Frequently Asked Questions

We are always adding more questions.  If you have one you would like to suggest for this list, please use our contact form.

How do I set up my Email

If Frantkronics is providing your email, you will find instructions for reading your email with your web browser and for setting up an Email client on our Email Support page.

I can receive Email, but I can’t send Email

When you set up your Email account in your Email client (Outlook, LiveMail, your Smart Phone, etc), you must instruct the client to authenticate when sending email.

Authenticating basically logs you in to the Email server to identify you as the owner of the email address.  Once authenticated, the server will allow you send your message.  Requiring authentication prevents spam and prevents someone else from sending email as you.

Open your Email Client’s settings and look for the outgoing, or SMTP settings.  You should find a setting that says “my outgoing server requires authentication”.  Make sure this box is checked, and set it to either use your incoming username/password enter your current email address and password.

General

Can you fix my iPad?

Unfortunately, we are not able to work on Apple products.  The closet Apple stores are:

Capitol Mac
1307 W Main St
Richmond, VA 23220
804-358-3100
 Apple Store, MaCarthur Center Mall
300 Monticello Ave
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-628-8400
Can you fix my Smart Phone Screen?

Franktronics does not work on Smart Phones, iPads, or similar devices.  We also do not work on any Apple products.

We do work on windows tablets and some android tablets.

Do you Fix Printers?

Yes and No.

Many printers today are very inexpensive to purchase, but expensive to repair.  If you paid less than $200 for your printer, you may be just as well off to purchase a new printer.  By the time we include the cost of parts (assuming parts are even available) and labor, you’ll end up spending $100 or more to repair that printer.

If you’re not sure if its worthwhile to repair your printer, give us a call to discuss the issue and we’ll help you decide if its cost effective to repair.

How Do I Back-Up My Computer?

Franktronics recommends a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy, such as the one described at backblaze.com:

What is a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy?

A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different mediums (read: devices), and at least 1 copy offsite. We’ll use “kitten.jpg” as an example for this scenario. Kitten.jpg lives on your computer at home, it was a picture that you took of your cat in 2012. That’s one copy of the data. You also have an external hard drive that you use for backing up your computer.  As part of its backup process, that external hard drive will back up kitten.jpg. That’s a second copy, on a different device or medium. In addition that external hard drive, you also have an online backup solution. The online backup continuously scans your computer and uploads your data offsite to a datacenter. Kitten.jpg is included in this upload, and that becomes the third copy of your data.

Why 2 onsite and 1 offsite?

An onsite backup is a simple way of having quick access to your data should anything happen to your computer. If your laptop or desktop’s hard drive crashes, and you have an up to date external hard drive available, you can quickly get the majority of your data back, or use the external on another computer while yours gets fixed or replaced. If you remember to keep that external hard drive fairly up to date, the exposure for data loss is fairly minimal, as you might only be exposed to losing the files that were on your laptop that had not yet been copied to the external hard drive. Most external hard drives even come with their own software to make sure that they are kept readily updated.

Having an onsite backup is a great start, but having an offsite backup is a key component in having a complete backup strategy. Onsite backups are great if you need to get to them quickly, but unfortunately, having a backup near the device that it’s backing up (for example, having a desktop PC and an external hard drive on the same desk), means that both of those copies are susceptible to data loss – floods, fires, and theft can and do occur. Most often, if the two devices you have as your local copies are close together, they’ll both be affected if the unfortunate should happen. A continuously updated copy of your data that’s not in the same physical location as the other two is paramount in protecting your files.

Is 3-2-1 Perfect?

There is no such thing as a perfect backup system, but the 3-2-1 approach is a great start for the majority of people and businesses. Even the United States Government recommends this approach. In a 2012 paper for US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), Carnegie Mellon recommended the 3-2-1 method in their publication titled: Data Backup Options.

I’m bringing my computer in for repair. What should I bring with it?

I’m bringing my computer in to your shop for repair.  What do I need to bring with it?

Typically, all we need is the computer.

  • If you are bringing a laptop, please bring the power adapter as well.
  • If you are bringing a desktop, all we need is the computer, or “the tower”.
  • If you are having problems with a particular component, such as the mouse or a printer, please bring that item in as well (along with any power cords or power adapters that go with it).

We do not need:

  • The desktop computer’s monitor, unless you are having issues with the monitor
  • Laptop cases or bags, or wireless accessories such as the mouse
  • Desktop power cords

Franktronics has a wide selection of universal power adapters for our technicians to use when working on your laptop.  However, if the power adapter that fits your laptop is in use with another computer, repairs to your computer may be delayed.  Additionally, Franktronics will perform diagnostics on your power adapter to ensure it is operating correctly.

Our diagnostics and repairs may take many hours to run.  Laptops do not have enough battery life to complete all of the diagnostics and repairs, even if you bring it with a full charge.

My Computer Crashed. Can You Recover My Data?

We can usually recover data from failing or crashed systems.  Franktronics utilizes numerous tools and techniques to recover your data including specialize software and hardware.

If the hard drive is physically damaged (such as a bad head crash), then data recovery may not be possible.

If your computer is crashing, or the hard drive is making strange noises, do not turn it on.
Each time the computer is turned on, it may make the situation worse.
Bring the computer in to us as soon as possible.

Another situation we’ve seen several times recently is caused by an “encryption” virus.  These viruses encrypt the data on your drive.  While we are able to read and recover these files, the data is encrypted, making it useless.

What happens when my operating system gets reinstalled?

Data, such as documents, music, pictures, and videos, can be transferred off of the old hard drive to a new hard drive with a functional operating system. However, the programs that read these files cannot be easily transferred. Programs such as Microsoft Office are used to read documents and must be reinstalled on the new hard drive. In order to reinstall these programs the product key and sometimes the CD is necessary to reinstall the product. If the product key cannot be recovered off of the old hard drive or the product key is not available physically the product will have to be repurchased or the company the product was originally purchased from will have to be contacted.
Outlook or other email management programs will have to be set up again. This means the email address and password will have to be reentered into the email program.
Any customizations will have to be re-done. These include internet homepages, desktop backgrounds, desktop icon arrangement, etc.

Why do you need my password?

I just need the hardware fixed, why do you need my password?

Often, a computer is our shop for a simple hardware fix such as replacing a laptop screen, or replacing a desktop power supply.  So why do we need your password to complete these repairs?

As part of our standard diagnostics, we verify the hard drive is operating properly by running a pair of diagnostics.  We also verify that the rest of your computer is working correctly.  In some cases, whatever caused the original hardware failure (such as dropping it, or a power surge) may have caused additional damage.  We want to be sure that when we repair your computer, it is fully repaired.  We can run some of these tests without logging in to your account, but our tests are more accurate and thorough if we can log in using your account information.

Imagine spending around $200 to repair a laptop screen, only to find out later that the hard drive was damaged.  That could be another $200 repair.  We want you know all of the issues and costs up-front, so you can make an informed decision about your repairs.

Networking

Can I split my Ethernet port?

No.  Ethernet cables cannot be “split” like a telephone line.  Each Ethernet cable must run directly between two pieces of equipment, such as your computer and your router.

If you need additional network connections, you must add a network switch, hub, or router.

Contact Franktronics for recommendations about which hardware devices would be best for your application.

Can You Install or Fix My Network?

Yes, Franktronics can design, build, and install your network – from a small home network with a few devices, up to a large business network with dozens or more devices.

Franktronics can:

  • Install modems, routers, switches, and wireless access points
  • Install and terminate network cables
  • Program your router and firewall
  • Configure your wireless network
  • Install other network devices such as printers and data storage
  • Troubleshoot network problems

 

Viruses

How to I keep viruses off of my computer?

A lot of unwelcome software ends up on your computer in part because of something you did or did not do. Here’s how to avoid unwanted spyware or adware:

  • Be selective about what you download to your computer. Make sure you really need a program before downloading it. And if you’ve never heard of the software maker, read its website carefully to learn more about the people behind the technology, as well as the technology itself. Also, watch out for ActiveX, which is a common tool for installing spyware without your knowledge or consent. You can turn off ActiveX via your browser preferences and you can always turn it back on should a trusted site require it.
  • Read licensing agreements. It can seem daunting to read these agreements, but to play it safe, don’t just scroll to the bottom and click the “I accept” button when installing freeware. Instead, read each agreement carefully and look for language pertaining to any information-gathering activity, which could mean that you’ll get spyware or adware along with your freebie.
  • Watch out for anti-spyware scams. The Web is rife with “anti-spyware” tools that do little or nothing to prevent spyware. Some even make it worse. Purveyors of these tools often provide free scans, which almost invariably identify hundreds of spyware programs on your computer. They then immediately ask you to buy their bogus product.
  • Beware of clickable advertisements. Try to avoid programs–especially freeware–that flash clickable ads. These ads should be a red flag. If you click the ads, it’s possible someone is watching how you respond to them.

Unfortunately, spyware and adware aren’t going away any time soon. But you can take control by deciding what gets in, what stays out, and what remains on your computer.

Windows 10

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

In short, we recommend holding off until at least the spring of 2016 to give Microsoft time to work out some of the bugs.

Before you decide to upgrade to Windows 10, be sure to run the Upgrade Advisor.  You can run the Advisor by clicking on the Get Windows X icon in the system tray.  Review the contents of the Advisor’s results carefully.  The report will list any hardware or applications that are not compatible with Windows 10.  If any of your hardware is not compatible, then we recommend you do not upgrade to Windows 10.

If you are running business software, especially software that is designed for your type of business, you should contact your software vendor to find out if the software is compatible with Windows 10.

If you decide to upgrade to Windows 10, be sure your computer is running well before you start.  If your computer is already slow, has pop-ups or viruses, or experiencing hardware issues, upgrading to Windows 10 may fail and cause the computer to be unusable.

ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA BEFORE ATTEMPTING AN UPGRADE.