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Computer Support
Frequently Asked Questions
Personal Computer Support
ABC's of Home Networking
Virus Information
Spyware Information
Computer Maintenance
Internet Safety
Whether connecting you to the internet, responding to a downed line at your home or resolving a concern with your service, we do it with the kind of personal attention you can only get from a local company, one that is part of the community.
 
Personal Computer Support [back to top]
We can assist in any computer problems, upgrades or equipment needs with our A+ Certified technicians on staff. We will come to your residence/business or you can drop the computer off at our office.

Contact us with any questions.

View our computer products section for equipment we provide.
 
Virus Information [back to top]
Provided below are links to web sites that provide information about computer viruses. This list is not meant to be a complete list or a list of recommended sites. These are sites that we are aware of, although there are many more available on the World Wide Web.

Anti-Virus Tips
McAfee.com - Anti-Virus Tips

Viruses:
McAfee.com - Virus Information Library
McAfee.com - AVERT - Virus Information Library
Symantec Security Updates - Encyclopedia

Virus Scanning & Tools:
Norton Security Scan
ESET Anti-Virus Tools

Virus Protection:
AVG Anti-Virus (FREE)
ESET Anti-Virus (NOD32)
McAfee Products
Norton Products


Virus Detection and Prevention Tips
  1. Do not open any files attached to an e-mail from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.
  2. Do not open any files attached to an e-mail unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a dear friend or someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through e-mail. Better be safe than sorry and confirm that they really sent it.
  3. Do not open any files attached to an e-mail if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. If the need to do so is there, always save the file to your hard drive before doing so.
  4. Delete chain e-mails and junk e-mail. Do not forward or reply to any of them. These types of e-mail are considered spam, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the network.
  5. Do not download any files from strangers.
  6. Exercise caution when downloading files from the internet. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site. If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a floppy and test it with your own anti-virus software.
  7. Update your anti-virus software regularly. Over 500 viruses are discovered each month, so you'll want to be protected. These updates should be at the least the products virus signature files. You may also need to update the product's scanning engine as well.
  8. Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer.

When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or e-mail attachments. Not executing is the more important of these caveats. Check with your product vendors for updates which include those for your operating system, web browser, and e-mail.
 
Spyware Information [back to top]
You may be asking "What is spyware?"
Spyware, also referred to as adware or malware, is software that resides on your computer that performs a wide variety of tasks. Tasks that should be illegal, but as of yet, are not. The tasks that these spyware programs perform should scare a person, because spyware does just as its name suggests: it spies on you. Spyware usually downloads and installs itself on your computer without you even knowing it, running in the background of your computer, using up your computer's resources, while remaining totally invisible to the average computer user.

Spyware programs on your computer can track all personal information about you that you've entered into your computer such as passwords, addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, can track your internet habits, and the list goes on and on and on. Usually the information that these spyware programs collect, is sent to a third party, unknown to the user.

Some spyware programs will even try to gain control over certain parts of your computer. Some of the things it may try to control are: resetting your homepage to an alternate site, thus forcing you to view a particular website, flooding your computer with multiple pop-up advertisements, hoping that the user will click on them and therefore install or at least see their products, and redirecting internet searches using search engines of their choice, not yours.

Where does spyware come from?
It depends really on the websites that one visits on the internet. Usually, lesser known websites, or obscure websites that have very little recognition, that also contain numerous "pop-up" ads, are the main sources of this spyware. Some websites do use pop-up ads in a positive way. Using them to display forms, definitions of topics, etc. But be wary of the sites that have numerous pop-ups appearing simultaneously, that also ask you for permission to install something. Those are usually the ones that present the most problems. The pop-ups on these websites, will download spyware onto your computer, whether you click on the pop-up or not. Some websites however are even more aggressive in getting spyware out. On some sites, simply visiting the website will initiate the downloading of spyware onto your computer without using pop-up windows.

So how do you tell which websites contain spyware and which ones do not?
That is a really tough question. It is nearly impossible to tell which websites launch spyware and which ones don't. The best advice for telling is, if it is a lesser known site that seems "fishy" or that seems to be overly aggressive (meaning it is bombarding you with pop-ups and questions constantly) then it is a good bet that it is placing spyware onto your computer.

So, how does one prevent and remove this spyware?
The first thing to do, is when you are on a particular website on the internet, if you are ever asked to install anything, and you are un-aware of what it is, or if it is a download or install that you did not initiate, always answer NO! There are a few exceptions to this rule, but generally, this is what you should follow. If it is something you know you are downloading, then go ahead and allow it, but if you have no clue as to what it is, and you answer Yes, then there is a good possibility that you are giving a third party permission to overtake your computer.

The good news is, there are some free tools available for download on the internet that are designed to scan for and remove spyware from your computer. Two of the most popular and effective programs, are Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition 1.05 (information available at http://www.lavasoftusa.com ) and SpyBot Search and Destroy version 1.3. (information available at http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html). Depending on how much you use the internet on your computer, I would recommend running either one or both of these programs on your computer at least once a week or every two weeks just to make sure there isn't anything on your computer that is not suppose to be there. Just like with an anti-virus program, you need to keep it updated. If you notice odd things happening, such as home pages being reset, pop-up ads appearing even when you are not on the internet, and etc., then run the program sooner. Spyware is a nuisance, but can be controllable.

SpywareBlaster does not remove spyware off of your computer, instead it helps to prevent spyware from being installed in the first place.
 
Computer Maintenance [back to top]
The best way to make sure nothing goes wrong with your computer is to perform computer maintenance regularly. Listed below are a few things you can do to help keep your computer running smoothly. PC Maintenance Checklist:
  • Empty the Recycle Bin.
  • Run Scandisk - choose Standard Scan and Automatically fix errors.
    (For older operating systems.)
    (This checks for and repairs problems with the hard drive.)
  • Run Disk Defragmenter.
    (This reorganizes your hard drive so that applications/programs load and run faster and more efficiently.)
  • Delete all email messages that you do not need.
  • Empty the "deleted items: folder in your email program.
  • Delete the Temporary Internet Files and Clear History in your Internet Browser.
  • Check for Critical Windows Updates.
  • Install and UPDATE Ad-Aware, Spybot S & D, and Spyware Blaster.
  • Install a Pop-Up Blocker or Google Toolbar.
  • Make sure anti-virus software is UPDATED and that it scans your computer regularly.
  • Uninstall any programs you do not use, or that have mysteriously appeared on your computer.
  • Use compressed air to clean dust/dirt out of the inside of your PC every few months.
  • Have the computer and equipment plugged into a quality surge protector.
Please be sure to contact our office if you are experiencing any problems with your Internet service or even if you just need to ask a general computer question.
 


 

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