Posted on

7 Common PC Problems – And How to Fix Them (Part 1)

Early this spring, I visited Dr. Kocher for my annual physical.

“It looks like you’ve lost some weight,” he smiles, noting that I dropped to 154 pounds this year from 178 last year.

“Yea,” I cheerfully reply.  “I’ve been regularly working out at the gym since January.  I’m feeling a lot better.”

He listened to my heart and lungs, tapped on each knee, and asked a handful of other questions.  Then he sent me out the door with well wishes till I visit again next spring.

I remain mostly healthy throughout the year – by exercising and eating (mostly) right.  Which is why I only need to visit Dr. Kocher for my annual checkup.

The story is similar for 37 of my clients with their computers.

They bring their PC in twice a year for a Comprehensive PC Tune-Up Service.  This allows us to perform the thorough diagnostics, deep cleaning and optimizations designed to detect and prevent major computer problems.

Because these clients also observe good computing habits year-round, they typically don’t experience any problems between appointments.

In this two-part series, I’ll share with you seven common PC problems I see affecting many of my clients’ computers and give you helpful tips in how to avoid them.

Relying on Free (or No) Antivirus Protection

Of all the virus-infected computers clients bring into Calibre, I’d estimate 90 percent of them are “protected” by a free antivirus program – like AVG, Avast, Avira, or Microsoft Security Essentials.  Sadly, some don’t even have antivirus protection at all.

Hackers and cybercriminals use viruses and malware to break into your computer, steal your personal information, and damage your files.

Malicious attacks, such as the WannaCry ransomware outbreak in May, are becoming more and more prevalent and destructive.

Purchasing and installing a strong antivirus program designed to protect against the newest type of viruses and malware is one step in avoiding major, costly PC problems.

 

Neglecting to Back Up Important Files

Early Monday morning, a business client called seeking assistance in restoring a critical spreadsheet an employee had mistakenly deleted overnight.

Because they wisely implemented our data backup solution two years ago, I restored the Excel document in less than five minutes.

But most PC owners – home and businesses – neglect this essential protection for their computers.  Many assume nothing bad will ever happen to the files stored on their PCs.

Yet, hard drives fail, viruses infect, people delete, and natural disasters happen.  All of which can cause all your pictures, documents, and music to be forever lost.

You can back up your files in many different ways.  Some are better than others.  But if you don’t have a back-up system in place, you need to get one today.

 

Using the Same Weak Passwords

 

Think about your most common password.

Is it a really easy one – maybe using an ordinary word followed by some numbers?

Do you use that same password for multiple websites?

Weak and predictable passwords make it incredibly simple for hackers to gain access to your email and online banking accounts.  Using the same password for everything opens your entire online world to unscrupulous people.

Two steps you should take:

1) Create stronger passwords.  Choose one with a variety of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

2)  Safely store your passwords in a password management program, like LastPass (www.lastpass.com).  This allows you to easily retrieve and remember them.

Join me next time for the remaining four common PC problems and how to avoid them.

Posted on

3 iPhone Apps That Will Make Your Summer Vacation More Enjoyable

Venturing out on a summer getaway? Summer is a great time to pack your bags and escape your mundane everyday life for something more adventurous.

Planning your excursion can sometimes be a stressful experience. These three mobile apps can help you find fun and interesting things to do, stay within your budget, and even include pets in the excitement.

LocalScope

LocalScope is an iPhone app that scours the web for information and presents it all to you in a neat, convenient fashion. For just $2.99, you can easily search for local food, museums, hotels, gas stations, coffee shops, shopping centers, and anything else that may pique your interest.

After searching, you’ll be presented with nearly every bit of information you need – pictures and reviews to restaurant menus, contact information, and even maps.

What makes LocalScope unique is that it pulls information from all your favorite websites, and some you may not have even heard of, including Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Garmin.

You’ll also be able to navigate to your destination of choice from within the app. Once you’ve enjoyed your local attraction, you can easily post reviews and pictures and share your experience with your friends from within LocalScope.

Trail Wallet

When you’re relaxing on vacation, it’s easy to spend more money than you planned. That’s why Trail Wallet is here to help.

Once you set your daily budget for either your trip or the whole month, Trail Wallet lets you enter in all your purchases and define tags and categories to help you organize them. You’re allowed 25 items per trip in the free version; after that you must pay $4.99 to unlock unlimited items.

You can create your own tags and categories, and then use them to narrow your search results to make finding what you’re looking for easier.

Trail Wallet boasts a very intuitive interface, making it easy for you to navigate your purchases and get an overview of your trip expenses. It is a joy to use, with several themes and interactive avatars to choose from. You can view very detailed charts of your spending data, with plenty of filtering options so you only see what you want to see.

If you happen to be visiting another country, Trail Wallet will even automatically convert your money to the local exchange rate of over 200 countries.

Power users can also export trip data from the app into their favorite accounting software.

BringFido

If you’re like most pet owners, you want to take your furry friend everywhere you go. With BringFido, you can easily find pet-friendly hotels, outdoor restaurants, parks, and beaches near you. Most entries contain detailed photos and reviews, which you can also submit yourself.

BringFido includes a built-in map, displaying nearby pet-friendly attractions and how to get to them. You can then contact the destination you’re interested in with the information provided in the app.

Booking pet-friendly hotel rooms through BringFido is incredibly convenient. You can enter the size of your pets and how many you have, then be given detailed pricing and booking for your desired destination. However, it is worth noting that some users have complained about the reliability of booking within the app, but regardless, it is a great start to your hotel search.

If you don’t have an iPhone, BringFido also offers a website with all the convenience of the free app.

I’d love to see and hear about your summer excursions. Email me your stories and photos at christian@calibre-cs.com.