November 14, 2017 by email@example.com • PC Tips, Tips and Tricks, Windows 10, Windows 8 • Tags: Microsoft Account, Microsoft Account sync, microsoft office, Microsoft OneDrive, Windows 10 Microsoft Account •
By Ayse Stenabaugh
A Microsoft account is an account that you setup through Microsoft that helps you access certain services. When setting up a Windows 8 or Windows 10 computer or new user account you will be asked to create a Microsoft account. Otherwise Microsoft accounts are also used for Microsoft Office, Skype, Xbox, Outlook, Hotmail, MSN and more.
Creating a Microsoft account for your Windows user can help you preserve certain settings and will allow you to more easily sync settings and files across multiple devices. You will also need to setup a Microsoft account if you wish to download any programs or entertainment from the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft Account Tips:
- You can setup a new Microsoft account or view your account settings and privacy by visiting account.live.com
- When setting up your account make sure to include 2 recovery options (phone or email) in case you forget your password or get locked out of your account. This information, also called your security information, should be updated any time you change your phone number or email address.
- If you use multiple Microsoft Account services you should try to use the same account to access all services to avoid having to remember multiple account emails and passwords. If you have an existing email address you can even use that to create your Microsoft account.
How to know if your using a Microsoft Account
In some cases when logging onto a computer with a Microsoft account it will show your email address at the login screen. If you are want to be sure you’re using a Microsoft Account or would like to switch your local user account to a Microsoft account, follow these steps. First click on your start menu in the bottom left corner of your screen. Then click on the gear icon in the bottom left of the start menu to open settings. Once settings is open, click on accounts. Here you will see manage your Microsoft Account if you are logged in with one and you will have the option to switch to using a Microsoft Account if you are not logged in with one currently.
If you are using a Microsoft Account to login to your computer you can help locate a lost or stolen device by visiting www.accounts.microsoft.com/devices to see the last known location of any devices that you logged into your Microsoft Account on. If you registered a video game console with Microsoft you will also see your XBOX consoles listed here as well as warranty information related to your device. You can also view system information on any PC listed here by clicking on device info & support.
If you have Microsoft Office you can use your Microsoft Account to safeguard your software so that you won’t lose your license key that is required to re-install office. Just visit www.office.com/setup to login to your Microsoft Account. Once you are logged in, enter your 25 character product key to add your Office product to your Microsoft Account. Once you do this you can visit www.office.com/account to redownload your software any time. This means if you lose your disk or product key, as long as you know your Microsoft Account information and have access to it, you will be able to re-download your software to re-install it.
Using a Microsoft Account makes it easier to manage your devices especially if you have multiple devices that you would like to sync together. If you would like help setting up a Microsoft account or are in need of technology support contact Jester’s Computer Services in Fairfield PA at (717) 642-6611 or visit us on the web at www.jesterscomputers.com or on Facebook.
By: Ayse Stenabaugh
We get customers that have been long time Windows users who are told by family or friends to just “get a Mac” whenever their computer has issues. There are benefits to both a Mac and a PC but choosing which one is right for you requires a little background information and knowledge. Read on to find out what you should consider whether you are purchasing a computer for the first time or consider making the switch.
Hardware differences between Mac and PC’s
When it comes to hardware you’re paying for the Apple name. You can typically purchase a PC computer with the same or better specifications for less cost than that of a Mac. What you won’t get with a PC is proprietary hardware that is designed to work specifically with the Mac machines. This means that there are generally less hardware issues and better support resolutions among the Mac machines. The bottom line for hardware is that you will pay more for a Mac and get less value than with a PC but in general you will have less hardware issues with the Mac. Before you switch from a PC to a Mac ensure that any devices you use with your current computer are compatible or make sure you allow your budget to replace those devices.
Software differences between Mac and PC’s
Software for Mac’s are generally more reliable. This goes back to the fact that there is limited hardware being used for Mac machines and most of the Mac software that you purchase directly through the Apple App Store is high quality although it is still a good idea to read reviews for your current operating system to ensure compatibility. Mac’s are also much less likely to obtain any viruses although that doesn’t mean your 100% immune and you can still receive fake virus alerts from infected websites via the Safari web browser. Most popular software is available for both Mac’s and PC’s although you should always verify that any software you rely on is available on the Mac. I recently discovered that although you can install Microsoft Office on a Mac machine you won’t be able to install Publisher or Access since they are not available for the Mac OS. Since much of the software on a mac is proprietary along with the proprietary hardware, you are much less likely to see crashes compared to a PC.
On a PC you may find that you have more available to you which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes not so much. You have a lot more software available to you and while some of the free software options can be desirable you should be warry of any free software, many times they come bundled with what we call “potentially unwanted programs” that can slow down your machine and cause pop-ups. With any Windows PC virus software is a must and should always be used to keep your machine protected especially if you do any kind of online banking or purchasing over the web. When it comes to external hardware such as printers, webcams etc. you will find that there is more available now for Mac’s but there is still a lot more compatible devices for PC’s over Mac’s.
Using a Mac for the first time
New users will have the easiest time navigating a Mac. One difference users will notice between a newer Mac and a PC is the requirement to create a password on the Mac. Without setting up or using an existing apple id account you will find yourself limited when using the Mac devices. If you were previously a PC user you will quickly find that some of the normal PC functions are different on a Mac for example scrolling down on the mouse will move your screen up rather than down like on a PC.
Using finder on a Mac can make finding your documents easier for new Mac users. Previous PC users may have some difficulty learning how the Mac File explorer works since some things are hidden by default. In my opinion, the Mac was very difficult to get use to as a long time PC user. If you are considering making the switch to a Mac I highly recommend that you try out a friends Mac computer or visit your nearest Apple store to try out the computers they have on display before you make the jump.
If you need additional support or advice and are considering switching from a Mac to a pc or a PC to a mac, or for more assistance resolving computer related issues please contact Jester’s Computers located at 5135 Fairfield Road in Fairfield PA. You can reach by calling (717) 642-6611 or by visiting us on the web at www.jesterscomputers.com We are a small family owned and operated business that has been open since 1998 and we offer reliable, affordable and fast computer repair services and training.
By Ayse Stenabaugh
When purchasing a new computer you may find yourself overwhelmed by all of the technical specifications that are presented to you. It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of what this information means so that you don’t end with a machine that can’t handle the applications you are trying to us. Read on to find out a little bit about what each component is, our recommended specification for each and how components play a role in your computers performance.
Think of your computers motherboard like you do your nervous system. It’s a crucial component that links all the other components together. This main board is the primary line of communication between all components. If you buy a pre-built computer most likely you won’t know what the motherboards brand is but some computer specifications will relate to the motherboard. All external connections to your device will be made either directly to your motherboard or to your computer case (via cables that lead to the front panel on a desktop computer). Specifications for your motherboard that you should be aware of include video output (HDMI, DVI, VGA, Display port etc.), USB’s (3.0 is faster for supported devices), audio outputs, memory card readers and any other kind of external connection.
The CPU is your computers brain. All the instructions and commands that are provided to your computer are processed here. Not all processors are created equal and Atom and Celeron processors are the slowest on the market. Most processors have multiple cores including dual-core, quad-core etc. Processors that have multiple cores divide tasks up between the cores to become more efficient. You cannot upgrade the processor in a laptop computer so its highly recommended that you consider the speed you will need for applications you need and when in doubt contact a computer support professional (such as us at Jester’s Computers) to get recommendations on what will work well for your needs.
The hard drive is where all of the data on your computer is stored including programs, documents pictures and settings. Standard SATA (and older IDE drives) have moving parts inside and with use they can wear out causing data corruption and eventually total failure or data loss. The failure rate of hard drives is higher during the first year of operation (typically from manufacturer defects) and increases again after three to four years of usage. It’s important to note that hard drives can fail at any moment. It is always a good idea to have some kind of backup solution in place for anything that you can’t live without. Odd hard drive sizes such as 320 GB and 740 GB also tend to have a higher failure rate. Hard drive speeds can vary so if you decide to upgrade or change your existing hard drive make sure your getting a high quality hard drive with the higher speeds to increase computer performance. Solid State Hard Drives will eventually become the standard since they have no moving parts and are much faster and more reliable than standard drives. See our advertisement in this paper to receive a discount when upgrading to a Solid State Drive.
If you consider your hard drive to be similar to your long-term memory or data storage, your computers memory is similar to your short term memory or short-term data storage. The greater the amount of memory and processing power your computer has the more functions that can be performed faster. When you don’t have enough memory to support the applications you are trying to run, your computer’s hard drive acts as a temporary short-term storage location which is much slower. Each computer’s motherboard works with specific memory speeds and has a maximum amount of memory that can be installed. DDR3 memory and DDR4 memory are the most common types used although DDR4 is not quite as common just yet.
Desktop computers have power supplies that can be removed and replaced whereas laptops and most all-in-one devices plug directly into the motherboard. Smaller or slim-line desktops that don’t have a standard case size require a special power supply which can be almost double the cost to replace over standard power supplies. If your computer isn’t turning on you may have a bad power supply which can be tested at your local repair shop and replaced if need be. Most laptops and all-in-one PC’s will have an external power supply box that is part of the power cable for the device, these can go bad over time and can be replaced inexpensively. To minimize the possibility of a surge on your computer, shut your computers down anytime you are expecting a storm or if you are going to be away from your home for more than a day.
Many newer laptops don’t come with CD/DVD drives and if needed, an external usb cd drive can be purchased for use on these devices. These drives can go bad with use and are not expensive to replace on a standard desktop computer. For those with a slim-line PC, laptop or all-in-one device you may pay extra for installation fees and/or the replacement hardware. Some laptops have what is called a slot loading CD/DVD drive which has no disc drawer, instead these drives have a button that is pressed to eject the disc much like a car stereo.
Need more help? Contact us for support!
If you would like to learn more about your computers hardware, software or are interested in having a custom computer built to meet your needs, contact Jester’s Computer Services in Fairfield. We can be reached by phone at (717) 642-6611, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting us at 5135 Fairfield Road. For more free tips and tricks for your PC visit www.jesterscomputers.com
Not in our local area? We offer remote support for those with an active high speed internet connection.
June 27, 2017 by email@example.com • PC Tips, Security & Safety, Tips and Tricks • Tags: amazon scam, bank email scam, computer scams, ebay scam, email phishing, email scams, fake tech support, fedex scam, microssoft scam, paypal scam, pc scams, ups scam •
Your phone rings, an automated voice states that the IRS has sought a lawsuit against you and the recording urges you to call a phone number to get the matter resolved. Perhaps your phone rings and a live person explains that they are calling from Microsoft and that suspicious behavior was detected on your computer and they need to take control of your device immediately to prevent further damage. STOP! None of these claims are true and a large number of people especially the elderly are being taken advantage of by falling victim to their claims and many people have even paid the “IRS” or “Microsoft” to protect themselves.
Let me ask you this, does a plumber call you when your pipes leak? Does the Fire department call you when your house is on fire? These scams have become increasingly popular and they are working harder and getting smarter about how they try to trick you into handing over your hard-earned money.
The scammers have gone so far as to make it appear that legitimate companies are calling you. For example, a few weeks ago we received a call with the caller ID stating it was Dell calling us, the number that called us was actually DELL’s phone number but it was not Dell that was calling. The scammers were spoofing their phone number to make it appear that they were Dell in an effort to gain your trust and steal your information or money.
What to do if you are a victim of a phone scam
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to these scams you should document any information related to the incident and forward the information to your local police department. If you allowed someone to take control of your computer they could leave malicious software behind that can log your keystrokes and steal your sensitive account information. You should turn your computer off immediately and seek professional assistance in cleaning up your computer. (Jester’s Computers in Fairfield provides clean-up services and they are fast, reliable and affordable).
If you provided the scammer with account information or sent them money, contact your financial institution right away and have the charges reversed. You should also cancel any accounts that you have provided information for to avoid any unexpected future charges. Many times, the scammers claim that you need to have your computer cleaned and will charge you upwards of $250 for a service that is much less expensive locally ($99 at Jester’s Computers).
Many users have reported phishing scams in their email which are very similar to the phone scams. Users receive an email that appears to be from their bank or a popular website such as Ebay, PayPal, FedEx, UPS or Amazon. Phishing scams are emails that are received that appear to be from a legitimate source but are not. Most of the time the emails will state that there is a problem and that they need you to logon to their website to resolve the issue. Upon clicking on the links in the email you may be taken to a website which appears to be the legitimate website but many times they are fake and steal your account information.
If you receive any emails claiming that your entitled to money or instructing you to open an attachment with a password the email could contain a virus. Don’t open any attachments from anyone you don’t know. You should even be wary of friends or family members that send you attachments you are not expecting since their accounts could be compromised. It’s best to send a quick email to them or give them a call to verify that they sent it.
How to protect yourself from e-mail scams
If you receive an email that states your account has a problem don’t click on any links inside the email. Instead you can visit the website directly by typing the web address in the address bar at the top of your web browser. For example, if you receive an email stating that your Paypal account needs verified you should type in the address bar www.paypal.com any information that Paypal sent to you regarding your account should also be available on their website.
If it’s too late and you realize you are the victim of a phishing scam you should immediately change your password for that account. If you have any other accounts that use the same password and username (or email address) you should change those as well. Mark the phishing emails you received as spam to help report the email address.
Anytime you receive an email that comes from a big company you should be able to identify if the email is real or not by looking at the actual email address. Scammers will register similar domain names to appear as though they are from a legitimate source. For example, an email from FedEx should be coming from @fedex.com not @fedx.com. When you click on any email links you can also verify that the web address takes you to the correct website in this example you should land on www.fedex.com not www.fedx.com.
If you find yourself to have fallen victim to a phone or phishing scam contact Jester’s Computers at (717) 642-6611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to seek help. Jesters computers is located at 5135 Fairfield Road in Fairfield PA and is a family owned and operated business that has been established for over 20 years.
When things go wrong with your computer it can be so frustrating and overwhelming that you may find yourself reaching out for help immediately. Before you contact someone for help we strongly recommend that you perform some basic steps on your computer before taking drastic measures.
FIRST – Restart your device
There are many operations your computer may be performing that can cause your device to not work properly. For example, let’s say you opened a program early in the day which you then closed later on. Hours later you try to do something and it won’t work. It’s possible that the program that you opened earlier in the day did not close properly and is still using valuable system resources that the action you are now trying to perform needs available for the task to complete.
Restarting your machine should always be the first step to troubleshooting your device no matter what the issue is. Restarting your machine will force programs to close and may trigger updates to complete installation.
SECOND – Determine the root of the issue
Many times people believe their computers aren’t working when just one particular thing isn’t working. Try to narrow your issue down as best as you can by first determining if your issue requires internet access. If your trying to visit a website or check your email or anything else that involves the internet you can try restarting the modem that your internet provider sent to you by disconnecting power waiting 30 seconds and reapplying power to the device. After about 2-3 minutes restart your computer and try to perform your action once again. If your issue doesn’t require internet access, try to write down as much information as you can regarding your issue. For example, if your issue is that a program won’t open, you would want to document what program won’t load and any error messages that appear. Provide any information you have documented regarding your issue to your local repair shop.
THIRD – Be wary of BAD tech support companies and software
We can’t stress this enough – no one will EVER call your phone to tell you your computer has a problem. Dell won’t even call you to tell you if there is a recall on your device! Never trust someone who calls you and asks you to allow them to take control of your computer. If you contact your Internet Provider and they provide you with a 3rd party phone number for tech support be VERY WARY some of these companies provide semi-legitimate services that you could receive at a fraction of the cost at your local computer repair shop (and they will likely be more thorough since they will be able to diagnose the physical hardware of the computer more easily). Some of the customers that have contacted us thought they received a legitimate service but later found that they had unauthorized charges on their credit cards that they did not make.
The same is true for any software or advertisements that you may come across while connected to the internet. Many programs will claim that they can automatically find drivers, clean your registry and perform other maintenance on your computer. Many of these free applications are malware meaning they prompt other advertisements to display on your computer or can appear as free trials prompting you to pay after doing a “free scan”. The rule of thumb is to never trust “free software” unless you have a recommendation from someone knowledgeable you trust!
FOURTH – Do updates
If your having issues with your computer be sure that you have the latest windows updates installed. If you don’t have the latest updates installed something you are expecting to work properly may have already been resolved and without the updates in place you won’t know that is a possible resolution. If you have all your Windows updates in place and your problem is related to a website not working properly or something else involving the internet, make sure you have your web applications fully up to date too. Make sure you have the latest version of your web browsers, Adobe Flash player and Java installed.
If you aren’t able to resolve your issue on your own contact Jester’s Computer Services for additional support. We are a small family owned and operated business that has been in business for over 20 years! We offer remote support for those with high-speed internet access. Visit our contact us page to reach out for additional help.
By Ayse Stenabaugh
We preach to our clients that you should never let anyone you don’t know take control of your computer. Unfortunately, scammers are using scare tactics and misleading information to convince users into believing that a reputable company such as Microsoft is who you are speaking with. Some users receive a phone call from individuals claiming to be Microsoft. Many times, even the caller id can say Microsoft even though it is not them trying to reach you. Other users receive a message when they are on a website which takes over their screen with an automated voice warning you that your computer is infected and that you must call this phone number right away.
Once the scammer gets you on the phone they tell you they are working either for or with Microsoft and that they can show you the errors on your computer. If you let them take control of your computer, they will pull up error logs and point out errors which to the untrained eye can look serious. In most cases, they are showing you errors that are common on all computers and in most cases the errors being presented to you are not actually causing any issues within your device. While connected to your computer remotely, they may open a command prompt box with white text and a blinking cursor showing you a number that’s in your computer indicating that your computer needs maintenance. If they are not yet connected to your computer, they may have you perform this action asking if you have a specific number displayed. Users are surprised when their numbers match however this number is found within all devices they are just using this trick to further convince you.
Once the scammers reel you in and make you feel like there is a purpose for their services they will tell you that it will cost over $200 to fix your device and they will ask you to pay with a credit card. If you refuse and you have already connected them to your computer, they may even put a password on your device to prevent you from using your computer until you pay them to “fix the problem”. If you do pay them, many times they perform actions that we would typically include in a clean-up ($99 flat rate fee). In addition to performing what may be unnecessary tasks on your device these scammers have been known to uninstalled PAID antivirus leaving you with no protection or another antivirus application which may not be as good as what you previously had.
How to prevent yourself from being scammed
First and foremost, as I said before you should NEVER let someone you don’t know take control of your computer. The only exception to this rule is if YOU call a reputable company such as HP for example to help you troubleshoot your printer. When searching for a companies phone number be sure you have their number and not a third party company. The best way to ensure this is to look at the products documentation using the example above if you had just gotten a new HP printer your printer should come with a booklet with HP’s support number. If you have to search for a phone number ensure you are on that companies website HP’s website should be www.hp.com not www.hp-support.com NO ONE will ever call you to tell you there is something wrong with your computer. If you need support many local computer repair companies offer remote support. Here at Jester’s Computers if you have internet access we offer remote support for $1 per minute with a $10 minimum. All remote support applications that you request should have some kind of one time access code that you provide that is required in order for the remote agent to assist you.
How to close pop-up scams that appear while on the internet.
If you click on a website or a link and then suddenly your screen is taken over warning you that you need to call a number, you have not yet been infected you just need to force your web browser to close. To do this you first need to open task manager. To open task manager on your keyboard press and hold the control and alt keys. While holding them down press the delete key. This should take you to a window letting you choose to open task manager. With task manager open you want to visit the processes tab at the top. Locate your web browser in the list (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc). Click on your web browser and then click the button that says end task at the bottom. This should close your web browser. If you re-open your browser and the page still loads, try the same steps again. If you see the option to restore the previous pages do NOT click restore or the pop-up scam will be back. For a video instructions on how to complete these steps visit Jester’s Computers page on Facebook.
If you have been scammed, you may want to have your device properly cleaned to ensure that they did not leave any harmful software on your computer. We recommend having a clean-up done once yearly on each computer to keep it running smoothly and to diagnose any potential hardware failures. If you are struggling to learn how to use your computer or if you need technical support Jester’s Computers can help! In addition to our computer repair services, we offer one-on-one technology classes in our office or in the local area. Contact us today by calling (717) 642-6611 or by visiting us on the web at www.jesterscomputers.com or on Facebook.
November 15, 2016 by email@example.com • PC Tips, Tips and Tricks, Web Browsers • Tags: change web browser homepage, chrome homepage, default homepage, firefox homepage, ie homepage, internet explorer homepage, web browser homepage •
Frequently we are asked “How do I set my homepage in my web browser”. We made a video to show you exactly how to do that!
This video covers:
- Suggestions on what to set your homepage as
- How to set one or multiple pages as your homepage
- Setting your homepage in Internet Explorer
- Setting your homepage in Mozilla Firefox (skip to 2:30)
- Setting your homepage in Google Chrome (skip to 3:50)
We hope you enjoyed this free informational video from Jester’s Computers.
If you find yourself needing additional help with your web browsers or your computer in general contact us at (717) 642-6611 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.
By Ayse Stenabaugh
With so many options for computers deciding on the one that is right for you can be stressful. Due to their proprietary nature, you won’t find many custom-built desktops, however, many computer repair businesses offer custom build desktops. There are many differences between buying a computer that is pre-built to having one custom build by a computer technician that you can trust. We can’t speak for other companies that built their own computers, however, read on below to learn the difference between a desktop computer being purchased from a big box store compared to ones that we build here at Jester’s Computers
Meeting your needs – You will likely be purchasing a computer that is faster than your previous system but even then, the specifications can be confusing. If you purchase an already built system you are relying on the manufacturer to provide you with enough speed for the applications you will be using. If you purchase a custom-built computer, in most cases, your technician will ask what types of applications you will be running on the device, to ensure that the computer will meet or exceed the minimum system requirements.
Getting the software, you need – Contrary to popular belief Microsoft Office’s Word, Excel, Outlook etc. do NOT come with a new computer. Some companies will bundle Office with the computer but the price is always built into the computer’s price. You can always re-install Office if you have your license and the disk. If you can’t locate your software and product key and Office it is still installed on a working computer, your technician may be able to retrieve the information to install Office on your new computer. Some new computers don’t come loaded with programs that many people require including Flash, Java and Adobe reader. If these programs are already installed many times they will require updates along with Windows right out of the box because updates come out frequently and its unlikely that you will be purchasing a device that hasn’t been sitting long enough to accumulate some necessary updates.
Getting your computer setup – You may be surprised at how different things look on a new computer especially if you are using a new operating system. At Jester’s Computers, we transfer your old computer data to your new custom built desktop PC for no additional fee ($65 value). We also tweak your operating system to run more efficiently and setup things like your email and your printer for no additional fees. If you prefer to have someone come to your home to setup your computer we offer that service for an additional fee as well.
Eliminate the junk – Computer manufacturers tend to install an enormous amount of what we like to call “Bloatware”. Many of these programs are trial programs that not only take up storage on your device but may be slowing it down right out of the box. A custom-built computer will include only the main operating system and very little else (which is a GOOD thing!).
Warranty & Support – Nobody wants to contact support to wait on hold just to end up talking to someone that is difficult to understand. When purchasing a custom-built computer be sure to ask about what support you are provided with afterwards. Here at Jester’s Computers we perform all hardware repairs within the first year and in most cases, we replace the part on the spot rather than waiting for your device to be replaced through the manufacturer. Additionally, most parts carry warranties above and beyond the 1 year period which are still in effect, if you purchase a pre-built computer you won’t receive any warranty on the internal hardware above the manufacturers 1 year warranty.
Cost – Typically a custom PC will cost a bit more than ones that you can find in the store. You will also find that the parts that are used tend to be a higher quality than most computers found in the store. Consider this, most technicians purchase parts that have been reliable and are trustworthy and familiar to them. This means that you are not only receiving better quality but better support as well.
If you are interested in purchasing a new custom-built machine be sure to view our systems page for Jester’s Computers which can be found on here.
For fast, quality service you can rely on for your computers contact Jester’s Computers at (717) 642-6611 or visit on the web at www.jesterscomputers.com