Call the Computer Docs
You wash your clothes, you clean your bedroom, you sweep the floors, you shower and brush your teeth. Why do you do these things? To keep clean, sanitary, and healthy! Well just like your body, a computer needs to be kept clean or else big problems can spring up. Instead of symptoms such as a headache, runny nose, or muscle ache, however, your computer gets progressively slower and slower. In many cases, the reason for this slow down is difficult to pinpoint and downright frustrating. Instead of waiting for a virus, spyware, or a dying hard drive to finish off your computer, give your computer a fighting chance!
I-Tell Technology Solutions offers a variety of services designed to prevent many of the most common and most damaging computer problems from ever occurring. Has your computer already fallen victim to these problems? I-Tell Technology solution has designed a package aimed to remove the various problems that cause these slowdowns. For the best protection, combine our prevention services and our cleanup services to make your computer work just as good as it did out of the box!
It's A Fact of Life – Hard Drives Fail
Have you ever had a hard drive fail at the worst possible moment? A dead hard drive means goodbye to family photos, that report due for school or work tomorrow, and to all those bank records you've been meticulously keeping! Before we worry about backing up data though let's talk about how to make your hard drive last as long as possible. First let's look at how a hard drive works. As the image to the left shows, the actual disk (called the platter) spins and is read by the head of the actuator arm. Think of it like the needle of a record player that spins around on the disk (platter). A big cause of permanent hard failure is when this needle which is spinning only a nanometer above the platter crashes into the platter causing physical damage to your data. So rule #1 – careful with your hard drive! Tons of other things could potentially go wrong, but are generally much less common. Problems with the hard drive's air filter as well as the breakdown of the other moving parts can also eventually lead to hard drive failure.
All machines break eventually, and while there are ways to make them last longer it is always good to have a backup plan. Actually, scratch that — it's necessary to have a backup plan! There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent total data loss in case of a hard drive failure.
1. Make a backup! As simple as this tip is, you'd be amazed at how many people have ALL of their data in ONE place! Even something as simple as buying a small flash drive and keeping all of your important documents there is a good start. A flash drive can't hold much, but it should handle the word documents and all that small stuff!
2. Next step is to make an online (or at least off site) backup! Nobody wants to think about it, but imagine a worst case scenario where there's a fire and both your flash drive and your hard drive are destroyed. For anyone with lots of family photos, important documents, and other necessary documents, it is important to be prepared for this possibility. Many services such as Dropbox make this online, offsite backup completely pain-free and quick. Make sure to visit our services page to find out more about these backups and to order a guaranteed secure backup system!
3. Another small tip that helps to cut down on backup costs is to compress your data using a utility such as WinRAR. This helps to reduce the backup size which, in turn, reduces your cost for backup!
What is Malware and Why Do I Care?
Viruses, spyware, malware. All scary words, all a little bit difficult to understand. Malware is, by definition, malicious code and is responsible for many problems in the digital world. Within malware there are many different categories of code that do any range of things – the only common denominator is that they are all dangerous. In this article we will briefly touch upon each of the major types of malware that can cause system damage.
Trojan Horses: As the name suggests, Trojan Horse software is designed to trick you! When you open what you think is a cool new game you found on the internet, you might actually be falling for this type of malware. It works by disguising itself as some sort of software that you want hoping that you will install it. Once you do it has free reign over your system because your computer sees that you gave it permission to run when you installed it.
Spyware: This type of malware consists of all types of software designed to spy on you. This spying can be the relatively innocent collection of your web surfing habits for market research to very serious logs of all your keystrokes designed to steal bank account and password info. Spyware is also often responsible for annoying changes in computer settings that can result in forcing you to only visit one website or to lose connection to the internet altogether.
Rootkit: One of the most dangerous forms of malware, a rootkit exploits a weak point in your computer and gives itself permission to do whatever it wants on a computer. Once this permission is achieved, a rootkit can hide all of its activity from you and complete any variety of tasks. These activities include (but are not limited to) hiding applications that spy on you, stealing passwords, and spreading itself through local networks. Rootkits are very hard to detect and even harder to remove.
Viruses and Worms: Despite popular conception, viruses are usually not the most dangerous thing to your system. Although viruses are capable of executing dangerous code, many do nothing more than replicate themselves through the internet and local networks. Specialized viruses that hide within the code of another program are known as worms. Worms, like viruses, can be programmed to corrupt or modify files on a computer and must be removed whenever possible. Keep in mind, however, that when people say "virus" they are generally referring to some other type of malware because viruses and worms are often completely invisible to the user. Visit our services page to find out about removing viruses and malware!
Yep, you heard right – computer viruses evolve too! A combination of increasingly powerful security tools such as personal antivirus software and firewalls have made the most simple viruses out there ineffective. As a result, virus programmers have needed to get tricky. Ever gotten one of those annoying pop-up ads that claims to be an antivirus? What about when you go to do a search in Google and you are always sent to the same site? Worse yet, has a virus ever prevented you from booting up your computer? These are all, believe it or not, relatively simple viruses. Since the inception of these viruses, however, they have grown to be more and more complex.
Think about it: if you have a virus, what is the first thing you do? After that first moment of panic I mean. Open up or install antivirus software! It's simple survival of the fittest: viruses that are easily detected and removed never get a chance to spread and cause damage. This limits the virus from spreading via new infections only – a very inefficient method! Smarter programmers + tougher viruses can mean only one thing: you need to keep on top of your computer's security or it could be ruined.
Some viruses are incredibly tough to find and even tougher to remove. Some viruses create many copies of themselves so that they are harder to find. Others create special files that will re-install the virus in the event that it is removed. These layers of defense make some viruses incredibly frustrating to remove and could allow them to cause damage to your PC uninhibited. Others are even capable of rendering your hard drive useless by creating fake bad sectors that trick your computer into thinking the disk is broken. For more details about what a virus technically is visit our post What is Malware?
Here at I-Tell Technology Solutions, we guarantee that we can remove your virus and restore your computer to a working state. If for any reason we cannot restore your computer we will back up your personal data for no extra charge. Either way we won't walk out the door until all your data is safe!
Computers are, as we all know, very complex machines. They simultaneously read and write millions of bits of data to and from hard drives the entire time they are booted up. Just as with human beings make filing errors, some of this data ends up getting "lost" in one way or another. In some instances this "lost" data is not a big deal and is completely transparent to the user, but eventually it can begin to add up! This lost data can manifest itself in many different ways including but not limited to errors in the Windows registry, damaged files, and buildup of temporary files. While most of these errors will never be more than a blip on your radar, all together they can mean BIG problems! Those temporary files might house a virus or a bit of spyware that is slowing down your computer, those damaged files may be necessary for your computer to run, or those registry files could lead your computer to believe that software is installed that isn't even there!
Not to worry: thousands of tools exist to remedy these problems. Unfortunately, those thousands of tools are simultaneously a blessing and a curse. Which one fixes my problems? Which one works best? How much do I need to pay for this software? Every speedy and secure computer should have a firewall, an antivirus, an anti-spyware tool, a registry cleaner, and a disk defragmentation tool. On the bright side, I-Tell Technology Solutions has done the leg work for you! Our suite of security tools are absolutely free for personal use and will match and often times surpass the functionality of expensive tools like Norton Antivirus.