Archive for the Category ◊ Uncategorized ◊

Microsoft is Forcing Windows 10 on All Computers this month
Friday, February 05th, 2016 | Author:

If you have a Windows 7 computer (or Vista) you do not need, nor do you probably want the Windows 10 “upgrade” Windows 10 does work on some older computers without problems. However, there is no guarantee it will work with every one as I am finding out.

I have had to revert several computers this past month back to Windows 7 or Vista because Windows 10 was not compatible with their older computer. From sound not working to the Internet not working, there are some problems with older computers and Windows 10.

I have not been happy how Microsoft is pushing Windows 10, but now they have really gone over the top.

This month their Wednesday updates which are due out soon, will be pushing out Windows 10 on your regular Windows updates. They say they will give you the option to not upgrade or not, but you have to really pay attention and refuse it when it offers it. Generally they do not give you a NO button, you just have to deselect it or uncheck it.

I know you have probably been getting the annoying messages daily, but we just have to keep putting up with that for now. Just keep ignoring it if you do not want 10.

There are a few steps you NEED to take to make sure the automatic update to 10 is not installed on your computer.

HOW TO AVOID AUTO DOWNLOAD OF WINDOWS 10
I have attached a screen shot of what your windows update settings should be set to.

Go to your Control Panel>Windows Update

Click on Change Settings on the left upper side of the screen

Click on the down Arrow under Important updates and change it to Check for updates but let me choose…

Uncheck the box that says Recommended Updates, give me recommended updates the same way…

Now the Updates will ask you each time before it  installs updates. You need to take a minute and look at the updates  each time and make sure Windows 10 is not on the list to update on your computer. If it is, you can uncheck it, and then let the rest of the updates run.

Oh NO, Windows 10 is now on my computer, what do I do?

Don’t panic, if Windows 10 is on your computer and you want to revert back to Vista or 7, it is pretty easy.

Click on the start MENU>Settings. Then click on RECOVERY.

Click on the GET STARTED button under Go Back to Windows 7.

That is it. It will reinstall Windows 7 or Vista, whatever was installed before 10 took over.

 

One Last tip that helps:

If you go into Windows updates and see the Windows 10 update listed and sitting there ready to download in the list of updates, Here is what you do.

Go to Windows update and look at the list of important updates. See if Windows 10 is there. If not, click on the RECOMMENDED Updates and see if Windows 10 update is listed there. If not in either spot, don’t worry about this step. If it is there, follow the directions below:

RIGHT click the Windows 10 update it and click on HIDE Update. I found that this is another safeguard to not get the Windows 10 update, even if you accidentally click YES on the nagging window, it will just not install with the update “HIDDEN”

JAVA Problem Update
Sunday, January 27th, 2013 | Author:
JAVA Problem – Update

I have been eagerly following the JAVA problem and waiting for a solution. I apologize for not getting right back to you on this, but I did not want to jump the gun before I was sure there was a solution.

Even though there has been an update, from my research I am not satisfied from that JAVA is safe or even needed at this point. I have personally removed/uninstalled JAVA from my system and I have not had any website or program problems from not having it installed.

JAVA is not used as much as it used to be, and most people don’t need it.

Here is how to remove JAVA

XP – Go to control Panel, Add Remove programs and remove

Vista/Win 7 – Go to Control Panel>Programs & Features and Remove

FBI Fake Virus Warning
Monday, September 24th, 2012 | Author:

A good friend and fellow repair guy from MN emailed me with this one, then Dawn told me that a customer of ours got this virus and is bringing it in today. So this one is hitting a lot of people right now.

This is a bad one, and we are working on the removal process.

It looks like an FBI warning, claims you have done illegal things with your computer, and you are violation of laws and you hate puppies (ok, not really puppies). It also turns on the webcam if you have one, and shows your picture on the screen. It is freaky and scary because it looks like they are monitoring you, but it is only a virus. Below is what it looks like on a screen.

The page goes on to tell you to go to one of the companies listed, buy a money card, then enter it in to pay for your fines. PLEASE do not do anything like this. If you get this virus, you computer will be locked up and you will need to bring it in so we can remove it.

If you have this virus and this screen,  it is too late and Control+alt+Del will not work.

However if you get a suspicious page or pop up, you can try using Control+Alt+Delete to close the window and it may help prevent getting the virus. We are not positive how this one is getting on the computer.

Just a reminder, here is the good ol’ technique to get rid of suspicious windows Hit Control+Alt+Delete, then choose task manager, then highlight the task and click on end task.

If you get a weird window, and do this process, reboot your computer and run a full Virus scan.

Category: Uncategorized  | 2 Comments
Bad Adobe Update Messes up Internet Explorer
Friday, September 14th, 2012 | Author:

The good thing is, this is not a security issue, as much as a problem and your browser will not work correctly.

I know I always tell you to do Adobe updates, they do have important security issues that get fixed. But in this case, you may have gotten a bad update.

Well, this time, there was a bad Adobe update, and it really messes up Internet Explorer. It acts like a virus or hijack, but it is NOT that bad. It is just a problem (as far as I know)
How do you know you have the bad one?

If you are having seriously slow pages loading, or other problems displaying a page, but some pages work, then you need to download the latest Adobe Flash, which will fix it.
Basically Internet Explorer will just act strange and not like normal. Just using another browser is not the answer, you need to get this fixed.

All you need to do, is go to the Adobe Website and download the latest Flash player. Because your browser is slow, it may take a while, be patient. Make sure you download the latest Flash player. Currently the version is 11.4.402.265.

When you click on this link to download the latest play, make sure you UNcheck the added junk they are trying to put on your computer, like Chrome browser, etc. Then say RUN when it asks.

Here is the link. http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

If you have any questions on this, just email or call us.

http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=7c073d806bfbd148adbc37513&id=44197fdd6f&e=49ca48e0d5

Verizon Wireless email bill Phising Scam
Wednesday, September 05th, 2012 | Author:

Here is another phishing scam that almost caught me clicking on it quickly.

 

I thought it was my Verizon bill coming in my email, like it does monthly. Being the first part of the month, I figured it was the bill.

When I looked at the $2700 bill, I freaked and almost clicked on it. Thankfully I took a deep breath and did not.

This is a fake email, made to look just like Verizon. The link goes to a bogus website and they will have you put in all kinds of personal info, and then steal your identity.

We all know we should back up the information on our computers. We think about it, we wonder about it, then eventually plan to do it later.

The problem is, later may be too late. I am not trying to be overly dramatic, but backups are critical if your information is important.

There are 3 main things that people need to backup, Documents, Pictures and business information. There are a lot of other important things people need, but those are the most critical that are hard if not impossible to recreate.

Here is my reason for doing this Blog Entry

We had a computer come in the shop for serious virus infestation. We were scanning the hard drive, and it died in the middle of scanning. Every attempt was made to get the drive working, but it failed big time.

There was no way to recover the data because it was a hardware failure which is very common in hard drives. The person’s extensive business information was on there, and there was no backup at all.

If you do not have your information backed up and it is important to you, you have a pretty good chance of losing it all.

It’s a Hard Life!

Did you know that many hard drives only have a year or two warranty, does that tell you something?

Hard drives are little metal disks that typically spin around at 7,200 RPM. They do this continuously and they do have an expected service life. That is why the warranty is so short, and you pay more money for a hard drive that has a longer life.

I see hard drives in both laptops and towers die all the time. I probably have 2 or 3 a month that come into the shop. They can mechanically die and the electronics can also go out. One common factor I see in many bad hard drive cases is a very dirty computer inside.

Also laptops do get banged around and moved while they are on, and that little hard drive is spinning it’s little life away as you move it.

You absolutely cannot trust a single hard drive to store very important information, chances are it will fail at some point in time.

Here are the options along with advantages and disadvantages of each method

Floppy Disks (ok, that was a joke. You can not even fit a single 10 megapixel digital photo on a floppy disk)

1. External Hard Drive – This is quickly becoming the norm and most economical method of backing up data. The hard drives can store more and more data and they are getting cheaper. You hook it up with a USB connector and set up the schedule and that is about it.

There are a couple of negatives. First of all it is a hard drive, and it is sitting on the desk or wherever, and it can get dropped. So it can die on it’s own, and you or the kids can help it die by knocking it over, which can happen.

The other negative is that some of the software is really junk that comes with the hard drives. The good thing is that Windows 7 does have a really nice and easy backup built into Home Premium.

2. CDs & DVDs – This is probably one of the safest and best way to back up your information, especially archivally. CDs will hold around 700 megbytes of data and a DVD will hold about 4.2 Gigabytes.

The DVD will hold a lot more and is really the one to use to back up a lot of stuff. You can also get dual layer DVDs that hold even more, and Blue Ray can hold up to 25 GB of data.

The main disadvantage is it is a bit more manual, you do need to insert a disk each time, then put them somewhere. The advantage for seriously critical data is you can keep a copy of the information at another location in case of fire, flood or ????

Even if you choose another method of backup, creating a backup DVD once in a while is not a bad idea, just to be on the safe side.

3. Online Service – There are numerous online services out there to back your information such as Carbonite, Mozy, iDrive and many of the Anti-Virus companies are offering online backup services.

This is not a bad way to go. They back up your data when your computer is not being used and they have multiple data sites that store your information so if disaster hits they have your data.

The negative is that they have your data. They have privacy policies and they also encrypt your data so only you are supposed to be able to access it, but I still feel a bit weird about trusting a company with my personal or business information.

Also, when you back up at first, it can take up to a month to get all your data backed up, then after that it is much faster. Also if you have to recover the data it takes a long time. I am not a fan of online services, but for some they work ok.

4. Network Attached Storage – This option is a little more advanced and not quite as easy to setup, but in my opinion it is a very good option and much better than a single external hard drive. The other really cool thing is that you can backup other computers on your network.

This is a very good option for a small business with a couple of computers.

A NAS can also act as a media server, which will allow you to view computer media files (movies & Photos) on newer TVs & Blu Ray Players, but that is a bit more advanced and a whole other topic!

The NAS looks like a little toaster or mini computer. It has multiple hard drives, usually 2 or more. The drives are set up so information is put on both drives and if one fails, the other one has the info also. It is a redundancy that the external drive does not have.

You can just set the software to backup automatically and even have it back up a file right after you save and close it, so your backup is constantly monitoring your files. I have this for my business and I have to tell you, it is one of the best investments I have made.

The down side is that they start at around $300 and go up from there depending on how much storage and the quality of the unit. The other thing that is tough for many people is the software and installation is not always straight forward and can be hard to set up.

5. USB Memory Stick/Flash Drive – Many people want to use this to backup data, but I would not recommend it. These drives are made for temporary storage and you can erase them. I know people use them, but I would not recommend them for long term storage.

Final Thoughts
Every person and business have different needs and finances so there is not one answer to which method is best for each person.

Whatever method you choose, you need to make a decision, create a backup plan and stick to it. That way you won’t have to hear, “I hate to tell you this, but your hard drive is dead, and we cannot recover your information…”

Category: Uncategorized  | 25 Comments

I have been using Windows since before there was Windows, including GEM Desktop, BASIC and DOS, Windows1, 2, 3.0, 3.1, ME, 2000, NT, XP, Vista. Anyone remember Microsoft Bob??

I have to say after seeing and using Windows 7 for over a year now, it is the best operating system that Microsoft has come out with. That also includes the best released version, as most of the time when Windows comes out there are a ton of problems.

Not with Windows 7. Microsoft did the thing all us geeks wanted for a long time. Beta Testing. Beta testing put the software in thousands of experienced (and sometimes not so experienced who dared try it) for quite a while to test and use and report problems before it was released to the general public.

Many companies do this with their software, but for some reason Microsoft has always thought they know best, and we know they don’t know best most of the time.

So now it has been out, you have heard all the great things about it. Should you upgrade?

I would look at two main factors. What operating system (version of Windows) did your computer come with, and is your hardware compatible with Windows 7.

If your system is more than about 3-4 years old, I would probably say your machine will be on the borderline. If it came with XP it is this old and it came with XP, there is a pretty good chance it might not be worth it. Anything older, I would not even try it.

If you have Vista, it is definitely a consideration. If the computer came with and can run on Vista, usually it will run with Windows 7 pretty well. Some of the older Vista machines might need a RAM upgrade, which it should have with Vista also.

Many early Vista models came out with too little RAM with Vista running on them.

One thing you can do is download and run the Windows 7 upgrade advisor. It will check your hardware to make sure it is compatible, and it will also advise you if you need updated drivers for certain items on the computer.

You can download and run the advisor from Microsoft here.

Ok, so let’s say you have a machine that is not too old, and passes the upgrade advisor without any problems, now what version do you choose?

There are 4 main choices, Starter, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. For almost everyone, the home premium is the ticket and all you need.

The Professional is a bit more for higher end needs, such as business or power users.

Ultimate is for those people who need the top of the line of everything, and there are very little extras that it includes.

The things that Home Premium do not have are very few and usually not needed. With all the work I do, and networking here in the office, I still use Home Premium on all the office computers.

Some of the few things Professional has that Home does not have: The ability to join a domain, (more advanced networking most folks do not do).

There is a Full blown XP mode for running special applications that require XP. There is a backup and restore for the entire network (home allows you to back up each computer individually.)

The other feature that some people need is the ability to get onto that home computer while they are somewhere else, and this is called Remote Desktop.

That is about the only differences and for about 97% of people, Home will do just fine. The ultimate add options for 35 languages and bitlocker security which is a higher form of security for a whole drive volume, again, not something most people want or need.

Here is a nice comparison list to show you the different versions.

If you are in the market for a new computer, you don’t really have a choice any more, Windows 7 is the OS that is available.

So if you have a system that is a bit older, and you are not ready to buy a new one just yet, you might wait on upgrading to 7, and getting yourself into a new system when you can. The move to a good computer running Windows 7 is really a nice move.

Category: Uncategorized  | 6 Comments
Another Reason to Stay off of Facebook
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 | Author:

If you have read any of my previous blog posts, I am not a fan of Face Book, in fact I dislike it so much, I advise customers to not use it, and if they do, give them some cautions.

I used Facebook for a bit, then left. Then one day an old friend wanted to connect, so I went back on and “signed” back up. But I did not have to sign back up. I just put in the old login information, and all the stuff that I wanted removed when I quite, was all there.

Freaky scary and it really convinced me to leave and stay off of Facebook.

Facebook’s security policy has been a joke, and you had to have a programmers degree to figure out how to opt out of things you did not want, and how to not share certain information.

Finally enough people put up a fuss, they finally changed it. But honestly, most people just don’t pay attention to the security settings or the ramifications of using a site where your life is put in front of everyone in the world.

Now they have delved deeper into the world of giving your private information away.

Facebook has recently announced that they are making user phone numbers and addresses available to developers. Developers are the people who write the games and applications on Facebook.

I am sure most developers are legit, but some developers do write suspicious or even malware type code, and not to mention the people who write viruses and put them on Facebook for all the world to enjoy and share.

If you insist on being a Facebookie, one of the ways you can be more diligent on your Facebook security is to subscribe to the Sophos Security Facebook page, which has very good information and always up to date information on making your Facebook account more secure.

Facebook is already plagued with viruses and others writing code to trick people into giving up information, so this is just another negative on the I hate Facebook bandwagon.

Here is a very good Blog article on this new decision by Facebook.

Rogue Facebook apps by Graham Cluely

And finally here is my favorite sentiment about Facebook, if you have not seen this, it is hilarious.

Facebook is a stupid idiot video by David Ippolito

Category: Uncategorized  | 5 Comments
Decorations are Down & Donation Update
Thursday, January 06th, 2011 | Author:

 

Last Sunday Jan 2nd, we took down the lights and packed them away until next year. After the show on Jan 1st, I unplugged the radio transmitter, and shut down the PC that runs the show.

If you were not able to get to the display, or you have seen it and would like to see it again, we have captured most of the show on video, on our website. Check it out Cascade Christmas Lights 2010 Videos

Being the first year I have done the BIG time show, it was somewhat depressing. I think I have light-postpartum syndrome! It is just so dark and drab in the front yard now (not to mention inside the house…)

You know what is really funny and maybe even a bit twisted? I received a sample of some light products I ordered to see how they would work for the 2011 display. I also have started the design and layout for the yard and house.

I cannot wait until Thanksgiving when the next display is up. Christmas will be year round around here now. This next display is going to be BIG BIG BIG and not just lots of stuff, but really cool effects and synchronization.

Here is some exciting news. We have totaled up what we have collected from wonderful people donating to the Soup Kitchen. We received 111 lbs of food, packs of socks and $452 in donations. We are so excited to be able to give so much to the Soup Kitchen.

Thank you to all that helped out this year in donating and being so generous.

I will keep updating the blog on how the project is going this year. Don’t be surprised to see posts here all spring and summer, and of course in FALL!

Paul

Category: Uncategorized  | 2 Comments
Happy New Year!
Saturday, January 01st, 2011 | Author:

We are just about an hour away from a new year, and what a year it has been. This year was our busiest year at Ye ol’ Repair shop, and it was buzzing all year.

Along with that busy, I decided to embark on a Huge project, a computerized Christmas light display. It was a lot of work, but it was very fun and fulfilling.

As the new year starts, I will be back here with more good tips and tricks and information on computers and tech kinds of stuff that will be helpful, informative and hopefully fun at times.

Have a Happy New Year, and see you soon!

Paul