Category Archives for "Computer repair"

How do I backup my files

How do I backup my files?

You have probably read the article I posted about, “Why should I backup my files?”, if you haven’t I would encourage you to do so. Now you know that you need to be backing up your files; let’s get down to business! Backing up your computer files used to be a tedious and time consuming task – but not anymore! There are a couple methods I would suggest to use for backing up, they are: physical external drives such as external harddrives and flashdrives, as well as online backup solutions.

The first way to backup your files that I am going to talk about is actually the same method that I use. I use an external hard drive to backup my files. You could also use a flash drive; I don’t because I have way too many files to fit on one of those! If you search online or at stores you will find numerous external drives available that offer a “one button backup” solution – don’t use those! The reason I don’t suggest using the one button backups is that they usually save the files into an archived format that has several downfalls: 1 being that you typically cannot read your files on another computer & 2 being that you have to have that program re-installed on your computer to be able to retrieve your files.

How to backup to an external hard drive

How do I backup my files

How do I backup my files?

Now that we know what not to do – let’s get to how we DO backup our files to an external. Manually copy & paste your files and folders: This is the simplest form of backing up your files. The steps for this method are blow:

  1. Just plug your external hard drive in your computer and wait for the window to appear asking you what you want to do with it, choose the option “browse files and folders”; a new window will appear on your screen showing you what is currently on the external drive.
  2. Please take a mental note of what the letter comes up as, typically it is E:\, F:\, or G:\. You can now minimize this window.
  3. Browse to whatever files you want to backup, the most popular files that people backup are their pictures.
  4. You can select the files and or folders you want to backup by high-lighting them. Next you would either click on ‘Edit > Copy‘ from the menu at the top of your screen or right-click on one of the files and select ‘Copy‘.
  5. Now that we have the files ready to copy, we need to select where we are going to back them up to; please browse your external hard-drive from step 1 & 2.
  6. Final step: Either right click in the blank white space and select ‘Paste’; or click on ‘Edit>Paste’ from the menu at the top of your screen.

See, that wasn’t too bad was it? If you have any windows pop up asking of you want to replace the old files, click yes. This can all be automated by having us write a custom backup program that will automatically backup your selected files and folders that are important to you; if you are interested in that please give us a call or check out our services page!

What are the best online backup solutions

The next method of backing up your files is to online storage, also sometimes called “the cloud”. There are multiple online backup solutions available. Today we are going to talk about Dropbox & Carbonite ( 15 day free trial ) as they are my two favorite!

Dropbox online backup

Dropbox online backup

Dropbox works similar to a regular folder on your computer.

You have the folder that is synched to your online Dropbox account. Synched pretty much means that files are exactly the same in two locations. Anything you put into your Dropbox folder on your computer is automatically synched to your online storage. Using Dropbox this way is useful if you have several different computers you want to share files between different locations. A good example of this would be sharing the same Dropbox folder between your laptop at home and your computer at work.Dropbox has several pricing options ranging from free – all the way through $795+ a year for business users. More information can be found by clicking here.

I actually created a video in case of the scenario where you want to clone hard drive to ssd using Acronis.

The second popular option for online backups that I would suggest is Carbonite. Carbonite works much differently than Dropbox. After the initial installation and set up of Carbonite your files will automatically backup to their online storage at whatever time you chose while installing. This type of solution would be perfect for someone who has a computer at home with important pictures and documents that they don’t want to lose. You could set it up to automatically backup those files every night at 1:00 AM.

Carbonite is also a great solution for businesses. How catastrophic would it be if your business lost all of its files? Would you be able to stay in business? Possibly not! A few years back a local factory came to use in desperate need. They had been backing up to tape-drives ( earlier forms of external backups like an external hard drive ) for years. Lightning struck, literally. There was a lightning strike and it took out their server as well as their hard-drives ( where all the files are saved ) inside the server. They tried to retrieve information from their backups and couldn’t. You see all these years when backing up to their external drives – the backups were failing. Always, always, always verify your backups – no matter what. We ended up creating a custom backup program like mentioned earlier as well as having them rotate between two different external hard drives; because even backups can fail. Carbonite would also be a good fit for them in addition to the other backups! Lesson: You can never have too many backup solutions. You might also want to look at our article, “what antivirus should I use?” Make sure your backup solutions are not infected!

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Exede Satellite Review

Why should I backup my computer files?

Written by: Vinny Polston; IT manager of Mach1 PC, LLC.

Techs always say “backup backup backup!” So the question you are probably asking is, “Why should I backup my files?”. We are here to answer that! I’d like to begin answering this question with a lesson from a real-life scenario that we run into with customers who don’t backup their files:

Nancy came into our shop early in the morning right after opening; she had been up all night worrying and was very concerned! You see, Nancy has two kids that are now in their teens and the only copy of their baby pictures and childhood memories were on her computer. Last night her computer crashed and just started telling her that there was “no mountable boot volume” – whatever that means! We tell Nancy that typically means that either the hard drive, which is like your filing cabinet where all your files are stored, failed or that the computer is having trouble finding it. She isn’t all that concerned about the computer itself as it is replaceable – all of her precious moments and pictures are not replaceable. If Nancy had been backing up her files, she could rest easy knowing not all is lost. Nancy didn’t have a backup routine – and because of this lost everything.

When we work on computers here in the shop, we treat them like they are our own. Your files are very important! I know it sounds cheesy; but we do actually care and feel the agony when our customers lose important files because they didn’t have backup. We feel this way because we can relate to how it would feel if we lost our files – we would be lost! We have seen great brand new hard drives bad out of the packaging; yet we have also seen hard drives last 15 years.. The sad truth is that eventually, technology fails.

Don’t just backup your files, check your backups! We suggest having a backup routine either weekly or monthly depending on how important your files are to you. Please save yourself the heartache from losing your important documents and files – have a backup routine. Backing up your files is relatively easy now that there are online backup solutions as well as external hard drives & flash drives – blank DVDs are better than nothing.

Now that you know backing up is important, you might want to check out our article about “How do I backup my files“. Please check back regularly for more help!

Always make sure you run routine virus scans on your computer to ensure you are not backup an infection! For more information on that, you can check out: Top 5: What antivirus should I use?


What is the difference between malware and virus infections?

Written by: Vinny Polston; IT manager of Mach1 PC, LLC.

Truth is, there is no difference between malware and virus infections. Malware stands for malicious software, and is just a general term that can be applied to any type of.. malicious software on your computer: a virus is malware. Other types of malware include adware, spyware, scareware, & trojan horses. We’ll talk about a few of those below.

Virus: We all get infected at one-time or another. The most popular term to describe infections is a virus. Most viruses attach themselves to executable files ( pretty much any program that can run on the computer ). Viruses usually target programs that are used in day-to-day use; such as Microsoft Windows & MS word. You can learn how to protect yourself from reading our article titled, “Review of the TOP 5: What antivirus should I use?” Viruses can and will replicate themselves all throughout your computer.

Adware: Do those popups all over your computer get you frustrated? You can thank adware for that! The name pretty much explains exactly what you should expect regarding adware. Advertisements that seemingly take over your computer are one of the most popular types of malware infections. Here recently, the most popular adware we see come into the shop is called Conduit; which floods internet browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, & Google Chrome with advertisements everywhere.

Spyware: If you’re concerned about your privacy, banking, credit-card information, etc.. spyware is not your friend. As the name suggests, it is used to collect information without your knowledge and send that information to the creator for sale or use. A key logger would be a version of spyware and can even be a physical piece of hardware plugged into your computer.

Scareware: Has your computer ever popped up with a screen saying the FBI, Homeland Security, or other government agencies are out to get you if you don’t pay a fine? If so then you have been infected with scareware. The goal of scareware is to accuse you of a bunch of absolutely horrible things that you didn’t do. The government is not coming after you; this is just a version of malware. The end goal is to use scare tactics to get you to pay a “fine” of $200+ through a MoneyPak code. Now that company/individual has stolen your money with no way to reverse the transaction and your computer still is not fixed..

Trojan Horse: Unlike the virus, the trojan horse does not replicate itself. Trojan Horses are designed to look like a innocent application – but in the background are malicious and can cause your computer to be used for illegal purposes. Trojan horses can even give hackers a “backdoor” to your computer system to take advantage  and control of your computer.

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Review of the TOP 5: What antivirus should I use?

Written by: Vinny Polston; IT manager of Mach1 PC, LLC.

Being the computer repair business for over 15 years now, we have seen all types of antivirus programs come in on infected computers. Wait, you can get an infection even though you’re protected?That will be in an article soon. In this article I will tell you about the top 5 most popular anti-virus programs we see installed on computers and answer the common question, “What antivirus should I use?”. We will be going through the following: Norton AntiVirus, McAfee Antivirus, AVG Free, Avast Home Edition, & finally Microsoft Security Essentials.


What Antivirus Should I use?

5. Norton Antivirus – It used to be our favorite out of the pack. It was a lightweight program that offered new virus ‘definition’ updates constantly and did not slow down your computer. For those who don’t know, virus definition updates are the updates that are done periodically throughout the day to keep you protected from the ever increasing wave of new virus, trojans, worms, & malware. The problem is, starting in about the year 2005 Norton started to try to become an all-in-one computer suite. This is bad because they add so many features that it effectively would slow down any computer you installed it on.. not good.

4. McAfee Antivirus – One of the most direct competitors to Norton. McAfee shares a lot of the same features and history as Norton does; both the positives and the negatives. What I do like about McAfee is that it doesn’t seem to slow down computers as bad as Norton does. The updates are released frequently to keep you protected.. however, they do have the same agenda as Norton on wanting to be a one-stop-shop for all your protection needs – so much to the point that it can be restrictive with your day-to-day use of your computer.

So far we have talked about two largest anti-virus companies. I’m sure you have heard, and we have always informed our customers, that there are free alternatives out there that do as good a job of protection without costing you $40-$80 dollars a year to renew ( both Norton & McAfee cost annually to stay updated ). Now we get down to the three most popular free anti-virus program we see.

3. AVG – The first on our list of free antivirus programs we are going to review. It is not my favorite nor what I personally use, but it does a decent job. What I do like about it is that they are not as bad about trying to be feature heavy as the previously mentioned anti-virus programs. We do still see computers come into the shop that are infected and use this for protection, but that stands true for all anti-virus programs.

2. Avast! Free home edition – From the years 2010 – 2012 we installed this on well over 300+ computer systems. Avast had the same benefits of AVG Free with it being a lightweight program that didn’t bog down your computer. Unfortunately, over the recent year and a half they have really really REALLY been pushing their Professional and Internet Security versions on customers.

Even as early as Monday of this week we heard a horror story about the sales division of this company. One of our customers had purchased the Internet Security version of Avast! and for some reason it had not registered on her computer. She proceeded to call Avast customer support only to be told that her computer had “major security update flaws” as well as it was running “abnormally slow”.

They then told her it would cost roughly $180 dollars to get everything fixed. She told them she had computer guys ( hey that’s us! ) that she would have take a look. Long story short: She dropped off the computer and we registered her Avast professional on her computer as well as did a system tune up – I believe her bill came to about $85 for everything.. that’s nearly $100 less than what they told her was needed.

1. Microsoft Security Essentials – As most of our customer knows.. Microsoft is notorious for releasing products before they are really ready to be.. released. What did Microsoft do to try to make things right? They released a FREE anti-virus program that is registered forever so long as your Windows is genuine. And guess what? It works. It’s what we use on our business computers as well as personal computer to protect us. It doesn’t slow down your computer like Norton & McAfee do. They are not trying to sell you on some “better” version of Microsoft Security Essentials. Is it perfect? No way! But it does work just as well as any of the others and it is 100% free.

Well that was fun, thank you for reading through! We hope you found this article helpful! We would love to hear your thoughts on what you believe is the best anti-virus program available. If you are looking for the difference between malware and virus.

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