Sunday, April 1, 2018

Should I Use A Solid State SSD Drive As My Boot Drive

500gb Samsung SSD Drive
 I am noticing many different individuals installing a ssd or solid state drive as the boot drive and then a sata drive as the data drive. The main problem I see is that they tend to try and sell a 128gb ssd or 250gb ssd as the boot drive. This is done by them for two reasons. First they are smaller in amount of data space and therefore are less expensive. The second reason is that this is a better selling point for them.
 The problem is that these sizes of hard drives are just too small for all the data that ends up on the boot drive. Okay so what is their trick in selling this idea. Well what they do is move the data such as documents, pictures etc... to the larger 1tb or larger second sata drive. This is called masking the folders to the second hard drive. The problem I always see is that first in general these folders are not very big in size and do not take up alot of room. The other problem is that not all programs when installed can be directed to the second hard drive in the system.
 What most sales people do not realize is there are system files that are automatically created for the registry and other files in the boot drive. So the natural problem is the boot drive becomes full very quickly. The next thing that happens is the computer comes back to us technicians with the information that the system is running very slow, having errors or just is not running properly. So what do you think generally happens ?


 Well I put it on the bench and start to check the system for the most likely causes. First I look to see what components are installed in this system. I am always finding that the c: drive or boot drive is full and in the red. In a situation like this you can not borrow space from the data drive to the boot drive, because they are two separate drives. So what is the alternative to this situation ? The answer is to speak to the customer about the situation and get them to understand that they need a larger boot drive.
 Now most companies realize that the customer is the most important part of this problem. You may be asking why would that be. Well if you have an unhappy customer, one they will never come back, two they will most likely tell their friends about their bad experience and drive business away from your company by writing bad reviews or spreading the bad information. This results in a loss of business, which is a loss of money and eventually could be the end of your business.
 One of the first questions from the customer is why did they sell me this smaller size drive. This then becomes a very tricky path to follow. I have to help the customer and not make the company angry. Usually the company will take the smaller drive back after cloning to a larger ssd drive, such as a 500gb or 1tb. I have found that customers are much happier when you help them and tell them the truth. Generally today the cost of the 500gb ssd drive is not that much higher than the 250gb ssd drive. It is when you go to a 1tb ssd or larger that the price rises.
 If this were not a new computer, the rules all still apply. I have not had any problems getting the customer to realize that the larger ssd drive is the way to go. I then have a happier customer in the long run and they tend to bring more business to the company. Of course it is not always that easy to get the company to understand this, but we can always hope.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Make My Computer Run Faster

 Many customers complain that their computer runs too slowly these days. Okay so what is the first thing you should do to find out why your computer is so slow. Well you could take it to a computer service center and shell out some money. I sat why not run a few free programs first and determine what is going on. Yes I believe anyone can do some troubleshooting on their computer for free. All it takes is some of your time.

 So the first thing I would do is run some scans for infections and see if something nasty has made its way into your computer system. There are some free programs that work very well for finding and removing these nasty infections. Remember that infections are not always pc viruses. They can be Viruses, Malware, Spyware and Adware. These infections can come from a multitude of places in today's computer world. They can be from visiting an infected web-page,  facebook page, email or someone that you let remote into your computer.

 Okay so you may be asking what are these free pc cleaning programs. The first one I would recommend is called RogueKiller. You can download the free portable version off the internet and run it in the safe mode with networking. The second program I would recommend is Free Malwarebytes. Once again run it from the safemode with networking. A third free program I would use is ADWCleaner and yes from the safemode. There are other free programs you could use such as Super Anti Spyware, as well as others. Always search the internet to determine if what ever program you find is legitimate. Some free programs may bring in infections, junk programs or malicious programs.

 If you have scanned and cleaned the system of any infections, you are ready for the next step. This would be to determine if there is a hardware problem going on. The usual culprits tend to be a failing hard drive, bad memory, little space left on the hard drive or a damaged motherboard. These problems can be tackled in a few different ways. First inspect the motherboard to see if there are any expanded leaking capacitors on the motherboard. If there are any bad capacitors, it is time to replace the motherboard. You may be able to locate the same motherboard and no problems should occur. If you can get the motherboard, you may be replacing the entire system, moving data and reinstalling all software, printers etc....

 If the motherboard looks good you can download a free program called Memtest 86+ to test the memory in the system. If a stick of memory fails, replace it. The most common problem in hardware in a computer is the Hard Drive itself. You can boot into the troubleshooting mode in windows 8, 8.1 and 10 and run a test on the hard drive using the command prompt choice. Use the chkdsk /r command to test and repair the hard drive software. If any bad sectors or bad clusters show up, replace the hard drive. If you are looking to increase speed go with a new ssd (solid state) hard drive.Make sure it has plenty of space such as a 500gb size or larger.

 Replace the hard drive by cloning the bad failing hard drive to  the new hard drive. If you need to purchase a program, then I recommend Acronis. If you want to use a free program, then look for Partition Magic. I would check out some youtube videos on using these programs. Now the best thing from having to do this is to protect yourself in the first place. What I am getting at is to always have a back up plan. One way is to use Carbonite with the system image plan. The second way is to use the Back Up program in Windows 7 and Windows 10 to an external hard drive. Windows 8 and 8.1 will have to have the system image run manually to the external hard drive.

  There are some free programs out on the internet with a multitude of free programs for testing and troubleshooting a computer system. The first would be Hirens, second would be Win 8 PE and Third would be Falcon. All of these are ISO files that can be downloaded and burned to a cd. They are all bootable and can be made bootable off a USB Flash Drive. I would suggest doing some searching on the internet about them.

 Finally I would look through the programs list in the control panel for any newly installed programs. If you let someone remote into you computer, uninstall it. The same goes for any program that was recently installed that you don't recognize. If you are not sure about the program, use google and see what it is or people are saying about it.

 Oh yes one final bit of information, blow any  dust out of the heatsinks, fans and components.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Microsoft Says Your Infected Call This Number

 I keep getting customers that had the message with a talking voice come up on the screen and say your computer is infected, call this number. This is not legitimate and is nothing more than just a scam. Unfortunately many many people fall for this, call the number and them remote in to their computer and take control.

 Some of these individuals are very convincing and get the unsuspecting person pay them money. I have seen where some of these people or scammers use some of the free programs on the internet. Most of the time these scammers want to get at your information on your computer. Their other goal is to get your hard earned money.

 Okay so what should you do if this happens while you are on the internet. First of all don't click on anything, not even to close out the website. Also do not call these people as they will try to convince you and now they have your phone number. You need to do one of a couple things to prevent any infection. First if you know how to end task this by pressing ctrl - alt - del at the same time do this. This will bring up the task manager and you can end task the web browser you are using to close it out.
 Your other option is to hold the power button in for 10 to 20 seconds and the computer will shut off. I would not do this all the time, but for one instance it won't hurt. After you reboot the computer I would reset all the web browsers. Next run programs like free malwarebytes, rogue killer and junkware removal tool from the safe mode with networking. Finally I would go into programs and features in the control panel. Look through the list and delete any programs like log me in or Team Viewer.

 Many people ask what are signs that you may have been infected. Well usually the computer may run very slow, can not access the internet, home page has changed or the computer will not boot into the normal mode. Other things that happen is that you have emails sent that you did not send. You may also be getting tons of spam email . The other problem is getting phone calls from these scumbags trying to  get you to send them money. Turn them in and report them to the police and attorney general.

 Just remember Microsoft Does Not Call People.