January 2016 Newsletter

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Windows 10 Upgrade News

For those who have not read my previous newsletters regarding upgrading to Windows 10, let me give you a quick review. Windows 10 was released on July 29th, 2015 and is offering the software for free for all licenced Windows 7 and 8 users for 1 year. As of December 31st, 2015 over 200 million computers have been upgraded to Windows 10. Previous Windows releases have taught us to be cautious due to bugs that are revealed when a new operating system is installed on millions of computers. We typically have warned people not to upgrade for at least 6 months. However, this time Microsoft surprised us. It only took a couple of days before we were flooded with people asking for us to upgrade them. And due to the success we were having upgrading those machines, it only took 2 weeks to decide that EVERY new computer we sell would have Windows 10 installed. It is now 6 months and we have upgraded more than 500 people to Windows 10. Of those 500 people, not one of them have asked to go back to Windows 8 or 7 (you have 30-days to revert to your previous operating system). On the contrary, many people have commented on how much faster their computer is with Windows 10. Furthermore, some have said it cleared up nagging issues that no one had been able to solve. For those of you who have not seen Windows 10, I think it is a blend of Windows 7 and Windows 8, but looks more like Windows 7 than Windows 8.

If you are considering upgrading to Windows 10, we recommend you call us first. We will look up your laptop model to make sure it has updated drivers for Windows 10 and all the necessary hardware requirements. If everything checks out, we will invite you to bring the computer into our workshop for the upgrade. The whole process can take 3-6 hours. But if we help you in our workshop we will only be billed for the active time we are working on it, not the waiting time for the downloads, installation, and updating. We quote people 1-3 hours labor time for the upgrade. Please call us if you have any questions about the process. Please note: We offer Windows 10 upgrade pickup and delivery service for those who are unable to bring their systems to our workshop.

For those who have upgraded to Windows 10 on your own and are experiencing issues, please bring the system by and we will do our best to solve your issues. After we fix the issues, people walk away happy with Windows 10. If someone has upgraded to Windows 10 on a model that is not able to run it, we will revert it back to Windows 7. Windows 7 is still a fine operating system and supported by Microsoft through 2020.

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Internet Access Options

Does anyone remember the early 2000’s when there was only Dial-up Internet Access? When we measured speed in 28.8K vs 14.4K? And how frustrating it was to try to reach someone whose phone line was busy all night because they forgot to disconnect their modem from the Internet? What about 5 years ago when we searched for hotels that had wireless Internet Access? Nowadays, we seem to have virtually uninterrupted Internet Access everywhere we go. However, we are still faced with a confusing array of Internet Access Providers for our home. Everyone is familiar with Comcast Cable and Centurylink DSL. But there are other options. You can choose a WiFi device from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile that uses cell phone towers. Or there are fiber optic providers such as Summit Broadband, Hotwire, Marco Island Cable and others. All of these Internet providers claim to be the best value. I could probably write 10 pages on the relative merits of each provider. However, I want to summarize by saying that you should carefully consider all your options and do not base your decision on emotion or a particular dissatisfaction with your current provider. It is expensive to change providers. You could easily spend $200-$300 for a new modem, installation, first month’s access and an initial deposit. Additionally, if you are part a community association changing providers could mean being stuck with a 10-year contract. Furthermore, if the company is bought out or goes out of business, you could be in a bad situation. Therefore, proceed carefully and do not hesitate to call us if you have questions concerning Internet Access Options.

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Power Cords for your laptop
AC Adapter

If you are thinking of bringing your laptop to our workshop for repair don’t forget to bring your laptop’s AC adapter (power cord). Most laptops will not have a long enough battery life for us to complete the service call. For example, virus and malware scans require a lot of battery usage. There are hundreds of different brands, tip sizes, voltages, and amperages. We have several AC adapters in stock, however, we may not carry the specific adapter your computer requires. While we are on the topic of AC adapters, please avoid purchasing “universal” AC adapters from Office Max, Best Buy, Staples, or Office Depot. They might be able to run your laptop, but the low voltage or amperage can eventually damage your battery or your entire laptop. The same holds true for Generic AC adapters that your can buy from eBay or Amazon. They seem like a good deal. But they are generally of poor construction and can overheat and damage your system. Furthermore, they normally wear out in a short period of time. At Computer Medics, we only sell Genuine AC adapters made by your laptop manufacturer and we will match the proper voltage and amperage to make sure it will not damage your system. You may pay a little more, but it will be a better value.

Computer Medics Remote Assistance

Computer Medics introduced remote assistance to our customers about 10 years ago. We were a pioneer in the area of remote assistance and we had a program that we conveniently called “The Red Cross.” It was optimized to run on a dial-up connection so we could help all people regardless of their Internet speed. We wanted an alternative to on-site service as we struggled with grid-locked SW FL roads during the 2000’s housing boom and when gasoline prices hovered around $4.00/gallon. We soon realized we could service our seasonal resident’s computers year-round in their northern homes, thus smoothing out our our slow summer months. Today, remote assistance is a vital part of of our day-to-day business. We offer 30-days of unlimited remote assistance to every customer who purchases a computer from us. Furthermore, we have aside a full-time technician who only focuses on remote assistance. Please keep in mind that we view remote assistance as a method to solve non-critical issues. If you call us during a busy period, normally in the morning, you may be put in a queue for a call back later in the day. If your problem is urgent, you may want to bring your computer to our workshop or schedule an onsite visit. Be sure to ask for our Priority Service which means 24-hour guaranteed turnaround (excluding time to order parts). We will meet whatever your turnaround time expectations might be. Call or visit our workshop to discuss your specific needs.

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CCleaner

Everyone whom Computer Medics has helped with a computer cleaning or checkup will see an icon in the upper right corner of their screen called CCleaner. This is a program we use to clean your computer and we recommend you use it as well. The frequency of use depends on how often you use your computer. Some should use it weekly, some monthly, some only occasionally. We recommend you run it if you notice your system getting slow and sluggish. However, there is one consequence of running CCleaner that we must warn you about. CCleaner will remove temporary Internet files and “cache” from your computer. This means your recently used websites, form data and passwords will be wiped out. This simply means next time you visit a website, you will need to fill in your personal information again. Then that information will be saved for your next visit.

Microsoft Account Password

Many of our customers are getting increasingly frustrated with passwords that seem to suddenly appear “out of nowhere.” If you are running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, this could be a common issue. Windows 8.1 and 10 have Apps that synchronize with all your Microsoft devices and services and create a better computing experience: Office 365, weather, live news feeds, stock tickers, Cortana, Bing, Mail, games, etc. All these Apps can be managed with one account and password which is called your Microsoft Account. Once you create a Microsoft Account, your computer will ask for your Microsoft Account password the next time you reboot your computer. Sometimes, at this point we will receive a call and hear phrases such as “I have never had a Windows password” or “I don’t want a Windows password” or “I don’t know which password to type in.” If you don’t remember your Microsoft Account password, you can reset it by verifying your account with the requested security method, such as a code texted to your cell phone or emailed to you, or simply answering your secret security questions. If you cannot verify your security information, you will not be able to recover your password. In this case, the only option will be to backup your data and reinstall Windows. As you can see, it is imperative to record your account passwords and choose security questions that have definitive answers (ie. not favorite questions).

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Adobe Flash Player is officially dead

Recently, Adobe announced that it would no longer be updating the Flash Player Plugin that has been so common for older versions of browsers, such as Internet Explorer 10 or earlier. They are encouraging web developers to start using HTML5 code that does not rely on Flash. If you are using the latest versions of Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, Chrome, and Edge browsers, which includes everyone using Windows 8 or 10, then you will have the Flash software built into the respective web browser. Therefore, if you see an advertisement or popup for Adobe Flash Player, do not click on it. It is likely a virus or malware. Close the advertisement with the Red X. If you have any questions about Flash Player pop-ups or other warnings, do not hesitate to call Computer Medics.

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Telephone Scams

Old fashioned telephone scammers have been out in force and can be potentially damaging to your computer. It normally starts with a cold call from someone who claims they are from a common company such Microsoft, Netflix, McAfee, Norton, Comcast, etc. Also, cleverly designed (fake) pop-ups may appear on your computer screens with a phone number to call stating that there is some problem with your computer’s security and then we receive a lot of phone calls from long time customers as well as new customers after they realized it was a scam. The representative begins by telling you that your computer is experiencing problems or your computer is sending out malicious software through the Internet. After they make a case and cause you serious concern, they will convince you to go to your browser and type in a website. The website normally shows you fake errors and problems. They will talk about how they are going to help you fix the issues. They will invite you to click a button on your screen, consequently giving them access to your computer. They will proceed to navigate around your computer and show you other supposed problems. Then they will ask you for your credit card so they can “fix” your issues and provide you with any number of years of technical support. The amount they ask for is different for every scammer, but is typically in the $300-$400 range. If you decline, they will keep lowering the amount and the time period of support. Most people become skeptical when they are asked for their credit card number. However, after spending a long time on the phone, some will break down and provide the scammer with a credit card number, address and other personal information. This is normally when our customers call us for advice.

The first thing we recommend is calling your credit card company to dispute the charge. Secondly, we recommend cancelling your credit card number. If you don’t, your credit card number and personal information may get sold on the black market to other scammers who will make charges to your credit card and possibly steal your identity. Thirdly, now that you have given computer access to the scammer, malicious software is typically planted on your computer that will activate later and wreak havoc on your system.

Therefore, if you receive a phone call from “Microsoft” or a different company, please verify the identity of the caller and hang up immediately if they claim you have problems with your computer. Microsoft does not have access your phone number. Even if they do, they are not monitoring your computer and will not call you about “issues.” If they persist in calling you, tell them you are going to call the Lee County Sheriff Office’s Fraud Department. If you feel like you are being harassed or defrauded, don’t hesitate to call the Fraud Department at 239-258-3292. Finally, it is a good idea to add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Call 888-382-1222 or go to www.donotcall.gov. If you are being harassed, you can submit a Complaint through the same website. Please be advised that the Do Not Call Registry does not prohibit phone calls from political organizations, charities, debt collectors, informational calls and telephone surveys.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to call and talk to one of our computer technicians at 239-437-4357. We genuinely want to help you stay safe.

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Personal Letter from the Owner

This Quarterly Newsletter will be a collection of relevant topics that have surfaced over the past few months. Sometimes I wish I could send an email every time there is a important issue that demands attention. I desire that all our customers be safe and wise. On the other hand, I am sensitive to those people who do not appreciate frequent emails from businesses.

Due to the many important issues that have surfaced over the past few months, this newsletter ended up being extra long. I suggest printing it out and take time reading and digesting it in your easy chair.

I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2016. Do not hesitate to call, stop by, or email if you have any computer or technology questions. As a devoted technology and forward looking company, we are continually advancing our knowledge and hope you will avail yourselves of our 16 years of experience helping over 8000 clients and completing over 30000 service calls.

If you are interested, you can click on our FaceBook Page below and “Like Us” and you will be entered into a drawing every month for a $40 gift certificate toward your next service call. So far, we have given away 34 gift certificates since October 2011.

Computer Medics Facebook Page

Finally, if you like our service, could you please write a Google Review for us? For some people, Google Reviews are the sole reason people call us when they are searching the web for a computer repair company.

Sincerely,
Mike Peterson
Owner

Computer Medics Website

Newsletter

October 2015 Newsletter

8

Personal Letter from the Owner

Here at Computer Medics, we are thankful for the cooler October weather. It is nice to talk to neighbors and friends whom we have not seen outside since the spring. Our business has picked up a little with the first evidence of the snowbirds returning, but we are anxiously awaiting the full influx in January. In the meantime, we are continually striving to keep abreast of the latest technology trends. We hope you and your family have a stress-free experience with your technology equipment this holiday season and in 2016. It is a joy to interact with all of our you. Your many encouraging words help us to tackle all those complicated computer problems. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns. We are standing by to help.

If you click on our FaceBook Page below and “Like Us” you will be entered into a drawing every month for a $40 gift certificate toward your next service call. So far, we have given away 34 gift certificates since October 2011.

Computer Medics Facebook Page

Finally, if you like our service, could you please write a Google Review for us? Google Reviews are are the main reason people call us when they are searching the web for a computer repair company.

Computer Medics Google Reivews

Sincerely,
Mike Peterson
Owner

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For those who have not read my previous newsletters regarding Windows 10, let me give you a quick review. Windows 10 was released on July 29th. Over 14 million people downloaded and installed Windows 10 in the first 24 hours of its release. In comparison, there were only 4 million copies of Windows 8 installed during the first week. As of October 1st, 110 million people have downloaded and installed Windows 10. Here is a graph comparing all of the 1.5 billion Windows users.

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Another milestone recently reached by Microsoft was seeing Windows 10 surpass the number of Macintosh OSX users. Furthermore, Microsoft has a goal of 1.5 billion devices running Windows 10 by the end of 2018. With the availability of a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users, that goal should be within reach.

Reviews of Windows 10 have been overwhelmingly positive. And our experience with installing Windows 10 has been very positive as well. The most positive thing we have noticed is the speed. Everything is faster: Starting and shutting down Windows, Browsing the Internet, Watching movies, Productivity software (ie. QuickBooks, Office, etc.) and so much more. Second, the Windows mouse and keyboard experience has returned front and center with the Start Menu, Recently Used Apps, and traditional resizing of windows. The touch experience is still there, but only if you choose to use it with the modern Windows apps and games. Also when you open the modern Windows apps and games they open as traditional windowed applications. This greatly reduces the confusion between the touch and non-touch environments. Third, there is a notifications icon on the right-hand side of the Task Bar. This is called the Action Center. If you open it, you will get quick access to settings, and can toggle items like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode. Finally, most Windows 7 and 8 applications are compatible with Windows 10. As you can see there are many positive improvements to Windows.

Now I will get into the nuts and bolts on what we have seen at Computer Medics during the first 2 months of installing Windows 10 on over 250 machines. To begin with, as with any operating system upgrade, it is best to have a computer company like Computer Medics help you through the process. Second, we will suggest that you have your data safely backed up in case something goes wrong. If you are looking for a good backup solution, we suggest Carbonite Online Backup or backing up to an external hard drive, or both. Third, we need to prepare your Windows 7 or 8 system. The reason most of our customers fail when they try to upgrade to Windows 10 themselves is because of poor system preparation. Fourth, we will download and install Windows 10. This can take 1-3 hours depending on the speed of your computer and Internet Connection. This is why we STONGLY suggest our customers bring their computers to our workshop rather than doing the upgrade onsite. If we go onsite, we will bill for the entire time onsite (typically 2-6 hours). If you bring us the computer, we only charge for the active time working on your system (maximum of 3 hours). Also we offer a pickup and drop off service for those who cannot drive or are not comfortable disconnecting and connecting their computer system. Finally, we will import your Favorites to Microsoft’s newest browser called Edge, update your security software, install our remote assistance software, check the system for stability, and finish with a few tweaks.

Another new Windows 10 feature you should be aware of is the new Internet Browser called Edge. Edge is not an upgrade to Internet Explorer, it is a completely redesigned browser. If you are comfortable using Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox, these browsers will work with Windows 10. However, we encourage you to use Edge for several reasons. First, Edge displays websites quicker than other browsers. Second, Edge will quickly become the “standard” for website developers, thus compatible with the majority of websites. Third, a handy new feature called Web Note lets you capture an image of website, add notes and sketches, and save it or share it. Furthermore, it captures the entire webpage, not just the portion visible on the screen. Fourth, another handy tool is called Reading View which is a useful tool that strips out extra parts of a website, like ads and design elements, to give you a clean, focused view with only text, photos and video. Finally, Microsoft’s Bing Search and Cortana Personal Assistant will help you find information quicker. For example, type Weather in the address box and you will get current weather conditions. Additionally, if you highlight a word or phrase on a website and right click with your mouse you can ask Cortana for more information. She will show you definitions of the word or display information from Wikipedia on the right side of the screen. As you can see all these new features make Edge the preferred Internet Browser for Windows 10.

If you are considering upgrading your existing computer to Windows 10 or purchasing a new computer with Windows 10 we encourage you to call us or bring your computer to our workshop. We will guide you through the entire process. If you are considering purchasing a new computer call us first. We are a Dell Authorized Dealer and every one of our systems will come with Windows 10 installed. The only caveat are business customers who have a server domain who must run Windows 7 or 8 for the time being.

Minimum requirements for upgrading to Windows 10 (To make ensure you have the best computer experience)

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor running at 2.0Ghz or higher
AMD X4 Processor running at 2.0Ghz or higher
64-bit Windows 7 or 8
4GB RAM or higher
Windows 7 hardware or higher (This means if you see a Vista sticker on your computer and your running Windows 7, then you are likely not a Windows 10 candidate).
Microsoft Office 2007 or higher

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Time for a Computer Cleaning?

Computer Cleaning Image
The most often asked question we receive is “How often should I clean my computer?” The short answer is one time per year. However, it all depends on how much you use your computer and how it is responding. If you notice your computer slowing down, blue screening, or other erratic behavior it is best to have a professional diagnose and clean your computer. Just like your car, there are fluids and belts that have to be changed on a regular basis, or else your car will start running inefficiently or break down. A typical cleaning will involve calling Computer Medics and having us connect to your computer with our Remote Assistance software, or bringing your computer to our workshop. We will update Windows, update your anti-virus and anti-malware software, remove non-essential programs, run cleaning software (to remove cookies, temporary Internet files, registry entries, etc.), and check the health of your hard drive. Often times we can catch small problems before they develop into big ones giving you the option to pay for a small repair rather than paying to replace the whole computer. Please call Computer Medics at 437-4357 if you have any questions about cleaning your computer. Finally, if you purchased a new computer from Computer Medics, we will perform your 1st annual cleaning at no charge via our Remote Assistance Support. We will call you approximately 1 month before your 1st anniversary.

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Carbonite Online Backup

I cannot stress enough how critical it is to subscribe to an online backup, such as Carbonite Online Backup. You might say you have a backup, but how often do you remember to backup your system? How do you know you are backing up the right files? How do you know your data is safe and secure? Carbonite solves these issues by automatically backing up your files, encrypting all of your files when they are backed up, and storing your data on secure redundant servers. Other online backup services, such as Dropbox, are not encrypted. This leaves your system open to serious malware and virus infections. Another benefit of Carbonite is if a serious infection such as The Crypto locker virus infects your system and locks all your files. Carbonite will allow you to restore your uninfected files from a uninfected backup on their server. As you can see there are many important reasons to choose Carbonite Online Backup.

Computer Medics is an Official Carbonite Reseller and we will sell you their subscriptions for the same price as purchasing directly from Carbonite. And even better, if you purchase the subscription through us, we will monitor your backups to make sure they are working and call you when your subscription is about to expire. Please click on the link below to sign-up for free trial toCarbonite, or call us and we will help you install it and make sure all your important files are backed up. On a final note, if you already purchase a subscription directly through Carbonite, we can transfer your subscription to our dashboard (at no cost). Then we will start monitoring your backup status and call you when your subscription is about to expire.

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What Computer Medics Technicians wish their customers knew before calling us for help – Part 2 of 4

Over the past 16 years, our technicians have completed over 30,000 service calls and have taken thousands more phone calls that have not been billable. Our incredible depth of knowledge and troubleshooting skills has earned us a reputation as the best place to come for any computer or networking related issues. Over that time we have come up with a “wish list” of what we think our customers should know before calling us. Of course we know that our customers are at every level of computer expertise and we will never look down on anyone for their lack of computer knowledge. We have come up a list of the top 25 things we wish our customers knew before calling us. Some of these things could be considered “secrets” but most of them are common sense approaches to troubleshooting issues. Our aim is to diagnose your issue as quickly as possible. Sometimes we will be able to get you up-and-running without creating a service call. Over the course of the next year, I am going to divulge these “secrets” to you in my quarterly newsletters. They are in no particular order. NOTE: IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ITEMS 1-6, LOOK AT MY LAST QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER, OR I CAN EMAIL THEM TO YOU.

If you cannot print, have you checked the following: Is the printer turned on? Are there any error messages on the printer screen? Have you recently replaced a cartridge with an aftermarket refilled cartridge? Is there paper in the printer? Was there recently a paper jam? Have you turned off and turned on the printer and the computer? Have you gone to Control Panel/Printers to make sure the correct printer is selected as the default?

If your mouse pointer is stuck in the middle of the screen and you have a wireless mouse: Have you changed the battery in the mouse? Have you tried a 2nd battery? Have you turned the mouse switch to the “On” position? Have you pressed the connect button on the bottom of the mouse? Is the USB mouse receiver plugged into the computer? Have you tried a wired mouse?

If you want us to trouble shoot a problem, can you reproduce the problem? If the problem is not reproducible, then we are not likely going to be able to diagnose the problem. When it happens again please take detailed notes so we can reproduce the problem and help you.

Do not shake your computer or hard drive. Regular mechani cal hard drives can be easily damaged if they are shaken or dropped, especially if they are turned on. We cringe whenever someone comes into our workshop with their laptop turned on and then drop it on the check-in counter or rotate it without picking it up. If you are moving a laptop while it is turned on, treat it very gently. Or better yet, have us install a new Solid State Hard Drive and move your data to it. SSD drives are becoming more affordable every day.

It is much better to shut down Windows every night rather than putting the computer to sleep. Shutting down the computer will allow Windows Updates and Security Updates to install and will clear out any programs that are stuck in memory. The reason people used to put computers to sleep was that they didn’t want to wait 5 minutes for their computer boot up. Nowadays, fast computers with Windows 8, will start in less than 1 minute with a regular mechanical hard drive or 15 seconds with a solid state drive. Furthermore, if you have an SSD drive, which has a fixed number of read/writes, shutting down the computer will prolong the life of the drive.

Know which operating system you have and how old the system is. This will help us understand what you are seeing on the screen so we can give you proper troubleshooting instructions.

Newsletter

July 2015 Newsletter

8

Personal Letter from the Owner

Here at Computer Medics, we are staying inside and enjoying the air conditioning and looking forward to the first cold front in October. It is the off-season and our business is slow, but we are not sitting idle. We are busy previewing Windows 10 and getting ready for the big release on July 29th. To those who are frustrated with the Windows 8.1 interface, it is a welcome upgrade. To those who are looking for a new computer, it is the pleasant reality you will be facing.

If you are in the market for a new computer, please be reminded that we have been an authorized Dell Dealer since 2002 and are proud to represent the highest quality computers on the market. Furthermore, many people are not aware of the benefits of purchasing a computer through us. Here are a few benefits: 1. Free diagnosis of your old computer. 2. Free 30-days of unlimited hardware and software support through our remote assistance service. 3. Free 1st year anniversary checkup. 4. Free removal of your old computer and destruction of your hard drive data. Please visit our website for more details.

For those who like to follow the progress of my family, our son Joshua is turning 23 and is engaged to be married to Amanda Penberthy. The wedding is scheduled for November 8th at our home. Another family milestone is forthcoming.

Over the past 16 years, it has been a joy to interact with all of our customers. Your many encouraging words help us to tackle all those complicated computer problems. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us.

Please enjoy the helpful information I have put together for you. I am especially excited to share with you what Computer Medics Technicians wish their customer knew before calling us. You will get a glimpse into the mind of a computer technician. Some of them could be considered “secrets” but most are just common sense troubleshooting steps.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email, call or stop by our workshop. It is always our pleasure to help you. Our staff of technicians is devoted to serving your families and your businesses.

If you click on our FaceBook Page below and “Like Us” you will be entered into a drawing every month for a $40 gift certificate toward your next service call. So far, we have given away 45 gift certificates since October 2011.

Computer Medics Facebook Page

Finally, if you like our service, could you please write a Google Review for us? Google Reviews are frequently the reason people call us when they are searching the Internet for a computer repair company. Even you may have found us through Google.

Computer Medics Google Reivews

Sincerely,
Mike Peterson

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Malwarebytes Anti-malware

Recently Malwarebytes changed the way they issue updates for the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. In the past, it was up to the user to manually update the software. Now, the updates are being “pushed” to the computer and a notification is placed in the system tray, next to the clock on the Windows taskbar. A dialog box or message box may also appear in the middle of your screen. We recommend you install the updates every time you see a notification. This should not affect Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium customers who receive automatic updates.

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Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 on July 29th. Microsoft will be returning some Windows 7 features that were dropped in Window 8.1, first and foremost being the Start Menu. And there are some exciting new features being added to Windows 10 as well. The first addition will be Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-controlled virtual assistant. This is a feature that many smartphone users are already enjoying. The second addition will be Edge, which is replacing Internet Explorer as the built-in web browser. Third, a new app will allow Xbox video games to be streamed to a Tablet or a PC. Analysts believe Windows 10 is important to create a uniform operational experience and increased security throughout PCs and laptops (e.g. Dell, HP, Toshiba…), tablets (e.g. Microsoft Surface Pro 3), and smartphones (e.g. Windows Phones). At Computer Medics we are excited about the new features and the increased security that Windows 10 will bring.

Since 1999, Computer Medics has seen its share of Windows releases: Windows Millennium, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. We have been diligently dissecting the Windows 10 preview releases so we can be ready for the launch date. What does the Windows 10 launch date mean for our customers? First, for those who have existing qualified (genuine) Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems, Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be made available for FREE for a period of 1 year after the release date of July 29th. Does this mean that your Windows 7 or 8.1 system will automatically run Windows 10? Not necessarily. If your system is performing poorly with Windows 7 or 8.1, it will likely perform just as poorly with Windows 10. But more importantly than hardware, we must inspect your software and the peripherals you are running to make sure they are compatible with Windows 10. Our best advice is to continue to operate your Windows 7 and 8.1 computers until you are ready to upgrade to Windows 10. Then let one of our technicians diagnose your system and advise you on the upgradability of your system vs. purchasing a brand new Windows 10 system. Every system is different and will require a personal evaluation.

Secondly, if you are thinking of purchasing a new computer before Windows 10 is available, there is no need to wait. Windows 8.1 is very reliable and secure and you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free anytime within the next year. Finally, please make a note that Microsoft is providing the software and license for free. But Computer Medics will still charge normal diagnostic and repair rates for service to evaluate and upgrade your system.

On a final note, many of our customers have been noticing a white Windows icon in the system tray next to the clock and asking us if it is OK to register to obtain a free Windows 10 license when the software is released. Our answer is yes. After July 29th, Windows 10 will automatically download in the background through Windows Update and a license key will be provided via email. It will be an optional update and will not be installed without your permission. Before you upgrade, we recommend consulting with a Computer Medics technician before proceeding. And it is always wise to wait a few months until bugs and quirks are fixed.

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Malwarebytes Anti-exploit

Many of you are familiar with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and how it protects your computer by preventing known malware from being installed. Malwarebytes has taken it a step further with Malwarebytes Anti-exploit. Malwarebytes Anti-exploit targets vulnerabilities in everyday applications like Adobe Reader, Firefox, and Microsoft Office, rather than the malware programs themselves. We are installing Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit on all the new Dell computers we sell and those computers we have cleaned after a malware infection. Finally, we are installing the Free Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit version and are currently not recommending upgrading to Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium ($24.95). Most of our customers will not be affected by the kinds of exploits that the Anti-Exploit Premium version detects.

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What Computer Medics Technicians wish their customers knew before calling us for help – Part 1 of 4

Over the past 16 years, our technicians have completed over 30,000 service calls and have taken thousands more phone calls that have not been billable. Our incredible depth of knowledge and troubleshooting skills has earned us a reputation as the best place to come for any computer or networking related issue. Over that time we have come up with a “wish list” of what we think our customers should know before calling us. Of course we know that our customers are at every level of computer expertise and the wonderful technicians at Computer Medics will never look down on anyone for their lack of computer knowledge. We have devised a list of the top 25 things we wish our customers knew before calling us. Some of these things could be considered “secrets” but most of them are common sense approaches to troubleshooting issues. Our aim is to diagnose your issue as quickly as possible. Sometimes we will be able to get you up-and-running without creating a service call. Over the course of the next year, I am going to divulge these “secrets” to you in my quarterly newsletters. They are in no particular order.

The first question we always ask is “Have you rebooted your computer?” This will fix half of the computer issues. If the computer is not responding, then you will need to hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off the computer.
If you cannot connect to the Internet have you tried the following: Have you tried a different browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome)? Have you checked the Internet on your other devices (2nd computer, tablet, smartphone)? Have you unplugged and plugged the power cord for your modem and router? Have you called your Internet Service Provider (Comcast, CenturyLink, Shellpoint, Verizon, or community WiFi provider) to see if there is an outage in your area?
Know what the lights mean on your devices (ie. Modem, Router, Printer, Laptop, Tower, Mouse, etc). The lights are normally labeled and are helpful in troubleshooting issues. If you do not see any lights, then you are likely having a power issue. Make sure your surge protector is turned on, check for a wall switch, check for a loose power cable, or try a different outlet in your surge protector.
Know where your network equipment (Modem, Router, Switch, etc) is located. Is the equipment in a closet, attic, garage, bedroom, office, or living room? Can you easily access it to look at the lights?
If your computer will not start, have you tried the following: Have you tried a different outlet on your surge protector or battery backup? Have you checked the wall outlet? Is there a wall switch that controls that outlet? Have you checked the cord between the computer and the outlet? Have you recently plugged in a USB device (Printer, Flash Drive, Hard Drive, etc)? If so, then remove the USB device and try restarting your computer.
Call us when you are prepared for service. Sometimes you will tell us your whole story, then tell us you need to leave and will call back later. It is almost impossible for us to remember all the details and you might end up working with a different technician when you call back.

Newsletter

March 2015 Newsletter

Microsoft Windows 10

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Microsoft has not offered an official release date, but most people think the company has committed to launching the new operating system this summer, before the back-to-school season. Microsoft has released Technical Preview Versions which have provided a glimpse into Microsoft’s thinking about the new OS. Keep in mind that the new features outlined in this article may or may not be included in Windows 10. There are developers and testers who are actively dissecting the new features and are encouraged to give invaluable feedback to Microsoft.

Here are the biggest new features Microsoft is considering. First, Windows Search has been added to the Windows Taskbar. After opening the Start Menu, you can click on the search bar and start typing, click the microphone and start speaking, or say “Hey, Cortana” to start Microsoft’s virtual assistant. The virtual assistant Cortana, currently found on Windows Phone 8.1 devices, allows users to speak commands much like Apple’s Siri. Secondly, Microsoft is working to improve security in Windows 10. For example, a new feature called ‘Windows Hello’ will scan your finger or iris in lieu of typing a password. Thirdly, Microsoft has redesigned the Start Screen. Windows 8 introduced Live Tiles, but they were designed with touchscreen devices in mind. However, many Windows users prefer to use a mouse and a keyboard, which make multitasking difficult with the Windows 8 interface. Windows 10 will boot directly to the traditional desktop with keyboard and mouse functionality. Click on the Start Menu and you will be presented with a hybrid version of the traditional Start Menu with Live Tiles on the right column and your most frequently used apps in the left column. Click on the File Explorer button and you will find the traditional folder structure than has been used since Windows 95.

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Fourth, Microsoft has changed the Modern apps, so they will open as classic Windows apps. This means that you can resize the Modern apps and minimize and maximize them at will as opposed to Windows 8 where you were stuck running the apps in a full-sized window. Fifth, Windows 10 will scale seamlessly between all your Windows devices. Modern apps will have the option to switch back and forth between a touch environment (ie. tablet) and a traditional environment (ie. laptop or desktop) so you will be able to use all the gestures you are accustomed to on a Windows tablet and then switch to your keyboard and mouse with your desktop or laptop. This is fantastic if you are using a 2 in 1 convertible device like the Microsoft Surface Pro or the Dell 2-in-1 convertible devices. Sixth, Microsoft OneDrive will be “baked” into Windows 10 which means that you will be able to store all your data seamlessly in the cloud. Additionally, you can research many more features by doing a Google Search for “Windows 10 Preview.”

In conclusion, Microsoft has decided to aggressively push Windows 10 to everyone with a free upgrade to all Windows 7 and 8 users during a 1-year time period with the goal of providing the same Windows experience for all Windows users and to further marry the traditional laptop/desktop users with the ever increasing mobile devices. If you are faced with repairing a Windows 7 or 8 computer, we recommend that you go ahead with the repair rather than waiting for Windows 10. Official Microsoft support for Windows 7 will end in 2020 and Windows 8 in 2023.

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Windows Live Mail Client Software

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Microsoft announced in 2012 that they were no longer going to upgrade the free email client called Windows Live Mail. There are other free email clients, such as Thunderbird, but they are buggy and limited. If you need an email client, we recommend Microsoft Outlook. Outlook comes with Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013 or Microsoft Office Professional 2013, Office365, or can be purchased by itself. If you do not need an email client, then webmail is for you. Webmail can be accessed through your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome). Please call Computer Medics at 437-4357 if you have any questions.

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Malwarebytes Antimalware Premium

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In March 2014 Malwarebytes changed the subscription model for their anti-malware product (which we have been recommending to keep our customer’s computers safe). The previous licensing model was $25 for 1-license for the lifetime of the computer. The new model is $25 for up to 3 computers for 1-year. Computer Medics purchased 300 lifetimes licenses before they were sold out. Now we have 20 left. Therefore, very soon we will start selling the annual subscription.

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Cryptowall Virus

Cryptowall is a virus that encrypts (locks) files on the infected computer. It then asks the user to pay a ransom with Bitcoins to have the files decrypted. The threat may arrive on the affected computer through a SPAM email attachment with subjects such as fake invoices, undelivered package notices, or other distressing language. The virus can also be obtained through malicious advertisements on websites. This virus is especially sinister due to the fact that it can encrypt files across a network, not just on the affected computer. We have seen several of our customers who have had this virus, but none who have been successful in retrieving their encrypted data. The best way to fix a Cryptowall infected computer is to format the hard drive, reinstall Windows, and restore data from a non-infected backup (such as Carbonite). Computer Medics is a Carbonite Dealer, so please call us at 437-4357 if you are interested in a backup solution.

Example of a Cryptowall infected computer

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Example of an ransom message to have your files decrypted

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Time for a Computer Cleaning?

The most often asked question we receive is “How often should I clean my computer?” The short answer is one time per year. However, it all depends on how much you use your computer and how it is responding. If you notice your computer slowing down, blue screening, or other erratic behavior, it is best to have a professional diagnose and clean your computer. Just like your car, there are fluids and belts that have to be changed on a regular basis, or else your car will start running inefficiently or break down. A typical cleaning will involve calling Computer Medics and having us connect to your computer with our Remote Assistance software, or bringing your computer to our workshop. We will update Windows, update your anti-virus and anti-malware software, remove non-essential programs, run cleaning software (to remove cookies, temporary Internet files, registry entries, etc), and check the health of your hard drive. Often times we can catch small problems before they develop into big ones giving you the option to pay for a small repair rather than paying to replace the whole computer. Please call Computer Medics at 437-4357 if you have any questions about cleaning your computer. Finally, if you purchased a new computer from Computer Medics, we will perform your 1st annual cleaning at no charge. We will call you approximately 1 month before your 1st anniversary.

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Personal Letter from Mike Peterson

As you probably already know, SW Florida has experienced the largest influx of northern visitors this winter season ever. Building is going on everywhere. We have been working long hours to keep up with the flow of new customers as well as our loyal clientele. We are very privileged to be located on Metro Parkway, one of the busiest roads in Lee County.

As the season ends, we will start seeing more of our local residents who are anxious for us to troubleshoot issues with their computers or upgrade them to faster systems. Businesses start to think about upgrading their systems or their network, so they will be ready for next big push in the fall.

And don’t forget that if you are summering up north, we have the ability to connect to your computer and fix problems wherever you are. We are very seasonal and always appreciate the opportunity to help people during the slow summer months.

It is always our pleasure to help you navigate the increasingly complex technical world. We spend countless hours reading about ways to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology and help you protect your devices from viruses, malware, and hackers. I hope you benefit from the information I have included in this Quarterly Newsletter. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions. We would much rather have you call about simple issues, than sorting out the pieces after a big problem occurs.

SPECIAL NOTE:
I have been told by our readers that the best way to read the newsletter is to print it out first. Then you can relax in your easy chair and take the time to digest the wealth of helpful information inside.

Newsletter

December 2014 Newsletter

Unsubscribe to Marketing Emails

In this age of fast and free email, most people become inundated with junk email in their inboxes. Nowadays, many businesses will ask for your email address when you do business with them, especially if you purchase online, but even in traditional brick and mortar stores. Some businesses will automatically add you to their email list and a few will share your email address with their “partners” who might share your address with their “partners” and so on. Soon you find yourself receiving more emails from businesses than from your friends and relatives.

Now the question becomes, “How do reduce the business emails?” Decide which emails you might like to keep receiving such as coupons, offers, newsletters, announcements, etc. Then zero in on companies that are sending you periodic emails, especially those with a high frequency, such as everyday or every week. When you find an email that you would like stop, open it and scroll down to the bottom. Look for the word “unsubscribe”–sometimes the word is so small that you can hardly read it. To make the text bigger press CTRL and + on your keyboard (CTRL and – to make the text smaller). When you find the “unsubscribe” click on it and follow the directions. You may have to enter your email address. If you have multiple email addresses, you must put in the email address that you gave to that business usually the email will tell you. Next, you may have to check a box or uncheck a box to unsubscribe to their email list. They purposely make it complicated, so you will have a hard time unsubscribing. Sometimes it takes a few days for the emails to stop.

Some people ask about filtering out junk emails. Some email companies, such as Gmail, do a fantastic job with this. Gmail automatically sorts your email into 3 categories called Primary, Social, and Promotions. If you have an email service that does not automatically filter your email, we might be able to set-up a message rule to automatically filter junk emails to a Junk Mail Folder or your Deleted Mail Folder. However, I think this puts a “band-aid” on the larger issue of needing to unsubscribe to the junk emails. Finally, my last bit of advice is to guard your email address. Only provide it to those whom you trust and can promise that they will not share your email with any “partners.” Here at Computer Medics, we only send out one email per month announcing our $40 Facebook Like Us Winner and one email per quarter with our newsletter, which you are currently reading.

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Cryptolocker Virus Warning

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For many years I have been warning people about the danger of viruses and steps to protect yourself from viruses. Within the last few years, we have seen a rise in a more sinister threat called Malware. Malware looks like legitimate software. It can enter your computer by clicking on a weblink in an email message, from a Google Search, or an advertisement on a website. Clicking on the link will typically open an advertisement that looks like a legitimate scan of your computer. It will erroneously claim that your computer is too slow, out-of-date, filled with viruses, or countless other issues. Next, they ask you to click on the “Scan” button so the program can find and fix the issues. At this point, you are actually installing their malware program. The consequences of installing malware on your computer are general slowness, popup ads, loss of Internet Access, etc. Their goal is to make you fearful and invite you purchase their so-called cleaning software. At this point, most people bring their computers to us and we successfully clean them and offer them malware protection, such as a Malwarebytes Antimalware Professional license for $25.

However, a couple of months ago, we started seeing a more sinister malware program called the Cryptolocker Virus. It is especially wicked because it encrypts (locks) all the files your computer. There is no way we can clean the computer and decrypt the files. The Crytolocker Virus company will ask for a ransom payment (typically around $400). Even if you pay the ransom, they will not unlock your files. They have started to ask for payment in Bitcoin (a new international currency), which makes it virtually impossible to track or recover your payment. The only way we can fix the computer is to format the hard drive and install a fresh copy of windows.

There are two ways you can protect your data in case you are encrypted with the Cryptolocker Virus:

1. Backup your files to an external flash drive or hard drive, then UNPLUG the device EVERY TIME so it will not be infected if you receive the virus. However, this is risky and inconvenient and it is inevitable that the external drive will fail after being plugged and unplugged every day.

2. Subscribe to an online backup, such as Carbonite Online Backup. Carbonite encrypts all of your files when they are backed up to the “cloud.” If Crytolocker infects your system and the Cryptolocker infected files are backed up, Carbonite will filter the infected files and allow you to restore your good files.

Computer Medics is an official Carbonite Partner and we sell you their service for the same price as purchasing it direct from Carbonite. However, if you signup through us, we will monitor your backups to make sure your Carbonite backup is working and will call you when your subscription is about to expire. Please click on the link below to signup for Carbonite, or give us a call and we will help you install it and answer your questions.

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Cold Calls from Microsoft

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We have seen a rise in the number of reported cold calls from people who claim they are calling from Microsoft Support. A common tactic involves the representative telling the user that their Microsoft Windows is out-of-date and to take action by typing a website address into their browser. The resulting website looks a lot like Microsoft or might have the Microsoft Partner logo on the top. The representative will invite the user to click on a link, so that the representative can take control of the computer and check it out. After they have control, they will quickly install malicious software (malware) and the user will subsequently see a report showing many “problems” with their computer. Then the representative will ask for a credit card number to proceed with the “cleaning.” A typical amount is $149, but the amount will go down to whatever level is successful. It is pretty obvious that the user should immediately hang up the phone, turn off the computer, and call Computer Medics. At this point, we can normally remove any adverse software with our remote assistance software and get it back to normal. If the same company tries to call you again, inform them that you are on the Do Not Call List and you will report them to the police if they decide to call you again. The Lee County Sheriff Office has deputies specifically assigned to investigate electronic fraud such as this.

Consider Purchasing a Smart Phone Instead of a Tablet

There are many questions people have when they are thinking about replacing their computer. Questions such as “Can I do everything on a tablet?” “What about a smart phone?” After many years of interviewing our customers, we have found that the perfect device is different for every person. I guess that is why we call them “personal computers.” We inform people that some software programs will only work on a Desktop or Laptop (such as QuickBooks, Turbotax, Scanning, Picture Editing, Corporate Software, etc). And some functions simply work better when you use a keyboard and mouse (such as typing emails and working with pictures). If all you need to do is look up an email or other information from the Internet, then a Tablet or a Smart Phone might be the best solution. I think that the perfect solution for most people is a modern Smart Phone and a laptop computer. The Smart Phones have increased in size, have much better cameras and respond much faster than even a year ago. Common Smart Phone application are Phone, Kindle Books, Camera, Internet, Email, GPS, Games, Mobile Banking, Facebook, Flashlight, etc. These applications are great, especially when you are traveling away from home. But when you are at home, a laptop is superior with its full size keyboard and mouse capability. Furthermore, you can add an external large screen monitor, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse and end up with a sensational experience.

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Popups with Technical Support Phone Numbers

Lately we have seen a rise in malware programs that generate popup windows that cover the entire screen and place a technical support phone number in the middle of the screen. People call the number and are being convinced that they have a big problem and they need to provide their credit card number to get their system fixed. Thankfully, most people are wise enough to not fall for this trick, especially after hearing a thick accent on the other end of the phone line. The best way to stop this attack is to shut off the computer (hold in the power button). Sometimes, this will remove the pop up window. If not, you are welcome to call us for remote assistance or stop by our workshop on Metro Parkway.

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Windows 10

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Many people are asking about Windows 10. We have seen pent up demand for the next Windows version, especially considering the extreme dislike some people have for Windows 8. The release date for Windows 10 is slated for mid-2015, with another evaluation copy available on January 21. We do not recommend our customers download the evaluation copy, unless you are prepared to format your hard drive and lose all your data. Trust me, our technicians are anxiously awaiting the next Windows 10 evaluation copy and will pouring over it immediately to learn the ins and outs of the new operating system. If you have Windows 8 and are struggling with the navigation of Windows, do not hesitate to call us for help. We have classic Start Menu tweak that will make your Windows 8 look almost like Windows 7. If you purchase a new Windows 8 computer from us, we will automatically install this tweak, after which you will say “this looks a lot like my old computer!”

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Personal Letter from Mike Peterson

I would like to wish you and your families the very best in 2015. Over the past 16 years, it has been our pleasure to help you navigate the increasingly complex technical world. We always strive to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology and help you protect your devices from viruses, malware, and hackers. I hope you benefit from the information I have included in this Quarterly Newsletter. Please call us if you have any questions. We would much rather have you call about simple issue, rather than sorting out the piece after a big problem happens.

Sincerely,
Mike Peterson

Happy New Year!
From: Mike, Scott, Alan, Bobby, Matthew, Stephen, Kristie and Karen

Newsletter

August 2014 Newsletter

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America Online Hip or Obsolute?

America Online has been in business for over 20 years. Most people have had an AOL account or know someone who currently has one. What was the appeal of AOL in its early days? In the 1990’s, many people were new to the World Wide Web and AOL had the best dial-up access. Furthermore, in 1996 AOL was the first to offer Unlimited Online Minutes for a flat fee of $19.95/month. Incidentally, in 1998, there were more CDs with the AOL software on them, than all other software CDs combined. In the late 1990’s, as high speed internet became common place, AOL dial-up lost its appeal. In response, AOL purchased the high speed cable internet provider and media giant Time Warner in the year 2000. However, since Time Warner had a very small share of the cable Internet market, AOL continued to lose market share. It tried to re-brand itself as a media company with valuable content. But other companies such as Yahoo, MSN and Yahoo bulked up their content as well. Meanwhile, the price for AOL monthly subscriptions went from $19.95/month down to zero.

What drives AOL today? It is primarily AOL’s rich media content such as News, Weather, Finance, and other information, much the same as Yahoo, MSN, Bing and Google. Those other companies, however, continue to innovate while AOL stagnates.

Will AOL survive in the future? We think AOL is undergoing a slow death. In our experience, the only people who choose to stay with AOL are those who do not want to lose their AOL email address. If that is your reason for not switching from AOL, we can assist you with moving to a more modern email service such as GMail, Hotmail, or Outlook.com. We will help you setup a new email account, move your contacts to the new account and setup forwarding of your AOL email. Please give us a call and we would be happy to help.

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Email Etiquette

Everyone can agree that email communication has become as important as phone calls and face-to-face contacts. Furthermore, email has unquestionably replaced mailed letters as the primary means of written communication. Therefore, it is important to follow some emailing DO’s and DONT’s. First of all, if you are sending emails to multiple people, put the email addresses into the BCC field. This will prevent all the other email addresses from showing in the body of the email and displaying on a printout of the email. Secondly, it is important to proofread your email before you send it. Improper wording can change the whole meaning of the the email. Sometimes this is due to the non-emotional nature of written communication. Thirdly, do not set your email font to any color other than black. If your recipient tries to print the email and they do not have colored ink, the text will not print. Additionally, when you receive a group message, do not click on the Reply All button. This means all the group members will see your reply. Also, DO NOT USE ALL CAPS WHEN YOU WRITE AN EMAIL. It is called “shouting.” Finally, do not forward email “stories” without verifying the source and the truth of the content. Use www.google.com, www.snopes.com or www.truthorfiction.com to research the content of the stories.

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Our Newest Staff Member

After a long period of training, we are please to announce Stephen Sullivan as a member of the Computer Medics team. He replaces George Gill who has moved on to other endeavors. Stephen has been working with computers since he was 13 years old. His passion toward computers and technology in general, greatly benefits our customers. We look forward to many years with Stephen as a member of the Computer Medics family. Please visit the Staff page on our website to meet all our staff members.
http://onsiteservice.net/Staff.html

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Carbonite Online Backup

Most of you are aware of Carbonite Online Backup and how easily and effectively it backs up your important files. For those who are not, Carbonite automatically backs up your important files (pictures, documents, and other personal files) securely to their server. The best part is the fact that the backup is automatic. If you accidentally delete a file, or your computer crashes, the files can easily be recovered. This is fantastic. Personally, every member of my immediate family is a Carbonite member and I strongly recommend everyone else be a member as well.

Computer Medics is now an exclusive partner with Carbonite. Therefore, every time you purchase a Carbonite Subscription from Computer Medics, Carbonite will pay us a commission. Even those who have already purchased a subscription directly from Carbonite can move their subscription to Computer Medics. It costs the same to purchase a Carbonite subscription through Computer Medics. And once you purchase a subscription through us, we will monitor the status of your backup. We will call you if we notice any issues with your backup, such as a backup that has stopped working or a subscription that is about to expire. If you would like to start a free trial of Carbonite, click on the provided link. http://partners.carbonite.com/computermedicsofswflorida. Or, if you would like us to transfer your existing Carbonite subscription to our dashboard, please call us. It does not cost anything to transfer your Carbonite subscription to our dashboard.

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Customer Referral Bonus Program
Our customers have been asking for a referral bonus program and as of June 1, 2014 we have implemented one. The process is simple. Whenever a new customer uses our service, we will ask them how they heard about us. If they say “referral,” we will ask them for the name of the person who referred them. We will then add a $10 credit to the referring person’s customer record. There is no limit to the amount of referral credits a customer can earn. Just ask us for your referral credits at the time of your next service call and we will reduce the price of your service call.

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Computer Medics Survey
Finally, please allow us 5-10 minutes of your time to fill out a 13 question survey. You can choose to remain anonymous, or if you would like a response, you can provide us with your contact information.
https://onedrive.live.com/survey?resid=32343B61F77B58DA!7757&authkey=!AMor1sEs2ApxDI0

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Here at Computer Medics, we are staying inside and enjoying the air conditioning and praying for October to get here quickly. Our business is slow, but we are not sitting idle. We are continually striving to keep abreast of the latest technology trends and are preparing for another busy season with those who winter in our tropical paradise.

I hope you enjoy the picture of our family. The picture was taken 1 week ago. With our grown children, it is rare to have everyone together. They will be heading back to college very soon.

It has been a joy to interact with all of our customers. Your many encouraging words help us to tackle all those complicated computer problems. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us.

Please enjoy the short computer tips below and the longer articles to the left. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email, call or stop by our workshop. It is always our pleasure to help you. Our staff of technicians are devoted to serving your families and your businesses.

If you click on our Facebook Page below and “Like Us” you will be entered into a drawing every month for a $40 gift certificate off your next service call. So far, we have given away 34 gift certificates since October 2011.

Computer Medics Facebook Page

Finally, if you like our service, could you please write a Google Review for us? Google Reviews are are the main reason people call us when they are searching the web for a computer repair company.

Computer Medics Google Reviews

Sincerely,
Mike Peterson

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Quick Tips and Tricks

1. Print out this newsletter, so you can read it later in your easy chair.

2. In a little over one year, on January 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer support Internet Explorer 8. For most people, the change will mean nothing since Internet Explorer 8 is meant for Windows XP and Vista and most people have already upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Please call us if you would like a free check to see what version of Windows or Internet Explorer you have.

3. A question we frequently get is “How often should I have my computer cleaned?” We recommended a professional cleaning at least one time per year. A cleaning involves updating Windows and other programs, especially your virus and malware protection. Then we run CCleaner and Malwarebytes. Also, we will look at your installed programs and remove those that we consider Junkware or Bloatware. The whole process typically takes 1 hour and we can do it through our remote assistance service. For those who have purchased a computer from Computer Medics, the first annual cleaning is FREE.

4. Here are some keyboard shortcuts to help make your job faster and easier.
CTRL+F = Opens the Find dialog box
CTRL+Tab = Moves to the next tab in your browser.
CTRL+S = Saves your file.
CTRL+P = Prints your file.
CTRL+C = Copies highlighted text
CTRL+V = Pastes highlighted text

5. If you have an Android smart phone and have a GMail address, you can log into the Google Calendar App on you computer. Any appointment you enter on your computer will automatically show up on your smart phone and the appointment alerts as well.

6. An easy way to organize your phone or email contacts so the most important names are at the top of the list, is to add a number 1 in front of the names.

7. Should you turn off your computer every night, or leave it on? This age old question can be argued for hours and both sides can claim victory. At Computer Medics, we recommend that you shut off the computer every night or if you will be away from it for more than couple of hours. This will give it time to rest and install any needed updates.

8. The best way to keep your laptop battery healthy is to keep it plugged whenever you are close to an AC outlet. There is no longer a need to discharge a battery to zero and recharge it to 100%. If fact, discharging a battery to zero can actually harm it.

Newsletter

March 2014 Newsletter

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Virus and Malware Infections

Here at Computer Medics, we have been busy removing viruses and malware from people’s computer. That, in and of itself, is not particularly unusual. However, the methods people have experienced while contracting infections has been growing increasingly sinister. Most people have heard about emails claiming that their friends or relatives are stuck in a foreign country and need immediate funds to exit their hotels and get on their flights back home. In another case, a supposed friend or relative has sent email file attachments and invites you to enter your email address and password to gain access to the attachments. In both of these cases, most people will refrain from acting and their computers will not be affected.

However, lately we have seen other more disturbing ways to gain access to your computer and your personal information. In one case, a random caller will say he is calling from “Microsoft” and warns them that their Windows software is out of date and must be updated immediately. They invite the user to go to a website and click on a link so the “Microsoft technician” can gain access to the computer and “solve the problem.” After the technician has gained access to the computer, he plants bogus software on the computer which in turn warns the user of hundreds of supposed problems and the immediate need to remove them. He will subsequently try to collect anywhere from $50-$200 to clean the computer. He will even go so far as guaranteeing that their company will fix any problems that might come up in the forthcoming year. Some people are falling for this scam. Their fear takes over and they start to believe supposed problems are real and if they do not act immediately, their computer will be paralyzed. The best thing to do is hang up the phone and shut off your computer. Sometimes, the malware they planted will go away upon a reboot. If it doesn’t, then call us at Computer Medics and we will check everything out for you. Keep in mind, that Microsoft will never call you about the condition of your computer. Please note, if the scammer continues to call you, threaten to report them to the Lee County Sheriff Department’s Fraud Divisions. There are full time deputies employed to help people with this very issue.

A second equally sinister plot is bogus companies that will pay for advertisements on legitimate search websites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Then when you are searching for something, you might accidentally click on their advertisement, which will automatically invite malware onto your computer. Evidence of malware is popup advertisements, toolbars at the top of your browser, redirections when you search for something, your browser homepage changes, and general slowness of your computer. Please call us if you experience any of these cases. We will remove the malware and make sure you have the latest virus and malware protection installed.

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Carbonite Online Backup

Everyone can agree that backing up personal files is essential. We often ask our customers, “If your computer crashed tonight, would you be fine losing whatever data is stored in your computer?” Most people will normally say “no.” Your personal data is stored on a hard disk drive inside your computer, which is a mechanical part that will eventually fail. Computers do not warn you when they are about to crash. A good analogy is like the engine in your car. It is not a matter of if, but when it will fail. At Computer Medics, we have done extensive research on the reliability of hard drives and their expected life. Our conclusion is that there is no expected life expectancy for a particular hard drive. The average life expectancy is 3-5 years. We do have professional software that will test your particular hard drive. It will tell us how many days the hard drive has been used, the expected days remaining, and the health (how many bad sectors). However, even this test is not a sure way of determining the life expectancy.

Hard drive expectations aside, we would like to introduce you to date backup service called Carbonite Online Backup. Carbonite will make a copy of your data and store it in “the cloud.” Their service offers unlimited storage and will automatically backup files moments after you add or change them. If you happen to delete a file, it will be available in “the cloud” for 30-days. And since we are an Authorized Carbonite Partner, we can monitor your backup to make sure it is working and then remind you to renew when your subscription is about to expire. If you are already a Carbonite Member, we can move your subscription to our Carbonite Dashboard at no charge. Then you will receive the same monitoring benefits. The cost of their service is around $5/month, the price a Starbucks coffee. Every member of my family has been using Carbonite for many years. One time my mother-in-law’s computer crashes and she was devastated, until I told her I purchased a Carbonite subscription for her computer. At Computer Medics, we successfully recover Carbonite files for our customers on a weekly basis. . If you are interested in Carbonite Online Backup, please call us and we will set it up for you over the phone with our remote assistance support.

Furthermore, if you own a business, we recommend that you also setup an external backup hard drive. That way, if your system crashes, we are able to use your external backup drive to get your data restored in a matter of minutes, instead of waiting the normal several days to download your data from Carbonite. This is due to the speed of the Internet. If you are already using an external hard drive to back up your files, let me strongly encourage you to call us to verify that your files are being backed up properly. I cannot tell you how many times we have seen a computer crash and our client either forgot to backup or assumed their files were being backed up to the external drive

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Windows XP Support is Ending

After 12 years of supporting Windows XP, it is finally coming to an end on April 8, 2014. You may have already seen warnings from Microsoft popping up on your computer. This will happen every month until you upgrade to a newer version. Basically, Microsoft is offering no more security updates or technical support for the operating system. What does this mean? Windows XP will eventually become unstable and unusable. Additionally, viruses and malware programs will have an open door to deliver malicious attacks. Therefore, it is very important that everyone upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. However, keep in mind that almost all Windows XP computers have hardware deficiencies that make it difficult to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. Therefore, you will need to purchase a new computer. This is not a bad thing. If you have a computer that is running Windows XP, you have likely exceeded the 3-5 year normal life of a computer. According to the Microsoft Website, these are the potential risks of using a Windows XP computer after April 8th:

Security: Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software which can steal or damage your data.
Compliance: Businesses governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements.
Lack of software support: Most software vendors will stop making products that operate on Windows XP. This has already happened with Microsoft Office 2013, which will only install on Windows 7 or 8 computers. Furthermore, many websites will stop working in Internet Explorer 8 (the highest version of Internet Explorer that will run on Windows XP). We are already running into this issue with our current Windows XP customers. The only XP solution we have is installing a 3rd party browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.
Lack of hardware support: Most hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP. This means that the drivers required to run the hardware on Windows XP will not be available. We have already noticed this with some Smart Phones and Digital Cameras.

Finally, support for Office 2003 will also end on April 8th. If you are currently using Office 2003, you will be able to continue using it. However, if a problem develops, Microsoft will no longer issue bug fixes and updates.

As you can see, upgrading from Windows XP is a serious issue. Please call Computer Medics if you are still using Windows XP. We sell Dell computers and have been an authorized Dell OEM Sales and Repair Center for over 12 years. Two years ago we also started building our own Computer Medics Custom Towers which run much faster than the mass produced brand name systems and they can be customized to your needs, and are easily upgradable. We are looking forward to helping you, our valued customer.

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New Location

Finally, many of you have heard that we moved to a commercial location. There are many advantages, mainly a central Fort Myers location, visibility on a major highway and more space to devote to inshop and remote assistance support. We hope to be in this location for many years. Come by and say “hi” if you are in the area. It is wonderful to have so many loyal customers as friends. All of our families at Computer Medics thank you for your support.

Mike Peterson
President
11350 Metro Parkway,Suite 103,Fort Myers, FL 33966
11350 Metro Pkwy Street Map 4

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Quick Tips and Tricks

1. Print out this newsletter, so you can read it later in your easy chair.

2. An easy way to organize your phone or email contacts so the most important names are at the top of the list, is to add a number 1 in front of the names.

3. The best way to keep your laptop battery healthy is to keep it plugged whenever you are close to an AC outlet. There is no longer a need to discharge a battery to zero and recharge it to 100%. If fact, discharging a battery to zero can actually harm the battery.

4. If you have an Android smart phone and have a GMail address, you can log into the Google Calendar App on you computer. Any appointment you enter on your computer will automatically show up on your smart phone and the appointment alerts as well.

5. If you have Android smart phone and use GMail Email, every person you add to your Contacts in GMail will automatically show up in your smart phone (and the contact notes too)!

6. Should you turn off your computer every night, or leave it on? This age old question can be argued for hours and both sides can claim victory. At Computer Medics, we recommend that you shut off the computer every night or if you will be away from it for more than couple of hours. This will give it time to rest and install any needed updates.

7. Should I use Sleep or Hibernate? This is another age old question. At Computer Medics, we recommend not using either. We advise people to leave their machines running all day and shut them down at night. However, it is OK to set your monitor to go to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.

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Merry Christmas from Computer Medics!

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Dear Computer Medics Customer,

On the behalf of the staff at Computer Medics, I want to wish you and your family the best during this Christmas Season. As I reflect back on 2013, there have been many changes. The biggest change was our move out of the garage into a retail location off Metro Parkway. However, through all the changes I am most grateful for my wife and my children. I started Computer Medics in 1999 when my children were very young. Now my children are young adults. Our son Joshua will be graduating with a degree in Engineering from Florida Gulf Coast University in the spring of 2014. Our oldest daughter Mesha is attending college and competing in gymnastics at the University of Wisconsin Stout. And our youngest daughter Naomi is attending college and playing soccer at Southwest Minnesota State University. Everyone at Computer Medics has thoroughly enjoyed making your lives a little easier by tackling and solving your computer and networking problems. We have made many memories together. We look forward to another great year serving you.

Finally, one of our customers suggested Computer Medics Gift Certificates for two of his best friends. He said it would be something thoughtful for “those who already have everything” and was a “perfect gift for a spouse or friend.” Therefore, I have created special gift certificates just for you to purchase. We have them for every level of pre-paid remote assistance service too. Just call us and we will take your payment over the phone and send the gift certificate out to you or directly to your friends and relatives.

Merry Christmas from Mike Peterson, Scott Lucas, Alan Filder, Bobby Belton, Matthew Peterson, and Stephen Sullivan

Computer Medics of SW Florida, Inc.
11350 Metro Parkway, Suite 103, Fort Myers, FL 33966
239-437-4357

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August 2013 Newsletter

21

Carbonite Online Backup

We, at Computer Medics, are dedicated to keeping your computer safe and secure by offering you the most reliable computers and software available. That is why we recommend Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes Antimalware Professional to keep your computer safe. Futhermore, to give you the highest quaility computer equipment, we chose to be an Authorized Dell Sales and Service Center and more recently have started building our own systems with only the highest quality parts, based on many years of experience. However, even with the best equipment and security software, we can not prevent inevitable hardware failures (ie. Normal hard drives wear out after 3-5 years), accidental disasters (ie. spilling liquid on a laptop keyboard, dropping a laptop, kicking a tower under your desk, accidentally deleting a file, etc), catastrophes (ie. Hurricanes, fires, theft) and software crashes (ie. Windows corruption, viruses, malware).

How can you be prepared for all of these disasters? That is easy, we recommend Carbonite Online Backup. Carbonite automatically backs up your files to a server “The Cloud” every few minutes. After a crash, we will help you reinstall Windows, then login to your Carbonite account and download your personal files. Nothing could be easier or more effective. The best part is the inexpensive cost of the service of $59/year ($4.91/month) or $149/3-years ($4.14/month). Finally, since we are an authorized Carbonite Dealer, we can download, install and configure the service for you. The subscription price is the same. However, we charge $40 for a 30-minute remote assistance call to download, install and configure the software. We look forward to helping you backup your data and being prepared for the inevitable calamities.

One caveat: If you are business customer, we recommend using Carbonite AND having an external hard drive for backup. Carbonite relies on Internet speeds, which sometimes means DAYS waiting for a backup to restore. An external hard drive will give you immediate access to your data, so you can be up and running in HOURS.

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Windows XP – Upgrade to a New Computer

We cannot stress this enough, NOW is the time to upgrade your Windows XP system to a new computer running Windows 7 or 8. Waiting is only a recipe for disaster. First of all, Windows XP was replaced by Windows Vista on January 30, 2007. This means that your Windows XP system is likely over 6 years old. It is well known that computer components wear out over time and several components are CRITICAL to the life of your computer:
1. Cooling fans can get clogged with dust and fail, causing the computer to overheat,
2. Hard drives have moving parts that can wear out, and
3. Motherboards are susceptible to corrosion due to the extreme heat and humidity of our SW Florida location.

Secondly, Microsoft has announced that April 8, 2014 is their official last day of support for Windows XP. This means that there will be no more Windows updates or telephone support through Microsoft. This will leave Windows XP vulnerable to viruses and other potential problems. These problems make it imperative that you call Computer Medics to talk about new Dell towers and laptops and Computer Medics Custom Towers. Please click on the link to see the Benefits of Purchasing a Computer through Us. http://onsiteservice.net/ComputerPerks.pdf Or click on the link to see the new computers we have in stock. http://onsiteservice.net/computers.html Even if you choose to purchase a computer elsewhere, we are more than pleased to help you transfer your data and setup your computer, printer, and external devices.

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Windows Vista – Upgrade to 7

As most of you know, Windows Vista was a “black eye” for Microsoft. They had a lot good ideas, but they rushed out the finished product and missed a few key points. Shortly after Windows Vista was implemented, Windows 7 was released. Windows 7 used the same core components of Windows Vista and made them better. If you have Windows Vista, it is imperative that you upgrade to Windows 7 NOW. Windows 7 is rapidly disappearing from the market. None of the major computer retailers sell Windows 7. We snatched up 60 copies of Windows 7 when Windows 8 was released last fall. Now we are down to about 30 copies. Most Windows Vista computers have all the components necessary for Windows 7. The biggest benefit is the increase in SPEED that Windows 7 provides. Furthermore, there is nothing better than operating with a fresh copy of Windows, with no errors and a minimum amount of software installed. The upgrade process involves: 1. Backing up your data, 2. Formatting the hard drive, 3. Installing Windows 7, 4. Updating Windows 7, 5. Installing your software and the latest security software, and 6. Restoring your data. To keep your cost to a minimum, we only do the upgrades in our workshop, not onsite. The whole process can take 5-7 hours, but we only bill a flat rate of 3 hours. Please call us and we will give you an estimate for the price of the software and the labor.

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Windows 8 Update

I would like to quickly update you on Windows 8. It has been about 9 months since Windows 8 was released. In May 2013 Microsoft announced that it had surpassed the 100 million mark for Windows 8 licenses. This puts it ahead of Windows Vista for the same time period, but behind Windows 7. Here are the features that we really like: 1. Stability – Very infrequent crashes, 2. Quicker Startup and Shutdown, 3. Greater security – Windows Defender has risen to the occasion and provided real virus protection. Personally, Computer Medics has not seen 1 virus infected Windows 8 computer, and 4. Windows Store Apps – Like the Apple Store, Microsoft makes it easier for software developers and end-users to come together and experience new and innovative software titles.

One caveat: We still recommend Malwarebytes Antimalware Professional ($25) for every Windows 8 computer. This helps prevent Malware Infections.

Next Quarterly Newsletter: More Windows 8 features and how to reinstall Windows 8 if you have a problem.

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Shipping computers to us

Lately, we have had a rash of people who have contracted the FBI virus. The only way to remove it is to take control of the computer OUTSIDE of the Windows environment. This automatically takes away our ability to remotely access our customer’s computers. Therefore, we have been asking people to bring their computers to our new location or scheduling an onsite visit. However, this poses a problem to our seasonal residents who are up north for the summer. The solution has been to ask our northern to find a local computer service company like us, or ship the computer to us in FL. We have been receiving some discouraging feedback after our customers try a different company. They are often told their hard drive unnecessarily needs to be replaced, Windows needs to be reinstalled, or they need to purchase expensive security software. That is why we are strongly recommending the second option, shipping the computer to us. The cheapest shipping method is a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping box (around $12) for laptops or FedEx Ground Shipping for desktops (around $30 + packing materials). We will start your repair immediately and will often times ship your computer back the same day or the next day. Please call us if you choose this method of repair.

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Portable Devices

Portable devices had exploded onto the scene over the past few years. Apple started with the iPod. Now, there are a dozen different companies offering tablets, smart phones, eReaders, and a mixture of these. Currently, there has emerged 3 leaders in this field. First, is Apple with their iPads and iPhones running the Apple iOS system. Second, is Google with Nexus tablets, and a plethora of tablets and smart phones running the Google Android OS system. Third, is Microsoft which has traditional computers, Surface tablets and Windows phones, all running Windows 8. Our advice is to choose to stick with a uniform platform for all your portable devices (ie. Apple, Google or Microsoft). This makes the learning curve small for using new devices. But more importantly, the “cloud” service you choose will likely pair with the types of devices you have and having one cloud service will be cheaper and easier to manage. For example, Microsoft’s Sky Drive service has the goal of marrying your Windows 8 desktop or laptop computer, Surface Tablet and Windows 8 Phone. Google’s Google Drive service connects your Google Android tablets and smart phones. Apple’s iCloud service joins your iPhone and iPad devices. Please keep in mind that all of these services offer a small Free amount of storage space. However, if you have a lot of video or pictures, you will have to upgrade to paid monthly or annual contract.

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New Location

Finally, many of you might have heard that we moved to a commercial location last month. There are many advantages, mainly a central Fort Myers location, visibility and more space to devote to inshop and remote assistance support. We hope to be in this location for many years. Come by and say “hi” if you are in the area. It is wonderful to have so many loyal customers as friends. All of our families at Computer Medics thank you for your support.

Mike Peterson
President
11350 Metro Parkway,Suite 103,Fort Myers, FL 33966
11350 Metro Pkwy Street Map 4

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Quick Tips and Tricks

1. Print out this newsletter, so you can read it later in your easy chair.

2. If an advertisement pops up on your screen and you do not see a red X to close it, press the Alt+F4 keys on your keyboard to close the advertisement. This method might save you from a malware infection.

3. The best method to clean your laptop screen or LCD TV is by using a special screen cleaning fluid terri cloth rag. You can purchase them as a kit at Staples or Office Depot.

4. If you have an Android smart phone and use GMail, you can log into your GMail Calendar on your computer and all the appointments you enter on your computer will automatically transfer to your smart phone. And alerts will show on your smart phone and your computer 10 minutes before the scheduled time (or any interval you set).

5. If you have Android smart phone and use GMail Email, every person you add to your Contacts in GMail will automatically show up in your smart phone (and the contact notes too)!

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May 2013 Newsletter

22Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 was released on January 29, 2013. There are few things you might want to know about the software. First, contrary to the Office 2010 Home and Student 3-user pack, or the regular Office 2010 that allowed you to install it on 2 devices, every 2013 edition is being sold as an individual license. The only exception is Office 365 which is priced starting at $99/year for up to 5-users. For those who might be thinking of saving some money and purchasing Office 2010 before it is gone, you are too late, they are completely gone from the marketplace.

One thing we really like about Office 2013 is the flawless compatibility with Windows 8. We have been seeing Windows 8 users trying to run Office 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010 and experiencing some frustrating issues, such as intermittent lockups. Purchasing Office 2013 will eliminate these problems. Not to mention, Office 2013 is backwards compatible to all previous versions of Office.

Here are a few new features in Office 2013: 1) Your documents are saved “in the cloud” for easy retrieval on a different device, like a smart phone, tablet, or computer. 2) You can open and edit Adobe PDF files. 3) Word and PowerPoint documents will remember where you were and put the cursor in that place the next time you open the document. 4) Outlook will alert you if you forgot to send an attachment. 5) You can connect Office applications to Facebook for posting on your wall.

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i Yogi Warning

We are still receiving calls from customers who have inadvertently called i Yogi for technical support. i Yogi is a legitimate technical support company. However, we do not like their business practices. It typically starts when you call the technical support phone number for Norton, Avast, Carbonite, and other large software companies. The phone call is re-directed to i Yogi in India, where sales people are trained to use high-pressure sales tactics to sell you an annual support contract for $199. They tell you that it will include unlimited calls. This is true, but this does not include onsite or inshop service calls that are sometimes necessary to remove viruses, reinstall Windows, fix router and printer problems, etc. If you need an onsite or inshop appointment, you will need to pay a local company like Computer Medics. Furthermore, we have found their software knowledge to be inadequate to handle most of the technical problems we deal with. If you need software assistance, it is better to call Computer Medics, where our remote assistance rates are $40 for each 30-minute session, with a discount if you prepay for multiple sessions.

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Windows 8 DVDs and License

Windows 8 computers do not come with recovery DVD’s. If your hard drive crashes, you will need a professional like Computer Medics to reload Windows 8 from a flash drive or DVD. Furthermore, one thing is different about Windows 8 licensing. If you purchase a computer form a major manufacturer (Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, IBM, etc) the license number will be hard-coded on the motherboard. This means that after you reinstall Windows 8, your software will automatically activate without you having to type in a license number. However, if you purchase an upgrade copy of Windows 8 or purchase Windows 8 pre-installed on your system (like from Computer Medics), you will need to keep the original license number in a safe place. There is no license sticker, so the license card is your only proof of purchase. Therefore, if you need to reinstall Windows 8 and you have lost your license number, you will need to purchase another license.

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Windows XP Support Ending

My bank (First Citizens Bank) just announced that they are unveiling a new online banking website. The new website will not be accessible from Internet Explorer 7 or earlier or Firefox 3.6 or earlier. This will affect most of our Windows XP customers. This reinforces our point of suggesting Windows XP people purchase new computers from us. Our purpose is not just to sell new computers. We are genuinely concerned about anyone who is running Windows XP. Windows XP was replaced by Windows Vista on January 30, 2007, which was over 6 years ago. And it is a fact that computers have moving parts and will eventually wear out. The average life a computer is 2-3 years for cheap computers brands like HP, Asus, Acer, etc and 3-5 years for better brands like Dell, Sony, Toshiba, and IBM. Finally, the final “straw that will break the camel’s back” is Microsoft’s official end to Windows XP support on April 8, 2014. After that date, there will be no more security updates, which means that your computer will be vulnerable to viruses, malware, identity theft, and crashing. Computer Medics caries Dell system and our own customer Computer Medics towers.

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We are still drawing a random person every month to receive a $40 Computer Medics gift certificate every month. All you have to do is “Like Us” on Facebook.

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Tips and Tricks

1. Print out this newsletter, so you can read it later in your easy chair.

2. If your computer locks up, press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to shut it off. Then tap the power button to start it normally.

3. We highly recommend real-time Malware protection called Malwarebytes Antimalware Professional. It is $25 for a life-time subscription. This is similar to virus protection, but even more vital. Please ask us about this.

4. If you are leaving town for the summer or even a few weeks, we recommend you unplug your computer equipment from your surge protector. If you have a battery backup, leave it plugged into the wall, so the battery will continue to trickle charge while you are away.

5. We have 2 charities that accepts old computer equipment. One is called Komputers for Kids and the other is Harmony Transitional Housing of SW Florida. They serve underprivileged children and homeless men and women. You can receive a tax deduction and we take care of checking your equipment, zeroing your hard drive, and donating your system. Neither organization is accepting printers.

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