Monday, December 19, 2016

How To Fix A Computer That Won't Turn On

 I was using my computer last night and it was okay. I turned it on today and it won't power on. This one of the most common problems that come in for repair. So as a consumer what can you do yourself. The first thing is to make sure you are getting power to the computer. If you have the computer plugged into a surge protector make sure it's working. Alot of them have warning leds that light up indicating a problem or fault. It may also have a reset button, so make sure it is in the proper position. If it is out try pushing it in to reset it.
 The next things I would check is to make sure the power plug is in securely in the back of the computer. If that is okay you can check a few things inside the computer. Slide of the side panel and look inside at the motherboard. One is it full of dust in the cpu fan and heatsink. If it is you can blow it out with canned air or an air compressor. I would suggest holing the fan from spinning with a pencil. Next inspect the motherboard for any bulging capacitors or leaking capacitors. If there are this indicates the system took a power surge and damaged the motherboard and possible other components. If you can replace the motherboard with the same exact motherboard, then you may be all set. Remember to use good esd protection such as a esd wristband grounded properly to a esd mat that is grounded.
 The final step would be to test the power supply. You can buy testers that you connect the various power supply connectors to. You can also use a digital multi-meter, but you need to know what you are doing. Another easy test is to use a good know power supply and connect it in place of the one in the case. You can also test the power button with the digital multi-meter. One other test is to remove the power button connector on the terminal block on the motherboard. The use a small flat blade screwdriver to momentarily short the power button pins.
 If you have done all these you could take it to a repair service center. If the computer is 5 years or older, then it's time to replace the computer and transfer data if needed. You could also take it to a service center for further repair.
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

5 Steps So You Don't Lose Your Computer Data

 First the most important part of your computer is the data on it. The data consists of pictures, written documents, music, favorites, downloaded programs and anything that is important to you. You must realize that if things have to redone for any reason the programs you installed will have to be reinstalled as if for the first time again. This is due to the information that goes into the operating system and the registry. Below are 5 things that should be done to protect your data.
  1. Have Very Good Up To Date Antivirus Software
  2. Back Up Your Data To A External Hard Drive, Usb Flash Drive or The Cloud
  3. Keep Your Computer Up To Date With Windows Updates
  4. Keep The Inside Of The Computer, Fans and Heat-Sinks Free Of Dust
  5. Always Make Your Recovery Disk Set in case the operating system has to be reinstalled ( most computers come preinstalled and you should get a message to make these at some point)

 I can not tell you enough how many times a customer has lost their data due to not practicing the 5 steps above. Many computers come through and their antivirus software has long expired. The computer has become infected with a ransomeware virus and all the data is lost due to it being encrypted. This brings me to another point, never leave the external back up drive constantly connected to the system. Yes it can become encrypted as well.
 Below you can purchase antivirus software, an external hard drive or usb flash drive. You can also search for others as well.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Laptop Computer Or Desktop Computer Or Tablet

 This is another one of those questions that customers always seem to ask. Should I buy a Laptop, Desktop or Tablet ? The first thing to consider is are you going to need to travel with the computer or are you going to keep it in one place. My advise is if it is going to remain stationary, I would go with a desktop computer. If you are going to travel with it or maybe you don't want to use it in the same room I would suggest a Laptop Computer. Now if you are using it for reading books, email and web surfing, I would go with the tablet. If you are going to install lots of games I would think more of a gaming laptop computer.
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

7 Steps In Repairing A Laptop Computer

If you are going to try and repair your laptop computer or someone else's laptop there are some things you should know and do.
  1. Have the proper tools to work on laptop computers
  2. Find a youtube video on dissembling the particular laptop
  3. Have the proper esd static protection
  4. Have the proper tools to test the components in the system
  5. Learn how to screw the screws back in the laptop case
  6. Learn where to get parts from for your repair
  7. Make sure you have no left over parts
  Believe me I have seen many different technicians ruin laptops, because they did not know how to take laptop cases apart. They also try to use ordinary flat blade screwdrivers to pry apart cases. You will find that this just damages the already brittle parts. One trick techs use when this happens is to use two sided sticky tape or they break out the super glue. The lucky tech who works on it next can't get the case apart and in turn damages it. This then results in more costs for the customer or the service center eats the cost and loses money.
 There are plenty of tool kits made specifically for laptop computers and they are not that expensive. One tool I would have is a good soldering iron that can work with through hole as well as surface mount soldering. You are also going to need to have a good esd wrist strap and a good esd mat. Always make sure they are properly grounded. It does not take much to damage any component with static electricity. You do not have to see it of feel it for it to damage something.
  There are lots of excellent youtube videos for taking all kinds of laptops apart. You will find that some laptop computer come apart easily and others can be a bear. Always take it easy, because things will break. When screwing a screw back in remember to turn the screw back a tiny bit until you feel it drop in, this way you will not cross thread the screw. Never over tighten a screw either, because the gold standoff will break out of the case due to them being press fitted.
 Now make sure of the proper places to get parts for repair. General parts like memory and hard drive can be bought from places like newegg. If you need a particular motherboard, plastic case or lcd display I would use ebay. The only two things to remember is to check the sellers percentage rating and also that these are refurbished parts. You never know what could be wrong with it or how long it will last. Always check out the return policy. Finally be-aware of where all screws go, otherwise you will be taking it back apart to determine where the screw goes. Believe me I have seen Technicians throw the screw over their shoulder and say oh well.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Do You Back Up Your Computer ?

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 I can not stress enough to customers that they need to back up their computers and systems. I see it on a daily basis where someone whether in a company or just a home computer user has been infected with some kind of computer virus. Now it going to cost the customer time and money to get their computer cleaned up and running properly again.
 I just asked a customer if they are backing up their laptop computer. Well the answer I got was the typical no, but I had been thinking about it. Fortunately I was able to clean up all the infections and get the computer running again. There have been other situations where the person was not so lucky. You see some viruses will just encrypt your system and you lose all your data. If this is in a business situation it could be disastrous.
 Okay so the question by most customers is how do I back up my system and data. Well it somewhat is depended on the operating system you are running. In other words is it windows 7, 8, 8.1 or windows 10. If it is windows 7 or 10 you can use the back up program in the control panel. You will need to have an external hard drive that connects to the usb port. I would suggest at least a 500gb or 1tb hard drive. Only have the external hard connected during the back up process. I have seen external hard drives become encrypted and now it's useless. If you are using windows 8 or 8.1 you will either need a program such as norton ghost or acronis. There are some open source back up programs, but they may not be as good.
 The other way to back up your data is to the cloud with a program such as carbonite. If you go with carbonite remember you need the system to always be connected to the internet. With carbonite be aware of what package you have, because cheaper packages may only back up data. I would suggest a  package that makes a complete system image and backs up the data. The one thing that customers need to realize is that the system image back up is only good for you model computer. If your computer dies , then you would need a computer built with the exact same components. The motherboard is the most important part to have the same. If the system is a brand name such as dell or hewlett packard you can not just place the hard drive in a computer that is the same model. This has to do with the legal aspects of the oem license agreement.
 If you looking for a good back up drive or back up software check out the Amazon Ads Below for some good deals.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What To Do About Ransomware Encryption Viruses

 Yes once again I am seeing those nasty ransomware encryption viruses. These are viruses that will encrypt all your data on your computer rendering it useless. The place where it comes from tries to get you to pay a ransom to get your data back by them providing a software key to remove the encryption from the system. The problem is that alot of the time you pay the ransom in bitcoins and it does not work. Now you are out of your money and data.
 There are some encryption viruses that have been helped to unencrypt the system. The one that comes to mind is the autolocky virus. Unfortunately there are plenty of others with no answers or help. The only thing you can do is protect your data before this happens. Here are a few things below that may help.
  1. Use an external back up hard drive of at least 1 to 2 tb
  2. Only have the back up drive connected while the back up is running
  3. Back up your data to the cloud with something such as carbonite
  4. Create a standard profile and copy data to it.
  5. Ransomware Viruses usually go after administrator accounts
  6.  Have a back up computer just in case your computer gets hit and goes down

Sunday, May 1, 2016

One Click Fix Utilities

 Computer viruses are nasty buggers and are only getting worse. One tool I have found that seems to work very well is the 1 click fix utility. In fact at my work location they were trying to figure out how we could use it in the virus cleaning process that we follow. This utility not only cleans infections, but can also perform data recovery. Of course there are other programs that you can use such as Free Malwarebytes that will do an excellent job from the safe mode with networking. Here is a list below of what can be done with the 1 click fix utility.

If you are interested you can click the picture at the top of the post or click the picture below.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How To Repair Your Computer Yourself

  Okay your computer isn't working properly. Most customers tell us my computer is running very slow lately. The other common sign is that programs are not working and the computer shuts off or reboots. The next thing customers report is the dreaded blue screen of death. Maybe they have a message coming up that their computer is infected. Usually someone wants you to call them or pay money.
 Well most of us get scared and take our computers to a service repair center. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but you could end up spending hundreds of dollars, when you could figure it out yourself. The first thing you need to do is determine if it's a hardware problem, software problem or both. Most of the problems found today are due to infections that have gotten into your computer. Okay so what is going to be your first step in determining what is wrong.
 The best thing is to have a second computer where you have access to the internet. There are free programs out there that contain many good programs for testing and scanning for infections. The first is a programs called Hirens 15.2, which is an iso file that you download and burn to a dvd disk or you can install it on a usb flash drive. The second program is called win 8pe, which is another iso file that can be burned to a dvd disk. You basically boot off of the disk and run either check disk or western digital to test the hard drive. If you have bad sectors or bad clusters you will need to replace the hard drive.
 The next item to test is the memory. There is a program called memtest 86+, which can be burned to a cdr disk. Boot off the cd and run the test. Mentest can be run off both of the programs. The other test is to visually inspect the motherboard. Is the cpu fan running or packed with dust. If it is blow it out with canned air or a air compressor. Also inspect the motherboard for bulging capacitors. You can check out some of my other post with pictures. If problems are found the motherboard will need replacing.
 If all hardware checks out, then the problem may be a virus, malware, spyware or adware. It usually is a combination of all of them. You will need a few programs to run and scan for infections. I recommend downloading free malwarebytes, rogue killer, adwcleaner, jrt junk removal tool and combofix ( it does not work on windows 8.1 and windows 10) . My advise is to boot to the safe mode with networking, download each of these and install them. Some are just executable files that you run and follow the prompts. The best place to get these are from and are all free. You can download them, place them on a usb flash drive and copy to the desktop in a folder. Then run each of them and reboot when instructed to.
 If they won't run or you can't get anywhere take the computer to a good service center. Just remember to check out any reviews on the place before going there.
 Thanks for stopping and I hope this helps.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Computer Virus Protection

 Computer Viruses are on the rise again. Yes I was just reading about a new one called CBS2. This one seems to be coming in as a resume. So if you are working for a company in human resources and are checking out resumes be very careful. One of them may just be a ransomeware virus that could encrypt all your data. Believe me I have seen quite a few different customers lose all their data. That can be anything from important documents to cherished photographs of your family and friends.
 So the question is which antivirus program should I purchase. Well generally you will find two category's to choose from. The first is the free category and the second is the paid category. There are many debates over the question is the free antivirus software good enough. Well I use the free avg, Free avast and Free Microsoft security on various computers. I myself have not had any major infections. The main difference is that the paid antivirus has tech support and may offer some extra protection. So my advise is if you can afford the paid version I would go with that.
 The next question in the paid versions of antivirus software is which one is better. Well there are websites on the internet where you can find excellent comparisons of different antivirus software packages. The only thing to watch out for is some may prefer one over the other due to the fact it's the one they are selling. If I am going to suggest a website to check out it would be . They have lots of excellent information and it's up to date.
 In my case I do have some that I prefer over others and it's because I see what customers are using. I also read the various reviews on amazon to see what people are saying. So as for my favorites I like Kaspersky, Webroot AV, Eset Nod-32 and Vipre. You will find that some are better suited for internet protection and some cover more than one pc. They also may be good for 3 years instead of 1 year. You will find that price does vary depending on the package.
 It's better to have some antivirus protection then none at all. I also will advise that you learn when not to open emails, especially if it's not from someone you know. Many ransomware infections come in as a invoice in a pdf file or some other form. The best advise I can give is to always back up your system regularly to an external hard drive or to the cloud with carbonite. Only keep the external hard drive connected while the back up is running. That way you have less of a chance of it becoming infected. Believe me if your data becomes encrypted you have pretty much lost everything. So check out the Amazon Ads below and find a good antivirus program to keep your system protected.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Repairing Laptop Computers

 We all face that time when our Laptop Computer is just no working properly. In today's world of Laptop Computer's the problem is either Hardware or Software. Hardware just depends on what is failing. The common problems tend to be a defective failing hard drive, Broken Display or Bad Motherboard. On average these are not that difficult to repair. Motherboards are the most difficult due to taking the laptop apart. Sometimes you can find a video on youtube on how to disassemble the laptop. Below is a course on repairing laptop computers. Just click on the picture below and learn about it.

 I have repaired many laptops during my time working as a computer service technician. Generally they are not too bad to work on. Just make sure to keep track of all the screws. I would also make sure to are using a properly grounded esd static mat and wear a good esd wrist strap. I see way too many techs work on surfaces that give off alot of static electricity. Then when something goes wrong they wonder why.
 So check out the course above and start repairing laptops today. You can work for someone or start your own business. So start learning today and have fun at it too.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trackball Mouse Maintenance

 Anyone that uses a trackball mouse will have to do some maintenance on it at some time. Actually it is a very easy job to accomplish and won't take but a few moments. With mine I always find that after a period of time the ball seems to bind up a little. Here are a few steps below that you can follow.
  1. Disconnect the Trackball Mouse from the computer.
  2. Locate the small hole on the bottom under the mouse.
  3. Use a pencil preferably no point.
  4. Pop the ball out of where it's seated.
  5. Use a q-tip to clean the three points that keep it in place.
  6. Clean the Trackball off with a damp soft cloth.
  7. Place the ball back in place and see if it moves freely.
  8. Inspect the usb connector and cable for any damage.
  9. Reconnect to the computer and test it.
  10. Buttons can be cleaned with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol diluted with 50% water 50% rubbing alcohol. Just don't soak them.
 I can not tell you how many customers bring in their equipment with cuts in the cable or chew marks. Make sure to check them.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How And When To Upgrade Your Computer

 Many customers always ask should I upgrade my computer or should I buy a new one. Well my rule of thumb is it 5 years old or more. If it is at least 5 years old I would say your best to go into a new computer if you can. It would be to your advantage to go into a new computer just due to the fact that technology has changed quite a bit in the past few years.


 Okay so what are the advantages of just upgrading your computer. Well obviously the first advantage may be the cost involved. Well unfortunately that may not necessarily be true. You see the problem you run into is that you may have to upgrade other components, so you can upgrade the ones you want. For example if you want to go with a new ssd or solid sate hard drive you may have to upgrade your power supply. Alot of computers a few years ago had 285 watt and 350 watt power supplies. In today's standards I would recommend at least a 500 watt power supply. That is just one item I would upgrade.

  Another item would be the usual of upgrading the memory. You see a few years ago 2gb ddr2 was the average, then it went to 4gb and now it's 8gb or better. The other issue is that the newer memory is ddr3 and they will not work in the older motherboards. Other items are the cpu or microprocessor as well as the motherboard. If you replace that then you would need a different microprocessor as well as memory. The problems just seem to go on an on, in fact with all these new components your software may have to be redone from scratch.
 So your best move would be to go into a new computer. Then reinstall your software and set the computer up properly. It unfortunately is just not cost effective to upgrade a entire system. If you are doing upgrades with a newer computer then you can do those in a reasonable budget.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Computer Seems To Be Very Slow These Days

 If your computer seems like it running very slow it comes down to a few different problems. The first thing to suspect is a virus, malware, spyware or adware. These are the most common things that will sneak in. What you need to do is download and install free malwarebytes, spybot and junk removal tool as well as rogue killer. Update and scan with each in the safe mode with networking. If you find a good amount of infections I would suggest taking the computer to a professional computer service center and have it properly cleaned.
 The next problem that can cause slowness is a defective piece of hardware . It could be due to a failing hard drive with bad sectors or bad clusters. If you tackle this problem you will need to run check disk from a administrator command prompt. You will need to run chkdsk /r and this will scan the hard drive and correct the problems. Next you should shut the computer off immediately after check disk and then connect a new hard drive and run a cloning program. Once the cloning is done install the new hard drive in the laptop or desktop. Once again if you are not comfortable with this take your computer to a professional computer service center.
 The last two possible problems may be a hard drive that is almost full. In this case follow the cloning method to a newer larger hard drive. The next possible problem could be defective memory. You can run free memtest86+ and test the memory. Replace any memory that is found to fail. Also make sure there isn't any dust built up in the heatsink, fans and case. It is possible that there are bad leaking expanding capacitors or a failing power supply.
 As I have said earlier take the computer to a professional computer service center.