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Easy Solutions to Common Computer Repair Problems

March 15, 2018 Blog

It happens to everyone. No matter how shiny, new, and fast that computer was when you brought it home from the store, problems are bound to arise sooner or later. Thankfully, not every computer repair problem is severe enough to warrant tossing it in the trash. Some problems can take mere moments to overcome as long as you know what to do. Here are some examples of common problems with equally common solutions:

Easy Solutions to Common Computer Repair Problems

Computer doesn’t turn on/Black Screen

If your computer shows nothing but a black screen when you turn it on, or it doesn’t turn on at all, don’t panic. Check the power cables connected to both your computer and your monitor, and make sure they are plugged in and snug, both at the wall socket and at the devices themselves. Being just a tad loose can be enough to prevent them from powering on. Once you’re sure the power cables are fine, check the video cable that connects the computer to the monitor. Your display may be black simply because it’s disconnected, so make sure that connection is solid.

Keyboard and Mouse Problems

Keyboard and mouse problems can be similar to the problems that cause power or black screen problems: loose cables. Be sure the keyboard and mouse are plugged into their ports properly. If they are and your keyboard or mouse still aren’t working, try unplugging them and plugging them back in again. This may cause the computer to detect them and start working again. If you have a wireless keyboard or mouse, be sure to check the batteries as well. They might not be charged.

Computer repair isn’t always complicated or serious, but some computer problems can seem insurmountable. If your issues need an expert’s touch, please contact us to schedule a repair consultation today.

How You Can Troubleshoot Speaker Problems

March 5, 2018 Blog

Speakers are an essential part of many people’s computers because they allow them to watch movies, play games, and enjoy music. Unfortunately, it is possible for these speakers to malfunction or struggle to operate properly. Thankfully, you can troubleshoot these concerns and figure out what is causing your problems.

How You Can Troubleshoot Speaker Problems

Check The Power Source

The most common problem with speakers is an issue with the power supply. This can happen to one or both speakers. When it does happen, it will make it difficult for your speakers to run properly. Make sure to check the power source for frays or breaks.

Pan The Stereo Sound

When your power source doesn’t appear to be the problem, try panning the sound from speaker to speaker. This test will let you gauge if there is a problem with an individual speaker. These problems typically include frayed cords and burned out speaker components that must be replaced.

Test Your Sound Card

If you have tested the power source of your speakers and found no problems with the stereo pan, test the sound card. There is a good chance it may have malfunctioned. This test requires a manual hardware and software test. It will gauge if your sound card is broken and attempt to diagnose the problem for you.

If you have speaker problems that are preventing you from enjoying music or videos, don’t hesitate to contact us today for help. We can get your speakers up and running in no time. Our computer specialists have experience with repairing speakers and can help you figure out what is plaguing your speakers and how to fix it.

3 Tips for Malware Prevention

February 14, 2018 Blog

This is a world where virtually anything can be accomplished online (or with a computer in general), and when it comes to viruses, there are plenty to go around. Viruses fit under the ever-expanding umbrella of malware, otherwise referred to as malicious software, is loosely defined as any potentially unwanted or unsavory software. There’s a plethora of software which is considered malware, yet much of it isn’t described as harmful. It could be as simple as a reoccurring pop-up ad, which can be caused by adware. It should be noted that there are also many other forms of malware which can quickly wreak havoc on computer systems.

3 Tips for Malware Prevention

Computer systems, (at home or at work) are the front line in cyber warfare against the majority. Those on the home front are especially vulnerable. Because malware consists of such a broad range of software, it’s incredibly easy to call an item malware. So, here are a few tips for identifying and removing malware along with a couple of programs that can help and are free-to-use.

Don’t mess with your emails

Especially in the wake of the Equifax scandal, everyone should be at Defcon-1 in regards to efforts in upholding cybersecurity. Never open emails of suspicious-looking subject matter nor questionable origin, ever! Here lies a possible outcome. Emails may be spoofed to the degree of identicality to that of an email you would receive under ordinary circumstances, say, from a colleague. Some may contain ill-disposed code which may download malware from the internet without the user’s knowledge. This is known as a drive-by-download attack. Or if you are using an unpatched browser, this could trigger a buffer overflow flaw and thus allow for remote code execution on exploited by an attacker. Alternatively, malignant mail can and are more often part of a social engineering campaign. Social engineering is essentially what a con-artist practices, the art of the scam. Assuming that there is such a computer which is deemed unhackable, people are and always have been, the weakest link. This is why learning the safeguards of technology is paramount.

Be careful with unfamiliar sites

Remember clicking on the part of the webpage that seemed like it was empty, only to find another window pop up? Of course, that’s called clickjacking. Usually, it just brings up ads, but this could easily take a turn for the worst. Clickjacking is an enormous annoyance, but it clearly presents a potential safety risk. For instance, what if one of those clicks opened the window to a drive-by ransomware download. Bad news, right?

If you use Google Chrome, you’ve probably seen the dangerous site warning at some point in time. If you get this error, heed their warning. Sometimes this warning can be a false positive, although it’s better to be safe than sorry. In general, look for sites that use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

Be careful of what you download

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s true, always be careful what is downloaded to your machine. This isn’t just about programs; it applies to PDFs, shell scripts, images, videos, java, adobe plugins, and much more. Even though browsers like google chrome are okay with alerting the user about downloads, that’s not enough. Neither is Windows Defender! Norton Security and Malwarebytes both do a great job of handling cyber threats. SpyHunter also does a great job, but it (the unpaid version) is VERY manual. This is a turn-off to many users. The upside is that it detects all sorts of bugs and annoyances that you probably don’t want.

Extra safety tips

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a proxy
  • Use HTTPS-Everywhere
  • Use an open-source password manager
  • Use an AdBlocker
  • Encrypt your storage
  • Make periodic backups
  • Turn on your firewall
  • Turn on your anti-malware

If you desire professional assistance in malware avoidance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Successfully Upgrade Your Computers Processor or Memory

February 2, 2018 Blog

The hardest part (arguably) of upgrading a computers internals, is finding which of the components are compatible with your system. However going to all that trouble can go to waste if you don’t follow a certain list of steps while installing them. There are only five steps required in order to upgrade your computer properly. All of these steps are to prevent the humbling, painful, and expensive experience involved in breaking one of the components.

Successfully Upgrade Your Computers Processor or Memory

First of all turn your computer COMPLETELY off. You should also unplug the power cord, and if you are using a desktop, any other cords or cables.

The second step will be to properly get rid of any static electricity. You can simply just touch a metal object that is properly grounded or you can touch the metal frame of your computer. If this doesn’t reassure you completely, then you can get an Anti-Static wrist band.

Thirdly after you have opened up your computer (without breaking anything hopefully), you should check the components you will be installing for any manufacturing defects or damage. Also be very gentle while handling any computer parts, especially processors as the pins on the bottom are easily bent or broken.

Now fourthly when you install the processor or memory never force it in there as computer components are very fragile. Be extremely careful when it comes to the processor, since as mentioned before the pins are almost ridiculously fragile. The pins should fit right into the sockets very smoothly. If something doesn’t fit perfectly, simply check the pins make sure they’re not bent or damaged, then check if the socket is open. If it still doesn’t fit even after a bit of trouble shooting, then you may have the wrong component for your system.

Fifthly, and finally make sure after completely re-assembling your computer, that you computer recognizes the hardware. This is mainly for RAM/memory and here’s a good guide on how to find that.

If all these steps seem like too much or you would rather someone with professional experience install your computer parts for you, contact us for a quick estimate.

4 Types of Ransomware Viruses

January 5, 2018 Blog

Ransomware has been in the news again recently. Thousands of computers worldwide have been hit by it, including those owned by hospitals and government offices. Many have been forced to pay the ransom to recover their files. In this article, you’ll read about the different kinds of ransomware that are out there.

4 Types of Ransomware Viruses

Screen Locker Ransomware

The first kind of ransomware would lock users out of their computers by displaying a message that prevented them from logging in. Usually, the message would claim to be from law enforcement, saying that the user visited illegal websites. Users would be forced to pay a “fine” if they wanted to be able to use their computer again.

Encrypting Ransomware

By 2013, ransomware viruses started actually encrypting a computer’s data to prevent users from accessing it. The virus would gain access to a computer via a malicious file or link. It would quietly encrypt the data over a few days. The hackers would then keep the key until the user pays a ransom. This is the type of ransomware that is mostly seen nowadays. It’s particularly dangerous because, without a backup, there usually is no way of restoring your data.

Mac Ransomware

Macintosh computers have usually been less vulnerable to ransomware viruses. However, they are not invincible. For example, a ransomware virus called KeRanger was distributed last year via an app for Macs called Transmission.

Tech Scam Viruses

While not technically ransomware viruses, these viruses are still annoying. They pop up and give you false warnings that your computer is infected. They then tell you to call a number to rid your devices from the supposed viruses. When you call them, the hackers will then connect to your computer and will only leave you alone if you pay a hefty fee.

For expert help with preventing and removing viruses, contact us today!

5 Tips for Preventing Ransomware Attacks

December 21, 2017 Blog

You’ve surely heard about the recent global ransomware attacks. Thousands of businesses have been locked out of their files until they paid a ransom. The best way to avoid ransomware is by being proactive in preventing it.

5 Tips for Preventing Ransomware Attacks

Install an Antivirus

Your first step should be to make sure that your computer has a solid and trusted antivirus software. Make sure you get one with a strong firewall to prevent attacks. Perform scans of your files regularly.

Avoid Suspicious Links

Avoid clicking on suspicious links. If you see a suspicious email, delete it immediately. When downloading software, only download from a trusted source, and make sure no add-on software is bundled with your desired program.

Upgrade Your Software

Make sure to upgrade your operating system and antivirus software regularly. Set your Windows upgrades to download automatically, at least the important ones that are vital for security. If you have any downloaded software that is outdated, update it right away to prevent vulnerabilities.

Be Smart

Be smart about your activities online. As mentioned, be careful about what you click on. When connecting to a public network, make sure you’re not connecting to a spoofed network. Use a VPN to encrypt your traffic when using a public network.

Backup Your Data

The best way to prevent being a ransomware victim is by regularly backing up your files. If your data gets encrypted, you’ll be able to restore your files without paying a ransom. Make sure to back it up to a hard drive that you keep disconnected from your computer and network.

For more help with protecting yourself from viruses, and for virus removal services, contact us today!

Sluggish Computer? It’s Not Just Your Imagination

November 23, 2017 Blog

Are you one of those people who make a sincere effort to keep your PC or laptop free of malware and viruses?  Perhaps you have downloaded one of the free anti-virus software applications and you know all the tips and tricks to avoid questionable sites, suspicious emails and other types of harmful actions that could potentially wreak havoc with your computer.  Yet even though you’ve done everything right, your laptop or PC seems to be running slower and slower with every passing year.

Sluggish Computer? It's Not Just Your Imagination

If this sounds like your situation, it’s probably not your imagination.  Although there are some fairly respectable free anti-virus applications available and other good ones that require an annual subscription fee, they are not foolproof.  Even if your computer is not showing obvious signs of an infection from malware or a virus, a sluggish computer could still be infected.  If you have become increasingly frustrated with your computer, waiting for even simple actions to take effect, we can help.

We can perform specific diagnostics, checking your laptop or PC for pesky viruses and malware that might be the underlying problem responsible for your computer’s slow behavior.  We can also clean up temporary and unused files that can be dragging down your computer’s performance as well.  Investing in a regular tune-up for your computer equipment is much less expensive than replacing a laptop or PC every time it starts to decrease in response time.

If you are wary of your waiting for your computer to respond, contact us today.  We can get it back up and running like new again!

3 Tips on Avoiding and Removing Malicious Software

November 10, 2017 Blog

You notice your computer is suddenly sluggish. Annoying pop-up ads are ruining your browsing experience. Maybe your computer is frequently freezing or crashing. Your computer might be infected with malicious software. All is not lost, however, as steps can be taken to restore your computer to its previously healthy state. Here are 3 tips on avoiding and removing malicious software.

3 Tips on Avoiding and Removing Malicious Software

Install antivirus and malware software

A plethora of both free and paid software exists to help protect your computer from hostile and unwanted software. The function of these programs is to compare files on your computer to known malicious software in their database.

Antivirus and anti-malware programs will perform background scans of any file you open in order to determine if the file is safe or not. If malicious software slips through this background check or already exists in your files prior to installation of an antivirus or anti-malware program, a full system scan can be initiated. A full system scan will search through all of your system’s files for malicious software and warn you of their presence.

Along with the identification of viruses and malware, these programs offer simple and easy removal of unwanted software and files.

Don’t trust unsolicited email links

One common method used to sneak malicious software onto your computer is through attachments to an unassuming email. If you receive an email with a link or an attached file from any source that you don’t know, don’t trust it. Many email clients will scan for malicious attachments and provide a warning if malicious software is detected. If your email client warns you that an attachment may be malicious, do not ignore it.

Avoid unsafe sites and sources

The most effective way to keep your computer virus and malware free are to avoid downloading files from unsafe sources and to refrain from visiting unsafe websites. You are the first line of defense against malicious software.

To learn more about protecting your computer from malicious software, please Contact Us today.

Virus and Malware Removal Doesn’t Have To Be A Nightmare

October 27, 2017 Blog

It’s nearly every computer user’s nightmare. One minute they are humming along working on a project then the next minute they find their computer locked with a warning on the screen telling them that all their files have been encrypted. Only a payment (usually in Bitcoin) will allow them to access their documents again. The hackers set a deadline and if it is not met, then the files are gone forever. Better hope there was a backup somewhere… Virus and Malware removal doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

Virus and Malware Removal Doesn't Have To Be A Nightmare

Another scenario is that you get an email from someone you know with an attachment or a link. Without thinking, you download it or click on the link and once it executes, a LOT of sensitive information can be sent out. Even worse, everyone on your email contact list gets an email from you… with the file. You’ve been phished.

That doesn’t need to happen, though, if you prepare yourself. You won’t need a lot of effort, just a couple of downloads and added vigilance on your part.

You and your intuition are the first line of defense against getting a virus or malware. It may seem sad, but you need to have a very jaded eye when it comes to reading your emails. View every attachment that you get with suspicion. Pay attention to how the email is written, especially if you know the person who supposedly sent it. Did a longtime friend send you a stilted email without a greeting and a terse “Find Attached Important Files For Your View?” with a file attached? That should set off your warning bells and have you clicking the “Delete” button.

Secondly, you need a virus scanner and a malware scanner. Make sure that they operate independently of each other since if you have two virus scanners at the same time, they can actually miss a lot of things. Also, ensure that they have a real-time scanning function, since that way any files from emails or malicious websites that might slip through otherwise are caught.

Having those two things on your computer can save you a lot of grief and headaches. Got any more questions about stopping the scourge of viruses and malware from affecting you? Just contact one of our DFW locations.

The Latest Windows Upgrade And Why It May Be Worth It

October 10, 2017 Blog

Microsoft announced a new update for Windows 10 called the “Creator’s Update.” As expected, many PC users around the internet worry about the changes this will bring to their system. Some have even started preparations to prevent their system from updating. As Microsoft is known for changes to their system coming with numerous issues, this level of concern is not entirely unfounded. The latest Windows Upgrade and why it may be worth it is what we’ll address below.The Latest Windows Upgrade And Why It May Be Worth It

1. User Control

The first and most important change will give users more control over when system updates installed. Forbes reports that this new version of Windows will allow the user to explicitly state at what times throughout the day they do not want updates to occur. These “Active Hours” are when the user needs to use the computer without being interrupted by a restart. Also, there will be options that allow for the delay of updates anywhere from three to 35 days.

2. Browser Functionality

The next feature will add more functionality to Window’s ‘Edge’ browser, allowing users to manage multiple tabs more efficiently. Now, instead of either closing all the tabs at the end of a browsing session, or further cluttering bookmarks, users will be able to choose to “set aside” these links for easier access at a later date. A common complaint among users is how much memory browsers can consume, and by adding this feature, Microsoft hopes to address these concerns. Additionally, there will be an improved preview feature, allowing for the user to see what a saved link contains before opening it.

3. Gaming Enhancement

Along with the theme of memory optimization, the new update will also feature something for PC Gamers. The new “Game Mode” setting will allow the operating system to cut down on the amount of CPU used by background applications. Doing this will free up more processing power for the game client to use and provide a smoother gaming experience.

Upgrading windows is a daunting task at times, especially for those moving from older operating systems. For more information and help, feel free to contact us with any questions.