Data doesn’t last forever.

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All of the pictures you store on your desktop, laptop, tablet, phone or external backup drive are a guarantee that your digital memories are safe forever, right? Oh, so wrong!

If you’ve got an old laptop with the kids’ baby pictures sitting in the basement, or put your entire life on an external hard drive in the family safe or safe deposit box years ago – you might want to Google the question:

How long does digital media last?

Under ideal circumstances, magnetic media will last for about a decade.  Keeping that in mind, here are a few suggestions to help prevent losing magnetic media over the long haul.

  1. When the time comes to replace your desktop of laptop, don’t use it as a long-term storage solution. If a failing hard drive is one of the reasons it was performing poorly, you may be at risk already. Make a backup immediately, or if it doesn’t work anymore, take it to a professional for backup promptly.
  2. Don’t skimp on the quality of the hardware you store your files on. We’ve recommended Western Digital hard drives forever. Reliable, dependable, a low failure rate and a great warranty.
  3. Before putting your backup in long-term storage, label it with the date – at least the year.
  4. Transfer your backup files to new hardware (thumb drive, external hard drive, etc.) every 8 years or so.
  5. Keep two copies of your backups, in two different locations in the event of fire, flood or other unforeseen problems.

At ITS Alaska Computer services, we’ve been helping your friends and neighbors keep their digital memories safe for over 18 years. Give us a call at 907-373-4640 or stop by the shop at the corner of Board Rd and Seldon.

ITS Can Fix That, too!

A Stranger in the House?

May 1, 2017 Stranger Update!

We have received a report from a long time client that someone called them out of the blue claiming to be ITS Alaska Computer Services – and suggesting they download a cool new tool to protect them from online hazards. Fortunately, that customer knew that we don’t have anyone on staff with a middle eastern accent, and hung up!

Yes we do have cool tools to help protect your computer from online hazards – just stop in our shop on the corner of Bogard Road and the Seldon Extenstion (we’ve been here nearly 18 years!), and we will set you up with the #1 rated antivirus program – BitDefender at a great rate.

Yes, ITS can fix that too!

In recent months we’ve seen an alarming increase in remote computer assistance scams in the valley. It starts with a pop-up on your Windows computer that says your hard drive is failing, that you’re infected with a virus, or that you are otherwise at ‘risk.’ This notice claims to be from one of many legitimate businesses (so far we’ve seen Microsoft, Quickbooks, MTA, Hewlett Packard, Quickbooks and various antivirus software manufacturers) and provides a phone number for you to call immediately for help. And so you call…

What Happens Next?

scarewarewarningOnce you’ve called, someone will walk you through the steps to allow them to access your computer over the internet, to diagnose and fix your problem. Often the means of entry is by having you download a program such as Log-Me-In or Team Viewer, both of which are entirely legitimate applications.

Once in, you can watch the person busily ‘do’ things on your system – ultimately finding some problem that they will correct for you for a fee. The amount of the fee depends on the severity of the problem, and how long they had access to your computer. We have even seen instances of the remote technician logging into a ‘fixed’ and paid for PC days later – presumably to create a ‘new’ problem to fix, however the client disconnected it from the internet and brought it into the shop before he could do anything more.

Why Didn’t Your Antivirus Protection Protect You?

Because that pop-up isn’t a virus. It’s not even technically malware. It was merely an advertisement. An advertisement intended to cause a panic reaction and get you to dial the phone before thinking things through. And it’s working, frequently.

Real or a Scam?

How do you know if a warning that pops up on your computer is real, or if it’s a scam? Best rule of thumb – ALWAYS assume it’s a scam. If you have a real concern, such as system slowness, stalling out or blue screens, have it checked out by a certified technician, or ask your handy son-in-law for assistance. If you fear you have a virus, run a full system scan through your antivirus software of choice, or check out this free tool for home users: http://housecall.trendmicro.com.

Don’t let strangers in the house!

Unless you personally looked up the phone number for technical support on the official website or from paperwork of a particular service provider, there is no way for you to know who the person on the other end of that phone line is, or what the end result may be.

Yes, ITS Alaska can fix that too. And you can stop by our shop at the corner of Bogard Rd & the Seldon Extension – our certified technicians have been helping your friends and neighbors for 18 years.

PC Security Special Offers!

We are excited to announce that ITS Alaska Computer Services is now your official Bitdefender Antivirus reseller in the Mat-Su Valley. Affordable, easy to use, and highly effective protection by the #1 choice of industry experts nationwide.

Security Special Offers

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$10 off 1 User/1 Year license of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 for PC – normally $40 or $70 installed and configured

1 User/1 Year license Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 for PC – FREE with our full Virus/Spyware Removal Service

 

This offer good through April 30, 2017 – Walk-ins always welcome!

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To Fix or Not to Fix?

Has become the big question.

notebook repair

With the recent popularity of low-budget PC laptops and tablets, computer repair customers are more often asking the question ‘Should I even think about repairing my laptop or tablet, or should I just replace it?’

As with most questions, the answer depends on a number of factors – here are some guidelines to help you evaluate whether to take your broken or malfunctioning device in for professional diagnostic.

Q1: What did you pay for that PC, tablet or other device?

If the answer is $200-$300, the odds are better that it was designed to be disposable rather than you got a great deal. When we say ‘designed to be disposable’ we mean computer equipment that uses low-cost, but high failure rate components. It can also mean that the device has been glued together, rather than constructed using fastener methods like screws that are easily removed and replaced. With rare exception, a device that uses glue in the construction process was not intended to be repaired.

Q2: Who made it, and how old is it?

Who made the device is a relevant question because some major manufacturers, such as Dell, will not sell replacement parts outside of their organization. Many major manufacturers also discontinue replacement parts a mere few years after selling the original device. If a replacement part cannot be purchased from a reliable vendor that has been proven to know the difference between ‘new parts’ and ‘slightly used parts,’ repair may not be a cost effective option.

Q3: Do you have files, photos, contacts or other information you need to keep?

If you have pictures or other data you need or just want to keep, tossing that budget device in the garbage is probably not an option. In some cases you may have to repair the device just to get access to your data, or if the device was not intended to be repaired, it may have to be intentionally cracked open to begin data recovery.

When you’re not sure?

You can bring it on in to ITS Alaska Computer Services at the corner of Bogard Road and the Seldon Extension in Wasilla. Our diagnostic fee is waived with any other service, including transferring your files and photos off of a broken or failing system.

What about Macs?

There is no such thing as a low-end Mac, and it is very rare for any Mac device that isn’t absolutely ancient to NOT be worth repairing. Yes, at ITS Alaska, we can fix those too!

Local businesses and countless home users have been counting on us for nearly 18 years to help them with their hardware and software problems, including providing information to help you make a good decision:

To Fix or Not to Fix?

 

 

What does ‘Senior Friendly’ mean?

At ITS, we have for 18 years now claimed to be a fast and reliable ‘Senior Friendly’ computer repair shop, but what exactly does that mean?

For example, a particular elderly gentleman, who explained that his short term memory is not what it used to be, could no longer get the internet. The computer was his primary source of social interaction.  So we offered him our Pick-up & Return service that prevented him from having to haul his beast of a desktop PC into the shop, and also solved the problem of  his having to reconnect all the cables and cords once it was repaired.

We picked it up, diagnosed a failed power supply, replaced it after ensuring there were no other hardware issues or software corruptions. We then returned it the next day, reconnected it, confirmed a connection to the Internet, and made sure that all peripherals were functioning.

After paying by credit card over the phone , less his 5% senior discount, this very nice gentleman said: ‘I didn’t even have to leave the house – now that’s senior friendly.’  That made our day!

Please share this information with those in your life who:

  • Shouldn’t be on their hands and knees under a desk messing with wires.
  • Shouldn’t be hauling heavy things to and from the car.
  • Sometimes can’t remember what cord goes in what plug, or
  • May need a Geek to English translation.

Just stop in our shop in the Crossroads Center Mall at the corner of Bogard & Seldon, or give a call to 373-4640. We can fix that!

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