Tag Archives: computer repair

Back Up Your Computer

A failing hard drive is one of the worst things that would happen to your computer, because of all of important documents, photos, and more saved on there. Backing up your computer is highly recommended by both Mac and Microsoft technical support and would ease your mind greatly. It’s also simple to do!

For Macs:

You can either use iCloud or Macs backup feature, Time Machine. From there, you can reestablish any lost or accidental deleting from your computers’ hard drive. This is an easy go-to without the hassle of purchasing an external hard drive. However, when Time Machine is full, the oldest saved files will be removed. And if your computer is ever stolen or destroyed, you’ll lose everything.

For Microsoft:

Grab yourself an external hard drive and connect it to your computer to allow it access to your files. Back up your computer by using File History:

  1. Start Menu
  2. Settings
  3. Navigate and Update Security
  4. Backup

For help with any hard drive problems with either Mac or Microsoft, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Frisco Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Frisco, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 299-9005.

How to Check All Storage Devices on your Computer

The Windows 10 May Update included many features, bug fixes, and more. One specific update was the Storage page only showing the main drive storage, even if you have multiple drives.

But they can be easily found on the Storage page, under the More Storage Settings heading: View storage usage on other drives. Any detected drives will show up with your storage information.

Here’s how to get to it:

  1. Start Menu
  2. Settings
  3. Storage

On top of that, you can also click on each device to get a breakdown of what is taking up storage. This can contain pictures, apps, games, documents, and more. Knowing this information can help you free up storage, so your computer will run better.

For help with space issues or any hard drive problem, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Frisco Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Frisco, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 299-9005.

Is Your Computer One of the Million Susceptible to Malware?

Yes, you heard that right.

Last month, Microsoft warned users that their computers may be unprotected. While they released fixes back on the 14th of May for a ‘Remote Code Execution vulnerability‘, Microsoft explains that it’s ‘wormable‘ and could cause a handful of issues to your computer.

Simon Pope, the Director of Incident Response, Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) includes, “It’s been only two weeks since the fix was released and there has been no sign of a worm yet. This does not mean that we’re out of the woods. If we look at the events leading up to the start of the WannaCry attacks, they serve to inform the risks of not applying fixes for this vulnerability in a timely manner. “

Their fix to this vulnerability: simply update your system as soon as possible.

Better to be safe than sorry.

For help updating, restoring or dealing with any Windows 10 issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Denver Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Denver, CO please call or text the local office at (720) 441-6460.

Windows 10 Update Won’t Restore

Word of Caution to Windows OS Users:

Updated on May 17th, Windows Support posted on their forum, explaining that, “you cannot restore the system to a restore point after you install a Windows 10 update.” This occurs when you install Windows 10 on your computer and turn on System Protection, then adding a R1 point to reinstate the system. A Stop error (0xc000021a) then shows up on your monitor. And restarting your computer only does nothing to fix the issue.

Windows claims that this is a known issue, including the following information on how to recover:

“During the system restore process, Windows temporarily stages the restoration of files that are in use. It then saves the information in the registry. When the computer restarts, it completes the staged operation.

In this situation, Windows restores the catalog files and stages the driver .sys files to be restored when the computer restarts. However, when the computer restarts, Windows loads the existing drivers before it restores the later versions of the drivers. Because the driver versions do not match the versions of the restored catalog files, the restart process stops.”

It’s possible to force a shutdown of the computer (this might have to be done a couple of times) and then enter the WinRE if a glitch occurs.

How do you do this? Windows can help:

In the Windows Recovery Environment (or WinRE), follow these steps:

  1. Select Troubleshoot Advanced options More recovery options > Startup settings, and then select Restart now.
  2. In the list of startup settings, select Disable driver signature enforcement.

    Note You may have to use the F7 key to select this setting.
  3. Allow the startup process to continue. As Windows restarts, the system restore process should resume and finish.

These steps restore the computer to its “R1” state.

Steer Clear of this Issue by doing this:

  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  2. Under Advanced options, select Restart now.
  3. After WinRE starts, select Troubleshoot Advanced options System restore.
  4. Enter your recovery key as it is shown on the screen, and then follow the instructions in the System Restore wizard.

For help updating, restoring or dealing with any Windows 10 issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Denver Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Denver, CO please call or text the local office at (720) 441-6460.

The Blue Screen of Death

The Blue Screen of Death, or BSOD for short, is a detrimental error due to flawed hardware or crashing software on a Microsoft Windows computer. And it shows up on your monitor as a – yep, you guessed it – blue screen. Too often, users have no knowledge of why or how this happens or what to do next. But there are ways to troubleshoot this specific problem.

Restarting

Depending on which version of Windows you have currently installed on your computer will determine what form of error information will show up. Windows 8 and 10’s is less complicated than 7 and under, which include a handful of steps to handle the situation. Windows OS has a default restart automatically setting in the case of a system failure.

If you’d rather it not restart, follow these steps to do so:

  1. Control Panel —–System and Security
  2. Click on System
  3. Go to Advanced System Settings
  4. Advanced Tab —–Startup and Recovery
  5. Click on Settings

From there, you’ll see the System Failure block. The “Automatically Restart” box is checked. Disable it by simply un-checking the box. You’ll also notice the Dump File, which contains information about the crash to identify, and possibly fix the issue. When your computer restarts, Windows 8 and 10 will perform a troubleshooting step automatically after a BSOD. This step will inspect your computer’s unresolved problems for results. You can also observe this option in the Action Center of your Control Panel and run a test to look out for available fixes.

Search Online

When you get a BSOD, there may also be a code shown for you to search on the web to get information for that specific error. This can be a quick and easy way to troubleshoot your computer and get it fixed right away.

If you ever have an issue with the Blue Screen of Death and would like to have a it repaired by a professional, give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Garland Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Garland, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 299-9005.

Handle Computer Viruses Properly

Computer viruses affect millions of computers each year, with 2018 ranking at over 800 million. In turn, this costed individuals and businesses billions of dollars in the process. This malicious software is created to access sensitive information, causing disastrous issues to your computer and allowing hackers to either collect or destroy data. In turn, this slows the computers functionality and operation or might even crash it all together, making it unusable.

The viruses can be spread through e-mail attachments, scam links, and pop-ups and often times seems legitimate. And while it’s extremely frustrating, you can take the necessary precautions of reducing your computers risk for a virus by avoiding clicking on any advertisements shown on web pages you might visit. You can also download anti-virus software, which can detect and remove harmful trojans or malware, and is beneficial to have even if you’re not concerned about a potential threat. Norton and McAfee are well known anti-virus software subscriptions, available for you to purchase online. Keeping your OS updated to the latest version is helpful as well, as it contains the protection and security needed.

Trust your gut – if it seems fishy, it probably is!

Dell

Dells vulnerable to remote hijack

A security flaw in the DellSupportAssist that comes preinstalled on all Dell computers could allow a remote hijack of your computer. The attack exposes a vulnerability DellSupportAssist has with remote code execution.

How the remote hijack works

A Dell computer user would have to go to a web page where the attackers would place compromised Javascript. The Javascript can trick the DellSupportAssist into thinking Dell is trying to remote into the computer to fix a problem. The attacker has to be on your same network to then take control of your computer. Attacks on home computers are unlikely (unless other computers are already compromised). Attacks emanating from public wifi (coffee shops, large public venues), hotels and on corporate networks are much more likely.

Proof of concept attack already published

A proof of concept showing how to implement the attack was published on Github several days ago. The attack and vulnerability, called
CVE-2019-3719, is already live and can now be reproduced by anyone.

What Dell Computers are affected?

All recent and old Dell computers that have not disabled the built in DellSupportAssist are vulnerable to this attack. Dell is working on a security patch / update for DellSupportAssist but we would recommend that you disable the DellSupportAssist service for now.

If you have a Dell computer and would like to have a professional computer service company verify your system is secure, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Lakewood Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Lakewood, CO please call the local office at (720) 441-6460.

Roaming User Profiles will reset

If you are a mobile computer user that uses a Roaming User Profile look out for the new update of Windows 10. Roaming Users that customize your start menu settings or any operating system settings will be reset after updating to May 2019 Update of Windows 10.

Microsoft lays out a work around in a support article ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4493782/customized-start-menu-not-persisting-after-upgrade-in-windows-10 ) published today. The work around only works if the Start Menu customizations that are stored locally and have not been deleted due to a group policy.

This update is part of the LCU (latest cumulative update) released today for older versions of Windows 10 (versions 1703, 1709 and 1803).

If you use a Roaming User Profile and would like some assistance, please give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Frisco Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Frisco, TX please call the local office at (469) 299-9005 or schedule an appointment at www.friscocomputerrepairservice.com.

End of Life for Windows 7

All good things must come to an end.

Windows 7 End of Life

The last day of support for Windows 7 is January 14, 2020.  After which, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7.  With over half a year until END OF LIFE day for Windows 7 you should start making plans now.  All Windows 7 computers can be upgraded to Windows 10 and as of today, Windows 7 keys are still authenticating for Windows 10 installations.

The other option is to replace your computer and have all your data migrated to your new system.  Give us a call at 1-800-620-5285 and talk with one of our support specialists to figure out which is the best option for you.

You can read more about the End of Life for Windows 7 at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsforbusiness/end-of-windows-7-support

 

Hard Drive Air Filters

Air Filters

Nearly all hard disk drives have two air filters. One filter is called the recirculating filter, and the other is called either a barometric or breather filter. These filters are permanently sealed inside the drive and are designed never to be changed for the life of the drive, unlike many older mainframe hard disks that had changeable filters. Many mainframe drives circulate air from outside the drive through a filter that must be changed periodically.

A hard disk on a PC system does not circulate air from inside to outside the HDA, or vice versa. The recirculating filter that is permanently installed inside the HDA is designed to filter only the small particles of media scraped off the platters during head takeoffs and landings (and possibly any other small particles dislodged inside the drive). Because PC hard disk drives are permanently sealed and do not circulate outside air, they can run in extremely dirty environments (see Figure 1-6).

FIG. 1-6  Air circulation in a hard disk.

The HDA in a hard disk is sealed but not airtight. The HDA is vented through a barometric or breather filter element that allows for pressure equalization (breathing) between the inside and outside of the drive. For this reason, most hard drives are rated by the drive’s manufacturer to run in a specific range of altitudes, usually from -1,000 to +10,000 feet above sea level. In fact, some hard drives are not rated to exceed 7,000 feet while operating because the air pressure would be too low inside the drive to float the heads properly. As the environmental air pressure changes, air bleeds into or out of the drive so that internal and external pressures are identical. Although air does bleed through a vent, contamination usually is not a concern, because the barometric filter on this vent is designed to filter out all particles larger than 0.3 micron (about 12 µ-in) to meet the specifications for cleanliness inside the drive. You can see the vent holes on most drives, which are covered internally by this breather filter. Some drives use even finer-grade filter elements to keep out even smaller particles.

Hard Disk Temperature Acclimation

To allow for pressure equalization, hard drives have a filtered port to bleed air into or out of the HDA as necessary. This breathing also enables moisture to enter the drive, and after some period of time, it must be assumed that the humidity inside any hard disk is similar to that outside the drive. Humidity can become a serious problem if it is allowed to condense — and especially if the drive is powered up while this condensation is present. Most hard disk manufacturers have specified procedures for acclimating a hard drive to a new environment with different temperature and humidity ranges, especially for bringing a drive into a warmer environment in which condensation can form. This situation should be of special concern to users of laptop or portable systems with hard disks. If you leave a portable system in an automobile trunk during the winter, for example, it could be catastrophic to bring the machine inside and power it up without allowing it to acclimate to the temperature indoors.

The following text and Table 1.3 are taken from the factory packaging that Control Data Corporation (later Imprimis and eventually Seagate) used to ship its hard drives:

If you have just received or removed this unit from a climate with temperatures at or below 50°F (10°C) do not open this container until the following conditions are met, otherwise condensation could occur and damage to the device and/or media may result. Place this package in the operating environment for the time duration according to the temperature chart.

Table 1.3  Hard Disk Drive Environmental Acclimation Table.
Previous Climate Temp.Acclimation Time
+40°F (+4°C)13 hours
+30°F (-1°C)15 hours
+20°F (-7°C)16 hours
+10°F (-12°C)17 hours
0°F (-18°C)18 hours
-10°F (-23°C)20 hours
-20°F (-29°C)22 hours
-30°F (-34°C) or less27 hours

As you can see from this table, a hard disk that has been stored in a colder-than-normal environment must be placed in the normal operating environment for a specified amount of time to allow for acclimation before it is powered on.


This is an archive of Alasir Enterprise’s MicroHouse PC Hardware Library Volume I: Hard Drives by Rhett M. Hollander (alasir.com) which disappeared from the internet in 2017. We wanted to preserve Rhett M. Hollander’s knowledge about hard drives and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from alasir.com.