Support Local Schools & Charities With Amazon Smile

As a local small business owner myself, I know how important is to shop at other local businesses as much as possible. In my case, many of the tools and parts I need to repair computers can’t be found locally, so I shop for them online. But there’s a way to shop online and still support local schools, charities and other organizations by using Amazon Smile.

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Undoubtedly the biggest online retailer in the world is Amazon.com. You can find almost anything, and if you have a Prime subscription, you can get most orders in two days with free shipping or overnight for $3.99. (You also get access to Amazon Prime video, a Netflix alternative, and Amazon Photos, a free cloud backup service for your photos and videos). With service like that it’s no surprise people use Amazon from everything from books to electronics.

There’s a way you can shop on Amazon and still support local schools, charities and other organizations of your choice. All you need to do is go to Smile.Amazon.com instead of Amazon.com, and a percentage of some of your purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice.

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Sign in with your amazon account, and you can select a charity.

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There are some great charities suggested on the right hand side of the page, or you can search for one in the box at the bottom. I decided to search for my hometown of Norwood, Massachusetts.

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There are literally dozens of great local organizations, but I decided to refine my search and specifically look for something to support local schools.

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I chose the Willett PTO because I have a child in the school now and one who will be attending in 2 years and I know they really need the help with fundraising.

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Whenever I place an order that qualifies, Amazon Smile notifies me with a little message to remind me that a donation has been made to my charity.

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Here are my contributions to the Willett PTO so far and the total they have brought in from all Amazon Smile users.

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It feels good knowing I am helping an organization that’s important to me while I shop. There’s no extra cost to do it and all you have to do is use smile.amazon and you can be raising money for a cause that’s near and dear to you. You can also change your charity at any point, so you can spread your donations around.

 

Find, Like, and Review Local Walpole Businesses

Check out this quick way to find local Walpole businesses on Facebook, and while you’re there, consider clicking the “Like” button. You can also click directly on the business to leave them a review.

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Click here to see, like and review local Walpole businesses.

 

Lastpass – The only password Manager You Will Ever Need!

How often does this happen to you?
How often does this happen to you?

I’ve got more passwords than I can count. Work email, Personal email. Facebook, Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Pinterest. LinkedIN, Online Banking. Every single credit card. The Patient portal for my doctor’s office (and my childrens portals as well). Netflix, Hulu, Plex, Reddit, Ancestry,  Xbox One, Playstation 4, Verizon for cable, Sprint for my cell phone,  Online shopping at Amazon, Kohl’s, Target, Old Navy, Home Depot, Sears, eBay… it’s easy to forget all the places where we have online accounts. and how many passwords we’re using.

in fact, the average computer user has over 130 passwords to remember. And the worst thing you can do from a security standpoint is use the same password for every site because it makes a hackers job much easier.

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Lastpass is a web based app that allows you to save all your different passwords in one vault, out in the cloud,  and set one master password to get that vault open.  Your password vault is encrypted so even the team at LastPass can’t access your passwords. Set one secure password for the vault and never worry about remembering each and every site password ever again. I suggest a long phrase that’s easy to remember and type. For example, I might choose Chara33BigZchamps2011 or Gronkspike87NEpatsSBx4

With my one master vault password, I can log in and access literally 1000’s of passwords I would certainly have forgotten. This is especially true for those sites you only visit once or twice a year.

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Another nice feature included in Lastpass – you can create multiple profiles containing all your contact info, like the stuff they ask for every time you sign up for a website – and lock them down with the vault password too.  My PC Overhaul profile has my name, street address, phone number, credit card, date of birth and credit card numbers for the business. When I go to a site to buy parts for a customer, the checkout process is simple. I click on my PC Overhaul profile in lastpass and it fills all that information in for me. And you can have as many different profiles as you want. I have a profile for work, another for personal purchases, and a 3rd for web forums (using my spam email account).

Lastpass also has the ability to create randomized secure passwords for you. This is handy if you always plan on using Lastpass to log in to sites, but won’t be helpful otherwise.

Once you have it installed, whenever you go to a site with a saved password, lastpass offers to autofill the username and password fields for you. You enter the vault password and can choose not to be prompted for the vault password for a period of time.  If you know you will be in front of the computer for 3 hours, you can set it to leave the vault open for that long, and after that time anyone with access to your system will be asked for the master vault password again to get in.

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There are literally dozens of handy features to lastpass, especially considering it’s a free app, I highly recommend you check it out.

Lastpass

 

Boot Device Not Found Error or Hard Drive Not Detected

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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.

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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.
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.

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If you receive any of these messages and want to get your computer working again and recover your data, contact me for an appointment.

 

 

 

2016 Back to School Cleanup Special

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After a school year of  web browsing, term papers, music and movie downloads, and game playing, your computer can use a good clean up before school starts in the fall. I’m offering a deal on total cleanup of your computer. Either a complete Virus and Malware cleanup on your laptop or desktop computer, or a total PC Overhaul.  Either service is now a $80 flat fee, a $20 savings off regular price.

Once it’s all cleaned up, you might want to consider getting a professional backup of your important files.

$20 for 16GB of data, $40 for 32GB of data, $80 for 64GB of data. Those prices include a USB flash drive. pcoverhaul - usb16 You’ve got plenty of time to get your computer cleaned up before school starts in the fall, but don’t wait until the last minute! This special deal lasts until August 22nd.

 

Like, Share, Comment & Repost

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PC Overhaul Named One of The Top 20 Computer Repair Companies in Boston By Expertise

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Expertise has compiled a list of the Top 20 Computer Repair Services in Boston, and I’m proud to announce that PC Overhaul made the list!

I’d like to thank my amazing customers who have left me reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and all your other other positive feedback for making this possible.

 

 

Use GWX Control Panel to Block “Get Windows 10” Notifcations

Millions of people have already made the switch from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, but millions more have no interest in upgrading at this point. Many people have accidentally agreed to the Windows 10 update not understanding it was an entirely new Operating System.

GWX Control Panel is a great free tool developed by ultimateoutsider.com.

Once installed, GWX Control Panel gives you multiple ways to stop Windows 10 from either downloading or from nagging you to install it.

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Most people have no idea how they ended up downloading the Windows 10 upgrade offer to begin with. It’s actually included with all your other Windows updates. To prevent it from installing the update that offers you Windows 10, choose the top right button, “Click to prevent Windows 10 Upgrades”.

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If you’ve already installed the update, and just want to make the “Get Windows 10” nag screen disappear forever, choose the top left button, “Click to Prevent “Get Windows 10” App.  On my particular Windows 7 computer, I haven’t downloaded the Windows Update that includes the Windows 10 notification, but clicking this button will keep me from seeing it if I ever download it in the future.

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For complete instructions, check out the full User Guide at ultimateoutsider.com.

 

 

Small Business Facebook Likes Comments & Shares

Supporting a local small business on Facebook is simple to do, takes very little time and is absolutely free.

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When you like, share or comment on a Facebook post, all your friends can potentially see it. That kind of exposure is incredibly valuable for smaller locally owned businesses who don’t have the budget for lots of paid advertising.

Also, check in to local businesses on your smartphone when you can, and if you buy their products or use their services, consider leaving them a review on Facebook.

A business with lots of activity on their Facebook page is likely to show up closer to the top of Google’s search rankings than a page that has little to no activity.

For example, if there are two pizza restaurants in town, Google has to decide which order to rank them when you search for pizza. If one has a Facebook page with lots of likes, comments and reviews, and people are checking in regularly but the other has no Facebook page, or a page without any activity, Google uses that information (among other factors) to make their decision.

Even if you don’t buy the product or use the service, your likes shares and comments can make a huge difference for a local small business, so please take the time to help them out.

 

Amazon Prime Free Unlimited Photo & Video Storage

If you are an Amazon prime member, in addition to free two day shipping, there are a host of benefits, including free unlimited photo storage.

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If you’ve seen my post about Google Photos, you know they also offer free unlimited photo andvideo storage, but they reduce the quality slightly.2016-05-02_8-51-10

 

Amazon lets you save your photos and videos at full resolution, with an unlimited number of photos (and even supports RAW file formats), but only gives 5 GB for video and other file storage. Users with large video collections are probably better off using Google Photos, but if you are already an Amazon Prime member and only need to back up photos, this is a great option.

This is what the interface looks like after you sign in.
This is what the interface looks like once you have some files uploaded.

You can easily share your photos using a shareable link, or you can share by email, Facebook, or Twitter.

To get started, download the software here.

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Click on the file to install it.

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After installing the software, log in to your Amazon prime account.

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The program automatically selects the most used folders and checks them off. If there are folders selected that you’d rather not back up, just uncheck them.pcoverhaul-amazon-photos-select

I selected “Choose Files” under the blue Upload Folders button, because I had files and folders in a different place that I wanted to include in the backup.

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Pressing the “Select Folder” button allowed me to backup files on my external and network drives. 

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As you can see, I have a whopping 544, 363 files to back up, totaling 1.94 TB, The Amazon photos app will continue to run in the background, uploading all the time until it catches up. It’s going to take a long time, but I sleep better at night knowing everything is backed up in multiple locations.