Tip: There IS Malware on My Computer – Wichita IT Support

Wichita Computer Support Tip for 6 June 2011

My last post asked the question ‘Is there Malware on my Computer?‘  Who knew that it would be a prophetic article?  This weekend even the seasoned computer tech fell victim to this common curse.  With current antivirus protection and good practices, even veterans contract these dreaded parasites.

Without any prompting, my computer contracted a malware infection over the weekend and required a little bit of advanced removal to fix.  Let’s look at some real-life examples in pictures and descriptions.  If you see anything like this on your own machine, call a professional.  The removal was not simple and anything but easy.

For background, I was surfing the Internet and visited a page professing to have a tool I needed for stress-testing a network (read hacking) to determine if there were any security issues.  Once the page loaded, Internet Explorer 9 shut down and restarted on its own.  Within moments, I was presented with this popup:

Windows Security Service Malware Popup

Windows Security Service Malware Popup

It took a double-take to realize that this was not a message from the operating system.  It looks a lot like the Action Center in Windows 7.  I closed out the message box, already fearing I had trouble.  Another popup followed:

Scareware Malware Screen

Scareware Malware Screen

It looks legitimate, but again is not.  These are my files, all right, but none of them are infected with a virus (except this virus!)  I spent a moment capturing these screens though I knew that I had to get moving on getting it removed.  This screen was followed by this one:

Malware Screen Number Three!

Malware Screen Number Three!

The Register button would have offered me complete removal, probably at the low price of $89.00.

I went to my trusty applications (Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware) and neither of the two would run.  I rebooted to safe mode, to just be presented the same popups.  System restore had been disabled.  I eventually downloaded another application (Combofix) from another computer and ran it on the infected machine.  Several scans later and a half-dozen reboots and I was clean.  The programs installed included downloaders, which are nice little malware applications designed to install even more malware on your machine.

If you see messages like the ones above, give us a call at Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  Though the first two tools above are easy enough for most users, I don’t recommend ComboFix for non-advanced users.  The longer these problems exist on your computer or network, the harder they are to remove.

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Tip: Is there Malware on My Computer? – Wichita IT Support

Wichita IT Support Tip for June 1st, 2011

Is there malware on my computer?  This may sound like an odd question.  Most people are under the impression that they will recognize the symptoms of an infection immediately.  Unless you are in tune with the way your computer runs normally (It sounds very Zen, but is actually something a good computer tech will just feel) your system could be infected and not show the classical signs.  Here are some obvious signs (and some not so obvious) that you might keep in mind:

  •  Popups – Everyone recognizes these, from the networking consultant to the average user.  The web browser will pop open with an ad, even when you aren’t using the web.
  • Sluggishness – A sluggish computer can mean multiple things, but if it comes on suddenly and responsiveness is suffering, it might be a sign of infection.  Not all malware is well written, causing performance to degrade.  The system may also be performing a number of tasks that you don’t want it to be performing (like installing even more malware.)
  • Poor Search Engine Performance – This is a newer variant we’ve been seeing a lot of in the past year.  Go to Google and search for the word test.  The first result should be a site called test.com.  Click on the link to visit the site, then look at your address bar.  Are you at test.com, or are you somewhere else?  If you aren’t at the right site, you could have a search engine redirector installed on your machine.  It reads your searches, then compares it to a list of sites the malware writer can make money from, redirecting you there instead.
  • Frequent Email Problems – If more and more people aren’t getting your email, you may have a problem on your machine.  Some malware installs software that actually send spam from your computer.  The more spam sent, the more likely your system will be blacklisted.  Big companies use spam filters that will block email from known spam locations.  Your legitimate email will be lumped in with the other stuff being sent from your machine.
  • Antivirus Issues – You’re on top of the game and have antivirus installed.  Is it working?  Check the icon, usually in the task tray on the bottom right of the screen.  Hover over it.  Does it give any errors or say it is disabled?  A good bit of malware is designed to break your antivirus software.  Make sure it is still running, but don’t count on it to block everything.

If you have any of these issues, it’s time to do something about them.  The first malware that appears on your machine usually opens the door for others.  Once they get a foothold, performance will continue to suffer as well as security.  With this kind of access to your machine, hackers can gather all sorts of data from your machine.

Call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  We can resolve most of your malware issues without losing data or rebuilding your machine from scratch.  Either remotely or on site, we can clean up your system and restore your optimal performance.  Our technicians are college-educated, certified and familiar with most systems.

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Tip: Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disc

Wichita IT Support Tip for May 25, 2011

Windows 7 has been a pretty solid operating system so far.  Those who have upgraded have generally been happy.  Let’s perform a simple function that may server to keep you happy in the future, if the operating system does come up with problems.

We’re going to use Windows 7 to create a System Repair Disc.  Let’s clarify some terms: This is not what you would think of as a System Restore disc.  It won’t provide a backup of your operating system and data.  The repair disc is simply a tool you or your computer tech can use to help repair your operating system in the event of corruption, or when it won’t boot at all.  This is expecially important if your computer did not come with a Windows 7 DVD.

Create A System Repair Disc

Step 1: Click on the start flag and type ‘backup’ (without quotes) into the search box.

Pulling up the Backup and Restore Options

Pulling up the Backup and Restore Options

Step 2:  Find the Backup and Restore option in the results and click on it.

Backup and Restore Application

Backup and Restore Application

Step 3: Click on the Create a System Repair Disc option.

Choosing the Repair Disc Option

Choosing the Repair Disc Option

Step 4: Put a blank CD or DVD in your drive and choose the correct drive letter. 

Preparing to Burn the Disc

Preparing to Burn the Disc

Click the Create disc button and follow the prompts.

Step 5: Label your disc and store it in a safe place that you’ll remember it!  If your PC is out of site, put the disc in a paper envelope and tape it to the side of the machine.  In case of emergency, let your computer tech know you have it, or be brave and boot to it.  Just be sure you read everything before you click OK.

If you are a small business or individual looking for professional technical support or IT services, give us a call at Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  Withour low support rates starting at $70/hour and no minimum service charges, we can help your company save money on their IT support.  Call to schedule a visit.  We can take the pain out of transitioning to a new IT support company by cutting some of the costs associated t

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Tip: Exploring Internet Explorer 9 – Wichita Computer Support

Wichita Computer Repair Tip For May 24th, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 is the newest version of Microsoft’s ubiquitous browser.  The new interface is clean and crisp, providing a fast browsing interface with the convenient tabbed browsing structure we were introduced to in earlier versions.  With streamlining, though, comes some inconvenience.  Where has everything gone.

The first thing that is missing is the menu bar.  Where did it go?

Open Internet Explorer and you’ll see the address bar on the top alongside the tabs but nothing else.  Hit the ALT key.  The familiar File, Edit, View menu will pop into place temporarily.

Let’s look at some of the convenient features available in those menus by category:

File Menu – New tabs, new sessions and printing options.

Edit Menu – Find on this page will help you find a word or phrase, use CTRL-F as an alternative.

View Menu – Click View – Toolbars – Menu Bar to keep the menu bar in view all the time. Click Zoom to make the page size larger or smaller.

Favorites Menu – Gives similar options and access to your favorites as using the star button on the far right of the screen.  Add and organize your favorite sites.

Tools Menu – The most powerful menu.  Use Delete Browsing History to clear cookies and temporary Internet files. InPrivate Browsing is useful for public or shared computers.  Be assured that your login information to websites is not stored on the computer. Windows Update will take you directly to Microsoft to check your machine for updates.

Help Menu – Use the About Internet Explorer option to get your exact version number when the computer tech asks you for it!

Play around with some of the menu options to see what is available to help you customize Internet Explorer 9 in a way which makes your life easier.

If you have any questions about IE9 or if you’re having any problems that make your computing experience less effective such as malware, popups or simply slowness, call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  We provide support for business and executive users with outstanding service and low IT support rates starting at $70/hour with no minimum service charges.  Our trained computer support technicians can resolve your issues quickly and will take the time to help you understand what went wrong and why.

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Wichita IT Companies – Executive and Small Business Support

Wichita Computer Repair and Maintenance

Proper Technology Solutions is committed to providing the best IT support and maintenance in Wichita.  Our network consultants and computer technicians are college-educated and certified by most major vendors, so you can be sure you will have a knowledgeable, presentable onsite service provider; one you would be proud to employ full-time.

If you’re looking for IT support in Wichita and surrounding areas, give us a call and let us discuss how we can help lower your costs and make your systems run more efficiently and effectively.  Our information technology professionals in Wichita can provide you with the following benefits:

  • One on one or group training – Whether you are looking for full-service software training or just someone to work with you to resolve some questions, we can send an instructor with college-level teaching experience that can help you understand, from beginner to expert.
  • Network monitoring and maintenance – With flexible plans, we can monitor your network, resolving small issues before they become big issues.
  • Onsite repair and installation with no minimums– Stop paying minimum service charges or trip charges for onsite service.  With our low rates starting at $70/hour and no minimum charges, we can save you time and money.
  • Rapid response times– We can respond to your needs rapidly, sending someone onsite the same day, often in as little as an hour.
  • Hardware and software – We can help you with any new equipment purchases or software licensing.  We can also recommend open source products where available, offering you free alternatives to costly annual licensing without losing any features or benefits.
  • Executive IT Support – For your home system or personal machine, trust an executive support specialist.  We can work with all makes and models and all versions of operating systems to keep your home systems running at peak form.
  • Search Engine Optimization – Let us help you get your website to the top of the search engines where your customers are trying to find your business.  We have proven success at keyword targeting, giving you more visibility.

Give us a call today at (316) 337-5628 or on our after-hours support line at (316) 210-7112.  We can schedule a free onsite visit to evaluate your needs and won’t ever pressure you into more technology than you need.

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Tip: Quick Steps – Training Outlook 2010 – Wichita Computer Support

Wichita IT Support Tip for May 19th, 2011

Today’s IT support tip is another quick and easy timesaver in Microsoft Outlook 2011.  Do you perform repetitive tasks in Outlook?  I do.  I often forward messages from my work account to my home account as well as in the past forwarded messages to my manager all the time as an IT consultant.  You can save a couple of steps by using the Quick Steps feature in Microsoft Outlook 2011.

Let’s say you regularly forward email to your team member or to your manager.  Let’s cut out a step by using Quick Steps.

Step 1:  Open Outlook and look for the Quick Steps section along the top:

Quick Steps in Outlook 2010

Quick Steps in Outlook 2010

Let’s use the built in default To Manager shortcut

Step 2: Click the shortcut. You will get an initial setup dialog box to fill out.

Setting up a Quick Step in Outlook 2010

Setting up a Quick Step in Outlook 2010

You can change the name of the Quick Step to appear in the box on the menu bar.  Choose the person you want to forward the email to and click Save.

That’s it.  The next time you use the To Manager shortcut in the Quick Steps section, it will open the highlighted message, already addressed as a forward to the person you entered in Step 2 Above.

If your looking for IT support in Wichita KS or surrounding areas, from full service network monitoring and design to one on one or group training, call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  Our services start at $70/hour with no minimum charges for onsite visits.  Our certified IT consultants are college

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Tip: Training Word 2010 AutoCorrect – Wichita Computer Support

Wichita IT Support Tip for May 17th, 2011

So are you ever typing away in Word and notice that it corrects some of your common spelling mistakes?  This is due to a handy little feature called AutoCorrect.  It picks up mistakes that are made frequently and corrects them on the fly.  Wouldn’t it be nice if it would pick up some of the most common mistakes that only you seem to make?

Let’s train Word to do just that.  Not only can autocorrect fix your mistakes, it can help you with other things as well, as we will see through the course of the tip.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word and click the File option on the ribbon bar, then choose Options.

Word 2010 Options Menu

Word 2010 Options Menu

Step 2: Choose Proofing from the menu and look to the right of the screen for AutoCorrect Options.  Click the button to go to the AutoCorrect Menu.

Word 2010 Autocorrect Settings

Word 2010 Autocorrect Settings

Step 3: Take a look around the options.  The top of your entry list contains some additional helpful tips.  Did you know to insert a Copyright symbol, you could just type (c)? 

Look through the list.  There are some helpful shortcuts.  You’ll also get an idea of some of the words that will be corrected.

Word 2010 Autocorrect Entries

Word 2010 Autocorrect Entries

Step 4:  Let’s add an entry.  I sometimes tend to type ‘Keivn’ instead of my own name.  Let’s teach Word to AutoCorrect that as well.  Just fill in the required boxes above the list and click Add.

Word 2010 Autocorrect - Adding an Entry

Word 2010 Autocorrect - Adding an Entry

That’s it.  The next time I make that common spelling mistake (for me) it will be corrected automatically.

If you are looking for Wichita IT Companies that are affordable, reliable and reponsive, call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628 or our after hours support line at (316) 210-7112.  Let our certified technicians help you resolve your networking issues, from simple desktop support to complex network design and server implementations.  Support starts at just $70/hour with no minimum service charges.

As an IT consultant in Wichita, I started Proper Technology Solutions in order to provide small businesses with a support option that they could afford.  By keeping a low overhead and remembering that customer service is king, we strive to not only keep our clients’ systems running, but also to help them learn to utilize them to their fullest.  Ask us about one on one or group training classes

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IT Support Tip: Windows 7 Snipping Tool – Screen Capture Made Simple

Wichita IT Support Tip for May 13th, 2011

Let’s start at the beginning.  Capturing the screen in Windows serves many purposes.  Sending a screen capture of an error message to your computer tech is something that will make their day.  Using screen captures in tutorials or tips like this one is a great way for your IT person to help people understand a process.  How about a quick overview of screen printing before we talk about the Snipping Tool?

The printscreen button (PrtSc) on your keyboard can be used in two ways.  Tap the button and it apparently does nothing.  Actually, it’s capturing the screen and putting it on your clipboard.  Now you have to do something with it.  Open up word, right-click and paste.  Voila, your screen capture appears.  The other use is to combine the ALT key with PrtSc.  This combination only captures the active window on the screen (whichever is on top!)  Use this combination for your missive to the support tech.  You’ll capture and paste just the error message.

That said, let’s talk about the Snipping Tool.  This Windows 7 tool can be used to further specify exactly what you want to copy off your screen.

Step 1: Open the Snipping Tool by going to the start flag and starting to type the name in the Search box.

Using the Search Bar

Using the Search Bar

The display will then give you matching programs:

Results of the Search

Results of the Search

Step 2: Open the Snipping Tool

Windows 7 Snipping Tool

Windows 7 Snipping Tool

Step 3: Follow the simple instructions.  Draw a box around whatever on the screen you want to capture.  I want an nice picture of the Start Flag.  I click and hold, dragging from the top left of an imaginary box around the item to the bottom right.  When I let go of the button, it will show me my Snipping.

Snipping Results

Snipping Results

Step 4: Use the menu buttons to save your file!

If your business is looking for an IT consultant, network designer or just someone to sit down with and help you learn what you need to know, call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  Our certified consultants and computer techs can assist you with all your needs.  IT support in Wichita and surrounding areas with low rates starting at $70/hour with no minimum fees.

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Tip: Get Updates From Your Favorite Blogs With RSS in Outlook 2010

Wichita Computer Support Tip for May 11th, 2011

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  What it means is less important that what it can do for you.  Using the simple RSS reader in Office, you can receive updates from your favorite blogs right to your Outlook daily.

Before we take the time to show how to set it up, let’s see the end result:

RSS Feed in Outlook

RSS Feed in Outlook

The daily updates to the blog (this one) come in as email messages.  They give a short excerpt of the post and provide you with a link to visit the full entry.  This saves you the time of checking the website every day to see if the topic interests you.

Interested?  Let’s set it up.  This will work for most RSS enabled blogs, just look for the RSS icon:

RSS Icon

RSS Icon


Step 1: Find the RSS Feed address for the blog by clicking on the RSS icon.  Copy the address in the address bar of your browser. For this example, we’re using: http://feeds.feedburner.com/propertechnologysolutions

Step 2: Open Outlook and look for the RSS Feeds folder in the folder list.

RSS Folder in Outlook 2010

RSS Folder in Outlook 2010

Step 3: Right-Click the Folder and choose Add a New RSS Feed and paste the address in the box.

Adding the RSS Address

Adding the RSS Address

The next box will ask if you know and trust the site you will be reading.  Click Yes (use your own judgment).

When you expand the RSS folder, you will see the feed listed like a normal Outlook folder containing items.  Each will have a brief snippet and a link.  When you see a topic that interests you, follow through to the website.

Computer Networking In Wichita KS

If you’re looking for IT support or networking services in Wichita or surrounding areas, call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  Our trained consultants can provide you with outstanding service at rates starting at $70/hour with no minimum charges.  Unhappy with your current IT Service provider?  Let us talk to you about how we can ease the transition by providing technicians to come onsite at no charge to you to ‘learn’ how your systems work so you won’t receive a bill for our learning curve.

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IT Companies in Wichita – How are We Different?

At an event last week I was discussing the IT industry and Proper Technology Solutions.  The person I was with asked a valid question:  What makes you different from other IT Consulting Services?

I started listing things and decided I would transcribe the bullet points into a blog post, as others might have the same questions.

Wichita IT Consulting – Proper Technology Solutions

Here are the key ingredients that make us stand out from the rest:

  • College Educated Staff with Industry Certifications – The IT support professional that comes to your place of business or helps you over the phone will have a college degree in a related field.  To keep that knowledge fresh and up to date with current technology, our technicians are required to be certified by major industry organizations like Dell, Microsoft and Cisco.
  • Professional and Personal Support – We take ownership of your IT service.  By striving to reduce your costs and provide you with the most efficient and cost effective computer network, we hope to help you grow your business.  Our friendly, knowledgeable techs will be someone you will be happy to have at your business, even if the system they are working on is customer-facing.
  • Significantly Lower Service Costs – By keeping our overhead low, we are able to pass lower costs to our customers.  Our standard service rate is $70/hour which is half the rate of some of our competitors.  We provide the same quality network services as the bigger companies as most of us worked at the bigger companies at one time.
  • NO Minimum Service Charges – This is the bullet most of our customers appreciate the most.  By eliminating the industry-standard two hour minimum charge for onsite visits, we are allowing our customers to get their systems back up and running in a timely manner.  Customers have told me that they have had a system outage, then waited until another computer went down before calling their old IT support company in order to justify the minimum charge.  Some quick math:  A tech comes onsite to repair a system.  It takes 30 minutes to get things back up and running.  The bill?  One of our competitors, $120/hour x 2 hour minimum = $240.  Proper Technology Solutions, $70/hour x 1/2 hour = $35. 
  • Cost-Cutting Solutions – What would you say if we could help you eliminate some of the annual software costs your company pays?  We can replace expensive software with Open Source products that have the same features and useability without reducing functionality.  For small businesses, this can mean substantial savings over the years.

Let us find out how we can save you money by becoming your IT services provider.  Call us today at (316) 337-5628 and schedule a free onsite visit to evaluate your network.  For larger companies, we can discuss options to make your transition to a new support team e

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