The Computer “Expert”

I went to a customer’s business yesterday to help with a mouse issue and computer not starting nor printing. I was told the new office manager was a “computer expert.” What I found was that the PS/2 mouse connector was damaged by this employee. The “expert” jammed it into the hole and maybe even twisted it. These six pins in the PS/2 mouse should be straight, not flattened like some UFO crop circle! Not only did I replace the mouse, but also fixed their printing problem (the cable was plugged in the wrong hole!). I tuned up the computer, and everything was well when I left. Leave your computer work to the real computer experts and save yourself frustration and extra costs. Please call us first at 952-939-0174.

Two is One and One is None

Navy Seals have a saying: “Two is one, and one is none.” This idea simply put means that having a spare of something is more important than having just one of that item. If you have just one and it fails, you have nothing.
For example, a customer contacted me this morning. His dog chewed on his USB flash drive and ruined it. Some critical data is on that drive that cannot be replaced. We may not be able to help him, and it may cost him $1,000-$2,000 to get his data back, if at all! It would have been better to put the data on his computer and then back it up to the flash drive that Fido then destroyed. Or have two flash drives and rotate them so you have at least one set of your data backed up.
I rotate two external hard drives that attach to my computer. I also back up my most critical files every night before I leave work. It takes 30 seconds. My business could burn down and I would be safe knowing that my accounting data and customer database is secure. I also have identical spare computers at my office so if one PC fails, I can move the hard drive to the spare. I am up and running in 5 minutes! Two is one, and one is none! Please call us at 952-939-0174 to let us help you set up a backup system.

Backup, Backup, Backup!

A business customer of ours got hit with a ransomware virus on Valentine’s Day.  It encrypted all of the files on his computer at 3 am in the morning so they were unusable the next day. The hackers wanted $3,000 in Bitcoin for the key to unlock his files. By the time he set up and funded a Bitcoin account (3 days) and wait for the key and files to decrypt (another 2 days), he’d be out of business. Also, he might not even get the key and he would want to flush his computer of any backdoors for the hackers. I got up there within an hour after their call and diagnosed the damage. The ransomware also encrypted all of the files on the external hard drive and on another computer that shared files with this computer. I provided a newer computer by the end of the day and got them up and running over the next 2 days. I recommend people have two or more external hard drives that you rotate and keep off site. Cloud-based backup is nice, but it is very slow to restore files over an Internet connection. By the way, we can clone your entire drive so you can get up and running sooner so you don’t have to install software programs and set up networking, e-mail, etc. Call us at 952-939-0174 for help with your backups.

What is Your Time Worth?

Today was a tale of two clients I helped today. One client had four newer desktop computers that we custom-built with top-notch parts, a 500GB solid-state hard drive, 16GB of memory, Windows 10, and Intel processors that would last them 5 years or more. The other customer was a woman who had a very slow Windows 7 computer with 4GB memory and a mechanical (not solid-state) hard drive.
I tuned up the four business computers in 2 hours (30 minutes per computer). The other customer’s slower computer took an hour and a half to tune up. We charge by the hour, so sometimes, a faster computer may pay for itself over time. Also, what is your time worth waiting for your computer to start up, your files to load, and your web pages to display?

I Recommend a Yearly Tune-Up

I just spent a couple of days at a small insurance agency doing onsite tune-ups.  I discovered plenty of problems and fixed them as I worked on eight computers: old printers that are no longer needed and slowing things down, noisy power supply fans, failing hard drives, out-of-date or inferior antivirus software, and more. As long as I was there, they had me set up a new printer, remove ex-employee information, and more. Whew! I wish more people would get their computers checked out at least once a year. Stop in or call today!

Hot and Cold

It’s cold out there; I’m taking a vacation. (Not really.) But if you are going away, now might be the time to upgrade or tune up your computer.
Also, if you leave your laptop or tablet out in the cold, do not turn it on until it gets back to room temperature. If you turn your electronics on too soon, the heat will make condensation (e.g. water) inside the device and possibly short circuit something. Treat your electronics like a dog.
Similarly, if you leave your electronic device in the heat, let it cool down to room temperature. Better yet, roll down the car window as if your computer was a dog! Take care of your computer and it will take care of you!

Thank You…and Merry Christmas!

As we approach Christmas and a new year, I just want to reflect and thank everyone for their support and business during the past year.
Strike Twice Computers continues to be recognized as providing fast, professional and personable computers and services. I am so grateful for new and returning customers. I thank you for referring your business associates and friends to us. We have never had such a wonderful selection of computers and we have really enjoyed helping everyone during this hectic period.
We will be open one more Saturday, December 23rd, from 10am to 2pm. After that, we are back to our usual hours Monday through Friday, from 8am to 6pm. (Closed Monday, December 25th, for Christmas, however.)
Thank you again…and Merry Christmas!

Don’t Clown Around with a Cheap Computer

Don’t clown around with the Christmas specials on laptops. Most often, these are toys. I saw that Best Buy and Target have a $149 and $179 laptop on sale. They each have 2GB of memory. Our used laptops have 4GB to 16GB of memory, which makes them faster.

These budget laptops on sale also have a 32GB hard drive. Our laptops have at least a 180GB hard drive (which is an expensive and faster solid-state drive) up to 1000GB. A 32GB drive has very little space left on it after Windows is installed on it. Expect to run out of space real quick when you add music, documents, and pictures.

On top of that, these laptops have a slow Celeron processor on it. Expect web sites, videos and music to pause and hiccup as you use it on these toys.

We have found that these cheapo computers cannot have their memory nor hard drive upgraded. Is it a deal at $149? We don’t think so. We have laptops at $199 that are a better investment than a “Black Friday” special. Please check them out at…/0Bw5m_tQB2X5TTG9iYjhWSWxPY2s/view


As we wrap up 2017, I have to pause and be thankful for all I have. Not material things, although those can be nice.

I am thankful for customers who return to Strike Twice Computers to have us serve them. With their purchases, I can support my family (and 2 cats!) and try to live a middle-income life in the greatest , safest country in the world.

I am grateful for seeing the sun rise everyday and the beauty of the changing seasons. I am grateful to be able to exercise and move around where others are unable to.

Some things are out of my control and I just have to accept that. But I take pause every day to be grateful and I encourage you to do the same. People who reflect on the positive aspects of their life live longer and are happier.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

It seems like the cyber threats are everywhere. Phishing e-mails, hacked credit reports, popup ads asking you to call a toll-free number for “help”, etc.

I’ve been taking an “ethical hacking” course lately (boring!). They talk about a layered defense to computer security. You are not going to stop everything and everyone that wants onto your computer or into your network. So you do a strategic withdrawal (e.g. retreat). You make sure your antivirus is up to date. You make sure your firewall is turned on. You make sure your router is up to date and its most current firmware is installed. You make sure Windows is updated. You make sure your software programs are updated. You make sure your backup system is in place and working.

A computer tuneup from Strike Twice Computers can take care of most of these items. Only $99.99 instead of $139.99! What is your peace of mind worth?