What Are Cookies?

What Are Cookies?

Fresh-baked cookies are yummy, but you may not have the same positive associations with cookies on your computer. Here’s what you need to know about cookies and what they mean for your internet browsing.

Cookies have been around for a long time, but new laws now require websites to ask for your permission to use them. You’ve likely noticed more sites informing you that “this website uses cookies,” and they’ll ask you to click to accept the use of cookies. But what exactly are you agreeing to?

A website cookie is a small piece of text the website you are visiting stores on your computer.

Cookies are equivalent to your ticket to get onto the website. Website owners track your individualized code to gather information.

Cookies tell the website that the user has been to the site before. The website can recall personal login information and other preferences. A shopping site will remember your cart and let you continue shopping, or suggest other goods you might like.

Viewing and Controlling Cookies

So, why are sites asking for permission to store their cookies on your computer? Users are more concerned now about the digital footprint they are leaving on the Web: they want to protect their Web history.

Let’s be clear. When you accept a cookie, you are not allowing access to your computer or any of your personal data, unless you have knowingly provided it as you do when online shopping, that is.

Also, it’s not possible to execute code from a cookie. That means a bad actor can’t use a cookie to deliver a virus or malware.

Overall, cookies on their own are safe. Agreeing to first-party cookies from the website simplifies session management, personalization, and tracking.

The danger comes from third-party cookies generated by advertisers or analytics companies. Say, for instance, you surf to a webpage that has 10 ads on it. You don’t even have to click on any of those ads to generate 10 cookies. These cookies track your browsing history across the Web on any site carrying their ads. That’s why people are becoming more wary of the privacy implications.

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Users can make their own cookie choices. Those who allow cookies will enjoy a more streamlined Web surfing experience. Those who don’t want cookies tracking their browsing history will opt out. Without cookies these users have to re-enter their data every time they visit a website.

Often you can control your cookies in your browser settings. In Google Chrome, for example, you’d select “Settings” from the menu drop down in the upper-right corner, then “show advanced settings” and then “content settings.” In the Cookies section you might choose “Keep local data only until you quit your browser” and “block third-party cookies and site data.”

If you’re really annoyed by the pop-ups asking you about cookie use, you can install a browser add-on, too.

The “Incognito” mode on your browser can be used to save cookies for the current session, but when you close the browser the cookies will be deleted.

We can help you minimize the extent to which you are being tracked on the internet. Contact our IT experts today at 276-296-1155. If you want to serve actual cookies if we visit you at home to do the work, we won’t complain.

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Your old computer is beginning to slow down. So, you invest in a shiny new laptop. The clouds part and the sun shines down on this bright and lovely new device. Everything will be faster and easier. Only, from the first day, the new laptop is lagging. Why is it running so slow? One of these might be the reason.

#1 Not enough computing power.

In many cases, the laptop doesn’t have enough RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is the computer’s main memory. This helps your computer do more at once. Information from the operating system, application programs and data are kept here, when in use, for quicker processing.

RAM is like the computer’s short-term memory, while the hard drive is the long-term memory. Just as the human brain can’t hold everything in short-term memory, RAM can get overloaded too. When this happens on your laptop, the computer processor needs to go to the hard drive. This slows things down.

Resolution: You might see 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or more of RAM available. How much you need is going to depend on what you plan on doing with the computer. For a laptop with Windows 10, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM, but 16GB is more comfortable for a better experience.

Not all laptops will let you access the RAM. When you can, though, upgrading memory can be quick and affordable.

#2 Mechanical hard drive.

Often a single part is letting you down. With a less expensive computer, manufacturers skimp. While it’s less common these days, some laptops will come with a mechanical hard drive. You might think of this like a record player with a needle reading the vinyl album. Since something is moving to find data, the laptop runs slower than it would with a Solid State Drive (SSD), which has no moving parts.

Resolution: In many cases, a mechanical hard drive can be easily upgraded to an SSD. However, some super slim laptops have limited upgradability.

#3 Bloatware.

Retailers like to tout all the bells and whistles that come with their laptops. So, when you turn on your laptop for the first time, you may notice there’s already a lot of software preloaded. Much of it you’ll probably never use. Maybe there are toolbars you don’t need, games you’ll never use, or stock widgets that you couldn’t care less about. These examples of bloatware slow down your computer.

The third-party applications are a revenue source for the manufacturer, but don’t always help you. Microsoft, for instance, sells a line of computers that come without any pre-installed third-party software. Computerworld reported those PCs “start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster and have 28 minutes more battery life.”

Resolution: When you get a new laptop, check out the pre-installed software before you add your own. Determine what the existing software will do, and uninstall anything that you won’t want.

If your laptop is slow on the first startup, this may be due to system updates. For instance, a Windows 10 automatic update to bolster the security of the computer. You can’t do much about these, but look on the bright side, your laptop security is current!

Improved speed is a main reason to invest in a new laptop. Don’t let a lagging laptop disrupt your productivity. We can help with a slow running laptop.

Instead of wasting valuable time waiting on a slow computer, give us a call!