Free or Paid Antivirus?

Paid Vs Free Antivirus

The internet can be a dangerous place, there are a growing number of threats out there that can cause serious damage to your PC. Antivirus protection is therefore essential, but some are free, and some are paid for. So what are the differences between paid vs free antivirus, and which is best?

Free antivirus

Freebie programmes generally only provide the absolute bare minimum level of security protection. This means it will scan for malware, and you can set it to do that automatically which is one less thing to worry about. Some free versions may also offer additional tools like a bad link finder or a firewall, but these will probably be trialled versions that will expect payment at a later date. Free antivirus might also provide malware detection, which will alert you of new threats, so that’s always a bonus.

A major downfall with free antivirus programmes is that you do not benefit from any technical support over the phone or online etc. It is really only paying companies that receive extra help and support if something goes wrong, or questions need answering.

Freebies will frequently flag you with adverts and reminders to upgrade, and trial the paid products. At first this will be fine, but over time it can become extremely annoying and time consuming, especially when you are in the middle of other tasks.

Paid antivirus

Paid versions usually provide more complex settings such as identity theft protection or parental controls. There will be more settings and options, so be sure to read the manual and spend time playing through them.

There are a tonne of benefits of paid antivirus though, and it will provide you with a much more comprehensive protection and cover. Paid programmes often include extra security levels like firewall, backup, recovery,l and anti-spyware solutions. You can set everything to quickly and automatically update which makes thing easy to manage.

Usually with paid antivirus, you get multiple licenses, which means you can protect all of your computers and devices, without needing to purchase multiple protections. You’ll get online support and help, too.

Recommended solution

At ColchesterIT, we are currently offering you half price AVG! At Only £39 for 2 years! To make the most of this fantastic offer, bringing you all the above benefits, and more, please contact us today.


How to backup your files

The files on your computer are extremely important. Unfortunately, you will probably lose some of that data at some point in your life. The hard drive could fail at any moment, your files could fall victim to ransomware and be held hostage, or a bug in the software could delete everything in an instant. This is why it is so important to regularly backup your PC and files or you risk losing all that data forever.

There are many methods of backup available, each with their own pros and cons. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be a complicated process. A bit of initial legwork will save a tonne of hassle in the future.

What needs backing up?

Be aware that in the event of a hard drive failure, it’s easy to reinstall the operating system and re-download any programmes you may need. But your own personal data – photos, videos, documents – can never be replaced. Therefore, these should be first on your backup agenda.

That said, you may still want to backup your operating system, settings, and programmes, but this is a much longer process, and won’t always be completely necessary. So let’s focus on those all important personal files for now.

Types of backup

  • External hard drive – this device attaches to your computer via the USB port and you can make use of your computer’s built-in software to run the backup. To do this on Windows 8 or 10, you’ll need to use File History. On Windows 7, it’s called Windows Backup. If you have a Mac, it will be performed through Time Machine. You could either leave the device connected to the PC at all times and let it run automatic backups, or connect them from time to time and do it manually.
    • Pros: low cost and relatively quick.
    • Cons: if the external hard drive is lost or damaged, your backup will be lost.
  • Internet backup – These programmes run in the background of your computer and automatically run backups which will store on the web. If your files get lost, you simply log into the service and recover them. Some examples of internet backups include CrashPlan, BackBlaze, MozyHome, and Carbonite.
    • Pros: you’re protected against any data loss – hard drive failure, natural disaster, theft, etc.
    • Cons: you need to pay a monthly fee (from around £5 upwards) and backup time can be quite slow.


Cloud backup – Cloud storage such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Google Drive, will all serve as a form of backup too. For example, if your PC dies, your files will be on the online account, or synced to your other PC for recovery.


    • Pros: Easy, fast, and free. Protects against all data losses.
    • Cons: If you have lots of files to backup, you’ll need to pay.

Top tips for the best backup

  • Automate your backups. That way, you don’t really need to do anything, so long as you’ve set it to run regularly.
  • Use more than one method. Using an external hard drive and also internet backup, for example, will make sure you can recover those files in any event.
  • Constantly think about what you will do if your computer dies, and you need to recover your files. This is the best mindset to ensure everything is kept safe. Make sure you always have multiple copies at all times, in more than one location.



Charity Sky Dive

ColchesterIT Charity Skydive

Extreme thrill and adrenaline rush was on the cards for ColchesterIT owner, Nigel, last week as he braved jumping out of an aircraft and plunging down to earth at speeds of more than 120 mph for a great cause.

This immense breathtaking experience was a skydive at 13,000 feet (just over three miles!) in aid of raising funds for the The Isobel Parmenter Memorial Fund, a charity close to the hearts of many. Nigel’s jump took place in Lowestoft with UK Parachuting, and raised a stonking total of more than £750!

You can watch his exhilarating experience on YouTube here:

Well done, Nigel!

Nigel’s skydive was in aid of an extremely worthwhile cause – The Isobel Parmenter Memorial Fund at CCLG. A small person inspiring people to do BIG things! This is funding essential research into the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of histiocytosis – a rare cancer group of diseases caused by an increase of white blood cells in the blood and tissue. It is hoped that one day a cure will be found.

To find out more about this amazing charity, and how you can give your support and get involved, please visit:



Get the most out of your Facebook Business Page

If you’ve just set up your Facebook business page, then great because your business is now open to more than 1.19 billion customers. But are you getting the very most out of this FREE marketing platform? Let’s take a look…

  1. Get picture perfect

Make sure your profile picture and cover photo catch the eye and work well to sell your brand. The more visually appealing these elements are to users, the more likely they will browse through and engage with your page.

Despite this importance, you don’t actually need to throw away a load of money on graphic designers and photography to get these images right. So long as they give a clear, concise and enticing message to your Facebook page, they will be successful.

A good tip is to use your company logo as the profile image. That way, people will instantly recognise and trust they are in the right place. Avoid using text in the profile picture as it will scale right down throughout the app and be impossible to read, especially on mobile. Once you’ve chosen the picture, stick with it, as making too many changes will alienate and confuse your brand.

  1. Create a content calendar

Create a content calendar of the types of post you will share, and a rough idea of the times you will share them. Of course, there will be the odd occasional spontaneous post as well, but by planning the main bulk of posts for each month ensures things are well organised, interesting and regular and that your customers are always up to date. The calendar will also help you work out an ideal frequency that works best for you and your audience.

While on the subject of post frequency, there is no hard or fast rule for what works. Each business is different, some may post once a week, others once a day, some might post ten times a day! Just have a play around, and see what yields the most engagement.

  1. Use the Page Insights tool

Facebook has a handy tool called page insights. This is a ‘back end’ access of your page, allowing you to monitor reach and performance.

Use page insights to see when most users are online, and use this to help you build the content calendar and schedule posts for the popular times. Check back regularly to see how successful each post has been, and use this to understand your audience and guide future content. That way, you will remain interesting and relevant, which will attract better engagement.

  1. Pay to play

Like most things in life, it pays to spend a bit of money on your Facebook page. The good thing is you don’t need to spend loads and loads to get good returns. Facebook is very helpful in allowing its advertisers to target specific users and groups, so you can make sure your ideal customers are seeing you.

Three ways to do this include:

  • Page like ads
  • Boosted posts
  • News feed ads

A good tip is to put a bit of money aside each month for Facebook adverts, and treat it just as you would for any other business bill.


How to tell if you have a virus

Five signs your computer may have a virus

All computers can have their moments – fine one minute, slow and glitchy or crashing the next. It can become incredibly frustrating, especially when you’re in the middle of something important! This is usually due to a temporary software hiccup, which is why running updates or a system reboot will often solve the problem. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and it is possible your computer has become subject to a malicious virus.

Here are five signs your computer may have a virus…

Your computer is running slow

A frequently cited symptom of a computer virus is slow performance and running times. This is also true when spyware or adware is lurking in the system. Don’t panic immediately as a slow PC may just need some TLC such as some more memory or RAM, or it might need defragmenting.

Pop-up adverts

Back in the day, pop-ups were a normal (but very annoying) part of surfing the web. Thankfully, things have changed for the better and the modern browser generally includes pop-up protection which blocks those buggers out of our internet experience on most websites….hooray!!

However, if you still see a lot of pop-ups even when you’re not connected to the internet, then your computer has most likely fallen victim to a virus. The first step is to run an anti-virus and anti-spyware scan that will dig deep into your files and settings and remove any bugs.

Strange messages sent

The common goal of most viruses is to infect the target computer, and spread that virus as far and wide as possible. This is often carried out through your email inbox by sending email messages to your contacts, colleagues and friends. The email typically includes a dodgy link or attachment and the end result is that the recipient will likely get infected with the virus as well.

Be sure to keep checking your ‘sent’ folder and if you notice anything weird that you don’t recall sending, then it’s probably a virus. Also, this type of spam can infiltrate through your social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, so keep an eye on this too.

You get locked out of your computer

A type of virus called ransomware will typically disguise itself as a threatening pop-up message claiming that you are locked out of your computer. This is a scam which attempts to make you pay a money – a ransom – to free your files. The message usually pretends to be from law enforcers or anonymous blackmailers; so keep your whits about you.

You can’t access things properly

If you’re used to relying on Ctrl+Alt+Delete and the task manager when your computer has a moment, then you may be shocked when this suddenly stops working, or presents itself as an error message. This would be due to a virus messing with the system.

Viruses often block your access to internal programmes, settings and utilities so you can’t see the damage they are causing. Use a deep cleansing anti-malware facility to keep your system in check.



The most common types of malware

Malware is malicious software which has been designed with the purpose to disrupt and damage your computer and its files.There are many types of malware out there, and new ones are always being developed. It is important to be aware of what they are and their damage potentials so that you can work against them. Here we look at four common types…


Ransomware is arguably the most immediately threatening type of malware. It is also extremely difficult to fully remove. Ransomware generally works by posing as a security program but actually it causes your computer to go into lockdown.

This type of malware will demand payment in order to be unlocked (hense the name ransomware). The problem with this is that many people will panic and pay the fees but this never actually solves the problem in the long run. Ransomware will continue to strike back again and again.

If you do happen to fall victim to ransomware, the best solution is to delete it with your computer in safe mode. Alternatively, you may need to fully reinstall the operating system of your computer.


Spyware is created to collect and steal your valuable personal data without you knowing about it. This is how many identity thefts and frauds come about in today’s society. The spyware will often remain in your computer, seeking out vulnerabilities and continue to attack.

In order to prevent spyware damage, you should run regular and frequent scans using proper defense software. It’s also important to manually check through your files and folders.


Adware is a type of software that downloads or displays unwanted advertising materials such as pop-ups or banners when a user is online. This type of malware secretly collects your data through redirecting your search queries to advertising websites.

As a user, you will not be aware of the adware, and since you do not give consent for the activity, the programme is considered malicious. The ads typically result in scams or illegal activities which will promote further attacks on your computer that go much deeper than a simple pop-up. It’s therefore important to quickly detect its presence.


Rootkits are not easy to remove. They hide in your operating system, acting as files which makes them very difficult to detect even for the most trained eyes. Security scanners also struggle to pick up on rootkits.

It is generally best to completely wipe your hardrive and start over if your computer becomes subject to rootkits as it is near on impossible to fully track it down. Due to the complexities of rootkits, they are generally quite difficult to come across, so most people are not at huge risk, but you should always be vigilant.

Preventing malware

The absolute first step to take in preventing malware is ensuring a strong security suite is installed onto your computer. Avoid the freebie versions as they won’t perform well enough. Keep your security software up to date at all times, as this is when malware attacks are most likely to occur.

Make sure you only use websites you trust and don’t ever click on or download anything that looks suspicious.
If you have any questions, or need some advice on malware and malware removal, then please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team of experts.


All About Windows 10

All about Windows 10

Windows 10 boasts a ton of fantastic new features that make using your laptop or PC easier and more enjoyable. Whether you use your computer for work or play, here is a roundup of new Windows 10 features that we know you will love!

Say hello

Windows Hello is a new way to connect to your device. This makes it possible to sign in using your face or fingerprint instead of the traditional password. A great additional security feature which will help protect your personal files and data.

Get off to the right Start

Windows 10 has reintroduced the start bar we all know and love, but now it is bigger and better than ever before. You can organise and personalise the start bar features to suit your own requirements.

Your most used apps will be highlighted on the left, while the All Apps tab will be your gateway to everything else on your PC such as files and settings.

More media

Windows 10 includes a brilliant new store which gives you access to music, games, apps, videos and more at your fingertips. The store packs in plenty of free content as well as paid-for items, and you can always preview before you purchase. Download an app and it will work across all your Windows 10 devices including phones, laptops, PCs and even the Xbox.

To get going, you will need a Microsoft account and an internet connection. Simply browse through the trending top charts or search for the type of media you’re looking for. Create custom lists collections to meet your needs.


Cortana is the Windows 10 personal assistant. She will help you co-ordinate as much or as little as you need. For example, get Cortana to send an email, add a calendar event, search the web and more.

Use the search box to make Cortana get to work, or simply speak to her through your computer’s microphone or a headset. If you just want a laugh, get Cortana to tell you a joke!

Doodling is a doddle

Microsoft’s new browser, Edge allows you to customise any web page with drawings, doodles, highlighting and more. Your doodles aren’t just limited to the world wide web though, you can also use your finger, tablet pen or mouse to draw your way through any place you can normally write, for example OneNote. Just make sure your boss isn’t watching!

All your photos in one place

The new photo app in Windows 10 collates all your photos and videos in one place. It takes all your snaps from your PC and laptop, phone and OneDrive and organises them into shareable albums.

Upgrade to Windows 10 without the hassle

If you like the sound of Windows 10 and would like to use it on your PC or laptop, but are a bit unsure of how to get started, then we can help you.

ColchesterIT will take the hassle out of upgrading your PC or laptop to Windows 10 for just £29! Pop in to see us for more information, or use our contact form here to book an appointment.



Everything you need to know about USB Type-C

Everything you need to know about USB Type-C


Last year, Apple incorporated a type-C USB connection into its Macbooks and this is soon set to become an industry standard across all devices and platforms. So what does this mean, and how will it affect you?

  1. Smaller, more practical design

USB Type-C is about a third of the size of the current USB Type-A standard. Meaning that we will benefit from thinner laptops and devices in the future. No more massive ports consuming an unnecessary amount of room.

The connector will function in many ways across all devices, from external hard drive, to laptop, from mobile phone to PC USB port and more. Plus the connection is reversible, putting an end to inserting it upside down – every single time!

  1. Easier to use

There was once a time when your laptop or PC had seemingly hundreds of ports to connect various monitors, devices and hardware to one another, it was a complicated wire-filled affair.

Over time, we see these ports slowly disappearing, and USB Type-C will be next step in the right direction for removing more of these. The one, multi-use port will make it possible to connect multiple devices at once.

For example, it will become possible to charge laptops using USB power delivery. What’s more, you could charge your laptop using the power supply of an external monitor.

  1. Backwards Compatibility

Don’t worry that your devices will become incompatible when USB Type-C comes into play. The technology will work just fine with the use of a physical adapter which has a Type-C connector on one end, and other ports on the other end. This will make it possible to hook up any device with USB Type-C, waving goodbye to older connection types.


Get the most out of your new smartphone

Get the most out of your new smartphone

If you were the lucky recipient of a shiny new smartphone this Christmas, let us help you set it up for ultimate enjoyment.

1) Connect to wifi

You don’t want to drain your data allowance before you’ve even set your phone up! Connect to your wifi to make sure you stay well within limits.

2) Sign up

Smartphones generally require users to have an account for backing up apps, settings and data. Make sure you have the relevant logins – either Microsoft, Google or Apple. You can choose how much access you want your logins to give you, from simple phone management, to email, app store and other functions.

If you already have an account from an existing smartphone, you can restore as much or as little of your old data and settings as you want.

3) Protect your data

Implement passcodes and fingerprint recognition where possible to keep intruders (and relatives!) away from your personal files and photos.

4) Turn on location services

Should you ever misplace your smartphone, it is easy to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands and also reunite yourself with your device.

To do this, you need to make sure that your location settings are activated to “Find Phone” as this shows your device location on a remotely accessed map and makes it possible for you to wipe the lost phone.

Make sure you also activate the backup service so you can regain access to your stuff. If you have loads of photos and music, it is worth investing in some cloud storage.


5) Install apps

Most of smartphone fun comes from the huge selection of apps you can have. From games to news, and social media – there’s something for everyone. Top apps include –

  • Facebook: Update your status and connect with friends on the go!
  • Twitter: Engage with people and brands using those all important 140 characters.
  • Whatsapp: Chat with friends and send multimedia messages quickly and easily for free.
  • Instagram: Share your favourite photos with your followers.
  • News: All the latest affairs at your fingertips.

Be careful as many apps are free but some do need to be paid for. Also, quite a few apps (especially games) might require payment once in use.

5) Sort out the notifications

After installing those great apps, you might notice your phone just doesn’t stop pinging and flashing as they try to keep you constantly updated. This can be very annoying, particularly if you are trying to work or sleep!

Make sure you take a few minutes to sort through the notification settings so that you only get alerts for a chosen few.

6) Get a case

Smartphones are very powerful and can do thousands of cool things, but they are also very fragile and can break easily if mishandled or dropped.

Choose a suitable protective phone case for your device to help take on some of the impact if dropped- there are thousands of styles and designs available so you can really express your personality too.

7) Get help if you need it

Here at ColchesterIT, we are experienced in fixing iPhone screens at an affordable price. So if your new device gets damaged, rest assured we can help you get it back up and running in no time at all.

We are also able to help with a wide range of mobile phone issues, so if you’re unsure about something on your new smartphone, just pop in and see us, we are happy to help.


Boost your wi-fi connection today

Boost your wi-fi connection today


Struggling with a poor wi-fi connection? Getting stressed out by slow and unreliable connections? You’ve got several options to boost performance, without needing to change your broadband provider. Check out this video from BBC Click:



How can I boost my wi-fi connection?


DIY reflector

The video demonstrates how quickly and easily you can make your own cost effective wi-fi reflector. This “Blue Peter” style hack requires some tin foil, a piece of cardboard and some PVA glue. Simply piece the items together and then fold your work of art into three sections. Placing your handmade reflector behind a wi-fi router will point the signal into the chosen direction and boost connection speed.


Don’t want to faff around with a bit of tin foil and cardboard? Why not have a look into the following wi-fi boosting solutions?


Wi-fi range extender

For the more serious internet user, a wi-fi range extender is a good solution, particularly in larger buildings. Simply plug the device in a connected area then sit back and enjoy the improved signal throughout.


Powerline adapters

These nifty gadgets come in two parts. One part connects directly to the wi-fi router and the other is plugged into any other socket in the same building. Your computer or smart device can then be attached via a lead or wireless connection.


Tri-band router

Another option is the tri-band router, featuring a 2.4GHz connection and two 5GHz connections to give a consistently strong signal when the device in use is within a close proximity to the router. This is perfect when socialising as many devices can connect at once with very little interference – providing they are fairly modern.


4G data

As 4G is becoming more standardised and more frequently found, the contract prices are beginning to fall and in some cases 4G may be speedier than wi-fi. This means that some users will be better off using a 4G provider rather than a wi-fi provider especially as the 4G routers and hotspots offer far more flexible user-friendly options.


We are here to help!


If you’re not sure which device is best for your home, have a chat with one of our friendly and experienced technicians who will be happy to help.


Plus don’t forget to take advantage of our exclusive TP-Link Powerline kit offer:

Collect in store: for just £69 or
Home call out: for just £99


Expand your wi-fi coverage today!