Oct 01

The Police Virus – What it Does And How To Protect Yourself

We have recently had to deal with the latest version of the Police Virus or “Ransomware”. If you open an infected file or web page your computer becomes locked and displays a page which informs you that your computer has been locked by the police because you have been involved in illegal activities on line. You are asked to pay a sum of money to unlock your computer.

Police Virus

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This is a scam so you should not make any form of payment. You should call your computer repair company who will be able to remove the infection. These days t is best to be protected with a good quality Internet security programme which can stop you getting infected by this type of threat.

See our article on Which Antivirus Is Best

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May 16

Windows 8 Release Date October 2012

Windows 8Windows 8 will be here in October 2012 according to the Internet grapevine. The computer manufacturers will receive it in the summer to prepare for the rush of eager customers to buy their shiny new Windows 8 machine.

Windows 8 Whats New & Do I Need It ?

Windows 8 will bring a lot of new and useful features which will help the more advanced and heavy computer users. If you are an average user who surfs the Internet, checks emails and facebook etc then you will not need to update unless you were already planning to buy a new computer or laptop.  Even if you are planning to replace your computer it might be wise to wait a while until the inevitable security updates and patches have been released to cure the problems that always affect a new operating system.The other concern is that older software may not be fully compatible with Windows 8. You could find that you have to spend a lot of money buying the latest versions of your favourite applications.

Windows 8 upgrade Or New Computer

Windows 8 will be available to buy and install on your existing computer but it is important to check the system requirements very carefully as new operating systems usually need more memory and hard drive space. According to the download page for the preview version it will work on a system that currently runs Windows 7. I would recommend that if you have XP or earlier you will probably not be able to run Windows 8 successfully. Download Windows 8 preview version here. This version is not the final version so you should only try this if you are an advanced user because there will be later versions released and this preview version will have to be removed and replaced. Before upgrading you should make sure you have your original system discs to reinstall the original operating system . You will also need to make a backup of your data to avoid losing any valuable files. Some modern computers and laptops do not come with a system disc, instead they have a hidden partition on the hard drive which can restore Windows if needed. If you have this type of system you could accidentally delete this partition unless you are familiar with hard drive partitions. If you are unsure it would be advisable to wait for the final version to be released.

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Apr 17

How To Use Windows Task Manager

Windows Task manager is a useful tool to help you see why your computer may not be running properly. It wil tell you if your system is short of memory (ram) which could be making your computer run very slowly. It also shows how much of your processors capacity you are using. If your processor is running near the maximum for a lot of the time you may be running applications which are too intensive for your system or you could have a virus or other malicious software worling in the background slowing down your system.
The video below shows how to check how much of your systems resources you are using and if you may need to upgrade your memory or processor.
If you need to upgrade your ram try our computer spares page to search for a good deal for the parts you need.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

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Mar 29

Which Antivirus Is Best

To decide which antivirus is best there are a lot of things we need to ask first. Every computer user is different in that they all have different needs from antivirus software. If you are a heavy Internet user downloading lots of files and emails then you will need a higher level of protection than someone who uses their computer for simple web browsing.

Which Antivirus Is Best For A Heavy Internet User

AntivirusAlthough there are a lot of free antivirus programmes out there they are not usually strong enough to protect against the threat from continuous browsing and downloading from all over the Internet especially if you use your computer or laptop for banking and online purchases. There are a lot of programmes to buy at a reasonable price. Most of them will have to be renewed every year.

The programme that most people will recognise is Norton Antivirus and Security. I have used this over the years and have found it to be very good. It updates itself and runs without problems on most computers. If you have an older computer it is best to check the system requirements and memory.  If your system can run it then the security suite is best but on systems with less memory it can be best to use just the antivirus programme. Other top antivirus programmes that rank well in reviews are Kaspersky, BitDefender, Trend Micro and McAfee.

What Is The Cost Of The Best Antivirus Software ?

I personally find that I can usually save money by buying from Amazon and delivery is very quick. Buying from a retail store can be expensive. It is possible to buy and download your software but It is better to have a physical product that you can use if you need to reinstall if your system fails. At the time of writing Norton Antivirus is around £22 from Amazon, Kaspersky from £15.49, BitDefender Trend Micro and McAfee about the same for the basic versions. It has to be said that they all come in higher end more expensive versions depending on the level of security you think you require.

 Which Antivirus Is Best For A Light User

A light use can use a good free antivirus programme if cost is an issue. Although it is best to purchase the best antivirus you can get for your budget, not everyone can afford to spend money every year to renew the subscription to the antivirus programme. Of the free antivirus programmes AVG Free is well known and give a goo basic protection which would protect a lot of light Internet users from most threats. It can be freely downloaded over the Internet. You do have to be careful to tick the box for the free version as there is a paid version available. Some other well known free antivirus programmes are Panda Cloud Antivirus, Avira Free and Microsoft Security Essentials.

AVG Free can be downloaded from AVG FREE Antivirus. remember to click on the FREE version.

If you would like any advice about which software would be suitable for your needs please contact us and we will be happy to help.

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Mar 15

How much Memory Do I Need ?

How Much Memory Do I NeedHow much memory do I need ? is a really difficult question to answer as it is different for most users. If you simply use your computer for Internet browsing and checking emails then you will need much less memory than someone who edits video or works with images or uses lots of applications simultaneously. If you use Windows XP you will probably need less memory than if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Memory or RAM as it is known, which stands for “random access memory” is a very fast memory in your computer or laptop which acts as storage to run everything you are running at any given time on your system. If you are running Internet explorer and at the same time editing images, all of that information is working in your RAM. When you open a lot of items your Ram will become full and your computer will become very slow as the information which would normally be run within the RAM will have to be stored on your computers hard drive which is far slower than your RAM. This means that everything will seem very slow. If your computer slows down this way you will probably need more RAM. As soon as your RAM memory is increased to cope with the applications you are running your system will run much more quickly. The amount of memory you need does depend on which operating system you are running. When talking about ram these days we usually work in gigabytes. If you have less than this on most modern computers from Windows XP onwards you may suffer the problems we have just covered. You may have an XP computer with 500 megabytes but if you open more than just a basic application you are bound to find things slowing down.

How Much Memory Do I Need For Windows XP

Ideally you will need 1 gigabyte of RAM to have a good system performance using one or two applications such as Internet explorer but if you have a number of windows open at the same time you may still find your computer slowing down. 2 gigabytes will run quite well on XP but if you run a lot of intensive applications you will probably need 3 to 4 or as much as you can afford. Generally most modern systems run better with more memory.

How Much Memory Do I Need For Windows Vista And Windows 7

With the latest operating systems you do need more RAM for even the most basic user. You will need at least 2 gigabytes of memory but I would recommend at least 3. If you are going to open more applications things will slow down with less than 4. You can now buy computers and laptops with 8 gigabytes or more.

How Much Does Memory Cost ?

Most modern computers will now have DDR 2 or DDR 3 memory fitted. 1 gigabyte of DDR 2 can be purchased for about £15 which is a cheap upgrade and will speed up your computer considerably. If you shop around you can get DDR 3 memory for a little less as there is now a good supply as it is the current memory standard.

Recommendations

Ideally you should purchase as much memory as you can afford or within the capability of your system. A memory upgrade is generally the biggest boost to your computers performance that you can make for a relatively small outlay. You could visit our Computer Spares Page to check the cost of memory. Click the link above or use the menu on the left. Once on the spares page use the search box. You could enter DDR2 Or DDR3 if you know which memory you have. If you are not sure we will be happy to check for you.

If you would like to ask advice or need us to visit and check for you please call or contact us on line and we will be happy to offer a fixed price quote for any work required.

Mar 06

Computer Hacking – Protect Yourself

Computer hacking stories have been in the media a lot lately, with even very large companies having their systems hacked into and credit card details or other top secret information being stolen.  This is big business with large groups of these hackers working together to fleece anyone they can of their hard earned money or personal information.

Computer Hacking – What Should You Do To Stay Safe

Most modern computers come with a built in firewall which stops unwanted incoming connections from the Internet. Your Internet router should also have a built in firewall but if you use a wireless connection it is very important to ensure you have a strong password and an up to date router with good encryption to help avoid the computer hackers breaking in through your wireless connection. You may have heard about people scanning for open wireless connections to use your internet for free or worse still to see if they can collect personal data such as bank or credit card details.

 Software To Stop Computer Hacking

These days its not enough to have a basic antivirus programme if you are more than just a very basic Internet user. If you use your computer for online banking or shopping then it would be wise to invest in a good Internet security programme. To get a good level of safety there are some quality programmes by the larger providers such as Norton and McAfee. These are just 2 of the large companies but if you search online for reviews you should find some other good software for a lower price but remember if you cut corners you may not have adequate protection.

Computer Hacking Web Sites And Email Scams

Avoid using web site that contain explicit adult or pirate software or movies as they can have spyware or viruses which can infect your computer and send out information over the Internet. You should also be careful not to open suspicious emails from untrusted sources as viruses and spyware can infect your computer from just clicking afile from an email

If you would like to ask us any questions or would like to warn others about problems you have had with computer hacking or scam emails we would be happy to publish them here for our readers to see.

Contact Us Or Email direct to help@computerrepairsbirmingham.net

Dec 02

Computer Backup – Do It Now Before Its Too Late

A lot of the systems we work on have not had a computer backup carried out. One of the most common faults we deal with is computers not starting due to a  failed hard drive, which can mean that your data is lost. There is nothing worse than losing all the files that you have built up Computer Backup Faulty Hard Driveover the years. Once your system crashes the cost of recovering your files can be quite high. If the hard drive is still working you can connect it to another computer to download the data before formatting and reinstalling the operating system. If the disk has failed then the only way to recover the information is to sent it to a specialist data recovery company but this can cost hundreds of pounds.  These days backing up your computer of laptop can be very simple.

How To Make A Computer Backup

The easiest way to create a computer backup is to use an external USB hard drive and you can use a backup programme which can be downloaded free from the internet. There are a lot of programmes available ranging from free to professional backup software suites. The latest solution is a click free computer backup drive which automatically backs up your system when you plug it in to the USB slot.

What Files Should You Included In Your Computer Backup

When you make a backup you should include all of your important documents,. Pictures word documents and anything important to you. You also have the option of including your whole system in your computer backup so if you have a disaster you can restore your whole system.

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If you would like any advice on creating a computer backup please comtact us and we are happy to offer free advice.

Dec 01

Windows Product key – Keep It Safe

What Is The Windows Product Key

If you own a laptop or notebook your Windows product key sticker is usually attached to the base of the machine. You will need to keep this number safe to use if you have to reinstall the windows opperating system. We have found many times that the numbers can wear away over time and once lost they cannot be retreaved if the machine is faulty. It is recommended that you copy this number and keep it safe with the discs and documents that came with it. This will save you time and money should you have a problem. When reinstalling the operating system you should use genuine windows but without the number you may have to purchase a new retail version of windows or office which could cost in exess of £100.

How To Find Your Windows Product Key

Your product key is printed on a small label as shown below.

windows product key

 

 

If your product key has already worn off you can get a programme of the internet that will find your product key for you as long as your system is still working. You need to search online for Windows Key finder.

If you would like any further information about the Windows Product Key please contact us and we will be  happy to offer advice. If you are in the Birmingham or Solihull areas we can also visit to help with any problems.

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Nov 29

What Slows Down A Computer

What slows Down A Computer – 4 Common Causes

When you purchased your new computer or laptop, it was the latest model – the  newest, the best and the fastest. Remember how fast it used to be? Your computer booted up  within a minute. You could find and open files really quickly. And  the  system never froze up or slowed to a halt.

Now, you are lucky to see it boot up in 4 or 5 minutes – that is, if it  doesn’t completely freeze up in the process. Sometimes, it can get so bad that  if you type too fast, there is an actual delay before the words appear on the  screen. And the Internet  – well Web sites just seem to take forever to load.

What could be causing this? Did the manufacturer secretly install a  “secret programme ” that started slowing things down once the computer  got to a certain age? Or, maybe gremlins really do exist and have taken over  your system stopping it from running.

In reality, the problem with your computer is one faced by the majority of other  computer owners that sooner or later the system gets bogged down and grinds to a halt. There are a number of factors that lead to diminished  computer performance.

Below is a list of what slows down a computer or laptop.

Problem 1 – Your hard drive has become fragmented: Over  time, your hard drive has been responsible for saving, opening, closing and  moving thousands of files. As this happens, the hard drive becomes cluttered and  disorganized. There are two ways this can happen: the accumulation of unneeded  files and the inefficient use of space.

Unneeded files: Over time, your hard drive has collected temp files  and other files that your computer no longer needs but that are taking up  space.

Inefficient use of space: Just like a poorly-organized book shelf,  your hard drive does not store files close together in an efficient manner.  Rather, there are big gaps and holes between the files. This not only renders  much of the space unusable, it also results in your hard drive taking longer to  retrieve files it needs.

Solution: Run these two handy (and free) utilities, which  you can find in your Windows control panel: Disk Defragmenter and Disk  Cleanup.

Problem 2 – Your system is infected with spyware: Spyware is a  type of virus which sits on your computer and sends information about your  activities to other computers on the Internet. Not only is this an invasion of  your privacy, it also slows down your computer by using the processor for its  own devious needs.

Solution: Install and launch a good anti-spyware software  program. There are both free and fee-based versions available online.

Problem 3 – Your memory and processor have not kept up with your  software: As memory and fast processors have gotten cheaper, software  developers have continued to make heavier and heavier applications requiring  higher-capacity hardware.

Solution: If you have not upgraded your memory or processor  since you purchased your computer, doing so will almost surely give you a big  boost in performance.

Problem 4 – Your Windows registry has errors which can hamper the performance of your operating system. Your  computer operates on many levels at once. One important operational level works  just below the level of your operating system: the Windows registry. The  registry is like the control center for your computer’s software applications,  hardware and user settings. Over time, errors in registry “keys” (bits of  information or files) crop up and accumulate. Most aging computers have  thousands of these registry errors.

Solution: Run a free registry scan to find out how many  registry errors you have. Run the registry fix if the scan unearths a large  number of errors.

If you follow most or all of these solutions for your older PC, you will  undoubtedly end up with much faster computer performance. This will restore  things back to the way they were in the good-old-days, but without having to buy  an expensive new computer.

Please feel free to contact us for free advice regarding any of these problems and if you live within the areas we cover for computer repairs we will be happy give a fixed price quote to repair your system. If you are outside our area we can still offer free advice and tips via our email Contact Form

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