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Blue Screens are bad news, no matter what causes them. They take up your time, they destroy the work you haven’t saved, and they’re hard on your computer. Even worse, one blue screen means that more are likely to follow. If you run a software check on your computer and everything checks out, that doesn’t mean it was a fluke. Check on these common hardware issues to start solving the problem:

How to Stop Hardware from Causing a Blue Screen of Death

1. Run hardware diagnostics.

There are plenty of programs available online that can check everything from your hard drive to the connectivity of your cables. Look up your blue screen’s error code and see if there are scanning programs that match it. A part could be failing from overuse or old age. Something could have also shaken loose, especially if you’re using a laptop.

Another common hardware problem is not having enough storage space. If your C:// drive is too crowded to hold the new updates or the most recent version of your operating system, you can’t patch problems.

2. Get rid of extra tools.

If your laptop has a lot of extra parts, take them out of the equation. SD cards, USB mice, and anything else you plug into your computer could be overloading the computer. If your computer is trying to do so much at once that it can’t function, it will pull up a blue screen.

3. Check your computer’s temperature.

One of the biggest clues you can get that something is wrong with your computer is its temperature. If the bottom or side of your laptop is too hot, the device has an automatic shutdown procedure that triggers a blue screen. Overheating can be caused by anything from making your computer do too much at once to putting it on a particularly fluffy blanket that blocks the vents. So let your computer cool off and check to see if the fan is working later.

For more ways to get to the bottom of your blue screen of death, go to PC Geeks.

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Native Backup and Data Recovery

Data recovery in the modern era is much easier than it once was. Both Windows and Mac now have built in backup and recovery tools that streamline the process and help minimize loss in the event of disaster. Both, however, take it even a step further. We’ve all forgotten to backup our hard drive. It’s that simple and imperative task that we either forget, or just never seem to have the time to do. Thankfully, there are more options than ever for keeping your data safe, and even your operating system crashing doesn’t necessarily spell the end.

Native Backup and Data Recovery

Windows 10 has a great feature that will detect if it fails to boot and offer options for recovery. Even if you can’t get into the operating system you can usually restore your machine, barring catastrophic hardware failure. The option to keep my files during the restore process helps add an extra layer of security that previously wasn’t there. Even if this doesn’t fix the issue it does allow users an extra chance to backup that important data and avoid a potentially devastating data loss. The integration of OneDrive also helps give users an extra edge by storing documents, photos, and other vital information safely in the cloud.

Apple now has an integrated internet recovery option built right into every computer. Simply press a few keys and select a few easy to follow prompts and you’re well on your way to getting back up and running. Furthermore, unless you use Disk Utility to completely erase the drive, it will keep your data exactly as it was and just reinstall a new copy of your current operating system. iCloud also helps further secure contacts, photos, calendars, and documents by syncing them to the cloud and offering the option to backup other important information.

Computers often fail with little to no warning. It’s not easy to always be prepared. Knowing about the backup features native to your computer is a vital step in ensuring the things you hold dear stay safe and protected. It often only takes a few clicks and an external drive to make sure your data is backed up regularly and can save a lot of time, work, and memories when disaster strikes.

If you need help or assistance recovering that important info, or just getting it setup you can always contact us. We’re here to help you make sure that you and your data are protected.

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When your computer crashes and it seems like there’s nothing else you can do, don’t restore your backup just yet. That’s a final solution that, aside from how it can irrevocably destroy current changes, might not do what you need it to. Here are two reasons to take your computer in for an expert to check out instead of turning to a backup.

2 Reasons Why a Backup Restore Won't Solve Your Problems

1. You’ll lose a lot of information.

If you run a business, your local server might save progress every night. But the backup schedule on your personal device is probably a bit less frequent. If you go back and do a total restore, you’ll lose all of your files, modifications to programs, and work that you added to between now and your last backup.

There are two ways to prevent the fallout for next time: keep your files in the cloud so it’s not a problem. Also, if you have to restore your computer, start with just the system files to see if that’s enough to fix the problem. These miniature backups can occur daily, especially if you have a Windows device. If you have an Apple device, try starting up your device in safe mode to see if that automatically corrects any broken permissions that caused the crash.

2. It won’t always fix the problem.

Unfixable computer crashes aren’t always sudden events. A lot of the time, it’s caused by errors that were building up over the past several months. If your computer has blue screened a few times but you never got around to solving the problem, that means the problem has wound its way into your backup restore points. Starting over from a few months go won’t be enough, and most computers start overwriting or deleting old restore points.

Go to PC Geeks for specific solutions that can get your computer working again with minimal data loss.

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Blue screens of death look a little friendlier than they used to, but that doesn’t make them any less aggravating. Now they come with nicely worded messages and maybe a progress bar, which beats out the impenetrable blank blue they used to be or the tightly packed streams of Courier text. The next time you see one, don’t just read the screen and wait. Immediately start on these three tasks:

3 Things You Need to Do ASAP When You See a Blue Screen of Death

1. Take a picture of the screen.

If nothing else, the friendlier versions of the blue screens of death at least tend to have a bit more information. Depending on the type of error causing the forced stop, the screen might tell you a bit about what the problem is. Whatever wording or specific name the screen shows for the event is precisely what you need to search for to fix the problem.

Take a picture of the screen so you can refer to it later. If you’re panicking about the hours of work you just lost, you won’t remember the details.

2. Search for the best scanning program.

Having a phone in front of you is one of your strongest advantages when it comes to blue screens. As your computer sluggishly gets itself back together, you have time to research solutions on an uncompromised machine.

Spend the next several minutes looking for the best scanning program you can find. Then find the most reputable site to download it from. Email that link to yourself or make sure you have a search term that leads you straight to it. There’s no guarantee your computer won’t crash again.

3. Link a file sharing program to your computer.

Just like with the previous step, you’re operating on an uncertain timeline. If your computer blue screens once, it’ll do it again. There’s also no guarantee that the next time your computer turns on won’t be the last time it cooperates. So make sure you have a plan ready so you can file share or migrate all of the work you haven’t backed up.

For more blue screen tips, go to PC Geeks.

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When shopping for laptop replacement parts online there are a few things to consider. If you are currently looking for parts and cannot find them at a local computer hardware store and shopping online is your only option then follow these five tips to avoid the worst problems.

5 Tips for Buying Laptop Replacement Parts Online

1. Never pick the cheapest option.

When things are cheap online, they can be pennies on the dollar. However, there’s always a reason for that. Maybe a vendor bought something in bulk and they want to get rid of their inventory. Maybe the parts are terrible quality. There’s no way to know for sure. But if you have the slightest suspicion about the quality of an unknown bargain brand, don’t buy it.

2. Shop around for reviews.

Reviews are still the best way to ascertain quality. While bots and automated comments might corrupt the information source a bit, it’s still easy to tell when a good review is written by a human. Make sure that the part has both a sufficient number reviews and a high enough rating. Not all of the reviews have to be on the site where you make your purchase, but they do have to be for the specific part.

3. Know when you don’t have to use a manufacturer’s part.

Sometimes you have to use the manufacturer’s products. Sometimes it’s because they make the only version that works right, and sometimes you have to do it to keep your warranty. Before you get started, know which parts you have more freedom with.

4. Double check that it’s meant for your model.

It’s easy to accidentally buy the wrong thing, especially if this is the first time you’re buying detailed parts. Find a trusted database or a forum with a good reputation to make sure.

5. Get everything you need.

Nothing can ruin your drive to repair your own tech like getting started and then realizing you don’t have all the parts you need. Look online and make a list of everything you need. You might need a specific wire, conductive paste, or just the right type of tiny screw.

If you have a particular part you need to replace or repair, go to PC Geeks here to search for specifics.

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If you have a desktop computer, it’s vulnerable during lightning storms. Because it’s plugged into the socket 24/7 and doesn’t have a battery, you don’t have the same options you would with a smartphone or a laptop. But here’s what you can do to limit the risk of damaging your computer or losing progress:

Two Ways to Protect Your Computer from a Power Outage

The hard stop: Turn off your computer during a storm.

If you know a bad storm is on the way and you don’t have time to buy any protective tools, the best thing you can do is turn off your computer and unplug it completely. While it’s not a fun option, this means lightning can’t reach your computer through your house’s wiring. It also gives you plenty of time to exit out of programs and save files so you aren’t caught unprepared.

Give yourself a small window with a surge protector and a UPS.

If you don’t want to fully unplug your computer, then the most important thing you need to do is to protect it from surges. A surge protector won’t give your computer ongoing power during a blackout, but it will stop a surge from destroying the device. Find a legitimate one that was certified from UL (Underwriter Laboratories) with good reviews.

But a surge protector just stops the worst from happening. Combine it with a UPS, or an uninterruptible power source, to stop the follow-up disaster of losing all of your work. Everyone hopes a storm won’t reach them, and it’s tempting to keep working on your current project through a storm. A UPS gives you a few extra minutes when the power goes out to save your progress. It also means you can save them, transfer them to a flash drive, and keep working on a battery-powered tablet.

Go to PC Geeks here for more ways to protect your desktop and other electronics, no matter what’s going on around them.

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Downtime is one of the costliest problems your company can encounter. Not only do you face the direct expenses of replacement equipment and servicing hours, you have revenue losses, too: wasted employee man-hours, loss of business operations, and lack of consumer confidence. The numbers are hard to calculate, but the Aberdeen Group puts the average company’s cost at $110,000 per hour. Small businesses may face a lower dollar risk but a higher percentage of lost profits. Preventing outages should be the goal of every small business. Here’s how even a small outage interrupts your business growth:

What Are Overnight Outages Costing Your Small Business?

Overnight outages extend for several hours.

If your server goes down after the last person leaves the office, the problem might not be noticed until 8 o’clock the next morning. A weekend outage takes even longer to correct. Once the problem is realized, then your company has to wait for a dedicated IT professional, either hired or called in, to start problem-shooting. If you have disaster recovery and business continuity plans, you will need to implement them as soon as possible. But your business will still need to contend with worldwide business operations that should have happened while your hemisphere was asleep. If your company has automated lines of transportation, controls parts of a supply chain, or even offers SaaS tools with contracted service level agreements, those critical operations went down.

Overnight outages are a red flag to investors.

Everything is automating, and even physical hardware is going virtual. If your investor is backed by investors, they are looking for those signs of digital progress. The most profitable and the safest investments are now becoming those that don’t need a constant presence of people to stay running. But if your server doesn’t have even passive monitoring for early problem detection or the ability to shift over to another virtual server for minimally interrupted business, you are that much riskier to invest in.

See what virtualization tools and monitoring systems can start to solve these problems. Contact us at PC Geeks here to learn more.

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You’ve probably heard about how common ransomware seems to be now. You may have heard about businesses being locked out of their systems until they paid a fee to get back in. Or, if you were especially unlucky, you may have even been the victim of ransomware yourself. You can avoid this kind of thing so long as you are proactive in stopping it in the future. These tips should help you avoid being caught by ransomware going forward as long as you combine them with a bit of basic common sense.

Tips for Avoiding Ransomware on Your Computer

Don’t click on suspicious-looking links

If a link you find looks suspicious or you think something is off with it then don’t click it. Don’t just push your luck and assume that you’re just being too paranoid. It’s usually the opposite and clicking on a link that seems suspicious will usually result in your computer getting infected. You should make sure to only download software from sources you recognize and always do a custom installation so you can remove anything you don’t recognize and avoid any potential issues.

Upgrade your software

Make sure that your software is regularly being updated. OS and software updates frequently contain security fixes and not upgrading can leave you just as vulnerable as clicking onto so make sure that you are upgrading your software when the option is available and not just putting it off again and again until your computer gets ransomware and you have to pay $7,000 to access your machine again.

Back up your data

This is something that you should be doing already but it’s especially important here. Make sure that you back up your data whenever you can. You won’t always be able to avoid losing data but you can give yourself the option to return to a pre-ransomware state system by rolling back as long as you are frequently backing up your system.

Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is not just for stopping viruses: it can be used to stop lots of other things including malware and ransomware. A program with a strong firewall that can prevent your system from being infiltrated is a must as is regularly scanning your system for suspicious files.

Be a little paranoid online

Whenever you’re browsing online, it’s in your best interests to be a little bit paranoid. Doing so may save you from weeks of hassle in trying to remove hostile and unwanted software from your computer. One basic tip that is a must to follow when using any public network is to always run the network through a VPN to ensure that nobody is monitoring your data traffic and there isn’t going to be someone using the network to send ransomware onto your machine through the network in question.

To get extra help and more in-depth tips and tricks for preventing ransomware from getting on your computer in the first place, contact us today!

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The Dead Motherboard – Last Resort

Your favorite motherboard is on the fritz; what are you to do? You’ve tried everything you can think of to no avail, which is causing you to fret! You’ll want to check out this neat last resort trick that might resolve your problem. You see, the solder that holds the chips onto the motherboard will sometimes degrade and cause the whole system to fail. A well-known practice to bring a motherboard back from the dead would be to reflow it using heat. You heard that right; you need to bake that piece of hardware in the oven like it were a roast for dinner! It sounds insane, I know, but the generated heat from a stove can get hot enough to cause the solder on the motherboard to meld back together. There are some precautions that you should take for your safety and all other people around you.

The Dead Motherboard - Last Resort

Now, this the is the last resort option and is not guaranteed to fix your motherboard at all. If you’re going to toss out the dead hardware, why not try reflowing anyways just to experiment with it? Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and you’ll be able to bring it back to life for a few extra months before you have to do it again! Impress yourself and everyone around you. Reflowing the motherboard is a prevalent practice for laptops and video game consoles. The reason for this is because all of the parts are usually integrated on the motherboard itself. This essentially means if one thing screws up that it creates an issue for the whole system. Not to mention, trying to use a heat gun in certain situations may or may not be easy, which is why most people toss that motherboard on a cookie sheet and pop it into the oven!

If you want more information about motherboards or how to reflow them, please contact us, and we will answer any questions you might have.

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Laptop Screen Replacement

So, your laptop took a fall but seems fine until you turn it on at which point you notice a black and white spider web running across the screen. Now you are unable to see a thing and your screen is basically useless and your productivity on that laptop has just evaporated.

Laptop Screen Replacement

If it’s within your budget, your natural impulse is probably to run out to the nearest computer repair store and buy a brand new computer so that you can get on with your computing life in as short a time as possible. Not so fast; there is often a better solution than simply paying money to get a new machine because of something as simple as a cracked screen.

Leaving aside the fact that the purchase of a new computer is simply outside of the budgetary constraints of some people, it’s often just not worth your time to have to move all of your files and reinstall every single application you regularly use in order to address the issue of a cracked screen.

The best thing to do here is to simply have your old screen repaired. This will save you quite a bit of money as it is nowhere near as expensive as having to fork over the cash for a brand new laptop and you can probably be up and running in a fraction of the time as well.

Depending on how technically competent you are, it is entirely possible to replace the screen yourself provided you can get your hands on the right screen however, this may extend the length of time fixing your laptop takes so it is probably in your best interests to simply have a repair store do it for you as they will already have the parts on hand and can do it for you in a fraction of the time it would take anyone to install a new screen themselves and there is not the risk that you will accidentally void the warranty in the process.

If you have a broken laptop screen or have a friend or family member who does, please contact us today so we can get you up and running again.