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!
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.
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.
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.
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? 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.