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Five New Year’s Resolutions for Your Computer

by Lou Horton on 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 threats, you need a complete internet security package. A layered system means more than just virus scanning. A comprehensive security package includes prevention, detection, firewall and system monitoring at a minimum. These layers work together to provide security many times stronger than a stand-alone system.

Reliable, up-to-date, security keeps you safe online. It’s a resolution you simply can’t afford to skip.  We recommend Avast Internet Security

Back Up Your Files

Most people have important documents, pictures and music on their computer that they never want to lose.  There are many manual ways to back up your system but this is often only performed occasionally by most computer users.  The best solution is a cloud based automatic back up system.  For a low annual fee all of your important files will be automatically backed up to a secure data center in the cloud.  If you change a document, it will be backed up.  If you create a new document, it will be backed up.  Never again will you have to worry about losing your files.

The online backup solution that we recommend is called Carbonite.  It is very easy to get running.  For more information or to purchase Carbonite backup, please visit our partner page.

Clean Up Files

Cleaning up unnecessary files is the number one way to gain additional storage space on a typical device. It’s cost-effective without any extra hardware purchases too.

Almost all computers have files hanging around from old software, data or applications they no longer need. Just like tidying the spare room or de-cluttering the kitchen, clearing files off your desktop and organizing your emails will leave your computer feeling refreshed and new again.

Restart Your Computer

Fully shutting down a computer and rebooting can take time. When you are watching the clock, waiting to start a task or get work done, it can feel like an eternity. Most of us enjoy simply opening the lid or powering on the screen to have everything ready to run.

At times, a computer may not be fully restarted in weeks or even months. Our poor habits can cause issues with running software and the operating system too. Hardware updates, security patches, and critical updates often wait for a reboot before they install. Waiting too long can leave security flaws open and the system vulnerable to attack.

Merely performing a reboot every once in a while can secure your system and help get rid of software problems. Often updates prevent new issues from cropping up too.

Keep Your Computer Away from Dust

Dust, hair, and household debris are one of the major causes of premature death for computers. Fans, used to cool components, suck in house dust as well as the air they need. This dust often clogs up the inside of the device and overheats internal components.

If possible, keep a tower PC off the carpet, don’t run your laptop sitting on the floor, blanket, or soft furnishings. Cleaning out your device is as good a resolution as any, and there’s never a better time than now.

For a little help sticking to your digital new year resolutions and starting off on the right foot, give us a call today at 630-444-7220.

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What’s Best for Your Computer: Shut Down or Sleep?

by Lou Horton on January 7, 2019

Most homes are trying to reduce power costs by turning off lights and appliances, but do the same rules apply to computers? After all, it requires more than flicking a switch on your way out the door. Some people believe you should shut down after every use to save wear and tear, others believe you should never shut down your computer – ever. Others simply want to make sure the pages and apps they left open are still there waiting for them. So, who’s right and what are they really doing?

Back when computers were clunky behemoths that took a long time to start, you’d go nuts at the person who shut it down when it was your turn. If you have an older computer, maybe you still do.  Modern computers actually have two options for their downtime: Shut down or sleep.

When it shuts down, the system goes through and closes any open programs (often prompting you to save first), then gradually cuts power to all components. It’s a methodical process that seems quite fast to us but is actually made of 100+ intentionally ordered steps. If there’s a sudden blackout or you hold the power button until it turns off, it means the steps aren’t followed and damage is possible. The second option is to put your computer to sleep. This can be triggered by an automated timeout or a user click. Your system uses a special type of memory called RAM to hold all your running programs exactly as you left them but use minimal power. The hard drive stops spinning, the graphics card lets the screen go black, and even the system fan slows to become almost silent. When you wake it by moving the mouse or pressing a key, it ‘wakes’ again almost instantly.

Reasons to Shut Down

A switched off computer isn’t drawing power which is a tick for the environment. But shutting down is about more than saving power. It can sometimes give improved stability over a machine that’s been running for days/weeks. This is because every time you shut down, you give your computer a chance to clear out all temporary junk files it’s been carrying in memory. It also triggers various health checks on startup that may otherwise be missed, important routines like checking for updates or scanning for viruses. It’s certainly more convenient to spend an extra minute booting up than lose everything to a cyber-attack. For older computers or those under heavy strain like gaming or video editing, shutting down also provides a necessary chance for the components to cool down.

Reasons to Sleep

Speed is the big selling point here. You can literally sit down and start working where you left off without the delays of bootup, finding your program, opening your saved files, scrolling down… it’s all right there and ready. You can even tell it how long to wait before putting itself into sleep mode, just in case you get called away and forget. Windows updates still run in the background, so that’s okay, but it’s important to note that your computer might get stuck waiting for a reboot that never comes.  Those pending updates may stack up, ineffective until it either forces a reboot or becomes unstable enough that you give in to a restart.

The best method is….

Since the whole point of having a computer is that it’s ready to work when you are, we recommend shutting down at night when it’s definitely not in use but using sleep mode during the day. Updates will get all the rebooting they need, memory is refreshed for the new day, and you’ll get the best of both worlds – speed and stability.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your systems, please contact us at 630-444-7220 or https://computer-repair-now.com

 

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How to Stay Safe from Scams and Malware on Facebook

by Lou Horton on November 30, 2018

How to Stay Safe from Scams and Malware on Facebook

At last count, Facebook has grown to over 2.2 billion users, which makes the platform more attractive than ever for scammers and hackers. While you may be logging in to share your latest family photos or catch up with friends, the chances of accidentally triggering a scam or malware are increasing daily. Here’s how to stay safe on Facebook and stop the spread.

Look out for freebies and surveys

Everybody loves a freebie and for the most part the competition posts on Facebook are legitimate. On the flip side though, when you see a giveaway for vouchers from a mega-store, alarm bells should ring. ‘Do this quick survey and we’ll send you a $50 Amazon Voucher!’ – it’s too good to be true. Even one click can take you on a messy journey through the underbelly of the web, picking up trackers and malware at every stop and at the end, you’re asked to share the post so your friends can get a voucher too…except nobody ever gets the reward.

Check your permissions with games and quizzes

Whenever you access a new game or quiz, you’ll need to give permissions for it to access your Facebook profile. Most people click the okay button without any thought, but if you review the permissions you’re giving, you’ll often find they’re asking for a massive amount of personal data; public profile, friend list, email address, birthday and newsfeed. Do they really need ALL this information? Sometimes the shakedown is from necessity, but sometimes the apps are preparing to launch attacks against you both on and off Facebook. For example, when you call your bank they ask certain questions like your full name, birthday and maybe which high school you went to. All that information is in your Facebook profile and now shared with your permission.

Don’t friend people you don’t know

Having lots of friends is always nice, but that friend accept could end up costing you. It might be someone pretending to know you, or a picture of a pretty girl to entice men (and vice versa). Once you friend them, they get access to everything your friends can see. In this case, it’s more than the risk of someone knowing your personal data, you’ve just given them intimate access to your life. It’s exactly how romance scams start, and there are even cases where the victim finds photos of their children circulating the internet.

If it’s weird, forget it

It doesn’t happen very often, but hackers find ways to take advantage of flaws in Facebook. A common hack that keeps popping up in various forms is to embed malware in a link. The virus then infects your machine and contacts all your friends with an enticing message, like asking whether a picture is of them. When they click to view the picture, the virus catches them and their friend list, and so on. Facebook is pretty good at staying on top of these flaws, but they need time to fix it. Just like if you got a weird email with an attachment from a friend, use that same level of scrutiny in your Facebook and don’t open messages or links that seem out of place.

Please feel free to contact us for all your computer repair needs (hardware and software) at Computer-Repair-Now.Com or call us at 630-444-7220.

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 21, 2018

The opportunity to serve customers like you gives us joy and thankfulness every day of the year. We would like to wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday and the time to truly enjoy it with your friends and family.  Computer-Repair-Now.Com   

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How to deal with spooky email messages

October 25, 2018

It is almost Halloween and most of us have grown accustomed to gruesome home decorations or being scared at your local haunted house.  How would you feel though if you received an email message containing your password threatening to contact all of your business and personal contacts through social media with your “dirty secrets”?  Spam and […]

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We still do computer hardware repair

July 3, 2018

In today’s disposable society it is becoming increasingly difficult to find local companies which still perform “on premise” component level hardware repair of desktops, laptops and all in one computers.  If you take your system into one of the “geeks” at a big box store they won’t be able to fix it there.  They always […]

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How to Make Your Photos Last A Lifetime (and Beyond)

August 11, 2017

Digital cameras are great, and thanks to smartphones, we have one with us almost all the time. We’re taking more photos than ever before, and building a lifetime of digital data. But despite the enormous value of these photos and videos, most people don’t have a backup. It’s time to shine a light on this […]

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Everything you need to know about Facebook privacy

July 31, 2017

    In this issue, we talk about how to lock down your privacy settings on Facebook. Finding the balance between Facebook privacy and Facebook fun can be challenging. It’s a double-edged sword that allows us to connect with friends no matter where they live, but it also publicly shares information that just a few […]

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ALERT: Your Anti-Virus May be Letting You Down

July 14, 2017

The best way to avoid a computer virus is by using common sense, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from attack. Even the most careful user can find themselves infected in an instant and spreading the virus faster than a sneeze in flu season. It’s why antivirus software is still the first package we […]

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Windows Vista End-Of-Life: What this means for you

July 13, 2017

The clock has run out for Windows Vista users. On April 11th 2017, Microsoft ceased all support and security patching, just like they did with previous Windows versions.  Naturally, you’re rather attached to your current operating system and not exactly leaping for joy at this news! Unfortunately, the longer your computer goes without an upgrade, […]

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