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Monday, January 31, 2011

Introducing the New Micro Center Tech Support Online

Micro Center Tech Support’s website has been completely redesigned to offer Micro Center customers even more online resources. Now, it is easier to find tech articles, demos and manufacturer support to get an answer to your computer problems more efficiently. Plus, Micro Center Tech Support still provides chat, email, remote access and phone services for customers needing comprehensive support.

Some of the new features included with our site update are:

New Home Page

Micro Center Tech Support Online’s home page has been totally revamped to give you quick access to all of our support services. From the main navigation, you can get to specific Micro Center-featured products using the PRODUCTS button. Under SUPPORT, there are links to all of our support services in addition to the new Manufacturer Support and Priority Care pages. The TECH CENTER button features our new Tech Center landing page for searching our archives for tech articles and demos. CONNECT provides links to all of our social media outlets with the latest Micro Center Tech Support updates, and CONTACT gives you options to contact us directly for help.

In addition to our new navigation, Micro Center Tech Support Online’s new home page has both Twitter and Blogger feeds to give you the latest information on tech issues. There are also links to our Tech Forum and Tech Center for searching.


Tech Services
Our Tech Services page has been expanded to provide at-a-glance look of all our tech support services. In addition, we’ve included a Frequently Asked Questions section to address some common questions about our services.


Manufacturer Support
Manufacturer support is a new section of MCTSOL’s site offering links to select manufacturer websites. Here, you can search by the manufacturer’s name to locate the link to their support page for additional product assistance.


Priority Care
Learn more about our Priority Care Program offering exclusive Tech Support service for members. This page will be expanding to give Priority Care Members more benefits and special access to services not offered as part of our regular tech support services . To become a Priority Care Member, ask your local Micro Center store associate for details.


Tech Center
The Tech Center landing page has been redone to give you easier access to all of our online resources. In addition to our search feature, you can preview our top tech demos and Blogger posts for the most recent  and popular tech solutions.


Connect with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
We have also updated our social media outlets to provide you on-demand solutions to common computer issues. Make sure to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages for the latest information and tech demos.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Change your Router Password

It's important to keep your computer and your network secure. When connecting to the Internet through a router, one of the steps you can take is replacing the default router username and password with one that is unique to you. This helps to prevent unauthorized changes to your network, and creates an added layer of security. This document contains information specific to Linksys routers but the steps are largely the same. If you have questions that are not answered in this document, we recommend you look in the manual that came with your router.

This guide will show you how to change the Username and Password used to log in to your router.
  1. Make sure your computer is connected to the router via cable or wirelessly.
  2. Open Internet Explorer.
  3. In the address bar located at the top of the screen, erase whatever address is in the bar and replace it with "192.168.1.1" without the quotes. Note that some routers use the address "192.168.0.1" so if it does not work right away, try the second option.


  4. When prompted for a username and password, enter "admin" without the quotes for both the username and the password. Note that some routers differ in their default username and password. If that fails, check the manual that came with your router.
  5. Once logged in, choose the Administration tab on the top, seen selected in the figure below. Note that in some routers it may be on a "Setup" or "Configuration" screen. The example seen here is on a Linksys router.


  6. Erase the existing Router Password and type in the new one. Re-Enter your password to Confirm. We recommend you write this information down and store it in a safe place.
  7. Click the Save Settings or Apply button on the bottom to finalize.
  8. That's it! The new username and password are entered. Test it out by restarting your computer and then following steps 1-3 and then entering your new username and password.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How to Setup a Home Network

A network can give you the ability to share files between computers, share hardware like printers, share a single Internet connection, or get your game console online without having to swap cables.

The most basic home network involves connecting two computers with an Ethernet cable. Using a router provides convenience, expansion, and easy maintenance should your network grow.

This guide will provide the basics to setting up a home network.

Depending on the type of network you are setting up, the connections the computers and devices make could be wired or wireless. Wireless routers are very convenient because you don't have to worry about running wires through walls or around rooms. Wired routers are usually faster and are not subject to interference from cordless phones or other items that create RF interference. No matter what type of router you have selected, it will require power and when it is powered on, various LEDs let you know devices are connected or the device is working.

Setting Up a Router:

1. Find a convenient location to start the process. It doesn't have to be the permanent location. You may need to move it around to accommodate cables or signal strength.

2. Connect the power and follow the instructions on powering the router.

3. Connect the router to your modem. This is usually a network cable that goes from a port labeled WAN, Internet, or Uplink on the router to a port on the modem.

4. Power cycle the modem (turn it off, then turn it on) to make sure the router recognizes the modem.

5. Connect one computer to the router. You only need to connect one at this point so you can configure the router settings.

6. Open Internet Explorer.

7. In the address bar located at the top of the screen, erase whatever address is in the bar and replace it with "192.168.1.1" without the quotes. Most routers use this address or "192.168.0.1". Consult your router documentation to determine the exact address for yours.


8. Using the username and password supplied in your router documentation, log in to the administration tool.

9. Make changes to the default configuration depending on your particular needs.


Here are some basic things to look for:

1. Connection type. Are you using DSL? Most DSL providers use PPPoE. It requires a Username and password supplied by your ISP. If you are on cable broadband there are generally no settings that need to be changed just leave it on Automatic, or DHCP.

2. If this is a wireless router, change the network name from the default setting. If it's a wired router, change the username and password to something unique to you.

3. Take advantage of any other security options the router may offer. Features like WPA or WiFi Protected Access on a wireless router, Port Filtering, and Firewalls, when enabled can help protect against unauthorized access to your router and your network.

Ok, so now the router is set up and you can get one computer on the Internet, what's next?
Well, one of the main advantages to using a router is it allows you to share resources with all the computers on your network. Getting those resources on the network just requires you to connect the devices to the router either by cable on a wired router or through the WiFi technology of a wireless router.

Some of the devices you can connect are:
  • Notebook or Netbook computers
  • Printers
  • Game consoles
Just make sure the devices you want to connect work the same way as your router whether it's wired or not and consult the manufacturer's information for details specific to that device.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Move Files to New Computer with Windows Easy Transfer

Upgrading to a new computer is easier than ever before using Windows Easy Transfer. This feature of Windows transfers your files, settings, and user account information from your old machine to the new one.

It works with an Easy Transfer Cable, over a Network, or an external storage device like a flash drive or hard drive.

There are two methods for transferring files from an old machine (Windows XP) to a new machine (Windows 7):

  • Using the Easy Transfer Wizard to install the software in Windows XP.
  • Downloading the Easy Transfer Wizard from Microsoft’s website.

This guide shows how to transfer information from an old Windows XP computer to a new Windows 7 machine using a flash drive.


  1. On the NEW COMPUTER Click on Start and type "easy transfer" without the quotes in the search bar. Choose the Windows Easy Transfer option as highlighted in this example to bring up the Windows Easy Transfer wizard.



  2. The Welcome screen shows information regarding the wizard and what can be transferred. Click on Next to begin the transfer wizard.


  3. Choose An External Hard Disk or USB Flash Drive and have a flash drive ready.
    Consider how much space is being used on your old computer.
    Make sure that the flash drive or external hard drive has enough free space to hold your information.


  4. Choose This Is My New Computer as files will be transferred to this computer.


  5. Choose No here to create the installation files on the flash drive.
    If you chose to download the installation files, you can skip to step 11.


  6. Choose I Need To Install It Now so that you can create an installation file on your flash drive.


  7. Plug in the flash drive and choose USB flash drive so that it will create the installation media.


  8. Select the flash drive from the list. Note that the name and letter might vary. It will often be named after the manufacturer of the flash drive. Example: usbflash (E:)


  9. Wait a moment as the program copies the installation files to the flash drive. This process should only take a minute.



  10. Click on Next, remove the flash drive and leave the window open.
    To prevent data loss, it's recommended to remove your flash drive by opening Computer, right clicking on the drive and choosing Eject, then unplugging the flash drive.

  11. At this point in the process it is time to move over to the Windows XP computer, the Old Machine. When you plug the drive in you may see a screen similar to this. Install Easy Transfer on the old PC.
  12. If it does not start, you may have to open it manually. To do this click on Start, then click on My Computer and then double-click on the flash drive.



  13. Windows Easy Transfer will install on the Windows XP computer and prepare to run. This process should only take a couple of minutes to complete.


  14. Next, the program will scan the system to find out what can be transferred.
    Depending on the amount of data and settings, this process may take a few minutes. The program will check all the account settings as well as shared directories for files and settings to transfer.


  15. Select the users to copy and click on Next. Make sure the flash drive is large enough to store the transfer file.

    Note the bottom right corner of the screen where it says "Easy Transfer file size: 2.5GB" in the above example. In your case, it may be more or less. Make sure your flash drive has enough free space to hold that data.

    You can check how much free space is available by clicking on Start, then opening My Computer, right clicking on the flash drive and choosing Properties.


  16. If desired, create a password to secure the transfer data, and then click on Start.
    A password is used to secure the transfer information, just in case the flash drive is lost or stolen. Keep this password handy or you will have to restart the whole process.




  17. Select the flash drive and save the file to the drive.
    Saving the file may take some time based on the amount of data transferred. Be patient as it transfers the files on to your flash drive.


  18. Click on Next, then click on Close and remove the flash drive.
    To prevent data loss, it is recommended to remove your flash drive by opening Computer, right clicking on the drive and choosing Eject, then unplugging the flash drive.


Now it's time to move back to the Windows 7 computer, the New Machine. Plug the flash drive in to the new computer and choose Yes.

If this window is no longer on your screen, repeat steps 1-5 and then jump back to this point.




  1. Select the flash drive and choose the transfer file saved on the old machine.
  2. At step 16, the files were saved on to the flash drive. Open those files in this window.
  3. If you created a password to protect your file earlier, enter it here.


  4. Check the user files and settings to transfer to the new computer, and then click Transfer. In most cases, you will want to have everything checked.


  5. Wait as the items transfer. This process could take several minutes or more, depending on the amount of information.


  6. The transfer is complete. Click on Close, the computer will restart. At this point, all of the files and settings you chose have been transferred.

  7. Click See what was transferred to get a report on the files and settings that were moved from the old computer. Click See a list of programs you might want to install on your new computer to get a report on the applications that would need to be installed in order to work correctly. Shortcuts that were on the old computer desktop may not work correctly until the application that they are associated with are installed on the new computer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Virus ALERT: Palladium Pro and System Tool

The "Palladium Pro" and "System Tool" are the latest versions of more fake anti-virus programs similar to  "Security Tool". Both programs pretend to operate as a virus scan, but in effect, install a computer virus which takes over your system’s processes.

Palladium Pro Program


The Palladium Pro virus works by launching a bogus Microsoft Security Essentials alerts and stating that the system requires a virus scan. Once the virus scan is initiated, Palladium Pro installs the malware onto your system. To remove the Palladium virus, you will need to terminate the application’s process and install Malwarebytes to remove the program.

To Remove Palladium Pro:

  1. Start the Windows Task Manager by clicking Ctrl, Alt, Delete together.


  2. Click on the Processes tab.
  3. Locate the Palladium program named “palladium.exe”.
  4. Select the palladium.exe process and click End Process. This will suspend the Palladium Pro software.
  5. In the Windows Task Manager, go to File » New Task.
  6. Type in “explorer.exe” in the Open field, then click OK. This will open your Windows desktop.
  7. Download a copy of Malwarebytes software here » http://www.malwarebytes.org



  8. Follow the instructions to run a system scan and file removal.


System Tools Program

The System Tools program is associated with the same family of fake anti-virus programs as Security Tool. This software floods the system with false virus alerts and instructs the user to run the virus scan.

To Remove System Tools:
  1. Start the Windows Task Manager by clicking Ctrl, Alt, Delete together.
  2. Click on the Processes tab.
  3. Locate the program file. It is usually represented by a set of random characters followed by the ".exe" extension.
  4. Download a copy of Malwarebytes software here »http://www.malwarebytes.org
    If your computer prevents you from downloading the file, you can download Malwarebytes from another system and copy the file to your infected system to install. Or, you will need to update the Internet Options in Internet Explorer by modifying the default LAN settings to NOT use a proxy server for your LAN settings.
  5. Follow the instructions given by Malwarebytes to run a system scan and file removal.
IMPORTANT: Never install any program or run a virus scan without verifying the source. If you suspect that your system is infected, use industry-approved programs such as ESET, McAfee, Symantec or Webroot. If you need further assistance, contact Micro Center Tech Support at www.mctsol.com.


Reference:
Bleepingcomputer.com. Palladium Pro Removal
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-palladium-pro

Bleepingcomputer.com. System Tool Removal
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-system-tool

Microsoft Support Forum. Palladium Removal.
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en/msescan/thread/6e837554-4374-4709-8e51-e878ac8817e1

Microsoft Support. Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/890830

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Windows 7 Backup and Restore Tool

How to Create a Backup

  1. Click on Start and type "backup" without the quotes in the Search bar.

  2. Once the Back and Restore tool has opened, select "Set up Backup".


  3. The next step is to select where the backup file will be saved. Removable drives are usable, but you will not be able to set a disk image backup there. The drive selected for the Backup cannot contain the data that you wish to backup.


  4. Click Next.
  5. Next choose the way the files will be selected for the backup.


    • Let Windows Choose (recommended)
      Allows Windows to backup a default set of folders and user setting files as well as a System Image. This is the recommended setting.
    • Let me choose
      Provides options for you to choose which files and folders are backed up and whether or not to include a system image.
  6. Click Next.

    If "Let Windows choose" was selected, click "Save settings and run backup".

    You can change the schedule for backups by selecting the Change schedule link. There are options for Daily, Weekly, and Monthly as well as the Day of the week and hour of the day.


    If "Let me choose" was selected, choose the files and folders as well as whether or not a system image is desired.

    Certain types of media such as flash drives do not support the creation of system images.
  7. Click Next.


  8. Verify the selections that are made and select "Save settings and run backup".
    You can change the schedule for backups by selecting the Change schedule link.
    There are options for Daily, Weekly, and Monthly as well as the Day of the week and hour of the day.


    Windows will show the progress of the backup.View Details will reveal the actual progress and percentage of completion of the backup.
  9. When the backup has completed, click Close to exit.


    Restoring Files or Folders from a Backup

    1. Click on Start and type "backup" without the quotes in the Search bar.


    2. Click on "Restore my files".

    3. If you know the name of the file, click "Search".

    4. Enter the name of the file in the text field and hit Search. All files matching the criteria will be returned. Select the files you want and hit OK.

      If you want to restore a single file, click "Browse for files".
    5. On the left side of the Window, open the backup and navigate through the folders to find the file. Highlight the desired file and click "Add Files".
      If you wish to restore an entire folder "Browse for folders".
    6. On the left side of the Window, open the backup and navigate through the folders to find desired folder. Highlight the folder and click "Add Folder".
      All files or folders selected will be shown in the window.


    7. Click Next.
    8. Now choose where to restore the files. The default option is in the Original location. This puts the files back where they were to begin with.


      You can also select another location to restore the files to.
    9. Once you have made your choice, click "Restore".


    10. When the restore is complete, click Finish to return to the Backup and Restore Center.