Google’s End of Life Policy for Chromebooks

I came across an interesting article by Kim Komando which talked about Google’s End of Life Policy which means that you need to be careful when buying a chromebook.

Certain chromebooks could be near their end of life just after you buy them.

Google has a list of each of the chromebooks and when there scheduled End of Life is.

The moral is, if you are going to buy a new chromebook, make sure you are getting one of the very newest models, so that you will get support for at least five more years.

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Amazon – Computer Help at Home

  1. Since I am having trouble with an older home computer, I found a link to Amazon Home Services which has computer repair at home. Here’s what the main screen looks like. You submit your basic information and they get back to you with repair bids.


I received four replies to do computer repair. Here are the results.

  1. Ovian – “when did you first noticed the desktop wouldn’t boot? Also, do you hear any beeps coming from the machine when you power it on. Please provide the machine model number. Is it connected to a surge protector or not? I can probably come out tonight at 730pm, if ok. “No Reviews of this company.
  2. PC Systems of MO – “Doesn’t start at all? No fan spin? No beep? If so, it might indeed be the power supply. $35 for the power supply and $50 for the installation / travel. Obviously this could be a more serious problem like blown capacitors on the main board but let’s keep a positive thought. Would be happy to get you back up and running. Three positive reviews
  3. Tech2Call – “We can help you with that. $90.00 for labor + parts & materials”
  4. iWebExport – “What is the exact Dell model number and the also the service tag number of the machines?” One positive review.

In conclusion, the Amazon Computer Services might be a service that someone might use, but considering that you can buy a new computer for $549 or less you might be off to try and fix it yourself.

Posted in Repair, Troubleshooting | Leave a comment

SMS versus Google Authenticator

Steve Gibson on his Security Now episode 571, quoted a government source saying that “SMS is deprecated and will no longer be allowed in future releases…”

Steve also mentioned that on Hover they offer SMS or something like Google Authenticator. He always recommends an Authenticator solution.

Leo LaPorte in another show said that while SMS could be a problem, the attacker would also have to know your password.

In practical terms, if your bank or other company only offers SMS, it’s better than just a regular site with no second factor authentication.



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When Thumb Drives Go Bad

I recently had a 16 gb drive that had about 8 different partitions that I couldn’t do anything with. The standard solution of using the Windows 10 tools just did not work. Here is a solution below which got rid of all the partitions and made my thumb drive into its former 16 gb size.

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Hard Drive to SSD

I want to exchange my laptop hard drive (Dell 17r-7720)  for a SSD so I’m documenting the steps I am taking.

The software I am using is Macrium Reflect. They offer a free version which is what I am using.

The first issue I am facing is that I have a 1 TB hard drive and I only have 240 gb of space on the SSD. I have copied all my videos and data off the hard drive onto two different locations. I’m going to delete the video and data from the hard drive, so I don’t have to worry about having enough space.

I also notice that some videos say that you have to initialize the SSD as a MBR or  GPT and format the SSD, but the Macrium Reflect video does not do this. I’m going to try the clone without the extra step of Initializing and Formatting.

I also decided to not copy the 17 gb Restoration area that I had. Since I still have the hard drive with this installed, I don’t think it’s necessary.

I’m using the “ USB 3.1 (10Gbps) Adapter Cable for 2.5″ SATA SSD/HDD Drives – Supports SATA III (6 Gbps) – USB Powered.” on Amazon, What’s nice is that it’s small and doesn’t need a power adapter. If you have a USB 3 port, make sure you use it to speed up the process.


Here is what the setup looks like.

Below is a video on how to install the SSD into the computer.

Bummer –  the computer won’t boot with the SSD!
No matter what I did with the Bios it would not boot.

When I reinstalled the old hard drive, it had the same problems booting. I changed the Bios to the Default settings and the hard drive booted.

Plan B is to try using Macrium Reflect and let it choose which partitions to copy. When it did this, it said it did not have enough room. It did want to clone the Restoration partition and I allowed it to do so. I decreased the size of the last partition so that I could fit on the last partition.

After cloning this time, the SSD booted successfully!
I’m not sure what the difference was.

Here are my overall results.


Hard Drive
– Boot time to my Google Calendar is 3.5 minutes
– Battery time is 60 minutes.
– Adobe Premiere – program start time is very slow.

– Boot time to Google Calendar – 39 seconds.
– Battery time is 70 minutes – I was disappointed with this number.
– Adobe Premiere – program start time is very fast
– Computer will not go into Sleep Mode! Windows 10 seems to have lost control of this function.

For $70, this upgrade did speed things up, but not increase my battery time by much. My loss of the Sleep Function is aggravating. I will have to remember to Power Down any time I am finished using the computer and it is in battery power.

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Steps to Take Before Giving Your Computer Away

There is a friend of a friend who needs a computer and since I have a spare laptop, I told him I would give it to him. The problem is that it has years of old personal data that I want erased.

Here are some of the steps I have taken.

The first step is to backup all your data onto an external hard drive. I used SyncToy for this task.

Delete User Accounts
Next, I signed into an Administrator account and chose to delete my Standard User account. It offered to save the files onto my desktop in a folder. You also need to make sure you are not signed into the account you are trying to delete.
I then did copy the folder it made onto an external hard drive – now I had two backup copies of my data.


Delete any Remaining Files and Data that still Remain

Delete Any Files in the Recycle Bin

Download and Install CCleaner Free

Wipe the Free Space
Under Tools, it will allow you to Wipe the Free Space. You get to choose how many passes it will make. This will take a long time, so just let it run over night. The expert  Steve Gibson says that three passes is all you need.



Install and run Macrium Reflect
This will do an image backup of your clean system and will be available if necessary.

Option #2
If the operating seems buggy and slow, you could also wipe your hard drive with Dban and then change it into a Chromebook.


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Moving Old Program CDs to ISO files

I have a number of old programs that are still useful, but are on CDs. One way to keep them, but get rid of the CDs is to burn an Image ISO file.

I used the ImgBurn program to create the ISO. I got it from Ninite as I was concerned that getting it from other sources might install extra toolbars etc.

I  chose the option to “Create Image file from disc.”

The next screen shows your Source, which should be your CD/DVD drive. Be careful – if you have previously mounted another ISO file, it might show up here.
Then look at your Destination which is where you want your ISO file be created.
Finally, click on the blue arrow to start the process.


Once you have your ISO files created, if you want to install the program from the ISO, what I found was that my regular Standard account would not work. I had to open up one of my Administrator accounts to install the program from the ISO file. Open the ISO file (double click in Windows 10) from File Explorer and it creates a DVD virtual drive. Then click on the AutoPlay or Setup.exe file to install.

To UnMount or remove the Virtual Drive, hi-lite in File Explorer and under the Manage tab, Manage Tab, you will have an option to Eject – that will remove the Virtual Drive.


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