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How to Test and Optimize Your Internet Speed

Clients frequently call me complaining their Internet is running slow.

Web sites take longer than they should to load. Streaming videos start, stop, start, and stop – making it impossible to enjoy entertainment on their PC or smart TV.

I’d like to provide you some tips on how you can test and optimize your Internet speed.

Know Your Numbers

First, it’s important to know what Internet speed you’re paying for from your Internet Service Provider.

Unfortunately, many providers don’t clearly identify this on your monthly bill, disguising it with fancy names like “Extreme Internet” or “Ultra Internet.” You may have to search their website to get determine the exact speed (such as 100Mbps) you’re subscribed to.

Test … And Test Again

After you know what speeds you’re paying for, you should run several Internet speed tests. I recommend using www.speakeasy.net/speedtest and www.speedtest.net.

Keep in mind these tips when testing your connection:
• Only run a speed test when you’re not doing anything else on the Internet. Otherwise, your results won’t be accurate.
• Run speed tests at different times of the day. Network congestion can cause slow Internet speeds.
• If possible, run at least one test with your computer connected directly to your cable modem instead of through your router. This will help you determine if your router may be causing problems.
• Use multiple computers to run the speed tests – but not at the time same. This can pinpoint a problem with your computer or Internet browser instead of with your Internet connection.
Reboot

If your speed test results are significantly lower than what you’re paying for, you should reboot both your cable modem and router. Unplug the power cord from both devices, wait about two minutes, then plug them back in – cable modem first.

This often clears up any “junk” clogging up your Internet pipeline.

After about five minutes, you can run another speed test to see if your connection has improved.

Change Browsers

The program you use to surf the Internet can make all the difference in the world.

I recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead of Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer.

Chrome and Firefox typically load websites much faster, are significantly safer, and encounter fewer problems than other browsers.

Regularly Tune-Up Your PC

Junk builds up on your computer with regular use. Cookies and other files can cause your computer to run slower, especially on the Internet.

It’s important to perform regular maintenance on your computer, including clearing out junk and temporary files, running virus scans, and defragmenting your hard drive.

Visit https://www.calibreforhome.com/2013/05/9-tips-to-keep-your-computer-running-smoothly-2/ for 9 tips to keep your computer running smoothly.

Make A Call

If you’ve taken all of these steps and your Internet still is slower than a snail, you’ll most likely need to call either your Internet Service Provider or a computer professional or both.

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7 Common PC Problems – And How To Fix Them (Part 2)

Benjamin Franklin wisely wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

This holds true in all areas of life, including with your technological gadgets.  My clients who observe good computing habits year-round typically don’t experience many problems between their regularly scheduled PC Tune-Up appointments.

In my last column, I shared with you the first three of seven common PC problems that I and my techs deal with daily.  Today, I’d like to share with you the final four and offer helpful tips in how to avoid them.

 

Forgetting to Install Windows Updates

Cybercriminals and hackers attack your computer by taking advantage of security holes in your PC’s operating system. 

The two latest ransomware infections – Petya and WannaCry – rendered hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide inoperable.

Those computers wouldn’t have been affected had those PCs been kept up-to-date with the latest Windows Updates.

PREVENTION TIP:  Regularly install Windows Updates on your computer or set your computer to automatically do so. 

 

Forgetting to Install Updates for Software Programs

Just as important as installing Windows Updates is installing updates for common software programs.

The critical ones to keep current are Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Adobe Shockwave, and Java.  Most of these programs run in the background when you’re browsing various websites, so you may not even know about them.

If you don’t keep these updated, your computer is highly exposed to viruses and malware – because hackers commonly exploit these programs.

PREVENTION TIP:  Regularly install updates for Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Adobe Shockwave, and Java.  Be warned, tho, some pop-ups you receive prompting you to update these programs may be fake.  It’s best to go to www.adobe.com and www.java.com to manually update these programs.

 

Downloading Programs From Unreliable Sources

You desire to use your PC for fun and games.  A quick Internet search reveals an exciting new game you can download for free.  So you do.

Moments later, your computer becomes infected with all sorts of extra programs and new toolbars fill the top of your web browser window.  Your PC begins running slower.  You’re greeted with pop-ups every time you try to access the Internet.

It’s extremely important to only download and install programs from reputable websites.  Many websites offering free software contain malware, which can range from annoying to causing serious computer problems.

PREVENTION TIP:  Only download software from websites you know and trust.  Carefully read each screen during the installation process to make sure you’re not installing any unwanted or malicious add-ons.

 

Using Unsecured Wifi Connections

Unsecured wifi connections allow you to connect your laptop, mobile phone, or tablet without requiring a password. 

While it makes accessing the Internet easy, it also exposes your personal information and files to others who are connected to the same wifi connection. 

If it’s your own home wireless network that doesn’t require a password, you’re allowing anyone who’s near your home the ability to access your Internet connection and even your files.  You could be held legally liable if they conduct illicit activity while connected to your Internet.

PREVENTION TIP:  Secure your home wireless network with a password.  Use caution when connecting to public wireless networks; avoid accessing banking and other personal websites on these connections.

When you apply these recommendations, I guarantee you’ll see your PC doctor less often.

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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.

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What You Should Learn From “The Day The Earth Was Hacked”

Europol, the intelligence agency of the European Union, called it a “cyberattack of an unprecedented level.”

Starting early Friday, May 12, a massive ransomware infection called WannaCry quickly spread to hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries.

It crippled entire hospitals, car manufacturers, telecom companies, and even affected U.S.-based FedEx, demanding a $300 ransom to be paid in Bitcoin for the data files it held hostage.

Failure To Do This Leaves The Door Wide Open

Why did this ransomware inflict so much damage when it could have been easily prevented?

First, companies and individuals failed to keep their computers updated with the latest security patches.

Microsoft discovered the vulnerability exploited by WannaCry and issued a patch back in March. Computers with the update installed were not affected.

Yet, an enormous number of PCs obviously weren’t updated, providing an open door for the cyberattack.

In my experience, most small business and home users neglect to regularly install the ever-important Windows Updates. They either don’t know how or never think about installing them.

Worse yet, many refuse to allow a knowledgeable IT provider to take care of these tasks for them at a minimal cost.

The Antivirus Myth

Second, most of the affected PCs used ineffective or no antivirus protection.

The first question I always get asked after a client’s machine becomes infected is, “Well, I have [insert name of a popular antivirus program, usually a free one]. Shouldn’t it have prevented this?”

Truth is most antivirus programs sold today use ancient, 25-year-old technology. They simply don’t protect against how today’s threats attack and infect computers.

In the previous column two weeks ago, my Director of Service Operations, Christian Hinojosa, warned about the inadequacies of free antivirus programs – like AVG, Avast, and Avira. These are some of the worst protection when it comes to ransomware like WannaCry.

But even many of the paid antivirus programs fail to block deadly viruses and malware.

Only a slim handful of paid antivirus software effectively blocks many of the behavior-based, zero-day threats regularly attacking your computer. And they’re not ones you find on the shelf at Walmart or Best Buy.

The Worst Is Yet To Come

While WannaCry’s reach rapidly extended throughout the entire civilized world, it only lasted a few days before it was stopped in its tracks.

The purchase of a simple $11 domain name by an observant security expert broke the criminals’ code.

Those thieves know exactly what they did wrong. You can bet they’re already working on a version 2.0 that won’t be stopped as easily.

At Home or At Work – You’re At Risk

Are you a home user who only checks email and browses Facebook?

Are you a small business owner with one or more computers critical to running your daily operations?

Do you work in an office, warehouse, or other organization with computers?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have computers at risk for the next big attack.

It would be wise to make sure you’re well-protected before disaster strikes. Keep in mind these six tips:

1. Regularly update all your computers with the latest patches.
2. Install antivirus software designed for today’s threats.
3. Implement edge protection to build a wall around your home or business network that will keep unwanted hackers out.
4. Provide on-going training to family members and/or employees that helps them identify phishing email, scams, fake websites, and other malicious attempts to infect your PC or steal personal information.
5. Maintain regular, automated, OFF-SITE backups of all important documents and data on your computer.
6. Consult with a knowledgeable IT professional to provide these five solutions for you. If they can’t, find an expert who is educated and able to offer complete security. It really is cheaper than the alternative.

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What To Do When Your Web Browser Gives You Trouble

Can you guess what the most common activity is people do on their computers?

Give yourself a pat on the back if you correctly guessed getting on the Internet.

Whether it’s checking email, reading the latest news or sports updates, watching videos on YouTube, or mingling with friends on Facebook, the Internet is the primary destination of most computer users.

You use a program called a web browser to access the Internet. The most popular web browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Sometimes you’ll experience problems while visiting different websites. A particular site may not load completely or at all. An error message may appear. Websites may take a seemingly long time to display on your screen.

Although there could be many possible causes of such problems, a gunked up web browser could be the culprit. Resetting your browser can correct some of the problems you may experience.

Here’s how to reset the three most popular web browsers.

To reset Internet Explorer:

1. Open Internet Explorer.
2. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner.
3. Select Internet Options.
4. Click the Advanced tab.
5. Click the Reset… button at the bottom of the window.
6. Click Reset on the next window that opens.
7. Click OK on the next window that opens.
8. Close Internet Explorer to fully apply the changes.

To reset Google Chrome:

1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Click the Chrome settings icon in the upper right corner (3 horizontal dots).
3. Select Settings.
4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Show Advanced Settings.
5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
6. Click on the Reset Browser Settings button.
7. Close Google Chrome to fully apply the changes.

To reset Mozilla Firefox:

1. Open Firefox.
2. Press the ALT key on your keyboard one time. The menu bar will appear in the top left corner of the web browser.
3. Click on Help.
4. Click on Troubleshooting Information. A new page will open.
5. Click on the Refresh Firefox button.
6. Click on the Refresh Firefox button in the small dialog window that appears in the middle of your screen.
7. Close Firefox to fully apply the changes.

Resetting your web browser, especially Internet Explorer, corrects many problems you may experience viewing websites. If after resetting your browser, you still experience problems, give us a call to further diagnose the issue.

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Doing This One Thing Can Fix Many Computer Problems

With a red face and simmering emotions, you pick up the phone and call your trusted computer professional because your PC once again has chosen to make your life extremely difficult.

For the last half hour, you’ve tried everything you know to cajole the irritating pile of assembled electronic components to cooperate with you. But to no avail.

The calm voice on the other end of the line greets you and asks about your problem. After unleashing a flurry of frustration about how your computer has completely ruined your day, you hear four words that cause you to roll your eyes and make you want to scream:

“Have you tried rebooting?”

“What?” a voice shouts inside your head. “Seriously? I’m calling you for help and the first thing out of your mouth is ‘reboot’? What kind of computer genius are you?”

Why it works

Believe it or not, rebooting fixes a myriad of problems.

It works for almost anything electronic that’s behaving badly – desktops, laptops, cell phones, tablets, and routers.

We often forget to try the simplest, most basic troubleshooting step because we get caught up in the problem. Our minds immediately think solving it always requires a trained professional’s intervention.

Rebooting restores the misbehaving gadget to a clean slate, which is why it works most of the time. It gives the device a fresh start. It’s akin to your going to bed at night utterly exhausted, then waking up the next morning completely refreshed.

What it can fix

A slow computer.

Your PC can slow to a crawl for a variety of reasons. Some causes can be cleared up by a quick reboot.

Your computer’s memory – also known as RAM – is constantly processing lots of tasks and information. It provides short-term storage for frequently used programs and processes.
Sometimes it gets overwhelmed, which causes your PC to slow down. Rebooting flushes everything from the RAM, allowing your computer to run faster.

A locked up or slow program

Your Windows operating system and every program you use – like Microsoft Word and Google Chrome – is made up of code, or instructions, that tell your computer what to do and how to do it.

Occasionally, something interrupts the processing of those instructions. Or they develop what’s known as a memory leak, a condition where the program keeps hogging memory that it’s not using.

This can cause slowness and even error messages. Again, a quick reboot can clear up these conditions.

Network or Internet problems

Do your wireless devices have problems pulling up websites or communicating with your printer? Does your Internet speed seem as slow as dial-up?

Simply unplugging and plugging back in your modem and router will often restore the speed and connectivity issues.

What if it doesn’t fix it?

A reboot will not fix all your computer problems.

Failing hardware and virus/malware infections are just two examples of things a reboot won’t resolve.

By rebooting first, you’ve at least attempted the easiest fix for common annoyances. And when the IT person on the phone tells you to reboot your device, you can proudly say, “I’ve already done that!”

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Tales of Three Clients (And The Moral of the Stories)

Richard received an email from his web designer last month informing him she had taken an opportunity that no longer allowed her to maintain his company’s web site. He immediately forwarded the information to me requesting I “handle it.”

He knows his time and energy as a small business owner are best spent building his business and serving his customers. It’s wasteful for him to fumble around with computers, his website, and other tech issues.

Ever since Richard asked me to support his computer needs over seven years ago, he’s viewed our relationship as that of a trusted advisor. He knows we have his best interests at heart and will make the right recommendations and decisions for him because we understand his business and his technology needs.

For example, when the sales rep for his accounting software calls his office to process the annual renewal, he gives them my phone number and tells them to speak with me. He refuses to talk to them.

Because of this relationship, I can proudly report his computers and network have had NO major issues causing loss of data or significant interruptions in his business. The small, common computer problems are very infrequent and solved quickly.

But I have several clients – both business and residential – who are unlike Richard. They prefer to make changes or tackle computer problems on their own without consulting a computer professional.

Just today, as I’m writing this column, a client frantically called me within minutes of the Frontier technician leaving his office after installing the DSL Internet service. He discovered his two computers couldn’t communicate with each other. Nor could he print to either of his wireless printers.

A quick phone call to me prior to changing his Internet service providers would have prevented his moment of panic, his computer problems, and a costly emergency service call.

Here’s another story:

The other evening while wasting time on Facebook, I saw a friend’s post soliciting help in hooking up her Spectrum (formerly Time Warner) cable modem. She couldn’t find any place in her house with the connections for the cables.

One person commented, “Find a teenager in your neighborhood or call one of your grandkids.”

To many, setting up a cable modem should be easy and take less than five minutes. But I’ve had instances where it necessitated a 30-minute phone call to get it working after it was properly connected.

Grandkids who are “computer geniuses” and family members who “work for Microsoft” keep computer repair shops across this country in business. They know just enough to royally screw up your computer or network – leaving you to foot a hefty repair bill to clean up their mess.

So what’s the moral of these stories?

Find a computer professional you know, like, and trust.

Then let them handle EVERYTHING related to your technology – whether it’s at your home or your business.

Call them BEFORE changing service providers, installing new software, buying a new printer or other hardware, or disconnecting any cables.

The money you spend for advice and direction from someone who knows what they’re doing (i.e. someone who does it every day for a living) will be CONSIDERABLY LESS than what you’ll shell out to fix something you or someone else broke.

As the old saying goes, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

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This Tip Could Save You Money On Your Next Tech Problem

Reboot

Have you ever experienced any of these problems?

  • Your computer refuses to respond after being left on but unused for a while
  • Web sites take forever to load on your screen, even though you subscribe to a fast Internet speed
  • Programs run slowly, especially if they’ve been open a long time

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Especially when you’re trying to print an important document or send an urgent email.

So you pick up the phone and call me – your computer guy.

“Have you rebooted it?” is the first question I ask after you describe your issue.

What kind of help is this guy? you silently say to yourself.  Reboot?  I have a computer problem and Scott thinks rebooting my computer or restarting the program is gonna magically fix it.  And he’s a computer expert?  Pshhh.

It may seem like an elementary suggestion, but rebooting really can solve many problems with all of your electronic gadgets.

 

Real-World Examples Where This Works

Your Computer Is Slow

Leaving your computer powered on 24/7/365 allows you to use your computer without having to wait for it to boot up every time you want to use it.  It also lets your antivirus software run late night scans, keeping your computer virus-free.

But Windows processes constantly run in the background, even when you’re not actively using your PC.  Sometimes these misbehave, causing a drain on the computer’s resources that can’t be automatically fixed.

The next time you try to do something on your computer, it doesn’t respond or operates very slowly.

Rebooting your computer clears the system resources, giving your PC a fresh start.

Leaving your computer on all the time is fine.  Just be sure to reboot it at least three times a week.

 

Internet Problems

Your wireless router stays tucked away under your desk or in an out of the way place.  The little box magically feeds Internet and network access to all your computers, smartphones, tablets and wireless printers.

But just like a computer, the software on a router can become unstable.  This can bring your web browsing to a crawl or cause wireless devices to not connect. 

The majority of wireless network and Internet issues I receive calls about are usually fixed by unplugging your router for 30 seconds and plugging it back in.

 

A Software Program Stops Responding

Whether you’re using Google Chrome to surf the web or Microsoft Word to type a letter, you will probably encounter a time when the program stops responding to your commands.

What may have happened is the program encountered a memory leak.  The program consumes an exorbitant amount of memory, causing your computer to slow down and the program to “freeze.”

Simply close the program, wait 20 seconds, then reopen it again.

 

Did It Really Fix It?

Rebooting is always the first step you should take when you experience an issue with most any electronic gadget.

Your computer.  Your iPad.  Your Samsung Galaxy phone.  Your router.

If the problem persists or you have to reboot every day or multiple times a day, a more serious underlying issue could be the culprit.  A computer professional, like myself, can then help diagnose the root cause and recommend a solution.

 

The One Problem It Won’t Fix

Rebooting doesn’t fix every problem, though.

Every computer user eventually suffers from a pop-up window appearing on your screen, warning that your computer is infected.  You’re instructed to call an 800 number (which is a scam – so don’t call it).

Nothing you do closes the window.

To get rid of it, you must forcefully power off your PC.

If you experience this, immediately call a professional computer technician.  Do NOT continue using your computer.

Yes, you can power your computer back on.  Yes, websites may load fine.  Yes, you can check email.  Yes, you can type documents.

But your computer may still contain a virus or malware infection. 

Rebooting does NOT remove a virus – even if everything still seems to work fine.  In a short time, it will rear its ugly head again.  Viruses require specialized removal tools to thoroughly clean your system.

I always look forward to helping my clients with their computers.  Sometimes the fix really is as simple as turning it off and back on.

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A Broken Arm, A Blanket and Band-Aid Repairs

Band-Air Repair

The recess bell rang.  All of us students hastily scurried to the playground, ready for freedom from the classroom.

The warm rays of the September sun smiled on our faces as we quickly walked down the sidewalk to the playground at the old Lowell School South building.

I met up with some of my other third-grade friends under the shade trees separating the concreted part of the playground from the large football field.  Situated nearby was the concrete base of the old water fountains.  It stood about two feet tall.

As was custom, we decided to play cops and robbers.  But this time, I chose to be a bad guy. 

Our scheme was the old water fountains would be my friend Marlena’s car and I was going to be a robber hiding in the back.  I would “steal” her money as she got into the car.

We set our scenario into motion.  I hopped into the water fountains and crouched down.  Marlena strolled over to her “car.”  I jumped up as she approached.  She lifted her arm and swung it toward me.

I fell backwards out of the two-foot-tall concrete structure.  I stuck my arm out to break my fall.

When I stood up, the lower part of my right arm was no longer straight.  It was in a slight U shape.

It didn’t really hurt and I wasn’t crying, but I knew something was wrong.  I casually walked up to Mrs. Madison and said, “I think I broke my arm.”

Panic immediately appeared on her face and her voice cracked as she ushered me to the nurse’s office.

Soon I was waiting in Gibson General Hospital’s emergency room, my arm wrapped snugly in a thick blanket to keep the bones from moving.

The doctor and nurses examined my arm and told my mom I would need surgery.  The nurse brought out a splint.  She wanted to place my arm in it. 

But I adamantly refused because the split had an opening in the middle of it.  I was afraid my arm would get stuck in it because it was in a slight U shape.  So they left my arm in the blanket.

A few hours later, the doctors reset my broken bones and wrapped it in a cast.  I spent the next couple of days with my right arm hoisted in the air as it healed.  Followed by several weeks of keeping my arm in a sling.

Sometimes in life, stuff breaks.  Whether it’s bones in our body, the leg on a coffee table, a part on our car, or our computer.

Two Ways To Fix Broken Things

There are two methods of fixing broken things – a quick band-aid patch or a thorough, real repair.

Band-aid repairs are designed to be fast, easy-to apply, and temporary.  It’s the piece of tape you wrap over your broken glasses so you can see long enough to drive home.  You know it won’t last, but it gets you by for a short time.

Resting my broken arm in a blanket was a band-aid solution.  It alleviated the pain, but wasn’t a long-term remedy.

Real repairs are designed to be permanent and completely fix what’s broken.  They’re usually more time-intensive, often times require the work of a professional, and are more expensive.  Like having surgery to fix my broken arm.

When it comes to repairing my client’s computer problems, I always opt to perform a real repair.  I refuse to apply band-aid fixes.

Band-aid fixes typically cause more serious issues, increase the overall cost of repairs, and create frustration.  I just cannot conscientiously apply a quick-fix, knowing full well the true problem isn’t resolved.

Two Examples

Many virus infections, especially if caught early, only install a few files on a computer and do very little damage.  In most cases, a single scan with one robust antivirus program would remove the worst components of any virus infection.

But I designed one of the most comprehensive and thorough virus removal processes because it’s those small overlooked parts of a virus infection lingering on a computer that can cause big problems later on.

This is why we allow three full business days to complete our virus and malware removal service.  It’s a real repair.  One that will provide the best results and satisfaction for our clients.

Is it inconvenient to be without your computer for up to three business days?  Sure. 

Would it be more irritating to have to bring it back in to us a week later for the same problem?  Absolutely.

***

A newly referred client brought her laptop to me a couple of weeks ago reporting it was running slow and suddenly wouldn’t load into Windows.  After thorough diagnosis, I informed her the hard drive had started to fail – the likely cause of the symptoms.

She urgently needed her laptop to complete payroll for her employees.  Even though I got Windows to load, I knew the laptop wasn’t stable and could crash again at any moment.

She agreed replacing the hard drive was the right, real repair – even though it took a couple of extra days to complete.  She was thrilled with my honesty, recommendation, and how I completed the repairs slightly faster than expected.

 

So, when something you own breaks, remember you have two choices:  the band-aid fix or the real repair. 

Almost without exception, the real repair is the quickest, cheapest, and most satisfying option.

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5 Ways To Speed Up Your Slow Computer

Slow Computer

 

Fast food.  The fast lane.  High-speed Internet.

Instant coffee.  Instant rice.  Instant download.  Overnight delivery.

You and I have come to expect nearly everything in our lives to be immediate.  Our tolerance for waiting and delays is almost non-existent.

It couldn’t be more true than with your computer.

How many times have you rolled your eyes in disgust or exhaled an impatient sigh as you waited to use your computer after pressing its power button?

I hear the complaint many times every day – “My computer runs slow.”

It’s true that your computer does operate less quickly over time.  So how can you speed it up?

Perform regular maintenance

Neglect to change your car’s oil or air up a deflated tire and you’ll experience major problems.

Your PC is very much like your car.  You have to perform periodic maintenance on it to keep it running optimally.

At least once a week, you should delete the junk and temporary files that accumulate on your computer.  These files are the normal residual buildup from browsing Internet sites and using programs.  If they’re not removed, they cause your computer to operate slower and slower.

An excellent free, easy-to-use program for removing the junk and temporary files is CCleaner.  It can be downloaded from our website at www.calibreforhome.com/free-tools.

As awesome as technology is, your computer gets lazy.  Just like your husband or kids who can’t seem to put things back where they found them.

Each program on your computer consist of dozens of files stored in various places on the hard drive.  When you open Microsoft Word, for example, your computer pulls out the necessary files for Word to work more quickly as you use it to write your letter.

If your computer were responsible, it would put the files back where it found them when you closed Microsoft Word.  Keeping your hard drive neat, tidy, and fast.

But it doesn’t.

You need to manually clean up the mess by performing what’s called a defragmentation on your hard drive.  This process puts related files close together on your hard drive, so your computer doesn’t have to search for them the next time you want to use them.  This makes doing things on your PC much faster.

An excellent free program for defragmenting your hard drive is Auslogics Disk Defrag.  It can be downloaded from our website at www.calibreforhome.com/free-tools.

Use a faster web browser

If you experience slowness when on the Internet, it could be because of your web browser.

Every PC comes with Internet Explorer installed.  So it’s what most people use to browse the Internet.

But Internet Explorer takes longer to display websites than other web browsers.

Google Chrome is a faster, safer web browser, which I recommend you use.  

Add more memory

The more memory available to your computer, the faster it will operate.

Many store-bought computers come only with the bare minimum required to let the computer function.  This is done to keep the price cheap.

For most versions of Windows, 8 gigabytes of memory is recommended.

Adding more memory is typically inexpensive, especially if you have a relatively newer computer.  It’s also the easiest way to speed up your slow computer.

Get a better hard drive

If you truly want to see a significant increase in the speed of your computer, upgrade to a solid state hard drive.

The faster speeds result from the way solid state hard drives function.  It can reduce your computer’s startup time from three or more minutes to less than 45 seconds.

If you have a laptop computer, a solid state hard drive uses less power and gives you longer battery life.   

Although the prices have dropped considerably in recent months, solid state hard drives are more expensive than regular hard drives.  But if speed is what you’re looking for, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.