By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

Are you excited? Me too! The countdown is on for the big Windows 10 release and it looks like Microsoft really listened to their customers this time. Steering clear of the failure that was Windows 8 and the so called improvement that was 8.1, the designers have brought their A game this time, bringing back the beloved start menu, a new browser (Good riddance Explorer!), and the introduction of the Sultry Cortana, your new virtual personal assistant. Making the transition from directing survivors in Halo to keeping track of your appointments Cortana adds a little adventure to scheduling that next dental visit. Gone are the days when an Operating System just managed your programs. Windows 10 is going to be the cool kids table, and with free upgrades for all Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users for a whole year (listen up procrastinators) you now have your golden ticket.

windows 10 start menu
The normal windows start menu is back.

In addition to the basic system, Windows 10 will offer an interactive environment where you can get it in on a little Xbox action and whether you prefer classic games like solitaire, or you’re ready to crush a little candy Windows 10 has something for you! With a seamless integration between phone, tablet to pc, it seems Windows 10 will offer the flexibility needed without sacrificing functionality. Couple that with the not so hush-hush buzz about Hololens its clear to see we are indeed stepping into a bright innovative future. As the summer quickly approaches, and each day brings us closer to the release date, check in frequently with your local tech shops who will no doubt be ready purge your system of the dreadful 8 and get you a fresh start in this new world.

By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

Why me?

You turn on your computer, ready to start your day. Yet after you log on you are greeted by a strange urgent message “Your Computer is infected!” You have never seen this message before, but it popped up where all the important Microsoft notifications seem to arrive, in the lower right hand corner. Sitting there you have “Why me?” moment, and start consider why your antivirus didn’t initially pick up on the invasion.

Antivirus software is a great tool to prevent viruses from infecting your computer. However, not all virus and antivirus programs are built the same. Everyday new virus programs are being launched to infect your system with varying agendas. While Antivirus program writers are doing their best to anticipate and counteract these attacks, these programs are getting trickier and more difficult to get rid of.

To prevent your computer from becoming infected, the single most important thing you can do is be careful of the sites you visit (and who you allow on your computer) and the attachments you open. Many of us use our devices to download and stream content, play games, and have access to varying applications. Oftentimes, these viruses will piggy back their way into your system with harmless content that you have allowed to enter. With your blessing, these programs slip in and wreak havoc, so be wary of sites offering access to movies and music that are still in theaters or haven’t been released yet. The old saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t” couldn’t be any more appropriate.

If your system is already infected, your first step may be to try to run a scan with your antivirus software. Most Antivirus program settings give you the option to run a quick or full scan. For a suspected virus a full scan will probably be needed, but be prepared to wait a while, full scans can sometimes take hours.

Occasionally, due to interference from the virus, the scan may be unable to complete, complete too quickly, or may not detect what you know is lurking in your system. Be prepared for this possibility. If you are faced with this problem, it may be time for more drastic measures such as an Operating System Reload.

If you are not comfortable reloading your operating system, or no longer have the appropriate software, taking your computer to a professional is nothing to be shy about. Computer repair technicians have the tools to remove virus and malware programs, as well as to reload your operating system. They can preserve your data, add antivirus software to protect your system in the future, and make sure your computer is performing the way it should.

By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

With Windows 8 and 8.1 turning out to be a complete nightmare for most users, the upcoming (unknown) release of Windows 10 is a source of wary excitement to loyal Microsoft fans. Although Windows 8 was an ambitious upgrade from a simple clean format like Windows 7, anticipation quickly turned to woe as even the most savvy user was faced with system crashes, weird Windows 8 specific bugs, and a convoluted user experience.

Windows 10 promises to change that, even bringing back the comfort of the start menu we missed so terribly. While there are still features reminiscent of Windows 8, they aren’t as blatant and are now customizable. No more worries about being sent somewhere you never planned to go because your mouse travelled too far to the outer edge.

The live tiles we have come to love are still available and you can find them neatly tucked in with the start menu. There is also a really convenient, customizable notification center that can be brought from the right hand corner keeping you up to date with news, weather, and social media.

Additionally Cortana will be making her debut to the desktop Operating System. User’s familiar with Cortana on their Windows phone will be pleased to know they can now enjoy their favorite personal assistant on a broader scale, and coupled with Continuum will allow the user to seamlessly switch from one device to another.

The most exciting part about the upcoming release of Windows 10 is also the news that Users with Windows 7, 8.1 and even those with the Windows 8 phone will be able to upgrade their systems to Windows 10 for free within the first year of its release. This is fantastic news for those saddled with the nightmarish Windows 8.1 system, and the adventurous Windows 7 users, especially with 10 looking to be more mouse and keyboard friendly.

While Windows 8 turned out to be such a disappointment, it’s hard not to hope that Microsoft got it right this time. Let us know if you will be making the switch!

By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

We made it past the holidays and into a beautiful new year. Soon the fresh buds of spring will begin to sprout and with it our motivation to roll back our sleeves and scrub winter away will ensue. As we cleanse our homes and spruce up our yards, one thing we all forget is our computers. Months of streaming, downloading, social networking, and surfing may have left your computer clogged and sluggish.

Obviously a scrub brush and chemicals won’t give you a clean system, but running a full scan using your Antivirus software, and implementing a program such as Malwarebytes can. If you are not currently protected or your anti-virus has expired, check out the website Ninite.com to download an antivirus such as Microsoft Security Essentials to get your computer protected.

Another step towards a fast clean system, would be to remove any unused programs, games and software. Random applications such as ones that generate coupons, keep you updated on time and temperature, or programs that are set to open and start when you first turn your computer on can slow things down to a snail’s pace. Removing these items or changing their settings will help your system to get running faster and unburdened.

Finally, you may want to look at your browser settings. Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer all have tools and settings that you can change and reset for a clean internet experience. Settings that log passwords, addresses, and credit card information may not be ideal for you and you may want to clear that information, as well as deactivating this feature to prevent it from storing your information in the future. Additionally, check for changes within the homepage directing you to places you haven’t designated or search engines you are not familiar with. Cleaning up your browser will make your online experience safer and faster.

If you don’t feel comfortable making these changes to your system or you are experiencing pop-ups and messages even after your attempt to clean your system, it may be time to call in a professional. Computer repair technicians are trained to remove virus’s and clean your operating system. They will evaluate the degree of infection and work to protect your data from loss or damage. They may even be able to upgrade ram, replace your old hard drive with a solid state drive, or install a new video card for a fresher, faster running system.

By Karim Salmi / Deal of the Week / 0 Comments

Valid from 12/08/2014 through 12/13/2014.
Visit and “Like!” our facebook page by clicking the banner above to take advantage of this week’s deal. It provides a flat rate $99 DC jack repair for any make or model of laptop. You need this service if you have to hold your charger at an angle to get a charge to your laptop or if the charging port is visibly damaged.

By Karim Salmi / Deal of the Week / 0 Comments

Valid from 12/01/2014 through 12/06/2014.
Visit and “Like!” our facebook page by clicking the banner above to take advantage of this week’s deal. It provides a 20% discount off your laptop screen repair cost for up to $25 off! This offer is good for macbooks and PCs alike.

By Karim Salmi / Deal of the Week / 0 Comments

Valid from 11/17/2014 through 11/22/2014.
Visit and “Like!” our facebook page by clicking the banner above to take advantage of this week’s deal. It covers a full service virus removal with a free installation of Microsoft Security Essentials / Windows Defender.

By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

new laptop

If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you may be overwhelmed by all the options available. Not only are laptops made by many different companies but they also come in different sizes and price ranges and technical specifications. Now, the first two categories are pretty easy to figure out. If you have a favorite brand that you trust then you don’t have to look at as many laptops. Size is also fairly easy to decide on. If you want a light laptop that you can travel easily with you’ll probably look for an 11″ or 13.3″ laptop. However, for more standard work or video watching a 15.6″ or 17″ laptop might be better suited to your needs.

Generally, the size of the laptop will also affect its price but that is not always the case. However, the size of the laptop is probably the detail you are the least flexible about so it’s best to just stick to something you are happy with regardless of other factors including price.

If you are replacing a laptop that is a few years old and aren’t changing your usage habits then any recently manufactured laptop will be greatly superior to your old machine. This is because we are now using a new generation of processors and a new type of RAM memory in today’s laptops. Effectively, even at the lowest price point possible ($300-$350) you are still getting a machine that out classes your old one significantly.

Price is a tricky metric by which to measure laptops. Just because your laptop costs more doesn’t mean you are really getting your money’s worth in today’s market. There are a few things you can do to make sure the hardware included in your laptop is worth the price you’re paying:

  • Make sure you are getting DDR3 RAM and at least 4GB of it. That’s not to say that you need more than 4GB (you probably don’t and can’t put more than 4 to use) but there’s no excuse for not having at least 4GB these days. This will allow your computer to multitask significantly better.
  • Check what processor you are getting. Generally speaking, Intel is currently providing 3 tiers of processes. They have their lowest tier which is the I3 series, their midway tier which is I5 and finally they have their strongest processor, the I7 series. Check a website like http://www.cpubenchmark.net/ to see how your prospective processor measures up to other machines.
  • Consider the battery life of your laptop. Two hours of battery life is no longer acceptable for most models that are not made for gaming. Find something you are comfortable with and determine whether you can upgrade the battery from a 6 cell to a heavier 9 cell batter.
  • Finally, take note of the type of hard drive you are getting. The speed of the hard drive is measured in RPM or Rotations Per Minute. Aim for a 7200RPM hard drive for best performance. The capacity of the hard drive is measured in GB or Gigabytes. 250GB is the lowest you will want. Consider expanding the size of the hard drive if you store many videos or music files (or pictures!).
  • If you can get one, a laptop with a solid slate hard drive will be way faster than a typical mechanical hard drive. They are not always available and they will bump your price a hundred dollars or more but they may be worth it if you need the extra performance and loading times (You’ll load Windows in a dozen seconds instead of 50 seconds!)

You may feel the need to ask if certain brands are better than others. We’ve found that most laptops these days are very solidly built and that the risk for a widespread manufacturer defect is pretty low. The best way to get more mileage out of your new laptop is to use it safely and properly and to consider purchasing an extended warranty if it’s available.

 

 

By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

This week we take a look at a very popular file storage service called Dropbox. Like most online data “backup” services, Dropbox allows you to store your files on their servers and retrieve them from any web connected device in the world. Online backup solutions can be more reliable than local data backup solutions because these companies are able to provide secure data storage servers that are themselves backed up and protected from catastrophe. However, they are not a bullet proof solution as legal issues may force a company to unexpectedly shutdown all of its servers.

Dropbox logo

Dropbox is meant to be installed on one or multiple computers. In fact, Dropbox is most useful when you need to use it on multiple devices to share your files. This is because Dropbox not only stores and shares files online but it also stores them on every machine that you link to your Dropbox account. At its most basic, you can tell your desktop to share your Pictures folder with Dropbox. When you save a file in the Pictures folder it will automatically be copied online. Additionally, when you turn on your linked devices, they will automatically download the new files.

As a security measure, having your files stored locally as well as online makes Dropbox a very reliable solution. Just because you can’t get online one day doesn’t mean you can’t access your local files. What’s more is that Dropbox can be installed on mobile devices such as your tablet or smartphone. Setup is a breeze and then the service is fire and forget. Did we mention that it’s FREE to store up to 2GBs of data? If that’s not enough, you can simply refer your friends and earn additional space for each referral. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.

By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

This is for all the small businesses out there that have had trouble stocking screens because of the thousands of model numbers. For years, we had a slow laptop screen repair process because we needed to open up each laptop to identify what screen it used and then order an appropriate model. In fact, ordering off the model of the laptop alone produced a high fail rate because we’d get the wrong screen every third order. After painstaking cross reference of all the screens we purchased over 4 years, we were able to notice patterns between the screens. For example, a B156XW02 starts with the numbers 156. This number represents the size of the screen (15.6″). The same is true across the board. H101 screens are 10.1″ and B140 screens are 14.0″ across.

laptop screens on a table

Of course, if you asked your vendor for a list of compatibilities they would tell you that they don’t have one or that they simply know from experience. That’s not exactly true. In fact, it’s not true at all. Vendors know specifically what fits and what doesn’t. It’s pretty simple. All you need to do is match up the dimensions of your screen:

  1. What is the size of the screen diagonally?
  2. Is it an LED or an LCD CCFL backlight?
  3. What resolution is the screen? WXGA, WSVGA, WXGA++?

For 99% of your screens, that is all you will need. Occasionally, you need to match up the data cable PIN number as some screens defy the norms (LED screens used in Mac’s tend to be 30 pin instead of the standard 40 pin LED). Then, once every blue moon you will stumble upon a unit that requires a very specific screen and not a compatible version. These laptops are growing rarer however.

 

So without further ado, here are the common screen types you should stock to cover most of the computers that come through your repair shop:

10.1″ Screens:

  • LTN101NT02 WSVGA 10.1″ LED

13.3″ Screens:

  •  LP133WX1 WXGA 13.3″ LCD
  •  LP133WX3 WXGA 13.3″ LED

14.0″ Screens:

  •  B140XW03 WXGA 14.0″ LED

14.1″ Screens:

  •  HT141WXB WXGA 14.1″ LCD
  • LTN141WD1WXGA+ 14.1″  LCD

15.4″ Screens:

  • LP154WP1 WXGA+ 15.4″ LCD
  • LP154WE2WSXGA+ 15.4″  LCD
  • LP154WX4WXGA 15.4″  LCD

15.6″ Screens:

  •  B156XW02WXGA 15.6″ LED
  • LTN156AT01 WXGA 15.6″  LCD

17.0″ Screens:

  • B170PW03 WXGA+ 17.0″  LCD

17.3″ Screens:

  • LTN173KT01 WXGA++ 17.3″  LED

These screens cover the most popular screens for their size. By far, the most common screen is B156XW02 so always keep a few on hand. Some screens of the same type are more expensive then others. Match their features so you don’t get ripped off. Over the years, we’ve paid over a hundred dollars extra for the exact same screen because we didn’t have all this information.