“I highly recommend Oregon Tech Support! I’ve been using a desktop computer in my Eugene business for years, and Oregon Tech Support is the best service I’ve ever had.” – Vince Puelo, Realtor/Broker (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Dealing with any type of tech support can be extremely frustrating. Spending hours on the phone isn’t exactly the best way to spend your time when your computer needs to be repaired.
That’s where we come in.
Our philosophy is that computer skills alone are not enough. You need someone with empathy, good communication and social skills. You should come away feeling confident that you understood pretty much everything we said. Above all, you should feel that you were treated with respect. Everything else is secondary.
Remember: No one company should provide everything. That’s why we specialize in a few key areas and avoid trying to be a “jack-of-all-trades”. We feel that when you need urgent computer help, you need an expert that knows what they are doing, and not simply a “generalist” who attempts to know everything, but can resolve nothing.
“The best! Oregon Tech Support is the only service I will use to fix my computer in Lane County!” – Christine Desermeaux, Small Business Owner, Nov 3rd (read more Computer Testimonials)…
What Causes Computer Problems?
Many things can affect a computer system. Often, what is suspected to be the cause tends to be just a symptom of the true underlying problem. Our goal is to determine a cost-effective way to repair your computer without the loss of data. Given the costs of computers these days, it’s important to know your options in order to make an informed decision. Often, as is the case, computer problems happen at precisely the wrong moment. Computers crash, backups fail and productivity crawls to a halt. This type of “pain management” for dealing with a crisis situation is absolutely essential. By being responsive to your situation, you avoid the need to retain a computer professional on staff at your home or business.
“Fast and efficient! Oregon Tech Support turned a complex problem into a working computer.” – Tracy W., Medical Billing Specialist (read more Computer Testimonials)…
One area that is commonly overlooked is the issue of heat. If left unchecked, your laptop can accumulate enough dust to act as both a heat insulator and a blockage for ventilation. Both prevent the laptop from removing internal heat. The more heat that a laptop has, the shorter its lifespan becomes. Even a standard visual inspection of the inside of your computer can give you a false sense of security. Even removing the fan from the top of the heat sink might show that everything is clean, however the blockage can be hidden even further — accumulating into a thick sheet of dust, something that can’t easily be seen from a casual visual inspection. On average, this single issue can cause a computer to run 10-30 degrees hotter than normal, something dangerous to a computer’s lifespan. For overheating laptops, consider using a laptop cooling pad. Active cooling pads plug into a USB port to spin cooling fans, while passive cooling pads have no moving parts and don’t require the use of a USB port. Both can be incredibly (and equally) efficient.
“I am extremely pleased with your quick response. In under an hour, you not only took care of my computer crisis but a whole bunch of other things that had been bugging me.” – Stan Fleming, Owner, East West Medical. (read more Computer Testimonials)…
A capacitor is, essentially, a small rechargeable battery. Their job is to help manage the distribution of electricity across a computer’s motherboard. You’ll find them attached to most modern electronics that require more advanced functioning, such as a computer. Ironically, when they overheat over a long period of time, they can expand and split across the top, revealing their chemical contents. Usually this happens due to age or low-quality components and is not unlike the battery acid that accumulates on the ends of an old and unused AAA battery. They are usually a permanent part of the circuit board. When they distend (split), the damage is permanent and irreversible. Because of this, computer technicians usually refer a distended capacitor as a non-serviceable item. Sadly, there’s not much to be done to prevent this aside from reducing heat if at all possible, keeping the computer free of dust (which acts as insulation) and avoiding buying bargain-basement computers which tend to be made with lower-quality components.
“I was happily surprised with my experience! They quickly and efficiently diagnosed my computer problem. I plan to use them for all my future computer needs!” – Lisa Simmons, Owner, Cheval Amour, Dec 15th (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Bad Memory (“RAM”)
Memory (Random Access Memory, or “RAM”) is a way for a computer to store and work with information. The information placed in RAM is not permanent and is lost when the computer is turned off. However, it is faster than a hard drive and, as such, is similar to a warehouse loading dock. When you use your computer, information is loaded from the hard drive and temporarily stored in RAM. This includes everything, including the operating system itself. The problem comes when memory goes bad. Just like our loading dock example, imaging if there were a hole in the dock: Some items you place on the loading dock will fall through the hole. This can have the effect of making the computer act unreliably and cause inconsistent behavior. Like the capacitors, prevention is fairly limited: Avoid using cheap components. The good news is that memory is relatively inexpensive to replace. The bad news is that it’s difficult to tell if you have bad memory if you’re testing it on the same computer that has the bad memory — it’s hard to determine reliable results without using a reliable computer. Frequently, additional hardware is used to test for bad or damaged memory.
“I’d call them again! I give Oregon Tech Support my highest possible recommendation!” – Melody Ward Leslie, Senior Associate Director, University of Oregon (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Failing or Dying Hard Drive
A hard drive is a way to permanently store information, such as documents, pictures and videos. On a computer’s main hard drive, it also contains the operating system and all your installed programs. Some are external (like the one pictured here) and others are internal, attached to the computer and frequently inaccessible. Unlike RAM, hard drives are slower, however they can store a significant amount of information and don’t lose their information when the computer is turned off. Unfortunately, they also have moving parts or, in the case of solid state drives (SSD), a significant amount of electronics. When a hard drive becomes damaged, it is either due to electronic or mechanical failure and can put all of your important information at risk. Prevention is straight-forward: Avoid excessive heat, don’t drop your computer (or external hard drive) and realize that they have an average life-span of three to six years. If a hard drive becomes damaged, frequently the only way to retrieve information from it is through data recovery. If you’ve ever lost data before, you can understand how unexpected it feels. What’s worse is when your computer crashes and you find out that your backup wasn’t working either. Our goal is to recover your files here, locally, if at all possible. Every year, over 30% of consumers will suffer from a hard drive crash: All your files, pictures and music can disappear in an instant. Rather than asking ourselves, “How did this happen,” we need to focus on, “What should I do right away when my computer crashes?” A dying computer can be a ticking time-bomb; knowing what to do when it dies can be a life saver.
“Oregon Tech Support provides a great level of professional customer service. If needed, I will use their services again and recommend them to other professional practices.” – Shelley Thatcher, Dec 10th (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Damaged or Missing Files
Physically, if your computer is in good shape, any problems may be the result of a damaged file system. This is not unlike having a book with the table of contents scrambled and incorrectly identifying which pages belong to which chapters. Your computer may think that files exist where there are no files. Alternatively, your computer may think that it has more free space available to store files than it really does. Frequently, this sort of damage can be a cumulative result of the computer being improperly turned off one or more times, although other conditions can lend themselves towards this happening. If caught early enough, the damage can be resolved without incident. While computers have a built-in ability to self-check for such errors, many still exist and, unfortunately, grow. Prevention is straight-forward: If at all possible, avoid turning the computer off without using the “shut down” menu option. Realistically, this may be difficult to do as computers can become unresponsive and require having the power switch unceremoniously turned off. However, to keep your files from becoming damaged or missing, the less this happens, the better.
“I was impressed! Oregon Tech Support is a business that takes pride in their work. The service was prompt, info was up-front, agreements were kept and work was guaranteed.” – Victoria Texel (read more Computer Testimonials)…
The other major problem that can present itself is a virus or spyware infection. Hundreds, if not thousands, of new viruses are distributed every day. Unfortunately, this means that running your computer without anti-virus protection is no longer a safe option. If infected, a virus can prevent you from using your computer. It can use your computer for attacking other computers or allow hackers to store illegal or illicit materials on your hard drive without your knowledge. Prevention, aside from running an up-to-date anti-virus program, is tricky: Be cautious of what you download, don’t install anything that you haven’t personally selected to download, and be suspicious of any website offering to “help” you install important software. Often, this takes the guise of a compromised website offering to help you install a video player or updated software. If in doubt, click “cancel” and download the software directly from the creator of the software. Don’t allow yourself to be conned, even if you think it’s too good to be true. Chances are, it isn’t. Once infected, you’ll need to have the virus infection removed in order to function properly. Some viruses try to steal your passwords; others want to use your computer as a “hiding spot” for storing illegal or illicit material. Many viruses pretend to be helpful programs, games, screen savers or even anti-virus programs themselves. Some access files on your computer, some try to use your computer as a “breeding ground” for storing other stolen files, and others attempts to steal passwords, credit card information, or collect personal information about you. Removing a computer virus is extremely important to keep you safe!
“Oregon Tech Support was very helpful, friendly and fixed the problem quickly! I was able to get my computer back within two days and it was in perfect condition!” – Betsy Sedlak, Student, University of Oregon (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Network Connectivity Problems
Computer networks are wonderful things when they’re not causing us headaches. Often, finding out the cause of a network problem is not always easy. The equipment may have been in place for some time, managed by someone else or otherwise neglected. Regardless, it’s not working and you need to have it resolved. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to set up a network. Unfortunately, networks can be difficult to identify and resolve without an expert on-hand. That’s where network troubleshooting comes into play.
“Oregon Tech Support consistently provides us excellent follow-up and communication.” – Christina Howard, Small Business Owner (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Oregon Tech Support is an Authorized Reseller for Google Enterprise. Whether you are still evaluating cloud solutions or ready to make the move to Google Apps, tap into our expertise to make your transition a smooth experience. Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps you and your team connect and get work done from anywhere on any device. It’s simple to setup, use and manage, allowing you to work smarter and focus on what really matters. Whether you are still evaluating cloud solutions or ready to make the move to Google Apps, tap into our expertise to make it a smooth experience.
“Oregon Tech Support rocks! They get the job done quickly and explain things in a manner that I can understand. From big problems to small, they’re always very helpful and courteous.” – Desi Skinner, Brigham Construction (read more Computer Testimonials)…
One of the most common crashes that occur is the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Sometimes, the error message can be misleading and in some cases it can be incredibly useful. Such error messages increase the odds in troubleshooting what possibly went wrong in the first place. Write down what you see or, even better, take a picture with your phone. This will allow the error to be more easily researched and shown to someone else when taking your computer in for repair.
In a nutshell, here is what is considered important when writing down information about a crash that can be of help when talking with a computer professional:
- Item #1 from the image above tells us what error happened (IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL)
- Item #2 tells us where the error happened (STOP: 0x0000000A…)
- Item #3 tells us who caused the error to happen (SPCMDCON.SYS – Address FBFE7617…)
Oddly enough, item #3 is often ignored and forgotten; this is, perhaps, the most important piece of information on the entire page. And yes, recording all the numbers alongside each of the three items of information is very, very important.
“Thank you for that! Oregon Tech Support gave a thorough explanation of what was done without making me feel lost or ignorant.” – Dorothy Vangsnes, Feb 1st (read more Computer Testimonials)…
Computer Maintenance Checklist
One of the problems in owning a computer is the potential for loss, damage or attack. While not comprehensive, this list should provide some important tips:
- Make certain that you install an anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware program and keep them up to date. These programs can’t protect your computer if they doesn’t know about the latest viruses, spyware and other threats.
- Make certain that you are running the latest critical patches and security updates from Microsoft.
- If you are running Windows XP, disconnect from the Internet and upgrade your version of Windows immediately. Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for Windows XP.
- Download and install any updates to all other programs (both Windows and non-Windows) installed on your computer.
- Uninstall any programs that you do not use.
- Make certain to back up your computer using at least two different methods. If one method fails, the other one will protect you.
- Test your backup system by attempting to restore an important file. Finding out that your backup method(s) aren’t working when your computer crashes is the worst possible combination!
- According to Consumer Reports, if your computer is older than four years, consider replacing it. If not, make certain to be extra-vigilant about running daily backups.
- Avoid opening up any email attachments that you did not anticipate receiving.
- Be cautious when browsing unknown pages on the Internet. The web page that insists that you should download and install an update in order to view it is, in all likelihood, trying to trick you.
Ironically, the days of doing “daily maintenance” for one’s computer are far gone. These days, computers are incredibly fast and can compensate for disk fragmentation and excess temporary files. Instead, protect and prevent your computer using the above steps.
“David is very knowledgeable. He shows a lot of interest in solving the problem quickly and is persistent in resolving them.” – Marsha Nygren, Credit Union Office Manager (read more Computer Testimonials)…
General Troubleshooting Tips
When attempting to determine what has happened to your computer during a crash, ask yourself the following questions:
- What happened immediately prior to the crash?
- Was a particular program running or exhibiting bizarre or slow behavior?
- Did anything out of the ordinary, aside from the crash, happen recently?
- Did anything new get installed (software or hardware) on the computer recently?
- When was the last time your computer was serviced?
Again, many of these questions can be misleading and may not help us in our quest for an answer, however they often times are more revealing than we realize. Sometimes an error message can be misleading, and in some cases, it doesn’t help us pin down much of anything whatsoever. However, this type of information increases our odds increase our odds in troubleshooting what possibly went wrong in the first place. Write down the error message so that it can be properly diagnosed. Even better, take a picture or a video with your phone — This is especially useful when it’s difficult to duplicate the problem consistently.
“Efficient! You returned my call promptly, showed up on time and diagnosed my problems.” – Nick Perrott, Utility Contractor (read more Computer Testimonials)…
When All Else Fails
Give us a call and we’ll make certain to do our best to help. We’re here for your assistance, available at 541-968-2218.