Frequently Asked Questions or HELP! Answers

Question: Help! I received a call that I have a virus on my computer or was shown a popup with a number to call that I can’t get rid of!

Answer: This is a scam. Please hang up. I can’t stress this enough.

They will change numbers and business names but with a quick google search of the number and you will often times see others posting about it. A lot of times they will refer to themselves as Microsoft or affiliated with them. Just hang up on them and do not let them remote into your computer. This is a scare social engineering tactic and they target elderly people. Most of the times the accents will be foreign. Nobody knows if you have a virus on your computer and certainly Microsoft will not call anyone informing them. If you have had them remote in, please cancel the transaction with your credit card company right away. They will be well aware of the scam. It is uncertain what other information was taken or remote software was left behind as they had full access to your computer if allowed remote access. Until that point, it is usually from a compromised website and they do not have enough access or information to hack you though they would rather scam money out of you usually for a year and $300-$400. This is the price of a new computer so please don’t allow them the time of day.

The next level of this would be ransomware virus. This will encrypt your data and demand payment or they delete everything. This is a good reason to backup often, as often as you change or add valuable files or data to your pc or device. If everything is backed up a clean install will be necessary and files restored. You will hear about this virus in the news usually targeting major corporations or even hospitals.

Question: Help! My friends and family all have Apple products and they seem to not have as many problems, do I need one too?
Answer: Apple products are nice but their price points are well known to be higher.

Laptops usually are around $1200 with a 13″ screen. Larger screens can be hundreds more. Macs will run the OS X Operating System and can often times be a learning curve. I work on macs often and have owned a few in the past and have seen some last 2 months or 10 years. That will always be the case with computer hardware so always backup to an external drive. It will use some of the same parts and processors as PCs use. I recommend going to a computer store such as Frye’s or Best Buy to play around with the various models to see if it’s a right choice. Apples stores, youtube and libraries have free classes or resources.

Keep in mind everything that you want to connect to with it and the common software you want to install. There are ways to install windows software on macs. They can be easier and they are not targeted as often for viruses but they are not immune to security breaches. I would say if PCs are working well for you and you do not really use it for too much it might be best to stick with. Some people enjoy the iPads for light browsing, email, portable movie/music player, apps.

Personally, I like whatever gets the job done best. It might be linux, apple or it might be a windows OS. For me it is hard to justify higher priced tools unless I will make use of it. 1 large screen iMac can often be 1 tower and 2 medium range laptops in terms of price. Competition can be good and most of the tech world wants to see apple go in the right direction as far as producing a quality product while providing the support and fixes required without just putting out something new and funneling everyone to upgrade after 2 years. Price will not always mean something will last a long time. So please do some good research based on your needs before making a decision. If are an enthusiast I would recommend getting windows, linux and OS X to learn! All have their strong and weak points so don’t give in to peer pressure too much for what’s new and shiny! : )

Question: Help! My internet is down! What do I do?
Answer: One of the easiest fixes is to shutdown your modem and router (often times these are in a single device) by either a power button or unplugging the power. Be careful NOT to reset it with the tiny button that requires a pen or paperclip. Give it a few minutes and turn it back on. This will take a few minutes for it to reload but always try this first. Some ISPs allow for it to cycle on and off via the TV remote support screen if you share services through the same company such as AT&T uverse or Comcast.

After all the lights are back on and most of the time solid green or flashing green you should be good to go. Make sure you have a wireless or network cable signal in the bottom right of the computer near the time. You can often right click on the network icon and it will bring a submenu down that says troubleshoot connection where it will renew some things on the computer side. Take note if it has a little yellow triangle or red X in that area.

If you are still experiencing issues, check if any device in the house is having the problem or it is narrowed down to a specific computer or device.

If you have had some bad weather in the area, or sometimes even when its nice out, there at times can be outages in the area due to accidents or simply they are working on the lines. Call your ISP (internet service provider) and they should be able to answer pretty quickly if they are experiencing problems in your area.

If after all that and still no success, feel free to call to setup a time.

Question: Help! Why is my computer so slow?
Answer: The first thing you want to do is rule out if it is your computer or the internet or both. If other programs are opening and operating at normal speed such as word, but your browser is slow at loading yahoo.com… it may be just the internet being slow. You can go to a speed test website if it is able to get there or for a quick fix you can always cycle the modem and router on and off as stated above. Some normal speeds, for the average user and video playback, would be 7mbps – 15mbps download. You will need to know the plan you are paying for as some base plans only give 3mbps. You may just need to get an upgraded plan if it is a consistent issue waiting for pages to load.

Malware is another big factor. You can do some quick scans of this with applications such as Malwarebytes. At times, households with kids often see a lot of malware due to game sites will have some popups containing deceptive language no matter if you hit yes or no. Malware also can get through from seemingly harmless free programs. A lot of times ones that are claiming to speed up your computer.

Over time, computers can get corrupted system files or just bogged down with a lot of startup items and temporary files. Quantity of files on the computer is not often a cause of slow performance but rather what services and programs are running simultaneously in the background. A fresh install of windows can sometimes be a quicker method than dealing with a nasty virus to resolve your problem. This would involve a backup and transfer but for computers in bad shape this is often the best solution unless you fall under the next category.

Age of a computer can also be a factor. Computers usually are made to work for 3-5 years, though they may push well beyond those boundaries. As time goes on, operating systems and software update and require more hardware resources to be used. You can upgrade your RAM but a lot of times if the computer is beyond 4-5 years old, it may be time to replace it. This is always the last resort.

Always backup your computer with an external drive. Copy and paste your most important data or use windows backup program. Some 3rd party backup software exist as well but this is always a vital practice as hard drives have been known to crash without warning. Sometimes data can be recovered easily or you have a small widow to backup the drive before it physically starts to fail.