox), and install my following three recommended search engines in their place.

The most straight forward of the three is SearX. SearX claims to not collect any logs, displays no ads, and does not engage in any tracking. It is decentralized with nodes around the world so you can pick one from a country that you feel the most comfortable with. is based in the Netherlands and promises Google search results with complete privacy protection. As they state on their website “we’re paying them (Google) to use their brilliant search results in order to remove all trackers and logs.”

Another choice is DuckDuckGo. They also claim to not track any of your searches, nor do they store your search history so they couldn’t sell it if they wanted to. Your personal information is also not collected at any time, so no risk of it being shared out either.

All three of these search engines claim to not track or log your activity in any way. StarPage is based in the Netherlands, and they have very strong privacy laws. Duckduckgo is based in the United States, in Paoli, Pennsylvania to be precise. Both the Netherlands and the US are part of the 9 Eyes group of countries that share intelligence data. It is also known that 5 Eys, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes groups of countries can and do spy on each others citizens, and the data is shared back. You can start here with this info:

So, having said that, these search providers do provide a great service, providing search facilities and not tracking your movements nor logging your search queries. I recommend you stop using Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search provider that doesn’t respect your personal data and your privacy.

While changing out your search providers in Firefox isn’t terribly difficult, if you value your privacy and would prefer I set it all up for you, give me a call and we can set up a time that is convenient for you.

Surf Safely folks!

Wayne Goldsmith
GoldTek Computer Services

Easy Tip to Boost Your Online Privacy!

Online privacy is more important than ever, and sometimes it’s the little things that can help make a real difference.

More and more people are becoming concerned about the idea that their activities online are being tracked, and that they could be identified and the information used against them.

There is no “one thing” that can keep your activity online perfectly private, except not going online at all. That’s just not practical in today’s world though.

Changing your DNS settings to a DNS server that does not log or track your DNS resolver requests is a way to help keep your activity much more private.

Who would want to look your activity up? Well, depending on your activity, it could be the police, it could be a suspicious spouse, or it could just be your Internet Service Provider (ISP) selling the info to companies like Google. Yes, this happens all the time.

What the heck is DNS anyway? Well, the quick answer is that when you type ”” into the address bar of your web browser, your computer sends that to a DNS server to have our language translated into a numerical address that it can understand, which in this case would be “”. Once it has that address it fetches Facebook’s website back to your web browser for you to use.

At this time the most private DNS servers I can find are at DNS.Watch located in Germany. They claim to not log anything at all so your activity can not be gone through later via this avenue. As well they perform their DNS translations (also called “resolving”) very quickly as I have not noticed any increased lag while surfing the web after adding them to my network configuration.

Changing your preferred DNS servers is not terribly difficult, and in fact DNS.Watch offer How-To’s for Windows, Mac, and Linux which you can work through to make the changes.

As always, if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself you can call me and we can arrange to get this done for you at your convenience.

Surf Safely Folks!

Wayne Goldsmith
GoldTek Computer Services

When Windows 7 is Gone in 2020, What Will You Do?

Windows 7 Coming to an End

It’s official, Windows 7 support will end on January 14, 2020. What does that mean to you at home?  After this date, your PC running Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates or any other sort of patching by Microsoft.  In this day and age where cyber security breaches are always in the news, this is a big deal.

Many people think they’ll be fine if they keep their anti-virus up to date, but, they are wrong.  Anti-virus vendors are not in the business of guarding against fundamental security flaws in the operating system.  They, like everyone else, rely on the vendor to patch these holes in a timely manner.

2020 is just over six months away, not that far off, and that time will go by much faster than you may realize.  You need to start thinking about what you are going to do about this.  There are several options for you to consider.

Buy a new computer with Windows 10 installed.
This is how many people will solve this issue.  They feel they’ve had their current computer quite a long time so a new one seems like a good choice.

Upgrade your current computer to Windows 10.
This is also a viable solution for many Windows 7 users out there.  As long as your hardware is robust enough to cope with the increased demands of Windows 10 this should work just fine.  You will have to purchase a copy of Windows 10 and install it.  This will cost you anywhere from $139.00 US for the Home version all the way up to $199.00 US for the Pro version.  Most home users do not require the Pro version.

Some people will move to a new operating system.
I’m always impressed when people branch out and try something new in their computer world.  Two other operating systems you could potentially move too are Linux and Mac OS.

Mac OS is a definite favourite of mine, it runs exactly the same way 99.99999% of the time when I turn it on, as it did when I turned it off.  No inexplicable weirdness, very stable, and everything “just works”.  Anti-Virus and Malware scanners and cleaners are really only needed to make sure you don’t pass something on to your Windows friends.  Yes, there are virus strains and malware out there for Mac OS, but it’s not mainstream and you won’t run into them doing normal everyday web surfing etc.  If you live your cyber life on the edge, you would have a better chance of catching something there.  So, while it’s not a bad idea to have an anti-virus suite on your Mac, it’s not life and death like it is for a Windows user.

Now, you can only use Mac OS on Apple Macintosh computers.  Mostly.  There are several sneaky ways of running Mac OS on other hardware, or in a virtual machine, but that is not a project for the average computer user.  Macintosh hardware, while of extremely high quality and excellent specifications, can really surprise some people with the price tag.  I personally do think they are worth the extra bucks.

Wipe out windows and replace it with Linux on your current computer.
This is a great option for people with older hardware who are also not in the position to buy something new, or pay for the new version of Windows.  At this time, my personal favourite Linux distribution is called Linux Mint, but there are many others available.  Linux is a free and open source operating system that is fast, efficient, easy on your disk space, and runs very well on older hardware.  Under the hood, Linux is a cousin of Mac OS down deep, so they share all the same traits that make them reliable, more secure, and far more private than Windows (Windows 10 collects reams of information about you).

So there you go folks, there are several ways to get past Windows 7 and move into a modern operating system.  My favourite option here is moving to Linux, so much more cost effective and so similar to what you’ve been using, your learning curve would be a very gentle incline indeed.

If you need assistance moving on from Windows 7, or if you’d like to talk about moving to Linux, feel free to contact me at 250-485-7146 or email me at and I would be happy to discuss it with you.

War Thunder Update Issues

The other day I went to play War Thunder and the launcher required an update to the game to proceed.  I naturally agreed whole-heartedly, without reservation, and let things happen.

Getting towards the end of the process, an error message pops up, saying that I did not have the required permissions to perform certain actions, actions that were never defined.

In the end, I allowed full control over the whole War Thunder folder, and it’s contents, and that solved the issue.  If you have the time, you could add Full Control to each user or group attached to the folder (Possibly ‘Trusted Installer’ would actually save the day) one at a time to see which is the user/group that needs the access to the War Thunder folder.

Open Request to any and all PC Diagnostic Utility software makers.

Dear sirs!  You know what I want?  I want PC diagnostic utilities that I can run from my iOS device such as my iPhone or iPad.  I envision connecting to the PC via a USB port and proceeding to scan the drive and repair file structure damage ala chkdsk, defrag, scan for viruses and malware, disk file cleanup and registry cleaning and defrag, and navigate in the file system.  What a boon for tech’s doing PC repair like myself!!

Moving Mail Across Windows Versions

Recently I was helping a client move their data from their old Windows XP machine to a new Windows 7 unit.  They were concerned about changes in the mail program that Windows 7 provides compared to their old Outlook Express.  They asked if Mozilla Thunderbird would be a good equivalent mail client, which I assured them it would be.  Better in fact.

If you’ve ever tried to get your new installation of Thunderbird in your new computer to pickup all account settings, mail and address books from the old Outlook Express on the old hard drive, you know that can be problematic.  An easy solution is to install Thunderbird first on the old computer, and have it import all account settings, mail, address books, etc. from Outlook Express.

Then, when i connect the old hard drive to the new computer to copy the users documents and other data, I simply replace the Thunderbird folder in the new computer located at C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming with the Thunderbird folder from the old C: drive, which in XP is located in C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data.

Works like a charm!