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Get computer advice, technology tips, and expert know-how from the LaptopMD

Browse our site for computer advice, troubleshooting tips and tricks, and information on how to prevent common computer problems so you can avoid bringing your computer in for repair.

This section was built for you; we want to give you the answers you need to keep you away from us for as long as possible! We know what it’s like looking for help with computer repair on the internet; you may end up confused, bewildered, or maybe completely dazed by the amount of computer repair information out there.

Send your computer, software, and general tech questions to DoctorZ@laptopmd.com today!

You have questions? That's understandable. Maybe we even have answers. So ask us anything. Anything at all. We'll try to answer to the best of our ability.

LaptopMD+ Blog

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  • How To Write A Good Password

    by LaptopMD Posted August 10, 2017 in Newsletter, Tips for Devices

    15 years later, the leading authority on password advice changes his mind

    Earlier this week Bill Burr told the Wall Street Journal that he regretted much of the password advice he gave almost 15 years ago. Who’s Bill Burr? He’s the reason you’re required to come up with a new password every 90 days on some sites. And the one who suggested things like this: p@$$w0rD123!

    Turns out, changing your password every 90 days makes passwords less secure. And replacing a=@ o=0 s=$ may not be as clever as you think. See, hackers and hacking algorithms are very aware of this trick and it’s very easy for them to bust these passwords.

    So what should we do???

    Making a complex (but easy to remember) password

    Whenever a customer drops off their computer or phone at one of our stores, we ask for the password. We do this for testing purposes, to ensure device functionality both before and after the repair. However, collecting passwords from tens of thousands of different people has led me to notice something.

    Almost everyone uses a weak password.

    It’s understandable. Complex passwords are hard to remember and who has enough energy to commit a random number/letter combination to memory? Instead, almost every password I see is some version of a word, often with a number or two, and maybe an exclamation mark. Bunny21 or Timothy1986! – something like that. These passwords are fairly simple and easy to crack and we all know that.

    We also know what a complex password looks like. It’s something like sO#tO32bEgO or LiTi7An&Be. These passwords avoid full words and look like keyboard gibberish so the common perception is they are difficult to memorize. But they don’t have to be.

    Here’s the trick. Start with a phrase that means something to you. Now choose a number (one or multiple digits) and your favorite special character. Something like below:

    Soon to be Gone – 32 – #

    or

    Lions Tigers and Bears – 7 – &

    Now, take the first two letters from each word and combine them to make a single 8 character “word”. Then put the number and the special character in-between any of the two letter segments. So…

    Soon to be Gone becomes sotobego and then so#to32bego

    Lions Tigers and Bears becomes litianbe and then liti7an&be

    Lastly, capitalize one letter from every two-letter segment. You can choose to capitalize either the first or last letter each time, or make it a bit more random which letters you capitalize. In my case, I chose to capitalize the second letter each time for the first password, and the first letter each time in the second password. The end result is:

    sO#tO32bEgO and LiTi7An&Be

    Both of these seem entirely random but are actually fairly easy to remember since they are based on a phrase with personal meaning. It can be a bit tricky to type at first, but you’ll remember this password more easily than you’d expect since you’ll remember how you created it. And you’ll also be surprised how quickly your fingers will develop muscle memory and learn to type the new password.

    Another method

    If you can use a longer password, another common technique is to create a phrase password. Something like:

    Agavehorsecloudpooltoasterdrive

    As it turns out, creating a long password adds hacking difficulty even if it’s made up of common English words (which typically makes a password less secure). Because the password is adequately long and the hackers can’t predict the length of any individual word, it’s pretty hard to crack.

    The key is just to not use a phrase that means anything to you this time. Nothing from literature especially. Try this method to create your password using only a dice and a cheat sheet. The random roll of a dice will make your password nearly impenetrable!

    Give it a try. Did this method work for you? We’d love to hear your feedback!

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Ask A Medic

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  • The Infamous nVidia Chipset Issue

    by Arthur Zilbermann Posted February 14, 2012 in Ask a Medic, Computer, Graphics Card
    Question:

    I’ve heard my laptop has a bad nVidia Graphics Chip. What does this mean?

    Answer:

    The images you see on your computer when playing video games, editing photos or movies, or even just surfing the web, are all made possible by your graphics chip. Without it, you can kiss any enjoyable/productive/gainful computer times goodbye. If you notice your screen has been freezing, flickering, showing a bad resolution, or in extreme cases, has gone completely black, you may have a bad graphics chip. The good news is if you have an nVidia chipset issue, you’re not alone. The bad news is that the problem is a difficult one to fix. The graphics chip in question is soldered directly onto the motherboard, the part of your laptop that holds your memory, processor, and all the circuits that make it go. Because of a fault in production, some nVidia based chipsets (especially in Macbooks) tend to overheat and cause the motherboard to warp, ever so slightly, and the chips attached to it to start peeling off. Once this happens, the only real fix is to replace the motherboard. Some laptop manufacturers have actually recognized this issue and are offering warranty service or motherboard replacement free of charge, so contact your manufacturer to find out more. If that’s not an option, we can perform a micro-solder fix on your motherboard that could keep it running for years, or months. Since this is not something we recommend, we currently don’t offer any warranties on these jobs. It’s a last-chance operation, and doesn’t resolve the core issue, making the problem likely to come back.

    As long as you want your laptop to remain functional, it’s important that your graphics chip is in tip-top shape. Fortunately for you, here at Laptop MD+, we wield tiny screwdrivers with unparalleled grace and expertise and can get your motherboard replaced in no time. Learn more about your graphics chip and request a completely free quote here. We’ll get your computer up and running again before you have time to despair!

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Knowledge Base

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  • The Differerence Between SSD and HDD

    Posted November 2, 2011 in Hardware Tips & Tricks
    Problem:

    There's a lot of talk these days about SSD and HDD drives. To the computer tech, the difference may be clear but to the average lay person confusion may be the only thing clear. What's difference between SSD and HDD drives? I'm glad you asked...

    MD+ Diagnosis:

    HDD (Hard Disk Drives) hard drives are traditional hard drives with moving parts, proven to shocks and vibrations which cause can damage, that have been used for decades. SSD (Solid State Drives) hard drives are modern alternatives that are used more in portable devices than normal computers to cut down on weight, save space and maximize performance. SSD drives are commonly found in more compact situations, boot up quicker, and use less battery power. You will find SSD drives in any device that says it runs on 'flash memory' like a smartphone, tablet, or other portable device.

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Recent Knowledge

Breakroom

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  • Take A Virtual Tour of LaptopMD+

    by Arthur Zilbermann Posted November 8, 2011 in Water Cooler

    Virtual Tour of LaptopMD+Never been to LaptopMD+ or haven’t stopped by since we last remodeled our offices? Take the LaptopMD+ Virtual Tour and explore our offices interactively. Google stopped by and used their patented street maps technology in our office and the result is a beautiful 360-degree tour of our spacious digs. From our location above Penn Station to your internet browser, check out our offices before you come by!

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Recent Breakroom

News

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  • Laptop MD joins forces with Data Recovery Clinic !

    by Arthur Zilbermann Posted June 7, 2013 in Computer Maintenance, data recovery, hard-drive, LaptopMD+ News, News, Newsletter, Small Business Support, virus

    We are excited to announce that Laptop MD now has joined forces with Data Recovery Clinic.  Steven, the lead technician at Data Recovery Clinic, has been providing emergency data recovery from hard drives and raids of all configurations for over 23 years.

    DRC, established in 1989, attributes their high success rate  due to their cutting edge ATOLA data recovery equipment and highly trained technicians in data recovery. They have successfully recovered data from all over the globe and from all types of media. If your data can be recovered, then they can recover it. If you don’t believe us, just ask: NASA, 3M, Lucent, Pepsi Co, Chicago Stock Exchange, Sandia National Labs, CAGEMA INC, Raytheon, Dell, HP, IBM, Compaq, Norton Utilities, and many, many more whose data they have successfully recovered.

    With their “no-data no-charge payment system”, it’s a win-win for anyone who has been faced with the disastrous failed hard drive, flash card, or memory stick at the most critical moment. Come to Laptop MD and let us battle “Murphy’s Law” for you.

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