SSD or HDD? De-mystifying your computer storage choices.

Picture of a red-haired woman in a blue shirt looking confused. Choosing between an SSD and a standard hard drive can be very confusing.
In the past several years, storage media has come a long way.

For nearly 25 years, there was one option for internal storage on your PC. While the sizes, connectors and spin speeds varied, all internal storage was done on a hard disk drive (HDD). Over the last 10 years, however, there has been a quiet revolution. Enter the SSD, or solid state drive. These days, new computers can come with either type of storage, or sometimes both. What are the differences, and which is best for you?

What is a hard drive?

An HDD or hard disk drive is a fairly old type of technology. It consists of a spinning disc and several heads to read it. It stays inside your computer and holds all of your files and programs. These days, you can get a hard drive in a wide range of sizes, though most consumer models are between 1 and 4 TB or terabytes. That’s a vast amount of room, which will be major overkill for most home users.

What is a solid state drive?

A solid state drive, or SSD is also a type of computer storage. However, an SSD has no moving parts. It’s made up of many interconnected tiny silicon chips, and as such can access the data much faster. While much more expensive for the storage capacity at this point, the SSD has many advantages, especially in the area of speed.

So which is best for you?

Which you need, or indeed whether to have both, is a question we get from a lot of clients. This explanation should remove some of the mystery.

While a traditional HDD must spin up and rotate to access the data stored upon it, an SSD has no such need. The speed is limited more by the type of connection it has to your processor than the time it takes to read your data. Because of its speed, an SSD is a very good drive to have your operating system or other frequently used programs on.

What would Cherry Tree Technology recommend?

Here at Cherry Tree Technology, we recommend an SSD for most clients. Most users never need the extra space granted by a standard HDD or a dual drive system. If you’re a gamer, photographer, engineer, or have a large collection of media, a dual drive system may make sense. If you still have questions, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you ensure your computer storage media is working for you, not against you.

Galaxy S10 Fingerprint Lock Can Unlock with any Finger

The external packaging for a Samsung Galaxy S10. White box with black lettering.
A British woman has discovered that a simple screen protector can defeat the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S10.

Because of the way the Galaxy S10 reads fingerprints, a simple screen protector can be enough to defeat the security. While Samsung touts their scanning method as more secure, it’s actually been thwarted multiple times so far. The first time, it was undone with a $450 3D printer. This time, the exploit seems to be more serious.

This is far from the first time Samsung security has been called into question. In 2017, the Galaxy S8 facial recognition feature was hacked with a photo. The vulnerability, one which had been common to all facial recognition, was solved by other companies more than 5 years earlier.

Though all of the previous exploits were problematic, they needed planning. You can’t 3D print a fingerprint or print a photo of a person unless you know them. This exploit is far simpler and more serious. Almost everyone keeps a screen protector or case on their phone to prevent damage.

If keeping a screen protector on your Galaxy S10 is all that it takes to let anyone unlock it with their finger, no one’s phone will be secure. Samsung needs to address this vulnerability as soon as possible. This sort of issue could well kill enthusiasm for the phone.

We here at Cherry Tree Technology take the security of our client data very seriously. If you have concerns about the security of any of your devices, from your router to your PC, contact us. We’d be happy to help you ensure only you can access your information.

Scam Calls: Fake Virus or Support Calls, and Why They’re Dangerous.

Image of a hooded figure on a black background with lines of computer code floating around them. Scam calls and why they're dangerous.
Scam callers can be dangerous to more just than your bank account.

These days, one seems to get more scam calls than real ones. Car warranty calls, health insurance calls, even fake creditors. It’s so frustrating. This is especially true when strangers call you about your computer. A reputable company will never call you out of the blue to warn you of an issue. Any cold caller who tells you that you need to pay them money, or worse, allow them access to your computer does not have your best interests in mind. It takes vigilance to protect yourself from scam calls.

Viruses and trojans are a concern for any internet connected PC. Most people with malware infections, however, find out by running a local virus scan. Unless you are paying someone to monitor your antivirus, no one will call you to warn you of an infection. If a stranger calls you about it, it’s most likely a scam call.

It’s not just your money at risk.

While most scammers who call to tell you your computer has been hacked are after money, some are even more insidious. Access to your computer can provide a dishonest person with more than the money you pay them. They can see all of your files, install malicious software, or even copy your passwords. A particularly sneaky scammer can do a lot of damage.

Think about the sorts of information you type in to your browser on a regular basis. Banking information. Names. Addresses. At tax time, your Social Security number. Although your computer is usually safe behind your router or firewall, allowing a scammer to access it lets them past all lines of defense.

Your antivirus software, firewall, home network and router all work together to protect you. They’re like the immune system protecting your information from attack. When you allow a stranger into your computer via a screen sharing or remote access program, it’s like stabbing a knife straight through all the layers of protection. It’s much easier to infect the computer from the inside, just like it’s much more likely for a cut to get infected than your skin.

What should you do if a scammer calls you? Contact us! We will be happy to help repair the damage to your computer. We’ll even evaluate your protection and help you be safer in the future. After 15 years in the repair business, we know a thing or two about how to keep you safe.

Smart Home Questions? We can help!

An image of a smart home with icons for each of the connected devices inside.

These days, you’ve got a lot more choice when you’re looking for smart home gadgets. Where originally you only had one option for a smart doorbell with a camera or a fridge that could let you look inside without opening the door, there are now more on the market than you can keep up with. You can buy smart devices of all stripes, from TVs to doorbells to washing machines. Of course you can find comparison lists and buyer’s guides virtually anywhere on the internet. What a quick search of the internet can’t provide you with is someone who has real-time answers to your pressing smart home device questions.

While some features of smart technology are easy to understand, sometimes the manufacturers add confusing features that are unneeded or even counter-productive. Separating the good ideas from the lemons is sometimes hard to do. Getting help from a professional can make choosing your new device easier, and give you confidence in your eventual purchase. And the best part about working with a pro? Not having to install the smart home device yourself! No more fighting with your wireless network to make sure the newest electronic gadget in your home plays nice. Someone else can do that for you.

Ready to get started?

We at Cherry Tree Technology would be more than happy to guide you in your selection of a new smart home device. Even better, once you decide on the device you want, we can install it for you. Cherry Tree Tech is a locally owned Tucson-based technology company. We have more than 15 years of experience in residential computer repair, network maintenance, device and entertainment center set-ups and more! We can make sure that when your AC needs the temperature changed or your doorbell dings, you can interact with them the way you want. Call, email, or drop us a message today! Get the help you need making sure that your smart home doesn’t outsmart you.

Windows 7 End of Support:

Why should you upgrade?

Microsoft Windows 7 Logo
Say goodbye to your old OS.

Though it was groundbreaking at release, Windows 7 is reaching its end of life. Support has slowly been tapering off on certain computers already, and will end completely as of January 14th, 2020. No more feature updates will be released. Security updates will be released through the end of the support cycle, but not after that.

Once support for an operating system like Windows 7 ends, it becomes much more vulnerable to viruses, malware, and errors. When Microsoft is no longer supporting it, the unsupported software — very much like an out of warranty appliance — becomes much more difficult to maintain and repair. Although very little is likely to change for you day-to-day, any issues with your operating system could cause you to lose your data – everyone’s worst nightmare!

If your computer is older than 2015, it most likely has Windows 7 installed. If you want to know whether you need to upgrade, what it will cost, or just don’t want to install it yourself, Cherry Tree Technology is here to help.

Contact us 24 hours a day! We’d love to help with the upgrade of your operating system or even your whole computer. We have been helping Tucson and the surrounding areas take care of their computers and electronics since 2004. We’d love to add you to our family of clients.

Get More Done With Your Google Email Account

A blonde woman looking at her email account on her laptop.

Many people don’t know much beyond the basics about how to use their email account. Even free accounts such as Gmail have tips, tricks, and even add-ons that can improve their performance!

Not every trick will work for everyone, however, anyone can learn some tricks. With apps and settings, you can make your Google email account work even better for you. For instance, you can forward, sort, save attachments, and more with apps and shortcuts. Learn about a few methods from Fast Company, and get to know your Gmail account a little better!

Contact Cherry Tree Technology for help with other ways to get more from your technology with less work!

Looking for a Computer Repairman?

The term ‘repairman’ is a bit old-fashioned. It calls to mind an image of a grungy looking man that comes to fix something broken.  Often, said ‘repairman’ isn’t very personable, and might smell less than desirable.  Sometimes, especially with computer issues, there isn’t anything actually ‘broken’,but a bit of training is needed. Given the number of scammers that take advantage of victims in their homes, a ‘computer repairman’ might charge too much. Some even make the situation worse by lying about their knowledge or ability to perform repairs.

If you are looking for a computer repairman, you may not get exactly what you hoped for.  In a world where it is easy to confuse the ability to use technology with the ability to understand it on a technical level, many unqualified repairmen offer to provide a number of services they cannot deliver.  In the worst of cases, those who are victimized find that they have little recourse — a large number of repairmen aren’t even licensed to do business in Tucson and surrounding areas.  Further, many lack insurance to protect against accidental damage, data loss, and injury while at an individual’s private property.  

Of course, the term ‘repairman’ also fails to consider the numerous women who work in the field of technology. Woman have always made a great many contributions to technology and related science.  This is another of the many reasons that the term is outdated at best.  We prefer to call the members of our team technicians or consultants. These terms encompass both their role and their level of technical expertise.

Make Sure You Are Protected

Our computer techs are insured throughout all aspects of each repair.  We insure our employees and contractors on the way to and from each visit and while on-site. In the even that equipment must come back to our office for further analysis, we insure the equipment in transit.  In the unfortunate event that one of our computer techs or contractors is injured during the course of their work, our company ensures that the property owner is protected.

Experience Makes a Difference

We have been in Tucson almost fifteen (15) years and we have assisted clients of many different walks of life. Several of our computer techs are also involved with small business tech consulting. Because of that, they are used to dealing with stringent security requirements in addition to complex technical setups. Our expertise covers an extensive array of specialties. We have knowledge about everything from custom computer building and repair to advanced network design. We’ve never met a problem we walked away from solving. Let our computer techs help you get the most from your wireless devices, setup your printers for maximum efficiency, and stay up-to-date with the latest changes in computing.

Your Privacy and Data are Important

Our computer techs are well versed in the importance of ensuring each client’s privacy and the protection of their data from loss. Each technician and consultant is prohibited from viewing or copying a client’s data to any other medium, except in the course of transferring data or troubleshooting an issue. Any exposure of private data is governed by a policy of minimum necessity. Our computer techs are trained to look at only the files and information necessary to address the issue at hand. If there is a risk that data could be lost, we err on the side of safety and ensure that we create backup copies of said data.

Never Call a Computer Repairman Again!

Let us show you the difference of working with experienced, professional computer techs in Tucson and throughout Southern Arizona. We are sure that your experience will be worth the call and we look forward to hearing from you! Questions? Concerns? Give us a call or submit a request via our contact form today!