Operating System Services

Physical Cleaning

Actual physical cleanup, as in dusting, will allow your computer to literally breathe easier, and in turn prolong the life of your system. Heat is hard on electronics and when hair and dust collect on your computer's internals, it essentially blankets your components and prevents heat from escaping. Further, over time your system's cooling fans become clogged and caked with dust, which compromises their effectiveness.

So, what you're dealing with is a system that cannot quickly shed heat and thus ends up cooking itself. You can usually tell when you need to clean your computer by looking at the intakes and exhaust ports. Usually it's as easy as glancing at the little holes that allow air to enter and exit. If those are covered or caked with dust, then it's time to clean your computer. We want to stress how much more effective a computer is at dissipating heat and cooling its internal components when they're not coated in a thick coat of fur.

You'll have to shut down and unplug your computer before you begin, and then we recommend you take the entire unit outside. Once you start cleaning it out, all that dust and hair that has collected inside will need to be dislodged. You don't want to reintroduce all that refuse back into your house.

While it may seem easy to simply get out the vacuum cleaner and suck all that stuff out, don't. Vacuum cleaners can discharge static electricity onto your computer's delicate electronic components. We recommend canned air, to blast the dirt out.
We clean your machine! $25

Diagnosis & Cleaning

Cleaning up your system including routing out all those pesky startup items, removing temporary files, and uninstalling old, unused applications.

According to Microsoft, impact is based on how much CPU and disk usage occurs at startup:

High impact – Apps that use more than 1 second of CPU time or more than 3 MB of disk I/O at startup
Medium impact – Apps that use 300 ms – 1000 ms of CPU time or 300 KB – 3 MB of disk I/O
Low impact – Apps that use less than 300 ms of CPU time and less than 300 KB of disk I/O

A good way to unburden your computer at start up is to disable items that automatically launch when Windows boots. A simple utility tool "Disk Cleanup" allows you quickly delete stuff like temporary and cache files so you can free up space on your hard drive(s).

From there, we move on to disk maintenance.
Today, hard drives in computers come in two flavors: the SSD and HDD. An SSD or solid state drive, is sort of a container full of flash memory. Basically it's RAM, but unlike RAM, the content in an SSD retain their contents after you turn off the power.

Hard drives by contrast, are comprised of quickly spinning platters, on which all the data in your computer is written. To find and retrieve the data, a hard drive has heads, which read the surface of these platters kind of like you might walk to the stacks in a library and retrieve a book or books from their shelves.

SSDs, because they're so similar to RAM, are superior to old school spinning hard drives because they're consistently faster at accessing and retrieving data.

The thing about HDDs is that over time, the books you take off the shelf are replaced by other books, any books your want to return to the stacks are stuck wherever there is space. So instead of having all your data in contiguous chunks, it ends up spread about or "fragmented." Over time, it becomes increasingly more time consuming to retrieve your data because the hard drive has to read part of it from one area on the platter(s) and another part of it somewhere else.

Defragmenting software is meant to take all those books and put them back together on their shelves so the computer can find them again more efficiently. This works to great effect on traditional spinning platter drives, but not so much on solid state drives, and can actually decrease the lifespan of your SSD.

You can only write to an SSD a finite number of times. Over the course of time, it will lose its ability to hold on to the data and go bad. When you defrag, it reads data scattered about your hard drive, stores it in RAM, and then deposits it where it needs to be. If necessary, it will read data that is stored in the wrong place and deposit in another empty space on the drive in order to put all the data back together.

Doing this, as you can imagine, means that the drive is read and written more than with normal use and as such, defragging effectively shortens the life of an SSD by unnecessarily writing data to the drive. In truth, you don't even need to defrag an SSD because of the way they work.

If you have never had a hard drive fail on you, then your are very lucky as there is no sure way to tell if on is about to happen. There is a way to test the reliability and give you some idea of whether they are failing. You can't access your hard drive's S.M.A.R.T data without special software, but you can view its status.

We give you a breakdown of what's wrong with your machine along with a physical cleaning of the unit. $60

Operating System (O.S.) Clean & Restore

Microsoft recommends if you're having problems with your PC, you can try to refresh, reset, or restore it. Refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files and settings. It also keeps the apps that came with your PC and the apps you installed from the Windows Store. Resetting your PC reinstalls Windows but deletes your files, settings, and apps—except for the apps that came with your PC. Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you've made.

In most cases, once you start to refresh or reset your PC, it’ll finish on its own. However, if Windows needs missing files, you’ll be asked to insert recovery media, which is typically on a DVD disc or thumb drive. If that happens, what you’ll need depends on your PC.
If we find your machine's O.S. damaged, infected or corrupted. We'll fix or reload it. $75

Data Backup

Out of all the things you put into your computer, no matter how expensive the components, peripherals, and accessories, you can't put a price on your data. The time you put into your documents, photos, music collection, and everything else is invaluable and often irreplaceable.

The type of medium you back your stuff up to will depend largely upon your means, what you're protecting, and how much you want to spend. Some storage mediums are clearly better than others so it's important you spend a little time considering all your options.

Hard drives remain the cheapest and most generous backup option. The downside to hard drives is that they're still doomed to fail at some point in the future. They're also comparatively slow and consume more power than thumbdrives or SSDs.

Flash drives and their hard drive brethren SSDs are the most efficient and fastest way to do backups. It is hard to imagine flash technology as a good long-term storage medium.

Most readers should be intimately familiar with storing files on CD/DVD. Obviously, both are limited in size, a CD has a 700 MB capacity, while a DVD is usually 4.7 GB or 8.5 GB.

We should be completely blunt about this, CDs and DVDs are a dying medium. Finally, recordable CDs and DVDs simply don't last – think years not decades.

The great thing about cloud storage is that as long as you have an Internet connection, it's always on and present, so it's especially good for incremental backups.

There are a few obvious drawbacks to cloud storage.

One, you have to have to be connected for it to work, otherwise you're just saving everything locally.
Two, for better storage than the free space you face a recurring cost.
Three, unless you have exceptional internet speed like fiber, uploading large files can be painful and time consuming.

Your best bet for backups is a combination of external hard drives for archiving purposes, and cloud storage for regular incremental backups.

That said, the single coolest feature of cloud storage is the fact that if you store your documents or pictures from one location, wherever you go, to whatever computer or device, if you have an internet connection, your stuff is always there. This wonderfully eliminates the need to have copies of everything on all your devices.

Protect your personal data! We will back up your data to a storage medium you provide. (Up to 8GB if storage medium is not provided.) $75

Password Reset

Windows Password Reset (Windows 7 & below) $15