Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School?

Last year when apple released iOS 5, they brought a new feature to the table called iCloud which features work across the board with your Mac and PC as well.  iCloud lets you access your music, photos and documents from any of your devices (be it an iPhone, iPad or computer) without a complicated synchronizing process.
Once you sign up, you’re given 5GB of free iCloud storage, but you can upgrade it up to 50GB by paying the stipulated fee, of course. This is a somehow expensive service, and that will inevitably add up over the years of use.
Anyhow, Apple has made some exceptions to this 5 GB cap. They have agreed not to count music, apps or books that have been purchased from Apple. Although this is all well and good, most people do not, in fact, purchase all of their music and books from the Apple store, but from a variety of other sources. This, ultimately, pushes a user into a sticky situation because they are forced to pay Apple one way or another.

Nowadays it’s critically important to have a backup of your most important documents. And the amount of devices and options to store these documents have multiplied, making this process easier but also more important than ever.
Storing your backup documents in the cloud will also minimize the storage space used in all of your devices, including your computer.  As easy as this process might be, it requires a fair amount attention from your part. Contacts, calendars, mail, reminders, documents and other data is handled separately and has to be specifically backed up, instead of going through a general backup process.  Organizing your data in order to access it later is also vital to the procedure.

 Any backup strategy starts with the concept of getting the data back. Having everything organized in folders is not a bad idea. There’s a lot of different ways you could organize those folders, always keeping in mind that the best system to organize your data is the one that allows you to find the files you need in the least amount of time. Even your email can be organized in folders.

There’s also a very important issue to address here. Privacy is a key factor when you decide if and which cloud backup provider to use. Microsoft’s Sky-drive doesn’t have the option of encrypted storage, while Apple’s iCloud does. But even when the data is encrypted, the one holding the key it’s usually the cloud service provider. And a curious employee or a concerned government can easily get access to your precious private data. In any case, you face the question of how do they protect your personal information, and whether or not you should just go old school and save your private data in an external hard drive.  But that decision only belongs to you.

Backing up your information is easy as crucial, but you may have some doubts on how and what data should be safely backed up. We can help you on every step of the way, taking the time do it properly. Contact us and keep your data safe!

 

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Don’t Fall for the Latest Computer Hacking Scam

Your phone rings.  A polite gentleman with a foreign accent is on the other side of the receiver. He knows your name, and tells you he works for Microsoft’s tech support.  He also tells you your computer is infected with a virus, and that he is calling to help you with that.  Hung up! This is a scam designed to gain access to your credit card and your own computer. A scam that caught thousands of customers off  guard and cost them an average of $875.00.

How does it work? After calling you offering their help to get rid of the virus in your computer, or any other made up problems, they’ll ask you for your credit card number, ATM card number or to install software that would grant them access to your computer.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, along with the US Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission collaborated to share key intelligence about the operations of the Microsoft imposters.  This turned out to be the most common computer hacking scam reported last year.

How do I prevent this? Remember that no legitimate company will call you with specific details about your computer if you don’t have one of their registered products. And even then, they won’t call you offering computer support

Don’t talk to them. Don’t go to any website or type anything into a computer, install any software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue. Use up-to-date versions of your operating system and application software, including security updates. This will make it harder for anyone trying to scam you to gain access to you your computer and personal information. Make sure security updates are installed regularly, and use a strong password. Change it on a regular basis.  Make sure the firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date as well. Taking the caller’s information and passing it down to the authorities is also very important to help prevent future scams.

If you suspect you are a victim, PcMac Express can help you fix this problem. Contact Us Today!
www.pcmacexpress.com

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Protect your Online Persona

Identity theft has been a huge problem of our modern lives for quite some time now. But the increasing usage of smart-phones for our everyday tasks and transactions has turned those devices into a true goldmine for identity thieves.

The FTC estimates that about 9 MILLION Americans have their identities stolen every year, costing the victims an average of $4,841 and taking about 33 hours to resolve.

Before, we were only concerned about not giving anyone our private information. Today, it is a little more complicated. All our software, online accounts, banking… you name it! Anything we do online needs a password, and to protect those we create yet another password that locks our phones. At the end, we have everything locked up, all passwords are pumped up to avoid fraud, but, honestly, you should feel lucky if you manage to remember them.

That’s where password management tools come into the picture. And even-though most people don’t even know what they are, they have proved themselves to work and be worth a try.

Password managers provide tools to encrypt text files that can store all your passwords that are not web based. The fact that these passwords are encrypted when stored, basically means that even when the software gets hacked, it will be a headache to reveal and read the passwords.

One great option for this protection method is “LastPass” (https://lastpass.com/)

But even when you think you have protected everything, criminals can easily get a web host and set up a fake online shop to trick us into submitting our personal information and credit account numbers. This means you need to always be careful of what retailer you are trusting online.
One good way to prevent this from happening is using one-time-use card numbers. Those only work for a single transaction and prevent your permanent number from being stolen.
If your credit company does not support this kind of system, you can always use gift cards (Visa and Mastercard have this option) to purchase online.

One last thought, take action!
Try to always be proactive in keeping an eye on your accounts activity. This way you will notice when something is suspicious and can stop it before your money and privacy are long gone.

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Yes, We All Hate this Heat Wave…

(Prevent your Computer from Overheating)

Just the same way it happens to all of us, when a heat wave hits, it is very hard (if not impossible) for your computer to function properly.

Overheating will not only make a computer slower, but it could also damage the integral parts of what makes it work, possibly destroying or shortening the lifespan of the hardware. But this is not the worse part. When this happens you are in danger or losing all your data!

It is recommended that a computer’s temperature is never over 154°F. And even if you can’t be that accurate, sticking your hand over the computer’s ventilation system or case will give you an idea.

To prevent overheating, the first thing you should do is to keep your computer clean (view our previews posting on the matter).
Also you should try to avoid hot neighbors, meaning that a computer should never be close to the heater or a fireplace. Keep it rather in a place where temperature is as low as possible and air flows.

Now, if it’s already too late and feeling it with your hand can’t seem to do it anymore, the real way to check the temperature is as follows.

You should first restart your computer, and on the boot screen, you should have an option to press a key (often Delete) to enter the BIOS. Once you enter Setup, navigate the BIOS menu using the on-screen instructions. You should be able to find a menu that deals with the computer’s hardware monitors and CPU. There should be a field that lists your CPU temperature.

There are too some tools that would allow you to do the same without restarting your computer. But unfortunately those can only read certain sensors, so you’ll have to make sure your hardware is supported. Some of those could be the cross-platform GKrellM (Windows/Mac/Linux), RealTemp, CoreTemp and SpeedFan.

If you don’t feel comfortable with any of these methods, or you find that the temperature is too high, it might be time to get professional help.

Give us a call! At PcMac Express we are pro’s and know what to do to keep you and your computer chilled and happy!

Keyboard germs
Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Stop spreading those germs!

(A practical guide for keeping your computer clean)

Most of the time we don’t even realize how much dirt builds up in and on our computers. And that is a factor that can definitely prevent proper airflow; it could even make the fan stop. That is why keeping you electronic devices clean will improve and keep their working conditions.

It is important to know that even though they need some cleaning, they are not humans, therefore if you clean them every 6 to 8 months you should not have a problem with dirt. Not that bad right?

But before you start cleaning it, keep in mind that limit smoking, eating and drinking around it will make the cleaning a lot easier and prevent you from having some bad accidents that could cause it to crash.

Here are a few Tips on how to keep you computer running and glowing:

  • • Always turn off before cleaning!
  • • Never spray any liquid onto any computer. Do it instead on a cloth and then use that to rub down the component.
  • • You can use a vacuum to suck up dust and dirt on the outside case; but never use it on the inside! It can damage it due to the high amount of static electricity it generates. For this, you can also try compressed air.
  • • If you use solvent, dilute it. Be careful with those materials since they can cause bad allergic reactions.
  • • If you decide to clean the fan/s by yourself, make sure you place something in-between the fan blades to prevent it from spinning.
  • • When it comes to the case, if there’re any stubborn stains. Add a little detergent to a cloth, but never use solvents on plastic.
  • • Make sure all vents and air holes are hair and lint free by rubbing a cloth over them.

Keep in mind that inside cleaning can be damaging to your computer if you don’t really know what you are doing. But hey, we are Pro’s at PcMac Express. Give us a call and we will gladly help you keep those germs under control 😉

 

 

 

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

A Virus Story

Computer viruses have been around for a very long time, and somehow they always manage to make our lives difficult if we are not prepared to fight them and prevent their attack. Viruses can have simple consequences such as slowing down a computer or blocking a screen. But there are some extremely harmful ones out there that can bring down an entire company’s system and cause billions of dollars in damage.

As for today we still deal with an obscene amount of junk mail that sometimes ends up in our inbox. If you were never a victim, you might be tempted to open that email and even download the file(s) attached to it. But watch out! You could become a victim of a harmful virus. One well-known case was the Love Letter (2001). The virus infiltrated email accounts and sent messages with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment titled “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs.” When you opened the file it overwrote image files on infected computers and then, sent a copy of itself to the first 50 email addresses saved in a Microsoft Outlook contact list. This caused a devastating $15 billion worth of damage.

Another case was the SoBig (2003). This one infected computers with Microsoft operating system, also through their email accounts. It acted like a Trojan horse (is a non-self-replicating type of malware which appears to perform a desirable function but instead drops a malicious payload, often including a backdoor allowing unauthorized access to the target’s computer in that it looked like an innocent message sent from a friend). After infecting a computer, the virus sent itself to contacts saved in the user’s email account. To this day, Microsoft is offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the SoBig creator that caused $37.1 billion in damage.
But we are not the only victims of these undesirable, harmless looking programs. In 2001, computers running the Microsoft ISS web server (including those at the White House) were victims of Code Red. A worm (meaning it’s a standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers without the need of attaching itself to another virus) that exploited weaknesses in the indexing software causing more than $2 billion in damage. Later on, in 2007, the Conficker worm showed up; this one preyed upon flaws within the Microsoft Windows System gaining administrator access on infected computers. The virus was so advanced that it was able to infect the networks of the French Navy; the U.K. Ministry of Defense; the British House of Commons; and the Manchester City Council and Police Department; and it caused $9 billion in damage!

Scary huh? … Well don’t panic. Here are some tips to avoid these bad boys. First of all it is extremely important that you keep frequent updates by installing the security updates for your operating system, firewall, installed programs and anti-virus software as they become available. Once again, it is essential to be careful when opening emails. You shouldn’t access an email if it is obvious to you that it’s a virus, but if you don’t, make sure you do not download any files attached to it. Today viruses and worms are so sophisticated that you don’t have to download an attachment anymore for a message to infect your computer. If you get an unexpected message with an attachment
from a person you know, call the sender first to verify the legitimacy of the correspondence. And last but not least, as you may know, the simple act of visiting a new website can be enough to infect your computer. To prevent an attack, set the security settings on your browser to high, and stay away from sites that seem hokey or make promises that are too good to be true. If your browser pops up a warning about a potentially dangerous site, quickly close the window. And never agree to a virus scan that’s in the form of an internet popup, no matter what the popup says.

We know this can be a time consuming exercise, and even if you follow every step, it might not even guarantee your computer’s and data’s safety. But that is what we are here for. If you suspect that you are under a virus attack don’t hesitate to call us. Our certified technicians at PcMac Express can help you out in no time and will be glad to make your life a little bit better.

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Welcome to Our Updated Site!

Take a look around the new site and see what services we offer in your area!

We have been serving the New York metro area for over 25 years. We have earned a loyal clientele by offering flawless customer service.

What makes us different is that we have no “Geeks” at PC Mac Express. All of our technicians are Microsoft certified engineers. Our rapid, under-three-hour response time is unmatched by most others. We can handle anything from fixing a laptop to complex systems design and implementation, to complete system maintenance and monitoring 24/7. We can handle many problems over the phone, but also conveniently provide service in your home or at your office. And we keep things simple—we cut through the technical jargon and talk to you in plain English.

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

4 Simple Steps to a Faster Computer

A computer’s processing speed is determined first and foremost by its hardware capabilities.

Nevertheless, over time, computers can slow down—and this sluggishness can often be attributed to software issues. There are some steps that you can take to help you identify why your computer’s performance is slowing down and to keep your computer running faster and smoother.

1. Check for spyware, malware, and viruses. This is something that we recommend you do regularly. Not only is your computer at risk, but your personal information is as well. These malicious little buggers can affect how well—and how fast—computers perform. Installing the latest updates to your antivirus software will go a long way towards keeping your computer safe from harm, but when in doubt, a more thorough professional diagnosis may be necessary.

2. Defrag your hard drive. Over time, hard drives become fragmented. Fragmentation slows down the computer’s overall performance, since opening fragmented files means piecing together those fragments first—and saving those files becomes similarly slower and more complicated as well. There are software programs available that can defragment your hard disc and restore those fragmented files. Many of these programs can be set to run automatically on a regular basis. Defragmenting is standard procedure these days, and highly recommended for maintaining your file systems. It doesn’t take too long, and you’ll likely be amazed at the difference in speed afterwards!

3. Free up space on your hard drive. In short, the more space available on your hard drive, the faster the processing time. Get rid of temporary files and paging files, Java applets, and any installed software programs that you don’t need or use. Older files that you don’t need as often can be moved to an external hard drive and backed up on CD or DVD. (And in any case, you should always be sure to back up your files to an external hard drive or other media.) Also, don’t forget to empty the Trash or Recycle Bin—otherwise, all of those files will still be on your computer, taking up space.

4. Add more RAM. Adding a gigabyte or two of RAM (random access memory) can give your computer a second wind and is considered a cost-effective investment. The more RAM on your computer, the faster you can access your data, since the data doesn’t need to be continuously read off the hard drive. However, since the installation involves messing with the hardware a little, and it’s easy to get confused when choosing between different types of RAM, it’s best to leave the installation to an expert or repair person.

Taking these steps should help keep your computer processing time as fast as it was when you first got it. If your computer continues to act slow, consult a computer repair person.

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

Don’t buy a new computer until you read this!

Does this sound familiar?

You got a new computer, it is great, perfect and fast, but after 2-3 years it starts slowing down. You may think it is time to keep an eye out for a new cheap computer and get yourself up to speed again, but….

A New Computer Is Not Always The Best Solution
Especially if you have incompatible software with the new system.  Instead…

Up Performance Without A Downside

Consider some better options: usually, a simple optimization improves your systems performance immensely.  Alternatively, buying a new hard drive for as little as $100 can dramatically improve the performance of your computer with no downside. Installation and mirroring starting at $115, much less than the cost of a new machine.

Call us today for a free phone consultation at 212 682 6878.

Should you store your Data on the Cloud or keep it Old School? | Pcmac_webking3 | Page 3

PcMac Express Receives 2012 Best of Manhattan Award

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PcMac Express Receives 2012 Best of Manhattan Award

Manhattan Award Program Honors the Achievement

MANHATTAN October 2, 2012 — PcMac Express has been selected for the 2012 Best of Manhattan Award in the Computer Repair Services category by the Manhattan Award Program.

Each year, the Manhattan Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Manhattan area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2012 Manhattan Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Manhattan Award Program and data provided by third parties.

For more information visit manhattan.awardprogram.org