May 15, 2016
October 15, 2014
Most everyone knows that the Internet is an awesome resource that’s filled with information on virtually every topic known to man, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for a good old-fashioned printed book.
Although most of my research is done online nowadays, I still keep a small library of physical books on hand. And one book that has been a great help to me is Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual.
There was a time when every software program you purchased came with a printed manual, and that included MS-DOS and Windows. You not only got a disk, but a book explaining how to use the software as well.
But that changed some time ago. Now we get little more than a postcard explaining how to install the software.
It’s up to us to learn how to actually use it until Windows 10 gets done with the Beta stage!
Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual really lives up to its name. I covers pretty much every Windows-related task, each of which is explained in plain English that’s supplemented with over 500 handy illustrations. And author David Pogue keeps things interesting with a perfect blend of serious teaching and light-hearted humor. This is not just another “dry” computer book!
Along with Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft introduced an entirely new way to access and use the Windows operating system, complete with new Modern-style apps and a bevy of new features. Without a detailed guide, navigating the new Windows can be a bit like finding your way around a maze in the dark without a flashlight. Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual is that detailed guide.
Bottom line: This book is an excellent resource for the beginner and seasoned Windows user alike. In my opinion, if your computer is running the new Windows, you need this book!
September 28, 2014
THE TWELVE MOST COMMON PC ISSUES
Author: Skylar Joyner, A+, Network+, MSW
Whether you’re dealing with your dad’s decade-old computer or your own custom-built gaming rig, troubleshooting PC problems in this era of the internet aka "the cloud" is a part of everyday life.
Before you make that $50 support call to Sky The Tech Guy (316) 992-7199 (right now the first 30 minutes of remote/phone/chat tech support are completely free if you mention "I support the Lupus Foundation of America" through 10/31/2014), though, make an honest attempt at fixing the most common errors and problems that Sky The Tech Guy has seen from my 15+ years of PC Troubleshooting experience first- as long as you feel comfortable and are semi-familiar with PC's, Windows, and Technology.
If not, then give me a call or email ASAP at SkyTheTechGuy@Gmail.com or (316) 992-7199!
I. Try this firstI know it sounds like a no-brainer, but before you do anything else, restart your computer. Most of my customers solve their problems with this simple step.
While you’re at it, make sure that your operating system is fully updated by running Windows Update. Neglecting updates could deprive you of important bug and performance fixes.
If you’re having problems with a peripheral, try switching it on and off. If that doesn’t work, try disconnecting and reconnecting the device. As a last resort, download the latest drivers and perform a full reinstall. Drivers are the language that Windows uses to communicate with almost every peripheral/device.
II. My computer is too slowThe first step to fixing a slow computer is to verify that your machine is the actual source of the problem. Videos that seem to buffer forever, and websites that take ages to load, may not be your computer’s fault. Many people mistakenly identify a slow system as the problem when it’s actually not the computer, but your broadband connection.” See “Downloads are taking forever” below for instructions on how to use Speedtest.net to diagnose a slow connection.
If the problem is your PC, check whether you have plenty of free space on the hard drive holding your operating system. Windows needs room to create files while your system is running. If your hard drive is maxed out, performance suffers. Now is the perfect time to clear some space.
Microsoft’s System Configuration tool is your next-best bet for tackling slow performance. Many applications launch automatically when your machine boots up, which can stretch out boot time—especially on older, slower PCs. Make a habit of trimming the startup items. Open the tool by pressing Windows-R, typing "
msconfig", and pressing the Enter key.
Checking the Startup Item and Manufacturer columns is the best way to figure out which potential performance-killers you can safely disable. Avoid messing with any of the services and programs that have Microsoft Corporation listed as the manufacturer. Items such as AdobeAAMUpdater, Google Update, Pando Media Booster, Spotify, and Steam Client Bootstrapper are all fair game and are not required for Windows to operate in a fast way.
Regardless, err on the side of caution: If you’re not sure what the program or service does, don’t disable it and call me at (316) 992-7199 if you have any doubts right now--->I will give you 30 minutes of FREE remote technical support if you mention "I support the Lupus Foundation of America" per my own mother having this horrible and chronic lifetime disease. She has been in the hospital (including ICU) for two months and is still in the hospital recovering from multiple dialysis and Chemo treatments as of today, September 28, 2014.
Once you’ve made all your changes, click OK and restart the computer. It should boot up quicker and feel noticeably faster.
III. Downloads are taking foreverSpeedtest.net is your best friend when you're having connectivity problems. Run a speed test to see what your download and upload speeds are—ideally they should be at least 50 percent of your Internet service provider’s advertised speeds, with a ping under 100 milliseconds.
If the speeds seem solid, make sure that you aren’t inadvertently downloading or uploading anything. Many torrent downloading programs run in the background and minimize into the system tray instead of the taskbar.
Check your network hardware. Updates for network cards aren’t all that common, but if your card’s manufacturer offers a newer driver, download it. Resetting your router and modem can help with connection problems, too. Most routers and modems have reset buttons, but pulling the power cable for a second or two can do the same thing. Don’t cut the power for much longer, or the hardware may reset itself to factory defaults.
Still having problems? Call your ISP, which can tell you whether the problem is on your end. As a last-ditch measure, the ISP could reset the master connection to your home.
IV. My machine keeps restartingHardware problems are hard to diagnose and solve. First, confirm that you aren’t just getting the latest wave of Windows updates, which can automatically restart your computer during installation. Then work on updating all of your critical system drivers. Your graphics card, motherboard, and network card drivers are crucial.
“Sometimes it can be viruses, sometimes it can be adware, sometimes it can be overheating, and sometimes it can be something as simple as making sure your video card is updated,” Geek Squad’s Meister says.
Is your computer making weird noises? If you’re lucky all you’ll need to do is give the machine a thorough cleaning. Modern computers have safeguards that shut down the system if a component is overheating, which can be the cause of frequent restarts when you’re running resource-intensive programs or video games.
V. Pop-up ads are appearing on my desktopIf you’re not running your Web browser and are still getting pop-up ads on your desktop, you’ve most likely installed adware—a program that displays unwanted ads. Although benevolent adware exists, most of the time adware is up to no good. Getting rid of it isn't easy. “There’s a ton of little system-utility tools out there that promise to clean up everything, with names like PC Speed-up, PC Speed Pro, PC Speedifier,” Geek Squad’s Meister says. “A lot of times those programs are not going to do much. Some programs will work, others are snake oil.”
Running a full scan with credible antivirus software is your first step. If that program doesn’t find and remove the adware, turn to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, a great utility for removing all types of malware. Just make sure to disable your standard antivirus software before running it.
Multiple antivirus programs working at the same time will often result in problems. You only want one active, real-time antivirus scanner installed, but it doesn’t hurt to run an additional ‘on demand’ virus or malware scanner. Searching online for the name of the advertised product can sometimes yield solutions from fellow victims. If all else fails, there’s always the nuclear option: a complete system reinstall. It might take a long time, but it’s the only surefire way to remove adware or spyware. Remember to back up all your personal files.
VI. Google doesn’t look rightBrowser hijackers are a particularly nasty breed of malware. Such programs take over your Web browser and can stealthily redirect your Google searches and other queries to fake pages meant to steal your personal information or to further infect your system.
Running a real-time antivirus utility is the best way to stay safe. If your browser has already been hijacked, uninstall the browser and use your antivirus program in conjunction with Malwarebytes to remove the intruder.
VII. My Wi-Fi keeps disconnecting/randomly getting slowerSpotty wireless connections can be a puzzler. Is it your computer? Your router? Your ISP? Try a few things before calling your Internet service provider.
Confirm that your computer is within range of your wireless router. Weak signals mean weak connections. Next, make sure your PC’s wireless card has the latest drivers. Try letting Windows troubleshoot for you by right-clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar and selecting Troubleshoot problems.
VIII. I keep seeing ‘There is a problem with this website’s security certificate’Sometimes the biggest problems have the easiest fixes. According to support technicians, the lion’s share of issues are due to an incorrect system clock.
Website security certificates sync up with your computer’s clock. Old computers in particular run the risk of having a dead CMOS battery—the watch battery in your computer that keeps its system clock ticking. Click the clock in the system tray and select Change date and time settings to correct any issues.
IX. My printer won’t printLet’s assume that your printer’s drivers are up-to-date, and that it has enough paper and ink or toner to print. Try turning the printer off and on. Unplug the printer and plug it back in. Check your printer’s print queue by looking for the printer icon in the system tray and double-clicking it. The print queue shows you the status of each job as well as the general status of your printer.
Ensure that ‘Use Printer Offline’ isn’t checked. Sometimes, printing while your printer is turned off can cause Windows to set your printer to work offline, and that can stall jobs sent later.
X. I can’t open email attachmentsIf you have ever encountered an attachment that you couldn’t open, it was probably because you didn’t have the software necessary to view the file.
The usual suspect is the .pdf file, for which you can download a free PDF reader. If your problem involves a different file format, a quick search on the attachment’s file extension (the three letters after the period in the filename) should tell you what type of program you need. If the attachment lacks a file extension (which might happen if it was renamed), adding it back should set things right.
XI. My favorite program isn’t working on my new PCBefore you call me as your tech support, make sure that the software you’re trying to run is compatible with your operating system. Older software might not function on Windows 8, and an app created for Mac OS X definitely won’t run on your Windows PC. A 32-bit program might run on your 64-bit operating system, but it doesn’t work the other way around.
If an online game balks, you might be missing the required plug-ins—Java and Flash are the usual culprits. Most browsers will alert you to install these items if necessary.
XII. Contact SkyTheTechGuy: SkyTheTechGuy@Gmail.comConnect with me for “any problems that you aren’t comfortable addressing personally.” When in doubt, it’s better to steer clear of voiding a warranty or potentially damaging your system. Being aware of your own skill set and limitations is important because it is far too easy to make matters worse in this day and age of Malware/Internet Browser pop-ups and viruses.
September 22, 2014
Sky The Tech Guy PC Specialists SkyTheTechGuy@Gmail.com
Sky The Tech Guy PC Specialists:
Affordable PC Repair & Services
Affordable PC Repair & Services
- Desktop Repair (You name the problem, we can fix it.)
- PC Tune-Ups (Don't let'em fool you, PC Tune-Ups can get you back in the game!)
- Software Troubleshooting, Recovery and Installs
- Hardware Troubleshooting and Installs
- Network Troubleshooting/Optimizing
- Business and Residential Network Installs (Wired or Wireless)
- Virus Removal, Malware Removal, Spyware Removal, Adware Removal, and Trojan Removal
- Laptop Repair (From screen/LCD replacement to bringing the dead back to life.)
- Custom Computer Builds
- Training (One on One or Group)
- Install Windows 7 /Windows 8 the right way the first time!
- Windows Home/SOHO Server (10 computers/users or less)
- Network/Internet Security Cameras
- Find the best value on hardware, backup, and anti-virus software (the lowest price is not always the best value based on experience).
- Anything PC-based and/or Network-related - we can help...100% Guaranteed.
- We are proud to add flash drive recovery service to our long list of repair services.With the popularity and high usage of flash drives (as well as all versions of SD cards) today we can recover them all!