Have any questions?  Please take a look at our frequently asked Questions below or take a look at our Blog pages.  We talk about a lot of the common technology issues today and ways to address them without calling in a professional.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Totland Computer Services.

Do you sell computers?

While we can often get very good deals on used computers, selling computers is not our primary focus. If your computer needs parts, we can supply them, or you can take advantage of some very good bargains that happen from time to time in the local stores. We gladly offer unbiased advice on upgrades or new computer purchases.

If you are looking for a custom built computer, we can handle your needs. Please be aware that we use top quality components, and cannot match the prices of the budget computer sold in Wal-Mart and Best Buy. We can offer you a top quality computer custom built to exactly meet your needs.

What happens if my repair only takes 20 minutes?

It is actually very rare that we only spend 20 minutes! Most computers have many potential problems that may go unnoticed. Also, many problems have a root cause, which we prefer to fix. We like to do everything we can to make sure you won’t have problems in the future.

Also before coming out, we like to talk you through some simple troubleshooting techniques. Often, simple problems can be fixed over the phone in a few minutes, and without charge!

Is my computer worth fixing?

Very good question! This varies greatly, depending on the quality and speed of your old computer, and by what you use your computer for. If you simply like to get online, check e-mail, and browse the web on occasion, A computer as old as 4 or 5 years may still meet your needs. Also, be aware that with those $450 computers for sale these days, you usually get what you pay for.

Another thing to consider is the value of the information on your computer. To some, their information is worth much more than the computer itself. Purchasing a new computer can leave you without all your documents, Internet Explorer favorites, email addresses, address books, pictures, music, and any other documents you may want to keep.

Also, it’s wise to consider the problem you’re having. Many problems are related to how the Computer is used (Such as Spyware, Virus, Surge Protection issues, using applications that require more memory, etc.), and these problems will most likely occur on your new computer. It’s actually a common story, where a customer had a computer that was running very slow, assumed the computer has just ‘worn out’, and purchased a new one. Soon after getting the new computer, they would have similar, and often worse problems. We like to get to the root cause, and do everything we can to prevent problems in the future.

Feel free to give us a call. We can help you decide what’s best for you.

I keep a lot of important information on my computer. How should I back it up?

We have found that most people don’t backup their data and this is a big concern because more and more people are keeping very important information on their hard drives are are not prepared for a hardware failure or virus attack.

Everyone uses their computer differently and we normally will design a custom backup solution using tape, CD, DVD, or removable hard drives.  A backup solution is no good unless it is used regularly and the right plan needs to fit the person, type of computer, and data to be stored.  Feel free to contact us to determine what plan fits you best.

What is spyware?

Spyware is software or hardware installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge which gathers information about that user for later retrieval by whomever controls the spyware.

Spyware can be broken down into two different categories, surveillance spyware and advertising spyware.

Surveillance software includes key loggers, screen capture devices, and trojans. These would be used by corporations, private detectives, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, suspicious spouses, etc.

Advertising spyware is software that is installed alongside other software or via activex controls on the internet, often without the user’s knowledge, or without full disclosure that it will be used for gathering personal information and/or showing the user ads. Advertising spyware logs information about the user, possibly including passwords, email addresses, web browsing history, online buying habits, the computer’s hardware and software configuration, the name, age, sex, etc of the user.

As with spam, advertising spyware uses the CPU, RAM, and resources of the user’s computer, making the user pay for the costs associated with operating it. It then makes use of the user’s bandwidth to connect to the internet and upload whatever personal information it has gathered, and to download advertisements which it will present to the user, either by way of pop up windows, or with the ad banners of ad-supported software. All of this can be considered theft in the cases of advertising spyware that installs without disclosure.

What should I do to protect my computer and network?

1.  use an Internet Firewall to protect you computer and network.  I recommend having both and using the hardware one when on a secure network and using the software one when on a public network.

2.  Get computer updates at least once a week.  If you are using a Microsoft product, configure your OS to download and install updates and always remember to monitor it to make sure it is working.

3.  Install and update Antivirus software and update at least once a week.  Just having it installed on your computer is not good enough.  You must make sure you are activity downloading the updates and you need to make sure the process is successful.

4.  Backup your PC at least once a week.  Full backups are nice to have but at the very least, all the data should be backed up as often as possible.  We have designed solutions for people that can make this very important task as painless a possible.

5.  Research software before installing it on your computer.  Most free software can contain viruses or spyware which will harm your computer or even capture personal information about you and send them to someone on the Internet.