What to Check Before Upgrading to Windows 10

By David Christie

The new upgrade is almost here (or already depending on time of reading) and boy are we looking forward to what will likely be a big o’l list of things that will go horribly, horribly wrong. If you have a computer that is only 2-3 years old (not out of box, from manufacture date) you will likely have little to no issues as far as having the preferred hardware specs required for optimal performance. If you have upgraded your PC from an earlier operating system already, or have programs and software that you have been using for a length of over five years, you may want to keep reading and make sure you avoid any potential implications that may come with blindly upgrading your computer.

Below we will cover IF you should upgrade. Then if it looks like your PC fits the bill, what you need to DO prior to your upgrade.

Current Operating System (windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) -to check your systems specs right click “computer” on the start menu and click properties.

XP

NO.

Vista

ALSO NO.

Heavily recommend you do not. Unless your PC has been heavily, and regularly maintenance’d, and you are running with 8-16 GB of ram with a processor of at least 2.0 GHz. You COULD upgrade it, however this said computer will be pushing 5 to 8 years of use (2007 Vista first released). If this PC is a laptop, it will probably die by the time your done reading this article, and even if it was a nice custom desktop, much of the software/programs you’are using on it will likely not survive the conversion. Basically, the only people who will do this are PC tech’s who will do it for a laugh, or to test aged software on the newest operating systems.

Windows 7 (if you got your hands on a Windows 7 Starter edition, and you somehow get the Windows 10 update notice, don’t do it!)

This one’s gonna be the one you want to double check on. First of all, if you upgraded your computer to Windows 7 from Vista, then your computer is likely 5-8 years old. If that computer was one the 5 years variety, is a desktop, has been cleaned out by a technician, has had it’s hardware upgraded (RAM, CPU, power supply) to keep up with modern computer standards, AND you aren’t dependent on programs that are older then roughly 2010. THEN (and only then) you can go ahead and try it.

Basically Windows 7 owners have to check if they are using a older release of windows 7, or a version upgraded from Vista. If you bought your PC close to when Windows 7 was released, but you have a superior CPU and ram speed, you might be alright. Be cautious of older laptops. We don’t see many that last longer than 4 years. If you got a rickety laptop full of treasured memories or documents, and it’s making scratchy noises with the fan on max, back up that computer and put that stuff on a new computer instead.

Overall were looking for TWO things. That you’re confident your computer is in good working condition, and you aren’t using old, old programs that were designed for use on Vista (or even old windows 7 software). If you struggled to get something to work before, be ready for that struggle, or inevitable loss once you’ve upgraded. If you aren’t sure, just make a system image of your drive prior to the upgrade. It can be used to put everything back the way it was in case you do not like the upgrade.

Windows 8 & 8.1

You should be good, unless like in the paragraphs above, you upgraded from Vista, to 7, to 8, then finally to 8.1, and are currently wondering why there’s smoke coming out of the computer…If your computer is running real slow from previous upgrades, I wouldn’t recommend it. Though you CAN make a system image of your computer prior to upgrading. Then if the goblins inside the computer decide to take vengeance on you, you can simply put everything back the way it was and forget about all the bad things that happened.

OK! I think i’m OK to upgrade! what should I do beforehand? 

Backup your files!

If you don’t have a lot of pictures or video files on your computer, you might be able to get away with a 32/64 GB USB flash drive. These can be purchased for roughly $10-$20 dollars. (we bulk order them for 15$ per unit or find them when on sale.) If you have more than say, 120 GB’s of data, you can opt to just use multiple flash drives, or opt to get an external hard drive. These hold roughly 500 GB’s up to 2 terabytes (2000 GB’s) of data, of course they will cost a little more depending on the size you get.

Make a system Image File! 

If you load up the update and come back from work to an angry machine that’s hissing and cursing at you in dead languages, you can set your computer to EXACTLY how it was before you upgraded. IF you make the system image file BEFORE (<— cannot stress this enough) you proceed with the upgrade, you can make it as if you never did the update. think of it as a save file for a video game.

To do this you will need an external or internal hard drive that you are NOT using. Essentially what you’re doing is making an exact copy of what’s on the computer. So the more stuff you have on the computer, the more space you will need to make the file (Example- if you have 72 gigabytes of data on your hard drive, you will need something with at least 72 gigabytes of free storage)

Internet Explorer Will NOT BE THERE!

If you are among the many user’s (or are upgrading said users) who depend on “the blue e” to get you online to check your mail, Facebook, or this very article, you have been warned! Presumably there should be an option to transfer your bookmarks over to Microsoft’s new internet browser “Edge”. (they capitalized the blue e and set it on fire.) The old internet explorer browser will no longer be receiving updates.

Soon it be a security risk for people who choose not to upgrade and continue to use the browser. For those of you who are familiar with Chrome and Firefox apparently the setup is very similar to their browser settings. So if you need a bit of practice, or are trying to ease a user out of their comfort zone, try out out Chrome and Firefox. if you can use them, you can use Edge. and last but not least…

You should wait at least a week before you go through with it!

It’s a common trend for many to be cautious of brand new shiny technology. While the companies put their best efforts into ensuring that possible errors are taken care of before hand and kept to a minimum, things are gonna happen. The great thing about modern day technology though, almost all the problems that can happen to all the types of computers and the accessories associated with them, will be reported, reviewed, and posted online by many for all to see. There will be plenty of people eager to try out the new software to point out all the aspects of it, good and bad.

So if you wait a day or two. Then find out that everybody who downloaded the upgrade cannot use their mouse, open certain programs, download/upload speeds become unbearable, or the computers become sentient and demand you feed them the pet cat, go ahead and wait a bit. After the waters have been tested and a patch is released if needed, go ahead with the update. Most people have reserved their copy already, but just know that the update won’t go through until YOU confirm it and accept the EULA. On the release date the files should be automatically downloaded, then all you have to do is activate it at a time that works for you.

I hope you found the information helpful and that you resist the call of Mr hammer should you take every precaution, and the computer seems to be having issues, give us a call.  We can help you out.

 

Phone Water Damage Rice Trick!

Even the most un-tech savy person usually understands that you shouldn’t mix your electronics with good ‘ol H20. Water damage will usually end up killing your phone (or other hand held devices) for good. cracks can be fixed or even ignored, cases can be replaced, but submerged electronics will usually end up frying all the important bits inside the phone. You can’t fool the retailers either, there are indicators placed inside many electronics that will verify your phone was submerged in water, and you will likely end up paying for the damage.

Luckily there is couple of awesome tricks that, if acted upon fast enough, can completely mitigate the damage, or at the very least leave it in a operable state. Most have heard of the rice trick. Leaving your phone in a bag or container of rice will absorb leftover moisture from inside the phone, but you also want to make sure you do a few other steps first.

1. Dry of the outside first and turn off the phone.

Turn off the phone then, shake out excess water and completely wipe down the device with a towel or similar cloth to remove as much moisture as you can from the outside. Also if it is hooked up to a charger somehow remove that IMMEDIATELY.

2. Remove the battery, case, and SIM card

Most older phones can simply have the back removed by hand and then simply pluck out both the battery and sim card, but for newer models you may require some tools. My iphone 5 for example, has to have two very tiny screws removed, then pry the screen off. If you are unable to get to your phones battery via lack of tools or the fear of destroying your phone, just get the sim card out then go to the next step. Most modern phone have the SIM card locked into a slot on the side and can only be unlocked by pushing a tiny button, in a tiny hole, with a tiny (and easily lost) tool. If you don’t have the small tool to remove the sim card from its slot, a small tack or pin will work. simply push into the small hole with a bit of force and you should be able to remove it.

3. Vacuum the phone (do NOT blow dry!)

The second most popular step before dunking your phone in rice or silica packets is a vacuum cleaner. People have found success in sucking out the moisture using a household vacuum cleaner. This is definitely not recommended on computer devices like a desktop, printer, or laptop, as this can result in static electricity buildup/damage (unless you own the type specifically made for use on computers). On a small form factor like a cell phone though the risk seems to negligible, especially with the potential harm water can bring. What CAN cause static electricity buildup in a phone though is a blow dryer. Using a blow dryer can only help fry your phone. Even with out the heating element, you can end up forcing moisture INSIDE the circuitry. So vacuum good, blow dryer bad, then next…

4. Place you phone inside a container of rice/silica packets.

There is a growing amount of materials people have found that work better then the classic go to rice, but rice remains popular cause its the most common thing that’s likely within arms reach. If you have any silica packets from dried food storage or a medicine cabinet, throw those in as well. They’re a bit better at keeping things dry. After that all you can do is pray. You’l want to leave the phone alone for at least a day or two for maximum effect.

One scenarios we’ve personally experienced with water damage 

My dad owns an iphone 5s, and twice it has been knocked into our dogs water bowl by this little fuzzball, we call Smiley Kitty.

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I am Cat, Bane of small, paw-able items

Each time though it has come out unscathed. We did the basic steps and dunked in it rice, but we didn’t remove the battery simply cause we didn’t have a tiny screw driver laying around and wanted to get it in rice ASAP. From our experience we would recommend the iPhone 5s to anybody who was concerned with water damage being an issue in their daily lives. Also don’t leave your phone precariously next to the edge. For it is but a hockey puck, and the dog’s water bowl a goal net, in the eyes of furry house dwellers.

David Christie

Lenovo Superfish Spyware

After browsing through some computer articles online, we discovered an interesting bit about Lenovo computers sold last year.  Apparently an Adware program know as “Superfish” was knowingly planted into certain models of Lenovo computers sold in the year 2014. The program itself kept track of the users browsing history, Superfish would then insert adds onto the sites you visited most, as well as open the path for various other types of malware to infect the computer. It is has been noted that there is a potentially large security risk if you use your computer in a local wi-fi area while your computer is under the effects of this software.

However it seems there hasn’t been any major incidences to note. According what we’ve read on the matter.  The software is easy to spot and remove with windows add & remove programs feature.  If you’ve had your computer scanned for malware or virus removal by a technician or equally computer savvy individual, it is likely you no longer have it on your PC. If you would like to confirm whether or not you have an infection you can click on this link.

The website will begin its confirmation test as soon as it loads and takes about ten seconds. The site recommends you do the test with all your browsers installed on your computer. If any of them say you have Superfish on your computer you can easily remove it using the add & remove programs features located on the control panel. It is likely programs like Malwarebytes and HitmanPro will designate the program as hostile as well.

Again this program is likely only to be found on Lenovo model computers.  The company is facing a class action lawsuit due to the potential security breach Superfish brings to users. If you know someone with a Lenovo model computer that was recently purchased, have them check that site out and make sure they don’t still have this ad-ware floating around in their PC.

Thank you for Keeping “The Working Mouse” working!

Connect To a Wireless Network Windows 8 – 8.1

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1. Click/tap on the wireless network icon in your desktop taskbar notification area.

2. Click/tap on the name of your wireless network that you want to connect to (Meatball catfish – This is the name of my Home WiFi.)

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