Posts Tagged ‘laptop’

Slow computer woes? You’re not alone…

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Why is my computer so slow?

This turtle is way cuter and way less aggravating than your slow computer!

This turtle is faster, cuter, and definitely less aggravating than your slow computer!

Ever sit waiting forever for a web page to open wonder why your PC is so %#@#@* sluggish?!

Slow computer performance is easily the #1 complaint voiced by home computer users everywhere and spans the entire range of PC brands and vintages, that is to say, it doesn’t matter what brand of PC you have, or how old it is, most home computer users experience performance slowdowns within six months of getting a new computer or having a system cleanup performed.  Talk about aggravating!  Here’s a little info about what may be going on and what you can do about it…

- click for full article here -

Death of a Laptop – First the Power Jack, then the AC Adapter, and finally the Battery

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Death of a Laptop

Don’t let a damaged laptop power jack result in a damaged AC adapter or damaged battery as well.  Here are some tips to minimizing the cost of power jack repair by preventing additional damage that is common when power jacks go bad…

One of the biggest laptop headaches today is power jack failure.  It’s not unusual for customers to bring laptops to our local service center with the power jack (where the power cord plugs into the back or side of the laptop) completely mangled or even missing– knocked loose and pushed back into the chassis of the laptop.

There are many reasons why laptop power jack failure is so common including poor design that doesn’t withstand the wear and tear of daily or more frequent connection and disconnection (this is particularly true of flimsy ”barrel” type connectors).  Other common causes include  tripping over the cord or picking up the laptop not realizing it’s plugged in only to rip the cord from the jack.

To the credit of some manufacturers, it has been recognized that this is a serious problem with laptop design, and so some steps have been taken to reduce the incidence of failure.  Some Dell laptops for example, utilize a heavy-duty three-pronged connector that is less prone to damage from pulling or twisting.  Probably the most innovative design is in the Apple Macbooks where the power cord attaches magnetically rather than via friction-fit. In that case, the power cord can easily be pulled free from the unit, even in a situation where one trips over the cord, without suffering the damage usually associated with friction fit connectors.

Two important thing to know when you are suffering from power jack problems:

  1. Running down your laptop battery until it’s dead may do permanent damage to the battery.
  2. Jiggling, twisting, or pulling the wire from your AC adapter to “force” a connection to a damaged power jack may damage your power adapter.

Resist the urge to run your computer until the battery is dead.  Why?  Because running your battery all the way down and not immediately recharging it can damage the battery to the point where it will no longer take a charge, or best case, may take a charge but will have significantly reduced life meaning it may only power your laptop for a few minutes compared to a normal life of several hours. Once this happens, you have increased the cost of repair to not only replacing the damaged power jack, but now you will need to replace the battery as well if you want to go wireless at all.

Another practice that can potentially increase the cost of repair is constantly jiggling and twisting the power adapter cable to force it to connect with a loose jack.  This can damage the power adapter cable itself, leaving you stuck with the cost of a power jack repair plus buying a replacement Power Adapter!

So if you are experiencing power jack or power supply problems with your laptop where you can maybe get it to run by jiggling the wire, or where it no longer runs on AC power, don’t add to the cost of repair by ruining your battery and AC adapter too!  And if it’s too late and you’ve already run your battery all the way down, get the repair done sooner rather than later as the longer the battery remains fully discharged, the more likely it is to be permanently damaged.

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ghc-logo-341w-x-482hThis article was written by Andy Trask, Head Geek at Geek Housecalls, the New England area’s original traveling computer geeks, on the web at www.geekhousecalls.com. Geek Housecalls specializes in “anything computer” and, since 2001, has become the trusted in-home computer and technology support provider for over 15,000 families and small business computer users in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. For help with your computers, gadgets, or network at home or at the office, click here to contact Geek Housecalls via the web, or call toll free:

1-877-4PC-GEEK             (1-877-472-4335)

 

What it is to be “Not just ANY geek!”

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

When talking to friends, the subject of  geeky competition often comes up and I invariably get asked  “How do you succeed against all those other geeks?” (more…)

MacBook Flashing Questionmark-Over-Folder Icon May Indicate Failed Hard Drive

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

geekablog-logoSome folks are waking up their MacBooks only to find an ominous grey screen with a flashing questionmark icon instead of their usual friendly desktop.

According to Mac expert Joe Riess from the Geek Housecalls Computer Service Center, this flashing questionmark-on-folder icon may indicate that the hard disk drive in your MacBook has failed.  (more…)

A Journey From Windows XP to Windows 7

Monday, February 8th, 2010

geekablog-logoOkay, so  my vintage 2004 laptop was having some serious cpu cooling problems and failing badly.  I thought about refurbing it, but in the end decided it was time to bite the bullet and upgrade to current technology.  

The big question for me at that point became:  ”do I go with tried and true winXP, or do I entrust all of my web development, email, blogging, and other work from home as well as personal and social computing to the new kid on the block?” (more…)

BEFORE YOU PANIC! Why is your laptop suddenly reporting “no wireless networks available” ??

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

geekablog-logoMy daughter moved into her freshman dorm last week and within two days called me in a panic because her brand spankin’ new Dell laptop was suddenly unable to “see” the college’s campus-wide wifi  network.  Of course, because I’m her dad, her first call was to me, and fortunately, because I’m a geek, I immediately knew what was going on and how to solve it.  But this got me thinking about all the other dads (you know… the non-geek dads) who at this very moment could be getting the same call from their own college or high-school student, so dads (and moms!), read up for your chance to be the hero…

Most laptop computers with built in wifi networking have some means of turning off that feature when not needed as a way of conserving battery life.  There are a few different approaches that manufacturers take to doing this. 

  1. Some laptops have a very tiny (and often difficult to find) sliding microswitch located somewhere along the side or front of the unit. 
  2. Some laptops have what’s called a “soft switch” where pressing a special combination of keystrokes toggles the wifi feature on and off.  This is usually a combination of the Function (Fn or Func) key along with another key that has a symbol looking like an antenna or radio waves on it.
  3. A third approach is a separate dedicated “wifi” or “wireless” (or equivilent icon) button usually above the keyboard or near the power button that toggles this feature on or off.

In almost all cases, there is a wifi indicator light of some sort that would be either lit or not lit to indicate whether wifi is enabled or disabled on your laptop. This indicator light is sometimes located near the power or battery light, but may be located near the switch in question, especially if your unit has the microswitch design. In some cases, particularly with the dedicated wifi button, the button itself lights up to indicated when wifi is enabled.

When wifi is disabled or turned off via one of these switches, the Windows operating system doesn’t “know” that it’s been turned off, it only “knows” that it no longer is able to detect any wireless networks, and thus the error message.  To solve, turn wifi back on. Newer laptops will likely connect immediately on their own.  Older laptops may need to be cajoled into connecting by right-clicking the wireless network connection icon down in the corner near the clock and choosing “view available wireless networks.”

And as it turned out, my daughter’s moment of panic was short-lived as we quickly found that her laptop did indeed have a tiny microswitch located along the right side of her laptop, that she had probably bumped to the off postion while sliding her laptop into or out of her backpack!

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WAS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL? PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AND LEAVE A COMMENT!

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ghc-logo-341w-x-482hThis article was written by Andy Trask, Head Geek at Geek Housecalls, the New England area’s original traveling computer geeks, on the web at www.geekhousecalls.com. Geek Housecalls specializes in “anything computer” and, since 2001, has become the trusted in-home computer and technology support provider for over 15,000 families and small business computer users in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. For help with your computers, gadgets, or network at home or at the office, click here to contact Geek Housecalls via the web, or call toll free:

1-877-4PC-GEEK             (1-877-472-4335)

LAPTOP FIRE DRILL – Don’t Wait! Be Prepared for that Spilled Drink!

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

laptopspill2

Every day, unprepared laptop and notebook users send their computers to an early grave by not knowing how to react when coffee, soda, or some other drink is accidentally spilled  into their computer. (more…)