Recover From a Hang

This scenario is played out everyday across the world: you’re working, surfing the internet or writing an email and your computer locks up,?frozen.

This happens when the computer does not respond to the inputs, for instance when you are trying to move the mouse around to restart the system and nothing happens when you click on it. It is different from a crash, when the whole system shuts down. With hangs you have the ability to recover the by ending the task and restarting the program.

One main cause of hangs is called a deadlock, in which?one process may send a?signal to a second process then stop execution until it receives a response. If the second process is busy the signal will be forced to wait until the process can get to it. However, if the second process was busy sending a signal to the first process then both processes would wait forever for the other to respond to signals and never see the other?s signal.

Sometimes it is just one program that hangs, or it could be the whole screen, regardless there are ways to recover from it.

One of the first things you should try in attempting to recover from a lockup is ending the application which has caused the freeze. You can do this by using a native program called Task Manager. To bring the Task Manager up press CTRL then while holding CTRL,press and hold the ALT key, next reach over to the top right of your computer and press the?DEL key. Once you release the keys a window should open giving you a view of running applications.

This tool has saved many a file and application, as well as the whole computer, giving us the ability to recover from what seems like a random occurrence.

Assuming Task Manager will open, check the list of applications for any programs that say “Not Responding” under “Status”. If Internet Explorer or any other applications you had open read “Not Responding”, then you may Right-Click on them and select “End Task” from the menu. This should close the running application, if you are prompted to “End Now” or “Wait for it to respond” choose to “End Now”. By doing this you may lose any work you had open in this application but it will normally allow you to save anything else that was open at the time of the freeze.

If Task Manager is not working for you and you have no other way of closing the frozen computer programs then you may try powering down the computer. The easiest way to do this when the computer is not responding is by holding the power button in for about ten to fifteen seconds. The machine will power down, if it does not your last resort is to physically unplug the computer from the wall. Once powered down you may turn it back on and resume working, hopefully problem free.

If you continue having problems with the laptop or computer you may want to call a computer repair technician. The technicians at Computer Geeks know how to get in and get out leaving your computer feeling healthy again!

Computer Slowing Down? Defrag to the Rescue!

Over time, the fixed disk on a computer becomes?fragmented. Fragmentation is where related information is scatter over the disk, requiring numerous head movements and causing the computer to slow down. It can also cause the computer not to shut down properly, or to hang when you try to shut down. When it gets to that point, it’s time to format the drive and reinstall the operating system. All data will be lost! But have no fear my dear, there is always a simple solution to may seem like a complicated problem at first, once you complete it the problem will no longer be an issue.

To avoid the problem becoming something bigger than it might seem, you should defragment your C drive about twice a year. To start a defragmentation, go to “My Computer”, right mouse click on the C drive, left mouse click on “Properties”, select the “Tools” tab. The last item is “Defragment Now” - click on it, then click “Analyze”. Windows will indicate whether or not your drive needs defragmentation. If it does need defragmentation, do it by just clicking on the defragment button. If it does not, check again in six months.

If the drive is still fragmented after you try to defrag it: Try doing a Scandisk - the first item on the tools tab - sometimes called “Error Checking”. When it starts, be sure to check “Automatically Fix Errors”.?If Scandisk cannot complete it means that you have a corrupt file system. This can lead to numerous problems, and must be fixed, or eventually your computer may not start.

The defragment program in Windows is not very good. There are many situations where it cannot defragment a drive. Fortunately, there are after market defragmenters available. Go to for a good version.

If Diskeeper will not solve the problem, it’s time to reformat your disk, and re-install your operating system. This process of reformatting should be done with professional help. If you would like, the technician’s over at Computer Geeks will be more than happy to do this for you.?Be sure to back up your system before this.

The whole purpose of cleaning up your hard drive is to improve performance and make sure that it runs smoothly. After a while, it can get real frustrating trying to do simple tasks on the computer like internet or running a program if the C drive is full of unused files, temporary internet files, and programs you do not use. Get rid of it!

Personally I use Piriform’s CCleaner, or “Crap” Cleaner, whose name lives up to its task of getting rid of the crap that piles up in yourhard drive. This program actually has a defragment process that you can use with ease, with options to back up the system for you. I strongly recommend that if you are having problems with your computer, and you think that this might be the cause, consult a professional or someone who knows their stuff about computers.

Good Luck!

Weak Passwords

What is your password? Just kidding, don’t tell me, I will just guess and maybe get it right. Or I will easily hack into it with any number of programs available on the internet. We live in an age where one can search for anything on the web and receive information like how to build a bomb. ?Breaking passwords is easier, so be prepared.

Here at Computer Geeks we see it happen all the time. People call in asking for help recovering their email or even their log-in so they can access the computer, because the evil hacker guessed “monkey” and got it right. Stop these weasels before they really do some damage to your email or computer.

A computer security company called Duo Security ran a decryption of hundreds of thousands of passwords and was able to crack everyone of them, simply because they were “weak”. A weak password contains only letters and numbers, sure mixing them up with alphanumerals is good, but not enough.

Passwords seem like something to get it out of the way so you can sign up or log in fast. This attitude can prove to be fatal, as hackers can just as easily decrypt passwords like Duo did, but with evil intentions reek havoc on your personal files.

Some of the accounts that Duo cracked into were from federal and state government agencies, with employees providing weak passwords, anyone with a knowledge of hacking could have access to confidential information that is very valuable. If you think your email was one of the ones tested, go to this?Web-based tool to find out just type in your email address.

Personally I used to just put in a funny name or something relevant to my life that I could remember. I learned quickly that it is not what I can remember, but what someone who wants to access my files remembers. Now I am being safe by using letters, a symbol or two, and a number. This is the safest bet to ensure that hackers will at least have a harder time trying to get in.

The most common ways of hackers is to guess:

  • the user’s name or?login name
  • the name of a?significant other, a friend, relative or pet
  • birthplace or?date of birth, or a friend’s, or a relative’s
  • automobile license plate number, or a friend’s, or a relative’s
  • office number, residence number or most commonly, their mobile number.
  • a name of a?celebrity they like
  • a simple modification of one of the preceding, such as suffixing a digit, particularly?1, or reversing the order of the letters.
  • a swear or curse word

If you use the last one on this list, you might as well deserve to be hacked into and destroyed. But for the rest of you out there enjoying the a small sense of security when you login to accounts such as PayPal, online banking, or online stores with saved credit card information, it is time to open your eyes to the big picture. You know, the one where you are hiding in the corner because all your information was hacked into and used to buy all sorts of lewd and unexplainable items. This is something you could have avoided if you had heeded the advice given at Computer Geeks Blogs and changed the password to something like: ilovegeeks@123

It can’t hurt, but it will if you are not smart and leave the password at: “iamamonkey”

Common PC Problems

Problems are attached to your PC from?the?day?you buy one, it is as natural as nature, but what can you do about them to?minimize??the problem and make it does not turn into one you cannot solve? There are a couple actions you can take to ensure peace of mind and comfort of use knowing that the machine you paid $2,ooo dollars will not be breaking down anytime soon.

Most of the time, it is not being skilled enough or able to intellectually solve the problem yourself, it is not knowing where to look. Fixing your computer should not be such a hard task that leaves you feeling powerless and overwhelmed. When calling the “support” number for the computer, which usually fuels the frustration, does not work and you need help fixing it, read this blog.

If you cannot get out of the program you are running because it is?frozen, stuck and not moving at all, press these keys down in order: Ctrl-Alt-Delete. This little trick will solve this problem like magic. A task manager window will open up, displaying all of the programs you are running with the status of each next to them. You will see different status’ if one is acting funny, such as “program not responding”. Highlight that program, and on the bottom of the task manager, click the “End Task” button. Wait for the magic to happen, and resume your activity on the computer.

Most people in these “modern” times we all live in, amidst all the emerging technology and fast growing trends, are trying to keep up with the?crazy?pace. Not everyone knows about fixing what may seem like simple problems to tech-savvy people, are complicated to those who are not.

That is our goal here at Computer Geeks: self-knowledge, giving the customer the know-how to fix problems on their own to maybe save a few bucks in these tough economic times.

Back to problem solving. If you notice the speed of your internet not up to par, there is a quick easy solution for this one. Temporary files are things like history, cookies, and downloads which are saved to your computer. Maintenance is a good idea to keep this issue from happening. I have noticed with some people who let this go, and there internet is so slow I could write a book on blogging before they check their email it is that filled with crap.

Solution: Go to the search box located on the Start Menu and type?’.tmp’, it will pull up all the temporary files. Right click the mouse on each one, or select them all by selecting one and then,?holding the shift key,?going down to the last one. Hit the delete button, you are on your way to faster surfing instantly.

Troubleshooting the PC can lead to even more problems if you go beyond your skill level and end up really screwing things up! Make sure you know the limit of your knowledge, for example if it involves going inside your computer or trying to delete or mess with programs that you do not know the importance of.

Call Computer Geeks at 1-800-433-5435 and the nice people on the phone will direct your problem towards the solution!

Tips to Keep Your Computer Happy

Having a computer means you have everything, the ultimate tool to connect to the places you want to go while sitting at home or at the office, so here are some tips to help ensure that the tool does not break.

Rule number one: keep your stinky finger away from the power button, do not switch it off until Windows has shut down. The only exception is when your computer freezes and there is not alternative but to hit the button to reboot. The problem with hitting the button is that it damages the hard drive, and also loses all your data and work you saved on the computer that you were working on. If you can, hit Control-Alt-Delete in that order and hold it for a second to get the taskbar, which will allow you to end any task that is “Not Responding”.

Don’t wait until it is too late, back your system up now! There is no reason why you should lose important data from your computer, the tools are right there provided for you to save a copy to a flash drive, a CD-RW. or a zip disk. All these will store the data and be ready to use if in the event your computer freezes and the power off button destroys your files, the backup will be right there.

System Restore yourself to sanity. This tip will save your life, it has saved mine and countless others because of its capability to recover what was recently lost. I had an old Dell desktop that I needed for business, it was 5 years old and in computer years that means the Dell was 50, time for a new computer right? Wrong. It was slow because of all the programs and P2P software that was bogging it down with viruses and downloads. So what did I do? I had a mental breakdown and prayed to the computer gods. My prayers were answered in the form of system restore.

  • I clicked on Start Menu, All Programs, Accessories, System Restore. I was asked to pick a date on the calendar when the computer was saved, before it all went sour, and like magic the computer was returned to health as if nothing ever happened.
  • System Protection makes this possible with regular restore points as a fail-safe back up plan for us stupid computer users.

Give your C: drive some space. If you decide that you need every last MegaByte of your C: drive, let me tell you what will happen…I will need to wait 10 minutes to type out this sentence because the computer is so slow. Leave at least 300 to 600 MB of space to prevent it from data to your hard drive, rendering your computer unusable.

Leave it up to the professionals. Do not try to be a hero and save the computer from peril, you can end up becoming a villain instead. Realize your own powers are not good enough to solve the problem if all you have tried does not work. Call us at Computer Geeks, we will be there for you when you need us, right on time.

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