The Three Most Common Dial-up Errors

by hmiller 28. February 2010 08:16

If you have dial-up Internet, you have probably encountered a few errors when you try to connect to the Internet. Sometimes the errors have some unrecognizable jargon and deciphering what to do next is difficult. Here are a few things to try:
*Redial—for one reason or another, connection occasionally fail. The error message may or may not accurately reflect the true problem. Sometimes, all it needs is for you to try again. If you get the same message twice in a row, then you know the problem is legitimate and can’t be resolved as simply.
*Restart—sometimes your computer needs a refresher when it fails or malfunctions. Many times, especially with a simple problems, restarting your computer will resolve it. If you get a repeated error message, especially after you restart, you probably need to do a little technical support.

Here are the three of the most common dial-up errors you are most likely to encounter, and what probably needs to be done to resolve it.

*680—There is no dial tone. Several things can cause an error 680:
 1. You forgot to plug your phone cord from the jack to the back of the computer.
2.  There is something wrong with the phone line. Check on the home phone if you hear a dial tone.
3.  The phone cord your computer is using is damaged (sometimes if it’s too long, like over 25 feet, it can cause problems connecting).
4. The phone cord is plugged into the wrong port in the back of the computer.
5. Your modem is not functioning.
Try a few combinations, like different cords, jacks, ports, etc. This should eventually narrow down what is causing the problem.

*691--Invalid username and/or password. Several scenarios can cause this error:
1. The username and/or was typed incorrectly. Try clearing out both fields completely and retyping them in.
2.  The access number has an outage or malfunction. If you have more than one, try another. Or call your ISP to see if there is an issue on their end.
3. Your account has been terminated or suspended. Have you paid your ISP bill recently? If not, you might need to make a payment before you can connect again.

*678--Your modem cannot establish a connection/there is no answer. Here are the most common reasons for this error:
1. Your access number is not entered correctly. If you have invalid characters (like letters, dashes, spaces, or symbols), an unneeded (or missing) area code, extra or missing numbers, etc., you won’t connect.
2. Your access number is not working. Sometimes the access number is too far away, not working properly, etc. Try another access number if you can to see if you get the same error.
3. Your connection is corrupted. Delete and recreate (or reinstall) your dial-up connection and try again. 4. There is too much static on the phone line you are using. If there is too much line noise, like buzzing, humming, and static, your modem cannot communicate over your phone line. Call your phone company if you can hear static.

In any of these scenarios, there are some technical adjustments that can be made to improve the quality of your connection, so call your ISP for assistance if you cannot resolve the error on your own. Check out for more information on tech supporting dial-up errors.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Forums: A Basic Introduction

by hmiller 27. February 2010 02:27

In every field of interest, work, and education, there are always questions to be answered. Whether it’s a common question asked over and over by someone new to the area, an opinion question that could have lots of answers, or an in-depth, technical question only a very experienced person would be able to answer, there is usually someone willing to answer it. But how do you find these people? Or where can you go to share your knowledge on a particular subject with others? A forum is a perfect place to discover these things.

There are usually two types of forums. Some forums are just one page of a game, company, organization or project’s website. This type of forum is to ask questions about the website and what the website offers or represents. The questions that are asked on this forum are often directed to owners or developers of the website and are sometimes answered by frequent users or members of the website. Someone could use this forum to ask a question about a feature on another page that they don’t understand or that isn’t working properly. The website programmers or technicians can respond or be made aware of the technical issues on the site. On the other hand, forums of this type can also be used by the site owners to make announcements or ask questions of the user base. Check out's forum here.

The other type of forum is not supplemental to the website, but the reason for the website. Some websites are created solely (or at least largely) for the purpose of hosting several forums on a subject of interest, like baseball, or a type of marketing. On these sites, there are usually a variety of forums on subtopics, making it easier to find questions asked on a certain element of the subject of interest. This is a great place to do some research. If you are new to a subject, you are likely to find frequently asked questions from the past to which you could benefit from reading the answers. If you don’t find a question that’s already been asked, you can add a new one of your own. This type of site is also a good place to brainstorm or share ideas with others who are experienced and interested in something you are. You can spend hours asking and answering questions on forums.

Although forums vary somewhat, they all contain some similar formatting. When you first enter a forum, you will see a list of questions you can click on to read and answer. At the top of this list, you will often find the stickies. These are the questions that people tend to ask over and over. They have already been answered and resolved, but they have been “stuck” to the top of the list so everyone will see them. This is to minimize the amount of people asking the exact same question that has already been discussed and answered in the past. You should read the stickies if you are new to a forum or the subject to keep from asking something that has already been asked dozens of times before.

The rest of the questions listed are open questions, usually listed newest to oldest in the time that they were posted. When you click on an open question, you will see the original question, and (if any) the responses from others to the question. As you scroll down the replies, you will probably notice these elements:
1. Replies: There will be both replies to the original question, and replies to other replies (if someone was to disagree or wished to expand on the response).
2. Quoted text: Usually in italics, this is a way for someone to respond to or expound on something that was already said.
3. User identification: Each individual reply has a screen name, photo, signature, possibly some links to other websites. This is a way for a user to represent themselves.
4. User rating. In order to know how experienced or reputable an answer is to your question, every user has some sort of rating that shows how long this member has been asking or answering questions. You may also see a rating of the person’s reputation that others have given them because they answered the question so well.

Forums are a great place to connect with others from all over the world about a common interest to gain insight, learn about new topics and techniques, or share your knowledge with others.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Three Common Misunderstandings among Dial-up Users

by hmiller 24. February 2010 00:46

One major misunderstanding about dial-up is about where it can be set up. Many dial-up users do not realize that dial-up has very little restrictions on where it can be set up and how many times it can be set up. Multiple computers can have the same dial-up connection, even computers away from home. As long as only one of the connections is being used at one time, you will be able to connect from almost anywhere in the US. A dial-up connection is simply a collection of information a computer needs to establish and authorize a connection with your ISP—a local access number, username, and password. Your ISP should be able to give you an access number for nearly any location, so if you go on vacation or visit friends out of town, you can still set up a dial-up connection.

Another common misunderstanding about dial-up is how easy it is to create a new connection. Many people think you cannot set up a dial-up connection without a software download or a CD from the ISP. You can actually set up a new connection on any computer that has a dial-up modem without any company software. All computers come with an Internet connection set up wizard or adjustable network settings where you can input your username and password, etc. The software your ISP provides is simply using those components on your computer. It is fairly simple to set up the connection on your own, providing you have all the information it will ask you for, like a local access number. ISP connection software is provided for the sake of being user friendly, but it can also provide an advertising venue and run unnecessary programs on your computer, even after the service has been cancelled.

A third common dial-up misunderstanding is of the cause for various connection speeds. There are very few things that can affect your dial-up connection speed: The dial-up modem, the phone line, and the access number. For example, newer modems have better compression technology that can significantly alter the ability for your connection speed to increase. A phone line that is poorly wired, aged, or a far distance from the phone company can cause some users to have a worse connection than someone else using the same service with better phone line conditions. Access numbers can be heavily used or originate some distance from the user and also slow Internet connections. There are some software downloads that you can use to increase page loading speed or image compression, but they cannot increase your actual connection speed (kbps).

Understanding how dial-up works can sometimes help you get the most out of your dial-up connection, open doors to new opportunities, and help you get the fastest connection possible for your computer. Ask your ISP if you have more questions about your dial-up Internet service. They can show you how to manually set up a connection, give you more access numbers, and help you learn more about how to improve your Internet service.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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The Top Three Social Networking Websites

by hmiller 11. February 2010 10:18

Social networking is an online network of friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances that allows individuals to share information, different types of media, and stay connected in an informal non-intrusive way.  Here are the top most popular social networking sites, what they do, and how you can join!

1. Facebook. Not only is this the most popular social networking site, it’s also the second most popular website globally. Originally, Facebook was created for college students to network with classmates within their school. Eventually, the popularity and demand to join allow new networks in, like high schools and businesses. Today, Facebook is open to anyone who wants to join. Much like other social networking sites, Facebook allows you to post blog-like entries, write messages on other people’s profile pages, play games chat with others who are online, etc.

Facebook is a great outlet for the sharing of information.  Whether it’s a note, photo album, a group or page you become a part of, you can let people know what’s going on in your life, share memorable moments, or spread awareness of a cause or idea.

Facebook has become extremely popular just in the last few years. There are currently 350 million active users on Facebook, according to statistics reported by the site. All you need to do to join Facebook is set up a free account using your email address. You can also use your email address to find friends who have a Facebook account already, and invite people who haven’t yet joined. Find out more at

2. MySpace. Although MySpace has been around the longest of the three sites listed here, it is currently the second most popular social networking site, and is losing momentum. MySpace is much more popular in the US than it is globally, ranking number 6 most popular in the US, and 14 globally, according to

Since its launch in 2002, MySpace was the introduction to social networking for many of its members and is most likely responsible the momentum for the popularity of social networking for many Internet surfers, especially in the US.

The site is much like Facebook as far as the ability to network with friends, share photos, and communicate in different ways. The most obvious difference between the two is the visual/audio playground MySpace users enjoy. Each profile page can be designed and formatted to the colors, backgrounds, fonts, and layout of the user’s choice. A music playlist of favorites can also be added to play when a person visits the user’s profile page. To create your own MySpace account, check out

3. Twitter. This site puts a whole new spin to social networking. Although some of the typical activities can be shared on Twitter, the focus is keep the communication short and simple. Basically, a twitter account consists of a series of entries that are no more than 140 characters long. It just a thought, a note, a link, a sentence—to let people know what you are up to. Also, instead of requesting someone to add you as friend to connect, you simply “follow” whomever you wish—and anyone can follow you.

This is becoming very popular for people who like to keep in touch on the go. Even celebrities have time to keep up with a Twitter account—which is what helped make Twitter so popular. Another perk of the simple layout is that it’s easy to “tweet” from your mobile phone. To set up your own Twitter account, g to

Whether you like to share your stuff, be creative, or keep it simple, social networking has a niche for you!


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!


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Social Networking: A Basic Introduction

by hmiller 7. February 2010 08:43

Social networking is currently one of the most popular Internet activities—and quickly it’s gaining popularity. It often combines many of the activities that people already use the Internet for: blogging, chatting, instant messaging, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, joining groups or clubs, advertising and marketing, learning about local events, and organizing events with clubs and groups of people. As you can see, not being a popular of the ever-popular social networking could definitely keep you out of the loop.

You may actually have engaged in or read about some form of social networking without even realizing it. If you don’t know the first thing about social networking, here’s a place to start.

Social networking is basically a website where people (and sometimes groups, businesses, and organizations) build and update a profile page with their photo and information (could be personal or professional). Depending on which social networking site you are a member of, the range and organization of the information is different. Profiles can constantly be changed, updated, and designed to the person’s current taste, mood, holiday, etc. Here are a few things you’ll usually find on a social networking profile page.

*Contact information: Addresses, phone numbers, location, work or home info
*Personal data: Interests, hobbies, relationship status, occupation, etc.
*Status: Could be anything from a quote or link to a simple statement like “going shopping today!” or “I wonder…”
*Uploads to share: Music, photos, documents, etc.

Some sites will let you post other little extras, like web applications on your profile page. Others allow you to change the background colors, layout, and music on your page. Many people change their profile pages in some way several times a week or day.

Once each member creates a profile, they can link to the profile pages of others. This is the main purpose of social networking, and the reason for the name. Each linking to other profiles is called “adding friends,” which allows you to have full view and access to their profile and vice versa. You can be friends with anyone as long as they agree to accept your request to add them. You can accept or deny any requests by other members to add you as a friend. Usually your friends consist of family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and acquaintances—pretty much anyone you know can be your friend when it comes to social networking. You can even find profiles of people you don’t know and request to add them as a friend. Here are some of the things you can do once you add friends to your network.

* You can easily communicate with your friends in a variety of ways: write a post (both long, blog-like entries, or simple short status updates) for anyone to read, chat with anyone who’s online, send a friend a public note that others can see, or a private message to one or a group of friends (just like emails).
* You can stay up to date on what’s going on in your friends lives, look at photos or videos they’ve posted, read what they’re up to or how they’re feeling, and read public messages that their friends have posted on your friends’ profiles.
* You can play or share games, photos, videos, and other web interactive applications the site features.
* You can quickly and easily spread awareness about a cause, event, or news story, etc.

Many people, and recently more and more businesses have seen the value of social networking, both as an entertainment and communication tool. As you become more involved with social networking, you better understand how it works and learn what ways it best benefits you.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Windows XP: Is it Time to Move On?

by hmiller 5. February 2010 22:16

If you are running Windows XP on your computer, you have a few choices about whether you should upgrade to a new operating system. Here are a few choices to consider:

1. Stick with XP. After all, it’s what you’re used to. Many people still have Windows 98 on their computer and will probably never upgrade. You might be considered stuck in your ways and missing out after a while, but it will be several years before XP is considered obsolete. Microsoft will continue to support XP until April of 2014, so it’s not impractical to keep XP until then. Even after Microsoft no longer supports XP, you can still use it. Web applications and new programs may not be compatible with your computer and your computer will eventually perform significantly slower than newer ones, but if you are comfortable with what you have and don’t use it much, you might not have any problems. If you do, you can always upgrade then.

XP currently holds over half of the market share of all operating systems (including Mac and Linux) combined. As you can imagine, no one’s going to try to get rid of XP quickly, so you should have to rush either. Keep in mind though, that it might be helpful to at least learn about Windows 7 and how to use the new layout and features. You might learn that it’s not so bad and decide to upgrade. Even if you don’t, other people and businesses, like libraries or your workplace will start using Windows 7, so you don’t want to be clueless when using those computers.

2. Upgrade to Vista. If you think it would be better to upgrade one version at a time, it might sound reasonable, but it might not be worth it. Although buying a Vista operating system is less expensive than Windows 7, you will end up spending more when you eventually upgrade to Windows 7. Vista and 7 are almost identical, except 7 has improved Vista in many ways. So why switch to a new, but faulty operating system when a better one is available. If your goal is to save some money, just wait a year or so to buy Windows 7, and most likely the price will have reduced some. XP is still supported by Microsoft for three more years, so you have time.

3. Upgrade to Windows 7. This is what Microsoft would of course prefer for you to do. They even offer an “XP mode” that will allow you to run older programs that were designed to work with XP. This way you don’t have to miss out on everything you used before. On the other hand, switching to Windows 7 also means your computer will be compatible to all the newest, coolest gadgets and applications that are currently available. Once you make the switch and get accustomed to the new layout and features, you rarely miss the old versions.

Keep in mind that many computer technicians warn against immediately upgrading to the newest version of anything from Microsoft right away, like the operating systems or Internet Explorer. Many times, hackers create viruses and bugs to attack Microsoft systems, because far more people use Microsoft than any other operating system. This means that Microsoft products tend to have more security vulnerabilities. Also, Microsoft often has bugs and kinks to work out of a newly released product, so many techs will recommend waiting a year after the initial release date until you use the newest version of Microsoft products.

4. Switch to a different company. You may not have realized this, or not given it much thought, but there are many operating systems other than Windows. Although a very small number of computer users use anything but Windows, Macintosh (Apple) being the next largest user group, it’s certainly a possibility. Keep in mind, though, that some applications and websites are not compatible with operating systems other than Windows, although marked improvements have been made recently to change this.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Windows 7: A Basic Introduction

by hmiller 5. February 2010 10:48

If you are like the majority of computer users, you are using a Windows XP operating system. Even though Microsoft Vista has been released since 2007, more people are still using XP than any other operating system by any company combined. Now, since October 2009, the latest version of the Windows operating systems is Windows 7.

Before XP, Windows released a series called the Windows NT’s. Even after they stopped using this name (the last one being Windows NT 4.0) Windows operating systems were still being created with the NT code base. Therefore, Windows 2000 was technically Windows NT 5.0, XP was also known as Windows NT 5.1, and Vista was Windows NT 6.0. In case you wondered where the name came from, Windows 7 is the seventh version of the NT code base operating systems.

At first glance, Windows 7 is very much like its predecessor, Windows Vista. The interface (named Windows Aero) is much like Vista’s—sporting high-quality graphics and desktop gadgets, a circular Windows emblem button in place of the green “Start” button, and redesigned, sleek windows.

There are a few minor, but intriguing and useful features new to Windows 7 that have added to the interface and its usability. If you like multitasking, you probably find yourself working with several windows open at once. This can get confusing, especially when you when your taskbar is full of tabs for open windows and you don’t remember which is which. Here are a few things you can do:

*Hover over each tab along the taskbar to see a preview of the webpage or program to help you find the one you want without losing the layout of the windows as they currently are.
*Drag windows to the edge of the screen to automatically resize them or to compare two windows at once.
*Click the “Peek” button on the desktop to “see through” all your open windows to see your background, check out a desktop gadget, or find a hidden icon.
*Click, hold, and shake your mouse on any given window to minimize all the windows but that one. Shake it again to get all the windows back!

Another new option is to “Pin” certain frequently used files and programs to your taskbar for quick access, without adding another icon or having to clutter your start menu.“Homegroup” is another new feature that makes networking home computers and devices like printers safe and easy.

You may be apprehensive about upgrading to Windows 7, especially if, like most people, you are still using Windows XP. Many people had problems with Windows Vista, both amateurs trying to adjust to the adjust to the new looks and features, and professionals concerned with its speed and stability. Because of this, and the fact that XP was the latest version for 6 years before the release of Vista have added to many doubts about new upgrades. Windows 7 has set out to combat some of the technical issues brought up with Vista, and, although 7 does offer an “XP mode” that will run older programs, the layout is here to stay. Adjusting to the new design is probably the biggest hurdle, as Windows 7 was designed for ultimate usability. For more information about Windows 7, check out


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Online Shopping: Should You Buy Used or New?

by hmiller 30. January 2010 00:40

Have you debated whether or not you want to buy used or new products? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Here is a brief summary of the pros and cons of purchasing used or new products online.

*Buying New-Pros*
If you look for a satisfaction guarantee, return policy, and/or warranty when you buy products, you are much more likely to find them when you buy new. You are more likely to be buying from the original company, so if something goes wrong, you can often go to the source—and get a fast resolution.

Of course, buying new also means you’re going to get a good quality! It’s going to be the latest and greatest. It will also last longer. In a world technology and fashion is always improving and changing, you won’t be left  behind when the next upgrade comes along. New products, especially when it comes to technology, are much more likely to be compatible with new enhancements and features. For example, newer computers have more space and built in gadgets like a 3G connection—something that would have been unheard of a few years ago. If you want quality guaranteed, buy new!

*Buying New-Cons*
Just like buying something in a physical store, you can guarantee the newest stuff online is also the most expensive. The minute someone buys something, it’s no longer new, it’s used—like new, but still used. The monetary value diminishes significantly, yet the actual quality and usability of the product has barely changed. Therefore, sometimes buying new, as opposed to buying lightly used is almost foolish considering the difference in price.

Another problem with getting new things is that you’ll hardly ever find something unique! New items only come in the style and format that is most popular and fashionable at the time. If you tend to be a tad eccentric, or just want your life to have a unique flair, you’ll have trouble finding it new—unless you want to spend a fortune!

*Buy Used-Pros*
Some things can last a very long time in a used condition. Say someone recommends a book to you and you decide to get it, just for yourself. Since you’re getting it as a gift, it doesn’t need to be new! You can often find hundreds of used items for sale for a few dollars, even if the original price is more than 20 dollars! If you just want to read the book, why not spend a fraction of the original cost, and deal with the slightly bent cover or the few highlighter markings?

Many people have very valuable, usable items that just happen to not be brand new. Not only are you helping out a fellow individual make a few bucks on something valuable they no longer need, you are in a sense recycling items and save a lot of money!

*Buying Used-Cons*
When you buy used items, you always run the chance of being tricked into buying a piece of junk. Some sellers are unaware their product doesn’t work, but regardless, the hassle of getting a refund is almost not worth the effort. Since buying used usually means you’re not buying from the original company, the chances of getting them to replace your item is slim, and the seller may require you to pay to ship the item back before refunding you, which means you end up spending more for nothing. Although many websites like EBay and Amazon provide assistance if you are scammed by a seller, there are unfortunately some cases where the issue cannot be mended in the way you find satisfactory.

This situation is not common, but it’s a risk you might be willing to take to save money and help out another individual. If you learn what signs to look for and only buy from sellers with good ratings, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Managing Software Downloads

by hmiller 28. January 2010 22:28

One of the best benefits of having Internet service is to take advantage of hundreds of free software you can download on your computer. Whether you are looking for a photo editor, Internet browser, antivirus software, or game, chances are, you’ll find dozens of options online to pick from. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Choosing your download. When you download software, there are several things to keep in mind. For example, some software may conflict with your currently running software. If you already have antivirus software, you may not be able to install another one without uninstalling the program you already have. Also, not all software programs are helpful. If it is actually disguised malware, you’re computer and your privacy will be put in jeopardy. Research the product for ratings and reviews before you decide to download it. Try downloading it from a safe site, like, where experts have tested and reviewed the product and individual users have given them ratings and reviews.

2. Initiating the download. When you click on a link to download a program, you will probably be asked if you would like to save or run the file. If you click save, you will be asked where you would like to save the file and then proceed to download. After it completes, you can open the installation file from where you saved it. If you click run, the download will choose a place to save the file, like a “Downloads” folder somewhere in your system files. As soon as the download completes, it will immediately begin the installation process. You should click save so that you will know where to find the download, in case the installation gets interrupted, or you decide to let the file download while you are away from the computer. Also, if you know where the installation file is, you can rerun it you want to reinstall the program later.

3. Installing the download. This part should be fairly easy. You will be given step by step instructions and be asked to click next, check “I agree” to the terms of service, etc. Pay attention to each step! You need to know what it is doing. For example, many free downloads will ask if you would also like to install a toolbar or search provider for you. These “extras” are space and bandwidth-consuming annoyances that you don’t need! All you have to do is uncheck the box next to “Install x toolbar” or “Add y feature” to continue your installation without installing the annoying extras.

4. Back up your installation files. Any time you download a new program or an upgrade, you should save the installation file for later reference. Once you have successfully installed the program, move the installation file to an external hard drive or flash drive. You should have a drive where you back up all your personal files anyway, so make a folder that says “Installation files” and keep the files here. This way, if anything happens to the program in the future and it needs to be reinstalled, you will know exactly where to find the file, and you won’t have to take the time to redownload it. Also, in the event that your computer would have to be replaced or your operating system reinstalled, you’ll have the files necessary to quickly reinstall the programs you used before onto your new computer system.

If you pick the best software for your computer, avoid unnecessary extras, and keep the installation files in a safe location, you will be able to use your software efficiently and easily.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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Windows Vista: A Basic Introduction

by hmiller 28. January 2010 10:57

If you are still using Windows XP or an older version of a Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), you will be in for quite a change when you upgrade. While Windows Vista is well known for its drastically different layout, there’s a lot more about Vista to discover.

Released to the public in January of 2007, Vista set out to make some needed changes to the previous OS’s. Windows XP, the predecessor to Vista was highly criticized for its safety vulnerability. All user accounts are automatically set up as an administrator, giving them full access to all the programs, files, and system information. Vista set out to combat this and other security issues with a high level of security measures in place.

User Account Control is the primary security feature built into Vista. When certain changes are attempted to be made, a window will pop up asking for your permission to continue (you have probably noticed this many times if you have a Vista OS) and even ask for your password if you have one set up. Ironically, this is one of the highest complaints Vista gets from users—the ubiquity of User Account Control popup windows.

Another major change in the operating system is the graphical user interface (GUI). The sleek new layout, called Windows Aero, actually somewhat resembles the Macintosh OS’s design, according to many users. The new look is sharper and offers many “user-friendly” options, renames a few Control Panel options, and a few other things that are great for computer newbies, but confusing to people accustomed to older Windows OS’s.

Another change in the graphical features is the applications that you can run on your desktop on the new Windows Sidebar.  You can customize your sidebar by choosing from the Desktop Gadgets gallery, including a calendar, clock, weather forecaster, and picture puzzle.

One helpful new feature is located in the start menu. There is now a search bar in the bottom of the start menu that will allow you to type the name of any system component (like Control Panel), personal files, and programs. This will help you quickly locate things if you’re not sure where to find them! To learn more about the features and details about Vista, go to

Overall, Vista has received many negative reviews by both users and computer technicians for being confusing and/or unstable. As for the confusing new layout, that is to be expected, since Microsoft hadn’t released a new version of Windows in five years when Vista was released. This is the longest span of time for no new versions to be introduced. Needless to say, millions of people have become quite accustomed to XP. Even today, the majority of computer users are running an XP operating system—even more than all other OS ever made, combined!

Windows 7, the latest version of Microsoft OS’s was released in 2009 and is said to resolve many of the security and stability issues Vista had. If you have Windows Vista now because you recently bought a new computer, you might want to check out Microsoft’s website to see how you can upgrade to Windows 7. If you have a Windows XP or older and would like to upgrade to something more recent, try Windows 7. You can find out more by going to 


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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About the author

Hannah Miller is an Online Marketing Representative for - America's best provider for Dial-Up Internet Service since 1997.

Hannah has been a Customer Service and Tech Support agent for since 2007, which has supplemented her knowledge of dial-up, computers, and the Internet. The entries that are posted in this blog are professional articles relating to our industry. Email your questions, suggestions, and other comments to

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