Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

10_Upgrade

If you are running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 the picture above should be a very familiar sight. Microsoft REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wants you to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. We get calls daily at the shop asking us our opinion about whether to upgrade or not.

Windows 10 is actually a good Operating System, as it blends the best of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 plus it offers some really cool new features such as the integrated Cortana digital assistant, a revamped Start Menu, the Edge Web Browser, the ability to run Multiple Desktops, and more. But the purpose of this article is not to review the new features of Windows 10, but rather to answer the upgrade question. To cut to the quick, our answer is a resounding NO.

The overwhelming majority of issues we see regarding Windows 10 computers that are brought to our shop are systems that have been upgraded from a previous version of Windows. When Windows 10 comes pre-installed from the factory as the default Operating System, there are very few problems. The computer is fast and stable, and most of the issues are either end user caused, or due to software incompatibility.

Computers today have a lifespan of about 3-4 years. If you have an older version of Windows, odds are your system is nearing or past that mark. Continue to use the system as long as it is running and Microsoft is supporting it (Windows 8 has already been retired), but don’t think you can breathe new life in to it by upgrading your old hardware to Windows 10.

If you really want to try Windows 10 our best recommendation is to buy a new computer with it already installed. If you do try to upgrade your current system to Windows 10, make sure you have an image based backup in case you want to revert back to the way your computer was before the upgrade.

Data Backup Part 3: Storage Media Options

Data Backup Part 3:  Storage Media Options

In our continuing series about Building and Effective Data Backup Strategy, today’s article will explore your options when it comes to storing copies of your data on external media.

Part of the 3-2-1 Rule requires that you store copies of your data on two different forms of media.  One copy of your data is the original, which is located on your computer.   When it comes to storing your data on another form of media you have multiple options including:

Data Backup Part 2

Data Backup Part 2: The 3-2-1 Rule

Today we are continuing the series of articles on building an effective data backup strategy.  The last article addressed the shocking facts of how many people still don’t backup their computers, as well as the high costs of data recovery from a defective drive.  We also introduced a data backup concept called the 3-2-1 rule.  As a reminder this means that you should:

  • Have at least three copies of your data.
  • Store the copies on two different forms of media.
  • Keep one backup copy offsite.

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Data Backup Part 1

Building an Effective Data Backup Plan

Think of all the different types of data that you store on your computer – pictures, saved email attachments, word documents, spreadsheets, music, movies, letters, pdf documents and more.  Not to mention important sensitive scanned data such as tax documents, birth certificates, etc.  What would happen if your computer died, or was missing due to fire, flood, theft, or natural disaster?  Do you have a backup of your data that you could put on to a new computer? If your data was kept on an external drive, and that drive died what would you do?

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Surge Protectors

Many of the computers that we service are plugged in to a power strip with a surge suppressor. While a battery back up unit is the best form of surge protection, a surge protected power strip is also better than a power strip without surge protection.  But did you know that the surge protection can actually wear out? On average, you should replace your surge protectors about every 2-3 years.

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Spyware

The biggest threat to your computer today

Spyware and Adware. You hear about these things almost daily. We have seen news reports on tv about them. Computing magazines such as PC World and PC Magazine have devoted entire issues to them. You undoubtedly have received some pop up ads stating that “you may be infected with spyware”. But what do you really know about spyware and adware? Are they the same thing? How do I get them? How dangerous are they? Hopefully we will answer all of your burning questions about spyware and adware in this article.

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Anti-Spyware Products Reviewed

Here we rate some of the various anti-spyware programs available on the market today. While there is no possible way for us to rate every single application available, we have reviewed some of the more popular utilities currently in use.

Anti-Spyware programs can be broken into two separate types:
– Free (downloadable)
– Paid

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Should you leave your computer on all the time?

Many times, people ask us if they should turn off their computer when not using it, or if it is safe to leave it on overnight. Everybody seems to have heard something different about this one.  The truth is, it is absolutely safe, and in some cases even recommended to leave the system on all the time.

All versions of Windows have the ability to schedule tasks such as clean the hard drive, defragment, and other chores. Our suggestion is to leave your system on 24/7, and schedule these tasks to occur overnight while you are sleeping.

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Protect Your Computer from Viruses, Spyware, Hackers, and Identity Theft

There are four critical things that every computer user needs to help protect themselves from such nasty things as viruses, spyware, hackers, and identity theft.

These four critical items are:

  1. Windows Updates
  2. Current Updated Anti-Virus Software
  3. Current Updated Anti-Spyware Software
  4. Firewall Protection

Let’s take a closer look at these items one by one.

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