Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question? Let us know, you're probably not the only one. Check back here frequently for more answers to your questions.
Can I share one printer?
Sharing one printer between multiple computers in a home network can be efficient and cost effective. Choose an easily accessible location for the printer, then select the setup that best suits your network. Below are the different types of setups and some of their advantages and disadvantages.Network Enabled Printer
Some printers contain the necessary hardware that enables them to be connected directly to the network. The product description of the printer will include the words “network printer” or “network capable.” Once connected to your network, the printer will be visible and accessible by the computers on the network. This is the easiest solution for setting up a shared printer, but may be the most costly if you have to replace an older printer that does not have built in network capability.Dedicated Print Server
A print server is a hardware device that links your printer directly to the network making it accessible to any user on the network. A print server can cost around $50. Alternatively, your network router can have a built in print server. These routers run about $20 more than the ones without a print server. Make sure the print server you buy supports your printer.Host Computer/Server
The most common solution for sharing a printer is to connect the printer to one computer and designate it as a “shared” printer within the network. One disadvantage of this is that the host computer that is physically connected to the printer must be powered up before the other computers can print.
If you would like assistance setting up your home network, please call us at (916) 625-0141.
Does my computer have a virus?
Some common symptoms that indicate your computer may be infected by a virus:
- Your computer is running slower and slower
- The computer often locks up or freezes
- Your internet connection is repeatedly lost
- The computer shuts itself down unexpectedly
- Your familiar programs do not work correctly
- You see a large number or pop-ups or error messages
- Unusual sounds come from the speakers
- Your antivirus program becomes disabled and cannot be restarted.
Don’t let your irreplaceable data (documents, music, and photos) be at risk. We can recommend some excellent antivirus programs that are either free or very affordable.
If you have any questions about virus detection, removal, or protection, please give us a call at (916) 625-0141.
Does my computer need a tune up?
Over a short period of time the inside of your computer will collect a few more things than just dust. Temporary files, unnecessary drivers and other software can interfere with the computer’s resources. The PC will gradually become slower, taking longer to start up, connect to the internet, or do just about anything. It may behave oddly; shutting down or losing its internet connection. Besides running slow, it may be heading for a crash, putting your valuable data at risk. During a PC tune up, your computer is inspected and cleaned, checked for errors, unnecessary files, virus infections, and for current upgrades. We recommend a PC tune up every 4 to 6 months for peak performance.
If you have any questions about computer optimization or repair, please give us a call at (916) 625-0141.
How do I protect my data?
It’s a fact that PCs can be attacked by malicious software, damaged, or stolen. The best way to protect your data (pictures, music, and documents) is to regularly copy your data onto something outside of your computer. This is called making a backup copy or backing up your data. The most common backup methods are to copy your data to a CD/DVD, a USB flash drive (thumb drive), or onto an external hard drive. Another route is to use an online backup service such as Carbonite or Mosey. All these methods have pros and cons. However, you should make backups a part of your regular routine to prevent the disaster of lost data.
Give us a call to at (916) 625-0141 discuss backups and we’ll answer your questions about which method is best for your situation.
How do I stay safe on the internet?
Staying safe while using the Internet is a challenge. Follow the latest guidelines for protecting your PC against hackers and malicious software while using the Internet.
- Keep your operating system and everyday software up to date. Be sure to run Windows Update regularly and keep your antivirus and anti-malware software updated.
- Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. Use longer passwords because they are harder to crack.
- If it sounds too good to be true, don’t click on it, even just for curiosity’s sake.
- Don’t open any email attachments that you’re not expecting even if it’s from a friend. Destructive programs can hijack email contact lists and send themselves out as attachments.
Try to find out if your friend really sent that attachment before opening it or give us a call at (916) 625-0141.
Should I have more than one antivirus program?
It is not advisable to have more than one antivirus program running on your computer. Different antivirus programs will detect each other and will eventually disagree and clash, which can create many problems for your PC including major slow-down, system lockups, and crashes. But there is another aspect to this question. Not all antivirus programs protect against all types of malicious software which include viruses, worms, spyware, Trojans, and rogue software, just to name a few. Running an antivirus program and a complimentary malicious software blocker is recommended. Selecting the programs that won’t conflict requires research and keeping up with the latest information in this ever-changing threat environment. Also, configuring the programs to work simultaneously involves “advanced” settings and requires a technological background.
Call us at (916) 625-0141 with your questions about affordable and effective PC protection.
Should I leave my PC turned on?
When computers were just becoming commonplace, we were taught that it was best to leave the computer on. Times have changed, hardware has changed and it no longer benefits your PC to leave it running while it’s not in use. But there are benefits to shutting it down. Properly shutting down your computer allows it to clear its memory and reallocate its resources. It prevents the chance of overheating should the fan system have a failure and it slows down the wearing out of some of the components. If you won’t be using your computer for a few hours, or when it’s time to go to bed, it’s better to turn the PC off.
What are some safety tips for using social media?
One of the biggest threats to our personal privacy is social networking. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are here to stay, but there are some safe practices to employ while using them.
- Use strong passwords that include an unexpected mixture of letters and numbers
- Use a different password for each different site
- Deny use of all applications offered by the sites
- Learn what sensitive data is and don’t post it
- Don’t identify family members. This may reveal your mother’s maiden name to criminals
- Don’t identify the pets. This may reveal your favorite password
- Don’t “friend” people you don’t know
- Don’t answer surveys
- Avoid chatting
Feel free to call us at (916) 625-0141 with your questions or concerns about using social media.
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is an executable file that can avoid detection by disguising itself as a legitimate program. It is designed to replicate itself and spread from computer to computer without being noticed. A virus can corrupt or delete your data, cause problems with your programs and normal computer activities, and cause a major crash. A virus can even hijack your email account and attempt to spread itself to everyone in your Contacts list. Because viruses are frequently rewritten and adjusted it is difficult to defend against them. Antivirus programs must be updated continuously to be equipped to find new viruses. We have found that the most popular antivirus programs are not always the best.
Call us at (916) 625-0141 we will be glad to answer your questions about antivirus protection.
When is it time to buy a new computer?
If you answer Yes to one or more of these questions you should consider upgrading or buying a new computer:
- Your CPU speed is less than 1.0 GHz.
- Your computer has less than 512 megabytes of RAM.
- You are running a version of Windows that begins with a “3” or a “9” (Windows 3.1, Win95, or Win98).
- You try to install a program and you get the error “Operating System not supported.”
- You try to upgrade the Operating System and get an error message that the hardware is not supported.
- Your computer has no USB ports. (Most devices such as the mouse, keyboard, printer, and external hard drives now use USB connections.)
If you have any questions about purchasing a new computer or upgrading your computer, just give us a call at (916) 625-0141.