Friday, October 22, 2010

Your Computer – Champion Multi-Tasker or not?

Still having issues with speed on your computer? Stop – how many tasks are you asking your computer to do right now? If you are like me, you have a couple (or more) browsers windows open; you are copying a recipe into a word document; the Spider Solitaire game you started is waiting and you have just opened the Excel spreadsheet to check the kids’ baseball schedule. Oh, and you are playing a CD – I mean after all – what is the point of the media player? No wonder your computer is slow. How many things can you juggle at once before becoming inefficient? 

Actually, computers are designed to handle many different tasks at the same time. They are built with RAM (random access memory) that allows the computer to quickly process the information required for multiple tasks. RAM has been compared to short term memory. When you open a program, the RAM grabs the instructions for the program from the hard drive so that as you use the program your computer looks no further than the RAM to execute it. This really speeds things up. It like when you go to make a cup of coffee. You do not need to tell your arm and hand what to do in order to open the bag of coffee. You really do not even think about the steps. That is what the RAM is doing with the info from the hard drive. Plus it is then storing all the information that you may be inputting. Once you turn off your computer, whatever is stored in RAM is lost. And the next time you turn on your machine and open a program, RAM retrieves the instructions again.  

Some programs use a lot of RAM – after all the software has become more sophisticated and more capable of doing amazing things. If you have an older computer (which could mean just 3 or 4 years old) it may be time to upgrade your RAM. Adding more will almost always help your computer’s speed. It can be costly to add more RAM so you will need to weigh the cost of adding this hardware versus the cost of buying a new computer especially if your computer is an older model. If you decide you are going to stick with it, then additional RAM is a worthwhile investment.  

Installing RAM can be tricky. So if you are not a computer tech, call or stop by to see the guys at Advanced Computer Services. They can make a recommendation as to how much new RAM you will need and then they can install it for you. You can reach them at 330-785-5200 or online at www.acsoutlet.com/service/contact.asp. Or stop by 800 S. Broadway St in downtown Akron, Ohio. These guys are top notch and they know what they are doing.  Plus,they will install your memory for only $15.00! (that does not include the cost of the hardware.)

Happy Multi-Tasking! I need to finish my Spider Solitaire game now.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Be a fan of ACS on Facebook, and you might win a FREE Netbook! 
When ACS reaches 1000 people  who "like" us, one lucky Facebook fan  will win a free Netbook!
Click here to go to our Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sweeping Out Your Computer

Besides defragging, there is another “housekeeping” chore you can do to help your computer perform more speedily. This simple task can be done monthly. Most of us use either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox for our browsers. When you surf the ‘Net, your computer stores files temporarily to enhance your surfing experience. These files (or cache) are stored on your hard drive. Unfortunately they do not go away when you shut down your browser. Depending on the size of your hard drive and how many other things you have on it, these temporary files can cause a slow down.

This housekeeping task, though, is relatively simple and takes just moments compared to defragging. The step by step instructions follow:

Internet Explorer

1. Open a browser window and click on “Tools” in the menu bar (no – over on the left side). In the pull down menu, click on ‘Internet Options’.

2.Under the General tab (you should be there already) look for the section labeled Browsing History. Click on ‘Delete’. (Don’t worry – you have not deleted anything yet – I get nervous too when deleting things).

3. Up pops another window which should have several choices - Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, History, Form data and Passwords. Now depending on which version of Windows you have, you may need to either select ‘Delete’ under the Temporary Internet Files or just check the box (unchecked the ones that you do not want to delete) and then click on delete at the bottom of the window.

4.Wait a few minutes for your computer to sweep the temporary files away and then click ‘Close’.

Mozilla Firefox

1.Clean out your temporary Internet files using Mozilla Firefox. Open a window in your browser. In the tool bar along the top, and click "Tools." Then in the pull down menu, select "Clear Private Data.

2.Check the box next to "Cache" in the pop-up window. Make sure the rest of the boxes are unchecked. Then click on "Clear Private Data Now" at the bottom. The window will close itself when your cache is emptied.

Simple, fast and easy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Defragging My Computer? Is that anything like FraggleRock?

You are moaning about your slow computer and the nerdy kid eavesdropping on your bitch session pipes up with “Have you defragged it lately?”  Before you utter your clever comeback to cover your ignorance on ‘what is defragging’ take a moment and read on.  Soon you will speak introductory geek.

So what are fragments and why do you want to defrag to get rid of them?  Okay – let me use an analogy.  You have a large bookcase with a number of shelves.  All your books are in alphabetical order by title from top to bottom.  Say that over time you donate a number of your books to a book drive (after all, we would never throw out a perfectly good book).  The spaces are now empty.  But you have bought more books and rather than move everything you just put the books into the empty spaces.  Do this a number of times and your bookcase is no longer organized alphabetically.  So when you go to look for a particular book it takes you a long time to find it.  This is what happens on your computer.  You save files, images, etc. – you delete files, images, etc.  As you save new items, your computer fills up the ‘empty’ spaces and so information may end up scattered.  When you try to retrieve it, your computer needs to look in a lot of places.

So how to you tidy up this mess?  If you are using Windows, you have a defragmentation tool.  Click on Programs, then Accessories.  Look for the ‘System Tools’ folder and select Disk Defragmenter.  Now make sure you run the program when you will not need your computer for awhile – overnight is always good.  It can take several hours to finish running the program. 

See how easy that was?  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Is your computer sick?

Do you need a computer medic? What is the longest time you have ever been without your computer? Do you hate to even think about that? At ACS, we know that everyone relies upon their computer and a computer stuck at a repair shop is inconvenient. That is why at ACS Computer outlet, we focus on QUICK repairs. When a machine comes into our facility, we have a target of three days or less to get the repair done. We have the advantage of thousands of stock repair parts on site to help us meet this goal. We know that many other shops will take in system after system with not enough staff to complete the repairs. Not ACS! We have a large staff of technicians to expertly handle your repair quickly and efficiently. Plus, if we cannot get your repair done in a reasonable time, we will be sure to tell you upfront that we are backlogged, do not have the part, etc. This allows you the opportunity to decide how you want to handle the repair. We do not make money by having your computer sit on a shelf waiting to go to our bench for repair, and we know you do not want your system sitting in our store. So, you can be assured that ACS is the place to go for a quick turn around on your repair.

Netbooks Make Great Gifts!

Netbooks are great gifts. With Christmas just a few short months away, now is the time to look into the different netbooks and their availability. At ACS we stock a whole line of Lenovo Ideapad netbooks. They are available in cool colors like pink, green, blue and more, and start at just $349.00. If your computer needs are for a computer to do word processing and online work, a netbook is a great choice.   You have access to the internet, portability, a great low price, and we have to admit it... they are kind of  stylish and fun. We do stock the Ideapads, but they go quickly, so be sure to plan ahead and stop by ACS Computer or check them out online at www.acsoutlet.com

Are you a Mac?

Are you a Mac? At ACS Computer we are known for our PC systems and repairs, but did you also know we can help you with your Mac? Yes, we can repair your Mac, and our techs are very Mac savvy. From handling software problems to repairing and replacing hardware, they know what goes on inside that friendly machine with the Apple on it. 

Should I connect directly to my cable modem or use a router and connect wirelessly?

At ACS, we get this kind of question, and we are happy to help. Yes, by all means connect directly to your internet connection (cable or otherwise), if you want. Your response time will be obviously faster and generally more reliable. If you send large files via e-mail, this could be a significant advantage. However, you should also have a router for access wirelessly for multiple computers in your household or for convenience with a laptop to move about your location. 

As to which router is best for you, the technicians at ACS Computer in Akron are the experts. Plus, our location stocks multiple brands of routers, so we are sure to have the one that is right for your set-up and your budget. Just call or stop by!

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Windows 7 Tips

  1. Windows 7 has 2 ways to show the desktop (Windows Key + Spacebar)and mouse over the rectangle in the far right bottom corner.