Microsoft Pushing Hardware Purchases

Many computers with older processors, like certain of the Intel Atom based processors and some AMD processors have been brought into our shop for service lately. It seems that the Microsoft Creator’s update has caused issue and needs to be uninstalled. The short version is that going forward, Microsoft will not support certain model processors with these large feature updates. Microsoft has said it will continue to provide Security updates, but owners of these older PC’s will not get the benefits of the new features.

We understand progress, but in this instance is seems it’s moving too fast. It would be great to have more information ahead of time from Microsoft!

Here’s an article you might find interesting:
https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/20/microsoft-no-more-windows-10-upgrades-for-some-atom-based-pcs

BUYING a LAPTOP – Things To Consider

This is the big time of the year to purchase laptops. The Back To School sales start at the end of
June as graduates will use their “graduation money” to get new laptops for college.

I’d like to share some thoughts with you on features to look for and features to avoid.

Recommended features

  • Intel i3/i5/i7 processors. (The best all-around is the i5. The i7 is nice if you need the extra power.)
  • Minimum of 8G of memory. The more the better.
  • 500GB Hard Disk Drive or 1TB. (Solid State Drives are great but are expensive. For the price of a 1 TB HDD you’d only be able to get a 256 GB SSD.)
  • Lenovo, HP, Dell, ASUS, MSI are all good brands in my opinion.

Avoid

  • AMD Processors in Laptops. (From my experience, they’re great for speed and price but they die off fast.)
  • Intel Celeron or Pentium Processors (These have only enough power for surfing the web.)
  • Fancy colored laptops since color adds cost but not functionality.
  • Unknown brands.

When you’re looking for a new laptop it’s nice to be able to try it out, and get an idea of the quality of the laptop. Make sure you are comfortable typing on it. Are you happy with the look and size of the screen? I personally like to use 14” to 16” laptops. You might visit a box store that has many different brands on display, just to browse the inventory as you are making your decision.

Laptops to be used for BUSINESS have different concerns. You might call us for recommendations before jumping in. One point is that you’ll likely need to purchase the “pro” version of the operating system which will increase the price. We can also source or recommend some business model brands that will be more rugged.

Lastly, I’d like to share with you what you might expect once you purchase your new laptop and turn it on for the first time.

You’ll be greeted by “a ton of” programs you don’t need, we call this “bloatware”, and many programs or icons or answers to pop-questions you are not sure about, not to mention the seemingly endless updates that will be pushed down by Microsoft to the operating system. The easiest way to deal with this, might be… “Not” to deal with it! Bring the laptop top us. We can remove the bloatware and get the system tuned up and running for you. We’ll also make sure all the drivers are up to date and the virus protection is up to date. We can also transfer data from your old PC to the new one. The worst thing is getting a new laptop then having to spend a day updating it and making sure it is running correctly and smoothly.
Stop by or Call us – We are able to help!

Protect your Home or Business Router from Outside Hackers!

In this day and age of cyber threats, you have to be proactive when it comes to network security. If you are not, anyone can gain access to your Home or Business Network. Currently, the big issue is with Linksys Home and Small Business Wi-Fi routers. This security issue affects 2 of the biggest lines of Linksys products: their “WRT” Series and also their “EA” Series. The current issue with these routers is that hackers have access to a back door and can then bypass authentication and execute code and change all network settings. In other words, they can take over the whole router. This would allow total control of your network and allow them access to any PC within the network.

There are a few ways to fix your network affected with these issues. Make sure your Default Admin login and password are changed. Disable Guest Wi-Fi networks and also to make sure to update the Firmware of your hardware.

If you’re unsure how to proceed we can help you configure your home or business network. It’ll give you the piece of mind that your network is not going to be accessed from the outside. We would also setup the network to have the best range for you in your house. This might help with dead spots and areas where the Wi-Fi will not reach. Feel free to give us a ring at our office at 412-429-3230
For more info regarding the issue with the Linksys devices please check here.
www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=246427

Windows 10 Creators Update – Be on the Lookout!

Beginning April 11th Microsoft will begin rolling out the “Windows 10 Creators Update” to all PC’s with Windows 10 installed.

This update has some new amazing features, but as with any major update the installation process can be less than ideal. There can be issues of the update “not liking” your PC, or for one reason or another your computer locking up in the process. I am sure we will be seeing and hearing some horror stories after the release.

How can you increase your chance of having a smooth transition? Before installing these big updates it is always good to make sure your system is free of viruses, malware and bloatware, be sure that all secondary software is up to date, and that your system and important data are backed up. Hopefully, the transition will go smoothly, and if it doesn’t you’ll have a backup copy to revert to.

The Update will come in waves like the last big Windows 10 update in 2016.
The Windows 10 Creators Update has something for everyone, but most of the features are for Artist and Video gamers. I have broken down a list of some of the features we know are being released. There will be tons more.

Here are some of updates that will be in Windows 10 Creator Update.

  • 3D Design for VR and 3D Printers
  • VR Headsets for Augmented Reality
  • Night Light setting (Sets display to warmer colors to help eyes)
  • Game mode & Game Settings
  • Game broadcasting for Windows 10 and Xbox One
  • Microsoft Edge Improvements
  • New Cortana Features
  • More Control over Windows Update
  • Changes to Privacy Settings
  • Storage Sense (Automatically frees up disk space, Deletes Temp, Etc.)
  • Windows Defender Interface. (Complete upgrade)

There is much more that is included with the Windows 10 Creators Update. We have included a link below which will go into much more detail: www.howtogeek.com

Ideally keep your computer “tuned-up”, virus, bloatware and malware free, and be sure you have a current backup of your data. We can help ensure your PC is optimized and increase the likelihood of a smooth transition through the Windows 10 Creators Update. Give us a call 412-429-3230!

A Spring Cleanup Like No Other !

2017 Spring is around the corner and the “Spring Cleaning” we do around the house should also apply to our Computers!

A Spring Tune Up on your PC will help “bring it back to life” so it operates more efficiently. Our process is different than the other guys; we don’t just run one scan and send it back to you. We have multiple processes to ensure the system is free of infections, malware, redundant files and programs. We make sure software updates are current for your Windows operating system as well as other programs that you run. We dust out the fans, visually inspect the components, and clean up temp files.

In the end, your system will be running as quickly as possible. We’ll have put the “spring back in its step”!

Here is a list of items we address:

  • Scan for and Remove any Viruses / Malware
  • Remove Malicious Browser Add-Ons & Extensions
  • Hard Drive Test
  • Blow Dust Out of Machine
  • Visually Check Internal Components for Problems
  • Delete all Temp Files
  • Delete Cookies
  • Cleanup Registry Problems
  • Cleanup Issues in User Directories
  • Cleanup Unnecessary Startup Entries
  • Remove Malicious Browser Add-Ons & Extensions
  • Remove Unnecessary Toolbars
  • Remove Unnecessary / Outdated Programs
  • Defrag Hard Drive if Needed
  • Updates (Adobe, Java, etc.)
  • Windows Updates
  • Security Software Updates

Much more but we are not going to give away all of our Secrets!

Give us a call, or stop in!

HACKERS getting more Sophisticated with MAC’s

Until recently it was rare to see a MAC system infected with Malware or Viruses – today it’s not so rare.
With a greater percentage of consumers using MAC OS products like iPads and iPhones hackers have turned their focus to the ready market.

There are a few ways to avoid hackers scams. The first and most important is to make sure you are downloading your software exclusively from the Apple Store, and then of course, always be careful what you click on, and which sites you are browsing.
If you suspect your device is infected, you’ll want to waste no time changing passwords on your accounts and verifying that they have not been hijacked.

The most current issues with Malware on the MAC OS are documented in this link: www.macrumors.com/2017/02/14/xagent-malware-targets-macs/

If you think your Mac is infected or has issues, please do feel free to give us a call for a service quote.

The “Internet of Things”

Today we live in a world where Home Technology is connected to the Internet, this includes Thermostats, Webcams, Smart TVs and many other devices. These devices are part of the Internet of Things also called ioT devices. These devices do cause an issue with personal security at the home level. Users get devices and are excited to get them plugged in and running and never change the default user name and password. This is the first and biggest way to stop and prevent your devices from getting hijacked. Here is some great info on one of the largest botnet attacks from 2016 using mostly ioT Devices. In this article you will see ways you can improve and secure your ioT devices.
http://www.welivesecurity.com/2016/10/24/10-things-know-october-21-iot-ddos-attacks/