St. Cloud’s Computer Expert Dr. Katie Answers Your Questions [Q & A]
TROUBLE WITH YOUR DEVICES?
Every other Wednesday on "It Matters with Kelly Cordes" on WJON, I have a segment called "Computer Savvy", where we provide you expert advice regarding computer problems and issues.
Local business owner Katie Hultquist, now known as Dr. Katie, lives, breathes, and works on computers all day long at Computer Dynamics in St. Cloud, and she joins us every other week with easy to understand explanations of how to get through the ups and downs of upgrades, viruses, and other issues that you might be having with your devices.
We would love to hear from you and find out what computer issues you are experiencing so that we can help other people throughout central Minnesota understand their computers a little bit better. Send your computer-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 320-654-9703.
You can contact Dr. Katie with your questions and we'll answer them here. Here are some of the issues Computer Katie has helped solve recently.
THIS WEEKS QUESTIONS
Kristina: I own a tanning salon in Sartell. I run an older ‘Point of Sales’ software that runs on Windows 7 and my computer has started randomly turning off. I DO NOT want to upgrade to the new software version as it runs online and there is a monthly service charge. The version I am running does everything I need. Is there a way to get me set up with a newer Windows 7 computer that has a serial and a parallel port so that I can continue to use my current software?
Dr. Katie: I totally understand what you are talking about. Newer Point-of-Sales software systems are moving to the cloud, and they charge a monthly fee. This might be a bigger expense than you want to take on right now, and if the software you are using works for you, you can absolutely keep using it. We can set you up with a newer Windows 7 tower that has both a serial and parallel port on it and install your Point of Sales software on it as well.
David: I have an All-in-One computer tower at home that my wife organizes all her pictures on. It is a few years old and has started to run very slowly. We would like to stay with this computer and NOT purchase a new one. Is there a way you can speed this computer up while keeping all our important pictures safe? Thanks a bunch!
Dr. Katie: Many times, computers start to slow down after a bit of time due to software updates, virus or malware infections, or operating system corruption. The great news is, we can help to speed up your old computer so that your wife will be happily zipping around her computer again in no time. My recommendation would be to upgrade your computer with a solid-state hard drive to increase the speed and then to reload the operating system and transfer your files from the old hard drive. Solid-state hard drives help to increase the speed of your computer 10-20 times. This will greatly increase your speed and with the operating system reload any corruption or infections will be gone. So, your computer will be running like a champion yet again.
Eric: I just moved to the Saint Cloud area and I work from home using some specialized older software. The computer that I run this software on was working fine until it stopped turning on. I bought a new computer, but I do not think that I am going to be able to run my old software on it. Is there any way we can get this old computer going again
Dr. Katie: I agree that you might need to stick with this computer or one that is a little bit older to keep your special software program. There are a couple of things that could be going on with your computer if it stopped turning on. It could be that your battery is causing a static charge to build up inside the computer and as a result, your computer cannot turn on. We can test for that. Your DC jack could have stopped working properly also, stopping the power coming from your AC adapter to get to the motherboard inside your computer. Finally, it could be that your motherboard died, causing the computer to stop turning on. We can test for all these issues and see what the best solution for you is. Just bring your computer and power cord in at your earliest convenience and we will get to work on the diagnostic.
Amanda: My parents bought a new computer, but because their programs and files were still on the old one, they never made the transition to using the new one. Now their old computer has died, and they need to get their stuff on the new one. Is it possible to get the files transferred and get the new computer ready for my parents?
Dr. Katie: I would be happy to help you with your parent's computers. At Computer Dynamics, we do many data transfers from old computers to new ones, and there are times when the old computer stopped turning on, (like in your parents’ case). The great news is, typically, we can still get the files off the old hard drive. The best thing to do is to bring in the old computer along with the new one. We can then get going on setting up the new one and getting all those important files moved over from the old Computer. Thanks for reaching out with your issue.
Brian: Hello Dr. Katie. I use a laptop for work. The screen broke a few years ago, so I have been using it with an external monitor. I really would like it to be portable again. Is there any way you can replace the LCD screen on my laptop so I can get back to using it the way it was intended to be used?
Dr. Katie: I totally understand how confined you must feel using your portable laptop on a desk with an external monitor, and you have been very patient using it that way for so long. The great news is that we replace LCD screens in laptops all the time. You just need to bring your laptop by, allow me some time to take it apart and find the model number of the screen so we can order a replacement for you. Then you can take your laptop back home until the screen comes in. Once the screen is here, we can schedule a time for you to come in and get the replacement in, so you have as little downtime as possible.
Cindy: Hello Dr. Katie. I am 80 years old, still live on my own in Sauk Rapids and I use my computer daily. I have a Dell tower that is about 10 years old. It is starting to malfunction, and I really feel like I need to move to a new computer. Could you sell me a new computer, and would you be able to come to my home, set it up for me on my Wi-Fi, install my printer, and transfer all my programs and files to the new one?
Dr. Katie: I am so impressed that you use your computer daily and want to continue to do so. Good for you. I would be happy to schedule a time where I can come out to your home, get your files and programs on a new computer, and get everything set up just the way you like it. Let’s start out with a phone call. Just give me a call at 320-654-9703 and we can pick out the perfect computer for you and then I will bring it out to you to complete the transition.
Fanny: I need help setting up a new cable modem and Wi-Fi mesh system at my house in St Joe. It is so overwhelming for me to think about setting this up and attaching all of my devices to the new Wi-Fi signal. I would greatly appreciate your help. I already have the modem and Mesh system at my home. All I need is some expert help.
Dr. Katie: Hi Fanny. I work with cable modems and Wi-Fi mesh systems all the time and would be happy to schedule a time to come out to your home, install the cable modem, and set up your mesh access points in all the right locations to give you the best signal possible. We will go around and connect every one of your devices to the new signal and make sure they all work.
Jason: I have a MacBook Air from 2015. I have never upgraded the operating system since I got it, but it seemed to work fine until last night when I got a popup on my screen saying I had a virus and I needed to call a phone number. I called the number and was told that it was Apple and I needed to let them into my computer to help me clear up the virus. Once they were in, they showed me all sorts of problems with my computer, the firewall, and many people that had been hacking into my computer. They then proceeded to ask for $500 to fix my computer and to pay them with gift cards from Walgreens. I went over to Walgreens and tried to buy the gift cards, but a nice employee there stopped me and told me it was a scam. I am so scared! What can you do to help me?
Dr. Katie: I am so sorry you had this happen to you. There are many scammers out there that try to get control of your computer and then get you to pay them gobs of money in the form of gift cards, which are non-refundable and not as easy to trace. I am so glad the employee at Walgreens stopped you from giving that money away.
The great news is that we can help you! Please bring your computer in as soon as possible. We need to back up your files, reload your operating system to the newest version it will take, and then clean up your files and put them back on your computer. This will clean up anything that those hackers did to your computer when they were in there and make you safer by having the newer version of the OS on your computer. Many people fall victim to these criminals, so you are not alone. It is taking the right steps to protect yourself and your computer afterward that is the most important step.