Why Remote Computer Repair Makes Sense

What Is Remote Computer Repair?

If you watch TV or listen to the radio, you probably heard of a popular remote access program called GoToMyPC that allows you to remotely access and control your PC from anywhere in the world over the internet, just as if you were still sitting in front of your PC at your home or office. Of course there are many different brands of remote access software out there, but I needed you to understand the concept of remote access so you can see the power behind the business of remote computer repair.

Whatever a technician can do with control of your mouse and keyboard sitting in front of your computer, can also be done remotely over the internet. This includes downloading and installing any programs necessary to repair your Windows installation, such as for virus and spyware removal. Even so, most computer users in general have never considered “remote” computer services for their computer repair and maintenance needs. They are just accustomed to whipping out the Yellow Pages to find a local technician who can do house calls, or to carry it in to a local computer repair shop. While you might be internet savvy and use Google to find a few phone numbers to call around for the best deal, the same concept still applies – my place or yours.

As long as you still have internet access, remote computer repair is the most convenient way for you to get PC help when you need it the most. Remote computer repair also saves on gas and time so it is also the “greenest” option available for your computer repair needs.

Initiating Remote Repair

There are quite a few U.S. based, remote computer repair companies with English speaking, certified technician’s to choose from. Once you have made your choice, you usually initiate the remote computer repair service from their website by downloading and installing their remote access software. You will then need to make a quick online purchase for the service you are requesting, such as for a one-time repair or a recurring monthly payment for an unlimited amount of repairs, usually for a minimum 1 year contract. The prices vary from company to company, but it is quite affordable and probably much less than your pay for your cell phone.

Then you schedule the repair, usually right away, and grant the company temporary access to your computer using the software they had you install. It is quite secure, and once the work is complete, they cannot access your computer until you grant them access again.

Benefits

About 98% of problems can be repaired remotely.
You don’t have to disconnect your computer to take it to a shop.
You can observe the repair and watch everything that is going on.
Unlike having a problem or question about your computer after bringing it home from a shop, and now you are on your own, with remote computer repair, the technician is right there with you, on your screen as it were to guide you.
Some customers do not feel comfortable with a stranger in their house, or do not want to leave their computer at a shop. With remote repair, the technicians do not have to make a service call to your home or office because they can do most everything online!
No need to schedule any service calls or wait for a technician to show up late.
Most remote computer repair services are avail 24/7/365.
If you subscribe to an unlimited repair package, you will probably use the service at the first hint of trouble rather than putting it off until the problem gets worse, averting costly repairs and downtime. variable

Limitations

Your computer has to be able to access the internet.
Not all computer problems can be repaired remotely, particularly hardware problems, which obviously requires a “live” technician onsite.
Usually requires payment online via credit card.

Making Sense of Remote Computer Repair

Like microwaves, computers are a common household item now. We just use them as a tool to store and manage the cloud of data we have created for ourselves for our picture albums, music library, videos and documents. The problem is that they break, and usually because of lack of maintenance, or from viruses and spyware. Some people end up spending as much to repair their computer after 1 – 2 years than they originally paid for it.

Instead of winging it to pay unexpected computer repair bills every time your computer breaks, it makes sense to look into a subscription based remote repair service where they usually charge you a small fixed fee every month for an unlimited amount of repairs. With computers being such a big part of our lives, you have to factor in the cost of repairs into the overall cost of your computer. You can expect to pay a fixed rate somewhere between $200 – $300 per year for an unlimited repair package, depending on the company you choose as well as any support add-ons you want.

Hardly anybody figures the cost of computer repairs into their budget, which is always why they end up paying more, because money always seems to be tight when your computer breaks, especially in this economy. This causes people to put off their repairs, which usually results in the customer running their computer into the ground which in turn ends up costing them more to fix it in the long run. Now imagine if they were already paying a small fixed price every month for an unlimited amount of remote repairs, don’t you think you would take advantage of that and take care of it right away? Of course you would, it makes perfect sense. I like to think of it as an insurance policy with no deductible, with rates that don’t go up when you make a claim, and you will make claims!

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Computer Internet Security – 6 Step Plan of Action

Stop procrastinating! You probably have thought about ways to enhance your computer Internet security, but for one reason or another have kept putting it off. Time to get serious and take some affirmative action. These 6 steps are just what you need to get started.

Step 1: Identify Potential Threats

In order to create an effective plan of action, it is essential the you identify potential threats. This includes not only ways that your confidential information on your computer could be accessed illegally without your knowledge, but also where the threats may come from. Generally we think of the nameless hackers lurking in cyberspace just waiting for the opportunity to invade our computer and create havoc. While this may be the most common danger, there are also more intimate people around you such as casual friends, business associates, friends of friends, or even associates of family members, who if given the chance could gain access to your computer and obtain some confidential information such as bank account numbers, credit card information, and other private data. The point here is that you should take steps to ensure computer security from potential threats both within your sphere of influence as well as beyond.

Step 2: Computer Lock Down

One of the easiest steps, and the most overlooked by most users, is to simply lock the computer when not in use. Whether using your computer at home or even your business computer at work, you should never leave your computer running unattended for any length of time without having some sort of locking system in place. Most computer operating systems such as Windows do have this feature enabled for when you first start up your computer, however often users leave their computer running unattended which means anyone can sit down and have access to it. Therefore it is important to have another layer of security to protect your confidential files when your computer system is actually running. This means having both a good password to lock you computer from unauthorized access, along with different passwords to protect files you want to keep private. Use a combination of letters and numbers, both upper and lower case letters for the best protection. Never use common every day items like birthdays, kids or pet names, telephone numbers etc., as these are just too risky if the computer hacker knows you personally.

Step 3: Disconnect

No computer Internet security software or firewall system can be considered 100% safe under all circumstances, day after day. With new forms of malware such as viruses being invented each and every day, there is always a chance, perhaps very slim, that your current computer security could be breached. There is a 100% solution to online threats that is rarely considered by most computer users which is actually free and very easy to do. Simply disconnect your Internet connect from your modem when not using your computer. This physical break in the path from the Internet into your computer will solve any type of online threat that currently exists.

Step 4: Onboard Security

It is amazing how many computer users today still ignore the need for good quality computer protection in the form of well respected computer Internet security software. Either they are totally naive and believe the myth “it will never happen to me” or they run on the cheap, and figure that the basic malware and spyware protection and the firewall provided with their operating system is good enough. Others will take things one step further and download some free PC internet security software thinking that this is as good as the paid version. Hello? There is a reason why it is free! You generally get what you pay, or do not pay for, in terms of computer Internet security. This is not to say that the basic security settings of your operating system and some e-mail programs, web browsers, and applications should be ignored! These should be activated to add yet another level of protection for your computer against outside threats.

Step 5: Prepare for the Unexpected

With all the concern about hackers breaking into your computer, physically or online, people often overlook the less sensational dangers to their computer system such as power surges or spikes and hardware malfunction. Any of these can destroy or corrupt important files and even make your onboard security useless. Therefore it is wise to use a good quality power surge protector that will guard against unexpected spikes in electricity which could fry your computer components and damage your hard drive containing your data files. If you are really concerned about these kinds of dangers there are battery system backups that you can use that will automatically protect against power surges as well as power outages and allow you to save data and shutdown your computer normally to avoid corrupting any files.

Step 6: Backup Important Data

Anyone familiar with computers generally knows or has heard at least one story of someone who lost everything in an instant when their computer’s hard drive suddenly and without warning… CRASHED! If you do not regularly backup important data files containing confidential personal information or even information that has a sentimental value to you and your family, then it is like playing a game of “Russian Roulette”. It is only a matter of time until this happens as computer hard drives are not built to last forever. Sometimes a good computer techie can still access a failed hard drive and save the contents to a different hard drive, and sometimes not. Can you afford to take this chance? External hard drives or “zip drives” are very affordable these days and can hold huge amounts of information, in most cases the entire contents of your hard drive, and offer an easy solution as well as “piece of mind” knowing that you have your important data saved in another place should your hard drive fail. Just remember to backup on a regular basis! Depending upon the value of our data and how often changes are made to it, you may need to backup monthly, weekly or even daily.

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Preventative Maintenance Increases Computer Performance and Lifespan

Unexpected computer problems and off-site computer repairs jeopardize business productivity by creating unnecessary and often costly down time. Although it is impossible to completely prevent computer malfunctions, there are steps one can take to keep computer repair to a minimum. By performing regular preventative maintenance, such as the suggestions that follow, computers will not only experience longer life, they will also show faster performance, be more secure, and provide maximized hard drive space.

One of the most important and often overlooked computer maintenance tasks is cleaning. Computer overheating leads to premature wearing, but it is so easy to avoid. Keeping computers clear of dirt, dust and grime will ensure the cooling fans are optimally functioning and will prevent metallic component corrosion. Start by cleaning the outside of the computer. It’s best to use a lint-free cloth to wipe down the computer case exterior and the blades of the cooling fan. In addition to cleaning the computer case, clean and clear the surrounding space. Make sure there is nothing blocking airflow to the cooling fans or vents. If the computer is stored in a built-in desk cubby, make sure the cabinet door is left open while the machine is in use. When possible, keep machines out of direct sunlight and away from other heat sources. Don’t forget to also clean other computer components! Monitors, especially older ones, have vents that should be kept clear of dust. Many people eat or drink at their workspace, so cleaning the keyboard and mouse will cut down on purchasing replacement parts.

Cleaning computer interiors is a more delicate procedure. If you aren’t comfortable cleaning it yourself, many IT companies that specialize in preventative maintenance will provide this service. Before attempting to clean the interior, make sure the computer is off and unplugged. It is important to ground yourself before accessing the interior as static can destroy electronics. Carefully removing a side panel on the computer case will give access to the interior where you can wipe out any dust and dirt that has made its way into the machine. I also recommend using a can of compressed air to gently remove dust that has gathered on components. If you have a computer that is exceptionally dirty, you might consider having it professionally cleaned.

There are a few more simple external steps you can take to safeguard office computers and important files. The first is to make a habit of turning off computer monitors when not in use. The screen will last much longer and you will be conserving power if you do so. The next, which may seem like a no-brainer, is to use surge protectors. Electrical fluctuations, especially caused by faulty wiring in older buildings, can mean instant death for any computer. Never plug computers directly into a wall outlet. As I have mentioned, it isn’t possible to prevent malfunctions; components break, hard drives crash, and files get corrupted. In this case, best defense is really a good offense. Invest in backup drives or even cloud storage and either weekly or bi-weekly, backup important data. When possible, keep backup files off-site, This will safeguard your business documents if the unthinkable happens – a robbery, fire or natural disaster for example.

Now that we have covered physical maintenance, it is time to focus on preventative maintenance for a computer’s hardware and software – the inner workings. If you are working with older machines, it might be beneficial to update or upgrade hardware. This can range from adding or changing hard drives to prevent hard drive failure or add more storage space to adding more RAM to create more memory and decrease lag. Upgrading hardware can be done on your own, but hiring a computer support technician to evaluate and update your systems is probably a more efficient option when managing an office with multiple machines.

To keep computers running optimally, make sure the operating system is up to date. These periodic updates may seem minor, but they often contain bug fixes that make your computer more stable, meaning they will be less likely to crash unexpectedly. Installing anti virus and malware software is another way to keep computers healthy. Malware and viruses can not only slow your computer, they also compromise security. There are plenty of free options available that can protect your system without compromising processing speed.

My final advice relates specifically to the hard drive. The hard drive is the brain of the computer, if it is not running optimally, computer performance will slow dramatically. If it dies, you could lose all your stored data (hope you saved a backup!). Windows machines offer three important (and FREE) tools to help keep your hard drive at peak performance: disk defragmenter, disk cleanup and check disk. Disk defragmenter rearranges files being stored on your hard drive so that they are more easily and efficiently accessible. This not only helps speed up the computer, it also frees disk space on the drive. Disk cleanup deletes temporary files that can slow down your system and use up hard drive space. These temporary files largely come from web browsing and should be deleted on a regular basis. Check disk checks the physical structure of the drive and helps restore it by repairing errors. These errors can be caused by a number of things, including program crashes or power fluctuations and outages. Using Check Disk can also detect if a hard drive is close to failure; if it finds numerous bad sectors, it may be time to replace the drive.

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