That’s not Netflix!

There are so many scams today that you have to be suspicious of any phone call from someone you don’t know. For example, if you get a call from your credit card company, it’s best to call them back via the phone number on the back of your card. If someone calls and tells you that your computer is sending his company “signals,” then you should hang up immediately. However, sometimes you may look up a company like Hewlett-Packard or Netflix via Google. You need to be aware that the Google search will return some ads at the top of the page and the ads may have been purchased by scammers. It’s best to check and make certain that the site is actually and not something like On the other hand, is ok. Just remember that the domain should be,,, etc.

With that said, here is one of the latest scams reported by several recent customers.

You have already used the fake tech support company and you have previously given them remote access to your computer. Then you get a call saying that you are due a refund from them because they are in trouble with the BBB, etc. Since they already have access to your computer, they may in some cases have obtained access to your bank where they will transfer an amount like $2500 from your savings to your checking account. They often prevent you from accessing your own computer by adding a startup password that looks like the image below.

They inform you that you are owed $500.00, but they accidentally deposited $2500.00 into your checking account. “Please go to Walmart and send us a $2000.00 gift certificate” is the next thing you will hear from them. So don’t do that.

When I receive computers like this, I back up all of the data, wipe the drive, reinstall the operating system and restore the files (photos, documents, videos, favorites, etc).

A few scammers like this have been arrested, but there are just so many of them. Keep in mind that Microsoft will never call you on the phone, the IRS will initiate contact through the mail (not email) and is not


Touchpad clickers not clicking? It could be the battery

Here’s a couple of pics of a partly disassembled Dell XPS notebook with a stuck clicker.

The thin battery inside has expanded and pushed the touchpad above the palmrest.

They should be replaced promptly. The puffy ones can be dangerous. Also, if you have a computer with a Lithium polymer battery, it shouldn’t be left in a hot car. That’s one thing that can lead to a puffy battery.

What is a typical laptop repair?

Here’s one example. Someone brings in a reasonably modern laptop purchased from a pawn shop. It has plenty of personal data from the previous owner and needs to be wiped clean with a fresh Windows installed. It also has an unknown bios password…. and it overheats.

Step 1: Fix the overheating problem.

Step 2: Reassemble the laptop, and then remove the bios password via secret proprietary method.

Step 3: Wipe the drive, and then install and activate Windows 10. Windows 8 laptops can be upgraded to Windows 10 without making an extra purchase from Microsoft. Install all drivers and updates.

Step 4: Remove the junky advertising from the start menu and add useful freely available programs and utilities.

Total cost: $95.00 exactly

Upgrading a Vintage Computer

You might feel as though you have to buy a new computer when your browser fails to access many current web sites or when Microsoft announces that it will no longer support a particular version of Windows. You may not need to buy a new system. We recently upgraded a 15 year old Dell to run the latest browsers as well as run an operating system that is more secure than the latest version of Windows. We even cleaned and upgraded a Power Mac G5 (non-intel) from Tiger to Leopard and added up to date browsers. You might be surprised at the things your old computer will do… and you might even prefer it to some of the newer models sold in other stores today.

Windows Update Horrors

They happen all the time. If you read the online forums, you’ll find that people deal with failed updates for months in spite of all their efforts to fix them. The consensus seems to be that the problems are caused by file corruption due to some sort of glitch.

 Indeed, there are glitches. System files are often missing. Fortunately, they are almost always fixable without reinstalling the entire operating system.

 Notice the many failed attempts to apply the security update for the  .NET Framework 3.5. This one almost gave me a headache, but ultimately it was fixable. So, if you think you’re the only one with these update problems, you’re not. It happens so often, it seems to be something that’s just in the nature of the operating system. It’s not even something that your nephew did (everyone blames the nephew). In any case, don’t let the glitches keep you down. Just drop your computer off here.

The Wanna Cry Ransomware

Wnacry is the name of the ransomware that is currently infecting Windows computers worldwide. If you want to avoid it, I’d suggest following the advice in the above video. Backing up files is the priority. Depending on the amount of data you need to back up, I’d suggest either copying files to a USB flash drive or an external USB hard drive and then verify that the files have actually been copied. Make certain that you didn’t just copy the shortcuts to folders that contain your files (I’ve seen this happen).  Of course, you can disconnect your computer from the network (or internet connection) while you are copying files. Ideally, you should maintain at least 3 copies of your important files. For online storage of photos, I recommend Also, be sure to check out and Google Drive. Keep in mind that once your files are encrypted with the originals deleted and possibly overwritten, that your files will be practically impossible to recover without the decryption key… and you don’t want to pay the criminals.
P.S.: Talk to me about Linux.