Computer Service

Computers do not like heat

This is something most of you are probably aware of, but once in a while we get a call to repair a dead computer which resides either in a garage or other very hot room. The usual cause is a dead power supply or worse a dead motherboard most likely brought about by extreme heat exposure. Here in Southern California in the summers temperatures can easily go up to 110 degrees or more in a garage and other rooms without air conditioning. This is a very hostile environment for computers.

Please try to keep your computers cool, they will appreciate it and will last a lot longer.


To wire or not…. that is a good question

We often get asked whether to install “hard-wired” network cabling or setup a wireless network. The short answer in my opinion is hard-wired is always better. Please keep in mind that I am an old technician from the pre-dinosaur computer era, wireless networking has come a long way in recent years; in the early days wireless was slow and prone to interference which led to random disconnections and many headaches such as data corruption.

Fast forward a few years, wireless today is very reliable and fairly fast. If your network is small, let’s say less than 5 computers, in a small area with not too many walls in between the router and the computers, wireless is a very viable inexpensive option. However if hard-wiring the office space is feasible, I would always go with the hard-wired option; other than New York mice that like to eat network cabling instead of good cheese (I am serious) your network will be more reliable.

Regardless of which option you go with, you should have a wireless component in your network, laptops and other devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc. will benefit from having access to the Internet through your wireless router.

Good day.





The 3 most important things to know in IT

The 3 most important things to know in IT are backups, backups and backups; alright, alright, among other things.

I have a question for you, are you ready with a good backup WHEN the hard drive fails in your computer? Notice I did not write IF, hard drives are mechanical devices that constantly spin at high speed, they will fail, it may take a long time, or a short time, there is no way to tell when.

John is a very busy accountant, I am forever telling him to make sure all his work is backed up, but knowing John for a long time, I know that he does not always follow my advice.  John called me this morning and with a somber sounding voice told me he lost some files and that his most recent backup was over a week old, he feared he had lost a few hours of work.

The story had a happy ending, I was able to recover the files for John, but he could have been not so lucky.

So people, please, make sure your important information is backed up regularly; backing up your data nowadays has become very easy and inexpensive. I would rather come to your office to do more meaningful work than to try to recover lost work.

Good day.





How Aida got her groove (from 0-60 in less than about 1 hour)

How Aida got her groove.

Aida called our office yesterday, she sounded very distraught, not her usual self. The problem is that Aida’s computer was running very slow and it was getting progressively worse.

After asking her a few questions I figured out that there was a strong possibility that her computer was infected with “malware” and she had been remiss in taking out “the trash” and other junk as I had taught her the last time I was in her office. I assured her we could help.

Malware is a general term for malicious software including viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers and spyware. In a nutshell really nasty little programs that can disrupt your computer and network, they want your keystrokes, logins, passwords, address book, data, credit card information, favorite t-shirt and possibly your cat. Don’t worry about figuring out what this stuff is; I just threw it in there to scare you a little bit.

I updated her computer’s malware removal software, ran a scan which found quite a bit of junk lurking in her computer, removed all the junk my running Disk Cleanup* and optimized her files by running Disk Defragmenter**.

By the time I got done Aida was smiling again. The moral of the story is that computers like cars need some regular maintenance and TLC. Do yourself a favor and make sure you purchase and install software to protect your computer against viruses and malware. In addition make sure you remove the junk that accumulates during normal use of your computer by using Disk Cleanup and once every couple of months run Disk Defragmenter to automatically rearrange the files in your hard drive for optimum performance.

If all this stuff sounds foreign and you want to put your time to better use, let us take care of your computer so that you can take care of your business.

* Disk Cleanup can be found in most Windows computer under All Programs\Accessories\System Tools\Disk Cleanup. You can safely select every item on the list. During normal usage the computer creates temporary files that get automatically deleted, but some remain and can slow down your computer if left to accumulate.

** Disk Defragmenter can be found in most Windows computer under All Programs\Accessories\System Tools\Disk Defragmenter.  During normal computer usage files get fragmented and scattered around your hard drive surface which slows down your computer; Disk Defragmenter rearranges your files so that all the segments belonging to a file are located next to each other thus making the process of loading the file more efficient.

Check your password – is it strong?

This is a neat page from Microsoft that helps you check the strength of your passwords.

I often run into computer users that use very weak passwords, for example, the name of their children, spouse, etc. Those are the first things someone trying to break into your computer is going to try.

My favorite password would be one that has a combination of upper and lower case characters with a number thrown in, for example StronPassword1

Check the strength of your password here:

What is a strong password?