F.A.Q.

Q. I can't get into my computer! All of a sudden I have a screen telling me that the FBI wants me to send them $300 dollars as a fine for doing something wrong with my computer. HELP!

A. This is a scam.

Someone is trying to trick you using a virus from a booby trapped website  Do not send them any money.

This virus is fairly easy to clean up with the correct tools. The longest part is double checking to make sure that nothing else in in your system

Q. All of a sudden, when I turned my computer on, nothing happened. No Lights, no sounds. Nothing. (well, maybe the fan is working) I'm in a panic. What do I do?

A. Don't Panic. What has usually happened is that the Power Supply in the Computer has stopped working. 

If this is the case, then You probably have not lost any of your valuable business or personal information. All of your files are probably OK. The Power Supply will have to be replaced. This is the most common option.

If you have a modern computer you will have a newer style power supply. These are relatively easy to replace.

Sometimes, with an older system, the parts are proprietary.

While you can order parts, if they are not availble, or if the wait would be too long, then you may have to replace the case, or replace the computer with a refurbished model. Sometimes with very old computers it makes more sense to simply replace the computer with a new one.

A replacement case can run $50  to $125 dollars or more, while a refurbished computer will run $125 to $200

Often, you can get a good deal on a new computer case, which includes a decent power supply. If you have a small case with all kinds of cables and wire stuffed tightly inside, you mighrt want to check out this option. Microcenter, for example sells a decent case by Antec for around 70 dollars, and this gives you a lot more flexibilty. Of course, all of the old parts like the main board, etc into the new case. The point is that while you are paying for a new supply, you may be able to do yourself a favor by setting up a slightly larger box as well. This is mostly a matter of taste.

The worst case scenario is replace and upgrade both the case and the main board. The other parts, like CD Roms, your hard drive, etc will get moved into the new case. 

Other problems, like bad software, etc. would have to be fixed as part of a separate diagnosis. The first step is to get the computer running so that you can get at your files. The second would be to sort out any issues that are discovered after the system is able to start, such as software issues, internet problems, etc.