Computer “Urban Legends”.. Real or Not?? Ask the Professionals at Phoenix

February 9, 2011

Computer Legend #1: To increase the speed of my PC or Server I need to “buy a new one” or upgrade the hardware:

Many factors are involved with this Computer legend. Buying a new PC may solve speed issues but may also cause compatibility problems with other programs you are currently running; this may end up costing a lot more that you expected. While it’s TRUE that upgrading the components like the RAM memory and Network Cards can improve certain processes on your PC and on your network, it’s not always the case. Aside from doing this, consider other factors that cause your machine(s) to slow down. Almost surely there are unwanted programs; unclean registry items, viruses, malware, spyware and other stuff inside your computer that can all slow your perfectly good unit down significantly. So, try first to remove temporary internet files, uninstall unnecessary programs, run a good anti-virus scan a good anti-spyware scan, and a good anti-malware scan. You can even clean the system registry before spending money for new upgrades or on a new PC.

Computer Legend #2: If you don’t properly stop a USB device before unplugging it you are sure to loose all the data on it.

This is FALSE but with a small disclaimer; as long as the device is not writing to memory you can remove it with no problems. When you unplug a USB Device, without first using the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the taskbar, your PC makes a sound and usually pops up a message warning you about removing the device or that what you just did can delete data saved on USB storage devices or damage hardware. In reality it is good practice to “Stop” the device before removing it so that the system and you are sure the device is not in the middle of a writing process.  We have seen USB sticks and external USB hard drives lose everything by being unplugged during a writing process but not when sitting idle.

Also please keep in mind that USB devices are designed as “Backup” devices and not primary storage. With the costs being so low on these items, please do not trust them to keep all your data “safe” upgrade the size of the storage inside the PC and keep everything there, then use the USB as a “copy” so if one dies you do not loose your important data.

Computer Legend #3: Use a screen saver or burn an image on your monitor for life.

This is another bit of advice that had some validity many years ago. The monitors of old that had Cathode Ray tubes and used Phosphorus to display an image would suffer from “phosphor burn-in” but today it’s just FALSE. It’s virtually impossible with today’s monitors, especially LCD flat screens, to leave an image on the burned in on the screen. There’s certainly no downside to using a screen saver, and many people find them fun to use as a way of “expressing themselves”. Others use them to do a slideshow of their pictures. But there’s certainly no necessity for using a screen saver.

Computer Legend #4: My computer technician is the only guy who knows how my system(s) run.

That is completely FALSE a good computer tech can become intimately aware of how your system is setup, settings that can be changed to make it perform better or fix things that weren’t done correctly in the first place. You have all the power here. If you are unhappy with anything about your current Tech, find someone who is experienced, courteous, punctual, and available when you need them and doesn’t speak tech.

Computer Legend #4: Outsourcing IT support is more expensive and less dependable than having our own in house IT guy

While it seems like a good idea for companies to hire a person with technical experience to help keep their computers running, there are several “down-sides” to taking this road. The first is the fixed costs associated with a full time IT person when 40 hours of IT work are not normally necessary when the system is developed and installed properly in the beginning. The 2nd is what a lot of small companies do and that is; if you have an employee whose skills are in the area of your business (i.e. Dentist, Attorney, Doctor, Mortgage specialist) and they also have “some” computer knowledge, you can find them spending time working on your systems when they would be much more beneficial to the bottom line if they did what they are trained to do. We say leave the PC and Network maintenance to the IT guys. The 3rd is this person may or may not have all the knowledge needed to support your environment and assist in designing a path for the company’s growth.

An outsourced company can be a good fit for many small to medium sized business that wants to maximize their IT investment. A local service provider can offer quick response time for on-site service, low cost phone support, personalized service from a Tech with expertise in PC and Network support.  Costs for a good plan with a Local Service provider could cut your costs in half the cost of employing an inside person and even more if one of the Doctors or Attorneys is doing the work instead of billing at your professional rates.  Some other benefits can include higher return on investment, more experienced personnel, backup personnel and consultation services.





Microsoft warns of Windows flaw affecting image rendering

January 17, 2011

Microsoft warned today of a Windows vulnerability that could allow an attacker to take control of a computer if the user is logged on with administrative rights.

To be successful, an attacker would have to send an e-mail with an attached Microsoft Word or PowerPoint file containing a specially crafted thumbnail image and convince the recipient to open it, Microsoft said in its advisory, which also contains information on workarounds.

An attacker also could place the malicious image file on a network share and potential victims would have to browse to the location in Windows Explorer.

The flaw, which is in the Windows Graphics Rendering Engine, could allow an attacker to run arbitrary code in the security context of the logged-on user, meaning that accounts that are configured to have fewer user rights would be affected less.

The vulnerability affects Windows XP Service Pack 3, XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2, Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2, Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based systems, Vista Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2, Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2, Server 2008 for 32-bit, 64-bit, and Itanium-based systems and Service Pack 2 for each.

Microsoft said it is not aware of attacks exploiting the vulnerability or of any impact on customers at this time. The company is working on a fix but did not indicate when it would be available.

Read more:

Internet Explorer or Mozilla not working?? Look at this…

November 30, 2010

Ah, Thanksgiving. For many of us, this is the time extended families get together and catch up on old times. After stuffing ourselves silly, we find ourselves crashing out during the game, put to sleep by the turkey and way too much pumpkin pie.

Just in time for Thanksgiving we’d like to highlight yet another annoying virus that’s been going around. A few weeks ago we noticed people started coming in because they could not use their Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers. Well, it turns out this is not a software bug, but rather an annoying virus that prevents you from opening your browser. There are lots of viruses out there, some are playful and silly, some more serious like the one we just described. And from time to time, a downright nasty virus will pop up and destroy files.

If you notice anything strange or suspicious with how your computer is working during the holiday weekend, don’t wait for things to get worse. Come in so we can see what is going on. By the way, if you do stop by, we are happy to accept your tasty Thanksgiving leftovers.


Computer need a tune-up? Call Phoenix

November 19, 2010

Next time you get an oil change, get a quick computer checkup at Phoenix as well.  []

Phoenix Technology is your IT partner / Data recovery

November 2, 2010

Flash drives, otherwise known as thumb drives, are amazing little things. Not long ago, people had to store or backup their data on DVDs, which required the purchase of a separate DVD burner. Alternatively, people could buy ZIP drives which held a lot of data – at least, a lot of data for the time.

As hard drive technology got smaller and more affordable, thumb drives became commonplace. Where such small storage devices used to be quite expensive, these days companies are giving them away as promotional items!

The thing is, thumb drives can be victims of their own success! Imagine forgetting to take your thumb drive out of your pants before running the washing machine and you can begin to understand some of the challenges associated with making technology so small.

So, what do you do? First, we’d suggest purchasing a separate hard-drive. But if you put that off for too long and wash your flash drive, call us about data recovery services.

In other words, Phoenix Technology is your IT partner in preventing problems and solving problems that come your way. Call us today to discuss how we can help you.

Microsoft just released its biggest patch ever. Update your PC right away.

October 13, 2010

Microsoft just released its biggest patch ever. Update your PC right away.

Urgent: Update Windows Immediately

October 13, 2010

Urgent:  Update Windows Immediately

Microsoft recently released a major patch update for Windows, which means you need to update your computer immediately.  This is the biggest update Microsoft has ever issued, addressing a record 49 flaws in its programming.  According to their website, “An attacker who successfully exploited [the Windows] vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user.”

Most computers are preset to automatically fix security flaws on their computers.  For those who wish to do so manually, installing the fix is quite easy.  Simply Click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.

Sadly, Microsoft releases patches on a regular basis because of the vulnerabilities within Windows.  In fact, their updates are so regular (the second Tuesday of every month) that techies call it Patch Tuesday.  The problem is, once the new patch is implemented, hackers then analyze the new code and exploit those patches the very next day, hatching the term “exploit Wednesday.”

We live in a difficult and complicated world online.  Please surf safely and watch out for anything abnormal from your computer.