Care Tips for Microsoft Laptop Users

posted in: Maintenance | 0

Care Tips for Microsoft Laptop Users or “The 5 most Common Mistakes that Destroy Microsoft Laptop Computers.”

From experience here are the main things Microsoft Laptop Users need to know about taking care of their laptop.  Avoid the following mistakes:

  1. Breaking the female power cord plug off inside the main board.laptop-plug

Too many people do not take care of the power cord connector and think when they break it they can just order another cord.  The break is usually inside the case and integrated into the main board.  In my local market, (York County, SC) Matt at Metrolina Computer is the only person who attempts a repair of this type.  It is a tedious, time consuming project, and often the repair does not hold up regardless of the effort.  “Hats off” to Matt, for taking in, and attempting, this type of laptop computer repair.

  1. Damaging the Hard drive by not replacing the battery.

Improper shut downs result when Windows is not shut down correctly.  The correct option and first choice is using the mouse.  If the mouse is frozen the 2nd option is holding the power on switch down for 5 full seconds.  Often users are in the habit of just closing the lid and allowing the laptop to sleep.  When the battery dies an improper “power loss” shut down occurs.  This causes corrupt os files and hard drive errors.

  1. Damaging the Hard drive by not shutting down the Software.

Even if your battery is good, it does not give you a free ticket to close the lid and carry the laptop around while it “sleeps.”  Settings in the laptop attempt to park the hard drive but I would never count on it.  Always shut your laptop down correctly with the mouse before moving it.  Windows 7 has a pretty good “disk error” check feature under hard drive properties, “tools” that can help correct if not correct hard drive errors.  Most people do not know how to use it or even when they need to.   The idea is to never need to.  This same feature in Windows 8 is a disaster but then again so is the OS in my opinion.

  1. Not performing required preventive maintenance.

Run the “disk clean-up” tool as well as defragmentation once a month.  These tools are found under All Programs\ Accessories \ System Tools.  Starting with Windows 7 the defragmenter is set to run automatically on Wed. morning at 1 am but most laptops are not running at that time.

  1. Spilling liquid on the keyboard.

Last, too often I get called that liquid has been spilled in the keyboard and the laptop will not come on.  PC techs can’t help you (other than retrieving your data from the hard drive) but there is one thing you can try.  With no warranty, you can remove the battery, take the laptop outside and wash it out with a water hose.  Don’t blow the keys off.  The trick now is too get it to dry.  This could require letting it sit in the sun for days.  If you get it completely dry inside, put the battery back in and it should work.  Again, we make no warranty but I’ve seen this fix the problem more than once and I am not familiar with a case where it did not.  Good luck.

Dale Poston

A1 Mobile Computer

Avoiding Viruses and other Malware

posted in: Viruses | 0

Six (6) Important Computer Tips to avoid Costly Viruses and other Malware

Malware includes all malicious software including viruses, spyware, adware, worms, rootkits, etc. However definitions in this case don’t really help solve the problem. As a PC-tech, I’ve been asked a thousand times, “Where does it come from and how did I get it?”

Malware comes from a lot of different places for a lot of different reasons but all of them have a few things in common and there are a few tips that can help us avoid most of it. 99.9% if not 100% come from the Internet but let’s be a little more specific. Malicious software mostly comes from places that care little to nothing about Americans. In fact one of the first things an Internet user should understand is that most of the rest of the world hates us and would enjoy nothing more than to create a virus that shut down even 10% of our computers. Others wish to exploit money from us. One of the more advanced systems I’ve seen included setting up a fake Yahoo Help website and a 1-800 number, and then hacking almost a million yahoo email addresses sending users to the Internet to call the wrong 800 number where they were told to pay $200.00 for a repair. Those who paid were not fixed.

We can talk about the different types and situations for longer than you want to read so let’s get to the point, what can you do or keep in mind to avoid it:

1. Always keep your Anti-virus / anti-spyware up to date. Most programs update by themselves for one year and then a new subscription must be purchased. We recommend Trend Micro and you can get it at our online store beginning August 31st. I know a lot of you might say this is a rip off because everyone knows that; well ask any tech, apparently not.

2. Avoid most everything that is free; free games, free music, free movies, free driver software like driver detective, free “speed up my PC” software, free “fix my computer” software, free, free, and free. I hate to say it but many people still don’t get it. Adobe and java updates are OK but I even decline the free gifts they offer at the time of the update. Take the checks out of, “Do you want blank, blank for free. The only other exception is I do have Chrome, Google’s free browser.

3. Delete your temporary Internet files often, especially if you see any unwanted popups.

Internet Explorer Browser showing Delete History Button
Internet Explorer Browser showing Delete History Button
Google Chrome Browser showing Delete History Button.
Chrome Browser showing Delete History Button.










4. Here is my number one favorite, from my own experience and knowledge, that I have never seen published anywhere before. Pay attention to the exact web address of any link you are not sure about before you click it. For example, even if you just hoover your cursor over any web link, the exact address will show up somewhere on your browser. Based on the web address, how secure do you believe the server is that hosts that website? If the web address is something like http://never-heard-of-this-before/xay23f6g/this-don’t-make-sense-either/fyh-56gla/a2dgyuk/,”I’m not going there.”

5. Don’t open emails that look suspicious even if you know the person. Viruses that live though emails attack address books; they will always be from someone you know. When in doubt about the content of the subject line, just delete it.

6. Last, if you think you have a bug don’t wait until your computer is almost dead before you get professional help. Often PC techs get computers we could have fixed a whole lot easier if we had it sooner. I can’t speak for everyone, but in general most PC techs I think are honest and we really don’t enjoy hearing “Why does it cost so much?,” “Can you fix it any cheaper?” and we know you don’t want to hear, “You should have brought it in sooner.” 

Dale Poston,

A1 Mobile Computer

Welcome to A1 Mobile Computer, Rock Hill, SC No.1 in Rock Hill, Fort Mill & Lake Wylie, SC!




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