Computer Security 101: Avoiding Virus’

computer infected with a virusA virus for the sake of this guide is an infection that hijacks an existing program to do malicious tasks. The important question is, how do we avoid getting a virus in the first place? Virus’ are usually obtained by taking a manual step like clicking on a link in an email or downloading pirated software. Although there are other means of coming across a virus, these are the primary methods.

How do we know if we have a virus? Virus’ are usually noticed when a program stops functioning the way that it should. A once normal program may seem sluggish and may have errors. Virus’ change the code of existing programs to do the will of the virus rather than the will of the program. Getting a virus is not too common, however. Any half decent anti-virus program stops them pretty quickly, before they are even on your system.

Side-note: Both Mac and Windows get virus’, a virus in Windows is more common simply because it is the most preferred operating system. read more…

Computer Security 101: What’s the Difference?

download (2)When I speak of ‘virus removal’ at my shop I am not only referring to virus’, but rather I am talking about infections of all types. On this post we are going to talk a little bit about what the differences are between them. In most cases, knowing the difference is not necessary, they all come by similar means and have similar effects.

Note: I often call the difference between the 3 a scam. I call it a scam because when you go to buy a security program, most of the time it will only address one of the 3, not all of them. Anti-virus usually only pick up virus’, anti-malware picking up only malware and a PUP remover clearing out pups. They all cause harm, but not many programs address all 3. Most good anti-malware programs do pick up PUP’s now, but not all do, so my point is still valid. read more…

Computer Security 101: Start Here

download (1)This guide is will be a tool to help you stay safe on your computer, not safe from predators ect… that will be covered at a later time, but how to stay safe from infections. This guide will be a very long and drawn out process of how to avoid ‘making your computer run slow’ as so many people like to put it. The entirety of this guide will aim to cover a few basic things.

  1. What is the difference between Malware and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PuP’s)
  2. What is a virus and how to avoid it
  3. What is malware and how to avoid it
  4. What is a PUP and how to avoid it
  5. Signs to look out for that mean you’re infected.

read more…

Mac vs PC

Mac vs PCThis has been the argument since the very beginning of the ‘information age,’ which is better: Macintosh (now OSx) or Windows (PC). There are plenty of guides online that compare features, specs and price; but I want to look at the down and dirty, real life, uses.

Let me start off with this, at work (computer technician/website designer) I use a Windows 7 PC, at home I use a mid 2010 Macbook Pro. I enjoy both very much, each has their place, but I enjoy both. I’ll start with justifying my use of each so you can have a little perspective, but then I will talk about the average every-day consumer.

Windows 7

At work I choose to use a Windows PC. I run Adobe creative suite 6 on two monitors, I also use it for gaming. I enjoy the Windows PC because I was able to get a much larger bang for my buck compared to a Mac, especially with screen costs. Additionally, Quickbooks on the Mac sucks…but that’s just my opinion.

Macbook Pro (Mavericks)

I love my Macbook pro, it simple, it keeps me free from distractions, it has a nice metal body and a backlit keyboard. It’s also light and has good battery life. I use one program that isn’t Mac exclusive (but the PC version is terrible) and that is called FileMaker Pro; it creates visual databases to track customer jobs.

So what about the average computer user? read more…

Snag It 12

Screenshot with Snagit 12Snagit 12 is one of those hidden gems on my computer, a program that goes unnoticed until it’s no longer there. Let me explain what Snagit does, it pretty much revamps the entire screenshot capability of your computer. It allows you to take pictures and videos of any section of your screen with the click of a button.

You used to have to take a screenshot, then go into an image editing program like MSPaint and paste in the captured image. You would then need to crop it down to size and save it as the right file format, Snagit takes care of that entire process.

Snagit also includes a built in image editor with the capability to add simple changes like arrows ect… to draw attention to certain parts of an image. You can use it to put steps for a tutorial, as well as many other things.  read more…

Liquid on your Keyboard

laptop keyboard with spillMy wife has been pestering me about this topic for so long; what do you do when you spill liquid on your laptop keyboard? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! Sometimes accidents can happen, but if you act quickly you can quite possibly save your computer. While the first goal should be not to spill anything on your keyboard, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage when it does happen.

There are two things that you will want to know PRIOR to the accident happening, consider this a training course just in case something happens too. First, know where your power cord is. It sounds kinda crazy, ‘it sticks right out,’ yes it does, but in a panic you can forget. The second thing to know is how to remove the battery from your laptop. There is usually both a lock switch and a spring-loaded switch, know how to work it. read more…

Airprint for all Printers

Air Print DeviceI had a tough time finding a way to make any printer Airprint compatible on a windows machine. The first few programs I tried did not allow me to do it properly or wasn’t supported by whatever version of iOS I was using. I found many programs/applications that would allow me to make any printer Airprint compatible from a Mac/OSX but Windows was a different story.

Let me elaborate a little bit on the situation. We have a company looking to move all of their work from Windows 7 laptops to iPads. Printing is a major part of what they do (being in the medical field). We tried a few small printers with no success, and decided that we needed to find a way to have their big Sharp Printer/Copier do the printing; here is where the problem arose. read more…

Remain Anonymous on Google +

girl with anonymous faceThe giant has caved! In what seems like David vs Goliath on the internet, David (the people) have caused Goliath (Google) to back off on the requirement for real names to be used on Google+ accounts.

An anonymously written (funny huh?) post stated that while Google felt that the real names created more realistic communities on the internet, the lack of anonymity was causing a large group of people to shy away from interacting in communities all together.

This bring up the debate of the anonymity of the internet; should we remain anonymous or should we be held accountable for the action that we take online? Let me start off by saying the Google, as a company, should be able to choose either side. It is their business, you are using their services, if you don’t like it you can either deal with it or quit using the service; simple. read more…

Windows 9 Beta

Windows1As the long-awaited beta release of Windows 9 inches closer and closer to us, we here at Plumas PC are prepared to see what the future holds for the Windows operating system. When we get our hands on the beta you can be sure that we will post all the latest information and findings on our blog.

A leaked screenshot showed some of the potential for Windows 9, with a newly revamped start menu. A long-awaited return for many Microsoft supporters. Both the business community and the average consumer alike are going to be very happy with the return of the start menu. I am excited to see Microsoft not abandoning the Metro interface, but rather integrate Metro into the existing/classic Windows look. read more…

Lazesoft Recovery

Lazesoft Recovery Suite Hard DriveA program that I have found myself quite fond of lately is the program ‘Lazesoft Recovery Suite.’ Lazesoft – affectionately referred to in the shop as ‘Lazy-Soft’ – provides a few recovery options for computers. We call it Lazy Soft because it makes a lot of what we try to do around the shop just a little bit easier.

Lazesoft offers 4 main sections, windows recovery, data recovery, password reset and a disk imaging and cloning software. Most importantly, it comes with the ability to create a bootable environment, so if the clients computer can’t boot, you can still do a few important things; as well as run through their windows recovery options. read more…