Monday, September 16, 2019

I'll never buy this again!

I had a customer that purchased new computers. I had convinced them that upgrading to a solid state drive was the way to go both in terms of performance and reliability.

Well, the installation of the new computers on August 8 appeared to go just fine. However, it's now September 16 and I have made 3 trips to this customer (over 50 miles one-way) and have, so far, replaced 4 out of 6 drives. I'm planning on replacing the other 2 later this week as I do not trust Adata drives any more!

Of course, the drives are covered under warranty, but what about the approximately $1,000.00 in labor and 8 hours of travel time that I've lost. This doesn't even take into account the lost productivity for my customer or the damage to my reputation!

I invite Adata to contact me with a proposal for how they might reimburse me for my troubles, but other than replacing the drives with other ones that I won't trust either, I'm not expecting much.

I've set up numerous computers and have used a variety of brands of solid state drives in the past several years but have NEVER experienced anything like this in my 25+ years in this business.

Bottom line: It doesn't matter how affordable the drive is as your labor is worth much, much more than the cost of the hardware.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Marvel of Engineering

Recently I had the opportunity to repair the screen on a MacBook Pro. What an unbelievable nightmare! To get the screen assembly off of the computer, it took the removal of 46 screws in 8 different sizes including pentalobe and 3 different torx sizes. The majority of screws were under 1/16" in size and could only be picked up with tweezers. Just to remove the bottom cover, there were 6 screws of 3 different sizes. In comparison, I also just replaced the main board and battery in an HP Spectre X360- 3 different screw sizes (1 torx and 2 phillips) and a total of about 18 screws.

Here's a picture of the interior of a MacBook Pro:
While it's hard to tell from this photo, the entire bottom edge is nothing but tiny, tiny screws. The antenna bar alone had a dozen screws. I meant to take a picture of some of the screws but by the time I was finished, I was so frustrated that I completely forgot

Monday, May 20, 2019

Harass these people!!! Call 877-698-6789

They will try and trick you into paying for support you don't need. When you call this number:
877-698-6789 you will be informed that the "Windows" license on your computer has expired. You will be directed to go to a web site that looks like this:

If you click on Plans, the least expensive plan is $99. Needless to say, your Windows license only expires when the computer is retired. 

This is a scam! Do not fall for it. Instead, call that number regularly and tie up their phone lines and agents which should help prevent them from scamming other people. If we waste enough of their time, maybe they'll go out and find real jobs.

Monday, May 6, 2019

The new Rufus Version 3.5 to download iso images of Windows (you still need a valid product key)

The new Rufus Version 3.5, which has been available for download for a few days now, features a significant improvement over its predecessors. Rufus now downloads the Windows version you want directly from the Microsoft server. You can not only select the current build, but any version since build 1507. You can also freely choose the language and architecture (32- or 64-bit). So if the latest Windows build is not compatible with your hardware, Rufus 3.5 allows you to conveniently select the appropriate version.

With no other software can you create an installation medium for Windows as quickly and conveniently as with Rufus 3.5. Rufus 3.5 is now available free of charge in the download area of
faire softwareonline shop. There are two variants: the normal version and Rufus Portable for creating an emergency boot medium, with which you can start Windows from the USB data stick.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Can you still upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

I was under the impression that the free upgrade to Windows 10 had ended quite some time ago. However, I recently came across the following article from I'll try this in the next couple of days and let you know how it goes.

Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 free upgrade offer would end on December 31.
As a quick reminder, the Redmond giant initially introduced this loophole to allow assistive technology users to install the latest Windows 10 version for free. Later on it was proved that all Windows users could take advantage of this loophole to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost.
Of course, some said that Microsoft had been aware of this fact from the very beginning and used it as an incentive to convince more users to install the latest Windows 10 version.
But what happens in 2019? Is the free upgrade offer really over?

You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free in 2019

The short answer is No. Windows users can still upgrade to Windows 10 without shelling out $119. The assistive technologies upgrade page still exist and is fully functional.
However, there’s a catch: Microsoft says that the offer will expire on January 16, 2018.

"If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues our efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on January 16, 2018."

But somehow we don’t believe that’s true. The free upgrade offer first expired on July 29, 2016 then at the end of December 2017, and now on January 16, 2018.

Place your bets

We’re pretty sure that Microsoft will prolong this free upgrade offer as well. The company made it clear that it wants as many users as possible to jump on the Windows 10 boat. However, making them pay $119 to install the latest Windows 10 OS is not the best strategy to adopt.
Allowing this free upgrade loophole to exist increases the chances that more users will agree to upgrade — and Microsoft is aware of that.

Try activating Windows 10 using Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 key

Some users claim that you’re still able to upgrade to Windows 10, as long as you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 running on your PC. Bear in mind that you’ll need to run a genuine copy on your PC in order for this process to work.
In addition to the genuine copy of Windows, it’s also a good idea to have your product key available since you might need it to activate Windows 10. If you don’t have the original Windows DVD with the product key available, you can get the product key from your PC by using NirSoft’s ProduKey software.
Once you obtain your key, write it down and keep it safe because you might need it later. After that’s done, your next step would be to back up your files just in case anything goes wrong. If you can, create a hard disk image and use it to restore your system in case things go south.
After creating your backup and obtaining your product key, you can start upgrading to Windows 10. This is fairly simple, and you can do that by following these steps:
  1. Download and run Media Creation Tool. You can get this software from Microsoft’s website.
  2. Accept the terms of service and select Upgrade this PC now option.
  3. You’ll be asked to download the important updates. Usually, it’s advised to download them, but if you’re in a hurry you can choose Not right now
  4. Windows will now configure your PC and get the necessary updates.
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen until you reach the Ready to install screen. Click Change what to keep
  6. Now you can choose between three options. We suggest to use Keep personal files and apps option, but you can also select Nothing if you want to completely remove the previous Windows installation.
  7. Now follow the instructions on the screen to complete the upgrade process.
After doing that, you should have Windows 10 up and running. To make sure that everything is in order, check if your Windows installation is activated. If not, use your Windows 8.1 or 7 serial number to activate it.
Alternatively, you can create an installation media and use it instead. To do that, follow these steps:
  1. Start Windows Media Creation
  2. Select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and click Next.
  3. Make sure that Use the recommended options for this PC option is selected. If you want to manually configure language, edition, and architecture, you can uncheck it. Click Next to proceed.
  4. Make sure that your USB flash drive is connected to your PC. Select the drive from the list and click Next.
  5. The process will now start.
Once the process is finished, you can boot from the USB flash drive and try to install Windows again. Be sure to use your Windows 7 or 8.1 key during the installation process.
Many users claim that this method works, so before you try to upgrade to Windows 10, be sure that you have a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 installed and your Windows 7 or 8.1 product key available.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

You've been pwned!


past tense: pwned; past participle: pwned
  1. (especially in video gaming) utterly defeat (an opponent or rival); completely get the better of.
    "I can't wait to pwn some noobs in this game"

If you're ever wondering if an email address you use has been compromised, see the following website:

Enter your email address and you can find out if it has ever been compromised. If it has, it would be a good idea to immediately change your password to ensure that further problems don't occur.

You can also subscribe to their service where you'll receive an email like the following if your account has been compromised:

You've been pwned!

You signed up for notifications when your account was pwned in a data breach and unfortunately, it's happened. Here's what's known about the breach:
Email found:
Date of breach:
9 Jul 2018
Number of accounts:
Compromised data:
Dates of birth, Email addresses, Names, Passwords
In July 2018, the social bookmarking and sharing service ShareThis suffered a data breach. The incident exposed 41 million unique email addresses alongside names and in some cases, dates of birth and password hashes. In 2019, the data appeared listed for sale on a dark web marketplace (along with several other large breaches) and subsequently began circulating more broadly.

2 Steps to Better Password Security

Monitoring Have I Been Pwned for data breaches is a great start, now try these next 2 steps to protect all your accounts:

You can also run a search for breaches of your email address again at any time to get a complete list of sites where your account has been compromised.
Check my email address again
Why are you only hearing about this now? Whilst the breach occurred in July 2018, sometimes there can be a lengthy lead time of months or even years before the data is disclosed publicly. Have I Been Pwned will always attempt to alert you ASAP, it's just a question of how readily available the data is.
Please note that it is not possible to retrieve the passwords themselves from HIBP. If you don't want to receive any future breach notifications, just click here to unsubscribe.

Donate to Have I Been Pwned

If you loved this free service and want to know what goes into making it possible, have a read of the donations page. Buy me a coffee or a beer or just some time with the kids at a movie.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

FREE Microsoft Office Online

You can now access Microsoft Office Online for free.

Go to:

Log into your Microsoft account. If you don't have one, you'll need to create one. On the Office home page, you'll see:

Simply click on the app you want to use and it opens. Make sure NOT to select either "Install Office" or "Buy Office 365".

Note: you also have 5GB of One Drive storage space included, which is where your files will automatically be saved unless you specifically download them.