Do It Yourself Computer Maintenance

 

As much as we love to havecomputer repair your business, we’d like to share some tips for avoiding the computer repair shop.

Your computer is like your car. It’s a costly machine that brings you much joy. Just like your car, you need to follow a preventive maintenance routine for your computer. This will help you maintain the speed, accuracy and security you had when you first purchased it.

Here at Geeks@Site, we will perform these procedures for you automatically when we repair your computer. But, with a basic computer knowledge, any user can easily maintain their computer on their own.

Below is a  simple schedule plan for you to use during the year to optimize both your computer and your time, much like the car maintenance schedule contained in your automobile’s user manual.

Daily:

Clear temporary internet files, clear temporary Windows files, delete history, clear cache, clear cookies, close down browsers, and move any files you don’t need anymore to the trash.

Weekly: Run at least one virus, spyware, and adware scan, add new Windows updates. Empty your computer’s trash.

Monthly: Run scandisk/checkdisk, disk defragmenter, and disk clean-up.

6 Months: Change all of your important passwords, check to make sure you have the latest versions of your software programs, uninstall any applications you aren’t using and don’t need. Restart your computer. If you haven’t already done it by now, wipe your monitor down.

Annually: Check your computer’s fan and fan grid for dust build-up and blow it out with a can of spray-air, clean your mouse, keyboard, monitor and laptop case if you have a laptop.

Other, “as-needed” items may include, updating drivers, increasing your RAM, replacing your video or sound card. The lesson here is that most of these things you can do yourself at home, and they will go far in keeping your computer running smoothly.

Now, we realize these things deal mostly with the software, and internal workings of your computer. We do lots of operations on sick computers in those areas too. But, we also fix things that just can’t be maintained on a normal basis. Geeks@Site will get inside those hard to reach places of your computer and remove its cavities, returning it to you as good as new.We are experts at recovering lost data from crashed hard drives, because even will all the preventive maintenance in the world, sometimes things just wear out.

Geeks@Site, your Federal Way, Des Moines, and South King County computer repair specialists.

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Why You Should Buy a Refurbished Computer?

 

computer with moneyThink about the major purchases in your life you’ve made that are “pre-owned”. Many of the major purchases many of us make throughout our lives are pre-owned. For instance, our houses, cars and boats. We inspect these items, trust the vendors we purchase from and take advantage of the extremely reduced price. In the case refurbished computers, it is not uncommon to save 40% over the cost of a new one.

According to an article on dailyworth.com, only 5 percent of returned electronics are ever found to be defective.*

A trusted vendor will take your refurbished computer and make it like new again. Before purchase, they will wipe the hard drive and install a fresh operating system. Typically, they will also provide a compatible mouse and keyboard with your system.

Buying a refurbished computer is also great for the environment, as your purchase will prevent another hunk of hard plastic and metal filling up the landfills , or taking up storage space.

You probably won’t be able to get all of the customized bells and whistles buying a new computer would get you. But, the extra money you save buying a refurbished computer allows you upgrade and customize other components. For instance, a more robust graphics card.

Always look for a basic warranty (typically 90 days for hardware) when buying refurbished computers. A reputable computer supplier will also offer a 30 day return policy with your purchase. Also, make sure then dealer is actually selling you a refurbished computer and not a used computer. You want to buy refurbished only, as these computers are remade like new. A used computer is usually just sold “as is” when it comes into the shop.

Make sure you research the performance requirements you will need, before shopping for a refurbished computer. Find out what, if any operating system the vendor is going to install with it and calculate other system requirements to see how it will mesh with your software and component requirements . Do this planning for  your current needs. But also get a system that leaves you room to grow in the future.

Geeks@Site is an authorized refurbished computer re-seller in Federal Way. Come by and take one of our refurbished computers for a spin.

*http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/1352-the-case-for-buying-refurbished-computers

 

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Our Favorite Computer Quotes

very-funnyGeeks@Site pride ourselves on providing amazing customer service and expert computer repair to the Federal Way and South King County area. But, unlike many of our competitors, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Below are some of our favorite funny quotations and sayings involving computers and technology:

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing – Emo Philips

One of the most feared expressions in modern times is ‘The computer is down.’
- Norman Ralph Augustine

“A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history – with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.” – Author Unknown

“The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people. ” ~Karl Marx

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C Clarke

“For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three. – Alice Kahn

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” – Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.

Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog. ~Doug Larson

Computers, huh? I’ve heard it all boils down to just a bunch of ones and zeroes…. I don’t know how that enables me to see naked women, but however it works, God bless you guys. ~From the television show King of Queens, spoken by the character Doug Heffernan

I just wish my mouth had a backspace key. ~Author Unknown

What do you call a doctor that fixes websites? A URLologist. ~Author Unknown

Computers are like air conditioners. They work fine until you start opening windows. ~Author Unknown

Helpdesk: Double click on “My Computer”
User: I can’t see your computer.
Helpdesk: No, double click on “My Computer” on your computer.
User: Huh?
Helpdesk: There is an icon on your computer labeled “My Computer”. Double click on it.
User: What’s your computer doing on mine?

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

“The Web is like a dominatrix.  Everywhere I turn, I see little buttons ordering me to Submit.” – Anonymous

“Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with Windows.”

It has been said that if you place an infinite amount of monkeys by one typewriter each, one of them will eventually write a literary masterpiece. The Internet has proven that this is not the case. – The Internet

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our little collection of funny sayings. Feel free to send us some of your own and we will gladly post them.
Stop by and visit us in our Federal Way office. We’d love to meet you and your computer.
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10 Tips for Creating a Strong Password

1. Use at least 10 characters. Most experts will tell you to use at least 8 characters. Having worked in the security industry for several years, I would say try for 10. It just makes sense. If all the experts are saying 8, hackers are more likely to try 8 character combinations.

2. Make your passwords complex. Many websites, newsletters and e-commerce sites do not provide guidelines which force the end-user to create complex passwords. So, to create complex passwords, include at least one of each of these:

-Lower case letter
-Upper case letter
-Number
-Special Characters

Some websites do not allow for the use of special characters. If this is the case, mix up your upper case letters, lower case letters and numbers to make them more complex and maybe even add a couple of extra characters.

3. Try not to use the same password for multiple things. This way if a hacker does hack your password, they don’t have access to all of your other accounts as well.

4. Change your passwords often. You should change your passwords about every 3-6 months. If you’ve created separate passwords for each log-in, you should be able to rotate them around to the different log-ins without a problem.

5. Never include personal information in your passwords. Avoid using the names of family members, pets, or places. Also, don’t use numbers representing birthdays or other important dates in your life. A lot of times this personal information is easily accessible to internet criminals and it will be the first place they start when they begin to try to hack your system.

6. Never share your password with anyone. This includes your computer repair technician, your children, and yes, even your spouse or significant other.

7. This one seems obvious. But, you would be surprised at how many people don’t take it into account. Don’t type your passwords on a computer when there is someone looking over your shoulder or nearby who might be able to catch a peek.

8. Don’t type your password on a computer that does not belong to you. Hackers can set up devices on public and private computers called “key-loggers”, which record keyboard strokes. They then come back later to record this information. Typing on a key-logger is like leaving a rabbit trail of everything you’ve typed into the computer. It leaves a wide open door for hackers to gather your personal data.

9. Test your password for security. There is a site you can go to and type your password, which will accurately predict how many years it would take a computer to hack it. For security reasons, never type your actual password at this site. But, you can use similar combinations to get a good idea of how successful your password will be. To check passwords similar to yours, go to howsecureismypassword.net.

10. Many experts will tell you never to write your passwords down. But, these days, it’s not uncommon for one person to have over thirty passwords. Personally, I don’t think that is practical advice. I would say, go ahead and write your passwords down. But, keep them in a secret place far away from your computer. Better yet, even in a separate location from where your computer is located.

Creating a strong password is just one step in creating an overall computer security plan. In addition, you will need a strong firewall, anti-virus program and anti-spyware software. Here at Geeks@Site in Federal Way, we focus on computer repair. But, we will also be happy to help you set up a security plan and install software to keep your computer safe. We’ve been a staple here in the Federal Way computer repair business for over 2 years and are now expanding our market to the Des Moines and Burien areas. Stop by our Federal Way offices and drop off your computer or for in-home service, give us a call at 253-217-4832.

 

 

 

 

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10 Steps to Help Make Your Computer Safe for Your Children

1. Keep your computer in a high traffic area of the house, where adult supervision is possible during use. Also, limit the amount of time your children spend on the computer each day. Make sure they are also getting some time socializing, and being active for a balanced lifestyle.

2. Sit down and talk to your kids about what is appropriate for them to visit on the internet and what is not. Let them know the what kinds of discussions are safe online and which are not.

3. As a family, put together some common ground rules for computer use. For example, never reveal phone numbers or addresses, never open attachments from strangers, etc…Post these rules next to the computer.

4. Write up a computer use contract and have each member of the family sign it.

5. Set up a broad internet security software that not only protects your computer from viruses and malware but contains strong internet filtering to block adult content, pictures and websites. Keep the software updated frequently. If needed, Geeks@Site technicians will set-up and help update all of your internet safety software on a regular basis.

6. Use the parental controls, set them up and understand that without sophisticated systems in place, many computer savvy teen users are able to “hack” into some of the more simple systems.

7. Remind everyone that people met online are still strangers and should be treated as such.

8. Create strong passwords for everything. In an upcoming article, we will be going into depth about creating strong passwords.

9. Check your computer often for properly updated and working security software, including antivirus, antispyware and a strong firewall.

10. Stay informed of the latest news on internet threats, dangers to children and safety tips.

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5 Dangers of the Internet, Learn to Protect Your Child (Part 2)

Explicit Content

The sheer volume of internet pornography available to your child at the click of a button is staggering. Early exposure to pornography is psychologically damaging, socially inhibiting, and inherently addictive.

The level of dopamine released when a child views pornographic or suggestive images at this age will give them a high like no other. This increased dopamine can lead to sexual addiction and a lifetime of failed relationships, and loneliness.

The graphic, degrading pornographic images and videos now available on the internet warp the user’s sense of positive sexuality. Internet pornography scenes depict acts void of any romance, intimacy or meaning.

A recent report by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children or (NSPCC), a UK based charity claims nearly a third of children between the ages of 11-18 believe internet pornography dictates the way they should behave in a sexual relationship. Many of the adolescent girls who participated in the study feel constant pressured to look and act like porn stars, just to get the attention of the boys in their school.

So, what can responsible parents do to fight this ever-growing problem? (to be cont…..)

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5 Dangers of the Internet, Learn to Protect Your Child

Young people are using new technologies at ever-increasing rates, with 93 percent of young people now online, 73 percent on MySpace or Facebook, and 75 percent owning cell phones, up from 63 percent who owned cellphones in 2006, according to data from the Pew Internet American Life Project.

This overwhelming number will only increase in the upcoming years. The internet is a valuable research, education, and communication tool for our children. However, when a child is not educated on safe internet use and given proper supervision, the online world can be a very dangerous place. Careless internet use can lead to involvement with sexual predators, ridicule and embarrassment. Many children who spend too much time on the internet become uninterested in outside activities and display social anxiety and withdrawal.

I’m going to cover 5 major problem areas of child internet use parents should be concerned with; bullying, inappropriate content, child predators, internet addiction, and poor socialization. I’ll give a brief definition of each with useful tips to keep your kids safe.

1. Bullying

Cyberbullying occurs when a child is tormented, harassed and specifically targeted by another child using the internet or other digital technologies. Children have killed each other and committed suicide because of cyberbullying.

Teach your kids these tips to protect them from online bullying:

  1. Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages.
  2. Tell their friends to stop cyberbullying.
  3. Block communication with cyberbullies; delete messages without reading them.
  4. Never post or share their personal information online (including full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or their friends’ personal information.
  5. Never share their Internet passwords with anyone, except you.
  6. Talk to you about their life online.
  7. Not put anything online that they wouldn’t want their classmates to see, even in email.
  8. Not send messages when they’re angry or upset.
  9. Always be as polite online as they are in person.

Source: National Crime Prevention Council

(to be cont….)

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