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Got a Bad Case of Password Exhaustion?

by Lou Horton on June 24, 2019

You’re not alone! Most people use the same password everywhere – home, work, Gmail, Facebook… even for banking. Considering how many passwords we’re expected to remember and use on a daily basis, password exhaustion is a very real thing. It’s no wonder that when yet another prompt for a password appears, users enter easily guessed combinations like ‘abcd’ or ‘password’.

Trouble is, even if your password is making the required effort, hackers are taking a daily stroll around the internet and collecting logins and passwords as they go, from either leaked details or sites with security flaws.

Then, they’ll try their luck with that login/password set elsewhere. They know more than half the internet users in the world have only one password and email combination, so the chance of gaining access to your accounts is actually quite high. Even the big names in tech are at risk of password breaches:

360 million MySpace emails and passwords leaked. 117 million LinkedIn account details leaked.

Same password used elsewhere? Cue the domino effect! One site breach follows another and another until hackers have nothing more to gain. The only way to break this chain reaction is to use a different password for each site.

How to Create Easily Remembered Passwords

Have a system or template for creating your own unique passwords, that you’ll be able to remember, but is not obvious to hackers. For example: <character> <word> <something about the site> <numbers> <character> Becomes !K1ttyFB75!

It might seem complicated, but the above is really just based around the words ‘kitty’ and ‘FB’ for Facebook. Change the FB to something else for other sites.

What to Do If Your Password Has Been Hacked

You can check to see if any of your accounts have been compromised by entering your email into a site like haveibeenpwned.com If it alerts a breach, you need to change your passwords immediately – all of them. Use the example system above to create a new set. If you’re struggling to remember your set of passwords, consider using a secure password tracker such as LastPass.

If you need help changing your passwords or setting up a secure password system, let us know at https://computer-repair-now.com and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

duplicate passwords

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Why is my new laptop so slow?

by Lou Horton on May 30, 2019

Your old computer is beginning to slow down, so you head out and purchase a shiny new laptop. As it is brand new you think that everything will be faster and easier. Only, from the first day, the new laptop is lagging and you wonder why it is running so slow?

If your laptop is slow on the first startup, this may be due to system updates. For instance, a Windows 10 automatic update to bolster the security of the computer. You can’t do much about these updates, but wait a day or so and see if the laptop is still running slow one of the following may be the culprit:

1) Not enough computing power.

In many cases (and especially with cheaper laptops), the machine doesn’t have enough memory or RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM helps your computer do more at once.

RAM is like the computer’s short-term memory, while the hard drive is the long-term memory. When your computer is on, information for the operating system, currently running applications and data are kept in RAM, for quicker processing.

Just as the human brain can’t hold everything in short-term memory, RAM can get overloaded too. When this happens on your laptop, the computer needs to go to the hard drive which slows things down.

The CPU is the brains of the laptop so if you don’t get the correct model CPU, this may be holding you back. The correct choice of CPU for you will be largely dependent on how you will be using the laptop.  If you are going to be doing graphic editing or games you will definitely want to start with a faster CPU.

Resolution: You might see 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or more of RAM available. How much you need is going to depend on what you plan on doing with the computer. For a laptop with Windows 10, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM, but 16GB is more comfortable for a better experience.

Not all laptops will let you access the RAM easily, so look for at least 8G of RAM when purchasing a new computer. If you have already purchased a laptop, a memory upgrade can overcome this issue.

2) Mechanical hard drive.

With a less expensive computer, manufacturers skimp on the components. While it is now slowly becoming less common, some laptops come with a mechanical hard drive. This is like a CD player with a spinning disk, since something is moving to find data, the laptop runs slower than it would with a Solid State Drive (SSD). SSD drives are much faster that an old mechanical or platter drive as they no moving parts.

Resolution: In many cases, a mechanical hard drive can be upgraded to a SSD. However, some super slim laptops have limited upgradability.  If you want to replace your hard drive with an SSD or purchase a new computer with one, we don't recommend anything smaller than 256 GB.

3) Bloatware or Crapware

Retailers like to tout all the bells and whistles that come with their laptops and when you turn on your laptop for the first time, you may notice that there is already a lot of third party software preloaded. Much of this software you will probably never use and it may be only trial versions. There could be toolbars you don’t need, games you will never play or stock widgets that you couldn’t care less about. These are just some examples of bloatware or crapware that slow down your computer.

The reason that bloatware is installed on your new computer is because these third party applications are a revenue source for the manufacturer. Microsoft, for instance, sells a line of computers that come without any pre-installed third-party software. Computerworld reported those PCs “start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster and have 28 minutes more battery life.”

Resolution: When you get a new laptop, check out the pre-installed software before you add your own. Determine what the existing software will do and uninstall anything that you do not want.

Improved speed is a main reason to invest in a new laptop. Don’t let a lagging laptop disrupt your productivity. We can help with a slow running laptop.

Instead of wasting your valuable time waiting on a slow computer, contact us at 630-444-7220 or at https://computer-repair-now.com

Slow New Laptop

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We get systems in all the time with power cords that are partially broken or have been taped up with electrical tape.  While this might make the cord work again temporarily, you run a great risk of severely damaging your system.  Lets dive into the different issues with laptop chargers and where to find proper replacements before you damage your computer:

If your laptop cord is coming separated close to the tip, has any damage to the cord insulation or has a tip that leans to one side or the other you really should replace the charger immediately. All of these conditions can cause electrical failures which can start a fire or cause harm to your laptop.  When the AC adapter cord has intermittent shorts, it can cause an overvoltage situation that will permanently damage the motherboard.

A new original manufacturer AC adapter usually only costs $25-35 while a motherboard replacement is going to run in excess of $200 for most systems.  If you need to hold or "wiggle" the cord in order to make it work, you almost certainly have a problem with the AC adapter or the DC power jack.  If it is a jack problem, give us a call.  We can replace the DC jack for you.

Put away the electrical tape and buy a new original AC adapter. You don't want to try and use a universal charger (especially if you have a Dell) because they are not an exact match for your system.  When it comes to the wide variety of laptop chargers, one size does NOT fit all.  Some good third party sources for AC Adapters are Amazon and eBay.  Just make sure that you are ordering an OEM AC Adapter and not just a generic compatible one.  They cost a few dollars more but are always worth it as your laptop will cost a lot more to repair if it gets damaged.

If you have any issues with your laptop chargers or DC power jacks, please feel free to visit us at: https://computer-repair-now.com or call (630) 444-7220

Bad Laptop Charger Cord

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Windows 7 End of Life

May 7, 2019

We have many home customers and even more business customers that are still running Windows 7 on at least some of their systems.  Even though Windows 7 is over 10 years old, it is solid operating system that gets the job done.  For many there has just not been a compelling reason to switch, however, that […]

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How To Take Care of Your External Hard Drives

April 29, 2019

External hard drives play a variety of roles and are the goto device for a lot of backups. As such it pays to take good care of these easily breakable devices and this blog article provides some great hints and tips. 1. Do not bang or knock the drive. Depending on the type of drive […]

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Travel with Your Tech: What You Need to Know

April 17, 2019

Taking a business trip can be stressful at the best of times.  Whether you’re off for an overnight conference, a week’s partnership or a longer project, you essentially pick up your entire business and take it on the road. Besides showing up in the appropriate clothing (which you absolutely packed, right?), keeping your tech up […]

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Time for a password refresh

March 1, 2019

We often tend to be creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to technology and passwords are a prime example. Many people use the same password for multiple websites and applications because we don’t have a photographic memory. Most users though aren’t aware that this is one of the most significant security dangers they can […]

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How to extend the life of your laptop battery

February 11, 2019

For the last several years most laptops have been built using Lithium-Ion batteries. While these batteries are lighter and have a greater life than their predecessors, the way that you use the battery can greatly impact the useful life. These modern batteries do not have “memory” like some older batteries but there are several things […]

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Laptop still works after liquid spill! … for now.

February 7, 2019

Sooner or later most frequent computer users have some sort of accident which involves a little bit of liquid splashing on their laptop computer.  While drying the computer off, placing it in a bin of rice etc. may allow the computer to still run.  This is not a permanent fix.  Any sort of moisture left […]

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Five New Year’s Resolutions for Your Computer

January 17, 2019

Running the Best Security Software Most computers today run at least some form of basic antivirus. In the modern day however, threats have evolved to be more sophisticated, more damaging, and much more common. Ransomware, malware, phishing, and zero-day attacks all work to attack unpatched systems without strong security. Today, to keep up with increasing […]

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