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.
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.
Power Cords for your laptop
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.