Happy New Year From PC Geeks!Friends, as we close 2012 we’re spending a whole lot of time helping our customers restore and recover data. No one wants to suffer loss during the holidays!

We love to help our customers, and we know you don’t want to lose precious data. Data CAN be recovered, but there is a simple way to avoid the hassle.

We call Carbonite ‘The Great, End-Of-The-World Back Up’ for good reason!

Carbonite is an off-site data storage that will be a real comfort to you if you get yourself in a situation.

Let’s get protected for 2013, at home and at work. Go to Carbonite.com to get started.

Get to Know Your Technician

Merry Christmas From PC Geeks!At PC Geeks, we provide a service that benefits everyone in the community. Just like any qualified service leader, the more we understand the history of a situation, the faster it is to come to a successful diagnostic conclusion.

It’s funny to us that people don’t tend to tell us right away what they may have done that preceded a problem with their computer. We’ll never judge you or make you feel small! Stuff happens to all of us. When you become our customer, we want to see you return for many reasons. Yes, we’re happy to help you, but let me make a comparison.

When you buy a used car for your teenager, for instance, you’re probably going to be extra watchful to see if the car performs like you expect. When something goes wrong, you think about the history of the car. The longer you have the car, and the more parts that get replaced, eventually you get to know very well what’s under the hood, am I right? At that point, you probably know your mechanic very well, and can trust the given opinion.

With your computer, the same basic thought applies. You don’t have to throw away your computers the minute they give you trouble, get the problem diagnosed and see where the breakdown is happening. The more we know about the history of your machine, the better. Get to know us, we’re local, we’re friendly, and we know how to get to the bottom of issues you’re having so you can put them behind you and get on with your life!

PC Geeks hires qualified technicians with extensive background in computer repair. When you have problems with your Mac or PC, call us first. You can bring them into either of our stores, or we’ll come to your home or office. It’s really as easy as that! In Frisco, that’s 214-618-4800. For our Allen store, call 972-693-2644.

The staff at PC Geeks wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.

Happy holidays from PC Geeks computer repair.The two biggest threats to the hardware inside your computer are heat and water.

Now, it goes without saying that putting water in your computer is probably not a very wise thing to do so we won’t talk about that in this column, but have you ever stopped to think about the environmental factors of where your computer sits?

Exposing your computer to excess heat over the long term of its life plays a very serious role in the lifespan and performance of your machine.

Make sure that you regularly dust your computer case, and see that the vents on your laptop or desktop are clear to prolong the life of your system greatly.

So much furniture is available out there to optimize the looks of your home – but many of them, especially computer desks – do not account for the space a computer needs to vent off  excess heat.

Generally speaking, the basic desktop has a fan on its front that’s designed to:

  • Pull cool air inside,
  • Run it through the case, and then
  • Fans within the computer are set to push that hotter air out the back or side of the case,
  • Preventing a buildup of heat on the sensitive components inside the case.

What happens when you put that computer into an enclosed space, like an entertainment center? There is no easy place for the heat to dissipate and now that machine is running at a temperature that it was not truly designed for! Some brands of computers run hotter than others, but the point here is, if you want your machine to last you many years, ensuring it has the room to breathe is vital for its health.

  • Keep your fans clean,
  • Make sure there are few gaps or holes in your computer case that can disrupt the intended airflow, and
  • Making sure there is somewhere for the heat to go once it departs your computer.

That will work wonders in preserving the lifespan of not just your computer, but every component that is in it. If you feel that your computer may be running to hot you should contact your local PC Geeks technician in Allen or Frisco.

We’re happy to help you get your equipment optimized for the environment its in, give us a call. We also service Plano, Little Elm, McKinney, Celina, Fairview and many more neighborhoods near you!

Comments? We love ’em! Leave them below.

Remember PC Geeks For Christmas.It is inevitable. In the end, after all the years of service, your beloved computer will finally stop working, or at least become obsolete and need to be replaced by the latest and greatest new technology.

With the speed that computer technology progresses now, it really only takes a few years for the components in your computer to be considered far out of date!

Environmental challenges face us all, and it’s become very important to make sure that you are disposing your old technology in the proper manner.

Unfortunately, computers are not as easy to be rid of as plastic bottles and coke cans so many are unsure just how one goes about recycling their old computer equipment. There is a very easy solution for you though.

PC Geeks welcomes you to drop off your old computer equipment won’t charge you a thing for those services. Those old hunks of plastic and metal often have useable screws and parts that aid them in keeping older machines up and running.

We’ll make sure that your personal data is erased and the old hard drives destroyed properly to protect you from identity theft. PC Geeks technicians have contacts that ensure computers are broken down to their base components and recycled properly rather than just tossed into a dumpster!

If you have old computer equipment that is taking up space and of no use to you anymore, do not hesitate to contact your PC Geeks technician in Allen or Frisco to let him know. We will recycle your old computers at no cost to you and make sure they are taken care of properly.

Did you know our service area extends to the communities of McKinney, Plano, The Crossroads, Prosper, Celina, Little Elm, Aubrey, Wylie, Lucas, Anna, and Fairview? When you’re out purchasing that new computer for Christmas, don’t forget to call us for complete set up and hardening so you can use it right away! Also, repaired computers are an inexpensive option for a Christmas surprise. If you want to get more out of what you have, contact us to see what improvements can be made to your existing system.

Happy Holidays! Leave us your comments below.

Protect your Windows Product Key

Restored Computers Make Great Christmas Gifts!A common problem we encounter these days is when a client comes in with an ailing computer that requires operating system repairs, but does not having their Windows product key, or it has been worn off on the bottom of their equipment.

This is a fairly common issue and can definitely lead to higher costs in repairs. Identifying your product key is important for you and can save you time and money.

  • On a desktop, the Windows license key can usually be found on the sides, back or top of your computer case and will tell you’re your operation system version and a series of five sets of five digits and numbers.
  • On a laptop, the Windows license key can usually be found on the bottom of the laptop, or in some cases under the battery itself and also, will tell you’re your operation system version and a string of five digits and numbers.

With custom built computers, the builders are often guilty of not providing you with that Windows license key, and any time your purchase a computer you should take a moment to locate that sticker, and if it is missing find out why. You should always make sure to at least get him to write it down for you, and if they will not do it, it is possible that is not a genuine copy of Windows!

Once you have a new computer home, taking the time to write down your Windows product key and store it somewhere safe is a great way to ensure you have it in the case that the sticker is worn away or ruined.

If you have trouble finding or identifying your Windows product key, do not hesitate to call your friendly neighborhood PC Geeks Technician to help you. We also service Plano, Little Elm, McKinney, Celina, Allen, Frisco, and many more neighborhoods near you!

Happy Holidays From PC Geeks!There’s a universal reaction at that moment you discover your computer is having a problem, and that is to immediately click every icon, button or link in sight!

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to do significant damage to your operating system by changing settings. If you’re sure that you’re having an issue, be it a virus, or failure of hardware components, the first thing you should do is shut off your machine, and contact your local technician to describe the issue.

There’s a very good chance that your technician has not only heard of the issue, but will have a solid educated guess as to what the actual problem is and can advise you what your best options are.

Another mistake people make when dealing with their technician is being afraid to explain what is happening. This may come as a surprise, but technicians will not think less of you, if you tell them what may have lead to the problems!

When you’re completely honest with the tech, often you can get to a faster resolution simply by being able to understand the path that lead to the problem! The following is a short list of what to have ready when you call a technician.

  • The brand and model of your computer.
  • What operating system you are using,  ( Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8)
  • When the problem started and a basic list of the symptoms,
  • What you were doing when the problem took place.

You should not feel intimidated by having to talk to a technician, we are there to help find a resolution for your issues, and not judge you. You’re an adult and do not need to explain yourself! The most important thing to remember is this …  IF you are having a problem with your computer, turn it off, and call your local PC Geeks technician in Allen or Frisco, we will be glad to steer you in the right direction and get you back to surfing.

Tell us, have you ever messed up your computer trying to fix it by yourself? C’mon, we won’t judge! Leave your comments here.

You've got  mail, picture of an envelope.Over the years, Microsoft has done a great job in getting millions of computer users hooked on their Outlook program as their go-to software for handling their e-mail.

If you go into the vast majority of any business in your area you are more likely to find Outlook than any other office suite that is on the market today.

In a workplace setting where your computer is not going anywhere it tends to work like a charm.

Now that everyone in the workplace is used to Outlook for handling their e-mail, they’re comfortable. They tend to start using it on their personal machines at home, and the truth is, there are some disadvantages to using Outlook for all your devices.

  • If you have any computer issues that require a format of your drive, you must redo Outlook.
  • It is very easy for your Outlook files to be corrupted or set up incorrectly.

More and more people are looking to the many different websites that offer free e-mail services. Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, and Gmail are just a few of the better known e-mail providers. There are some distinct advantages to letting go of Outlook and setting up your e-mail on to web based providers. Here are just a few of them!

  • You can log into your email from any device that has internet connection without configuration.
  • Most times, if there is an issue, it’s on their end and they have to fix it fast and at no cost to you.
  • If your computer needs repair, it never effects the ability to access your email.

Bear in mind, there is no law against having more than one e-mail address and that also is never a bad idea.  For example, I use one email address for all online business transactions, a different e-mail for family and friends, and another e-mail exclusively for work.  None of these e-mail addresses are on the same website! If you are unsure how to set up a new e-mail address or are having problems with Outlook you can contact your local PC Geeks technician and we would be glad to help you! We also service surrounding areas like Fairview, Lucas, Wylie, Plano, McKinney, and many more!

So tell us, what email service do you prefer? Why? Leave us your comments below.

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!