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Technology

How do I get my name to the top of Google’s search results? Jack Schofield

An academic shares his name with a notorious drug dealer. Here’s how he can raise his profile so his name appears first

I’m a researcher at a major university. Unfortunately, I happen to share my name and middle initial with an unrelated drug dealer who has been in and out of prison. My name is sufficiently rare that I’m worried that confusion might arise, because a cursory Google search tends to give prominence to negative news stories that feature him.

The standard advice online seems to be to open as many social media accounts as possible. I also have my own domain, but none of these has displaced the negative news stories in the search rankings. What should I do?Name withheld

How to get the top spot in Google’s search engine results has been a hot topic for years. It’s still vitally important to all types of business, to consultants and other professionals, bands and musicians, authors and journalists, politicians and many others. For those who can justify the fees, personal branding and “reputation management” companies do it for a living.

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How can I copy 1,400 DVDs to a new hard drive?

Harry has data backed up to DVDs, but wants to copy the files to a hard drive. Is there a quick way to do it?

Over the years, I have been backing up files to writeable DVDs. I probably have around 1,400 of them. Now I want to transfer their contents onto a single 10TB USB hard drive. Can you and your erudite readers recommend the quickest solution?

Is there a DVD recorder that can load 10 to 20 DVDs at a time and automatically copy them onto said 10TB hard drive? Also, are there any issues with the formats needed to ensure access to my data for another 10 years or more? Harry

I expect many of us still have lots of optical discs stashed away, because CDs and DVDs were the most economical way to store data for 20 to 30 years. Just cutting one disc a week could get you over the 1,000 mark, though I assume most of them would have been recopied and recycled before now.

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What’s the minimum specification for someone buying a PC?

David asks how best to tell if a PC is fast enough for community groups on a limited budget

I am working on a project that helps various groups in the community to become more PC proficient, and some clients now wish to purchase their own systems for the first time. What is the best advice to give them about specifications etc, bearing in mind their finite budgets?

A user who wants a desktop PC to deal with email and social media, office files, surfing the web and streaming some video will also need to buy peripherals, including a monitor. Some will need a printer. Often the advice will be to get the best PC possible, but they may not get the full benefit if other parts of the system are too compromised. David

Almost every PC on the market will perform basic tasks such as writing emails and browsing the web. Even cheap laptops can run Microsoft Office and its rival suites, which are relatively lightweight by today’s standards. Most can also do simple photo and video editing, though rendering and other video processing tasks can take a very long time. The problem is not so much the type of task as the resources required by the software and the size of your files.

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Which is the best PC for someone who has Parkinson’s?

Richard wants a laptop for its flatter keys, but desktop PCs can have any keyboard type

I plan to get a new computer for home use, no games. I would rather have a desktop/tower, if it was possible to get a more sensitive keyboard, but I have Parkinson’s and find that the keys are way too hard to use because they require a deeper push than laptop keyboards. Your earlier suggestion of getting an external monitor for a laptop sounds like a winner. How is the connection made?Richard

The short answer is that you should buy a desktop PC. With a laptop, you are more or less stuck with the keyboard fitted by the manufacturer, and the quality varies from average to mediocre. With a desktop PC, you can take your pick from dozens of USB and Bluetooth keyboards. These range from keyboards with flat, island-style isolated keys to full mechanical keyboards aimed at professionals and gamers.

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I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?

Support for Windows 7 has ended, leaving Marcy wondering how they can protect themselves

I do a lot of work on a Windows 7 desktop PC that is about five years old. I’m a widow and can’t afford to run out and get a new PC at this time, or pay for Windows 10. If I do stay with Windows 7, what should I worry about, and how can I protect myself? I have been running Kaspersky Total Security for several years, which has worked well so far. Marcy

Microsoft Windows 7 – launched in 2009 – came to the end of its supported life on Tuesday. Despite Microsoft’s repeated warnings to Windows 7 users, there may still be a couple of hundred million users, many of them in businesses. What should people do next?

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