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° Phone: Jim at (217) 316-0960
° email: jim@minornotes.com
° Facebook.com/UrsaMinorPC

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The following behaviors are symptomatic of larger issues :

• Web pages load slow
• Mouse hesitates or freezes
• Computer locks up
• Applications run slow
• Excessive pop-ups when browsing
• Computer tries to randomly connect to internet
• Random blue screen errors or fatal exceptions
• Computer hangs on shutdown / restart
• Browser start page is redirected to unwanted websites
• Programs have been added or modified by an outside source
• Constant fake virus alerts or fake optimizer alerts
• Unable to launch certain programs or basic Windows functions

Symptoms such as these are caused by either the thousands of web viruses that routinely infect any computer connected to the internet, problems with the Windows operating system, or simply because there are far too many programs running at the same time, visible and invisible.

Repairs can usually be done without destroying personal files and usually within 72 hours. In-home repair is available if necessary.

Full decontamination and optimization is $45 flat fee regardless of additional hours spent, with free estimates on replacement parts or hardware upgrades. Software upgrades are no charge if available under user license. Returning customers often get a discount. Full cleaning includes but not limited to:

• Remove viruses & rootkits
• Remove spyware, adware, scumware
• Remove intrusive programs
• Clean Windows startup items list
• Clean Windows registry
• Cleanup junk files
• Optimize browser, HD, system settings
• Upgrade/downgrade if necessary
• Defrag hard drive
• Create new Restore Point

Laptop hardware labor (less parts):
Inverter board: $10
LCD panel: $15
Keyboard: $20
CD/DVD, Memory Card: No Charge

Backup fees vary depending on number of files and medium of choice. CD backups of document & settings folder usually runs around $10, backups exceeding 4.3 Gigabytes (requiring splitting files over multiple DVDs) $15 TO $20, and the cost of a spare hard drive or USB drive depends on size requirement. Regular IDE and SATA drives average between $40 and $90, plus $15 labor for the cloning process. For the average user, $75 total will get you an exact clone of your hard drive that will be plug-N-play if your original drive fails. In the event you do lose everything, just unplug the failed drive and the clone takes over, complete with a configured Windows and all your pictures, documents, emails, files, programs, and music. This is cheaper and much more efficient than external backup devices because a cloned drive is bit-for-bit, and because external drives have a high fail rate, usually because they get moved around and bounced around too much.

We also offer free estimates on custom built systems and affordable website design and hosting, and always have several refurbished machines on hand great for a low cost second computer.

All work is thoroughly summarized and we can provide software and instructions necessary to prevent further problems on request.

We believe this to be the most straightforward and affordable service of this kind in the area and offer a full refund if not satisfied.


Q: My computer runs really slow. Is it just wore out?
A: Computers become obsolete, but don't really "wear out". They work until something fails. The main reasons they run slow are viruses, junk file build-up, disk fragmentation, startup items, toolbars, and updaters. These accummulate over time and overwhelm the machine's resources.

Q: How often should I have my computer serviced?
A: Once or twice a year, unless you have teenagers.

Q: What about all my pictures?
A: You won't lose any pictures, emails, documents, or files of any kind that are on your machine, unless the hard drive has failed, in which case they are already gone.

Q: How do I get my computer to you?
A: We no longer have a Quincy office. However, you can still drop it off in Ursa at 214 Walker St.

Q: Do you do in-home repair?
A: If you're having router issues, it may be necessary to come to your home, otherwise it's not practical or economical to spend 4 or 5 hours at your home. We do offer free pickup & delivery for handicapped persons or the elderly.

Q: I have a desktop. Should I bring the mouse, keyboard, and power cord?
A: No, just the tower, no cords please. For laptops, you'll need to bring the power adapter.

Q: Can you fix my computer remotely?
A: Yes, but repairs are limited to basic scans. Most infected machines are damaged to the point where a remote connection is not possible.

Q: My laptop is pretty beat up. Can you replace the screen or keyboard?
A: About the only laptop component not practical to replace is the motherboard. Everything else can be replaced for $15-$25 plus parts.

Q: Do you work on tablets or smart phones?
A: Rarely. It's cheaper to buy a new one unless it just needs a screen. Even then, often the screen cannot be replaced without damaging the unit, plus they are sometimes hard to find. iPad repairs usually run $50 plus parts, and iPad parts are plentiful.

Q: I keep getting viruses. What protection can I buy?
A: Currently, there is no real-time product, regardless of price, that can keep you from getting modern rootkit viruses, because rootkits install before the machine boots up. There are lots of products that can remove infections, but only if the virus allows it to do so. One thing I see often is 3rd party store-bought A/V programs like Norton 360 installed on machines already running Windows Defender. If your machne has Vista, Win7 or Win8 then you already have a real-time scanner that you bought with the system. Not only will the 2 programs fight each other, it's a waste of money buying something you already have. Defender works as well as any purchased A/V and has no yearly "subscription fee" for updates, but as mentioned none of them protect against current rootkits. Also, don't fall for "PC Matic" or other TV ads. The best protection against viruses is not to download them in the first place. Other than drive-by scripts, almost all viruses are willingly installed by the user, who has been tricked into doing so.

Q: If this is true, then how do I know if ANY downloads or even websites are safe?
A: Sadly, you don't. Even the experts get fooled from time to time. One way to minimize exposure to these opportunities is to uninstall everything with the word "Toolbar" in its name. These browser add-ons are not considered viruses but will re-direct you to harmful sites that pay a fee for inclusion into the toolbars' restructured search index as part of its "search enhancement".

Q: My computer is really old. Should I upgrade or should I just buy a new one?
A: It depends entirely on what motherboard/processor it has. If it already has the fastest chip for that socket size, a memory upgrade won't do much. Otherwise bigger memory cards and a faster processor together can make a huge difference, and for usually less than $50 total including installation. It also depends on what you use your computer for. If it's just mainly email and internet, a new machine won't improve that experience much. It also depends on what 3rd party software such as Word or Photoshop you have on your machine. Files can be transferred but programs cannot. They need to be reinstalled, and if you don't have the disc or serial you'll have to buy them.

Q: If I decide my computer is not worth repairing, what is the diagnostic fee?
A: If we don't fix it, we don't charge. If you need files from your old drive transferred to an external medium, that fee would depend on the number of files and size requirement of the backup medium to be purchased.

Q: If this process takes 4 or 5 hours, how can you possibly do it for $45?
A: One reason is that we have an extremely low overhead, but mainly because about half that time is spent running automated scans. We can use that wait period to work on other machines. That's why in-home repair is not practical for us or the customer.

Q: Every other service I looked into charges 2 or 3 times this rate. Would it be better to pay the premium price for the premium service?
A: No. I'm sure they all do a fine job, but don't be fooled by high prices. What they do is no different than what we do, other than we are probably a little more experienced and thorough, and we understand the current economic challenges our customers face. Also, beware of chain store repair services that sometimes try to charge you for things you don't really need or charge you for things they didn't really do. Trust is extremely important because it's so easy to be overwhelmed by the technical details of the repair process.

Q: My new machine has Windows 8. Can I downgrade to Windows 7?
A: Yes, but a single-user Windows 7 disc is expensive, as is the install because of driver compatibility problems that need to be individually addressed. It's cheaper to have Windows 8 tweaked out to behave more like Windows 7. Windows 8 RT is more of a tablet OS that cannot be modified or replaced.

Q: Do you work on Macs?
A: Yes, and contrary to popular belief Macs can get infected. They are just not as vulnerable as Windows and are not widely targeted because of their low virus distribution potential.

Q: Could you build me a new machine? What about used machines?
A: We can custom build a computer for you and always have a few refurbished machines available that are great for a 2nd computer. We also offer website design (all hand written, no cheesy template generators), graphic design, and hosting.

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