Category: Cyber Tek Computer Pros

Leander, TX Computer Repair and Service

Leander, TX Computer Repair and Service

You just found the best Computer Service in Cedar Park, Texas!

We have been serving the Jonestown area since 2005.

We service small and medium businesses as well as home offices and residential.

For more information about us, please explore our web site. If that doesn’t answer your questions, or you want to schedule an appointment, please call us at 512-267-5913.

Service Plans Now Fully Support Macs

Service Plans Now Fully Support Macs

Here at Cyber Tek Computer Pros, we have different types of service plans. With a traditional plan, you prepay for a certain number of hours a month at a discounted rate. But our recommended plans are what we call Managed Service Plans. These are the plans where we actually proactively maintain your computers to try and prevent problems.

Our most popular service plan is the Security And Maintenance (SAM) plan. This plan used to be called the HOST plan back when we were Computer Troubleshooters in case you haven’t gotten used to the new name.

I bring this up because in the past our managed service plans only partially supported Apple computers. However, thanks to some new features in the software we use, we can now fully support Apple computers on our SAM plan.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with our SAM plan, here’s a quick rundown of what it provides:

  • Monitoring and Alerts
    Our software will monitor the health of your computer and alert us to any potential problems.

  • Monitored Security
    Includes monitored security software. You will never again have to purchase or renew security software since it’s included. And not just any security software. The fact that it’s monitored means it will alert us to any problems, or potential problems. You won’t have to worry about security anymore.

  • No infection guarantee
    It’s unlikely your computer will become infected while on our SAM plan, but if it does happen, we will remove the infection at no additional charge.

  • Security Maintenance
    We will keep Windows up to date with all of the security updates. We will also keep security sensitive programs like Java, Flash, Adobe Reader, and similar programs up to date with the latest security updates so that your computer is as secure as possible. You will no longer have to worry about installing Windows updates, or updating all of those other programs that have frequent updates.

  • Remote Access
    Using the same remote control software we use, you can access and control your computer from any internet connected computer in the world.

  • Discounted remote support
    If you need additional help with your computer, you will get a discounted rate of $60/hour for remote support.

  • Priority Scheduling
    Phone calls for customers on service contracts are returned before phone calls for non-contract customers. Contract customers are also given scheduling priority over non-contract customers.

The cost of the SAM plan is only $20/month for each covered computer.

If you have a PC or a Mac and you are interested in signing up for our SAM plan, please reply to this email or give us a call at 267-5913.

The Problem With Our SAM Plan

The Problem With Our SAM Plan

The most popular service plan we offer is called the SAM plan. SAM stands for Security And Maintenance. Before I tell you about the problem with this plan, here is a quick rundown of what the plan includes for those of you who aren’t familiar with it.

  1. MONITORED security software
    We provide, monitor, and maintain security software. So you don’t have to purchase security software and you don’t have to worry about it expiring or having to renew it. Because it’s monitored, the security software notifies us of any potential problems.

  2. System Health Monitoring
    Our software monitors the health of your computer and notifies us of any problems or potential problems.

  3. Discounted remote support
    Remote support is billed at a discounted rate.

  4. Full Maintenance
    In addition to maintaining your security software, we also keep Windows up to date along with other key security sensitive programs like Adobe Flash, Java, and Adobe Reader, to name a few. We maintain all of these so you don’t have to worry about it.

  5. Remote Access
    You can remote control your computer from any internet computer just like we do. So if you are away from home, you can still access your computer as if you were there.

  6. Infection Free Guarantee
    If your computer becomes infected, we will clean off any infections at no additional charge.

Now that you know the features of the SAM plan, here’s the problem with it. The problem is that all of this security, maintenance, and updates happen in the background without the user realizing it. All of this work is pretty much invisible to the user. The user may not realize how much work we are doing in the background, so they may not realize how much they are getting for their money. Their computer just works.

At $20 a month, the SAM plan is an excellent value and provides you with a worry free computer. You don’t have to worry about security. You don’t have to worry about Windows updates. You don’t have to worry about infections. And you don’t have to worry about updating Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, and all of those other pesky programs. We take care of all of that for you in the background. But if you do subscribe to the SAM plan, don’t forget about all the stuff we are doing in the background to make your computing experience as smooth and worry-free as possible.

Remember Your Favorite Websites

Remember Your Favorite Websites

Most people have a list of 5-10 websites they visit most often. When you want to go to one of your favorite websites, how do you go to it? All web browsers, like Internet Explorer, have a feature that will let you save the address of a website. Internet Explorer calls these “favorites”. Some web browsers call them “bookmarks”. Whatever they call them, it’s basically an address book of websites.

ie7-favorites-addingWhen you are visiting a website and you want to save it’s address to your favorites list, where you click to save that address depends not only on which browser you are using, but which version. For example from version 6 to version 7 and then to version 8 of Internet Explorer, how you save a website to your favorites list changed with each version.

Most of you should have at least version 7. The picture to the left shows how you would add the current website to your favorites list. In version 8, the star with the plus sign in front of it is gone and you just click on the gold star that says “Favorites” next to it. Then click “Add to favorites”.

Now when you want to access that website, click on the gold star and you’ll get a list of your favorites. Then you just click on the website in that list that you want to go to. Simple! Where favorites really shine is for accessing websites you don’t access very often. You know the address for the websites you go to frequently, but for the ones you don’t go to very often, you may not be able to remember the address.

That’s the basic operation of using favorites. You can organize your favorites list too. Instead of one long list of websites in no particular order, you can sort the list and you can even create folders to group them in. To sort your favorites list, click on the gold star. Now right-click on any website listed in your favorites. You will get a little pop-up menu. In the menu, click on “sort by name”.

To create a folder, right-click on any website in the favorites list and select “Create new folder” from the pop-up menu. Give it a name. Now you can click and drag any website in the list and drop it on the folder to move it to that folder.

There are other ways to create shortcuts to your favorite websites too. You can put a shortcut to a website right on your Windows Desktop. To do that, go to the website. Make sure the web browser window isn’t taking up the whole screen. Near the top of the browser window find the address of the website. Just to the left of it will be an icon. Click on the icon and hold the mouse button down. Now drag the icon onto your Windows Desktop and let up on the button. Now you have a shortcut to that website on your Windows Desktop.

Organize Your Desktop

Organize Your Desktop

The Windows Desktop is what Windows calls the screen where all of your icons are. You have a lot of options for organizing the icons on your desktop. You should only have icons on your desktop for things you use frequently. For things you don’t use frequently, I recommend removing them from your desktop. Removing an icon from your desktop does not uninstall software from your computer. You can still access that software from the start menu.

 

When I organize the icons on my desktop, I like to group similar things together. For example, anything that has to do with media (music and video), I would group together. I might group games together and so forth.

 

You can have Windows auto-arrange your icons if you want to, but I hate this option. Not only do I dislike it because it doesn’t group icons and won’t allow you to group icons, but any time a new icon is added or one is removed, icons move. So they are never in the same place. The whole idea of having icons on your desktop is for faster access. If my icons move around, it slows me down because I have to find the icon on the desktop. If that icon is always in the same place, I can go right to it.

 

If you have auto-arrange turned on and want to turn it off. Or if you want to turn it on, here’s how. In Windows XP, find an area of the desktop where there are no icons and right-click there. You’ll get a pop-up menu. Hold your mouse pointer over the top menu option “Arrange Icons By” and  you will get a sub-menu. In this sub-menu are several options. One of these options is auto-arrange. If there is a checkmark next to Auto-Arrange, then it’s turned on. If not, it’s off. Click on it to add or remove the checkmark. While you are in this sub-menu, make sure “Align to Grid” has a checkmark next to it. This keeps your icons evenly spaced. If you turn on auto-arrange, then you can also select here how it will arrange them. It can arrange them by name, size, and more.

 

In Vista, right-click on a blank area of the desktop and choose View. After that, it’s pretty much the same as XP.

 

When auto-arrange is on, you can’t put the icons where you want them. So once you have it turned off, you can move the icons around and arrange them how you like them. To move an icon, simplay click on it and drag it to the place where you want it. To delete an icon, right-click on it and choose delete from the pop-up menu. To rename an icon, right-click on it and choose rename”

 

After you have your icons all arranged the way you want them, there are, unfortunetly, some things that can mess them up. For example, some games will mess up your icons. Changing your screen resolution can mess up your icons as well. There are some other actions that can mess up your icons as well. It would be nice if you could somehow save your icon locations and restore them if they get messed up. Windows doesn’t provide this functionality, but there are third party programs that do. And the best part is that they are free. Here are 2 of them.

 

IconRestorer 

 

IconSort

 

These don’t work on the 64 bit version of Windows. If you have a 64 bit version of Windows, then click here.

Another powerful way to organize your desktop is by using a dock. These applicaiton launchers are very configurable and very useful. Limited versions of these are available for free. The two best are Object Dock and RocketDock.

Managing Your Music

Managing Your Music

Managing Your Music

 

These days, many people have their music on their computer. Whether you ripped your music from your CD’s, or downloaded them over the internet, some people have quite a lot of music on their computer. This is a huge topic that is too big to cover in depth in this newsletter, but I am going to touch on some important information about it.

 
Although there are many different formats music can be stored in, most people’s music is stored in one of 3 formats, WMA, MP3, and M4P.
 
WMA is the format used by Windows Media Player which comes with Windows.
M4P is the format you get if you purchased and downloaded your music from Itunes.
MP3 is probably the most common format.
 
WMA and M4P files are large while MP3 files are smaller and take up less space. However, some audiphiles complain that there is a loss of quality in the music on MP3. I can’t hear a difference, though.
 
Both WMA and M4P support Digital Rights Management (DRM). This is a method for restricting the use of the downloaded music. MP3 does not support DRM. Because of that, if you have music in the MP3 format, you can do whatever you want with it without restriction.
 
Until recently, if you purchased music online for download from walmart.com, amazon.com, and other similar online retailers, your music was in WMA format and there were restriction on where you could play that song and what you could do with it.
 
Now, however, most online music retailers have converted over to MP3 format. The last remaining online retailer that still used DRM has been Itunes. But now even Itunes is converting over to DRM free songs.
 
If you have music in a format with DRM restrictions on them, you can generally convert them into DRM free MP3 files by burning them to CD and then ripping them back off the CD into MP3 format. That’s because when you burn a CD, none of the DRM information is burned to the CD.
 
Once you have all of your music in MP3 format, you want to organize it. There are lots of different ways to organize your music. If you have a lot of music, then using folders to sub-categorize your music is a good idea. Some people sub-categorize by genre, the artist name, or year. The possibilities are endless. It’s your music and you can organize it in a way that makes sense to you.
 
It’s also a good idea to use a standard file naming convention for your songs. For example, you could use: artist name – song title.mp3
 
In this example, if you have the song Michelle by the Beatles, you could name the file:
 
The Beatles – Michelle.mp3
 
But having the word "The" might be a problem. So you could do this:
 
Beatles – Michelle.mp3
 
or this
 
Beatles, The – Michelle.mp3
 
The good part is you can do it however you want. Just be consistant to avoid confusion.
 
When you play a song on a computer, an IPOD, phone, or an MP3 player of some sort it displays information about the song. This is called metadata. It includes information like artist, song title, album, genre, year released, and so forth. It’s a good idea to have this information consistant. For example, if you have songs from several different albums from the same artist, the metadata between them could be inconsistant. In keeping with our example, one album might have the artist listed as "Beatles" while another might have it as "The Beatles". This means when you sort by artist, all of the songs by the Beatles will not be together.
 
There are lots of utilities out there that try and help you organize your music. Many of them cost money, but my favorite one is free. It will let you update the metadata. It will also allow you to rename the song files. And the best part is that you can do it in mass instead of just one song at a time which can take a long time if you have a lot of music.
 
Some examples of some things you can do with this utility is that you can select all of the songs by an artist and type the artist name in once and it will go and update all of the songs to have that artist name.
 
Something else you can do is select a range of songs and tell it to rename the song file. You can tell it what format to use (ex: artist – song title) and it will go and rename them all using the metadata in each song and the song file format you specify. It couldn’t be much easier.
 
Getting your metadata and song file names all standardized makes organizing, finding, and listening to your music much easier.
 
The name of this cool utility is mp3tag. You can download it for free by clicking here.
Referral Program!

Referral Program!

The biggest compliment we receive is when someone refers a friend, collegue, or relative to us. We have gotten quite a few referrals over the years. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.

Here’s how our referral program works.

When you refer someone to us, tell them to make sure they tell us that they were referred by you. You will receive a free half hour of service if their invoice is for at least 1 hour of service.

If you refer a commercial account to us, you will receive 1 free hour of service if their invoice is for at least 2 hours of service. 

Start telling your friends and neighbors about us!
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