1) Avoid falling for scams that claim your PC is infected. These happen with misrepresented phone calls, or online popups, that claim to be from Microsoft (or other company) and give you a toll free number to call. Microsoft does not do these things. Never let a stranger remotely take over your computer. They will trick you into believing that a Windows log file indicates problems. It’s a lie. While they have control of your computer they may plant scripts that cause real problems at a later time, copy your personal files, and ask for your credit card number to “fix” problems that don’t really exist. If you know someone that innocently fell for this scam, have them call us at (309) 751-4490.
2) New computer viruses and malware are more likely to infect an out of date, unpatched computer. It is important to keep your antivirus program, Java (if your PC has it), and anything from Adobe up to date. For Windows 10 and 11, Windows Defender is built-in, very effective, and all you really need.
3) Make frequent backups of your data files. Don't learn the hard way! We recommend using Macrium Reflect, or Backupper (it’s easier to use) to make full drive images onto a portable hard drive for system recovery in case of drive failure of Windows PC’s, or a botched Windows Update that prevents booting (it happens). Safely remove the portable hard drive after you have made your backup so it is offline and ready for the next use. If you own a laptop, use a high capacity SDXC card for Windows File History backups. Consider cloud storage as secondary backups, because it takes longer to recover cloud backed up files than ones on a portable hard drive in your possession.
4) Use a battery backup/UPS (uninterruptible power supply) with desktop computers to ensure clean power enters the PC and to prevent shutdown, which can corrupt files, during brown outs or power outages. A minimum power rating of 350 VA is recommended. A UPS battery normally lasts three to four years. With laptops use a laptop cooling stand for optimum longevity.
5) If you start hearing clicking or dull clanging sounds from your PC, or see warning messages that the hard drive needs files backed up and replaced, the hard disk drive is failing. Back up all data immediately and have the drive tested and replaced. Or, turn the PC off and call us at (309) 751-4490 to do the work for you. Many new PC’s contain Solid State Drives, which are silent.
6) Perform basic weekly maintenance. Run BleachBit (install from bleachbit.org, if you don’t already have it), Finally, open and run Malwarebytes or Super Antispyware. These are not mandatory, but may help keep your system running better.
7) Never click on a link or an attachment in an e-mail, or text message on your phone, from anyone, unless you for it and expected it. Spammers and bad guys have no qualms faking anything. Do not believe any website that tells you that you have outdated drivers, etc. They’ll mess with your system if you do what they ask. Your drivers are fine as is.
Call, or text, us between 10 AM and 9 PM when you're ready to bring over your computer for service.