Fix Security Certificate Error

Sometimes you encounter a ‘security certificate error’ on your system while trying to log in to your email account or playing a video over the Internet. It may seem something serious, but fret not, this article extract tells you how to fix security certificate error.
If you encounter a security certificate error while using a website and wish to ignore the error and continue, avoid revealing any confidential information to that website.
Suppose you are trying to book a movie ticket online, and just before you enter your credit card details, a security certificate error gets displayed. Getting a security error message while trying to access a website where you plan to furnish personal or credit card details can be a cause for concern. First and foremost, check the time settings on your Security Certificate Errorcomputer. Inaccurate time settings can be a likely cause for this error. In case of incorrect settings, set the system time to the correct time. Websites have their system time settings. If this timing doesn’t match your computer’s system settings, a security certificate error is likely to pop up.

A computer contains a CMOS chip, whose main function is to store the system time. If this chip corrupts, its stored data is lost. This resets the system date and timing back to the default timing, which in turn causes the certificate error.

To resolve this issue, ensure that you update the system time as per the daylight saving time. Another option is to synchronize the system date and time with the Internet time. Although this error annoys almost everyone who encounters it, resolving it is quite simple.

How to Fix Security Certificate Error in Internet Explorer

Step 1: Click on Internet Options ➜ Advanced Tab
Step 2: Scroll down to ‘Security’ option in the Internet Options window.
Step 3: Uncheck ‘Check for publisher’s certificate revocation’ and ‘Check for server certificate revocation’.
Step 4: Click on Apply ➜ OK, to apply the settings.
Step 5: Restart Internet explorer.

How to Fix Security Certificate Error in Google Chrome

Step 1: Click on ‘Customize and Control Google Chrome’ button ➜ Settings
Step 2: Scroll down and click on HTTPS/SSL ➜ Manage certificates
Step 3: Certificates window opens up ➜ Select the certificates to be imported ➜ Click on Import button.
Step 4: Restart the browser for the changes to take effect.

How to Fix Security Certificate Error in Mozilla Firefox

Step 1: Click on ‘Open Menu’ ➜ Options.
Step 2: Options window opens up ➜ Click on Certificates.
Step 3: Click on View Certificates button.
Step 4: Certificate Manager window opens up, which consists of the certificate names listed.
Step 4: Select the required certificate ➜ Click on Import button.
Step 5: Restart the browser for the changes to reflect.

Steps for Setting System Date/Time

Step 1: Right click on the date time function in the system tray.
Step 2: Click on Adjust Date/Time.
Step 3: Date and Time window opens up. Click on ‘Change Date and Time’.
Step 4: Date and Time Settings window opens up. Select the correct date and time. ➜ Click on Ok.
Step 5: The system time can be set to be sync with Internet time server too.

Examples of Security Certificate Error

Error I
– There is a problem with this website’s security certificate.
– The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid.

Error II
– Security certificate problems may indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server.
– We recommend that you close this web page and do not continue to this website.
– Click here to close this web page.
– Continue to this website (not recommended).
– More information

Error III
– The site’s security certificate is not trusted!
– You attempted to reach, but the server presented a certificate issued by an entity that is not trusted by your computer’s operating system. This may mean that the server has generated its own security credentials, which Chrome cannot rely on for identity information, or an attacker may be trying to intercept your communications.

Precautions to Be Taken

✦ Check if your system’s date and time are set correctly. If not, change them to the correct date-time settings.
✦ Check if the certificate has gone obsolete.
✦ Check the URL in the browser address bar, if this error pops up, while you are trying to open a website. If it doesn’t match the desired URL, retype the website address in the address bar.
✦ Check the security settings of your browser. Browsers security settings can disable websites from opening.

Security certificate errors can easily be solved if the problem persists at our end. However, if these errors appear due to incorrect time settings at website’s end, this problem needs to be addressed to the website. Now that you know how to get rid of security certificate errors, fix the one that pops up on your computer.

What is Cyber Insurance

The use of Internet and information technology has helped small and large businesses to a great extent. They have made their work a lot more easy from what it used to be a few years ago. Even though companies are reaping their benefits, they are exposed to many risks associated with them. The greatest loss to any business in the loss of valuable information. According to research conducted by Poneman Institute, 85% business organizations have suffered losses due to breach in data security. Furthermore, a survey conducted by the FBI suggests that 64% companies suffered huge monetary losses because of hackers in the year 2005. This is why, businesses have now realized the importance of cyber insurance and have started making use of it.

The Product
It is a product like any other insurance policy, that is brought by businesses to protect themselves from risks involved with Internet and information technology. Such risks are not covered under commercial liability policies which is why, the need of such an insurance comes into picture. It provides cover for losses due to hacking, denial of service attacks, destruction or loss of data, etc. Protective measures like anti-spam systems, virus protection, etc., fail at some point in time as they are not 100% foolproof. After a security breach, businesses need to restore their information systems, clean up infected files, etc., due to which they fail to continue their business for quite some time. All this calls for a lot of expenditure in times when they are not making money. At such instances, this coverage supports them to take care of their financial needs.

Coverage Offered
This insurance product provides coverage for liabilities that might arise due to web content and media, private and secure customer information, threat against computer systems and website, business interruption, and recovery of information technology infrastructure. Any loss or financial expenditure occurring due to these events is covered under the policy and claim can be made to make up the losses.

Associated Benefits
First and the most important benefit of cyber insurance is that in case of a security breach, it acts as a funding resource to cover up the losses and bring back businesses to normal working, without raising the need of government assistance. Secondly, it evenly distributes the risks among companies by charging high premiums from the ones having higher risk of such instances, while charging less from businesses with little risk. Lastly, it indirectly encourages businesses to adopt good security measures like tracking website visitors, etc., because companies with poor security systems need to pay higher premiums.

Associated Problems
Despite the benefits, there are some problems associated with this kind of insurance. One is that, insurance companies do not have sufficient actuarial data as this product is recently developed by the insurance industry. Because of this, insurers fail to estimate the amount of premium that must be charged so that in case of an event, the insurer has enough finance for claim settlement. Secondly, insurers fear “cyber-hurricanes”. This is a term used for situations when excessive number of claims arise due to a security breach. Such situations are difficult to manage by the insurer and may drain them out completely.

Premium Charged
Like other insurance products, the premium charged depends on the coverage amount and the risks involved. Typically, for $1 million coverage, the premium charged is $3,500 with a deductible of $5,000. This amount is not fixed and may vary depending on the insurer and the time of issuance of the policy. The amount of premium charged is higher for business with relatively poor security measures as compared to the ones who are better equipped.

No matter how stringent a company’s security measures are, it always has some kind of threat. To save themselves from financial crunch during such untoward situations, many companies are now opting for cyber insurance. It is true that this product is a costly affair nowadays, but it will gradually become simpler and cheaper as more and more insurance companies will start offering this product in the market.

How to Prevent Email Bombing

Email bombing is the process of sending large number of mails into someone’s mailbox, with an intent to affect the operating system of a computer or a network. It is also termed as email flooding, as the targeted mailbox is flooded with a barrage of mails. When your mailbox is flooded with unwanted and junk emails, your mailbox capacity will get exhausted and you won’t be able to receive any mails further. This action prevents you from reading the legitimate mails. It can even be used to completely overload any company’s mail server. It is done intentionally with an intent to affect the DOS (Disk Operating System) of a computer.

The intensity of email bombing can also result in crashing of the operating system and the mail servers. It has the capacity to consume the whole system. By limiting the user quota to a certain capacity, it can help to restrict its overflow. The hacker aims to shut down the website of a victim, by sending email bombs. The first known incident of email bombing was done by Tamil guerrilla groups against the Sri Lankan government. Tamil guerrillas swamped the system of Sri Lankan embassies with an email containing the message ~ “We are the Internet Black Tigers and we’re doing this to disrupt your communications”.

Causes of Email Bombing

Overloading of the network connection
Loss of connectivity
Denial of service
Consumption of all system resources
Syslog entries

Preventive Measures

Use Proxy Servers
If the email bombs are incoming from many IP addresses, it’s difficult to spam and filter each and every mail from those addresses. In this case, employing proxy servers will help to minimize the problem. The computers in a particular network, will be connected to a proxy server, which is another computer. The client computers request for information and resources of other computers, to the proxy server. The proxy server addresses the request and sends the information, after filtering the messages which is done according to the filtering rules of the proxy. It checks for malware content and filters the messages from suspicious IP addresses and protocols before transmitting it to its clients. In this way, proxy servers, protect the network and also take on the complexity of the computer networks.

Monitor Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a method of authenticating the exchange of messages that are transmitted or received across the Internet protocols. The clients in the network use Post Office Protocol (POP) or the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), of their system to access their mailbox. The Mail Submission Agent, sends a mail or transfers any information to the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA), through SMTP. The MTA connects to the SMTP and then analyzes the mail exchange record and the IP address of the sender, and then only accepts the message. Security mechanisms such as authentication and negotiation are processed during the exchange of data. Internet Engineering Task Force (IRTF), is working on the authentication process and finding ways to strengthen this system, as the complexity of the system is growing rapidly.

Use Mail Filter Applications
Filter packages are exclusionary schemes that are used to filter the mails according to the source addresses. For windows and Mac OS computers, I have listed some filter package tools below.

Mail Siphon (Mac OS)
Musashi (Mac OS)
Email Chomper (Windows 95/85/NT)
Spam Buster (Windows 9x/ ME/ NT/ XP/ 2000)
SpamKiller (Windows 9x/ ME/ NT/ XP/ 2000)

How Can You Do Against Email Bombing?

Identification: If your system becomes sluggish or if you are not able to send or receive mails, it could be because your mailer is trying to process many number of mails.
If you find an email bomb, configure your router using your Network Service Provider, after identifying itssource.
Update the current version of your email delivery software.
Spamming the emails may also help to some extent. But it is never the permanent solution.
Prevention: Configure your mail handling system and firewall, properly. Most importantly, don’t propagate the problem by replying to the spammed mails.

Examples of Email Bombs and their Filenames

Anyway, it won’t help you to prevent email bombers from attacking your computers, but if you are running a network having multiple users, then you can check these filenames in the hard disk drives of your network and thereby you can prevent your users from attacking other computers by email bombing. Take a look at the list.

Email Bomb Filename
Gatemail gatemail.c
Ghost Mail
The Windows Email Bomber
Unix Mailbomber mailbomb.c
The Unabomber,
Up Yours,
Serpent (Linux)

Identifying the IP address from which the email bomb is received and directly contacting the postmaster is also an effective way to prevent it. They can also lead to malfunctioning of the mail servers and also results in denial of service. One such case occurred when a hacker bombed the systems in Monmouth University in New Jersey, which caused temporary halt of the whole mail server.

There are many instances of email bombing, one of which even affected the NATO computers in the year 1988. The whole network of The Institute of Global Communications (IGC), was attacked by email bombers for creating the online publication of Euskal Herria journal, for supporting and writing about Basque separatist movement, which was very active during the time. One thing to be kept in mind is, these are just preventive measures. There is no permanent solution to completely getting rid of email bombs.

Internet Security

Internet security is a term that refers to methods aimed at protecting data and personal information from unauthorized access. Considering the worldwide usage of the Internet, security on this platform is an important issue. Netizens need to be well aware of the problems associated with online security.

Internet Security Measures

Here’s an overview of the most important security measures and technologies widely implemented over the Internet. Implementing one or more of these methods will go a long way in securing your data online.

Data Encryption: Encryption is wrapping up or converting the original information into an unintelligible form that can only be decoded using a certain method. The encrypted form is called cipher text.

Password Usage: Passwords are used to prevent illegal access to networks to secure the entire system as a whole. Construction of passwords should be in a way that the other people do not easily guess it. Alphanumeric passwords with symbols used in between can be harder to crack.

Firewalls: A firewall is a software that filters illegitimate access in a network. It should be properly configured and has to be combined with a proxy firewall to build a secure system.

Backing up Data: Regular data backup of a system is an essential that can help retrieve data in the event of a system crash. If the computer suddenly crashes or the operating system fails to boot due to a virus attack, the data backup can really come in handy.

Using Antivirus Software: Computers may be affected by viruses, trojans, worms etc. due to some infected files downloaded from the Internet. These viruses are nothing but programs that install themselves and operate whenever the host programs run, causing malicious attacks.

The viruses either replicate or implement a function that affects the system files of the computer, leading to corruption of the operating system, in some cases. These viruses can be removed by using antivirus software that detects and removes them, to heal the system. These software programs run in the background, along with other programs to prevent malicious attacks.

Avoiding Baleful Links: People can prevent their system from getting affected by a virus, by avoiding clicking on unnecessary links, often mediated via emails and websites. Certain links may lead to file downloads unexpectedly. These pose a security risk to your computer, and hence should be avoided.

Routers with Encryption Facility: Using routers with in-built encryption technology can secure your your wireless Internet connection and prevent snooping by external sources.

Preventing Spyware: Several software programs pose a threat to Internet security. The software that runs along with other applications, without the permission of a user, gathering information and sending it to hackers through the internet, is known as spyware. Another software called ad-ware works similar to spyware. In addition, it pops up advertisements during Internet access and increases the CPU cycles, slowing down the computer. Antivirus software, with inbuilt antispyware or adware removal functionality, can be of great help in preventing such intrusions.

Using antivirus and antivirus software alone will not prevent the intrusion of viruses. Personal caution is also required while using Internet. Unwanted sites and potentially harmful links have to be avoided. Automatic updates should be enabled for the antivirus software, so that it is up-to-date in terms of known virus threats. All this will greatly enhance the security level of your system.

Network Security Options

It is possible to divide network security into two general classes: methods used to protect data as it transits a network, and methods which control which packets may transit the network. While both drastically affect the traffic going to and from a site, their aims are quite different.

1. Transit Security
There are no systems in use which keep data secure as it transits a public network. There are a number of methods available to encrypt traffic between sites. Two general approaches are as follows:

Virtual Private Networks
It constructs a private network by using TCP/IP to support the lower levels of a second TCP/IP stack. In a encapsulate form, IP traffic is sent across various forms of physical networks. Each system that attaches to the physical network implements a standard for sending IP messages over that link. Standards for IP packet transmission across various types of links exist, and the most common are Ethernet and Point-to-Point links. Once an IP packet is received it is given to higher layers of the TCP/IP stack for processing.

When a virtual private network is designed, the lowest levels of the TCP/IP protocol are developed using an existing TCP/IP connection. There are a variety of ways to achieve this which trade-off between abstraction and efficiency. This provides a benefit in terms of secure data transfer, as a VPN allows complete control over the physical layer. It is completely within the network designer’s power to encrypt the connection at the physical layer. By allowing this, all traffic over the VPN will be encrypted whether it is at the application layer or at the lowest layers of the stack. The primary benefits of VPNs are that they offer private address space, and also provide packet encryption or translation overhead to be done on dedicated systems, reducing the load placed on production machines.

Packet Level Encryption
Another way is to encrypt traffic at a higher layer in the TCP/IP stack. Many methods are present for the secure authentication and encryption of Telnet and rlogin sessions, which are examples of encryption at the highest level of the stack (the application layer). The benefits of encrypting traffic at the higher layer are that the processor overhead of dealing with a VPN is reduced, compatibility with current applications is not affected, and it is much easier to compile a client program that supports application layer encryption, than to build a VPN.

The above methods have a performance impact on hosts that implement the protocols, and on the networks that connect to those hosts. The easiest way of encapsulating or converting a packet into a new form requires CPU-time and uses additional network capacity. Encryption is a CPU-intensive process, and encrypted packets need to be padded to uniform length to warranty the robustness of some algorithms. Further, both methods have impacts on other areas that require to be considered before any choice is made as to which is best for a particular case.

2. Traffic Regulation
The most common form of network security on the Internet is traffic regulation. If packets which do something malicious to a remote host never get there, the remote host will remain unaffected. Traffic regulation offers a screen between hosts and remote sites. This happens at three basic areas: routers, firewalls, and hosts. Each offers similar service at different points in the network.

a. Router Traffic Regulation
Any traffic regulation that takes place on a router or terminal server is based on packet characteristics. This does not contain application gateways but does contain address translation.

b. Firewall Traffic Regulation
By applying gateways, traffic regulation or filtering is performed.

c. Host Traffic Regulation
Traffic regulation is performed at the destination of a packet. In traffic regulation, hosts are playing a smaller role with the advent of filtering routers and firewalls.

Filters and Access Lists
Regulating packet flow between two sites is a fairly simple concept on the surface. For any router or firewall, it isn’t difficult to decide simply not to forward all packets from a particular site. A few basic techniques are:

i. Restricting Access In but Not Out
All packets are sent to destination UDP or TCP sockets. From remote hosts, packets will attempt to reach one of the well-known ports. These ports are observed by applications which offer services, such as Mail Transfer, Delivery, Usenet News, time, Domain Name Service, and various login protocols. It is unimportant for modern routers or firewalls only to permit these types of packets through to the specific machine that offers a given service. Attempts to send any other type of packet will not be allowed. This protects the internal hosts but still permits all packets to get out.

ii. The Problem of Returning Packets
Unless remote users use a secure, encrypting application such as S/Key they cannot log into your system. Using Telnet or FTP, users can connect to remote sites. Restrict remote connections to one type of packet, and permit any type of outgoing connection. Due to the nature of interactive protocols, they must consult a unique port number to use once a connection is established.

Modern routers and firewalls support the ability to dynamically open a small window for these packets to pass through, if packets have been recently transmitted from an internal host to the external host on the same port. This permits connections that are initiated internally to connect and denies external connection attempts unless they are desired.

iii. Dynamic Route Filters
When a particular set of circumstances occur, a new recent technique offers the ability to dynamically add entire sets of route filters for a remote site. Using these techniques, it is possible that routers automatically detect suspicious activity and deny a machine or entire site access for a short time. In many cases, this will prevent any sort of automated attack on a site.

Filters and access lists took place on all three types of systems, although they are most common on routers.

There are two types of network security: transit security and traffic regulation, which when combined can help warranty that the right information is securely transported to the right place. It should be clear that there is a requirement for ensuring that the hosts that receive the information will properly process it, this lifts up the entire specter of host security: a wide area which varies tremendously for each system. With the growth in the business use of the Internet, network security is rapidly becoming vital to the development of the Internet. Security will become integral part of our day-to-day use of the Internet and other networks.

Troubleshooting Computer Speaker Problems

You are in a mood to listen to your favorite music CD or DVD. You start your computer, put on the speakers, play the DVD, and it won’t work. This will certainly be the cause of a lot of irritation for you. There are many problems that may occur in our desktop computer, and the speakers not working is one of them. For troubleshooting problems related to the speakers, you need to perform some very simple checks. The problems can be related to power connection and supply, sound card, or simply the speakers gone bad.

Firstly, you need to check if there is actually a problem in the speakers. They can be times when the computer settings are at fault, like the volume controls and audio setup. The best way to make sure if the problem lies with the speakers is to use the speakers on a different PC or laptop computer. If they work fine, then your computer has some problem. But if they don’t, then you need to take the steps for troubleshooting your computer speakers.

Check Power Connection
If the computer speakers are not working, you need to make sure if they are properly connected to the power switch. Typically, home theater speakers and other portable computer speakers have an LED light that turns on when the speakers are connected to the power source. Check if the light is on, and if it is not, remove the power connection, and plug it back again.

Check Speaker Connection
Another reason is the individual speakers not connected properly to the sub-woofer, or the portable ones not properly connected to the back of the CPU. If you are using home theater speakers, check if every individual speakers is appropriately connected to the back of the main sub-woofer. Remove all the connections and plug them back again. But before getting the connections out, make sure that you know exactly in which format to connect the individual speakers to the sub-woofer. In case of portable speakers, simply remove the connection from the back of the CPU and put it back again.

Check Volume Settings
If the speakers are not playing audio or video, you need to check the volume settings on the computer, as well as on the speakers. On a PC, with Windows operating system, the volume can be adjusted by clicking on ‘Start’, ‘All Programs’, ‘Accessories’, ‘Entertainment’, and then ‘Volume Control’. Also check if the volume is totally muted. If yes, uncheck the ‘Mute’ option. Set the PC and the speaker volume to a suitable level.

Check Sound Card Functionality
There are also times when the sound card may get corrupt. If you have a doubt regarding improper working of the sound card, you can check by connecting another set of speakers to the computer. If the new speakers do not work, then the sound card is at fault. This check can also be performed by using headphones, instead of separate speakers.

If all the above mentioned troubleshooting steps do not work, then probably the speakers themselves have gone defunct. In this case, you would need to call the dealer and get the speakers repaired or replaced.

How to Fix Blue Screen of Death

The blue screen of death (BSoD) is a problem that occurs in the Windows operating system. This problem can be simply described as a problem which Windows finds difficult to overcome, and hence crashes, causing the BSoD. This problem occurs mainly when Windows gets affected by a hardware, software, or driver error, which results in this infamous screen.

Fixing the Blue Screen of Death
The problem, if minor in nature, can be solved by just restarting the system. Serious problems, however, need proper diagnosis and all operations are halted by Windows till this problem gets fixed. The factors causing this problem could be numerous; one should narrow down the search to find the source of this problem. Solving/fixing problems which are serious in nature requires professional help. This is because the error messages associated with blue screen of death problem can only be understood by those having sufficient knowledge and experience.

Windows XP
The following steps would help in dealing with the problem in most cases; if not, an expert technician needs to be consulted.

Removing New Installations
A newly installed hardware could be the cause of the blue screen of death. A simple step that one can undertake to check if this is the problem is to remove new installations. If the system works properly after the removal of these installations, it becomes easy to understand the problem and proceed further.

Virus Scan in Safe Mode
If the activity of removal of new installations doesn’t sort out the problem, one should try scanning the system in safe mode. A spyware scan too needs to be performed along with the virus scan.

Last Known Good Configuration
If the problem is not solved even after undertaking the above measures, the option of running the system in the ‘last known good configuration’ should be used. If even this does not work, then the problem is more serious, and might require expert help.

Online Search
Searching for help on the basis of error codes is one more option. The Internet provides information about how to deal with specific problems. Online discussion forums could also prove to be a good source of information.

In most cases, the above steps should be helpful in overcoming the problem. Usually, new installations, outdated drivers, and even heating issues can be the main culprits behind the annoying blue screen. Most simple problems can be solved with a restart, while uninstalling newly installed hardware can help in other cases. If these steps are not providing you with a solution, it is better to call in an expert, who will be able to get to the root of the problem.

Windows Vista
The procedure of fixing a BSoD in Windows Vista is more or less similar to that of Windows XP. Let us understand the steps which can be taken to deal with this problem. One can try the method of inserting the Vista DVD in the drive and then booting it. The option of ‘Repair Your Computer’ should be selected in the process. The next step in this process would be to select ‘Startup Repair’ from ‘System Recovery Options’.

There is one more way to deal with this problem in Windows Vista. The ‘Automatic Restart on Fatal Error’ option should be turned off so as to retain the error message long enough to read. This error message can be then be googled to obtain the solution for this problem. Chances are high that someone else has already suffered from the problem, and has posted the solution online. In that case, before you spend money calling in an expert, searching online for solutions is a good idea. However, one also needs to remember that some solutions are posted by experts themselves, and if you have no software or hardware knowledge, it is always advisable to call in the experts.

The blue screen of death is an all too familiar occurrence for people using Windows, and knowing how to fix it can save you not only time, but also money. However, it must be kept in mind that these solutions would only be of help if the problem is minor, and serious problems will still require the help of a professional. All the best!

How to Start Your Own Computer Repair Business

There are a few important points to consider before starting a computer repair business. You must set the right price for your service. Time is money, and you will probably charge by the hour. You must
identify your clientele by deciding whether you want to sell your services to businesses or to private individuals! Next, you will need to find a niche, so that you can specialize in a particular sector of the market. You may also have to make a decision to quit your day job to be able to run your business full time. If you don’t have any background in the field of finance, you might even have to employ an accountant to record your transactions.

If you have pondered over and decided on the above mentioned points, you are well on your way towards becoming a businessman. However, successfully establishing and running a computer repair business will require you to take care of a number of other significant details too. Presented below are a few tips that can help you in doing this.

Tips on Starting a Computer Repair Business

1) Market Your Business Well
To establish a good customer base, you should market your business well. This can be done by sending mails or by distributing flyers. You can also promote it over the Internet, through SEO (search engine optimization) or by sending emails.

2) Highlight Your Technical Proficiency
Highlight the credentials of technicians working under you, so that clients are assured that the ‘techies can do their job well. Also make sure that their technical skills are up-to-date. You should train your workers well, and also encourage them to get certifications, such as the CompTIA A+. Before interviewing candidates for a job in your organization, make them fill an application form in which they need to list their technology-related skills, so that you know what questions to ask them in order to evaluate their technical proficiency.

3) Hire Employees With Good People Skills
In a computer repair business, there will be a direct interaction between your employees and clients. If the people working under you are able to establish a good rapport with your clientele, it will significantly help boost your business. Hence, you must try and hire employees who have good social skills, and even train them to improve at it.

4) Gain the Client’s Trust
To gain the trust of your clients, first and foremost, you will need to be able to do a good and transparent repair job. Many computers have the user’s Social Security Number, credit card numbers, and other sensitive and private information stored in them. It will be your job to assure them that their data will be safe with you.

5) Work From Home
You can run your business from home itself. For example, your garage could be used as your office cum workplace. This will help you save money, as you won’t have to lease space for your business. With the question of workspace out of the way, all you need to start a business are few desktop computers, and some cabinets or shelves to store all the tools and instruments that you’ll require for your repair work.

6) Diagnostic Fees and Pricing
You can charge a diagnostics fee to test the hardware and software of your client’s computer. As an act of good faith, you can refund the diagnostics fee if you are unable to figure out the problem. After you have determined what the issue is, you can give a written estimate, so that you and your client can agree on the final cost.

7) Repair Over the Internet
If the problem is purely software-related, you can repair your client’s computer by remote access over the Internet. This can be achieved by connecting to the client’s computer online, and controlling it remotely, while the client watches you repair it.

8) Offer On-site Repair Facility
You can provide an on-site computer repair service. This will probably help in increasing your business, as many people would prefer a computer repair service that is provided to them at home, rather than having to go through the trouble of disconnecting and bring their computers to your repair shop.

9) Buy a Franchisee
You will be competing with the likes of Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and big companies such as RadioShack and CompUSA. However, you will have an advantage over these national stores, because you will be focusing at the local level. Some established businesses outsource their PC repair services and maintenance to local companies, while others let you but a franchise of theirs. These are a good ways to start a business, as marketing would become much easier when working under the umbrella of an established and well-known brand name. Among the good companies offering their franchises are Fast-teks and Computer Troubleshooters. You can also buy computer parts from an online retailer such as Newegg, or an auction site such as eBay.

10) Become a Data Doctor
One of the common occurrences in the world of personal computers is hard disk crashes. People usually store a ton of their important data on their computers, without thinking twice or considering backing it up, until the storage device stops working. So, you can consider becoming a drive saver or a data doctor who can recover clients’ data when their hard disk crashes.

Thus, you can go ahead and start you own computer repair business by keeping in mind all the important points mentioned in this article. If you play all the cards right, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to run your business successfully.

How to Choose a Home PC Repair Service

Suddenly find yourself in a situation where your PC isn’t working? Can’t seem to fix it? And you have tried everything from defragmentation to deleting temporary Internet files, but it still won’t do much for you. You could either have some kind of hardware problem, or a virus in your computer; the bottom line is you do not know what to do and you need to get some urgent work done.

You wouldn’t find yourself in such a bind if you had a PC repair service at your beck and call. So why didn’t you think of getting one before? Probably because you thought you could handle all of it yourself. Well, my friend, there are some technical details that even you don’t know.

Important Things To Consider Before Choosing a Home PC Repair Service

Meet with a computer consultant from a computer service agency and talk to him. If he tries to confuse you with technical jargon, then he is not worth choosing. Look for someone who can simplify and explain the problem to you in layman’s terms. You should also feel comfortable with your repair service ‘guy’, and also gage whether he has your best interests at heart.
Look for a consultant who is willing to listen to you, your problems, and your needs before shooting off solutions to you. The reason you are using this service is so that the person can understand and do what you want them to do, and offer you the best advice and solutions.
Always check for references before choosing a computer repair service. A friend may have referred you to a particular service, or you could have randomly picked it out of the yellow pages; irrespective of that you have to always check for references. Call up about three of their customers and ask if they were satisfied, what kind of service they got, and how everything worked out for them. Based on the answers you get, you can make a choice.
Find out about vendor-consultant relationships. Most computer repair consultants or service agencies will have some kind of tie with vendors that will help them in their work. This could be beneficial to you as a customer.
Check for the agency’s objectivity. Do they have an underlying agenda in recommending a particular product, or are they doing so in your best interest.
Find out about the kind of replacements the computer service agency will offer in the event that they are unable to send anyone for your PC repair. Do they have a tie up with another service for such cases? It is important that you look into details.
Check the rates that these agencies are charging. Are they at par with other agencies or do they seem exorbitant to you? Do not be fooled by an hourly or daily rate, ask for complete rates.
Check for memberships and computer training that do matter at the end of the day. Good agencies should have some kind of membership with computer associations such as the ICCA. The ICCA membership ensures the customer of high business standard and professional liability insurance. Also, the ICCA allows for reference checks to be conducted by the customer. Where training is concerned, it is important that the consultant be trained specifically in computer repairs.

So, the next time you find yourself stuck in a situation where your printer isn’t working, or the monitor doesn’t turn on, you need not go into a state of panic. Just pick up the phone and call your repair service, that you took such pains to choose and employ.

Tips for Buying a Webcam

When it comes to electronics shopping, one cannot depend on instincts, price or trends. Today’s trend can end up being tomorrow’ bust. Plus callbacks and product returns can happen to any gadget. Pricing is often misleading. You can end up paying a lot more than necessary for something which could be replaced tomorrow. With electrical devices, one needs to be well-versed in specs. Specs or specifications can help you understand whether that device is right for you in the first place.

A camera with a low resolution is of no use to a nature photographer, who needs detailed images. Similarly a high-end camera with enhanced zoom, is not the device for your average soccer mom. One such ambiguous device is the webcam. Capturing video and transmitting it online for someone somewhere else to view is the webcameras basic function. But when buying a webcam, there are certain specs and points to keep in mind. Read on to learn how to pick the best webcam for your PC.

5 Tips for Buying a Webcam

1. Buy Based on Hardware
Based on what they are going to be connected to, webcams can be differently designed. Most laptops nowadays have a built-in webcam but older laptops and some budget models do not. So for laptops, the webcam has a clip to clip on a thin frame, which is the laptop screen. But for desktops, a webcam stand is used to showcase the webcam and is designed, such that a wide and better image is captured. The stand should be designed to sit properly on flat surfaces. This is needed in case of CRT monitors, where the webcam cannot be clipped on and is too heavy to place on the monitor itself. Laptop webcams are designed with portability in mind, so their frame is lighter and more compact. However, many do not allow tilting and panning but this feature is present in most desktop models.

2. Check for connectivity
USB, Firewire and parallel ports are the 3 possible ports that a webcam will connect to. Any recent computer has a USB port, so your computer should ideally connect to a webcam through a USB port. This is a very compatible and popular standard, check for Plug n’ Play compatibility, where you just need to plug in the camera to use it. This avoids setting it up when you need to connect it elsewhere and dealing with driver software is also avoided. Firewire is a rarer type of port, make sure your machine has such a port before buying a webcam with this sort of connecting port. Parallel ports are meant to allow older computers to connect to webcameras, as USB ports are scarce on older machines. But parallel connections are a lot slower than USB connections and can interfere or slow down other computer operations.

3. Ensure Picture Perfect Imaging
Resolution is the amount of detail or quality present in an image. The higher the resolution, the more rich and life-like the image is. So a low resolution in your webcam can mean a grainy, not-at-all clear imaging system. Most webcams have a resolution figure of 320×240 or 640×480 pixels, which allows for decent quality video and images. Some models allow for a higher resolution still imaging capture, with a factor up to 1.3 MP. High-end models allow for High-Definition capture with a resolution of 1600×1200 pixels.

Frame rate is another image factor. Video is made up of different image frames and how fast these frames can be transmitted over the Internet is the frame rate. A low frame rate means a choppy video with freezing images in the middle. Look for a frame rate per second (fps) around 30. There should be a good balance between resolution and frame rate, as it is no use if the image has a high quality but will be transmitted slowly.

The type of lens used in the webcam can make a difference in image quality. Plastic lenses are used in low-end models as they are cheaper but they can produce blurry or slightly warped images. Glass lenses capture crisp and better quality images. Plus they are not as prone to scratches as plastic lenses. The lens focus can be fixed or allow manual and automatic adjustment through software. You will be able for focus on a face or zoom out to include a group. Color or black/white image capture should also be considered.

4. Look for Perks
It’s nice to have an extra helpful feature or ability in your webcam. Automatic light adjustment ability is useful for video capture in dark or low light surroundings or for chatting outdoors. Some cameras allow auto focusing and panning and zooming abilities. If you plan to use your webcam as an amateur security camera, then motion sensing is a perk to look for. Even the webcam stand can be adjustable, so it can be aimed and pointed at from one location. An oft-overlooked perk is of audio capture. If you have a microphone on your computer, then buying a webcam with a built-in microphone is not necessary. Some models have a clip-on microphone, some need a headset to capture audio. Another perk is the bundled software provided with the webcam. Software can be diverse, ranging from sophisticated video editing and capture programs and video conferencing to simple applications like video email or messaging.

5. Consider Pricing & System Requirements
Your computer, be it a laptop or desktop, should be capable of supporting such a device. Installation of a webcam will require a minimal amount of disk space from your computer, as well as support for the bundled software and additional software you may download. The machine’s operating system and the drivers needed for the webcam need to be compatible, so check for OS compatibility at the time of purchasing a camera. Then there is your Internet connection. It is no use, having the world’s most expensive and high-end web camera, if your Internet speed is slow. A slow net connection will not be able to transmit such heavy data at a decent speed.

Price is always the “ick” factor when it comes to gadgets and the webcam is no exception. You need to make sure you get what you paid for. If you want a high-end camera, with maximum perks and features, be prepared to spend more than 100 dollars. Try to get the maximum features for the optimal price. For basic needs and usage, do not overspend, keep a budget between $50-$100. Low-end models, keep your expectations at a minimum and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Do your research well to ensure you have the ideal webcam for you. Remember to ask for warranties and store return policies prior to purchase. Don’t be dazzled by brands or fancy sales talk, keep your needs and budget firmly in mind and shop.