We’ve had a few customers come to us with similar situations recently. Their computers were showing signs of slowdown, sometimes sluggishness, and occasionally, their systems were in a bit more trouble than that– computers that wouldn’t turn on or were experiencing sudden shutdowns.
We opened up one case and found a ton of dust inside (see photos with this post – and this was after initial dusting). The dust combined with a lack of air circulation to go and fry the video card. Too much heat inside your computer is going to lead to problems eventually. There is a limited amount of space in the case, so making sure the fans have room to circulate the air and cool your system is important. So, too, is regular cleaning and maintenance. Dusting your computer helps it run better in the long run. Investing in a couple of cans of compressed air to dust out the fans now and then is the least you can do.
In another case, a customer who used his laptop for gaming came to us with slow computer problems. The games he enjoyed playing were rather resource intensive, and many laptops not specified for gaming purposes might chug when trying to play them. Gaming on laptops is possible, but again, heating can be a real danger when it comes to running programs that demand a lot from your system. After cleaning out this customer’s computer and performance testing everything with games and programs running, temperatures were mostly within a workable range. We suggested that the customer buy a cooling pad for laptops. Not only do cooling pads help reduce temperatures, they tend to elevate a laptop a little bit, which makes it easier for air to circulate out of the vents and below the computer. By not resting the laptop on a desk or table itself, the air can get out and disperse, letting the additional fans help prevent issues. What’s more, they begin at under $20, so it can be an affordable way to keep your hardware healthy if you use your laptop for gaming or other intensive work, like video editing.
Keeping an eye on the temperature during all your most common activities on your computer will help too, because it will give you an idea of what is normal for each demand you place on your system and alert you if excessive heat starts to become a pattern. This can help you notice heating occur before it causes any obvious problems. If you can investigate the cause and find out how to stop overheating early enough, it might spare your system repairs later.
Of course, you can invest in regular computer maintenance from a shop you trust to keep things running smoothly. We are happy to provide maintenance services for all computer models. Call us for a free, no obligation phone consultation.
These days, our computers are our constant companions, and we find ourselves on our machines while going about many activities. Though it’s advisable to keep all liquids away from computers, the truth is that life these days often has us working on something with our coffee right next to us or a water bottle nearby. Many a modern office or co-working space features open places, laptops, charging outlets all around and the perks of free beverages. All of these pose a danger to the inner workings of your computer.
First, here are some tips for you if you spill anything on your computer.
1. Turn off the power immediately. Unplug it.
2. Turn the computer over and allow it to air dry, up to a few days.
3. Try to turn it on and see if it is working.
Liquid spills are a common reason for computer repair these days. We repair liquid spill damage for PC or Mac. We have noticed the number of spills on MacBooks in particular growing in recent years. We specialize in Apple computer repair at less than the cost of Apple. In the last week alone, we completed several of these repairs. Some were ready for customer pickup within 24 hours.
If you are in need of repair, call us! We will give you a free phone consultation and assess your situation. Give us the model and year of your computer and we can price out parts and the cost of a repair. If your spill is minor, it’s possible to get away with just a logic board/motherboard replacement, but if it’s a bit more extensive, we would need to also replace your keyboard. All costs will be given to you upfront before we begin repairs. Of course, you can always drop off your computer at one of our two convenient locations where we will have our certified techs diagnose the extent of the damage and what is needed.
Are you a Windows 7 user? Do you still use old software like Office 2010?
Then we’ve got some important news for you!
Mainstream support deadlines for these products, along with some other ones from Microsoft, are approaching. But, what does this mean?
Mainstream support is the typically five-year period when Microsoft provides free patches and fixes for its products. When a product exits the mainstream support phase, Microsoft continues to provide a period (also often five years) of extended support. This means users get free security fixes but other types of updates are paid and require specific licensing deals.
In other words, free support is ending on January 13, 2015 for a number of major Microsoft products, including all versions of Windows7.
Extended support for Windows 7 lasts until January 14, 2020, so you will still be receiving free security updates, but not features updates.
Some specialists have been speculating, though, that Microsoft will end up pushing out Windows 7’s support dates the way the company did for XP, given Windows 7’s popularity and pervasiveness, but so far, there’s been no word from Microsoft officials that this is the plan.
Support for Office 2010 with Service Pack 1 ends on October 14.
In this case, you have two options. You can migrate to the next available Service Pack (Service Pack 2, in this case), or to the next Office version, which in this case is Office 2013.
If you want to be loyal to Microsoft, you can also migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 8. You can buy a hard copy of the program, or you can do the update online. Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant will tell you if your PC can run Windows 8, and then will provide you with a compatibility report and optional steps for you to buy, download, and install Windows. If you want to check out the system requirements, you can, but you don’t have to. Upgrade Assistant will do all that for you, and the best thing is that you don’t need to buy the upgrade to run it.
Upgrading Office requires an extra step, because first you need to uninstall the previous version running on your computer. It’s a very simple process, but this new version of the suite doesn’t replace the old one while you install the new one, like previous versions did. You just need to go to the control panel, and perform the uninstall process from there.
In any case, if you have doubts or need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you!
(212)682-6878 / (718)459-9477
Do you know that you can use Windows to personalize and customize your computer to make it easier to see, hear, and more comfortably use. As we rack up birthdays, sooner or later we all experience some loss of vision, hearing, or physical dexterity. Fortunately, personalization options in Windows make it easy to adjust your PC. Here are a few tips on how to counter the effects of aging to make your computer more comfortable to use.
Do you often find yourself fighting the urge to press your nose against the screen because you can’t see text and objects clearly? Have you considered changing your monitor display settings to increase the size of icons or text for documents and Web pages?
All you need to do is:
1. Open Screen Resolution by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search)
2. Enter “Make text larger” in the search box, and then tap or click “Make text and other items larger or smaller”.
3. Drag the slider until the items in the preview image are the size you want them to be.
4. Finally, tap or click Apply.
Having trouble seeing things that are close up? Magnifier, one of the accessibility utilities in Microsoft Windows, opens a window that enlarges all or parts of the screen you choose, just like a magnifying glass. Magnifier enlarges different parts of the screen and is part of the Ease of Access Center. To open it quickly, click Start, and then type Magnifier.
There are three Magnifier modes:
• Full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, your entire screen is magnified. Depending on the size of your screen and the zoom level you choose, you might not be able to see the entire screen at the same time.
• Lens mode. In lens mode, the area around the mouse pointer is magnified. When you move the mouse pointer, the area of the screen that’s magnified moves along with it.
• Docked mode. In docked mode, only a portion of the screen is magnified, leaving the rest of your desktop unchanged. You can then control which area of the screen is magnified.
You can also change the screen resolution, which adjusts the clarity, size, and amount of things that fit on your computer monitor.
If you find yourself searching for mouse pointer more often than you search the Web, you can change the size, appearance, width, speed, color and blink rate of your cursor, or the appearance of your pointer.
Also, to maximize mouse comfort, try a Microsoft mouse that is designed for maximum comfort.
If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you!
At this point we’ve all been hearing too much about this new Heartbleed Open SSL’s encryption flaw.
To be honest, the more I heard about it, the harder it became to understand what it means and most of all, how do I protect myself???
First of all lets set it straight. “Heartbleed is an encryption flaw which affects Open SSL’s 1.0.1 and the 1.0.2-beta release, 1.01 which is used widely across the web and in a number of popular web services. The flaw can theoretically be used to view apparently-secure communication across HTTPS, usually denoted by a small closed padlock in a browser’s address bar.
The data potentially at risk includes everything from passwords and encryption keys to financial details and personal identifiable information — allowing a hacker to dip in, swipe data, and leave no trace of their existence.”
After a few days of the world going crazy over Heartbleed, we get to a point where, if your favorite websites, bank, online merchant, etc., haven’t yet fixed the problem. Then you should kiss them goodbye and walk away.
On the other hand, even if they did fix it and made an effort to keep your personal information protected, there’re definitely some steps on your end that you shouldn’t avoid.
- Change all your passwords! I know it does sound like a hassle, and it probably is, given the amount of online shopping we are used to do these days.
Even if the websites are already fixed, go ahead and change your passwords anyways! I say this because these sites were vulnerable at some point. That means your private information was already compromised.
- If your favorite sites or services support two-factor authentication, use it. Everybody understands it’s usually a lot more trouble to set up than a simple password. But if this had taught us a lesson, is that extra security measures are worth it!
- You should also clear all your Web browsers’ cache, cookies, and history. That’s never a bad idea anyway. You don’t want old memorized passwords walking into trouble at an untrustworthy site.
- And last but not least. Check your bank and credit-card statements very carefully. If you’ve been compromised, chances are all too good that you’ll find out by finding suspicious charges on your credit cards.
After you’ve done all this, you should be no longer vulnerable to Heartbleed’s nightmare. But beware; no solution is easy when it comes to this one. So if you start getting emails or calls offering to fix the problem, don’t buy it! It will probably be a scam…
If you need help, we’ll be happy to assist you. Otherwise, Good Luck!
Have you heard of the Blackphone? If you haven’t, they’ve probably done half of their job right!
This is the new Android based cell phone that is built and designed around protecting your privacy. Some tech analysts even called it the NSA-proof phone! But, what does it do? Why is that relevant? And more importantly, how much does it cost me?
Well, to start answering that last question, this new marvel of modern technology costs $630. That includes a 4.7 inches HD screen, 16 GB of storage, LTE capabilities and a 8 megapixels camera, with flash. It also includes a year subscription to its security/privacy service, which is frankly the main attraction here. After the first year, you’ll have to cough up $10 a month to maintain the encryption service, or go back to the world of surrendering your personal information unknowingly.
You may ask yourself, why do I want pay an extra $120 dollars a year when I can get privacy apps on my phone for free?
This is where the Blackphone makes the first small difference, because the truth is that if a privacy program or app is free, then it doesn’t really work. Paying for an encryption service will guarantee a level of protection that free apps and programs can’t offer.
It’s estimated that a mobile phone was lost in the U.S. every 3.5 seconds – and that nearly all who found lost devices tried to access the information on the phone. That alone is a great reason to encrypt your personal information from the get go. We love to browse the web on the go, but did you know this activity opens up phones to serious security risks? The problem is that users cannot see the full URL or link, much less verify whether the link or URL is safe. That means that users could easily browse their way into a phishing-related attack. Last year alone, for example, the number of malicious software aimed at mobile devices has reportedly risen from about 14,000 to 40,000 or about 185%.
So, what does it do? The Blackphone’s service includes a wide array of privacy features. These goes preventing designated apps from connecting to the internet at will and transmitting information without any warning, encrypted contacts, texts, emails and calls, firewall options and even a smart WiFi manager.
Finally, while Blackphone is the first security and privacy focused smart phone, you shouldn’t expect it to be the only one for long, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see bigger players making their way in.
On top of that, this is a new handset running a new operating system, which makes the scope for teething troubles and bugs high at this stage. So, if you have any doubt or concerns about your smartphone’s or your computer’s security features, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
What do I do with my old Windows XP?
Nowadays, 38 % of all computers use Windows XP. That includes the U.S. military, NASA, 40 to 50% of all businesses in the US and 95% of all ATMs.
Maybe we should start thinking of a solution, since this represents a big problem for most computer users in this country.
Microsoft is ending all tech support for this operating system after April 2014. This doesn’t mean that your computer will cease to function after this deadline, but in the event of a problem or any bugs appearing after April, you’re on your own. This will make a strong case for migrating to a different operating system.
At a first glance, you might think that Windows 7 or Windows 8 are the obvious choices for replacing your old Windows XP operating system. After all, it’s the same manufacturer, and you’ll carry forward the system’s compatibility. But there are other options that might be more suitable for your needs and you should consider them all.
Newer Windows versions
If you’re committed to staying in the Windows world because of software requirements or just sticking with what you know, Windows 7 looks and behaves like Windows XP and it’s also cheaper. Depending on your level of tech expertise, sticking with Windows will reduce the compatibility and re-skilling burden. You certainly won’t be left behind moving to Windows 7, but take into account that this one is already a four-year-old technology.
If your hardware’s also that old, you can’t take advantage of the latest tech that computing can offer; and Windows 8 is more closely stitched to the hardware it runs on when it comes to security and performance.
On the other hand, Windows 8 is good, but it’s not for everyone.
Enterprises are more stable today and will find more interoperability on Windows 7.
If compatibility is not an issue for you, and you want to get out there and see what the world has to offer you, there are a series of options you might want to consider.
Linux is a free Operating System that will probably save you a few dollars and make your day a little better, but its lack of available software and official tech support will quickly send that new found happiness down the drain.
Also, it won’t help compatibility with other computers that run on Windows.
You can also try the newer and friendlier Android, but you’ll encounter the same compatibility issues, and a slightly better, and bigger, choice of software available.
If you end up crossing the street to one of Microsoft’s fiercest competitors, Apple, and switch to OS X Mavericks; you will find that this is an extremely easy to use operating system.
Friendly customer support, instinctive interface, and with a rather small learning curve. Compatibility between Windows and Mac OS is not a big issue anymore, and the software available is almost the same for both. The problem here is that you would have to buy one of those notoriously more expensive Macs.
If you still don’t know what to do, and need further information on this subject, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can always do the job!
Remember, you should UPGRADE your OPERATING SYSTEM BEFORE APRIL 2014!!!
Nowadays, walking around the house with your tablet, or using your laptop in bed, is considered sort of a given. But this can quickly become annoying when your internet stops working the way it’s supposed to.
Then, what do you do when your internet appears to be slow?
The first thing you have to do, is check the speed.
To begin with, you should try to find out precisely how fast your connection is. You can do this at a website called speedtest.net.
In order to do this right, you have to restart your computer. There might be number of factors affecting your internet or your computer performance, for instance, too many windows open, or any other task that’s taking resources from your computer and your internet.
After you’ve restarted your computer, plug it straight the modem with a Ethernet cable. This will show you how fast your internet goes without any interference, straight from the source. Write these numbers down and check you’re getting what your provider is charging you for.
Then, plug back your router and run the test again, through your wireless network. Compare both results. If there’s no big difference, then your WiFi is fine and you should talk to your internet provider. Either, you need to upgrade to a better plan, or you let them know you’re not getting what you’re paying for.
Now, if your WiFi makes your internet significantly slower, you have an issue on your hands. But there’s a few things you can do.
Go and check your router.
Your problem might be here. One of the last standards in routers technology is the 802.11n wireless networking standard. What’s important here is the “n” at the end. If you pay attention to your router, you’re going to see that it’s labeled 802.11 and b, g, or n. It’s fine if your router belongs to this last group, but if you see a “b” or a “g” after this numbers, maybe it’s about time you get a new one. If this is the case, and you do buy a new router, you’ll be able to see your internet speed climb up pretty drastically.
But even if you already own an “n” router, there’s something you can do to improve its response. Updating the firmware might increase your internet’s overall performance. Every router is different, so in order to update the firmware correctly, you should check the manual or the company’s website for instructions.
Who else is using your WiFi?
Bandwidth is not that hard to fill up. Online gaming, video and, specially, file sharing, can take up all your resources pretty quickly diminish the speed and condition of your connection.
There’s something else you can do.
If your house is big enough to keep your router too far from your computer, or the walls are too thick, then you might have a week signal.
In this case, you can get a wireless extender. It takes your router’s signal and sends it again to the parts of the house that the router can’t reach, using the same frequency.
This is not a great solution because, since it has to obtain the signal and then resend it, you make your WiFi, at least, twice as slow as it was. So, before buying one of this devices, try placing the router in a better location, and situate it as high as possible, away from your fridge and any thick (and/or) metallic furniture.
If you keep having problems or any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us!
It’s important to keep your sensitive data safe. Nowadays, you can password protect any document or folder that you deem relevant by following a few simple steps.
But first, let me give you a little tip. Before password protecting any document you may wish to create a backup of the non-password protected folder and files in case you forget the password in the future.
If you are using Windows XP professional edition on a computer that has different accounts, this are the steps you have to follow:
- Select the folder you wish to encrypt.
- Right-click the folder and click Properties.
- Click the Advanced button.
- Check “Encrypt contents to secure data” option.
- Click Apply and then Ok.
After you are done, the encrypted data should be grayed out. If you are using Windows XP home edition, this should also be a fairly easy process. Here are the steps:
- Select the folder you wish to encrypt.
- Right-click the folder and click Properties.
- Click the Sharing tab.
- Check the box Make this folder private
- Click Apply and then Ok.
Like in the previous example, the encrypted folder should be grayed out. There are a couple requirements that you need to follow, in order to be able to encrypt and safe guard those files and folders.
- The hard drive must be formatted in NTFS and not FAT32 File System.
- The folder you’re attempting to encrypt must be in your own personal folder. For example, if your name is bob, you must be encrypting a folder that is or that is contained within the below folder: C:Documents and SettingsBob
Files and folders not frequently used
Now, if you need to password protect files or folders that you do not frequently use, one of the simplest ways is to compress the folder and files with a compression utility and password protect the compressed file. However, each time you wish to work or modify the files you will need to uncompress the files using the password.
Windows ME and Windows XP users – Microsoft Windows ME and Windows XP come with their own compression utility. This utility can also be used to compress and password protect files.
You should know that when a file is compressed, users can still view a listing of the files in the compressed file. If you wish for both your file names and the contents to be hidden, move all the files into a single folder and password protect that folder.
File and folders frequently used or accessed
If you need to password protect or encrypt data you frequently use, you will need to install a third-party program that will enable you to protect your files and folders. Below are some free and commercial solutions.
- AxCrypt – An excellent free encryption utility that enables users to encrypt all files within a folder and not allow those files to be viewed unless a passphrase (password) is known.
- WinCry – A freeware utility that enables your files to be encrypted, secure deletion, as well as other helpful methods of protecting your files.
- Folder Guard – A commercial version of a password protection software that enables you to password protect files, folders, and other Windows resources.
Anyway, there are a few other things you should know too. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a 100% protected file. There are numerous tools, utilities, and instructions for how to break a lot of the encryption and passwords on files. However, the protection methods listed above will protect your files from the majority of users who may encounter them. If you’re working with really sensitive data we suggest a commercial product for protecting your files and data. Also, even though a file or folder may be password protected it still can be deleted (unless the program supports the ability to protect files from being deleted). Always remember to backup all your files, even those protected by passwords. And last, but not least, if you forget the password, unless you’re willing to spend the time attempting to break it or pay someone else to break the password, all your file data will be lost. Unless you’ve made a backup of the non-password protected data. If you need any further help to protect your files, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can help you!
The new year is starting folks! And, as usual, people make their predictions for the next one. These are ours:
What will happen with Windows 8.1 and the Microsoft franchises?
The big question: Will people buy Windows machines en masse? If not, what does that mean for the future Microsoft franchises such as Office? We’ll know how this one turned out early in 2014 when tech giants start reporting their results. There are more than a few reasons why Windows worries are warranted. Chromebooks have sold pretty well and there’s a good chance you’re going to see PC makers diversify their OS options. You may even see some Android running PCs.
But there’re also some other trends worth noting. 3D printing is going mainstream. A lot of the coverage around 3D printing will revolve around consumer applications. The real revolution is already about to happen and that will be in the supply chain in 2014. As 3D printing bolsters the supply chain and creates parts on demand there could be a manufacturing renaissance ahead. We’ll all be makers.
For cell phone users and gamers. I mean, everybody!
Should Windows Phone continue gaining market share, app developers will have to start giving the platform its fair share of attention, while at the same time, a group of upstarts in the guise of Firefox OS, Jolla, and Samsung will be looking to steal their piece of the cake from the lower end of the mobile market.
We should also pay attention to Valve’s Steam Machines — not only because it has the opportunity to overturn the PC gaming industry, but also because it is the first reason in a long time that many developers have had to take a second look at building for Linux-based platforms.
Gaming was one of the reasons why Microsoft got into the household, and it could be one of the reasons why it disappears from it too.
What cell-phone am I wearing today?
Today, everybody’s got a smartphone. Tablet prices are crashing and the biggest consumer tech companies are trying to figure out what they can make next to keep the profit rolling in. As such, we’re going to see through 2014 renewed attempts to make wearable technologies – glasses, watches and others – into desirable and useful consumer devices. The devices we’ve seen so far are at best intriguing but flawed; marred by limited capabilities, clunky designs and poor battery life. And they’re being anxiously pushed by hardware manufacturers on a mostly underwhelmed public. But they hold promise – whether that’s in health monitoring or just allowing us to check messages without digging out a smartphone. So next year we will, hopefully, see better versions of these devices.
If you have any doubts, questions or just feel a little curious; don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can help you out!