Windows 10 is Still Available and Upgrading is a Click a Way

So, you debated and dithered and held off on upgrading to Windows 10. Maybe you heard complaints about the latest version, or someone told you that the newest version had bugs, or you just really, really liked the version you have. However, the free Windows upgrade is gone just like the lazy days of summer; literally, the free Windows upgrade ended July 29.

Windows 10 is Still Available and a Windows Upgrade is Easy to Download

Fortunately, for those who want to or need to upgrade, Windows makes Version 10 available for a one-time fee of $120. And it’s a snap to download.

Sure, free is always better, but if you apply the cost-per-use formula, the price is mere pennies. The average person spends at least 7 hours a day at their computer. Assuming you aren’t working on your computer every day, that means that the first-year cost of a Windows 10 upgrade is about .46 a day or less than 7 cents an hour.

When you order, don’t assume Windows 10 is one-size-fits-all. You need to know which version you currently have before you complete your Windows upgrade.

Not sure which Windows version your computer is operating? To find out, click on Start, right-click on Computer and choose Properties. If you’re now using Windows 7 Pro, for example, you must choose Windows 10 Pro for your upgrade. This Windows upgrade is not compatible with Windows Vista. You can also contact one of our PC Geeks locations for help with the upgrade.

To get started, go to Microsoft’s Window 10 home page and download the upgrade to either your computer or a USB.

Of course, if you have a condition that requires you to use your computer’s assistive technologies – such as high contrast on your screen or a narrator which reads text aloud – then a Windows 10 is still free.

Laptop Repair or Invest in a New Laptop

If you have been having trouble with your laptop computer, you might be thinking about buying a new one. After all, with prices on laptops being lower than ever before, it might seem like it will be cheaper and easier to treat yourself to a brand new computer versus trying to fix it yourself or hiring a professional for laptop repair.

Laptop Repair: Better Than Buying a New Laptop

However, before you go out and buy a new computer, you might want to think about the option to repair your existing model instead. Obviously, if you have been unhappy with your computer and have been wanting a new one anyway, now might be the time to replace it. However, if you were happy with your computer before it started messing up, you might find that fixing it is your best option.

For example, you might be able to fix your laptop on your own. Some things are pretty simple and can be fixed by simply doing a factory reset on your computer. If your computer is bogged down by a lot of programs or is simply running slow, or if you would like a like-new start without having to buy a new computer, this can be a good option.

Even more complicated issues can also often be repaired with ease. A professional who is experienced in computer repair can help with replacing cracked screens, repairing damaged keyboards or touchpads, getting rid of viruses, uninstalling old software and installing a new operating system or new software and more. These services can be surprisingly affordable and can be cheaper than buying a new computer.

If you would like to find out more about repairing your laptop rather than replacing it, contact us at PC Geeks so that we can tell you more about our services.

4 Factors You Need to Consider Before Replacing Your Motherboard

The motherboard is the heart and soul of your computer. A lot of errors can occur with your computer, but replacing your motherboard should be a last resort for repair purposes. Motherboard Repair is complicated, especially with frequent changes in technology. Before you decide to replace your motherboard, rule out other factors that could cause a problem. Here are five things you should look for before considering replacing your motherboard.

4 Factors You Need to Consider Before Replacing Your Motherboard

1. Crashes and Errors

You may get the notion to open your hard drive and poke around to attempt to fix or analyze a few problems, but before you risk doing more damage to your computer, analyze your system and the settings of your applications. These two tasks can only be rendered if you can boot your computer correctly.

Sometimes your computer enters sleep mode, which is not an issue or problem with your computer. Sleep mode can make your monitor’s screen black or blue. Striking a key on the keyboard or moving the mouse will take the computer out of sleep mode. This status occurs when there is inactivity on your computer for a certain amount of time. Changing this setting is completed by changing your computer’s power options.

You may have installed a program that conflicts with other software, causing error alerts on your computer. A simple fix for this situation is system restore. Choose a restore point you feel your computer was working properly, and restore your computer. If you are experiencing many error alerts or storage behavior from your computer, factory reset your computer. This reset will restore your computer to its out-of-the-box state when you purchased it.

2. Check Your Connections

Loose cords and external connections can cause computer problems. A loose power cord can cause computer problems, such as shutting down due to lack of charge or improper charge. Make sure all cords and attachments are tight and secure. External hard drives, flash drives, and booting CDs are all things that could prohibit your computer from starting correctly because the computer could be trying to boot from one of these devices.

3. Listen to the Beeps

If you can’t successfully boot your computer, turn it on and listen for a series of beeps. Your computer can tell you what the problem is with a series of beeps. Four beeps distinguish issues with parallel or serial ports and followed by four, three or two more beeps. If there is a problem with your motherboard, you will hear one beep following five, four, or three beeps.

4. Inspect Your Hardware

If you are tech-savvy, you may be comfortable checking your computer’s hardware. If not, you may want to take it to a professional. If you are inspecting your hardware yourself, the first thing you should check are plugs, cables, and wires. They need to be securely in their designated location. Next, you need to check for damage that stands out, such as broken wires and burnt items. If you have extra computer parts lying around, change them out to see if some of your computer’s issues improve.

Don’t attempt to make repairs on your computer if you are not familiar with the inside of a computer; this could cause further damage that could be expensive. If you have an existing warranty on your computer, now would be the time to use it. If not, you can take it to a professional computer tech and have them make the necessary repairs. Contact us today to learn more about your motherboard and available options.

5 Actionable Office Network Security Tips

Your office benefits greatly from a solid and easily accessible network. When all of your office staff can access important data and documents, it helps your office run smoothly and without problems.

5 Actionable Office Network Security Tips

However, for those with existing office networks, do you know if your network is secure? Are you certain that outsiders can’t access your network without your knowledge?

To assist you with your office network security, here are five tips to ensure that your office is safe and protected.

1. Keep it encrypted. WiFi and wireless signals don’t come automatically encrypted through your router. Keep your network protected by setting up a 63 character password, mixed with upper and lower case letters, special characters, and numbers.

2. Secure internal equipment. While trusting your employees with sensitive data is fine, remember that many network security problems stem from internal breaches. Secure ports, access points, and switches hidden from guests and clients alike.

3. Educate and train employees. When your office staff is educated about security and security issues, they are more likely to identify and rectify potential problems.

4. Limit access. Shared folders are great for passing data between employees. But when everyone has access, bad things are bound to happen. Remedy this by adding encryption procedures to important shared folders.

5. Work with a professional. If you are uncertain about your office network security levels, allow a networking professional to take a look for you. Oftentimes, an expert in network security can help you find problems that you didn’t know existed.

Don’t let your office network security fall by the wayside, and work with an expert today.

For additional information on how we can help you with your small business network security solutions, please contact us today.

PC Geeks is the premier computer repair company throughout Collin County and beyond.

Don’t Despair, Call for Computer Repair

Don't Despair, Call for Computer RepairWhen you took your brand new computer out of the box last year, set it up, got everything just as you wanted, it was a good day.

Lately, the computer is slow and erratic. Sometimes programs quit in the middle and sometimes they don’t install. You don’t know if system updates,  downloads and program repairs help or hurt the situation.

Is this temporary? Or the beginning of the end? There’s too much on the system to lose – documents, music, graphics, email addresses, business papers, school work, family photos, videos, browsing history and bookmarked sites. And there’s even more.

Even with a fairly new system it’s hard to diagnose the problem or problems which account for the slow and erratic performance.

You want things back the way they were when the computer system was fast, reliable and trustworthy.

Good computer repair involves comprehensive troubleshooting. The computer could have one or multiple issues, some straightforward to diagnose and to fix, others more difficult to find and remedy.

Is it a hardware problem? Has the computer run out of disk space or memory and need an upgrade? Is the Operating System corrupt and need to be reinstalled? Do software programs have conflicts?  Or have multiple viruses or malware invaded the computer?

Contact PC Geeks – Computer Repair to make your computer work like  new again, whether at your home or office, for a Mac or  PC. With our drop-off sites and pick-up service throughout Collin County, PC Geeks makes repairing your system a priority.

6 Important Tips for a Successful Computer Setup

6 Important Tips for a Successful Computer SetupSo you finally got a new PC. Congratulations! There’s nothing more exciting than a new tech toy, whether it’s for business or for personal use.

So now comes the fun part (or so we think), the computer set up process. Because unlike a new car or blender, a PC doesn’t always run the best right out of the box. Especially if it’s straight from the factory. It requires a few more steps until it is in prime condition.

Here are 6 important steps you need to take for a successful computer set up.

1. Update Windows right away. Depending on how long your PC sat on the shelf, your copy of Windows might need some time to get up to speed. To do this, follow this path: Windows Control Panel, System and Security > Windows Update > Check for Updates.

2. Don’t use Explorer unless you like it. We’re not going to tell you not to use Explorer, but because of the gamut of good browsers available, we recommend trying out a new one.

3. Remove the bloatware. Pre-manufactured PC’s come with tons of programs, et. al., factory installed. Most often, you don’t want or need them. What’s worse, they sometimes run in the background and slow you down. For optimum PC speed, take the time to remove them. You’ll thank us in the morning.

4. Install what you like, especially now after you have removed the bloat. Not everyone uses or likes programs like Windows Media Player or Winzip. So if you have been using other programs on your other PCs, take to the internet and download what you use most.

5. Update important driver software. Because sometimes they don’t do it themselves unless something goes awry. This step is particularly important for those who built their own PC. In the end, you want the latest drivers for compatibility and performance.

6. Perhaps the easiest step of all: Enjoy!

Sound daunting? We got you covered. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can get your computer set up and ready for business.

It is Time to Move on From Windows XP

It is Time to Move on From Windows XPThe time has finally come for those people who have stubbornly held on to their venerable windows XP computers. While XP still functions normally a large portion of the technology industry has officially left it behind and moved on to newer operating system platforms knowing that it is now extremely vulnerable to malicious software and hackers. As time continues to pass more and more software companies are no longer continuing to include XP as a supported operating system.

     Below is an example of some of the problems that are now facing XP users going forward

  • Fewer and fewer anti-virus companies are going to be producing software that supports XP, and those software programs may begin to exceed the hardware specifications required to run on an XP machine without bogging them down.
  • As Microsoft no longer plans to introduce any new updates to the XP operating system, this includes patches, and hot fix updates that are specifically designed to patch up newly found system vulnerabilities. This means, hackers who find new exploits will have free reign without fear of XP correcting the vulnerabilities.
  • Software programs and websites are growing more and more complex, not just in size but in the scope of features that work nearly like small operating systems in their own right, and due to the limits of XP many will simply not work on such an old operating system

It is well understood that many people do not like drastic change. It can be inconvenient, annoying, but you never know, it can be fun and rewarding as well! Anyone still using XP should at least consider finally upgrading that old machine to one that is capable of running Windows 7 as the learning curve is not difficult at all and most people immediately take a liking to it.

If you feel you would be interested in upgrading to a newer version of Windows from your old XP machine but are unsure how to go about doing so, any of the technicians at PC Geeks are more than willing to help advise you and make the transition as simple and smooth as possible!

Will your PC work with Windows 10?

The Windows 10 Technical Preview has been out for some time now, which means that it won’t be long until the Windows upgrade cycle kicks into high gear once again. A lot of people are still confused as to whether their existing hardware will allow them to upgrade to Windows 10.

There’s a lot of well-meaning yet inaccurate information out there written by people who don’t really understand what makes PCs tick. It’s understandable because tech can be confusing, and the Windows 10 system requirements throw a few curve balls into the mix.

Will your PC work with Windows 10?

The Windows 10 Basics

Microsoft has published the system requirements for Windows 10. If your PC can run Windows 8.1, you’re good to go. If you’re not sure, don’t worry–Windows will check your system to make sure it can install the preview.

Here’s what Microsoft says you need to run Windows 10:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • A Microsoft account and Internet access

Read the full article here!

Communicating With Your Technician is Important!

One of the challenges facing many technicians these days is trying to piece together how a problem with their client’s computer has occurred. This can be a difficult and time consuming task that can end up in days of diagnostic tests on hardware. A common reason for this is that often, a customer is shy or reluctant to let a technician know what might have led to the problem as perhaps they fear that the technician will punish them with higher costs and giving them a hard time!

It should be said that any technician worth their salt should never judge a client, either morally or based on their ignorance of their computer’s inner workings. I can speak honestly and say as a technician I have pretty much seen every possible instance of the bizarre in the course of my career and managing to shock any technician is nearly impossible at this point. We have seen smoothies that have grown lawns of mold inside of laptops! Pictures that cannot be unseen, and about anything else you can think of that make us put our head in our palms. We technicians are troopers.

Communicating With Your Technician is Important!

A great way to keep your costs of repair down, ensure faster turnaround times and generally lessen the risk of a bad diagnosis is simply to be honest with your technician and let him know what you were doing when the issue arose. We are not going to punish you for dropping your laptop, looking at naughty websites, or even ill advised attempts at self repairs! In fact, if we know what you were doing it will go a long way towards helping us understand what could be causing your issues!

It goes without saying, that every industry has some bad apples that will take advantage of people if they feel they can get away with it, and as a consumer it is important that you find a technician that you feel you can trust to make the right call and not shame you into spending more than you have to. Once you find the technician you are comfortable working with, do not hesitate to tell them what you were doing at the time of the problem so they can figure it into their diagnostic work and narrow down the issue swiftly.

Does My Computer Have A Virus?

Slow Computer Response

Is your computer running very slowly? A common symptom of a virus is much slower than normal computer performance. However, there can be other reasons for slow performance, including a hard disk that needs defragmenting, a computer that needs more memory (RAM), or the existence of spyware or adware. For more information about spyware and virus removal, contact a local PC Geeks Computer Technician!

Frequent Error Messages

Are you getting unexpected error messages, or are programs starting automatically? Some viruses can cause damage to Windows or some of your programs. The results of this damage might include messages appearing unexpectedly, programs starting or closing automatically, or Windows shutting down suddenly.

Hard Drive Working Harder Than Normal

Is your modem or hard disk working overtime? An e?mail virus works by sending many copies of itself by e?mail. One indicator of this is that the activity light on your broadband or external modem is constantly lit; another is the sound of your computer’s hard disk continually working. These are not always symptoms of a computer virus, but when combined with other problems, can indicate a virus infection.

To check for viruses, scan your computer with an antivirus software. New viruses appear every day, so keeping your antivirus software up-to-date is very important. For more information about computer security, go to the Security at Home page on the Microsoft website. To learn how to remove malicious software (malware) from your computer, go to the Microsoft Safety Scanner webpage.

Does My Computer Have A Virus? Read the full article here or Call PC Geeks!

Does My Computer Have A Virus?