When you consider that computers now consume about 10 percent of the electricity generated in North America and that a great many PCs still end up in landfills, leaching deadly chemicals, it makes sense to adopt more eco-friendly computing options.

John Hiddema, technical consultant for Nerds on Site, is one of the many people making a conscious effort to go green. He recycles, buys organic produce, uses cleaning products less harmful to the environment, owns energy-efficient appliances, and has configured his
PC to use less energy. He’s also going green on the job. Some of the work he does for clients’ computer systems can be done remotely from his home office, drastically reducing his need for a car.

Here are some tips for making your technology use more eco-friendly.

1. Manage power consumption

Did you know that approximately 40 percent of the energy used for home electronics is consumed while these devices are turned off or idling? Techies refer to computers and related gadgets that draw power while not in use as vampire load. Turn off and unplug everything when you’re not using it. Even simpler: shut down everything and then turn off the power bar. More »

Slow computer getting you down? Wish you could speed up your system so that games won’t crawl by like a slide show permanently set to slow? Well look no further! I shall share five easy steps that you can take to improve your system’s speed! Most of them are free of charge, and all of them should have some effect on your system. So without further ado, we begin with:

1. Remove spyware and adware from your system. Have you noticed recently that ads seem to pop up whenever you go to a Web page? Or that Internet speeds are about that of diseased livestock? Your system’s probably chock full of spyware. What to do? Well, thankfully there are several things you can do. First, download either Spybot-S&D or Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware, and run it. This should remove most if not all of the spyware and adware on your system. Neither of these are particularly robust, however, so we move on to: More »

Well, as expected, I ran into some problems today, the first being driver-related (no surprise there). I have the Microtek Scanmaker 4900. Have they come out with Vista-compatible drivers yet? No sirree Bob. Not only that, but Vista does allow you to install the XP drivers. It’s just that once they are installed, they don’t work. Vista simply does not see the scanner. So you then have to uninstall it (well, you don’t have to, but there’s no point in having them installed).

Vista is so smart that it tells you what does and doesn’t work, right? So why didn’t it say that these would not work? It told me that the Creative drivers would not work and they did, and it didn’t tell me that the Microtek drivers wouldn’t work and they didn’t. More »

Use an antispyware scanner and removal tool
Windows Defender, which ships with this version of Windows, helps prevent malicious software, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software from infecting your computer. When Windows Defender is on, you’re alerted if spyware and other potentially unwanted software tries to run or install itself on your computer. You choose if you want to ignore, quarantine, or remove each item that is detected. For more information, see Scan for spyware and other potentially unwanted software.

Spyware scanners are also frequently included in antivirus programs. If you have already installed an antivirus program, check to see if that program includes spyware protection features or if you More »