Four Important Things Data Recovery Can Return to You

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering whether or not recovering the data that you lost is worth it. The process is expensive, time-intensive, and complicated. It’s only worth going through with the recovery if you’ve lost things that you need, but many people don’t realize how many things are important. Here are a few things you might have forgotten about.

Photos

Old photos might be the first thing you think of as you consider whether or not to recover your data, but it’s worth mentioning, just because it’s so important. If you had even a few photos on your media storage, you will forever appreciate having retrieved them, or regret letting them go.

Records

Although they may not bring the warm feelings that photographs do, having copies of old records can prevent huge headaches in the future. While it’s usually possible to obtain copies of documents, it’s almost always a hassle, and sometimes it’s expensive as well. Maintaining a digital filing cabinet that goes back as far as possible can save you time and money.

Passwords

Many people believe that passwords are not important to save as they are so easy to reset. This is actually true the majority of the time, but in rare cases, this may not be possible. For example, if you don’t have a recovery email set up, or you lose access to a phone you use for two-factor authentication, you may be faced with days or weeks of paperwork and begging a company to release your account back to you. Some companies won’t even respond to these requests at all (think Google and Facebook). Retrieving these passwords through data recovery may actually save you a considerable amount of time and effort.

Media

There are forms of media worth saving other than photos. Do you have any home videos of past experiences you’ll want to see again in ten years? Maybe you have a large music collection that would be time-consuming to download again, or that isn’t still available online. This can all be recovered and returned to you.

If you realized you’ve lost some or all of these things, or even something that wasn’t mentioned here, contact us! We would love to help you out with data recovery or any of your other computer repair needs.

7 Top Internet Privacy Tips to Keep You Secure Online

Day-in-day-out, computers, and smartphones are becoming an integral part of our lives. With the expansion of remote and hybrid workplace models due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of our work and social interactions revolve around browsing the internet and social media. However, this comes with a great deal of responsibility on our shoulders — keeping ourselves safe against cybersecurity threats such as malware, identity theft, or ransomware. Keep reading to discover these seven everyday internet privacy tips to help you with the same.

7 Top Internet Privacy Tips to Keep You Secure Online

1. Keep an Eye on the Privacy Settings

Whether it’s social media or collaboration tools, they always provide privacy settings to enable you to limit what can be seen about you. Always check all your accounts to make sure that personal identifying details aren’t visible to the public. Also, it isn’t late to disable lock screen notifications on your mobile phone.

2. Use Quality and Up-to-Date Antivirus/Anti-malware Software

With so many vendors claiming world-class protection against viruses, malware, or spyware, make sure you choose a reputable one for your PC. Additionally, installing alone isn’t enough; always be on the lookout for new security patches from manufacturers to better protect against the latest threats.

3. Strong Password and 2FA

Using popular or easily guessable passwords (e.g., your name or phone number) opens loopholes for hackers. Worse is when you use the same password across different accounts. Always use strong and unique passwords and, whenever possible, enable 2-factor authentication (2FA) for maximum protection.

4. Clear Your Online Activity

Marketers are after profiling your online activity to target you with ads. Use private or incognito browser windows to better mask yourself from tracking. On the other hand, regularly clear cache data to delete all saved cookies and browsing history.

5. Beware of Insecure Sites

It doesn’t matter whether you’re browsing, making an online purchase, or signing up for a new account; insecure websites are hotcakes for cybercriminals. This is because information entered on these sites can be “listened to” by an attacker. You can always tell a site is insecure by looking at the URL — if it starts with HTTP and not HTTPS, run! Also, browsers like Chrome will indicate an insecure site by a red open padlock icon on the left side of the URL bar.

6. Be Careful with Links

Phishing links continue to threaten personal and company data as cybercriminals get new methods to get the victims to click them. Take the extra step of verifying the link sent via email or social media inbox before clicking. Emails requesting personal info or with questionable sender and .exe attachments pose a significant danger.

7. Make Use of VPN

Virtual Private Network works by converting a public network to a private and masking your IP address. This enables you to safely use public Wi-Fi hotspots without the fear of eavesdropping, while helping you to be anonymous on the net.

The Gist

No one would ever want to dream of their credit card details falling into the wrong hands. Adopting these internet privacy security steps can significantly reduce the chances of ever falling victim to cybersecurity threats. For all your PC repair needs, get in touch with PC Geeks today.

Which Computer Type is Best for Students and Why?

There are several factors to consider when selecting a computer type that will enable a student to complete homework, perform research, and/or take an online class. Some of these factors include performance, portability, cost, as well as ease-of-use.

Which Computer Type is Best for Students and Why?

Performance

An entry-level computer may work well in order to write the occasional research paper, but a student who works with hardware-intensive applications such as Adobe Photoshop or 3ds Max, requires computer equipment that delivers consistently superior performance. In general, some desktop models are capable of delivering this superior performance, going far beyond the ability of many laptops. For media arts students who work with graphic-intensive software, even though they may like the portability of a laptop, a higher-end desktop model is likely a better option.

Students who frequently use a computer for school but don’t require intense performance, will likely find a mid-range computer meets their needs and is much more budget-friendly. For students who only use a computer infrequently, an entry-level computer offers the best value.

Portability

Most students prefer the portability of laptops, although again, media art students may not be able to find a laptop that can power through intensive software apps as well as a desktop model. Some students may want to consider whether they want a traditional laptop or one like Microsoft’s Surface where the viewing screen can be converted into a tablet. For younger students, parents might be more comfortable buying them a desktop model, so they can have more oversight as to what their child is viewing online.

Apple vs The Others

Both Apple desktops and laptops offer sleek design and intuitive ease-of-use, however, neither are budget-friendly. Apple products also lack native versions of many Windows-based applications. For students who don’t need a computer that runs Windows apps, and who can afford the high-end prices that come with Apple products, they won’t be disappointed with any of their products.

Dell — This company offers a range of computers, from entry-level to higher-end models, and overall, they’re fairly priced. The only consistent complaint was breakage of some of their (plastic) case components, but some of their models now have more durable aluminum construction.

HP — Hewlett-Packard is known for their budget-friendly computers. They also offer a range of products from entry-level to high performance. With some of the less expensive models, there have been complaints of poor durability.

ASUS — This brand has become very popular with students in recent years due to its wide range of products, including high performance models. Along with their competitive pricing, ASUS deserves its reputation as an excellent option for students.

If you’d like to know more about how to select the right computer for back to school, please contact us.

10 Excellent Tips to Take Care of Your Computer During Summer

It is imperative to be more careful with your computer during summer because it can overheat and get damaged. Here are the essential care tips.

10 Excellent Tips to Take Care of Your Computer in Summer

Avoid Direct Sunlight
If you decide to work from outside, you should keep your computer away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage the computer components and hinder the device from working effectively.

Place It on a Flat Surface
Be cautious of where you place your laptop. If you put the device on the bed, couch, or laps, the air will not flow well from the vents, causing the device to overheat.

Use a Laptop Case
A laptop case is suitable for storing your computer during summer. Ensure you buy moisture and heat-rated cases to keep the device cool throughout.

Do Not Keep the Device in Your Car
Keeping your computer in the car when the interior is hot can cause the device to overheat and get damaged in the long run.

Keep the Fan Clean
Dust and dirt often accumulate on the backside of your computer. If left unattended, it blocks the fan from functioning well. This can cause the fan to overheat. So, clean the fan often for effective functioning.

Clear Background Apps
If you leave apps running, your device will likely overheat. So, keep checking and clearing all background apps to prevent the device from overheating.

Shut it Down Well
Some people often rush to switch off a computer and store it without checking whether it is shut down well. Always give your device time to cool down before you keep it to avoid heat-trapping in the device.

Unplug the Charger 
Be careful when charging your computer, and always unplug it when full charge. Leaving it on the charge can affect the battery life, and the device will overheat.

Use a Cooling Pad
Sometimes, you may have a lot of work and keep you using the computer for long hours. This can cause the device to overheat, so it is imperative to use a cooling pad to prevent it from overheating.

Use Heat Processor Apps
Sometimes, it can be challenging to determine the exact temperatures that can be risky for your laptop. In this case, you can use heat processor apps to run background checks and warn you when the heat rises.

The Bottom Line 
Using the tips above can help you take care of your computer and avoid damage that could lead to costly repairs or replacements. Contact us today at PC Geeks for all matters related to computers.

Networking for Either Home or Office Use

We live in a technology-based world. The Internet plays a huge part in people’s everyday lives and it is not going anywhere. If anything, it is going to become even more integrated as time goes on.

Networking for Either Home or Office Use

Home

There can be a lot going on in your home, depending on your situation. Do you have kids… or adult children .. that like to play either computer or console games?  Is there someone that also operates a home office or runs a side business from either a laptop or phone? What about the aspiring social media superstar who wants to have constant live streaming?

Any… or all of these require you to have the best networking set-up. It’s far more than just ensuring that you have high-speed internet to keep things from getting bottlenecked when multiple people are using it. You need to make sure that sharing is set up properly… as well as that the network is secure. Being neighborly is one thing, but having them use your network without permission is another.

You can choose between having a wired or wireless network. Wired is much faster and more secure, but you also will have to find a way to discreetly put the wires around your home so as to not trip over them constantly. Wireless will need more security measures and can also be affected by the distance from the router and walls – though there can be ways to boost it around the home.

Office

A well-networked office is a happy office… as far as people enjoying having constant connectivity while they do their work goes. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing, “Network is down!” and then people slumping in their chairs, unable to do anything productive.

This is a problem that can affect anything from a small business to a Fortune 100 company. While there is no way to 100% prevent all networking issues, it’s important to use the right tools.  There are companies that specifically cater to small or large businesses and properly configuring their equipment can make life much easier.

Cloud networking is popular, but there can be security risks. Also, as far as security goes, only allow a limited amount of people to access all the controls.  Make sure that people use strong passwords to keep out hackers… and sweep out inactive users frequently.

This is a short primer about networking. Want to learn more about how PC Geeks can help you get the best networking set-up?  Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment. You can also follow us on Twitter.

5 Effective Data Recovery Tips and Tricks 

Losing data can be devastating and challenging. It can distract your work and take you back to the drawing board if you do not take appropriate measures to recover the data. Here are workable strategies that you can apply to recover your data effectively.

5 Effective Data Recovery Tips and Tricks 

Backup Data Often 
Data recovery becomes easier when you have a backup. You may lose a small percentage of your data and recover the big part. In this case, you will be able to continue with your operations seamlessly.

Create a Recovery Plan
It is imperative to create a plan in advance to recover your data without frustrations. You will have peace of mind knowing that you have the appropriate strategies to recover data if anything happens. If possible, you can work with a professional to help you create an effective data recovery plan using quality software and tools.

Implement Cloud Storage
Today, there is no doubt that technology continues to influence data storage, making it more effective. You can store your data on the cloud to protect against data loss. One of the quality benefits of cloud storage is that even if you experience natural disasters such as fire, storm, or water damage, your data will remain safe.

Use a Flash Drive
Storing your data on a flash drive is one of the easiest ways to avoid losing the data. Store various programs on the flash drive instead of leaving them cluttered on your computer. You can create a zip file on the flash drive and store your data in an organized manner.

Invest in Data Recovery Software
Technology continues to influence how people store their data. Today, you can invest in quality software and store your data effectively. With different types of software, it’d be best to research in-depth and choose software that meets your needs and expectations.

Seek Professional Help
Managing your data recovery process can be daunting and tiring. In this case, you can seek help from experts who will ensure that your data is safe no matter what happens to your business. Contact us today for effective data recovery services worth a bang for your buck.

10 Tips for Summer Computer Care

Warm summer days are great for getting outside and enjoying outdoor activities, but warmer temperatures can also wreak havoc on costly computer equipment. Now is a great time to review some tips on how to keep your equipment running smoothly and efficiently, all summer long.

10 Tips for Summer Computer Care

10 Safety Tips

1. Computer equipment needs room to “breathe” — Avoid surrounding your PC with papers, books, office supplies, etc., and keep it away from tight spaces (e.g., desk cubbyholes).

2. Dust computer equipment regularly — Beyond the fact that dust can clog vents, dust also traps heat which makes computer equipment work that much harder.

3. Keep PCs, tablets, etc. away from direct light — Many people use their laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. intermittently throughout the day and set them down onto various surfaces throughout the home. Make sure those surfaces will not receive any direct sunlight during usage downtime.

4. Make sure screensaver and power-saving modes are set properly — Adjust screensaver and sleep mode settings to kick in fairly soon after inactivity. The less your computer is in active working mode, the less likely it will overheat.

5. Add or upgrade PC fans — Most PCs already have at least one built-in fan, but there could be room for another, for power users who extensively use their equipment. An 80mm fan is very affordable and will keep a PC cool and comfortable during heavy usage.

6. Adjust light settings — Bright light settings use more power, which generates more heat. Tone down light settings and add a lamp or two if you need more light to view the PC screen.

7. Keep air flowing — Computers are already built in such a way as to keep air flowing throughout the unit. By removing a side panel, it disrupts the airflow running from the front to the back vent. It’s best not to attempt these types of DIY moves, which has the potential to backfire.

8. Consider adding air conditioning — Some environments are difficult to keep cool in the summer. They may be poorly insulated and/or have a lot of windows that bring sunlight and warmth into interior spaces. Consider adding an air conditioning unit to keep the space cool. 

9. Ventilate computer spaces — If you can’t afford to add A/C, at least use a box or window fan to keep air circulating within the room. Just as with people, moving air helps keep equipment cool.

10. Turn off PCs, tablets, etc. when not in use — During nighttime hours and when away from the home, there’s really no need for computer equipment to be up and running.

If you’d like more tips on how to help your computer equipment avoid the summer heat, contact us!

10 Tips for Keeping Your PC Cool

Summer is the ideal time to review whether all your PCs are receiving the airflow and proper cooling they require. Doing so will greatly reduce one’s chances of experiencing failure in any number of the heat-sensitive components that comprise a PC.

10 Tips for Keeping Your PC Cool

1. Hibernate When Not in Use

Adjust the setting so a PC will go directly into hibernate mode when it’s not in use. It will give it an opportunity to cool down and will save electricity as well.

2.  Keep Internal Cables Short

Long internal cabling takes up more space and reduces internal air flow. This increases the chance of other internal components getting too hot and failing.

3. Dust Regularly

Dust can clog the air intake grill on a PC, thus increasing the likelihood of overheating internal components. Dust regularly and perform an occasional “look-see” to determine if a PC’s air intake grill is receiving the air it needs.

4. Spot Check Fans

While checking for dust, also make sure a PC’s fan(s) are working as well. A burned-out power supply fan can quickly lead to overheating and equipment failure.

5.  Consider Using Additional Fans

Some PCs have more than one hard drive which means they tend to run hot. If this is the case, consider whether there is space for installing an additional fan.

6.  Check BIOS Temp Settings

Newer PCs often have BIOS temperature settings which can be configured to shut the PC down if a certain temperature has been reached.

7. Provide Plenty of Space for Operation

Some cabinets and desks are not necessarily designed with heat-sensitive equipment in mind. In addition, many users tend to clutter up their desks with papers, office supplies, etc. Be sure that your PC consistently has plenty of air flow below, around, and above it.

8. Use Cable Guards

Some PC cases have their own cable channels to ensure they remain in a discrete place. If your model doesn’t, purchase some cable guards to ensure that the cabling won’t block air flow to the computer case.

9. Go Solid State

Consider replacing traditional hard drives with solid-state drives. Solid-state drives do not contain moving parts. This allows them to operate without generating as much heat as traditional drives.

10. Alternative Cooling Products

For challenging situations consider using any of the following

  • Liquid cooling.
  • Memory heatsinks.
  •  Hard drive coolers.
  • A cooling unit in an empty drive bay.

Want to know more about keeping your computer equipment in top-notch shape? Contact us at PC Geeks today!

Tips for Removing Malicious Software

The convenience of using computers does not come without caveats. At one time or another, the computer user will encounter malicious software—or viruses—inadvertently installed on a device. The most common scenarios are when computer users, who are generally unaware of the dangers of surfing the web, are seeking various types of free programs and eventually land on a website that looks appealing. The site will offer various programs for “free” and when the user installs the software, some type of (hidden) malicious program will be installed along with it—although there are varying degrees of danger the malicious software poses. Sometimes the unwanted software is merely some type of annoying ad that can slow the computer or interrupt computer user tasks. In some extreme cases, however, malicious software will cripple a device or render files unusable. Therefore, using somewhat of a proactive approach where careful vetting of software is done before installation, can save headaches. But when the going gets tough, there are effective procedures for the removal of the malicious software.

Tips for Removing Malicious Software

The starting point will generally depend on the given circumstance, although in some cases it’s abundantly evident what type of malicious software is causing a problem. The following steps can be used to remove malicious software from Microsoft Windows—the operating system that is generally most affected by malicious software. Start with rebooting the computer and when the computer brand logo screen appears, tap the F8 button until the alternate boot menu appears. Select “safe mode with networking.” When the computer is booted into this state, download and install Kasperkey’s TDSSkiller anti-rootkit program and run it. With rootkit type viruses gone, download and run RKILL—this will eliminate malicious, currently-running processes that are “safe-mode aware” and allow normal antivirus programs to run unaffected by malicious software hindrances. Once this is done, uninstall all programs not being used, and programs that were downloaded from sites that are potentially shady. Finally, run reputable antivirus software downloaded or purchased from trusted vendors. Make sure the software’s virus definitions database is up to date before running. After the antivirus runs, reboot the computer and the computer should run without issues, assuming normal maintenance has been maintained.

Please contact us at PC Geeks for assistance.

Building a Gaming PC – A Beginner’s Guide

You have made the decision to venture into the world of building a gaming PC. Good for you! The task may seem daunting at first however, building your own PC is a fun and rewarding experience. Now that the decision to tackle a DIY build has been made, you may be wondering where to begin. Any PC build project can be broken down into 4 major milestones: determining the budget, selecting hardware, assembly, and first power-up. Before diving in, ask yourself the following 4 questions:

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. Which components do I choose?
  3. What goes where?
  4. What do I do once my build is complete?

Building a Gaming PC - A Beginner's Guide

Determining the budget

The first milestone in the build process requires you to do a little math. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to how much you need to spend. At the time of this writing, a low to mid-tier baseline for the PC components (minus peripherals) would be ~$500-$600. One major consideration to be made when determining the budget is whether or not you require peripherals (keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc.) If you do, you will need to account for that cost in your budget.

Selecting hardware

A lot of time will be spent deciding how to most effectively spread your budget out amongst the components required to build your new gaming machine. You will need to acquire the following Components:

  • CPU (Central Processing Unit)
  • CPU cooler (only if purchasing an Intel CPU. Modern AMD CPUs include a great stock cooler)
  • Motherboard
  • GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) aka “video card”
  • RAM module(s)
  • Hard drive
  • PC Case
  • Additional case fans for cooling (if your case does not come with any pre-installed)

Pay close attention to compatibility when shopping for components. Further detail is outside of the scope of this post, however, documentation can typically be downloaded from the manufacturers’ websites which will provide all of the detailed information you should need.

Time to build!

At this point in the project, you will be familiar with your hardware and ready to get hands-on. Do not be afraid! This is the fun part. It is essentially building blocks for grown-ups. There are no special tools needed other than a Phillips screwdriver and a couple of cable ties. If you have zero experience inside of a PC, it is recommended to utilize a guide (plenty of video guides available online) or phone a friend who does have experience. Just remember that the CPU pins are very fragile. Otherwise, it is pretty hard to break anything else that you are installing.

First power up

Your machine is assembled, your OS has been installed, and you have a fully functioning DIY gaming PC build. Congratulations! But what’s next? Before you dive into a game of Fortnite or Minecraft, you need to install drivers and update, update, update.

  1. Perform all required Windows updates
  2. Update the motherboard’s BIOS to the most recent version
  3. Download and install all up to date drivers for your components and/or peripherals (GPU is a must)

Now that everything is assembled and updated, go enjoy your new gaming PC! If the task still seems monumental after reading this beginner’s guide, contact us today. We would be glad to help you with building a gaming PC!