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Should You Buy a Mac or a PC?

Mac or PC

Should You Buy a Mac or a PC?

It seems the debate about buying a Mac or a PC computer has been around since the beginning of the computing age, and there still appears to be no resolution in sight. These days however, the lines are blurring between the two operating systems, with the availability of cloud storage and cloud computing at the back end of both systems, and many of the same apps available to both.

Mac or PC
In truth, both machine types have always been very capable of accomplishing computing tasks, but have simply gone about it in different ways. There are still some reasons why you might want to purchase an Apple machine or a PC running the Windows operating system, depending on your personal preferences.

Here are some of the differences which might appeal to you personally, and sway you toward one computer versus the other.

Screen considerations

If you’re a big fan of touchscreen capability, you might want to lean toward a PC with the newest Windows operating system, because Apple has yet to incorporate touchscreen into its own technology portfolio. Users who prefer navigating with a swipe of their finger rather than using some kind of mouse are likelier to find a computer which appeals to them in the Windows arena rather than in Apple. On the other hand, Retina Display, which reduces glare and makes the screen easier to view for longer periods of time, is more apt to be found on Apple machines, and is not in widespread use on PC’s.

Availability

This is one major difference that is likely to remain intact for quite some time, since it has to do with the respective manufacturers. Mac computers are only available for purchase through Apple, whereas PC’s running Windows are available from a whole slew of different manufacturers. The practical impact of this is that Apple computers tend to be priced similarly no matter who you buy them from – but PC’s are available with a broad range of pricing, depending on what kinds of features are included on specific machines, and which manufacturer produced the machine.
It also means that when you need repairs, most take your Mac to an Apple computer repair service, whereas PC’s can be fixed by most repair companies, no matter who made the machine. As for us, we can work on both.

Performance

In terms of memory and hard drive storage, most PC’s have a slight edge over Macs. Whereas PC’s tend to have between 2 and 8+ GB of RAM, standard Mac machines generally come equipped with between 1 and 4 GB+ of RAM. The same difference holds true for hard drive space, with PC’s routinely providing more space than Macs.

 

Question to Ask Yourself before you buy

No days, buying either is much like buying a Ford or a Chevy. Which one do you like the most? Here are some questions that may help you identify what direction to go.

  1. Where is all my data now? Do you have data in the cloud such as movies, music, pictures, documents, etc? If it sits will Google you might just want to stick with a PC. If it sits with Apple you may want to move to Mac for better integration.
  2. What is my budget? If a new Mac is in the budget then great. Keep in mind for the same amount you spend on 1 Apple you might be able to get two very decent PC’s. PC parts are generally much cheaper to replace or repair.
  3. What do I use my computer for? If you use your computer for cruising the internet only, save the money and get a PC. If you require video, photo, and music editing, Mac has the edge. Game much? go with PC’s

At the end of the day this is your choice. Don’t let anyone settle you either way. We have customers that have switched to Mac’s and hate them. We have customers that switched to PC’s and hate them. Use your best judgement. Spend the right amount of money for you and give it some time to learn. Where most go wrong is comparing a $2000 Mac to a $500 PC. Be sure to compare equivalent prices when comparing Apples to PC. Our bet is you’ll get more bang for your buck with PC than a Mac, But which operating system to you like most?

 

 

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Slow Browsing? Faulty Internet or Computer?

SmashingComputers

Slow Browsing? Faulty Internet or Computer?

You’re all set for a fun session of surfing the internet, your mind is racing ahead with all the possibilities you want to explore and the results you are expecting to be pleased by – but for some reason, pages are loading slowly, images fill in at a snail’s pace, and navigation is so slow you could walk to the next site faster. What gives? What’s responsible for this agonizingly poor performance, that’s turning your pleasurable browsing time into a frustrating session of hair-pulling? You can of course, call your expert PC repair company, but you may want to check for some of these possibilities first.Slow Computers

Excessive number of add-ons

It’s fairly common for computer users to download too many add-ons, or even some that are somewhat malicious, over the course of their computer’s life, and many times these interfere with efficient browser functionality. It’s also entirely possible that you have downloaded a browser extension at some point which is itself a source of poor performance because it downloads ads and displays pop-ups whenever you open your browser. You can cure this yourself by searching for your browser’s extension manager and disabling the ones you don’t need.

Your computer has a virus or malware

Everyone knows that the Internet is is like a minefield loaded with viruses, malware, and spyware, and no matter how careful you are about the sites you visit, you have the potential to involuntarily download one of them every time you fire up your machine. Any of these malicious objects can slow your computer’s performance, because they’re running scans in the background which suck up machine cycles and resources. Luckily, there are a number of really good anti-virus, anti-malware programs which can protect your computer from most of the nasty stuff out there.

Too many programs running

While your computer is built to multi-task efficiently, it will inevitably slow down when you have a huge number of windows open with resources allocated to each of them. A big part of your computer’s capability for running multiple processes concurrently depends on how much random-access memory (RAM) it came with. RAM facilitates the processing of several programs at once. When the demands of all these programs exceed your RAM and your processing power, you’ll quickly begin to notice a slowdown. The obvious solution here is to just shut down some of the windows you’re using, to free up valuable resources. 

Your hard drive is nearly full

When you get to the point where your computer’s hard drive has reached about 90% of capacity, all processing will slow down to a virtual crawl. Full hard drives even prevent your machine from booting up properly. Periodically check how much storage is being used on your hard drive to make sure it never gets anywhere near this threshold. These days all kinds of files and other storage hogs can be moved to the cloud. Pull up your file manager and review applications and files which are taking up an enormous amount of space but not needed. After doing this, run CCleaner to empty out additional trash files. It may be time to replace the old hard drive with a new solid state drive.

 

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Tips on Knowing When to Buy a New Computer

When to buy a new computer

Tips on Knowing When to Buy a new Computer

Knowing when to buy a new computer can be tricky unless a catastrophic event like a hard disk crash, someone steals your laptop, or a piano falls on your CPU, forces you into action. Since most people don’t really know when it’s time to replace their computer, they tend to accept its operating quirks and work around them far longer than they really should.

When to buy a new computer

Of course, if you know a really good computer repair service, the technicians will tell you what the true condition of your machine is, but it will still help for you to observe behaviors which seem to be unusual or abnormal about your computer’s operation. Here are some warning signs that can help alert you to the fact it may be time to replace your old system. If you observe just one of these indicators, that may not be decisive on its own, but when you see several of these warning signs, it’s a pretty good bet that your computer is trying to tell you it’s ready for retirement.

New operating system won’t install

Years ago, most people used to stick with the operating system that was installed on the computer when they bought it, since new versions were only released every three or four years. Both Apple and Microsoft are now moving to the point where they release an operating system update on a near-annual basis, which is made available as a free download. When you can’t install the newest update on your machine, it’s a bad sign; however, sometimes there a workarounds.

Can’t run new apps and games

The requirements for new applications and video games are becoming greater all the time, and when you reach the point where you can’t run a lot of these on your machine, it’s time for some kind of upgrade.

Slow performance

This is probably most noticeable during boot-up time and when you have several tabs open at the same time. Granted, a good system cleaning may be all you need, but eventually even cleaning won’t help. Sometimes a Solid State Drive (SSD) or a memory upgrade can fix the slowness.

Running out of space and memory

Check on your available storage. How much hard drive space do you need? Do you have enough? Every once in a while, open file explorer and check it out. Also open task manager to see how much CPU and RAM is used up. If CPU usage is at 80% or greater, that could be a good sign that your computer’s hardware is close to being maxed out.

Can’t connect newer devices

This is one of the most tell-tale signs that your computer is aging. All new gadgets you want to try out simply don’t work when you try to connect them to your machine. For instance, when you try to hook up a brand-new 4K monitor to your system, and it looks like you need a new pair of glasses, that’s your computer shouting out ‘incompatibility’. It’s time to buy a new computer.

 

 

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Take Good Care of Your Computer

Take Good Care of Your Computer

Take Good Care of Your ComputerTaking good care of your computer directly affects its performance and its shelf life. It’s a good idea to make yourself aware of what affects the performance of your machine and what causes degradation. Cost of computers are down an awful lot but a computer purchase still represents a significant investment.

That means you should do whatever you can to keep it in good running condition, and avoid the necessity of computer repair. Without getting too deep into tech life, here are some things you can do that will help keep your computer in tip-top shape.

Keep it cool

Heat kills. Plain and simple. Heat may be the biggest single factor in your computer’s day-to-day performance. When the interior components of a computer get warm or hot, their performance is degraded. You’ll notice your computer running more slowly. Computer cases are designed the way they are, with vents strategically placed, and with fans that runs constantly to keep things cool. If you place your computer next to a wall and block any of those vents, you prevent the cooling system from functioning as intended. Make sure your PC is located somewhere so that all sides remain unobstructed, and air can be exchanged freely.

Keep it clean

Another computer killer is dust or debris. Both increase heat and degrade machine performance. Dust, cat hair, and smoke circulating in the air around your computer will automatically be sucked into the case and settle on the components.

If it gets severe enough, it will block gum up the fans and render air exchange non-operational. Keep in mind, even when properly placed there will still be dust. Periodically remove the cover, and blow away as much of that dust as possible with compressed air. Whatever you do, don’t use a rag or cloth to clean the interior, and never use traditional cleaning products when you’re cleaning the inside.

Keep it current

Your computer needs protection from more things than dust and heat. Nasty-minded folks out there will try to gain control of your machine, corrupt it, and hold it for ransom. Make sure you have good anti-virus software installed and keep it current, it knows  know how to stop all the latest malware on the Internet. While you’re at it, keep your computer current with the latest updates from Microsoft or Apple. Most updates are security-related and help keep your computer safe from attacks.

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Monthly Computer Maintenance Service

Computer Repair Laptop

Monthly Computer Maintenance Service is now available!

Monthly Computer Maintenance ServiceWe’re excited to present a new service offering that gives our customers the best protection, absolute prevention, and overall peace-of-mind regarding their technology; monthly computer maintenance service is now here! On a monthly basis, we’ll protect your personal information, secure your critical data, and clean up your system.

We know regular vehicle oil changes, routine doctors checkups, reviewing checking accounts, and servicing AC units before summer hits are all good practices; however, computer users forget about maintaining their computers until it’s too late. We remove malware from every system, every time; that’s a fact.

Computer users are going way to long without servicing their laptops and desktops. Software is constantly changing, hardware is still breaking, and security attacks will likely never cease.

We developed a program that will keep close eyes on the health of your system, every month. Our trusted professionals will remote in each month to inspect, repair, and optimize your computers. We’ll ensure your software is up-to-date, protection is working, and your computer is running as fast as it should be.

Our monthly service is one-of-a-kind and offers Protection, Prevention, and Peace of Mind!

Is it worth it?

If we’ve had the privilege of working with you in the past, you’ll know that the computer maintenance service is absolutely worth it. Below is a brief list of what this service has to offer:

  • Initial Tune Up and Setup Fee Included ($120 Value)
  • Prevent and remove viruses, spyware, bloatware, etc.
  • Update System Protection Software
  • Performance, Security, and Optimization Enhancements
  • Windows & Application Updates
  • Driver and BIOS Updates
  • Web Protection for all Home devices
  • 20% Discount On Additional Services
  • Keep it running smooth!

What is required?

There are no scary contracts; however, we do have a few requirements for our interested customers:

  • Internet connection and computer left powered on
  • Credit/Debit Card left on file for automatic billing
  • 12-month verbal commitment

What does monthly computer maintenance cost?

The price is $15 per month, per device. If you have more than 3 devices, we’ll work with you on special pricing.

 

Enroll Today!

[contact_form email=”brad@influxpc.com” subject=”Monthly Maintenance Enrollment”]

 

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How to identify fake emails used to steal info

FedEx Phishing Email Example

There are so many scams out there that are designed to steal your information. One of these scams is known as phishing. According to Wikipedia, “Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

FedEx Phishing Email ExampleSimply put, hackers draft and send emails and publish websites that look almost exactly like the real deal in hopes to steal your private information. Here is how they do it:

Hackers first create crafty email that use real logos, names, addresses, and information from your favorite shipping company, bank, auction house, and whatever other popular site you might use to take care of your virtual errands. These emails look legit but always have blatant red flags. They also always include a call to action and for you erroneously be tricked into clicking.

Do you see the red flag in the screen shot above?

The email is from someone called Gillian; however, the email address shows Erickalt@mail4y.com. Why would FedEx send an email from @mail4y.com instead of from @fedex.com? Another Red Flag you can’t see right away, but is there, is when you hover over the “click here” and “view messages” button; the links have nothing to do with FedEx and fedex.com is no where to be found even when hovering over the unsubscribe link.

Common Call to Actions found in phishing emails

  • Click Here
  • View this Message
  • Reset Your Password
  • Respond Immediately
  • Track Your Package
  • Download this File.

Keep in mind, if you delete the email, never respond, never click the link, or never download the file, their plan has failed. They never gain a thing by you just opening and reading the email.

Hackers use nearly identical websites that also contain logos, logon forms, password reset fields, and other basic information to get you to believe you are at the correct site. They hope you type in your real username, password, social security number, mothers maiden name, etc into their fake site. Submitting this information captures the data and then they turn around and use it to sign into your site later or sell your information onto the next thief. From there, there is no telling what they can get at.

These scams are not viruses or spyware so the best way to protect yourself against phishing attempts is to learn how to identify phishing emails. Here are some common tips.

How to identify fake emails used to steal info

  1. Fake URL’s – Keep an eye out for fake URL’s. You can see where the link goes before you click it by hovering your mouse over the link. Does the link go to a known website / URL? Never click a link until you are sure you know where it goes. For example, if your email came from “FedEx” but the link within the email goes to www.fedrex.com, you should not click it. Hackers are sly and hoping you don’t spot the mistake in their ‘from’ email address or domain name.
  2. Threatening or Pushy – Does the email sound threatening or pushy to get your personal information? No respectable company will ask you for passwords, birth date, PINS, or other sensitive information over an email. They will not threaten with lawsuits, cancellation of services, or increased fees by you not responding. So, unless you are expecting them to email you and you are aware of some kind of late payment then don’t be alarmed.
  3. Grammar – How is the spelling and grammar in the email? Sometimes just reading the email thoroughly will display grammatical red flags. Does the email sound like it is coming from a foreign country? If so, it probably is. Mass emails from real US companies that you likely do business with are carefully drafted and proofread multiple times before sent. You might find one mistake but the entire email will not be riddled with them.
  4. Sender’s Email Address – Look closely at the sender’s address. Does it match the right company? For example; if the email is from FedEx, did the person that sent you the email display @fedex.com or @mail4y.com? Never trust “business communication” sent from a public email domain such as Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
  5. Your Name – Check your name. Did the business address you by the correctly spelled name or is it something generic like, “Valued Customer”? Real companies have your real name and will likely use it; hackers, only have your email address and hopefully nothing else until you give it to them.

Ask yourself these simple question when dealing with Phishing emails.

  1. Do you recognize the sender? Am I affiliated with the person or company that is sending me the email?
  2. Are you expecting the email? Did I ever ship a package with FedEx? If not, why would they be reaching out?
  3. Are they threatening me? Is there a call to action that sounds urgent, severe, or threatening? Should I be expect this?
  4. Do the links match the sender?

Always error on the side of deleting the email if you cannot decide if it is a trick. Many times you can simply copy and paste a portion of the body into Google and you’ll get results indicating it’s a scam. You can also forward the email to support@influxpc.com and we’ll show you the red flags and let you know if the email is phishing or not.

Stay safe and avoid a nightmare by responding, clicking links, or providing these hackers with your personal information.

 

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Google Chrome expires on old operating systems April 2016

Chrome Nag
Please be aware that Google plans to end support for the Google Chrome web browser, running on older operating systems in April 2016. Be aware that Google will no longer update the application and will not release security patches after April. If you are running Google Chrome on an older operating system, you may begin seeing this message in your Chrome browser:
“​this computer will soon stop receiving google chrome updates because windows xp and windows vista will no longer be supported.”
​this computer will soon stop receiving google chrome updates because windows xp and windows vista

What does “no longer supported” mean?

By continuing to use the browser after April 2016, you will increase vulnerability to hacks, viruses, malware, and loss of personal information as Google will no longer release fixes to newly found problems with the browser. This only impacts customers using Windows XP, Vista, Max OS X 10.5 (or older) and also non-supported versions of Linux. If you are running Windows 7, 8, or 10 you are perfectly fine and may disregard. If you are still running Windows XP, get off now, it expired April 2015.

What options do I have?

This is a big deal but you have options to prepare you for April 2016. When Google no longer supports the Google Chrome browser you’ll want to already have one of these options completed.
  1. STOP USING GOOGLE CHROME ON OLD OPERATING SYSTEMS – This one is simple enough, just uninstall Google Chrome and stop using it on your old computer. Instead, use Internet Explorer or FireFox as your default browser. This will buy you time, at least until Windows Vista support expires in April 2017. Internet Explorer is already installed on your computer and FireFox is a free download, so there are not costs associated with this approach.
  2. UPGRADE YOUR COMPUTER TO WINDOWS 7 or NEWER –  Remember, Google Chrome is still supported on newer operating systems and is an awesome (the best!) web browser. Keep in mind, if you upgrade the operating system, you might as well upgrade the hard drive at the same time and give your system a complete overhaul.
  3. BUY A NEW COMPUTER – Buying a new computer is an expensive option; however, it might just be the best option depending how old your computer is. We can help you with determining what is best to do.

Here is the notification from Google regarding the end of support for Google Chrome web browser on older computer operating systems.

Are you ready? Let us know how we can help get you there.

Information from Google about Google Chrome

Google Chrome’s support for the following platforms will end in April 2016:
  • Windows XP and Windows Vista.

  • Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8.

  • Any 32-bit Linux, as well as Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise) and Debian 7 (Wheezy).

Starting April 2016, Chrome will continue to function on these platforms but will no longer receive updates and security fixes. If you are still on one of these unsupported platforms, we encourage you to move to a newer operating system to ensure that you continue to receive the latest Chrome versions and features.

FAQ

Q: When does support end for these platforms?
A: April 2016.

Q: Will I still be able to use Chrome on these platforms?
A: Yes, Chrome will continue to function as normal on these platforms. However, you will no longer receive updates and security fixes.

Q: Why is Google doing this?
A: These platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft and Apple. Such older platforms are missing critical security updates and have a greater potential to be infected by viruses and malware. In particular, computers running Windows XP haven’t received security patches in over a year and are facing a number of critical security vulnerabilities. At the operating system level, computers running XP are inherently in danger of being infected by malware and viruses, making it increasingly difficult for Chrome to provide a secure browsing environment. That is why we strongly encourage everyone to update to a supported, secure operating system.

Q: What should I do?
A: We encourage you to move to a newer operating system to ensure that you continue to receive the latest Chrome versions and features.

If your computer is not able to support these newer operating systems, you may want to consider investing in a modern computer, Mac or Chromebook.

 

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What should I do with my old laptop?

Pile of Old Laptops
We receive a lot of questions regarding old computers and laptops but the most frequent is, “what should I do with my old laptop computer?”
Costs of laptops and desktops have plummeted as tablets and phones have become more powerful. We frequently see customers go out and get new laptops and computers way sooner than theyPile of Old Laptops
actually need to because of these low prices. The need for the latest and greatest technology, or impatience for slowness, and sometimes the lack of understanding of how to fix the problem, creates piles of old computer equipment that lay around the house. So customers are asking, “what should I do with my old laptop?”
Here are a few questions we normally ask to find out more about your old equipment.
  1. What is the make and model? (this can easily be found on the lcd screen bezel or even the sticker on the bottom of the laptop.)
  2. How old is the laptop?
  3. What is the current operating system?(Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10?)
  4. Why did you stop using it?
  5. Can you find a purpose for it?

After hearing the answers to those questions, our response is almost always the same; “breathe new life into it!” If your old laptop is running Microsoft Vista or newer, it’s well worth the money to find a purpose for it and then refurbish it for use. If your laptop is running Windows XP, you might not want to bother with it; however, this depends on you.

What’s the Purpose?

First, find a purpose for the old laptop or desktop computer. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Donate it to someone.
  2. Sell it.
  3. Let the kids use it.
  4. Use it for road trips or while working in the garage.
  5. Use it for surfing the internet and/or streaming media anywhere.
  6. Strip it for parts.
  7. Get creative and turn it into something useful.

If there is no purpose and you just want to throw it away or recycle it, then be sure to remove the hard drive first. Leaving the hard drive in the computer you are about to recycle leaves your personal data vulnerable even if you think you did a good job erasing it all. We can manage this for you. Simply drop off the computer at any of our drop off locations and we’ll securely destroy the information, and then donate/recycle/dispose of computer for you at no cost.

Moving on, let’s say you want to repurpose it, give it to a friend, or just want to start using it again. Here are the upgrades worth investing in to breathe new life into that old laptop.

Hard Drive

First, let’s talk about the hard drive. Hard drives typically last 5 years and then they start slowing down and/or failing. Replacing your old hard drive is an absolute must if you want to speed up your old laptop. Go solid state. Solid State hard drives typically range from $60-$175 depending on how much storage you actually need and want on your old laptop. Keep in mind this old laptop is being repurposed and you won’t likely need a whole lot of storage space unless you are going to turn it into a media server. Go with a Samsung Evo 850 250GB or higher. If you know you will not put any personal data on it, you might want to go even cheaper with a 120GB Solid State drive. A hard drive upgrade will be the single greatest upgrade for your old laptop. You should see a 40% – 70% increase in performance compared to when the laptop was brand new. Boot up should take a matter of seconds and you will see positive and instant results. It may even have you questioning, “did I need to buy a new laptop in the first place?”

Operating System

Many agree that Microsoft seems to release Windows operating systems in a good-then-bad-then-good again pattern. For example:

Windows 98 = Good
Windows Millennium (ME) = Bad
Windows XP = Good
Vista = Bad
Windows 7 = Good
Windows 8 = Bad
Windows 10 = Good

Now, even though we think Microsoft Vista is old and terrible, we don’t believe it is as bad as it used to be. Vista has gotten much better over the years. Vista will be just fine for web surfing, streaming, and general typing applications, etc. For a backup machine or a repurposed laptop, save money and keep Vista. Vista will do what you need it to do and it will save you a little extra money without having to buy a Windows 7 or higher. If you really want to do it right then do yourself and the world a favor and help end the life of Microsoft Vista. Order a legit copy of Windows 7 and then attempt to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. This can be done for ~$60.

Once you install Windows 7 with the new media and license key on the new solid state hard drive, be sure to run all Windows 7 updates and then try to run the Windows 10 upgrade. The upgrade process will tell you right away if your old hardware is compatible with Window 10 or not. If not, at least you are at Windows 7. If so, then great, you just upgraded to Windows 10.

Keep in mind, all operating systems have an end of life date assigned. End of life means Microsoft will no longer support your operating system by releasing security hole patches. See chart below, Vista is supported until April 2017; however, it is possible they could extend a year or 2. My guess is Microsoft won’t extend because they know how terrible Vista was and not many businesses adopted it.

Inline image 1

Memory & Misc

If you have less than 4GB of RAM, then we recommend upgrading your memory to a minimum of 4GB. Try to order and install the max amount of RAM your motherboard will handle for the best experience. If you have 2GB of RAM, don’t let it stop you from refurbishing the laptop; your hard drive will make the most difference and 2GB of memory will be fine.

Laptop batteries typically last 2-3 years and are ~$20. Why not order and replace this if your current battery is not keeping a good charge?
What will you do with your old laptop?
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Dell Inspiron 3541 Virus Removal

Virus Removal Needed

We had a patient this week, a Dell Inspiron 3541 laptop that needed our virus removal service. The notebook was brought in by an ASU student that desperately needed to get the machine back up and running to complete her homework assignments. Her mom, who lives in California, found us on Google by typing in “Avondale az pc repair” and found our impressive customer satisfaction rating at 4.9 of 5 stars! She also loved our 5-day guarantee and $120 flat rate. She mentioned that our $120 flat rate service was much better than Office Max’s $165, non-flat-rate and referred us to her daughter.

The laptop was actually in great physical condition and was brand new to the customer. There were only 3 problems that she wanted to be resolved; 1. Viruses, 2. Windows 8 Tiles, and 3. Cannot watch DVD’s

Antivirus Cloud GraphicViruses

The viruses were self-inflicted from clicking questionable links on the internet and in an email. The virus attacked her antivirus software and took it out of commission. We removed the no longer functioning Antivirus software and put on a Free program that auto-updates and scans and is much better than what she was using. We also used our bag of tricks to remove everything from the system. In fact, we left some tools on her desktop in case she runs into another issue in the future.

Windows 8

Windows 8 really isn’t a problem. Sure she didn’t like the tiled start screen and start button hiding underneath it, but Windows 8 is actually a great operating system. Tomorrow Windows 10 will be released (hopefully). She qualifies for the free upgrade but will likely hold off until she has us upgrade it for her. In the meantime, we installed a program called ClassicStart that automatically skips the tiled start screen and changes the Start button back to the Windows 7 style functionality. Yay for Windows 10 going back to a classic start button style.

Can’t Watch DVD’s

While Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Pandora, and all other streaming multimedia source are gaining popularity but there are still some that want to play their DVD’s or CD’s on the computer. This is fine, except that Microsoft doesn’t include DVD player software that will do this for you. We installed a free player for her and trained her how to use it.

Recommendations

We recommend a SSD hard drive and an online backup solution be put on all systems; however, they were not entirely necessary for what she uses her computer for. Other than that the repair was quite easy and she had the laptop back in ~24 hours. Now that is service!

What’s wrong with your PC? How can we help?

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How to Fix the “Couldn’t Install on USB or SD Card” error message on Android

Have you ever seen this message on your Android phone? I have been an avid user of Android since the very first Android Google Phone; the T-Mobile G1. I am now using the T-Mobile G2 which is really a HTC Desire Z and I love it. Now I have my eyes set on the G2x. I have never really experienced any problems with my phones until the other day. The market would show I have several updates that needed to be installed. I’d click the “Update All” icon and wait for them all to download. This is where I started noticing a problem. All the installations were for some reason unsuccessful. After clicking on the Installation was unsuccessful notification I would get an error message similar to the one here that said “Installation Error: Couldn’t install on USB storage or SD Card.” As you can imagine this to be super frustrating. What’s this? An Angry Birds update? Awesome! WHAT?!?! NOOOO! It’s not updating! I tried several basic troubleshooting steps like powering down the phone and powering it back on, mounting and unmounting the SD card, pulling the battery and SD card and replacing; nothing.

Here is a simple tutorial on how to fix the problem without losing any of your data. Although you will not lose your data it is always good practice to back it up before tampering with it. Please follow these instructions to get rid of this annoying Android caused Error Message. As far as I am aware all Android phones are prone to this message at one point or another. The problem appears to stem from a corrupt app installation and the temporary/cache file needs to be cleared.

 

  1. Plug the phone into your computer via USB cable.
  2. Tap the “Turn on USB Storage” on your device.
  3. Copy the contents of your SD Card / “Removable Disk” to a safe place on your computer. *If you do not have a current backup of your data.
  4. Find and Open the .android_secure folder on your Android’s SD Card.
  5. Find the file named smdl2tmp1.asec and rename it to smdl2tmp1.asec_backup.
  6. Tap the “Turn off USB Storage” button on your phone.
  7. Unplug your phone, power it off, and power it back on.
This method will fix the error message and get you using the latest Android Market apps and games.
Please let us know how this method works for you!