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Should You Repair, Upgrade, or Replace Your Computer?

Like many valuable things we buy, new computers suffer from wear and tear over time.  Our computers are particularly vulnerable as we have placed more and more demands on them every year.  New machines have got faster, quieter, more reliable, and more capable over time. At the same time our own computers have begun to slow and sometimes even stop performing altogether.

There are many ways to address the problem of a PC which isn’t quite performing up to the task anymore.  Whether frustratingly slow or no longer working; we are happy to take a look. When you bring your computer to us we will diagnose the condition and find a solution that works for you. Often times the simplest solution works best.  A complex problem sometimes only needs a simple repair to get your home computer up and running like new again.  Whether a small replacement part, loose wire, or bad connection; we will find and fix the problem to give your familiar, home machine a new lease of life.

Many computers come to us running slowly, taking a long time to start up, or freezing when trying to load files and programs.  Often owners have reached breaking point and become convinced the machine is fit for only the scrap heap. In many cases, the problem can be pinpointed to a bottleneck in the system.  A single, seemingly trivial,  part can be holding up the entire system. Amazingly, upgrading just that one component can make the whole machine run like new again.

Adding memory can provide extra space for programs to run faster.  Adding an updated, faster hard drive can allow files to be retrieved without delay.  In both cases, a low-cost single component can provide a cost-effective solution that makes an old machine like new again.

In some cases, computers succumb to more major faults.  A critical part, difficult to replace, may stop working altogether. A failure of the motherboard for example, the backbone that all other components connect to can be expensive, if not impossible, to fix.  Typically, with the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of computing, a motherboard will only house computer parts that were manufactured around a similar time.

A motherboard is almost certain to be incompatible with components built just a couple of years before or after its own design for example. Occasionally even a motherboard failure can be resolved too.  In these cases we strive, whenever possible, to find a replacement board of the same generation that will work alongside existing components.  The result is a cost-effective solution that keeps cost down by saving replacement parts.

In cases where a like-for-like replacement motherboard is not available, many parts of the computer may have to be replaced at the same time.  Often replacement costs in these cases can get close to, or even exceed the cost of buying a new machine.

We would always give advice where it makes sense financially and practically to consider replacing an old machine. Often, in this respect, a home PC can be considered a little like a car.  Sometimes a simple, non-expensive, easy to replace component such as the window wiper can fail.  While a crucial part to be used for driving; it would be silly to suggest replacing the vehicle once it has worn out.

A window wiper may be low-cost and simple to replace, but if the engine were to wear down or break the solution may not be quite as simple. Attempting to make a 30-year-old car as fast, safe, and reliable as a brand new model generally doesn’t make any financial or practical sense.  Sometimes the best course of action to save money and avoid breakdowns is a more up to date vehicle.

In computing, many of the same rules hold true.  The best solution in each case is always tailored personally to fit you and your own computer.

Give us a call us at (850) 659-6649 to discuss your computer issues.

You hear about hacks all the time. The news covers major websites who have had data leaks containing your email and password. Computers get infected and capture your login details for bank accounts and credit cards. In the worst cases, identity theft occurs because it is an easy crime to commit with a high reward.

In 2018, the passwords you used to trust to keep the bad guys out of your accounts are not enough anymore. Cyber attackers now use methods such as phishing, pharming, and keylogging to steal your password. Some have the power to test billions of password combinations.

If you’re like the majority of people, you use the same password for several websites. That means anybody who has figured out that password has access to everything you’ve logged into with it. In a time when it is extremely easy to look up what a person named their first pet or high school mascot, security questions aren’t much help.

Consider how a jewelry store operates. They don’t simply keep their valuables locked away with one key. There are alarms ready to be triggered, motion detectors, and sometimes even bars on the windows. Your data is valuable, just like jewelry. You need more than one line of defense to protect it.

In the computer world, your second line of defense (after your username and password combination) is called “2-factor authentication.” Sometimes referred to as multiple-step or multi-factor verification, 2-factor authentication is a way to double check a person’s identity. This can be enabled every time a person logs in or just under certain circumstances. For example, signing in from a new device or different country might trigger 2-factor authentication.

Many of the services you may already use, such as Facebook, Gmail, Xero Accounting, and more, have 2-factor authentication options. If your bank has ever sent you a special code through text or email to enter before logging in, you’ve already used a type of 2-factor authentication. They can also be in the form of a smartphone app or a physical electronic dongle.

2-factor authentication is absolutely crucial for online banking, email, and online shopping such as Amazon or PayPal. It’s also a must-have for cloud storage accounts (like Dropbox or Sync), password managers, communications apps, and productivity apps. This is especially true if you frequently use the same passwords for different websites and apps.

Some may consider 2-factor authentication unnecessary for social networks, but these are actually very important to keep safe. For ease, a lot of websites and apps allow you to sign up through your Facebook or Twitter account. You need to keep these networks safe so that somebody with your password can’t suddenly get into every account you have linked.

The point of using 2-factor authentication is to make hackers’ lives harder and prevent them from getting into your accounts. If they have captured your login username and password, they still need a second device to get in, especially when the computer or phone they are using has never logged into your account before. This makes it significantly more difficult for anybody to breach your account.

Plus, if you receive a notification with a special code to enter for logging in, and you weren’t trying to log into that account, you have a good signal that somebody else was trying to get in. That means it’s time to change that password and be grateful you had 2-factor authentication.

It’s unfortunate that there is currently an abundance of skilled hackers ready to take advantage of those unprepared. Luckily, you can still stop them -even if they have your login information at hand. 2-factor authentication is one of the easiest methods to keep your accounts safe.

Give us a call at (850) 659-6649 to help secure your business and accounts.

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