Archive for the ‘Troubleshooting by Symptom’ Category

Web Browser Scam Alert!

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Sample web browser exploit alert window

Many of our clients report seeing web browser alert scam windows like this one.

Recently, many of our clients have reported seeing popup alerts while in their web browser. Hackers have found ways to force your browser to display these windows, and the alerts might appear to come from Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, or other recognizable computer corporations. In reality, the window is a scam, and this article will tell you how to avoid being scammed.

What all these scams have in common is that they say viruses or spyware has been found on your computer, and they tell you to call a toll free number for help removing it.

Even if your computer actually has viruses or spyware, it has nothing to do with this window…nobody has scanned your computer for viruses. It’s just a fake window trying to scare you into calling the toll free number and pay an exorbitant fee to “fix” this non-existent problem. Don’t call.

If you call, the “support agent” first gets you to give them remote access to your computer…which usually involves implanting a tiny piece of remote access software that allows them to connect. Then they’ll quote somewhere between $99 and $299 for the virus removal service. Of course there’s really no service to perform…there’s nothing wrong with your computer.

However, once you’ve given them remote access, they can control your computer and access all your files…their secondary goal after scamming you for cash. Some clients have even reported that the “support agent” doesn’t take credit cards, so they require your bank account and routing number to charge you…which also gives them everything they need to clean out your bank account.

This is an easy problem for you to fix without any help.

What you should do

1. Click Force Quit… in the Apple menu.

force-quit-window

2. Select your web browser in the window, then click the Force Quit button at the lower right corner of the window.

3. Hold down the Shift key while reopening your browser. Your browser will go to its normal home page. Problem solved, and it didn’t cost a dime!

Posted in Front Page, Mac Blog, Tech Notes, Troubleshooting by Symptom, Troubleshooting Knowledge Base, Web Hosting Knowledgebase | No Comments »

My Mac is Slow

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

There are several things that can cause slow performance. We recommend taking these self-help steps to speed things up. Click on each numbered item for the instructions for that step.

  1. Repair Your Hard Disk in Single User Mode.
  2. Safe Boot your Mac.
  3. Use Disk Utility to repair the disk permissions on your startup disk.
  4. Run Cocktail, a Mac OS X maintenance utility.
  5. Run a virus check with ClamXav to check for, and eliminate, phishing scripts can slow down your Mac.

If those steps don’t speed things up, it’s time to contact us for remote or on site service.

Posted in Tech Notes, Troubleshooting by Symptom | No Comments »

Text in my Programs Looks Wrong

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

When programs display text in Mac OS X, they don’t actually use the original copy of the font. Instead, Mac OS X and programs from Adobe, Microsoft, and Quark create their own copy each font and store it in a quick-access file called a font cache. Using font caches is a good idea for two reasons.

  1. Frequently accessed files are more prone to corruption than files accessed infrequently. By using a copy of your fonts, Mac OS X is protecting the originals. If the copies become damaged, you can simply delete them and Mac OS X automatically make a new copy from the original.

  2. It takes longer to access files when they’re scattered all over your hard disk than if they’re in one place. By keeping all the fonts you use in the font cache, text displays more quickly on screen.

Over time, font cache files tend to become corrupted because they’re accessed and modified so frequently. When they do, the text in any or all your programs may display odd spacing, wrong letter shapes, substituted characters, or look like garbled gibberish.

Test may look like gibberish.


When you see those symptoms, it’s time to clean your font caches. Once they’re deleted, Mac OS X and your programs will simply create clean new ones.

If you typically use FontBook (the font manager that comes with Mac OS X), Extensis Suitcase, or other font manager software that doesn’t have built-in font cache cleaning, click here for instructions about how to Clean Your Font Caches with Font Finagler.

If you use Linotype’s FontExplorer X or FontExplorer X Pro, the tools for cleaning font caches are built right into the program. Click here for instructions about how to Clean Your Font Caches with FontExplorer X.

If the text in Microsoft Entourage looks like garbled gibberish, you can clean its font caches manually. Click here for instructions about how to Clean Your Font Caches for Microsoft Entourage.

Posted in Tech Notes, Troubleshooting by Symptom | No Comments »

Clean Your Font Caches for Microsoft Entourage

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Garbled gibberish in Microsoft Entourage


If you’re seeing garbled gibberish in Microsoft Entourage mail messages, there are two files you can delete manually that should solve the problem.

1. Quit from Microsoft Entourage. Then go to the following folder on your hard disk:

(your hard disk) > Users > (your home folder) > Library > Caches

Within that folder, trash the files called com.microsoft.browserfont.cache and Tasman Browser.cache. Empty the trash and relaunch Entourage. The text should now appear correct.

Posted in Tech Notes, Troubleshooting by Symptom | No Comments »

My Date & Time are Wrong!

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Nearly all Macintosh computers have a battery on the logic board that provides power to a small amount of memory that retains settings required by your computer for proper startup. That small amount of memory is called Parameter Random Access Memory, or PRAM for short. Some of the settings stored in the PRAM are the current date and time, the settings that allow your Mac to communicate with its monitor, and the current startup disk.

The battery lasts an average of five years, depending on usage, but when it finally runs out of power, your first clue will be that each time your Mac starts up, the date and time will be wrong.

At that point it’s time to replace the PRAM battery. Once the battery is replaced, the Mac will retain the correct date and time and all necessary settings.

Desktop Macs typically use a 3.6 volt lithium battery that looks like this:

1/2 AA 3.6V Lithium PRAM Battery


It’s as thick and about half as tall as a standard AA battery. (It’s called a 1/2 AA 3.6V lithium battery). Those batteries are available at Radio Shack, Batteries Plus, and online.

Some newer Mac models use CR2032 button cells, available at Radio Shack, Best Buy, and even Walmart. It looks like this:

CR2032 button cell

Some older Mac desktop models use a 4.5 volt battery pack that looks like this:

4.5V battery pack

If you have a question about which battery your model takes, or need help changing the battery, contact is by phone or email.

Posted in Tech Notes, Troubleshooting by Symptom | 6 Comments »