Network Questions? Not Sure Where to Start? We Can Help.

These days everything from our entertainment center to our security system relies on a home network. A reliable, high quality network can spell the difference between happiness and hair pulling. From your modem and router to your streaming media player, there are a lot of things to consider. You’re ready to get started, though you may not even know where to begin. This is why personalized home network set-up help can make a huge difference.

A confused looking brown-haired woman in a pale blue button-up shirt.  Let us take the confusion out of your home network!
Why do I need a network?

Almost every device we use day to day requires an internet connection. Your computer, streaming media player, tablet, and phone are just the beginning. Do you have a printer? An e-book reader? A smart security device such as a doorbell, cameras, or a door lock? Are you considering adding other devices in the future, such as light controls or a fridge that will keep your grocery list up to date? Maybe you just need to figure out what devices will work for you, because you’ve lost track of what’s available. Once you have all these devices, though, how best to make sure you’re getting what you paid for?

A reliable wireless router and a high quality modem, together with the appropriate internet service, will keep your devices working seamlessly. No more pausing mid-stream on your favorite shows or losing your connection to the printer. Obviously no device will work 100% of the time, but if issues do crop up? You’ll have someone to call who can help get you back up and running. We can help with more than just those things. Selecting devices, buying a new computer, even installing antivirus software — we’re a full-service home IT company that will take out all the guesswork.

Decoding your needs:

When you set up a home network, there’s a lot to consider. We here at Cherry Tree Technology have been helping clients set up their networks for 15 years. We take into consideration things you might never think of. We’d love to help you optimize your home network for your needs. Contact us today to see what the right help can do for you!

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.

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.

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.