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Q & A: User Questions, Tech Answers! Year End 2017

Welcome to the 2017 edition of our “User Questions, Tech Answers”. In our ongoing mission to help make your technology easier, we like to provide you with tools and knowledge to make your computer interaction more “user friendly.” This edition will showcase some of the most popular questions asked throughout 2017, and also include some new things that we haven’t covered yet.

Q. Is backing up my data really that important?

A. That depends on how important the data is too you. From family vacation pictures to favorite downloaded music to the last 5 years of tax returns for your business, different data is important to different people for different reasons. Regardless of what it is, if you want to keep it, you should back it up regularly. Backing it up to more than one location (i.e. an external hard drive, Dropbox, iCoud, Google Drive, etc.) is an optimal level of redundancy. Backing up your data is also the easiest way to protect it against being held hostage by encryption malware.

Q. There is a pop-up on my computer screen saying Microsoft detected a problem on my computer and gives a phone number to call. Should I call them?

A. No. Microsoft (or Apple, or any other major tech company) is not looking around the Internet for individual computers that are “infected”, “compromised”, “hacked”, or anything else. The first thing you should do if you get a pop-up like this, is re-boot your web browser or computer. That will typically clear it out, but you may have to prevent your web browser from opening your previous tabs\pages. If it turns out to be more persistent, we’d recommend taking it to your trusted computer expert (like Geek Easy Computers) for malware removal. Which brings us to our next popular question…

Q. When I get infected by a virus or malware, can’t I just download antivirus/antimalware software to remove it?

A. Short answer – no. Not effectively. Antivirus and antimalware software are designed to prevent infection from occuring. As such, they are not as effective in working after the fact to remove the malicious invaders. If you install the software after you’re already infected, the files that the software looks at have already been altered, so the software may not recognize that. Some malware can even prevent the antimalware software from working or even installing! Light infections or annoying advertising programs can often be removed this way, but a real infection will probably stick around.

Q. Do you fix phones\tablets?

A. No. We do not repair or service phones, tablets, or any other mobile devices. Although today’s smartphones & tablets are much more powerful than before, and can do many of the tasks that a computer does, they are not computers. The service & repair of those devices takes a different skill set that we’ve chosen to leave to those who specialize in it.

Q. How much will it cost to fix a broken laptop screen?

A. That depends on several factors. Notably the brand and model of the laptop, pricing and availability of parts, and how much labor is required for the repair. Computers that look similar but are different brands could have totally different repair costs. Even different models within the same brand! Also affecting the price is whether it’s just the LCD or if it’s part of a “sandwich” construction where everything is glued together forming the top of the laptop. This is why we try not to give “estimates” regarding screen repair over the phone. We need to see exactly what we are working with, and get current part pricing. If it’s a model we’ve repaired a lot, we can usually give a rough estimate range before seeing the laptop.

Q. How did I get infected?

A.Probably an email attachment called Invoice.doc or Scan001.pdf. That tends to be the most common method of infection that we see in the shop. A good rule to follow is – if you weren’t expecting it, don’t open it! If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t open it! Sometimes malicious advertisements can point to fake updates or programs that install viruses as well. We’ve seen fake Java and Flash popups happen. It’s always best to go to the vendor’s website to update those or use the built-in update feature of the program itself.

Q. Has my username\password been compromised by a data breach (Have I been pwned)?

A. Unfortunately, there is a strong possibility. You can check your email address on https://haveibeenpwned.com/ From there, it’s a good idea to change passwords regularly even without being exposed to a breach. Data breaches can take years to become known publicly.

Q. Is it worth it to repair my Chromebook?

A. To be honest, probably not. There’s a reason Chromebooks are so economical. They are put together cheaply using lower end materials. Parts are often unavailable or too expensive given the cost of the system. Replacement is recommended.

Q. Do you sell used\refurbished Apple computers?

A. Yes, when we can get them. Refurbished Apple computers are in high demand so when they are available they get snatched up immediately. But we have our suppliers on the hunt for them!

2017 was an amazing year in technology. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us! Geek Easy Computers is your place for news on the latest & greatest, and your place to get answers to your questions!

 

 

Adonis Pointer is a photographer, a collector of vintage razors, and a certified technology geek!

Adonis has been involved in computer technology since well, a LONG time! He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the industry from sales to repair to training to consulting. As the Social Media Manager he writes the majority of the posts on the Geek Easy Computers blog.

 

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