My computer is acting strange, what should I try doing?

    1. Shutdown your computer
    2. Check connections by gently making sure there is a firm connection
    3. Leave the computer off for about 5 minutes
    4. After the allotted time, turn the computer back on

NOTE: A lot of problems that seem odd especially if they have only happened once or twice can be fixed by doing a restart as mentioned above.

 

What do I need when I bring my computer in to be diagnosed?

  1. Desktop Computer:
    1. All we will need is the desktop itself. No power cords, mice, keyboards, monitors, USB devices or other cables.
  2. Laptop Computer:
    1. Bring the laptop, your power cord and power adapter. No mice, keyboards, monitors, USB devices, or other cables.

NOTE: If there is another device you want diagnosed instead or in addition to your computer, bring in the device with its associated power cables.

 

What do I do if my screen is blank?

  1. Shut the computer down
  2. Check the connections:
    1. Make sure the power cord is plugged in to an active outlet
    2. Make sure the video cable from the monitor is plugged in to the back of the computer and monitor by gently making sure there is a firm connection.
      1. If you see two places to plug in your video cable (i.e. one vertical spot and one horizontal spot), use the horizontal spot which is usually in the middle or towards the bottom on the back of the computer. This is because the computer will defer the video signal to your computers video card if one is installed
  3. Once you are sure the connections are secure and correctly plugged in, check to see that your monitor is turned on. There will be a power button on the side, bottom, or front of the monitor and may have a symbol next to it that looks like a circle with a line going halfway through the top of it. Also, usually there will be a light to indicate if the monitor is powered on or not.
    1. A YELLOW indicator light means that the monitor is receiving power but no video signal from the computer and is in stand-by mode
    2. A GREEN indicator light means that the monitor is receiving power and a video signal from the computer which should produce a display
  4. After you have completed steps 1 – 3, turn the computer back on.
  5. If there is still no display and your monitor is blank this could mean a couple of things:
    1. Either your video card or monitor may have gone bad and will need replacing.
    2. Bring your computer and monitor into the office so we can further diagnose the problem and see whether it is the video card or your monitor

 

I see a blue screen with white letters, what should I do?

  1. Shutdown your computer
  2. Leave the computer off for about 5 minutes
  3. After the allotted time, turn the computer back on
  4. If you see the blue screen again, you should bring in your computer as soon as you can and leave it off until we can look at it. This screen can occur when there is a piece of hardware failing inside your computer, a corrupt system file, or from an infection on your computer. By having your computer on, it could be causing more damage to the computer and potentially making any repair or recovery much more difficult and costly.

 

How can I protect my computer? What anti-virus do you recommend?

  1. You can best protect your computer by monitoring what you download. Educating yourself and becoming aware of how viruses can get on your computer. Almost all computer infections stem from the internet through a download of some kind.
  2. If you're not sure if a site is safe or not, don't download anything from it! You can always ask us first if you think you really need something from the site and we can help you by letting you know if it's safe.
  3. Don't try to fix and change Windows files or folders unless you're sure you know what you're doing. If in doubt make a backup before changing anything so you can replace them if necessary.
  4. Unless you really have to, try not to move your computer. Moving it will increase the chance of it being damaged. This is especially true of the computer's hard drive where if the computer is bumped or jarred in some way it may cause your hard drive to start physically failing.
  5. We currently recommend Microsoft Security Essentials for an anti-virus. It's free and will be suitable for most users. If you would like a little more protection and are willing to pay for a more robust computer protection software, Kaspersky, G-Data, and Bitdefender are all great choices.

 

I'm looking for a new computer, should I get a desktop or a laptop? What brand?

  1. You should get a desktop unless you really have the need to bring your computer with you places. There are several reasons for this. First, you get more for your money with a desktop as opposed to a laptop. Second, if there should be a hardware issue, desktops are easier and cheaper to have work done on. Thirdly, the hardware in a desktop will tend to last longer as they dissipate heat inside the computer more effectively. Lastly, desktops tend to be more sturdy and take accidental damage better than laptops.
  2. We recommend our custom built computers first and for most for many reasons. Our custom built computers all have hand selected, quality parts that you won't get with any store bought computers. We can tailor computers to your specific needs so you know it will be able to handle what you're going to be using it for. Another reason is that if something should go wrong with the computer you can deal with us one on one to have the issue resolved quickly and as pain free as possible. Starting out around $750 for our solid state drive computers, we can work with you to find out what you need. Give us a call or stop by for an exact quote!
  3. If our custom computers are a little outside your budget or if you would like a brand name computer instead, we recommend buying an ASUS or Lenovo for desktops and laptops. Give us a call or stop by and we can help select one that is suitable for your needs.

end faq

Be careful of what you download!

  1. This includes any links you click on in websites and e-mail. In addition to this, torrent downloads and pirated software can open your computer up to a vast amount of viruses and other infections that can damage your computer and operating system. Almost all computer infections are from internet activities.
  2. No anti-virus is perfect. Monitoring your activities will be the largest factor in keeping your computer clean.
  3. Remember that emails can be very tricky by making themselves look virtually identical to a real company's e-mail.
  4. If you're suspicious of an e-mail, there are a couple things to check:
    1. The senders e-mail address will look odd or be slightly different than the real company's e-mail. For example: Real Company: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Fake Company: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    2. They may ask you to click on a link to ask for your Username and Password. No legitimate company will ask this of you.
    3. This type of e-mail is called phishing. Microsoft has a good site for further information and examples of this here:
      http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-symptoms.aspx

 

Back-up your data regularly

  • If you have a small amount of data (i.e.30GB or less) you need to have backed up, buy yourself a USB drive and just copy the data over to it. They're inexpensive, very portable, and easy to use!
  • If you have a good amount of data (i.e. more than 30GB), you may want to consider buying an external hard drive in order to store your data.
  • If you have a good amount of data (i.e. more than 30GB) and/or you want your data constantly backed up then you'll want to consider a cloud based storage in which you pay a regular small fee to have a company back up your data on their servers for the greatest protection against failure. One we recommend is BackBlaze. For more information stop by or give us a call!

 

Shutdown your computer using Windows

  • Shutdown your computer by using the start menu in the lower left hand side of the screen unless it's absolutely necessary to press and hold in the power button on the computer itself.
  • Shutting down your computer using the physical power button can cause errors to occur in Windows and do more harm than good especially if done while Windows is trying to complete a task or if done frequently. Even if your computer seems like it's now running anything, Windows may be trying to download and install Windows Updates or your anti-virus may be performing a scan.

 

Only use one anti-virus

  • Using multiple anti-viruses and scanners can actually cause severe problems on your computer. Virus scanners can use a lot of system resources when scanning your computer and when you have multiple trying to do this, it can render your computer virtually unusable. In addition to this, anti-virus programs will detect each other since they are meant to detect programs that may be scanning through your files. When this happens, it can cause one or both programs to fail and cause your computer to crash in which case it may need to be repaired!

 

Keep updated

  • Run Windows Update once in a while to check for any important updates that may be available. Don't worry about the optional updates.
  • Open your anti-virus and make sure it is up-to-date as well. In addition, when there's a moment you don't need to use your computer for a little while, run a full system scan to make sure no computer infections.

 

Educate yourself!

  • Confused or want to learn more about a computer topic, search using www.google.com and read up on it. Not only will this increase your knowledge of computer related topics but it will help you use computers more effectively too! In addition, if you have the need to call us for help, understanding the topic of your problem may help you ask questions you wouldn't have thought of before.

 

end faq