Chiphead’s Tips

Upgrade to Windows 10 or wait?

If you are using and like Windows 8.1 you will probably really like Windows 10. We have had it pre-installed on some of our systems at the shop and it seems very nice. Of course people use computers for different things so the experience will be subjective as usual 🙂 As with any upgrade and for any computer user who has valuable information on their computers, you should have a current backup of all your documents, music, pictures, emails, any program disks you have purchased that cannot be re-downloaded. This is in case the upgrade fails, which is not common, but not rare either. Chipheads can help you set up a backup plan and you should have one today if you do not already and regardless of whether you plan on upgrading or not. Just give us a call and we can talk about options. As for advice on whether to upgrade upon release or wait, that is also a tough one. Windows 10 will be free for a year for people running Windows 7 and versions of 8, so unless you want some of the new features there is no reason to rush into it. There will almost certainly be issues that need fixing, but who knows if they are serious enough to justify waiting. What are some of those new features? This article does a good job describing them:


Chipheads After Care Guide

For answers to a couple of Frequently Asked Questions… click HERE for a PDF document. Virus writers are winning! Many of our customers with complete software protection and up to date anti-virus software are getting infected and re-infected with “Scareware” programs. The writers of these programs are doing there best to stay ahead of software protection programs. Please read this article to better understand the problem. At the moment the only solution is safe browsing habits (see below.) Read “Fake Anti-virus Peddlers Outmaneuvering Legitimate AV” by clicking HERE.

Read “Facebook, Twitter Can’t Stop Poisoned Links” by clicking HERE.

How to protect yourself from Malware We are often asked why a system gets infected with Malware (Malevolent software such as Virus, spyware, adware, Trojans, Key loggers, etc. etc.) even when you have good anitivirus protection and use spyware blockers and scanners. Computers are horrible at protecting themselves. They rarely know the difference between legitimate software and Malware. Even when working properly, virus and spyware protection acts much like the seatbelts and bumpers on your car, that is they do a great job of protecting you in fender benders and low speed collisions, but won’t do anything if you hit a tree doing 150 MPH. So what to do? Is there no way to protect yourself from these threats? In fact it is very easy to protect yourself by learning and using SAFE BROWSING HABITS. By learning safe web browsing habits, you can avoid being tricked into installing abusive software on your computer. Unfortunately it is up to you to educate yourself. To help you do this, please read the following articles. If you take the time to read them carefully, you will save yourself hundreds of dollars in repair bills. Note: Even though all these articles are from reputable sites, I would avoid clicking on any ads that may be displayed… in fact the quickest and easiest way to keep your computer clean is never to click on ANY internet ads, pop up or otherwise, on any web site, ever!

Microsoft has released a new book aimed at helping teenagers stay safe while online, but you know what? Adults can learn from it too. Click on the link below to read it: “Own Your Space–Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online” Digital Book for Teens Security Secrets the Bad Guys Don’t Want You to Know <- From PC World, the first section is a bit technical, but the “scareware” section is good. 5 Dangerous Myths Safe Surfing Safe Surfing for kids How to protect against “drive by” malware What is Malware? <- May be bit technical Recognizing phishing e-mails 9 More Common Virus Myths

How to backup your computer

Click HERE for a great article explaining how and what you need to backup. How to prepare your system for service If possible, You should do a backup of your system; preferably a complete backup, but at least backup your critical data files (documents, Quicken or Money files, tax returns, etc.). A good backup plan will help protect you from data loss whether you need service or not. Don’t have a backup, or your system isn’t functioning well enough to perform one? We do offer back up services. Carefully disconnect all the cables from the back of your machine. Sometimes it’s a good idea to label the cables, so you remember where they go when you get the system back. Use common sense when transporting your machine. Tied to the car roof or in the bed of a pickup are bad ways to bring your machine to us (this has actually happened). Take care not to drop the unit or bang it on things while you’re carrying it. If you have a tower case, lay it on it’s side so it won’t fall over if you have to make a sudden stop. Take a few minutes to gather up the following information. While not absolutely necessary, this can save a lot of time and frustration. – Any and all program CD’s that came with your computer and that you have purchased – AC adapter power cord for laptop computers – If you are having problems with a specific piece of hardware, like a scanner, bring that item along with the computer. Also, don’t forget the cable that attaches the unit to the computer and the power cable/adapter. – Anything else that we may have asked you to bring. It’s better we have it and don’t need it than the other way around.

What to expect

When you come to Chipheads, we’ll get some information from you and discuss possible solutions. Then we’ll get to work. While your machine is being serviced, we may contact you by phone to get additional information about a problem or to request authorization to replace parts. Keep in mind that sometimes fixing one problem can uncover another problem. For example, one customer brought her machine in because the hard drive had failed. When we replaced the drive, we discovered that the reason her drive had failed was a bad main board, which also had to be replaced. Remember that we are looking out for you first, and will not recommend replacing parts unless it’s necessary. If there’s something that you don’t understand, speak up and don’t be shy! Sometimes, we will have to delete and reinstall Windows to correct a software problem. This means that you will have to reinstall your applications and/or data files, as well as set up your icons and such. Although inconvenient, this situation is sometimes unavoidable, and we cannot take responsibility for any data loss that may occur during this process. This is why having backups is important (see How To Prepare above). Federal copyright laws prohibit us from installing any software you don’t legally own. If you cannot provide us with a licensed copy of a software title, such as Windows or Microsoft Office for example, and we cannot establish ownership through searching your computers registry or other information, we may not be able to install that software until you obtain a legal copy.

What NOT to expect

While we’re very good technicians, we’re not omnipotent (although we’re working on it), and you should be realistic in your expectations.For example, replacing a CMOS battery will not fix a corrupt hard drive or bad ram. Communication is key. Let us know if anything isn’t right, and give us a chance to correct it. Please feel free to ask us to clarify things if you’re not sure of the costs involved. Once in a great while, the cost of repairs may exceed what the machine is worth. If this is the case, we will tell you about it and let you know what can and cannot be done. If the machine is un repairable, we reserve the right to charge a minimum shop fee as we spend quite a bit of time and effort in diagnosis.

Onsite Service

We offer Onsite Service at an hourly rate. While we do our best to use our experience and judgment to do as much as we can while we are onsite, we can only fix problems apparent at the time of the visit. Unfortunately, we cannot stay at your house or office for extended periods of time while you use every facet of the machine. Your pizza and Mountain Dew bills alone would cripple the economy. Instead, we ask you to call us if problems persist. Additional troubleshooting may be required as over time we work together to uncover more clues as to what is causing the problems. We want to help, but we can only take responsibility for things under our control. Also the nature of computers makes it possible for someone to accidentally “undue” the work we have done. We make every effort to inform you of what we have done and what you should or shouldn’t do, but the fact is many problems have multiple causes. In these cases additional onsite charges may apply, though we make every effort to work with you and usually reduce minimum onsite times for ongoing problems that take multiple visits to completely solve.

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