Tag Archives: computer repair

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.

(Source of information:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4503117/system-restore-on-windows-10-fails-after-you-install-updates)

If you need computer repair, computer service or have any technology problem, Karls Technology can fix it. We have been performing computer repair full time since 1999. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-620-5285 or send a text to us at (602) 633-4584.

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 professional computer service company consult with you, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.

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

 

Commodore Plus/4

Plus/4 – 121 colors in 1984!

Model:           Commodore Plus/4 

Manufactured:    1984 

Processor:       7501/8501 ~0.88MHz when the raster beam is on the
visible screen and ~1.77MHz the rest of the time. (The TED chip
generates the processor frequency). The resulting speed is equal to the
vic-20. A PAL vic-20 is faster than this NTSC machine, but a PAL Plus/4
is just a little faster than a PAL vic-20.

Memory:          64Kb (60671 bytes available in Basic)

Graphics:        TED 7360 (Text Editing Device 7360 HMOS)
          
Hi-Resolution:   320x200                 
                 Colors: 121 (All can be visible at the same time)     
                 Hardware reverse display of characters     
                 Hardware blinking
                 Hardware cursor
                 Smooth scrolling
                 Multicolor 160x200
                 (No sprites)

Sound:           TED (7360)
                 2 voices (two tones or one tone + noise)
"OS"             Basic 3.5
Built in         Tedmon, software:
                 "3-plus-1" = word processor, spreadsheet, database and
                 graphs.

History and thoughts

The Plus/4 was called 264 as a prototype (January 1984) and was supposed to have customer selectable built in software. But they decided to ship all with the same built in software and rename the computer Plus/4 (June 1984). (The reason for the long delay was that Commodore’s factories were busy producing C64s). There was other versions available of the same “TED” computer (more or less): The C16 – Looks like a black Vic20 with white keys but is the same computer as the Plus/4, but with no built in software (except for Tedmon), only 16kb of ram, and no RS232. Why it looks like a vic-20 is because Commodore intended it as a replacement for the vic-20 when it was cancelled in 1984. There was also a C116 with the same features as the C16 but looked like a Plus/4 with rubber keys. About 400,000 Plus/4s were made (compared to 2,5 million vic-20s and something like 15 million C64s).

The reason why the Plus/4 wasn’t more popular was one: The C64! Commodore kind of competed with themselves. Let’s list the benefits with the two computers:

 Plus/4:
   * 121 colors (compared to c64's 16)
   * Very powerful basic
   * Built in machine language monitor
   * A little faster
   * Built in software
   * Lower price

 C64:
   * Sprite graphics
   * Better sound
   * Lots of software available
   * All your frieds have one
   * Your old vic-20 tape recorder will work without an adapter
   * Your old vic-20 joysticks will work without adapters

Well, which would you choose?

Well, Basic 3.5 is quite powerful. It has commands for graphics, sound, disk commands, error handling etc. I counted 111 commands/functions (compared to 70 for the C64). On the c64, POKE and PEEK is the only way to access graphics, sprites and sound. And with most of those registers being two bytes big and the chips a bit complex to set up, that is quite troublesome and time consuming for the basic. And drawing graphics with lines, circles etc using only basic on the c64 is just impossible (or would take a year!) On the other hand – if basic programming doesn’t interest you, but copying pirate copied games from your friends, then the c64 is your computer… I mean back then! 😉

There was more reasons than just the c64 for the Plus/4’s lack of success. There are many theories about this on the internet so instead of just repeating them, I would like to contribute with another one: The strange names! Why on earth name the same line of computers so differently! The Plus/4, C16 and C116 is more compatible than a vic-20 with and without memory expansion! And they even look different! I would have made two different computers:”TED-64″ (Plus/4) and”TED-16″ (The C16, but in a Plus/4 case).

They would also have normal joystick and tape ports (or adapters included with the computer). The 3-plus-1 software could have been left out and been sold separately on a cartridge to bring down the price of the computer. It could have been sold together with the computer in a bundle at a reduced price if you wanted to. This way the original 264 idea about customer selectable included software could have been doable with all the selectable software on different cartridges.


My impressions

I have just got the Plus/4, but my impression of it so far is very positive. It’s little and neat. I like the basic and the graphics. The computer has very much “Commodore” feeling. I would say it’s like a mix between the vic-20 (for the simplicity, one graphcis/sound chip and default colors), the C64 (for the similar graphics) and the C128 (for the powerful basic and the similarities with the 128’s VDC chip features like blinking etc.) The Plus/4 also have the Esc codes that the C128 has. The machine language monitor is also almost the same. But in the same time the Plus/4 is simple and easy to survey like the vic-20. I think it’s a well designed computer. The only thing I don’t like about the Plus/4 is the lack of a Restore key. But there are work-arounds (Runstop+reset for example). I have written some more tips about this in the manuals below.

The same people designing the Plus/4 (except for one) later designed the C128.

If you plan to get a Plus/4, then you might want to know that the 1541 diskdrive is working, the video cable is the same as for the c64 (at least composite and sound that my cable is using). But for joysticks, you need to make a little adapter, also for the tape recorder (if it isn’t of the black type that has a built in adapter).

My Plus/4 is a NTSC machine with a 110V power supply. And living in Sweden I needed to buy a 220->110v converter. The Plus/4 does not need the frequency from the PSU (like the C64), so a simple converter that generates 110v 50Hz is fine. My Plus/4 has a square power plug. Others have a round one, and then I could have used an European c64 power supply instead. There are of course PAL Plus/4s as well, but I got mine for free and I like the NTSC display too. No BIG border around the screen like on all PAL Commodores. The NTSC Plus/4 has also a little faster key repeat, so it feels a little faster even though the PAL version runs faster. BUT – There is MUCH more PAL software available it seems…


This is an archive of pug510w’s Dator Museum which disappeared from the internet in 2017. We wanted to preserve the knowledge about the Commodore Plus/4 and are permanently hosting a copy of Dator Museum.

Commodore Computer History Archive

As I train new our computer systems engineers I have found that few of them know anything about the Commodore home computer systems. In the early 1990s, when I first started getting into electronics and computers, Commodores were everywhere. By the mid 90s they were ancient relics. I always had five or six laying around the shop. Most were given to me for spare parts from customers. The majority of them had no issues, they were just out dated. For fun and to train new guys, we repaired many of them over the years. Over the years, less and less of our computer systems engineers had any experience on Commodores. Today, virtually no one under 35 knows what a Commodore computer system is.

The MOS 6502 chip

The reason why a 15 year old could work on a Commodore was that the systems were all based around simple CPUs. The MOS 6502 was very easy to diagnose issues with and repair. All I needed to work on the circuits was a simple analog volt meter and a reference voltage. Digital voltmeters were very expensive in the 1990s, I don’t think we had one until the late 90s.

For example, most prominent home computer systems and video game systems in the 1980s and 1990s had a MOS 6502 or a derivative within them. These derivative chips were called the 650x or the 6502 family of chips. The Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 800, Atari 2600 and NES all had a 6502 or 650x chips in them. Almost everything made from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s had a connection to the 6502 family. By the late 1980s newer and faster chips by Motorola and Intel replaced the MOS 6502 family as the primary go to processor.

Commodore History Disappearing

While I train new field engineers here at Karls Technology I have been looking online for reference materials about Commodores. Back in the 1990s reference material was available at the library, in hobby magazines and BBS’s. Today, I find very little good reference material about Commodores, MOS or the 6502 family of chips. Previously, you could find people that worked for MOS, Commodore or GMT around the internet. As those engineers of yesterday pass way their knowledge of the history of computing leaves us.

Before the days of blogs, much of the early computing history was recorded on early engineer’s personal websites. Those websites have gone offline or were hosted by companies that not longer exist.

Computer History Archive

Due to this knowledge leaving us and much of it only existing in an offline capacity; we decided to start archiving Commodore, 6502 family and other early computer history information. Therefore, we will scan and post below any knowledge we find in an offline repository. In addition, any historical personal websites about early computer history from yesteryear will be archived here. Our goal is to document as much early computer history as possible.

Text Editing Device TED 7360 Datasheet

Commodore Plus/4 Specifications

Commodore Semiconductor Group’s Superfund Site from the EPA

Designing Calm Technology by Mark Weiser, Xerox, 1995.

How to prolong the life of your Computer!

KTI’s tips on how to prolong the life of your computer

1) REGULAR MAINTENANCE
– clean windows registry
– clean out temporary files, downloads, history and cookies
– run virus and malware scans regularly
– clear recycle bin
2) UPDATES 
– keep all the software on your computer up to date, including
antivirus software and the operating system
3) DEFRAGMENT HARD DRIVE
4) STEER CLEAR FROM HEAT AND DUST
– Keep your computer out of the heat and instead in a well-
ventilated area
– Dust can clog up your fan and accumulate on circuits inside,
which in turn can overheat your system leading to various
malfunctions
– Clean your computer regularly

KTI’s tips for Macbook users:

1) Clean off your Hard Drive – Make sure you have sufficient free disk space (exhausting your disk space will significantly slow down your system), Clean out unnecessary files and/or upgrade to a larger disk
2) Stop applications from automatically launching upon login –> clean out Startup items (go to System Preferences to reconfigure your settings)
3) Clean out “Other” System Preferences that you do not use or need
4) Upgrade your MAC’s RAM
5) Check your Apple Activity Monitor to find info on CPU usage, virtual memory usage and RAM requirements 
6) Use “Fan Control” to keep your Mac running cool, thereby maximizing its performance
7) Manage and evaluate your Widgets properly – disable the ones you do not need to enhance your computing efficiency

KARLS TECHNOLOGY is devoted to giving your computer a long and healthy life!

Overheating? Beat the heat, as well as moisture and sand! Keep your digital devices protected this summer :-)

In love with your digital gadgets and their conveniently handy shapes and sizes which allow you to take them with you on all your SUMMER travels and to all your SUMMER destinations? All things tech are dear to Karls Technology as well, and their protection from damage is of utmost priority to us. Let’s cover some basic tips and rules to ensure your technological devices are shielded from the summer heat & humidity, cold weather, splash & rain (if you’re poolside or at the beach, lucky you!), small debris and scratches as well as other physical damage (hiking or driving through rugged terrain)!

1)      Temperature:

The summer heat can be quite relentless. While you may be enjoying a pleasantly cold swim to cool off, the phone/laptop/tablet you have brought along with you to stay connected wherever you are or to snap some fun summertime pictures cannot, unfortunately, escape the heat that easily. Both, dry and humid heat can inflict significant damage to your digital devices with the worst-case-scenario being the ‘heat-related death’. Overheating can ruin the hardware as well as the battery! Therefore, simple precautionary measures should be taken to keep your gadgets safe! Keep all technological devices out of direct sunlight, preferably in the shade if you chose to take it outside with you. Let your device cool off gradually, in case it has overheated due to prolonged exposure to the sun! Do not try to cool it down fast!!! Also, you can purchase special accessories for your laptop/tablet such as a ‘cooling pad’. This accessory is a great companion for any traveler as it keeps your device’s air circulation consistent when using it outdoors!

If you have chosen a cold and frosty environment for your summer vacation, some safety measures apply as well! First and foremost, be aware that cold temperatures are known for their adverse effect on battery life. Furthermore, it is advised to keep your device close to you (to your body, in a zipped pocket) so as to protect it from harsh (freezing) weather conditions. You also want to avoid sudden and frequent temperature changes as they can cause visual distortions in the display.

However, bear in mind that it is still the best and smartest decision to keep your digital device in a preferably air-conditioned, well ventilated room in a spot that is least exposed to the sunlight!

2)      Water, Sand, Small Debris:

While your conventional smart-phone cover guards your phone against screen cracks, scratches and more serious damages from dropping your phone, it will not protect it from this frequently reported casualty – the dreaded water damage! Even a small amount of moisture can wreak havoc on your electronic device. Sand and small debris on the beach are your device’s enemy as well, as they can easily get stuck in the small crevices of your phone/tablet. This can lead to various annoying issues such as a malfunctioning keyboard or audio issues. However, it can also provoke more serious problems, corrupt your battery and eventually turn your phone into an utterly non-functional device. Spare yourself the pain, and instead protect your gadget with suitable waterproof cases such as “Smartphone and Tablet Sheaths”. For situations that necessitate heavy duty waterproof cases (e.g.: kayaking, rafting) you should try out protective accessories such as the Survivor & Catalyst waterproof case by Griffin, the DryCASE or the DryCASE Backpack!

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