Codecs - what are they?

The name "codec" is short for "coder-decoder," which is pretty much what a codec does. Because video and music files are large, they become difficult to transfer across the Internet quickly. To help speed up downloads, mathematical "codecs" were built to encode ("shrink") a signal for transmission and then decode it for viewing or editing. Without codecs, downloads would take three to five times longer than they do now.

Most audio and video formats use some sort of compression so that they don't take up a ridiculous amount of disk space. Audio and video files are compressed with a certain codec when they are saved and then decompressed by the codec when they are played back. Common codecs include MPEG and AVI for video files and WAV and AIFF for audio files. Codecs can also be used to compress streaming media (live audio and video) which makes it possible to broadcast a live audio or video clip over a broadband Internet connection.

My favourite codec packs are K-Lite Codec Pack and CCCP. If you use Windows Media Player you are likely to need to install a codec pack, CCCP works well with Windows Media Player. The CCCP is made only for the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems and works with Windows XP/Vista/7/8.

K-Lite has more comprehensive and advanced features and comes with its own media player, "Media Player Classic", its been around a long time and is very good. And finally if you want an all in one solution, VLC Media Player is probably the best free player on the internet and the beauty of this one is it comes complete with almost every codec you will commonly require. Check our downloads page for K-Lite and VLC.

Data Loss

As data loss is often caused by physical damage on a hard disk, it is vital that you stop using the device and seek specialist advice straight away. If your data loss is on the same drive that you use Windows on, make sure you turn your computer off as soon as possible.

Definitions of Virus, Spyware & Adware

A virus is a program that gets loaded onto your computer without you knowing about it and can potentially cause your PC to stop functioning and even result in data loss.

Spyware and adware are different to computer virus because they do not create copies of themselves and spread, nor do they result in data loss. The most common symptom of a spyware is that your computer will start to run very slowly and have trouble connecting to the internet.

Adware is usually loaded onto your PC when you download or install a free program. Many free programs are provided free because they rely on the built-in advertising to generate sales.