I Can’t Connect to the Internet

You just tried accessing the internet and it says unable to load page, or no connection found.

Commonly this is a connection problem from your modem to your internet service provider. The first thing to do is unplug the power from your router and modem. Then reconnect the modem first, wait a few seconds for the lights to start cycling, then reconnect the router. Sometimes you may need to wait a minute or so for the modem to finish cycling and become stable before reconnecting the router. Make sure that all the correct lights appear on both your modem and router. If there is an outage in the area then the link/internet light on the modem will fail to stop blinking or go green. Models will vary as to what lights they show, but there is generally one light that shows a connection. Then try connecting again, this often solves the issue. On occasion the modem gets data stuck in it and loses connection, or something may have tried tunneling into your router, and the firewall shut communications down.

If this fails to solve it, I suggest running a full virus scan with whatever virus security your have installed. After that completes, I suggest running a full malware scan and see what that finds. I recommend Malwarebytes, but there are a great many anti-malware programs available, any one of them should be adequate to do the job. Malwarebytes actively monitors traffic on the system in an attempt to stop the malware from getting on the system in the first place.

If you still cannot get online you may try either rolling back the network card driver, Microsoft may have updated the driver and the new driver may be preventing you from connecting, or downloading a newer driver from the manufacturers website.

If, after all of this, you are still unable to connect to the internet, then I would recommend calling a professional and have them diagnose, and hopefully repair, your issues.

Microsoft just Called, I’m Infected !!

You just got a call from Microsoft telling you that they have found that your system is infected, and they want you to give them access to your computer. Don’t do it. Microsoft will not do this. They do not monitor your system, they will not know if you are infected. This is a scam to gain access to your computer and your money. If you gave these people access to your computer, you are almost certainly infected with a virus, now.

These guys get access to your computer, make it look like they are installing beneficial programs on your system. They may actually install some beneficial programs, but the bulk of what they have done is simply a smoke screen. They now have access to your files, they have your IP address, and they have a doorway into your computer.

They will act like they are the only ones that can clean your machine. They will try to bully you into installing their product. However, once they are in, they will continue to come back every few months or so, telling you the have found the more infections have gotten onto your computer, and you need to have them access the system again. The only thing they are doing is coming back for more money.

If your lucky, you will be able to run your anti-virus program, and an anti-malware program and remove the items they have put on the system. I recommend Avast Anti-Virus and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. More than likely you will need to have a qualified technician look at your machine and clean it out for you.

You can stop this if you play smart. Just remember, Microsoft will not call you about infections, your cable company will not call you about infections (unless you are infecting them), Intuit will not call about infections, the Government is not watching your internet for infections. All of these that I mention, are scams that I have run across. Play it smart, don’t be fooled by these fast talking con-men and women.

Should I buy a New Computer?

Everyone wants to know, “When should I buy a new computer?”  Well, the answer is rather simple, when it stops doing what you need it to do.

If all you do is browse the internet, then almost any computer will do.  Some will be slower than others.  Some may not use the very latest of browsers.  However, if you can still see what you need to see, and do what you need to do, then your machine is probably fine for you.  If you are getting frustrated waiting for your system to boot up, or your getting errors viewing the webpages you want to see, or your game will not run on your compute, then that’s a different story, and it might be in your best interest to start shopping.

Another indication that you might need a new computer, open the side and check the capacitors. If the capacitors are starting to leak, then again, it would be in your best interest to start shopping.

This is what a good capacitor looks like
This is what leaking capacitors look like

As far as brands are concerned, you can buy almost any brand you want.  Oh, I know various reports will list various systems above other systems, but when you strip the case off, they are pretty much the same.  The difference is support.  However, with all the outsourcing being done, that is also pretty much irrelevant.  For all I know regardless of which company you call, you may still be talking to the same call center.  They don’t like to give out that information. The bigger question is, “What are the specs?” Right now, the i7 is, in my opinion, the big boy on the block.  It is showing a reliable processor with adequate speed for most configurations.  The i5 is a close second, and I would not touch an i3.  The i3 is, again in my opinion, a glorified Pentium D. As far as AMD processors go, well I’ve had my share of them, but I just haven’t found the performance up to snuff.

If you have questions on whether you should get an all-in-one or not, well that question I am leaving for another post.

My Computer Turns Itself On

I had a client call and tell me that his refurbished computer turns itself on every morning at 4:30.  When he called, I didn’t have an answer for him. I’d never heard of this before.  So, I had him bring it in the shop.

I ran scans on it, and I found a few malware items, but nothing to explain why it was turning itself on.  I noticed, as is usual with Windows, that it was set to do updates at 3:00 am.  I know this is a normal setting and as he shutsdown fully, this really should not have any bearing on his issue.  However, I disabled updates anyway.  I then shut the machine down and left for the night.

The next morning, I get to the shop and sure enough his machine is on.  So, I thought, okay, perhaps the bios has “wake on Lan” enabled.  Therefore, I opened up the bios and started checking through his settings.  When to my amazement, I find, “schedule boot” listed in the settings, and sure enough the system is set to “auto turn on” at 4:30 am every morning.  I turned this feature off, and let the system sit until the next morning.  When I returned to the shop the following morning, the unit is still shutdown. Hooray!! Problem solved.

This is the first time I’ve run across a system with this feature, or perhaps, I should say, this is the first time I’ve recognized this feature on a system.  I can see some practical uses for this, for instance, you can set the system to turn itself on shortly before you get to work, thus having it already warmed up and waiting for you.  I can also see where this can be useful if you work remotely.  Set the system to boot each morning at a specific time, then you log in do your work, then at the end of the day, send the instruction for the remote unit to power down for the night. The following day it will restart at the scheduled time, thus allowing you to work again. This way you can work remotely, and still have the unit off at night.

I’m sure I’ve worked on other machines before that must have had this feature, I just never knew it.  It seems a logical function.  So, if you purchase a refurbished machine, and it turns itself on at night, check the bios for this setting.  I bet it has one, and the previous owner found it and set it up.  The manufacturer reloads the machines, and recertifies them for release as refurbished, but they may miss this little setting, just as I did.