By Gabriel Miller / Computer RepairComputer Security / 0 Comments

Introduction

I often have clients ask me "when should I buy a new computer?" In this article, I am going to talk about my general rules of thumb for clients on when to upgrade to a new computer. My guidelines for this will apply to both residential and business users.

My General Rule

I typically tell clients to upgrade to a new computer every 5 years. The average life expectancy of a consumer-grade PC is 3-5 years. With how fast technology moves, by the time 5 years has passed there is a 99% chance that your laptop or desktop computer won't be able to handle the current tasks you want it to.

Exceptions To The Rule

Just like with any rule in life, there will be some exceptions. Here are a couple situations that could legitimately warrant considering purchasing a replacement computer.

If you have a computer that is only a few years old, and the motherboard dies, it might not be worth replacing it. Typically, motherboards go for $100-$200. If that same system is a few years old, it might have significantly decreased in price to buy new, used, or refurbished.

If you can purchase the same system refurbished for $150, for example, and the motherboard replacement costs $180, it may not be worth replacing the motherboard in your current system. Furthermore, typically when motherboards die other components can end up being fried as well since all internal components connect to the motherboard.

In situations like the one I mentioned above, it may be time to purchase a replacement system.

If you are unsure whether it is time to upgrade your computer or not, give us a call. We'd be more than happy to go over your options and do computer consulting with you.

("Rules Of Thumb" - Credits to EdRempel.com)

("Slow Computer" - Credits to LifeHacker.com)

("Exceptions To Rules" - Credits to CO2Partners.com)

 

 

By Gabriel Miller / Computer Repair / / 0 Comments

Why This Is Important

If you are someone that watches a lot of downloaded videos or movies, you are most likely hindering yourself by using the built-in media player in Windows. In this article, I will explain why you should be using a better media player program. You could be experiencing unnecessary playback lag, low quality video or audio, and more. I always ask my clients an important question: why settle if you don't need to...?

Why You Should Consider A Third-Party Media Player

While Windows Media Player is built right in to Windows, it falls short in many instances. For example, did you know that Windows Media Player cannot play a majority of video file types/formats out there? Video files use technology called codecs, which is essentially software that runs behind the scenes that involves encoding or decoding a digital data stream. Essentially, you are going to run into problems with many common file formats you're going to run into. An example of this would be videos shot on an iPhone. A lot of people own iPhones, and this can quickly become a very aggravating inconvenience. 

Aside from compatibility, Windows Media Player also lacks heavily in features. Why settle for less when you can get more features for free?

Why VLC Media Player Is King

VLC Media Player is by far the best media playing software out there in my professional opinion. It's free, light-weight, and works great on almost any system. It also supports 99% of file formats and codecs, and has more features than you will most likely ever use. Additionally, VLC Media Player is cross-platform so you can install and run it regardless of whether you are using Windows, Mac, or Linux. You can download VLC Media Player for free directly from VideoLAN's website by clicking here.

At the end of the day, if for whatever reason you don't end up liking VLC Media Player you can always uninstall it from your system. I'm a big fan of free software provided the program in question is legitimate and serves a valid purpose for using it on my system. 

By Gabriel Miller / Computer Repair / 0 Comments

Why Knowing Your Windows Version Is Important

It's important to know what version of Windows your computer is running because of several reasons.

For starters, some software only works on specific versions of Windows. If you are purchasing or using a piece of software that was only created to be compatible with older versions of Windows, for example, it can become very important to know what version of Windows you are running in terms of compatibility. I have been often asked about car tuning software that only works on older versions of Windows (example: Windows XP.) For people in that particular case, it can become very important during researching how to run that software on newer hardware what Operating System version that have.

Also, if you are following a tutorial or guide online typically the pictures or video that go along with the guide will only cover doing the specific task in one version of Windows. If you are using a different version of Windows navigating through the steps to complete said task will be slightly different if you are running a different version of Windows.

These are just two examples, but there are many more reasons why you would need to determine what version of Windows your computer has. One of the first thing I teach my computer tutoring & class students is how to determine what Operating System they are using.

 

How To Check Your Windows Version

Without further ado, here is how to check what version of Windows your computer is running.

Step 1 - Open Windows Explorer

Locate the file folder icon at the bottom of your screen. This may look different depending on what version of Windows you are running, but it will always be a file folder as the icon.

Here is an image of what it will look like on each Operating System. I outlined each icon in red.

Once you've located the Windows Explorer icon, left click on it. This will open up Windows Explorer in a new Window.

Step 2 - Right click on Computer/This PC, and left click on Properties.

Depending on what version of Windows you are using, this option may be titled "Computer" or "This PC". This option will always be located in the left hand pane within Windows Explorer.

Step 3 - You're Done!

Windows will display what version you are running under the system properties dialog.

 

By Gabriel Miller / Computer Repair / 0 Comments

The Frustration Of Unexpected Computer Problems

We've all been there. You turn on your laptop to work on an important task...and bam! An issue appears out of nowhere. You get very frustrated, as you just want to check your email or watch that YouTube video. Fear not, I am here to help! This is one of the first of a few posts I am going to be writing about basic troubleshooting steps to undergo when an issue arises.

Image result for frustrated computer user

Troubleshooting Step #1 - Checking Your WiFi Switch

Most people don't know this, but most laptops have a WiFi switch to physically disable the WiFi adapter/antenna. One of the first things I check when a client brings in a computer with no wireless connectivity is checking to make sure this switch is turned on. This switch is usually very small and can be tricky to find. I recommend typing in the model number of your computer into Google followed by "WiFi switch."

An example of a wireless switch on a Dell Latitude E6410 Laptop

Troubleshooting Step #2 - Check If Your Wireless Adapter Is Working (In Device Manager)

The second thing I would suggest to try would be to open up Device Manager and check to see if your Wireless Adapter is shown working in the list of your computer's devices. To open device manager open the start menu, right click on "Computer" or "This PC", and select "Manage..." If you do not see that option, the other way to navigate to Device Manager is to open Windows File Explorer by clicking on the icon that looks like a folder on your taskbar. You will then see "This PC" in the left hand column. Simply right click on "This PC", and go to "Manage".

Once you are inside Device Manager, navigate to "Network Adapters" and double click to expand the list. Right click on your wireless adapter, and click on "Properties." Under device status it will tell you if Windows is detecting that the device is working or if it is not working.

The folder icon located on your Taskbar opens up Windows Explorer.

 

The status of my network adapter in Device Manager.

At The End Of The Day

If you are still having trouble you should take your computer to a technician or repair shop like us who can fix the issue for you. Remember that not everyone has to be a computer technician. We all have strengths and weaknesses in society that make us function as a unit. If you are having an issue with your laptop or desktop computer give us a call for a free quote at (716) 218-8492.

By Gabriel Miller / Computer Repair / / 0 Comments

Why I Wrote This Article

Throughout the many years I have run this business one thing has repeatedly disturbed me: companies ripping customers off and charging them way more money for a product or service then it is actually worth. In this post I am going to discuss why you should never purchase an Apple product.

I simply want to avoid my customers from getting ripped off and spending 3 times+ as much money on products that just aren't worth it - no matter how you try to logically rationalize or argue that it is.

Don't be an iSheep! Think sheeple, think! Don't be a sheep...actually do the research and become an educated consumer. Please, I beg of you!

Myth Debunked: Apple Products Cannot Get Viruses Or Infected

One of the biggest lies people in the technology world still believe today is that Apple products do not get viruses, or that they are harder to infect than other devices.

This is 100% not true. Obviously there is a reason Apple is selling antivirus software in their stores. Nowadays hackers can create malicious threats for anything. Whether you are running Windows, Mac, or Linux - you can still get infected just as easily! Even smartphones have antivirus apps for download on Google Play and the Apple Store. 

 

As you can see over 122 million results show up in Google search alone for "Mac is infected with virus." Imagine how many people didn't post or talk about it online and what this number actually is!

It's All The Same Hardware

Unlike with cars, when you purchase a computer the components still come from the same factories. What do I mean by this? Well...let me use an analogy. Car manufactures like Ford for example make the engine for their cars in their own factories. Unlike with the automobile industry, all computer components come from the same place. 

It doesn't matter if you have a Toshiba laptop, Dell laptop, Macbook, etc. The Intel processor still comes from the Intel factory. The Western Digital Hard Drive in your computer still was made in the Western Digital factory.

Apple products use the same hardware found in Windows PCs. Apple upcharges on this hardware so you end up spending 3 times the  cost if you bought a PC or more - for the exact same physical hardware!

An example of an Intel Processor/CPU

Compatibility...Good Luck!

The great thing about living in the age of modern technology and the internet of things (IOT) is that there is hundreds upon thousands of free and paid programs/software that you can download and run on your computer to do almost anything imaginable. Unfortunately for you, however, the Mac Operating System is not compatible with 99% of what's out there because most programs are compiled to run on Windows.

 

"Well, I guess 99% of programs on the internet will be useless to me because I can't open them on my Mac!"

I Can't Use My USB Mouse!?

Just like with Software, it's the same thing with physical accessories. 99% of External Hard Drives, Wireless Mice, Printers, Video Game Controllers, Cables, etc. won't work with your Mac because they are designed to be used with a Windows PC.

 

"We spent so much time browsing the web together...what do you mean you can't use me anymore?"

Throwing Your Hard Earned Money Away

Like I mentioned in the section above, you are paying 3 times or more the amount for the exact same hardware. You could buy THREE Windows laptops with BETTER performance for the same price! Don't throw your money away...we all work hard for our money.

You wouldn't use your money as toilet paper...so why give it all away to a large corporation, who doesn't care about you? Why let them charge you 3 times the amount for the same products?

Oh...You Liked Steve Jobs?

Unfortunately he has passed away many years ago and thus has no control or influence in the corporation that is Apple anymore. That aside, if you watch any documentary about Steve Jobs (ex: Pirates of Silicon Valley, etc.) you will see he wasn't that great of a guy. Based on real accounts from countless people who knew him, from business partners to family to his ex lovers...Steve Jobs was a living nightmare.

He was abusive to his employees, never donated a dime to charity, and didn't care at all about his living, breathing daughter. He wasn't there for her, he didn't care. Does that sound like someone you should be idiolizing? On the other side of the equation, Bill Gates has donated MILLIONS of dollars to help people in poverty, research and cure diseases that threaten humanity itself, and many other great things as well.

Having Your Grandchildren Over...? Too Bad, They Won't Be Able To Play Their Video Games!

Unfortunately, Apple PCs are notorious for being bad at gaming. Most Apple computers ship with integrated graphics, meaning any game your grandkids want to play will most likely be laggy and unplayable. Not to mention as stated previously, 99% of the games out there won't even be compatible with your Mac to begin with. Oh well...yet another way in that your Mac is absolutely useless to you.

"But grandma...sniff...sob...I just wanted to play my game..." We all know how heartbreaking it can be when a child cries because he or her is disappointed and sad.

Apple Is Greedy & Corrupt

Apple is removing standard ports and connectivity from their devices. Want to use your headphones you just purchased with your new iPhone? Good luck...Apple removed the earphone jack so you'd pay them even more money for an adapter! (Although they hope you buy their earphones so they can make EVEN MORE off of you!)

 

"I can make even more money off of them while simultaneously forcing them to buy even MORE of our overpriced and almost non functional products!? SIGN ME UP!"

"But Creative People Use Mac"

That is also an urban myth. Photoshop, Adobe Tools, etc. all have Windows counterparts: with more functionality and speed! Having dedicated graphics instead of integrated graphics is a huge advantage that you can only have by using a Windows PC. Tasks like video editing and 3D modeling are much better on a PC because you get better performance.

The Verdict

By the end of this list, there is NO logical reason for you to buy an Apple product, period. You are only going to spend more money than you should, and deal with the same product overall in terms of performance. In terms of functionality and everything else, you are purchasing something subpar. 

If you still buy an Apple product after reading this post, you deserve to lose that money anyways because you do not do your research and your part as a smart, educated consumer in 2018 and the years to come.

buffalo computer repair
By Gabriel Miller / Uncategorized / 0 Comments

The Convenience Of The Internet

One of the awesome things about modern technology and the internet is the ability to find information easily by pressing a few buttons at your fingertips. In this blog post I will show you how to find places that you might be interested in along with directions, reviews, and pictures or images of the building/location.

buffalo computer repair

Navigating To Google Maps

To start searching for local places of interest you need to visit Google Maps. The easiest way to get there is to type maps.google.com in the URL bar of your favorite web browser. Alternatively, you may click the link below to take you right to Google Maps instantly.

http://maps.google.com

buffalo computer repair

Google Maps Logo - Credits to androidcommunity.com

Searching Using Google Map's Interface

Searching for a local business or place using Google Map's interface is quite easy. To do so simply type in the name of the place you wish to search for and press Enter on your keyboard. (Alternatively you can click on the magnifying glass to conduct the search.)

buffalo computer repair

Google Maps Search Interface & Steps

Neighborhood Overview & Obtaining Directions

You can now view a map of the area around the location you are looking for along with street names and numbers. To obtain directions on how to get to the business/place location simply left click on directions on the Google Maps page.

buffalo computer repair

Google Maps Search Interface & Obtaining Directions

Awesome Extra Features - Reviews, Hours, And More!

You can also view what hours the place of interest is open (if it's a business.) You can also find customer reviews within a click of a button by simply scrolling down. Google Maps definitely makes life easy for those who like to explore new places in their communities, towns, and cities. 

buffalo computer repair

Google Maps Interface - Reviews & Business Hours

The Verdict

Therefore, Google Maps is an excellent free resource available at just the click of a button that makes life easier when it comes to finding nearby businesses and places of interest. I strongly encourage you to mess around with it and try to find new places to check out. 

The Verdict

buffalo computer repair
By Gabriel Miller / Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Too Many Products

One of the more common questions I am getting now is what the difference is between Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Office 2016. There are so many versions of Microsoft Office out there that it can be very overwhelming and confusing for consumers to decide what version of Microsoft Office is right for them. In this blog post I will cover the key differences as well as how to determine what version of Microsoft Office you should choose backed up by facts, version differences, and a detailed look at the different features between Microsoft Office versions.

Microsoft Office

Office 365

Before I start going any further...I'd like to take a minute to talk about possibly the worst invention ever on Microsoft's end...Microsoft Office 365. Remember that I am stating my professional opinion(s) within these blog posts. All my arguments made will be backed up by facts. At the end of the day I am just trying to help you as a consumer make a more educated decision.

Office 365 is a subscription service. You are paying monthly to use the software. I personally can't stand subscriptions. That right there personally turns me off when it comes to Office 365. But let's actually examine the facts. Is it worth it to pay monthly versus a one time payment for Microsoft Office 2016? (I'll get to Office 2016 in a moment.)

office-365

Microsoft Office 365 - Credits to Matrixforce.com

Version Differences - Office 2016 Versus Office 365

First off let's start by taking a look at the version differences between Microsoft Office 2016 and Microsoft Office 365.

The difference is...drum-roll please...

Office 365 is a cloud based service whereas Microsoft Office 2016 is a normal program you would install on your computer.

That's literally all there is, folks. (The short answer to the question; I summarized this for you.)

If you purchased Office 365 you would login to a website through your web browser to access your applications like Microsoft Office Word or PowerPoint, for example.

office-365-cloud

Microsoft Office 365 Cloud Service - Credits to NexusTek.com

Is Cloud "Convenience" Really Worth It?

In my honest professional opinion...no.

Different People Have Different Needs

First of all I have a ton of different types of clients. I have some clients who run a business and need to keep a laptop or portable computer in their vehicle or truck for invoicing purposes. Obviously they wouldn't be able to use Microsoft Office 365 if they do not have an internet connection, as it is an online-only application.

Asides from this, there are plenty of other people who have different situations but who do not have access to internet. I have some clients who live in a remote area, and they only have dial-up internet. It would also be nice to work on your documents on the go if you have a laptop. If you had Office 365, you would only be able to do so if you had a device with a data plan and hotspot capabilities. (Which racks up the monthly charges on top of the charge for Office 365 per month.)

wifi-hotspot

WiFi Hotspot - Credits to Instructables.com

Cloud Security Issues

I wrote another blog post about online backups versus cloud storage where I discuss some of the security flaws with cloud storage and services. You can check that out here: http://kenmorecomputers.com/backup-solutions-local-vs-cloud/

Basically just be aware that there are even more security issues when dealing with cloud storage and services versus dealing with a program locally installed on your computer.

cloud security issues

Cloud Security Issues - Credits to Huddle.com

The Same Cloud Capabilities - With Office 2016.

You actually have the exact same cloud capabilities with Office 2016 that you would have with Office 365. Let me explain. Most people already have a Gmail account, but if you do not have one it is free to create. Gmail is Google's free email service.

If you have a Gmail account...you already have access to Google Drive. Google Drive provides 15 Gigabytes of FREE cloud storage per account. All you have to do is login to your Google Drive dashboard and upload your documents with the click of a button. That's it.

Why pay all those monthly charges when you have the same capabilities for free...?

Google Drive

Google Drive Logo - Credits to CloudBuckit.com

The Price Is Right

Despite Office 2016 retailing around $200 or more...

Here at Kenmore Computers we obtain wholesale licenses and we have Microsoft Office 2016 Professional Plus in stock...

Available for purchase from us for a mere $65. (Also if you buy a computer system from us Microsoft Office 2016 Professional is included...absolutely free!)

The Price Is Right

The Price Is Right - Credits to CBSNews.com

The Verdict

Therefore, in my professional opinion it is not worth it to purchase Microsoft Office 365 and you should stick with Microsoft Office 2016. I hope this article has shed some light on the difference between the two newest versions of Microsoft Office for you. If you have any questions or would like to purchase Microsoft Office 2016 from us please go ahead and give us a call at (716) 218-8492. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Verdict

By Gabriel Miller / Uncategorized / 0 Comments

A Common Misperception

Some of the most common calls I get are inquiries into how much it would cost to replace a laptop screen. Most of the time it is actually not worth it as laptop screens are some of the most expensive replacement components to purchase. It is more worth it for the client to purchase a used replacement laptop. The cost comes out to be the same as it would be to replace the screen! Keep reading to find out why.

Screen Replacement: The Price Is Wrong

The common phrase "the price is right" certainly does not apply to screen replacement services. A replacement screen averages around $100 per component on websites like Newegg and Amazon. I have to also charge labor as most laptops have to be taken apart completely in order to replace the screen. In total, the final price is around $160 to $180 for a screen replacement. I sell dual core laptop computers for around $100. You could almost buy two premium Dell business-class laptops from us for $200. Obviously it definitely isn't worth it when you consider the cost for screen replacement.

The Price Is Wrong - Credits to The Counselor Entrepreneur

Ordering Replacement Components & eBay Issues

Tons of computer repair business owners (myself included) have had a very bad experience trying to order replacement parts on eBay. 90% of the time sellers will ship the wrong component or the part will arrive DOA (Dead On Arrival). This has been a serious issue which has lead to our business simply ordering replacement parts from major retail vendors such as Amazon, Newegg, etc.

Dealing with Ebay issues - Credits to eCommerceBytes

The Verdict

It is not worth it for you to pay to get your laptop screen replaced 99% of the time. It is my job as a professional in the I.T. industry to let my clients know the pros and cons of services and products I offer/sell. However, at the end of the day it is up to you what avenue to take but make sure to consider all the ups & downs of laptop screen replacement.

The Verdict

By Gabriel Miller / Uncategorized / 1 Comment

Common "Cloud" Misconceptions

You hear about it everywhere - "cloud" technology. "You can store your files somewhere safe up there and you'll never have to worry about losing your stuff. Cloud storage is cheap, secure, and easy to access..." Many people unfortunately have a lot of misconceptions of what cloud storage really is. 

Cloud Storage

What Cloud Storage Actually Is

Cloud storage is merely a fancy term used to describe a storage device connected to the internet. When you rent cloud storage services from businesses and corporations you are simply renting a hard drive attached to a server stored in a data center somewhere. There isn't a "cloud" and the scary reality is that people seem to have little to no understanding of this concept.

Data Center

A real example of a corporate data center

Security Failures & Human Error

Regardless of whether you are using a local backup solution or a cloud backup solution - security failures and human error can always be an issue. There's a famous old saying: "I finally thought about my computer security - after my computer was compromised." You need to have a secure setup that will not only save your data no matter what happens, but keep your data out of the hands of the bad guys out there who should not have access to it in the first place.

Some real world local storage examples of human error and security failures would be:

  • Accidentally dropping an external hard drive on concrete with all of your photos, music, and documents on it
  • Erasing your external hard drive by mistake instead of your flash drive when using a drive format utility
  • Your kids messing around on the computer and accidentally deleting your tax return forms on your external hard drive

Some real world cloud storage examples of human error and security failures would be:

  • A disgruntled employee is fed up with working at the cloud services company and deletes random files on some servers before he/she walks out
  • Your special other's ex-girlfriend/boyfriend works at the cloud services company and sees the account under your name. They delete your files and dub it "as an accident."
  • The data center has a power surge and even with UPS external battery systems in place some of the servers get fried and the hard drives become corrupted

Therefore, no matter where your files are stored there will always be security holes and on top of that I haven't even touched AOG (Acts Of God) such as tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

Natural disasters can happen and realistically you can never have a failsafe that will work 100% of the time.

Human Error Statistics

Accidental loss of data statistics - Credits to Idaho National Laboratory

 

WD 500GB

Backup

Connection Lost

The Verdict

Cloud backup solutions and local backup solutions each have their pros and their cons. No matter which route you go there will always be security holes and human failure elements that can unfortunately be a risk. It is up to you what avenue to take and remember that having a backup is much better than having no backup at all in the first place.

The Verdict