overheating
By Martin Harris / Advice, Tips and Tricks / 0 Comments

If we’re overheating we can go to the beach, grab some ice cream and take a dip in the ocean to keep cool when the weather is merciless, our computers are left to try keep cool by themselves. Yes, we can go for a swim, but it’s honestly not recommended to throw a laptop in the pool if it overheats.

At facilities such as High Schools and Libraries, rooms like computer labs often have air conditioning- this is required to stop the technology from frying. When a computer works to perform tasks, they can get warmer- which isn’t an issue in itself- the issue arises however, when the outside world heats it up even more.

 

Contents

 

1.What is Heat Damage

  • What Can Cause Heat Damage?

2. Checking Your PC’s Temperature

  • RealTemp (Program)
  • Risks that Come With Overheating

3. How to Keep Your PC Cool

  • Internal Components
  • Environment
  • Dust – The Silent Killer

 


 

What is Heat Damage?

It’s honestly self-explanatory, almost like sunburn for computer parts (except it doesn’t heal over a few days with aloe).

Heat Damage can cause discolouration in parts and stop the technology inside from working, or at least slow it’s working speed massively. This becomes an immense issue as if a part such as the CPU becomes so damaged that it cannot work, and as a result neither can the machine function as it’s supposed to.

If your computer runs hotter than normal, there are ways to check how it’s functioning, see what can be changed and improve the situation. Overheating can come with a plethora of risks to your PC and your wallet, so know how to avoid it.

 

What Can Cause Heat Damage?   

  • Environmental Heat
  • Over Clocking
  • Lack of Care
  • No Thermal Paste

 

These will be touched on throughout this post, though it’s good to have a reference. If a computer suffers heat damage, one of the listed reasons is most likely the cause.

 


 

Checking your PC’s Temperature

 

RealTemp

RealTemp is a program which instantly assesses the current temperature of your computer. It also provides data on the minimum and maximum temperature of your PC, allowing you to make a judgement on if more cooling is needed. The ability to be left open and run in the background, it can live monitor and relay data for you to view.

 

Varied brands and components have different recommended running temperatures.

Intel states on their Official Website that the recommended temperature to run at is 45 to 60 degrees Celsius, though if it is running for extended periods of time it’s best if it’s on the lower half of that range.

Graphics Cards from brands such as Gigabyte shouldn’t run hotter than around 63 Degrees Celsius, even when under a load and the fans are running.

 

The Risks that Come with Overheating   

  • Computer Damage (Hardware)
  • Voiding of Warranty
  • Loss of Data

 

 

Damage to your computer means damage to your wallet. By burning out parts in your PC, you’ll only end up needing replacements, so it’s in a user’s best interest to keep that from happening. The CPU in a computer is one of the most likely parts to suffer in heat, and it’s also the most expensive to replace. A CPU can get up to $500 when bought new, and that’s a hefty price tag for simply not taking enough care of a computer. With laptops, the motherboard can even be damaged which is extremely difficult to repair or replace, in both Business Grade and Retail machines.

 

Warranty may also be void, as overheating is mainly a result of a lack of care. Manufactures and retailers will assume the user didn’t use the product properly or put it in a dangerous circumstance. As most warranty covers faults with a product, and issue’s out of a user’s control, overheating and heat damage isn’t something that can be claimed.

Hard Drives are something a lot of users consider important, and rightfully so! It’s the part that contains all your data and files, so the thought of losing that is worrisome. Especially with newer models of laptops, the hard drives are becoming attached to the motherboard. If a graphics chip or CPU in a PC overheats, it can cause fatal damage to the motherboard and any parts attached. Overheating can also cause data loss in flash drives and SSD’s, especially if it runs for an extended period at a high temperature.

 

 


 

How to Keep your PC Cool

 

Internal Components

 

CPU

There are two main ways that CPU’s are cooled, through either water cooling or with fans.

Water Cooling is only able to be done within desktops, and is often chosen for its aesthetic appeal. It requires cleaning and can be pricey however is very efficient when cooling. It uses pipes and coolant to cool down the CPU and even a Graphics Card if built to do so. Often chosen to be used in Gaming PC’s, it is efficient and reliable, though it is advised to get it fitted professionally to reduce risk of leaks.

Thermal Paste is used when the cooling fan is placed on top of the CPU. As the name suggests it helps control the temperature of the CPU. If a CPU is not installed properly, and doesn’t have the right amount of thermal paste it can lead to part damage.

 

Graphics Cards

When it comes to Graphics Cards, the actual card is rather thin, and the bulk of its size is from the cooling system. The larger cards often have one to three, sometimes even four, fans to cool the chip. Excess amounts of data can create heat and damage the card, which is why gaming laptops can be dangerous. Parts can become overheated as the card which is naturally half the size of the laptop is squeezed into a small laptop. If it needs three fans to keep cool, taking those away can create sufficient damage.

 

Fans in Desktops

To create airflow in computers, fans can be installed to the front, back, top and bottom panels on a desktop case. This is to push warm air out and keep cool air coming in, allowing the machine to operate as well as possible. Some fans are also used for cosmetic reasons, such as LED and RGB effects, though this is more prominent in gaming PC’s.

 


 

Environment

 

Air Conditions

Having an Air Conditioning system is convenient and nice in Summer, and it’s also great for your computer. It provides an environment in which your PC won’t have to stress with external weather and can run as it does in Winter. This eliminates a generous portion of issues that computers can have from the weather.

Is there a heap of dust in the air? This may create a harmful situation for your PC as the dust can cause a plethora of issues. The best solution to this is to clean the area, open a window and wipe down dusty surfaces.

 

Where Is Your PC?

This applies both to laptops and desktops, as where a computer is can greatly affect its over-all health in the long run.

Desktops don’t need special treatment, or a pedestal to sit on, they simply need a cool area where airflow can reach its vents. Having a desktop shoved under a desk where your feet sit isn’t instantly going to break it (just be careful not to kick it). The issue with that placement arises with the dust and dirt. When a desktop is in a place where dust and dirt can become trapped and build up easily, it can put the machine at risk. Especially if it’s out of sight, that means it’s out of mind- this makes the chance that the user forgets to clean it or check up on it sufficiently higher.

Laptops, as they can be moved around, need a bit more caution as to where they sit. There are a lot of ways people like to sit with their laptops to get comfortable, but there’s a good list of places where they shouldn’t go:

  • Mattresses or Blankets
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Pillows
  • Ironically enough, a User’s Lap

 

A laptop draws cool air through the vents in the bottom, and pushes the warm air out the side. By placing it onto a surface, mostly something that’s soft and can block the vents, the fans cannot draw in enough air to sufficiently cool the laptop. The air it then pushes out is even hotter when this happens, and it’s a good indicator of how hot the parts inside are.

 

“Even though it’s a called a Laptop, sitting it on your lap is probably the last place you want to put it.”

 

overheating

 

Where Should It Sit?

A good place for a laptop to sit is a hard surface such as a desk. There are also products such as cooling pads, which generally connect via a USB cable to your laptop and run fans underneath the bottom of it. This helps ventilate air through, while elevating the device to an ergonomic angle. Desktops simply need an area where there is less chance of dust building up, such as corners or under desks.

 


 

Dust – The Silent Killer

Fans are efficient and work on getting airflow to parts, and keep them cool- if they can. Dust is something we notice, but don’t pay much mind to in daily life, but this is what makes it so dangerous. Over time as fans pull in air to the PC for cooling, tiny amounts of dust get pulled in with it. This isn’t fatal for the machine, but if not cleaned periodically it can become that way. As dust comes in, it begins to stick to the fans and slows their movements due to the weight. More piles on it can cause extra friction and eventually stop moving. This becomes a significant issue, with no fans to support the hardware they will overheat.

Dust also can mask the machine and its inner surfaces, resembling insulation. This provides the perfect environment for a higher running temperature.

To avoid dust building up, the best method is to physically clean your PC every 6 months or so. This can vary depending on how much dust is in the environment it’s in, or if it travels a lot (like a laptop which is taken while travelling.) There are a few ways to go about cleaning, the most affordable being compressed cans of air, opening the machine if possible and gently blowing away dust. This is best done outside, and before going ahead make sure to double check it will not void any warranty. If the machine cannot be opened, it’s possible to blow the air through the vents on the machine, and allow space for it to escape.

Again, do this carefully and be gentle with any fans as too much compressed air at once can stress them. Remember to check warranty before beginning. Clean out while the machine is turned off and unplugged.

 

Safety Guards

CPU’s are fitted with Safe Guards, which simply mean that they’re designed to cease functioning and cut out when it is under unsafe conditions. Many CPU’s will simply shut off if they overheat to a point where it isn’t safe. These can be disabled however it is strongly recommended that they are left as they are. When disabled severe damage can be done to the PC parts, as there’s no programming in place to protect them.

 

Get it Checked Out!

Often, many users will use their computers for years on end without a single health check or update. As we get older, we go to the doctors to get our health checked by a professional, instead of just googling our symptoms. If a computer is overheating often, or running slow it’s a clever idea to take it to an IT professional so its overall health can be checked.

Some people aren’t eager on the idea of opening their computers to check it themselves or just for a clean. Therefore, the option of taking it down to your local IT store is always one to consider.

 

 


Thank you so much for reading! This is The Computer Guy’s weekly blog, where we post about different tips, ideas and advice to help everyday users! Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or share this post!

-The Computer Guy

 


Check Out Our Other Posts:

SSD vs HDD: Battle of the Hard Drives

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks

Advertising Online: The Media Migration Companies are Making

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advertising online
By Martin Harris / Information / 0 Comments

 

 

Where You Will See Ads Online

  • Everywhere.

 

Advertising Online is a step most large companies take, many still making the switch. With the incoming generations being raised, their favourite dolls and router by their sides, it becomes a place of influence. There are more than 3 Billion users worldwide, it’s easier to reach a broader audience instantly.

 

Contents

1.Traditional Forms of Advertising

  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • TV and Radio

2. Why Companies are Making a Switch

  • Affordability of Online Advertisements

3. Unsafe Advertisements When Using the Web

4. Avoiding Advertisements Online

5. Benefits of Advertising

 


 

Traditional Forms of Advertising

 

Newspapers and Magazines

When you get your newspaper, it’s usually full of fliers, pamphlets and pages that are from businesses or for events. Newspapers have been around for a long time, the first printing press being invented during 1440’s Europe. Back then they were more like a pamphlet, small and convenient. As time went on, events such as the Industrial Revolution, World War I and II created a demand for news. Once approved by authorities, they’d go out into the world.

When did it start?

Advertising began to appear in newspapers as paper became more expensive for printing companies to buy. Local stores like butchers and bakeries invested in small segments where they could promote their business. This tradition is still extremely popular in the modern day- some papers even having multiple pages filled with these advertisements!

Image result for old newspaper advertisements 1800

If you’re more of a Cosmopolitan or Better Homes and Gardens person, you’ll be bombarded with advertisements as well (don’t worry the companies didn’t forget you!) Jean Donneau de Vizé was a playwright from France. In 1672 he published what resembled a newspaper, however was full of gossip and entertainment. This was at first criticized for its lack of intellectual content, however became a success with the public. The name ‘magazine’ was finally given to this style of publication in 1731 by an Englishman named Edward Cave. A periodical magazine which Cave created, known as ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine” inspired him to give the genre a name. The word ‘magazine’ comes from the word ‘makhazin’, meaning Storehouse in Arabic.

Now magazines are full of gossip, fashion, cars, poems and everything under the sun, and that includes advertisements. It’s most noticeable in Women’s magazines, with endless creams to reduce wrinkles, makeup, hair curling irons and clothing. Products like these go with the theme of fashion and beauty, which is also the topic for most articles in said magazine. Advertisements in magazines are tailored to the reader, and will relate to the prominent theme.

 

TV and Radio

Even when using a paid television service such as Foxtel, shows will have one to three ad breaks depending on the length of the show. This is an expensive way to advertise and is usually what large, mainstream companies use. Different companies also use different approaches to these, some ads seem too excitable, or try to provoke an emotion, while others create a jingle that gets stuck in your head for years after- In fact, you could probably think of one right now.

Radio has the same concept, only difference being that they have no visuals and can often be rushed as well since every second costs. Radio is easier for local businesses as different regions have their own stations, whereas TV is national or international. The controlled areas which advertisements are played creates a control over the audience who is exposed to it. There’s no use in advertising a bakery on the Central Coast to someone in Tasmania.

 

Drawbacks to Traditional Advertising 

  • Can cater to a certain audience, but not on an individual level
  • Extremely Expensive
  • Ineffective
  • Limits in time or word count
  • Unable to give immediate results – customers need to either call or travel for products

 


So Why Are Companies Making the Switch?

Companies are migrating like birds, flocking to social media to continue relevance. Especially when it comes to marketing towards an influential audience, the internet is the best place to do so. A majority of leisure internet users are young teenagers to young adults, all of which either have their own income or adults with income. By marketing to young generations online, it becomes an efficient and effective way to advertise.

The main reason can be summed up in four words; “More Monitors, More Money”. This refers to both the cost of online advertising compared to traditional methods, and the reach potential online.  It simply costs less to advertise on the internet, especially with social media booming like it is. Websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are completely free to use, and companies are taking advantage of that.

On average, a user will spend 1 Hour and 40 Minutes browsing Social Media a day.

While scrolling down your feed, have you ever seen a post from a company like Coca-Cola? Looking closely, where the time posted usually is for these, the word ‘sponsored’ will be displayed. This means the company has invested in having their post boosted to be shown to everyday users. The reason these websites are free is because just like on TV, they get paid to display advertisements to an audience.  There are also ways that websites can target a demographic, with interests, location and age it’s easy for a business to chose who they want to see their ad.

 

The Affordability of Online Advertisements

Advertising on TV and Radio is extremely expensive and can really dent the pocket of a small business. Most local business owners rely on a flow of customers to keep themselves steady and don’t often have separate branches of stores to fall back on. The idea of spending thousands of advertising for potential customers to catch word and only maybe spend money for the services offered in said advertisement is seemingly preposterous. The money which would be spent could easily go towards more stock or facilities to grow the business instead. This is where online advertising really does help a business get itself out there without spending a fortune, potentially reaching thousands for a small amount.

 

Radio stations and TV ads also aren’t always worth the money to local business owners. How many times have you watched TV or listened to the radio, then an ad comes on so you change the channel? A lot of people prefer not to listen or watch ads, so they’ll switch to another station that’s playing what they want. Sure, you can purchase these ads and have them play, but there is no guarantee that people will engage into what they are saying. This is why companies are switching, the money simply isn’t worth the outcome to a large amount of business owners.

 

Local television stations typically charge from $200 to $1,500 to create a 30-second commercial. National commercials produced by an advertising agency cost far more, averaging $342,000 for a 30-second spot in 2008, according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Nancy Wagner, Small Business Chron

 

Online Advertisements have a large influence

From YouTube videos with that 30-second ad before it, to the logos in the sidebars of Facebook, advertisements online can be extremely influential. Using any interests listed on your page and ‘Cookies’ in your computer, which holds your browsing history and searches, advertisements are more tailored to each user. This works well for both company and consumer, as the company can market to their target audience and the consumer gets shows products or services they’re interested in.

It’s easier to actually sell products online as well. Living in the current “Just a Click Away” world can make it difficult for companies to convince consumers to physically visit their store. Online shopping is an ever-growing trend, with the ability for consumers to buy groceries, clothes and gadgets without standing up. The ability to see an ad, click it and buy it instantly, having it delivered to you is what companies are beginning to take advantage of. These features also tempt habits such as impulse buying and splurging, but that means more sales at the end of the day. Website such as Facebook allow business pages to display their own products and attach them to posts. Consumers have the option to browse through products as well, similar to an online store.

 


 

Unsafe ‘Advertisements’ When Using the Web

 

Most companies that are advertising online are reputable and honestly trying to interest people in their products. Some companies, however, are not. Some will use tricks in advertising and install junk or similar unwanted items. This is why protecting your passwords and accounts for services like Paypal is important.

Never Save your Passwords, Paypal or Credit Card to the Browser!

When searching with a browser, notice a few links at first that don’t seem completely related to what you searched. They may have a different topic, or not be the site that normally comes up. This is how websites will try to promote themselves and their content, making it come up early when searched. Links that these lead to may also not always be what they seem. To avoid being caught out, wait for the whole page to load before clicking anything as some load in after a few seconds. Before clicking on the link, hover over it with your cursor so it becomes a small hand, and look at the grey box which appears in either the bottom left of next to the cursor. This way, it’s easy to check the site goes to where it says.

 

This is a common trick but it’s hidden in plain sight, so many users fall for it. It happens when people look for drivers, computer cleaners, and modifications for their PC or even a game. Search engines such as Google will have a lower chance of these ads appearing as they have other sources of income. With income from their branch websites such as YouTube or Google Drive, the company has less of a need for these ads and the money that comes with.

 

The Benefits of Advertising Online

 

Advertising isn’t always a bad thing, and with online browsers and websites implementing Cookies to personalize them it’s becoming more relevant and tailored to each user. Advertising has been around for years and years now, and it’s a great way to companies big and small to promote themselves. It’s also extremely beneficial to consumers too!

The brochures that get handed around to mail boxes with Target or ALDI’s Christmas Toy specials tend to be pretty big life savers for busy parents. The flyers you see stapled to telegraph poles announcing a local gardening group can interest a family to go outside for a weekend and try something new. Signs in front of an open house let people on the hunt know they can come in and have a look around- who knows maybe it’s their dream house?

There’s a stigma around advertising, saying its a bad thing, and sure having flyers thrown at you while crossing the road is annoying. And every teen knows having to wait those 30 painful seconds before a YouTube video is just the lowest form of modern torture. Many people may say they hate advertisements but it’s never actually been a burden to society overall. So the migration in media which companies are making is actually another step forward, like when a new road is built creating a new faster way for people to get to their destination. Sure some people will take the old road but the option is there.

 

 

So now the only question is, do you want to check out what is in store?

 

 


Thank you so much for reading! This is The Computer Guy’s weekly blog, where we post about different tips, ideas and advice to help everyday users! Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or share this post!

-The Computer Guy


 

Check Out Our Other Posts:

SSD vs HDD: Battle of the Hard Drives

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks

E-Waste: How it Works and Its Benefits

 

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gaming computer
By Martin Harris / Advice, Tips and Tricks / 0 Comments

Contents

1. Where to Start

2. What Do You Want?

  • Are you streaming or editing videos?

3. What Do You Need?

  • Starbound vs. The Witcher 3 – Comparing Games

4. Getting the Most on a Budget

  • There are some parts of the PC will drain a budget.

5. What to Avoid

  • Gaming Laptops
  • Water Cooling

6. Warranty

  • What Warranty is Available and How it can be Voided.

 


 

Where to Start

How cool would it be to have the most expensive, high speed gaming PC, that never lags and runs the best graphics? Of course, it would be cool, but most people don’t have a year of rent money to spend on a computer.

Knowing what you want to use the computer for, and what you need to do it can save you HUNDREDS!

With consoles such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, game developers need to make the game to suit the console and its graphic limits. With computers, since so many parts are interchangeable and new parts are consistently being released, game developers are pushing the limits of what their games can do. Different games need different amounts of power.

There’s this idea out there that you need a five-hundred-dollar Intel i7 and a thousand-dollar 1080Ti Graphics Card to have an amazing gaming PC, and anything else will lag. Sure, having these will make your gaming super smooth and no doubt spectacular, but that doesn’t mean you need them.

 

So, here’s how you can break down what will suit your needs and wants best.

 


 

What Do You Want?

 

Ask yourself, what exactly am I using this for?

Most people will just say ‘gaming’ but that alone is a huge blanket statement. Playing games can range anywhere from Solitaire to ARK. This is where we start to narrow down what you’ll be doing. The more demanding games you want to play, the more power your PC will need.

Are you editing videos or streaming? Various parts are made for different uses. CPU’s like the i5 are designed for 3D gaming, making them great for any gamer. However, if you’re recording and editing videos constantly or streaming an i7 may be the way to go. The i7 CPU was designed for video processing and editing, it can decrease render time and has more power for live streaming games.

Graphics are always nice when they’re on a higher setting- more details and shading look fantastic in games. Though if you’re just playing basic platformers like Terraria then you won’t need to splurge. FPS Games run extremely well on a lot of cards, but if you’re playing just for yourself, or with friends, then it’s safe to turn the graphics down. In all honesty, not having the detail on the Lobby Claw Machine in Overwatch is worth sacrificing for the extra frames.

 


 

What Do You Need?

Take out the factors of video editing and streaming, and then think: what’s needed to just play’.

For a simple comparison of games and their graphics, let’s have a look at two very popular games.

 

First up, Starbound. 

Starbound is a platform style, open world fantasy game. It’s a simple 2D game, like Super Mario Bros – this along with characters and objects is all that needs rendering. The only reason a game such as this would become demanding is if modifications were added, or there was a large amount of data at once (for example, many enemies with extravagant attacks fighting you at once). These types of games, even browser games such as Runescape, can be run on a budget gaming computer.

gaming computer
Starbound Gameplay

 

Non-demanding, casual games are great for starting players of all ages. Casual players who don’t see a need to have super high graphics or enjoy this style can save some money. Games like Starbound, Terraria or even Minecraft can run well on smaller machines. There’s no need to buy more if this is all you plan to do!

 

Secondly, The Witcher 3

A lot of recent, popular games are very demanding. A good example is The Witcher 3, being a 3D fantasy adventure game with characters and objects, all having their own unique animations. Details in games like this go from strands of hair, to grass and water moving with the wind.

gaming computer
The Witcher 3 Gameplay

 

Creating something so life-like is amazing to look at, but it needs the power behind it to run. Adding in the shading, textures and foliage gives the graphics card more to process. Some of the top games such as these need a good system to run smoothly, with the graphics turned up.

Remember when looking up PC requirements for a game, the minimum is what it needs to LAUNCH, you’ll need more than that for it to run decently.

 


Getting the Most on a Budget

You don’t need a fortune to get your games up and running. Looking at the cost of Graphics Cards and CPU’s it can get overwhelming. As nice as it would be if you could, you can’t run every game in existence on a three-hundred-dollar computer that’s lived its life checking emails.

Refurbished parts are always a good option to consider when budgeting. People are upgrading constantly, getting new parts all the time since the market is always growing with newer technology. With so many people upgrading so often, refurbished parts aren’t too hard to come by and are more affordable than new parts. Do take caution when buying these parts, always ask about warranty.

Once you know what you want to do, you can find out what you need. Buying more than what is needed, and in turn over-spending is more common than it should be, since a lot of people don’t know what’s needed for what they want.

 

There are some parts of the PC will drain a budget.

The CPU is the best example, with the i7 being popular, but cost around two-hundred more than other chips. Graphics Cards also can put a dent in your pocket if you aren’t careful. Cards around five-hundred dollars, such as 1060 cards, will run a clear majority of current games. Sometimes yes, the graphics settings need to be turned down to up the frames.

 

Image result for pubg graphics menu

 

Graphics cards are a main factor with games, but it’s better to have a balanced build rather than a high-end graphics card in a basic build. Running the latest Graphics Card with 3 fans on a Power Supply made to power a basic motherboard and maybe one fan won’t work for long. Imagine trying to use one bicycle to get 5 people across town at once, it wouldn’t hold everyone!

 

Again, avoid overspending and get some different opinions before making a choice. You don’t need a $2,000 computer to play Minecraft.

 


 

What to Avoid

 

Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops are something that are advertised and seen online a lot. It seems super cool at a glance- something that lets you play all your games and it’s portable! Well, when you look at one of these laptops, compare it to the size of a graphics card alone.

When it comes to the Graphics Cards, the actual card isn’t that big, it would fit into a laptop. But the fans that cool them down? No way. Some cards use THREE fans for cooling to make sure they don’t overheat. This is a very common problem in gaming laptops. Even with laptops in general, people leave them on their actual lap and block the vents on the bottom. Desktops have fans in them and vents, with room for air to move around, ensuring that the parts can keep cool.

Like friction on a tire, the faster and harder you ask a computer to run, the more it heats up. This is why gaming laptops, while they seem like a great idea, can turn sour.

 

Water Cooling

Water cooling is something that looks awesome, it’s a fantastic way to add a theme to your PC and amp up the aesthetic of it. However, they’re high maintenance and pricey to buy in the first place. Every six months, water cooling pipes need to be completely flushed out and cleaned, along with replacing the cooling liquid. This means disconnecting your computer completely and opening it, possibly even needing to pull it apart. Forgetting to clean them or even replace them after 12-18 months can lead to corrosion and damage to your computer. Between the cleaning, buying cleaning materials and coolant it becomes a lot of maintenance to have.

A suitable alternative to water cooling is LED lights. These can be into pretty much any of the hardware. And if having the pipes for the aesthetic is that important, clear or coloured pipes with LED’s in them look great and don’t need consistent cleaning.

 

 


Warranty

Buying new or used Gaming PC’s should always include some amount of warranty. Even Some things aren’t covered by warranty (not sure if you can get your money back if you hit your PC with a cricket bat) however faults with the product are always covered.

There are Two Types- Labour and Part Warranty. Labour covers the work done, for example if it was built for you, this would cover the way the machine was put together. This covers things like misplaced cables or RAM coming loose. Part Warranty involves separate parts from companies such as Gigabyte and Intel, and if a fault occurs with the actual product or it breaks, it’s covered.

 

Warranty may be void on a product if:

  • Machine overheats from lack of ventilation or dust
  • Damage from Lack of Care
  • Machine is opened or tampered with.

 


 

Thank you so much for reading! This is The Computer Guy’s weekly blog, where we post about different tips, ideas and advice to help everyday users! Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or share this post!

-The Computer Guy


 

Check Out Our Other Posts:

 

SSD vs HDD: Battle of the Hard Drives

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks

E-Waste: How it Works and Its Benefits

 

 

Follow us!

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📸 Instagram 📸

📱 Twitter 📱

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e-waste
By Martin Harris / Information / / 0 Comments

The yearly amount of electronic waste is rapidly increasing more than any other kind of waste.

 

Do you have old computer’s that are too old or broken to use? Are they just laying around the house without having a use, or even paying rent? Once computer’s reach a point we refer to as B.E.R, meaning Beyond Economical Repair, they’re basically a paperweight that’s too big for regular paper. This is where e-waste can help.

 

If you look onto the back of a soda can, it usually states that it should be recycled, and some states offer rewards for doing so. This is to encourage people to recycle properly to reduce landfill, pollution and help re-use precious materials. E-Waste disposal is a similar concept.

 

Contents

1. When is a Computer Classified as B.E.R?

  • Knowing when your PC or Device is in need of replacing is important to make an informed decision.

2. Why E-Wasting is a Clever Idea

  • Benefits to Proper Device Disposal

3. What Can Be E-Wasted?

4. E-Waste Recycling – How it Works

  • What’s invloved and How to Get Access

5. Re-Using Devices at Home


 

When is a Computer Classified as B.E.R?

 

B.E.R (Beyond Economical Repair) is a term used for a computer that will cost more to fix than it’s used worth.

 

Of course, when possible it’s always preferred to fix someone’s machine, getting it back to running in good condition. However, if the hardware in the machine has an age close to its life expectancy or too many parts are damaged, the repair cost will exceed the used value of the item.

 

Tip: Look up your item on Gumtree and see if it will cost more to repair your item than what they’re selling for second hand.

 

Imagine taking an extremely old car, one with dings in the sides, worn brakes, torn seatings and the paint job is extremely scratched up. Of course, you can always opt to go ahead with repairs to fix these issues but the cost to fix all these issues may cost more than what you could sell the car for. It’s also hard to predict if anything else goes wrong- what if the engine light comes on in a week?

All in all, it just seems more reasonable and buy another car, even if it’s not brand new with a bow on top, it’ll be a better use of money.


 

Why E-Wasting is a Clever Idea

 

When a device breaks or is classified as B.E.R, many owners will simply leave it sitting in storage gathering dust or put it directly into the rubbish, even landfill. Throwing out electronics without properly disposing of them is extremely harmful as most contain sharp, metal hardware and dangerous chemicals. This is terrible for the environment and adds more unneeded waste to our landfills.

Australians discard almost 20kg per person annually but on 5% is recycled!

e-waste

Not only is it bad for the environment but you can put your personal information at risk, especially if where and how you dispose of the waste is careless.

By simply throwing out electronics without them being properly and professionally sanitized or processed, it becomes a risk that a stranger will find your old hardware. This gives them access to any data stored on the machine’s drives, including saved passwords, internet history, pictures and documents. Even if the hardware is damaged physically, the data may still be recoverable.

The world only has a finite amount of resources. By Recycling and E-Wasting electronics, this allows the materials used in these devices to be used again rather than extracting more from the earth. In turn, this also means more products will be able to

 

Reluctant to E-Waste?

People tend to become attached to their devices, and not in the ‘oh teens have their heads stuck in their phone doing the snapchats and twitters’  way. If one spends a significant amount of money on something, sometimes people will refuse to throw it out as they think its a waste. Of course throwing the an iPhone straight in the garbage as soon as leaving the Apple store is, but this is more about not wanting to let go of devices that have lived a long life.

There are times that people can insist on fixing something that’s not worth fixing because they’ve ‘already spent so much on it’. This isn’t uncommon and it’s understandable, but there comes a time when things just need to be replaced all together. Every product has a life expectancy.

You can always trust a reputable establishment to properly erase your old data and dispose of your goods properly. Find places with good reviews and recommendations, or ask some friends for places they’ve gone to before! It’s never too hard to find a trustworthy place.

 

To keep our environment clean and protect your personal information, it’s worth considering properly E-Wasting your gadgets, computers and devices.

 

 


 

 

What Can Be E-Wasted?

 

The ‘E’ in ‘E-Waste’ stands for ‘electronic’, so that alone gives a broad idea of what can be given. Almost anything electronic can be e-wasted! This includes:

  • Laptops and Desktops
  • Printers
  • Phones and Tablets
  • Keyboards and Mice
  • Headphones
  • Cables
  • Hard Drives
  • Light Bulbs

 

Each are processed in diverse ways however the general idea stays the same. Recycling and properly disposing as seen fit to not be wasteful or harmful.

Different companies will collect different items. It’s never a bad idea to call ahead of time to see what different items are generally collected by the company. For example a computer focused company may not accept printers and light bulbs, vies-versa.


E-waste Collection – How it Works

 

Most places require you to drop off the devices you wish for them to properly e-waste and… that’s it! Super-duper simple!

 

There are more than 1,800 collection points across the country where householders and small businesses can drop off their unwanted televisions, computers and accessories for free.

abc.net.au

 

 

Some places may charge for their services and labour to properly do so, it’s always a clever idea to do some research before jumping ahead with anything. Microsoft Registered Refurbishers will usually provide great e-recycling and e-waste services free of charge for laptops and desktops. Devices like printers can carry a small fee due to multiple factors with their parts and hardware.

After the e-waste has been collected, there are various processes which they will go through to clean and wipe all data. Using specially designed software programs, any storage disks are completely wiped of information. Reports can also be created to guarantee every single piece of old data has been completely removed. This ensures the previous owner of the item’s data on the device has no traces left-  from pictures to passwords saved in the browser.

All parts of the hardware are cleaned and dealt with accordingly. Batteries and any other parts with harmful product in them are contained to prevent leakage into the ecosystem.

 

 

Professional E-Waste Companies and E-Waste Collectors have the equipment to:

  • Safely clean and wipe all personal data from electronics
  • Sanitize drives and devices
  • Dispose properly of equipment
  • Safely contain dangerous goods found in electronics

Re-Using Devices at Home

 

Have you ever upgraded your phone or computer when the one you currently had was still usable? You just wanted something newer, something faster.

If your device isn’t ‘dead in the water’ and can still be used, there are other options for it! Donating used items to charities or offering them to PC refurbishes is a great idea to help those who may need it. Small businesses accept used parts and products. This may be for them to refurbish and use for sale or donations. Local Businesses also can specialize E-wasting and properly disposing of products, which includes professionally cleaning and wiping data.

There’s also always the option of good ol’ ‘hand me downs’, which is actually extremely common. This is the general idea of cleaning off your device of the applications and data from when it was yours and gifting it to a relative or friend. Just like with clothes and toys, old electronics that still work can be passed down to younger siblings or kids in the family for them to use! This is also a good idea to save money by not needing to buy a new device, and if it does break then it’s not a couple hundred or more dollars immediately lost!

Maybe you have grandparents or that one aunt who owns way too many candles, and all they’d like to do is use Facebook and play some solitaire if they’re feeling adventurous. Well, old laptops and desktops that may have seen their day can be perfect for them! If there are extremely old parts that just need a tune up, that’s a simple fix.

 

Consumers should know are always alternatives to dumping old devices. Deciding to properly dispose of, or re-use old electronics, is a great benefit and a step in the right direction. 


Check Out Our Other Posts:

SSD vs HDD: Battle of the Hard Drives

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks

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By Martin Harris / Information / / 0 Comments

Have you ever switched on the power and listened to your computer whir to life? Or hear some humming coming from inside when you’re searching and sorting files? People sometimes ask what that noise is, and sometimes they’re indifferent, but it’s good to know what this noise is from and what it says about your computer.

 

What are Hard Drives?

 

There are a lot of parts to a computer, one of the most known is the hard drive. It’s where everything is stored away, from your family photos to that one assignment you did for a class and may have left to the last minute. Everything is nestled into that one small part of your machine.

Since we rely on them so much to safely hold our valuable data, it’s always a good idea to know a bit about them and how reliable they are, their speeds and types. Sure, we know there are portable hard drives, USB’s, ones that go inside your PC and SD cards, and that alone is a decent amount of information, especially if you know what each of them is generally used for. But what about the inside?

 

 

If you look inside a hard drive, you can see a lot of small parts- but that’s probably the only way you can describe hard drives in general. In fact, there are two main types of hard drives; Mechanical and Solid State.

It’s often though that all hard drives are the same on the inside, but that’s not the case. Over time as technology has evolved, more secure, faster and even quieter hardware has come onto the market. Therefore, we have several types of Hard Drives!

 

 


 

 

Comparing the Difference

 

A (Very) Brief History

Mechanical drives have been around since the 1950’s. Drives around that time were about the size of a fridge-freezer combo, and only held about 4 Megabytes of data. Now you can get 5 Terabytes of storage on a disk that’s no bigger than a block of cheese!

SSD’s are newer technology. The original concept of microchips storing data has been around since the late 1980’s, recently has this technology become available for everyday PC users.

 

1956: IBM ships the first hard drive in the RAMAC 305 system. The drive holds 5MB of data at $10,000 a megabyte.

– PCWorld.com

 

Mechanical Drives (HDD)

Another name this type goes by is a Hard Disk Drive, hence the acronym being different. This is quite literally referring to the metal disk inside the drive. The inside of these could be compared to an old record player! It’s the same concept of the disk being read by an arm which moves around, finding different grooves to gather information on what to relay to the user.

Since these drives have been around so long, the ways they have been made and developed became more affordable to the point where they’re basically the standard for a computer, except for those that have had SSD’s installed. By having mechanical drives in a retail laptop, for example, the price can be set to something more affordable for the every-day customer who doesn’t need anything super flashy.

Even though they’re ‘older’ technology, it doesn’t mean that mechanical drives are bad at all! Like with anything, if you invest to get a decent quality drive from a reputable brand then they can live a long happy life.

Mechanical drives are recommended for storing copious amounts of data, like games or video footage, especially since they’re more affordable per gigabyte. Since storing data doesn’t require a fast processing speed like booting programs would, often the D Drive on a computer will be mechanical!

 

Bonus Facts!

  • Portable Hard Drives are mechanical!
  • The disk in a HDD will spin at either 5400 or 7200 Rotations Per Minute (RPM)
  • Prices of mechanical hard drives has dropped by an average of 34% a year
  • HDD’s have two sizes; 2.5” or 3.5”. Smaller ones are used in laptops

 

 

This is what the inside of a Mechanical Hard Drive looks like!

 


 

Solid State Drives (SSD)

Unlike Mechanical, a Solid-State Drive has no moving parts. This completely erases the issue of ‘wear and tear’ over time. The chip technology used in USB’s and phones is the same as that in an SSD, meaning all data is stored and sourced electronically. Utilizing this means there is no physical screws or surfaces that can scratch, becoming damaged and unreliable after a certain amount of use.

Benefits to no moving parts include the reduced noise! SSD’s send and receive information electronically, so there’s no rattling parts, motors or disks spinning. This means that whirring when you boot the PC becomes essentially silent, not to mention it boots faster!

The fact that SSD’s don’t have any moving parts speeds up your PC’s boot time and allows it to load faster! With a rotating disk like in a mechanical, user’s wait for the disk to get up to speed before loading . Along with that, there isn’t a disk for the drive to search when locating data! The storage is tracked electronically creating easy and fast access to programs and files.

SSD’s are in fact newer technology, and are in high demand because of both technology companies and consumers. The cost per gigabyte is higher with SSD’s than it is with mechanical drives, making them inefficient for substantial amounts of data storage. This is the reason people with desktops, and sometimes laptops, have more than one hard drive!

 

Bonus Facts!

  • SSD’s have the same components as phones, SD cards and USB’s!
  • Flash Memory, what SSD’s use, was introduced to the marked in 1984
  • All SSD drives are 2.5″, the same size as a laptop HDD
  • Revenues SSD’s brought worldwide totalled $585 million in 2008, and have sold over 67.3 million units as of 2012

 

This is what the inside of a Mechanical Hard Drive looks like!

hard drive

 

 


 

Utilizing Your Hard Drive – How to Get the Most Out of Them!

 

Take Care of your Drive!

It’s not something a lot of people consider but there are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most out of your drive!

Turn off your computer at night or when you go out!

If you aren’t leaving things to update overnight or uploading a video while you sleep then you should always turn off your PC! Other than saving power, you’ll extend the life of your hard drive. A lot of mechanical drives slow down when they have been actively running for a long time. Imagine if you ran a marathon, then after the event is over instead of going home to relax, you must just keep walking around the block. Of course, you’d be exhausted quickly if you weren’t given a chance to rest. It’s the same for your hard drive!

 

Be careful with laptops!

Of course, this just seems like common sense, right? As well as turning it off when it’s not in use, closing the lid before it fully shuts down or jolting the machine while it’s on can disrupt the hard drive. Remember how they spin at up to 7200 rotations a minute? Causing the machine to harshly move while its spinning that fast can scratch the disk and cause an area to no longer be useable!

If you have a laptop with an SSD in it of course this issue won’t be too much of a problem, but you still should be careful. It’s not recommended that you body-slam your PC into the floor or anything like that.

 

Which would be better for me?

Depending on a person’s budget different options are always recommended. Before jumping into any decisions ask yourself:

 

  • Do I need a large amount of storage space?
  • Is my computer running slowly now?
  • Do I travel with my laptop a lot?
  • Can I hear the hard drive working in my PC?

 

 

 

It’s recommended that before making the switch or upgrading that you check the health of your Hard Drive. You can do this with a program or see a professional. There’s also the choice of having both. A lot of laptops may not be able to fit two hard drives, but can be fitted in depending on the hardware it already has.

A lot of desktops use two hard drives to up the efficiency of their computer. This typically consists of a Solid State where Windows loads from, allowing the computer to boot up quickly and run smooth. The second drive, labelled as the ‘D:’ drive, is where data gets stored, still have a large amount of room. The majority of the time, this drive is mechanical.

 

Hard Drives are a big part of your PC, and knowing what’s best for your computer can be greatly beneficial for its performance. Research never hurts when looking into an upgrade or just a change, and more space doesn’t always mean better performance.

 

 

Check Out Our Last Blog Post

 


 

Related Articles

 

Timeline: 50 Years of Hard Drives

What are Hard Disk Drives

Computer: The Hard Drives History

 

 

 

 

The Computer Guy 2017

By Martin Harris / Online Safety / / 0 Comments

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Do you go online on your PC? Are you being safe online? How do you know if you’re being protected while browsing the web?

 

Contents

1. Introduction

2. Taking Caution

  • Pop-Up Advertisements
  • Scam Emails
  • Downloading and Torrents

3. Is your Software Outdated?

4. Programs That Help Being Safe Online

  • Windows Defender
  • CCleaner
  • Subscription Programs

 

It can be hard to know if you’re being safe when online if you have never been told how! The one thing a lot of people who come to us ask is if there are any extra measures that can be taken when online to protect your personal files from being attacked by Malicious Software (Malware for short).

Unfortunately, there are people online that aren’t just there for the cute cat videos and shopping. There are emails with a virus that can lock or damage your computer, and believe it or not that panel that came up on the side of the page saying you won a new iPhone, isn’t true.

 

However it’s good to know that there are steps you can take to make sure you’re being safe online.

 


 

Taking Caution

Our last post, “Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks“, covered some bases mentioned in this section. If you’d like to read more on this topic be sure to have a look at it!

 

Even if you’re being as careful as you can be online, it’s easy to get caught out. Here’s a few things to know that’ll help you protect your info online!

Pop-Up Advertisements

Advertisements are everywhere online, it’s how websites make money, how companies promote their products and the way a consumer can find new goods. All around it doesn’t seem that bad, it’s just like ads on the television, right?

Well, not exactly.

Most online advertisements will allow you to click and open the website which the goods or services are being sold. However the link attached to the ad can also take you to a website that contains harmful material.

Some internet users may remember screamers, which was a practical joke on the internet for a while. In short, a video or website would seem calm and user friendly, then out of nowhere a disturbing image accompanied by a loud screech or unpleasant noise would appear. This was usually with the intention to scare whoever opened the link but was overall harmless. Well, this is somewhat similar to ads with malicious intent. Instead of a scare and raised heart rate however, you may get a virus or malware on your computer.

Good examples are the panels that sometimes appear saying that you’ve won a phone or some other fantastic prize, with the hopes you’ll fall for the lie and click the ad. There are even some that appear to look like a Windows pop up saying you have a virus and you can ‘click to scan’.

Here are some examples of what these pop up ads may look like:

Being Safe Online        Being Safe Online         

 

A good thing to note also is that Microsoft will never prompt you call a number or call you on your phone saying they’ve detected a virus. Most of these are scam call centers with the intent to get your passwords or credit card information.

 

 

Scam Emails

Most people will use emails to send photos or files to friends, catch up with family or even talk to a pen pal overseas. Millions of emails are sent daily across the globe, further helping us communicate. Some companies even send out promotional emails to alert a customer or member of a sale that’s currently going on. Unfortunately, some emails contain files that can lock your computer, or even damage it.

Have you ever gotten an email from an insurance company asking about payments even though you aren’t with them? What about an email from Australia Post saying you have a parcel and it’s waiting for you? Even an ‘overdue electric bill’ from some organisation you’ve never worked with.

Well, most of these are scams.

A majority of the time, opening these emails won’t instantly kill your PC and files, but downloading or opening attachments and links will. It’s strongly advised that if you get an email that seems suspicious, even if it’s from a friend or contact, to instantly delete it. If a friend sends you files you weren’t expecting or a link you don’t trust, message them to ask if it was them or delete it. If it turns out to be something they did send, then they can always send it again! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

A Few Things to Note:

  • AusPost Never Email! They’ll usually mail you a physical card if there’s a package for you to pick up!
  • If you get an email from a company you’re with that still seems sketchy, call their official customer service and check it was them!
  • DO NOT REPLY to scam emails. It’s best not to open but a lot are randomized. They’ll send emails to every address they can come up with. Replying confirms that they found an active email and results in them sending more or sharing the email.
  • Don’t give out your email to random websites.
  • Block email addresses that send you scams or advertisements

 

Downloading and Torrents

It’s no secret people like to torrent and download the latest movies and TV shows. Whether it’s the last episode of Game Of Thrones or the biggest Blockbuster movie, a lot of people seem to want it NOW and they also typically want to avoid paying for it. Remember that video clip that would play at the start of every DVD you borrowed? ‘You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a purse.’ And so on? It may have been overlooked a lot but it’s correct, that distributing copies of movies and torrents are classed as stealing.

 

“TorrentFreak found Australians represented 11.6 per cent of downloads, outstripping the United States at 9.3 per cent, and the United Kingdom with 5.8 per cent.”

-News.com.au

 

The best advice when it comes to downloading torrents? Don’t.

 

Besides the fact that it is in fact illegal, easy to track and carries fines, it also puts your computer at great risks. Downloading files of movies and TV Shows from an online site, or even streaming them often bring the risk of downloading malware into your computer, not to mention the absurd amount of pop-up ads which appear.

Sure, your friends may have said they use this one website and ‘it’s so good! There’s no viruses and its secure!’, but how true is that? How do they not know there aren’t hidden viruses? How do they know it’s not going to suddenly change to harm your computer? This goes for game downloads, tool bars, fake programs that claim to speed up your PC and adult entertainment sites as well. All have a chance to harm your computer through pop up ads and malware.

Full News.com.au Article: Read Here

 


 

Is Your Software Outdated?

Now of course if your computer is just for writing documents or playing chess, you may not even need to go online. Though as of today, a vast majority of the population use online websites, emails and games. The internet is something all modern computers are capable of accessing, however sometimes it’s better not to.

Most people are familiar with Windows and the different versions that come out, like Windows 10 and Windows 7. However as Microsoft is always making new software and it gets to a point where they no longer actively support their outdated software.

Windows XP was brought into the market in 2001 and is still vastly used today by businesses who require older software to run machinery. However for the day to day user it’s advised that if your PC is still on XP that you upgrade to Windows 7 or higher. Microsoft withdrew their free support for Windows XP in April, 2014. They did continue the security updates for another year on XP however that support was terminated in July of 2015.

This means that there will be no more security or software updates to the operating system, therefor making it extremely vulnerable when used online. With no updates or active support it is easy for people online to access your computer, and possibly any personal information you may have on there.

 


 

Programs That Help Being Safe Online

 

» Windows Defender

Most PC’s now are on Windows 10, which comes with its own form of Malware protection known as Windows Defender. This program is free with Windows 10 and is designed to help keep your PC safe with options to scan your computer for malicious files.

Windows defender actively monitors your device to ensure it is safe from threats. It includes scans for virus and threat protection, the health and performance of your device and firewall/network protection. It also includes options to run quick or full scans on your PC if you feel your files may be at risk.

 

 

» CCleaner

A free program designed to actively clean your PC from temporary and junk files with the intention to improve your computers performance.

What are temporary files?

Temporary files are generally created to store information while a file is being created online or through a program. This is what can be recovered if something goes wrong and the program closes or your computer turns off before you can save. Have you ever used Microsoft Word and it has some documents you’re able to recover even though you didn’t save them? Those are generally extracted from the temporary files!

Some temporary files however won’t delete themselves. For example when you view an image online, a temporary file may be created for that image, but it won’t be deleted when you close the webpage. These aren’t large files however the space they take up can add up pretty quickly. This is where CCleaner goes through to delete the no longer needed temporary files, and cleaning up more space.

 

» Subscription Based Programs

There are a number of paid anti-virus and scanning programs available. Most work off a yearly fee and can supply anti-virus protection software for one or multiple computers. This works well as an extra measure though they aren’t crucial to have. Some programs are extremely reliable while others are not. A lot of the time the ‘free’ versions of anti-virus software can include advertisements. They can also clash with programs like Windows Defender. It is recommended that you consult a technician to see what software would be best for your personal computer.

 

 

Useful Links

 

Microsoft Official Updates

Windows Defender Info

Microsoft Official Support

Our Services

 

The Computer Guy 2017

scammers
By Martin Harris / Online Safety / / 2 Comments

Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. Their ultimate goal is to exploit their target though morally wrong means such as lying, tricking or harassing until they get what they want. Avoiding users with malicious intent isn’t easy and there are always going to be people like that online, but it’s good to know there are ways to protect yourself

 

Scams target everyone

Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There’s no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam, it’s fair game. Scams succeed because they look authentic and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. They exploit the desire to be polite, respectful and generous, as well as the adrenaline and excitement people get when they are informed they’ve won something. Scammers often do an act known as ‘phishing’, which simply means that they only want your bank account, credit card details and passwords.

 

 

Types of Scams

These scams come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from a pop up window saying that you’re their 10,000th viewer and have won a new iPad, to impersonators pretending to be Microsoft and saying they have found a virus on your computer. Since there are so many places you can come across a potential advertisement or email that is dangerous for your computer, it’s easy to mistake them for something legitimate. As time and technology progresses, scammers are becoming more perceptive and crafty with their scams.

 

 

 

Phone Scams

 

Sure, everyone has had a tele-marketer call their phone asking if they want to buy a new mop, and it’s common knowledge now that you can just hang up, or joke around with them if you aren’t interested because why would you listen to this person up-sell a $50 mop when the one at Kmart down the road has one that does the same thing for $15? Seems easy enough to avoid and not fall for, right?

Well what if you got a call from someone saying, “Hello, I’m a representative of Microsoft and we have detected a very harmful virus on your computer.” A lot of people may panic. Imagine being told your precious computer full of family photos and documents, is in danger. Of course, a natural first reaction is to ask them to fix it, and that means giving them access to your computer.

They may ask you to go onto your computer and grant them permission to access it, and you might see some screens pop up or some coding. The way it looks from the surface seems completely legit; and that’s why so many people fall for it. Unfortunately, they lied about who they were and by giving them access, they can now see everything on your device. Every saved password, every file and every program.

After they have ‘fixed’ your computer they will ask for a credit card to pay for the ‘service’ provided. If refused money some will lock the computer  until money is given. Some may even ask for multiple payments, requesting a moderate amount at first, then later demanding more be paid.

 

However avoiding these scammers is no different to a tele-marketer, and it only takes one simple step to avoid these. Hang up the phone.

 

 

Some good things to know about phone scams:

  • Microsoft themselves will never call you. If you have an issue or question, you have to call their customer service and not the other way around.
  • The only time you may be alerted of dangers on your computer is by anti-virus software such as Windows Defender.
  • Scammers cannot do anything until you grant them access
  • NEVER give out personal information to someone online or over the phone
  • If a scammer accesses your details, change your passwords as soon as possible
  • When you’re unsure if your computer is safe or has a virus, take it to a professional

 

Email Scams

While some are more obvious than others, email scams have been around for a while and are still insanely common. They start as advertisements about ‘The New Diet Pill that Has All The Doctors Mad!’ and a woman who is ’70 but looks 30 thanks to a miracle cream’, simple stuff that some people believe but is easy to spot out when it’s a fake. Then they escalate, saying there’s a ‘package at the Post Office so download the receipt to go collect it’, and even emails from insurance companies and Paypal saying you have overdue bills. As legitimate as they seem, these emails either want you to type in your credit card details or accidentally download a virus inside a document they send. The viruses generally look for your passwords or account information, and can even be ransom ware.

 

There are always ways to avoid getting caught

Before opening the email consider these questions:

  • Who sent the email? Does it seem sketchy?
  • Are you affiliated with the company who emailed you?
  • Are there spelling mistakes? (Scam emails usually have typos)
  • Is the text generic? (“Hi valued customer!” instead of your name)
  • Have you received an email from them before?

 

If the email is a spam email, delete it straight away. Replying to these accounts confirm that you actively use the address they messaged and may result in more spam being sent to you.

It’s never a bad idea to do some research on companies that email you out of seemingly nowhere. For example, AusPost don’t send emails if there’s a package for you to collect but instead they mail you a card. The only time PayPal send emails when changes occur to your account/their policies or if you send or receive payments. If you get an email you’re unsure about, go to the company website and call their customer support.

Emails from a friend are always nice and usually extremely trust worthy. Though you may just send letters to catch up, documents for work and school or pictures there’s always a chance that it’s not safe. Some scammers try to target your email with the purpose of using it to send messages to your contacts and phishing them for information. If you ever are sent an email from a friend that looks shifty don’t be afraid to ask them if it was them, or just delete it.

 

                   

 

Pop Up Scams

Pop Up Scams tend to work based on the shock factor. Similarly to phone scams, some sites may open a link to pages that claim there’s danger. Some can be very difficult to close, or begin downloading some form of software to your computer. A lot of these are accompanied by flashing colours and loud noises such as sirens or a voice recording. Tactics like these are what scammers use to start your ‘fight or flight’ response in the hopes that you’ll panic. The outcome is usually either clicking a link to fix the problem they stated was there, or not being able to close the tabs in time before something is downloaded.

These may also be dangerous to people who are sensitive to loud, disruptive noises and flashing lights. While they’re used without warning unfortunately there is little repercussion for sites using these tactics. 

 

Pop Ups are generally easy to avoid, however some of the following may cause them to appear:

  • Downloading or Torrents
  • Playing Games on an Unsafe Website
  • Streaming Movies and TV Shows online
  • Using Online Video Converters
  • Adult Entertainment Websites

 

Secure Services like Netflix and safe downloads from official websites (such as Adobe or Microsoft) will NOT cause Pop Ups to occur.

 

      

 

Protect yourself

Most scammers avoid questions that can catch them out and prove they’re illegitimate. Just asking questions, like requesting their address, can catch them off guard as most are based overseas.

 

It is illegal for a foreign business to sell overseas investments to Australians if they do not have an AFS licence. Australian companies also need an AFS licence to legally sell investments in Australia.

-ASIC

 

Taking caution never hurts. The more users proceed with that extra bit of caution when online the less scammers can catch out innocent people who may not know how easy it is to get scammed. The biggest advice that anyone can give about online safety is to never assume that you can trust what you see.

 

 

Not everything you see on the internet is true.

 

 

Useful Links

 

About Phishing

Types of Scams

Report a Scam

Online Fraud 

 

 

The Computer Guy