Windows XP Updates and Support Ends April 8th 2014

You may not be aware that Microsoft’s Windows XP support is scheduled to end on April 8th, 2014. Your computer using XP will continue to function. Microsoft will be releasing no more updates, patches or hotfixes for the machine, rendering it vulnerable over time as new security vulnerabilities are found and exploited. XP was released in 2002 – there are more secure Operating Systems now available,

Most of my customers prefer the familiarity of operation found in Windows 7 – and struggle with Windows 8’s radically different user interface. Windows 7 is still available to upgrade your current computer. (Most computers built in the last 5-6 years are capable of running Windows 7.)

You can call me at 402-525-3799 to ask me to determine if your computer will run Windows 7, and if any hardware upgrades are needed to run Windows 7 efficiently.

If you choose to continue to run Windows XP for a while longer, I would strongly urge you to have a current working anti-virus program on it. I also suggest keeping all ancillary programs such as Java, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Itunes and so forth updated to their newest versions to try and avoid unnecessary vulnerabilities minimized.

The End of XP

Microsoft is ending XP support (updates, hotfixes and patches) on April 14th, 2014. Now is the time to consider what to do. Some computers running XP can run Windows 7, but they might need some upgrades to run it efficiently. The minimum specifications I would suggest for an upgrade to Windows 7 would be a dual core processor (Pentium D or Core2 Duo) with a minimum of 2 Gb of RAM – 4 Gb would be much better.

Older machines will need to be upgraded; either with a refurbished computer or a new computer. Depending on what you use the computer to do, a off lease “business class” computer that has been refurbished will work just fine for the majority of people for internet use and word processing.

A new off the shelf computer will do just fine for those tasks too, but you should be aware that Microsoft is currently shipping Windows 8. While Windows 8 is a decent operating system, it is a completely different “look” than Windows had up to Windows 7. There is no start button or programs menu, which can be confusing and make the transition more difficult. There are some 3rd party programs that add back the Start button and Programs Menu to Windows 8.

If you do decide to go with a new computer, I would be happy to help you get your documents and photos transferred to your new computer. I can also check your old computer out and upgrade it if that is practical.

If you wish to purchase a refurbished computer I would suggest buying a business class machine. Because they lease them with a “on site” service contract, business computers tend to have more durable hardware than a consumer grade machine.

Please give me a call at 402-525-3799 or email

Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

Computer Repair in Ashland, Elmwood, Weeping Water, Lousiville, Greenwood, Murdock, and Eagle Nebraska

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Computer Repairs & Upgrades are Available Locally

Cass County Computer Repair offers competent, prompt & friendly hometown service for your computer.

  • Virus and Malware Removal

  • Hardware Repairs and Upgrades

  • Data Recovery and Transfer

  • Computer Optimization to Speed Up Your PC

  • Custom Built Computers

  • Website Design and Hosting

  • Search Engine Optimization for Your Business Website

If you would like personal, professional service for your computer, you are in the right spot. I offer free pickup and delivery of your computer within 15 miles of my shop. If you are tired of the impersonal service (that takes forever to finish) in the big stores, give me a call at 402-525-3799 or send me an email.

Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

Affordable PC Repairs

Give me a call at 402-525-3799 or send an email to Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com for affordable repairs and upgrades to your computer in the western Cass County Nebraska area. I offer free pickup and delivery of your PC within a 15 mile radius of the shop. I will collect an initial diagnostic fee of $30.00  upon pickup of your computer.

Louisville, Manley, Weeping Water, Murdock, Elmwood, Avoca, Eagle, Alvo and Ashland  Nebraska are all within a 15 mile radius of the shop and qualify for free pickup and delivery, provided we perform the repair work on your PC. My diagnostic fee of $30.00 is waived (deducted from your bill) if you choose us to complete the repair.

My “hourly bench rate” is $60.00 per hour. Only the time I actually spend interacting with your computer is billed to you, not all the time it is simply being scanned on my work bench without my intervention. An average bill for virus removal is approximately $90.00 – $120.00, an 1.5 to 2 hours of labor, but the total is variable depending on how heavily infected your computer is. If the computer will no longer start and run, we will have to remove the hard drive for external scanning, resulting in additional expense.

Please be prepared to provide us with the CDs or DVDs with the software that came with your computer. I will also need the operating systems license key, and the license keys for any extra software you wish to have installed (Microsoft Office – etc). These will be needed if we are forced to do a re-installation because of irreparable harm to your operating system from a virus infection.
Email me at:
Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

Contact Cass County Computer Repair

Local Computer Repair in Elmwood -Weeping Water -Murdock and Louisville vs “Big Box” Stores

I about fell over 3 nights ago when a customer asked me if I could compete with the price that the “Geek Squad” quoted her for a laptop repair. Her computer had crashed due to a virus infection, and when she took it to “that big store” she was quoted $150.00 to diagnose the problem and another $100.00 to repair it. Yes, $250.00 total!

She had diligently backed up her photos and documents to a USB thumb drive. We discussed what was wrong and made the decision that the most affordable solution was to simply re-install Windows, without any files saved and transferred . “That big store” charges even more to save and transfer files while repairing a PC.

All available Microsoft updates were installed during the re-installation of Windows, as well as all updates from her laptops manufacturer. She walked out of my shop with a bill of less than $90.00 – taxes included.Saving her data would have added slightly to her bill, but it still would have been about 1/2 of what the “Geek Squad” quoted her for a re-installation of Windows – WITHOUT transferring her files.

My diagnostic fee is $30.00, but that fee is waived if you choose my shop to perform the repairs to your computer.

Local computer repair performed by Cass County Computer Repair in the Elmwood, Murdock, Weeping Water and Louisville area of Cass County Nebraska is more affordable than dragging your computer into the city. We are not paying a huge overhead to keep the doors of the business open. I am working out of my home as I grow the business and the savings are passed on to my customers.

I offer free pickup and delivery of your computer within 15 miles of my shop, with a slight additional fuel surcharge for longer distances. I also offer “on-site” service and 24/7 emergency support and repair for “mission critical” computers.

I value my reputation for honest and competent service and want Cass County Computer Repair to become “the place” to take your computer when it needs fixing.

Call (402) 525-3799 or email Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com  to inquire about service for your PC.

Upgrading Your Older Computer

RAM – Random Access Memory

RAM is where your PC stores data used to run programs, images that are actively being used (web content & images being viewed or edited), and other frequently accessed data. If your PC does not have enough RAM to deal with the programs that you are trying to use on your computer, it will use space on the hard drive to store the data. This area of the hard drive is know as the “swap file”. The problem with using the swap file is simple to understand – it is many times slower to access the data than data stored in RAM…so your PC slows down to a crawl.

RAM is a fairly economical upgrade to your PC, stretching your older PC’s abilities and usability.

 

Graphics Card (Display Adapter) Upgrading

The video card in your older PC often lacks the ability to efficiently display media intensive content on the internet or High Definition movies. This is made obvious by jerky motion when displaying a video clip or while playing games. If you have upgraded to a newer monitor, you might not be getting the full resolution that your new monitor is able to display. An older graphics card just is not able to work at higher display resolutions.

 

Hard Drive Upgrades

Your hard drive is where your PC stores all of it’s information. If your hard drive is making clicking or loud whirring sounds, it might be ready to die. New hard drives are far faster than an older model. A newer model can improve the speed of your computer by lessening the amount of time waiting for data to be read from (or written to) the hard drive.

Another consideration is simply having enough space to store all of the photos, videos, music and documents you have collected on your PC. You may choose to add another hard drive to most desktops, or to replace the hard drive in your computer with a larger hard drive. This is usually the only solution for a laptop who’s hard drive is overfilled

Did You Get a New Computer for Christmas?

If Santa brought your family a new computer for Christmas and you would like to move your photos and data from the old PC to the new PC, give me a call and I will get it all moved for you. I can move it directly from one computer to the other – make a back-up CD or DVD of all your files – or do both. If the old PC is not running, chances are I can retrieve your irreplaceable data from it’s hard drive and save it to your new PC.

A good use for your old PC is to refurbish it into a PC for the kids to use. If your children are like mine, the computer they use gets loaded with viruses and spyware regularly. My solution to that is to get rid of Windows and use a different operating system. My personal favorites are Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Both are “distributions” of Linux – an entirely different operating system that is not susceptible to infections from mal-ware and viruses written to infect Windows machines. Best of all, these operating systems are “open source”, meaning that they are free of charge and are maintained by teams of volunteer programmers from around the world

Using these non-Microsoft products is a bit different from Windows and  has a bit of a learning curve. The huge bonus, in my eyes, is the abundance of of “open source” software that is free of charge. Games, Educational Software, Graphics Software for photo editing, Office Programs, Scientific Software.. you name it and there is free software available for download – right from the “Software Center” built into Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

Hundreds of thousands of users world wide run operating systems other than Windows, you can too.

Adware – Spyware – Malware Prevention

Sometimes children just can’t resist the “register now for a free ipod” popup that appears while they are surfing the web. Game sites are particularly known for this. A good anti-virus program does help, as will a firewall. Appropriate security policies can be set on some computers too, to prevent a non-administrator from installing software. XP home and earlier versions of Windows do not have this “security policy” feature.

It is a good idea for you to surf the web, and have your children surf the web, from an account that is NOT an administrator account. My kids have non-administrator accounts, PERIOD. Any changes have to be approved and done by an adult. Administrator accounts are by default allowed to install software..and an accidental click can cause major issues.

Another “good practice” while surfing and coming across a pop-up window that claims to have found a virus on your computer is to not click anything at all on the pop-up. Malicious programmers have taken to building programs that respond to a click anywhere (including the cancel button) by downloading their malicious software. If I come across one of these scams designed to get malware onto my computer, the action I take is the safe action. Instead of clicking anything, I simply restart my computer from the Windows “Start” button. Problem solved.

A good overall work around for the “security policy” limitation is to edit your “hosts” file to prevent a connection from being established to the server that downloads this malicious software to your computer. Winhelp2002 has a pretty good explanation of the process and they also have a downloadable hosts file available that is regularly updated and easily installed.

The hosts file download is a .zip format. After you download it, right click on the hosts.zip file and choose “extract” or “unzip”. Make sure you unzip it to a location that you can find after the unzipping completes. Go into the unzipped “hosts” folder and you will see an icon named either MVPS or MVPS.bat (depending on the settings of your computer). Click on the MVPS icon and it will automatically install the hosts file in the correct location in your computer.

It is a simple fix that saves a lot of headaches.

Recycle Your Old PC

Cass County Computer Repair is now accepting old computers from the Elmwood, Murdock, Weeping Water, Louisville area of Cass County Nebraska to be recycled.

All hard drives are immediately “disk wiped” with a program that destroys all data to a level beyond that which is required by the Department of Defense for disposal of intact hard drives. I do not simply format the drives, that method leaves personal data recoverable with a bit of “know how” and work.

Go to DBAN to download the program to run it yourself. DO NOT unzip the file, use your CD burner to burn it as an .iso file. Be SURE you have saved everything you want off of the old computer’s hard drive. Put the DBAN CD in the CD drive of the computer you wish to wipe and reboot your computer. If your computer is set correctly to boot from a CD, it will ask you to “Press any key to boot from CD”. Press any key and DBAN will completely wipe your drive beyond any chance of recovering data from it.

We will accept all PC’s & LCD monitors free of charge. Old style CRT tube monitors cost us $10.00 to dispose of, sadly, I have to ask for you to cover that cost if you wish for us to dispose of it for you.

Cass County Computer Repair is now open for business

The repair shop is now open and available to fix your pc. We offer free pick-up and delivery of your repaired computer within a 15 mile radius of the shop. If you are further away, we will still pick up and deliver with a nominal mileage fee to offset the cost of fuel.

The repair shop offers many services – virus & mal-ware removal – computer optimization to speed up your pc – hardware repairs and upgrades – data recovery from non starting computers and flash memory.  Give me a call or drop an email in my inbox to get your computer back to the efficient machine it once was, or to get your computer improved over it’s “out of the box” capability.

I also do web development and hosting, please give me a call to develop a web presence for your company or organization. Most people today use the internet to find the services they want to purchase. Get your company to the front of the line with a website to put you on the map.

Search engine optimization is one of my talents. If you would like to check the effectiveness of my search engine optimization, search for computer repair in the nearby area to see how this site ranks in the search engine results. I can boost your company or organizations website rankings to let potential customers know that your business exists.

Contact Cass County Computer Repair