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10 Common PC Problems

By | Support

1: My computer is slow

The most common problem of all. A slow computer can cause many frustrations, but fortunately there is something you can do yourself before you replace it. There may be several reasons for a slow computer; however, the most common is lack of maintenance. Fragmented data, a corrupted registry, spyware and dozens of unnecessary programs running at the same time, easily eat at the speed and performance of your PC.

2: My computer freezes

Also a common problem, but it is far more serious than a slow PC. In most cases it is caused by viruses, especially spyware that has been installed on your computer. It can enter via a click on a link to a fake website from an email or so on. Often the email is being sent from what looks like your bank, Paypal, Facebook or similar. Last year MYSecurityCenter registered an increase in malware infections coming from Facebook-related fraudsters among their customers.

The problem can also be caused by hardware – perhaps some memory you just installed – or recent software updates, including Windows Update.

3: I forgot to backup my data

Unfortunately, backup is still an overlooked security task for many home users – until the day it is too late. Important documents, photos, music libraries and emails are automatically stored on your computer’s hard drive, which is a mechanical and electrical device. When it breaks down (and it is when, not if) this data will disappear forever. Even if you have a warranty from the hard drive manufacturer, it does not cover your data, it only replaces the hard drive with a new one.

4: I get bombarded with adware and my home page has changed

Many do not notice that they often accept a new toolbar when they download free programs such as Adobe Reader. For example Adobe Reader now offers the Google Chrome internet browser as part of its download. Whilst Adobe and Google are reputable companies, other free downloads may install toolbars or other applications that can contain malicious code that hijacks your browser and changes all the settings. So your home page for example is changed to another website that you can’t then change back. At the same time, annoying pop-up messages with advertisements for products you’ve never asked for are constantly displayed on screen every time you try to browse the internet.

5: I cannot get online

Internet connection problems can be caused by many different things. The most common are incorrect network configurations, hardware or software errors in the router, latency from your Internet Service Provider, incorrect IP address configuration, incorrect connection of network cables, firewall applications that block http traffic from your PC or temporary timeouts your ISP.

Check out our support plans by clicking HERE! Box Support provides ongoing computer support, whenever you need it.

6: My computer turns off by itself

Typically this is due to dying power supply, bad cable connections, defective battery or overheating when the computer shuts down by itself to cool down.

7: My smartphone will not sync with my PC

In order to ensure backup of your smartphone, it is important that you regularly sync your phone content with your computer. When synchronization does not work as expected may be due to various factors, depending on the type of smartphone and PC. Sometimes it is required that all programs are closed, during syncing or backup.

8: My wireless network is unstable

An unstable wireless network is a very common problem. It can be caused by everything from radio waves that interfere with the signal to the router’s location in the home or outdated network drivers.

9: I cannot print from the web

Most of us have had the need to print tickets or documents that we ordered or downloaded from the web. If your computer’s pop-up blocker is turned on, this can cause you to not be able to print. There are also PDF documents that are rights protected by passwords and therefore not printable.

10: My computer makes strange noises

If your computer suddenly starts to buzz or vibrate, it can be due to a hardware failure. High, whining noises may indicate problems with the electrical components, while buzzing noises are often caused by lack of ventilation.

Check out our support plans by clicking HERE! Box Support provides ongoing computer support, whenever you need it.

Potentially Unwanted Programs

Puppies are cute but PUPs aren’t so much fun

By | Security, Support, Training | No Comments

What are PUPs?

Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs, are small pieces of software that are installed onto your system, usually by piggybacking onto other legitimate software, or by other similarly circuitous means. This occurs most often without your knowledge or consent.

While most PUPs are considered highly suspect, they are not always considered malware in the strictest sense. The primary reason for this is because their installation is acknowledged in the agreement of the original program you intended to install, even if such an acknowledgement is buried deep in the fine print. Most of the time you won’t even realize that you’ve installed additional programs until you notice new icons on your desktop or system tray or a new toolbar in your browser. A general rule, Box Support considers any software that is designed to install itself onto your system without your explicit knowledge and consent as likely malware.

What do PUPs look like?

PUPs (potentially unwanted software) come in many forms and varieties, often masquerading as other, more benign types of software. Some of the most common varieties are the following:

PUPs Toolbars

Unwanted Toolbars

Toolbars

Many PUPs appear as toolbars, attached to your favorite browser. Typically the toolbar might come under the guise of a helpful translator bar, a time saving coupon-clipper, a recipe catalog, or even as a philanthropic software accessory. Most of the time toolbars aren’t intentionally malicious, instead, they simply provide functionality that is already included in your browser or search engine and are needlessly taking up space on your screen and your system. Often times toolbars stack on top of each other until there is precious little space for the actual browser window.

Pop-ups

PUPs sometimes take the form of anti-virus or similar software. Typically the software will produce a pop-up alerting you to a “serious threat”. These threats are almost always fictitious. It warns that without immediate intervention, your system will suffer a catastrophic error. The message will encourage you to click a button typically labeled “Clean Now” or “Fix”, which will then direct you to a website which promises to remove said errors for a fee.

How do PUPs harm my system?

There are a number of ways in which PUPs can cause harm and hinder the proper function of the computer. Below we have detailed a few such methods.

Doggy Pile

PUPs (much like their cuddly namesake) tend to doggy pile. This means that they have a cumulative affect on your system’s performance. While one PUP might go unnoticed, as they accumulate, your system will begin to respond more sluggishly and begin producing more errors. This is because they begin leeching your system’s resources, leaving less for the software you actually want. Like barnacles on a the hull of a ship, they need to be scraped off for smooth sailing.

Foot In The Door

Having one pup on your system is like a foot in the door to your computer. Incrementally, that door will be pushed further and further open, making it possible for bigger, more malicious threats to enter; threats like viruses, trojans, bots and other malware.

Spyware and Adware

PUPs aren’t limited to hogging your system resources and making your computer more vulnerable to attack. Some PUPs will randomly display ads, redirect internet searches to unsafe websites and some can even skim your personal and financial information. Fraud and identity theft have become extremely pervasive in the digital age, ranking as the fastest growing crime according to the Federal Trade Commission.

How do I avoid PUPs?

Your risk of being affected by PUPs can be mitigated by being careful about the software you install, the links and ads you click on and the emails you open. With the prevalence of PUPs, even being the most cautious user is likely to find them on their system eventually. As long as your computer is connected to the internet, it is ultimately at risk which is why it’s so critical that you have the right security services and software to protect your computer and your sensitive information.

Check out our security plans by clicking HERE! Box Support protects you and your computer from PUPs, malware, viruses, spyware and more.

What do I do if I suspect PUPs may be on my system?

Although many PUPs parade themselves about your desktop with obtrusive pop-ups and toolbars, some PUPs run silently in the background and can only be detected and removed with specialized software.

While uninstalling them and cleaning them with anti-malware programs can help, inevitably PUPs and other more malicious software will end up on  your system again. Just as you need professional assistance in maintaining proper health, so too does your computer.

If your computer seems sluggish, unresponsive or is simply manifesting strange symptoms, DO NOT simply wait for these symptoms to go away. Address them early before they have a chance to cause real problems, such as damage to your machine or compromising your sensitive information. The internet can be a frustrating and at times a frightening place. But you don’t have to do it alone.

Help is close at hand

Box Support is the leader in providing enterprise level computer security and support for home users and small businesses.  We keep your computer running smoothly and your sensitive information secure. Box Support will clean and optimize your system, install enterprise level security software and guard against future threats. Try us out today by taking advantage of our robust protection plans.