Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions frequently asked by clients

There are a lot of different problems that can cause a computer to slow down, here are a few.

Malware: This is the most obvious reason and is usually a good starting point. Try running a scanner like Malwarebytes which does a really good job at finding malicious software.

Memory / RAM: You may not have enough computer memory. Every program on your computer requires a specific amount of memory in order to function correctly. It may be possible that you have reached your limit and simply need to purchase more.

Hard Drive: If you can’t find any malware, your hard drive could be going bad. When the components inside your hard drive slow down, so does your computer. It may be time to replace it.

Software: From file corruption to incompatibility, you may want to take a look at your installed programs for answers.

Windows / System Errors: Sometimes Windows gets finicky. If you haven’t rebooted your computer since the problem started, do so now. Otherwise you may need to run chkdsk, clean out the registry, or check your system files for errors using sfc /scannow.

This is a fantastic question that I get asked constantly. 1. The reality is, there is no ‘perfect’ anti-virus’. Not a scanner in existence can detect and remove all forms of malware, regardless of how much you have payed for it. 2. Many modern day forms of malware have been specifically designed to avoid and slip past most anti-virus software undetected. So what is the solution? Tread carefully. Surf smart. If your computer does become infected with malware, you need to partner up your standard anti-virus suite with a malware scanner that scans for malicious behavior, rather than just definitions.
It really depends on what is causing the popups. Internet popups can be resolved by simply changing your browser settings. However, if your computer has malware like adware or a virus, you need to start with a system scan. Keep in mind however, your scan may come up empty. Today’s popup malware isn’t always easily detected. If your lucky, a quick browse through your program files will identify the culprit. A lot of popups are caused by programs that can be uninstalled via the control panel or with a program like CCleaner. Look for programs you don’t recognize or were installed recently. Note: you may want to look up any programs you are not familiar with so you don’t uninstall something you need. You may also want to try the Junkware Removal Tool. This is an excellent tool for removing annoying, unwanted programs that are classified as junk.

The answer to this question is a bit tricky. While some anti-virus software is better than others, none of them offer complete protection (even if they say they do). The chances of getting some form of malware or another, regardless of what you install on your computer is pretty darn good.

So why do some people pay so much for anti-virus software? Good question. In fact, there are some free and low cost options available that work quite well.

My recommendations are Malwarebytes and Hitman Pro. Malwarebytes has a free ‘manual scan’ version that works fantastic. The premium version however, is only $24.95 per year. Hitman Pro gives you a 30 day free trial and then is also only $24.95 per year.

If you see an error on your computer with something along the lines of “Windows is not genuine” or “you may be a victim of counterfeit software”, it means your Windows product key is not valid.

If your current product key does not activate Windows, regardless of whether it once did or not, you will need to purchase another copy of Windows. Microsoft takes pirated software seriously.

If your desktop computer starts sometimes, but other times it doesn’t, generally this is a sign of a failing power supply.

When your computer doesn’t start, unplug it and push the power button in for 10 – 20 seconds. Plug it back in and try turning it on.

More than likely replacing the power supply will resolve the problem. In a shop setting we would test your computer with a spare power supply to be certain.

This is another great question. The answer is “it depends entirely on who created it”. But to elaborate, there is a very big difference between ‘freeware’ free software and ‘open source’ free software.

Freeware is usually very limited in functionality and often contains some form of malware or another, like adware. Or… it might have a hidden agenda designed to benefit it’s creator in some way. There is also the possibility that it is meant to be harmless, but the creator is inexperienced and the software contains some vulnerabilities that hackers can easily take advantage of. Although this isn’t true in every case (there are some exceptions) I personally avoid freeware like the plague.

Open source however, is actually legitimate – fully functioning software created by ‘real’ developers to provide a cost free alternative to expensive programs. Some examples of open source software are WordPress, Mozilla Firefox, GIMP, VLC, and OpenOffice.

Trying to find a good computer repair technician is a lot like trying to find a good auto mechanic. It’s a juggle between quality and affordability. Are the expensive ones trying to rip me off and are the cheap ones just trying to make a quick buck? When it comes to the cheap ones, the first thing you need to think about, is how much a technician believes his or her work is worth. If someone is charging you $35.00 for 3 hours worth of IT work, STAY AWAY. Technical training is complex, time consuming, and can be very expensive. It’s safe to say someone charging next to nothing has no formal training. Before hiring any service professional I always ask a series of questions: What are their credentials? Do they have a degree, certifications, formal training? Is there any proof? What kind of experience do they have and how much? Anyone can claim they have experience, but where’s the evidence? Is the experience directly related to the service they are providing? Can you tell they know what they are talking about? Do they have reviews? What do the reviews say (you can learn a lot from other peoples experiences)?
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