PC Support Scams – Beware of These Threats

PC Support Scams Are Everywhere

pc support scamHave you gotten a PC Support Scam on your PC yet? If not, you will! What does this type of Malware attack look like? Just look at the image to the left. Pretty convincing, eh? Yes, it says Norton, but it’s fake. Anybody can copy a logo.

What else happens? Well, you’re sitting at your computer and suddenly it freezes. You see a big window pop up and say that your computer is under attack from a virus and you’re instructed to click to repair, or call a fake tech support number.

It can say lots of other scary things too, like that your hard drive is about to die and you must call immediately or you will lose all your data. It can also be a message from a fake technician from Microsoft telling you to call the right away. Sometimes, you might even get a phone call from a scammer saying they’re from Microsoft. [Read more…]

SSD Drive Upgrade is the Best PC Speedup Method

SSD PC Speedup Upgrading to an SSD Drive (solid state drive) from your regular old hard drive (HDD) is the best upgrade you can make to your laptop or desktop computer, hands down!

Hard drives tend to be among the biggest bottlenecks in performance. SSD Drive speeds are insanely fast, meaning using one will make your boot times and application launches super-fast!

An SSD drive is a hard drive that’s made up of memory chips. It works the same way as a traditional hard disk drive. You wouldn’t even know you’re using an SSD if it wasn’t for the difference in speed. [Read more…]

All-in-One Desktop PC Becoming the New Standard with Windows 8

all-in-one-pc-windows8 After years of being the “weird kid on the block”, the All-in-One desktop PC is now becoming mainstream with the release of Windows 8. With the touch screen capability of the new Windows, these PC’s are now attractive. People seem to like their similar look and feel to tablet PC’s.

The advance of the technology has made this form of computer more realistic and reliable than ever before. When they first came out years ago, they were clunky, slow and unreliable. They would overheat because of the cramped space inside and require lots of visits to the computer repair shop. Ultimately they all died a quick death. With today’s cool running, yet powerful processors from Intel and AMD, the PC’s no longer have heat issues. [Read more…]

Cracked or Broken Laptop LCD Screen Repair Prices Drop

Broken Laptop LCD Screen Repair ReplaceNeed to fix a broken laptop screen but are afraid of the cost?  Fear not!  Prices for replacing laptop LCD screens have dropped dramatically over the past year.  With the proliferation of laptops, prices for screens have dropped below $100 for many models.  Even the larger, High Definition screens can be as low as $125.  Compare that to $250 plus, just a year or two ago.

That means it’s now worth fixing your laptop versus replacing it.  With labor, the total cost of most LCD replacement now averages around $230 – $250 at most Tucson computer repair stores, such as our shop.  If your laptop is less than 3 years old and is a mid-to-high-end model, it’s definitely worth fixing.

These prices are for refurbished screens.  New screen prices are about $25 – $50 more.  We usually recommend going with a new screen for higher end laptops less than 2 years old.  For all others, refurbished is your best bet.  We’ve been doing laptop LCD screen repair for several years, and have had very good luck with the refurbished screens.

How to Transfer files from Windows to the iPad | From Windows Secrets

ipad android tabletThis article is from the WindowsSecrets.com email newsletter, written by By Lincoln Spector.

I thought it was great, but couldn’t find an easy way to share it from the newsletter, so I copied it here so I could post it for my readers. I hope they don’t mind.

Article Beginning:

The iPad (and other iOS devices) might be the coolest computing device, but it lacks a clear and simple way to share files with Windows PCs. [Read more…]

Computer Repair or Replacement – Cheap Computers are Not a Bargain

In the PC Repair business these days, we are hearing more people say they can buy a computer for almost the same price as repairing their existing PC.  So why bother doing the repair?  An good repair shop will tell you if your computer is worth fixing or not.  If they value your continued business, they will be honest with you.

Some people like replacing their computer every year or two, so they they keep buying cheap, low end machines.  Problem is, their user experience will be awful.  Slow performance, crashing, lockups, bad battery life and lousy WiFi reception are some of the hallmarks of cheap PC’s.  Then they have to transfer over all their data, install all their programs, and redo all their personal settings.  Hey if you like this, knock yourself out.

Yes, computers have dropped a lot in price these days.  You can buy one for $300.  However, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. [Read more…]

Computer Repair Issues: All-in-One Desktop PC Repair and Maintenance

All-in-One Desktop PCThe PC repair realm has a new challenge.  All-in-One desktops are now all the rage.  These are the type of computers that have the CPU and screen in one single unit.  In other words, there is no separate tower.  This is a real space saving and convenient design.  MAC desktops took this form years ago, and now Windows desktops are following suit.

There is one drawback to having this type of unit however.  Maintenance and the cost of repair.  The main issue is heat, which wears down components or burns them out.  They really cram lots of components into a small space, so they tend to run hot.   These units are basically laptops on a stand, with the LCD screen attached, so they are more expensive to repair, just like laptops are.

They tried making these PC’s several years ago, but it was a disaster because back then, processors chips and hard drives ran very hot.  It’s a lot better now with the lower voltage, cooler running components, so it’s a better unit overall.  Still, you have to be careful.  Here’s some tips to help you.

1) Keep the unit in a well ventilated area, so it can get air to pass through it freely.  Keep the surrounding area free of dust, so it doesn’t get into the vents and clog things up.  If the PC will be in a dusty area, like a workshop, don’t get one in the first place.

2) Don’t run too many programs at the same time, or run heavy duty applications, like video editing or high-end games.  This works the PC very hard and generates lots of heat.

3) Check your start-up programs and any other background programs that may be running.  If too many are running, this works the PC harder and generates more heat.  If you know how to check for these, by all means do it.  If not, take your unit to a computer repair technician and have them tweak and tune up the PC so it runs less background programs.

Feel free to buy one of these types of computers if you like, but just keep the above tips in mind.  Do not buy one if you’re a heavy gamer or if you work your computers really hard.  They’re not designed for that type of use.  If you’re a casual user that mostly uses the internet and email, these units are just fine.

I hope this helped you.  If you need any more information or have more PC Repair needs or questions, please see the Saguaro PC Tech website for our conntact information.  Thank you.

Laptop Repair for Non-Removable Batteries, Drives and Memory

Did you buy a new laptop and discovered that you can’t find the battery, or the little doors to access your memory or hard drives?  Does this worry you?  Doe you ask yourself what you can do when one of these components goes bad, especially the battery?  Are you wondering if this means you have to throw the laptop away?

Fear not!  These components can be replaced, just not by the typical user.  The actual term for this design is “non user replaceable”.  I really hate this new way of doing things.  As usual, I suspect it’s the big manufacturers’ greed to force you to send your PC to them for an overpriced repair, not to mention a 2-3 week wait.  By the way, they’re starting to do this with cell phones too.

Can batteries and other components be replaced by a local computer repair shop?  Can they upgrade your memory?  Absolutely!

What we do is remove the entire bottom panel of the laptop, which then makes all these components accessible.  It’s a little tricky, as there are lots of tiny screws and you have to know where to pry open the case, but a good technician can do this easily.

The only problem is that it will cost a little more than it used to because of the extra work.  Nothing too dramatic, maybe $30 – $50.  If you need this type of work done, give us a call or stop by our Tucson Computer Repair Store, here at Saguaro PC Tech.  Our laptop guys can handle this an much more complex repairs as well.

Free PC Diagnostics: Confusion and the Truth

You see free diagnostics advertised everywhere. This subject needs lots of clarifying. It’s a touchy subject that angers both customers and computer repair shops alike. I’m no exception.

First, lets address the confusion. What exactly is a diagnostic?

… Is it a quick look at your PC and an educated guess?
… Is it a thorough testing of all your hardware and software?
… Is it a thorough troubleshooting and testing service?

The answer is yes to all of these. Therefore the question becomes, what can you expect for free? Do you really expect a repair shop to spend hours working on your PC for free? Do you think they can survive if they do this? Let me ask you this… do you work for free? What would happen if you did? Could you survive?

Now that we’ve cleared this up, let’s ask “What is a Free Diagnostic?” It is one of two things:

1) A “Bait and Switch” scheme to get you into the store
2) A quick look at your PC to get a general idea of the problem, i.e. a quick consultation.

Any honest repair shop will take a quick 10 – 20 minute look at the problem, or even do a simple repair for free, but that is all. However, some computer problems are complex to the point that even an experienced technician will not know what the problem is unless he or she does some in depth troubleshooting. That is not free, nor should it be.

Honest shops will not charge for all their time in these more complex cases if you decide not to do the repair, but they will charge a small diagnostic fee, usually somewhere between $30 to $60 (more for laptops). They still lose money, but at least they get something for their time.

The dishonest shops will pretend they did a diagnostic and then make up a story to get you to do an expensive repair, like replacing a hard drive, motherboard, or reinstalling Windows. This is also what usually happens with Big Box stores (including Office Supply stores). They also use this method to sell you a whole new computer.

In closing, a Word of Caution:

Do not pressure a repair shop to do a free diagnostic. If you do, they’ll either turn down the job and send you away, or recommend a major repair. They can’t spend the time to do a thorough diagnosis unpaid, and will recommend a broad range (i.e. major) repair to cover all the bases, which will definitely fix your computer.

If you’re fair to them, you may get out with a $100 repair. If not, it may be $400. This is more survival behavior than dishonesty (yes, I know it’s a fine line). They have bills to pay, and a need for food, clothing and shelter, just like you.