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

Buying a new computer?

Choosing the right Gigs, Rams and Specs (updated Dec, 2019)

Are you ready for a new computer?  Here’s my latest recommendation on what to look for.  Find what you like the feel of and then shop for the best price!  Below are some more recommendations.

First, consider what you’ll use the computer for and make sure those functions work well.  For a laptop, considerations should be made about weight, size and quality of screen, battery life, feel of keyboard, and overall feeling of durability.  We never expect to drop our laptop, but we typically do so over the course of its use.  We also spill milk and soda and coffee!  Who knew that not all motherboards have a plastic covering to protect it from spills??!

Apple vs. PC?  This is personal preference.  I am an Apple fan.  I own a Mac and iPhone.  I also own 3 PCs.  But Macs are about $500-$600 more in cost ($1200+). Unless you have a specific reason you are wanting a Mac (which I could give you several), the best bang-for-your-buck (short and long term) is a quality PC!

The stereotype is that mac users are more “hip” and tend to be younger, where PC users are more sophisticated and older.

For Desktops or Laptops, I recommend Lenovo and Dell highly, Acer moderately, but never recommend HP.  The former are more durable and the parts are made to last longer.  You can likely find a sale at Best Buy or Office Depot for around $500 for the (minimum suggested) specs I recommend below.

When you are shopping, sales people can give you information (but are not incredibly helpful for much more) on the following specs, which I list as a minimum requirement for 2018:

So-DIMM RAM

So-DIMM RAM: Removable and upgradable memory (for speed).  Not to be confused with the CPU, which is fixed and not easily upgradable.

RAM (memory) of at least 8GB.  You’d be smart to have 12GB of RAM but 8GB is sufficient.  Be careful about paying to have them upgrade a machine.  They usually charge double what memory costs.

CPU with Intel i5 processor or faster.  i7 and i9 are faster if you need to do more multi- or heavy tasks.  The i3 series is okay, but it’s probably not worth the savings in downgrading to.  The CPU (or central processing unit) is the part of the computer that you are investing in.  The CPU isn’t upgradable, so you get what you get.  A note about AMD: These processors are usually better suited for gamers, except the latest release of the Ryzen series.

Solid State Hard Drive (SSD).  These are hard drives much like what’s in your smartphone, with no moving parts, which stores your data.  SSD’s will last longer and are a lot faster.  This comes with a cost.  Compared to traditional hard drives (HDDs), they have less space for the money.  In comparison, a new 256GB (gigabyte) SSD (Solid State hard drive) compared to traditional HDD (Hard Drive) could be $100 more and it would have 1/4 of the storage space.  As long as you don’t expect to store lots of video or pictures, a smaller SSD of 256GB would be fine for normal operations.  You can always slide in a compact USB flash drive for added space.

If you have questions on any of this or want to add your two cents, let me know!  Comment below or contact me.

Can I upgrade my memory (RAM)?

The 3 components when buying RAM

If you haven’t added memory yet then most likely yes, you can!  Just to be fair, we are talking about RAM (also referred to as memory), or what will speed up your computer.  All computers have a maximum amount of memory (RAM) that they can run, but usually aren’t at capacity when you purchase your machine new.

Installing RAMRAM, or Random Access Memory, works with the CPU to process your data.  It doesn’t store data long-term.  In fact, once you turn off your computer, RAM dumps it’s memory.  Your hard drive (and a small part of the CPU) stores the data when you turn it off.  The speed of your computer is determined by these 2 components: RAM and CPU.  Since upgrading the CPU can be costly, increasing the amount of RAM is the best first option if there is still room to upgrade.

See how much RAM you have by Right-Clicking on My Computer (This PC for Win 10) and clicking Properties.  It should list the total RAM (usable in parentheses).  That’s all it will tell you, though.  8GB of RAM is kinda the minimum amount needed for basic computing.  Use your computer brand’s website (Dell.com, Toshiba.com, etc.) to research your computer model and find how many slots you have and a total amount and type of RAM it can hold.

 

An alternative to finding out how much RAM you have (and can have) is to use something like Crucial’s RAM checker found here: http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/systemscanner

 

1. Determine the amount of gigabytes (GB) you have and want

Check the specs for your specific computer and buy an equally distributed number of sticks for these slots.  Most laptops have 2 slots and most new desktops have 4 slots.  It’s best to have the same amount of memory per each pair of slots.  For ex. use 2 sticks of 4GB of memory for your laptop to make it have 8GB, or use 2 sticks of 8GB in paired slots to make 16GB.  On a desktop, use 4 sticks of 2GB (or 2 sticks of 4GB) for your desktop to have 8GB.  Just keep them paired.

 

2. DIMM or SO-DIMM?

So-DIMM RAM

So-DIMM RAM (for laptops)

There are two different types of RAM, so check in the specs to be sure to get the right kind.  The most notable are the laptop sticks, known as So-Dimm (small outline dual in-line memory module) or Notebook RAM, found usually in laptops (and some desktop MACS).  These are smaller modules.  Desktop RAM, or DIMM (dual in-line memory module) RAM is longer.

 

3. Check the SD-RAM version

Computers from the 1970s to 1990s used DDR RAM.  DDR SDRAM, also called DDR1 SDRAM, has been superseded by DDR2 SDRAMDDR3 SDRAM and DDR4 SDRAM. None of its successors are forward or backward compatible with DDR1 SDRAM, meaning DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4 memory modules will not work in DDR1-equipped motherboards, and vice versa.”

DIMM RAM

DIMM RAM (for desktops)

Most computers today use DDR3 (PC3) or DDR4 (PC4) RAM.  The number of pins will change with these types, as well as the speed of the RAM.  The number PC-1600 or PC-2100 is the clock speed in MHz and doesn’t matter for typical computing today.  Gamers, however, should check with their motherboard manufacturer to see which clock speed to use.

Read the details of the memory to make sure you are getting the right amount.  Below is a total of 16GB of RAM, packed in 2-8GB sticks.  It’s DDR3 laptop (So-Dimm) memory!  RAM exampleThe brand of RAM usually doesn’t matter much.  MACS, however, can sometimes be picky.  I always use Crucial brand RAM in Macs.  But again, check with your computer specs for other options.  Cheaper is usually just as good!

That’s about all there is to it.  Now get a small screw driver and open the back compartment of your laptop and swap out your memory!  Sounds a bit simplistic.  Well. if you need more help let us know by calling or opening a support ticket on our Help Desk.  Best wishes for faster processing!

This article was first seen on the Help Desk of MyComputerSolutionz.com. All Rights Reserved.

 


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