This month, we talk about 5 Common Computer Myths Debunked. Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.
#1 A slow-running computer has a virus
A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:
You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time.
The computer has gone into power save mode every night, but you haven’t rebooted the computer in a long time.
There are many programs running in the background. On a Windows PC, you can go into task manager and see what is running and the computer resources in use.
A security utility is running. If it’s an antivirus scanner, let the scan finish first, then see if your computer speed improves.
Temporary files or other junk are taking up too much hard drive space. Your computer needs at least 200–500MB of free space on the hard drive to be able to move and manage files.
Your computer doesn’t have enough RAM to run programs within memory. If your computer has to swap information on the hard drive to get enough memory to run programs, it’s going to work slower.
The computer is old. You may need to upgrade to a computer that can handle current software needs without slowing to a snail’s pace.
#2 Macs don’t get viruses
Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. If only. Macs do get viruses; they are simply targeted less than PCs. Why? There are many more computers running Windows, which means a bigger, easier target for cyber-criminals.
As Apple’s market share rises, the threat to Macs is growing. Apple works to protect its users from malware, but you still need to use caution with downloads and when clicking on links from unknown sources.
#3 My Windows registry needs cleaning up
Registry cleaning companies will say that scanning your Windows registry can speed up the computer and avoid error messages. The cleaner finds unused registry keys and any malware remnants for removal.
But let’s consider the fact that Microsoft has not released its own registry cleaner. Why not? Because it’s really not necessary. Worse still, going in to clean your registry (when you don’t know what you’re doing) can actually do serious damage.
#4 My laptop battery needs to be dead before I recharge if I want it to last longer
This was once true. Nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from what was called a “memory effect.” If discharged and recharged to the same point several times, they would remember that point in the future and not go further.
Now, however, laptops typically come with lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries. They don’t suffer from this memory effect. In fact, they function better with partial discharge instead of letting the battery run down to zero.
#5 I don’t have anything hackers would want
Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, not only sprawling enterprises. Let’s put it this way:
Do you have any money?
Do you have an identity cyber-criminals could use to access money or sell for money?
Do you work anywhere?
Hackers have all kinds of ways to profit from your data or from hijacking your computer’s processing power. They can turn your computer into part of a bot network or use your information as a bridge into a business target’s system.
Many of us have one solution to try when something goes wrong with our computers: turn it off and back on again. When that doesn’t work, we panic: “How am I supposed to do anything?” People often turn to a friend or family member for help in the moment. But computer repair is better left to experts.
Calling tech support (if that’s an option) can be time-consuming and frustrating. So, people turn to the nearest teenager or that cousin with all the latest technological gadgets. Think of it this way, though: Driving a car doesn’t mean you can fix one. Having a lot of cars doesn’t show the owner knows what to do when one of those vehicles breaks down.
Consider the investment you’ve made in your computer. Now, ask yourself: when was the last time I backed up? Please, say recently! If not, think about the value of the content you might lose if the computer is not handled with care.
When a computer expert sets out to investigate the problem, they do so with utmost caution. Before doing anything, they’ll know to make a clone of your hard drive. Then, in identifying and solving the problem, they know what is safe to try. They also know what actions to avoid.
The Price of Amateur Fixes
Your family/friend tech support might turn to the internet for help. Sure, Google and YouTube will provide some answers, but context matters. Will your oh-so-helpful friend know which answers are relevant to your situation? Trying different things can be dangerous if the approach isn’t suited to the problem.
Ask any computer repair expert. They’ll have stories to tell about computers “fixed” by amateurs who made the problem worse. They may even have lost data along the way.
Just as you wouldn’t turn to the Web to diagnose cancer, don’t trust just anyone with the health of your computer. Computer repair may look simple, but expert decision-making determines the best solution.
As with most jobs, computer experts draw upon specialized training and hands-on experience. They’re also up on the latest threats, technologies, and solutions. This helps them to diagnose the problem more quickly. They can go in and fix the problem right away, because they’ve seen it before read about the problem. Or perhaps they have colleagues who have done something like this before, or they’ve researched the technology to identify different options. Can your Aunt Sue or friend Frank say the same thing?
Think also of your typical answer when someone asks you for help. You’re human. You want to help, even if you don’t actually know that much about the problem. So, when you ask a family member, they’re likely to say, “sure.” Even when they should be saying, “I don’t know how to fix that.”
When friends admit the repair is beyond them, you’ve already wasted time letting them take a crack at it. Worse, they may actually break your computer or lose important files. You have to go to the experts now for that new part or in the hope of retrieving the data. Meanwhile, you’re not feeling so friendly towards the person who created the new problem, are you? They may also feel annoyed that you didn’t pay them for their services.
Don’t jeopardize your relationships, and avoid doing more damage to your computer. Bypass the friend/family tech support solution and turn to the professionals first.
Fixing a computer isn’t always simple. Get expert help to preserve as much data as you can, and avoid expensive replacements as long as possible.
Have computer problems? We can help. We do computer repairs for a living! And our experts are friendly, too.
Maintain your computer without lifting a finger with Twin Cities PC Repair’s Residential Managed Services! For a device that’s supposed to make life easier, computers sure do involve a lot of work! There’s so much to keep track of that it’s no wonder most people push ahead and forget the routine maintenance until something breaks. Of course, the problem with being reactive is the damage is already done. Photos and files get lost forever in a crash, and information gets stolen in a hack…by then it’s far too late. It’s a bit like closing the gate after the horses have already fled. This is where proactive people come out on top. Thousands upon thousands of homes around the world are using managed services to put computer problems firmly behind them. It’s a done-for-you maintenance program we offer, and here’s why it’s the best choice.
You’re always up to date. It seems like every second day there’s some new and urgent update waiting to be installed. Whether they’re patching security flaws or adding new features, they seem endless. Sometimes, it goes beyond inconvenient, it gets overwhelming! Even if they do install automatically, they tend to do it at the worst possible moment, leaving you to wait up to 30 minutes when all you wanted to do was quickly check your email. Using our special managed services software, we can make sure your computer’s updates are all finished and done – before you sit down to use it. As part of our service, we also make sure all updates are compatible not just with your hardware, but also with your other software. After all, updates are supposed to make your experience more secure and more enjoyable! Let Twin Cities PC Repair maintain your computer’s Windows and third-party updates & patches.
You’ve got super anti-virus. The best anti-virus is the one that’s up-to-date and running, yet you’d be surprised how many people switch it off or never let it update. While you might be in the habit of scanning files and browsing safely, others in your home might not have the same priorities. Having managed services ensures your anti-virus is always running and dealing with any viruses it finds. As soon as a new virus becomes known, we make sure your system is actively protected against it. We also monitor for cyber-attacks and can alert you before they become a problem. Twin Cities PC Repair utilizes an award-winning lightweight Antivirus software named Emsisoft to maintain your computer safely and securely without hogging system resources.
Your hardware stays healthy. While a reactive person is always suddenly stuck without a computer when hardware fails, proactive people with managed services have already had the problem fixed. Our special software monitors the health of your hardware, eg, your hard drive, looking for early warning signs of failure. If detected, we can let you know in advance. This means you’re able to get it repaired at your convenience, making sure no files are lost and no other hardware is damaged in a domino failure. Let Twin Cities PC Repair keep tabs on and maintain your hardware to ensure a clean bill of health!
You never miss a backup. The worst part of a crash or hack isn’t the financial cost, it’s losing your files forever. Many people have their entire collection of photos stored on their computer, plus important family files, most of which can never be replaced or recreated. Whether it’s a report just created, a recipe handed down for generations or a novel you’ve been working on for longer than you’d care to admit, managed services ensures your backup is working correctly. Backed up files are ready to go when you are, and losing files to corruption, failure or theft is a thing of the past. We’ll maintain your backup sets and make sure they are in safe keeping!
Support is a click or phone call away. Just got a new printer and it won’t play nice? Got a weird error popping up? Your laptop won’t talk to the WiFi? Our remote support team can help with whatever technology issue has been bugging you and wasting your time. No nonsense advice is just a click or phone call away, and our team can remotely connect to diagnose and fix many problems. This means you can likely skip the cord shuffle and carting your computer into the shop, and still get your most pressing computer issues fixed. If you sign up for our Residential Managed Services, you will have a convenient communication app right on your desktop which communicates directly to your technician.
You’re always optimized. Whether your computer is acting up or not, our monitoring service can keep in touch with your event logs, services and processes and look out for anything that needs correction. This means we’re effectively stopping problems before they get to you, making sure that when you sit down to use your computer, it’s doing exactly what you want.
Have you started to notice your computer’s niggles, flaws, and problems growing more severe and more frequent over recent months? These issues can irritate you daily, stop you from doing critical tasks, and even put your data in danger. It may be time to book in your computer for a brief service check or repair to get back on track.
When booking your PC in for a service, you can help your technician get straight to the root of the problem. A few simple notes is all it takes. Many people drop off their computers with, at best, a brief and vague description of the problem they experience.
Technicians have a wide range of tools and years of experience to bring an ageing machine back to health. Even with tools and help, without a clear description of the problem, troubleshooting is far more time consuming and expensive. The best doctors in the world couldn’t diagnose a medical condition without a clear explanation of the symptoms.
With just a few simple steps, you can save time and money while ensuring you get your computer back with every problem fixed.
Take Note of the Problem Every Time It Happens
Some computer problems only crop up every now and again. A machine might freeze suddenly, or shut down unexpectedly. Intermittent issues can be frustrating and seemingly impossible to solve, but these occurrences may not be entirely random.
When these events happen, you can help to resolve your issues by jotting down what you were doing and the programs running at the time they happen. Information about what you clicked on last, or settings you recently changed can reveal unexpected links to the computer’s behavior.
Detailed notes help technicians to reproduce the problem and see the crash or error for themselves. This can lead to faster fixes, more lasting solutions, and less time spend diagnosing problems in the dark. Simple notes scribbled down on a piece of paper or smartphone app can save you a surprising amount of money.
Keep an Eye on the Environment as Well as the Computer
It’s not just things within the computer we need to note down. External factors can play a significant role in how machines operate. Hot and humid days have been known to limit cooling on devices already suffering from heat issues.
Even changing the time of day can raise different computer related issues. There have been occasions where users have reported problems connecting to the internet around lunchtime every day. A seemingly strange coincidence with no apparent cause, until technicians dig a little deeper.
Wi-Fi, which relies on radio waves to send and receive data, uses a frequency of 2.4ghz to communicate with devices. By coincidence, the same frequency is used in concentrated form inside of a microwave to heat food and beverages.
Microwaves, particularly when poorly positioned, or faulty, can cause Wi-Fi issues that disrupt communications every time they are used. Problems that come and go, seemingly randomly, have such a strange link to the computer’s environment that they can be very difficult to diagnose.
Take the Right Hardware at the Right Time
Bringing your computer in for repair, whatever the issue, is as simple as picking up the box itself. We don’t need the peripherals such as the mouse, screen, or keyboard unless those are the things causing the issue. Bringing in a laptop is as simple as carrying it to us, along with the charger.
If you have concerns about how to safely transport your computer, give us a call first and we can advise you what to bring and how best to pack it.
When deciding when to come in, sooner is always better than later. Computer issues often get worse over time. Vents gather more and more dust, fans run slower and slower. Heat issues in particular drastically lower the lifespan of a machine as time goes on.
A machine that gets less and less stable over time puts your programs and your critical data at risk. Updates applied over a shaky foundation can cause any number of software issues. With data, there’s often zero warning before it’s gone.
Children today have grown up surrounded by technology their entire lives. Since before they are old enough to read they can pick up a tablet or smartphone and swipe at apps and games with ease. Modern kids have an intuitive understanding and ability with technology that older generations can barely imagine. The abundance of technology, however, comes with a price. Easy access to any marketplace can be a double-edged sword. The convenience and ease of use is a boost to those of us needing a quick app, but accidental purchases can cause a lot of headaches. One-click online shopping was once one of the biggest dangers our bank account faced. Now, many of us carry multiple devices, each with their own marketplace and app stores.
With modern tech, mobile applications, whether on iOS or Android devices, are easier than ever to buy and download. So simple in fact, that a child could do it.
Designed to Appeal – Children love to download mobile applications that feature their favorite characters, cartoons and TV shows. Advertisements are aimed specifically for children in ways that will invite them to click a link and instantly download a game.
These games are typically free, meaning they don’t require authentication by default before downloading. A new game can be downloaded, installed, and ready to run seconds from clicking an ad.
Developers commonly use, what is known in the business as, a ‘freemium’ model. This means that the game is free to download and start, but inserts paid ‘upgrades’ designed to make the player part with cash.
Freemium Games – Upgrades to games may unlock more levels, purchase an in-game currency, or outfit a character with special attributes. Competitive online games commonly employ a strategy that gives paying players an unfair advantage over ones who don’t pay. This is often referred to as ‘pay-to-win’ and entices players to spend more to get on the same level.
Many mobile-based games are designed purely to encourage in-app purchasing. Some deliberately design a deceptive or tricky user-interface that makes it easy to miss-click or make purchases by accident.
There are regular stories in the news featuring kids spending thousands on in-app purchases for virtual characters. In some cases, children can use real-world money to buy items thinking they are spending in-game currency.
Apps to Help – Of course, it’s unfair to give all applications a lousy name. Many deserve it, but not all apps are guilty of behaving badly. There are fitness apps, productivity apps, and educational apps that can act as useful tools to help enhance your day. Children can get a lot from high-quality applications in the same way educational software for the computer can be a huge classroom boost.
Getting the most out of your phone or tablet is about keeping your device safe against applications designed merely to take your money.
Secure Your Device – The best step you can take to prevent running up enormous app bills is to disable in-app purchases on your devices. This prevents apps from being able to take funds for digital items. The process to do this is simple, takes less than 2 minutes, and can save you huge amounts.
On iOS: Enter the settings screen, tap on ‘General’. Then tap on ‘Restrictions’ and tap the ‘Enable restrictions’ option. Make sure to turn “In-App Purchases” off.
On Android: Inside the Google Play App: press the phone menu button and go to Settings. Scroll down to “User Controls”, tap on the “Set or Change Pin” option and set a pin that only you will know. In the “User Controls” menu check the option to “Use Pin for purchases”. Newer phones may label this pin as a password instead.
Safe Apps – With these options enabled, whether using an iOS or Android device, your phone or tablet is safe from app purchases in any hands.
Should You Repair, Upgrade, or Replace Your Computer? Like many valuable things we buy, new computers suffer from wear and tear over time. Our computers are particularly vulnerable as we have placed more and more demands on them every year. New machines have gotten faster, quieter, more reliable, and more capable over time. At the same time our own computers have begun to slow and sometimes even stop performing altogether.
There are many ways to address the problem of a PC which isn’t quite performing up to the task anymore. Whether frustratingly slow or no longer working; we are happy to take a look. When you bring your computer to us we will diagnose the condition and find a solution that works for you. Often times the simplest solution works best. A complex problem sometimes only needs a simple repair to get your home computer up and running like new again. Whether a small replacement part, loose wire, or bad connection; we will find and fix the problem to give your familiar, home machine a new lease of life.
Many computers come to us running slowly, taking a long time to start up, or freezing when trying to load files and programs. Often owners have reached breaking point and become convinced the machine is fit for only the scrap heap. In many cases, the problem can be pinpointed to a bottleneck in the system. A single, seemingly trivial, part can be holding up the entire system. Amazingly, upgrading just that one component can make the whole machine run like new again.
Adding memory can provide extra space for programs to run faster. Adding an updated, faster hard drive can allow files to be retrieved without delay. In both cases, a low-cost single component can provide a cost-effective solution that makes an old machine like new again.
In some cases, computers succumb to more major faults. A critical part, difficult to replace, may stop working altogether. A failure of the motherboard for example, the backbone that all other components connect to can be expensive, if not impossible, to fix. Typically, with the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of computing, a motherboard will only house computer parts that were manufactured around a similar time.
A motherboard is almost certain to be incompatible with components built just a couple of years before or after its own design for example. Occasionally even a motherboard failure can be resolved too. In these cases we strive, whenever possible, to find a replacement board of the same generation that will work alongside existing components. The result is a cost-effective solution that keeps cost down by saving replacement parts.
In cases where a like-for-like replacement motherboard is not available, many parts of the computer may have to be replaced at the same time. Often replacement costs in these cases can get close to, or even exceed the cost of buying a new machine.
We would always give advice where it makes sense financially and practically to consider replacing an old machine. Often, in this respect, a home PC can be considered a little like a car. Sometimes a simple, non-expensive, easy to replace component such as the window wiper can fail. While a crucial part to be used for driving; it would be silly to suggest replacing the vehicle once it has worn out.
A window wiper may be low-cost and simple to replace, but if the engine were to wear down or break the solution may not be quite as simple. Attempting to make a 30-year-old car as fast, safe, and reliable as a brand new model generally doesn’t make any financial or practical sense. Sometimes the best course of action to save money and avoid breakdowns is a more up to date vehicle.
In computing, many of the same rules hold true. The best solution in each case is always tailored personally to fit you and your own computer.
Bring your machine in to us or give us a call us at (651) 456-8655 to discuss your computer issues or visit our Contact page HERE. We’ll keep you informed about your machine and advise on the best course of action to get you up and running as quickly as possible.
When your computer is acting up or driving you crazy, the absolute last thing you want to do is lug it down to the local repair shop. So many cables. So many connections. And why is it suddenly so heavy? It’s stressful just thinking about it! Fortunately, tech support has come a long way in recent years and you now have another option: remote access support.
Just like it sounds, one of our experts will connect to your computer through the internet and fix the problem. You can even watch the entire process on the screen or step away and we’ll call you when the problem is fixed. As long as the computer starts and has a working internet connection, you can simply put your feet up and watch the show! Remote support isn’t just a new technology that lets you stay in your PJs for longer, it’s a better way to approach a huge range of issues, with some pretty great benefits.
High fix rate: While it does sound impossibly futuristic, around 90% of problems can be solved this way, quickly and efficiently. We’re sure you’ve been on the frustrating end of a call-center style support session at least once and can guarantee – remote support is nothing like that. Our technicians don’t ask you to click a hundred buttons and read the screen back, they simply identify the issue and fix it for you there and then.
Location independent: For some people, the best part of remote support is that it doesn’t matter where YOU are either. You could be away on holiday with your laptop, at home with the kids, or under 6 foot of snow in a record-breaking blizzard, and our remote techs can still fix your computer. Fortunately, your computer loves staying where it is. They’re actually more likely to have issues when they’re moved around a lot, so this is the perfect solution. There’s no need to pack anything up, drive across town to drop off and then back again for pickup a week later. Our technicians know you have better things to do, and will remote support you in any way they can.
Complete privacy: Remember how you can watch the technicians move things around the screen? There’s no better way to know your privacy is protected than to see exactly what’s happening. Unless they’ve identified them as the issue, our experts won’t go anywhere near your private files and photos. You don’t even need to move them to a folder marked ‘private’, our technicians are laser-focused on getting you going again and that’s all.
You’re in control: Our technicians can’t access your system unless you allow us to. In fact, we need you to download a special piece of software before our technicians can do anything. Then we call via phone to arrange a time for us to access the computer. If you don’t want to watch and just want it done, perhaps while you’re at work, we can do that too. We’re here to get your computer issues solved, on your terms.
Next time your computer is misbehaving, or you need help setting up a new device or program, let us know. We’ll be able to jump in and get your system moving again without you leaving the house. Our remote support technicians can save you a lot of time and money, not to mention frustration. It’s never been easier to get expert help for your computer issues.
Visit our remote support portal HERE to request a remote support session!
Give us a call today at (651) 456-8655 to get started, or visit our Contact page.