Merry Xmas

December 23rd, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Merry Xmas”

Xmas greenery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello everyone,

This has been a very strange year for all of us. I’m sure everyone will be glad to see the old year out and the new one in. Let’s hope the situation improves for us all, not only here in Stockport, but all over the country and the globe.

I hope you all have a Merry Xmas, as best you can under the circumstances.

Please note I am closing between 24th December 2020 and 4th January 2021.

Wishing you all the best,

 

Damian

Covid-19 precautions- updated.

March 17th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Covid-19 precautions- updated.”

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Covid 19- what I am doing.

***UPDATE – Mon 20th July : ***

Now that restrictions are being lifted and government guidelines are changing it is now possible for me to visit people to carry out work. I can do remote work where possible and will accept work being dropped off with me. Please telephone first before any action is taken.

********************************************************************************

To reassure my customers, both old and new, here are my plans to keep running whilst continuing to stay safe and helping to beat this virus.

I am still willing to come out to customers, but will be taking precautions. I have sanisiting wipes for cleaning keyboards etc after working on your computer and will also be wearing disposable gloves to minimise transfer of anything from hand to computer. I would ask customers to keep their distance where practical, by keeping out of the same room.

If you need my services but don’t want a home or office visit, then I am happy for you to bring your computer to me. It can be dropped off in my porch so no actual contact needs to be made.

I can also undertake some work by remote connection if necessary as long as you are running Windows 10.

As most people are still working from home, be aware this will continue to have an impact on remote working software and the internet speed in general. Most Internet Service Providers will have already had contingency plans in place for this. BT have said the extra daytime demand will be no worse than when we all watch Netflix in the evening.

If you have any questions please get in touch by phone or email.

https://www.srcomputers.co.uk/contact

 

Scam and Hoax calls.

March 10th, 2020 Posted by General, Security 0 thoughts on “Scam and Hoax calls.”

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

I thought I would broach the subject of scam calls again this month.

 

They are still around and seem to be on the increase again.

There are two mains attacks to be aware of at the moment, as follows.

 

Amazon

Firstly, and the most common is a scam where the caller pretends to be from Amazon and is calling about your Amazon Prime account. They claim that your payments have lapsed, and your account will be suspended.

Quite often it is a recorded message or computerised voice that you hear. This should be obvious that it is a scam.

Then they try to take payment from you to ‘reactivate’ the account. It is, of course, bogus and under no circumstances should you give them any payment information.

If you do, the scammers will try and take as much as they can from you. One customer of mine was recently a victim and the scammers tried to take nearly £20,000. Luckily, the customer’s bank stopped the transaction as they suspected it was fraudulent.

ISP

The other scam calls still doing the rounds are callers pretending to be from your Internet Service Provider, or I.S.P. for short.

They claim to be from B.T., Virgin or whoever your ISP may be. The premise is that they have detected a problem with your service and need access to your computer to ‘fix’ it for you. This is untrue in every case and under no circumstances should you let them have access to your computer.

Once they gain access you have no control of what they do and see. They can then install anything, including malware, key logging software or set up the remote access so they can continue to get access in the future without your knowledge.

Computer message

Another variation on this scam is one that starts on your computer. A message may pop up on your screen saying you have a problem and to call a particular number in order to ‘fix’ it.

This again is a scam, and you should not ever call the number displayed. They will, again, try to persuade you to grant them access to your computer. Usually these messages pop up as a result of a compromised advert on a webpage.

 

As ever if you have been affected by any of the above scams then please get in touch for assistance and advice as to what to do next.

Contact me

Thank you for reading,

 

Damian

Windows 7 broken?

February 6th, 2020 Posted by Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Windows 7 broken?”

Photo by Julia Joppien on UnsplashWindows 7 is broken…….

……or is it?

The question most people are asking about Windows 7 is “Will my computer stop working now it is out of support?”

The simple answer is NO.

But should you still continue to use Windows 7?

The correct answer is also NO.

Even though it will still work and do everything it always did, it no longer receives security updates. As time goes on it will become more vulnerable. Therefore, your online activities become less secure.

Banking, shopping and any other financial activity will become riskier over time. These sites may also stop you logging in to them at some point. This happened to Windows XP and Vista users when their support ended.

When security loopholes and vulnerabilities in Windows are found, they will NOT be fixed in Windows 7 any longer. Windows 8 & 10 will get fixed. Therefore the sensible option is to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Do this before you encounter any problems or get infected with malware or ransomware.

My advice is to upgrade or replace your Windows 7 computer as soon as possible.

Contact me for further information or advice about doing this.

Further information from Microsoft is available here.

Windows 7 end of life page

Looking forward to 2020.

December 10th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Looking forward to 2020.”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

 

Well we are nearly at the end of 2020 already.

Where has the year gone? It seems to have flown by for me.

 

So what has been the main focus this year?

 

2019 started off with a flurry of new PC orders during January and February.

That settled down by March onwards, the main focus since has been upgrades to or replacements for Windows 7 machines.

I seem to have done upgrades and new PCs every month since then. We are now only one month away from the end of support date and so there will still be more I’m sure. If you have a Windows 7 computer then please get in touch.

I have also done an increasing number of SSD upgrades too. These are becoming very popular as it is a sure-fire way of speeding up a slowing computer. I enjoy seeing the reactions of customers when they see the upgraded computer start up for the first time.

 

My drop- in events.

I have also started doing a monthly drop in event for the local community. (Strictly speaking the first was December 2018 but who’s checking!)

It is kindly hosted by a local café owner Dawn, who is a friend, at her café Walkers Retreat. It is aimed at local people to come in and meet me and ask a quick technical question while they grab a coffee and cake at the café.

It was a slow start but now I regularly get people asking when the next one is.

 

Looking forward to 2020.

I am sure there will be many last minute Windows 7 owners getting in touch in January 2020 for upgrades or new computers.

I’m hoping the drop in events continue to be popular in 2020 too.

 

Hope you have a great Xmas and all the best for 2020!

 

Damian

Software and OS upgrades

October 17th, 2019 Posted by Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Software and OS upgrades”
Operating system

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

 

 

Software and operating systems are being updated and upgraded all the time.

Android 10 from Google, iOS 13 and MacOS 10.15 from Apple are being released. I thought a few words about upgrading and updating operating systems would be in order.

There are two distinct camps when it comes to this question.

Camp 1:

Upgrade now to get the new shiny look and awesome features!

Camp 2:

Wait a month or two to let all the first people iron out the bugs and instability in the new system.

 

Camp 1.

Quite a lot of these folk are also the ones who buy new kit when it is launched. They will have new iPhones or new Pixel devices that already come with the new OS from the start. I like to think of them as the guinea pigs and beta testers for the rest of us.

There are always some bugs and issues with new products and new operating systems. Despite what manufacturers tell us nothing is ever perfect straight out of the box.

Despite that most stuff these days does work pretty well when first released.

So, adopting early means you get to try the new features first.

 

Camp 2

These people are the more cautious type. Their current setup works just fine and they don’t want it messed up. They are happy to wait and see and then upgrade/update a month or two later. This will give time for any problems and bugs to be highlighted and fixed.

When they do eventually upgrade the system will be a more stable version. They should have fewer teething problems with the new software.

 

Computer OS upgrades.

There is a slightly different approach to this, especially for business users. When new operating systems are released there is always a chance older software may not work as it did. This is especially true of the latest macOS 10.15 release as it no longer supports 32-bit applications. Therefore anyone using 32-bit software will have problems if they upgrade.

 

A circumspect approach is recommended, especially if you have business critical software. It is essential to ensure your software will work as it did on any new system. The software developer themselves should be able to confirm this. It may mean you have to upgrade the software when you upgrade the operating system.

 

Verdict

My opinion is firmly in Camp 2.

 

It is nice to have the latest apps or features but only if they are problem free.

With software it is always better to wait a while before committing to an upgrade.

However, in some cases if you wait too long your old system may become more vulnerable to attack from malware and cyber-crime.

Finally- upgrading for security reasons is always a must.

 

As usual, if you have any thoughts or questions please get in touch.

https://www.srcomputers.co.uk/contact

Windows 7

July 30th, 2019 Posted by Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Windows 7”

Windows 7 rolling overWindows 7 will roll over and die in January 2020!

I talked about this last time and earlier in the year.

We are getting closer to the time that Windows 7 will no longer be supported.  So, I thought it worthwhile to go over what’s going to happen, what the likely issues will be and how to make sure you are prepared and know what to do.

What is happening to Windows 7 in January 2020?

As I said previously, January 2020 is the month when Windows 7 will reach its end of support from Microsoft.

This means that Microsoft will no longer release security updates for it. When a bug or vulnerability is found it will no longer be patched or fixed. This will mean those machines will become less secure than they were.

Newer versions of Windows will get patched, Windows 7 will not. Therefore, cyber criminals and hackers will likely try to take advantage of this fact and target the more vulnerable Windows 7 machines.

How will this affect me?

It is likely, as it happened when Windows XP and Vista reached their end of support, the most noticeable effect is that websites you regularly use will no longer allow access from computers running Windows 7.

Sites such as banking, shopping, travel and all those using secure logins and connections will prevent users from logging in from unsecure browsers.

Internet Explorer is one such browser and is integral to Windows 7.  Support for it is also ending in January 2020. Even users of Internet Explorer on Windows 8 & 10 will find they are affected.

There is an easy solution for those users. They can easily switch to using another newer, more secure browser such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome.

Windows 7 users will not have such a quick and easy option as the newer version of those browsers will not be available on to them.

 

What do I do?

The answer for Windows 7 users is simple. Upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or replace the computer with one running Windows 10.

I’m sure most will opt for a new machine as many computers running Windows 7 are now at least seven or more years old and are nearing the end of their life anyway.

As ever, I can help with the transition, whether you choose to upgrade or replace. If you are unsure, I can provide the necessary information and advice to help make your decision.

My main advice would be to do it sooner rather than later. Prices of new machines are likely to increase as the time draws nearer.

More information can be found here.

Windows 7 end of support.

If you have any questions on any of these topics please get in touch.

Contact

Anti-virus, backups and more

May 21st, 2019 Posted by General 0 thoughts on “Anti-virus, backups and more”

Backups

 

I’m going to touch briefly on a few things this time. Just topics that have cropped up during day to day work that prompted me to get writing. So here are some thoughts on anti-virus, backing up and Windows 7.

 

 

 

Anti-Virus software

You should only have one anti-virus package installed at any time on your computer.  I recently went to a customer who was getting odd messages on his screen.

It turned out to be a second AV program conflicting with his main one, which caused the PC to run slow and the error messages to appear. Removal of the offending software solved the problems immediately.

Neither program was able to do its job properly due to the conflicts.

Backups

This topic is a common theme for me. I often meet customers who have no backup or only one inadequate manual backup on a memory stick or such like.

I cannot emphasise enough how important backups are, especially if you are in business. Most people do not recognise the importance until it is too late. By then they have had an incident and lost precious data.

As a minimum you should make a local backup and also an online backup using one of the commercially available solutions. I will write further on this in the future.

Windows 7

I talked about Windows 7 earlier in the year, this is just a reminder.

In January 2020 Windows 7 will reach its end of support from Microsoft.

This means that Microsoft will no longer push out security updates for Windows 7. So, when a bug or vulnerability is found it will no longer be patched or fixed. This will mean Windows 7 machines will become less secure. Users with such machines should upgrade to Windows 10 by either buying a new machine or upgrading their old one.

More information can be found here.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4057281

As ever, if you have any questions on any of these topics please get in touch.

https://srcomputers.co.uk/contact

Slow computer? – an easy solution.

April 25th, 2019 Posted by Upgrades 1 thought on “Slow computer? – an easy solution.”

Photo by Vincent Botta on Unsplash

How many of you have experienced that irritating wait when booting your computer or waiting for an application to launch?

You’re not alone, many of us have, at some point, suffered this. Unfortunately, Windows in all its various incarnations, tends to slow down over time.

No one really knows why this happens, and a full re install of Windows can usually alleviate the problem, for a while anyway.

It tends to happen after a few years, and even after a couple of years on a well specified machine running Windows 10, (my own family PC!).

 

It should not have happened, the machine has a high-end CPU, plenty of RAM and no games or other 3rd party software slowing it down. The main software installed is Office 365 only. This got me wondering what could be behind the slow down. A little bit of investigation later and I had identified the culprit. The 3TB hard drive, which was hardly full at all, a paltry 220GB used out of the 3TB.

 

There was nothing wrong with the drive per se, but it was getting a lot of use from Windows 10, even in an idle state. I had checked to make sure there were no sneaky non-Windows processes running in the background. I could only conclude that Windows 10 itself accesses the drive regularly in its operation.

 

So why don’t all Windows 10 machines run slowly then I hear you ask.

Quite simply it is down to the type of storage drive used where Windows is installed. Most average machines with a reasonable amount of storage use traditional hard drives with a magnetised spinning platter and arm, like the one pictured above. In speed terms of modern CPUs and RAM, this is actually a bottleneck. The necessary mechanical action of the hard drive internals is slow compared to the rest of the system. This causes data transfer to be slowed down comparatively.

 

The solution is simple, replace the old mechanical technology drives (HDD) with newer solid-state drives or SSDs as they are known. These solid-state drives have no moving parts and run at the same speeds as the rest of the system. Thus not causing any slowdown of data transfer.

 

Once upgraded to SSD you will see much reduced boot up times and speedier opening of applications on your system. Older systems really do benefit. Previously where start up could take several minutes it could now be ready to go in under 30 seconds.

 

What’s the catch I hear you say.

 

Well there is always something, and the cost per GB of storage space is higher for SSDs than HDD. However, over the last 8-12 months prices of SSDs have dropped dramatically. Typically, a 1TB HDD will cost around £40 on average, whereas, a 1TB SSD will be over £100.

 

However, most people I encounter only use a fraction of the capacity of their drives, myself included. Therefore, it is not necessary to replace a 1TB HDD with a 1TB SSD, a lower capacity will suffice, thus reducing the cost dramatically.

Typically, a 128GB SSD will come in around £30 and a 256GB around £60. Much more affordable when revitalising an older computer.

 

I’ve done lots of these upgrades over the last twelve months. The reaction when people see how quickly their computer now responds is brilliant.

 

If you want to know more then please get in touch.

Thanks,

Damian.

https://www.srcomputers.co.uk/contact

A good start to 2019 and what 2020 holds for us

February 28th, 2019 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “A good start to 2019 and what 2020 holds for us”

The good start.

So far 2019 has been a good year for me from a business point of view.
Orders for new PCs and laptops are up by 300% for the two months so far.

Really great news for me and also for the customers who all have shiny new and fast computers to enjoy.

Some of this is attributable to the fact that their computers were old, slow, and were not worth upgrading. Money is better spent on funding a new machine rather than propping up a 6 to 7 year old one.

Coupled to this is the fact that Windows 7 goes out of support in January 2020, which I will explain more of below, and that just adds to the cost of a possible upgrade.

What 2020 will bring?

As I mentioned above, the first thing 2020 will bring is the end of life for support for Windows 7.

Does this mean Windows 7 computers will stop working?

No, it doesn’t, but what will happen is that they will no longer receive critical and important security updates. Therefore your computer will be more vulnerable to attacks, hackers and be generally less secure than it was.

You may not realise it but whenever your computer is connected to the internet it is being constantly attacked and probed by cyber criminals etc. looking for ways into your machine.
Usually your anti-virus and firewall software prevents them. However, if the actual operating system is open to attack because of a vulnerability that has not been fixed via an update then these attacks can succeed and get through.

So when Windows 7 stops being updated cyber criminals will target any known exploits and vulnerabilities and thus become less secure.

The way to combat this is to upgrade your version of Windows to a newer one, realistically this means Windows 10.

I will write more on this subject during the year, and if you are running Windows 7 currently you have several months to plan and prepare.

No need to panic just yet.

Until next time,

Damian

Contact

07572 011 184
info@srcomputers.co.uk 

3 Arundel Avenue, Hazel Grove, Stockport SK7 5LA

Copyright © 2021 SR Computers. All rights reserved. Designed by Website Architect.

 

This website is hosted Green - checked by thegreenwebfoundation.org