2021 W 7th St, Texarkana, TX 75501

Welcome to the Best Place for Computer Repair in Texarkana


What to Do About Cracked Screens?

I've heard lots of stories as to  how people cracked their screens.  The most common one is dropping the  laptop and cracking its screen.  Let’s face it, young children do not  have a sense of how delicate your laptop’s screen is, thus I’ve heard  everything from knocking the laptop off of the table or playing with it  in an inappropriately forceful way.  Sometimes people put their laptops  on the floor and then step on them.  The most unique story was of a  gentleman who took his laptop apart to put in more RAM and then cracked  the screen by putting one of the longer screws in a hole that belonged  to a shorter screw.  The screw went right through the keyboard into the  screen and cracked it.  Whatever you did to crack your screen, just  remember it happens to the best.  The good news is we can put in a new  screen and it won’t cost a fortune.  Drop it off with a cracked screen  and pick it up with a brand new one!

Can You Speed Up My Computer?

As I’ve said in some of the  other articles, there are times that getting new hardware is not a waste  of money but a sound investment.  Then, there’s the rest of the time  where you won’t benefit that much from new hardware or you can’t afford  new hardware.  What do you do then?

Even  new computers can be bogged down fairly quickly.  The problem when this  happens is that you (the user) are asking increasingly aging hardware  to do increasingly new and laborious tasks. 

For  example, when you upgraded your version of Windows, that’s a whole set  of code that your hardware wasn’t expected to run before.  The same is  true of that new copy of Office or Photoshop.  Antivirus software,  though a necessity, also has this problem on a daily basis as the  manufacturer of the software adds viruses, spyware, and adware to the  list of virus definitions that the software has to protect your computer  from. New software increasingly slows computers down.

Thankfully,  new software is not nearly the only cause of slowdowns.  It is just the  most benign appearing because in exchange for the slowdown you get new  features.  So, what is a computer user who does not want to constantly  buy new hardware to do?

Despite  the fact that antivirus and anti-spyware programs can slow a computer  down, they do not slow it down nearly as much as the viruses and spyware  they are meant to protect your computer from.  Viruses are the #1 cause  of system slowdown.  I would estimate that 95% of the computers I have  worked on were infected, whether that was the reason the client called  me or not.  Most users are capable of administering antivirus software,  but most are not very good at getting rid of infections.  For this, you  need a qualified technician.

Many  of the programs that you install, especially “free” or “shareware”  software programs install other programs, add-ons, or web toolbars as  part of their installation process.  These usually can be opted out of,  but most people just hit the “NEXT” button and leave the boxes on each  screen checked, thereby allowing those programs to install.  Other  programs add themselves to the list of programs that start up every time  you turn on your vomputer.  So, while it may seem that you’ve booted up  and opened Microsoft Word only, in fact 10 small programs have started  up too.  If you’re not a power user, you probably need a technician to  fix this problem.

Windows  has a way of accumulating what can only be described as junk.  I once  heard a technician say that his job was to “decrapify” customers  computers.  As crude as it might be, most of our computers can use some  cleaning up.
Finally,  there are a host of other small things that only a qualified technician  knows to do.  A good technician will do what he can to speed up the  computer but tell the client if it is time for a hardware upgrade.

How Far Out Will You Travel for Housecalls?

Generally  speaking, we will make house calls anywhere within a 30-mile radius of  Texarkana, including Atlanta, Queen City, Linden, New Boston, and,  Hooks.For business customers, we are willing to travel further.  If you  live out of town, please call and we will see how we can accommodate  you.

Should I Repair or Replace My Broken Computer?

Unless you are a recent entrant  to the world of computers, this is probably a question you’ve asked yourself before.  After all, if your computer doesn’t work properly, you  may have a strong instinct to throw it out and go get another one but  keep wondering if it is worth fixing.  This article is intended to help  you decide which of these paths you should take to get a PC up and  running so you can go about your work or play.

You may be  thinking that since this is a computer repair technician writing this  article, I’m going to tell you that in almost every case, you should fix  your computer rather than get a new one.  Not so.  Just as there are a  host of reasons to fix your computer, there are plenty of reasons to buy  a new one instead. 

Although the costs of consumer computers are  nowhere near the costs of new cars, those of you who have had to decide  whether to fix an older automobile or buy a new one may find it helpful  to think about that process because it is similar.  I would advise you  to make two columns and write the reason to buy or fix in the  appropriate column. 

If you think it through this way, you will  find yourself coming to a reasoned and reasonable conclusion. Also  remember that if another person has your same PC model and the same  problem, what he or she decides does not make their decision good for  you.  Keep in mind that there is not a right or wrong answer, only the  best answer for you.  While this article and others can help your  decision process, the best answer for you is something only you can  decide.  Be wary of people who are certain that they know what you need.

Now let’s look at some reasons to repair your current computer:

Budget—although  the extra expense can be worth it, buying a new PC is  USUALLY more  expensive than fixing your current computer.  If you are on a tight  budget or are just a frugal person, fixing most problems may be best for  you.

Data—This second reason is related to the budget item.   Whichever route you decide to take, you can (usually) keep your  pictures, documents, music, emails, business files, and important  personal information.  It is easier, though, if you are keeping your  computer because if you get a new PC, you will have to pay someone to  transfer that information to a new PC.  Many of you can do this without  problem but not everyone can.  Also, if your PC won’t boot to Windows  and the data has to be extracted from the computer, most of you will  need someone to get the data off the hard disk, which means you will be  paying both for a new computer plus a service fee to a computer  technician. 

Applications—If you get a new computer, you will  also have to reinstall all of your applications.  Some can be  downloaded, like iTunes or Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Any that you paid for,  such as Microsoft Office, however, will likely be on CD/DVD.  They must  be installed from this media, along with the product key that came with  them.  My experience has been that both organized and unorganized  people have a tendency to lose application CDs, particularly if they  have had their computer for several years.  Before buying a new  computer, gather all your application installation CDs and make sure you  have a disc for all the applications you use.  You may be able to avoid  this process and have all your applications as they were if you get  your computer fixed.  However, it should be noted that if the proposed  fix to your current PC is to reinstall Windows, this issue is moot  because all of your applications will have to be installed on a new  Windows installation, just as on a new PC.

Upgrades—if your  computer is just a little slow or can’t do a certain thing, you can  usually upgrade the RAM or video card, or the aforementioned USB 3.0  card much more cheaply than you can buy a new PC.

“Right  Fit”—Buying something new is usually seen as “sexier” than keeping or  repairing something used.  So, if none of the reasons above grab you,  think of this.  If you were happy with your computer before it needed to  be fixed—happy with its speed, memory, accessories, capabilities and  performance, it is likely that that computer is the “Right Fit” for  you.  Why get another computer when you can probably spend less and get  to keep something that fits you?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the reasons to replace your broken computer rather than fix it:

Age—Although  there is no specific age at which retirement and replacement kicks in,  most people know it when they see it.  If your computer was slow even  when in tip top shape, that’s probably a clue you need to go to the  computer store.

Antiquated  Accessories—If your PC has a factory-installed floppy disk drive or has  a CD but no DVD drive, it is probably time to think about a new PC.   Many people want fast peripherals through a USB 3.0 port.  If you have a  desktop, you can easily get a card installed, so I wouldn’t consider  this alone a reason to trash the old PC, but if you’re keeping score, I  would mark it in the buy column.

Major Hardware Damage—If you spilled a Coke or such in the computer, ruining its motherboard, I would not invest in a repair.

The  Laugh Factor—although I have never laughed at my customers, I have, on  occasion, laughed at a machine that is brought in.  Why?  Because it is  so old, so full of dust and cigarette smoke, so slow, that it is almost a  joke that someone is actually paying me to fix this computer.  If this  is your computer, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about but if you  don’t already know, deep down, that you need a new computer then take  that message from this article.  If you decide not to fix it or you just  keep your computers for a long time, make sure they inside is cleaned  our regularly, whether you do it yourself or bring it in for a  cleaning.  That dust and smoke residue doesn’t just look bad, it can  overheat your computer and cause its death

These two questions of  whether to fix or whether to buy anew can be confusing.  I hope that  these questions and commentary have helped you make a solid decision.   If you decide that you want your computer fixed, call Tom at (903)  832-0311.

What's the Big Deal About Ransomware?

Generally defined, ransomware is a  virus or trojan that enters your computer without your knowledge and  then takes over your computer, claiming you cannot access your files  until you pay a fee (the ransom).  One example, discussed below is the  FBI Warning that tries to extort money from you;  it tells you that if  you pay the FBI will drop its investigation into your online activities,  usually named as child pornography.  That ransomeware can be removed by  a qualified computer repair service, such as Texarkana Computer Repair.

 The  more serious types of ransomware infiltrate your computer in the same  ways but when they block use of your computers, they also encrypt all  your files so that they cannot be used unless you pay those extorting  you—mind you, sometimes they decrypt your files after you pay, sometimes  your computer stays locked and you’re out the ransom that they got you  to pay.  In these cases, even qualified computer repair technicians,  like Texarkana Computer Repair, cannot get your data back.  That’s why  I’m writing this article—to warn you of this threat and tell you some  things you can do to prevent infection.

Some of you might be  thinking that even if this happened to you, there’s nothing of real  value on your computer because you’re not running a bank or even a  doctor’s office.  True, the those entities could be much harder hit if  their data was encrypted, but most home users have precious pictures,  important documents, and beloved music and videos, if nothing else.  If  you don’t mind taking a chance on losing them, Texarkana Computer Repair  will gladly reinstall Windows should you just want the computer back to  factory settings.

]For the rest of you, who do care and know  what an absolute nightmare a scenario like this might be, you’re  probably asking what you can do about this.  Depending on the level of  chaos this would cause you, you should probably consult a qualified  computer repair technician, like Texarkana Computer Repair. 

But, you can take most of these steps on your own:

You  need to backup.  The reason for backing up to forestall this threat is  the same reason you should be backing up anyway—to have a copy of your  data should something happen to the computer.  There are many ways of  backing up and picking the best for you probably is a good question for a  qualified computer technician, like Texarkana Computer Repair.  Should  you choose local backup, though, make sure the backup media is only  attached to the computer while it is backed up; the last thing you want  is a trojan propagating itself onto you backup media.

Be Careful  What Emails You Open:  If you’re getting emails from people and  companies you don’t know, be very careful about those emails.  Many of  them contain other kinds of threats and scams like telling you that you  need to pay $700 to rescue a man in Africa.  But really beware of the  attachments to emails.  If they’re .jpg, .gif, .pdf and several other  legitimate extensions, you’re probably fine.  DO NOT open .exe files or  .zip archives in an email.  Both of these are legitimate file types in  certain contexts, but not in emails.  Similarly, do not open links in  e-mails unless you know the sender.

Use antivirus software: You  need an antivirus software that runs in the background detecting threats  and automatically updates itself with the latest virus definitions.  If  you need some guidance as to a good antivirus utility, check with a  qualified computer repair technician, such as Texarkana Computer Repair.

Consider  anti-ransomware programs:  The paid version of Heimdal, Trendmicro  anti-ransomware, and the free Bit Defender Anti-Ransomware all offer  some protection.  But as with most marketing, their bark is bigger than  their bite.

Update Automatically:  You should set your  installation of Windows to automatically download and install updates  (usually it is set for 3 AM, though you can change the time).  To access  these settings go to Control Panel and Windows Update.  Should you have  difficulties with this, you should call a qualified computer repair  specialist, like Texarkana Computer Repair.

 Say NO to Torrents:   If you download music or movies from bittorent, utorrent, Vuze, the  Pirate Bay, let’s set aside for a moment the legality of any file you  might be downloading.  Many, many of these infections come in this way.   In fact, the bittorent client Transmission was recently hacked to give  it the distinction of being the first introduction of these files on a  widespread basis for the Macintosh.

 And those most important  program you can install on your computer?  You guessed it.  A backup  program.  Just make sure you’re not deleting and replacing your backup  every night.  Should you have questions or need help as to how to backup  safely and securely, call a qualified computer repair technician.

What's So Great About Texarkana (The Twin Cities)?

What’s so great about Texarkana?   It’s a hard thing to put into words.  Many people would say Texarkana is  great because it’s one city in two states.  Others would quibble with  that saying that because there are two Texarkana governments, it is two  cities.  I side with those who say that Texarkana is one city.

But  what makes it great?  I have lived in a few places outside of  Texarkana, all in Texas, except for Washington, D.C.  I have lived in  Atlanta, TX, Dallas, Austin and spent a month in San Antonio.  Though I  have often said that I wish Texarkana were a bigger city with more  attractions, Texarkana has a number of the benefits of a larger town  with the benefits of a smaller town.  Texarkana has lots of shopping and  all but the high-end chains.  Compared to just 10 years ago, the number  of restaurants and retail shops has skyrocketed. Yet, Texarkana traffic  during “rush hour” will not kill you.  In Texarkana, you do not have to  plan your driving around the hour when everyone gets off work.

It  must be the people of Texarkana.  It isn’t that Texarkana people are  the best in the country.  It is that since Texarkana is more of a small  town than a city, Texarkana offers people who are less vain than in some  larger cities.  One of the things I love about Texarkana is that it  isn’t like Dallas in terms of its people.  In Dallas, too many people  have their nose in the air; in Texarkana, most people are down to  earth.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually loved Dallas but when it comes to  the people Texarkana has a definite advantage.

Texarkana also is  home to some wonderful schools. St. James Day School is the finest  pre-kindergarten through middle school in Texarkana and, I would bet,  the best for a large radius around Texarkana.  St. James and Dee Miller,  who started the school's computer program and head it for many years,  kindled my passion for years.  At St. James, we were learning computers  starting with the TI-994A in 1982, a time when no other area schools,  and not that many small businesses, even had computers.  I attribute my  love of computers that led to me to lifelong computer learning and  opening  Texarkana Computer Repair to Mrs. Miller and St. James.

Pleasant  Grove High School was a wonderful place; Texarkana is lucky to have  it.  I graduated valedictorian there in 1993 and it was a fine  institution of learning, and, I trust still the best High School in  Texarkana.  Texarkana is also home to the Morris  Math & Engineering  Elementary school.  I have no doubt that the next crop of people doing  computer repair in Texarkana will have started at St. James or Morris.