Why You Should Use a VPN

Think You’re Safe? Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Use a VPN

At LaptopMd we’ve covered security in depth on our blog. Today we want to talk about a hot topic – Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. Once upon a time VPNs were only for businesses or security experts.

Nowadays, with the rise of censorship, tracking, and internet hacking, VPNs are something casual users are considering, and that’s probably a good idea.

It’s pretty easy to get a VPN app from the Microsoft, Google, or Apple store and install it with a few clicks on a button. Typically only basic configuration is needed. You no longer have to be a security expert to protect your right to privacy.

As you can see from this popular VPN website, VPNs aren’t extremely expensive either. In fact, you can get a pretty robust VPN with strong encryption for as low as the cost of two coffees a month.

Here are five reasons why you probably should be using a VPN:

Device Protection

How many times have you logged onto wi-fi at a coffee shop, store, or airport to take advantage of the free connection? It’s easier than you think for a malicious hacker to sniff out your information, or even fool you into connecting to a fake site, giving them the ability to download malware straight to your computer or phone.

VPN tunnels send data from a server straight to your phone; all data is encrypted. That means that even if you are on an unsafe network, hackers won’t be able to interfere, or even see what you’re doing.

Evade Tracking

VPNs direct all of your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel. You have the option to choose a server in any location, and choose a different IP. This can be useful if you need to access sites at work or school when the network is severely restricted, blocking various sites, but accessing these sites will enhance your studies or work.

Avoid Being a Commodity

Did you know that internet service providers can now collect and sell your data as they would like? Every time you log online, every move you make is tracked, and monetized. Congratulations, to advertisers, you, as a person are now a product.

Advertisers buy your internet history so they can analyze what sites you visit, where you currently shop, what your interests are and more so that they can make their advertisements more appealing to you.

Actually, more people may be interested in what you are doing online than you think – social media sites, and yes, hackers. A VPN protects you from becoming a product that can be sold.

Access Geoblocked Content

Unfortunately, not all countries are afforded the same privileges as we have in the US. Some countries in the world are subject to censorship or a government controlling what you see online. If you are visiting one of these countries, a VPN will bypass content restrictions so you can access simple streaming services like Netflix and YouTube or your religious or political readings.

Privacy is a Right, not a Privilege

New Yorkers can’t go anywhere without being caught on surveillance camera. We’re followed and watched by advertisers, cell networks and tracked by social media sites and our ISPs. If you believe that privacy is a right, not a privilege, look into a VPN. You don’t have to be doing anything wrong to be spied on.

Your life is not for sale, so you should stop companies from profiting off of it without your permission.

If you’re interested in network security, or internet security, talk to one of our techs today and we’ll be happy to help. We remove Viruses, Malware, do data recovery and love to talk tech in general.

 

6 Greatest Causes of Data Loss

The data we so meticulously save to our devices is always at risk. Here at LaptopMD, we want everyone to save themselves the devastation of losing that data.

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In that regard, here are the six most common causes of data loss we encounter.

Hardware Damage
Hardware is not meant to last forever and rarely lets you know when it’s about to die. The worst part is when hardware dies, you lose your data. This is why it’s advised you update or change hardware every few years.

Computer Theft or Loss
Someone breaks into your home or car and snatches up your computer, laptop or tablet.

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You leave it in a cab or coffee shop and all your efforts to recover it fail. For many of us, loss of data means a lot more to us than the hardware.

Damaging Software
The biggest thrill for a hacker is finding a way to crack what’s supposed to be the latest firewall or antivirus platform. Someone somewhere is virtually attacked every day. While it is advantageous to be connected via your devices, it means opening yourself up to numerous risks.

Tips from LaptopMD

From stealing data and slamming you with spam to making you think something’swrong with your computer so that you can pay hackers to “fix” it, these hazards can be hard to avoid.

Power Failures
The latest operating systems are capable of performing auto-saves to memory before a computer loses power. But that shouldn’t be relied on for protecting data. A shutdown can also disrupt reboot operations and make accessing data difficult later.

Damage as a Result of Mishap
We drop our computers. We spill liquids on the keyboard and watch in horror as our machines die.

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Replacing a computer is a hard pill to swallow, but losing your pictures, files, music and other data hurts. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely anyone will design a waterproof computer any time soon.

Accidental File Deletion
Probably the number one issue brought to us is losing whole files or parts of files. The major reason data is lost is due to the fact there are not appropriate workflow procedures and backup strategies in place.

Tips from LaptopMD

These would save a lot of time.

Now you are unprepared!
Even in today’s sophisticated world of technology and knowledge of the risks, more users than not still operate without regular backups. Backup daily, install the latest anti-virus solutions and be ready to reinstall your OS should you have to. If you’re regularly backing up,

Tips from LaptopMD

your files will not be in danger if you encounter any of the above issues. In the worst case scenario, you can contact LaptopMD. We use the latest tech to review and save data where possible.

Happy Thanksgiving To Our Amazing Customers

The team at LaptopMD has a tremendous amount to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. At the top of our list we include our great customers. We thank you for the trust and confidence you have in us when it comes to your all-important device. We know you depend on you portable device for so many things and we are committed to ensuring it functions in tip-top condition for you.

Happy Thanksgiving from LaptopMD

In thanks to you for a great year, LaptopMD has a special offer for you during Thanksgiving week. We will provide laptop repair services for you for $20 off(excluding parts). This special deal will start November 25, 2016, and run through December 2, 2016.

Once again, we are grateful to our wonderful customers this Thanksgiving. We stand ready and able to serve you, even during the holiday season.

3 biggest problems with laptops and computers

The use of electronic devices for everyday tasks, school, work, and entertainment is so ingrained in our society that it’s hard to imagine life without them. We may know that humans survived without computers and laptops for thousands of years, but in today’s world, they have become more of a necessity.

3 biggest problems with laptops and computers from LaptopMD

Due to how important laptops and computers are in our world, it’s frustrating and stressful when they break, especially if you have an upcoming deadline to meet. At LaptopMD, we have observed and analyzed what are the three most common reasons for their breakage, so that our customers can decrease the chance their computers break down again:

Overheating
One of the most common causes of damage to computers is overheating. Most people don’t realize their devices are overheating because there are no noticeable signs of a problem.

3 biggest problems with laptops and computers from LaptopMD

They only become aware of the problem when their laptop either shuts down during use or stops powering on. An inexpensive and easy way to prevent overheating is to use a laptop cooling pad.

Hard Disk Breakdown
Another common reason computers stop working is hard disk breakdown. Because there is high demand for hard drives with more space, manufacturers have sacrificed quality for the sake of quantity. This means that hard disks cause problems more often than they did in the past.

3 biggest problems with laptops and computers from LaptopMD

When buying a new laptop, consider how much disk space you really need and whether or not the device’s hard drive is of high quality.

Power Unit Problems
The third biggest problem with laptops and computers is power unit problems. A computer’s power unit is responsible for converting main AC to low voltage DC power. Without this function, computers wouldn’t be able to use the power.

3 biggest problems with laptops and computers from LaptopMD

Sudden changes in voltage can cause damage to the computer. Overheating and dropping the computer can also cause damage to the power unit.

And the last
Now that you know the three biggest problems with laptops and computers, it’s unlikely you will ever experience them because you’ll know which prevention methods to implement.

3 biggest problems with laptops and computers from LaptopMD

At LaptopMD, we hope that your device will last forever without giving you problems. However, if anything ever happens to it, we’re here to help you.

Back-to-school. Are you ready?

August is almost over and it’s that time of the year again – the time when children return to school. Parents often spend many hours gathering the required items on their children’s back-to-school lists. However, there is one thing parents rarely consider: their child’s laptop.

Back-to-School with LaptopMD

Children will spend countless hours during the upcoming school year using their laptops for classes, homework, and online research. Is your child’s laptop ready for school?

The back-to-school deal
LaptopMD is here to help parents and their children have a successful school year! Malfunctioning effects, such as broken keys, slow processing, viruses, and flashing screens, are all needless distractions. Typing class notes, Google searches, and using software applications should be fast and easy. Our technicians at LaptopMD just want to make sure that your child receives credit for his or her hard work and having a properly functioning laptop is essential to your child’s academic success.

Back-to-School with LaptopMD

To celebrate the back-to-school season, LaptopMD is running a special promotion! From 8/26/2016 – 09/11/2016, all laptop repairs are 10% off at our Manhattan and New Jersey locations!

Back-to-School with LaptopMD

This discount is good for all laptop and PC repairs, including:

• Screen replacement
Virus removal
• Keyboard replacement
• Hinge repair
• Battery replacement
• Motherboard replacement

Together we can make it!
So, if your child’s laptop isn’t working properly, needs a tune-up, or even an upgrade, bring it to LaptopMD! We will fix it and return it to you as good as new! We will make it homework-ready, so your child is prepared for the upcoming school year! Together, we can make it a success!

How To Set Up Parental Controls

It’s the summer, your child is no longer in school for about three months, and they have nothing better to do than surf the internet all day. If left to their own devices, they could end up seeing some pretty inappropriate things.

LaptopMD and how to set up parental control

So how will you keep them from seeing something they shouldn’t see? Parental controls for your home network are the answer.

Through Your Router
This is the easiest way to configure your settings. Your router serves as an entry point for all internet traffic on your network. By setting up web filtering here, you’ll be able to control what your child sees not just on a computer, but on a tablet, their cellphone, and even their game consoles.Some routers come with parental controls that are already built in. Usually it’s shown on the box and explained thoroughly in a manual if the feature is available.

LaptopMD and how to set up parental control

For those that don’t have built in controls, OpenDNS can be used to select what your children can and cannot see. You’ll have to configure the DNS settings on your router so you can use OpenDNS. Click here to set up an account with them and configure your web settings. You can select what type of websites to block, and when one is clicked on your child will be redirected to a “This site is blocked” message.
If you don’t want a device to be configured, just manually change the OpenDNS settings. But remember, now anyone can change the settings.

Windows 7
This program has built-in controls that will allow you to control when your child logs in and what types of programs your child can access. It’s really helpful if your children use different accounts than you do.

LaptopMD and how to set up parental control

It’s useful, but it doesn’t have web filtering. To make up for this, Microsoft does offer Family Safety, a program that can let you set up web filtering through Windows 7.

Windows 8 and 10
Both Windows 8 and 10 have integrated parental controls so that Window 7’s time limits are combined with web filtering from the Family Safety program to give you all the power you need, plus new features.

LaptopMD and how to set up parental control

In case you need a little more help on how to configure parental settings for Windows 8, click here.

Through Third-Party Software
Configuring parental controls through third-party software is just as effective as the following methods above. A good portion of internet security applications have parental control options built in. If one is present, check for the settings.

LaptopMD and how to set up parental control

There are programs of this type that you can pay for, such as the Net Nanny that everyone knows about, but you don’t have to pay to protect your children. The web is full of free web filtering options. One good example is Norton. They offer, for free, a Norton Family application, and it works rather well according to users. If this one doesn’t suit your needs, you can always search the web for others.

And finally
Hopefully this guide has helped you better understand how to implement parental controls. If it’s a bit too much and you’re still confused, it’s okay. We can come by and do it for you, it’s not a problem at all.

How to Use a Laptop Abroad

It is high time you go on vacation. Everyone deserves some time away from the realities of the daily grind. Anyway, these days most of us want to stay connected at all times. This includes when we are on vacation.

How to Use a Laptop Abroad. LaptopMD

Although some people get by with a phone or tablet, many people want to bring their laptops with them on vacation. If you are getting ready to head out on vacation with your laptop packed for the trip, follow these tips to ensure that your laptop will be ready and safe while you travel.

Back up all your data
If you do bring your laptop on your trip, the first step you need to make before you leave is to backup all your files. There are a few options to do this(CarboniteIbackupCrashplan).

How to Use a Laptop Abroad. LaptopMD

You can backup your files onto an external hard drive. You can also use an online data storage service.

Encrypt the important files
You should also encrypt all your important files with passwords before you leave. This will prevent a thief from stealing sensitive information if your laptop gets stolen while you are on the road.

How to Use a Laptop Abroad. LaptopMD

In addition, bringing a USB stick with your operating system on it will be invaluable if you develop hard drive problems on the road.

Power problems
Power problems are one of the most common difficulties travelers face with their laptops.

How to Use a Laptop Abroad. LaptopMD

It is a good idea to bring a second battery with you to use when you are forced to go a long time between power outlets while you are on the road.

Adapters
Most AC adapters sold with computers today will convert any country’s voltage into the proper voltage they need to operate. However, it is a good idea to bring a surge protector with you when you travel. This is especially important in developing countries where the power grid may not be in the best condition.

Travel case
The last thing you want is your laptop to be stolen or damage while you are traveling. Make sure to bring a sturdy travel case with you to protect your laptop.

How to Use a Laptop Abroad. LaptopMD

Never let the bag with your laptop in it out of your sight when you are in public. It is also a good idea to keep your laptop secure in your hotel. Taking it out with you into public makes you a target for thieves.

The last preparation
Once you are on your trip, you will find it very inconvenient if your laptop breaks down. To prevent this, you can bring your laptop in to the computer experts at LaptopMD. We will thoroughly inspect your device and ensure that everything is prepared to ensure your laptop works well while you are enjoying your journey. We wish you the best on your vacation. Come in and see us before you leave to keep your device safe.

How To Prevent Laptop From Overheating

As the summer weather heats up, you might take notice of how the change in temperature affects the performance of your laptop computer. . What can you do about this?

Protect your laptop from overheating -  LaptopMD

Use our helpful guidelines on how to protect the precious components inside your laptop by preventing it from overheating.

Elevation is the Key to Keeping Your Laptop Cool
The position of the venting fan in the bottom of the unit makes it important to always place the laptop on a flat, hard surface when in use. This could be a table top, tray table, lap desk or even a wooden cutting board.

Protect your laptop from overheating -  LaptopMD

The soft, malleable surfaces such as a pillow, cushion, quilted fabric, carpet or a plush sofa all cling to the underside of a laptop and cut off any possibility of ventilation. The answer: Elevation.

Methods of creating better airflow through elevation include:
1. Propping up the computer using a small book.
2. A commercially-made, ventilated, adjustable laptop stand available on such sites as Amazon, Newegg or Best Buy.
3. A laptop cooling mat made by some of the following manufacturers: Thermaltake, LapGear, Xion, Targus.
4. Use an external heat sink, which uses a thermal conductor to draw and dissipate the heat away from the CPU.

All of these ideas, and even some you might creatively invent, allow enough of a lift, tilt or cooling surface to provide airflow and help to prevent overheating.

The Technical Approach
Adjusting the settings on your laptop to maximize energy saving mode helps lower the draw on the battery cell during use or inactivity.

Protect your laptop from overheating -  LaptopMD

It is simpler for Windows users to go in and change settings than it is for Mac users.
The following power usage adjustments can be made:
1. Reduce screen brightness
2. Reduce the timer for sleep mode while on battery power
3. Reduce the timer to turn off the screen from inactivity
4. Reduce the apps that run in the background
5. Engage power saver mode
You can click on the battery icon to access these options or go into settings from the start menu.

At LaptopMD, we know these are the best methods to extend the life of your laptop battery while preventing your computer from overheating.

12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life. Part #1

We’ve all been here…you leave the house in a hurry with your phone in hand, but you forget to grab your charger. As the day goes on, you watch your battery draining and know that the battery will die before you get home to charge it.

12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD

No one wants to be left with a dead phone. iPhones are amazing devices, but so often the battery doesn’t last as long as you would like it to. There are many ways you can extend the life of your iPhone’s battery by simply changing a few settings.

1. Use Low Power Mode:
One of the best parts of iOS 9 is your ability to change your phone to Low Power Mode to extend your battery life. Your iPhone will automatically prompt you to engage the Low Power Mode once your battery dips down to 20%.

12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD

Simply click the button that will send you into Low Power Mode. You will most likely not notice any difference in the way your phone is functioning in this mode.

2. Don’t Share
Your Every Move: It can be nice to keep in touch with friends and family and let them know where you are. iOS 9 has a feature that allows you to share your location with your friends and family in Messages. While it is nice for people to know where you are, is it really important that they see your every move?
12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD
This little feature can aid in draining your battery. One way to extend your battery life is to shut off this feature.

3. Kill Hungry Apps:
You may not realize it, but some apps are more hungry than others and eat away at your battery life all day long. In desperation, you may often go into your phone and try to close all of the apps, trying to save your battery life. However, now you have another option. If you go into Settings and click on Battery Life, you can see which apps are most proficient at draining your battery.
12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD
Close the apps with the highest percentage of battery drain in the last 24 hours. Social media apps are often the worst culprits, but after a few times of checking this feature, you’ll get to know which ones should be closed and which can remain open.

4. Stop Apps Refreshing in the Background.
Whenever you are on WI-FI or even on your mobile network (which is pretty much all the time), your phone is working overtime trying to make sure that all of your apps are refreshed for you. You can extend your battery life by turning this feature off completely, or you can turn it off app by app by going to Settings, General, and then Background App Refresh.
12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD
Your apps will then refresh only when you open them, and your battery will not have to work overtime when you aren’t using the apps anyway.

5. Don’t Close Every App:
This sounds counter-intuitive, as we have been taught that if the battery life is draining that we must close each and every app. Believe it or not, the new operating system is designed to efficiently handle apps running in the background.
12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD
Closing the app and then reopening a sleeping app over and over again wastes more battery life than simply having the app open in the background. So if you have a few apps that you continually use, it is okay to leave them running in the background.

6. Use WI-FI Wherever Possible:
You may have been told to turn off your WI-FI to save battery life, but the opposite is actually true.
12 Ways To Increase Your IPhone Battery Life from LaptopMD
Using mobile data uses far more of your battery life than using WI-FI, so whenever possible, have your WI-FI setting on and connect to the local WI-FI.
To be continued…..

How To Take Good Care Of Your Laptop

Laptops are often expensive and nobody wants to go spend an arm and a leg to buy a new one. Why would you buy a new laptop every year or two when they can cost upwards of $1,000? Your best bet is to keep your current laptop working as long as possible, so here are some tips on how to do just that!

How To Take Good Care Of Your Laptop from LaptopMD

Keep liquids away from your laptop.
You may think that you won’t spill it, but accidents will inevitably happen. If you must have a drink near your laptop, at least be careful and use a cup with a cover on it!

No food near your laptop, either.

How To Take Good Care Of Your Laptop from LaptopMD

It may not seem as dangerous as liquid, but crumbs can easily get stuck under your keyboard and invite bugs to crawl in and ruin the circuitry.

Download antivirus software.

The internet is a dangerous place, and no matter how careful you are there is always going to be a risk of getting viruses. Minimize that risk with an up-to-date antivirus program.
Protect your monitor.

Your screen is one of the more important parts of your laptop, so treat it gently.
How To Take Good Care Of Your Laptop from LaptopMD
Make sure it isn’t hitting anything when it closes and never slam it shut. You’ll keep your screen scratch-free and save yourself the need to replace anything!
Let your laptop adjust to the temperature.

Don’t just bring it in from the cold of winter and start it immediately, let it adjust to room temperature before starting it. This will protect the disk drive and stop any condensation from forming inside of your laptop.
Don’t leave your laptop in your vehicle.

The inside of a car can either get very hot or very cold, neither of which will be good for your laptop.
How To Take Good Care Of Your Laptop from LaptopMD
As extra incentive, remember that unattended laptops often function as “please steal me!” signs to potential thieves.
Clean your laptop cleaned annually.

You can do this professionally or by yourself if you have the know-how.
How To Take Good Care Of Your Laptop from LaptopMD
This will keep dust from piling up inside and stopping the laptop from cooling itself, which would destroy the motherboard.
A helping hand.
Accidents will always happen, but do not despair if you damage your laptop. That is precisely what LaptopMD is for, and we are always happy to give a helping hand!