PC-Whisperer on Call
© Rick Lohmeyer, 2011  301-404-2630
Technical Support for Computers and AV Technology
Moving?  Let me disconnect your computer, peripherals and network, and your entertainment system and reconnect them in your new location. I’ll get everything working and save you the headache or reading manuals and locating cables. Many computer and internet problems can be resolved by these simple steps:  First always check that the cord is plugged in, mouse is plugged in, the monitor is plugged in and connected to the computer. And be sure to check that the power strip is plugged in and turned on. Sometimes plugs fall out or come loose. When we turn computers off, they only shut down part way. They are still on at a lower level. Many problems can be solved by shutting them down completely. To do this, shutdown your computer by clicking on shutdown from the Start Button; when it is off, unplug it for a minute. then plug it in, turn it on and see if the problem is solved. For a laptop, you will also need to remove the battery for about 15 seconds, as well as unplugging the power. If you have lost internet access, shutdown your computer, then turn off or unplug your router (the little box with lots of blinking lights) for a minute. Restart or plug in the router, wait several minutes and restart your computer. Call Rick for help when: You have lost important files, photos, etc. from you computer or phone. They can often be recovered but you need to have someone make the attempt immediately. Your computer crashes again and again. All computers will sometimes crash. But if it crashes or locks up more often than once a week, you have a problem. You think you might have a virus or malware infection. Symptons include lots of popup windows in the browser, a message on screen telling you have an infection and to “click here.” Your computer becomes really, really slow. Some of the programs on the net that purport to fix slow computers install malware, so contact a professional before adding software. You are about to begin to use the computer for online banking, investing, or shopping and have not yet done so, get a professional security evalutation first to protect yourself. You want to setup Skype for video calls with loved ones, learn to use email or office software. You are setting up or need to secure your home network. You need to buy a new computer, printer, multi-function or all-in-one printer. Best Practices If you have an inkjet printer, do not put it onto a power strip that you use to shut down everything. Inkjet printers should always be on (they take very little power) and should only be shut down using the off button. If you expect power outages, use the off button to shut it down. If you get a message on screen warning you of a virus infection and demanding that you do something right away, don’t do anything but call on a professional for help. That message is almost certainly a scam and you can do more harm by clicking on their link. Get in the habit of saving your work more often than you think you need to. I used to drill my students to repeat, many times, “Save early, save often!” Just in case they did not get the message, I had the engineer cut power to our classroom during class - those who saved often still had their work intact, those who did not lost time or points on their project. Microsoft, Adobe, your antivirus provider and other software makes will ask you whether it is OK to update their programs. In general, say yes to their requests. This helps protect your computer and your information. If you have not heard of the firm making the request, check with a professional or someone you trust before agreeing. They will ask again if you say no. At least every year you should get a professional to do a security evaluation for your computer and home network that goes beyond the usual antivirus and internet security program scan. This involves checks for security updates, deep scanning, boot-time scan, and more. Free and almost free training is available from a variety of computer clubs and social service agencies. Training will help you get more form your computer and keep you safer online.
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