Thursday, October 30, 2014

Some Computer Basics

Some Computer Basics

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the guts of your computer, this article will go over what makes up a computer and what some of the components do.   When shopping for a computer you will want to be a little familiar with the main parts that will affect your work, such as, processor speed, hard drive size, RAM (random access memory referred to as just memory), CD drives, and card readers.

Most computers today will come with just about everything you could possibly need.  The average user would be happy with an ‘out of the box’ computer… this is what you would get if you go to an electronics store and buy what they have in stock.  It will come with a nice size hard drive, usually 1 or 2GB memory, a duo core processor, and at least a CD-RW (CD burner).  If you are into gaming though, you will need a bit more memory and a better than average video card.  And if you plan on making movies…you will need to look for a DVD burner.

So having said all that, let’s get to the guts:

Motherboard: allows all the parts of your computer to receive power and communicate with one another.  The shape and layout is called the form factor.  The form factor affects where individual components go and the shape of the case.

CPU: Also known as the central processing unit or microprocessor.  The CPU executes a collection of machine instructions that tell the processor what to do.

RAM:  (random access memory) simply referred to as memory.  Memory directly controls how fast the computer can access instructions and data, and therefore has a big effect on system performance.  It also controls how much data the computer can have readily available.

Hard Drive:  stores changing digital information in a relatively permanent form.  Hard drives give the computer the ability to remember things.

DVD, CD and Floppy drives:  play and write to their respective media.

Card Readers:  read cards like SD (secure digital), CF (compact flash).  An example of these cards are the ones found in digital cameras and some cell phones.  Card readers can be either internal or external to a computer so don’t panic if you don’t have one… you can pick one up just about anywhere for under $20.

USB ports:  used for plugging in peripherals like printers, scanners, digital cameras, or jump/ thumb drives.

LAN port:  (local area network)  this port looks like your modem port (a phone line plug) but is a little wider, and is used to connect to networks like businesses or to high speed internet connections like satellite etc.

Modem:  standard phone line port.  This port is used for dial-up access or pc faxing.  Most computers come with faxing software built right in.

Some you may not pay much attention to but can put you ‘out of business’ if they go out:

Power supply:  provides power to motherboard, hard drive, CD rom and other components.  This is where the power cord for your computer plugs in on the back of your computer (desktops).

Fans:  there will be at least 2 fans (possibly more)- one inside the power supply and one over the CPU.  Fans keep computer components from overheating.  Without them some components like the CPU get too hot and will burn up, thus the term “fried” which is commonly used by techs.

Cool site of the day:

Erroneous Programs

Recently I have had a number of customers tell me that someone from Microsoft has called them to tell them that their computer has a number of viruses and problems and if the user will give them control of the computer ‘microsoft’ will clean it up.  First, IT IS A SCAM.  Microsoft doesn’t make calls like this.  If you call them they charge by the minute to help you, but it is a call that you initiate.  Secondly,  don’t trust your computer to someone you don’t know.
These people want to gain access to your computer to plant viruses.  The viruses may lay dormant for a time but they will eventually lock your computer fully.  Then you will receive another call or they may have given you a call back number in case you have problems, and at this time they will instruct you that in order for you to get your computer cleaned up you need to get a prepaid card for up to $300 to give them to fix the issue.
 And while we're at it let's address un-needed programs as well.  Registry cleaners are ineffective.  And while we're talking about it: no, you don't need to regularly clean out all those other areas of your computer either.  while that data might take up space, it's not often a lot, nore does it usually cause any problems by simply existing.  contrary to the online advertising pitches, the bad informaton from your neighbor, and perhaps your own belief prior to this moment, registry cleaning is NOT a computer maintenance task.  I cannot be more clear on this topic.  this software is usually just a way for a company to make a profit off you or simply to get their 'foot in the door' to either infect or upsell.
all in all, contact your local technician to see what needs to be done if you're having problems.

Microsoft Support Doesn't Call YOU

I repair computers for a living and over time I have had several customers ask me if Microsoft techs ever call people.

The answer:  NO!  Microsoft does not have time to call people and they do not check individual computers unless you call them.  They bill you $1.99/ minute for tech support.

PLEASE DO NOT give anyone access to your computer over the internet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't count how many times I have to fix the damage they do.  To sum it up:  Microsoft will NEVER call you!!! IT IS A SCAM!!!!!

And don't trust the registry cleaners or 'optimizer pro' or pc cleanup programs... they open a back door for viruses to do a lot of damage and can incapacitate your computer totally.