Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?New Laptop So Slow

Your old computer is beginning to slow down. So, you invest in a shiny new laptop. The clouds part and the sun shines down on this bright and lovely new device. Everything will be faster and easier. Only, from the first day, the new laptop is lagging. Why is it running so slow? One of these might be the reason.

#1 Not enough computing power.

In many cases, the laptop doesn’t have enough RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is the computer’s main memory. This helps your computer do more at once. Information from the operating system, programs and data are kept here, when in use, for quicker processing.

RAM is like the computer’s short-term memory, while the hard drive is the long-term memory. Just as the human brain can’t hold everything in short-term memory, RAM can get overloaded too. When this happens on your laptop, the computer processor needs to go to the hard drive. This slows things down.

Resolution: You might see 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or more of RAM available. How much you need is going to depend on what you plan on doing with the computer. For a laptop with Windows 10, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM, but 16GB is more comfortable for a better experience.

Not all laptops will let you access the RAM. When you can, though, upgrading memory can be quick and affordable.

#2 Mechanical hard drive.

Often a single part is letting you down. With a less expensive computer, manufacturers skimp. While it’s less common these days, some laptops will come with a mechanical hard drive. You might think of this like a record player with a needle reading the vinyl album. Since something is moving to find data, the laptop runs slower than it would with a Solid State Drive (SSD), which has no moving parts.

Resolution: In many cases, a mechanical hard drive can be easily upgraded to an SSD. However, some super slim laptops have limited upgrade options. Also, some laptops are not able to be upgraded after purchase.

#3 Bloatware.

Retailers like to tout all the bells and whistles that come with their laptops. So, when you turn on your laptop for the first time, you may notice there’s already a lot of software pre-loaded. Much of it you’ll probably never use. Maybe there are toolbars you don’t need, games you’ll never use, or stock widgets that you couldn’t care less about. These examples of bloatware slow down your computer.

The third-party applications are a revenue source for the manufacturer, but don’t usually help you. Microsoft, for instance, sells a line of computers that come without any pre-installed third-party software. Computerworld reported those PCs start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster and have 28 minutes more battery life.

Resolution: When you get a new laptop, check out the pre-installed software before you add your own. Determine what the existing software will do, and uninstall anything that you won’t want. If you purchase a new laptop from us or get our new computer setup service, this is taken care of before you get the laptop so you can focus on using your laptop rather than setting it up.

If your laptop is slow on the first startup, this may be due to system updates. For instance, a Windows 10 automatic update to bolster the security of the computer. You can’t do much about these, but look on the bright side, your laptop security is current!

Improved speed, stability and security are the main reasons to invest in a new laptop. Don’t let a lagging laptop disrupt your productivity. We can help with a slow running laptop. If you want to avoid this whole mess, let us select the best laptop for your needs and get it set up for you.

Instead of wasting valuable time waiting on a slow computer, give us a call at 319-227-7000!

2019-05-27T00:36:56-05:00|Hardware|0 Comments

Is Your Laptop Running Hot and Loud?

Is Your Laptop Running Hot and Loud?Laptop Running Hot

Laptop computers commonly heat up a little in normal operation. Electronic components, including large capacity batteries, become warm in use. Your laptop should never become too hot to handle though.

When a laptop turns hot to the touch or starts to sound like a jet engine, it’s likely beginning to overheat.

Modern laptops use nearly silent fans to cool components and keep the system comfortable and safe to use. In some cases, the sound the computer makes is the best tool you have to diagnose its running condition. Excessive heat causes the fans to work harder and faster to compensate. This jet engine sound is one of the first clues you have to indicate all may not be well.

Why So Hot

Because of their compact size and portability, laptop computers are particularly prone to overheating problems. Their tiny footprint puts electronic parts closer together, creates less room for cooling vents and adds a heat generating battery which introduces more heat into the system.

Most laptops have small fans that suck in cool air, passing it over metal fins to exchange heat from the case. The resulting hot air exhaust is expelled through vents back into the room. This process prevents heat building up inside the machine. The constant air cycle keeps the laptop running cool no matter the workload placed on it.

This process can be interrupted by any number of factors during operation. Alongside cool air, computer fans can also suck in dust, stray hairs, even cigarette smoke. Smoke in particular contains thick tar which coats the fins, fan blades, and internal components.

Foreign debris inside the machine prevents components from working at their best. Tar, dust, and hair slows down the internal fan and coats the heat generating components and cooling fins. This coating prevents air exchange and keeps components warm as if they were under a blanket.

Causes of Overheating

Sometimes the way a laptop is used can cause it to overheat too. Resting a laptop on thick carpets, blankets, or soft furnishings can block vents, preventing the fans from sucking cold air in or blowing hot air out.

Leaving the machine running on carpet or furnishings, particularly for extended periods of time, can cause overheating issues and introduce extra dust into the components too.

The best place to rest a laptop while in use is on a hard surface such as a desk, table, or lap tray. This allows air free access to the vents and helps prevent dust and hair from getting inside the machine.

Overheating Results

As the computer starts running hotter for longer, its fan will attempt to compensate by running faster and more often. This results in the “jet engine” noise many users report when their computer is struggling to keep up.

Unfortunately, once dust, hair, or tar has already found its way into the machine it is notoriously difficult to clean out. The only way to reset the machine to run cool and quiet is to disassemble the base and clean out its components.

Much like a car engine, computer components have a designed temperature range in which they can safely and reliably operate without any issues. Extended periods of running above the temperature they are designed for can cause damage, sudden failures, and drastically shorten the designed lifespan of the computer.

Unlikely Causes

Often times seemingly random blue screen computer crashes can be traced back to components that have been overheating inside the computer. As heat builds up, vulnerable components start to fail, sometimes temporarily, in the hotter temperatures.

By the time the computer is rebooted and cooled down the issue is seemingly resolved. Back in operation, the computer heats up once more and eventually crashes again. These irregular crashes are highly inconvenient and can sometimes cause data loss too.

However, these symptoms are minor compared to a complete write-off of the machine. For some users, the first sign that their machine is too hot to run safely is when the motherboard is burnt out or their data storage has been irreparably lost.

If your laptop is running hot to the touch or has started to sound loud or irregular, bring it to us for a thorough clean out. You can also call us at 319-227-7000

2018-11-01T17:24:29-05:00|Hardware|0 Comments

The Best Way to Buy New Computers

The Best Way to Buy New ComputersBuy new computers

You’ve decided to buy a new computer for your business, perhaps even a whole set of computers. You can almost taste the excitement as you think about those sleek new machines and how much faster your employees will be able to do their work. There’s just one thing left to do: actually choose which ones. That’s where it gets tricky. Most people pop out to their local retail store and look at the display models, then get overwhelmed when the salesperson starts throwing words like CPU and RAM around. Unfortunately, that scenario almost always ends up with your business having the wrong computer. Here’s why, and what you should do instead.

Most retail salespeople are minimally trained: Unsurprisingly, salespeople are trained to sell! They may have an interest in computers and they’re certainly great at reading the words on the box to you, but that’s the limit of their expertise. Their goal is to make the sale, earn the commission and go home happy. You are getting the computer your business needs and that 100% suits your purpose isn’t particularly high on their priority list. They’re not equipped to deeply understand the way your business works, nor do they have the time to find out. You’re also more likely to be upsold extras you don’t need but will rapidly drain your budget. The reality is, most big box stores do not make money on the computer itself. They make money on all of the add-ons they bundle with it.

Compatibility can be a problem: While you probably know having both Mac and PC can lead to compatibility issues, did you know even switching brands within your PC network can cause issues? There are so many moving parts to your business network, from printers to routers, laptops to mobile payment processors, that anytime you throw a new computer into the mix you could end up with compatibility problems. Salespeople don’t know what your current setup is at your home or business but may still make recommendations based on assumptions and hopeful guesswork. Even the number and types of ports available on retail computers may cause a problem once you’re setting up.

The last thing you want to do is end up with a collection of wobbly adapter plugs as you attempt to course-correct and make do until it’s time for a do-over. Any time your employees need to go off-book and create workarounds, efficiency is guaranteed to take a dramatic hit. It’s best to skip the drama and get the right computer the first time around.

Support could get tricky: Your IT provider will often stick to a handful of vendors and models to ensure all parts are kept uniform. That way we know which parts will work together, and should something fail, we can usually get replacements quickly. We’ll often have special relationships with parts vendors, and can get special pricing, extended support and upgrades that a salesperson can’t match. Your IT budget goes further with your consultant, and not just on the day of purchase.

By contrast, when you buy computers through your IT provider, you know you’re getting the exact computer your business needs. We know your business inside and out, including your long and short-term goals. From the first time you work with us, we’ll be sure to do our research before making a recommendation. Remember, you want your computers to last 3-4 years of heavy usage, so it’s also a good idea to buy business-grade computers. While the computers at the retail store are equally shiny, they’re not as durable or fast as the ones your consultant can supply.

Your IT provider will also be able to set the new computers up, ready to go with the exact software you need. We’ll strip out all the bloatware (unnecessary programs and trials that come pre-installed) and configure your new computers to work perfectly from day 1. Your employees will be able to enjoy their new systems, take full advantage of the productivity boosts you paid for. That means internet working, internal network connected, programs playing nice with each other, and yes, even printing without problems!

We can help with your new computers- ask us how by calling us at 319-227-7000!

2018-10-06T22:11:08-05:00|Hardware|0 Comments

How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers

How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers

Old Computers

 

Getting new computers for your business is exciting, but what happens to the old computers? Depending on the age, some people sell them, others throw them out. That’s the easy part. The problem is the sensitive data on them. There are passwords, account numbers, license keys, customer details, medical information, tax returns, browser history…. the works! Each computer, whether laptop, tablet or desktop, contains a treasure trove of sensitive information that cyber criminals would love to get their hands on.

Unfortunately, hitting delete on your files doesn’t actually make them disappear, nor does waving a strong magnet over the drive. These mistakes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years.

Most businesses are unaware that specialized data cleanup is necessary, others think calling someone to collect the computers will cover all the bases. A 2016 experiment proved just how dangerous the situation can be when they bought 200 used hard drives and found 67% held unwiped, unencrypted sensitive data, including sales projection spreadsheets, CRM records, and product inventories. Frighteningly, they didn’t need any special hacking skills to get this data, it was all right there and helpfully labelled. It’s also not surprising that with simple data recovery tools, people have also been able to access British NHS medical records and missile data, all waiting patiently on a discarded hard drive.

Why hitting delete doesn’t help

Data on a hard drive works like a book with an index page. Every time data is written, it pops a quick entry into the index so when you need it again, it knows where to look. The index is used for files you create as well as system files you can’t even see. Sensible, right? Except if you delete a file it’s more like changing the index to say nothing is on page 10 and you can write something else there when you’re ready. But if you manually flip to page 10, you’ll find the information is still there – the file still exists until it’s been written over – it’s the index reference that got deleted.

Wiping data before disposal

There are software tools you can get to do it yourself, as well as dedicated security firms, but your best option is to choose an IT business you know and trust. With that in mind, a methodical approach is required to ensure not a single drive is left untreated. You don’t want to leave data behind, or even clues that a motivated person could extrapolate any private information from. The approach might include using checklists to maintain security, or dedicated processes to guide each step in decommissioning. Careful records should also be kept, including who signs off on completion of the retirement, and where the computers are sent afterwards. A proper inventory and auditing process may slow the rollout of the new computers slightly, but it’s always better than having your old data come back to haunt you.

We can migrate any needed data, backup the information to your server, or external drive, then wipe or destroy the hard drives for you. We can assess the age of your old computers and either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction of computer recyclers. Plus, the quicker you dispose of your old computers, the easier the process will be. Recyclers will be able to send less of your equipment to the landfill, and you’ll be less likely to forget how valuable the drive contents are.

Upgrading your business computers should be a happy time for you and your employees, so with a little forward planning, you’ll be able to keep everyone smiling and all your data secure.

Need help with your old hardware? Call us today at 319-227-7000

2018-10-06T22:22:28-05:00|Hardware|0 Comments

How Refurbished Computers Save You a Bunch (and Get You a Better System)

How Refurbished Computers Save You a Bunch (and Get You a Better System)Refurbished

Refurbished computers are almost like an insider secret – you can get great system specs for a fraction of the price. It’s how many families are meeting their back to school needs and upgrading their old systems, complete with warranty.

There’s one hot tip these people know: a refurb is NOT the same as used. You’re right to avoid those 2nd hand computers you see on Craigslist or Gumtree because there’s a reason that person is selling it! It’s probably slowed to a crawl, making weird noises or flat out broken in a way you’d never discover until too late. Refurbished computers are the complete opposite. They’re computers that have been given a new life, usually with a comprehensive repair, or sometimes they’re brand-new computers that were returned with a small problem like a hard drive failure, so we swap it out and sell it at bargain prices. Occasionally, the computer was even returned simply because the buyer changed their mind, but it’s still essentially brand-new (it might still be in the box!).

Quite often, refurbished computers start their life as business machines, built to the latest specs with business-grade components. When the budget or lease says ‘replace the computers’, that’s what the business does, whether the computers need it or not. There’s nothing wrong with them and they’ve likely been babysat by a corporate IT department who kept them in perfect condition every day. These are great machines that are still plenty fast for home use, both desktops and laptops. Plus, because business-grade components are more durable than the consumer ones, the entire system has been built to last longer and perform better, often up to several years without a problem. Rather than send these impressive machines to landfill, we check and replace necessary components and re-install a clean operating system. Next, we put them through a stack of verification tests, then pack them up ready for their new home. When you talk to us about buying one, we’ll always make sure you get a system that not only keeps up with your needs now, but gives you breathing space for the next few years too.

What are the benefits?

  • You save a LOT of money: You get yourself a great computer that’s been set up and checked over by an expert technician, for significantly less than the cost of buying new. Add in the fact that when you score a refurbished business computer you’re also getting more durable, higher-quality components that will last you for years longer than the off-the-shelf consumer model, it’s a clear win. We always recommend that when you see a refurbished deal that’s got you smiling, you act fast – it won’t sit around waiting for you!
  • Covered by warranty: A warranty is always included with our refurbished computers, giving you value plus peace of mind. It’s your guarantee that buying refurbished was a great decision. Problems are extremely rare since your computer has been through stringent checks, but if anything pops up that’s giving you trouble, we’ll fix it fast. Forget the delays and hoop jumping you might get with your other warranties, we stand by ours with rapid action.
  • You’re saving the environment: Fewer machines end up in landfill and fewer resources are used for unnecessary manufacturing. When you consider each computer requires a certain amount of precious metals to be mined, plastics to be created, packaging created from multiple materials and all the associated flow on effects of shipping, refurbishment is the right choice for the future. While you might not personally see the environmental impact of your decision to buy refurbished, rest assured the planet appreciates it!

Are they reliable?

Some people think that refurbished computers are more likely to break, when in truth, in some cases they’re actually more reliable than brand new. Manufacturers have an expected failure rate, a percentage of computers that go straight from the factory to buyers who discover their expensive new system is dead-on-arrival or breaks within weeks. A refurbished computer has already stood the test of time and it performed without missing a beat. By the time it’s gone through our checks and repairs (both required and pre-emptive), a refurbished computer is better than new.

If you need a better computer on a tight budget, give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2018-10-07T10:31:34-05:00|Hardware|0 Comments

Desktop vs Laptop: Which is Right for You?

Desktop vs Laptop: Which is Right for You?Desktop Vs Laptop

Laptops have become the go-to choice for most people in the market for a new computer. They’re sleek, portable and heavily advertised. But are they the best choice for your needs? Before you buy your next computer, take a look at these considerations – you may discover you’ve been dreaming of a desktop all along!

How portable do you need it to be?

Hands down, laptops are easier to move around than a desktop. You can pick them up, put them into a backpack and away you go. That doesn’t mean desktops are bolted to the floor, just that they’re not designed to take on holidays or go with you to the local cafe. With that portability though, comes a trade-off: thin and light means your computer performance takes a hit. The more powerful your laptop, the bigger and heavier it is, and you won’t enjoy lugging that weight around all day. If that’s got you leaning towards an ultra-portable, consider this: The smaller and lighter your laptop is, the weaker it is. In fact, some laptops struggle to run the most basic apps. Fortunately, when you do choose a desktop, cloud technology means your data is mobile, even if your main computer isn’t.

What balance of power and price do you need?

The bottom line here is that a desktop will always give you more power for less money. Their larger cases allow for bigger and better components, with more effective systems to avoid overheating. Even the most powerful laptop is going to be hotter than its desktop equivalent, and much noisier too. If you’re using power-hungry software like games or video editing, we recommend choosing a desktop. The heat control alone is worth it as frequently overheated laptops don’t survive long.

Desired screen size

As laptops are designed to be portable, screen sizes are usually small, around 11-15”. Larger, more powerful laptops often go up to 17”. Desktop monitors however, start at 17” and average at 22”. These larger sizes give you more space to work in, options to tile your applications and multi-task, and even sit back and watch an HD (or even 4K) movie. They also allow for nice big text and images, with a better ability to choose the visual experience that suits your needs. If you’re after a large screen size without the actual desktop computer, all-in-one PCs are a great option with many offering impressive screen quality.

Your working comfort

Many people buy a laptop only to get home and find it’s a pain in the neck – literally! The traditional laptop design means you’re always looking down at the screen which can put a strain on your neck. You can try to raise the screen by placing the laptop on a stand, but then the keyboard is out of easy reach. The smaller keyboards and touchpad designs may also leave you more prone to repetitive strain injuries. Many people end up connecting their laptops to external monitors, keyboards and mice, simply so they can work in comfort. Desktop computers on the other hand, allow you to create the perfect working environment for your needs and even cater for other family members. Monitors are usually height adjustable, keyboards and mice are wireless, and you’re able to place the desktop out of the way. If you’re on your computer for more than short bursts, your body will appreciate you choosing a desktop.

Are you looking for flexibility?

When you choose a laptop computer, it’s like ordering from a set menu. You get this brand, in this design, with these specifications. Changing out parts for repair or upgrade can be difficult and expensive as there’s not a spare inch of space. Some parts are extremely hard to get to, which can turn a simple swap into a dealbreaker. The extra space inside a desktop gives infinite flexibility for upgrades over time and fast repairs. This means you’re able to easily pop in more powerful components for a fraction of the price and extend the life of your computer by years.

Come talk to us about your next computer and we’ll find the right one for you. Call us now at 319-227-7000

2018-12-03T22:58:52-06:00|Hardware|0 Comments