Archives for March 2012

Computer Repair or Replacement – Cheap Computers are Not a Bargain

In the PC Repair business these days, we are hearing more people say they can buy a computer for almost the same price as repairing their existing PC.  So why bother doing the repair?  An good repair shop will tell you if your computer is worth fixing or not.  If they value your continued business, they will be honest with you.

Some people like replacing their computer every year or two, so they they keep buying cheap, low end machines.  Problem is, their user experience will be awful.  Slow performance, crashing, lockups, bad battery life and lousy WiFi reception are some of the hallmarks of cheap PC’s.  Then they have to transfer over all their data, install all their programs, and redo all their personal settings.  Hey if you like this, knock yourself out.

Yes, computers have dropped a lot in price these days.  You can buy one for $300.  However, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. [Read more…]

6 Common Myths About Web Safety – Part 1

internet safety securityComputer Viruses, Malware, Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Rootkits, Bootkits…. a wild menagerie of threats to be sure.  I’ll use the generic term “Malware” to refer to all these types from now on.  You may not have even heard of some of these forms of infections.  What the heck can you do?  How worried do you need to be?  The truth is, we’re all subject to these risks, but the better informed you are, the safer you’ll be.

This will be a series of posts where I’ll try to give you a simple rundown of the most common myths that get people into trouble.  How many parts will there be in this series?  That depends on how much time I have to write, or how sleepy I am if I’m writing at night.  I’m guessing two or three.

 

Myth #1: I Must be Safe Because I’ve Never Had a Virus Infection

Guess again my friend.  How would you know, when most malware and Trojans are designed to be stealthy and work behind the scenes without your knowledge?  That’s the whole point!  Yes, some types of malware do get your attention, especially the ones trying to sell you fake software, but this is only one type of infection.

Others may be lurking behind the scenes trying to steal your passwords, credit  card numbers, etc.  Eventually, if there are enough of them on your computer, you’ll notice performance slowdowns, lockups, error messages or even crashes.  This may be the only warning you’ll get that something is wrong, but by then it may be too late.

You won’t believe how many computers come in to our shop for other types of repairs, where we find viruses and malware galore.  As part of our troubleshooting, we always run a quick scan and sure enough, most of them have some type of infection.  They’re not always serious, but it goes to show how common this problem is.

Myth #2: Only Porn, Gambling and Other “Questionable” Sites are Dangerous

Of course, these are by far the riskiest sites out there, so you should avoid or at least minimize your visits to such sites (nudge-nudge).  Did you know that an estimated 83% of trusted, legitimate sites are hacked and infected with malware?  Now that’s scary!  The bigger sites monitor their sites, but hey can’t always keep up.  Most of the time they’re clean, but you can’t know if they’re clean when you visit them.

Why do they target these sites?  Because that’s where the money is!  They are popular, high-traffic sites, so they’re the best way to distribute the infections.  Most of the time they just hack the site.  If they can’t get in that way, they use other tricks.  One for example, is to pose as an advertiser wanting to post an ad on a legitimate site.  Once they’ve submitted and paid for their ad, they’ve built up trust with the site.  Then later, they post an update to their ad, embedding malicious code in it and voila… they’ve infected the site.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Computer Repair Issues: All-in-One Desktop PC Repair and Maintenance

All-in-One Desktop PCThe PC repair realm has a new challenge.  All-in-One desktops are now all the rage.  These are the type of computers that have the CPU and screen in one single unit.  In other words, there is no separate tower.  This is a real space saving and convenient design.  MAC desktops took this form years ago, and now Windows desktops are following suit.

There is one drawback to having this type of unit however.  Maintenance and the cost of repair.  The main issue is heat, which wears down components or burns them out.  They really cram lots of components into a small space, so they tend to run hot.   These units are basically laptops on a stand, with the LCD screen attached, so they are more expensive to repair, just like laptops are.

They tried making these PC’s several years ago, but it was a disaster because back then, processors chips and hard drives ran very hot.  It’s a lot better now with the lower voltage, cooler running components, so it’s a better unit overall.  Still, you have to be careful.  Here’s some tips to help you.

1) Keep the unit in a well ventilated area, so it can get air to pass through it freely.  Keep the surrounding area free of dust, so it doesn’t get into the vents and clog things up.  If the PC will be in a dusty area, like a workshop, don’t get one in the first place.

2) Don’t run too many programs at the same time, or run heavy duty applications, like video editing or high-end games.  This works the PC very hard and generates lots of heat.

3) Check your start-up programs and any other background programs that may be running.  If too many are running, this works the PC harder and generates more heat.  If you know how to check for these, by all means do it.  If not, take your unit to a computer repair technician and have them tweak and tune up the PC so it runs less background programs.

Feel free to buy one of these types of computers if you like, but just keep the above tips in mind.  Do not buy one if you’re a heavy gamer or if you work your computers really hard.  They’re not designed for that type of use.  If you’re a casual user that mostly uses the internet and email, these units are just fine.

I hope this helped you.  If you need any more information or have more PC Repair needs or questions, please see the Saguaro PC Tech website for our conntact information.  Thank you.

Laptop Repair for Non-Removable Batteries, Drives and Memory

Did you buy a new laptop and discovered that you can’t find the battery, or the little doors to access your memory or hard drives?  Does this worry you?  Doe you ask yourself what you can do when one of these components goes bad, especially the battery?  Are you wondering if this means you have to throw the laptop away?

Fear not!  These components can be replaced, just not by the typical user.  The actual term for this design is “non user replaceable”.  I really hate this new way of doing things.  As usual, I suspect it’s the big manufacturers’ greed to force you to send your PC to them for an overpriced repair, not to mention a 2-3 week wait.  By the way, they’re starting to do this with cell phones too.

Can batteries and other components be replaced by a local computer repair shop?  Can they upgrade your memory?  Absolutely!

What we do is remove the entire bottom panel of the laptop, which then makes all these components accessible.  It’s a little tricky, as there are lots of tiny screws and you have to know where to pry open the case, but a good technician can do this easily.

The only problem is that it will cost a little more than it used to because of the extra work.  Nothing too dramatic, maybe $30 – $50.  If you need this type of work done, give us a call or stop by our Tucson Computer Repair Store, here at Saguaro PC Tech.  Our laptop guys can handle this an much more complex repairs as well.

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