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Seguin, Texas

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Surge Protection

Don't plug your computer OR ANY OTHER DEVICES ATTACHED TO THE COMPUTER directly into a wall outlet. That's right, you must use a GOOD surge protector. So, get a good surge protector, and plug your PC, scanner, printer and devices into it. If you run out of outlets, get another surge protector. Also, if you use dialup Internet access, or have the phone cord plugged into your modem for faxing or any other purpose, run the phone cord through a surge protector.

I get a lot of calls each year where the customer had their computer plugged into a surge protector, but their computer got fried through the telephone line. Also, if you use a cable-based Internet provider (such as RoadRunner), then get a surge protector that protects the incoming CATV cable.

You can get GOOD surge protectors almost anywhere. Expect to pay $25 - $70 depending on the features. If you got a "bargain" surge protector for $5, expect to replace your equipment when you get a significant spike. A good surge protector is one of the best investments you can make.

Spyware

We recommend you download, install and run MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. It is a FREE program that will remove a lot of spyware that is slowing down your computer. If you have teens that use the PC it is ESSENTIAL that you install this program TODAY!!!

You can get the program from www.download.com in the Most Popular Downloads section. Or you can type in malwarebytes in the www.download.com search bar, and it should come up as the first item.

I cannot overemphasize how important this program is for you to install, and update and run weekly!

Antivirus

Home users AND small businesses with 10 or fewer PCs can download Microsoft Security Essentials FOR FREE. No initial cost and no renewal fee. The antivirus works very well and will help to keep your PC virus free.

You can download it by clicking on the link below:

Microsoft Security Essentials

Remember to UNINSTALL your old antivirus product before INSTALLING the new one. Conflicting antivirus products can cause a lot of problems.

Free music???

Are you tempted to get "free music" by downloading a P2P software, such as Kazaa, Grokster, WinMX, Limeware, Morpheous, etc.? This "free music" solution normally ends with a spyware infested computer costing hundreds of dollars to clean it up. PLUS it is normally ILLEGAL to download music in this manner. The fines normally range from $4,000 - $6,000  but could be in the hundreds of thousands if they want to make an example out of you. One woman lost the lawsuit and actually fined over $200,000 for 9 songs! According to their website, "...the easiest and simplest way to avoid being sued for infringement on peer-to-peer networks is to stop engaging in this illegal conduct."

If you would like to see what the penalties are, click here to go to the Recording Industry Association of America's website.

Computer Locking Up? Reboot!

Many people will get an error message while in a program and promptly forget about it. They then run other programs, noticing their computer gets slower and slower. Finally, I get the call and ask the infamous question: "Have you tried rebooting?"

Believe it or not, this fixes the problem the vast majority of the time. There are a few times when they are infected with a virus, the hard drive went kaput!, or some other serious problem exists, but most times it just needs rebooted.

What does reboot mean? You click on the Start button (usually in the lower left corner of the screen) and choose restart or shutdown.

What if the computer locks up? Then you have to turn it off manually. Normally, you can hold down the power button on the front of the computer for 5 - 10 seconds and it will shut down. Many people just press the button, see that it won't shut down, and pull the plug. Wrong idea! You have got to HOLD the button for 5 - 10 seconds and it WILL shutdown. Then wait 10 seconds, press the button again to restart.

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