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Monday, 9 September 2013

Having Problems With AVG Free? Here Are Solutions

Are you having problems installing, updating, using AVG Free? You may need to remove it and re-install it.

Removal steps
1. First, try removing it via the normal method (via Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP, or via Programs and Features in later versions of Windows).

After removing it, try installing the latest version. See here for instructions and links.

2. If this doesn't work, you need to use the AVG Remover tool here. Choose the one for the version you are removing. Example, if you are removing AVG Free 2013 on Windows XP, you will most likely need to use AVG Remover(32)bit 2013. Download and run the special remover and then restart your computer, following any steps/instructions the remover shows you.

Once removed, install the latest version of AVG Free. See here for instructions and links.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

E-Readers and E-Books - The Pros And Cons When Compared To Books

In February 2013, I bought my first e-reader, a Kobo-Glo. 
I thoroughly researched e-readers before deciding on that model.

I bought an e-reader for a number of reasons. Here are a few reasons that initially came up: I had started to notice that e-books are often less expensive than even paperbacks. Some books I wanted were just for reference or interest (non-fiction) and it didn't bother me whether I had a nice looking book or just an e-book. With the introduction of self-lit e-readers recently, this meant I could read in bed without disturbing my partner and without needing a separate book light (and the way the light is in the e-reader, it doesn't leak as much light around as a separate book light does.) And, you can adjust the font size and weight, choose different fonts, and adjust the light brightness on an e-book like the Kobo-Glo, so I don't need to wear my reading glasses either.

Some people say they will never use something like an e-reader, that they love the look and feel and smell of a real book. But there are some obvious benefits to using an e-reader.

Here are the pros and cons of an e-reader vs books.

  • Portability - Small and light-weight. An e-reader is smaller and lighter than some books (if the book is larger than the average sized paperback novel). Also, an e-reader can hold hundreds of books at one time.

  • Ease of viewing - No more glasses. If you need glasses to read, if the strength you need is not too extreme, you can increase the font size for a book on an e-reader so you won't need your reading glasses.

  • Built-in light - new e-readers (like the Kobo Glo and the Kindle Paperwhite) have built in lights so you can read in the dark.
  • Personal library space - No more bookshelves. This is an extra special bonus if you are an avid reader and you have limited space where you live. Since e-books are digital, you won't need bookshelves to store your books. e-books can be stored on an e-reader, your computer, or on a cloud (on-line storage). Kobo e-reader owners can store books acquired directly from them on their cloud storage (unlimited number of books). Digital books are relatively not very large (number of kilobytes/megabytes) so a vast number can be stored on computer storage devices. Some e-readers have an SD card slot so even more books can be stored in the e-reader. Current average memory is about 2GB (part of this is used by the system, but the remainder can hold about 1,000 books).
  • Price - Cheaper. e-books are usually half the price or less than the the price of the physical book. And, there are many sites with free e-books (mainly older books).
  • E-reader Extras - e-readers can do more than just act as a book. e-readers let you take notes, highlight, set multiple bookmarks, look up word definitions, translate words (all included in the e-reader – no need of pens or paper, etc.). Some also include these features: games, web browser (for those with a wireless connection and/or 3G connection), a sketch pad (Kobo Glo). There are other features too.
  • 24 hour purchasing – e-books can be purchased on-line at any time. You can also borrow e-books from your local library site, which can be downloaded any time.
  • Environmentally friendly – E-books don't require trees and ink.
  • Self publishing – It is easier for new authors to self-publish and sell e-books than printed books

  • After having an e-reader for a few months now, I've found that I read more – partially due to the fact that the e-reader is so small and portable compared to many books I read (which are often very thick/and or over-sized) – so I end up reading while I'm waiting, including waiting in long lines at stores, etc.

  • Cover art - With e-books, you don't get a physical cover with cover art on it. This situation is similar to the change from Vinyl albums to CDs and then to digital music files. There is the loss of the art-form that was the cover. (Yes, there is often a picture of the cover in your e-book, but it's not the same.)

  • Electricity – You need charge your e-reader every once in a while (but the battery charge lasts a long time).

  • Damage/loss cost – If you lose a book, it is usually fairly inexpensive to replace. If you lose your e-reader, it is fairly expensive to replace (around $100 to $200 currently – Feb. 2013). (Note: if your ebooks are from a seller like Kobo or Amazon and you only had the e-books stored on your e-reader, you can get those books back for free as they will have a record of what you bought and they will allow you to re-download them for free.)

  • Personal Library – You won't have a library to show what books you have/how many you have (except for books you had/have already). 

  • Colour – currently, e-readers deal with greyscale and not colour (Although if you read on a tablet you have colour)

  • Art/comics – if the book is available as an e-book, sure you can look at it on an e-reader, but you will have to look at it in a pretty small format, or, you will have to scroll around the screen. Currently, most e-reader screens are too small to use to properly appreciate comic books or books of photos/artwork. (Though, if you have a tablet that is bigger than an e-reader, it works better and it's in colour.)
  • Variety – There are far more books in paper format than currently available in digital format. However, more older books are being scanned in, and most new books are now released in e-book format (sometimes exclusively).

    Regardless of whether you decide to get an e-book or not, they do have their uses, and they are definitely here to stay. 

AVG Free 2014 Installation and Configuration Guide

AVG Free 2014 just came out. Here is my guide for a clean basic installation and configuration.

If you already have AVG Free 2013, you should download and install the 2014 version sooner than later. If you don't, you will have pop-ups come up eventually asking you to update (and they will steer you toward the full paid version instead of the free basic version).

Print these instructions out, or bring them up on another computer in order to follow them through the process.

Download it from here and choose either the 32bit version or the 64bit version. If you still have Windows XP, you most likely need the 32bit version. Most people running Vista or Windows 7, or Windows 8 will need the 64bit version. When in doubt, try installing the 64bit version. If it's not the right one, the installation won't get all the way through.

The interface and settings are pretty much the same as in AVG Free 2013

Note: these instructions are for if you are installing AVG Free 2014 on top of AVG Free 2013. If you are installing AVG Free for the first time, the steps will be very similar. Also, for first time installers, if you have any other real-time security programs running on your computer, you will need to remove them before installing AVG Free.

Having problems installing AVG Free? See my post here for a resolution.


  • Close any open programs, including your browser.
  • Run the file you downloaded.
  • Accept the license agreement
  • Check Custom Install and click Next.
  • Un-check Additional installed languages. Make sure AVG Add-Ons is UN-checked (if it shows in the list). Next
  • UN-check Use the AVG Toolbar to improve my Internet protection. By default, nothing else should be checked off in this Window. Make sure all the boxes in this window are NOT checked off. Next. 
  • Now it will install. This can take a few minutes or longer, depending on your computer.
  • When that is done, UN-check I want to help AVG improve its products ... (or leave it checked if you don't mind the program sending AVG anonymous information about threats it bumps into and security issues related to AVG in order for AVG to use this info to improve their program). I leave this checked. Note: for some of you, your browser might open with a notice from AVG that they are sad to see that you uninstalled the Security Toolbar. Ignore this and close the browser.
  • Click on Restart Now
  • If your operating system asks if you want to restart now, yes, restart.
  • Wait for your computer to restart and wait for AVG window to open. If it doesn't, double-click on the AVG tray icon. If your tray icon ends up hidden, un-hide it (click the little up arrow and choose Customize and beside AVG, change to Show icon and notifications, and then click OK)
  • Click on Update Now (if it shows Program Up To Date, then skip this). Let it update. Continue doing this until it says You are currently up-to-date. From the Update screen, to get back to the main screen, click on the back arrow on the left side (white arrow in green). 

  • Now, time to configure
  • Go to the main AVG Free screen
  • Click Options (top right), Advanced Settings
  • UN-check the bottom 3 items: AVG Advisor Notifications, Boot time improvement notifications, and Statistical notifications (all mainly just annoying messages). Then click Apply
  • Click on the + sign beside Scans and then on Removable device scan.
  • Check Enable Removable device scan, and Heal/Remove virus infections without asking me
  • Scroll to the bottom of this window and change Adjust how quickly ... to High Priority. Apply
  • Back on the left, click on the + sign beside Schedules, and select Scheduled Scan
  • Check off Enable this task
  • Leave the default setting or adjust to a day and time of the week when the computer is normally on.
  • Apply
  • Okay, and back to the main screen. And close (X in the top right corner).
  • Eventually, usually within an hour from installation, AVG will pop up and ask you to do an initial scan. Do it.
  • Everything that you will ever see in the Notification area (bottom of the main AVG screen) regards upgrading to the paid version of the program. For most people you can ignore this. 
  • Fix Performance - Don't use this. There are better free tools out there and most things like this that profess to tune up your computer only make it worse. 
  •  Driver Update - Don't use this. It's not necessary and can end up installing an incorrect driver (which can really foul up your computer).
  • If you accidentally upgrade to the paid version or a free trial of the paid version, you may find, among other things, that you get a lot of annoying messages popping up while you are on-line, and that you can't access some web pages that you regularly access. To revert back to the free basic version, remove the program via the Windows Control Panel and Add or Remove Programs (Windows XP), or Programs and Features (Windows Vista, 7, 8). Once you select to remove/uninstall it, you will be presented with various choices. Choose the one that converts or reverts you to the free, or basic protection/version.
  • UPDATE: If you accidentally install the AVG Nation Toolbar, you may notice that it hijacks your browser (adds a toolbar, changes your search engine and home page). The simple solution is to just un-install it. To do so, go to the Control Panel, Programs and Features and remove it. Once removed, your browser settings will revert back to what they were.