Computer Network Administration, Managed IT Services. Outsourced Chief Technology Officer / Chief Information Officer (CTO/CIO) services in Seattle, Northgate, Shoreline, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Renton


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Managing Passwords:

What’s the best way to remember all the passwords one has for different applications, banking, email, work, Facebook and the rest AND make them more secure?

My advice is to go with a pass-"phrase" rather than a pass-"word." For example, My Cat Is Black is 15 characters and includes four capital letters. To make it stronger, use a few numbers and symbols to replace some of the letters:

My Cat Is Black could become My C@t !s Black -or- My C@t !$ Bl@ck  ...see the pattern?

Here’s Microsoft’s secure website to test your password strength.

Lastly, how often should you change your password? Whenever you change the locks on your house. In other words, if it hasn't been compromised, why change it?

Slow Computer:

The top five reasons for a slow PC / Internet include:

  1. Active virus, malware, or spyware

  2. Too many files in your “temporary data” folder

  3. A fragmented hard drive

  4. Too many applications running in the background

  5. Too many toolbars running in your internet browser

The best fix for the above problems is to call PC Therapist—we are happy to provide remote technical support! Or you can do it yourself using the following pointers:

  1. Virus/Malware/Spyware: if your computer is already infected, try HouseCall from Trend Micro, or Security Scan from Kaspersky. Always maintain up-to-date virus/malware/spyware programs. For businesses, use Trend Micro, Kaspersky or Vipre depending on your business needs; for home computers, use Avast (it’s free and works on both PCs and Macs).

  2. Too many files / Fragmented drive: download and run CCleaner and DeFraggler on a weekly basis.

  3. Too many applications: your computer “starts up” with multiple programs that you do not need. To remove these in Windows 7, follow these steps; for Windows 8, follow these steps.

  4. Too many toolbars: when installing new software or updates (including the above two programs which we still recommend), the installation process often adds toolbars, and/or changes your Home page or search engine. To remove them, click on “Add/Remove Programs” in your Control Panel, and remove all toolbars.

Fishing (Phishing) Emails:

You have more chance of losing your password by clicking on a “phishing” email than by a hacker breaking into your online account(s).

What is a “phishing” email? It’s an email that appears to be from a legitimate source (PayPal, your bank, your credit card company), but it contains a link to click through to their website, where you will be prompted to type in sensitive information. The email and the website may look genuine, but the information you provide is going to a thief.

How can you tell a genuine email from a phishing email? We recommend taking this simple online quiz which will help you learn to identify the tell-tale signs of a typical phishing email.

When in doubt: NEVER click on a website link in an email!

Viruses and Malicious Activity from Pop-Up Windows:

Those pesky “pop up windows” can often confuse a person into thinking that they need to take action. When you see pop-up windows appear shortly after you arrive on a new website, containing messages such as “your XXX software is outdated and vulnerable” or “suspicious activity detected” or “multiple viruses found” — DO NOT click on the associated link. One simple click can install a computer virus or open up your entire network for hacking. Learn all about it and find out how to prevent the problem by clicking here (yes, this is a safe click!) :-)  

Mark has been working with us as an IT Specialist since August 2003. Besides being a great resource, he has been instrumental in our radiology and pathology departments’ implementation and support, including...

direct user support, workflow analysis, software upgrades, testing plan creation and execution, recommending changes in systems and processes to accommodate new features, and testing of hardware deployment and support.

Mark is ready and willing to provide both technical and operational support whenever requested; his commitment to his customer was always evident. He’s always eager to take on new challenges and quickly became an integral team member of our projects.

I highly recommend Mark and his business, PC Therapist for any of your IT network support needs. They will be a great asset to any organization.

  1. Denise Bender, Manager, Clinic and Ancillary Applications, Valley Medical Center




Handy advice from our heart to yours.

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