Yes, I’m Open!

We're an essential business

YES, I’M OPEN! Computer repair and IT services are essential services. Who knew?! I’m honored! 

I wanted to let you know that I am here for you if you have any computer issues or questions. 

A reminder: I am always happy to answer questions over the phone or email at no charge. If the answer is longer than normal, or generally more than 15 minutes, we can schedule a time that would be at a reasonable fee.

Computer Repairs & Help: Since I am considered an essential business, I can still receive your computer to provide services. I have also had a lot of success with Remote Troubleshooting! The cost is the same.

Before sharing techie thoughts…

The last 2 weeks has shown moments of joy as my family is spending exclusive time together. It’s also been times of great challenges for the same reason. I’m sure some of you share in the same sediment, especially if you have kids!

My wife and I are underway, navigating the homeschooling waters for our 6-year-old. I still don’t know how her teacher ever occupies 5 hours of her and 24 of her friends’ time without slipping at least some Kaluha in her coffee.

Our second cherub is now 8 months and teething. So he’s cute and loud. I’m told all babies are loud but don’t remember this with our first one. 

Both kids came down with the flu just as this health crisis began. They recovered fine as kids do. But I’m immunodeficient, so hearing that I’ve been kissing my cherubs that have the flu made my heart sink—wondering when I’d be carted away to the step-down ICU. But I made it! We made it. No flu for my wife or me. I’m now a believer that the flu shot does actually work.

So we continue to do our part. I’m really not supposed to be in grocery stores and public places at all with my partial immune system. So my wife has taken the big brunt of the shopping responsibilities and we both tag-team the kids. 

Now I just need to incorporate “Computer Repair” into our 1st grade homeschool curriculum! I’ll keep you posted.

Do You Have a Backup Plan?

Have a plan and save today!

Where are you keeping those precious photos? 

Most likely you are like most people, they are in “the cloud” somewhere, thanks to Apple.  Then there’s those computer files that you may not be able to do without.  They are hosted in One Drive or Dropbox, right?

So here are your options for backing up your files and then I’d like to recommend what I think is the best option!

OPTION 1: Backup your photos and files in the cloud.  This is a pretty simple solution these days, and it’s cheap!  Have your files automatically sync to One Drive (Microsoft), Google Drive, Dropbox (owned independently), iCloud (Apple).  They are all pretty much the same, other than the amount of data they let you store for free and how many computers you can have logged into your account.  Dropbox, for instance, only lets 3 computers sync the same files and probably allows the least amount of data for free.

If you have an iPhone, you probably know that your files are automatically being loaded to iCloud as a backup.  But once you take up 5GB of pictures and videos, they will charge you. 

Apple iCloud
50GB: $0.99
200GB: $2.99
2TB: $9.99

OPTION 2:  Backup your files on a local computer, external hard drive or flash drive.  You can buy an external device that plugs into your computer and have things backup to it.  There is a little learning curve to setup some of the devices, but they are fairly cheap and will keep your backups in your possession.  

Storing things at home has its benefits I suppose.  There is always a chance of a data breach or a server loosing your data in cloud storage.  Some people are also concerned with data security, which this would take care of.  But honestly, I think the chances of my drive failing (which they eventually do!) or my house catching fire (less-likely…but) is probably more likely than my data being stolen or lost in a data center.  You can weigh these risks.

OPTION 3: A bit of both and my recommendation.  Using a cloud service for files and then using a local drive to backup your photos.  Since photos take up so much space, I don’t think we want to pay for this in the long run.  You can periodically download your iCloud photos (once a year, maybe) to a local external hard drive and then keep a second copy on a USB flash drive.

Here’s the thought on this.  Spinning hard drives are cheaper but will fail!  Usually in 5-7 years.  Flash memory (USB flash drives) will also eventually fail, but not as fast as a mechanical spinning drive, and are more expensive per GB. You should always have your files backed up in 2 or more places.  So having 2 copies, one on flash and one on mechanical, is the best bang for your buck!

There are lots of drives out there.  Western Digital, SanDisk and Synology are good names. Seagate also has some good products too.

What inspired this article today was the deep discount on one particular product that is an external hard drive but is also wireless and can be accessed outside your home.  In essence, it’s your own cloud storage device.  You can backup your files wirelessly from several laptops or desktops, iPhones, etc. and be able to access these files while you are out and about!

No, I don’t get commission for selling these. I just think it’s a good product.  But today only you can save $80 on them!

It’s Western Digital’s 6TB My Cloud Home Personal Cloud Storage

Backup Solution: External Hard Drive by Western Digital

6TB Western Digital Mechanical Backup Drive. $219 currently on Amazon.

An Upgrade Caution for Mac Users: October Update

In addition to 235 apps that will not run with MacOS Catalina, there are many other issues users have found problematic with the newest release of Mac OS on Oct 7th.  Among them: Initial installation issues, 32-bit applications will no longer work, Bluetooth connectivity, password issues, issues with iCloud and Apple ID needing to be reset.

The consensus is: if you don’t have to upgrade, then don’t.  Stay with Mojave (or your current Mac OS) until these bugs have shaken out.

See the latest update from Forbes.com

Windows & Spam Updates

Support for Windows  7 End-of-Life, Windows 10 Upgrades a Hassle, and New Spamming Tactic

Windows 7 End-of-Life

You probably heard that on January 14, 2020 Windows 7 will no longer be updated. The still-popular version of Windows with the best user-friendly interface of its time will sadly be replaced by a newer, more sleek design: Windows 10.

It’s not all bad news, though!

When Microsoft announced (or didn’t really announce) that you would be upgraded to windows 8.0 in 2012, some were outraged.  It took the desktop, as we knew it, away.  We saw the writing on the walls—everything was going to touch/mobile. It didn’t help that it was forced upon some of us, nearly overnight, either. I remember the pop-ups almost every week telling me to upgrade and that it had already downloaded onto my computer. Wait, what!?  It was already downloaded?  Yup, it was automatically downloaded and taking up about 1 GB of space (somewhere) on my laptop.

Well some things have changed since version 8.0 and, subsequently, v8.1 (which is when they gave our desktop back to us). Windows 10 has become much closer in functionality to Windows 7, using icons again, as well as a start menu.

If you are still scared to upgrade, let me give you a little hope that not all is lost.  Microsoft has heard you and is making Windows 10 a better platform than it’s ever been.  You can access your programs with desktop and task-bar shortcuts, or even type the program name in the search bar and it will find it almost instantly.  The search bar also has many new “smart” features, such as finding a setting, Windows feature, or even a personal file.  It comes with a built-in virus scan (Defender) that also searches for Malware, Spyware and Ransomware.

It’s not too late to upgrade for FREE.  Although Microsoft is actually advertising that you should buy a new system, they haven’t even removed the ability to upgrade your system at no cost.  Many of our customers have asked if they need to buy a new system.  The answer is likely NO.

Please let us know if you have questions or to discuss your options when January 14th hits!  We’d like the opportunity to help you make a decision about your situation.  Don’t wait, though.  If you plan to upgrade, consider doing this soon.

 

Windows 10 Upgrades a Hassle

Just when I thought we had these Windows Updates streamlined and user-friendly, Microsoft screws it up again!

First, did you know you may not be upgraded to the latest version of Windows 10?  That’s right.  They don’t roll the updates out all at once.  Several customers have had issues with their system running slow and, come to find out, not being upgraded is part of the issue.  To see if you have the latest  version (1903), type “About This PC” in the search bar and scroll down to the version.

Image from Wikipedia, retrieved 9-11-19

To download the latest updates, type “Windows Updates” in your Windows 10 search bar.  You may find a couple of updates that haven’t been installed.  But if you notice an error message that the updates can’t be performed, it may be due to the latest announcement that a program from Intel needs to be updated first.  Wait until next week and try this process again.

You may not want to know the details because they are creating a fix that will probably be out this week.  But if you are really interested, you can go here to read about it.  It also explains how to fix this, which I have also created a short-link to at http://rst.mcs.bz from where you can download and run the needed upgrade.

 

New Spamming Tactic via Google Calendar

Last week Google finally admitted that a SPAM issue was actually a security flaw.  Users of Google Calendar have seen events that they don’t plan on attending pop up in their calendar!  Included in this has been alerts to “go to pickup your free iPhone” on a particular day, among other bogus calendar events.

There’s a feature tied to Gmail that will automatically import calendar events into your Google Calendar.  Great feature!  But not if the event is from a SPAM email.  So the crooks have been sending spam with a calendar event and the event will populate in your calendar but get pushed to spam in your email.

If this is happening to you, here’s how to fix it.

  1. Disable automatic event invitations in Google Calendar.  Go to Google Calendar in your web browser, click the gear icon in the top-right, and click Settings. In the left-hand menu, click Event settings. From there, you’ll be scrolled down to a set of drop-down boxes, one of which is labeled Automatically add invitations.

Spring Cleanup to Speed-up!

6 Things To Do To Clean and Speed-up Your Computer

With Springtime comes cleaning dust and dirt!  It’s about cleaning off from the weeks of being shut in.  Ever wonder where to clean up your computer?  Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way, prepared for summer!

Do you go months (or years) without ever cleaning or upgrading your computer?  I sometimes do too.  A quick story.  
 
Last month my wife and I painted walls in our living room that we vowed to do after moving in. 9 years ago!  So when we got around to painting, we realized how we should have done this sooner.  It transformed our room!  Why did we put off such a good thing!?

Your PC is the same way. When you clean it up and do the upgrades, performance and speed will follow!  But before you just think this means deleting old files, keep reading.

Here are 6 ways that you can cleanup this Spring:

  1. Make sure your virus scan is running and up-to-date.  As I’ve said before, it’s not as important which scanner you use, but that it’s kept up-to-date and being used.  Run a “full scan” and then open the settings and make sure it’s scheduled to run on its own.  Also, go to the settings of your computer, make sure your Firewall is ON too.  Sidenote, however: Avast is rated in the top for FREE virus scanners.  (No, I don’t get paid to promote them.) The downside to a free service is that it may not run a malware scanner automatically.  Which brings us to point 2.
  2. Run a FREE Malware scanner, such as Malwarebytes. Malware is not considered a virus, but it can act as if it is.  These files picked up by the internet and emails can just bog your computer down.  Some paid virus scanners will also have a malware scanner with it (the perk of a paid program).
  3. In your web browsers, delete all unknown and unused Add-Ons and Accelerators.  In Chrome (and others), you’ll find these under settings.  Add-ons provide different functions for your web browsing experience. But they slow you down.  So if you don’t use them (or recognize them), delete them.  If you don’t recognize them, they may be particularly burdensome since they are working on something you may not be aware of (spying, for example).
  4. Check for programs you may have accidentally downloaded and delete them.  Type “Remove Programs” in the search bar and clean “Add or Remove Programs.”  Sort the programs by install date to see which were installed last.  If you see a program you don’t recognize, make sure it isn’t a Windows program (I sometimes Google the program name to see).  Games that get downloaded for free are notorious for slowing down your work.  Shoot me an email and I can also let you know if they are needed.
  5. Make sure Windows Updates are on and have been installed.  Type “Windows Updates” in the search bar (Win 8, 10) and check for Windows Updates.  Select any optional ones and, yes, install those too.  It will take time to download and then install.  Restart your system to apply the updates.  While you are updating, go ahead and allow that Javascript to update, too.
  6. Clean out the dust!  Dust can make your system run hotter than necessary.  Laptops are harder to clean due to space constraints, but a desktop has some simple screws to remove and usually captures the most dust anyways.  You can blow compressed air (or vacuum out) all the dust bunnies.  This will keep things running cooler and faster!

As always, if you need more help with your cleanup, please give My Computer Solutionz a call and we’ll help,  There’s no charge for a simple call or emailing your questions. We still give free quotes and recommendations.  We’re reasonable people and here to help.  Happy spring clean-up!

 

Check Out Our Annual Recycle Event!

Do you have old computers or parts that need recycling? 

April 12-22

We come and pickup your stuff, for free!

Click here for a pickup