eUpdate from Michael's Computer Services in Veneta, OR. Trouble viewing this e-mail? Click here.
Michael's Computer Services
Computer Repair
Virus/Malware Removal
Web Site Design & Hosting
Custom Built Computers
Networking & Internet Setup
Graphic Design
Mozy Online Backup
Data Recovery
Negative & Slide Scanning
Michael's Computer Services
Office: 541-935-0255
Cell: 541-556-4612
Web Site

Facebook Business Page
Follow me on Facebook
January, 2011 :: In This Edition of eUpdate

Happy New Year! I am excited about what 2011 holds for my business and that I get to spend some of that time with you!
  • NEW! Gift certificates now available online!
  • Custom Built Vs. Name Brand PCs
  • Windows Tip :: Set a web image as your desktop background
Gift certificates now available online!

A gift certificate from Michael's Computer Services makes a great Christmas gift for friends, family or business associates.
Buy yours now!
Custom Built Vs. Name Brand PCs

Custom ComputerThere are hundreds of choices when it comes to buying a new computer and the decision process can be overwhelming. I have found that many people make their purchase based on price and the recommendation or persuasiveness of the sales person. In my opinion, this is not the best way to purchase a computer.

As a computer tech, I am often asked which computer brands I recommend. I actually do not consider any of the computer systems built by name brands as viable options. This is due to a number of factors I would like to address here.

As an alternative to mass produced systems, I do offer quality custom built computers. Each computer is designed to meet all of the customers current and future needs, and conforms to my stringent standards for reliability and longevity.

Due to the proprietary nature of all laptops, I currently do not offer custom laptop sales. Most of the information in this article applies to desktop machines and is not relevant to laptops.

Do you really know what you are getting in your computer?

When the time comes to purchase a new computer, many people start by looking for the best sales in the Sunday ads or run to Costco. Computer purchase decisions are too frequently based on price, not quality. I find that cheap computers tend to have a higher rate of failure and are also poor performance machines.

Regardless of the brand name stamped on the outside, all Microsoft Windows based computers are assembled from individual parts to create a complete "computer system." In other words, when you buy a brand name, you are simply buying from a company that put together components manufactured by many other companies.

Name brand computer systems are commonly assembled using lower quality parts in order to hit a low price point. The quality of each part affects the overall performance and reliability of the whole computer. Sacrificing quality for price is a disservice to their customers in the long run.

If you do have questions about the quality of internal system components, the average sales person at the store or on the phone will only know as much as the sticker on the box. Their job is to sell a product and not to know technical details. Nor can you build a relationship that particular sales person if you have future questions or concerns.

My custom computer systems are built using the best parts on the market which often include manufacture warranties that far exceed even my exceptional system warranty. For example, the all of the RAM I use includes a lifetime warranty. Also, I exclusively use hard drives that have 5 year warranties as they have been proven to be more reliable. Most computers include at most a 1 year warranty for everything in the system.

I not only strive to produce quality systems, I build relationships with all of my clients.

Is the system built to industry standards?

For years, component manufactures have supported industry standards for physical layouts and dimensions. This means that a computer built with industry standard parts that are easily upgraded and repaired because these parts are readily available (i.e. the screw holes match and parts physically fit). However, name brand computer models tend to be "propriety" and may not comply with these standards. This can make them difficult or impossible to upgrade or repair. The Dell E300 and E500 series are a relatively recent example of this.

My custom computer systems are built with 100% standard parts and will always adhere to these standards.

What software is provided with a new system?

Most companies don't include software discs with their systems anymore. They usually require the customer to create their own set. I find that many people forget to make their discs. As an additional safety net, a recovery feature is usually included on the hard drive. The major downside is you loose all the software on the recovery portion if the hard drive fails.

Name brand companies generally have proprietary software, all combined on one CD or DVD (if you get the disc in the first place). If you do experience a problem and call tech support, they will usually tell you to put the restore CD in the drive and follow the prompts. This typically means it will completely reformat your drive and reinstall from scratch, thus losing all of your personal files.

My custom computers include all the installed software and licenses on their original discs. These discs are non propriety and offer much more flexibility for repair. Plus, if the you do run into an issue and need to have me look at the computer, you won't have to ship it off to a repair facility in Texas.


You know your business and what you need and don't need to efficiently run it. You don't have to be limited to a prebuilt package that includes things you don't need just to get the things you do need.

I can customize your new computer to exactly fit your needs. You decide how much RAM and hard drive space are necessary for your system. You get exactly what you need without paying for things you don't.

What is Bloatware?

Ever notice how your brand new computer just doesn't seem as fast as it should be? That is generally due to a glut of potentially useless software, demos and trials included on the computer aptly termed "bloatware." The market has become so competitive that manufactures have resorted to turning a profit on commissions and fees paid by the providers of this bloatware.

When you first boot up a new brand name computer, you are likely to see the screen littered with icons that not only have no relevance to the overall operation of the PC, but are also hogging precious hard drive and RAM memory space. Why should your brand new computer be sluggish just so the company you bought it from can make a profit from advertising?

Not only will a bloatware-free custom PC run faster and better, but you'll have more space to keep the applications and data that you really do want. You shouldn't have to "cleanup" a brand new computer. My custom computers are only loaded with the essentials pure and simple, so you get the best performance possible from your computer straight out of the box.


The major brand names design their computers so that when technology advances, you either must live with the old, or buy a new computer. Standard upgrade slots are often completely out to keep costs down manufacturing costs down. Again, this is so they can meet those low price points.

A popular trend is to continue shrinking computer systems, which obviously offers physical space saving advantages, but also severely limits any expandability options.

Custom computers from Michael's Computer Services provide plenty of space to add RAM, add-in cards, additional hard drive space or a second DVD drive.


All computers produce heat. As heat is generated, it is conducted away from internal parts by aluminum or copper fins and then dissipated with moving air. Without proper heat conduction and ventilation, a system will overheat. Even if a machine was designed with adequate ventilation, dust build up on the heatsinks (similar to a car radiator) and fans will eventually reduce air flow. Reduced cooling will cause overheating, which in turn results in random computer lockups, or even permanent hardware damage.

Physical size can play a role too. The smaller the computer, the more likely it is to overheat since the components are tightly packed together and air flow is somewhat limited to start with. This is especially common in laptops, as the venting system is usually deficient in order to keep the unit as light as possible. Metal adds weight to a computer, so laptop manufactures use the bare minimum.

My computer systems are designed and built with ample air flow despite dust build up. It is still advisable though to annually clean any dust out of your system.


I have not found a single person who gets excited by companies outsourcing their support to overseas call centers. I completely respect that these foreign individuals are just trying to do their job. However, the result is poor support at best. These call centers don't seem to hire people based on their technical knowledge, but rather on their ability to speak English. All of the support responses are scripted and rarely do you feel like you are speaking to someone who is actually listening and understanding you. In short, most overseas support calls leave a bad taste in your mouth.

I personally answer all support calls or emails and work hard to resolve any issues that may arise. I strive to provide quick and knowledgeable resolutions for all of my customers.

Quality control

Name brand computers are quickly built on an assembly line and may not be thoroughly tested before being boxed and sold. They consider a certain percentage of failure is "allowable" and consider these "lemons" as normal.

Each custom computer is built to order and thoroughly tested. The individual attention applied during the building can assure first rate quality and reliability not available from typical mass-produced computers.


I know this is a lot to digest and I hope it is informative for you. If you have any questions about this article or if you are interested in setting up a consultation to discuss your new computer needs, please contact me.

Windows Tip :: Set a Web image as your desktop background

The Web has many beautiful pictures. If you find a picture you particularly like you can make it your desktop background, so that you can see it whenever you use your computer.

This tip will work with any version of windows.

1. Find a picture or graphic on the internet that you would like to set as your desktop background.

2. Using the right mouse button, right click on the picture or graphic. This will bring up the right click menu.

3. On the right click menu click on Set as Background if you are using Internet Explorer or Set as Desktop Background if you are using Firefox.

4. That's it. Now that picture or graphic will be displayed on your desktop for you to enjoy!

You received eUpdate because you are a customer of Michael's Computer Services
or a member of the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

Ensure delivery by adding to your Address Book.