Introduction – The Secrets Book Series 1
1.Why computer support stinks 6
2.ALWAYS Assume This 13
3.What the computer service centers won’t tell you 15
4.Hardware or Software? 24
5.The 80-20 Rule 27
6.The biggest advantage computer stores have 36
7.How to troubleshoot any problem 49
8.Common Sense Repair Methods 56
9. The Most Important Thing 60
10.How to Repair any software problem 73
11.How to re-install Windows 80
12.Activation / Registration 106
13.More Windows 112
14.Common problems and Solutions155
15.Common Error Messages164
17.PC Tune-up & General Housekeeping175
18.Computer Parenting 184
19.The XXX User193
20.Viruses, Spyware & Malware195
26.Plug-Ins and Add-Ons239
27.Basic hardware repair244
28.Beyond the beginner247
29.Repairs that saved my bacon259
30.Repair, Upgrade or Replace?262
31.How to get Data from a Broken Computer268
33.Is Free Stuff really free?291
34.ISPs & Wireless298
35.Web surfing & Email305
37.Common Download Issues320
38.Torrents, P2P and File Sharing327
39.10 Things to Know 335
40. My Desktop340
41. Dumb Computer Stuff343
42. On-line safety347
43. Online Scanners 355
44. How and Where to Get Help357
45. Using a Computer Service Department365
46. On-site service376
47. Using a PC trainer & Self Training381
48. Printer Repair & Ink Cartridge Refills385
49. Older computers396
50. A computer & the Environment400
51. Extended Warranties404
52. Calling the Manufacturer408
53. Buying and Selling on EBay415
54. Small Business Advice422
56. Common and Uncommon Questions431
57. Your next computer441
58. Best free stuff & Useful Websites455
59. Cell Phones and IPods463
60. Other Repairs469
61. The Swami Predictions473
62. Final Exam476
a)Make yourself bulletproof483
b)Diagnose Most problems in 5 Minutes485
c)The Lazy Person’s Computer Repair Techniques487
e)Terminology & File Formats489
f)ITunes Tips 493
h)Annie Loves Horses498
i)Bonus Chapter – Never Give Up!499
Quick Reference Guide522
Hello and Welcome to Computer Secrets. This introduction will explain why Computer Secrets is the best computer help book ever written and how you as the reader will benefit. The following two statements illustrate why Computer Secrets is necessary:
•OVER 80% OF ALL COMPUTER PROBLEMS ARE NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY.
•THE AVERAGE COMPUTER REPAIR COST IS OVER $100.
These are estimated numbers provided by the author based on his 20 years’ experience and over 30,000 computers serviced. A computer is about the only electronic device that can stop working for no reason, require multiple people to figure out the problem and no one will take responsibility for the repair. Name another device that has its own five stages of grief and recovery written about them.
HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOU?
John just purchased a new Windows-based computer from a large chain store. After one week of use, the computer won’t get on the Internet. A popup message said that the system has the Antivirus 2011 and the virus can be removed if the computer user pays $49.99.
John tried to run the anti-virus program on the computer but it would not remove the message or get the computer back online. John called his neighbor Ed, the local neighborhood computer guru. Ed tried but could not remove the popup. Ed suggested that John re-install Windows and start over.
The popups were so bad that John could not use a flash drive to back up the data. If John re-installed Windows, he would lose his documents that weren’t backed up. John’s son would also lose ITunes that were downloaded to the system. A Windows re-installation was not an option.
John called the store where he purchased the computer for help. After twenty minutes on-hold, John finally got ahold of the store service department. The service rep told John that because he did not purchase the store extended warranty that John will have to call the computer manufacturer directly for assistance.
The rep also told John that if he had purchased the store system preparation option, a system restore point would have been setup on his computer. That restore point probably would have fixed John’s problem in five minutes or at least made the computer usable so his files could be copied off the computer. Just what John needed to hear at this point.
John’s next step to solve his problem was to call the computer manufacturer. John’s first contact was a level one support representative named Hassid. Hassid was very polite, however had an accent and was hard to understand. Hassid read from a support script. After thirty minutes, Hassid determined that John’s problem was a virus. Hassid explained to John that because his computer problem was virus related it was not covered under manufacturer warranty. From this point forward John would have to provide a credit card for billing at $2 per minute for further support, which John assumed would be more script reading.
You’ve entered the Twilight Zone for computer support. Unfortunately this type of problem and response is common in today’s computer service world. Most computer problems are not covered under manufacturer or extended warranties and are the responsibility of the owner to get repaired. If John cannot fix the problem he will either need to get help elsewhere or take the computer to a repair shop. John can expect to pay at least $100 for the repair and be without the computer for a few days.
Computer Secrets was written for all the people fed up with paying computer shops for computer repairs that they could do on their own with a little guidance. Computer Secrets was written understanding that a frustrated computer user has four main concerns when they check their computer in for computer service:
•How much will the repair cost?
•How long will the repair take?
•Will data be lost?
•What can be done to prevent this from happening again?
A frustrated computer user doesn’t understand or care that a computer technician had to edit the system registry and reset the web browser settings to correct an Internet problem or that hard drive permissions had to be removed to save important documents and files. The customer just wants the computer back working ASAP along with their important data saved.
Computer Secrets is presented in easy to understand, non-technical terms. Most computer problems can be repaired without reading a manual or learning computer terminology. You won’t need to learn boring computer techniques like how to edit a registry or memorizing error messages and their meanings. This book wasn’t written to be a reference manual. Some important points and techniques are covered in multiple chapters to help the reader retain and integrate important methods when troubleshooting.
Computer Secrets will also give the reader a complete understanding of the computer troubleshooting process. The research techniques shown will allow you to troubleshoot virtually any problem. Topics covered include how diagnose and repair problems, how to prevent problems and how to get quality free help when you encounter a problem that’s too difficult. You will never purchase another Dummies or Idiots book again.
You will also gain a better understanding of the computer and electronic market in general, the best places to shop online, how to shop on EBay and protect yourself online. We also discuss the best free programs, websites and how to troubleshoot other types of electronic equipment. Points of emphasis will be identified by the following prompt:
We are making an important point when you see the Secrets Logo.