Don’t Let Windows 8 Make You Anxious

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May 20th, 2013

Don’t Let Windows 8 Make You Anxious

You realize you need a new computer.  So, you then go to the store (or the internet) to begin researching what you can purchase only to find that most newer computers have the Windows 8 operating system on them.

My opinion – Windows 8 is a good operating system.  Of course, as with anything new – there is a learning curve to be able to use all the functions.  Once someone gets used to how it works, it is actually faster and better than previous operating systems.

For the person who is used to Windows XP, I customize their new computer – and would put in a menu bar.

Windows never put in a menu bar.  PC users need a menu bar.  Thus, I download “classic shell”.  Classic Shell is a collection of usability enhancements for Windows. The main features is a highly customizable Start menu which has multiple styles and skins.

Using the classic shell cuts in half the learning curve for this new operating system.  With the classic shell, the screen goes straight to the desktop “look” and not to the tiles.

However, it is wise to note that becoming used to the tiles is a big part of Windows 8 and should be explored as well.  My concern is for the User to become comfortable first by starting with the “desktop look”, and then they can learn about the tiles at their own rate.

Bottom line, computers are a rapidly changing industry.  Computer Care Associates is your ally and we can help you adapt and begin to enjoy your new computer!  Call us at 508-370-8080.  We work remotely or on location.

JONATHAN SHAPIRO, Computer Care Associates



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February 28th, 2011


New Laptops and Desktops are less costly than a year ago.  However if you have data on your old computer, you need to transfer it to a new computer. When I talk about data I am referring to:

1.  Email Files (Outlook/Outlook Express)

2.  Documents

3.  Pictures

4.  Music

Backing up your data from one Computer has an expense associated with it ($50).  Then, to transfer the backed up data over to a new computer will cost $50.  (If you want to keep the backed up data, you would provide/purchase the external device – like an external hard drive – so the data gets backed up onto your own hardware device).

Applications that cannot be transferred:

a.  Microsoft Office

b.  Microsoft Works

c.  Photoshop

d.  Quickbooks and Quicken

e.  Adobe Acrobat (paid software version)

f.  Any applications which were downloaded or software which has been upgraded.

Applications must be reloaded which means you must have the original media with the license #.  If you own a multiple user license, you still need the proper authentication.

There are some cases in which the data from the old computer cannot be transferred because the old hard drive has errors.  The cost of this data recovery is initally $195, but in some cases, if the hard drive has mechanical issues, the cost can be much higher.  This will be dealt on a case-by-case basis.

Software Applications, Up-to-Date?

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January 13th, 2011


Are your SW applications up-to-date?

A major problem for independent contractors, retail stores and small businesses and individuals working out of one location, is that they rely on various software programs for their livelihood.  For instance – with interior designers, and professions that use a CAD-type of software, the software is very expensive ($4,000-$8,000). An important issue is that in order to continue to get updates, they must have a support contract. 

Contractors, plumbers, and electricians should be using QuickBooks or some type of accounting software to keep track of payments, receivables, as well as a database of their customers. 

The bottom line is to be prepared for disaster.  Keep your licenses up-to-date.  Make sure you have support and if necessary have the software on hand, in case you need to reinstall.  If your SW files get corrupted, the vendor will help you download the missing files – or the product – but you need to give them the correct licensing information or else the communication with the vendor will be frustrating and even more expensive.

This sounds like a lot of work and it is, but the consequence of not having the right information and software can be bleak.  Backing up the data is important too, but you can’t back up your software applications.

Your business relies on organization, records, and preparation in case of a disaster.

I am getting a Blue Screen on my monitor!

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September 27th, 2010

I am getting a Blue Screen on my monitor.  Should I be concerned?

While a BSOD stands for “Blue Screen of Death” this problem is not always fatal. Unfortunately, the reason for this problem is not always very clear. Computer Care Associates works hard to find the cause and remedy the problem.

The Blue Screen Of Death named after the color of the screen generated by the error.  There are various reasons for a blue screen.  It is really important to write down the information from the blue screen.  The problem ranges from “bad software drivers, hardware problems (memory, hard drive), software conflicting with other software, or even a virus in the computer.

How to analyze blue screen errors

Hardware errors are very difficult to analyze.  All you can do is eliminate potential problems.  One blue screen I was getting indicated a problem was with the hardware.  However it didn’t tell me what exactly was causing the problem except for a vague message.

 The first step is find out the cause of the problem is to clarify what exactly is happening.  Is this a software error or an issue with your hardware (hard drive). Write down the error message if you can.

It is very important to note what the “blue screen” says. We use this information to isolate the offending file.  In many cases, the problem can be caused by a bad hard drive, bad software or viruses/spyware.

Besides calling an expert (like COMPUTER CARE ASSOCIATES) what else can I do?

You can run some programs that scan your equipment.

  • Memory Check
  • Hard Drive Error Checking
  • Drivers from the Manufacturer’s website (of your hardware devices)
  • Virus and Spyware check

It never hurts to scan your computer with several different scanners.  What one scanner finds, another will not.

TIP:  Be careful and choose wisely, don’t just pile on more software scanners and protection.  Call and ask COMPUTER CARE ASSOCIATES (508-370-8080) 

The bottom line is that a blue screen cannot or should not be ignored.  It is like your body having a temperature.  It is an indication of a problem that needs to be resolved.  At Computer Care Associates, we analyze these problems and come up with a solution.  Unfortunately the resolution is not a quick and simple fix.  However make sure that backup has be done recently and you have the applications (MS Office 2007, Photoshop, etc.) on hand in case it needs to be reinstalled, as well as the Operating System Disk and the Driver Disk.  This can be in the form of “recovery disks” or just disks from the computer manufacturer.