Archive | Computer Repair

THE IMPACT OF NETWORK AND OR SERVER DOWNTIME

A failure of a critical Microsoft Windows application can lead to two types of losses:

• Loss of the application service – the impact of downtime varies with the
application and the business. For example, for some businesses, email can
be an absolutely business-critical service that costs thousands of dollars a
minute when unavailable.

• Loss of data – the potential loss of data due to an outage can have
significant legal and financial impact, again depending on the specific type of
application.

In determining the impact of downtime, you must understand the cost to your
business in downtime per minute or hour. In some cases, you can determine a
quantifiable cost (orders not taken). Other, less direct costs may include loss of
reputation and customer churn.

The loss of production data can also be very costly, for a variety of reasons. In the
manufacturing environment, the loss of data could affect compliance with regulations,
leading to wasted product, fines, and potentially hazardous situations. For example, if
a pharmaceutical company that is manufacturing drugs does not show all of the
records of its collected data from the manufacturing process, the FDA could force the
company to throw away its entire batch of drugs. Because it is critical to know the
value for every variable when manufacturing drugs, the company could face fines for
not complying with FDA regulations.

Publicly-traded companies may need to ensure the integrity of financial data, while
financial institutions must adhere to SEC regulations for maintaining and protecting
data. For monitoring and control software, data loss and downtime interrupts your
ability to react to events, alarms, or changes that require immediate corrective action.

The bottom line is downtime is very expensive and preventing downtime is the most important factor in any business operation.

Posted in Computer Repair, Computers, Data Backups, Hardware, High Availability, Networking, Servers0 Comments

Geek Squad in Sanford Fl

GEEK SQUAD REVIEW located in Sanford Florida.

Maybe you have heard of the horror stories from others that have experienced the geek squad.
Here is another true story about the poor customer service and incompetent support from the geek squad.

I am not here to sugar coat anything nor am I here to bash anybody.
My story is the truth and I elect to share it with my blog readers.

Does the Geek Squad Suck?

Read this true story about my experience with the geek squad in Sanford Florida and decide for yourself if you find such behavior acceptable or not.

In December of 2009 I purchased a Denon AVR-1910 receiver from BEST BUY in Sanford Fl. As an additional precaution and from knowing electronics can be very delicate I chose to purchase the GEEK SQUAD extended warranty which covers the home theater receiver in the event it gets damaged whether it be my fault or not for a period of 4 years. I took the receiver to my office and set it up and it sounded fantastic and it was very easy to use. I was most definitely happy with my purchase and would recommend DENON to anyone looking for a quality home theater receiver.

Approximately 6 months later there was a thunderstorm near my office that created several power surges that I assume blew something in my Denon AVR-1910 receiver. The night before I shut the receiver off then went back to my office after a night of lightning and thunder. I turned the receiver on and nothing! It did turn on but there was no video or audio output so I check obvious things like unplugged the audio receiver and even disconnected everything and reconnected the wires and still nothing.  Well now I knew something was damaged and through troubleshooting and testing I learned my speakers were working and the receiver was the root of the problem.

Understanding these things can happen to anyone plus I had the GEEK SQUAD BLACK TIE extended warranty so I felt good knowing I could bring the receiver back to BEST BUY in Sanford Fl and get it fixed without a hassle.

I unplugged the receiver and brought it back to the BEST BUY – 1501 Rinehart Rd Sanford, FL 32771
where I purchased the receiver from. The young man behind the counter was friendly no doubt but I overheard him talking to other customers about their laptop problems and instantly knew this Geek Squad technician was incompetent to say the least. Regardless I didn’t care since my problem was under warranty.

I explained to the GEEK SQUAD technician that I believe a power surge damaged my DENON AVR-1910 receiver and I was told no problem they will fix it. I walked out of the BEST BUY store feeling a sense of relief knowing they are sending my receiver to their headquarter to get fixed.

1 week goes I start receiving automated emails from the GEEK SQUAD in Sanford Fl.
2 weeks go by – I receive another automated email from the GEEK SQUAD in Sanford FL.
3 weeks go by – I receive another automated email from the GEEK SQUAD in Sanford FL.
4 weeks go by – I receive another automated email from the GEEK SQUAD in Sanford FL.

geek squad sanford fl

By now I received three of these automated emails from the geeks yet the store could not tell me when my receiver would be ready to pickup. Finally after 4 long weeks I get a phone call from the Sanford GEEK SQUAD telling me that my receiver has been fixed and is ready to be picked up. I drive to the BEST BUY in Sanford FL and pickup my receiver and while I’m there I asked the GEEK SQUAD technician what went wrong with the receiver and he told me there was a loose capacitor on the main board – circuit board that they re-soldered and that fixed the problem I had.

“Such a minor fix like that is not a 4 week job and rather could have been repaired in less than 1 hour” How do I know? Well I have a long background in electronics and just know these things.

Now I’m back at my office and I am plugging the speakers and other cables into the receiver with a smile on my face expecting to hear some music. WRONG! FAIL! EPIC FAIL!

THE RECEIVER WAS NOT FIXED and did the same thing it did before I brought it to the GEEK SQUAD in Sanford Fl. The Denon AVR-1910 receiver would power on but produced no video or audio output.

I called the GEEK SQUAD in Sanford Florida from my office and asked them about this and they told me they definitely fixed it. That conversation did nothing but waste my time so I contacted the General Manager “Landon Riggle” which by the way was very nice to me and asked me to bring the receiver back to the BEST BUY in SANFORD FL so he can have his GEEK SQUAD technicians troubleshoot the receiver again.

When I got to the store the geeks stood over the receiver scratching their heads looking nothing less then totally confused when I said my receiver was never fixed and nobody there knew who supposedly fixed it in the first place. I was told by the Sanford BEST BUY store that they are going to overnight the receiver to DENON to get fixed immediately. When the GEEK SQUAD says fast service they really mean 4 more weeks of waiting.

During the additional 4 week wait I get 4 more automated emails from the GEEK SQUAD telling me my product is on good hands and is getting the care and attention it needs. Bla bla bla see above image.

After 4 weeks I contacted the general manager again and expressed that I am very unhappy with the support I paid for and to my blog readers this was not free “I paid additional for this service – warranty”.

I was told he would find out what’s going on and contact me the next day which that didn’t happen.
I didn’t hear back from the general manager for almost a week and finally he said he doesn’t know what’s going on and he invited me back to the store to pick out a replacement receiver since he has no clue when it will be fixed.

I drove to the Sanford BEST BUY and found another receiver, a DENON AVR-791 which is essentially the same receiver but a newer model. The girl at best buy was very friendly and took the new receiver to the checkout counter and to my surprise I was not allowed to transfer the GEEK SQUAD BLACK TIE protection warranty that I paid for with the first receiver and I was stuck paying for an additional warranty. She did however prorate the first warranty I paid for and applied that towards my new bill. Needless to say I was disgusted with the GEEK SQUAD for being totally incompetent and for delivering the absolute worst customer service experience I have ever experienced in my life. Now I just wanted to pay the additional fees and get out of there as fast as possible.

In conclusion  if this happened to you, would you trust the GEEK SQUAD to repair your home theater receiver and would you continue to spend your money at BEST BUY?

Posted in Computer Repair, Product Reviews, Reviews0 Comments

Orlando Computer Repair Company Talks About Hard Drive Clicking

Hard drive clicking also known as the click of death.

What does it mean when your hard drive makes a clicking sound?
A clicking hard drive is a sign of physical hard drive failure.

Without getting into a bunch of technical factors here I am going to keep this post short and to the point.

When a hard drive makes a clicking sound it is damaged beyond repair and the data on it is not accessable.

This problem can happen to anybody anywhere and is more common then many people realize.

This also applies to people that use external hard drives as a backup system for their data.
HARD DRIVES FAIL…..period.

The bottom line is anything mechanical will fail and will not last forever.
This is especially true for hard drives including external hard drives.

When you hear your hard drive making a clicking noise unplug the hard drive and do not use it anymore.
You can attempt to copy your data off of the clicking hard drive but you are going to wind up causing more damage to the hard drive which will make it more expensive when a data recovery lab recovers your data.

When a hard drive clicks you will not be able to retrieve your data and you will have no choice but to send your hard drive to a data recovery company or an Orlando data recovery company if you live in Central Florida.

An Orlando Data Recovery company can get your data off of the damaged hard drive and onto a new hard drive.

Always be prepared for the worst and backup your data to a real backup system.
An external hard drive is not considered a professional backup solution and should only be used for a convience rather then a backup system.

Posted in Computer Repair, Computers, Data Recovery, Data Storage, Hard Drives0 Comments

Your server or servers are running out of storage space! What should you do?

So let’s say you’ve decided to take your business seriously and spend the money needed for a quality server. You may be using a file server to share files and printers or you may use it to run Microsoft Exchange for shared calendars or for email, host a database for your company or a CRM – Customer Relationship Management application. Perhaps you have two or three servers running a combination of these and each has its own backup system and each should.

What is likely to happen over time?

Storage inefficiency – You may find that one server, perhaps your file server, is constantly running out of storage space, while another server always seems to have too much storage space to spare, but no easy way to share it. This is a very inefficient scenario and the biggest reason why DAS solution is ultimately inefficient for growing small businesses.

Management headaches – Most DAS solutions have their own proprietary management software and interfaces and are not easy to manage remotely. You may find yourself with multiple different DAS solutions, each with its own management quirks and annoyances.

Consolidate Your Data

As with PCs, the answer to server overload is to consolidate your storage, unchain it from the server, and place it on the network where it can be shared among multiple servers and PCs. Why?

It’s efficient – You get a shared pool of networked storage that you can slice, dice, and allocate to users, applications, and servers at will. No more overloaded servers sitting next to servers with storage to spare.

It’s easy to upgrade –You no longer have to shut down your server and its applications to upgrade your storage. You can add storage to the network and make it instantly available without affecting your applications.

When it’s time to upgrade your servers, it’s no longer necessary to throw out the storage with the server or spend the time to migrate data to another server. You simply connect the new server to the network and configure it for access to your network storage. Now this isn’t always the case depending on what your server is hosting but more often than not this is a good solution to many small and medium sized businesses.

It’s cost effective – Storage makes up a significant portion of your server’s price and internal space. Separate storage on the network and you can spend fewer dollars on servers or buy more server performance and reliability for your dollar. You can also pack more servers into a smaller space, if that’s what you need to do, taking advantage of compact rack mount servers or even blade servers but don’t forget to keep your server closet or room COOL with Air Conditioning.

You have two choices for network storage: a SAN and a NAS.

SAN

Storage Area Networks (SANs) separate storage from your servers and put it on its own specialized high-performance storage network where it can be pooled and allocated to servers and applications. When a server runs out of storage, you simply allocate more storage from the SAN, rather than taking down the server to add physical storage.

NAS

Nothing beats the simplicity of NAS for fulfilling the needs of a typical small business. A NAS device sits directly on the network and, like a server, serves up files, not storage blocks. There are many advantages to NAS as a small business storage solution.

Independence – NAS devices can sit anywhere on the network, completely independent of servers, serving up files to any network connected PC’s or servers. If a server or PC goes down, the NAS is still functional. If power goes down, there’s no need for complex reconfiguration. With its simplicity, a NAS can be up and running again in minutes.

Ease of Use – NAS devices typically come as preconfigured turnkey solutions. There’s no need to install a host adapter or complex server operating system. You simply plug the NAS into the network and do some very light configuration, usually with a Web browser, and your NAS is up and running and accessible to your PCs.

Easy Upgrades – T o get more storage with NAS you simply plug in another NAS device and you’re up and running with additional file storage in minutes.

Flexibility – Today some NAS solutions also come with some built-in iSCSI capability, which can provide fast block-based storage to performance-hungry server applications that need it, while still allowing you to share and print files. In some cases you don’t even need a switch or special host adapter. You simply plug your server directly into the iSCSI port on the NAS. So you get the best of both worlds in a single easy to use and configure device.

Posted in Computer Repair, Computers, Data Storage, Hard Drives, Hardware, Servers0 Comments

You know you should be backing up your desktop computers and servers but you dont

You know you should be backing up your desktop computers and laptops, which frequently store the most recent information at your company. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that you and your colleagues probably don’t. Why? Backing up a PC is time consuming and not as easy as it should be, so you put it off, and then you put it off again.

If some of your staff actually takes the trouble to back up their PCs, they’re probably doing it infrequently, and may in fact be doing it incorrectly. When it comes time to actually recover files and data you may be unpleasantly surprised.

Operating without a backup strategy is risky behavior if your company is highly dependent on applications and information. If your company falls under federal regulations such as HIPAA or the Sarbanes Oxley Act, you may be in the unsavory position of having to swallow a fairly steep fine. You don’t have to be a large hospital to fall under HIPAA, you could just be small doctor’s office.

That’s why just about any business needs to devise a workable strategy for backing up its desktop and laptop PC’s and, even more important, for restoring that information when a file is corrupted,or lost or when a power failure or natural disaster takes computer systems down.

For most small – and medium-sized businesses there are four basic ways to do backup:

  • Backup to Tape….this is now obsolete technology by the way
  • Backup to Disk–DAS
  • Backup to Disk–NAS
  • Backup to Disk–SAN

Backup to Tape

Tape was the chosen medium for backup for many years, thanks to its low cost and high reliability. Tape also has the advantage of portability, which meant it can be taken off site easily.

Tape is barely a viable backup medium today. and tape drives have major drawbacks in comparison to today’s other backup solutions:

It’s slow Compared to disk storage, tape performance is slow. While tape was viable for backing the volumes of business data typical in the past, data storage has grown so enormously and backup windows have shrunk so much in most organizations, that there is often not enough time in the day or night to execute a full tape backup.

It is difficult and time consuming Somebody must be routinely responsible for loading, rotating and changing tapes-typically on a daily or weekly basis- and many small businesses don’t have the staff time and expertise to take on that responsibility.

It’s not easily accessible Tape is not a random access medium. Restoring data from tape requires considerable staff time to find, load, and access a file from the tape.

It’s not always reliable Tape backup devices such as autoloaders and tape libraries have mechanical parts that will fail. If tape backup is not handled the right way, you may never find out about a mechanical failure or user error until you need to restore data from tape.

Despite these drawbacks, there are much better backup solutions today.

Backup to Disk

Hard disk storage used to be expensive and unreliable, but over the years prices have come down and reliability has gone up so much that disk is now a very viable medium for backup as long as you are backing up to more then one hard drive per backup. Backing up to one of those cheap external hard drives is really cutting corners and is not considered a professional backup solution.

The advantages of disk-based backup are many:

It’s fast There’s no comparison between the performance of disk-based backup and restore and tape. What might take hours when you’re backing up to tape could take minutes when you’re backing up to or restoring data from a hard disk.

In addition to traditional backup there are also other useful disk-based data protection methods. For example, replication copies data from one disk to a second disk at a separate location. For companies that have little or no backup window, there’s little alternative to the performance of disk based data protection.

It’s easy Once the disk storage is installed, there’s no need to load, rotate or change anything for a long time. You can configure an automatic backup strategy and then let it run on its own.

It’s easily accessible Hard disks are random access devices, so retrieving a file from a hard disk is almost instantaneous and can usually be done by the user. With a tape you often have to wait several minutes while someone loads the tape and the backup software winds the tape over to the correct spot for retrieving the file.

Disk-based backup can be accomplished using DAS, NAS, or a SAN.

DAS backup can be either PC- or server-based:

PC-based – You can attach an external hard drive to each PC and configure PC-based backup software to do regular backups. This can be practical for one or two PC’s, but it can quickly become impractical for a rapidly growing small business with lots of PCs. You usually have to depend on the PC users to let backups take place, which is risky, particularly if users are on the road frequently.

Server based – You can install a backup server with its own DAS and backup all your PCs over the LAN. This is a great way to have centralized control over the backup process. However, it does require setting up and maintaining a server and server operating system and software, with all the requisite tuning and updating. Servers can also become a network bottleneck if they’re pulling data off of several PCs over the LAN.

Nevertheless, DAS based backup can be a viable solution for many small businesses as a speedier alternative to tape. Some organizations back up PCs to DAS for performance and then back up server-based DAS to tape as a secondary measure for portability, taking the tapes off site for storage where they can be retrieved in the event of a local disaster.

NAS

NAS makes a great backup solution for many small businesses because it’s easy to set up and maintain. Like network-based DAS backup it lets you push all your PC backups over the network to a single storage device, but unlike DAS, which has to be attached to a server, NAS can be located anywhere on the LAN.

Some NAS products come with their own tightly integrated backup and replication software tuned and preconfigured to work with that device. That can make setting up and implementing your backup strategy quick and easy. And backups to NAS can be automated so there’s little need for a staff person who has other things to do to take on the daily task of backup, as is required with tape backup.

If you’re looking for extra protection from natural disasters, look for a NAS backup solution that can also replicate over a wide area network to another storage device. You get the offsite advantages of tape without the tape handling issues.

SAN

With their fast, block-based disk architecture, Storage Area Networks are great solutions for high performance backups. By placing storage on a specialized storage network, SANs take the burden of backup off your regular corporate LAN so the performance of other network applications doesn’t get bogged down.

You don’t have to know Fibre Channel technology to operate a SAN. iSCSI is simple to use, offers very good SAN performance, and runs over typical Ethernet switches.

Even simpler, however, is taking advantage of the iSCSI capabilities offered by some of today’s NAS products. Many NAS units can partition off some storage as fast block based iSCSI SAN storage. Plug your PC or backup server into the storage with an Ethernet cable, do some simple configuration on the storage device and the host server or PC, and you can run high-speed SAN style backups on a portion of your NAS, while the rest of the device serves files over the LAN.

The bottom line is if you do not take backing your data seriously, you will when your server or computer crashes and you loose all your data. Will you care then?

Posted in Computer Repair, Computers, Data Backups, Data Storage0 Comments

How to unlock and delete hidden EISE partations on most name brand computers

Did you know almost all major computer vendors like DELL, HP, IBM, GATEWAY, ACER, ASUS, SONY, Toshiba, and other pre built computer systems or laptops come with a special and hidden EISA hard drive partition that contain a system recovery utility and or diagnostic tools to restore the computer back to its factory default out of the box configuration?

These hidden EISA partitions are not really hidden because you can see them.  These partitions are usually in the FAT or NTFS file system, you cannot assign them a drive letter, format them or even delete them like you can with other hard drive partitions. These hidden partitions usually take up several gigabytes to more than 10 gigabytes in storage space.

Here is a screen shot showing the commands I typed to delete DRIVE 2.
Notice how this hard drive has a 10 gig EISA partition.
This is 10 gigs of space I don’t want to waste so as you can see below I used the command prompt and the Microsoft hard drive partition tool called diskpart to delete this EISA partition and I will delete the other partition when I install the OS. Since I am going to reinstall the operating system clean without the garbage software major computer vendors cram on their computers. I will destroy all the partitions and install only the specific software I choose to use on this particular computer.

Here are the written step by step instructions so you can compare them to the screen shot above and understand what each command means or does. I even highlighted the commands in yellow so they are that much easier to identify.

Here are the written step by step instructions so you can compare them to the screen shot above and understand what each command means or does. I even highlighted the commands in bold so they are that much easier to identify.
1. Open the command prompt
2. Type diskpart (hit the enter button)
3. Now type list disk (hit the enter button)
4. Now type select disk 2 (hit the enter button)
5. Now type list part (hit the enter button)
6. Now type select part 1 (hit the enter button)
7. Now type delete part override (hit the enter button)
8. Now type exit

Now the EISA partition is gone and you can take advantage of the freed up hard drive space.

Posted in Computer Repair, Computers, Data Storage, Hard Drives, Hardware, How To's0 Comments

AV7 Computer Virus

AV7 or Anti virus 7 is a misleading computer program that is designed to make you believe your computer is infected with Trojans, spy ware, adware, malware and other malicious software.
This program is a virus although there are a few people that will argue and say its not a computer virus and say it’s just a rogue.

Call it whatever you want to call it.
It causes serious damage to computers and there are more then hundreds of variations of this program all over the internet.

In short this is a nasty computer virus and is very difficult for get rid of once you are infected.
There are all kinds of removal instructions out on the internet and we learned it can be much more time consuming to figure out exactly which variation of this virus you have and there are hundreds or more different variations of this virus all over the internet and one set of removal instructions may or may not work. Additionally we learned that Symantec anti virus software does not recognize this malicious program as a computer virus and in fact the virus usually cripples the Symantec anti virus program. There are other companies out there that advertise they have the cure for this virus and from researching we found some of these companies are affiliated with websites that in fact host these computer viruses.

How do users get infected with this computer virus?
Very easily, when this virus is embedded in a website which by the way is no accident. The website visitor sees a pop up message on their internet browser window that displays a message that may say one of many things such as Warning! New virus detected or many other messages designed to make you believe your computer has a virus. Usually the computer user will click the download or yes to scan button on the website believing this is going to fix their problem when in fact the only problem is the website is attempting to trick the user into downloading the malicious program.

Here are two images of this computer virus displaying messages on a computer screen.
Notice how these images could mislead many people.

Image of one of the many random messages this virus can display

Antivirus7 image

What happens next is the program installs itself on the victim’s computer and displays all kinds of pop up messages. A few examples are shown below and there are hundreds if not more different variations of this computer virus so not every infection or message will be the same every time.
We have seen many variations of this computer virus and they all stem from the AV7 Virus which has also been modified many times by internet criminals or internet gangs.

If you believe you are infected with this  computer virus and do not know what to do.
Shut the computer off and call an Orlando computer consultant.

Completely removing this computer virus is not an easy task and in fact can lead into an all day project depending on the variation of the virus and the severity of the damage it may have caused.
There are some tools available that can remove this virus but again there is always that WHAT IF factor.
WHAT IF the tool does not completely remove the virus?
WHAT IF the tool says the virus is gone but it’s not?
There is always this chance and we feel its best to not take that chance with a client or a customer that demands the absolute best computer service in Orlando Florida.

The only true and safe way to know if the virus is gone is to backup your data and reinstall your operating system, software, drivers and start from scratch. Sure there may be websites out there that claim they have the special program to elevate these computer viruses but this is a security risk especially on a production computer network. What if the program you download does not completely get rid of the computer virus? What if the process of manually attempting to hunt down every single infected file, registry entree, dll files take all day or longer to do? What if you perform all this tedious work and the virus comes back?

We have learned the best way to stop this virus is to prevent it from infecting computer in the first place. We already know Symantec and other major anti virus software vendors have not been successful at preventing or stopping this virus from infecting computers.  There are two different ways we prevent this virus from affecting computers. One is we use a commercial content filter from barracuda networks on our network in addition to locking down computer user profiles so no programs can be installed on computer unless done so by our network administrator. This prevents the virus from entering the network through the internet and prevents users from accidentally installing this virus or any unwanted software on the managed computers.

Ok so what if you don’t have a competent computer consultant?
Ask around and spend some time on google and question whomever you are considering to help you.

Posted in Computer Repair, Computer Viruses, Computers, Malware0 Comments

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