Three Top Reasons For Onsite Computer Repair

When You Need Computer Repair  

No one wants to experience computer problems. Whether it’s used for personal or business use, your computer is likely indispensable. Essential customer files are on there! All your downloaded music! The family photos! Vendor contracts and employee payroll information! Compounding the crisis is the hassle of going to get the computer fixed. That’s why we offer onsite repair services.

Regrettably, there are common computer problems you might encounter at home or work:

  • A blue computer screen with some white text, aka the “Blue Screen of Death,” or a STOP error. This one’s scary. It could indicate failing hardware, damaged software, driver problems and more. Don’t know what any of that sentence meant? That’s OK. We do!
  • Having trouble installing new applications.
  • The computer is running so slow a turtle would beat it in a foot race.
  • Your applications are acting possessed and are unpredictable.
  • The keyboard, mouse, or printer are not working properly.
  • Your computer keeps restarting on you.
  • Downloads are taking forever.
  • You can’t open that attachment from your boss.
  • The computer freezes or shuts off suddenly.
  • The graphics on the computer screen look wonky.
  • Your computer is making noises mimicking an old clunker car.  

Troubleshooting these problems to diagnose what is really going on can be challenging. It depends on how much you know about computers to begin with. Since you rely on your computer for so much, it’s a good idea to consult with computer repair experts.

Why Onsite Computer Repair

#1 Convenience.

You don’t need to worry about doing more damage when you unplug everything and take the computer to a repair shop. You also avoid the commute across town, headache of finding parking, and annoyance of waiting in line. Whether a business office or home, our computer repair experts can come to you.

This is more convenient for you. You don’t have to lug the computer to a store and back only to have to set it up all over again. Your computer stays right where you typically use it. When we’re done, you can just push the power button and get going as if nothing happened.

#2 Context.

Seeing your computer in its natural habitat helps our experts too. Sometimes the issue isn’t internal to the computer. So, we wouldn’t be able to properly diagnose the problem if you brought the computer in to us.  

For example, the hiccup could be caused by a faulty power board or misbehaving printer. Unless you thought to bring those into the computer store too, the problem wouldn’t be replicable. And nothing’s worse than going to the trouble of getting help only to say “well, it doesn’t seem to be that annoying thing right now.” That’s when the expert looks at us like we’re crazy and says “next time, just try turning it on and off again.”

#3 Cut Downtime.

When the computer repair service comes to your door, you can also reduce downtime. Whether the computer is essential for homework at home or business services, you probably can’t imagine being without it for a few days. It’s like losing a limb! Onsite computer repair aims to fix the problem in just a few hours, without taking the computer away.

We can handle most repairs onsite. In some cases, it’s more cost-effective to bring the computer back to base. We still save you hassle by dropping the computer back off to you. We’ll also set everything back up again when we return your computer. That way you don’t have to worry about which cord goes where! We hope you never need computer repairs. But, if you’re ever facing an error message you don’t understand or your computer has ground to a halt, give us a call at 079-054-2461. Our computer repair service experts will be happy to schedule a time to come to you!

SSD: Make Your Old Computer Your New One

The solid-state drive (SSD) has swiftly become the go-to upgrade to breathe new life into an ageing computer, and for good reason too.  An SSD swiftly brings an old laptop or desktop up to date with modern machines in just a single step.

The price of solid-state memory has fallen dramatically in recent years. As costs have dropped, the popularity of the technology has increased exponentially.  At one time an SSD was a rare treat for serious PC enthusiasts, now it’s cheaper and more readily available than ever. No other single solution is as cost-effective, quick to swap, and impressively effective as swapping out an old hard drive in favour of the faster and more modern SSD.

Out with The Old

The hard disk drive (HDD) is a technology that dates back as far as the 1950s.  They became the default solution all PCs would use for decades to come.  Most old laptop and desktop machines still contain their original, worn hard drives they left the factory with.

The HDD was a mostly mechanical device.  Inside a solid outer casing was a series of spinning disks arranged in a delicate stack known as a platter. Each disk could read and save data using a tiny needle moving across the disk’s surface.  

The technology looked and worked much like a miniature record player.  Like a record player, widely in use at the time that hard drives were developed, the hard drive had some serious drawbacks in their use.

The series of tiny disks and needles that made up the HDD were incredibly fragile.  Vulnerable to dust or movement, computers commonly succumbed to hard drive failures that rendered the machine and its stored data unusable. Occasionally, simply moving a laptop while reading or writing data can damage a hard drive’s spinning disk.

In with The New

The primary reason to switch to a more modern SSD, on top of their impressive durability, is the incredible increase in speed.  The SSD has no moving parts at all, working more like a digital camera memory card than a vinyl record player.

An SSD simply makes the process of retrieving and saving data to storage many times faster.  Eliminating the mechanical component, removing the need to move a physical disk, and not needing to physically pick up the data means a much faster and smoother operation.

Computer startup, where the operating system loads all its data from storage, can take as little as one-quarter of the time of a comparable HDD.  Additionally, loading regular applications and data from an SSD takes a fraction of time of an HDD.

An SSD completely breathes new life into an old machine.  Computers with an SSD replacement for the hard drive feel like using an entirely new machine for a fraction of the cost.

Replacing the main mechanical component additionally eliminates wear and tear working to break down your machine.  While an HDD slows over time, degrades, and can eventually suffer mechanical failure; an SSD remains as durable as the day it was purchased.

Ideal Laptop Upgrade

In a laptop setting, the SSD makes complete sense.  They require less power than older hard drives, making the most of your battery charge.

In addition, not needing a large disk platter, mechanical parts, or protective outer case means they are about half the weight of a mechanical drive.  Making an old machine lightweight brings it another step closer to a modern machine.

They run almost silently too.  The familiar click-clack of the hard drive inside a laptop is a thing of the past.  Many users comment on the noise their laptop used to make starting up and loading programs.  Noisy laptops are a tech throwback we’re happy to leave behind.

For many who feel like their old laptop or desktop is showing its age, the prohibitive cost of purchasing a whole new machine keeps them invested in their old one.  A simple, fast SSD upgrade can make your old machine new again at a much smaller price. If swapping long startups, and slow load times sounds right for you, consider upgrading to an SSD.  You won’t look back.

Give us a call at 079-054-2461, and we can give your machine a new lease on life.

How to Automate Common Maintenance Tasks in Windows 10

By Gary Cox

maint.pngJust like with any operating system, keeping a Windows PC running well requires some maintenance. The good news is that you can automate most of the important maintenance tasks, and keep Windows humming along like it was freshly installed.

Windows 8 and 10 Feature Scheduled Automatic Maintenance

First things first. Windows 8 and 10 automatically perform basic system maintenance tasks according to a schedule you can customize. These tasks include things like software updates, security definition updates and scans, disk optimization and defragmentation, and some other diagnostic tasks

You can’t turn this automatic maintenance off, but you can change when it operates, and whether or not it can wake a sleeping PC to run its tasks. By default, Windows runs these tasks every day at 2 AM and wakes up your PC to do so if necessary.

To manage this tool, head to Control Panel > System and Security > Security and Maintenance. You can also hit Start, type “maintenance” into the search box, and then click the “Security and Maintenance” result.

1In the Security and Maintenance window, expand the “Maintenance” section, and then click the “Change maintenance settings” link.

In the Automatic Maintenance window, you can change the time that tasks are run each day, and disable the ability for Windows to wake your PC from sleep to run those tasks. Note that even if Windows wakes your computer to run these tasks, it will put the system back to sleep when it’s done.

Clean Up Your Hard Drive Automatically

If you want to make sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive, and get rid of old files you no longer need, which gets rid of plenty of temporary files and other stuff that doesn’t need to be around anymore.

Windows 10: Let Storage Sense Clean Your Drive Automatically

2Windows 10 users have the luxury of using Storage Sense, a handy little feature that automatically cleans out your temporary files and recycle bin of things that have been hanging around for over a month. Storage Sense was added to Windows 10 in the Creator’s Update (Spring, 2017), and it’s a great tool for automatically cleaning things up safely. It’s pretty conservative about what it deletes, so you shouldn’t run into any problems leaving it turned on.

3To get to it, head to Settings > System > Storage, and turn on the toggle in the “Storage Sense” section.

Click that “Change how we free up space” link right under the toggle to adjust settings.

And no, there aren’t many settings there. Like we mentioned, it’s a conservative tool. You do, however, have other options.

Any Windows Version: Schedule a Disk Cleanup Task

The Disk Cleanup tool has been around forever, and it still works great. In fact, it cleans up more stuff than the Storage Sense tool in Windows 10. While you can run Disk Cleanup yourself every once in a while, why not schedule it to run automatically?

You can use the Task Scheduler in Windows to run a basic Disk Cleanup scan as often as you like, and with a few extra command line switches, you can have it clean even more in an advanced mode. We’ve got a complete write-up on scheduling Disk Cleanup in Windows, so we won’t cover all the steps here. Check it out if you’re interested, though!

Any Windows Version: Use CCleaner For Even More Power

CCleaner is a popular cleaning utility that’s available in both a free and premium version. It works much like Disk Cleanup, but extends even further what it can clean. In addition to temporary and cached files, CCleaner can also clean up data for additional apps, and even clear data for your web browser. It’s a powerful tool, and not one you necessarily need. But a lot of people swear by it.

The premium version ($25) features scheduled cleaning, but you can also use the Windows Task Scheduler to automate CCleaner even with the free version.

Disk Defragmentation Is Already Automated (If It Needs To Be)

If you’ve been using a PC for long enough, you might have gotten into the habit of defragmenting your hard drive. The good news is that this is something you don’t really need to worry about too much anymore.

First up, if you’re using a solid state drive (SSD), you should not be defragmenting your drive at all. It doesn’t help, and just creates additional wear and tear on the drive. If you’re running Windows 7, 8, or 10, Windows automatically disables defragmentation on SSDs.

And, if you’re using Windows 7, 8, or 10, Windows also automatically enables defragmentation on a schedule for traditional hard drives. So, it’s really not something you need to worry about. You can just let Windows do its thing.

By default, Windows defragments traditional drives every Wednesday at 1 AM, if you’re not using your computer at the time. You can customize the defragmenter schedule if you want, but there’s probably no reason to change it.

Keep Windows, Hardware Drivers, and Third-Party Apps Up To Date

4

Keeping your PC updated can be frustrating. Windows 10 is a lot more aggressive about using Windows Update to keep itself updated than past versions of Windows—and for the most part, that’s a good thing. If you’re using Windows 7, you’ve got a good bit more control about what updates you apply, and when.

So, while you can’t really prevent updates from happening in Windows 8 and 10 (at least not permanently), you can at least change things like your active hours—when you’re using your computer and it should not apply updates or restart your PC.

Keeping third-party apps up to date automatically is a little more challenging. Some apps have built-in updaters that can download and install updates automatically, others can check for updates and at least notify you, and still others just rely on you to check for updated versions once in a while.

Security software, like antivirus apps, are especially important to keep updated. Most have automatic updaters built-in. Still, it’s important to check up on them once in a while–like before you run a manual scan–just to make sure. As an example, Windows Defender gets regular updates for virus definitions through Windows Updates, but still offers the ability to manually check for updates when you open it up.

There are some third-party utilities out there, like Patch My PC, which can scan all your installed apps, check for updates, and then install them for you, and then there are hardware drivers. If you’ve got the default Windows drivers installed for your hardware, the good news is that Windows Update takes care of updating those automatically. And the truth is, the basic Windows drivers are good enough for most types of hardware. For some type of hardware, like graphics cards, you’ll probably want the actual manufacturer drivers that are kept much more up to date and offer additional features. For those, you’ll have to rely on the manufacturers’ own tools to keep things up to date.

Automate Backups to Keep Your Data Secure

We’ve save perhaps the most important task for last—backing up your PC. Because sometimes bad things happen, it’s important that you have an automated backup routine for your important files.

And there are a number of ways you can approach backing up your PC, depending on your situation. If you’re using Windows 8 or 10, the easiest way to automate your backups is to use the built-in File History feature. Hook up an external drive, turn File History on, and Windows automatically backs up your important files. Not only does it work as a full-featured backup, File History also lets you pull up previous versions of your files.

5Windows 10 also includes the old Windows 7 backup tools, which you can use to set up a scheduled backup to an external or networked drive. You can set a backup routine that backs up specific files or that captures entire hard drives as an image that you can easily restore.

6If you’re looking for even more customizability in your automated backups, we highly recommend taking a look at Macrium Reflect. The free edition lets you create live images of your drives, provides several different styles of backup, and gives you a lot of scheduling flexibility. 7The paid version for home users adds the ability to back up individual files and folders (rather than just an image backup), encrypted backups, and more backup styles.

And while these tools we’ve mentioned are great for keeping local backups of your data, a good off-site or online backup is something else worth taking a look at. Having your data saved at a different location can help protect you against big things like fire, theft, or natural disaster.

This guide should definitely get you started in figuring out how to run common Windows maintenance tasks automatically. Obviously, there are a lot more things you can automate in Windows than we’ve covered here.

Call us on 072-898-0362 to answer your questions or to provide Computer and IT Support, we would be happy to hear from you. We at GCComp have the experience and technical knowledge to help your business with your technology issues “We know technology so you don’t have to”. 

 

What to Look For In a Computer?

by Gary Cox

In 2018 when asking what to look for in a computer we have so many different choices at much lower prices than ever before. So let us start by looking at what is now the typical computer in the home?

desktop

PCs, Laptops and All-In-One Computers

Over the years the computer market has undergone major changes and now PC Desktops, All-In-Ones are not as popular as they were and laptops/notebooks have become more popular, this started to occur once they dropped below the magical $1000 price in 2005.

There are now 3 main groups of computers:

  • Desktop PC – standard and slimline (also called low profile).
  • All-In-One computer such as the iMac or offerings from HP and Dell.
  • Laptops (notebooks) and Netbooks (lower powered less weight) units.

What to Look For in a Laptop – What to Look for in a Computer or All-In-One

allinone

laptop2

Here are some tips on what to look for in a laptop or what to look for in a PC – some considerations to weigh up when you are deciding when to purchase a new computer:

  1. Portability: every computer is a compromise between power and portability. The gaming laptops or desktops tend to be bigger, heavier and more powerful than the standard fare. If portability is required then the obvious choice is a laptop or netbook. Apple MacBooks sell well in portability/weight area as they are light, made of aluminium so therefore very sturdy and thin. Desktops and All-In-ones on the other hand are completely immobile. They need a dedicated area to be setup in.
  2. Power and Price: More power and usually therefore more price means that more room is required inside the computer to avoid overheating. This is a big killer of computers of any design. If you want power then a desktop would be the way to go. Power consumption in a laptop is generally less than an equivalent desktop. This may not necessarily be the case in some NUC (Next Unit Computing) units which are small cubes often 4x4x2” (100x100x50mm). However the monitor needed or used would take more power than a laptop’s monitor.
  3. Screen size: Most laptops are in the 11” to 15.6” range. Some do get to 17” but that’s when they stop. A laptop can usually have an external monitor attached so that could help in some cases for people who like the now standard 19” and up monitors. If that is what you require then check that availability before you buy the laptop.
  4. Flexibility: If flexibility is on your list of what to look for in a computer then a PC is probably best. With a laptop you “get what you purchase”. Other than small changes such as adding more memory (RAM) that would be about it. With desktops you have a vast choice of processors, the amount of memory, several internal Hard Disk Drives or SSDs, more than one DVD/Blu-ray player, choice of video cards and expansion cards. All these latter items are generally unavailable with laptops. If it isn’t built in when you buy it then most likely it’s not available.
  5. Posture: Experts recommend that the computer screen be at eye level and then the keyboard and mouse be at a different level. All this is impossible to obtain with a laptop at the same time, other than adding external monitors, external keyboards and mice, which then makes the laptop not as portable as it once was.
  6. Money: Dollar for dollar, a desktop generally beats a laptop in most cases when comparing such items as:
  • Processor power
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Local hard disk or SSD storage
  • Graphics power
  • Expansion ports
  • Screen size
  • USB, video, etc. – generally more connections
  • DVD/Blu-ray inclusion/availability
  • Expandability (can add things which you now discover you need)
  • Choice of components

Buying a computer does depend on “horses for courses” in that deciding what and where you want to do you computing will eventually depend on what you purchase. The most popular makes for 2017 are listed below.

The top 6 personal computer vendors for 2017

  1. Lenovo with 20.7% market share
  2. HP with 19.4% market share
  3. Dell with 14.6% market share
  4. ASUS with 7.6% market share
  5. Apple with 6.9% market share
  6. Acer with 6.8% market share

We trust that this blog on what to look for in a laptop or what to look for in a computer helps you in deciding which computer you should buy. It may also interest you to know that we custom build computers which offers you a great deal more choice and can be tailored exactly to your needs.

Call us on 072-898-0362 to answer your questions or to provide Computer and IT Support, we would be happy to hear from you. We at GCComp have the experience and technical knowledge to help your business with your technology issues “We know technology so you don’t have to”. 

 

How to Set-Up a PC

By Gary Cox

PCAfter taking delivery of a new desktop PC – whether you bought a branded (i.e. HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, etc.) you need to spend some time to perform an initial or first-time PC setup in order to get it running. This includes plugging in all necessary cables, a monitor (if applicable), mouse and keyboard (wired or cordless), speakers, a printer/ scanner, in addition to setting up the Windows Operating System and productivity software like MS Office, Anti-Virus.

Before you start setting up your PC, make sure you have all the necessary items:

  • PC tower or case: this houses the core components of any computer system and is critical in setting up your PC;
  • Monitor: If upgrading you may already have a monitor and it should work on your new PC, but ensure that it supports the input connection types compatible with your new system Your new computer may be an all-in-one system, where the monitor/ display and speakers are combined as a single integrated device;
  • Mouse and Keyboard: A mouse and keyboard that is connected via USB to control the computer. These can be wired or corded, wireless (including Bluetooth);
    Other peripheral devices such as speakers and web cam.
  • All essential cables such as power for monitor and PC and video connector for monitor.

Connecting Cables

Connecting the various cables for a PC is an easy part of a PC setup. Included in the box that your new PC came in should be a power cable. This cable plugs into a wall socket or power board and into the power supply on your desktop which is usually located at the rear of the case – usually at the bottom, but sometimes at the top. It is fairly easy to spot. Sometimes, there is also an on and off switch next to the plug, which you will need to ensure is in the ON position once fully plugged in.

Monitor Setup

monitorsNext step in the PC setup, is the monitor setup. Depending on what sort of monitor you get there are multiple different cables that go from the PC to the monitor. This includes Display Port, HDMI, DVI and VGA.

Each connection has its advantages and disadvantages; HDMI is restricted to 60 Hz and is generally used for TV’s but works perfectly fine for the usual 60 Hz monitor. Display Port is used for 144 Hz displays, and DVI is an older connection that works fine with 1080p monitors, but usually limited to monitors up to and including 24 inches with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1600. Keep in mind that all of these cables are digital so they all have the same quality it is just some extra features that make the difference, but the common user see one.

Using cables featuring any of these connection types is straight forward. One side of the plug goes into the monitor and the other into the back of the PC, it is generally pretty easy to tell which plug goes where as they all have rather distinct features. Once plugged in make sure the monitor is plugged in and working.

Connect Peripherals

peripheralsAfter this you must plug-in your mouse and keyboard, this is again fairly easy as they will both be USB and plugged into the back of the PC. Universal Serial Bus or USB has been around for a number of years and is one of the best and most reliable connections and is the only one available for wired and wireless mice and keyboard. Some computers, especially custom-built systems, may still include 1 or 2 older style PS2 connectors (coloured green and purple and circular in shape) for older style mice and keyboards.

Lastly, don’t forget to connect your speakers if you have these as well. Usually, there is a small round socket at the rear of case – often coloured light-green, for you to connect your speaker cable.

Boot Up

After you have done all of this, boot up the computer and make sure that the monitor is working, If something is not working check that all the cables at the back of the PC have been correctly and fully plugged in to the right socket and restart the computer. If a problem still persists contact us at GCComp.

Windows Operating System Setup

osYou then need to follow the on-screen dialogue which will guide you through the Windows Operating System setup. The Windows OS setup can be fairly easy as there are simple questions such as what language and keyboard setup you want. After a few minutes Windows will complete the setup/ installation on your new PC, and you will be successfully up and running.

Connect to the Internet

internetAt this stage of the PC setup you will need to connect to the internet. To do this you have two options, wireless or Ethernet. If your PC has Ethernet only then you must run a cable from your router to your PC and plug it in. If you have wireless capabilities simply find your WI-FI router under the list and input the password. Once connected make sure that your PC is completely up to date as there may be some vital updates that could cause your PC to not work as expected.

Our recommendation is that you opt for a customised setup. That way, you can decide whether to set up your new PC using a Microsoft account, a user password, etc. We strongly recommend that you update the Windows operating system first before installing your other applications and copying across your data.

Call us on 072-898-0362 to answer your questions or to provide Computer and IT Support, we would be happy to hear from you. We at GCComp have the experience and technical knowledge to help you with your technology issues “We know technology so you don’t have to”.