Save Your Phone When It Gets Wet

Uh-oh. It happened. Whether you dropped your phone into a puddle, sink, your glass OR you just spilled something on it, your phone is now wet and you’re worried about what to do.

We see liquid damaged phones all the time, so here’s a list of what you should do to AVOID needing to see us for liquid damage.

Turn it off immediately!

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you need to turn off your phone immediately if it’s still on.

THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT – even if your phone is still functional, but common-sense tells you that there’s water in your phone, you need to turn it off and take the battery out to get the water out. The water may not be eating away at the metals in your phone yet, but if you don’t do anything to stop it, your phone can have real, irreversible damage soon.

Real damage = real money, as legitimate liquid damage repairs are expensive, and sometimes it’s actually not possible to save the phone and you’ll need to get a new one. Your phone WAS working after taking a dip, but if there’s water trapped in there it’ll die a slow death over the next few days.

 

Take the battery out

I know iPhones don’t make it very easy to take the battery out, but if you have legitimate cause for concern, you should probably look up a guide on how to open it or take it to a repair shop – they should be able to open it up for you with very little trouble.

If you have a Galaxy or another type of smartphone, it’s probably pretty easy for you to pop the back cover off of your phone.

This is a very important step because it’s much easier for water to get INTO a phone, than for it to get back out. It’ll fill up all sorts of nooks and crannies and will just never evaporate properly, and that’s how you get corrosion inside your device.

 

Wipe it down

Once you’ve taken the battery out, take out any other types of cards or chips that you can (SIM card for example) and do what you can to dry them. That includes using paper towels or tissues for those nooks and crannies and shaking all that water off and out of your phone pieces as best you can.

You may want to consider using a blow dryer – you can, but be careful! That heat can damage exposed components, so use it with caution.

 

Leave it out to dry for a little while

Depending on how wet it got/how good you feel about the job you did drying out your phone, this can range from a few hours to a few days.

If you dropped your phone in a lake and it took you ten minutes to find it – you’ll probably need to leave it out for several days, and even then, there’s no guarantee that your phone will work. Sometimes the damage is irreparable.

If you dropped it in a puddle and pulled it out within a few seconds, there’s a solid chance you only need to leave it out for a few hours. You actually might not need to leave it out at all if you did a really good job cleaning it out, but you should probably set your phone down for a few hours to be safe.

 

Turn it back on – maybe charge it back up!

Leaving it out to dry for a few days is the last “fixing” step – and then you’ll just have to hold your breath and hope for the best. Put your battery and SIM card back in etc. and try to turn it back on.

If it doesn’t turn on immediately, plug it into a charger and see if your phone needs a charge. Give it a little time on the charger. Even if your phone was fully charged beforehand, this could be the “spark” you need.

 

Good luck!

We hope these techniques get your phone back up to speed, but there are no guarantees!

If you act fast and follow these instructions though, you’ve got a good chance to avoid liquid damage for your phone. There’s a chance that even if your phone doesn’t work, it could just need a new battery!

Sometimes liquid can get into the battery be impossible get out, but a battery replacement is a much, much cheaper option than getting a new phone, or an extensive liquid damage cleaning!

 

Important: DO NOT put it in rice!

 

This is a very common misconception, and we understand – it definitely passes the logic test. You also probably got the advice from someone you trust!

Your friend or cousin or sister dropped their phone in water, then gave it the rice treatment for two days and “Viola!” the phone worked again.  That’s anecdotal advice, and if they had left it out drying on the shelf it also would have worked.

The idea of using uncooked rice to suck out the moisture makes sense, but in practice it just doesn’t work as well as open air. Gazelle even did a thorough investigation testing the effectiveness of different household material that are drying agents, and open air was the best.

How To Write A Good Password

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!

SSD vs HDD

In our society where the technology landscape is constantly moving and shifting, people are always concerned with having the best new thing on the market.  So when people are talking about a new form of storage on your computer and replacing your hard-drive, it’s easy to be skeptical.  However, if you are interested in having a better experience using your computer, then an upgrade to an SSD (or Solid State Drive) may be for you. Computers used to rely on HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) as the main storage device, but SSDs are becoming more and more prevalent. HDD versus SSD

So what exactly are SSDs and HDDs?

A Solid State Drive is a storage device containing nonvolatile flash memory, and it is used in place of a Hard Disk Drive because of its speed. A normal SSD offers the largest jump in performance for a regular PC. Most people are familiar with a standard USB drive, so think of the SSD as a larger USB. An HDD, is the mechanism that controls the positioning, reading, and writing of the hard disk.  So while an SSD is like a large USB, an HDD is more like a larger floppy disk.

That comparison might be a little harsh, but still. An SSD can perform all of the functions as an HDD, but SSDs store their memory on flash chips that retain data even if there is no power on. As mentioned before, the SSD is nonvolatile, which means that the disk can be turned off and it won’t forget what was stored on it. By storing data in microchips, this prevents the SSD from requiring moving parts, which makes it more reliable. An HDD does have several moving parts, which causes it to be slower and also gives it a higher failure rate because moving parts are susceptible to wear and tear over time.

Solid State DriveThe main advantage of an SSD is the speed, because the flash memory chips used in SSD are much faster at reading data. When an HDD is crowded with data, sometimes it becomes fragmented across multiple sections. This will cause the HDD to take longer to read the data. Unlike the HDD, the SSD is able to read files simultaneously across multiple sections, which prevents fragmentation. If you are looking to improve the speed of your system, once again we can consider this a win for SSD.

The one advantage HDD does have is that it is cheaper and is still able to store lots of data. However, unless you need to store a large amount of data (and you’ll probably know who you are, if that is the case) a standard 240 GB is probably enough. Also, people may argue that the SSD is significantly more expensive. This is the case if someone wants a huge SSD, because an HDD with 1 TB of data will probably remain notably cheaper than an SSD of that size. However, the price of the standard SSD has declined in recent years, making the price difference not a major issue anymore for the average consumer who likely only needs between 120 and 480GB of storage. With an SSD, you are sacrificing a few bucks for a much more efficient and reliable system.

Comparing the two side by side, the HDD requires much more power and time to operate as opposed to the SSD. The failure rate is higher, and the price of the SSD is continuing to decline, making the price difference a non-factor compared to the past.  Given all these factors, we can see how the SSD is a clear improvement over the HDD. When it comes to finding a new computer that is “better, faster, stronger”, the Solid State Drive will turn your old computer into the new one you have been looking for.

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.

Tips from LaptopMD

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.

Tips from LaptopMD

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.

Tips from LaptopMD

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.

How To Clear Your Cache On Any Browser

Whether you use a PC or Mac, your device will slow down eventually. “Clear your browser cache” is among the first diagnostic steps you will hear from tech people. A cache is a section on your hard disk where the browser keeps files that it downloaded earlier in case they’re needed again. However, too much in your cache could be slowing your device down.

How To Clear Your Cache On Any Browser with LaptopMD

Bottom line: It is usually a good idea to clear your browser cache once in a while to ensure that things run smoothly. Here is how to go about the process.

Clearing Safari’s cache
Step One: Launch the browser then select Safari in the upper-left corner of the main menu bar. Afterward, select the “Preferences” option near the top of the drop-down menu. A new window with Safari’s settings will pop up. Navigate over to the Privacy category. In the window that appears, click the “Remove All Website Data” button. This is the easiest way to clear your browser cache.

How To Clear Your Cache On Any Browser with LaptopMD

Step One: Open the “Preferences dialog” then click the Advanced icon. Check the “Show Develop menu” in the menu bar. A new Develop drop-down menu option will appear to the left of the Window as well as Help menu options.
Step Two: Close any running Safari window then select Empty Caches on the Develop menu.

Clearing Chrome’s cache
Step one: Click on the Chrome menu in the upper-right corner, besides the address bar.
Step two: Do any of the following.
• Navigate to Tools > Clear browsing data.
• Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl + Shift + Delete combination.
– Windows or Linux – press CTRL + Shift + Delete
– Mac OS X – press Command + Shift + Delete
• Click Menu > Settings > Show advanced settings > Clear browsing data.

How To Clear Your Cache On Any Browser with LaptopMD

Step three: A pop-up will appear on your screen. In the resulting dialog, check any browsing data that you wish to delete.
Final step: Click the “Clear browsing data” button to clear your cache.

Clearing Firefox’s cache
The process is pretty much the same as clearing data in Chrome. Click CTRL + Shift + Delete to launch the “Clear Recent History dialog box.” Tick the box next to cache and choose a time range from the drop-down menu, and click “Clear Now.” If your problem persists, try these approaches.
Step One: Launch the options dialog box by either hitting the “Alt” button or clicking the hamburger menu in the upper right side of your browser. If you use the “Alt” button, you will see the pull-down menus from where you will select Tools > Options. But if you use the hamburger menu, click Options.

How To Clear Your Cache On Any Browser with LaptopMD

Step two: Select the Advanced tab on the right side of the navigation bar then select the Network sub-tab underneath. Go ahead and click the button “Clear Now” and click “OK” to proceed.

One more option!
If you are still facing the same problem even after clearing your browser cache, consider changing your HDD into SSD. Alternatively, you can scan your device for viruses or visit us for more information.

4 ways to protect your laptop in cold weather

When fall and winter arrive, and the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to consider the impact that cold weather can have on your laptop. We know heat can damage our equipment, but too often we forget about the effects that can result from extreme cold, which can damage your battery, corrupt your hard drive, prevent your screen from displaying correctly, and even cause your screen to shatter.

how to protect a laptop in cold weather. Advice from LaptopMD

Here, with the compliments of your friends at LaptopMD, are four ways you can keep your laptop safe in cold weather.

Avoid using your laptop in extremely cold weather
Most laptops are built to operate between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 35 C). Some laptops can operate below freezing, but many will be damaged if you attempt to do so. Clearly, therefore, you should avoid using the laptop in an area where the temperature has dropped below freezing.

how to protect a laptop in cold weather. Advice from LaptopMD

Move into a car or a sheltered area where the temperature is higher before turning it on.

Protect your laptop when traveling in cold weather.
Exposure to cold comes most often when traveling. Protect your computer by keeping it in a well padded and insulated case when moving around, particularly when the temperature drops below freezing and when the wind can lower the effective temperature even further.

how to protect a laptop in cold weather. Advice from LaptopMD

Should the bag become wet, your laptop could be exposed to moisture damage. Avoid turning it on until you are sure the laptop is dry.

Avoid storing your laptop in an extremely cold place.
Even should you have a case that keeps the laptop well protected, avoid leaving the laptop in an exposed space, such as a trunk, for an extended period of time during extremely cold weather. If exposed to extreme cold for an hour, your laptop could freeze and you could lose all your data. Freezing can also damage your battery and the screen could die.

Allow time for your laptop to warm up.
When you move your laptop from exposure to extreme cold temperatures outside to room temperature inside, let the laptop warm up for about a quarter of an hour and become accustomed to the warmer temperature before turning it on. Should you turn on your laptop too early, the screen and inside hardware might be damaged to such an extent that it cannot be repaired.

how to protect a laptop in cold weather. Advice from LaptopMD

Avoid using an artificial means of heating the computer, such as a space heater or hair drier. Bringing the machine into a warm area quickly could also cause condensation to build up. Be aware of that and give the computer time to dry out and recover.

The last
We at LaptopMD hope that these measures help you to avoid the problems that overcooling could cause your computer.

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.

“Pokemania”

Not even Niantic or Nintendo could have anticipated the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokemon: GO! In fact, it’s the most downloaded free app from the Apple store in its history! Also, Pokemon: GO has been a very effective way of getting kids and adults to go outside and be active!

Pokemon Go with LaptopMD

We here at LaptopMD have been caught up in “Pokemania” as well!

Be careful!!

Recently, we at LaptopMD have gotten so many iPhones with broken screens. When we asked our customers why, they answered that while playing Pokemon:GO, they accidentally drop their phones and the screens break!

Pokemon Go with LaptopMD

While we do advise to take care of your phones, we understand that accidents happen. In order to prevent from damaging your phone be more cautious and have a fun.

One more Pokemon`s issue
Because so many customers constantly play Pokemon:GO, we have received so many questions online and in the office on how to prolong battery life. If you’re having problems figuring out how to run Pokemon:GO without tapping out your battery (and data), we can help you optimize your phone so you can get all the fun of the app without the hassle.

I`ve caught you
Pokemon:GO is also bringing communities to life! Last week, a customer rushed into our office with sparkling eyes and said, “I`ve caught you!” He told us he had just gotten one of the rarest Pokemon in the app!

Pokemon Go with LaptopMD

We get absolute joy at seeing the phenomenal positive influence on our community and its businesses! It definitely makes our day brighter knowing that we share this passion with our customers.

Take care of yourself
We know the game is wonderful and it will only get more popular in the years to come. While the game is amazing, please don’t forget about your well-being and others!

Pokemon Go with LaptopMD

We understand that a person can get hooked on a great game such as this, but do remember to take care of yourself and be responsible! If you are fascinated by this game as we are, you can come to our office, take a seat, drink some cold water, and if you’re lucky, try to catch some of the rarest Pokemon, too!

Old Tech, New Tricks

The times are always changing. For the modern small business or tech savvy consumer, out with the old in with the new is literal. Once you purchase the new Windows PC on the market, what will you do with the obsolete model?

Many may not know a better alternative than to simply toss their old computers, laptops and phones in the trash. As the saying goes though, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. There are recycling programs all over the city, as well as initiatives to

turn those electronics into art.

Before you give your device away, have you considered re-purposing the electronic altogether?

darth vader

Continue reading