Tag Archives: technology

Trial Software • How to Save Some Money

Perhaps you have recently discovered some new software on the net which will make your life easier. If the company provides a free trial and you decide to purchase it, we recommend you consider uninstalling the software before you actually buy it.

Say again?  Yes, many online software vendors will give you a far better deal if they think you are going to stop using the software. Some times 50% off or more!

Here is how it works…

  1. You download and try the software.
  2. You decide to buy the program.
  3. You uninstall the program and it takes you to a website saying they are “Sorry to see you go…and they would like to keep you.”  This is where they will provide a discount code to use or a special link to buy the software at a discount.
  4. You follow the link or use the code and save some money.

Some Caution: Sometimes, the vendor may entice you to get the software for FREE if you do something like try another program. This is not the same thing and we do not recommend you doing so. What you are looking for is a specific discount code or special purchase link.  If they don’t provide one, and you still want the software, just go back to their website and purchase the software as normal.  Also, only purchase software from trusted websites. Never enter your personal information or credit card information on a website without an HTTPS (Secure Connection).  We recommend purchasing from companies which use PayPal and Google Checkout for order processing.

Dangers of Remote Computer Repair

When you computer is on the fritz, you may be very desperate for instant repair. You go to Google, Bing or Yahoo and the term computer repair results in thousands of options. Many web only computer repair organizations have very impressive websites and offer rock bottom prices. The problem is, you have no way of knowing where these companies are operating from, who the people are behind the screen, and what kind things they may be doing on your computer in the background.

Most remote computer software allows the technicians to do things you cannot see. While they may advertise you can watch everything the technician is doing, this is simply not the case. While most of these companies are legitimate, they often use remote technicians operating out of their home or worst yet in a third world country call center. Also, many of these organizations perform no background check on their employees. So be very careful when considering these companies for solving your problems.

Many computer repairs can be performed remotely but the fact is, it is not the case for all of them. In other words, after paying $39 to $199 for a remote fix, you may still need to take your computer in for further repair.


  1. Many good local computer repair companies offer instant remote support to clients. They might be able to help you today and still follow thru with a hardware repair if needed.
  2. Call the company and ask them where they are physically located. If they avoid answering the question, this should be a big red flag.
  3. 3. Use a company which provides verifiable domestic mailing address. A P.O. Box in Anytown, CA can mean the company is hiding or not operating from a legitimate place of business.
  4. Even if they seem to have a local address, you should use an online map service like Google maps to see what other companies use the address. Many nefarious companies will rent a private mail box in a mailbox store to appear more legitimate.
  5. Don’t simply believe a local phone number means they are local. With voice over internet, companies in third world countries are able to get local phone numbers. Also, just because they have a toll free number, doesn’t mean they are local.
  6. Companies which seem to offer local support everywhere are likely using local computer technicians on a contractual basis.
  7. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Companies which seem to offer the lowest price are mostly offering the lowest service. Pay now or pay later truly applies. You don’t want to more than once for the repair, so shop around and avoid low cost providers.
  8. Read BBB reports on the actual BBB website. Many companies throw the BBB logo on their website and have a history of complaints or no experience with the BBB at all. Angie’s List is also a great place to look for reviews.
  9. Look to see if the company is a member of a local Chamber of Commerce. While this by itself does not indicate legitimacy, it goes further to verify they are a real business.
  10. Don’t provide your credit card number to anyone in a chat window. Make sure the website you are providing payment information has a valid, trusted website certificate from a reputable company like VeriSign.

When in doubt…Check them out!

Adware and other Malicious Software

is software which is supported by specific internet advertisers. Most commonly the installation of the software results in endless pop-up type advertisements which display over your internet browser. This is particularly common when you have pop-up blocking software running but still seem to get unwanted pop-ups. There are several useful free tools available to help combat the unwanted advertising.

We recommend using software like , and (a.k.a. ). The free version is nearly as effective as the paid version of these programs. You should only download the software from trusted sites like the suppliers actual website or from download.com. Adware falls into the category of potentially dangerous as it is usually collecting vast amounts of information about your Internet browsing habits and behavior. The more information the software collects, the more accurately placed the ads will be to the types of things you seem to be most interested in. This is why adware can fall into the category of spyware. Here is what you need to remember:

  1. Never install any software from the Internet unless you know the source to be very reliable. As we tell our clients “If you don’t know…the answer is no!™
  2. Do not use freeware file sharing programs to download music, software and otherwise paid for Internet merchandise. Not only is it likely illegal, it is very dangerous. You have no way of knowing if the files being downloaded are infected.
  3. Do not assume an attachment from a friend or family member is safe. FAMSPAM™ is one of the leading causes of passing malicious software. Scan everything you download with a trusted anti-virus software before you open it.
  4. Don’t forward spam to your friends. Yes, those dogs are cute and yes the soldiers appreciate your support, but many of these emails are very infected and dangerous.
  5. Don’t click on links in emails. URL Masking is a method used by spammers to make you think you are going to a specific website when in fact you are going to another. For example, click on this link to go to . Don’t worry it is safe. We simply want to demonstrate the danger.

If you get infected and need help removing adware, spyware, malware, scareware or another virus, call TEKEASE at 309.689.8355 or schedule service by clicking .

Should You Buy a Refurbished Computer

Saving money is important to everyone and buying a refurbished computer may be the right choice for you.  However, recently we discovered that some claims of being refurbished may not be legitimate.

Being factory refurbished means the system has been completely checked out, cleaned inside and out and most importantly…the data (from the previous user) has been properly erased before the system is sold to someone else. We recently discovered at least one large discount store is simply restoring the hard-drive of returned computers without properly erasing the previous users data.  This is dangerous for both the previous user and the recipient of the refurbished system.

If you do decide to purchase a refurbished system, ask these questions before you decide to close the deal.

  1. Was the machine refurbished by the original equipment manufacturer?
  2. Is the hard-drive in the machine brand new, or has it been refurbished?
  3. If the drive is refurbished, was the previous users data completely erased? Not simply reformatted and the operating system reinstalled.
  4. Does the system come with a warranty of 90 days or better?

As a final note: If you should ever need to return a computer (new or refurbished) to a store, please make sure your data has been securely erased.  Not doing so could result in your personal information or files being restored by an unknown person in a near or distant land.  If you don’t know how to securely erase your data, we suggest you have reputable and certified system technician take care of it for you.  A reputable provider will give you a certificate of destruction.

Speed Up Your PC ??

The longer you own your computer, the slower it may seem to perform.  There are many reasons for this phenomena.  Most of it is likely tied to the lack of proper maintenance, inadequate system protection from malware, the presence of spyware and viruses, and the installation of programs which are not entirely compatible with your system.

New software, like most new virus protection programs are designed for newer computers. While the manufacturer may allege the software to be compatible with your current version of Windows, you need to read the fine print to determine if it is really going to work with your particular situation. New software packages often reference the minimum requirements (amount of disk space, memory required, etc.) but fail to mention optimal requirements.

If your computer only has 512k of memory and you install a program which requires a minimum of 256k memory at peek, you are not going to have sufficient memory available for basic computer functioning. Yes, you may be protected from most viruses, but you can’t use your computer to get one because things are so incredibly slow.

The same can often be said about fancy printer programs which come with most new printers. The software which comes with these printers has a number of services which run in the background to support things like printer monitoring, supply ordering and even software updating. While these features are great for a newer system, they are a resource vampire on your older system. We generally recommend users only install the basic printer driver when they purchase a new printer and avoid the temptation to install the software which came with the device. While this may limit some functionality, it will help to keep the computer operating more efficiently.

The older your computer, the fewer new programs it will support with efficiency. You need to run the leanest antivirus program you can find and ensure your system is not loading unnecessary services (like browser updates, printer software updates, etc.) in the background. These services will kill your ability to compute without being extremely frustrated.

If you have never had your system tuned-up or optimized by a professional, we recommend you do so at least once a year. Every six months is better if the budget allows it. Having your system tuned up is like changing the oil in your car. Most reliable computer repair company’s offer this service at a very reasonable price.

Final Thoughts & Computer Tips

  • Avoid purchasing programs online which allege to optimize your computer auto-magically. While some of these programs have some benefits, we find most of them to be scams.
  • Don’t install any toolbars in your browser if you can avoid it. Toolbars are known to cause serious problems with older computers and often lead to other problems. If you simply must have a toolbar, stick to toolbars from only trusted providers like Google and Yahoo.
  • Uninstall old software you don’t use and will no longer need.  This is especially true of old printer software, games, old tax software, etc.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! We have yet to discover a program which will fix problems automatically. Save your money for the reliable computer repair company and have them fix things correctly.
  • Trying things is all part of troubleshooting. Searching for the answer to a problem on the internet is good, but be very careful in trying things beyond your ability. What works for one person might not work for you.

Laptop Power

A recent call for support presented a young lady who was having trouble with her laptop computer.  She explained the patient computer had been back to the manufacturer three times in the last 30 days for a handful of issues all pointing to one thing…power problems.

When we advised the client the problem was likely a power supply issue she advised that she didn’t think so as the system was powering fine.  She later explained she had replaced the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) power supply with one of two non-OEM’s that she had purchased through a well known auction site.  The decision to purchased non-OEM was due to the higher cost.

We can certainly appreciate saving money, but at what cost.  Non-OEM laptop power supplies are not necessarily manufactured to the standards or specifications of the OEM.  If you decide to purchase a non-OEM or aftermarket compatible product to power your laptop, you could be exposing your laptop to an unregulated power source.  One that could damage your laptop in the short or long term.  This concept is true with aftermarket non-OEM batteries.

The pro’s of aftermarket non-OEM power supplies and batteries are limited to reduced cost or perceived savings.

The con’s of the same include;

  1. Potential damage to your laptop
  2. Voiding your laptop warranty instantly.
  3. Frustrating problems which seem unexplainable.
  4. Offset of the savings over a the OEM product when you need to replace a poorly manufactured power source yet again.

Carefully consider the purchase of non-OEM laptop power supplies and batteries.  Understand the risks involved.  If the OEM replacement is available, you should spend the extra money.  If you are unable to purchase an OEM replacement from your local computer supplier or battery store, check web sources and popular auction sites before deciding on the aftermarket product.  Remember that you will always get what you pay for.