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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.

What To Know Before You Buy Any Processor & Memory Upgrades For Your PC

August 30, 2017 Blog

We all reach that moment with our computer when we realize that it’s getting older. All of the things that were once effortless seem like it’s taking the poor machine a bit longer. How is this possible, it was only purchased three years ago. As much as we don’t like it, computers do go out of date eventually. Technology continues moving forward and the need for more processing power or memory grows. Thankfully for all of us, it is easy enough to find the parts needed to give our old machines back some of their pets. Before you run out and get any hardware upgrades though, there is one important question that needs to be answered.

What To Know Before You Buy Any Processor & Memory Upgrades For Your PC

Can my computer handle it?

A computer can only handle so much processing power and it’s all dependent on one component, the motherboard. You must look up your motherboard before you get a new processor or any RAM. If you can’t remember what your motherboard is, don’t worry, there are two simple ways to find out. The first way is to go open up the command line and type in this command: which baseboard gets the product, Manufacturer, version, serial number. You will need the manufacturer and product information. The second way to find this is to install a program named CPUID CPU-Z. When the program is up, all you need to do is click on the tab that says ‘Mainboard.’ The manufacturer and model are the first two variables displayed. Now that you’ve got your motherboard information, it’s time to go to google.

There is one piece of documentation that you need, the specifications. The official website for the manufacturer of the motherboard should have this documentation. The specifications should reveal two important things. First, the processor that is currently installed and, hopefully, the highest processor that the motherboard can handle. Second, it will show the type of RAM installed and exactly how much RAM the motherboard can handle. If the specifications do not show the highest processor that the motherboard can handle, it is extremely important that further research gets completed. Getting a processor only to find out that it does not work is a frustrating experience.

With this information in hand, finding replacement parts is a breeze. Once the upgrades are in hand, it is also important to look up instructions on replacing the parts if you have never done it before. RAM is very simple to install, but the process requires a bit more care. If you do not feel confident replacing the part yourself, it is easy to find someone with experience to help you out. Before you know it, your machine will be running almost like new. Contact us today to learn more!

Frayed Power Cords: The Most Common Laptop Problem

August 10, 2017 Blog

Laptops can suffer from a variety of problems with their parts, the most common of which is a frayed power cord. Dealing with this dangerous situation can be done either on your own or with the help of a computer repair specialist.

Frayed Power Cords: The Most Common Laptop Problem

Causes Of This Problem

Frayed power cords are caused by a variety of situations including:

  • Wrapping the cord too tightly
  • Tugging the cord out of the socket too hard
  • Natural wear and tear
  • Animals attacking the cords as they dangle

Whatever the cause of frayed power cords, they can be dangerous. Sparks and other problems can occur as the frayed wires touch and create reactions. It can also make it impossible for your laptop to charge properly. Fixing this problem is relatively easy if you know how to approach it properly.

Fixing The Problem

There are several ways to manage this problem. The easiest is to wrap the cord up with electrical tape and hope the wires are connected properly. Some people will use silicone sealant and painter’s tape to do the same task, sealing the wire and keeping it from causing dangerous fire situations.

Probably the easiest way to fix the problem is to just buy a new power cord. Replacement power cards are typically fairly inexpensive on various websites, though these cords are more likely to fray than the proper cord. There’s also a change the charge may be slightly off, causing problems with your battery.

If you need help repairing your frayed power cord or need someone who can get you a proper replacement one, please contact us today.

Save Time and Money with a Screen Replacement

July 28, 2017 Blog

So, your laptop took a fall but appears alright—until your turn it on. A spider web of black and white now covers the screen and you can’t see anything. The day’s productivity has literally slid through your fingers.

Save Time and Money with a Screen Replacement

Impulsively, if you can afford it, you might be tempted to run to your nearest retailer to replace your laptop and get back on track on a new machine—this often isn’t the best idea.

The time spent moving your files from your trusty laptop to a new one, installing new files, and replacing applications simply isn’t worth it. Not to mention the cost of replacing the laptop altogether is a cost many can’t, or simply don’t want to afford.

Instead, the best idea is to keep a screen replacement in mind. A screen replacement will not only save you all that time but a big chunk of cash as well.

A screen replacement takes a very short time period to complete, and at a small fraction of the cost to replace the computer. You get to keep your work, applications, files, games, pictures—everything.

So what can you do until your local PC Geeks location opens to replace a screen? Consider connecting the laptop to a television using a spare HDMI cable. Most laptops come with an HDMI port to connect to a TV. Alternatively, you can also connect the laptop to a desktop monitor with a VGA connector, as many laptops also come with these ports as well.

If you need help replacing a laptop screen, or know someone else who does, feel free to contact us so we can get you right back up and be running in no time.

New Laptop Parts Breathe Life Into an Aging PC

July 15, 2017 Blog

Everyone knows how it feels to have a slow computer dragging you down. You lift the lid of your laptop and hit the power button, waiting eagerly for your machine to boot up so you can finish that important presentation. Thirty seconds pass. Nothing. A minute. Still nothing. After five minutes of staring at that loathsome “Please wait…” screen, you wonder if there is anything you can do to put a little pep in your laptop’s step. New Laptop Parts Breathe Life Into an Aging PC

New Laptop Parts Breathe Life Into an Aging PC

Fortunately, there are a couple of cost-effective ways to upgrade parts in most older laptops to help speed things up a bit.

SSD

An old hard drive is one of the most common culprits behind a slow laptop, and an SSD, or solid-state drive, is one of the best remedies for this issue.

Unlike a traditional hard drive, an SSD has no moving parts inside, meaning that your data is manipulated by electrons moving at near the speed of light, as opposed to slow, spinning disks.

This means that a laptop equipped with an SSD will boot up and open programs in seconds, rather than minutes.

Having a drive with no moving parts has other benefits too, such as increased reliability (an SSD is less likely to fail than a hard drive) and less noise, as well as longer battery life.

SSD’s with a 240 Gigabyte capacity are generally affordable, and higher capacities are available if you need the extra storage.

RAM

Does your laptop seem to slow down when running multiple programs? If so, your laptop is probably in need of a RAM (Random Access Memory) upgrade.

RAM is the fast memory that temporarily stores data from your hard drive or SSD for quicker access times.

Having too little RAM means that your laptop is not able to load enough data to the RAM, which can result in slowdowns during multitasking.

For most people, four gigabytes of RAM is the minimum capacity recommended for regular use. If your laptop has one or two gigabytes of RAM, for example, you may want to consider an upgrade.

Having plenty of RAM is important, as it will make your laptop feel more responsive when opening multiple tabs in your favorite web browser or using several programs at once.

Where to get help with upgrades

If you don’t feel comfortable fiddling with your computer’s innards, the pros at PC Geeks are happy to help! Feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Top 3 Virus Removal Tips for Infected Machines

June 30, 2017 Blog

Did you know that roughly 25 percent of P.C.s are vulnerable to malware and viruses? Malware and virus problems are easily the most common issues computer techs and consultants have to deal with. So to help you return your system to functional operation as quickly as possible, we’ve got a short list of the top virus removal tips you can use wherever you are.

Top 3 Virus Removal Tips for Infected Machines

1.) Run Safe Mode and Do a Basic Cleanup

Often the primary objective of malware and viruses is to scrape your personal information and transmit it to the hacker who created the virus or to make your computer take specific actions, like sending infected emails. One of the best ways to prevent this is to simply restart your P.C. in Safe Mode, disconnect from the internet, and then run your installed anti-malware suite. This can help protect you from a “too late” scenario, where the intended damage is already done.

2.) Clean Up and Delete Your Temporary Files

While you might think that just clearing your browser’s temporary files will do the trick, we recommend going the extra mile to clear everything. First, you’ll want to restart your computer in Safe Mode. You can usually find your temp file in the ‘Users’ directory in the C:\ drive, but most operating systems allow you to easily search for the file. Doing this will help ensure that any virus has less access to your applications, any personal information you’ve entered on the web, and might even easier cleanup viruses you’ve collected through casual web browsing.

3.) Wipe Your Computer With a Clean Installation

This is effectively the nuclear option, often only used when a computer is infected well beyond easy recovery — but that happens more often than you think. It’s a quick way to effectively remove any and all viruses from your computer, without any lingering concerns. Luckily, newer operating systems make this process on everyday users easier than it has been in the past. In Windows 8 and 10, for example, there’s a simple option to either refresh or reset your P.C. that does the heavy lifting for you.

Of course, there are much more virus removal options than just these three tricks! And we encourage anyone with infected hardware or software to contact us to learn more about deep-cleaning these common problems. Remember one in four computers if vulnerable! Don’t let yours be (or stay) one of them.

Why Your Windows Updates Won’t Install

June 19, 2017 Blog

Windows updates are designed to bring your computer up-to-date and help it run more smoothly. Unfortunately, these updates may refuse to install and put your computer at risk. Why does this happen?

Why Your Windows Updates Won't Install

Lack Of Hard Drive Room

This is probably the most common problem that causes issues with installing Windows updates. It might seem silly, but a lack of hard drive room will make it impossible for your updates to install. Try to have at least one GB or more open at all times on your computer. Failure to do so will likely cause the computer to run poorly or make it impossible to install updates.

Conflicting Drivers

Updates to Windows may end up conflicting with your hardware drivers and cause some problems. Your automatic updater will note this clash and elect not to install the updates. Installing them in a situation like this could cause the computer to become unstable. As a result, your Windows updates may remain stubbornly installed until you get updated hardware.

Virus Infection

Some viruses are designed to attack Windows updater and infect it through your internet connection. The updater will detect these hacking attempts and disconnect in order to protect itself from getting infected. When infection of these updating systems does occur, it can put them out of commission until you get the viruses cleaned off your hard drive.

If you’ve done everything you can to solve these problems and your updates still won’t run, please contact us. We can help find a solution to your update problems and get your computer back up to speed.