Top 2021 Tech Tips
By Daryl Elliott • 05.01.21 • blog

There are way too many options to choose from when it comes to making the right choices online to protect your security, computer’s performance, not to mention your wallet. Here are our top tech tips of 2021 to stay safe, save money, and speed up your system.  

Disclaimer: While nothing below should compromise your data or system, it’s always better safe than sorry. Run a backup!

1. uBlock Origin Adblocker

An adblocker is an Internet necessity, and nothing is as easy on system resources while blocking irritating banner ads and pop-ups like uBlock Origin. Boasting over 22,000 reviews averaging 4.8/5 stars, we install uBlock Origin on every PC we work on. Download as a Chrome extension; and here’s a Firefox version.

Note: You can toggle uBlock Origin on & off for individual websites; e.g., sites that require ad views to access content, or when you want to support a site by not blocking their ads.

2. Speccy: Get All The Info

Not only does Speccy monitor your motherboard and CPU temperatures, it allows access to your hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. diagnostic tool, warning against imminent failure, and some other useful info. Find product numbers of your computer’s individual component. If you want to learn a little more about your computer’s specifics, Download Speccy for free.

3. Printer Ink Alternative

There’s a reason manufacturers sell printers for $100 or less: ‘genuine’ printer ink is more costly than blood or 1985 vintage champagne. For the past decade I’ve saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars by simply entering my printer model number followed by “ink” into… eBay. There are numerous sellers that refill cartridges for ~10% the cost of ‘genuine ink’ … with no noticeable drop-off in quality. With 99.9% feedback on most ink sellers, this is a safe, money-saving opportunity – especially if you use large format printers.


4. Ninite & Classic-Style Start Menu

Ninite auto-installs many common programs of your choosing, automatically removing any ‘additional’ software like toolbars and unnecessary scanners – plus installs everything without having to click “next” or “I agree.”  Click here to use Ninite to download Classic Start – an extremely useful applet that transform the clunky, tile-ridden Windows 10 start menu into a minimalist Windows-7-style start menu, including a superior search feature over default and exceedingly obnoxious Siri-wannabe “Cortana.”

5. Best Free Antivirus: Avira

Windows offers “built-in” antivirus through Windows Security — but additional protection is recommended. If you are currently using a paid-for antivirus such as Norton or McAfee, uninstall before switching. When it comes to free AV solutions, we recommend Avira for its real-time scanning capabilities and being easy on system resources.  If you want to pay for something with full Internet security, go with ESET.

6. Windows Key = Power Key

Most users are familiar with the various functions of CTRL + letter. But what many don’t realize are the numerous commands executed using the Windows Key + letter. Here are my favorites:

  Win + E = Opens Windows Explorer
•  Win + X = Power User Options including Device Manager, Disk Management, Task Manager, etc
•  Win + P = Change Display Settings When Using Multiple Monitors
•  Win + Right or Left Arrow Key = Snaps open window to one side of screen
•  Win + M = Shows Desktop

Quick Screenshot
Win + Shift + S  takes a selective screenshot!
Draw a box around the area you want captured, and use the lower right pop-up window to edit and save your image.


7. AdwCleaner & HitManPro

Virtually every computer that connects to the Internet contains some form of malware. AdwCleaner & HitManPro are two of Mount Vernon Computers’ go-to malware removal applications. A little more powerful, HitManPro is an extremely lightweight yet efficient cloud-based malware removal program. Both are highly recommended to be run every few months.


We hope you enjoyed these tips and found them useful. If you require computer repair or general tech assistance – Mount Vernon Computers specializes in custom solutions based around our customer’s needs.