Is your computer connected to the internet? Or
do you get disks from clients whose computer may have an internet connection?
The internet is a dangerous place for your computer these days, and is rife with
viruses, malware, spyware, and adware. These nasty pieces of computer code
can get into your computer through email or your web browser without you being
aware of them. Viruses, malware, and spyware provide methods that may
allow someone to steal or erase your valuable private information. Or they
may just damage or disable your network connection and cause your computer to
run slow. Although not as bad, adware from internet browser use will slow
down the performance of your computer. Are you protected from these
intrusions? A properly configured product that provides anti-virus,
anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti-rootkit, a firewall, anti-spam, email scanning,
link scanning, and identity protection features is a good thing to have. Although we recommend
AVG Internet Security and sell the AVG products, there are
several other good products on the market. An annual subscription is
usually less than $50/year per computer. We work with all of them, and are happy to help you protect your business and
data from the bad guys out there.
Memory (RAM) and the hard drive in your computer work
hand-in-hand in today's multi-tasking computers. Memory is fast and used
by the processor for immediate processing of data, while the hard drive is used
for data storage. When your computer runs out of memory capacity, it
writes the part not in use at that current moment to a "swap" file on the hard
drive, and then brings it back again when it is needed. This is commonly
called "Memory Swapping" or "Swapping". If the amount of memory in your
computer is inadequate for the operating system or type of applications you are
running, this event occurs more frequently. If it occurs often enough, you
computer performance suffers, and your hard drive may wear out prematurely and
fail causing data loss. If your Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 PC
is running less than 2GB of memory, it is probably a candidate for a memory
upgrade. We will be glad to perform an assessment on your computer to see
if a memory upgrade may help you and perform the upgrade if necessary.
How valuable is your business data? How long
would it take for your to recover or recreate it? Is your data protected
against equipment failure, fire, flood, earthquake, or theft? Are you
backing up your data properly? Are you backing up the right data?
Are you backing it up often enough? Do you have a manual backup process
established, but just seem to forget to run it when you get too busy?
Backup devices and services are inexpensive and well
worth the investment. External hard drives are usually $75 - $150, and a
year of internet backup service is less than $75. We can set you up with
automated data backup using locally attached devices, network devices, or a
service provided over the internet. We will map out a plan for you to have
off-site data backup for the safety of your business and piece of mind.
Please call us for more information.
Protection from Power Failures
In the Pacific Northwest, most of us experience power
fluctuations and power outages at least once a year. When our beautiful
trees, Winter wind storms and above ground power system, it's almost
unavoidable. To protect your data and equipment from these occurrences, we
highly recommend the use of a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) with built-in
battery backup. Unlike a surge protector, these devices filter the power
to your computer and network equipment, providing constant voltage through the
battery. When properly installed and configured using an interface cable
to your computer, the power condition is monitored when your computer is turned
on. In the event of a brown-out or outage, the computer will run on
battery power for several minutes. This allows you to save your work and
shutdown your computer safely until power is restored. Or if unattended,
your computer will be put into a safe hibernation mode. In the case of a
power spike, the UPS will absorb the excess voltage, saving your equipment from
A UPS for your network equipment is usually $65 -
$85, and $100 - $150 per computer. Most of these come with a $10,000 -
$25,000 damage insurance policy from the manufacturer, proving that they are
serious about the protection they afford.
Clean & Cool
Keeping you computer clean inside will increase
reliability and prolong the life of the hardware. The air cooled design of
computers requires that they circulate air through them using cooling fans and
heat sinks. This combined with the positive static charge of the
electrical components inside them traps a lot of dust, lint, and fuzz on the
components. They tend to be a form of air filter in this regard. A
dirty computer will have overheating problems and sometimes shorting out of the
circuitry. This will cause poor performance and premature failure of your
computer. This is particularly true in many locations with carpeting, no
matter how clean you keep you office. This also occurs in any shop where
dust is generated as service or manufacturing is being performed. To
alleviate this problem, your computer should be cleaned at least every six
months to avoid dust & debris build-up. In severe cases, filters may be
applied to the case cooling fans to assist in keeping the inside clean, however
these must also be cleaned frequently to maintain proper air flow inside the
Cleaning is accomplished using high pressure air from
a compressor, taking extra care to protect your computer from physical and
electrical damage caused by static build-up. Canned air does not provide
the necessary cleaning in most cases. A vacuum cleaner will not provide
adequate cleaning, and may cause damage from static electrical charge.
The cleaning procedure is not recommended for the
inexperienced, as damage may occur. In about 15 minutes, we'll make sure that you have
a clean machine. See pictures below for an example of our work.
CPU Cooling Fan & Heat sink before & after cleaning.
We also upgraded the memory in this PC at the same time from 512MB to 2GB for a
major improvement in reliability & performance.
The same things listed above are true for your
notebook computer, which should also have a regular cleaning. In addition,
many people tend to use them on their lap, on the carpet, or on upholstered
furniture, which tends to block the cooling vents on the bottom of the computer.
This leads to overheating, causing shutdowns and premature failure. Use of
a cooling pad providing adequate air flow will help to prevent these conditions.
We highly recommend using a cooling pad with your laptop computer, even when in
use on your desktop. They usually cost less than $40, and are a wise
Some examples of cooling pads, without and with
cooling fans. Either type will work just fine for most applications.
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