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Los Angeles Computer Services FAQ

What is a virus?

A virus is a computer program that automatically copies itself, thereby “infecting” a computer without the user knowing, then disrupts the operation of the computer. Viruses are sometimes designed to change or destroy computer data. They can damage data, cause computers to crash, display offending or bothersome messages, or lie dormant until such time they are set to “awaken.” In the case of trojan viruses, they are designed to find their way onto a computer and cause no visible damage, but rather operate covertly in order to steal passwords and other sensitive information.

How often should I back up?

Backup as often as possible! PC Fixer recommends backing up daily to an external hard drive for quick recovery and to a cloud-based service for extra protection. Our technicians can create a custom plan to ensure that your system backup runs daily at a specified time most convenient to you (when your business is closed, or when your home computer is not in use). Be aware that a local backup is not enough. Every computer user’s backup system should be comprehensive and include both local and remote backups. We recommend www.crashplan.com as a low-cost online backup solution starting at $3 per month. PC Fixer’s consultants provide cost-effective solutions for complete data backup systems. Call or email today for a free evaluation.

Should I shut down my computer every night?

This is an excellent question and one without a definite answer. First of all, leaving your computer on all of the time wastes electricity and is bad for the environment and your pocketbook. Turning off your computer every night will save valuable resources. However, automated backups cannot occur if your computer is off.  That is why PC Fixer sets up automated backups to shut down the computer upon completion. We believe this is the ideal solution to the question.

It is generally believed that leaving electronic devices on all of the time is good for their “health” and will result in longer life, but ultimately the issue of leaving your computer on all of the time versus turning it off is more a matter of personal preference. A PC Fixer technician can assist you in making the best decision based on your needs.

What is spyware?

Spyware is any malicious code that attempts to collect information about computer usage in an effort to sell that information for a profit. Spyware is the number one problem affecting computers today. Recent studies estimate that 9 out of 10 computers are infected with some kind of spyware. PC Fixer has the tools and experience to eradicate spyware infections from your computer. After about an hour of service from a technician to clean out a system, your computer will run much faster and will be more secure in the future.

What is an error code?

In computer programming, error codes are messages that correspond to specific problems in a software application. They are typically used to identify faulty hardware, software, or incorrect user input in programs. Some of the most startling error codes visible to computer users are the “Blue Screen of Death” codes provided by the Microsoft Windows operating systems. A skilled computer repair technician can effectively use these codes to quickly diagnose a problem and implement a solution.

What is RSS?

RSS is a format used to publish content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts in a standardized format. An RSS feed usually contains a summary of content from a web site. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated way that can be piped into reader programs. The main benefit of RSS is the aggregation of content from multiple Web sources in one place. RSS content can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader” or an “aggregator”, which can be web-based or desktop-based.

What is a Trojan?

In the context of computing, a Trojan horse, also known as a trojan, is a piece of malware which seems to perform a certain action but in fact performs another, such as transmitting a computer virus. Trojans are notorious for their use in the installation of unwanted programs.

What is a computer worm?

A computer worm is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other computers and it may do so without any user interaction. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause harm to networks, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.

What is a server?

In tech lingo a server is a computer that serves many things to “user”, or “client” machines. A server may only do a few things, or it may handle many responsibilities such as email service, backup service, remote access and more. Everything a server does is called a service. Services are used by other computers that are called clients. The relationship between the client and the server is called a client-server relationship. Usually, servers are specially made to be more powerful and reliable, and they are more expensive than normal computers. Sometimes, servers can be clustered, which means that a lot of servers work together to do one service.

What is a hard drive?

A hard drive is a rigid-disk drive, although it is probably never referred to as such. By way of comparison, a so-called “floppy” disk has a disc that is flexible. Originally, the term “hard” was temporary slang, substituting “hard” for “rigid”, before these drives had an established and universally-agreed-upon name.

What is an IP address?

An IP address (or Internet Protocol address) is a unique address that electronic devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a network. Basically, it is a computer’s address. All network devices, including routers, switches, computers, servers, printers, and some telephones, have their own IP address that is unique within the network. The IP address acts as a locator for one device to find another and interact with it.

What is a blog?

A blog (web log) is a website with regular entries of news, commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

What is RAM?

Random access memory (more commonly known by its acronym, RAM) is one of many types of computer data storage. The word RAM is mostly associated with volatile types of memory, where the information is lost after the power is switched off.

What is a Firewall?

A firewall is a dedicated hardware device, or software program running on another computer, which inspects network traffic passing through it, and denies or permits passage based on a set of rules. A firewall’s main task is to regulate the flow of traffic between computer networks. A firewall’s role within a network resembles firewalls with fire doors in building construction. In the former case, it is used to prevent network intrusion in the private network. In the latter case, it is intended to contain and delay structural fire from spreading to nearby structures. Without proper configuration, a firewall can often become worthless. Many firewalls are configured to allow all traffic to pass through. This configuration makes unwanted network connections and system compromise much more likely.

What is overclocking?

Overclocking is the process of forcing a computer component to run faster than it was designed for, usually by personal computer enthusiasts in order to increase the performance of their systems. Some purchase low-end computer components which they then overclock to higher speeds, or overclock high-end components to attain levels of performance beyond the default factory settings. Others overclock outdated components to keep pace with new system requirements, rather than purchasing new hardware products. Users who overclock their components mainly focus their efforts on processors, video cards, motherboard chipsets, and Random Access Memory (RAM).

What is a video card?

A video card, also referred to as a graphics card, display adapter, GPU, and numerous other terms, is a computer component that sends images to a display or monitor. It operates on similar principles as a sound card or other peripheral devices.

What is Malware?

Malware, also known as Malicious Software, is computer code in the form of software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s knowledge. The term is a combination of the words malicious and software. The expression is a generalized term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of hostile, intrusive, or annoying programs. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware, and other malicious and unwanted software.

What is a CPU?

A Central Processing Unit (CPU), or sometimes just called a processor, is a microchip that can execute computer programs. Modern microprocessors appear in everything from automobiles, to cell phones, to children’s toys.

What is an SSD (Solid State Drive)

A solid-state drive (SSD) is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store data. Unlike flash-based memory cards and USB drives, an SSD functions as a full hard disk drive. With no moving parts, solid-state drives are less fragile than hard disks and are therefore also silent. With no moving parts, they are much faster than traditional hard drives. SSDs are commonly used in laptops, and although they are more expensive than hard drives the performance and reliability gains from this technology make the added cost worth it.

What is a motherboard?

A motherboard is the central circuit board in a computer. It is also known as a mainboard, or system board or, on Apple computers, a logic board, and is sometimes abbreviated casually as mobo. A motherboard contains the CPU and other peripheral interfaces. A typical desktop computer is built with the microprocessor, main memory, and other essential components on the motherboard. Other components are typically attached to the motherboard by connectors and cables, although it is also common to integrate these “peripherals” into the motherboard.

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