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Commonly Known Problems

The Truth About Keeping Your Computer On All The Time

Some computer users have been caught in the dilemma of whether or not the computer should be left on all the time. Others presume that it should be kept on to avoid turning it on and off every once in a while and to lessen the time with which to wait for it to reboot once you have to use it again. Some individuals would rather turn it off even if it means using it again in the next 15 minutes or so. This would somehow help them save energy or protect the computer better, they suppose.

With this predicament, you might want to know the truth behind keeping your computer on for long. Once you know the facts, you can then decide if you should leave it on all the time or switch it down once it is not in usage.

There are instances when turning it off would be the better way

This is especially so when you are not going to use your computer for a long period of time. If you leave your computer on all the time, you might compromise the software, hardware and all other components that make it run. The problem can either cause short or long term issues.

Picture this. You decided to leave your computer on overnight. In this case, when you use it the next day, you would notice that your software and hardware components are performing very slowly. While this is not a long-term issue, you cannot deny the fact that any habitual leaving of your computer on would cause errors. These errors take place when you run computer programs and in such a case even the operating system would stop working. It is then best to restart your computer before working rather than keeping it on overnight without using it.

Turning the computer off would be best too when you transport it

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Imagine having to travel miles and carrying your laptop with you. In this case, do you think it would be best to keep the computer on during travel? Well, if you are not yet convinced you should turn it off then let us take things a little farther. What if you accidentally drop it during the travel? When this is the case, the hard drive can get damaged most especially when it is left on.

Heat can cause problems

Heat is emitted by the computer every single time, whether you are using it or not. When heat starts to build up, expect that the supposed optimal computer performance would be compromised. The longer you keep your computer on, the more it will generate heat. This particular problem will then take its toll on all of your computer components. You may say that some modern computers are made to get rid of this heat but if you want to prolong the lifespan of your computer in general, you should find ways on how to avoid it. Remember thought that in instances when you will be using the PC soon or you are downloading some files to your computer, you should keep the computer on.

Keeping your computer on can cause system wear and tear

Keeping your computer on when you are not using it can cause some of its parts to wear out. The hard drive, most particularly, keeps spinning thus this can be compromised in the process. However, you have to take note too that turning your PC on and off very often will also cause some strains on the drive’s motor since it has to spin up and down every once in a while. If wear and tear is an issue, you better determine whether it is good to keep it on or turn it off depending on how you are going to use it.

Drained battery is an obvious problem when keeping your computer on all the time

Keeping your computer on all the time, especially if you own a laptop, would cause you to recharge the batteries more often than usual. While power-saving modes are made available as an alternative in this case, you should understand that the battery will get drained more often than it would if you turn it off when not in use. Shutting it down between uses or keeping it in hibernation mode can be an option depending again on when you will be using the PC again.

So, is leaving a computer on a really bad thing?

No, honestly, the above pointers can affect your computer but it is not going to wreck the device instantly as any Birmingham computer repair specialist will tell you. A laptop or computer can be kept on if you need to use it frequently. When you are travelling to another place or not going to use the device or quote some time, there is no question as to why you should not turn it off. And even if you decide to keep your device on all the time, you should also switch it off in a long while so as to allow important updates to be installed and rebooted to improve efficiency.

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Data Recovery Methods For A Dead Hard Drive

There are many instances when your hard drive would show signs that it is about to die. It either makes a screeching, clicking or popping sound or at times, it would also suddenly crash. What if you have not been given these signs and to your dismay, it suddenly stopped working? Well, there is reason enough to worry especially that your most important files are kept in there and you have not backed those files up. The good news is you can actually recover lost data from a dying hard drive. All you need is to try any of the following methods.

Start with the basic methods

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The basics would include inspecting damage over the hard drive. When your hard drive died, make sure you stop using the computer and saving files into the external hard drive. Shut the computer down or if the external drive can be disconnected, then do so. Check the hard drive for signs of damage, paying particular attention to the external control board. In this instance, you must also see if there are broken parts on the board. There are times when replacing the cables will also solve the problem. You can also try connecting the external drive to another PC. When you find out the drive works then the true culprit to the issue is your PC’s motherboard.

Replace the external drive’s controller board

If this part can be removed without compromising the drive’s platters then you can proceed to the rest of the job. Assuming it is removable then you can start looking for a sacrificial drive making sure that you use the same model number as that of the previous drive you have been using. You can spot such items through online shops. Remove the screws of the dying drive then detach it. From there, you can follow instructions on how to make the replacement.

Try tapping it hard

Sometimes, there is a sign that hard drive is drying when the device is no longer recognizable by your computer. In this instance, the drive would not appear to be the same drive letter as it should be. When this is the case, initializing would be required. You should tap it hard making sure that your hand hits the drive’s narrow edge or the one near the end of the cable connectors. Tapping might just help free the drive. Try plugging in the device once more and check if a drive letter appears.

Squeeze the hard drive

Another method that will help you recover data from your dying hard drive is through squeezing to the hard drive. This can be done by holding the device very tight. Press the drive using your thumbs and the rest of your fingers as well as your palms. Make sure though that you are squeezing or bending the jumping pins. This method would be useful if there is any part that has loosened up in the hard drive.

When you are doing this method though, you also have to make sure you have done some backing up of your data or files. Backing up data will take some time depending on how large the data stored in your drive and of course on data transfer rates too.

When you cannot squeeze it then freeze it

So what does freezing mean? Yes, your guess is right. You should literally freeze it inside your freezers. Take note that often, when the drive becomes overheated, there is a great chance that it will die. In this case, the drive’s center shaft would expand causing it to stick to the bearings. Freezing would then help shrink whatever has expanded and will allow the shaft to turn the way it used to.

There are a few things to remember when resorting to this method though. First, you have to make sure that you have a resealable plastic bag. This is where you will place the hard drive before freezing it. The plastic bag will keep the moisture out. When you have sealed the drive in the plastic bag then you can place it inside the freezer. Leave it there for two hours then try using the drive once more. Once the drive operates after this method, you should remember to back up your files. Look for a second external drive to make sure your files will no longer be compromised.

Get help from computer technicians

Computer technicians have a better way of recovering data from a dying or dead hard drive. Come to think of the methods we have mentioned above. You will notice that some of this may work but others will not. You want to make sure that the process will render benefits thus it would be easier to entrust it into the hands of professionals who would make the road to data recovery in Birmingham faster for you.

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Need Help In Cleaning Up Your Malware-Infected PC?

There are many comforts that digital devices bring. They make life easier, in general, and specifically, help us finish our tasks in a lesser time than usual. Despite these comforts, however, it cannot be denied that we cannot free our devices, our PCs in particular, from malware. This is part of the problems of the digital world. It does not mean you have to go back to the old you. What you need to bear in mind is get rid of the Trojan horse and other viruses by cleaning your malware-infected PC.

Verify where the infection comes from

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Malware is like an infection that may cause your PC to slow down or bug down among others. In order to cure that infection, you have to verify where it really comes from. Sometimes you have to start by asking: Is the PC really infected or was it you who actually caused the problem? You have to determine whether it is another issue you are dealing with at the moment. You cannot just jump into conclusion that what causes your PC to slow down is actually a virus.

You can simply start this task by launching the Windows Task Manager on your PC. From there, you should open ‘processes’ tab just to check whether there is anything strange, an unknown application, perhaps, that has been causing the PC to slowdown. Often you will see unrecognized or unreadable characters and symbols. When that is the case, there is enough reason to become suspicious on the matter.

Checking for signs would also help

Once you have determined what is actually causing the virus, you then have to check for any sign of malware infecting your PC. Manually removing the malware is often a problem since when a virus is actually causing it to slow down, you will find it difficult to load your PC’s utilities. The problem turns worse when the antivirus software suddenly stops helping you in the process as well. Sometimes, you would be asked to update your antivirus software and along this line, you will also be asked to give personal information like credit card details.

An even easier way to look at the problem would be those pop ups that were not used to actually ‘popping up’ on your PC screens before. This can even ask you to run files that will later on cause more problems on your computer. Never ever give in to such install malware operations. Make sure you do not easily divulge your personal information.

It is high time to check for fixes online

One of the ways by which you can fix the problem is to look for solutions online. You can always make this task easier by simply typing the word or phrase you see on your search engine box. You will be surprised to find out later that there are other people facing the same malware infection as you are. You can use their experiences to help you solve the problem. Some would even give you a step-by-step guide on how to do it. You must be vigilant when seeing such forums offering help, however. It would then be best to use reputable sites that are indeed willing to help without actually asking payments from you in doing so.

Update your antivirus software as well

It is always safe to presume that in these instances that your antivirus software is compromised too when your PC is malware-infected. Take note that if the antivirus software is not compromised then it would have been able to do its work of protecting your PC and files from the virus. Just do not put all the blame on your antivirus help because even the cleverest programs out there can miss on catching the virus. In this regard, it would be best to have a new malware scanner installed on your PC.

When updating your antivirus software, you have to make sure too that you will be able to reinstall the program and when you are asked to update to the latest version then do so. You may also want to install another program in case you no longer trust what you are using at the moment.

Ask help from tech experts

While it has been said that solutions are readily available online, you cannot just entrust everything to such solutions. If you are quite unsure you would not be able to make it through to the next step of the process then there is nothing wrong with asking help from tech experts. These professionals can always help you in all aspects – from detecting the problem to offering the best solution for your PC’s case.

It is true that you will panic the first time you feel your PC is malware-infected. Considering that the entire device is compromised, then that would really be a big issue. The good thing is there are things you can resort to in order to solve the problem. And when you feel like you cannot do the process on your own, Birmingham computer virus cleaning experts are ever ready to lend a helping hand.

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Looking For Link Audit Tips For Effective Link Removal?

When it comes to link audit for link removals, you not only have to rely on your own judgment, you also have to rely on automation, but this should not be done blindly. And since links are a very essential ranking factor, the audits should be carried out by an experienced link auditor in order to avoid detrimental implications. Below is a step by step guide on how to carry out link audit especially if you are looking for a way to have effective link removal:

START BY RULING OUT ALL OTHER POSSIBILITIES

Today, link removals are the first courses of action that come to people’s mind especially when there are typical negative events such as traffic loss, ranking drops or de-indexation of key pages on a website. However, whenever traffic dips or rankings drop, it doesn’t necessarily mean that links are the sole culprits. There are other reasons that may cause this to happen such as tracking issues, hacking, content issues, technical issues and even outbound linking issues. This means that you can spend a lot of time on link removal when in reality the website is suffering from non-link related issues.

AVOID SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

If you have lost traffic or rankings and the above first step isn’t giving solutions, then the next thing would be to check out on your backlinks. But you are advised to avoid the common misconceptions when doing this. The common misconception is on the updates. If your site has lost rankings on the dates official updates are rolled out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is immune to all Google updates. You may be surprised that your site has been hit already by other less commonly known updates. Keep an eye on the SERP volatility tools as well as updates from the credible forums in order to make an informed decision.

COME UP WITH A SOLID LINK REMOVAL STRATEGY

The strategy you come up with for link removal should base on factors such as when you have received a manual penalty, when you have lost traffic due to official or unofficial algorithmic update or when you want to remove links to mitigate risks. If your site has received manual penalty, you need to remove as many unnatural links as you can.

But before you start doing this, it is prudent to know the type of penalty you have received. For instance, it could be a keyword level penalty, page level penalty or site-wide penalty, so it is important to figure out exactly the kind of penalty you have received. This way, you will know if to focus on the backlinks pointing to the pages or those pointing to the penalized subdomain or domain.

PERFECT THE PROCESS OF DATA COLLECTION

You should note that relying on link data from the webmaster tools alone is just not enough. It therefore beats logic to try to combine link data from several data sources. You can include all data from some of the services with the biggest indexes, as well as the ones provided by the major search engines. You want to be in charge of the data you are going to analyze in order to get the best results. And the more you increase the quality and quantity of your backlink data, the higher chances you will have to rectify your website issues.

RE-CRAWL THE COLLECTED DATA

Once you have collected enough backlink data, it is time to separate the wheat from the chaff. And there are good reasons for this. The first one is that not all the links you have collected are still pointing to your website. The other reason is that not all links pose the same kind of risk. When you embark on the process of crawling the backlink data, you are advised to filter out the dead links as well as the ’nofollow’ links. URLs that no longer link to your website can increase the chances of a reconsideration request, so why keep them?

AGGREGATING THE NEGATIVE SIGNALS

It is important to audit all the links, but it is equally important to calculate the total risk for these links too. You do this by aggregating all the manipulative signals that you identified in the previous steps. You can allocate one point to all negative signals you have detected or try weighting the most important signals for commercial anchor text or spam sites.

You should note that there isn’t a magic number of links you need to remove especially if you are looking to rebalance your website’s backlink profile. The decision would depend on whether your website has been penalized or your competitors have a healthier backlink profile. All in all, you need to work closely with the professionals in order to improve your rankings and get better results.

At The Techbench, we offer advice on how to prioritize link removal. We also offer data recovery and virus cleaning services to ensure that your data is safe. Contact us for more information on our services. 

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A Good Data Recovery Plan Goes A Long Way In The Survival Of Small Businesses!

Small business owners have a million projects on their mind at any given time, and this often makes them to leave their data recovery plan at the bottom of their to do list. In fact, most small businesses don’t have a good disaster recovery plan, yet they are the ones that experience power outages, cyber attacks and natural disasters among other issues.

Although planning ahead for any disaster may seem like a daunting task, if you have the right knowledge and a great action plan, you too can prevent a complete data loss that could only mean the end of your business. But where do you start, you ask?  Below are important tips if you are looking to recover business data in case catastrophe strikes:

PLANM FOR THE WORST

As a business owner, your files are the livelihood and without a proper data recovery plan, losing your data or files could mean losing the entire business. You need to be prepared for the worst and that is why making proactive decisions comes in handy when it comes to the success of your business. It is therefore prudent to create an emergency action plan for the business data. The plan should include a complete inventory of your business’ storage based hardware. The next thing would be to research a good data recovery vendor. And when you purchase new hardware for your business, it is also important to purchase a data recovery service plan along with it.

BACK-UP AND PROTECT

The best protection always happens when there is prevention. Investing in redundant backup system is a must if you want your business data to be safe and always useful. All you need to do is to establish a proper backup procedure so that you make copies of all important data files. But a proper backup procedure alone is not enough; you need to also test the backups periodically so that you verify that your database and other critical files are being backed up properly.

The other important thing is to keep one or two of the verified copies of your data offsite. You want to use up to date software tools for data security; so firewalls and virus programs can help you in this. However, never assume that your machine is protected from viruses because you are using the best protection software. You need to make sure that you scan all incoming data for any corruption. It beats logic that once you enable your computer with proper virus protection and backup software, you will definitely reduce the chances of losing important files.

KNOW YOUR RECOVERY ABC’s

Can you tell the signs of a failing drive? This could come in handy especially if you want to optimize the chances of recovery. Sometimes, you may hear grinding, clicking or whirring sounds. If so, shut down your computer immediately. And don’t use utility software or data recovery software because this can potentially cause data loss. You are advised to not power up your device when it makes an unusual sound. If you have to remove the hard drive, make sure that you first unplug the power to your computer. And if you are not sure where to start, it is always prudent to leave it to the professionals.

IS YOUR DATA MISSING? NEVER FLY INTO PANIC!

Did you know the simplest of answers can sometimes be the solution? You don’t have to panic when you think you have misplaced some of your critical data. Instead, you want to double check to ensure that you haven’t misplaced any of your files. The search button at the bottom of your computer’s tool bar can help you in the process. And some data could be in the recycle bin so check there too.

WORK WITH REPUTABLE PROFESSIONALS

As a small business owner, it is vital to watch every dime and nickel so as to understand where priorities lie especially if you are to spend money on vendors. But when it comes to the loss of data and wants it recovered, it is the best time to throw the do-it-yourself attitude out the window. In fact, unless you are a pro in this field, don’t attempt to recover the data yourself using the repair or diagnostic tools because this can cause a permanent data loss. Research the vendor to ensure that you are working with someone you can trust. They should give the proof of industry certifications as well as the required experience.

At The Techbench, we provide a wide range of data recovery services such as USB data recovery and SD card recovery among others. All our hard drive repair procedures are done in a clean environment so as to protect it from contaminant damage. Our data recovery experts have vast experience and the right tools needed to address data loss issues. Contact us today for all your data recovery needs.   

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5 Signs That Your Laptop Is Struck With Electrical Damage Caused By Lightning

Although your laptop may not take all of its time plugged to the power socket, it is possible that it can be affected by the lightning especially when you leave it plugged in to the power source. The logic boards and microchips carry distinct currents that when they are overloaded, they can cause lots of issues.

Unfortunately, lightning and thunder storms are a true fact in many places or regions and could really not play well with laptops and other electronic devices. Electrical surges and frequent power lightning storms can cause some odd behaviors in your laptop. If you want to know some of the signs that your machine has been affected by lightning, then take two minutes to read the following:

UNABLE TO BOOT

Sometimes, even when you press the laptop’s power button, it may not power up at all. You may want to plug it to the socket to see if it will start but in vain. This is a sign that your power supply has been fried by the lightning strike. The power supply is the first defense against power surges or lightning strikes and that is why it is the first component to be affected.

If your machine fails to start up even after you have pressed the power button, then it could be time to have it checked by a professional. Sometimes, the motherboard may be affected too. It is the component that controls the BIOS, a very important program because it is responsible for both hardware and operating system startups. When the motherboard’s electrical components are affected by the lightning spikes, it can also lead to booting problems.

There are those times when you see a blue screen of death when the lightning strikes. It happens especially when the hard drive is trying to write or read at the time of the power anomaly. This causes an error which is written as 1 or 0 on your hard drive hence corrupting the system file. Don’t hesitate to contact a pro when you see a blue screen of death.

NO INTERNET CONNECTION

Did you know lightning travels down the power lines as well as the telephone lines? Normally, some computers are plugged indirectly on phone lines through the DSL connection, but there are others that are directly plugged into the old fashioned phone jack. If your laptop is directly connected to such a jack and when you boot it up the internet connection fails, then it is a sign that your network card has been fried as a result of a close lightning strike.

You should note that some routers don’t have much defense against the power spikes, so the power signals can still travel down the network wire to your network card. Sometimes, this can even break the entire laptop’s motherboard. Involve a professional when you realize that your internet has stopped functioning.

HARD DISK ERROR

This could be the worst sign that your laptop has been struck by lightning since your data is stored here. It is a fact that the hard drive is a sensitive device and the logical controller in this device cannot take the huge spikes of the electrical current. So, this device can stop functioning after brown outs. Is your system slow? There are many causes of slower system such as virus issues and overheating of the system as a result of a malfunctioning fan.

But these are not the only reasons for a slow system; a low voltage on power surge can also hit the hard drive. This means that some sectors on the hard drive are affected thus leading to longer boot times, slower loading times or files not opening at all. And your hard drive may not function at all. There is good news though; all is not lost if your hard drive stops functioning. There are experts who can still recover your data and ensure that your business processes are not affected.

BLACK SCREEN BLINKING CURSOR

Your machine may seem to boot normally and before you know it the BIOS screen shows up. The laptop will later lock up, leaving a black screen with a blinking cursor. The boot loader is the one affected here and it happens similar to the corrupt file error that is associated with a blue screen of death after a lightning storm. This problem may also arise after power brown out.

When you hear thunder or see lightning, you should unplug the laptop completely from the wall. This should also include the power, speaker, network cable and all other devices that are plugged to the power source. Losing your data, internet connection and when your computer stops functioning properly are all frustrating experiences. You need to be protective of your laptop, so don’t leave it in the hands of Mother Nature. And whenever you experience problems, make sure that you contact a good service provider. At Techbench, we offer quality data recovery and laptop repair services at affordable rates. Contact us today for quick technical solutions. 

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