We discussed these items before but after this week, it appears a refresher is in order.
Most of us run PCs with the Windows operating system on it, either Windows 10, or one of the older versions such as Windows 8, or Windows 7, or if really living in the past, Windows Vista or even XP. Someday the phone will ring and either we’ll be unfortunate enough to answer it or the caller will leave a voice mail message informing us that the Windows license key has expired and our binary buddy will be shut down permanently unless we pay up immediately. Red flags should fly up our flagpoles. First, the windows license key NEVER expires. Second, as a client was recently instructed, they needed to go to Walgreens, the scammer even provided the nearest Walgreens and purchase seven $100 Steam Gift Cards. The client was to call back and provide the numbers on each card to the caller and their Windows license key would be reactivated. Third red flag; Microsoft is a global corporation; the chance that they can’t take credit cards is zero. Fourth red flag; $700 to reactivate a key that doesn’t expire? We could buy a new computer for less than that. Fifth red flag, Microsoft will NEVER, not EVER, call us unsolicited.
And from here it went downhill as the caller convinced the client that he needed to take control of the computer to check a few things. The scam artist installed a small program. This program activated as soon as the computer was turned on and made the screen go black with a little message in the middle that said the computer had been deactivated and the user needed to call the 800 number right now. It looked serious, but task manager quickly allowed the bogus program to be turned off and then uninstalled.
Another item that needs attention is System Restore verses System Recovery. System Restore is like time travel. If we have it turned on, we can tell our binary buddy to travel back to a date where everything worked and start over from there. Example, we download an old driver for our printer by mistake, install it and the computer starts whooping and hollering that the world is going to end. We quickly open System Restore and move our pc back to the day before we installed the non functioning software. All is as it was. System Recovery on the other hand is like a rebirth. It wipes our calculating companion of all the accumulated junk, files, pictures, programs and miscellaneous detritus we’ve inadvertently added to our poor pc. When the System Recovery is finished the machine will be the same shiny box it was when we first brought it home. Here is the take away from this. System Restore, earlier time, System Recovery, all is gone but the PC is like a new born babe.
Finally, use a local tech. Much cheaper in the long run.
Court Nederveld owns his own computer consulting and fixit service –Bits, Bytes & Chips Computer Services. He makes house calls in Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte!