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2012 Update to the ‘Microsoft’ phone scam call about a virus

It has been a couple of years since I wrote my original article on the phone scam calls from companies claiming to be Microsoft.  The response to the article has been phenomenal, to date over 60,000 people have read the page, over 250 have commented on it and over 2,000 people have Liked it on Facebook, not to mention the other social media networks that have picked it up.

It’s now mid-2012 and I had hoped that by now this kind of thing would be dying off, but the truth appears to be the complete opposite.  This scam is more prevalent now than ever before. Continue reading

Performing a Tune-Up on your computer

Performing a Tune-Up isn’t complicated.  All you need are the right tools.  In this article I will show you which tools to use and how to use them.

By the time you are finished, your computer should be running much better! Continue reading

Speed Up Your PC or Laptop

Is your computer running slow?  Does it take ages to start up and get on the internet?  Does it take a long time to start up a program?  Does it seem like it is working hard but not getting anywhere?  If so, you probably have the classic ‘My Computer’s Too Slow’ complaint.  But fear not, all is not lost.  I’m going to take you through some very basic steps that should make a noticable difference to your computer performance.  These are all steps that your computer repair shop will be doing if you take it in for a tune-up.  But you could save yourself a bit of money and Do It Yourself. Continue reading

Fix Laptop Overheating Shutdown Problem

This article describes a common overheating laptop scenario along with a fix that works.

Overheating laptop and related shutdown problems are very common in notebook computers, especially in home use.  Common symptoms of laptop overheating include some or all from this list;

  • Laptop is extremely hot to the touch, especially around the fan exhaust area
  • Laptop fan is constantly running at high speed
  • Laptop shuts down by itself when doing nothing
  • Laptop shuts down when playing games
  • These laptop overheating or shutdown problems become worse over time, rather than getting better.

In around 1 in 10 cases of laptop overheating, there is potentially a phyical fault with the cooling hardware.

By this I mean either a mechanical failure with the fan where it can no longer spin, or it spins too slowly, or a motherboard electrical fault which exhibits itself by not telling the fan to spin fast enough to cool the laptop. Continue reading

Defragment your hard disk easily using JKDefrag

Over time, the hard disk on your computer can become very disorganised.  Files get written to the disk, some get deleted, more files get written, and so on.  Every time a file gets deleted, the space it occupied is available to be reused.  But if the new file you want to write is too large to be written to that space, what happens is that a piece of the file gets written there, and another piece gets written somewhere else.  This process of breaking files up into smaller pieces when writing them to the hard disk is known as Fragmentation.  The files are said to be Fragmented.

As more files get written and deleted, this fragmentation of the hard disk increases.  More files are being broken up into smaller chunks, making the hard disk work harder trying to read back all the fragments. Continue reading

How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard

This article describes a reflow procedure that can be performed at home in a conventional household oven for a common laptop motherboard repair of the broken graphics chip.

What is a Reflow?

The term ‘reflow’ describes a process of briefly melting (reflowing) the solder on an electrical circuit board, in this case a laptop motherboard.

Why would you perform a Reflow on a laptop motherboard?

The solder used in laptop motherboards tends to degrade over time, becoming brittle and weak. It can change from being a solid block of solder into more of a honeycomb structure. This weaker solder joint can fracture causing tiny broken connections in the circuit, invisible to the naked eye. The idea behind performing a reflow is that it melts the solder, allowing it to form a solid block again and joining up the electrical circuit. Continue reading

Fix for a missing CD or DVD drive

If you find that your CD or DVD drive no longer appears in My Computer and you can’t read or write to disks, there is a known Windows registry fix that could help you.

Of course, you should first check that the drive is properly connected, just in case.

This Windows registry fix is based on a problem that can occur related to CD/DVD writing software.  Unnecessary registry entries get created which interfere with how Windows communicates to your CD/DVD drive. Continue reading

Why you should shutdown your computer and not just press the off button

This article explains why it is important to shutdown your computer properly.

In our repair shop, we are sometimes asked by customers if there is any harm in shutting down their computer by just pressing the power button for a few seconds, rather than going through the Windows shutdown procedure.

As far as the customer in concerned, the end result appears to be the same, the computer shuts down. In fact, from their point of view, holding the power button for a few seconds appears to shut down the computer immediately, whereas a proper Windows shutdown takes maybe 20 to 30 seconds. So is it a good idea to do this?

To get straight to the point, it is a very, very bad idea to shutdown your computer by holding the power button. Continue reading