Surge Protectors Need Love, Too!

Overloaded surge protector.When we were talking to some of our customers from McKinney and Plano areas the other day, it was apparent most folks believe that as long as you have a surge protector, all your appliances currently plugged into it are safe and immune from power surges that are capable of seriously harming your computers.

The truth, however, is not as encouraging.

 

In some ways, an inexpensive surge protector is a little like a motorcycle helmet.

Once it’s taken a very good solid shock, it may no longer be as effective as before.

Obviously, the more money you put into a surge protector, the longer they are likely to last and the more abuse they should be able to take, but the average inexpensive surge protector is only good for a few incidents. Then it’s wise to replace them.

You spent quite a bit of money to buy your computer, and the peripherals that are plugged into it. We think it would be a very good idea to spend a little bit more next time you are down at the computer store and invest in either a decent surge protector, or  better yet  – an uninterruptable power source.

This is a device that has a built in battery, so if you suffer a surge in power or a complete outage:

  • It automatically switches to battery power,
  • Buys you at least enough time to power your devices down properly,
  • And reduces the damage to software and hardware.

Fluctuating power and poor air circulation are the leading causes of power supply failure in modern computers. Fluctuating power, over time, can compromise the health of many hardware components by not delivering the steady wattage that is needed.

A large variety of products are available to adequately protect your sensitive electronic devices from power issues and it’s crucial that these steps are taken to ensure the longer life of your equipment. Even standard laptops should be plugged into a surge protector because they are particularly susceptible to surges in power.

If you are unsure of what method of protection against power surges would work best for you, call your local computer technicians – PC Geeks in Allen or Frisco –  and we would be glad to advise you of your best options.

The Terror That is Windows 8

The terror that is Windows 8.There has been such a negative hype built up in the wake of Windows 8’s release that people seem to almost be in a frenzy! Residents around our Frisco and Allen stores were talking about it on our Facebook Page.

It should be pointed out before anything else that you are not required to use or purchase it for the computers that you already have, but you can expect it to be on nearly any PC that you purchase now and into the near future.

The fact is, that while it looks and feels a little bit different, after a short time and literally after learning where to click one or two items, you will hardly even notice the difference for most practical purposes – and may even learn to broaden your horizons with all the new features!

If you are like me and some others, you want to change your routine as little as possible.

With that in mind, be assured that there is plenty that can be done to make your eventual change to Windows 8 as painless as possible! As with nearly all operating systems, Windows 8 can be modified and customized in countless ways to suit your needs.

No start button you say?!

Well … how about giving your local computer technician a call so he can easily add on something that will help, and while we are at it, give you many other little tweaks that will have your version of Windows 8 running as smooth and simple as you want it to.

One thing that is very important if you are considering taking the leap to Windows 8: Make sure that your computer meets the minimum requirements in order to run it. If you are unsure if your computer can run Windows 8 properly, call your local computer technician and have him help you to determine if the upgrade is going to work for you. If it turns out you are lacking a few prerequisites for running Windows 8, this might be a great time to update some hardware as well.

Here are just a few things that would not hurt to be upgraded before a switch to Windows 8.

  • Make sure you have a widescreen format monitor that will run a minimum resolution of 1366 x 768. Not all features require it but a few do for optimal results.
  • Make sure have at least 22 gigabytes of space on your hard disk drive, as well as at least 2 gigabytes of RAM
  • Make sure you have at least a dual core processor.

If you are unsure of the specifications of your personal computer you can always give your local computer technician a call to help you in figuring that out. Remember, we service areas as far out as The Crossroads and Little Elm. Do you have questions about Windows 8? Leave them here or on our Facebook Page!

Malevolent E-Mails From Strangers

Malevolent Emails From Strangers.Even the most mundane and harmless looking junk e-mails can contain viruses in them that can do serious harm to your privacy and your beloved computer!

It’s important to understand that even just looking at some malware infected e-mail is enough to install the virus onto your machine without you even realizing it has happened.  Recently, a McKinney resident opened an infected email and brought their computer to us. We were able to clean it before damage ensued.

Your best course of action when faced with a potentially infected e-mail is to highlight it and immediately delete it.

The truth is, most businesses will not be sending you e-mails out of the blue unless you openly invited them to or have subscribed to be on their mailing list.

Most people know exactly who they are doing business with, so if rather suddenly you are receiving mysterious e-mails from people, even the ones that have your name in the subject line, at very least you can be assured that it is junk mail, if not malicious attempts to infect your computer.

Computer viruses can be transmitted in various fashions from your e-mail. For instance:

  • Requesting you to click a hyperlink within the text of the e-mail that directs you to a bogus website designed to penetrate your web browser.
  • Requesting you to enter personal information such as phone numbers, addresses or social security numbers.
  • Giving you detailed instructions to make chances to the settings of your computer in order to make it vulnerable to attack.
  • Offering phone numbers for you to call usually in the guise of preventing some form of issue, but actually attempting to rip you off or gain remote access to your computer.

These are but just a few ways for hackers or troublemakers to penetrate your security and cause you all sorts of headaches!

A good rule of thumb when dealing with unidentified e-mails is this:

  • If you do not know who it is from,
  • If they are asking for personal information, or
  • You cannot think of a legitimate reason for them to contact you … delete it without even opening it.

If it is something important they will likely call and identify their company properly! What’s the craziest scam you’ve seen? Share it with us!

The Infamous FBI Virus

Malicious FBI virus.One of the most notable computer viruses to rear its ugly head this year is the now infamous FBI virus. Frisco residents, you’re not immune!

Originally this infection appeared on seedier websites, but seems to have graduated to emails and shared files all over the internet.

It takes the form of a locking pop up screen – with the actual FBI shield and eagle crest –  and informs you that you have been caught doing illegal online activity.

To make your life ‘easier’ it offers to forgo prosecution by allowing you to pay a simple fine, over the internet, to release your desktop back to you. Of course, that is not the case.

This is a classic hijack virus that has been associated with key logger programs that capture your keystroke patterns to determine passwords. If you happen to actually use a credit card or send the money they are requesting the consequences can be worse.

At times, people have experienced limited success in removing this virus by means of standard anti-virus software, with a virus of this nature it is highly advisable to do a complete reload of the operating system to ensure no traces of the virus remain, such as key logger, or back door programs designed to allow access into your computer remotely.

PC Geeks is your local computer repair shop, and that includes cleaning the nasty FBI virus off your system. Call us if you encounter this virus and we’ll take care of it quickly!  Have you heard of this virus? Leave us your comments below.

Stop watch resting on a keyboard.These days, the software market is flooded with software programs that are designed to optimize your computer, allowing it to run faster than before. No doubt some of them actual succeed in their claims.

Unfortunately, the truth is much more serious. Many of these optimization software programs – available both in the stores and on the internet – not only fail to live up to their claims but in fact , can cause serious issues with your operating system.

Those issues can lead to corruption of Windows, loss of data and even slowing down the system to a crawl, rendering other more vital software completely ruined.  Some of them may actually be computer viruses. If you have downloaded programs promising to speed up your machine but are unsure if they are safe, call PC Geeks!

The worst of these programs are the free ware programs that can often be downloaded from various sites on the internet. Not only are many of them poorly designed, but a large portion of them are not true programs at all; they are viruses just waiting to be downloaded and infect your machine.

Many of these programs promise to speed up your machine and often do so by “optimizing” the registry of your operating system. The problem with this approach is that other software may need the registry a certain way in order to function correctly, and if it is altered or deleted, they no longer function.

If you talk to your local computer technician for advice you’ll find that a great many will recommend you speed your machine up the old fashion way, by upgrading hardware components to increase overall performance.

While this is rarely without cost, it is a fraction of the price of repairing your computer after having a bogus optimization program wipe out your operating system. Are you getting annoyed with your slow computer? Call us today.