Tag: Computer Repair

As experienced computer technicians, we have a lot of experience surrounding the old topic of virus removal (now more frequently referred to as malware: malicious software), and have assisted thousands of customers since 2002 with malware removal from both home and business level computer users.

Virus Removal in Boston

Virus Removal

We get calls and emails daily regarding computer viruses from troubled individuals that want to know what they can do to remove the virus(es) and spyware, or better put, malware (malicious software) from their computer. Our initial reaction is always to ensure their immediate security, so we ask them questions like:

“Is your machine powered on and are you connected to the internet?”

–>We ask this to ensure that the virus is not transmitting their personal data back to its host (the hacker that wrote the malware application). If so, we ask them to at least disable their internet connection by unplugging their Ethernet cable from either their PC or the Router, and if, god forbid, they are still using dial-up, then disconnect the phone line from their PC. This precautionary action will terminate their connection to the internet and cease any possible communication between the virus/malware and their host.

“What are you running for security software? If yes, is it a free version or paid version, and is your license current?” (e.g. anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, etc. software such as AVG, Norton, Avast, Panda, McAfee, CA, etc.)

–> This helps us determine how badly their machine is infected. Let’s face it, none of these security software are infallible, but we try to put our best foot forward when protecting our networks, data and PC’s. If they tell us that they are not running any security software or it has expired, we know, right off the bat, that the machine is swimming with many viruses.

“Are you able to get online?”

–> This helps us determine whether or not a remote session would even be possible, or do we need to physically possess the computer to conduct a proper virus removal. It also helps us determine how badly the viruses have infiltrated the computer.

Computer Virus Removal

Computer Virus Removal

A PROPER virus removal….hmm…that brings us to the theme of this blog post. Every kid out there with a screw driver and a computer that thinks they know even a little about computer repair, is on the web advertising his or her services (mostly on Craigslist.com and Google/Yahoo & Bing Maps since it is free to advertise there) claiming that they are some kind of expert: BUYERS BEWARE!

  • They undercut the market since they do not have any company overhead such as insurance payments and in many cases personal and/or commercial rent/utilities, etc.
  • They don’t have any technical certifications and/or very little field experience beyond their own PC’s
  • Most of which are still in high school or just barely graduated (if they graduated at all), and even more have zero college or formal education, and definitely no technical training.
  • They don’t carry any sort of insurance, so when they botch the job and lose all your data you as a consumer have zero recourse.
  • Most importantly: They don’t truly understand Virus Removal and how to do it correctly!
Buyer's Beware

Buyer’s Beware

We as a company are constantly interviewing technicians and looking for the best of the best technicians. As such, we have a pretty steady flow of resumes coming in through our IT Jobs recruitment. and we personally review each and every one of these resumes – most of which get tossed out. Occasionally we do receive resumes that look promising and merit at least an initial investigatory phone call – which I myself place. When conducting these initial interview calls, we begin to drill down on the technical aspects of computer repair and networking as a start to begin to judge what the candidates’ true technical knowledge and experience are, and one of the first topics we discuss is virus removal.

10 times out of 10, the candidate will state that they really understand virus removal and it is no problem for them. Then, as the conversation continues, and we ask them to walk us through a typical virus removal process and we discover about 9.5 times out of 10 that the candidate really doesn’t get how to do a simple, or a complex (or thorough) virus removal. It is not as simple as most people think. Typically unless someone has been trained by a technician who really knows what they are doing, they themselves really don’t know the proper tools to use, or how to use them correctly (e.g. the anti-virus software that really work, how to effectively use a hard drive adapter kit so you don’t boot into windows but can read the drive and run virus scans, how to use Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Networking effectively to ensure success, etc.)

Even more importantly, most don’t get that we first and foremost have to be concerned with any sensitive data on the customer’s hard drive as a priority to recover, and then worry about the virus removal process. For most customers the data on their hard drive is a priority. As such, we always prioritize the data recovery and include questions surrounding this topic in our list of questions when we are “getting our arms around” the problem initially.

Lastly, most techs out there will only run one (or perhaps) two anti-virus applications on a computer, find some viruses, remove them, and then think they are all done – when in fact, they have only removed a minority of the malware on the hard drive and most likely still have some remnants of the malware, which are most likely to return in some fashion. These are the techs that will tell you they can do a virus removal in an hour or two. To truly do a thorough cleaning of a hard drive the proper way, you must run at least 4+ applications on your hard drive – which brings me back to the point that to do a proper virus removal takes anywhere from at least 3 hours, to as long as 24 hours depending on the depth of infection, how many files are on the hard drive and how powerful the machine is from a hardware standpoint.

We also recommend running a registry cleaner software such as RegCure to help optimize your PC’s performance and cut down on possible registry errors.

Feel free to call us to answer any questions you have – no obligation for free advice: 1-866-417-3945. It is our goal to help you achieve the peace of mind over your computer system, and the computer services company that assists you with your home or business IT infrastructure.

Technology to Relax

Technology to Relax…

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In order for your company to at least keep pace with the competition you will need the help from national IT services to keep your operations up to date with the latest technological advances. If you think that sticking to the old-fashioned methods will still work in today’s cutthroat economy, then you will be surprised at how fast your company sinks to the bottom while your rival companies enjoy large profits.

If you do not want to get left behind by the pack, then you need to find a reliable IT company that can help bring your company to the modern world; and to help you find them, here are some valuable tips on how to find IT companies that provide the best business IT solutions:

Check their business profile

This will give you an idea on how long they have been in business, what their track record looks like, and other helpful bits of information that will help you determine whether they are a good fit for your company.

Choose the company who specializes in the exact things that you need

You should create a list of the things that you want to get out of the IT company. For instance, are you looking for an entirely new structured cabling system installed in your office, or are you looking to get a modern telecommunications system to widen your company’s reach? Once you determine what your company desperately needs right now, then you should search for an IT company who specializes in that.

The IT company should be easily reached

There is nothing more infuriating than when your IT systems are going haywire and the IT company that you paid to install it cannot be contacted. So to make sure that the IT company you choose will not go into hiding once the project is over, you need to first make sure that they have good customer service; they need to have multiple communication channels, like phone numbers, email addresses, or even a website or a social networking account.

These are only some of the considerations that you need to make when looking for reliable nationwide IT services. Once you find the company that is right for your business’ particular set of needs, then you can be sure that your company will be able to compete with the big boys and actually make you a ton of profit in the end; and this more than makes up for the additional cost of hiring an IT company.

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The blue screen of death (BSOD), also known as the blue screen of doom, is among the most infamous error codes in Windows based operating systems. To fix blue screen error, one can safely guess that there’s something critically wrong in your operating system. Unfortunately for you, and even the highest trained computer technicians, fixing the blue screen of death isn’t always as easy as it seems to be, and it can take high amount of PC hardware skills to get to the root of the problem.

Causes:

1) External factors that could cause a BSOD include viruses and malware

2) Internal factors include accidental changes in the installed software registry, damaged hardware components

3) Registry Errors

There are four essential parts that you should be aware of on a Blue Screen of Death:

The 1st part records the actual error message.

The 2nd list the system modules that are already loaded into memory.

The 3rd section lists the modules that were about to be loaded had the error not occurred.

The 4th section lists the current status of the Kernel Debugger.

How to Fix Blue Screen of Death?

Before you start to fix Windows blue screen, you should backup Windows data in case of data loss

If you aren’t an computer expert then simply call your local computer repair technician to fix the Blue Screen Problems

Steps:

1) Start Windows using Last Known Good Configuration or Safe Mode

2) System Restore is a step-by-step troubleshooting wizard that allows the user to select a Restore Point for previous settings on your computer. You can access it using either Safe Mode or from System Recovery Options menu

3) Use Windows Scan Disk to test hard drive and repair disk errors

4) Install Service Packs and Windows Updates

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As computer technicians, one of the most common questions we are asked is: “Should I fix my laptop computer, or am I better off just buying a new laptop?”. This is when we put on our IT consultant hat, and take up the position as if the computer in mention were our own – in fact, this is how we are trained from day one within our company to handle every computer repair job. After all, that truly is the fairest approach and leaves our customers with the best, and most trusting sentiment at the end of the day, especially since it is authentic.

Fixing Laptops

Fixing Laptops

In many cases Laptop repair is worth it, especially if the computer is less than 3 years old and the initial cost was over $600. In addition, one has to consider several other matters when considering replacing one’s laptop rather than repairing it. For example:

  • What is the current state of the damaged computer? Can it even boot into Windows so that we can pull off all the licenses of the loaded software for re-installation purposes? If not, then you are looking at purchasing all new software outside of your Windows operating system (unless you keep meticulous files with all your software4 license keys printed out and/or have the original installation CD’s. which only about 2% of the population keeps records like this according to our experience).
  • Will you be able to re-use your copy of MS Office (e.g. MS Word, MS Excel, MS Outlook, MS Power Point, MS Access, etc.)?
  • If you can re-use your MS Office license, is it a version that is worth continuing to use or is it time to upgrade (e.g. from MS Office 2003 to MS Office 2007 or above?)
  • Will you be able to re-install your paid version security software (e.g. Norton, AVG, McAfee, etc.)?
  • Is there any other paid software on your computer that you want to keep without having to repurchase (e.g. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Adobe, CAD, etc.)?
  • Are there files on your computer you need to recover?
  • Are the files you are looking to move over (data transfer) from your old computer to a new computer) in need of a cleaning as to not carry and computer viruses over with them (such is the nature of viruses, they will spread from drive to drive)?
  • And lastly for now, do you like your computer, or has it been a lemon?

Generally for laptop computers older than 5 – 6 years, it does make sense to purchase a new laptop rather than invest in prolonging the life of your old one. Remember, that computers are somewhat like cars in the sense that eventually parts are going to break.

The laptop buyers market can be intimidating and the prices change rapidly as new technology comes out. It’s always best to talk to a computer technicians about what you need to get out of your new system and where to find the best deal. In general, within a price margin the competition doesn’t vary as much as you might think. So if you are trying to find a laptop between $500-$1000 don’t get hung up on the numbers – think about what you want to hold in your hands.

Screen Size / Weight – Laptop computers vary from tiny netbooks to monster workstations

Keyboard Layout – Always demo your laptop before you buy it to see if the keyboard fits your hands – think about whether you need a numeric keypad or not, and if you do know they come as USB attachments.

Speakers – You may have a stereo for home entertainment and headphones for on the go – but good speakers make or break a laptop for a lot of people.

Gaming Capabilities – If you are a gamer you definitely want a high quality video card, most likely a larger LCD screen, a powerful processor and plenty of RAM (random access memory).

If you are thinking about a high-end laptop over $1000 there are a lot more options to consider – including getting a Mac (sadly its impossible to get a Mac laptop on a budget). Before you make a serious investment get in touch with a professional to ensure you purchase your personal ideal laptop.

If you have questions about upgrading your laptop, purchasing a new laptop and what it would take to move your files over cleanly as to not infect your new laptop computer – and/or if you are just looking for an honest answer and advice about purchasing a new computer, please feel free to give us a call (617-723-1986) or stop by our Boston computer repair shop and speak with one of our many Boston based computer repair technicians and we would be happy to assist you.

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Everyone that has a PC remembers how it “used” to run back when it was new. Then slowly but surely over time, it seems to get progressively slower, and slower, and then many times it will actually start crashing by freezing up, or going to a blue screen (sometimes referred to the blue screen of death), or it crashes to the point where it either won’t even power up or you get a black screen with system errors and cannot even log into Windows.

Slow Computer
An Average Day At The Office

Do not fret there are solutions to this problem that are much more tranquil and cost-effective. First, you should understand why your computer is running slowly.

When you purchase your computer it is generally a pretty stripped down machine, pre-loaded with an operating system (e.g. Windows XP, Windows Vista, or more commonly now, Windows 7), and possibly some other smaller software applications like Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash Player, some sort of media player, possibly some variation of MS Office (e.g. MS Word, Power Point, Outlook, Excel, Access, etc.) in a trial version format and likewise with a security software trial version (e.g. McAfee, Norton, AVG, etc.)

These software applications then expand once you purchase the full version, and then install your printer software, then your iTunes, games, etc. All requiring hard drive disk space, and many of which will actually now start running when your system boots up along with Windows, causing them to run in the background which will chew up more and more of your RAM (random access memory) and processor resources – which are essentially the two primary components within a PC that will speed up or slow down a computer. Let us also not forget that over time, you will be downloading and installing updates to your software – especially your MS Windows updates, which will in turn take up more disk space and require more of your RAM and processor to manage this additional software – in turn hogging more and more of your computer’s resources just to run the PC instead of utilizing those resources to run the applications you are actively using.

So what to do about this??? There are many solutions out there. Some of the easy pointers I would like to share with you to keep your PC running optimally are:

  1. Run the Disk Cleanup about every 2 – 3 weeks on your computer, deleting old files and cooking which will help max the space on your hard drive
  2. Run the Disk Defragmenter right after running the Disk CeanUp (both these applications can be found in your System Tools folder within the Start menu
    Clean Up My Slow Computer
  3. Purchase a registry cleaning software (ever see those ads on TV claiming how they will speed up your computer – well this is what they are selling, but they’ll charge you way more than double to have some guy in India download and install it on your PC for you – don’t waste your money), this software will not only clean out registry errors, but it will correct many other operating system errors and optimize your PC.                                                                                          ——–>>>

Now – in the case that your PC is infected with malware (malicious software), which encompasses any virus, spyware, malware, trojan horses, worms, etc. This will also slow down you PC and these must be removed to prevent permanent damage to the software layer of your PC (your operating system and software applications), and sometime they can even attack the hardware layer (your RAM chips, hard drive or even your motherboard). In this case, you will need to most likely run other anti-virus, anti-malware softwares on your PC other than the one you already have installed. Let’s face it, none of them are infallible, but we all ry to put our best foot forward when protecting our home and business networking, PC’s and data in general.

So what to do when you already paid for a security software, or have installed a free version of one of what your friend told you was the best, but you still are getting pop-ups, or your home page has changed, or now there is another Anti-Virus software now telling me that my computer is infected with virus – or one of about 1,000 other scenarios. well, first things first – do not login into your online banking until you have this resolved. Or any other financial or investment tool until you have this resolved. My advice is to take it to a professional computer repair shop like our Boston computer repair shop, or contact a computer repair company that has a lot of expertise in virus removal and in many cases this can be done remotely if you are able to still get online. When I say “still” it is because many times virus will begin attacking your computer’s applications and processes, one of which is your ability to get online.

However, if you wish to attempt this yourself, there are some good free tools out there such as ComboFix, MalwareBytes, SuperAntiSpyware and free AVG. My one piece of advice is that if you don’t know what you are doing, then to take it to a professional computer repair services company that has been in business for years, carries insurance, and has a least a A- rating with the Better Business Bureau.

I hope this has been helpful :)

Click Here for the Best Computer Registry Cleaning Software

Click Here forL Best Computer Registry Cleaning Software

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