Scott Morris

Scott Morris

Thursday, 09 May 2013 16:20

How To: Submitting Help Tickets

Help Tickets are a new and exciting feature at Reno Computer Services that will ensure that your IT needs are always fulfilled.

 

You have two very simple options for submitting a new Help Ticket:

 

 


 

Optional Email Features

CC Others Involved

Not only does sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. create a new ticket for you, it will also add anyone that you CC to the ticket so everyone involved will be notified of changes and be able to submit additional information.

Priorize The Ticket

Is your ticket urgent? You can flag your new ticket with a priority by simply adding
#priority high
in the email. You can choose from high or low priority.
Medium is the default priority level, so unless the issue is urgent or just a "get to it when you can" type ticket there is no need to add this line.

Attach Helpful Information

A picture is worth a thousand words... If you're getting an error message, or have an issue that requires a lot of description, attaching an image can dramatically reduce the amount of time required to resolve the issue.

There is a great little utility called Greenshot that can speed up the process. It allows you to take a snapshot of your screen, and also lets you select a certain portion of the screen you want to capture. You can find this great tool at http://getgreenshot.org/downloads/.

Issue Resolved?

If your issue has been resolved, reply to the ticket and add
#close
in the email. This will close the ticket.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 04:58

The Windows 8 Experience

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is here to stay...

Well, the new operating system from Microsoft, Windows 8, is out in full swing. New computers are coming preloaded with Windows 8, and it's getting more difficult to get a new computer with Windows 7. In November I purchased a laptop and upgraded my main desktop machine, and in the process made the decision to dive head first into Windows 8. I would like to review my experience with you to give you an idea what is in store for you if you find yourself in front of a Windows 8 machine.

 The Onset

Yes, "The Onset" is an appropriate header for this section From the get go my initial reaction was that of a plague sweeping through the Windows environment. If you have ever seen a Windows Mobile device you are familiar with the big block icons, no taskbar at the bottom of the screen, the stark absence of a start menu and absolutely no familiar background with cute little icons on it. As I fumbled through the new interface, desperately seeking a way to return to the "normal" Windows environment, I was vehemently cursing Microsoft every step of the way.

Finally I discovered the desktop "icon." It was in plain sight the whole time, but since I had worked myself into a dither I neglected to notice it. After clicking it, I felt the blood rushing back into my face, and a wave of calm set over me. The desktop was back, taskbar and all; however, I quickly realized that my beloved start menu was still missing. Frustrated I fired up a Google search only to find a whole host of other people with the similar reaction. To make matters worse, I found out that there was no way to simply enable it; Microsoft had completely removed the start menu feature! There were third party addons, but I didn't want to hack my brand new operating system, as tempting as it sounded at the time. I figured, for my client's benefit, I needed to learn how to use the new Windows 8 as Microsoft intended.

One Bite At A Time

How does one eat an elephant...? One bite at a time. I continued playing, experimenting and dabbling with the new Windows 8 and was beginning to like certain features. For example, my network printers in the office automatically installed themselves on both my desktop and my laptop - awesome! Windows 8 also has the option to sync settings between the two computers via a Microsoft account - sweet! New devices are super easy to install and manage - great!

Although I kept finding great new features, there were still things that frustrated me to no end. The missing start menu was severely interfering with my day to day operations. The simple action of opening a new Explorer windows involved right clicking the open group of Explorer windows and opening a new window that way. Not the end of the world, but since the conception of Windows 3.1 there has been a nifty little button at the bottom right part of the screen that gave the user a whole host of places to go. Now I'm stuck with a gimpy way of having to fumble my way through the computer.

  • The Good
    • Easy device install and management.
    • Syncing of customizations and setting to other PC's.
    • Auto-install of network printers.
    • Powerful features in Windows Explorer (Like those of the new MS Office 2007 and up).
  • The Bad
    • No start menu.
    • No start menu.
    • No start menu.
  • The Ugly
    • The new startup screen.

The Resolution

Having given myself three solid months to become intimately familiar with Windows 8, I felt it was time to tweak the operating system to my liking. I had given Microsoft long enough to win me over to their new way of thinking. Microsoft has failed; I want my cake and I want to eat it to... I love the new features of Windows 8, but I want my damn start menu back! I can't continue limping through the operating system, it's simply too inefficient.

Enter Classic Shell. There are a few different options available to add the start menu back to Windows 8, but, as my clients know, I hate paying for things unless the free options simply won't cut it. Classic Shell is free and is packed with options, and I would highly recommend those of you with Windows 8 check it out.

I have a confession to make - after installing Classic Shell and making a couple very minor changes I'm beginning to enjoy Windows 8, maybe even more than Windows 7. It's simply amazing what a difference the addition of such a tiny, simple little feature like the start menu can make. Take note of this fact Microsoft. I completely understand trying to revolutionize your operating system and guide people to a new, more modern path; however, please do not completely remove such pivotal features from your operating system. Feel free to disable them by default and nudge people in the direction you want, but not having the option to revert to what I'm use to made me strongly consider Mac and Linux and viable alternates.

Conclusion

For those of you considering migrating to Windows 8, either as an upgrade or through the purchase of a new PC, feel free to get in touch with me. I can greatly reduce the learning curve of this drastically different operating system.

Thank you for reading. I hope this article was helpful, interesting, or at the very least entertaining.

Thursday, 29 March 2012 16:28

Meet Bill Morris

At Reno Computer Services, we believe that working with family strengthens our mission. Bill Morris is helping our team as a Client Relationship Manager....and also my younger brother. He’s the individual making contact and building relationships with clients to discover their unique IT needs. Bill likes meeting people, so who better to reach out to our clients?

His background here in Reno saw varied experiences. Bill’s first job, at 11 years old, was at El Borracho. Working there taught him skills of adaptation: bussing tables, being a kitchen assistant, or performing whatever role the owners wanted until he was 16. From there, Bill worked in produce and as courtesy clerk at Save Mart for 4 years. Working in these positions helped build customer service skills that Bill delivers to RCS’ clients in continuing to exceed their expectations.

Bill works hard but also plays hard. Playing tennis is a passion. Every summer Bill works at the courts fulfilling office duties, stringing rackets and such. It keeps him around the game. On that note, Bill just recently returned from a tennis tournament in Palm Springs. In general, he likes being active in racquetball, hiking, and boxing.

Bill seizes opportunities. He wakes up early every morning for Day-trading when the markets open. He studies trade regularly, which is a career path as well as helping Reno Computer Services become the most successful computer repair shop in the area. I feel lucky to have him on my team. We pride ourselves upon transparency and efficiency, where our family speaks for our mission.

Check out RCS’ website for more details on how we can meet your computer repair needs.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:50

Learning to Fly…and Computer Repair

Cruising at 12,000 feet above Reno, you see things from a unique perspective. The miniscule cars and people below don’t seem as rushed. Inside the plane, there’s other concerns, yet everything’s calm. You’re free, without stress. My problem down there is a tiny box.

Flying alters your understanding of distances. On a really clear day, you can see Pyramid, Tahoe, Honey, and Walker lakes. It’s surreal. Flying to Redding, a four-hour drive from Reno, takes forty minutes.

Aviation always seemed a part of growing up. My father piloted gliders, the ones without engines that get towed up and ride the winds down. When I was fourteen, I did my first “solo.” 14 is the minimum age requirement, and I took the test as soon as humanly possible. I had been practicing under supervision for a year.

Our family got busy with life, so for a while, we didn’t fly much. After turning 23 and thinking more about life questions, I heard about flight school. That inspired me to become an airline pilot, to rediscover my love of flying. At the Reno airport, I got licensed in record time. The commercial license requires 250 hours of flight time. With so many hours to burn, you take any opportunity to fly. That meant taking friends to Lovelock, Carson, and other locales. We’d get lunch and make a day of it.

With the economy and so many laid-off pilots, I figured getting work would be tough, so since then, I’ve focused on teaching part-time. And really, that’s what I prefer. What’s really beneficial is how the lessons of flying carry over to other areas. Everything I’ve done stems from learning to fly. When you’re in a cockpit, you need a flow to looking at everything, or you’ll get overwhelmed. There’s too much to absorb, so one needs a system. When flying, you need to know how high you are, how fast you’re going, where you’re heading, if you’re on-course, if you have fuel. Ignore everything else, and focus on these instruments, the 6-pack. When I’m teaching pilots, we start with the 6-pack and slowly learn more, putting the gigantic, complicated puzzle together one piece at a time. Then it starts making sense, becomes second nature even. You develop a scan, and this eases cockpit management.

Now, with a computer, you also have many little things to manage. To tackle repairs efficiently, you multitask, you breaks things down into chunks. First, we clear out the junk; then we do a virus scan. On the process goes, repairing one compartment or chunk at a time. With learning to fly, Aviation has enriched my life in so many ways. You learn how to process information and simplify the complex.

A multivitamin for your computer!

If a product existed that would maintain your car’s performance for a monthly charge instead of the occasional shop repair, wouldn't that service have tremendous value? Who wouldn't want to avoid that begrudging trip to the auto shop?

This is how my “PC Preventative Maintenance” program works! At Reno Computer Services, we specialize in a preventative approach that is designed to deliver reliable, consistent and secure PC performance - all the time.My clients have been welcoming me into their homes to speeding up their slow computers, which I love doing, but today I’m proud to announce this expansion of my service focusing on preventative maintenance.

This service includes:

  1. Restore your computer’s performance to establish a solid baseline.
  2. Consistent off-site repair and maintenance, to keep your PC running optimally.
  3. Monitoring of system events in order to prevent a system crash.
  4. System performance monitoring that will watch for high system usage that increases wear and tear on your machine.

Specific tasks performed remotely are:

  • Virus scanning with multiple programs
  • Windows updates
  • Software updates
  • Hard drive maintenance
  • Performance tracking
  • Error log monitoring
  • Overall system optimization
  • Temporary file deletion
  • Recycle bin emptying

How much does it cost?

First, we do a full system optimization that repairs basic problems and speeds up your slow computer, all that I would offer on a normal service call (this usually costs upwards of 99 dollars). I will also configure the computer to allow the remote connection. After that first visit I maintain your PC’s performance remotely. The initial session and the monthly service are priced at an affordable rate of less than $17 per month!

Why consider PC Preventative Maintenance?

These days doctors are all about preventative health. Take steps now to avoid bigger, more devastating problems in the future. My Preventative Maintenance program would be your computer’s multivitamin. Experienced and inexperienced computer users can benefit by eliminating the mundane chores needed to keep a computer running at its best; my service offers peace of mind surrounding your computer’s performance.

What about security?

In the digital age, privacy issues are never ending. My Preventative Maintenance service uses 256-bit encryption, the same security levels trusted by online banking systems and payment processors. Furthermore, I cannot readily see any files or information stored on your PC. My access to your computer is limited to system maintenance tasks. Keeping your PC running optimally is my focus; check out our testimonials.

Additional benefits (besides owning a fast, up-to-date PC)

  • Reduced cost of ownership over time. With repair and maintenance in my hands, your computer will last longer, which prevents buying upgrades or a new PC.
  • Peace of mind, no need for a trip to Best-Buy.
  • You will gain remote access to you computer and files from anywhere in the world.

Intrigued? Hop over to the preventative PC maintenance portion of my website.

Saturday, 27 November 2010 00:48

Top 7 Reasons for a Slow Computer

Slow Computers are Frustrating! Read my Top 7 Reasons for a Slow Computer.

1. Too many programs running. Having too many running programs uses up valuable system resources. The reason you may have a lot of programs running is a lot of software, when installed, like to feel special and run when your system starts so you can access it quickly and easily. The problem is, you may not use the software frequently enough to warrant having running all the time. You can check how many programs are running a couple different ways.
A: look at the right side of the task bar (where the clock is) and see how many little icons are present. Each icon is a program running. Typically you will have your virus scanner, spyware scanner, a volume icon, etc. Too many of these can slow down your computer.
B: press CRTL+SHIFT+ESCAPE on your keyboard. This will bring up the Task Manager. Select the Processes Tab. This lists each process (most are programs) running on the computer. It also tells you how much processor and RAM these processes are using. The longer the list, the more stuff is running - the more stuff running, the slower your computer.

Reno Computer Remedy: Go to Start -> Run and type msconfig. If you're using Vista/7 and don't see Run, type msconfig into the search box. When you have the System Configuration window open, go to the Startup tab. This lists all of the programs that are set to run when your computer boots up. You can clear the check box next to any of these to stop them from starting from the computer. One other place to check would be to go to Start -> All Programs -> Startup. If there's anything in this folder it will also start with the computer. You can delete anything you don't want there as well.

2. Hard Drive Fragmentation. As you use your computer to save documents, surf the web, view photos, install software, etc. your computer is busy opening, closing and saving various files (some you are unaware of). As it does this, it causes what's known as fragmentation which is files being saved in various places on the hard drive instead of in a systematic order. What ends up happening is when you go to open a file the system has to go looking for that file. Keep in mind that when you go to open a document there's a lot more going on than just opening that document. With the disk fragmentation, it will take longer for the system to find all the files needed to do various things - in turn, slowing your system down.

Reno Computer Remedy: Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter. Try not to interrupt the scanner while it's operating. I recommend setting it to run when you go to sleep, that way it can run while you won't be using it. Turn off screen savers and system standby as well to prevent interruption from them. You can run Disk Defragmenter once a week if you use your system a lot, otherwise once a month will do.

3. Spyware. Although not always malicious in intent, can bog down your computer and breach your privacy. It can be anything from a cookie that monitors your web surfing habits in order to deliver more targeted advertising to you, or can be something as malicious as a key logger that detects every keystroke you make on your computer with the intent of giving someone else your passwords, credit card numbers, etc. One way or another, you don't need any of these on your system.

Reno Computer Remedy: I recommend Malware Bytes, it's FREE. It can be found at http://www.malwarebytes.org. This software will detect and remove any Spyware threats with a quick scan feature that is much faster than any other scanner I've found. The only down side to the free version is it does not provide you with the ability to schedule scans, nor does it have live monitoring to prevent threats from getting onto your computer in the first place. I recommend you also install Windows Security Essentials, which can be founds at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. Here at Reno Computer Services, I run both of these every night while I'm asleep, but once a week will suffice.

4. Viruses. We all know what viruses are. We hear about them every day. You don't want these nasty bugs on your computer. They come in many forms, and you don't want any of them on your machine.

Reno Computer Remedy: I recommend Windows Security Essentials. Besides being one of the best Virus removers I've found, it's also FREE. It also provides you with LIVE monitoring to help prevent threats from getting onto your computer. You can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ . As mentioned above in the spyware section, I run this, along with Malware Bytes, every day while I'm asleep, but once a week will do fine.

5. Registry Errors. Your Windows Registry is the backbone of your system. It stores file locations for needed Windows processes, paths to documents and other files, shortcut paths, etc. Occasionally, when something gets changed within Windows, the registry doesn't get modified correctly. When this happens it causes error messages and slow performance. This may be the culprit behind your slow computer. Reno Computer Remedy: I recommend CCleaner. It is free, and will scan your registry, as well as fix any problems it finds. You can find it at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner.

6. Insufficient RAM. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the type of memory your computer uses when you load software. It's called Random Access Memory because nothing gets stored there permanently (like with your hard drive). Instead, programs are loaded to your RAM until you are done with them. At which point, they get removed from your RAM. As your computer gets older we all tend to put more software on our computers. Also, as time progresses, newer software requires more system resources to run, causing your system to get slower and slower as time goes on.

Reno Computer Remedy: First off, check number one in this list. It may help remedy how much RAM is constantly being used. RAM is a very quick, inexpensive and easy way to speed up a slow computer. Although it's easy, I wouldn't recommend installing it yourself unless you know what you're doing. I will be happy to install it for you, click here to see how I can help you.

7. Full Hard Drive. If your Hard Drive is starting to fill up you may also start noticing your system slowing down. As well as utilizing RAM when programs start, they also create temporary files on your hard drive. If you are lacking hard drive space, this can cause your computer to crawl at snail pace. To check how much hard drive space you have available, go to My Computer and right click on your hard drive -> Properties. This will give you a pretty pie chart that shows your hard drive utilization.

Reno Computer Remedy: Adding a second hard drive to your computer may be the answer. This can be done this very easily and inexpensively. Alternatively, you can go through your downloads folder, music files, pictures and videos to see if anything can be deleted to free up space. This is a service I frequently provide, click here to see how I can help you. I hope you found this article useful.

Stop Error 0x0000007E or Continuous Rebooting After Installing Windows XP Service Pack 3.

Uh oh, you've done it now... Time to reformat you computer and start from scratch. Ok, no, there's a rather simple work around that should solve this little issue.

How do I identify this problem?

After rebooting your computer after finishing the installation of the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Update, you can identify this problem by your computer displaying a BSOD Stop error, then rebooting on its own. This process will continue until you either turn off the computer or boot into Safe Mode.

How do I solve Stop Error 0X0000007E? 

If your computer is off, turn it on. Start tapping the F8 key until you see a screen with an option called Safe Mode. You will need to boot into Safe Mode for this fix, so select the Safe Mode option and press enter. Once on your desktop, go to Start -> Run and type regedit then press OK. This should open the Registry Editor. Click on the plus signs next to the following folders:

KHEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Services Intelppm

In the Intelppm section on the right side of the screen look for the entry START and double click it. Change the number to 4 and click ok. Close the Registry Editor, shut down Windows and restart your computer. Windows XP with Service Pack 3 should boot normally now. Please do not make any changes unless you know what you are doing. The Registry is the brain of your Operating System and even a slight change can have catastrophic and hard to detect results. If you would like help with this problem and you live in the Reno/Tahoe area, call me at (775) 338-2173. Otherwise, call a qualified computer technician in your area.

©2017 Scott Morris and Reno Computer Services, LLC.
500 Ryland Street, Suite 160 | Reno, NV 89502 | 

(775) 737-4400

2011 Scott Morris. Reno Computer Services, LLC
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