So It’s Time For A New PC – 5 Things You Should Know Before Heading Out To Best Buy!
When you are looking for a new computer, one of the first questions you may ask yourself is, “Where can I get the best deal?” None of us want to pay more than we have to, but there are other things to consider besides price that you should think about before making your decision. If you shop at the local electronics Box atores for weekly specials, you can easily get a basic machine at a good price. This option would work best for you if you don’t have any special requirements for gaming, graphics, or special software requirements. If you buy over the Internet from a major manufacturer such as Dell or HP, you’ll get more choice and customization on the components, chip speed, RAM, hard drive size, and video components, but you’ll pay a slightly higher price. The biggest downside to buying online is that you’ll have a hard time getting technical support if something goes wrong. Not a week goes by where we don’t get a customer who wants to pay us to fix a warranty-covered machine simply because the manufacturer is making it next to impossible to get the problem taken care of and in some cases require the customer to actually open the computer and perform the repair themselves!. In many cases, these companies have help desk people located in countries outside of the US, which means you might have a hard time understanding them, or getting to a supervisor. Sometimes only a component (like the hard drive) will go bad. When this happens, you’ll have to ship the entire machine back to the manufacture and wait a couple of weeks for them to repair it and ship it back. Most of these companies will actually wipe whatever data you might have on your hard drive and you will lose all your data and configurations unless you have made a reliable backup. If you have special requirements, need help in selecting a machine, or if service before, during, and AFTER the sale is important, then you’ll want to explore other options such as buying from a local business like Onsite Techs.
Here Are 5 Big Reasons To Buy Your Next PC From Onsite Techs:
- You’ll get a senior technician or one of the owners who will take time to explain your options, answer your questions, and help you make a good buying decision based on what YOU need, not what they have to clear off a store shelf. If you buy from an electronics superstore, there’s a good chance you’ll end up talking to a teenager working on commission who doesn’t have any real technical expertise and is told to push certain units that week. If you buy online, you’ll get very little or no help in selecting the right combination of components and options, so this works best ONLY for those individuals who really know what they are buying.
- Superior technical support and service after the sale. If you’ve ever dealt with a manufacturer’s technical support in the past, you know how frustrating it can be. After waiting on hold for days, you’ll end up speaking with a “technician” who doesn’t have a clue. Most of the time they’re reading from a script and taking you through a series of system checks you could have done on your own (this happens every time)tg. Whenever you have a problem with a machine that you purchased from us, we’ll troubleshoot it for free. Plus, you won’t have to wait on hold when you call, which brings me to another point…
- If you need technical support on a computer that you bought from us, you won’t go through voice mail jail or be transferred to another country. You actually get to speak to a friendly, local technician. We’re always here to fix your computer when you need it.
- We always include services that most people don’t want to or don’t know how to do such as setting up your e-mail account, making sure you have internet access, setup your security and virus protection, set up your printer, AND transfer over all of your important files – pictures, music, document as well as other preferences and settings. When you buy from a superstore or online, it’s up to you to configure your new machine or you can buy an EXTRA add-on service for an outrageous price.
The bottom line is this: If you are shopping solely on price and aren’t too picky, then watch the weekend papers for sales at your local electronic superstore. They can offer a great price on a standard machine. Usually you can save anywhere from $100—$200 buying this way. For semi-customization at a decent price, check the Internet. There are hundreds of online resellers offering PCs at competitive prices. For the best service, and support BEFORE and AFTER the sale, consider getting a quote from us.
How Did My Computer Get Infected With A Virus Or Malware?
Your computer has the latest and greatest antivirus software installed and you’ve paid good money to keep it up to date. And yet, here you are with these ad popups or scary-looking fake “antivirus” warning screens or your Google searches are being hijacked. Now you’re asking yourself, “How did I get infected with malware when I have antivirus software installed?” The answer is, unfortunately, both complicated and technical. Let’s look at the reasons and break it down into bite-sized pieces:
- There’s an all-out war going between the good guys and the bad guys. The ongoing battle between those who want to attack and those who want to protect your computer is often described as an “arms race.” The bad guys find a new way around the antivirus software, so the antivirus guys make new updates to protect against that attack. Then the bad guys observe and dissect how the antivirus product operates so they can devise a new attack that the antivirus software isn’t looking for, and so on. The attackers always have the advantage in this situation.
- Being “connected” puts you at risk. You’ll hear computer techs insist that “the only truly secure computer is the one which has no network connection.” They’re not just hand-waving away the problem; this is a fully accurate statement. But since we all have work to do we choose to take the risk of being connected. Why is the computer so insecure, then? Think of it like a house: In order for the home to be a useful place to live, you have to be able to get people and things into and out of that house. Any door you can use can also be used by friends, neighbors, and theives under certain circumstances. You can take precautions like using good locks and installing alarms, but any thief who is determined & skilled enough can get at the things in your house regardless.
- It can be hard to decipher between good vs. malicious choices. An operating system’s job is, at the most basic level, to let you do things with your computer. Microsoft, Apple, and the others all have competing challenges: Offering you the power and control to perform any possible task, and protecting your computer from dangerous or mistaken choices. In the end, what you as the user choose to do is what the operating system is going to let you do. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to know which are the right choices when the bad guys are constructing their software to look just like legitimate programs and with real dialog windows to fool enough of the people enough of the time. (And if your IT guy tells you that he’s never fallen for a scammers’ tricks, you can be certain he’s either new or telling you a lie. Don’t feel bad: We all get taken at least once!)
- Your web browser is often a major culprit. Related to the problem of the operating system doing what you tell it to is the matter of your web browser. It has one job: Take the Internet and combine it into text and pictures etc., right on the screen for your enjoyment or employment. Given that the Internet is what everybody’s using, the bad guys focus on tricks that work in web browsers first and foremost. In the IT field we almost never hear about old-fashioned viruses any more. When it’s so much easier to infect via the World Wide Web, why bother with any other method? And with some browsers being tied very closely into the operating system itself, if the bad guys can fool the browser well enough then they can get completely around the antivirus product as well as the user.
- But browser plugins can make you even more vulnerable to attack. What’s worse, the browser itself is only as safe as the plugins installed. Flash, Java, and Adobe Reader are the new focus for attackers as they weren’t designed originally with security in mind. When they were created the Internet was a much less dangerous place and features were included that seemed to offer users some great things, but instead have turned out to be far more useful to the malware writers instead.
So, given all of these factors, what do you do?
- Keep calm and carry on. First of all, don’t panic, inhale and then exhale, breathe. The antivirus folks and the browser makers and the software developers and the operating system vendors all want to protect you, and they’re still in that arms race. Little by little, things are getting better.
- Keep everything up to date. Second, make sure you update your browsers and plugins, and keep your systems patched. It seems like a nuisance to have to keep doing all these updates, but that’s far better than finding yourself without a working computer because something nasty got in and took over. Java, Adobe Reader and Flash are the biggest problems right now so especially keep those updated as best you can.
- Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Third, try to be aware of what your computer is prompting you for and why. Did that dialog asking permission for something appear because you initiated an action, or did it happen out of nowhere? If you meant for something to happen that’s one thing, but otherwise be very cautious and double check.
- Be wary of “free” offers. Last and absolutely not least, always remember the cost of things. One of the easiest ways to infect someone’s computer is to offer them something for free, then sneak in a nasty program as part of the product. Anything that’s “free” on the Internet is coming with some kind of cost, be it demographic data or advertising dollars or the chance to take over your computer in exchange for some trinket. Google offers email for free because they can gather data about you and use that to target advertising at you more accurately. The bad guys offer games and illicit software, services, movies, music etc. in exchange for adding junk to your computer. Shop smart, know what you are installing and what you are agreeing to and you’ll be much safer.
The bottom line is this: Nothing can protect you completely except for turning off the computer and unplugging all its cords. Since that defeats the purpose and limits the ability of your comouter, instead you should stay aware, keep things up to date, and play it smart. You’ll be fine most of the time if you do. As always, we are here to help – just call us to schedule an appointment and one of our friendly, knowledgeable techs can clean things up or you can look at our FAQ page for our recommendations on which security products you can use to protect yourself.
Buy New or Fix My Computer? How to know when it is, isn’t, and worth repairing a PC.
Boy, it feels like just yesterday you were breaking that new laptop out of the box. But it’s been four years and now you can’t turn it on without strange windows popping up on you. And why does it shut down without warning lately? To buy or repair? That’s the question when it comes to computers. You could use us to fix it – as a matter of fact most people do. But when are you better off simply buying a shiny, bug-free new one? It’s a question we all battle with from time to time — whether it’s the dishwasher, the fridge or a computer! When the moment to decide arrives, consider the following factors before you fix or fork over money for something new:
- Cost: By far, the price of repair plays the starring role in this drama. How much would you spend repairing the item versus replacing it with a new version?
- Is it a hardware issue? If a major component has failed, many times the cost of the part alone is more than the value of the computer. Some manufacturers are better than others in terms of pricing and availability of parts, but ALL of them are in the business of selling PC’s not parts so keep that in mind when we tell you that a part costs $200!
- Age. If the computer is more than 3 or 4 years old, and the repair is going to be a few hundred dollars, the question becomes, do you want to put a ban-aid on, risk spending that money and then have something else go wrong again? Think of it like an older car – at some point you have to “bite the bullet” and buy something new rather than have the old one nickel and dime you to death.
We also like the 50-percent rule: If the repair will cost you more than half of the price to replace it, don’t repair. Most issues that we see ARE WORTH REPAIRING such as virus and malware infections and if that is the case give us a call and we are happy to setup an appointment. If you think that you may want to replace, take a look at our FAQ that helps you decide what and where to buy that shiny new PC!
Under most circumstances, Onsite Techs can give you a choice between resolving a problem remotely, via the internet, and sending a technician to your location. The optimal method will often depend on the nature of the service request, problem urgency, customer configuration and the level of involvement the user would like to have. Practical experience with customers has shown that on site visits are far more effective than attempting to correct a problem over the internet under the following conditions:
- There is no internet connectivity
- Speed of the system is extremely slow due to a virus or similar problem causing resolution times to be longer and thus more costly to the customer
- A hardware problem is suspected or new equipment is being added
- The customer wants to minimize their involvement in the overall support process after making the initial request for assistance
Conversely, remote support over the internet can be effective for the following common issues:
- Virus/Spyware Removal
- Preventive Maintenance
- Microsoft Office Issues
- Driver Issues/Updates
- Registry Issues
- Blue Screen Errors
- PC Optimization/Tune-Ups
- Random Website Redirection
- Software Issues
- Data Backup & Recovery
- Email Problems/Email Setup
- Unwanted Pop Ups
- Recover Deleted Files
- Sharing Solutions
Very simple process…
- Call us to discuss your computer problems.
- Click “Remote Support” from our Remote Support link above and download our remote software for us to connect to you. Once you have downloaded it and created an access code, please call us and provide that to us. We will connect to you and begin the process of diagnosing and resolving your problems.
- Finally, we will fix your problems while you watch or you can and you can disconnect us from your computer at any time. It’s always safe and secure and we will NEVER charge you if we are unable to repair your computer
There are a few companies out there advertising their ability to run a single piece of software and your computer will be sparkling new again. They try to scare you into thinking you’re going to lose your data if you don’t check your system with their software. This claim is a little strange, because there are large name brand antivirus corporations, and you probably have one of those name brand antivirus programs installed on your machine right now. If the virus gets past your name brand antivirus program, there’s not much chance a late-night TV ad has in getting rid of it. PC cleaning apps are digital snake oil. The web is full of ads for applications that want to “clean your PC” and “make it feel like new.” Don’t pull out your credit card — these apps are terrible and you don’t need them. If you do want to “clean your PC,” you can do it for free. Windows includes built-in PC cleaning tools that can do almost all of what the average PC cleaning app will do for you. “MyCleanPC” offers a “free diagnosis,” which is little more than an attempt to scare people into thinking their computers have thousands of “issues” that can be fixed for an easy $39.99 payment. After running a scan, you’ll see an alarming count of the number of problems on your computer. It found 26267 issues on our computer. That’s an extremely alarming number — but what exactly is an issue?
- Every browser cookie and history entry counts as a single issue.
- Every temporary file counts as a single issue, no matter how tiny it is.
- Invalid registry entries are considered issues, although they shouldn’t actually slow down your computer.
- Every fragmented file counts as a single issue. MyCleanPC is measuring fragmentation based on the number of fragmented files, leading to a scary-looking 21.33% data fragmentation statistic.
Now that they’ve scared you, this is the part where you would take out your credit card and give them $39.99 to clean your PC.
Don’t Believe the Hype
Temporary files are not slowing down your computer, and neither are browser history entries or cookies. Registry entries are generally not a problem — there’s a reason Microsoft once created a registry cleaner of their own before discontinuing it and advising people not to use registry cleaners. In addition, there are plenty of “broker” style computer repair companies. You call them, they collect the payment up front, and they either have someone remotely connect to your computer or they schedule someone to come to your house. Unfortunately, these brokers aren’t technicians and all they are doing is hiring local companies or technicians in your area to handle the problem. Many times these brokers find the lowest bidding technician who might not even be qualified for the job. If there is ever a problem in the future, you will have a tough time finding someone to listen to your concerns. With us, you know you have an actual business to talk to about all your computer repair questions, or anything tech related.