Q: I'm getting a lot of pop-ups and my computer is slow! Do I need a new one?
A: No, it's more likely that your computer is infected with adware. Though not particularly malicious, adware comes bundled with lots of different software downloads, often misleadingly labeled as "recommended" during the install wizard. Most clean-ups of adware take about an hour.
Q: My anti-virus programs say my computer is clean, but it's so slow! Do I need a new one?
A: A lot of anti-virus programs miss a LOT of infections. Norton and McAfee especially are not good at all at what they purport to be good at. Additionally, your anti-virus program may itself be the reason for your computer being slow. Many of these programs become more and more bloated as updates arrive, and older computers can't
neccessarily handle it. That still doesn't mean you have to buy a new computer, though! There are some decent free and low-cost options available. See "What's the best anti-virus" below.
Q: I have a screen on my computer that says I'm infected and to call a phone number. Should I call them? (Alternatively, "I'm getting phone calls from Micosoft. They say my computer is infected. Should I let them fix it?")
A: No! Those people are NOT Microsoft or any other legimitate company. They are running a tech support scam. The "infection" is fake, but they will happily charge you to install useless software and take control of your computer. Once they have control, they can do some bad stuff, including lock you out of the system. I can usually fix it fairly
easily... but some of these attacks require reinstalling your operating system to fix it. Be on your guard!
Q: Everybody tells me Macs are more secure. Should I buy one?
A: This is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. Macs tend to get fewer viruses because they are fewer of them on the market, not because they're inherently safer. And there are some Mac infections that I've had to clean up. Macs generally take a little longer to fix and not always as simple to repair as Windows PCs. Some
people swear by them, though. I recommend trying one out before you buy it... the interface is considerably different. It's intuitive for some... and not at all for others.
Q: My computer died! Do I need a new one? Did I lose all my pictures and files?
A: That kind of depends on HOW it died. Is it all dead, or just mostly dead? (Woo, I got in a Princess Bride reference!) If just the power supply went out, it'll usually cost less than $100 (parts included) to get it back up and running. Other situations can be more severe, but most of the time, your pictures and files are still intact and retrievable. Don't
give up without checking first!
Q: What's the best anti-virus to get?
A: No anti-virus program is perfect, but I recommend Malwarebytes (http://malwarebytes.com), the only one I personally use. (Also: I can now offer Malwarebytes Premium Licenses at a discount rate. Contact me for details!) If you have Windows 8.1 or newer, Windows
Defender is a decent, free anti-virus program preinstalled with Windows. It activates when other anti-virus programs are uninstalled. Microsoft Security Essentials works on Windows 7 and is essentially the same program. It requires downloading from Microsoft.
Q: I don't like the new Windows.
A: When I hear this, it usually means you don't like the new interfaces. I don't like a lot of them, either. Fortunately, there's a solution! Classic Shell is a third party program that overrides the Windows Start Menu with the old versions, your choice of 98, XP or Vista/7 styles.
Q: I lost my card games in the new Windows!
A: Microsoft elected to remove the old card games from Windows and replace them with versions that have ads. But! That doesn't mean we can't put them back. Contact me.
Q: What should I do about ransomware?
A: Backup your computer! And when you do, don't leave the drive connected, as many ransomware infections can attack peripheral drives. I can remove ransomware from a computer... but I can't get lost data back without a backup. And you SHOULD back your data up... hard drives can fail even without ransomware helping out.
Do you have a question for me that might be good for this list? Let me know!
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