Category Archives: Tech Tips

Search Engines

Google is by far the most popular search engine. Due to its popularity most people use the term “Googling” when referring to any web search – no matter the provider they use. A search engine should not be confused with a Web Browser.

A search engine allows a user to type keywords, phrases, or questions/equations into a search field and have results/answers returned. This allows users to navigate the web without needing to know the URL for every websites. There are 100’s of other search engines available, each with their own speciality.


DuckDuckGo – The privacy-focused search engine. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users – which is a win for the privacy minded user. This means the results are not personalised and may be less relevant but your privacy is protected.

Ecosia – Another search engine that considers user privacy. This isn’t their main selling point though. Ecosia will plant trees when you perform web-searches.

WolframAlpha – Type a question and receive an answer. Whether you need to know the 100th digit of Pi, the 7th Prime Minister of Australia, or the atomic number for Boron or Hydrogen, you will have answers fast.

Kiddle – Is a child safe visual search engine. This allows children to safely browse the internet without fear of stumbling upon something undesirable. It is still recommended a parent supervise their children on the internet because sometimes an innocent term may not return innocent results. Kiddle is based on Google Search.

KidzSearch – Another search engine based on Google Search. Much the same as Kiddle, with added educational links and games on the home page and well as search.


This is only a brief sample of the many search engine that’s are available. When doing any research project, it can be beneficial to try out different search engines to expand the information you require.

If you are interested in protecting your privacy online, it can be beneficial to “Google” yourself using multiple search engines. This is the best way to find out what information you or someone else has shared online. If you can find information about yourself, that means anyone can. This gives you a starting point for cleaning up your digital footprint.

While you are here, be sure to read our other Tech Tips articles!

Your Windows 7 PC is out of support

Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14th, 2020. As of writing, Windows 7 has missed 6 months worth of updates released to patch vulnerable code.

If you are still running Windows 7 you need to upgrade to a currently supported operating system sooner rather than later. Running unsupported software, especially an operating system, leaves your device open for malware and cyber criminals,

Many PCs running Windows 7 can easily be upgraded for free to Windows 10. You can find more information in an earlier post. The Microsoft website has the minimum requirements for hardware as:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 800 x 600

This means that Windows 10 can be run on reasonably old hardware.

Another alternative would be to install a Linux distribution such a Ubuntu, or if your PC is very old, Lubuntu.

Creating a shortcut to shutdown your PC

From Windows 8 onwards several ways to shutdown your PC were introduced. Windows 8 in particular made it a difficult process with several steps. This was made easier in later versions of Windows. Whatever version of Windows you are running you can easily create a Shutdown PC button to allow you to turn of your PC with a single click of the mouse.

Shutdown PC icon

To create a shortcut on your Desktop follow the steps below:

  1. Right click on the Desktop
  2. Move the mouse cursor down to New and then click Shortcut
  3. Within the box marked “Type the location of the item:”, type in shutdown /s /t 00 and then click next
  4. Type in a name for the shortcut. i.e. Shutdown PC, and then press finish.

You will now have an icon for quickly shutting down your PC.

Changing the Icon

To make the icon easier to find you can add a custom icon. To do this follow the steps below:

  1. Right click the newly created Shutdown PC icon
  2. Click on Properties
  3. Click on Change IconYou will be shown a message that advises you that the shutdown exe file does not contain images, this is normal behaviour. Click ok
  4. Within the box that appears select a suitable icon and click ok
  5. Click ok on the Shutdown PC Properties window

Your icon will now have a custom icon.

Pin to Taskbar

The icon can be pinned to the taskbar to make it easy to shutdown the PC with a single click of the mouse. To do this follow the steps below:

  1. Right click the Shutdown PC icon
  2. Click on Pin to taskbar

The icon will now be pinned to the taskbar for easy access.


While you are here check out our previous Tech Tips articles!