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- I am considering upgrading my computer. What upgrades are the most logical to make to improve the speed and functionality of my computer?
- I am looking for a new laptop/desktop, what should I buy? Do you recommend a specific brand?
- I need a new printer. What type is best for me?
- I get a lot of advertising pop-ups on my computer, and it just seems to be running slowly… what causes that?
- I am thinking about buying a wireless router for my home (or business). Should I be concerned about security?
- Upgrading your computer can make a world of difference in performance and usability. This is especially true if the computer was originally purchased as a “base model” computer. The single component that tends to make the most difference is memory, or RAM. RAM is where the actual work is being performed while you are working on your computer. On “base model” or “value model” computers, the amount of RAM may be as little as the minimum required to make the operating system function. In these cases, an increase in the amount of RAM can provide immediate improvement in both speed and the ability to multi-task (use multiple programs simultaneously). If you find that you do not have enough storage space for your digital pictures, songs, programs, etc, you may need to upgrade your hard drive. The hard drive is the place where all the data is stored until you are ready to use it. That being said, if you are evaluating the cost of upgrading your computer and find that it is about half the cost of a new computer, you should seriously consider purchasing a new machine. Most other upgrades, outside of RAM and hard drives, are more detailed and should be discussed with a computer expert. Please feel free to contact us with questions.
- Computers can vary widely, which, while confusing, also means that there is a model made to fit your needs. The best way to start shopping is to make a list of all the things you intend to do with your new computer. Often times, people find that they only need a computer for a few tasks, such as internet surfing, word processing and e-mail. In these cases, value computers are just fine. On the other hand, if you find that you often employ complex programs or calculations, video games or simulators, you should consider a more capable computer. The difference between the value computer and the capable computer may only be in the type of processor and the amount of RAM, but these 2 factors may make a large difference. There are many types of computers from many manufacturers. The bottom line is that most well-known computers manufacturers are as good as their peers. The key to finding ‘your’ computer is finding a machine that has the features you need for a reasonable price.
- Just like with computers, the best way to identify what type of printer you need is by expected use. For instance, if you are printing out hundreds of pages of reports or large volumes of text that do not need to be presentation quality, a dot matrix printer may fit your needs. If you anticipate a lot of printing and you need quality fit for distribution, you should consider a laser printer. Most home users, however, end up with inkjet printers, since they are a good compromise between the quality of the laser and the initial cost expenditure of the dot matrix. For an interesting read about cost comparison of inkjets versus laser printers, read this small business article. The results may surprise you! http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/testdrive/article.php/3521141
- Most often, pop-up ads come from software known as spyware or adware. Spyware can come from various sources, including but not limited to viruses, security holes, and free downloaded software or games. Spyware is a term describing a type of program that watches your online habits and sends you targeted advertising based on the observations. Frequently, spyware is associated with adware, or programs designed solely to produce pop-up ads on your computer. These programs are always working in the background, which slows your computer down. There are many free and pay programs that can remove spyware and adware, but there are also similar looking programs that actually install additional spyware/adware. Visit our tools page for a list of programs we suggest for fixing these problems.
- Wireless networking had made a huge impact on the home and office environment. Wireless routers are very easy to install, with some companies even touting such features as “3 click setup”. This convenience comes at the expense of security. There are few companies that have security options, such as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption. Once it is set up, people generally do not think to go back and secure the connection, since they do not realize the implications. The wireless router or access point is basically a little radio station, broadcasting for all who can hear it. This enables you to easily configure and associate your computers with it, but it offers the same service to others. There are several things you can do to improve security, such as setting up WEP or WPA, disabling the SSID broadcast, configuring MAC filters, and limiting DHCP. If you would like assistance from our CompTIA Security+ certified technicians, please contact us