Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The joys or pains of overclocking your cpu

Some times a good procedure for boosting a clients PC performance is something called over clocking.  Basically you increase the speed at which the computer CPU or Central Processing Unit operates or "thinks". Not all CPUs can be overclocked and the method for doing it varies from computer to computer based on manufactures and what not. Now this article isn't going to tell you how to do it because quite frankly I don't believe I can describe it adequately enough for you to be able to do it with out problems. Over clocking can be one of those things that permanently damages your computer resulting in having to replace parts or more likely just get a new computer all together. If some thing goes wrong in an overclocking endeavour then there is a very real possibility that not even the most skilled computer repair guru can help your poor machine.

Still it is a viable and free way to increase your systems processing power.
To be honest I am not all that versed with the ins and outs of it myself which is why i rarely will do it for a client if at all. Though try as I might if I am genuinely unable to increase performance for a person or company whose budget simply cant afford a faster new computer then I very well may consider it.

Well lets break it down shall we?

Overclocking in a nut shell is this. You have a computer with lets say an Intel processor such as an Intel Celeron(Intel is the manufacture and Celeron is the specific type of CPU it is). You may have already figured out what your processor speed is, measured in either MHZ or GHZ by right-clicking on your "my computer" icon in windows and clicking on properties and then up comes some system information including the CPU speed. And then lets say your CPU speed is in fact 2.00 GHZ or maybe even 2.93 GHZ (those are typical Celeron speeds). Overclocking will allow you to increase the speed from lets say 2.00 GHZ to 2.60 GHZ effectively adding an over 25% speed increase. Or from 2.93 GHZ to 3.20 or maybe even 3.40.

That's a basic break down of what is achieved during over clocking. Oh on a side note. If you have a CPU that is 2.00GHZ that means it can preform a theoretical 2 billion actions per second. So clearly the higher the number the better off you are.

There are a few more things to mention regarding over clocking as well. When it comes to an Intel CPU, Intel largely supports overclocking on alot of their processors. But in order to make a rather noticeable performance increase with an Intel CPU one must also be able to increase the FSB or "Front Side Bus" speed of the RAM (memory sticks) as well. Basically you increase the speed at which the CPU and memory talk to each other. So when considering overclocking your Intel CPU I advise also looking up in EXTENSIVE detail about the FSB and RAM overclocking/speed increase etc.

AMD is another manufacturer of CPUs. AMD's CPU speeds are measured a bit differently from an Intel CPU. When you look at the specs for an AMD processor in your my computer properties of windows, you would expect to see a lower number of GHZ speed compared to an Intel. For example with an Intel you may expect to see 3.40 GHZ. Whereas with the AMD you could expect the same amount of performance with a number like 2.4 GHZ. AMD CPU's are notorious for being just incredible CPU's for gaming. Whereas Intel CPU's are better suited for multi tasking application or running alot of programs lets say. These days if you are not a gamer I would recommend an Intel Pentium 4 processor. But if you are a gamer Then AMD CPU's are noted for the gaming world.

Any way. The way one attempts to overclock a CPU or change memory settings is in the motherboard BIOS. If you don't know what the BIOS is then please refer to a previous article on this blog which may discuss about it or else don't worry about it. The BIOS is the master control center for your computer. If you change a setting in your windows operating system, then the worst that can happen is that windows no longer starts (more or less easy to handle) Whereas if you make a change in the system BIOS you could literally fry your entire computer. Maybe now you can see why overclocking can be dangerous. When inside the BIOS you cant just go around changing any random setting or number that you may think is appropriate. IF you do know where to find the control option for adjusting your cpu's clock speed/frequency, and are tempted to adjust it then you must do so in small increments only. For example some BIOS will only allow the increase in the "frequency multiplier" by around 20x which means when you overclock the CPU you can increase the multiplier by up to 20 times. So if your CPU clock is set at 100 then the option may only go to 120. That is more than enough to get about 300-600 MHZ speed increase depending on your CPU type. But you don't just want to jump into the highest setting. Your computer may not even start up if you do. As I said before take it in small increments and save your settings and restart your computer. If windows starts up then so far so good. If windows does not start and your computer keeps shutting down then your CPU is running too hot and you must change your settings back before you melt your CPU!

Yes I said hot and melt. When you force the CPU to work faster by overclocking the whole thing heats up quite a bit. I overclocked a clients computer the other day and it lasted about 4 days running just fine but I suppose it couldn't do it anymore and decided to die. I had to then walk the poor client over the phone on restoring BIOS default settings...I was very unhappy.

One last thing about AMD CPU's and overclocking. Only recently with the introduction of the Venice type processor did AMD support overclocking at all (Not entirely sure if that's accurate). but if you can manage to overclock your AMD CPU then it should be noted that you probably do not need to change any settings with the RAM or FSB since AMD CPU's are already fully optimized to have better handling with that than an Intel.

THAT IS ALL I believe I have covered enough material to educate you enough on some of the dangers and basic operations and principles of overclocking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Using the System File Checker to restore corrupt files

The System File Checker can be a useful tool to help out if core system files become missing or corrupt.

This tutorial will explain how to perform it using Windows XP.

Click on start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt

Once there type in sfc and a list of commands will be displayed giving you some options as to what to do.

Typically you want to then type in sfc /scannow to start an instant scan of the computer to check for files.

Basically at this point the scan process may take a good while and i suggest you do nothing on your computer while its scanning. If it encounters a problem it will let you know. You will also need your windows xp cd with the current service pack as is installed on your computer. For example if you have windows xp service pack 3 installed on your computer then you will need to use the windows xp service pack 3 cd!

In order to tell which service pack you have installed, simply right click on "My Computer" and select properties. Up will come a window with lots of information on it. You want where it says windows xp, a version like "home edition" or "professional edition" and then some where close to that will be a service pack number!

Need computer repair? click here to visit my support desk!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Obtaining Your System Information

Here is a simple and sweet method for quickly retrieving your computers system information. The system information contains alot of things such as makes and model/serial numbers of hardware device and current versions of different programs. It also lists details regarding your memory capacity for your computer and for your graphics card! Overall knowing how to access your system information can be a helpful thing to know. Whether for yourself or for informing a computer repair man about problems you may be experiencing.

For windows xp all you need to do is click on start, all programs, accessories, system tools, system information. And that's it!

Now the first thing you will see is your summary. That knowledge is important to know for potential computer repair work that may be needed. If the numbers and letters seem confusing to you then you can look up some of these things on the Internet or else there is no need to worry about it. Just as long as you know where to go to tell your computer repair tech support guy about your system information. He will know what they all mean.

Often times clients of mine will need to figure out not only what kind of video 3d graphics card they are running, but how much memory it has to see if they have enough to play a game. This information is also easily obtained in the system information window. Simply click on "components" and then select "display" to pull up all the information regarding your video card. The part which talks about your cards memory capacity is "Adapter Ram" and then a number usually measured in MB or megabytes!

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to boost your Virtual Memory!

In this post i describe step by step how to increase your computer's virtual memory... Don't know what virtual memory is? =P

Well then let me explain!

Virtual memory is what allows your computer to process programs which may require more memory/RAM than you have! For example. John Smith's computer has 2gb (gigabytes) of RAM built into his computer (Those small little electronic circuit boards which fit into the main board). Now John is a busy man! and John needs his computer to run many different programs at once! John would like to browse the Internet, check his e-mail, edit a photo in his favorite photo editing program, listening to music on his computer, talk to his friends in an instant messenger program, and write up a document in his favorite word processing program! Phew!..John might be too busy!

Well what is going to end up happening as John works more and more doing all the things mentioned above, is that his computers built in RAM is going to run out and his computer will slow down horrifically so. And then poor John wont be able to do any of those things and think he has to call a computer repair guy.

Ah but wait! =D That's when VIRTUAL MEMORY kicks in to give John an extra boost in memory power! Virtual memory acts as a back up reserve of memory in case the computer runs out of normal RAM. Yay no costly computer repair service for John!

"Well how does it do that?" Glad you asked!

Virtual memory works by taking some un-used space of your hard drive and treating it like memory, adding it to the amount you already have. You can specify how much virtual memory has to work with by following these simple steps...

First check to see how much hard drive space you have available for virtual memory to use. Double click on "My Computer", then right click on "Local Disk(C)" and then click on properties. Now the number with the pink icon represents how much space you have free to use on your hard drive. Remember this number! It will help determine how much virtual memory you can use.

When you got that then RIGHT CLICK on the "My Computer" icon and select properties. Click on the advanced tab at the top and then click on the "Settings" button in the performance section. After which you will need to click on another tab at the top called "Advanced". And then hit the button called "Change" in the Virtual memory section!

Now you will see two text boxes with numbers in them labeled "Initial size" and "Maximum size". Click on the little button that says "Custom size" so you can edit those two text boxes.... Now remember the number that told you how much hard drive space you have available? What you want to do is make sure you have at least any where from 5-10gb of space available before you change the numbers in the boxes. IF you do then you can go ahead and specify as much as you would like in both the initial and maximum amount. 3000-4000 is a good amount, Make sure the maximum size is at least 1gb or 1000 greater than the initial size!

Now when you have your numbers in place you will need to hit the "Set" button to finalize it and then hit the "Ok" button.

Here is a video walk through of how to do it in windows xp!


If you start to run low on hard drive space, your computer will give you a warning about your virtual memory and you will have to go back into your virtual memory settings and scale back down your numbers.... Or else remove some stuff from your hard drive, maybe un-install a program or two or delete old files to free up some space!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Computer Repair man epxlains how to host games/game servers

Alright I have been getting alot of requests from people asking me how do they get people to see their game server or more directly how to host a game on starcraft. Well I will now include everything you need to know to get started! You don't have to be a computer repair guru do it! It's easy and every one has the ability to host games and gaming servers!

The main reason why people cant get people to join their games/servers is because for your protection by default inbound Internet connections are blocked so as to prevent unwanted access to your computer. And all we need to do is open those connections up! This article will address how to do so with windows firewall, a modem, and or a router.

One thing I learned early on in my computer repair career is how to allow legit good programs to get past the windows firewall! And this is step number one. Configuring your windows firewall to allow starcraft access. Why starcraft? Well it is a good example to use for demonstrating however the same can be applied to any .exe gaming server or port number. Alright now this video shows a simple walk through for adding a program into the list of accepted programs in windows xp firewall

If you have windows vista or windows 7 then the steps are more or less the same so here is a general run down. Step on find your control panel you can click either start you go to my computer. Step two locate windows firewall. Step three make sure the firewall is on and allows exceptions. Step four click on add a program to the safe access list(or something similar). Browse around (ussually in program files) for starcraft.exe and then once you have found it click the button to add it into the list. OR you can add a port instead in which case the port you want to add is both udp and tcp 6112 (that's the battle.net port number) If you use a gaming server then enter the port number and network protocol (tcp/udp) for your server.

And that's it for the windows firewall! Now if you have a modem instead of a router then you might be done at this point and may not need to continue go ahead and try to host a game.


You will need to have administrator access to your router for this. Go to your browser and type in (Last two digits might be different depending on your router type! just google what it is or try checking the bottom of the router) when you do a user name and password prompt should come up (you need to know what the name and password is) If you don't know it then go to http://www.portforward.com/ You will need to know the brand name of your router and the model number and scroll down in the list till you see it and then click on it. An advertisement will come up which you can skip if you prefer. Then a list of games will come up which you can select from in order to allow them access to your router. Find starcraft and click on it. Ignore the part regarding static ip (if you are using starcraft) and then follow the rest of the steps to let starcraft past the routers firewall so you can host a game!

And that's it you are done no need to call a computer repair man out after all! If you have more questions however you can go ahead and contact me through comment or through the tech support tab

Monday, August 29, 2011

Windows 7 backwards compatibility mode

Some times when dealing with a new operating system like windows 7, Some programs stop functioning or wont run like starcraft. And then you may feel the need to look up local computer repair help. This however is not always necessary! Windows 7 as well as older operating systems allows you to run old programs in backwards compatibility mode. Which in a nut shell means this. If you have a program or a game like starcraft you would like to play that's designed to run on much older operating systems then you can right click on the game icon and select run in compatibility mode. Or you may have to right click on the icon and select properties first then look for a tab which mentions compatibility. And then that's it!

Now as a note of interest, it seems windows 7 does not like to run starcraft even in backwards compatibility mode! If you find that this is the case then I recommend shutting off ALL programs you have running and then trying it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Glossary of terms for computer tech jargon!

Seems applicable to me for the do-it-yourself computer repair folks out there and a reference guide glossary of terms is useful and so I will herein include a list of abbreviations, terms, and general jargon along with their meanings and explanation. Bare in mind this will in no wise be a complete list as that would be a few books worth of information!
  • TOWER = The case your computer parts are stored in. usually shaped like an elongated box.
  • HDD/HD = This is your hard drive located in your "My Computer" folder for windows OS, it stores all your information, programs and files.
  • OS/OPERATING SYSTEM = Your Operating System is what enables you to easily control programs and files on your computer. Some operating system are called "Windows", "Linux", "Unix", "Android", "Mac OS" and various other brands.
  • MEMORY/RAM = Memory generally refers to the part of your computer which is designed to hold and retrieve information quickly. Memory can also refer to the storage space on your hard drive, although they are typically a separate thing. Memory usually looks like thin pieces of circuit boards with some integrated circuits on it, placed inside the mother board of your computer. There are many different types of memory too as they come in all shapes and sizes for example, DDR, DDR2, DDR3, SDR etc. Memory is also known as RAM or random access memory. The more memory you have the faster your computer can retrieve and manipulate data.
  • MOTHER BOARD = The main electronic board inside your tower is called the mother board. It is the most easily identified piece of equipment in your computer as it is the largest piece. Everything plugs into your mother board. When looking to upgrade parts of your computer, it is usually necessary to make sure new parts are compatible with your mother board version. You can look this up online by typing in your mother board make and model which can be found inside printed on the board itself, or you can call up your local computer repair man to take a look at it for you.
  • COMPUTER REPAIR/IT GUY = "IT" stands for "Information Technology" and is a broad spectrum term used to define any area with in computer or high technology based fields. An IT professional will be able to handle your computer repair needs. Some work solely for specific companies or corporations. Some work for business and residential as part of a larger IT company, and some do computer repair and general IT work as a freelance such as myself. Most professional computer repair men and women will be either A+ certified or comptia certified as those are  pretty much industry standards.
  • CPU/CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT = This is the brain of your computer it is a relatively small chip which sits inside the motherboard and is covered by a big heat sink metal piece and a fan. It heats up pretty quickly which is why care is taken to ensure it keeps cool. It is the other half of the coin in responsibility for your computers speed. CPU power and RAM is the combination for computer performance speed. The more you have of each, the faster your computer will run.
  • ISP/INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER = The company you pay money to in order to be able to connect to the Internet.
  • BROWSER/WEB BROWSER = A program used to look up websites on the Internet. Some browsers are known as "Internet Explorer" by Microsoft, "FireFox" by Mozilla, "Chrome" by Google and many more.
  • BIT = A bit is either a "1" or a "0" it basically has to do with the electricity that runs in your computer being either on or off. That's how the computer thinks in the CPU is by looking at a code of zeros' and ones' to see a pattern of information. Kind of like Morse code expect blazing by at millions or even billions of times a second.
  • BYTE = A byte is just eight bits. For example "10011010"
  • KB/KILOBYTE = "Killo" means 1000 so a kilo byte is one thousand bytes.
  • MB/MEGABYTE = "Mega" is a million so one mega byte is one million bytes.
  • GB/GIGABYTE = "Giga" is one billion or in this case 1 billion bytes.
  • TB/TERABYTE = "Tera" is 1 trillion
That concludes today's vocabulary lessons boys and girls =P If you have any questions about terms or abbreviations then feel free to ask in the comments section!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The problems with buying a pre-made ready to go computer from the store

Computer repair

When looking to upgrade to a brand new computer there are a few things you should know first to void needless computer repair problems in the future.

PC's these days come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and different specifications and depending on the specs depends on what the price is going to be. Ideally one shops for a computer to meet their specific computing needs. Here is what you expect when buying a new computer from the store.

1. You get everything you need to ensure long lasting life of your PC
2. With everything brand new, there wont be any crashes or bugs
3. Surely with a brand new top of the line PC and operating system there wont be any slowness.
4. All your problems with your old PC will be solved by getting a new PC

These are the 4 main assumptions and all of them are wrong.

"You get everything you need to ensure long lasting life of your PC"

It used to be that back in the day not only did you receive everything needed to maintain your computer but also some sort of warranty or what not. THESE days however this is not the case. While some sort of warranty service may be offered for an additional fee from the store in which you guy your new PC, all the driver software and operating system disks are no longer included in the package of what you pay for. Where as in the past it was most definitely included. In the past if you payed for something and did not receive it in full that was considered a crime. These days however certain people feel it is an acceptable practice not to provide you with the driver software installation disks that instruct your computer how to work all of its inside components AND your operating system disk. "Why is that bad?" lets say for instance you receive a nasty virus or some other form of malady that cripples your computer. You or your computer repair man need those disks to help restore your computer after its been wiped out. The driver installation disks tell the computer how to use its own motherboard, Internet connection, sound card, video card, dvd rom drives, pretty much everything. And the operating system disk is for re-installing the operating system should your computer need to be re-formatted, or if there is a serious problem with the operating system that normal computer repair methods can not fix then there are methods of repair that can only be used in conjunction with the original OS installation disk.

Needless to say there are certainly viable reasons for requiring those disks. From a computer repair/tech stand point I often times require the driver cds in order to fix hardware problems which may occur through normal operating system updates and driver conflicts. I will give you a perfect example... I was performing a computer repair service on a clients brand new windows 7 hp computer. As it turns out one of her windows 7 updates had caused an error with her dvd rom drive and it no longer functioned because it had corrupted her dvd rom drive driver. She could put in a cd or a dvd and the computer would not read it. One method of fixing which attempted in these situations is a re-installing of the dvd rom drive driver. However she did not have those drivers and it ended up costing her more money for me to get the job done than it would have normally.

"With everything brand new, there wont be any crashes or bugs"

On the contrary things which are brand spanking new have by nature tons of bugs and problems for lack of experience. Now with a brand new computer chances are your physical individual components are not only going to run smoothly but run for a very long time, that's the upside. The downside is will everything run smoothly cohesively together? =P the main cause for bugs in a new system is not usually hardware related but due to the newness of the OS(operating system) Windows 7 is still very new even though there is a service pack out for it. problems arise all the time with compatibility especially. Whenever a new update comes down the pike and installs itself onto your computer there is always a chance it will cause a conflict with another program or hardware resulting in yet again more professional computer repair help, as seen in the case with my client mentioned above. What can you do? Well nothing really, the problem is not a deliberate attempt by Microsoft or computer manufacturers to sock it to you. =P Unforeseen conflicts and problems arise that's just how it is. And so that is also why new updates constantly come to your computer. New operating system updates should come every now and again (if you have automatic updates turned on) and then new driver versions are created by the manufacturers of your hardware as well (usually have to be downloaded and installed manually). If you are thinking to yourself "well I will just get a PC with out windows 7 on it and go with a more reliable operating system) then I say to you good luck because every pc these days comes with windows 7 pre-installed. And unless you want to format the computer yourself and install a different OS then you will be hiring a computer repair guy like me to do it =P

"Surely with a brand new top of the line PC and operating system there wont be any slowness."

Wrong again =/ there isn't just one company which manufactures computer parts or software that goes on your PC. There are many and as it turns out they are all in bed with each other sort of speak. And so what ends up happening is when you purchase a new PC it comes pre-installed with a bunch of gimmick programs and processes and useless junk which runs all the time in the background with out you knowing it, causing unwanted performance loss and slowness! Most people have no idea what these programs are, what they are for, or how the affect their system. And over time as you work more and more on your PC through things will start to deteriorate and those programs which came pre-installed now start to cause real problems and then you hire a computer repair guy like myself to deal with it.

"All your problems with your old PC will be solved by getting a new PC"

Well sure technically you shouldn't have the exact same old problems as you may have been suffering with before. But what you do is in effect exchange one set of problems with another set. At least with the problems before you knew what to expect through use and experience. However with a new machine one has to count the cost and see if dealing with the new problems out-weigh dealing with the old. To think of things in practical terms it is basically a trade off. With a new PC you have to re-learn how to operate your computer and OS all over again, things will be out of place out of sorts and frustrating for a while. And you may end up hiring a computer repair man like myself to teach you how to operate your new system =P

End summary

Are there any pros to buying a pre-built computer from the store? Sure, of course there is otherwise why would people still be doing it. Its relatively cheap compared to other options. But if you weigh the cost of buying the computer now verses having to deal with the computer repair problems that come from it later.. is it really cheaper?

Here is my suggestion. Don't buy a pre-built machine, build your own. Take some time to figure out what is involved with doing it so you make sure you have everything you need or else hire a computer repair guy to explain to you how its done. When building your own you buy every piece individually, the tower, the motherboard, the memory, the dvd rom drive, the operating system , the software etc. And when you do that you will have your driver and OS installation cd's. You will also have a PC which doesn't come pre-installed with a bunch of garbage programs slowing you down and you will have a PC which is specifically designed for what you need it for. You will know what to expect when you build it as well. It can be cost effective doing it this way as well however chances are if you want to build it so that it can be easily upgraded in the future so it doesn't go out of date then it may require a bit more money than buying a pre-built PC outright.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hard drive failure? Data loss?

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of potential hard drive failure or data loss or suspect that you may be having a problem with such then the first thing and most important to know is that time is critical.

You may experience data loss as a result of some virus or other software related problem or your hard drive may indeed be mechanically failing.

If your hard drive is mechanically failing and about to give up the ghost there isn't much can be done to save the drive itself. The name of the game at that point is to get off as much VITAL data as possible. Not all programs and data on your computer needs to be backed up only those things which are most important to you. So at this point its all about triage data saving. For example if you have pictures or music that you can not get again then you may want to attempt to back up your entire music folder and picture folder. Same thing with any word documents or anything you think you may not ever be able to obtain again THAT'S the kind of data you are looking for at this point.

How to back up your data quickly in a hard drive emergency...

If you are able to get on your computer and see your desktop then you want to insert a flash drive or some other external drive which you can quickly throw files onto. The idea is to KNOW where your vital data is located, go to it quickly and drag and drop it into the external drive! If you have a slave drive which you believe to be intact and not experiencing any problems. You may also throw back up data onto the hard drive of a network connected computer if that's still functioning.

First signs of mechanical hard drive failure...

When a drive starts to go bad it deteriorates very quickly with in minutes or hours or days if you are lucky.
The computer may start randomly freezing up. On start up the computer may require to run a disk scan. If it does let it run its scan. At the end of the scan pay close attention to how many bytes there are in known bad sectors. Ok ok ok =P let me explain a little bit about that. Your hard drive has like little pockets where it stores information those pockets are called sectors some times those pockets can go bad. In fact all hard drives have at least a small amount of bad sectors, that's normal lets say around 32kb (kilobytes). What you are looking for however is if the amount of data in those bad sectors is abnormally large lets say larger than 32kb. Now after the scan is done the computer will quickly list a bunch of stats and numbers before it resumes normal start up. What you have to do is look down where it talks about bad sectors and see the number of kilobytes or megabytes are located in those sectors.
 If you couldn't see it in time before the computer started back up fully then you can click on start, my computer,right click on  local disk(C) (its usually C it might be another letter) click on properties, then click on the "tools" tab at the top then hit the check now button on error checking select "scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" and "automatically fix the file system errors" then begin the scan.

Click on the image for an animation walk through of starting a scan

computer repair, how to scan disk

IMPORTANT NOTE while scanning you can run no other programs nor is it advised to open any folders or do anything really. Just make sure you shut down all your programs including Internet and e-mail and let the scan run its course.

If you ever suspect hard drive failure it is strongly advised you make back ups immediately. When a hard drive goes there may be a point where you can still access your desktop and move files around but that ends very quickly. Final notes on mechanical hard drive failure, There are programs out there which can attempt recovery of data from hard drives that no longer are able to start up. The way they work is by taking out your drive from your computer and placing it into another computer as a slave drive. The other computer is equipped with the software and a trained/experienced operator or computer repair guy of the program may be able to recover some data. Or else if that will not work you could spend thousands upon thousands of dolars for a hard drive transplant procedure which involves a clean room and taking out the actual disk from your hard drive and placing it into another of equal make and model type. Either way, good luck.

Software based data loss...

Lets say a virus is eating away at all your files. It could be risky to connect an external hard drive or a flash drive as the virus may be able to transport itself to that as well. First thing is shut it down and find a computer that has a good up to date working anti virus program. You can use a mapped drive connection with an Ethernet cable between the infected computer and the computer with anti virus to run a scan of the infected computer. If you don't have another computer with good up to date anti-virus or have no idea how to do what i just said then hunt down some one who does or hire a computer repair guy to help with it. IMPORTANT NOTE. If a virus is eating away your files you may see your icons start to change to an unknown type of icon, and as long as your computer is turned on that virus will east away your data. BUT if the computer is turned off then it cant! =D

last thoughts...

Chances are if you are experiencing any of the above problems or symptoms you will most likely need to hire a professional computer repair specialist. However a computer repair man is not always necessary if you can catch things in time and have the proper skill to handle such things. Best defense against viruses eating your data is to have a top of the line up to date anti-virus program running. There is no defense against mechanical hard drive failure there is only the "back up plan" =P having regularly scheduled back up programs running on your computer with a back up drive connected can save you alot of headaches and heart aches. Eventually hard drives go bad that's just the way it works.

If you have further questions regarding this article please feel free to ask in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Internet Security: (Password protection)

Forgive me but I write today's post with a certain level of disgust at the lack of common sense when it comes to how people handle their Internet passwords sometimes resulting in un-nessecary computer repair!

The typical Internet user when he or she signs up for some program online is usually required supply an e-mail address and a password during the sign-up process, as well as their name and various other details of their person. The typical Internet user will also fill out that form in perfect truthful detail thinking nothing of the fact that they are telling perfect strangers who they are, what their e-mail is AND (here it comes) more often than not they supply these strangers with the same password as is required to access their e-mail. So this is what it boils down to. I give some one I don't know my name, my e-mail and the password to access my e-mail and then I become surprised when my e-mail gets hacked into and my identity stolen and all my friends and family in my e-mail contacts are also scammed because the hackers who broke into my e-mail e-mailed them and sent them viruses and Trojans for stealing personal information, and they (my e-mail contacts) believing they are receiving an e-mail from me, happily opens the malware attachment and get their identity stolen and the circle of identity theft is complete... Good job!(sarcasm)

friends I cant tell you how often that's been the case with my clients when they call me, their computer repair guy freaking out over what has happend. Never EVER supply your e-mail password on any form which ALSO requires your e-mail address...

What to do then?

The answer is quite simple. Have more than one password which you can use for signing up for things.

In reality its a good practice to have about 5 passwords that you can rotate around depending on the situation. If a sign up form requires both an e-mail address and password no problem give them one of your passwords that is not used to access your e-mail otherwise if they don't require an e-mail address then you can give them your normal password.

Also don't make your 5 passwords some long unfamiliar thing which is hard to remember. Let it be something personal that you can easily remember. For example if you have trouble remembering a password like "2466835831" then choose something else such as a word or better yet a phrase. "theworldgoesaround" is an example of a phrase. Now in order to make your password harder to figure out take out some of the letters in your password and replace them with numbers i.e "th3w0r1dg03sar0und" the "o"s are replaced with zeros and the "e"s are replaced with threes the "L" is also replaced with a one.

computer repair required!
In the end folks remember that only you are able to prevent your own identity theft and keep from having to hire a computer repair man. Some common sense techniques go a long way to help protect your information.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Official tech support post

Computer Repair Moved to the tech support page tab at the top

You asked for it folks and now here it is. Let me start off by reiterating that I am a professional IT and computer repair guy since 1999 I have done both house calls for residential as well as small and large business IT infrastructure settings. Apart from that I have done several remote desktop connection troubleshooting and or computer repair. And that's what this thread is for. Through the magic of the Internet I can help resolve your computer repair woes from a world away!

Here are my rates. I normally charge $25 an hour for tech work but for you my loving loyal fans I will charge $5 dollars to connect to your computer and diagnose whats wrong. And then and additional $5 dollars to fix the problem. So a total of $10 dollars for solving your computer repair problems! No matter how long it takes I will not charge by the hour. $10 dollar flat rate for fixing a problem. And if I can not fix the problem then you are only charged $5 dollars for the diagnosis!

All payments are only accepted through paypal.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remote Desktop Connection

Alright so my poll so far shows that you are interested in more information about this little computer repair service

Basically a remote desktop connection allows one person using one computer to connect to another computer and see the desktop and control things or take over the other computer! So in effect if I were to establish a remote desktop connection with one of your computers I would in effect making your computer my own temporarily. I would see everything on your computer as if it were mine, and be able to use the mouse cursor too.

Sounds scary huh? =P

Well let me set aside your fears by clarifying a few things. First there are TWO types of remote desktop connection. The good kind and the bad kind. The bad creates a remote desktop connection to your computer with out you knowing about it or without your permission. Hackers do that from time to time.
The GOOD kind on the other hand is widely used by tech and IT computer repair guys like myself to diagnose and trouble shoot and make general computer repair to peoples computers. The very first remote desktop connection program I ever used was called net-meeting and was designed for making business presentations easier to be shared and stuff. It was awesome had so much fun with my friends on that thing. These days remote desktop connection programs are every where. Even Microsoft makes it a standard feature in their modern day operating systems. To better help you and me work through some problems or what not. Important to note about the good kind of remote desktop connection programs is that they can not work with out YOUR consent. Meaning you have full control of how much a person is allowed to see of your computer and or control. If you want a person to see your desktop/computer only and not be able to control the mouse then you have the power to do that.

So in short I use a remote desktop connection program called VNC (you can look it up in yahoo search or something) in order to preform certain computer repairs. i use the program to connect to your computer and help you solve whatever computer repair problems you may be experincing!

On other thing remote desktop connection programs are only good for solving software or operating system based computer repair problems NOT hardware unless it has to do with a hardware driver that's messing up. So if you have a broken fan in your tower...I wont be able to help with that =P

I hope that answers some of your questions about the RDC program and how it works and what its purpose is. If you still have any further questions please feel free to comment.

And finally my question is would any of you be interested in me doing that for you and you paying me like 5-10 bucks to diagnose and attempt to perform computer repair for some of your computer woes through RDC! =D

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My computer keeps spontaneously slowing down!

If you find yourself saying the statement above then this post is for you.

It came to my attention recently that many people have random computer slowness lasting lets say from a few seconds to an hour or what have you. The issue with these folks isnt that the computer gets bogged down doing some task or program that was expected of it. No the issue is at seemingly random times without any prompting, the compuer just starts slowing down maybe even horrifically so.

One thing that should be understood, and as I have stated in previous posts, Your computer does alot of things wether you are aware of it or not. You dont have to be running a program or even at your computer for it to be doing its own thing. As long as the power is on, your computer will be doing many many behind the scenes tasks...

Now in order to get random slowness what has to happen is one or more of those behind the scenes tasks has to get bogged down in operation. And the good news is its relativley easy to figure out whats going on and who the "trouble maker" is =P

If you are running windows (which you should be) you simply press the crtl + alt + delete keys to bring up your task manager. If you are running windows vista or higher when you press crtl + alt + del you should then select "start task manager" Once the task manager is up you will see a number of tabs at the top and various other buttons and lookie-loos =P Below is a picture of a windows xp task manager.

There are 2 tabs to worry about when trying to locate the source of computer slowness, The first is the "Applications" tab which show a list of programs that you have started up manually for example FireFox or Internet Explorer or  Microsoft Word or whatever. The only programs that should be in that list should be the ones that you have started up yourself, anything else is a problem. For example lets say you start up Internet explorer and when you are done with it you close it down but it doesnt close down all the way or some kind of error occurs. Internet Explorer at this point may still be inside the Applications tab list. In order to get rid of it you can click on it in the list then click the button that says "End Now" You will eventually be promoted to end the program now or wait till it closes by itself, that desicion is yours but I ussually say close now.

The second tab you need to know about is "Processes" tab. Below is an example

This tab is important because it will show you the problem at hand. There are 3 columns inside this tab The First one to the far left is the name of the program running in the background. The second row with numbers shows how much cpu or processing power that program is using. It is measured in percentages 100% being max processing power. Any one program that shows anything close to 100% lets say 70-90% is going to slow your computer down so much you could do a better job calculating with an abbacuss. Please note that the system idle process will ussually have a 98-99% processing rate (that is normal). It bassically shows you how much percentage is available currently or how much is left. Now if the freuqnecy of occurance of your random slowness is alot then you can keep an eye on those programs running in you processes tab and see if the numbers in the second column jump or spike to a high percentange. If it does then congratulations you have just discovered the cause of your slowness! The third column of numbers shows the amount of memory that paticular process is using. This could also be a cause for computer slowness if it isnt CPU usage/processing power then its most likely going to be the memory. Now I cant tell you how much is too much because every computer is different. You will need to know how much you have total to begin with then compare that number to the number that shows how much an indiviual process is using. With windows xp process memory is measured with a k next to it or kilobytes. 1000 k or kilobytes = 1mb or 1 megabytes or 1 million bytes. Most modern computers have a total amount of memory measured in gigabytes or billions of bytes. Now in the image above you will notice that the process called iexplorer.exe is using over 60,000k of memory. That translates to over 60mb. My computer has a total of 1.5gigabytes of memory so that means I have plenty of memory remaining.

Now that all of that has been addressed now its time to talk about the typical causes for random slowness.

In my experince most cases of abnormal slowness are due to one of two things. Anti-virus programs and or operating system automatic updates!

In the case of an Anti-Virus, every time it automaticaly downloads and installs updates it will slow your computer down some. Or every time it does an automatic system scan it will slow your computer down too.
If you find this to be too unbearable then the fix is as easy as configuring the anti virus to only allow manual download of updates and only manual activation of computer scans. These settings will not affect your anti-virus programs automatic virus detection should a virus try to get in so dont worry.

As for the case of windows automatic updates simply configure them so that it doesnt not check for automatic updates at all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taking requests

Alright folks the window of opritunity is now closed! I am no longer taking requests so please do not post them!

If ya missed your chance to ask a tech question fear not! I will be periodically creating new request taking blogs from time to time!

Thanks to all who submitted an inquery.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Establish connection with a second computer

Hey folks its me back at it again!

Today's topic focuses on making a network link between two computers using various methods.

Important to note that this article is primarily for windows xp users. Oh and a side note the more modern your OS (operating system) is the easier it is to make a network connection. For example with windows 98 before you could make a connection using a network cable you had to make sure the correct protocols were installed on both machines before they could talk to each other and it was just a mess. Nowadays with vista and windows 7, you basically just plug your chord into your computers and are good to go.

The first method for making a connection we will discuss is via Ethernet cord plugged into the Ethernet port on your computers if your computer is running windows xp then you most likely have this port and it looks like a bigger version of a female end of a telephone connector. So slap that bad boy into your computers (probably located at the back of your computers) and prepare for the next step. Now as i mentioned before about network protocols and stuff, windows xp should automatically take care of that stuff by itself which makes life alot easier. All you have to do is make sure that your drives are shared on both computers and then map a network drive.

WHOA WHOA what ya say?! Haha don't worry about that fancy terminology, I will walk you through it!
After plugging your cable into your computers, click on the "my computer" icon either on your desktop or you can find it by clicking on the start button. Once inside "my computer" find the icon labeled "local disk C:" (if its not called C then just find local disk). Now you want to right click on that icon and then click on "sharing and security" what comes will talk about understanding the risk of sharing the root drive blah blah. just click on that that text. Now you will see a couple of different things the first is "local sharing and security" and the second is "network sharing and security" you want the second one. Now inside that second topic is a check box which says "share this folder on the network" check it. When you do some more options will become available to you such as "share name" and then a letter next to that. Check the box that also says "Allow network users to change my files" (otherwise you can see files on the other computer but cant change them) then click on the ok button. The computer will then start the sharing process and when all is said and done you will see a little hand under neath your local disk icon. Make sure you do this to both computers if you want to share files from both computers.

When you're done with that in the same window that you see your local disk with the hand under it, you should see at the top a button called "tools" click on that then click on "map network drive"  Don't mess with the Drive letter option that comes up just leave that default (most likely "z") now in the folder box type in \\computername\local disk letter. Alright first things first you need to find out the name of the computer you want to connect to in order to do that go to the computer you want to connect to and right click on the "my computer" icon then select properties then click on the tab at the top called "computer name" the name of the computer is the "full computer name" write that down or memorize it or whatever and put it into the folder box on your other computer. So for example it might look like this \\jjish-13 keep in mind all computer names are unique. next step is put in your drive letter. the drive letter is the letter that's next to "local disk" on your other computer (its usually c) so then your finished work looks something like this \\name\c and that's it for that. Next step is to hit the finish button and when you do the computer will try to connect to the other computer and if it is successful a window will come up with a bunch of different folders in it from the other computer and you're done. Now you may need to enter a username and password to before it will allow you to connect successfully. All you do is click on the "connect using a different username" which will then give you the option of typing in the user name and password of the other computer your trying to connect to. If you are unsure what the user name is you can go to the other computer and click on the start button and then the second button up from the bottom will say "log off" and then the username.

That pretty much takes care of connecting your computer through an Ethernet cable using the map network drive method.

Now I should say that alot of modern routers these days make network connections between computers very easy as well... if all your computer are connected to the same router using either a cable or wirelessly then AS LONG AS THE LOCAL DISK DRIVES ARE SHARED they should all be automatically connected to each other and allow you to change or transfer files. So really if you are using a router you just follow the steps mentioned above to turn on sharing and then once that's established and you see the little hand under your drive icon you go to your desktop and double click the "My network places" icon (or you can find it by clicking on the start button) and then after a moment or two the icon displaying the local disk of your other computer should come up and all you have to do is click on it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Internet Speed

let me start off by saying this will be my last blog for about a week or so since i will be out of town(maybe)

OK so Internet speeds come in all shapes and sizes sorta speak and your speed is proportional number one to how much your paying per month for it =P

alright alright your ISP also known as your Internet service provider is who you pay every month to have your Internet brought to you and they can charge you whatever they want for that service too. Now there are two important things to note when dealing with Internet speed and that is your "download" speed and your "upload speed" typically most people measure Internet speed in terms of download only and the fast download speed that is currently broadly available (not including T-lines) is about 24 megabytes per second. and the fastest upload speed is about 2 megabytes per second.

the difference in upload speed verse download speed is thus: download speed deals with how fast you can view an image on a website or how fast a website loads up when you go to it and things like that, how fast you can download a song, basically how fast another computer can give information to your computer. Upload speed is in a nut shell how fast your computer can send information to another computer. Now for most people download speed is the primary concern. However if you own a server like myself then you need to pay attention to upload speed because that's the one that will determine how fast some one can go to a website that's hosted off your computer or if you have a game server it determines how fast players can access data from your server.

if you are curious about how fast your Internet currently is then please feel free to visit http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest
choose a location closest to you and then begin the test. the first test preformed will measure your download speed. and it is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes. Just know that 1000 KB(kilobytes) = 1 Megabyte. The second test preformed measures your upload speed!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When is it time to upgrade?!

I get this question from time to time and the answer is pretty straight forward. If you can still manage to do everything you want to do on your computer with out moderate hassle then you don't need to upgrade!! Even if your computer is 10 years old you don't need to upgrade. Just remember the old adage, "if its not broke, don't fix it". Or in this case if you can operate on your computer just fine to get your tasks done then don't be pressured to buy the latest and greatest technology out there.

That being said, some times it is time to upgrade =P Getting a new computer that's right for you is another one of those things which i cant help you out with unless I know what you use your computer for to begin with. For example lets say you spend most of your time on the computer browsing websites and checking e-mail, you arn't going to want to spend money on a computer that's built for gaming and comes complete with a high-end 3d video graphics card.

If you really need to upgrade then make sure you speak to a qualified customer service rep at whatever store you are planning to buy a computer and make sure he knows what you use your computer for, and make REALLY sure that the computer he suggests for you can do everything you need. Or you can solicit the services/advice of a computer repair man.

That's it for now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Normal processes for windows xp

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while but I got a little busy.

Nothing annoys me more than for a computer to be doing something it has no business doing in the first place.

What you should know is that even if you don't use your computer or tell it to do something, your computer as long as its on is always doing something behind the scenes. Your computer likes to think....ALOT. Whenever you hear those click click sounds going at a fast rate in your computer its because its busy thinking or doing something. That's fine, I don't care about that. What I care about is it doing something useless or thinking about something completely pointless. And what I mean by that is alot of times the programs that are installed onto your computer require your computers attention even when you are not running those programs. These are known as the system processes in windows xp. Now in order to view your system processes in windows xp all you have to do is press and hold the crtl button the alt button and the del or delete button at the same time. What comes up is a little window called your task manager. Now in that window your gunna see a few tabs at the top labeled different things like "applications", "processes", "performance", "networking", and "users". Click on the tab labeled processes to see everything your computer is doing in the background. You should see a pretty decent sized list. Some of that stuff in the list is important for your computer to keep functioning right and some of it is just a waste of your computers time and energy. Figuring out whats needed and whats not is a hard task and I dare not attempt to walk you through it in this blog. Each computers processes tend to be unique from one another so with out actually seeing the list myself I cant tell you what needs to be done. Instead what I can do is give you a list of basic windows xp processes that are required to keep the computer functioning. And then from this list you can compare it to what processes you have running and get an idea of the situation. So here's the list, I will also post a picture for you to see.

in no particular order:
SVCHOST.EXE (about 9 of these may be running in your list)
EXPLORER.EXE (this is what enables you to see your desktop and click on icons)
alg.exe (i forget if this one is a core system process or not lol it may have to do with a video driver
             if you dont have it dont worry about it)
WINLOGON.EXE (if you dont have this one dont worry)
System Idle Process
Computer Repair, xp processes
I black out my other processes so you can just see a list of the basic ones

That's about it for the core system processes windows xp needs in order to stay functioning.
Keep in mind something else, those are just so windows can stay on and you can use your computer like normal. It has nothing to do with your ability to connect to the Internet  wirelessly or run any other programs. Some programs do need a background system process to be running on your computer all the time or they just wont work. My advice to you is unless your experienced enough to be fooling around and shutting processes off, just don't do it. Finding out which process belongs to which program and then determining if its necessary or not is an extremely time consuming thing. I recently spent about 3 hours hunting down every process by hand and looking it up on the Internet to see what program it belonged to, for a customer of mines computer. For me its important to shut down irrelevant processes because they just sit there draining my computers overall power and speed!

By the way if you are familiar enough with your own system processes, then looking at your processes list can give you a hint as to whether or not you are infected with a virus....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What kind of anti virus is right for me?

Thats a fair question.

One thing that should be understood before one goes and spends money on an anti virus/malware program is that there is no such thing as a perfect anti virus program. No I am serious. The way it works with anti virus programs is to do there best to stay on top of new viruses which are created daily (like hundreds of new viruses are released everyday) and the truth of it is no body is perfect and no program is perfect either. There is not one anti virus program out there that will catch EVERY virus EVERY time, its just not possible.

SO with that in persective the goal then is to find an anti virus program whichs blocks/stops more viruses than most! Now through out the years ive worked with many different types of anti virus programs. Such as Mcafee, Norton/Symantec, Trend Micro, Avast, and a few others including Spyware Doctor with anti-virus.

Idealy it would be nice to run more than one anti virus program at a time. that way if one program misses a virus, the other migth catch it and vice versa. But this however proves a little impractical as anti virus programs themselves take up a huge amount of system resources(system rescources are what your computer uses to function, its like computing power and it is measured in how much information your computer can process at once and how much it can think and stuff like that in laymens terms) and running an anti virus program requires your computer to think and process alot! so running two programs at a time is just not practical for most people unless you have a scathingly massive amount of system rescrouces =P

Now then out of all the anti virus programs i have worked with i recommend Spyware Doctor with anti-virus.
http://www.pctools.com/ Why? Well the main reason is that it has caught viruses that other programs could not even detect and that was 5-6 years ago. Thier techonology has come a long way and includes heuristic(heuristics is kind of like using intuition) approaches to solving a great deal of malware related stuff. Spyware-Doctor with anti-virus comes with an all inclusive package that handles browser defending(Internet Explorer only I beleive), inteligent protection of core system files, regular updates of course, and programming so smart that it can even block suspiscious activity even if it doesnt know what it is!(Alot of anti virus programs need to be told about the virus through an update before it knows to block it). Well it does a ton of things really. But not to discredit any other anti virus programs out there, I have only used spyware docotor with anti virus for many years now and the techonlogy of other anti virus programs would have certinly improved as well...

If you're like me then you dont like having your system resources used up all the time and you disable your anti-virus program and prevent it from running(bad idea i know...) and because of that I have regreted it more than once. But if you are hurting for system resrouces already and cant afford to run an anti virus program then there is hope for you! There is a program called "Housecall" which is created by Trend Micro and its a free browser based anti virus program which uses javascript to scan your computer and remove virus infections! What does all that mean!? It means that if you think you are infected with a virus or if you want to scan a file or program before running it or opening it, all you have to do is go to this website housecall.trendmicro.com and follow the step by step instructions to run thier program! Once again its free of charge and pretty darn effective. I use it from time to time when im bout to run a suspiscious looking file i just downloaded and that way I dont need to fire up my spyware docotor anti virus program all the time. Of course it only works if you can infact get on the internet and go to thier website. If you are infected with a virus then its possible that the virus would prevent you from visiting certain websites.

Well thats it for now folks I think I've covered everything needs be said.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why does my comptuer beep ABNORMALLY when I start it up?

Hahaha well for one thing its normal for a computer to give a beep or two when starting itself up. That's like the beep of safety its the computers way of letting you know its good to go. BUT lets say one day your computer decides to beep a little differently or maybe even sound like its going to have a heart attack! What do ya do then?

BEEP CODES are the computers way are telling you whats wrong with it! carefully listen to the beeps and you will hear a series of beeps maybe a few long beeps and or short beeps and then it starts its beeping cycle over again...Basically each beep code represents a different problem the computer is having with one of its pieces of hardware.

I remember one day when my computer started beeping 8 short beeps in a row and freaked me out. Come to find out the computer was trying to tell me that my video card had come a little loose and was not in its proper place! So i popped it back in and problem solved...

Now your computer has TONS of hardware in it and the computer also has a beep code for most of those hardware pieces should something be wrong with it. I could tell you what the different beeps represent specifically however it really depends on the type of BIOS you have. A BIOS is like a mini "operating system" which you can access before windows launches for example. There are many different BIOS manufacturers and each one has built into the computer a different set of beep codes.
My advice to you is to find out what manufacturer and version your BIOS is and then type that into the Internet along with the words "beep code" and see what comes up. Finding out your BIOS brand is easy...You should see it the moment you first turn the power onto your computer. It might say "award bios" for example or IBM or phoenix etc. Should you nothing come up on your screen at all then what I suggest you do is to shut down your computer, touch the metal case(tower) of your computer for a moment and then unplug it from the wall... Then open up your tower(case) and look inside on the biggest circuit board you can find this is called the "mother board" and everything is basically plugged into it. Look around on there and try to find a manufacturer name. Once you got that type into the Internet "manufacturer name motherboard bios".

 In closing your computer will usually give you a friendly beep or two on start up and anything more than that means its telling you something is wrong!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Now this blog would be HUGE if I indeed posted everything that could be posted so instead I'll just talk about a little bit today and create a new post for the rest at a later date!


A virus is a program or code which makes your computer do something bad. That is something which hurts your computer that you don't want or that hurts some one Else's computer ect. Alot of times you can get viruses from websites that are less than reputable or from well known sites which have ads that contain malware code on them (Malware is just another name for bad code or programs) Malware includes things like spyware and viruses and trojans and stuff...

Now this post focuses on some quick actions to take should you suspect a virus is attacking your pc. HOPEFULLY you have some sort of anti virus running on your machine. But even still a virus can some times KILL your anti virus program... nothing is full proof and so that might be the case. If you find yourself browsing a website and your computer starts freaking out or things start shutting down and restarting, that is a tell tale tail sign of a virus or malware... During this time of the viruses initial attack, timing is vital and a quick response may save your computer. If you are not sure of whats going on or what to do but you suspect virus activity the best thing for you is to shut your computer down MANUALLY... that is you HOLD THE POWER BUTTON IN UNTIL THE COMPUTER SHUTS DOWN and you can no longer hear the fans spinning or the computer making noise... One thing is for sure if a virus is attempting to break into your computer, it cant do it if the computer is off =P Please note turning off the computer by holding the power button on your tower will take a few seconds to actually turn it off.

Where you go from here is tricky... one thing to keep in mind if you suspect a virus has taken over is that at any time the computer is on the virus is probably working.... so try to keep the computer off as much as possible and only turn it on to attempt to fix it. You may wish to restart your computer under safemode (windows operating systems only) safemode is a special way to start your computer which tells it to only start up the most basic programs your computer needs to function. Safemode can often times inhibit a viruses ability to function as well, although there is no guarantee of that. To start your computer in safemode, simply turn the power back on and continually press the "f8" key on your keyboard... NOT the "f" and the "8" keys, but the key that has both the letter "f" and "8" on it....Usually found at the top of the keyboard... after a while of pressing this key repeatedly you will see a black screen with white letters talking about how you would like to start up the windows operating system... Use the arrows on your keyboard to scroll to safemode and press enter. You may then be asked to choose which operating system you wish to start in safemode (most likely only one option in the list.. so select that and press enter). you will then see a list of files fly by pretty fast on the screen and then eventually windows with safemode will come up... You will be prompted to continue running in safemode or to attempt to preform a system restore... The one you want is continue running in safemode.

Safemode is a way to work on your computer relatively safe from risk of further infection. What you do after you are in safemode is entirely up to you. But if you have an anti virus program running you may want to preform a scan (most anti virus programs don't like scanning in safemode, but you don't exactly have a choice at this point....)

one other thing If you are familiar already with system restore, you may be tempted to try that from safemode. This is a realistic possibility but i warn you that alot of viruses attempt to infect system restore files as well. So there is a chance that when you preform a restoration you will restore the virus as well....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Regular Hardware Maintenance

Here we go folks! this post is about that thing we should do often but usually fail to do, ultimately resulting in the system failure of our machines!

Now what exactly is involved in regular hardware maintenance you ask? HO HO HO glad you asked...

The particulars of the routine are more or less the same no matter what kind of computer you have so I have compiled a short and ordered list that you may follow to spruce things up a bit!

1. Turn off your computer

2. Flip the switch in the back of your computer on the power supply to turn off ALL power to the computer
    Or simply unplug it from the wall and wait about 30 seconds(for full power supply capacitor discharge).

3.Open up your computer tower(case) and set it aside.

4. Get some tissues and or Q-Tips.

5. Remove all card pieces. Such as video graphics cards or sound cards or memory cards. Handle them carefully and set them aside on a wood table or something. (Note if you are not comfortable handling your computers removable "plug and play" pieces then you can skip this step and move on).

6. Now this is where the cleaning begins... Chances are if you haven't cleaned your system in a while its going to be FULL of dust. Dust can cause functional problems some times so its best to get rid of it. All of it every where you can find/reach. Likewise do the same for your removed card devices if you did that step.

7. You wont be able to remove every spec of dust in your system so don't worry about that. Mainly the places you want to focus on are the parts known as "heat sinks" these are the big "grooved" metal pieces that are on top of vital circuits to keep them cool. They are also usually underneath some sort of fan. If you have finesse then you may attempt to remove the fan from the heat-sink to better clean it. But if you cant remove the fan then simply do the best you can.

8. Speaking of fans...Clean them. fans hate dust inside of them and on their blades so get it with the tissue or Q-tip.

9. Take a air compressor to it! Haha if you have one then it can be ideal simply to blow the whole thing out with an air compressor however not every one has access to one... You may be asking yourself why this is step 9 and not for instance 3 or so...And that's because if your computer is chalked FULL of dust n grime...you don't want to blow it up all over the place... get some of the major areas first with a tissue or what you will then finish the job with an air compressor. That's what I recommend... But of course for those of you who like dirt all over the place then go ahead and have at...

10. You're done make sure to put all of your removable pieces back together as carefully as possible. Any cards that are not put back precisely and securely as they were before will freak your computer out and may cause it to start beeping when it starts up. If it does then open it up again and try making your pieces more secure. Place your tower cover back on your computer and make sure you flip the switch on the back of the computer power supply back on =P Then you can turn it on again!

It is a wise practice before you work on a computers inner parts, to ground yourself out... and all that means is while the computer is plugged into the wall, touch the metal part of your computer case for a moment or too to get rid of any static electricity you may have on you.
Also don't worry about the air compressor (should you decide to use one), damaging any electrical components, it wont.
Do not, I repeat do not use any type of chemical cleaner! NONE whatsoever. Only remove the dust with tissue and Q-tip and make sure there are no pieces of it left.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My first blog... EVER

Alright I'd like to start things off by saying that the purpose of these blogs is for the "do-it-yourselfer" type of folks who prefer looking up relative computer repair information on their own and getting the job done. I'd also like to note that these blogs will contain a series of computer related issues and problems for which an easy do-it-yourself solution will be presented with the least amount of technical terms and jargon as possible hehe.

I have over 10  years experience in the field of computer repair and teching and have experience with operating systems dating back to windows 95.

Well let's get down to the brass tacks of it then...

If you're some what of a computer gamer like myself, or have a system that runs alot of 3d applications. You may find that your video card (be it top of the line or other) just cant cut the mustard and burns out. Yes I did say BURNS OUT. That's right folks for some reason or another video cards can overheat and die! Some tail tale tell signs that this is happening might be frequent freezes or crashes during 3d rendering. A simple fix might be to just try updating the video card drivers from the manufacturers website. Updated drivers are certainly a nice thing to have. but more often than not upping the driver alone isn't gonna fix your stuff. One easy thing to try is to open up your tower(That's the computers case) and expose all the little circuits inside. Once you've got that then you're going to take a house fan, you know one of those medium sized fans you plug into the wall usually comes with 3 speed settings, and you're going to put that directly in front of the opening of your computer tower and angle the thing so it faces down into it.

And that's it! Turn on the juice to the fan and your all set! In my experience a good house fan blowing air down on the internal workings of the computer is a good way of keeping overheating video cards temperatures down! Another thing you might wanna do is keep track of your air temperature by getting yourself one of those cheap little thermometers and placing it some where in the tower(away from most of the components) OR if you have a top air vent on your tower you can place it next to that... The idea is to place the thermometer some where where it can get a good sense of what the temp is inside your computer...In my experience also computers generally don't like the temp to be above 80 some odd degrees (varies by location).

So with a thermometer and a 3 speed fan you can up your fan speed as you notice the temperature increase!
For me that would be keeping the fan blowing on the thing at level 1 up until about 75 degrees then I kick it up a notch to speed 2...Anything over say... 78 I put it on the 3rd and highest setting.

Its the simple solutions to big problems that can be the most rewarding some times! And can enable you to avoid having to call up the computer repair guy!

Stay tuned for my next blog