513 - How To Avoid Spending Money at The Computer Factory - Part #1

The next couple of columns are devoted to some things you can do to keep your home or business PC from needing a trip to the PC repair shop.  

It gives us a good feeling when we sell new desktop or notebook PCs to business or home customers. We get the same feeling when we successfully upgrade PCs thereby extending their useful life. We know we’ve helped someone make a good decision and given them quality products, service, value and reliability. We feel good and our customer feels good. But when someone brings in a PC that needs fixing, they don’t feel so good about it and neither do we. Spending money to fix something isn’t nearly as gratifying as spending money to improve something or to buy something new. The customer has to spend hard earned cash just to get back to where they already were. We do our best to make it as painless as possible but it’s still a bummer.

 Here are some tips on how to care for your PC and avoid hardware problems. When you’re finished using your PC and aren’t going to be using it again for several hours, turn it off. We don’t care what your Uncle Charlie told you, just turn it off. When running, PCs collect dust, emit heat, burn electricity and wear moving parts. When your PC boots up, it cleans out the cache and RAM and refreshes its drivers. It will run better, cooler and faster after a rest. Turn your PC off the right way by using the “start” button on the screen or by tapping the power button on the computer. Only as a last resort should you pull the plug or hold down the power button to shut off your PC. Use canned air or a vacuum cleaner to clear the dust from the air vents and fans every few months. Try not to bump your tower while the hard drive is spinning and when using a notebook, make absolutely sure it has fully shut down before you move it or slam the lid. It’s also a good idea to avoid using your notebook during “happy hour.” Merlot will leave a mark.  

While Internet “malware” is the source of most software problems, there are some steps you can take to avoid off-line software problems. When installing and uninstalling applications always use the utilities that Windows provides for that purpose. If the software maker offers a removal tool, use it and unless you really know what you are doing, don’t mess with the registry or bios set-up. Avoid using commercial PC tune-up and clean-up programs or services. They invariably do more harm than good. The only one we trust is CCLEANER by Piriform. 

This morning I had an E-mail titled, “Final Warning.” Inside it said. 

DEAR CUSTOMER,
Due to recent account maintenance at Yahoo to
provide more security to your account. 
Click here to update
Note:This is mandatory to continue the use of internet

I deleted this message without “clicking.”  It was a typical “phishing” exploit designed to entrap the unwary. Next week we will discuss the single biggest problem for all PCs, Internet “malware.” If you’d like to get a head start, read the “malware” section in Wikipedia.