IMPORTANT – If you experience any symptoms of hard drive failure, the first and most important thing to do is turn your computer or external hard drive off right away. Continuing to use the drive may cause more damage or overwrite the data you’re trying to recover.
Pc Overhaul uses proven professional grade data recovery software to recover your files and data from a variety of data loss scenarios.
Deleted File Recovery
Accidentally deleted a file? Don’t worry. I can retrieve lost files after accidental deletion or emptying of the recycle bin or trash.
Accidentally formatted a hard drive and want to recover the data? There’s a good chance the lost files are recoverable from an accidental hard drive format. Data recovery software can search for and recover most file types.
Raw Partition Recovery
Sometimes the file system on your computer can become corrupted. When this happens your hard drive partition becomes damaged and is seen as “RAW.” I can scan for all recoverable files from any inaccessible storage device and recover them by file type.
Mac Data Recovery
My professional level data recovery software can retrieve photos, videos, music files, documents, emails, and more from Mac-based devices, including macbooks and imac computers.
Other Reasons For Data Loss
There are many potential reasons for data loss, including virus infection, malware attack, failed Windows Update, bad or damaged backup process, human error, power surge or failure, system crash, OS re-installation/upgrade, hard drive crash, software crash, or other unknown reason.
Contact me if you are experiencing any of these issues and I will recover your data as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for an affordable computer under $500, but worry about sacrificing performance, look no further.
The 2020 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad 3 boasts a powerful Ryzen 3 CPU, which beats the intel i7-7600U in CPU Benchmark’s comparison. The 8GB of RAM provides enough memory for virtually all productivity tasks and less demanding games. And the 256GB SSD hard drive delivers up to 100 times the performance of traditional SATA HDDs. This translates to faster boot times, quicker file transfers, and consumes less power than SATA drives.
The Newest Acer Aspire 5 offers the same CPU, RAM and screen size as the Lenovo above, but has a smaller main SSD hard drive at 128GB, with an added 1GB of traditional SATA storage in a second hard drive. this would be good for someone who is not going to be installing a lot of programs, but has a large photo, music or video collection.
I’m cheating a little by including the Asus X512DA-BTS2020RL, because it lists for $522. But for that little bit of extra money, you get a much faster CPU and video card. The Lenovo and Acer both have a Ryzen 3 CPU and use the Ryzen Vega 3 graphics card. The Asus X512DA-BTS2020RL has a Ryzen 5 CPU and the much faster Ryzen 8 video card, and also doubles the storage of the Lenovo with a 512GB SSD hard drive.
These are all good choices for anyone who uses their computer for web browsing, email and word processing, but wants more power and storage than a Chromebook will provide.
In the digital world we live in, the only copy of our irreplaceable photos or important business data sits on a mechanical hard drive that can fail at any point without warning. Yikes!
Data loss can be devastating personally and professionally, and although data recovery is sometimes possible, the process is expensive and can’t always recover all of your files.
Creating a data backup plan can save you time and money if you have a hard drive crash. It may seem complicated, but it can be done fairly easily using the 3-2-1 backup strategy.
The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy
The 3-2-1 backup strategy is made up of three rules, which are:
Three copies of your data- Copy 1 is your original data (your primary copy). You should then have at least two backup copies.
Two different storage types- Both backup copies should be kept on two separate storage types to minimize the chance of failure. Storage types could include a USB flash drive, internal hard drive, external hard drive, removable storage drive, DVD, tape or cloud backup.
One copy offsite- At least one backup copy should be located offsite, away from your primary copy. This protects you from a natural disaster that could destroy all the local copies.
For example, let’s say your files are on the hard drive on your home computer. For your first backup copy, you can use an external hard drive, which you can easily access if you need to retrieve a file. You would then want to set up a cloud backup as your second (archive) backup copy.
If your computer hard drive fails, you can get your files back from either of your two backups. The external hard drive should be your first choice, because copying is much faster via USB cable than downloading from the cloud over your internet connection. But in the event your house catches on fire or you have a power surge that wipes out both the computer and the external drive, that cloud storage backup is going to be a lifesaver (and worth every penny).
If you use Google Chrome as your web browser of choice, you may wonder what you can do when it starts acting up. Here’s how to repair, reset or clean up some of the most common issues with the Chrome web browser including increasing the performance of slow loading tabs, resetting a hijacked search engine, blocking excess pop up notifications and more.
Clean Your Cache
Google Chrome stores your temporary internet data in a cache to make regularly visited sites load faster. Over time, the cache can become overloaded. This can slow down the opening of browser tabs and affect your overall browsing performance.
Cleaning the cache is a quick and easy process that only takes a few seconds to accomplish.
First, click the three dots menu button in the top-right corner of Google Chrome, then click Settings. On the left-hand side of the page, click Privacy and security, then choose Clear Browsing Data.
You can now select whether you’d like to clear your browser history, cookies or cached images and files. Check the box for “Cached images and files” and click Clear Data at the bottom right.
Note: Now that you have cleared the cache, sites will load slowly the first time you visit while they build new cached files. But overall browsing performance should be improved.
You can also clear your browser history and cookies by following the same steps. Keep in mind that clearing your cookies means you will have to log back in to any website that was ‘remembering” you, so have your usernames and passwords handy before you take this step!
Stop Notifications and Pop Ups
Some sites won’t work properly with pop ups disabled, but the pop up feature has been abused by advertisers. The most common way to end up with pop ups is to accidentally alow a site to send you updates.
I visit a large number of tech sites, and I often get pop ups asking me to allow them to notify me of new stories or features on their sites.
Clicking Allow means you’re going to get pop ups whenever they have something new they want you to see. To remove these annoying notifications, click the three dots menu button in the top-right corner of Google Chrome, then click Settings. On the left-hand side of the page, click Privacy and security, then choose Site Settings.
Scroll down to the Notifications option.
Here we can see which sites we have Allowed or Blocked for notifications, Scroll down to Allow and find the site or sites you’d like to block notifications from. In my case you can see I have allowed several Google sites like Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google calendar as well as Netflix to send me notifications. Underneath that are two sites I would like to remove- greenmangaming.coim and ibtimes.com.
Removing those pesky notifications is as as easy as clicking the three dots and choosing “Block”.
Reset Search Engine to Google Search
If your searches are suddenly redirecting you to a strange place, you can easily go in and change your default search engine back to Google.
Click the three dots menu button in the top-right corner of Google Chrome, then click Settings. On the left hand side click Search Engine.
Here, the search engine has been changed to eBay. I want to change it back to Google.
Click Manage search engines, find Google in your list, click on the three dots menu to the right and choose Make default. Your search engine should be reset to Google.
Disable Chrome Extensions
Extensions can add new features to Google Chrome but can sometimes dramatically slow down your browsing, especially if you’re running a bunch of them at once. You can disable extensions without uninstalling them to see if performance improves.
Click the three dots menu button in the top-right corner of Google Chrome, then click Settings. Near the bottom, click on Extensions.
You can toggle extensions on or off here. Disabling or removing extensions you don’t need or use anymore will free up memory and improve browser performance.
Reset and Cleanup
When all else fails, you can reset the browser to default settings. This will reset your startup home page and search engine,disable all extensions and clear temporary data like cookies. Your bookmarks, history and saved passwords will not be cleared.
To perform the reset, click the three dots menu button in the top-right corner of Google Chrome, then click Settings. Near the bottom on the left, click on Reset and clean up. then click Reset Settings.
From the same menu, you can also choose Clean up Computer.
If you are like me, you take a lot of photos and videos and don’t have any idea where or how to back them up. In my house, we have two smartphones, two tablets, a Canon DSLR digital camera, a Sony digital video camera, and a GoPro, all creating thousands of digital photos and videos every year. Not to mention the years of old family photos and negatives we had scanned into digital format- gigabytes of photos and videos- that were scattered on different desktops, laptops and external hard drives. There was no easy way for us to backup and access all the photos to one place where we could access them from all our various devices. And the thought of possibly losing them someday due to a broken hard drive or a natural disaster is terrifying.
Google has a complete photo management system that solved the problem for us. It’s easy to use and 100% free. Google Photos offers an unlimited amount of storage, although the file size and is slightly reduced (about 40% or so). The reduction in size does reduce the quality of the photos, but if this is only a backup and not your only copy of the photos it won’t matter much. Most people aren’t printing the vast majority of our digital photos anyway, and you’d have to blow them up larger than 8 x 10 to even notice a difference.
For smartphone users, the does reduce the quality of the photos app is very easy to install, and works equally well for both Android and iPhone. Install the app, and associate it with a Gmail account (or open a new one for free). If you’re an iPhone user, Google will automatically back up all the photos in your Camera Roll, and all the new photos you take whenever you are in WiFi range. Android users will also be able to select any number or all of their other folders containing photos.
Google’s desktop app is now called Google Backup & Sync. Your Desktop, My Documents and My Pictures folders (and subfolders) are selected by default. You can add as many additional folders as you’d like. The program will calculate how many files you have to back up and how much space they will take up on the server (but don’t worry, there is no size limit).
In my case, I have added two folders from an external drive that has all my photos on it. If you have a large number of photos on your computer and drives, the desktop loader may take days or even weeks to get them all uploaded the first time.
The Backup & Sync Desktop App will continue to run in the background until it catches up, and then it will automatically add new photos as you save them. Feel free to turn your computer off or restart it whenever you need- the app will continue where it left off whenever you turn the computer back on.
In my case, I selected some very large folders and have over 46,000 pending uploads, so it’s bound to take a while.
By logging in to the same gmail account on the app on all your devices- Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers- the photos and videos from all those devices end up in one Google Photos account. You can access all the photos using the app on any device, anywhere in the world. Easily share individual photos or an entire album with a few clicks.
In my case, I created a new google account just for my family, installed the app on both my wife’s phone and mine and then installed the desktop app. She can now log in from work and see photos I have taken while I am home with the kids during the day. I can also see any photos she takes. And we can both access all those years of old photos that we took with our various digital cameras, as well as all the photos and documents I’ve scanned over the years. Everything backed up in one place, for free, accessible from any device, anywhere, anytime I have signal.
There is a built in photo editor that features a basic set of tools for enhancing your photos. For quick editing, there’s a one button do it all auto-fix setting for photos. Perfect for a quick correction before you post something online.
Using the auto-fix feature, I did a quick edit of this underexposed picture of my son.
In addition to the one click auto-fix, there are manual editing tools that give you more control over your editing.
Instagram style filters are included as well.
Changes you make when editing are applied to the version of the image that’s stored on Google Photos in the cloud, while the original on your device remains untouched. You can also choose to “save a copy” of photo.
Sharing the files is simple and easy.
Just select the file or files you want to share, click on the share icon, and choose how you want to share it. If you want to select a bunch in a row, you don’t have to do them one at a time. Choose the first one, then drag your finger to the last one and Google Photos selects them all.
The Assistant feature in Google Photos is truly amazing. The app automatically chooses certain photos and works magic with them. The assistant gives you the option to save or delete them.
If photos are similar, the assistant may group them together into a collage.
Most phones have a panorama mode, but it can be tricky to do well and people rarely seem to use it. Google photos will automatically create Panoramas by stitching together individual shots if they line up correctly.
And if you have pictures taken close enough together in time, the Assistant will throw them all together into an animated GIF file. You can save any of these creations right to your account, or delete them with a swipe of your finger.
If the photos are taken a few seconds apart, the GIF may look like this-
If you took a series of photos in burst mode, the results are more like a mini movie.
Google Photos also gives you the option of searching by category. Here you can see it has displayed faces of some people it found in my photos. Clicking on a face shows all the other matching faces, and you can easily assign a name to any face you choose.
If your photos have names, or are in folders with names, those names are searchable. But Google Photos goes further by using an algorithm to identify things in your pictures even if they aren’t named. A search for “cat” brought up hundreds of photos of both our current cat and our two previous cats.The search feature gives you several options to find your photos and videos.
The places category is based on location data in the photos themselves. If you don’t have location data turned on, Google will still try to figure out where a photo is taken and put it in your places file. Somewhere like Cinderella’s Castle at DisneyWorld or Times Square in New York would be easy for the system to identify, for example.
The “things” category is a sort of hodgepodge, and isn’t totally accurate, but can be helpful if you only want photos with the Christmas ornaments, for example, and don’t want to sort through every picture you’ve ever taken at Christmas to find them.
At the bottom you can search your videos, as well as recently added photos, your Google Drive, and any of the creations you have saved with the Assistant feature.
Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for “things” found in photos.
Deleted photos can be recovered for 30 days, then they are gone forever. You can also go into your trash and permanently delete them whenever you’d like.
You also have the option to hide files by archiving them, which keeps them from being seen when you scroll through the app without removing them from being backed up. You can view these files by searching ‘archive” .
Google Photos does all of that and more, and will probably continue to add more features over time. If you only need to back up photos and videos, this may be the solution for you.
This series of error messages- Boot Device Not Found, Hard Drive not Detected, No Boot Device Found, No Bootable Device,, No Boot Partition Found, Hard Disk Drive Failure, Data error Reading Drive, Blank screen with flashing Cursor, Seek error – Sector not found, Missing Operating System, Operating System Not Found, Primary Hard Disk Failure, Error Loading Operating System, Drive not Ready- all these messages are really saying the same thing. The computer can’t find your operating system so it can’t boot into Windows.
The easiest thing to check is whether the hard drive, or the cable running to the hard drive may have come loose from the motherboard. Connecting the drive or cable snugly to the motherboard will quickly resolve the problem.
The hard drive on the left has a loose cable, the one on the right shows the cable connected snugly.
Virus or malware infections can also damage or remove the Windows boot files, which would give you this message. Sometimes a Windows Update doesn’t install correctly or isn’t finished installing when you restart your computer, and that can prevent Windows from starting too.
Many times, the error results from some type of problem with the hard drive itself. You can read my post about some of those problems here.
Probably the most common symptom of a failing hard drive is that distinct clicking noise – sometimes called the click of death.
If you have ever had this problem in the past, chances are it was diagnosed as a hardware failure. And in some cases it is. Unfortunately, I can’t fix this type of problem. Most technicians will ship a drive like this out of state to a lab that can open the drive to solve the problem. I have a local partner with the appropriate tools and experience to fix it for you, saving you lots of time.
How and why do hard drives start clicking?
Traditional IDE and SATA hard drives have lots of little moving parts inside. Your information is stored on magnetic discs arranged in a stack. Imagine a record player, with a big stack of records, and in between each record is a separate needle. That’s exactly how the platters that store your information work inside your hard drive. You ask the computer to read a file, and the platters spin to put the file under the correct head so it can be read. There are motors and other parts in there too, but the point is, any of these parts failing or breaking down is going to cause your hard drive to crash.
The clicking noise is usually caused when one of the heads can’t find the first sector on the drive and it goes into a loop looking for it. If you let the drive run and it clicks for a long period of time, the platter itself can get warped. Since the platters are where your data is, that’s not good. If your drive is clicking and you want to be able to possibly recover data from it, shut it down as soon as possible.
But sometimes, your hardware is functioning exactly the way it should, and the drive is clicking anyway. Newer, large capacity hard drives have a language they use to communicate called micro-code, which is stored on the green circuit board underneath your hard drive (called a PCB board). If the firmware fails, the drive can do all kinds of strange things, including clicking.
If it’s a physical problem, you’re looking at an expensive repair, starting in the $1000 range and running to $1600. The drive needs to be shipped to a facility with a cleanroom so it can be opened without dust and debris damaging the platters. usually the process involves transferring good parts using a donor drive that’s the exact model of your hard drive. Once your drive is working, they can copy the data to a brand new hard drive that you can either purchase from them or ship to them. The donor parts are removed and your damaged hard drive is disposed of properly.
Luckily, if the problem is with the PCB board or the chips that are on the outside board, no cleanroom should be required and the cost is usually less than $500. One place I recommend checking out is 300 Dollar Data Recovery. They can diagnose your drive for you and if the problem does require cleanroom facilities they can even forward it along to one of those companies if you are interested. If you’d be more comfortable, I can handle the arrangements and ship it off to 300 Dollar Data Recovery for you.
I’m going to present a range of laptop and docking station options so you have an idea what the features and the pricing would be depending on which way you’d like to go.
Laptop option 1 – This laptop has a fast CPU that should be able to handle multitasking like doing book keeping while using the internet and other tasks. The 16GB of RAM is double the recommended amount for Quickbooks 2020, so it should keep your programs running smoothly. For storage, the 1TB SSD hard drive will make booting up and running programs much faster. SSD memory is like the storage in a camera card or your smartphone, with no moving parts so it is incredibly fast. Windows 10 Professional pre-installed.
Laptop option 2 – This laptop has a faster CPU than the 1st laptop, and like the laptop above has 16GB of memory but half the storage with a 512GB SSD. Windows 10 Professional pre-installed.
Laptop option 3 – This is a “renewed” laptop, but it’s a bargain at this price. The CPU is middle of the road but meets the quickbook specs, and it has the same 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD hard drive for storage as the two above laptops. It is a bit smaller with only a 14″ screen, which may not matter if you are planning on connecting it to an external monitor anyway. This also has a DVD drive, which is rare in newer laptops.
They no longer make the type of docking station that allows you to snap the laptop in- all the modern ones are basically USB hubs with network and video ports, and some of them also have other added functions (like camera card readers).
Here are some docking station options. They all have multiple USB ports and HDMI and DVI for video but you may prefer one style over another.
All of these monitors will work for your laptop needs, it’s a matter of what size you prefer and if the style or color of the monitor makes a difference.
You could get an adapter like this, which lets you adjust the angle of the keyboard to 3 different heights and angles, and would allow you to use any keyboard you are comfortable with.
These are flat wireless mouse and keyboard combos you could use with the above adapter.
Or you can get one that is designed to be tilted.
Office 2019 comes in two varieties- the standard desktop version that installs on your computers, which is here –
The other options is a subscription to Office 365, which is a web based version of all the office apps and also lets you install the desktop version. The web apps work by logging in online, similar to the way you will be using Quickbooks. All files created by the online office apps are stored in the cloud in Microsoft Onedrive, so they are accessible from anywhere on any computer by logging into your account. You can pay for the entire year in advance if you prefer. the software will always be up to date, so when office 2021 or 2022 comes out, your subscription is automatically updated.
I believe that handles all the hardware and Office, and I will be working on finding a replacement for the Cisco softphone and something to handle the payroll.