About Us/Blog




 704-771-2842




 

We are a full service repair and tech support company. Our company has been serving the computing needs of small businesses and individuals for over seven years in the Charlotte metro market as "ShockNet Computers." We recently changed our name to better reflect what we do.  We are proud members of the Association of Computer Repair Business Owners and a Microsoft Partner. We are much less expensive than other computer repair companies and "big box" repair centers such as Geek Squad.  If you have a computer problem,  several options are available.  We can come to you and repair on-site, will provide pick-up and redelivery service, remote into your computer or you can drop your computer off at our office.  Our techs all possess, or are in the process of obtaining, professional certifications from either Microsoft or CompTIA.

The focus of our company is competent, personal and professional computer services.  Unfortunately in this business many people fashion themselves as tech pros and have no formal training and can actually do more damage to your computer equipment than good.  "Speaking Geek" to clients is what many techs like to do to impress people.  We will tell you in plain English what is wrong. We service all PC brands as well as Apple MacBook/iMac and do not outsource repairs.  You need to trust who is coming to your home or business.  

We solve your problems where you are so you can spend your time more productively or you can drop your computer off at our office on Providence Rd.  Whether you need us to speed up a slow computer the kids have been using, remove a virus, repair a computer or set up a complete small business networked computing environment, we do it all. 

 Give us a call today.  We would be honored to be your tech support and repair company.


Sincerely,

Computer Mekanix

 (704) 771-2842
3617-B Providence Rd S. Waxhaw, NC

8.5 miles south of 485 on the left in the Allstate building.

 

 




 

                                                            Shipping Notice Scam Email

The shopping season is upon us.  Along with all those great online purchases comes the subsequent shipping/delivery info.  The internet underbelly knows that most people shop online and are awaiting their shipments and will happily send out fake notificationphishing_graphic_sms from "UPS, FedEX..." stating that your package could not be delivered.  They want you to click the link for further information regarding the shipping problem with your purchase, which can then deliver their toxic payload to your computer infecting it with RATS, Lockers, Loggers...  Here's a better option. If you get an email notice about shipping, ignore it and go directly to the site from which you made the purchase and check the shipping status there.

Let us get your computer in tip-top form so you don't miss any of the big sales online. Our holiday tune-up special includes a free one year subscription to Avira anti virus for just $69! Drop in for the service or call for a remote session. Have a joyous holiday season.  Stop in or call ShockNet Computer Repair and Tech support in Charlotte, NC to schedule a remote session.  Have a joyous holiday season.  Peace.





                                                             To Windows 10 or Not to Windows 10?


I get this question frequently.  My own opinion is simple.  If you are running XP, it is time to upgrade because support was dropped in April 2014, which could leave the OS vulnerable.  If you are running Vista...well...sorry to hear it.  Time to upgrade from both.  I would make the move to Windows 7 and wait on Windows 10 until maybe February of 2016 just to make sure all the "bugs" are worked out and drivers are released for hardware, printers....  W8.1 is fine, but has a steep learning curve involved.  So, I would use W7 in all cases at this juncture.  We offer OS upgrades at a reasonable cost and we can also tweek Windows 8 to look and feel more like previous versions, complete with the familiar start button and menus.  Once you are more current with Windows 7 or 8.1, you can then upgrade for free to Windows 10 through July of 2016. 



Why Does My Computer Keep Getting Malware (Viruses)?


One of the most frequently provided services by Computer Mekanix Computer Repair Charlotte is virus removal. I get asked all the time why a computer gets a virus, especially if it is running an anti virus program, and how to stop it from happening.

There are many reasons why they occur, but three immediately come to mind and here are the ways to help prevent infection.

First is simply safe internet usage.  Here is a list of safe practices:

1- Don’t download games, buy them.

2- Don’t download music or movies from P2Ps, i.e., Limewire, Frostwire.

3- Don’t follow links from chat rooms or forums.

4- Don’t click on pop-ups.

5- Don’t open emails unless you are sure you know who they are from.  Even if it is from someone you know, don’t click a link.

6- Save any Google image to a dedicated file and scan the file prior to opening the pic on your computer.

7- Pick one reputable toolbar, like Google, and use it.  Don’t have multiple bars.

8- Don’t download wallpapers.

9- Download open source programs only from safe sources such as CNet, Filehippo, Major Geeks.

10- Be wary of any suspicious looking URL before clicking it from a web browser search results page. Tools like Webrep from Avast help.

Second is to make sure your virus data base is updated frequently throughout the day.  Most run in real time and auto-update.  However, it is a game of cat and mouse with the anti virus data bases and the malicious code writers.  They change the codes frequently and until someone gets a virus and reports it, the database does not contain the code to trigger an alert.  No AV is fool-proof, paid or free.  My favorite though is Avast Free or paid.

Third is to be careful doing searches for hot topics like Tim Tebow, Kim Kardashian, coupons, how to remove a virus, computer drivers... The virus writers know what is trending and plant bogus links in forums, set up bogus search links to try and grab you and infect the machine you are using. Be very mindful of Twitter and Facebook links.

These guys are smart and they want you to pay the $29.99 on your credit card once you are infected with their fake antivirus scanner to remove it.  The only thing they will remove is your money and maybe even your identity.  It is big business.  Be smart and safe.  Peace.


Oh the Games Trojans Play!

Clients get confused when I ask to uninstall their favorite PC game they downloaded for free via the internet.  They exclaim "it has taken two months for me to collect that gold and slay that troll.  I'm a tenth level dungeon master!"  

In all seriousness, many computers that come into the shop that are infested with malware usually are also loaded with free games.  There is an old adage that is apropos.  "There is no such thing as a free lunch."  Think about it, someone took the time to write the programming for the game, publish it, host it...  That costs money and they need to make money on the deal.  How do they do it?  There are several ways, but some main ways are: they sell your data to other companies, they install a search or tool bar along with the game and every time you type in the search it is recorded and advertisements are targeted toward you (browser hijackers such as Conduit and SearchQ are just a few), or a trojan is installed with the game.  Even "reputable" free game sites can have serious security holes that can be exploited by malware.  

So, the moral of the story is this.  It is best not to play games on your computer unless they are games you have purchased and installed from a disc.  If you absolutely must download free games on your machine, I would set up a dual-boot on the computer and keep games limited to one bootable partition or install a Virtual Box within the existing OS.  This way, if malware is executed on the system, the damage is contained.  We perform all such services.  Thanks for stopping by!


FBI Virus Outbreak

The geniuses (I use that term loosely) that sit in dark rooms and develop these lovely little pieces of malware (generically referred to as viruses) that wreak havoc on our computers have come up with a rather clever one this time.  The Reveton Trojan or FBI/MoneyPak virus is ransomware and stops the functioning of your computer and you are presented with a lovely white screen with a very official looking FBI logo and a rather lengthy proclamation that your computer has been found to have kiddie porn or some other such nonsense and that you must run down to the store and obtain a MoneyPak payment for $200 or more and pay these freaks to restore your computer to functional status.

Needless to say it is not the FBI, there is no kiddie porn on your machine (unless you are a freak), paying them will do nothing to fix your machine and you will be out $200 plus dollars for no reason.  We have seen about six different strains of the infection in our shop.  Most will allow you to boot into safe mode and run advanced virus removal software to remove it. Other strains will block safe mode as well requiring boot from a live disc and subsequent removal.  Some will activate your webcam equipped machine and you will see your own smiling face in a box that is ostensibly being recorded by the FBI (clever indeed).  I have also seen some that will alter the registry to the point that the desktop will load and summarily the desktop icons will be hidden and your wallpaper will change to plain white rendering the machine unusable.  The most extreme version will actually corrupt the NTFS file table, requiring a wipe and reinstallation in some cases.  In short, this is one nasty little piece of malware.  It can be easy to remove in some cases or extremely difficult.  I do not recommend a DIY approach to this critter.  Let a professional like ShockNet Computer Repair Charlotte help with the cleanup or you could risk severe damage and/or data loss.

Anti virus programs will catch some strains of the malware, but the clever folk who develop these things keep changing the code so that the AV data bases are constantly playing catch-up.  Unfortunately, 2013 will probably be the year of the FBI virus and its spawn, so the best protection is pure common sense web browsing.  Do not rely on the AV to prevent these bugs from infecting your beloved computer.  Here are a few things you can do to lessen the chance of infection.

1- Use common sense when browsing.

2- Don't open any suspicious emails, especially ones with links.

3- Never allow anyone to access your computer remotely unless you know and trust them.

4- Keep your AV updated every day.

5- Make sure all Java and Adobe programs are updated.

6- NEVER install toolbars or download wallpapers from the net.

7- "Speed Up My PC" programs and the like are BS.  Don't buy and install them.  I have seen ample evidence that these types of programs actually cause problems with the intention that the client will call and pay more money to the company that provided the program to have them fix the "problems."

8- Run all Microsoft updates and make sure the OS has the current service pack (XP=sp3, Vista=sp2 and 7=sp1).  They can be found here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/service-packs-download#sptabs=xp.

Stay safe my friends!  

 

The Countdown: Microsoft Ending XP Support 


Microsoft's vaunted XP operating system will lose support from Microsoft beginning April 8, 2014.  What does that mean for individual and corporate users?  Well, it means several things, the most concerning of which is that malware writers will try to exploit any remaining security holes in XP that will no longer be patchable leaving the system vulnerable.  Another concern is that many programs designed to run on XP may also be left vulnerable because of dropped support from the vendor.  Also, if you have a program that is dependent on IE (Internet Explorer), you are stuck with IE8, which may become incompatible.  Finally, new programs and apps simply may not work with XP.  We can upgrade you to Windows 7 or 8 for just $119.  Stay tuned.

Windows 8 Reset and Refresh, Beware!

Ok, so I get a call from a frantic client the other day telling me that she did a refresh in Windows 8 and now all of her programs are gone.  Unfortunately, I had to break the news to her that in fact they were gone and would have to be reinstalled.  Microsoft does not make that real clear in my opinion.  The process indicates that your "store apps will be kept, but any programs installed from discs or the web will be lost."  Now, that does seem clear if you understand what is being said.  Sadly, many people do not understand the difference between store apps and desktop apps/programs in the new operating system.  Simply put, if you downloaded the program from the web or used an installation disc, they will vanish and you will have to reinstall them.  Office installed from a disc...later.  Quickbooks...gone.  Antivirus...poof!  Proprietary programs installed from disc...adios.   Your docs, pics...will however be kept.   Make sure you understand this before running the refresh function on your W8 machine.  With that being said, we can perform a command prompt procedure to create a custom refresh snapshot that will maintain your current state of things INCLUDING your programs.  Takes about an hour, inexpensive and well worth it.  

Shocknet Computer Repair (Now Computer Mekanix) Charlotte, Five Time Angie's List "Page of Happiness Nominee."

 We are both humbled and honored to have been nominated five times by our customers for the Angie's List "Page of Happiness."  Our main focus is always customer satisfaction.  We are serious about doing the "right" thing instead of what will make us the most money.  We believe that pursuing excellence will automatically bring the rest.  Thank you to all our loyal clients.  Without you, we would not be here.



The Apple Myth

If you listen to Apple fans, they will try to convince you that Macs do not get viruses.  What is the truth regarding the matter you ask?  It's fairly simple.  Macs do get viruses, but they do get less because they are not nearly as big a target as Windows based machines.  

People who write virus code and go to the trouble to distribute it are making money.  The infamous family of fake anti virus programs, known as rougeware or ransomware, or the ubiquitous FBI virus family demand a certain amount of money to "fix" your computer.  Of course, paying the "ransom" does nothing other than lighten your wallet.  It is big business on a global scale.  So, numbers explain it all.  Apple controls about 18% of the overall market and Windows- based machines the rest.  That means they are going after the "big fish", not the minnows.  That being said, Microsoft has added Secure Boot, UEFI and GPT in Windows 8/8.1 to help eliminate rootkits and the like.  So, at this point if you are running W8 it is a fairly moot point.  
So, unless you have a particular desire to drop over a grand on a Mac, I would stick with a Windows PC and save yourself numerous compatibility headaches.

CryptoLocker, Teslacrypt, Locky:  One Nasty Family of Ransomeware/Malware!

Well, the "geniuses" that develop Malware have come up with a doozy this time.  If you get encryption ransomware on your machine you are basically FUBARed.  This nice little piece of Malware encrypts most of your files (70 known file extensions) and has you pay a nice little two Bitcoin ransom within 72 hours or the fee goes to ten Bitcoins in order to receive the decryption password.  Considering that Bitcoin hit a high last week of over $1000 real dollars per coin, you are looking at serious cash to get access to your files again.

If you contract this monster, you only have two possible non-pay choices, if it has not destroyed your shadow copy files.  One, run a restore point and pray it works or, two, right click the file you want to read and hit "properties" then "previous versions" and again pray to the computer gods that a shadow copy can be copied back.  Most of the new variants kill these two options though.  So, what do you do?  Either pony up the cash or lose your data.  The best minds in the business have no "fix" for this beast at present.


ALERT: Fake Microsoft Tech Support Calls

If you receive a phone call from "Microsoft", "Dell", "HP"... and someone says (usually with a foreign accent) "we have detected infections or multiple issues with your computer and we need to remote in to fix it for you", hang up immediately! It is a scam. Microsoft NEVER, EVER calls anyone unsolicited, nor does any other company. This little scam has become big business and many people are plunking down $150-$450 a year for "tech support" packages. These scum bags do not know what they are doing and will only alter your registry files to create problems that did not previously exist, show you ridiculous normal system functions that they inform you are not normal or, worse, they will use a lock out password and then hold your computer data for ransom. There is a great detailed article here at Malwarebytes. http://blog.malwarebytes.org/tech-support-scams/ Here are just a few helpful hints to avoid this nonsense.
1- Never let an unsolicited individual remote into your computer.
2- Hang up on anyone that calls from an unsolicited company telling you your computer is messed up.
3- NEVER randomly Google tech support for any company. Some examples would be "Microsoft tech support", "Norton tech support", "Dell tech support", "Quickbooks tech support"... The chance of you hitting the real company support site is slim. In most cases you will get a hold of a third party company that is only interested in selling you a support package. These sites are known as phishing sites and the "techs" are terrible at everything except altering your registry to cause issues.
4- Don't download any "Speed Up My Computer", "Optimize My PC", "Speed Up my Sucky Slow PC" or any other such programs. They often can contain malicious programs that can actually cause problems that they then conveniently supply a tech support line to call to "fix" the issue at a steep fee.
5- If you have been charged for unsolicited bogus support, immediately dispute the charge with your credit card company or bank and tell them you have fallen victim to "social engineering."
Hope this helps. Call us if you need help. Peace. 




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